With both the Stronger In and Vote Leave campaigns full of fear mongering and scare stories, the EU referendum, even for those involved in politics, is becoming extremely tedious. But the Leave campaign's inability to provide the electorate with facts, and the replacement of facts with guesswork, is characterised by a Vote Leave leaflet that has been making its rounds across the country.
Vote Leave claim that the NHS would benefit from an extra £100 million every week if Britain voted Leave next Thursday. But, with a pro-austerity, Conservative government at the helm, a Brexit would undoubtedly damage the NHS. In the event of a Brexit, it is likely, with Tory infighting unlikely to stop, Boris Johnson would ascend to the throne of leader of the Conservative Party, if Cameron fell. Johnson has previously called for the privatisation of the NHS, claiming that people would value the system more if they paid for it. To trust Johnson with the existence of the NHS is ludicrous, let alone expecting him to pump more money into it. Even the so-called 'compassionate Conservatives' have reduced the NHS to crisis, with junior doctors taking industrial action, fewer nurses and the amount of people waiting more than 4 hours in A&E being the highest since 2004. Vote Leave are attempting to use the NHS and TTIP to further their case, but with the current government and a prospective Labour government both saying the NHS would be exempt from any TTIP deal, it is difficult for Brexiters to be taken seriously on this issue.
The audacity of Vote Leave to give warnings over the economy is even more laughable than their claims on the NHS. The British market is showing jitters already, with Leave ahead in the last 6 polls by an average of 4 points. Big losses have already been had across Europe, with the FTSE 100 down to its lowest point since February and the pound down by 1% already. With the market already on its way to another downturn, how Leave can make such ridiculous claims that a Brexit would create 300,000 new jobs is beyond the realms of my imagination. With Britain's leading trade unions getting behind Labour's call to vote Remain, a Brexit would go nowhere close to creating jobs, as businesses withdraw investment from Britain and smaller businesses have to let staff go. Regardless of the inevitable economic shock that would be felt across Britain, Brexiters claim that we would still have access to the single market is undermined by the fact that Britain would still have to adhere to EU rules to stay in the common market. As a share of exports, Britain's economy is largely dependent on the EU due to decimation of British industry and lack of manufacturing growth.
While a Brexit would inevitably damage the British economy, and that of many countries in Europe, Vote Leave's claim that British security is being damaged by our membership of the European Union is somehow even more ludicrous. The loss of shared intelligence with other EU member states and the loss of access to the European Arrest Warrant would cause a major dent in British security confidence. Our borders have been bolstered by the European Arrest Warrant, which has been used in conjunction with over 13,000 arrests involving the UK since 2004. Without the sharing of intelligence and ability to bring some very dangerous criminals from across Europe to justice, British security would be damaged, terrorism would be more likely to succeed and our families and friends would be in danger.
It is in no doubt that Vote Leave is trying to make this debate about immigration. As one of the most important issues to voters in the last couple of decades, it is important that Stronger In, and particularly Labour In for Britain, listen to the electorate's concerns if they want to have any legitimacy in the debate. But, the Vote Leave obsession with Turkey joining the European Union is also totally unfounded. The mass amount of democratic, economic and social criteria included in the Copenhagen criteria means that Turkey will not be joining the EU any time soon. This alongside tensions with Cyprus that don't seem to be making progress, Turkey's concerning human rights record and a lack of domestic support in Turkey itself for membership is leading to the assumption that Turkey have some years to go until they can even have a chance of joining the European Union. Even if all these problems are cleared up, which they show no sign of doing, every member of the EU has a veto for new members during the accession process, including Britain. With public support in most EU states overwhelmingly against Turkish membership, it is unlikely that any European government would risk their popularity by not using their veto if it was such a large issue in their country.
Turkey's 76 million people will not be joining the EU, regardless of whether Britain votes to leave on the 23rd June or not. Gordon Brown's largely positive intervention has taken the fear mongering away from the Stronger In campaign and has handed the reigns over to Labour, who are focussing on the positive case for EU membership through worker's rights, the NHS and what Europe does for British employment. 'Project fear' has been evident on both sides up until the former prime minister's intervention, and has not resonated with the electorate. Brown is right when he says Britain should 'lead, not leave' the European Union, with Vote Leave throwing out spurious claims on the economy, the NHS and British security. Vote Leave suggestions that life would be better if Britain votes to leave the EU is unfounded nonsense, and a hardline Tory-led Brexit could never live up to the presumptive promises they are currently making.