A little bit fear mongering

EU-flag-007The EU referendum will be on 23 June. Some participants try to get an emotional touch into the debate. Still figures dominate the debate and a lot of mind wobbling figures are floating around.

The discussion is mainly about what is at risk when leaving the EU. The Brexit camp claims that all those predictions of a declining economy and lost jobs are fear mongering. For them, a Brexit promises to win back sovereignty and freedom. They have not said much what will be better and different and worth the risk of economic uncertainty and downturn. One concrete idea emerged last week though: One of their main supporters (his name is Boris Johnson) said, that money not any more to be paid to the EU could be contributed to the National Health Service (NHS), but the Leave Camp is not representing a future government – even though Boris Johnson hopes to be the next Prime Minister. There might be different priorities. Maybe future governments have to fight with declining tax income in the wake of a Brexit and need what they pay net to the EU to fix some budget gaps….but of course assuming this would be fear mongering.

One seems to be certain though: In a Brexit scenario, future (and not just the next one) British governments would be very busy to replace the 30 something trade agreements, the EU has negotiated on behalf of its members in the past decades. Those who like to keep their government busy to prevent them pursuing other fancy ideas should vote for Brexit.

The Brexit camp believes, that UK is well placed for such negotiations. As for example more jobs are dependent on trade between UK and the EU ( EU: 4m vs. UK 3m – figures from the Leave camp), the Brexit camp argues, that UK is in a stronger negotiation position. They forget to mention, that 4m jobs of a population of 440m allocated over 27 states where each state has to agree to a trade agreement are less relevant than 3m jobs in a state with less than 65m people.

Some of the Leave camp seem to have difficulties to get the proportions right. One politician (again Boris Johnson, but it is not just him) was complaining that the US president is supporting the Remain camp. The US would not be prepared to give away sovereignty, he argues. Well, in terms of economic strength, UK (5th strongest economy by GDP) should compare itself rather with California (7th strongest) than with the USA (still leading the GDP charts). California is happy member of the United States of America with one currency and one federal government since 1850. The point the president has been making is that the UK would have more weight together with others than on its own.

The choice is between the known and the unknown. It is also about whether working together with other countries is better in this globalised world or pursuing the lone wolf route in the hope to gain a little advantage. It is about believing whether the British political class, Tory or Labour led can be trusted to get better results on their own rather than in co-operation with the European partners.

The challenges in the globalised world are very similar everywhere. Many of them can only be resolved together. In our post ideology world, solutions on offer don’t differ so much. This might be the main reason, why the Brexit camp cannot set out what really would change apart from re-negotiating trade agreements. It might well be, that in a Brexit scenario, British policies would be very similar to European policies just with the difference, that trade, influence and standing of the UK is just at a lower level than it is now – but of course, this is fear mongering.