EU Referundum: Vote Leave Leaflet

Vote Leave’s attractive compact leaflet, with pictures of nice people, landed on the doormat this evening. It contains a simple 5 point message, but so general, so vague, it ought to be easy to refute, and in similarly simple terms.

Premise 1 The UK pays £350 million per week into the EU. If the UK leaves,  there would be more money available for the NHS, schools and housing.

See previous blogs, actually £162 million per week after rebate, subsidies etc. This is a small price to pay for access to the single free market with over 500 million, significant foreign investment inflows and creating British jobs. The power of being part of the world’s largest economic bloc gives the UK both global economic and political influence.

Premise 2 EU laws overrule UK laws and the European Courts will be in control of our borders, and big decisions like whether prisoners are allowed to vote.

I doubt whether the last point, the enfranchisement of prisoners, is top of anyone’s agenda. If prisoners are so keen to exercise their democratic right, they can fix themselves up with a proxy before going inside. More importantly, we control our borders as we are not part of the Schengen area. Since 2010 100,000 people have been refused entry. In fact, we have the best of both worlds as part of the EU, as we get the cooperation to fight crime and terrorism, but can control immigration according to our own laws. The UK has signed up to European law in some areas, but the number of times where there is a conflict is negligible.

Premise 3 Build a fairer, safer immigration system

Answered as 2 above. Almost 58% of immigrants into the UK are from non-EU countries. The leaflet raises the spectre of Turkey joining the EU, but we are a long way from that. Turkey has a very long way to go before it can be considered – on Human Rights and Freedom of the Press just for starters. In any case, any one EU member could veto Turkey’s accession, including the UK.

Premise 4 Free to trade with the whole world.

See response 1 and previous blogs, but imagine having to re-negotiate with the remaining EU member states as a country comprising 8% of their trade, whilst we conduct 44% of our trade with the rest of the EU. Size matters. The rest of the world comprises similar large trade blocs, and will not complete trade a new deal with us beyond WTO commitments until we have a new deal with the EU, which could take several years.

Premise 5 We’ll keep subsidising other EU countries and losing more control each year.

By subsidising poorer regions of Europe ( as we, with our International Development budget subsidies poorer countries throughout the world) we are building better infrastructures and helping to create joibs in those regions, which in turn creates a bigger market for our goods and services. All big (in every sense of the word) countries do this, but in the EU case, we get a faster, safer return on our investment.

The bottom line is that the world has changed. We are all part of a global economy, so isn’t it better to be part of a major player, than trying to go it alone, with all that uncertainty, turmoil, and undoubted loss of markets and our jobs?

Senga Scott