The upcoming ‘in or out’ EU referendum has been weighing on a lot of people’s minds. The short, sweet fact is that the EU affects everyone who lives in it but what isn’t always clear is ‘how‘?
We were told at the start of this whole fiasco to expect a lot of ‘double truths’ with politicians from all across the board setting up in their respective ‘pro or against’ camps. On listening to individuals discuss their reasons for their decisions I am beginning to see now that politics is working and generally people aren’t really sure what the fuck is going on.
Russell Deacon the chair of the European movement is concerned that Wales could be the largest area of the UK to vote out of the EU despite Wales receiving a fuck ton of help from the EU. Nigel Farage has come over to Wales and setup camp in order to convince us all to leave. Funny that though, Nigel Farage coming over to Wales, setting up shop and attempting to brainwash us all with his own beliefs. He’s not even welsh, coming over here, how fucking dare he?
Anyway, given that he’s been presenting himself as more grown up and concise than our own Welsh Minister Carwyn (I’m only a racist in my own home) Jones I thought I’d share my views on how the EU is helping, not perfectly, but helping and how we need to keep our great principality in the EU.
So here’s a bit of info on what that means for us Welsh folk and how leaving could affect us.
Since the year 2000 Wales has received over £4 billion pounds directly from the EU. This money has been divided out across the country (or principality if we’re going to get technical) and it has been used in a wide variety of ways. It’s very difficult to avoid places in Wales that have been funded or part funded by EU money. Take a look at this photograph below, this is David Davies’ group of anti-EU protestors stood outside of an EU subsidised theatre in their home town of Abergavenny. Many of our theatres, leisure centres and community projects would not exist were it not for this funding assistance.
If you’re not familiar with Abergavenny it’s a scenic, historic little market town surrounded by rural welsh agriculture. A lot of our agriculture and farming is subsidised or at least assisted through more EU protocol and regulation which our WAG has the ability to adjust to suit Wales. This has included the termination of the single farm payment plan and an introduction to The Basic Payment Scheme. This has seen an increase in the amount that farmers can claim for the first 54 hectares. So far €260 has been invested directly into over 16,000 farms in Wales with further finances available to qualifying farms through rural development plans.
Abergavenny now benefits from becoming more connected to the world thanks to the A465 relief road, something that finally connects the beautiful Welsh Valleys together. The widening of this road was made possible by the EU especially with it’s circa £800 million pound price tag. Now, don’t get me wrong the widening of this road has come under strong criticism from campaigners who have argued that the level of work has not led to the level of urban and rural improvement that had been foreseen. Furthermore the road was meant to have been completed by 2012 and could now take a further four years due to countless delays since 1999 when it was first started. However, these are issues pertaining to the management of the WAG and not the EU. The WAG asked for the money and the EU handed it over. If anything, the EU should have probably stepped up and looked at the alternatives available but it’s too late now and they’re the ones who are paying for it. Other roads include Harbour Way at Port Talbot
You can use the A465 road to get to the Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone which was constructed in 2012. The beautiful campus is home to all A-level courses in the borough and last year they boasted the borough’s best A-level results ever. Pretty cool. What I love about this EU funded campus is that it’s help bring the wonders of modern education to an area of Wales that has long been neglected since the doom of our industries. And who knows? Once you qualify at this campus perhaps you might enrol into the Swansea Institute of Life Science? A fantastic new medical research facility that’s you guessed it EU funded! *big gasp*
Upon completion of your course you might decided to take a sabbatical and if you so desire you can walk around the entire coast of Wales thanks to an EU funded initiative to open up our coastal pathways. I know three individuals who have used this pathway to raise valuable money for various charities. It has benefited Welsh tourism by allowing people to come and experience our coastlines without logistic issues.
Of course going to a university isn’t for everyone which is just as well that the EU Social Fund supports and finances apprenticeship initiatives in Wales.
Last year a further £25 million pounds of EU money was secured for the continuation of the Jobs Growth Wales initiative which has been helping create and secure new jobs for people in Wales. Over 34,000 jobs have been created across the country, you can see what type of jobs and how many in which counties by clicking HERE
If you’ve driven through the former Llanwern site along the lovely new road you’ll see that St. Mowden and Persimmon homes are but two of the involved corporations behind the construction of Glan Llyn. Interestingly both companies along with pretty much EVERY company that exists in the UK must uphold a certain level of social responsibilities whereby they are aiding and helping communities, not just the ones that they build. This Corporate Social Responsibility is upheld by the EU and makes sure that companies are giving back.
