Leave or Remain?

The issue above, of course, refers to the British referendum on the 23rd of June which poses the question, should Britain leave or remain in the European Union? With less than a month to go, what have politicians around Britain been saying concerning either sides of the debate? Well firstly, I believe communication as a whole is a huge issue for British politicians. Communicating with the public and especially with the youth is becoming an increasing concern. The stereotypical behaviours of a politician i.e. dodging questions, spouting rough (normally inaccurate) figures, refusing to admit that there are advantages and disadvantages on either side of a debate are becoming highly unappealing to large segments of the electorate. All of these characteristics are present in both the leave and the remain campaigns. As pointed out on the BBC ‘EU debate- How should I vote?’ politicians are failing to perform their primary function, this being to accurately inform the public on the consequences of certain issues, and how such issues will effect them as individual members of their constituencies.

Concerning arguments on either side of the debate, it is important to note that most of the arguments are speculation. What will happen when we leave the EU is uncertain, as David Cameron has already pointed out. The arguments in favour of leaving the EU are not guaranteed to materialise. However, despite saying this, I believe the EU referendum debate can be split into three segments (similar to another BBC debate cornering the same issue hosted by BBC’s Political Editor-Nick Robinson). These segments consist of immigration, trade and sovereignty.  Throughout this piece I aim to keep the figures to a minimum. This is because, as we have seen recently in the News, a lot of figures used by either side of the debate are exaggerated or simply inaccurate. Therefore, instead, I aim to provide points and arguments which are easy to understand and are perhaps more appealing, when compared to simply stating numerous figures which may be an exaggeration on the term ‘estimates’. Furthermore, not all of the arguments for and against will be covered in this piece; therefore, I urge you to state those arguments which are not mentioned in the comments below.

Firstly, concerning immigration, as Nigel Farage (the current leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party) tiresomely stressed, staying in the EU means Britain is subject to large numbers of immigration from numerous EU states. The exact figure is roughly around 330,000 a year according to ‘Migration Watch’. Not all of these migrants are, of course, from the EU; however, around half are presumed to be. If migration to such a large extent continues within this country our public services and hence the British people’s general quality of life will suffer as a consequence. Such large numbers are simply unsustainable. Public services such as the National Health Service, housing, schooling and many others will become over demanded, causing longer waiting hours in A & E and overcrowding in hospitals as a whole. Furthermore, the demand for council housing will of course rise, many of the current UK born citizens are still waiting for more convenient housing. This is due to the existence of family members who may have disabilities and hence need specific council houses which simply cannot be provided with current demand, which is, of course, increasing. Lastly, concerning schooling, many families who come to the UK do not speak English. This is not an issue unless such families bring small children who also do not speak English. This creates a problem for schools, or more specifically teachers who will inevitably find it extremely difficult to give such children a decent education. The number of schools in relation to the number of children living in the UK is also becoming an increasingly pressing issue. Therefore, if we were to leave the European Union it is argued that as a result we would have more control over our borders. i.e. we would not be subject to letting everyone from the EU who wishes to come to the UK and live do so. Instead, again, it is presumed, that the numbers of migrants coming to this country will decrease if we were to leave the EU. Hence, causing less demand for our public services and resources, which are, of course, limited. This is the most basic law of Economics. There are a scarce amount of resources, therefore we as a nation must allocate them in the most effective way, in this case, prioritising those whom are labelled as British citizens. I do believe something needs to be done concerning immigration in this country and perhaps leaving the EU is the best action towards solving such an issue.

