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I’m going to let you into a little secret. I am a Eurosceptic. There, I said it.

I have my own concerns about the EU because I see and hear so much negative stuff about the EU, and it’s hardly any wonder so many people feel a little EUphobic at times. UKIP have, of course, done well to capitalise on this through their use of their favourite papers, the Daily Mail (whose stance on immigration is well known) and the Daily Express, (for whom leaving the EU is a ‘crusade’).

But at what cost, UKIP?

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) lays out some facts here. It explains how the benefits of membership outweigh the costs, and about the costs of EU membership, which UKIP and their favourite chosen-for-sources daily newspapers will tell you is ‘£55 million a day’,  which in comparative reality is only 0.4% of the GDP.

This works out as £34 per year to the average tax paying UK national! Not a lot.

Which gets you these rather good benefits, as the Mirror describes:

1. Unlimited travel

You can travel anywhere in the EU.

2. It’s the cheapest visa you’ll ever get

A visa to Russia costs £125; a visa to Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Sweden or any other EU member state is free.

3. Don’t panic if you break your leg in Latvia

The European Health Insurance Card will get you healthcare while on holiday in the EU.

4. And further afield, the EU offers sanctuary

When you’re outside the EU (say in Gabon, west Africa) and have an emergency, you don’t need to visit the British embassy for help.  Rather, you can visit the embassy of any of the EU member states, and they will help you.

5. You can call home – for 20p a minute

This is thanks to cheap data roaming charges across the EU.

Not only the above, but being a member of the EU also ensures you are protected by the laws of the European Commission.

Laws that protect you at work

Laws that protect your data

Laws that protect women

Laws that protect children

Laws that protect your human rights

and so on.

For a party that claims to protect us and protect our rights, it seems that in fact  UKIP want to take them away. They even voted AGAINST reforming the very gravy train they gobble from every day; that’s OUR money, paid for from OUR taxes.

But of course, for UKIP, it’s all just about the EU and immigration – seemingly much to their advantage. It would appear that the party that claims to have the interests of the UK at its heart are the very same party with their snouts firmly in the trough of the EU trough that they claim to oppose. UKIP also put our nation’s financial interests in very serious jeopardy by diminishing our voice, through their poor attendance and disrespect to other members of the EU. This kind of childish behaviour does not get us the respect we deserve as a nation, and is quite frankly embarrassing!

#NotInMyName!

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However, despite the rise of UKIP, support for remaining in the EU is growing, the highest since 1991, and the issue of influence in the EU is an important one.

To play a part in Europe, you need a voice, just as within the UK.  If you want to change things you need to get involved.

The UK car industry agrees, and states that:

Access to the Single Market is fundamental to UK vehicle manufacturing, supporting sales and facilitating supply chain growth.

Britain also risks damaging its relationship with America and being sidelined in the international community if it leaves the European Union, warns US State Department’s Philip H Gordon:

We value a strong UK voice in a strong European Union

Additionally, the risk to small businesses is well documented, and thankfully most small businesses reject UKIP’s policy and stance. The UK is successfully pursuing policy objectives in the EU, according to a new report dismissing the idea of Britain as isolated and lacking in allies. For the second year in a row, the UK has more successes than failures when it comes to pushing agendas at EU level.  It certainly doesn’t help when UKIP MEPs vote against motions that weaken the rights of women, children and wildlife in the UK and the EU.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, says that leaving the EU would also put 300,000 Scottish jobs – those dependent on EU exports – at risk, as well as stop EU funds for Scotland that amount to almost £1bn, boost employment and tackle poverty. Richard Branson argues an EU exit would be very bad for British business and the economy as a whole. Goldman Sachs believes UK should stay in the EU in order to keep London as Europe’s financial capital.

UKIP, it seems, will push this rhetoric of leaving the EU at whatever price they can as they are a single policy party with one aim only: to leave the EU and ‘create our own laws’. They will twist facts and figures in whatever way they can, like the myth of the 75% of laws ‘made in Brussels’.  They push this agenda with the help of publications like the Mail and the Express (as well as Breitbart, UKIP’s official mouthpiece), with golden-plated promises of what they will achieve by leaving and how they will spend all the money they will ‘save’. All of UKIP’s ‘policies’ and promises, including their latest NHS policy promise are based on sourcing funds from an EU exit.  At no point do they take into account any of the risks involved, or the much-reported negative impact on UK industry, jobs and trade. Currently 30% of the UK’s gross domestic product is exported in the form of goods and services, and of that, around 45% goes to the EU. As a result, Britain exports roughly 14% of its GDP to the EU.

Which begs the following questions: have UKIP really thought this through?  What preparations have UKIP made for the projected damage to UK industry by withdrawing from the EU?  How will it impact on our trade and economical status in the world, as well as our own relationship with the EU, if we were to leave and lose our voice?

Furthermore, what if we did vote to leave the EU and we then had to re-negotiate our trade terms? Europe may not be so willing to cut a trade deal with the UK after a withdrawal. It looks much more like this is just a huge gamble for the risk-takers UKIP, and their hedge fund backers, who appear to have little concern for those who will ultimately lose out if we were ever to leave.

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