EU Referendum Immigration Voting Remain

Why I Am Voting To Remain – Part 3 – Immigration

I know it isn’t cool to admit it, but I like immigration.  In fact, I’d go so far to say that the most important aspect of being a European Union member is the right to live and work in 27 other countries (plus a couple of others with freedom of movement as part of their access deal to the single market).

Had David Cameron come back from the negotiation to say that we no longer had this right, then Brexit would have tempted me.


But I don’t want to make these blogs about me.  Well, maybe the last one will be.  My decision on how to vote is based far more on what I believe to be right for the country than for myself.

Immigrants have had a large variety of positive impact upon our beautiful country.

Let’s start with economics.  Immigrants tend to come to the country when they are young.  They are more likely to be employed than UK-born citizens (EU immigrants of working age 79.2% likely to have a job, UK citizens 75.4% likely).  They are less likely to be claiming benefits than UK citizens (37% UK citizens (like wtf???!) compared to 29% of immigrants).  They will often go back to their home countries before their use of health services goes up through aging.

On the other hand, our immigrants to the likes of Spain/France tend to be more of a burden on the healthcare systems of those countries – should we leave, it may be unlikely that all EU immigrants will be kicked out of Britain and vice versa, but it is doubtful that we would have free/minimal cost access to the health systems of those countries.

There is some evidence that immigrants have a very slight negative effect on wages on those at the bottom of the pay scale.  But they should not be blamed for a lack of pay rises.  If you haven’t had a pay rise in recent years then you may want to check the rate of inflation – currently at 0.3%.  If prices are stable then it is not exactly unusual for wages to be stable or rising only slightly.

Quite simply we need immigrants to be able to pay for our aging society.  Just look at Japan with its aging society, sclerotic economy that has not recovered from its banking crisis in the 90’s and its refusal to accept immigration.

Not only that but a quirky fact I read is that immigrants employ more people in this country, than are employed.  So not only are they helping to pay for the older generation’s needs, but they are employing those of working age.  Why do you think America is such a successful country?  To me, it is much down to the go-getting nature of those who settled there.  We should be welcoming immigrants with open arms.

Moving on from the economy and you can look across society as a whole as to the benefits of immigration.

There are many nurses/doctors that are European Union immigrants, teachers, care workers, credit controllers and whole host of valuable workers to society.

You could think about the arts instead.  I talk from my passion of DJing, and any EU DJ can come and play over here no questions asked.  But try booking a Russian or Turkish DJ and you will have visa problems – often shows have had to be cancelled at the last minute as the foreign office have blocked visa applications.  And it works the other way around, UK DJs have more opportunities throughout the EU but when it comes to working in the US, for example, it is an administrative nightmare.

Why on earth would we want to put borders up to create problems for the sharing of music and arts?

How many people have eaten at an Italian recently?  Or a tapas restaurant?  Or had an excellent service from a Polish plumber fixing their blocked sink quickly and cost-efficiently?

I accept that immigrants may not be helping with the housing crisis – however it isn’t their fault that we are not building enough houses.  We were not building enough houses in the 90’s.  We were not building enough houses in the 00’s.  We are still not building enough houses – this comes down to the failure of consecutive governments to get a grip on planning policy and the NIMBYs that cling onto their housing wealth by blocking every single loft conversion.

Plus, where do you think a significant proportion of those building houses come from?  Windsor?  Ascot?  Narnia?

And don’t forget about all the really attractive women that have come to this country:

Apologies to any women/gays reading – I couldn’t find any attractive men on Google, apart from myself and I’m not an immigrant.  Well, technically I am as I’m from Hull.


Some people also accuse immigrants of taking precious local resources, whether that be school places or waiting times at A&E – though 84% of pupils get their first choice school and I don’t think A&E waiting times are much different from around 2000.  Don’t forget we also need the increased birth rate that immigrants have been providing.

The only way to control immigration is to bring on a recession.  Increase unemployment and less people will come to the country, more people will leave as UK citizens look for jobs in Australia, for example, as happened in 2008.

Net migration has risen significantly in the past couple of years.  But our economy has also grown significantly in the past couple of years.

If you vote to leave then the demand for immigrants will only go down if there is a recession.  There will still be a need for immigration.  Non-EU immigration currently stands at 188,000 a year.

I’m going to leave you with something I penned a while back.

