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Brexit is looming

21 June 2016 |

On Thursday the British public face a difficult decision which will shape the United Kingdom’s history and for the anticipated future- Britain’s position in the EU.

Due to the significance of the referendum, it is crucial that anyone who is entitled to vote takes the opportunity which will effectively change which kind of country we are going to live in.

In the past 20 years, there has been political apathy in the establishment and in last year’s general election, voter turnout was 66%, the highest figure in 18 years. Though membership of popular parties appears to be on the decline, it is important for the public to note that the EU referendum is a public policy matter and we should put our antipathies of MPs and the political establishment aside for this historical vote.

The economy appears to be the key-deciding factor of this referendum. There is a general understanding that a leave vote would be detrimental for Britain. Though admitting possible short-term economic difficulty, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage have instead emphasised on the ‘return’ of British sovereignty and long-term economic gain.

However the vast number of economic experts believe that a leave vote would have a substantial negative impact in the short-term and as a matter of certainty we shouldn’t suppose a long-term economic recovery. The Bank of England, the IMF and the Organisation for Economic cooperation have all confirmed that Brexit would be damaging for the economy.

With regards to trade, the Brexit campaign maintains that it is perfectly reasonable to make profitable bilateral agreements with other countries; in particular those outside of the EU. Practically speaking however this will be difficult. We are currently part of a European trading bloc and therefore enjoy foreign direct investment, competition, trade effects and also market efficiency. So the idea that we could successfully trade with the world’s major economies on our own is very difficult to comprehend. Also, multinational corporations could possibly move their headquarters from the financial hub of London abroad.

Nonetheless this referendum is also about immigration and the free movement of people - a matter which is at the top of the agenda for many British voters. A matter usually overlooked is the fact that being a member of the EU gives us security-sharing competencies and so it is a fallacy to link security vulnerabilities with the free movement which we enjoy. The EU has played a major role in keeping Europe peaceful since World War II. So why should we risk Brexit considering the safety net the EU provides us?

A vote to remain in the EU is a vote of confidence; it is a vote to cooperate in an ever-increasing world of globalisation. On Thursday we either stay open to the idea of globalisation or we decide to leave the EU in an era where our democracy is in retreat. A vote to remain in the EU is a vote to remain in a reformed and progressive European Union.