Immigration is clearly an important problem for the British public. This was shown by the numerous polls taken throughout the general election last May and, of course, by the success (in regards to the number of votes) for UKIP. The main identity of such a party was to leave the EU and hence allow Britain to ‘take control of its boarders’. And with this message UKIP managed to gather a respectable 4 million votes, coming second in 150 constituencies (however, only winning one). However, this increasing support for nationalism and the continuing use of ‘scarce tactics’ used by the leave campaign stating the negatives of immigrations and quite frankly immigrates as whole is creating a divide within the nation. Not so much with the youth; however, will other age groups, such negative campaigning is leading to hatred for all forms of immigrates which is not at all beneficial not this country. If Britain was to stay in the EU, I believe the support for UKIP and other nationalist partys’ will increase. Britain will not be able to control it’s boarders, more EU immigrates will settle, the issues which made UKIP so popular will become increasing problematic and as a result hatred towards migrants will form. The ‘they take our jobs’ attitude will inevitably spread throughout the nation. This not good for the general culture of the country, and from an economic perspective will decrease tourism, making Britain a less appealing place as a whole.

In regards to the other side of the debate, immigration is beneficial in a number of ways. Firstly, it can be argued that the NHS would not be able function without EU migrants and the roles in which they play in such a service, may this be as doctors or nurses. If your son frequently has to go to A & E the truth is he will often be treated by foreign doctors. Though the waiting times may be increased due to the presence of more immigrants seeking health care, without such doctors no care could be provided at all. Migrants are a large part of the reason why we all, including British citizens, receive healthcare. Furthermore, in terms of other industries, such as within the hospitality industry, or more specifically within hotels, most of the workers are again EU migrants. Many argue, without migrants Britain simply wouldn’t be able to function. So, why do we state that migrants coming to this country is always a bad a thing? Of course it is not always a bad thing; however as noted above, one is able to reply by stating the extent and sheer numbers in which they are coming to our country needs to be controlled. Furthermore, one is able to argue that the doctors and other such workers which effectively run of NHS can be recruited from other countries outside the EU. Therefore, controlling EU immigrants may not effect the NHS quite as much as one would expect, if doctors are brought in from say India, China or the US.

Secondly, concerning the economy or more specifically trade with numerous countries, overall, perhaps it is more beneficial if we stay in the EU. This is due to the free trade agreement which exists throughout all EU states, as well as our trade position with America. Barack Obama stated, late last month, that Britain would be at the back of a long line of countries looking to make trade agreements with the United States. Therefore, implying a trade agreement would take a long time to materialise and hence work as a huge negative if we were to leave the EU. Hilary Clinton, the current favourite to become the next President of the United States, was in agreement with Mr Obama’s comments. Donald Trump, on the other hand, the Republican nominee, whom many argue has just as much chance of securing the Oval office as his rival, Hilary Clinton, claims that Britain and the US will not lose this ‘special relationship’ if it was to leave the EU. He, in fact, claimed that Britain and the United States would have a better relationship than ever. Furthermore, if Britain was to leave the EU, it would of course have two years to construct and implement trade agreements with other countries before its current free trade agreement can be denounced and discarded, this being a huge argument in favour of leaving the EU.

Concerning the economy and the economic relationship between Britain leaving the EU and staying in the EU, the NHS is ‘free at the point of use’; however, in effect it is funded through taxation, both from indirect taxation (taxes levied on goods and services) and direct taxation (taxes on the income of people and providers). As George Osborne stated in his economic forecast if Britain was to leave the EU, such an exit ‘will cause a year-long recession’, with increased interest rates, rises in inflation and unemployment, which will indirectly negatively effect the NHS and other public services. This is due to the lack of economic activity and hence less taxes being received. As a result of rising unemployment (hence less revenue from income tax), and less demand for goods due to the rise in inflation (hence less revenue from taxes levied on goods and services) government revenue will decrease, and with it government spending. Therefore, judging by the forecasts presented by the Chancellor, all public services as well as the NHS will struggle if Britain was to leave the EU, as opposed to the arguments presented by the leave campaign stating that the NHS would be able to grow. The justification the leave campaign presents for such a statement is regards to the amount of money Britain would save by leaving the EU and hence not pay the EU ‘350 million a week’ (an inaccurate figure) demanded from Britain. A more accurate figure is 8.5 billion a year, which could, in effect, be spent on the NHS and other public services.

