The two of us would consider ourselves from very different ends of the political spectrum, being members of the Labour and Conservative parties respectively, often disagreeing on a variety of political issues. However, the one issue which gets both of us equally motivated is the question of the United Kingdom’s membership of the outdated European Union, and that it is time for change. As such, we were both drawn to the Students for Britain movement.
Students for Britain is a national campaign in over 60 universities, run for students, by students and affiliated with the Vote Leave campaign. Originally Students for Britain was set up to push for fundamental reform of Britain’s relations with the European Union, and ensure that students’ voices are heard in getting Britain a fair deal. But the time has come to pick a side in this referendum, and we now feel that the only way to deliver fundamental reform to Britain’s relationship with the EU is to vote leave.
Why then, do we believe that change is needed? We are both concerned by the transformations in the global economy in recent years, and the lack of reaction from the EU in trade policy. This leaves Britain as part of a protectionist bloc, preventing open trade with new, growing economies in central Asia, the Far East, and across the world. The cost of membership (£350 million a week) is equivalent to the cost of building a fully staffed hospital each week or twice over abolishing tuition fees, and offers fewer and fewer benefits as legal and political rights are seized by the unelected EU commission and courts. We believe that this money should be in the hands of representatives the British people can remove in our elections, not shadowy figures selected behind closed doors to negotiate secret trade treaties such as TTIP to undermine national sovereignty.
In the lead up to the referendum, Students for Britain will be hosting events including speakers from a broad spectrum of backgrounds from both politics and business, as well as student discussions as we attempt to get people to engage with one of the biggest political debates of our lifetimes, remaining open to people from all political persuasions.
Whatever your personal political views, if you are interested in the forthcoming EU referendum, if you agree that the EU needs radical change to meet the challenges of the modern world or if you just want to listen to excellent speakers and debate the issue with fellow students over a drink, I urge you to get involved with Students for Britain.
You can sign up to SfB at www.studentsforbritain.org, or follow on @sfbdurham or www.facebook.com/DurhamforBritain
Photograph: Durham Students for Britain via Facebook