Thursday, 30 June 2016

A heartfelt letter to Nicola Sturgeon

               It’s a funny old thing when you start writing a politics blog. I chose to do it entirely for my own interest and to get myself writing regularly. My original aim was to write semi-amusing articles that some people would like and some wouldn’t – and to deliver something every couple of weeks. I hadn’t realised that politics in the country would be turned on its head by a vote to leave the EU. I sat down last night and counted 15 separate topics I wanted to cover in separate blogs. It’s a funny old world sometimes. We now have a smirking Nigel Farage trying to destroy any goodwill remaining in the European Parliament, racism and xenophobia rampant on the streets, David Cameron resigning, looking less likely that we will actually Brexit every day, Boris Johnson not standing for PM (right now) and a thoroughly horrible coup in the Labour party threatening to rip the party apart. But there has remained one constant – Nicola Sturgeon would like to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom.
Dear Nicola Sturgeon MSP
               Firstly, well done to Scotland for voting to remain within the EU. This would have been my preferred outcome for the whole of the UK. Many people across the country are still reeling from that vote. The only thing that we can say with clarity because of that vote is that we are heading for a great deal of uncertainty. This uncertainty affects all of us – whether we are in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or Gibraltar.
                The numbers in the vote were quite stark – and the differences between the countries marked. 1.6 million people voted to Remain across Scotland compared to 1 million people who wanted to Leave. That is a 62% remain vote within a turnout of about 67% ( . A huge push for Remain. Whilst this was across the UK the biggest democratic exercise that has ever been performed (in terms of turnout) it wasn’t in Scotland. Many more Scots voted in the Independence referendum in 2014. Then you have another 1 million people voting.
                Obviously, we can’t know which way people voted in each referendum – whether people who wanted to stay in the UK wanted to also stay in the EU for example. I am not sure the data is readily available for that. But it is a desperate shame that we couldn’t get more EU remainers out to vote in Scotland. It could have had a big impact on the overall result. As it is such a low turnout in Scotland may have helped the Leave side – and forced you into considering a second referendum yourself.
                Although I say forced, I am not sure that is quite the correct word. You are after all the leader of the SNP. Your entire raison d’etre as a party is to take Scotland out of the UK. The party line following the defeat in the last independence referendum was that something would have to materially change to hold another one. This certainly seems to count. I can understand to some degree how you must have felt after that result – I am sure it was similar to how I felt this week. But here’s the thing – given the uncertainty can you be sure that is the right thing for Scotland?
                My often repeated views during the original referendum were quite simple – the case put forward for independence was pie in the sky and didn’t add up, and that we are all better being part of something bigger. That co-operation with others was always the best way to go. To not follow arguments that were purely nationalistic rather than actually good for the country. I would have argued until I was blue in the face that the people of Britain believed that. I would have argued that leaving to go it alone was an inherently more risky proposition for Scotland. I can see how some of those arguments have absolutely been holed below the waterline now.
                Of course at the time we had no idea what the Scotland Out campaign would really deliver. A manifesto that promised a government to be all things to all peoples was never going to wash. The fact that the manifesto was predicated on receipts from oil money that has largely dried up also now shows the wisdom of the Scottish voters in rejecting it ( . There seems to be an interesting learning from both referendums best summed up by Jamie Vardy – “Chat shit. Get Banged.”. If you try to sell the voters a clearly unreal picture they will rally against you. Of course in your case that was a picture of Scotland that could never come to pass. In the EU case that was a serious of threats to do horrible things to pensioners and the working class that no-one believed by George Osborne.
                I would imagine you have learned from that. I am sure there are some very clever election strategists working out how to avoid that pitfall. Maybe that would help in any future campaign to deliver the result that your party has been seeking for its entire life. Certainly it must be really tempting, whilst the rest of the UK and our politicians are looking the other way to try and push ahead with your agenda. Knowing they are out of the game whilst fighting within their party or negotiating with the EU would certainly make me go for an early referendum.
                But would that, right now, be in the best interests of Scotland or Scottish people? Or is your desire for independence at any cost clouding your judgement a little bit? Because to win a referendum you would have to change the minds of about half a million Scots – and if I may generalise for a moment – it is hard enough getting one Scot to change their minds once they have decided on something. Would using the fact that Scots want to be part of the EU be enough to change how voters would vote?
                Firstly, you would need a clear, realistic plan of what would happen if you left the UK. That needs to be clear from 2 points of view to win people over. One of those is that you would have to be clear what you are going to. If you ceded from the UK, what would that plan be – to immediately rejoin the EU? If so, you would need to be really clear the terms that would be on and get assurances from the EU on that. Do you think that is going to be, right now, a top priority for EU politicians? Never mind the fact that you would have Spain standing in your way at every step (because of their own Catalan separatists) ( So how quickly would you be able to do that? Also, given that the oil price has fallen off a cliff and doesn’t look like recovering the economic case this time round would be much weaker that isn’t helping your case.
                The other point of view is showing people what they are voting away from. As you have shown once simply answering “The English” to this question really isn’t enough. Whilst the Leave EU campaign managed to tap into people’s anger, you have failed to do that once. So what would you be taking people away from? The answer is that you simply can’t know. I get that neither would any Stay campaign – and from a political point of view that would possibly help you massively. But look inside yourself and be honest  - would that really be doing your best for the Scottish people as a whole? There still remains a possibility that a UK outside of the EU would be a good thing for Scotland. There also remains an increasing possibility that nobody will be brave enough to pull the trigger on Brexit – or as Leavers hoped – we end up with all the benefits and none of the costs.
                You simply can’t know. And so you would be asking the Scottish people to vote blind-folded, with one hand tied behind their backs on what would be right for them. Purely to achieve a vote for independence from something unknown and unknowable on the basis of nationalism. If you think you can live with that on your conscience, perhaps go and talk to David Cameron.

