If you do nothing else please go and read Simon Sweeney’s letter linked below, I know that I am a bit ranty in this post and even a little hard to follow, but I get so annoyed by our media’s focuses when the subject of the EU comes up.
Simon Sweeney letter in the Guardian on the 11th January sums up what the EU has done for us quite well although I do feel we are still missing some key points about funding that no one seems to be talking about. I have been surprised by finding out that a group of farmers want us to leave the EU considering the amount of grant money they get from the EU, as far as I can tell there main grips are the amount of paperwork you have to do to get these grants and also having to put a sign up to say you have had funding, neither of these reasons feels good enough, to me.
I am worried that immigration issues are what the eurosceptics are focusing on and making issue of the contribution of £7bn that we contribute to the EU I don’t know how much of this we get back, but I imagine a fair amount. Our total government expenditure is £695bn so £7bn seems small really. Lets not forget we are spending a ridicules amount of money (last estimate was £31bn just for the subs) of replacing a nuclear deterrent that we can’t ever use, as if we do use it, it basically means the world has failed and we are all dead anyway.
Back to grants and education, I find it odd that the universities are not doing more to push their students to register to votes and vote on this issue, I am aware that there are a large number of projects supported by the EU at our universities as well as individuals who get the Erasmus+ grants to attend universities and training facilities here in the UK. Finding the latest figures is difficult but back in 2011 we were the third most popular place for people to come study (and spend their money in our economy) who received these grants.
I find it mildly shocking that I do agree with our current prime minister on anything, but then he seems not to be doing much about the eurosceptics in his own party, so maybe he is hedging his bets a bit. If we leave the EU we will be in trouble, we will have less say in the way things happen and we will have to rely more heavily on our old relationships with countries who like to bully us (USA) to get fairer deals. We will be putting our educational establishments in peril and we will not get the protections that Simon Sweeney talks about in his letter.
I am aware this is a bit ranty, a bit full of numbers, and a bit indigestible but why are people ignoring what the EU gives us and also not being told about these things. I am not a fear mongering type of person on the whole but we need to stop being scared by headlines and actually read around a subject rather than being scared off by headlines about immigration, the EU is a much bigger subject than just immigration. We also need to stop focusing on the £7bn we give, you might want to notice we are not the only country who contributes and stop just thinking about ourselves for once, we maybe on an island but we are more than the sum of ourselves we should be focusing on others too, and our involvement with the EU is just one of the ways in which we can do this.
Dear Universities please make your students aware of what they will be loosing if we leave the EU, please encourage them to vote and please, please stop thinking someone else will make this happen.
Lets not forget that a huge number of UK expats live in the EU if any of you want to vote on this you can register to do so here.