By: Toby Gould, Student Voices editor
Thousands upon thousands of people took to the streets in London last Saturday in opposition to the UK voting to leave the EU. While we can be upset, or even angry, that we’re heading for Brexit, this isn’t the right approach. If we campaign against a democratic decision made by the people of our country then all we’re doing is digging ourselves deeper into a divided society which will make the unity, which is so sorely needed now, much, much more difficult. Remain lost the referendum. Now, we need to take a positive approach to Brexit and make sure we get the best possible deal for Britain. If we let those on the Leave campaign take control of taking us out of the EU, then we’ll be left with regressive immigration policies and an inward-looking economic approach. The Remain side needs to pull together, accept Brexit and make sure the UK remains a tolerant, welcoming and open country accepting of globalisaiton.
Before we can start influencing how we will leave the EU, Remain needs to accept the result of the referendum. Yes, the result was very close. Yes, the campaign was full of misinformation and even lies. Yes, there are those who voted Leave who probably regret it now. However, another referendum, or even parliament blocking Brexit, is not an option. A majority voted to leave and we have to respect that. Those who want parliament to block the result, by holding a vote and voting Brexit down, suggest that as parliament is sovereign it is the MPs who should make this decision. While that argument has some validity, we live in a representative democracy. MPs aren’t there to control us, they are there to represent us. Thus they have to respect the democratic decision of the people. Just because we didn’t get our way doesn’t mean we have a right to overrule democracy.
So we can’t stop Brexit from happening. What we can do is campaign to make sure we get the best deal. I believe that this means the UK staying the EEA (European Economic Area; the single market) – which also means we have to allow free movement, as we do now. Instead of running away from this issue and pretending we’re going to reduce immigration despite being a part of the EEA, let’s make the positive case for free movement. Free movement within the EEA is positive for two reasons. Firstly, immigrants who settle and work in the UK contribute greatly to our economy. In fact, economic growth in the UK almost relies on an increase in population – which will only come about as a result of immigration. To those who say immigrants are ‘taking our jobs’, I point you towards unemployment figures which, at just 5% unemployment, are the lowest they have been in years (ONS). Where we do have an issue is with housing, school places and services such as the NHS. But don’t blame immigrants for this. Blame a lack of investment – which is nothing to do with us being in or out of the EU, or EEA. Let us take a positive approach to Brexit and campaign to remain part of the EEA and campaign to keep free movement. If Remain keeps trying to stop Brexit from happening, the Leave side will drag us out of the EEA, stop free movement and continue to divide us.
We also have to recognise that there are some positives to take away from Brexit. I don’t think many Remainers actually love the EU. It is a bureaucracy which does waste a lot of our money needlessly regulating things. The EU also favours big businesses; it politically legitimises corrupt capitalism. Both believers in free markets and socialist economics alike can oppose this element of the EU; which we no longer have to subscribe to. It is also true that the EU has limited the way we can trade with the rest of the world; again, something we will no longer be subjected to.
So instead of trying to stop Brexit from happening, let’s come together to make sure Leavers don’t make the situation even worse. If they have their way, Britain will become less tolerant, more inward looking and worse off. We need to ensure we remain in the single market, we need to make the positive case for free movement, but most of all we need to recognise that Brexit is really happening and make sure we come out of it stronger, better off and more united.
A positive approach to Brexit: Where Remain needs to go from here Reviewed by Student Voices on 23:41 Rating: