While America may be dealing with a few hot debates such as gun control, Trump vs. Hillary, and transgender bathroom selection, over in Britain the big issue is whether the country should REMAIN or LEAVE the European Union. Today is election day. By this time tomorrow a resolve will be reached based on the voters of this country.
Since my stay in England began a week and a half ago not a day has gone by when the topic hasn’t been brought up. Signs are all over the villages. Taxi drivers have polled us on our opinions. Civilians feel the need to post or share their opinions openly. So although I am not claiming to know much about the referendum I will share with you some of the common reasons I’ve heard for both sides of the argument.
European Union (EU)
The European Union – often known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. It began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other. (BBC) Since its beginning the EU has fostered trade amongst its members and has allowed for people to move about freely between the belonging nations as well. There are many reasons why people choose sides in this debate, however, I am going to focus on the two biggest issues I’ve been informed about: business and immigration.
Those in favor of remaining in the EU believe that the benefits reaped from the membership boosts the British economy. They see the trade relationships as essential and the immigration as providing workers for jobs that many within Britain would likely not fill. To those who favor remaining in the EU immigration isn’t seen as a stigma because the people who are flooding into the nation are not taking the jobs that many of the citizens are going for. Rather they are willing to work more manual labor jobs at lower wages. (As an American citizen this scenario reflects the Mexican immigration issue.)
Overall those in favor of leaving the EU feel that their membership in the union is causing England’s business and economy to be held back by certain EU rules and regulations. Mostly, those sympathizing with this viewpoint are those who are involved in big business. Another reason that I’ve heard often enough during my stay is that Britain needs to secure its borders against immigration and being a member of the EU has made that impossible. This argument only makes sense if the immigration that one finds troubling is the immigration of people from other EU nations. Many people have cited the immigration of Syrian refugees and even I understand that to be a completely separate issue from the referendum. The referendum would only protect the UK’s borders against European immigration by requiring passports for travel in and out of Britain as well as a trip through customs.
Tomorrow the results are believed to be tallied. I assume it will be close so it’s hard to predict an outcome. If I had to guess based on those I’ve been in contact with I would say that the vote will be to remain in the EU, but my experience is very limited and the people I’ve spoken to are all roughly from the same area in England.
Best wishes, Britain, as you make this important choice!
The Ameri Brit Mom