Before I begin, I would like to talk about the farce that preceded us getting here. Before the 2015 General Election, the Conservative party, which had just completed the first 5 year fixed term parliament in British history, in coalition with the Liberal democrats, felt in real danger of falling out of government. The coalition government had left many conservatives (I mean people who believe in conservative values) very disillusioned with the Conservative party, and the leadership in particular. This accompanied by the rise of UKIP, and the possibility of losing power to Labour/Lib Dem coalition government headed by Ed Miliband, was one of the reasons why David Cameron put a Referendum on EU membership in his election manifesto. Many promises in that manifesto - including caps of immigration to the 10's of thousands, a '7 day' NHS, and the EU referendum - were included to attract voters on both the left and right, from deflecting to UKIP and the Lib Dems respectively. I'm not saying that the manifesto commitment to have the EU referendum is what ultimately won the Conservative Party it's first majority government in a generation, but it helped nullify the UKIP threat, which was it's desired purpose. David Cameron couldn't have believed that he would win the election and have a majority government. If he did, he would never have promised a referendum that he didn't want, a referendum that has caused uncertainty in the markets, and resurfaced the major rift in his party.
After securing the election, the Conservative government went about implementing it's election manifesto. This led the 'eurosceptic' Prime Minister of the United Kingdom go on a European wide tour, before marching into Brussels to have, ceremonial, through the night talks, only to return to Downing Street with a less than nothing (and non-binding) renegotiation deal of the terms of Britain membership of the European Union, also known as called the EU Reform deal. The fact the David Cameron thinks he can reform the European Union, and for that matter those on the left like Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham, who say that the United Kingdom should remain in the 'imperfect EU, and help reform it', are either politically naive or quite frankly delusional.
The Direction the European Union is taking, is quite frankly not the United States of Europe, but the Union of European Socialist Republics
The European Union is too large, too diverse for it to be government centrally (and increasingly so by unelected technocrats). History has shown that a central concentration of power, results in diminished personal freedoms, and corruption. Just on a practical level the best way forward for all citizens living inside the European Union, is for power to be given to them, for them to decide their own futures by electing their own governments to pass legislation on their behalf, not as currently is the case for unelected 'experts' to do so from Brussels.
National sovereignty has been undermined by the EU for far too long. The latest example was when the Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło, had to appear before the European Parliament to defend her democratically elected majority government's policies. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, said a “coup” was occurring in Warsaw. A 'coup' by the majority elected government. The people of Poland voted for this so called 'coup', something EU bureaucrats just don't understand. This is how democracy is supposed to work. Four months after appearing before the European parliament, and more than holding her own, the European Parliament voted to support a resolution saying the Polish government posed a danger to “democracy, human rights and the rule of law.” All because the Polish government's Law and Justice (PiS) party want to reform a constitutional court, that since the fall of communism in the country, has become overwhelmingly leftist. Fall foul of the European Union's 'progressive' policies and you get threatened with losing your voting rights. The European Union, it's our way, or it's our way.
The European Union does not fix or prevent crises, but perpetuates them. The economic crisis in the Eurozone, namely in Greece and Portugal. The migrant crisis. The high levels of unemployment in the eurozone. All of these have been caused by European Union policy, bound in treaties. The idea that these crises can be fixed with reform of the EU is laughable. These crises will only be solved with the desolation of the European Union and individual nations states again regain the ability to govern themselves, people electing their governments on economic, domestic and foreign policy chosen by the people.
Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, (previously leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament), in an interview in May 2016, commented that Brexit would cause the 'implosion of the EU', and that if Britain did leave the EU, it could trigger 'escape referendums all across Europe'. Escape referendums, yes, that might be the best endorsement for Brexit. But escape from what? Well, his vision of the European super-state.
US have one currency, one Central Bank and one Govt. Europe has one currency, one Central Bank and...17 govts! Cannot go on like this.— Martin Schulz (@MartinSchulz) July 5, 2013
Not to mention the European Court of Justice, which is the ultimate court in the European Union and has final says on matters of European law in member states. The fact the number of European laws is growing and will continue to expand, and that national supreme courts decisions, and national government legislation that relates to EU laws have to scrutinised by the European Court of Justice to ensure they comply with EU law means that national sovereignty within the EU is impossible to achieve.
My grandfather was a fisherman, and this industry will always be close to my heart, it is the hardest, and most dangerous job in world. The EU has destroyed Britain's fishing industry, and the only way that it can be revived is if Britain leaves the EU. This BBC article of the situation in Scottish waters explains the complex bureaucratic mess that has strangled the UK fishing industry, and the fishing industries in countries like Portugal.
European Working Time directive and the NHS
The list of European Union directives which have undermined the NHS is extensive. I want to highlight the one that has the biggest negative effect on doctors and patients, the European Working Time directive. This directive mandated a 48 hour working week. For the NHS to comply with this directive, a complete overhaul of the postgraduate training was required. This overhaul is known as Modernising Medical Careers (MMC). This had the added benefit of increasing the number of consultant grade doctors working in the NHS. This has been achieved by reducing on the hours of training to reach this grade from an average of 21000 hours to just 6000. This had the effect of having more, but less experience consultants than had been the case before it's complete implementation in 2005.
MMC has had the largest negative effect on surgical speciality training. 48 hours a week is not nearly enough to gain the necessary training opportunities. In reality many trainees come in on there off days to assist in operations in order to gain the required operating skills to be competent surgeons. The shift-working patterns brought in to meet European working time directives, has directly led to a decrease in quality of training and a deterioration in operative skill.
In my opinion MMC, has worsened the training situation for many junior doctors, decreased moral in the workforce, and is creating a class of cheap, under trained, staff grade doctors. All because of a European Union directive that had to implemented by a national government, and which in this case was implemented badly by a Labour government in the NHS.
It can be argued that even if Britain were to leave the EU, the government wouldn't alter MMC significantly, and it would be costly to revoke it. That MMC is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and may be the most damaging effect on quality of care that the EU has done to the NHS.
To conclude I hope Britain leaves the European Union, I hope in due course other Nation states also leave the European Union, I hope the European Union would soon be consigned to the history books, a noble idea that has become a nightmare. I will be voting leave, I just don't believe the majority of British citizens will. I hope I'm wrong.