Are we educated enough for an EU referendum?

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Monday 20 June 2016 17:24
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Jonathan Longden at home with his Vote Leave banner
Jonathan Longden at home with his Vote Leave banner

We all like to think that we are a civilised, educated society. Yes, we are all very bright and doing well, thank you, until such things as referendums appear. Then it quickly becomes apparent just how dumbed down we have become.

Just think for a moment. Could you sit in an exam hall at this precise moment and complete a 40 minute essay with accurate details, dates, times, quotes and a deep understanding of everything concerning the EU?

A wise person would be struggling to choose which way to vote even now after all this time, while the less gifted have already, at the drop of a hat, made their minds up without any thought to the future or the nation.

"It's them immigrants!" "It's the economy!" Mindless mantras repeated endlessly by the completely uninformed and unimaginative.

This raises the question: why on God's earth were we all given the chance to vote in the first place, if only a tiny percentage of the population knows anything about the subject? It beggars belief because this isn't a local council affair; this is the life and death of our beloved nation.

The wrong choice here is more than likely going to send our lives into a catastrophic tail spin with no way out to undo the damage. Worse, because we are all so uninformed, it has become so much easier to dupe us all and blatantly lie to us with the most preposterous untruths. All that has happened is that we have become polarised into two bitter opposing groups, equally lied to by our own champions to gain our uninformed votes.

Kevin Gormley

Devon

Remain or face the consequences

Breaking Point? I should say so.

During the past few weeks, this country has been completely overrun by a multitude of bigots, "little Englanders", dissemblers and generally shout-y people.

I don't think much of our present government, but I would not trust any of this lot to run a jumble sale, let alone a country.

I would like to reclaim my country from them, which is why I am voting Remain.

Colin Hayward

Hampshire

A recent BBC television programme explained that weather forecasting in these marginal islands is based on probability. If 48 out of 50 predictions suggest rain and just two sunshine, then a forecast is issued for rain. Prudent householders and businesses take note and plan accordingly. Only those who believe the Met Office is in the pay of umbrella manufacturers refuse to accept the strong probability of rain. But if we all go out, we all get wet.

Leon Williams

Dover

Martin Kennedy (letters 20th June) asserts that we have no influence over the "bureaucratic behemoth which is the EU". But, as individuals, we have a similar amount of influence over EU civil servants to that which we have over ones in the UK. Those in the EU answer to the European Parliament, in which we have 73 members, and to the Council of Ministers of which about 13 per cent are British. British civil servants answer to the British Parliament, one chamber of which is wholly unelected.

Mr Kennedy says the EU is "too big to succeed". Would he say the same about the US, Chinese or Indian governments, each of which represents comparable numbers of citizens? With a population of less than seventy million, if it wants to have much say in global affairs, Britain needs to be part of a united Europe. As the WWII slogan had it, "united we stand, divided we fall".

Brian Hughes

Cheltenham

May we ask the leaders of the Leave side to promise that, if we vote Remain, they will commit themselves to engaging wholeheartedly as part of Europe? May we ask them to develop the European institutions in a direction that benefits all nations and helps their/our economies run more efficiently? They should also be asked to promise to never again waste the public’s money to sort out a mainly Conservative Party problem.

Isolationism has seldom worked in the past and, please God, we will not have to find that out the hard way again.

Michael Aston

London

Brexit to show inflexible EU officials Britain means business

At this late stage in the EU referendum debate, it may seem pointless to express the following point(s) of view. One has waited in vain for the acknowledgement of the elephant in the room (or indeed of the Emperor’s New Clothes). But surely the whole issue hinges on democracy and accountability or the lack of it. If the “leaders” of Europe had been accountable and would answer questions, surely agreements and deals could have been negotiated on laws, vetoes, migrant issues, etc. If the EU leadership had been willing to even answer questions, those questions could and should have been asked of them publicly, on television, radio and various public platforms.

Indeed, how many of the general public know the names or recognise those people, their names, faces or their roles? When did they last appear publicly in any part of the UK to address the UK public in any medium? And given their inability or unwillingness to communicate, what does that say about the quality of democracy or accountability in the EU?

And on that point, if the leadership of Europe had been open to negotiation, this referendum need never have happened. When was it agreed by the UK, or indeed any other member state, that the populace would be satisfied with this type of stubborn and immobile governance?

Indeed, if the leadership of the EU were willing to negotiate what is, after all, a voluntary union of friendly and cooperative states, there would be no reason for the panic; the sense of leaping into the unknown which has been to the fore, and which has threatened the whole Brexit campaign. In the event of Brexit, surely an immediate and friendly cooperation would be to the benefit of the UK and the remaining member states.

It seems that the EU leaders are very anxious that the UK should remain in the EU, but are not willing to pay the smallest price – a softening of their ultra-hard stance. And this, along with the warnings and threats that have been issued by EU leaders, including French and German politicians, surely smacks of a degree of coercion which is wholly unacceptable.

For UK residents who truly believe in democracy, the answer is clearly to vote Leave. There may be a chance that a Brexit would cause EU leaders to realise the need for reform.

Bridget McAnallen

County Tyrone

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