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Opinion: Why I Will Be Voting ‘Remain’ in the EU Referendum

Published on: 14 May, 2016
Updated on: 15 May, 2016
Nils Christiansen

Cllr Nils Christiansen

By Nils Christiansen

Conservative ward councillor for Holy Trinity

This article is the first of a series of five setting out my personal views on a very important voting decision. I have written them in the hope of stimulating some reasoned debate, and I hope that others, from all sides, will do the same.

The EU Referendum on June 23 is one of the most important voting choices we have been asked to make for many years. The consequences of our decision will reach far beyond our shores, and shape the character of our island nation for many generations.

Most often when we put our cross on a ballot paper, we do so safe in the knowledge that if our faith proves misplaced we can simply change our minds and choose differently in four or five years time.

But changing our minds after the EU Referendum will not be an option. You can be certain that if we vote to leave we won’t be invited back, since such a decision would require unanimity amongst the remaining EU States. This would be inconceivable for many years after a ‘Leave’ vote.

EU&UK FlagsOne thing that all sides in the debate can agree on is that the EU plays a significant part in our lives. All but the most churlish would agree that there are both positive and negative aspects to the relationship, so the real question for June is whether the negatives so outweigh the positives that we are prepared to make such an irreversible choice.

This requires careful and considered thought at all levels of our society. In particular I believe our elected representatives should seek to contribute usefully to the debate, and be prepared to offer an opinion.

Opinion Logo 2I used to be a committed Euro-enthusiast. Many years ago I even came close to working in the European Commission. I thought I had secured a postgraduate internship in the EU Competition Directorate, but it transpired that Jacques Delors wanted one of his own in the role so I lost out to French nepotism.

“Typical EU!” I hear from the Ukipers and half my own Conservative party, but is it really so different to how such roles are secured here? Over the years I have learnt to see the EU as a grouping of countries all jostling to ensure that the organisation works in what they perceive to be their own national interest.

Sometimes this works well, and at other times less well. What I do not see is an overweening and malign EU Super State – do you really think the French, for example, would ever allow themselves to be less ‘French’?

So how should one come to a reasoned decision in June?

We need to look at the advantages and disadvantages of continued EU membership, then try to imagine what the alternative would look like. I will explain in a following series of articles why I believe  it is right for the country, right for Guildford, and most importantly right for future generations to vote remain on  June 23.

See also: Why I Will Be Voting To Leave The EU

Nils Christiansen’s next article will be on, ‘The perceived problems of EU Membership’.


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Responses to Opinion: Why I Will Be Voting ‘Remain’ in the EU Referendum

  1. Henry Gilbert Reply

    May 15, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    I am proud to be sovereign British at any cost. However, let us discuss the negatives and positives of being a member of the EU.

    Perhaps the concept of the EU is good, but not the way the EU is run by the unelected commissioners with powers to dictate any directive or EU court ruling over the UK courts.

    Angela Merkel decided to allow two million migrants in without consulting the EU members and wanted to force quotas on every country. The UK has to pay half a billion pounds as a result.

    Germany decided to shut down Greek banks and force them to surrender and sign the proposed EU deal and sell their assets to German companies. Is this democracy or autocracy on top of the EU bureaucracy?

    Eventually, they will allow Turkey to join the EU and as we know Turkey is a dictatorship and maybe it matches the German agenda.

    UK representation in the EU is 11 per cent with no veto powers, although the UK is the second largest economy in Europe and fifth in the world. Even Junker said once, by mistake, the UK do not need the EU.

    We will be better off if we leave. Cameron negotiated and got nothing. If this is the best Cameron could do we have no say in the EU.

    The UK is a great country that has survived before and will survive again, no matter what happens.

    Scaremongering that it will be doom and gloom is not working, and the grassroots do not care because they have nothing to lose; only big businesses care because remaining in the EU suits their business.

  2. Colin Davies Reply

    May 16, 2016 at 12:31 am

    The EU is trying to unify Europe under a single “authority”, but not like Hitler’s or Napoleon’s but like that of George Washington, John Adams and their followers, starting with just 13 states. And that enterprise has hardly been a failure. America’s States accepted what we are being given the chance to stay with, 227 years ago. The Brexit campaign should learn from history.

  3. John Armstrong Reply

    May 16, 2016 at 2:16 am

    Nils Christiansen sounds so reasonable, so balanced. He makes us “Kippers” seem like a load of hysterics; and I must say that when I look at the EU I want to run screaming into the night. I just wonder which EU Nils sees? It’s certainly not the one that I see.

    The ‘Remain’ camp behave as if we are just about to join the EU. They are excited, and seem to feel that once we vote to remain there will be a new dawn, a brave new world indeed, and that there will be loads of lovely jobs and sparkling opportunity for our young people.

    It’s a lovely vision isn’t it – and I’m sorry to burst the bubble – but we have been in the EU now for forty years, we know what IN looks like, and you really have to wipe your eyes, and ask; what happened? Where are all those jobs, all that opportunity we were promised in 1975? Just, as now, in exchange for our yes.