                I understand that the SNP will re-run this referendum time and again until it gets the right result. But please, do what is right for Scotland first and foremost, and wait until people can honestly know what they are voting for and against. Because voting in the absence of knowledge can often get you the wrong result.  

Monday, 27 June 2016

I shouldn’t be writing this blog

           I really shouldn’t. On Thursday the UK voted that we should leave the EU. 1 million people more voted to leave than remain. Whether you agree with that decision or not it is a fact. The people who voted most strongly for Leave were, based on the official polling data, from working class towns who have been let down and left behind over the past 30 plus years. This was a chance for them to scream out their anger and rage at the state of their lives and the fact that they don’t feel listened to. Since the results the far right, the racists and the xenophobes have used that as an excuse to peddle their hatred, believing (I think wrongly) that the vote has shown more people agree with them than they previously knew. The Prime Minister has resigned. The EU want us to start negotiations. The Vote Leave campaign have come out already and said their big claims (more NHS money and lower immigration) were never actually true. People who voted leave are about to find out that when the campaign said “Take Back Control” they added a silent “and give it to Etonians in London”. We are about to go into one of the angriest phases in this country’s history.
We should all be sitting down, and working out what we do to get from this point to one where we can act as a country again. Hell, we need to decide what sort of country we really want first. Not what sort of country are we being offered by career politicians in London. I should be setting out, as a socialist, my view for what that could look like and how we could achieve it. We need cool heads, reconciliation and calm debate to answer all of those people who voted in anger. We must not fail to hear that voice – they are the majority in this country. That is what I should be doing.
But no. Instead I am writing a blog about another attempted coup in the fucking Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). A party which now appears to be so full of career politicians from the Blair years that it is incapable of seeing outside the Westminster bubble they live in. Who think it is more important to get the “right” result from the leadership election they were on the wrong side of than look to their constituents and address their concerns.
Now, in an attempt to upset every Labour party member in one go, I am going to admit to something which people will see as an act of treason itself. I no longer believe that Labour would get the best possible results in a general election with Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. I voted for JC, and I strongly believe that we need a left leaning leader in order to win back not only votes, but those people who have roared at the government in this referendum. We must not allow them to fall down the route of listening to the racist demagogues of UKIP. So I think we need a left-wing leader who can get those people back. I believe there may be better candidates than JC. I do not believe his performance in the referendum was strong enough. There were enough instances of poor performance and behaviour that we should all be able to see it. I do believe that a move towards a left wing leader who is a more natural vote winner is the direction we should go in.
But this is not the way to do that. At a point when we need a strong, united and responsive Labour Party we are turning our backs on the country to fight internally. What a hideous joke. I am still waiting for the punchline. Let’s be clear on this – dear politicians of pretty much every party YOU ARE NOT DELIVERING WHAT THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WANT. Many feel they no longer have a voice and government is a long way away and not listening. Well done to the PLP for showing those people that is exactly what politicians do. Particularly when you consider the reason for this timing – so that this coup can happen before changes to the NEC lead to rule changes that might make it more difficult to get rid of the party leader.
The problem is one entirely of your own making PLP. The party in parliament is so far further right than the party members that when the leadership election comes up there is only ever going to be one left wing candidate – the fact that they take turns putting themselves forward proves that. But what happened last year (after the tories won an outright victory) is that people said “enough is enough, we want left wing policies and a left wing leader”. We gave you those instructions. By an absolute landslide. There is no questioning the view of the party members in this. The fact that people signed up to join the party in their thousands to make sure that happened should have given you some idea. This, I believe, is the route to taking our country back from those who no longer care about the working class.

