After the YMCA EU Debate

Yesterday I attended a debate on the EU Referendum, at Bolton’s YMCA. I turned up early so I could talk to the people at the YMCA about the work they do there, particularly their youth services area. They do some really cool stuff and the youth club they run looks far bigger and far better provisioned than the run-down one I used to go to back in the late 80’s (I still loved going there though, it was good fun).

This should be an interesting evening.
I’m very grateful to the YMCA for inviting me to take part in this debate.

The Debate itself ran fairly smoothly and although two of the Remain crowd basically tried to shout down everything the Leave people were saying (except me – they only tried that once with me, mostly because I had the facts with me to back up what I said) for the most part, everything was very civilised.

It’s worth noting that one of the Remain debaters (I won’t say who because he’s a decent guy and I have personal experience of what aggrieved people on the Internet are like when they see a target) admitted to me after the debate that some of the things they were shouting about not being true were things they had no knowledge of. Yes, that’s right, they admitted to what everyone has known for a long time: if a debate isn’t going their way, some people really will try to just shout down their opponents as a last resort.

I opened my introduction at the debate by discussing the migrant crisis and the EU’s role in causing the flotillas of over-burdened boats that are sinking, drowning hundreds if not thousands of people during the course of this continuing humanitarian catastrophe. The EU passed Council Directive 2001/51/EC, which places all the costs of returning a failed asylum applicant home (or, in some cases, the cost of housing said asylum seeker) on the airline or ferry company that brought the asylum seeker to the EU.

Naturally, airlines and ferry companies are not willing to shoulder such a burden (would you know how to determine who is and is not going to cost your company a fortune? Would you be able to do it at the check-in desk while a ‘plane full of passengers is trying to check in for their flight? I wouldn’t) and now they won’t let asylum seekers fly, or let them onto their ferries. Consequently, migrants are drowning in tiny boats run by people traffickers, at vastly inflated ticket prices.

That’s the EU for you. Whenever there’s a problem, they “solve” it by top-down mandates from unelected people who cause more problems than they solve. If you need an example of how EU protectionism harms the world without solving anything, Article 3 of Directive 2001/51/EC is that evidence.

Aside from this introduction, I tried not to speak too much during the debate – I’m wary of looking like I’m trying to dominate things, but when I had something to say on a topic, I most certainly put myself forward. The Remain camp tried to claim the EU provided us with trade agreements for the rest of the world (it doesn’t) and then tried to browbeat me over the idea that we need trade agreements and can’t trade without them (we don’t and we most certainly can).

I hit back with something they couldn’t get around: we don’t have a trade agreement with the United States, but we trade with them. We don’t have a trade agreement with China, but we trade with them. We clearly don’t need trade agreements, and the one the EU keeps trying to foist on us for EU-American trade is called TTIP and it’s absolutely the worst thing they could agree to.

As you can see, my arguments for leaving the EU are sound ones, and none of them fit with the standard Remain camp lie that Brexit is about xenophobia and Little Englander syndrome. I’m for Leave because the EU is not working, and doesn’t benefit us. I’m not about to tell you which way you should vote (everyone should make their own mind up after hearing all the facts and not just following what someone else tells them) but I will say this: whatever your view on the EU, please do register to vote in the referendum, and please do make sure you vote on 23 June.