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The positive aspects of Europe, such as increased trade and better rates for business, are not issues that are likely to swell any amount of enthusiasm in your average UK household. But the negative aspects of our membership – such as the perceived immigration crisis, or the erosion of UK sovereignty – generate huge and vigorous debate. Contentious issues mixed with an already disillusioned UK public make for an explosive cocktail with the EU Referendum just 4 months away.
If David Cameron truly does want Britain to stay in the EU, he could have at least improved the state of our country before asking people whether they want change. With a population ravaged by wage stagnation, locked out of an increasingly unaffordable housing market and lacking in any real financial or job security, to vote on whether or not to change the status quo, most will be in no doubt that something needs to change in order for their lives to improve.
Essentially, by asking an overwhelmingly angry UK population to decide our fate, it is becoming increasingly obvious that people are willing to let their heart rule their heads.
David Cameron’s attempt to appease the Eurosceptics by negotiating virtually meaningless policies – especially with regards to EU migrant benefits – will have little effect in persuading the majority. Many Eurosceptics are already dead-set that immigration has been the scourge of modern Britain, and no attempt to curb their arrival will be sufficient for some.
Furthermore, with the current refugee crisis swelling into epic proportions, and many working class people frustrated at financial insecurity, migrants have been the usual go-to scapegoat. It is becoming increasingly clear that xenophobia will be the main weapon used by Eurosceptic media outlets to persuade people that Brexit is the answer to their prayers.
In recent years, Nigel Farage and UKIP have made British independence a mainstream political ideology, and with 12.6% of the vote at the last election, their support has grown exponentially. With many working class UKIP voters viewing the party as an anti-establishment movement, and a party willing to challenge the status quo, it has become clear that their ideology has resonance with the general population.
The 2015 Tory manifesto promised so much; to improve the economy, to build more ‘affordable housing’, and to ‘crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance’. However, despite the tired Tory rhetoric, the economy has completely stagnated, people still can’t afford to rent homes – let alone buy – and the Tories’ opinion of ‘crack[ing] down on tax avoidance’ is to charge Google a mere 3% tax per annum – whilst completely disregarding the spectacularly dubious tax affairs of Starbucks, Amazon and the rest.
People who were willing to believe the Tories’ promises already know they’ve been lied to – most obviously with regards to cutting Tax Credits. People have also seen no improvement in their standard of living, and Junior Doctors have seen their name dragged through the mud, and their profession shockingly demonised by a Health Secretary on the rampage, as well as an inconspicuously pro-government media.
With an NHS in crisis, a housing market in crisis, an economy in crisis, rising child poverty and rising suicide rates – amongst other abject failures – it’s safe to say that a fair whack of the UK has a passionate hatred of David Cameron and the Conservatives. And this hatred is sure to dissuade many from siding with the enemy on the key issue of Europe. Why should they believe yet another perceived lie from Cameron?
“I’m not going to be fooled again by him” is the phrase that I hear time and time again.
Furthermore, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be teaming up with Cameron to try and persuade the UK public that staying a member of the EU is the best option for the country. It’s fair to say that Jeremy Hunt’s current popularity is approximately equal to or slightly worse than syphilis.
In the current climate, a partnership of David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt vying for your vote to remain in the EU seems about as enticing as Lord Voldemort and Cruella De Vil asking for your solemn obedience and servitude.
However, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove are heading up the Tories’ Leave campaign, so either way you’ll probably be voting for someone you hold in absolutely no esteem.
However, voting without taking the pros and cons into account, and deciding your opinion merely in accordance with which side you hate the least, is practically equivalent to cutting off your arse to spite your elbow.