Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, you would’ve heard the absolute furore around the impending European Union Referendum, which is fast approaching this month. Whether you’ve heard about it as ‘Brexit’, or been asked if you’re an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’ by your colleagues, friends or family, it’s pretty safe to say this huge issue would have been somewhat on your radar. But no matter how much or little you know about the topic, as a British citizen the final outcome of the referendum will affect you in a number of ways.
So, because we like to make life a little easier for you, we’ve got the lowdown on the how, the where, the why and the when, to help you make your final decision.
What exactly is the fuss about?
Basically, we get to vote whether Britain stays in the European Union or not – this is known as the European Referendum. The very definition of a referendum is a vote on a single political decision, which has been put to the public. The reason why it’s being talked about so much is because whether the majority vote is a yes or no, this will mean massive implications for Britain as a nation.
Remind me exactly what the European Union is?
The European Union is a political and economical partnership made up of 28 European countries; each country pays for membership each year and in return receives a host of benefits. The system is run by the European Parliament, which consists of Members of Parliament (MEPS). These men and women are voted in every 5 years and get to collectively make decisions and set laws on various issues such as money, transport, working life and much more. The idea of the EU is that it is in place to look after the interest and benefits of all 28 countries, and not just one single one. Also, it’s important to know that the EU operates as a common market. This means that things like goods, services, money, and most importantly people, can move freely between the different countries in the union.
Why exactly is this happening?
Back in 2015, when current Prime Minster David Cameron won the general election, part of his manifesto was to hold an EU Referendum by the end of 2017. Many critics say the only reason he did this was because at the time he was under pressure from members of his own party to leave the EU. As of now Cameron is a strong supporter of the country staying in the EU, and after renegotiating the original terms and conditions of our membership, is even more keen for us to stay.
So what will the actual referendum question be?
‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’ You have 2 options of answers: Yes or No.
Why do people want the UK to leave the EU?
People in favour of the UK exiting from the EU, say that the EU has too much control over the UK, that we pay millions of pounds for membership but get nothing in return and that in general we are being help back by the union, One of their main arguments is that because the EU stipulates members can travel freely between country members this has forced Britain to lose a grip on border controls and immigration. The official ‘out’ Campaign Group is the Vote Leave Group. You can find out exactly what their reasoning for leaving is here:
Why do people want the UK to stay in the EU?
Many argue that the EU has been very beneficial to the Britain, and that the free movement element means that the country has benefited from immigrant workers who are keen to work and have helped to encourage healthy economic growth. Some ‘stay in’ supporters also claim have we have a stronger positioning in the world as part of the EU rather than going it alone. The official ‘in’ campaign group is Britain Stronger in Europe. Find out what they have to say here:
When is the referendum actually happening?
Thursday 23rd June 2016, so get it in your diaries now.
Am I eligible to vote?
If you are a British Citizen aged 18 and over and resident in the UK (or have been living overseas for 15 years) then yes you can vote.
How do I register to vote?
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales you can register online or via post: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. If you live in Northern Ireland you need to complete a form and hand it to your area electoral office. Deadline to register is Tuesday 7th June.
So, now you’ve got the full rundown, we want to know what your opinions are whether we should stay or go… Tweet us your thoughts today!