    Why were not our young graduates and engineers flooding into the EU like a plague of locust, buying up their utilities and their infrastructure, building their nuclear power stations, building their bridges. The answer to that of course is that the Europeans were not stupid enough to allow it. Look to Westminster for a view of those who were.

    So what did we get for our yes in ’75? Eventually, after decades of attrition, we got: the biggest financial crash since the 1930s, over a £ trillion national debt, utilities sold off, expertise sold off, millions on part time work, a low wage economy, wage compression, whole industries decimated, defence decimated, school places squeezed, NHS under pressure, infrastructure under pressure, housing under pressure, and food banks in 2016.

    That’s not to mention criminal gangs from the four corners of the earth that make our own criminals look like babes in the wood. Come back Ronnie, come back Reggie all is forgiven. Who would have believed it?

    What of mainland Europe then? Well, it’s a sorry tale, and a situation getting worse. The Euro is about to collapse, Greece has collapsed, another bail out in the wings; enter stage left, youth unemployment in the southern states between forty and fifty percent, uncontrolled migration on a scale the world, never mind Europe, has ever seen, decimation of industry, (except for Germany who are OK until we stop buying their Mercs) the rise of the far right, terrorism, social unrest.

    I could go on but surely that is enough. Surely enough is enough. How could anyone want to sign up to all of that – let alone campaign to do so?

    John Armstrong is the chairman of Guildford Ukip

    • David Pillinger Reply

      May 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      To comment on John Armstrong’s post, the last 30 years have seen Britain evolve from basket case of the world to one of the most flexible economy attracting the best companies and people (i.e. migrants) to work, innovate, create wealth, pay taxes and make Britain the great nation that it is. This all happened with Britain being at the heart of the EU.

      You couldn’t make up Ukip’s arguments if you tried.

      David Pillinger is an organiser of the Guildford and Surrey ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ campaign.

  4. Peta Malthouse Reply

    May 16, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    I wish to thank David Pillinger. I was beginning to think I was surrounded by the Boris Johnson version of politics. If you make up statistics and issue statement of opinion based on little fact, and say them long and loud, people begin to accept them as if they are facts.

    It is the Donald Trump version of political debate -look good, tell jokes (and if Ukip) have a pint with the journalists and they will believe anything.

    The people who have moved into EU are mainly refugees on invitation. A whole pile of others have tried to use it as an opportunity to get in but these are the ones that are being filtered out and returned to Turkey in exchange for another refugee from a camp.

    We are not allowing Turkey to join EU, we are talking about the residents being allowed to travel to the Schengen area, not the UK, without requiring a visa.

    The UK enjoys this status with other non EU countries and the rules usually involve production of a return ticket, address, entrance for purpose of a holiday, valid passport to cover all the time they are will stay – I could go on.

    They will not be able to overstay and they will still need a visa to come here. Turkey has been refused visaless entry to the UK for 20 years and no one can see that changing except the Daily Mail and Brexiteers. Oh, and we do not have the Euro either.

    Do you know what? I like the protection it has given employees and consumers and the welfare commitments and the environmental policies it has developed. The reason why? Because it is good for us and our children and grandchildren and if we had relied on our ever more remote Westminster politicians we would not have got any protections and planning for the future.

    Sovereignty? Just call it what it is the Brexiteers want more power over us and to avoid their obligations to us.

  5. John Perkins Reply

    May 17, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    The USA began its existence by conducting a war against Britain to gain its independence. It followed that with a failed invasion of Canada and then a successful invasion of Mexico. After that it endured a bitter civil war when some states tried to break away from the Union.

    Throughout, it forced the indigenous people off their lands. Later it conducted a war against Spain from which it gained colonies and, later still, fought against the Philippines to retain that conquest. It’s success cannot be doubted, but it was born in violence and I for one do not wish to learn from its example.

    The UK economy has certainly improved since the late 70s, although there is no evidence that the “being at the heart of the EU” was responsible.

    The entity that is now the EU did not exist until 1992 – 30 years ago it was the EC. However, the economic disaster of the past 10 years very definitely happened while ‘at the heart of the EU’.

    Am I to assume that refugees are welcome if they are invited in by the German Chancellor, but are otherwise to be shown no sympathy?

    Turkey has long been supported by the UK in its effort to gain membership of the EU and has been officially recognised as a candidate for some 15 years. It’s difficult and controversial, but the assumption must be that Turkey will one day join.

    We do indeed not have the Euro, though we are liable for some of the financial problems it has brought those who have. Furthermore, it seems highly likely that we will be asked to adopt it if we remain in the EU – ‘ever closer union’ means just that.

    “Brexiteers” want freedom from the EU and there is no reason at all to assert that they want to avoid any obligations.

  6. Gordon Bridger Reply

    June 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Alas, it is a myth that we have done well economically in the EU – not so since 1995 when our trade deficit was £11 billion. It is now around £75 billion. It is true that our exports have increased to them by 3 to 5% per year, but theirs, to us, have increased by 6.5%. So it is not all that good. Meanwhile we have run a trade surplus with the rest of the world.

    And we have paid for this “privilege” by subsidising French and German farmers and ruining our fisheries.

    The huge economic scare stories seem to assume that the EU will stop trading with us.

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