Og så var der Brexit…

1024px-2016_EU_Referendum_Ballot_Paper

…som jo egentlig er det, vi snakker mest om for tiden. Nervøsiteten er ved at brede sig overalt, og ikke blot i andre “blandede” familier som vores. Tænk, hvis vi om to år vender tilbage til et UK, som står udenfor EU! Med vores liv, hvor vi har et ben i hver lejr, hvor min mand er britisk statsborger, og jeg er dansk, og hvor jeg oftest arbejder for en dansk arbejdsgiver, men er fastboende i UK…

Og selvfølgelig kommer det hele her i kampagnernes sidste uger til at dreje sig om indvandring. Selvfølgelig. Hvem vil man have, og hvornår, og overhovedet nogle?

Jeg drak te hos min bulgarske veninde og hendes engelsk-tyske mand længere nede ad vejen i går, mens vores drenge legede gemmeleg ovenpå. De var lige så deprimerede som os over det hele. “Jeg flytter til Irland”, jokede hun. – Hun, som har en god universitetsgrad fra Bulgarien og endte i England pga. kærligheden. Og så brugte otte (otte!) år på at få et fast job. Det er den samme gamle historie: hun taler flydende engelsk, er ekstremt kompetent, tog masser af ekstra kurser i dit og dat, og ingen ville have hende. Og endelig, efter at have arbejdet som natteportier på universitetet i nogle år, fik hun arbejde. Et fuldstændigt latterligt lille admin job, som driver hende til vanvid, men som ikke desto mindre er fast og giver penge på bankbogen. Og 6 mdr efter hun blev ansat truer de så med Brexit… På hendes arbejde ved de allerede, at de må lukke, hvis det virkelig sker.

Nåm, der er også gode mennesker, så hvis I vil følge en sober stemme i debatten, så blogger min gode ven Alan Renwick her (bl.a.). Og for what it’s worth får I også her hans statement angående hvorfår han stemmer ja. Og det gør I, fordi det er det mest fornuftige, jeg har læst om Brexit i meget lang tid:

Why I will vote to remain in the EU

The polls suggest a trend towards a vote to leave the EU. As a political scientist, I generally try to stay out of the fray: my job is to offer impartial analysis. On this issue, however, I see the stakes as too high not to get involved. So here are the main reasons I think our lives will be much better if we vote Remain. I hope they might be a little helpful for those of you who are wavering or will be trying to persuade waverers over the coming days!

1. Most important is the big picture: We are better people if we approach the world in a spirit of cooperation and openness. In our personal lives, we get more from life if we give more – if we reach out to others in generosity and love. Similarly, in our dealings with the world, we get on better by working together in pursuit of shared goals. The Leave people talk endlessly about ‘control’. But grown-ups are not obsessed with control: we know that life is about a bit of give and take. Outers sometimes say leaving the EU would open us up to a bigger world. But then they hark back to Empire – back to an outmoded image of the world where we think ourselves in control. In any case, all our friends around the world want us to stay in the EU: they know we can all work together better that way.

So let’s throw off the small-minded carping from the Leave side. Rather, let’s embrace togetherness and take joy in being part of an amazing (flawed, but highly successful) shared project that seeks to promote peace, prosperity, and the freedom to pursue what each of us can be.

2. The hard-nosed stuff matters too, and the vast majority of economists think we are better off in than out. Forecasts are always uncertain, but the main economic effect of leaving the EU is really very straightforward. If we leave the single market (as the Leave people want), we will harm the terms on which we trade with the EU: a free trade deal involves much less than a single market. Harm to the terms of trade means less trade. That means that some people will lose their jobs, while some others will see their real wages decline. It means less tax revenue and therefore less money to pay for public services.

Some people say we will compensate for that through trade deals with other countries. But trade experts disagree with that. If we left the EU, we would, before we could think about any new trade deals, face a huge task of renegotiating all the existing trade deals that EU membership gives us. And the UK currently has no trade negotiators – we haven’t needed any as EU members. So new trade deals will not come quickly. In any case, the EU is and will remain by far our biggest trading partner.

Leave people also claim we could make ourselves richer by cutting red tape. But economists estimate that the potential gains are too small to outweigh the loss in trade. Anyway, cutting red tape means, for the most part, diluting workers’ rights and environmental protections – both of which would be steps backwards. And leaving would also create fresh red tape for anyone trading with the EU, employing someone from the EU, or travelling to the EU.

3. Democracy in the EU is not perfect, but it is much better than it was and better than the alternative on offer. Leave people say the EU is undemocratic and unreformable. Both claims are false. Decision-making power rests with elected bodies: the European Parliament (elected directly by voters) and the Council of Ministers (comprising representatives from the elected governments of the 28 member states). The European Commission has significant powers too, but it is not some unaccountable hegemon. It is appointed – and can be dismissed – by the elected bodies. Its proposals go through only if the elected bodies agree to them.

EU democracy is certainly not perfect. Indeed, you cannot have a perfect democracy across 28 countries with separate media systems and multiple languages: shared political conversation will always be difficult. But the alternative is not the Leave campaign’s fantasy world in which we make all the decisions ourselves. If we left the EU, we would still be deeply influenced by the decisions made in it. Many of us worry about the effects that a Trump victory in the United States would have here and around the world. But we have way more interactions with the EU than with the US and would therefore be vastly more affected by its decisions, whatever future relationship we negotiated. We are better off being part of the democratic processes that make those decisions than excluding ourselves from them.

In other words: Yes, folks, cooperating with others can be frustrating at times. But going off in a sulk isn’t going to help. You hopefully learnt that when you were 5.

4. The rhetoric on immigration is divisive and misleading. If the UK votes to leave the EU, it will primarily be because of concerns about immigration. That would be very disappointing. The economic analyses show that the UK economy benefits from immigration. Immigrants do not take British workers’ jobs: rather, they expand the number of jobs available. There is no clear evidence that immigration reduces wages – and, if there is an effect, it can be countered with the minimum wage and other measures. EU immigrants are not a drain on the public purse: the ratio between what they put in and what they take out is better than for UK natives.

Anyway, the idea that leaving the EU would produce a big fall in immigration is wrong. Most immigration is from outside the EU. Leave people say EU membership distorts immigration flows, but it would be very odd if EU migrants did not make up a big chunk of the total, given that the EU is right next door to us. The idea that Turkey is about to join the EU and flood the labour market is a huge con: Turkey will not join for a very long time, if ever – and the UK has a veto.

Clearly, there can be problems caused by large, rapid migration flows. But, given all the benefits from such flows, the solutions lie in tackling housing shortages, improving schooling and other public services, and promoting social integration.

Finally, let us celebrate the cultural enrichment that a diverse population brings when people have the confidence to talk with and learn from each other. Let us work to build bridges, not spin a divisive rhetoric – or make a divisive decision next week – that sets integration back.

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