A few weeks back the Guardian permitted a sad scaremongering article from Professor Stephen Peers of Essex University. I tried to give a question to professor Peers in the EU LIBE committee two weeks ago but was denied asking him to be transparent about how much his department and university has received from the EU. We understand it to be many millions. Could this have perhaps coloured his view. Surely receipt of EU lucre doesn't lend one to support it wholeheartedly?
As a lawyer who has travelled throughout Europe and over 40 countries worldwide I wanted to respond to his 10 points with the sane logical reply. Here is my response:
1. Travelling in the EU
Contrary to Professor Peer's belief, we certainly would be able to travel around Europe with ease after leaving the EU. Technology and a few forms may need to be applied but wow, that's such a hardship isn't it. Just like going to America or Hong Kong or Turkey or indeed most other non EU countries. All I need is a visa and I'm away. The question is with the EU in desperate need for UK citizens spending power to bolster their decimated economies I doubt it would even come to having visas with some countries in the EU. Sorry Stephen not afraid here.
2. Moving to another EU country to live, work or retire
This point is brought up time after time and I still find it rather funny that Europhiles see this as an issue. Get this pesky Brits Spain will stop you moving and living there immediately, Germany is going to prevent those high tech Space scientists from coming over or car engineers? The EU is going to make it impossible for Brits to work in their countries?. Hundreds of thousands of Brits, live and work in Australia Canada, US and across the world far more than do in Europe. Somehow not being in a political union hasn't stopped them. Once again. The EU may do something, may put visas, or application forms, but prevent us from living there. Only scaremongers would believe that.
This is same as above isn't it separate out work and retire and if so put in the amount 450k of retirees and department of pension's money into the economy.
3. The second home on the Med?
To even think this is a key issue for most Brits is beyond ridiculous, even if it was a big issue for most Brits, it quite simply isn't true, no sensible country would ever ban a non EU UK from buying second homes, this is a desperate line. No country would stop Brits legally buying homes and putting money back into their economy.
4. Consumer rights
Consumer rights wouldn't just vanish over night with a NO vote. Britain pioneered consumer rights and we have one of the most advanced systems in the world. Instead 0of having to negotiate with 27 other countries and go through the tiresome process of commission, counsel and parliament the UK would have a swifter and more streamlined process of introducing rules relevant to us. Martyn Lewis and other champions would find it easier to pressurise companies here than those that can hide behind the EU lobbying system.
5. Trade with the EU
Trade wouldn't be effect in any way, shape or form. William Dartmouth MEP succinctly set out the trade would continue very successfully after Brexit. After all you will still buy French wine and German cars without import tax. Let's remember the EU need us more than we need them in trade terms, Germany sells us more than we sell them to simply put it, Germany aren't going to stop selling their cars to us and France won't stop selling us their wines and cheeses. Being outside the EU would allow us to set up our own real free trade agreements that is what we wanted in the first place not a failing political customs union and costly regulatory single market.
6. Trade with the rest of the world
In the two years of transferring powers back we would easily replace current trade deals, and I'm confident within two years we could even sign a trade deal with China, something which the EU still hasn't. While we're in the EU our trade with non EU member states is severely harmed, we must break free from the restrictive shackles of the EU. We need real free trade, not what this failing customs union offers.
7. Family issues, maintenance and divorce
This was one of the most bizarre of Stephens pieces with excessive use of the modal verb might. A classic fear mongers tool. Family issues are very complex and the UK has developed a strong body of legislation and common law. EU law on top is not needed except for lawyers who want to drag out cases in Europe for larger fees. We would still have maintenance payment laws, as we would still have the simplification on divorce laws. To put it simply, people need not worry about this.
8. Pay, holidays, maternity and paternity leave
To even suggest Parliament wouldn't keep laws on these areas is ridiculous and quite frankly clutching at straws. All laws, not just these ones mentioned, that had an EU aspect would of course need to be reviewed as Parliament would need to take precedent over EU. What a radical idea. Parliament would review laws and retain those that have an important UK need and relevance for its people.
9. Clean beaches and the environment
There may be demands to reduce the regulatory burden and it may even be reduced when it comes to the environment but to suggest as Steve does that we would have basic cleanliness on beaches if we left the EU is just simply incorrect. We would still have clean beaches if we left the EU, not to worry, people.
As a lawyer the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is the most odious of all the law and justice provisions the EU has come up with. It is the same law that has seen innocent people dragged off to foreign countries with no ability of our courts to test the weak (if any evidence), no provision for legal aid, costs or compensation when people are freed. If there is any joy in leaving the EU this is it and restoration of the extradition process where justice may take time but it is better served than not at all. Yes our police services can cooperate and yes we can work internationally with countries but not with this procedure. Freedom and liberty are things we should treasure and not glibly hand away as restoring them is hellishly difficult.