If you’re anything like me, then the EU referendum debate’s winning combination of unlikable people and unbelievable “facts” has you waiting for the whole clusterf**k to just end.
Unfortunately, it turns out this is actually a pivotal moment that decides the future of the country so it’d be irresponsible to just hunker down and watch anime on Netflix while waiting for this idiocy to blow over. Whether we vote Leave or Remain has consequences in every aspect of our lives , so it’s too bad that referendum news has been dominated by Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Nigel Farage as if it was some kind of tiff for conservative old people.
Even at this stage I still don’t know how I’m going to vote, and have been patiently waiting for each campaign to put forth rational arguments on how I should vote. The results so far have been…disappointing.
Both sides would have you believe that a vote for the opposing option is a leap into an uncertain future and inviting armageddon upon these fair British Isles, and when even the government is campaigning for a particular side it’s hard to trust what anybody’s saying. Let’s delve into the bullshit and see what’s actually what behind the 4 most popular arguments:
#1. “Immigration is Great/Terrible for the Economy”
If you listen to Vote Leave, EU immigration is harmful to society, leading to lower wages, pressure on social services and housing, and the impending intrusion of the Ottomans into all of Christendom. The Remain campaign states that EU immigrants contribute more than they take out. Both of these are true, to an extent.
University College London found that people from the EU had made a positive net contribution of £20 billion over 10 years. A paper from the Bank of England found that immigration did have an effect on employment and wages for low-skilled workers, but nowhere near as earth-shattering as the Leave side has made it sound – a 1.88% reduction for every 10% rise.
All this misses the point though. When you find yourself out of a job and facing more competition than you would have before, are you really going to give a damn about the economy?
Macroeconomics doesn’t strike a chord with the 1.7 million unemployed, or the 800,000 scraping by on zero-hours contracts, but this is as much the fault of employers trying to save money every way they can (welcome to capitalism guys) as it is border controls – immigrants wouldn’t come if there wasn’t a market for their labour.
Vote Leave proponents are pushing an Australian style points system, but regardless of whether you want that or not this is false advertising. The referendum is just on staying in or leaving the EU, and all legislation is sold separately. Parliament would have to agree on this first, so don’t just vote because of something you may not actually get depending on who’s in power.