Instead of working with those instructions and that leadership you have used every opportunity to undermine and challenge it. You have shown no loyalty to your party members. I do now hope you understand that those party members should feel no loyalty back to you. Neither should the electorate of the country as a whole. You have put your own self-interest ahead of the national one. For that you should be appalled at your behaviour. If you do not like the views of the membership of the Labour party feel free to leave and join another party. Get elected on the back of their membership fees, their hard work and activism, their policies. You truly should be ashamed of your behaviour. We certainly are. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

WARNING! This post contains SPOILERS about what happens after a leave vote

              Or, then again it might not. I say that because nobody actually knows what will happen to the economy if we leave. Nobody can. David Cameron and George Osborne don't. Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson don't either. Nor do Economists for Brexit, the IFS, the WTO or The Economist magazine. Neither do I. But given that the economy is one of the main areas of discussion in the EU referendum debate we can't possibly ignore it. So, before you read any further, there is a massive health warning - any projections which are made OR referenced might be completely wrong. This has been part of the issue that has been turning so many people off from this referendum. The repetition that as soon as one side trot out an indisputable fact, the other side dispute it with their own fact.
              So what can we say about the economy and the impact of leave or remain? Well a really good place to start is to understand some basic ideas which are directly relevant to the question at hand. Let's set out then what the EU is (from a purely economic point of view), where it came from (again from an economic point of view) and what are trade deals, tariffs and the regulations that are often discussed by various commentators on both sides. This might take a while and bore the shit out of you - so if you want to go and get a drink now is the time to do it (I'm certainly having one). This is the explanation nobody else will do - because it is incredibly long and boring. But I think worth getting to the end of. One thing I will try NOT to do is to address any claims or counter claims - there is enough of that round already.
               The EU was originally set up very much as a trading block. The underlying theory of many politicians at the time was simple (and actually pretty true) - that most wars, when you get down to it, are really about access to resources. Those resources might be money, land, water, access or a million others. Given that Europe had spent the best part of a thousand plus years at war, then wouldn't it be better to settle disputes over a negotiation table instead of a bayonet? Therefore a "trading block" was set up relating to Coal and Steel - at the time the 2 key resources you needed to fight a war and also the 2 resources you would be likely to fight over. To avoid using an EU reference, you can find all of that information on wikipedia ( ). How would that trading block work? Well, they would work together to decide how much to produce, who to sell it to, at what price and what would be the rules for producing it. The last point is really important. They would also allow the countries in the block to sell to each other without "tariffs" - that is the governments wouldn't add costs to goods coming in from the other countries. To make this fair and achievable, what was very important to the countries involved was that the produce was created in the same way. So, same workers rights, same standards of outputs etc. This was so that no individual country could make more profit by undercutting the others unfairly.
               These are the regulations that are often held up by leave as blockers to British dominance of markets. These hated "regulations" that are thrown around as such a terrible thing include measures to ensure that:

