We asked students at the Brexit debate their position on the EU
The debate was hosted by the politics society on Tuesday
The Brexit debate, hosted by Bristol Politics society and open to all students, was held in the Great Hall and had queues that stretched almost as far back as the Sainsbury’s on the triangle.
When chairman of the debate, Mark Wickham Jones, asked the floor to give a show of hands on their position, the overwhelming majority of students voted against a Brexit. The estimate was roughly two thirds in the remain camp, with the other third split 60/40 undecided and Brexit.
We asked students attending the debate what their position was on the matter.
Ed Phillips, Second year, Biology
“I’m for a Brexit, I see globalisation as a force of evil in this world, I think the core values of community and democracy and the power for one person to be able to evokea change with their vote – the E.U signifies an end to that – it signifies big globalisation with one agenda. It essentially leaves the individual immobile in affecting any change whatsoever, because their vote means nothing, activism is ineffective without a more autonomous U.K.”
Monika Radojevik, Second year, Politics and International Relations
“It’s essential that Britain remains in the EU because we benefit massively by staying in. Those who advocate leaving are looking at this on a very short term basis – we would immediately save money by stopping membership fees but we would also lose up to 4.5 billion pounds worth of spending every year.
“By leaving we risk jeopardising existing investment projects, or losing out to future ones, and up to 3 million jobs may vanish because of lost trade agreements. Staying in Europe provides far greater security than going it alone.”
Chris, Second year, Politics and International Relations
“We’re the third biggest trading bloc in the world. If we leave we lose that privilege. We become a small island of 60m people Instead of a trading bloc of 300m. Eu was also set up to protect us against major European wars after the two world wars. We can imagine a sense of regressing into nationalism and in the worst case scenario, war between nations in Europe should we leave.”
Holly Harper, Second year, English Literature
“I’m uncertain, because I think the campaign has been hijacked by politicians for their own means, I’m really angry about it.”
Henry Dowell, Fresher, Politics and International Relations
“Well basically, my main point about the E.U is it’s an economic centre, it’s all about corporations, it’s all about making money and at the heart of that is a German exporting market. They have access to unskilled labour, which means they can exploit the Eastern europeans, it means that they can try and exploit the refugee crises, they can import a whole load of unskilled labour at the cost of humanitarian rights.
“The UK has a service based economy, we don’t need to be dictated to by an exploitative nation, so my main concern is the rights of workers and the cost it will have on social cohesion across Europe, exemplified by the rise of many far right groups across France, Spain, Greece and Italy.”
Teddy Cunningham, Second year, Civil Engineering
“I believe the main benefit of EU membership (the economic benefits of a free trade) can be achieved without the need for a political union.
“Countries in the Americas and Asia trade freely in trading blocs without the need for a political union and there is no reason that the UK cannot do the same. Also, massive trade agreements, such as TTIP, naturally result in compromise between all signatories. Being allowed to construct our own free trade deals would allow the UK to tailor any trade deal in such a way that it would be in the UK’s best economic interests. Our position and influence on the global stage would not diminish either. The UK has the fifth largest economy and so the rest of the world will still want to (and will need to) continue trading wth the UK and co-operating with the UK on other matters, such as security and defence, in the event of Brexit.”
Mhairi Tordoff, Second year, Politics and Sociology
“The neoliberal approach taken by the EU is definitely problematic and doesn’t sit comfortably with me. The secret EU negotiation of TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) with the US is the most worrying. The agreement will reduce the regulatory barriers to trade, such as food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations, for big businesses. However, there is no doubt in my mind that given UK governments’ neoliberal track record, Brexit would not mean British citizens would be protected from such agreements.
“Can you really see Dave standing up to big business in favour of more regulation in the private sector? I can’t.”
Teddy Marks, Second year, Politics and International Relations
“If Britain leaves I feel that would influence other members to hold referendums, in which case the EU could dismantle. I don’t think thats a good thing. When you see that Russia intervened in Ukraine when a pro-EU government took power, or when NATO accuses Russia of weaponising the refugee crisis in order to divide the EU even further, I think it tells us that the union is necessary in balancing against other powers that we are suspicious of.”
Rosie Fry, Second year, Politics and Sociology
“I’m still undecided on whether I think we should remain in the EU or not. I think that the public should be made aware of all the facts so that they are able to make a more informed decision… I think the politicians should rise above party politics and give us some facts that would benefit the UK and not just their party.
“I’m leaning more towards staying in. There’s a lot wrong with the E.U, but I see myself as a cosmopolitain citizen; in an era where we have global problems that know no borders such as international terrorism and global warming I think it’s better that we work together as a union.”