The EU referendum, will, no doubt, be the topic of endless debate between now and June. However, the issues that need to be considered center largely around which decision will benefit Britain and its general public as a whole, not just in the immediate aftermath, but in the long-term.
It is abundantly clear that the changes Cameron has negotiated are not entirely relevant to the issues most British people face; Corbyn states as such in his piece featured on the Guardian, and references such issues as Cameron's lack of focus on refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk, namely the migration crisis. Additionally, other terms make it clear that Cameron's focus has been on appeasing his Conservative opponents, not the wider general interest - a point that Corbyn acknowledges. Whilst I am all for Labour's campaign to build a Europe of sustainable growth, I do not agree with Corbyn that we should remain in the EU.
My reasoning is based on more than scare-mongering tactics, however. Duncan Smith's comment that Britain will be more exposed to Paris-style terror attacks if it stays in the EU blows the whole issue out of proportion. There is not a hard link between the migration crisis and Islamic extremist terrorism; it is pure paranoia to suggest that immigrants will come and plot in the UK as a result of open borders. This is not a good enough justification to leave the EU and close all borders, and it is a diabolical tactic to instil fear in the British public in order to aid a Brexit campaign. Indeed, these claims echo those of Nigel Farage, who stated that the EU puts Britain at risk of terrorists coming through the borders, posing as migrants. An interest in safety is, of course, paramount, in regards to terrorism, however, it is questionable whether membership of the EU has a direct effect on national security.
Boris Johnson's piece in the Telegraph is well written, but one must question his motives for joining the Brexit campaign. Is he championing #VoteLeave in order to get the public to champion #VoteBoJo further down the line? Regardless, many of his key points are valid.
An important aspect to consider is trade. Indeed, leaving the EU would make it essential to negotiate a new trading relationship. Strong trading links could be maintained by taking on a model such as that used by the Swiss - negotiating trade treaties on a sector-by-sector basis. Alternatively, a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU could be formed; one that is like the Swiss model fundamentally, but offers better access for financial services and more input into the implementation of rules and standards.
The pro-EU campaign states that the notion of an "amicable divorce" between Britain and the EU is a fanciful scheme; however, while it is true that it could take years to form a comprehensive free trade agreement, the warning of a potential trade war and the subsequent possible crippling of Britain's export industries is merely further implementation of the fear tactic. Such a situation can be avoided if dealt with carefully and amicably.
In terms of employment, there would be a benefit for small and medium companies who don't engage in EU trade if Britain were to leave. Indeed, firms would be freed from EU regulations. The concept of employment suffering is a myth; the Institute of Economic Affairs published in a report that the millions of jobs reportedly "at risk" are associated with trade, as opposed to political union membership. There is no basis on which to report that trade would be reduced on a substantial level between British businesses and European consumers, were Britain to leave the EU.
UKIP's work permit system, based on Britain leaving, would mean that EU nationals face the same visa restrictions as those outside the EU. This would lower population growth substantially, create job opportunities for British workers, produce a boost in wages and put less pressure on public services.
Boris Johnson essentially stresses in his piece that leaving the EU isn't anti-Europe, and informs us that the potential pitfalls of leaving the EU are there, but have been exaggerated. In the long run, Britain would gain more independence. It is worth remembering that quickly negotiating a large number of trade details is not impossible; existing treaties are in force for at least two years.
Essentially, every action has consequences - the key is figuring out how to evaluate and tackle them. It is clear that Boris Johnson has caused a storm in ignoring the PM and advocating Brexit; however, regardless of motivation, I am in support of the concept of taking a leap of faith and giving Britain the chance to negotiate its own independence and economic growth, instead of bowing down to pass on decisions to another party.