Last Sunday, Cabinet Minister Iain Duncan Smith appeared on the BBC’s ‘Andrew Marr Show’, and presented the case for Britain to leave the European Union. He described it as an opportunity for Britons to be hopeful about our future.
Don’t be fooled. My view is that despite the claims of how this will benefit the UK, leaving the EU will only isolate us from our neighbours for little in return.
From what we have heard from the Brexit campaign, the main benefit to our country is supposedly the fact that Britain will be better able to control our borders. This is clearly a response to the present refugee crisis, an event within and beyond the reach of the EU members’ borders.
On the subject of the Anglo-French agreement on the movement of refugees, Mr Duncan-Smith claimed that France actually ‘benefits’ from the current arrangement – a view that anyone either living within the ‘Jungle’ in Calais or its surrounding area would be quick to deny.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle the Brexit campaign has yet to overcome is actually convincing anyone that leaving the EU will solve the refugee crises. That is, if it’s actually solvable at all.
Let’s imagine that our nation does the unthinkable and leaves the EU. What happens next?
It’s not unreasonable to think Britain may follow the lead of financially sound Norway, and attempt to stay within the European Economic Area (EEA), independent of the EU. But in fact, to be part of this, Britain would still have to be subject to most EU legislation, including those irksome immigration laws. So the idea that we can be outside the club whilst still enjoying the perks seems unlikely.
Of course, there will be those who would now go on to point how Switzerland is part of neither the EU nor the EEA, yet is economically sound. Surely they must be free of the EU’s legislative tyranny? If it’s good enough for the Swiss, why can’t we follow suit?
Well, Switzerland is under no legal obligation to abide by the EU legislation on immigration. However, if Switzerland were to decide not to agree to this legislation, their EU neighbours would quite literally tear up their trade deals. And in any case we aren’t Switzerland. Just as we don’t have their Alps, we don’t have their mountains of money.
Once again, it’s clear to see that leaving the EU does not solve the Brexit campaign’s main issue so far – the idea that we can control our borders whilst retaining our trade deals.
While the ‘out’ campaign can identify issues, they have not yet shown the means of being able to solve them. With this, they can only isolate Britain from our neighbours, and threaten our economy and sovereignty. When this is compared with the benefits that EU membership brings, such as trade deals and workers’ rights, I believe we really are better together. Whilst it may represent patriotism, leaving the EU just isn’t practical.
-- Levi Reilly is a student at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds