So, you might not have noticed there’s this whole EU Referendum thing going on!
Yeah, I know. There’s been nothing in the newspapers about it. Or in the News bulletins; like every bulletin, on every channel, every half hour…..
Just when you thought World Politics was all about Syria and the American Presidential race, somebody puts a coin in the Referendum machine and presses the big Media Frenzy button. Suddenly every Politician feels compelled to push himself forward for interview. And every bastion of our twenty-first century life, from Facebook to a quiet lunch-hour at the pub, is subject to strongly held (though usually ill-informed) opinions.
In contrast to this, it is the responsibility of every Third Millennium Man to keep himself well-informed when it comes to matters of this nature. This is not like the British General Election – you know the deal, where the population think they are voting for a Prime Minister when they’re voting for a local MP, and it doesn’t matter in the slightest who is in charge as unelected bureaucrats decide everything anyway. This Referendum is a big deal and will affect generations to come. We the British public have got just one chance at this, so we’d better get it right.
So face front and pay attention. We are going to filter out as much of the noise as we can, just for you, so you the Third Millennium Man can consciously make an informed choice.
The lies – and the truth – about the EU Referendum.
Let’s look at some of the – ahem – facts and see if there’s any sense behind them at all.
We rely on Europe as our biggest trading partner.
There is a degree of truth to this. First of all, Europe is BIG. Europe is many countries, and we are one. So it isn’t much of a stretch to suppose that the European market and European commerce is pretty important to us. That Italian wine and Greek olives you enjoy, the German car you drive, and the French-owned electricity you’re burning while reading this, are evidence of the trade we have with Europe. However, we buy a lot more from Europe than we sell. And the European producers of goods which we can’t get enough of are still going to be pushing for trade deals, just like our Politicians and business leaders ought to be. That new motor you promised yourself will still be available, and the cheese selection at the Deli Counter will be just the same after the Referendum. Market forces, not policies, will be provide the way forward.
It should also be pointed out that the UK leads the way in specialisms such as Technology and Financial Services. And other countries will continue to acquire these from the UK, simply because they aren’t available anywhere else, or are nowhere near as good.
We rely on solidarity with Europe for our defence.
Actually, our defence abilities are more to do with NATO, the United Nations and working with the United States than with Europe. Although the European Union has its roots in what you could loosely term ‘defence’ after World War II ended (the original brief was to prevent another war in Europe, following 1914-1918 and 1939-1945), it is more to do with laws, economics and centralisation than defence.
There was a time when it was suggested that the United Kingdom surrenders its seat at NATO in favour of Europe whenever it has a view to share. We have been unable to ascertain if this is no longer the case, or if it’s just being kept quiet until after the Referendum. There seems to be no convincing proof either way.
What we ought to be concerned with is the European Defence Agency. Although it’s been running since 2004, the small print of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty suggests that the UK’s armed forces will come under European control in the near future. Maybe that’s what the Better In campaign are inferring when they refer to better ‘defence solidarity’ in the future.
Europe is united in its ambitions; the UK will miss out if we leave.
Actually, Europe is split in several ways.
First, there is a North / South divide, where the Northern countries remain far more affluent than the South. Think back over the last few years; much of the Mediterranean countries have required bailouts or have come close to that position. Greece is of course the one we all think of, but Italy, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal and Spain have all had their share of similar headlines. Indeed, Cyprus imposed capital controls (citizens were restricted to withdrawing a maximum of €100 per day of their own money from their bank accounts) and Spain and Italy have not done too well either. Compare that to northern countries such as Germany, Sweden and Denmark which are affluent enough to attract vast hordes of freeloaders from beyond Europe, who weren’t interested in staying in the southern countries they passed through on their journey.
The international resentment between European nations that has existed for centuries is still prevalent. World War II is still a living memory for some, the Basque and Catalan regions in Spain continue their struggles and the Balkans conflict in the former Yugoslavia remains an open wound for millions of people.
