On 23rd June we will make possibly the most important decision about our future as a country for a long time. While many have made up their minds, there’s an enormous group of people who have no idea who to side with, or who to believe. These voters will have a profound effect on the referendum result, yet they admittedly know next to nothing about the EU, and I don’t blame them in the slightest.
There’s no doubt this will go down as one of the most tedious, poorly run debates in UK political history, with both sides having left the public utterly bewildered. If we leave there is a possibility of World War Three, and if we stay then we’ll be flooded with Turkish and Albanian gangsters.
In an attempt to distinguish fact from fiction, let’s venture through some of the most outrageous claims on both sides that have got people sizzling in frustration.
Britain sends £350m a week to the EU
Vote Leave battle bus (Credit: Reuters)
No we don’t. This figure is embarrassingly spread across the Vote Leave battle bus, despite being slapped down numerous times by statistics experts. We get a rebate from the EU, a discount if you like, which Brexiters mysteriously keep forgetting about. With this discount Britain sends around £120m a week to Brussels, however it fluctuates and is far easier to count on a yearly basis.
We will have a free trade agreement if we leave, minus EU rules
Wrong again. It’s not like there’s a contradictory argument, we just don’t know what will happen. Claiming that we will somehow get all the benefits of EU trade without adhering to some of their rules is misleading. If we are to go by other agreements with non-EU countries such as Norway, we should still expect to contribute to the EU budget, follow regulations and be lenient with our borders.
Proportionate to populations, Norway continues to welcome many more EU migrants than Britain does, so maybe it’s time the Leave camp stops holding them up as a glorious icon for ‘little England’.
Leaving the EU would send the Jungle refugee camp from Calais to Dover
Another ridiculous claim, this time from the Remain camp. Britain’s agreement with France which allows British passport checks and border patrols to be carried out at French ports have nothing to do with our membership of the EU. This is a wholly separate negotiation between two countries. A French minister did threaten to abandon the deal altogether if we voted to leave, but this has since been dismissed by other senior French officials.
Brexit will trigger a recession
I find this a particularly irresponsible claim by the Chancellor. Among the Treasury’s storm of terrifying reports, is one that claims Britain will fall into a “DIY recession”, whatever that means. The fact of the matter is that nobody knows what will happen, it’s all guesswork. Also, just take a look at George Osborne’s abysmal record of predictions; I wouldn’t be quaking in your boots just yet.
Brexiters will exclaim that foreigners shall be no more and our bananas shall be the bendiest, while the Remain side will profess that we have 2 years to live in destitution before obliteration by the inevitable nuclear holocaust.
Those are only some of the false arguments made. If you’re one of the undecided I’d recommend the BBC’s Reality Check to filter out the nonsense and help you towards a conclusion, it’s helped me out a lot!
Artist impression – Britain after Brexit (Credit: Daily Mail)