Brexit: Four Important Questions that Have Not Been Asked

The British EU Referendum campaign has focused mainly on the economy and immigration. Four important questions have not (yet) been asked.

1. What would Brexitors do about climate change and our responsibility for the rest of creation? Before the campaign officially began, some UKIP people and Brexit (British exit from EU) supporters were saying that climate change is not important. (Not all were.) In my view, climate change and our responsibility for the planet or the rest of creation is the most important issue facing humanity today. Yet NOBODY, to my hearing, has asked Brexitors what they would do about it. Would they renege on the UK's commitment to reduce its climate change emissions by 80% by 2050? Which environmental laws that the EU has put on the UK would they repeal? We have no information on which to decide our vote.
2. Are not Britons best and most creative and inventive when challenged? So why all this warning about things possibly getting worse on Brexit? The Remain side keeps warning of dire consequences and uncertainty if the UK were to leave the EU. But history has shown that British people at their best and most creative when faced with challenges and uncertainty. It is as though when we are in a dependency and comfortable situation we get lazy and decline. So would it not be good to leave the EU in order to become less dependent? Not even the Leave side is making this point.
3. What would David Cameron promote, preserve and protect if we Brexit and he remains as Prime Minister? David Cameron, Prime Minister, has said that he would not resign if the referendum went against him, but he would stay on to manage the Brexit negotiations. But he has not said what he believes his priorities would be in the negotiations. All he has done is to be part of the warning about dire consequences of leaving. Surely, however, if he intends to stay on, we voters have a right and reasonable expectation that he would explain what he would make priority in negotiations?
4. Why is there so much talk about our 'interests' and so little about this prosperous country's responsibility to build a better world? The UK is the fifth strongest economy in the world, and it has huge influence, and leads in many things. Surely the UK has a responsibility to the rest of the world. It expressed that responsibility when it took the lead to bind itself with a legal requirement to reduce climate change emissions by 80% by 2050. But during the Brexit campaign, the tone has been almost 100% about self-interest and self-protection. I have heard NOBODY countering this with a serious statement about our responsibility to the rest of the world.


Instead, the debate has focused almost exclusively on the economy and immigration. In particular, over the past month there has been a continuous stream from the Remain side warning of various possible dire consequences if the UK leaves the EU, and the response of the Leave side has been merely to dismiss it.

With less than two weeks to go to polling day, I find the debate so far very unsatisfactory. Not only have the four important questions above not been asked, but the claims made have been deeply flawed.

Example 1 (from the Leave side). Some weeks ago it was reported that the Leave side had said that the UK would have 350 million per week to spend on the NHS or whatever it wanted if the UK left the EU. 350m, however, is how much we pay per week into the EU, but the UK gets a considerable amount of that back in the shape of farm subsidies, etc. We would still have to pay for those, so 350m per week would NOT be available for the NHS.

Example 2 (from the Remain side): A fortnight ago, the Remain side stated that the Leave side had made "unfunded commitments" of 110 Bn UKP; the Leave side had not said where this amount of money was coming from. It is much more than 350m per week. What they had done was search for all the times that a Leave campaigner (national or local) had said "The money we would not send to the EU could be used for X", treated these "could be"s as "firm commitments" and totalled them up, to get the figure of 110 Bn.

Personal stance: I have always tended to be a Leave supporter (including in 1975). But actually, I do not mind which way we go, as long as our responsibility for the rest of creation and the world is acted on. What concerns me more is the tone and poor quality of the debate. That is why I am putting out this web page.

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Compiled by Andrew Basden 12 June 2016.