Secondly, there are four European countries who have announced plans for their own Exit Referendums, with whispers of more to come (sadly due to a UK press blackout we cannot tell you who they are. The powers-that-be don’t want this kind of info becoming common knowledge).
Thirdly, there is a lot of inter-EU resentment between neighbouring countries over the Migrant Crisis. Some countries feel that others are being less than helpful, and the burden ought to be distributed more fairly. Some countries (the ones without excessive migrants, funnily enough) argue that the problem is a national one that need not concern the whole EU. Some countries are witnessing an exponential rise in racism, sexually-motivated crimes, demonstrations, protests and riots. Not exactly a unity of ambition.
Add all three together, and you’re left with a rising sense of Nationalism and a political move to the right, all across Europe. And long term, we at Third Millennium Man think that European nations aren’t done with waging war on one another just yet…..
Europe is prosperous. The UK needs to be a part of that prosperity.
Europe is expensive club to be in. The UK is the third biggest donor to the EU, behind Germany and slightly less than France. Those three contributions make up around 90% of the EU’s budget, so if the EU really is prosperous, it’s being prosperous with our money.
Yes the UK gets some of that money back in rebates. The EU decides where the money goes though – the UK Government doesn’t get that much of a say, though it’s welcome to lobby the EU Parliament like any other organisation.
Away from the EU; is Europe ‘prosperous’? Not really – perhaps ‘teetering on the brink of bankruptcy’ might be a more fitting description. Many European Governments are crippled with rising debts (hence their reluctance to see the UK leave the EU), and the European Central Bank which bails them out is practically insolvent. To this end, money deposited in the ECB currently attracts MINUS levels of interest. For every €10,000 you have in that bank, YOU PAY THEM €40 just to have it there.
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking – Europeans would be better off withdrawing all their money and stuffing the whole lot under their mattresses! Well, the European Authorities are already one step ahead on that one, and are taking measures to prevent such a run on the banks from happening. If everyone was to withdraw all their money from their bank, the banks would collapse – they just don’t have the cash available. It’s all been loaned out to other banks and insolvent governments.
(If you’re interested, here’s a Wikipedia article concerning the European debt crisis, including a list of countries which have received bailouts.)
Remember the financial crisis in Cyprus? Capital controls were introduced so nobody could withdraw more than €100 of their own money per day (including businesses). Meanwhile the €500 note is being withdrawn from circulation, which would make sleeping on your money-mattress a tad uncomfortable and the storage of cash inconvenient. And in France, it is illegal to conduct a cash transaction over €1000 (in Italy the bar has been set at €1000 for around five years; Spain has a limit of €2500). Remember that €1001 can be two notes and one coin. If you want to buy that antique you saw in Paris – or your mate’s second-hand 2CV and you give them over €1000 in cash, you’ll be breaking the law.
All this is being done under the auspices of ‘security’ because terrorists and master criminals always carry bank notes in SWAG bags, presumable while wearing stripy jumpers and masks (they don’t – they use devices such as Bitcoin, or commodities such as weapons or drugs).
You, our reader, are certainly smart enough to decide for yourself if you think the UK can gain from being involved in this. Or, if you think this is the kind of ‘prosperity’ we don’t need and we’d be far better off well away from it.
Leaving the EU will destroy the UK Economy for years, maybe even decades.
As an aside; when that is the headline, you just know that a Conservative Government is running both sides of the debate. To them, everything is all about money. But that’s a whole other topic.
The fact is, NOBODY can predict the future. They don’t really know exactly what is going to happen when the UK leaves the EU, because nobody’s ever left the EU before. All they have are estimates, guesses, wild guesses, and shot-in-the-dark headline-grabbers.
We at Third Millennium Man have an opinion on this matter. These stories, statements, and propaganda are being spread by Politicians. The same Politicians who will want us to re-elect them in 2020. In the same way that the promises made to the Scots following their Independence Referendum seemed to evaporate within days, we strongly suspect that the visceral threats of imminent national bankruptcy, isolation, World War Three, increased terrorist attacks and horrible weather (probably) made by both sides will also be forgotten about some time around the 24th of June 2016.