I will only briefly mention the issue of sovereignty, for it does not seem to be a hugely important problem for British voters. Most of our laws are made in Brussels, we as a nation are subject to following the ECHR (European Convention of Human Rights). However, if Britain was to leave the EU we could, in effect, create laws which are more personal and moulded to the British culture. This is, however, a very complicated and time consuming process; therefore, perhaps more immediate and pressing issues should be prioritised.

On a completely separate note relevant to my Scottish readers, if Britain was to leave the EU another referendum concerning Scottish independence could be on the table. When Scotland voted to stay in the UK it also voted to stay in the EU, and if the majority of Scottish people wish to stay in the EU Nicola Sturgeon (the current First Minister for Scotland) may well call for another referendum. If this is the case, I believe, under these knew circumstances that Scotland will leave the EU. This is because a large majority of Scottish voters who voted to stay in the UK did so due to UK’s influence in the EU; however, this influence may soon be non-existent.

I agree, to some extent, that the European Union is used as a scapegoat for many issues which could simply be the fault of our current government. Perhaps there is a lack of housing simply because the government isn’t building enough houses to match the demand and is unaware of such a problem, rather than it being the fault of increased immigration; however this is again speculation.  I believe those who are still undecided concerning whether to remain or leave in the EU are waiting for one ‘mouth watering’ argument to sway them either way; however, the truth is no one argument can provide this role. This question is more complicated than just the effects of uncontrolled immigration, or free trade or perhaps even the ability to make our own laws. I believe such a question should not be poses to the British people and hence should not be a referendum for most of the British people are not economic forecasters. They are not able to effectively predict what will happen either way. I believe such a complicated issue should be left to the experts and the economists, those who have access to in-depth analyse, rather those who have read an article in the Finance Times and now think they can be the next Chancellor of the Exchequer. However, we are where we are, and hence I believe individual members of the public shouldn’t come about this debate by trying to predict future economic growth, for this is simply impossible without accurate figures and access to in-depth information, both of which politicians have failed to provide the public with. Therefore, one should look at how these issues immediately effect YOU, the constituent, the member of public. I urge you to engage with your local MP and understand the effects of such issues on yourself as an individual constituent.

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‘Agent of Change or The Status Quo?’

The riots today in San Diego are not the first and will certainty not be the last violent protests against Trump. If such riots are only due to the words and policies he has promised, imagine the violence which will almost certainty occur if Trump becomes the President of the United States and hence has the ability to enforce such radical policies. How can a man hated by so many people become President of the United States of America? Trump is the DEFINITION of the cliche associated with marmite, ‘you either love him or hate him’. The rudeness, the offensive language, the ‘saying it as it is’ attitude has bought Trump the Republican nomination; however, I do not believe it will be enough to bring him the White House. He lacks diplomacy and the simple fact is, as a poll on Bloomberg Politics suggests, only a small minority of people would wish for Trump to visit their home. He is arrogant, self-centred and rude, all negative qualities which should not be associated with a future President. He is not a role model.

However, neither is Hilary Clinton. Although, Clinton is the lesser of two evils, this much is clear. I believe for Clinton to gather enough votes to secure her place in the White House she needs to win the Democratic nomination as soon as possible and begin party unification. The Democrat party is known for having the support of young voters; however, Hilary simply isn’t. Her counterpart, Bernie Saunders, on the other hand, is. Therefore, Clinton must appeal to his following as well as her own. This can be accomplished by welcoming some of Saunders ideologies and ideas into the future of American politics. Furthermore, currently, unlike Trump and Saunders, who repeated claim they are leading ‘movements’ against the status quo, Clinton lacks identity. Apart from being the first potential female President of the United States (which is, nonetheless, giving her nowhere near the amount of support from women as she should have) she lacks a brand, a unique selling point. Her policy proposals are bland, uninventive and the same old news for American voters. Trump has already proven that American voters prefer a different (though it may seem a little offensive and rude) approach to the election campaign, than the same political correctness which is present in most, if not all politicians. Trump has done excellently in terms of distancing himself from the typical White House politician. This was seen perviously in the week when he picked a fight with Susana Martinez (the current Governor of New Mexico) purely because she was uncertain on her standpoint concerning her parties Presidential nominee. However, arguing with typical White House politicians is a part of Trump’s Brand, it is a part of Trump being Trump. What makes Clinton different from all other politicians? What makes Hilary Clinton… Hilary Clinton?

