I am still slightly undecided on how I will vote in the up and coming referendum on our membership of the European Union.
Both the Tory Leave and the Tory Remain campaigns have been both uninspiring and stupid at best. From Boris Johnson’s comparing the EU to Hitler in its aims and agenda, to David Cameron predicting World War 3, is it any wonder that many people are either sick of the debate or have completely switched off from it.
The sane part of the Remain Campaign talk about peace and stability, jobs, trade and regulation, farming and the environment and the freedom to move around the EU without borders. The sane part of the Leave Campaign talk about the money we will save in our membership fee, 13 Billion Pounds per year, how we would regain seats at the table of the World Trade Organization etc. For some it’s about sovereignty, for others controlling immigration.
I think there is agreement that the EU has become a bloated system, that there is a great deal of corruption, and that it serves the larger countries most but that Britain’s influence as one of the largest contributors financially is very limited, while the EU shows little interest in actual reform. Some argue that there is also the issue that Britain is in fact not very well liked within the organization and is viewed as a very reluctant member state.
For many other people they see the EU as a barrier to free trade, many see the EU as undemocratic and distant from the voters while others feel that Britain does not have the infrastructure to cope with ever-increasing enlargement as public services are cut and stretched to the limit and more and more EU citizens wish to give Britain a go for a better life.
This leads me on to how Scotland should Vote!
It has been suggested by some people in Scotland, from SNP members, First Minster Nicola Sturgeon, some journalists and YES campaigners, that a UK Leave Vote would be enough to trigger another Scottish Independence Referendum. Many YES voters on social media feel that the end game is more important than our current membership of the EU as part of the UK and that we should vote to leave as a means to an end.
Most politicians in the main parties in Scotland are encouraging voters to vote to Remain, that it is in Scotland’s best interests to be in the EU as part of the UK than out of the EU as part of the UK. They argue that the EU provides Scotland with much-needed protection from the ravishes of an increasingly right-wing and intolerant Conservative Government, and an increasingly right-wing and intolerant narrative from many South of the Border. I have a lot of sympathy with that view to be honest.
I personally don’t think that a Brexit would trigger another independence referendum so those advocating this stance need to be careful and put a little thought into this course of action. While I accept that Scotland may well be the most pro EU part of the UK, I am not so sure that as many agree with this as the polls suggest.
I am still torn in how I will vote, there is a part of me that welcomes the protection that the EU provides, from employment protection to consumer rights and the environment. Very much-needed protection from what I consider to be a morally corrupt Tory Government at Westminster, a Government that is a cancer on this country.
But there is this other part of me that cannot forget how Greece were treated by the EU during their financial meltdown, and how they continue to be treated today. Germany dominated that debate while being the country that were providing many of the loans and issues that caused the Greek financial crisis in the first place, along with Greeces lack of financial regulation, but was that so much different from our own lack of financial regulation.
The other concern I have is ever-increasing enlargement of the EU. I have no doubt that those who come here to the UK in the main add very much to our culture and our economy. However, we have a Government hell-bent on virtually destroying public services via austerity while expecting local authorities across the UK to cope with ever increasing demand with ever reducing resources, that should have us all worried.
So, is the end game of independence and the concerns that I have in relation to the EU enough for me to vote no, or should I look at the benefits and protections that the EU provide, ignoring the many flaws, and vote to remain even though I am committed YES voter and will be in the future. I just don’t know and I suspect many others feel the same.
What do you think? I would love to know as the vote is getting ever closer and it may well be the most important vote for the long-term future of Scotland.