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Sunday, June 05, 2016

The gender gap at the top of the Remain campaign

At the Remain rally in Swansea's Brangwyn Hall last night a number of committed supporters of us staying in the EU raised the way that the Remain campaign is being dominated by white middle class males. That concern is also reflected in this article.

The fact that the two most prominent of those white middle class males happen to be the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer exacerbates the problem, especially as the debate appears to be now turning to the government's record and specifically its record on immigration.

The Leave campaign believe that by focussing on peoples' fears about immigration they can get people to vote to quit the EU. The problem is that because Farage and Johnson et al are attacking the Tory Government's failure to achieve its own impossible and frankly insane pledge to cut immigration, Cameron and Osborne are not in the best place to respond to this attack.

We need prominent campaigners on the Remain side to stand up to this quasi-racist rhetoric and to defend the status quo. Putting aside that more than half of the 330,000 immigrants the UK received last year, over and above those who moved abroad, come from outside the EU and would not be affected by a Leave vote, immigrants help to build prosperity in this country.

Without those immigrants, our health service would collapse. There are over 120,000 immigrants working in this sector. Our indigenous population is aging and are dependent on younger tax payers to fund public services, including the NHS. Many of those taxpayers are immigrants, a large number are professional people.

We are near to full employment in this country, we do not have enough people to fill all the jobs that are available. Immigrants are helping to full that gap. They are NOT taking OUR jobs as Leave campaigners allege, rather they are filling vacancies that we cannot.

And of course we have the absurd argument that despite leaving the EU we can remain in the single market as Norway does but without any of the consequences. If we did that we would still have freedom of movement, we would still have more than half of our immigrants coming from outside the EU and we would still have to pay into the EU.

But back to the female issue. I note from this article that the Remain campaign are fielding an all-female team to debate Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Gisela Stuart. That is a start. But if we are going to win this we need to sideline Cameron and Osborne permanently and put up a more convincing and representative team against the mavericks on the Leave side.
I think ultimately the man on the street is waking up to the fact that the EU takes far more from us than it actually gives us, whether that be politically or fiscally.

This is why it is proving to be such a hard sell. I have watched and listened to countless debates involving politicians from all sides of the political spectrum and the leave message is far more appealing to many.

The status quo is not what the poor/working class are voting for or want, and the promise of a more prosperous Great Britain outside the shackles of the EU is a gamble worth taking for many. Now that confidence may well be misplaced but as Bob Dylan once said "When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose"

Immigration is not a big issue for me but I'd like to make a small point on migrants and the NHS as I think those figures are being misrepresented. Having lost my father to cancer five years ago only to be followed two years later by my mother suffering a massive stroke which resulted in her being in Singleton hospital for three months. I have spent more time in hospitals than I would wish on anyone.

I have pretty much dealt with every hospital in Swansea including, Singleton, Morriston, Gorseinon, Ty Olwen, Hill house as well as specialist cancer clinics outside of Swansea. I have dealt with emergency paramedic teams to palliative care teams, radiotherapy units to rehabilitation centres, external care teams to district nurses.

Now I can’t speak for the entire country but what I can say is that in my experience I have not encountered a single EU migrant in a skilled position, not even one! Now I have met many an Indian specialist or Filipino nurse and I will be the first to say that these people are the backbone of the NHS and a credit to our country. They are highly qualified, highly skilled people that any country would welcome with open arms.

What I don’t understand is how their valued contribution can be spun into an EU success story when fewer unskilled EU workers would surely mean more qualified doctors or nurses from all over the world which we desperately need.
I’m voting to stay, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the UK voted out in a few weeks, the Remain campaign's been awful and unsurprisingly the EU is proving a hard sell to a sceptical electorate by the same Tory and Labour politicians who’ve spent decades attacking and undermining the EU for personal and party gain.

If we leave is Wales ready for Neil Hamilton’s crowing for 5 years and more importantly does the Welsh Government have a plan b?

For the sake of the political landscape in this country I think it would be for the best if we leave. UKIP would cease to exist overnight, even if they tried to keep going the public would just have no reason to vote for them so they would die a natural death come the next election.

So I'd expect to return to something resembling normality even taking into account the turmoil the Tories would have to overcome.

If we vote to remain I fear for the future, there is such support now against the EU that tensions will continue to rise. Labour have a leader the party don't want but the majority of their voters do, yet they fail to see this and the Tories are split down the middle. I foresee a fractious environment, possibly even party splits and newly formed parties.

UKIP would be the beneficiaries of all this and even as a Leaver I recognise that this would not be good for the country.
> the EU takes far more from us than it actually gives us
Not true fiscally, unless you are writing from an English standpoint.

Politically, yes, we have helped partly to fulfill Ralf Dahrendorf's dream of our introducing more democracy to the institutions of the EU. This was given more of a boost by the accession of Scandinavian nations. We still don't have transparency in Council of Ministers deliberations, though.

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