Hope for Saunders.

The possibility of a Bernie Saunders and Donald Trump debate could be enough to convince the superdelegates in the Democratic nomination process to side with him rather than their current choice, Hilary Clinton. Currently, the polls do suggest that Saunders is more equipped to face Trump in terms of public support, than his Democratic counterpart Hilary Clinton. As he stated last night on the Jimmy Kimmel show, if superdelegates are looking for the best candidate inline to fight against Trump, all recent analysis points to him. If he is able to effectively ‘win’ the debate and pin Trump as the ‘fraud’ many people believe he is, perhaps this may ignite a spark which has the potential to light into a flame. One thing is for certain, however, as pointed out by Donald Trump on the same show a day before, the Democratic nomination process is rigged. Some superdelegates pledged to Clinton before any other nominees were announced. Is this democracy? Who controls such superdelegates? The elite? Pledge-delegates are the real deal, the people’s vote, and concerning pledge-delegates Saunders isn’t too far behind, winning 46%. Therefore, I believe the race isn’t over for Saunders yet, contrary to what Clinton may believe. After all, if Clinton had honoured her agreement to debate Saunders in California there would not even be the mere suggest of a possible debate with Trump.

However, if such a debate does materialise the outcome can only be bad for Clinton. Whoever effectively ‘wins’, after the debate Hilary will be out of the headlines for days, perhaps even weeks (ignoring the occasional e-mail scandal up-date which may be another way Bernie may secure the Demcratic nomination). However, Saunders must be applauded for his decision not to address and use such ammo against Clinton in this nomination fight. Unlike Trump, Saunders has not attempted to attack Hilary on her personal life including the multiple accusations of sexual harassment obtained by her husband, Bill Clinton. Instead, from the start of the race Bernie has always insisted this general election should be fought on policies and substance rather than personalities.

Although, this may work to Trump’s favour. Most of the negatives concerning Trump’s businesses, his private life and his lack of political awareness have all been highlighted by the many Republican nomination contenders; therefore, such faults are effectively odd news. And despite such faults the support for Trump is stronger than ever. However, all these personal attacks on Clinton are fresh in the election process. Trump has knew ammo against Clinton, whereas Clinton is only able to repeat previous highlights from the numerous negative adds Jeb Bush and other Republican nominee hopefuls have used in the past. The extent to which this will effect the outcome of the election is hard to tell; however, I believe overall Trump has the upper hand.

A Cry for Change.

After months of speculation and uncertainty, a source has recently informed me that ‘the Donald’ now has enough delegates to his name in order to officially be crowned the Republican nominee, rather than the ‘presumptive’ nominee. What does this mean? My initial thoughts on Trump, mainly due to the rather bias and negative media coverage he receives in Britian, was that such a man should never be allowed to become President of the United States of America. However, as the nomination process unfolded I began to analyse and perceive qualities in ‘the Donald’ which could prove to be useful for a future American President (this is not saying I agree he should be). In my opinion, after watching numerous rallies of his and especially after his success in securing his parties nomination, I believe whatever the outcome of the 2016 American general election Donald Trump has cemented his name in history for becoming the greatest saleman of all time. Throughout his life, Donald has had the goal of making the ‘Trump’ name mirror success. He is a branding King and has proven this by making his name known amongst most American people to literally mean ‘being rich’. Even his business failures, such as the failed casinos or the American football team or perhaps even the Plaza hotel have all had a limited negative impact on the perception of the ‘Trump’ brand. ‘Trump’ is the equivalent, to many American people, as someone who has all materialist wants. This is also due to the helicopters and other flashy toys he enjoys to flaunt, and of course his involvement in the Celebrity Apprentice. The manner in which he was able to bounce back from such failures is also a quality which is rather admirable. There may be many pieces of legislation a President proposes to Congress which they choose not to implement; however, this cannot be taken as a complete failure but as a lesson. Furthermore, his ability to rally up his troops and public support at his speeches is quite impressive as well as his endless self promotion and the ability to make anything he says sound like a good idea. However, all this said, the way in which Donald Trump has gained so much support with his speeches having so little substance, and the rare substance they do have is often extremely offensive, is extraordinary. He is a master salesman, or perhaps more accurately, a master manipulator. Although these extreme policies are only words now, if put in place they are potentially dangerous to the American people as well as to the world as a whole. He has proven that he is unpredictable. His spats with Ted Cruz proved that he simply doesn’t have the correct temperament to become President. The attacks to Ted Cruz’s wife and now Bill Clinton proved that he has no boundaries, no class, and no manners. The instance in which he stated that he received an invitation to 10 Downing Street when he simply didn’t proved that he is a liar. His policies are too radical, not thought through, unclear and simply dangerous. He could wake up one morning and start a world war. Although this may seem extreme it is a possibility with Trump, anything is a possibility with Trump. People may love Trump because he says things how they are and because he is so politically incorrect; however, these qualities also make him a threat, both to America and to the world. Although I began this piece stating that Trump has some admirable qualities, the majority of his character simply isn’t Presidential material, and he cannot be trusted to lead the American people.