  1. What you are buying is actually what you are trying to buy
  2. You are not paying too much for products and services
  3. When you buy something it wont kill or injure you and your family
  4. The people producing goods are not being abused / have employment protections
  5. Producing these goods doesn't damage the environment more than it has to
  6. There is a standard level of quality for goods that you buy
  7. No single organisation or country can run the entire market and abuse a leading market position.
              As a general rule of thumb then, regulations are good for consumers, good for the market, good for workers and costly for businesses, and if it is costly for businesses that increases prices for consumers too. So whenever you hear the term "regulations" - run through that as a checklist and decide if they are things you want or not. Of course part of the problem identified by some on the Leave side is that these regulations attach to all companies whether they trade across Europe of not. I personally quite like the idea of regulations to stop all companies abusing workers and damaging the environment - irrespective of where they trade.
              In very basic economic terms then, the EU has now become a single market where lots of products and services are sold across Europe - with common regulations, but without tariffs being added if they come from within the EU. Tariffs go hand in hand with international trade - so let's look at what they are. Say your country and it's economy is very reliant on the production of "thingies" as an example. You as a government want to make sure that the "thingie" industry is protected. Therefore, what you do is add an import tariff to any "thingies"made overseas being imported - with the aim of making foreign "thingies" more expensive. It is called protectionism. It has existed since the start of international trade. Why wouldn't you do it?
              There are a couple of big problems with protectionism. The first one is quite simple - that protectionism breeds protectionism. Therefore whilst we are trying to protect our engineering industry, France is trying to protect their wine industry. Italy and Germany are trying to protect their car industries. And it goes on, and on, and on. What that means is that we all pay more for our products and services, but also because people don't want to pay higher prices they don't buy, so economies are held back. Secondly, protectionism favours rich countries. After all, if you have more to protect and trade, then you can afford to be tough to other countries with your tariffs ( ). So as part of a global world we screw other people, our own consumers and ultimately our own economy. Again, as a rule of thumb then, tariffs are bad for consumers, bad for the overall economy but potentially good for individual companies in an economy.
                There are other ways of course as well as tariffs that countries can protect their own industries. Nationalised companies obviously have government support so can (generally) borrow money more cheaply. Or Labour costs can be controlled by government to help companies. Or grants, or a variety of other measures and methods that can be used. For example, the recent furore over the death of Tata Steel in the UK is often blamed on cheap imports of Chinese Steel "flooding the market". There is a huge lack of transparency around why the EU didn't stop this. The arguments (depending on which side you are on) are that the EU rules stopped the UK from intervening to help our steel industry OR the EU tried to block the chinese steel (by increasing tariffs) and the UK government stopped them from doing that. Whilst it is unclear what happened in this instance, the EU rules on this are quite clear - we could have increased tariffs at a European level to counter the protectionist measures of the Chinese. What is worth considering is whether the whole EU standing up to China would have more impact than the UK standing up to them on it's own.
             So, a single market, with common regulations and no tariffs, across a regional trading block, with an end consumer base of 500 million people. That is great because it gives companies (particularly international companies that trade across borders) certainty. Set up in Britain and access that market. Sounds pretty sweet. The main problem raised though is that in order to access that market we have to be (currently) a member of the EU. That in itself comes with a few costs. Firstly, the cost of complying with regulations as discussed above. Secondly, we have to pay to be a member of the EU. This is not a small amount of money, and the budget is set in Europe - we don't decide ourselves how much to pay. After rebate (which we do control) we pay £14 billion a year to the EU.                 That sounds like we might just be better off paying the tariffs in the first place. To put it into perspective - that is out of total UK government expenditure of £772 billion. Our payments to the EU (before looking at what they give us back in other ways) equate to 0.5% of the cost of government ( ). So less than half a penny in every pound paid in tax goes to the EU. Finally, there is a cost of being part of the EU when we try to trade with non-EU countries. Because we are members when we trade with other countries without a trade deal the EU makes us apply tariffs. This is why the EU is currently trying to agree trade deals with a range of countries - Canada, the US, China as examples. However, overall tariffs are coming down across the world - in some cases slowly, but in other cases more quickly.
              There do seem to be some other major costs too economically. One of the obvious key ones is that if you are running a business in the UK then because of the close integration of the markets you are potentially not just competing with the business next door - but also the business in Paris, Madrid and Berlin. Is this a bad thing or a good thing? Well, first of all it means that the businesses in Europe are also competing with you - you can enter and sell to their local customers. Competition should also (according to prevailing economic theory) lead to better prices for consumers and a more efficient market, innovation and better products and services. The impact of this will depend on your business - common sense would suggest it is much easier to sell "knowledge" services over a phone line or internet connection. It might be much harder to sell fresh cream cakes.
            Finally then, there is also the concern over free movement of Labour - one of the central tenets of the European model of tariffs and regulations. Now, I have already written a blog about immigration generally ( ) and I don't want to revisit a lot of those points. But being part of Europe also requires us to allow workers to seek employment in any other part of the EU without barriers to that. Is this a cost to our economy? At a very basic level it would seem intuitive that having a greater Labour pool would help companies make money. They can drive down wages and salaries by hiring people from lower paid countries to work for them. This could therefore be good for companies (and earn more money for an economy) but bad for employees. It could also transfer funds from wealthier economies to poorer economies - by individuals remitting wages back to their home country. At the same time though, we have more individuals in the country spending their money here, paying taxes here and generally because they are of working age using less public services (remember, we are only talking about working migrants). Unfortunately, I do need to refer to a study here ( ) that shows that immigrants have NOT reduced wages for the UK population. It is simply a not true assertion. BUT TAKE THAT WITH A PINCH OF SALT.
           Economically then, what is the EU? Well a single trading block that increased potential customers but also potential rivals. A law making body that creates a lot of regulations that apply to all companies irrespective of whether they trade internationally. A body that tries to reduce protectionism and tariffs for the good of the global economy, not just ours. A bloc that negotiates on our behalf with other large economies that sometimes doesn't get the results that we would want. A larger, more competitive market that companies either thrive in or fail in. And one where the free flow of Labour allows people to work across a different range of countries depending on their skills, abilities and needs. This of course sounds rosy, but then again I am for remaining in. The problem is that whether we vote to stay in or vote to leave we are picking winners and losers. Some businesses will benefit from staying in. Some will benefit from losing. What we have to do is decide is whether getting rid of or replacing the things above will benefit US as individuals / companies AND what will be the impact on the overall economy. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