I live with an immigrant.

I work with immigrants.

I go to the pub with immigrants.

I fancy some immigrants.

I dance to immigrants.

Immigrants dance to the music I play.

Sven Vath lives in London.  He is an immigrant.

Half of the England football team descend from immigrants.

My best friend is an immigrant.

We are all just humans.

Love your immigrants and vote to remain.

EU Referendum Sovereignty Voting Remain

Why I Am Voting To Remain – Part 2 – Sovereignty

For obvious reasons I didn’t post the second part on Friday as planned.  You can read part 1 on economics here if you missed it.

As I mentioned last time, I may or may not respond to any comments – any blatant lies I will simply delete.

So.  Sovereignty.

I see polls of Conservative Brexit members in particular who keep stating that sovereignty is by far their number 1 reason for voting to leave.  But what does it mean?

Travel back thousands upon thousands of years, to cavemen existence (no I’m not saying we will all become cavemen if we vote to leave), and it would be very likely that the sovereign voice would have been the hunter gatherer in the family.  Nobody would have been aware of other continents and certainty there would be no need for laws and regulations from afar.

Subsequently humanity became organised through small villages – rules would more likely have been issued by the village elder, though perhaps with a nod to more widely accepted morals such as thou shalt not steal.

As humanity progressed, regions and occasionally nation-states became the norm, and religion would often provide rules through which larger areas of population would take their laws from.

Eventually we ended up with the 19th/20th century idea of the nation state, where common law is stated throughout the country, with by-laws in local areas, or sometimes regional assemblies.

But as the 20th and 21st centuries have progressed, the need to work together to solve common issues, such as international crime, terrorism, pollution, climate change, etc has seen the need for a range of trans-national or international bodies to not only to tackle common issues, but to stop genocide, discourage war and solve famine.

This is the point where we are at.  The UN, World Health Organisation, International Monetary Fund, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – the list goes on, and yes, it includes the European Union.  The world, especially since the widespread adoption of the internet, has become more interconnected.

Why on earth would we take a step back towards isolationism?  It does not make any sense to me.

The argument goes that the EU is in control of our laws.  This is a total fallacy.  We set our own laws on defence, health, tax, education – all the most important areas of policy are almost totally and exclusively controlled by the UK government.

The percentage of laws influenced by European Union law (by the way voted on in the European parliament by those you elect – not as Farage will have you by unelected beaurocrats) is somewhere between 7% and 12% depending on what measure you use.  Pretty small.  And only around 2% of all European parliament laws are voted against by our MEPs (though if Farage and co bothered to turn up to vote then maybe that would be even lower) – in other words we vote for 98% of the laws coming out of the European Parliament.

Though I do admit that the amount of regulations influenced by the European Union is closer to 65% (I forget the exact figure).

However, if you want to trade with the single market, and I assume that even the most ardent Brexiteers do not want to stop doing business with our largest export market, then we will need to accept their regulations.  If the EU decides that all Christmas baubles must be square, then we will not be able to sell any Christmas baubles to the European Union unless we implement that regulation, whether we are in or out of the European Union.

Tell me, would you prefer to be in the club, helping make the decisions, or would you rather just follow the decisions?  As someone who values the sovereignty of his country, I would like to be at the top of every possible table helping to make decisions.

Finally for this section, would you really get all the sovereignty in the world back from leaving the European Union?

The answer is no.

We pool sovereignty not only in the European Union, but in a whole host of organisations/treaties, in an effort to make the world a more agreeable place for humanity.  Some of the most important of which are:

United Nations
World Bank
International Monetary Fund
World Health Organisation
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
World Food Programme
World Meteorological Organisation (I had to get that in there)
United Nations Environment Programme
International Organization for Migration
International Maritime Organization
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
International Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
World Trade Organization

Need any more?

We have implemented laws and also budgetary decisions based on statutes coming out of these organisations – NATO for example insists that all its members spend a minimum of 2% of their GDP on defence.

My view of the world is one which has and will continue to come together to tackle whatever problems it has – genocide, drought, tsunami relief, war, famine, nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorism – the list goes on of issues that we need to work together on.  Europe, and the world as a whole, needs Great Britain at the centre of efforts to resolve problems.

My Britain is not one that hides from the rest of the world.  My version of Britain is one that leads the world.  In the European Union and all other major international organisations.