Without all the ‘scaremongering’ there would be no debate. Because nobody actually knows what’s going to happen, you have nothing to live up to if your side wins. And if you make a load of headline-grabbing noise about what will happen if people vote in the Referendum for the other guy, it saves the politicians the irksome bother of making any promises which they might be pressed to keep.
(By the way, we absolutely loathe that word. If we ever hear the word scaremongering again after the Referendum, it’ll be too soon.)
But what about the UK Economy? Is the threat to our national finances – and by extension, the NHS, our schools, and all the rest of the stuff we pay for – a tangible one?
We have our doubts. And as we said, nobody, not even the top analysts, know for certain. But the idea that European countries will no longer want to trade with us if we’re not part of the EU Club doesn’t cut any ice in the Third Millennium Man office. As we discussed earlier, Market forces will put paid to that myth; the Germans are still going to want to sell us cars, the Spanish will want to sell us perishable goods, the French will still own our electricity, and different parts of the whole continent will still welcome us for two smashing weeks in the month of August.
Are you IN? Or OUT?
This is where it gets interesting. To round off this piece, let’s look at the truth, and the perceived truth behind this powerful question. Think about this – everybody is arguing, stating an opinion, or utterly flummoxed over a question which hasn’t actually been asked yet!
Nobody has defined the terms of this Referendum. Just what exactly is IN? And what does OUT mean?
Does ‘IN’ mean that we’d be voting for things to remain exactly as they are? Or are we voting for a ‘closer integration’ (some might call it complete surrender) with Europe? To what degree does ‘OUT’ mean leaving the EU? Is it a process that will take weeks? Decades?
We don’t know. Third Millennium Man believes that we’re not going to be told. And certainly not until the last minute.
In the course of researching this article, Third Millennium Man asked a handful of British MPs to define terms.
We’re still waiting for our first response.
What AREN’T we being told?
- France, who will host the Euro 2016 Soccer Championships later this year, is currently facing its worst civil unrest since the Revolution.
- Germany has similar problems, with serious clashes between their rising number of Islamic Migrants and the far-right.
- Poland has anti-Government, pro-EU riots and anti-EU riots. That must be confusing.
- Sexual assaults are on the increase, throughout mainland Europe.
Of course there’s a lot more happening than this, right across Europe. It’s just disappointing that our national media is being manipulated in such a way that we don’t get to hear these things. Just in case it influences our decisions – at a time when many British people who don’t know which way to vote are crying out for facts.
Rather then make any attempt to persuade you to vote one way or the other, we at Third Millennium Man would just like to remind you how things are supposed to work.
The people get ready to elect a Government. We elect a local representative who we think is the right choice for us and the needs of our local area. This Public Servant, paid out of the public purse, is then supposed to act with the interests of the people, his constituents, at heart. If he (or she) is any good, we re-elect them to represent us again next time. If not, we elect somebody else. A fair summary?
It stands to reason then that the elected Government should listen to what the people are saying. If the people voting in the Referendum want to remain in Europe, then the Government have a responsibility to the people to do the very best that they can. If the people decide to leave Europe however, the Government’s job is to facilitate that. It is not the job of Government to tell the people what they want. People are not idiots, they can decide for themselves based on the facts. Therefore a Government that is selective with the facts, a Government who spends millions of pounds of Taxpayer money in an attempt to persuade by fair means and foul to comply, a Government whose priority is their own covert agenda which is at odds with the interests of the people, is skating on some pretty thin ice.
We have got ourselves into a situation where we complain about the things our Government makes us do (and the things which our Government will no longer allow us to do). It is the sincerest wish of all at Third Millennium Man that this Referendum ushers in a new era of personal power; where we the people decide what we want and our Government obeys. Once, the ‘Authorities’ were ‘Public Servants’; we hope this referendum reminds them of that.
We hope that this article has been informative and useful! If you’ve got anything to add, please feel free to use the Comments Box below. Spam messages will be deleted. And please play nicely with each other…