Britain 's Membership Of The European Union Approaches Essay

Britain 's Membership Of The European Union Approaches Essay

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As the June 23 referendum on Britain 's membership of the European Union approaches, the two sides of the divide have become increasingly acrimonious and vituperative towards each other. Since the public opinion is stuck right in the middle, both sides are in a febrile state of panicky. They are each telling scare stories about the other 's position.

The referendum is a complex business to say the least. It involves passions related to nationalism and identity, it involves the latent desire of the leave supporters to change the leadership of the conservative party, and it involves economic prosperity and well being. In this emotionally charged issue, it is often difficult to tell fact from fiction.

Pledged by Prime Minister David Cameron to keep peace in his terribly fractious conservative party before the 2015 general election, he had hoped that he would not have to conduct it at all. He had expected that his party, lacking an outright majority in the parliament, would form a coalition government, as before, with the Europhile Liberal Democratic Party. But his party edged past the threshold and Cameron was forced to hold the referendum, the biggest challege of his leadership.

The referendum has unlocked the wild forces of identity politics and nationalist sentiments that had been lurking in the backgroud since Britain decided to join the European Economic Community in 1975. These groups have deployed the rallying cry of reclaiming British sovereignty and taking back control from Brussels.

Their scare stories hover around Britain 's membership gross contribution of £350 million a week, and the uncontrolled European migration resulting in the loss of jobs, strain on health services and lack of sufficient school places for Br...


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...ground. However, there has been no significant movement to either side that could help predict with some confidence the result of the upcoming referendum.

What makes the outcome more uncertain is the fact that the young tend to support the remain side, but they tend to vote less. If they show up in large number, the remain side could be triumphant. Otherwise, Britain will wake up in the morning of 24 June having decided to leave the group.

Only on 24 June will we know whether nationalism and identity politics or economic well being prevails in this war of wills. If British voters decide to go for identity politics, Britain will have to go through a long period of uncertainty, though at the end it will find its feet. In the short and medium term, the British people will have to decide whether they want to maintain economic prosperity or pursue their nationalist goal.

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