I’ve talked about some individual projects there but what is important to understand is that every public sector that exists in Wales will be receiving some sort of funding from the EU that makes up for the grand total. Whether it’s Halo (a community interest company which has been saving Welsh leisure centres) or a local scout hut. Through LDPs and local grant funding and council subsidising and micro-funding and community initiatives and the WAG and The Coalfields Regeneration Trust and so on and so on THEY ARE ALL THERE TO HELP WITH MONEY THAT IS FROM THE EU.
So do you think that George Osbourne, a man who has constantly berated the WAG for how they spend their money, is going to match that level of investment from Westminster? The answer will be no, it will be. You’d be mental to think otherwise.
Then there’s you lot who think that leaving the EU will put an end to immigration. What a load of bollocks. First of all you need to have a good look at the free movement of people within the EU, the 200 million British folk who live and work across the EU as well as the people who live here. The first thing you’re going to do is create mass uncertainty for these people, possibly leading to them having their entire lives disrupted and perhaps having to return to their original countries, and for what? because you’re a selfish fuck?
As for ‘immigrants’ as you xenophobes consider them. Let’s just have a little look at this, your main argument is that immigrants are coming here to abuse our benefits system, even though anyone from outside of the UK can only sign on for a maximum of three months and must thereafter provide strong evidence and attend many appointments in order to PROVE their looking for work and to continue that access to those benefits. If they don’t put the effort in, they don’t get it.
But, if like you say people are only coming here for that reason then leaving the EU isn’t going to do shit. All it means is that anyone who is coming here for that particular reason is just going to have to divert their terrifyingly tenacious journey. Let’s not forget that Southern Ireland will still be a member state of the EU so ultimately those travelling illegally to the UK can go there instead of France and then walk across the border between Northern and Southern Ireland because under The Good Friday Act it’s illegal for either country to man the border. After that they can get a boat across and hello, welcome to the UK.
You might think ‘well that sounds ridiculous’ but it doesn’t sound any less ridiculous than the notion of people risking the lives of themselves and their children for the purpose of a bit of money each week. Trust me, you can’t have a go nuts blow out on benefits anyway, it’s not fucking fun.
Leaving the EU will be like breaking up with your girlfriend except that she lives in the gatehouse to your estate. So you can go to work and you can go and get groceries and you can go on holiday and all the normal stuff, but everyday you have to walk past her and she’s not going to make things easy for you!
If you work in the EU, or if you holiday in any country in the EU, if you pop over to France for a bit of shopping, all of this will change, all of this could cease. For all that is said about leaving the EU no one seems to have come up with a good strategy of what to do if the UK leaves ,because there isn’t one.
Right now we have maternity and paternity leave, we have a fixed 45 hour normal working week, we have protected rights and interests in the workplace as an employer and employee. The EU make sure that all of our foodstuffs are clearly labelled and that the process of manufacturing is safe. The EU ensures that certain levies and taxes are setup to encourage continent based trade. (It was our very own Tory government that recently refused to impose a levy on the import of cheap Chinese steel whilst, at the same time promising to save our manufacturing industry WHICH happens to be EU subsidised).
There is so much to consider here that the fact that anyone is considering leaving is worrying. What we should be doing is dealing with the corruption in our own government and then making sure that they’re going to European Parliament and actually talking about what we as a people want them to talk about. It’s no good MP’s being anti-EU when they don’t even know how to use it. It’s no good you being anti-EU when you don’t even know what it does or who it affects. We need to focus on our Welsh Assembly Government and make sure that they’re spending the money in the right way and not using it to claim second flats or fuck each other in the Senydd (a story for another time).
There’s a lot that hasn’t been covered in this piece and I have digressed a little bit, but the point is that this is a huge fucking deal and you need to really get on the ball, there isn’t much time left and you need to place your vote.
Today Sky News presented this map which shows a worrying divide of skepticism across the country, particularly in Wales. Discussions and submissions on the topic of the EU are welcome using the contact us thing at the top of the page.