I was intrigued by a posting earlier today by one of my Facebook friends, which asks the simple, albeit hypothetical, question: “Should we join the EU?” He elaborates “Assuming we’re not already in the EU, please give as many reasons as you can to convince me why we should, or should not, join it”. I expect, like many, my friend is bemused and disappointed that the clear guidance and reasoned argument he would hope for in order to come to a well thought through view is not being given and is therefore seeking the counsel of his friends.
I confess that given my general dislike of hypothetical questions, I am reluctant to answer this question on that basis and the position we are in today is partly as a result of us already being in the EU thus skewing meaningful response, and the question that we are called to answer on June 23rd, whether or not we should remain in it, is the one to consider. I am also mindful there is the gap between ideology and practicality, which puts me a bit on the fence, albeit with a lifelong history leaning toward the camp of the euroskeptics. I am surprised my more thoughtful friends are divided down the middle on the matter. If this country were more God fearing, it would be a no brainer as my earlier blogs on the matter indicate (see here, here, and here), but sometimes practical considerations do need taking into account as the lesser of two or more evils.
I sense the minds of many have yet to be made up. This is not helped by the quality of the debate that lacks substance and carefully crafted argument that can be understood by the common man. It seems to be driven as much by fear as anything else, championed all too often by various vested interests, usually economic ones. I sense some of the non-economic issues and what comes under the umbrella “British values” (whatever these are), moral responsibility and our relationship with the world outside of the EU, is being ignored. For the stayers, it is the potential loss of jobs and the need to negotiate new trade agreements and as for corruption in the EU it is a price worth paying. For the leavers, it is fear of more of the same in terms of bureaucratic waste and unaccountable imposition and more scope for the UK to act in accordance with the will of the people. Right now, I am more inclined to agree with the leavers.
As for answering my friend’s question, the answer is probably “no”, although it will be the question on the ballot paper that I will be particularly interested in, but you need to watch this space for my response. I am still trying to carefully and prayerfully weigh up the arguments either way. Even so, while I like the idea of co-operation with our European neighbours, the vision many have and its out working of European Union is not one, in the main, I share. My points made earlier apply, but there is homework to be done and my (hopefully) carefully researched findings will be posted prior to the big day, although, sadly, I suspect it may not influence many.
I suspect though it is easier to say “No” to something you are not entirely happy with if outside than if you are in it it already. That is the real dilemma euro-skeptics like me have to face.