We asked members of Roho’s political societies if they want to stay in or leave the EU
Should we stay or should we go?
David Cameron has recently announced that there will be an EU referendum on June 23, where we’ll decide if we want in or out of the EU. Many of the students and staff at RHUL have lived their entire lives with the UK in the EU, being able to hop on a ferry no fuss, or get a cheap package deal to Spain.
So this is going to be a life changing decision, and we need all the facts we can get before voting in June, which many of us will do. The Tab decided to speak to some of Royal Holloway’s societies who are in the know to see what their view is, and how it my affect us if we leave or stay.
The Tab met with Robert King to talk through the Labour Club’s opinion, and some of his own thoughts. A recent vote revealed most of the club wanted in. So why do they?
In? Out? Why?
I want to stay in as I’m in favour of the social chapter, which provides maternity rights, paternity rights, health and safety in the workplace and much more. It is the job of national governments to let people down, not the EU.
What impact do you think leaving would have on students?
Mainly it would impact their studies. In Europe we would go from being Erasmus students to International students, and that means higher fees and access to education would become harder.
The Labour club have held internal debates amongst themselves, as well as talks from our local MEP Annelisse Dodds and the previous MEP Robert Evans.
The president, George Severs, is writing an article called AIDS Activism and the EU for the blog History for Historians, which presents the case for staying in the EU because of its role in facilitating actions by groups which has led to changes for people with AIDS.
The Tab spoke to Josh who is a member of the society and, perhaps quite surprisingly, is voting to leave the EU.
Why are you voting to leave?
As some one who loves this country I want to protect its sovereignty and to make sure the democratic institutions of the country are not a sideline for Bureaucratic politicians in Europe. As a socialist I see the EU as a system run by greedy politicians, big bands and multinational corporations.
What do you think should change first once we leave?
I would like to see this country finally take control of its borders when we (hopefully) leave but also I would like to see us reaching out to the emerging markets like India and to stop turning our back on the common wealth which continues to expand.
For me this referendum is not about the economics or the fine details its about wide spread principles of freedom, sovereignty and democracy which I believe can only be achieved outside of the EU.
The Conservative society have decided not to hold a formal opinion on the matter. They have been holding talks, and Q&A sessions for their members to facilitate discussion.
Charlotte, a member of the society, has decided to vote to leave the EU.
What do you think of the deal Cameron has struck?
Although Cameron has negotiated to some extent, I don’t believe we can ever get a fair deal if we are to stay in the EU as we can’t negotiate with Europe. Cameron has given very little time for both sides to campaign.
How to you think the UK will be affected if we choose to leave the EU?
Leaving the EU I believe will give us greater control over immigration and our borders. We will have control of our own laws, as Europe is corrupt and we never get what we want. We can spend millions more on our own needs rather than giving it all to the EU.
For students, what would be the impact on them if we were to leave the EU?
In terms of higher education, the money we would have been spending on the EU would be put towards higher education and university spending, benefiting students.
The Tab spoke with Alexander Balkan who is running the Brexit campaign here at Royal Holloway.
Why did you decide to lead the Brexit campaign here and what have you been/are going to do in relation to this?
To me Britain’s membership of the EU has always been an issue to be rebellious about – it threatens the very future of European democracy. Our history, institutions and cultural heritage have been undermined and eroded by a regressive institution that no one voted for. I see the 1975 referendum as a great betrayal to ordinary people.
I have always been true to my views on the EU, campaigning for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU since I was fourteen. I managed to set up a fully functioning Vote Leave organisation across Runnymede, Weybridge and RHUL we are politically balanced, with students from the Left, Right and Centre.
We plan to hold many debates and discussions to address the concerns students have about Brexit, mainly on the issues of democracy, stability, free trade, education funding, rights and public services if we either left or remained the EU.
In your opinion, what will the UK gain from leaving the EU? Why should we leave?
We will restore our democracy, our sovereignty as a country. Admittedly the UK political system is not the best, but at least we can make choices within it. Our only choice on the EU comes up on referendum day – there is nothing else after that.
Moreover, Britain’s universities will be free to thrive outside the EU. Each week, the UK sends £350 million to the Brussels budget. We would also have additional billions of pounds every year to invest as we choose, rather than see that money spent on less productive EU projects. Participation in the ERASMUS and various other international educational bodies is not restricted to EU countries. Therefore, UK students would still have the opportunity to study abroad.
So what do you think?
There are lots of different views about Brexit and the EU referendum, and it seems we have a lot of strong views here to Royal Holloway.
But the choice is completely yours, and on June 23 it will be your vote that counts. If you want to get involved with any of the campaigning the societies here have a lot going on, and would obviously welcome your thoughts.