In, out, or just bloody confused by Brexit? Let’s break it down
Everyone’s talking about the EU referendum and whether or not Britain should exit Europe (Brexit. See what they did there?) Are you in, or are you out? From shouty politicians to random celebs sharing slightly gross pictures of their innie or outie belly buttons (sorry, what?) and condescending ‘youth appeal’ campaigns telling us we should be votin’ as well as ravin’, chattin’ and chilln’ or whatever it is we young folk do. Sigh. But amidst all the noise, what are the facts?
Next week Marie Claire is exclusively bringing together the two official campaigners: Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave. In one corner we’ll have Lucy Thomas, deputy director for Stronger In, and in the other corner, we’ll have Munira Mirza, former deputy mayor for education and culture and representative of Vote Leave. To help us all decide how best to use our vote on June 23rd (and we really, really must vote, guys. Register here) we will be asking them the most important questions on how young women will be affected by staying or leaving the EU.
How safe will my job be? Will my maternity rights get stripped away? Will I ever be able to buy a flat? Is the price of my holiday (and using my mobile abroad) going to skyrocket? If it’s important to you, then it matters how you vote. Tweet us your questions @marieclaireuk using the hashtag #MCInorOut and we’ll get you some answers. Until then, here are the basics so far…
So, what exactly is the EU referendum?
It’s a yes/ no vote, essentially, that all British, Irish and Commonwealth UK residents of legal voting age (over 18) can participate in on June 23rd. The outcome of which determines whether we remain in the EU or whether we leave and go it alone. The EU (European Union) is a political collective of 28 European countries that allows goods and people to move freely around all EU states. It has its own parliament, an overlord if you will, that makes laws for all member states and their governments, including ours at the moment.
It’s David v Boris (kind of). Who wins? You decide!
Okay, but why all of a sudden is this happening now?
Ah, that’ll be David Cameron. As part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto in the 2015 General Election, he promised to hand the power back to us, the voters, to decide whether we wanted in or out of the EU. Incidentally, he would like us to remain. Though his fellow Conservative MP and former London Mayor Boris Johnson wants out. Awks, right?
What does everyone else think?
It’s totally down to the individual, obvs (hurrah for democracy) and recent opinion polls show that it’s pretty neck and neck as far as the British public go. About half of all Conservative MP’s, including five cabinet ministers, several Labour MPs and the DUP are in favour of leaving, whereas UKIP, which won the last European elections and received 13% of all votes cast are campaigning for a Brexit. As you can imagine, the world and his wife (and Katie Hopkins) want their say on the debate. Here’s a breakdown of who thinks what…
David Cameron, Prime Minister
George Osbourne, Chancellor
Theresa May, Home Secretary
Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary
Sajid Javid, Business Secretary
Justine Greening, International Development Secretary
Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary
Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party
Helena Bonham Carter
Karren Brady: a dedicated innie
Boris Johnson, MP and former London Mayor
Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary
Chris Grayling, Commons Leader
John Whittingdale, Culture Secretary
Theresa Villiers, Northern Ireland
Michael Gove, Justice Secretary
Priti Patel, Minister of State for Employment
Sir Michael Caine
So what are the main arguments for staying in?
Those in favour of EU membership say the Single Market benefits every British household by around £3,000 a year and that the UK has more influence in the modern world as part of the EU. There’s also the argument of businesses having less trade restrictions within the EU and freedom of movement for people to live and work. Since David Cameron renegotiated Britain’s membership in early 2016, he argues that Britain already has a ‘special status’ within the EU giving us more control over issues such as limiting benefits for migrant workers, running our own affairs, safeguarding London’s financial services and keeping the British pound.
And what are the main cases for leaving?
Campaigners to leave argue that the substantial cost of EU membership could be better reinvested in the UK’s public services, such as hospitals and schools. They also want to regain control over the UK’s borders and migration, to reduce the number of people coming to the UK to work. Leave campaigners argue that Britain could be a stronger force for international trade on their own than as part of the EU.
Is the referendum a feminist issue?
Of course, in that it affects both women and men equally. But more than that, the outcome of this vote could directly impact our job security, maternity rights, holiday allowance, access to health services, protection by law against discrimination, affordable housing and travel in Europe amongst other things.
Okay, I’ve heard everybody else’s opinions, but where do I find the impartial facts to make up my own mind?
– This week, tweet us your questions @marieclaireuk using the hashtag #MCinorout
– Follow #MCinorout on Twitter on Thursday 9th June to be part of our debate between Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave. You can watch the full video on marieclaire.co.uk soon.
– Read David Torrance’s brilliant, no bulls**t book EU Referendum 2016: A Guide For Voters (Luath Press, £5.99)
– Watch the televised debates on BBC Question Time on 15th June and 21st June
Now where do I tick that box?
Register to vote here by 7th June. If you already registered for the 2015 General Election then expect your ballot paper to arrive soon.