I believe that we have greater power to change the world and our lives, by pooling sovereignty towards common standards for humanity to live and trade by.
Next up, I will tackle immigration.
Brexit Economics Voting Remain

Why I Am Voting To Remain. Part 1 – Economics

Over the course of the next week, I am going to explain why I came to my decision to vote to remain in the European Union, in possibly 5 blog posts, separated into distinct chapters.

Like many, my mind was made up long before the campaign started – around a year ago for me.  There is plenty that I don’t like about the European Union in terms of how it organises itself so myself voting to leave was possible.  There was a decision for me to make.

The most important part of any voting decision for myself is the economy, as the economy affects almost everything that a government does.  Of utmost importance to me is a stable, open and growing economy.  I want us to maximise the potential of this country.  Not just for me, my family and my friends, but all of my countrymen – and in fact, all human beings across the world.

Before I go onto the details of the subject, I’d like to clarify two things.  Firstly I am sick of arguing about the European Union so feel free to comment – I might reply but I might not.  If you post a blatant unsubstantiated lie I will just delete it.

Secondly there is lots of bullshit out there on both sides.  I am not going to argue that western civilisation is going to end if we leave the EU, but neither are we going to win the World Cup or be given free super-powered toasters.  To my mind, there have been many blatant lies by the leave team and blatant over-exaggerations from the remain team.  I will try my best to exert a sober analysis from my viewpoint.

I may occasionally use robust language too.

Something I hear from Farage and co is that economists should not be trusted as they did not predict the crash in 2007/08.  The main reason that this was hidden from view was due to the bankers packaging up sub-prime debt with sturdy debt through such instruments as collateralised debt obligations.  This was way beyond my understanding of markets at the time, and I suspect many economists were not aware of this back in the mid-2000’s either.

Some economists did predict it, and so did I.  Albeit I was warning of a severe crash as early as 2004/05 – not realising what was going on in the world of banking.  I do have an economics degree so I have at least a pinch of credibility on this subject.

All economic reports that I have read, such as from PWC, the treasury or the IMF have stated that there will be a short-term economic shock if Brexit occurs.  Even prominent Brexit folk do not argue against this.

At best I’d suggest that we’ll scrape along with not entering a technical recession, ie growth around 0% for 6-12 months.  At worst a loss in GDP of say 6% over 6-12 months.  It will probably be somewhere in the middle, I’d suggest a 1-2% loss.  Maybe 3%.

Another main impact will be a loss in the value of Sterling.  We’ve already seen a slide in the value this week on worries of Brexit.  A vote to leave would likely see a further slide of 10-30% of the Pound, and also a smaller fall in the value of the Euro.

A credit report that I receive from a major agency stated “We also advise to factor in a further depreciation of the pound sterling, which would accelerate if the UK were to leave the EU, as the uncertainty stemming from the possibility of a Brexit is weighing on market sentiment.”

This may all seem quite abstract to you, however as we import much of what we consume, you will quickly notice increased prices on many goods – especially those from non-Euro denominated economies.  As the Euro will also likely fall in value somewhat, there should be less impact on what we import from the Eurozone.

It also means that you will have less foreign currency in your hands when you go on holiday.  I neither want more expensive goods or more expensive holidays.

The third main impact may also see a loss on the stock market – the FTSE 100 has already dropped below 6,000.  You may not care, but your pension is likely invested at least somewhat in the stock market.

On the bright side, a weaker pound would help those exporting to other countries – manufacturers for example.  And tourists – those visiting from America, for example, will have more money to spend.

Yes I am not afraid to argue where there could be positive effects of Brexit.  I’ve had to weigh up the pros and cons.

The possible increase in manufacturing/tourism could even lead to higher employment in those particular industries.

However, the likely recession would lead to job losses overall.  You may note that Labour’s Great Recession did not lead to as many job losses as other recessions, however recessions caused by financial crises tend not to involve huge increases in unemployment.  The government claim of 800,000 job losses upon Brexit is probably cock, but none of us can be certain how many jobs would be lost in a Brexit-vote economic shock.  400,000 to 500,000 job losses through the recession would be more realistic, in my view.

One industry that would likely suffer with Brexit is the financial services industry.  I can see you all crying into your mug of Yorkshire tea but financial services directly contributes around 11% of total tax take in this country.  The amount they pay in tax isn’t far off the budget of the NHS.

