VERSA | Why the Oxford left should back Brexit

Sadly not. While the Labour party was busy turning a blind eye, the EU became a mouthpiece for big business. There are now over 30,000 political lobbyists in Brussels, second only to Washington, D.C.. The EU is fantastic for them because it is an extra step further away from ordinary workers and students like ourselves. You can meet an unelected EU Commissioner in secret and influence the future direction of EU policy. Sounds about as democratic as the NUS. 

The last view years have seen a steady increase in the privatisation of public services. This includes our treasured NHS, but with TTIP we could see big US health companies forcing our government to allow them to compete for delivery of health care. We should be allowed to have our NHS publicly run, and the only way to ensure that is to Vote Leave on the 23rd June. Or to leave it with Hunt, who’s publicly running it into the ground.

The recent Volkswagen emissions scandal should make us consider lobbying on our environment and our health. In the 90s backroom lobbying from the car industry led to the decision to encourage diesel cars, with lower taxes and less regulation. On the one hand, there’s less CO2, but on the other there’s pollutants which cause respiratory problems. Not the best exchange. Diesel’s market share quintupled in the last 20 years, and probably caused thousands of premature deaths. The healthier choice? Return control of these policies to our elected politicians here in the UK, instead of allowing lobbying.

The EU has let down our generation. This can be seen by those of us on a year abroad visiting nations like Greece, Spain or Portugal. While we did not join the euro, and the eurozone crisis may be off our Facebook feeds, we must remember how the people of Greece have been crushed by the austerity imposed by the EU. Youth unemployment rates of 51.9% in Greece show how incompetent the EU is at handling a crisis and furthering opportunities for our generation.

The most indefensible aspect of the EU for those of us on the left is its disgraceful attitude to developing nations.“Partnerships” with countries like the Gambia allow EU fishing vessels to trawl off their coasts, depriving local fishing communities of a fair catch and destroying the local ecosystem. Due to the punitively high tariffs on processed cocoa products like chocolate bars, many parts of Africa are forced to  sell on their cheap crop to see value added abroad.

Development in Africa could be quickened substantially if we removed barriers to trade and enabled, for example, coffee processing to take place closer to where the coffee is grown. Germany exports more coffee products by value than the whole of the continent of Africa. Think of the CO2 emissions that could be saved if we allowed coffee to be traded without shipping it around the world to process it. If we Vote Leave on the 23rd June we can set up fair trade policies which will right the many wrongs that the EU has inflicted upon developing nations.

Finally, we’ll hear a lot in this referendum period about the potential damage to our university that voting Leave might lead to, but these claims do not stand up to scrutiny. Scientific cooperation will continue, as demonstrated by the fact that non-EU Israel is involved in Horizon 2020 research. We will still be able to have student exchange programmes, and we will continue to welcome new visiting students from all over Europe.

The University of Oxford is a world renowned institution, and it will flourish no matter what the outcome is this June. Students like us need to show solidarity with those suffering in Greece, we need to say no to a US corporate takeover of our NHS and we need to say yes to an independent UK with the ability to make a positive difference to the world. Vote Leave 

Tags: brexit — EU — Europe — European Union — osfb — Referendum