If Immigration is your answer, someone has given you the wrong question

                Well, there are only 3 weeks left (ish) until probably the biggest vote any of us able to vote will take for the next 50 years. The EU referendum. As a topic, for a lot of people the single biggest turn off since the first time they realised that their parents had sex. The reason for that disengagement is varied, and consists of several strands according to various insights and polls produced for our delectation. For some people it is a lack of hard facts, for others it is the language and behaviour of both sides of the argument – spurious figures, absolute certainties shared, fears mongered. There is also some concern over the topics that the debate seems to now centre on – immigration, the economy and control / democracy.
                Now this is only a little blog, so I am going to focus in on just one of these areas – and the one that still a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about – immigration. It is probably the most pertinent and divisive of the areas. After all, where were all these democracy warriors when the referendum on proportional representation was happening? Probably best to set a few ground rules for myself though. Firstly, talking about immigration, and the volumes of immigration, and the process for managing immigration is NOT racist. Some views might be, but the subject itself isn’t. It worries a lot of people, and so is well worthy of consideration. Secondly, in any discussion about remain or leave there are a limited number of hard facts. There is only evidence and expectation, assessment and opinion. But where possible I will try to bring in what facts there are.
                A lot of the arguments about immigration really focus on one thing – the sheer VOLUME of inwards migration of people from Europe and our ability to control it to suit our needs. Indeed the UKIP Leader Nigel Farage has gone so far as to claim that Britain “is in the grip of an immigration crisis” ( ) and that we can’t do anything about it until we leave Europe – as they set our immigration policy. But we need to pick this apart in to chunks that we can consider, and see what stacks up.
                So, we should really look at whether immigration has increased to the UK firstly, and whether Britain is particularly special in this. Next we need to define what a crisis would be and whether what we are experiencing is one, and if we are, is it being caused by immigration. Finally, we should look at specifically the impact of Europe on that migration level, and whether leaving the EU would help.
                So, is immigration higher now than historically? Well, almost certainly. Various studies have been done on long term trends on migration. Just between 1960 and 2000 the growth in the number of people living outside of their birth country is 100 million. That is 100 million more migrants in just 40 years ( ). Clearly, that is a huge amount. But is this particularly surprising? Simply factoring in advances in travel, our economies (and how we work) and the increase in the middle class, you would expect more people to be living, working and settling overseas. So it is not unfair to say that we are seeing more immigration now than before. But this is part of a global trend. The problem with trying to put barriers in place for inwards migration is that those same barriers then go up for outward migration too.
                Are we taking the brunt of this immigration (from a European perspective) in the UK? Certainly there has been an ongoing attempt by the media to create a “moral panic” about Eastern European flooding to the UK to either steal our low paid jobs or live off our benefits system (or from some people, confusingly, live off our benefits AND steal our jobs). Actually, when we look across Europe we are pretty much middle of the pack in how many immigrants we have living in our country. This graph is from 2009, but is a good indication:

