Brexit will give British football the spark it needs

By Dan Simpson

Brexit Football

 

I love football. So when I tuned into the news the other day and found out that Project Fear had turned their gaze on to the beautiful game, I was rather disgusted. Britain Stronger in Europe were boldly claiming that a vote to leave would result in over 100 of our beloved Premier League players losing the right to play in the UK. Let’s get the facts straight.

We could give them work permits. Well that was a rather easy solution wasn’t it? Yes, I hear you say, the current system works based on how many games they have played for their national team. But there’s no reason why we’d have to keep that policy. After all we would be a free, independent, sovereign nation – free to make our own immigration policy. And there is absolutely no reason that the government wouldn’t want to give them that permit. European footballers bring so much to our game and our country. Not only do they bring millions of pounds in tax revenues for HMRC; they also bring so much diversity and talent that our home footballers benefit hugely from.

But even if EU countries post-Brexit are given the same rule as current non-EU countries; this couldn’t be better news for British football – especially for upcoming talent. The current rules give the most talented players an automatic visa to play in the UK, whilst restricting the ‘mediocre overseas players’ – as Sol Campbell so eloquently described it in the Mail on Sunday. At the moment, young British stars coming through academies in British clubs are being crowded out by many other youngsters from all across the EU without given a fair chance at their home club. The Premier League is one of the most prestigious names in global football. And I think it is obvious that an exit from the European Union could enable young British talent to prosper; meanwhile the biggest names and talents from all over the world are still able to show off their talents.

It goes further than this though. Another claim made by Karren Brady recently in the Guardian is that Britain’s membership of the EU means that British footie fans benefit from ’not having to pay for visas’ when they want to see away matches in Europe. But as British citizens we already have visa-free access to 175 countries across the world, 84% of which are not members of the European Union! So the claim that EU countries would start implementing visas to British nationals is absurd. And this isn’t even taking in consideration of all the benefits that the fans bring along. They boost the economies of the host countries with all the taxis they hire; hotels they stay in; pints they drink and pies they eat at the game.

It does worry me to think that Project Fear has hijacked this debate. After a quick Google search, the number of articles articulating Mrs Brady’s point of view overwhelmingly outweighs the few, like Sol Campbell, that are defending British football.

For many in Britain, football is a large part of their life. British football has been struggling recently, with many England fans being incredibly disappointed in performances in the World Cup and European Championships. We need that spark, and I think that Brexit will give us just what’s needed. So I sincerely hope that the designated leave campaign is able to articulate a vision of hope and prosperity for post-Brexit football in Britain.

Democracy is Better off Out

– Joe Jones

 

414918350_92a3fea6e5_o

I know there is an avalanche of articles on the European referendum descending on us in ever-greater volumes and it’s certainly not going to slow down anytime soon. However, I’d regret it if I didn’t add my voice to the debate, so here I go…

England is the cradle of Parliamentary democracy, a legacy that Britain, Canada, India, America, Australia and New Zealand (just to name a few) carry on into the modern day. This legacy is why I identify as a Tory democrat; I believe in preserving the old and the good of our nation and entrusting it into the control of the people.  It is why I find it so upsetting that we seem to be content to see that legacy being scurried away in the offices of the Berlaymont by bureaucrats, shuffling down the pale corridors of European power. There is an astonishingly, un-European, democratic deficit within the EU. It is a betrayal of Athenian democracy; there exists a system of institutions that have effectively removed the people, the demos, but kept the power, the kratos.

The European Commission exists as an excellent demonstration of an undemocratic institution. The only elected member is the President of the Commission, being elected by the European Parliament – so it usually comes down to whichever party is the largest: currently the European Peoples Party (EPP) which doesn’t have a single representative elected from Britain. The rest of the commissioners are appointed and the irony that many of them have lost an election (or two in the case of Neil Kinnock) before appointment shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

These commissioners hold a monopoly of power on the European system and if you think I’m talking rubbish, then look at what happened when the French, the Dutch and the Irish all voted against The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (basically just the Lisbon Treaty), they were asked to take time for a ‘period of reflection’, then were asked to try voting again and again to produce an answer better suited to the Commission.

But what of the European Parliament? Don’t we elect our own members to send to the Espace Léopold and the Louise Weiss to hold the European executive to account? Well yes, if you count a turnout that had never risen above 38% in the UK, and never above 50% across Europe, as a whopping mandate. Moreover the European Parliament is not a properly functioning legislative house: it does not have the power, de jure or de facto, to construct legislation. Only the European Commission has the authority to construct legislation and regulation; the European Parliament can only accept or reject bills put before them. I cannot accept that this is a healthy way to conduct a democratic institution. It cannot be correct that the representatives of the European people cannot construct and pass legislation on the people’s behalf

Should we care? Surely this must be just a proxy government that really holds no sway in the UK: The House of Commons library puts the laws imposed on the UK from Brussels at 13% (not the 7% Nick Clegg liked to quote). This doesn’t actually seem to be that much, although personally I do think even that is too high a proportion anyway. Sadly, that number is wrong; as the independent think-tank, Business for Britain, (founded to help reform our relationship with the EU) reported in 2014, that figure does not count regulations that are imposed on the UK on a pan-European level. When these two are combined we find that that actually 65% of UK laws and regulations are imposed from Brussels, with 52% never having to be passed through our Parliament, hence why they are not counted in the House of Commons library. It undermines both the sovereignty of our Parliament and the credibility of our national elections.

In an ideal world, I would love to see massive reform in the EU in an attempt to deal with the democratic deficit. I accept that within the Eurozone there is evidently a need for more integration of central European institutions; this is clear from the euro disaster and the need for a unified economic policy across the Eurozone. I also accept that the European Parliament must be strengthened and the representatives of the people should be allowed to legislate on the people’s behalf and not be entirely dominated by the Commission. However, for those outside of the Eurozone it should be set into stone that the sovereignty of their own parliaments should always come first. There is no need for them to be dominated by the Commission or European Parliament; they are not tied into one currency. Yet, given the way the EU is developing I realise how unrealistic this plan is and it isn’t even in the current renegotiation plans – and the ‘red card’ system is a far cry from anything near substantial change.

In this referendum campaign, economic and immigration scare stories will be thrown around from both sides, but we cannot lose sight of the crucial debate: who governs Britain? As a Tory democrat I know that I want the answer to be our House of Commons, elected by and serving the people of the United Kingdom.

I know that I’ve made up my mind in this referendum: Democracy is better off out.

Joe Jones is a third year History student at Warwick and Deputy Chairman (Political) of UWCA