The Great Debate



Lawrence Dushenski, Opinions Editor 

So it has finally come to this. Prime Minister David Cameron has called a referendum for 23 June, at which point the public will decide whether or not the UK should stay in the EU. The two sides have already entrenched themselves, with notable faces like London Mayor Boris Johnson becoming the most high-profile politician to back at exit from the EU.

You will surely hear endless opinions in the coming weeks about what is best for the UK as a whole, what is best for Northern Ireland, what is best for you as a student and so on. Do listen to all sides of the debate before you entrench yourself one way or another. This is quite clearly not a binary discussion in which one side is unquestionably right while the other is unquestionably wrong.

There are clearly benefits and some drawbacks to the UK being part of the EU. Even though they never decided to adopt the Euro, the impact of being a member of the EU can be felt throughout the kingdom. Good and services are able to move more freely throughout the region without being burdened with hefty tariffs. But recently the issue about the free movement of people has become a sticking point due to the expanding migration situation in the region.

While it is important to thing broadly in terms of what is best for the UK as a whole, when deciding on this matter try to think of the impact that such a move will have on your daily life, if any impact at all. If you pick up a newspaper and read the thoughts of this businessman or that banker, keep in mind that they are invested in the outcome one way or another. It is unlikely that they are simply offering you some collegial advice because they want what is best for you.

The amount of politicking that will take place in coming weeks and months at all levels of business and industry may be unprecedented in recent memory in the UK. With so much of the economy being shifted towards that of a knowledge based economy, with countless multinational corporations calling London their home, there is money on the line with this referendum. Probably not money out of your own pocket, but there are people that stand to benefit no matter which way the vote goes in June.

There will be alarmists and those that prey on your emotions. All the jobs will leave some might say, while others will play a protectionist role and say that this will do wonders for the future and economic independence of the UK. Both could be right while both could just as easily be wrong. The world is more globalized than ever, so ask yourself whether or not it even matters that the UK is part of this union, or if the global economies have surpassed the region all together.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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