When we vote on the 23rd June, we must remember that the outcome of the referendum will affect Britain for at least the next ten years. Those people who think we would be able to hold a swift second referendum should look at how that’s going for the SNP in Scotland; it simply won’t be that easy.
The referendum represents the greatest chance we will ever have to re-orientate British trade towards the growing Asian economies. If we don’t take that chance Britain will drop behind as the EU continues to dwindle into irrelevance. Our chance to leave is the chance of a generation, if we don’t take it we face a lost decade of squandered prosperity as we lose out on trade deals with the growing economies of the world.
The world of the 21st century will be very different to the world of the 20th century. For the last 200 years global economic growth has been dominated by Europe and North America. Over the next 50 to 100 years the Asian economies will generate much of the world’s economic growth and prosperity, Britain cannot afford to be left behind, we cannot afford to miss this chance.
It’s been said often during this campaign but it needs to be repeated again as it is the most important fact of the referendum; the EU is the worst performing part of the global economy bar none. The failure of the Euro has already had huge ramifications for Britain and these problems are only set to get worse. We will end up paying a financial cost, as well as the cost of losing out on billions of pounds of trade with the growing nations of the world if we remain. When the EU was founded it represented 40 per cent of the world’s trade; that number is now around 20 per cent, EU membership simply is not a good bet for the future.
We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to forge enduring partnerships with the key economic players of the 21st century. When you go to vote remember that if you vote to remain you vote to stay stuck to the worst performing part of the global economy. Other countries will form lasting trade partnership with the growing economies of the world, we won’t. Other countries will see their income and standard of living rise, if we remain in the EU Britain won’t. Don’t give in to project fear; don’t let Britain have a lost decade, vote to leave on the 23rd June.
Hilary Clinton’s securing of the Democratic nomination sees her remain on course to become the first ever female president of the United States. It would follow on from the election of Barack Obama as the first ever African-American to occupy the Oval office. However, Obama’s election did not resolve the racial problems still inherent in American society, and a Clinton victory would be similarly limited in the scope of its empowerment of women.
A Clinton triumph would unmistakably benefit women. It would show that it is possible for an American woman to become president, when one hundred years ago, they did not even have the right to vote. In order to become president, she would have to defeat Donald Trump, who can be seen to epitomise what some have dubbed the Republican ‘war on women’. His insulting tweet about rival Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi, his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s assault on reporter Michelle Fields, and his hasty retraction of a suggestion that women who choose to have an abortion should be punished, have all created a sexist and divisive feel around his campaign. A Clinton victory would be welcomed by many who see Trump as being detrimental to the further empowerment of women.
Yet, there are clear limitations on just how empowering Clinton’s victory would be. Clinton is white, Yale educated and is married to a former president. She is also part of the maligned Washington establishment having served from 2001 – 2013 firstly as a Senator and then as Secretary of State. She is unrepresentative of many women in the United States. The fact that she has failed to overwhelmingly command the support of the female electorate, something that the first ever female nominee from a major US political party would surely take as a given, suggests that not all women view her as the candidate that they desire or need. Continuing doubts over Clinton’s commitment to strengthening social security and the ongoing email scandal, have driven many women to support Clinton’s democratic rival Bernie Sanders instead. Others have even turned to Trump.
A Clinton victory would be a boost for female empowerment, but it will not be the boost that many would have hoped for. The fight for the further political empowerment of women must continue regardless of who steps into the White House next January. Clinton’s election would bring hope to many women, but many more will not feel its benefits.
Referendums are a comparatively rare thing in this country. They are an example of direct democracy where voters are asked to express their view on a specific issue. Referendums can be highly volatile and hard to predict, but do provide a clear overview of where the public stands on an issue and should be respected by parliament.
Even as this referendum has grown increasingly heated, this analysis has not been up for debate. This is no longer the case. Briefings have begun that in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote pro-Remain MPs would considering using their Commons majority to keep Britain inside the EU single market, meaning Britain would keep its borders open to EU workers and continue paying into the EU.
Pro-Remain MPs outnumber their Brexit colleagues by 454 to 147 and numerically there would be no issue in passing a bill to keep Britain in the single market. However this would be a clear disregard of the wishes of the British public and would show contempt for the democratic process and could further damage the already weak reputation of politicians and politics in this country.
If on June 23rd Britain votes to leave the EU, then it will have been a rejection of these policies. The debate has focused very clearly on the issue of immigration and a ‘Leave’ vote would be an endorsement of the position taken by ‘Vote Leave’ against open borders and by implication the single market. It would be a clear vote for change and a new deal.
A ‘Leave’ vote is not what the majority of the House of Commons wants, but it may be what the majority of the country wants and that has to be respected. The ‘Remain’ camp would do well to distance themselves from this and instead put all their focus into winning the referendum, not what happens after the referendum. This would end the debate and kill any chance of Britain leaving the single market and that surely has to be the ultimate aim of the ‘Remain’ side.
Society in Europe and the United States is sharply polarised, and Donald Trump’s recent detailing of his energy and climate policies emphasise a hidden danger brought about by this phenomenon. When one considers three examples of individuals and parties that have benefited from this polarisation, Trump in the US, UKIP in the United Kingdom and France’s Front National, it is noticeable that the discourse surrounding them is largely associated with their attitudes toward race and foreign policy. Their approaches to climate change however, present a threat which is arguably far more significant, yet far less focused on.
All three champion climate change scepticism. Trump and Front National leader Marine Le Pen have both openly stated their doubts over whether human activity is actually responsible for climate change, whilst a document detailing UKIP’s energy policy from 2014 states that ‘there has been no significant climate change for nearly two decades’. These beliefs are dangerous to advocate regardless of your political stance, and epitomise the denial inherent in global society over the scale of the threat. It goes without saying that questioning the role of human activity in this issue, or denying that there is a problem, will eventually culminate in dire consequences for societies everywhere.
Removing or containing the factors that have caused the societal polarisation that has aided and abetted the rise of climate change sceptic parties is impossible in the short term. The increased diversity of accessible sources of information, the rise of ISIS, the consequent migration crisis in the Middle East and ongoing fears over the global economy are all issues which will require long term solutions. Instead, politicians in Europe and the US must redouble their efforts to challenge climate change sceptic attitudes. An increased awareness of the problem at both the political and societal levels may succeed in forcing the three aforementioned political actors to reconsider their attitudes. It will, at the very least, stop them from enacting policies that may exacerbate the problem.
The need to acknowledge and combat the harmful effects of climate change is an issue that should transcend political orientation. Increasingly however, this is not the case. Achieving a political consensus on this issue will be a challenge not just for Europe and the US, but for society as a whole. It is up to politicians everywhere to act, and fast.