Students have their say on the future of Europe

Having difficulties deciding how to vote on Thursday in the EU referendum? Let us help you decide by reading two opposing opinion pieces from students at the RSA Academy in Tipton; Hannah and Megan.

Hannah is arguing that the UK should remain in the European Union and Megan that the UK should leave.  

Hannah says:

The European Union.  An exclusive economic and political partnership conceived following the end of World War II to foster economic co-operation across a broad range of twenty eight prosperous countries.  However, I’m sure that the sudden explosion of media coverage regarding our relationship with the EU has rendered you bewildered by the shameful level of corrupt claims, baffling statistics, and even more perplexing opinions.  Is our membership to this phenomenal establishment really in jeopardy?  Unfortunately, a minority of disconcerted individuals take our countries incredible wealth and prosperity for granted, incredulously claiming that we are better off going alone and ignorantly turning a blind eye to the treasures that the EU provides us with. It is expected that if we turn our back on the EU, a terrifying 3 million jobs could be lost.  Surely this alone boasts just how valuable our membership to the union really is?  Not to mention our unique trade agreements with all twenty eight countries, which eradicates tax on all products manufactured in any of the member countries, ultimately providing us with cheaper products.  Don’t you like to enjoy a cup of Italian coffee every now and then?  Undoubtedly, all products imported from Europe would experience a stupendous inflation, so be prepared for the cost of your weekly shop to reflect this decision.  As if this isn’t enough, a post EU Britain is destined to send mortgages soaring and wages plummeting.  If managing your finances has become an elementary and tedious task and you would like an extra challenge, an independent Britain is for you.  On the other hand, if financial security is more up your street, then don’t deny the insurmountable benefits that we gain from the EU.

Aside from a collapsed economy, a post-EU Britain is undeniably vulnerable to the abundant threats of the 21st century.  Do you take your own and your family’s safety for granted?  Working with our closest neighbours we are able to tackle horrifying threats such as terrorism and cross-border crime.  Alone, we are exposed to a series of innumerable threats: the security of our country would be jeopardy.  Would you sleep at night if you were exposed to such perils?  Before casting your vote, consider the impact that the Brexit would have on international relations, rendering our defenceless country susceptible to the terrifying aggression of former allies.  As quoted by American President, Barack Obama, ‘the EU makes Britain even greater,’ shielding us from the horrors of the modern day, and transforming our country into a sanctuary of serenity.  The European Union is described by many as an ‘important pillar of security’ which not only gives us immunity from threats, but allows us to establish our power and influence in Europe.  Why would we give up our say in European affairs?

Additionally, life without the EU is an obscure mystery.  In my opinion surrendering our authoritative position and guaranteed prosperity for a desolate future of humble beginnings is simply preposterous.  Our potential for growth would cease, whilst our current economy will be plunged into a terminal state, incapable of expansion, the only alteration an inferior one.  It cannot be denied that our imperative trade agreements are an essential aspect of our alliance with the rest of Europe; they are the glue which cultures our relationship with the other member countries, ultimately they prevent us from going to war.  To sever these ties would be to plant seeds of conflict, controversy and corruption.  As a member of the EU, we are not only ensconced from external violence, but immune to rivalry from within Europe itself.  Is this not the perpetual state of serenity which European countries have strived for throughout history?  Don’t be responsible for the cultivation of conflict, safeguard our serenity.

Undoubtedly, disconcerted citizens promoting an independent Britain carry a contrasting basket of advice, claiming that their wisdom will allow for a better future for our country.  They may claim that leaving Europe would enable us to gain full control of our own borders, stemming the flow of immigrants and consequently boosting our economy.  Personally, I consider this shameful.  As one of the most influential countries in the world, should we not be embracing our multicultural society?  The range of nationalities which reside in Britain is something we should be proud of. Furthermore, when considered carefully, the rash claims that immigration ruins our economy can quickly be dismissed.  A steady flow of immigration actually fuels our economy, offering the potential for financial growth and creating new jobs.  It is estimated that 3 million jobs are related to trade with the rest of Europe, which surely boasts of its importance.  In addition to this, a post EU Britain would see flights to Europe soaring in price.  If you enjoy family holidays, be prepared for the cost of your visit to exceed its worth.

It can also be argued that the EU membership fees simply aren’t worth the benefits they provide.  However, this 8.6 billion pounds a year buys us financial and physical security, an escalating economy, cheaper products, and ultimately respect from external countries.  Moreover, it has been confirmed that if we remain a member of the EU, we are permitted to keep the pound, which is an incredible advantage due to its high worth.

To conclude, although compromises will undoubtedly have to be made, it is in our interest to remain in the European Union which is essential for our trade, economy, security and influence.  Don’t deny Britain of this opportunity.  How would you like to be responsible for the failure of our economy?  When making your decision, consider the effect on you and your family carefully. Vote for physical and emotional security.  Vote for the EU.

Hannah: I am in Year 10 and my favourite subject is English.

I find the EU Referendum interesting, as despite controversy and conflicting opinions, the debate has, in its own individual way united Britain, with campaigners for both sides fighting for what they believe is the best for our country. The passion expressed by both politicians and the public is inspiring; highlighting their devotion towards Britain and really emphasising how much is at stake. Undoubtedly, it is a rare opportunity to influence the future of your country, which combined with the frequent media coverage, provides an abrupt reminder of how the decision, for better or for worst, will have a huge impact on our lives.

Megan says:

The ongoing argument of whether or not the UK leaves the European Union is a serious issue that affects all of us.

Did you know it costs the UK £8.5 billion a year to stay in the EU? That’s your hard earned money given away to other countries when it could be spent on improving our own. You may ask why this money is being spent, well, it is given to the EU to secure Great Britain as a part of it and to show that the UK is a strong and respectable country. But why should we pay them to think that when our economy and country in general is better all of the other members of the EU? Leaving the EU would give the country more money, give you more money, in what way is that not best for us? Best for you?

Identity, independence, pride. These are just a few things we will earn if we leave the EU. Our country is represented by the lion, a strong and proud animal, but where is the pride in paying billions to be a part of a community that relies on you, when we could be our own country, richer and free of restraints? Independence would give the UK respect, power, wealth and so much more. Leaving the European Union would prove that the UK does not need other countries to stay afloat, but can thrive on its own and, in my opinion that would give me pride. I would be proud to live in an independent and strong country that listens to its people. Would you?

Some people have stated that economic migrants coming into our country actually help the economy by working. This may be true. But, it does not diminish the fact that these migrants have come from poorer countries for our wealth, taking our jobs and homes. Can we not help our own economy by working in our own country, then the jobless can work, cutting benefits as they now have jobs, saving the country money to improve itself.

Fear of the unknown. Inexperience and not knowing exactly what will happen is enough to put people off leaving the EU, which is understandable. But it’s the fear that cuts deeper than the knife. We could stay in the EU, out of fear, and regret and wonder what it would have been like if we left, but what is the point in that? Fear is uncertainty and doubt, fear of leaving the EU is doubt in the strength of Great Britain. We could have a better life, but if you let fear get in the way you will never know. Are we a country that fears what they don’t know for certain, or are we the country that bears the fearless lion?

You. Your European Union. Your choice. Your future. David Cameron has given you the power with this referendum, so take it. Or leave it. I can’t stop you. It’s your choice, your future, and you have the power. But as a citizen of Great Britain, so do I. What do you choose?

Megan: I’m in Year 10 and am interested in the whole EU referendum debate as the outcome will determine all aspects of our life. It will be interesting to see what develops.  My favourite subject at school is art and in the future I hope to have a career in Art & Design.  I’m currently reading Game of Thrones and love it!