Whilst we are here, the idea that if we vote to leave, £350m extra is going to be spent on the NHS is absolutely bullshit.  Firstly the original figure is a blatant lie.  Secondly it seems as though the leave side have spent that amount several times already.  But most importantly, the likely recession and subsequent loss of output will mean that there is actually less money to spend on the NHS – not more.  I repeat that most Brexit folk also expect a short-term recession.

Anyway, back to financial services.  The whole of the city will not suddenly move to Frankfurt.  There are networking and clustering effects which mean much of the city will stay put in London – unless there was a major game-changer such as HSBC leaving entirely.

One of the problems comes through passporting rights, where banking firms within countries in the EU can trade in Euros without having a branch in the Eurozone itself.  This is part of being in the EU and there is less chance of Boris Johnson being re-incarnated as a walnut than those rights continuing with Brexit.

There could therefore be large amounts of business lost to the EU just through these transactions having no choice but to happen in the EU – potentially up to 0.9% of GDP.  I appreciate that you may not care about less banking jobs in the city, but I do care about lower tax take for this country, as that directly impacts the ability of the government to provide services without borrowing or taxing more.

Trade will also not be helped by leaving the European Union.

Currently around 45% of our exports go to the European Union.  Although the percentage of total worldwide exports to the EU is currently falling, the total value traded with the EU continues to rise.  At the moment, are there no tariffs and trade moves freely.  Containers sent to France are not rigorously checked like containers sent to China would be.  So not only are there no actual charges but there are no costs in terms of extra time or paperwork that there would be to non-EU countries.

Tariffs may or may not be applied to our exported goods if we left the European Union.  I simply don’t know.  A more realistic argument would suggest tariffs in some areas, particularly those were the EU has important industries to protect.  The single market in services is not yet complete and I would argue that remaining in the European Union would assist not only in the completion of this but also in ensuring it is most beneficial to the UK.

I accept that at the moment we cannot negotiate our own trade deals.  However if we left we would have to negotiate 53 separate trade deals within 2 years otherwise we will be subject to the normal WTO tariffs applied on trade.  This would make life much more difficult and expensive for exporters and likely totally negate, if not outweigh, the potential positive impact to exporters of a weaker pound.

I highly doubt that we would be able to negotiate 53 separate trade deals on equal terms to what we enjoy through a large trading block, let alone negotiate an equal or not too negative deal with the European Union itself – remembering that we export more to Ireland than China, India and Russia together.  And all in 2 years with our limited amount of negotiators.

Any good trade negotiator from another country would see the weakness of the United Kingdom’s negotiating position and take advantage.  The idea that we will leave the EU and suddenly find ourselves with amazingly favourable deals with the rest of the world is utterly preposterous.

It is certainly possible that we would be able to negotiate full or mostly full access to the European single market, but we would have to accept and implement all regulations set, not to mention the almost certain acceptance of free movement of labour.  Plus if the EU-US trade deal happens, this will likely set the benchmark for all worldwide trade regulation.

There are also more long-term impacts of leaving the EU too.  Of course, there are always more uncertainties as you project further in advance.

The reports I’ve seen all lay out a range of possible outcomes – it is in the realms of possibility that by 2030 there could be an overall slightly long-term benefit to the UK of leaving the EU.  This could happen.  Slightly more likely but still unlikely is that it would be a total disaster with a permanent loss of GDP of up to 10% – completely disastrous.

More realistic would be a long-term negative impact in the region of 1-4% of GDP, from my assessment of the analyses but I stress that this is within a range of possibilities from a slight economic benefit to a major economic disaster.  I also stress that this is permanent – not a temporary recessionary loss of GDP.

Before we joined the European Union, Britain was known as the ‘sick man of Europe’, similar to how Greece is known as this now.  I’d argue that Margaret Thatcher had a hell of a lot of more to do with Britain once again becoming one of the major economies of the world, but it is surely no co-incidence that being part of the European Union has seen our country and economy go from strength to strength during this time.

Personally, I am not willing to take a chance on my personal economic future, or the futures of those I care about, or my country.  That is the main reason why I will never vote Labour and the main reason why I will be voting to remain.

But there are other reasons too.  Next up I will be covering sovereignty.  And hopefully in fewer words!