( ). So whilst the overall average level for the EU is 6.4%, for us it is 6.6%. Hardly evidence that we are an outlier in this case.
                Still, size isn’t everything. It is still possible this is a crisis. What should really decide that is the impact it has on the receiving country. So even though we are not receiving lots more immigrants than other countries it is how they are affecting the indigenous populations that can really have costs (and in some cases benefits). In fact the official Vote Leave campaign points out two areas in particular – the  NHS and schools ( ). But also in other areas people genuinely have concerns – availability of housing, access to jobs and the impact on our culture. All of these have been raised as problems of uncontrolled immigration.
                It is a quite simple supply / demand question. You have to do one of two things - either increase supply or reduce demand. "Get control of our borders" rhetoric is about a belief that you can reduce demand (but there are strong arguments it wouldn't have any impact). The alternative is to increase supply of all of these things.
1) The majority view of experts is that just in order to stand still in terms of housing we need to build 250,000 new homes each year. No government has achieved that since 1980. In fact, since the economic crisis in 2008 housebuilding has tanked ( table 211). And I am not suggesting we concrete over the green belt – there are £12 BILLION of empty homes in the North West alone ( )
2) When the last coalition government had an opportunity to secure the NHS and pump extra money in, they instead pushed ahead with a costly top-down re-organisation. One which makes the NHS much more privatisation-ready. ( )
3) LAs are no longer allowed to open new schools where they are needed - these can only be opened at the mercy of the open access academy system. This is purely to break the link between those dangerous left wing county councils and school leadership.
4) LA funding and social services funding has been strangled on the back of an austerity drive which has ADDED to the national debt, not taken away from it.
5) We are currently told by the government that we have the lowest unemployment figures in a long time at 5.1% and holding ( ).
So really, this crisis is not one made from too much demand, but one created by too little supply. Quite simply, our governments have created this issue. And migrants are a handy scapegoat for us to blame. Of course, all of these things have to be paid for, and have a cost to the economy too. How can we do that?
Well, migrants are actually net CONTRIBUTORS to our economy ( ) – in other words having migrants actually means we have more money to pay for services even after taking account of the cost of providing services and benefits to them. Where has this extra money gone? Over the period of tory-imposed austerity that has led to many of these cuts the government have managed to find the space to cut corporation tax to 18% - even though there is zero evidence base this brings more companies and employment. The real pressure on services has been created by the recent governments this country has had – none more so than the coalition and current governments. I don’t deny that there are crises in all of these areas – but the cause is much closer to home.
So, a fairly fact informed consideration of immigration (I hope) and we haven’t yet mentioned EU Brexit OR been racist (I REALLY hope). We should probably turn to one of those two topics now – Brexit. How much of our immigration comes from within the EU as part of freedom of movement rules? Again, trying to arm ourselves with the best facts available, the ONS reckons that EU migration makes up less than half of our inwards migration ( ). Not only that but MORE of the EU citizens coming here have definite jobs to go to than ever before (about 60%). So most of our migration comes from outside the EU, and those from within the EU come here with definite jobs. So if we could stop EU immigration we would only be stopping half of the inflow – and a half with a good track record of helping our economy.
Maybe that would be enough? Perhaps cutting immigration in half would allow our underfunded services to get back to an even keel over time, house building could pick up etc. Well, there are still a couple of major challenges with that suggestion.
The first is that a lot of those services (particularly the NHS) rely on European immigrants to fulfil their staffing requirements ( ). A lot of other areas do too – construction being another. Not a great idea when you are trying to increase housebuilding.
The second problem is that leaving the EU does not guarantee that we would be able to refuse rules on freedom of movement if we wanted to trade with Europe. All of their other local trading partners who are NOT members of the EU have had this stipulation placed on them. It is almost certainly one that the EU would place on us too. So Brexit would not in any way guarantee us the ability to stop EU migrants, whilst at the same time carrying lots of other risks. Quite simply, Brexit do not know what would happen with free movement of Labour.
So, there you have it then. It is not racist to be worried about the crises in public services, in housing and in jobs. The problem is that you have been given the wrong cause of the problem by political parties and media alike. It is much easier for you to be told the problem is economic migrants (and by extension the EU). Actually, the problem has been our own leaders. So if you are still not sure which way to vote (and that will be many people given the way the campaigns have run) do think carefully. But do one thing right – don’t make your decision based on immigration. It is the wrong argument to be focussed on.