No Miss Dunn, we are not stronger in Europe

An article was written by our very own president of the NUS Megan Dunn, declaring that “Britain’s students are stronger in Europe” as she announced that she was standing alongside the likes of Lord Rose, Danny Alexander & Caroline Lucas as a member on the board of the In Campaign. 

Now I don’t want to argue how I think it’s slightly immoral to use her position of influence to push forward her own political agenda, I’ve done this before talking about the NUS and politics (see ‘Is the NUS doing too much talking on our behalf?’). No I’d rather take on the issues that she referred to about Europe. 

Firstly was the issue freedom of movement, and how not being in the EU would mean that we would have to immediately deport all students who have come from inside. Ok I may have been slightly exaggerating what she argued but her point was that it would somehow make it more difficult for European students to study in Britain and vice versa. This is a sheer fantasy, there are plenty of nations that are in Europe but not in the EU that are still covered by the free movement of people’s such as Norway and Iceland, this could easily be the case to for an independent United Kingdom. Now there may not be a lot of popular support in the UK for freedom of movement, but even if it was replaced with a visa points style system, it would allow for a greater deal of fairness in that we wouldn’t discriminate from say a student from India or New Zealand in favour of one from say France or Germany simply because we are obliged to, it would be a much more meritocratic and fairer system. 

She sites how the EU funds various educational institutions across Britain. An interesting trend begins to emerge in that the only people arguing for ‘In’ are those that benefit directly from European money. But here’s the thing, as the late great Lady Thatcher put it ‘there’s no such thing as European money.’ Give me £20, I’ll give you £10 back, and you brag about how rich you are. The idea that we benefit as a whole from Europe is laughable when you measure what we get back compared to what we put in. Also, there is this scaremongering idea that if we were to leave Europe, our education system would no longer receive funding from anybody. Well here’s a thought, with the money we would save on membership fees, how about some of that could go back into our universities?

“We fear isolationism, not internationalism.” Me too Megan, which is why I’m in favour of leaving. Here’s a scary statistic, when we joined EEC in 1973, Europe’s share of world GDP was 36%, today it is 17% and falling. It makes absolutely no sense that we should confine ourselves in a cramped and diminishing customs union, with no say on whom we may or may not trade to, because of course we gave up that power the day we joined in 1973. 

“Leaving would mean voluntarily isolating ourselves from our largest trading partner” Here lies the greatest fabrication of the pro-EU argument. No one is seriously suggesting that if we remove ourselves from the POLITICAL institutions of Europe that we would be denied access to the Single European market, well maybe some on the protectionist far left and right. This idea that our trade with Europe would collapse if we left the political institutions is sheer nonsense and here’s why: Europe sells us more than we sell them. We are the Eurozone’s biggest market, do you seriously believe that Mercedes and Volkswagen are no longer going to sell to the UK just because we’re no longer represented in the European Parliament?

I call on all people, students and non-students a like to vote to leave when the time of the referendum is asked. We are the world’s fourth military power, one of only five nations capable of deploying force globally. We are one of seven nuclear states, with renowned special forces and a global intelligence-gathering capacity which we share with the United states, the Commonwealth. We are a leading member of the G20 and the G8, of Nato and the Commonwealth, and one of five permanent seat-holders on the UN Security Council. How much bigger do we have to be, for Heaven’s sake, before we’re capable of governing ourselves?

By: Ross Bryant, History Student and libertarian
No Miss Dunn, we are not stronger in Europe No Miss Dunn, we are not stronger in Europe Reviewed by Admin on 16:08 Rating: 5


  1. I agree with your point that we are dominated in Brussels and the idea that voting out would isolate us economically- that's a poor argument, agreed. However, the people pushing the Out campaign are doing it for a neoliberal, fat cat, corporation-supporting agenda. They want to see the "free market" dictate the world's relations and for MNCs and the establishment to retain power.
    The EU may be a quasi (even) social democracy, but the political union and protections achieved at least give workers SOMETHING rather than trade deals like TPP and TTIP which the corporates and political establishment refuse to even release the details on.

    1. Thanks for the read! I'm sorry but no one protects the corporates more than the EU. Corporates only obtain their dominance through big government. Who is it currently supporting the 'In' campaign? Big bankers, heads of mega-charities and NGOs, cartel politicians, civil servants, spokesmen for trade and professional associations, lobbyists, directors of multi-national corporations, in other words; people who benefit from membership.
      I'm not going to speak for all "Outer's", but I would love to see a genuine free market. That is a market that is free from government intervention, in other words Corporates can't lobby for legislation to be passed that drives their smaller competitors out of business, as has been done on countless occasions, both at EU and National level.
      And you mentioned worker's rights, if you want those rights argue for them, let people vote & decide democratically, why do we have to contract it out to those in Brussels who are invulnerable to public opinion?

    2. The Unions argue for workers' rights fairly and transparently every day of every week and what happens: The Trade Union Bill is proposed, taking away almost all effective forms of protests, limiting freedom of speech and freedom of assembly! 24% of people voted for the Conservatives. That should not give them the right to tear down the rights and social values we'd secured since WW2

      Under our present government and the influence of the people who support UKIP, we would see "trade deals" done completely in the dark (look at the TTIP and TPP deals, of which the public are given such limited information prior to their signings). There are problems with the EU and leaving is the worst way of solving them, especially with the neoliberal, market-force-loving position of our current government.

    3. This is where I truly don't understand the position the democratic left. They oppose TTIP but not the EU? TTIP is by no means a free trade deal, it is rank with cronyism and corporatism. It will force governments to contract out public services. It will elevate multi-national corporations over elected parliaments. It will create an international lobbyfest, letting vested interests conspire against the public weal. That much we can agree on.

      But how can the democratic left be on the same side as the racket that is trying to push this through?

  2. With the issue of Freedom of Movement, student from within the EU can only apply for tuition fees after having lived in the UK for 3 years; however, students from outside the EU have to pay £11,000 each year. So, if we leave the EU, how would it made more meritocratic? Option 1: Charge everyone £11,000 without taking a loan! Option 2: Anyone who wants to apply for a loan must have lived here for 3 years. Which one? People generate brilliant ideas but never think about the details.

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