At the end of day his success is the result of people wanting change. This can be seen in both the United States nomination process and the overwhelming support received for the Brexit campaign. The Establishment is failing, failing to make people’s lives better, failing to make an impact on people’s lives at all. Is Trump the change America needs? I would have to disagree. Although people wish they were better off, the most important issue which people care about is their safety. I do not believe Donald Trump is safe. Perhaps this danger attracts many voters; however, I believe the majority of voters will soon realise that the most important thing is the safety of their families. Donald Trump’s policies, such as ‘temporarily banning all Muslims’ may ignite a war with Isis. Again, perhaps this may be the outcome some people want; however, if history has taught us anything it is that war should be avoided at all costs. Concerning Isis, I believe the west should have never got involved in the Middle East, especially not trying to re-shape their whole political system. The Middle East simply have a different culture, one which the west should not attempt to change. Furthermore, as seen in New Mexico over the past couple of days, with Trump as President, riots are almost inevitable. If Trump has proven anything in this process it is that he has no boundaries and will not back down no matter how many people tell him his policies are too extreme, or how much trouble and harm they may cause. If he believes such ideas to be correct, he certainly possesses the ignorance and naivety to ignore the warnings from numerous advisors and follow through on certain issues regardless of their potentially dangerous outcomes. Perhaps the speed in which Trump has unified the Republican Party proves that he can be an establishment politician as well being ‘normal Trump’; however, the chance of the classic, irrational, unpredictable and quite frankly dangerous Trump coming into office is too much of a risk.

In terms of the Democratic nomination fight, I believe Bernie Saunders is simply staying in the race in the hope that Clinton will be forced to step down due to this ongoing e-mail scandal, which after the recent report is becoming a big problem for the Clinton campaign. She is already perceived by many people to be dishonest and corrupt, these opinions being held especially strongly by younger voters. However, she is the only establishment politician in the race, and with Hilary as President the same dangers as Trump are not to be expected if he was to become President; however, this may mean four more years of the same dissatisfaction American people have been feeling under President Obamas two terms in office.

In regards to recent statistics, the American people whom are saying they will vote for Hilary are only voting for her because they do not wish Trump to become President. And the majority of people who are saying they will vote for Trump are only voting for him because they don’t want to see Hilary become President. This is not how democracy is meant to work. As Bernie Saunder stated, the American people are being forced to vote for the lesser of two evils, which is another reason he is staying in a nomination battle which, excluding a mathematical freak or the e-mail scandal causing Hilary to step down, he is unable to win. However, I believe if Hilary manages to shake off this heat from the e-mail scandal and the general election is between herself and Donald Trump, this is proof that the American political system itself needs change, as well as the nature of its politicians. A failed democracy is not democracy at all. Whatever the outcome one thing is clear… change is needed.