Europe – in or out?

This is not a simple question. For many on the political left, the EU is simply a rich man’s club – there to bolster the dominant position of banks and finance capital and to put pressure on member states that attempt to expand the state sector or resist EU-imposed austerity measures – as the people of Greece are finding to their cost. If Britain were to elect a left-wing government, the EU would not be helpful.

On the other hand, many on the political right (notably UKIP and right-wing Tories) view the EU as an interfering creation of the liberal left, imposing human rights and environmental legislation to prevent big business doing  whatever it pleases to do to maximise its profits.

Both viewpoints contain more than a grain of truth and it is hard to decide whether the overall impact of the EU on our lives is for better or worse.  Living as we do in Wales, we are net beneficiaries of EU funds designed to assist poorer regions – if we lived in London and the South East (UKIP-land) we might well be net losers.

I know that candidates for an election are supposed to have a ready answer for every question but, on this one, I admit to being a “Don’t know yet”. If there is to be a referendum based on xenophobic prejudice, it’s likely I would vote to stay in. If there is not to be an in/out referendum, we need to make the most of the many good aspects of the EU and do whatever is possible to minimise its bad aspects.


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