In a recent column, IBTimes UK's Michael Toner outlined 10 real reasons to leave the EU. His daughter and IBTimes UK reporter Harriet Sinclair disagrees with his point of view and responds here with 10 reasons to remain (EU referendum live blog: follow here).
It's lonely out on this ledge; a rather reluctant Remain voter sick of the repetitive arguments about immigration, the skies raining blood and Leave voters branded a bunch of ignorant 'little Englanders' intent on protecting their tiny slice of the country from imagined hordes of 'job-stealing migrants'.
A great swathe of the arguments on both sides has boiled down to nothing more than fear-mongering hate politics.
From the Remain camp, a large dose of pointing at Leave voters and shouting "racists" or mindlessly listing high-profile Leave versus Remain supporters – conveniently forgetting Corbyn has as little enthusiasm for Remain as Boris claims to, or suddenly lauding Cameron as a fearless leader despite his recorded flip-flopping on the issue.
From Leave, which has branded the Remain campaign 'Project Fear', much of the same – warnings about the far right taking over Europe, UKIP anti-immigration posters reminiscent of the Third Reich, and a government run by Boris with Nigel Farage taking a key role – as minister for Satan, if Remain is to be believed.
So irritating are both campaigns and their cheerleaders there is a temptation to turn up at the ballot box and spoil the paper, sticking two fingers up to a farcical build-up that included a Thames flotilla featuring Bob Geldof. Spare us.
The truth of the matter, of course, is that concerns from both sides are valid. Has Remain addressed the problems with the Common Agricultural Policy that cut African farmers out of the loop, conveniently forgetting the message 'trade not aid'? Or the concerns of many working-class people that free movement will limit their access to affordable housing and jobs?
And has the Leave campaign decided whether it is to be like Norway or Switzerland – if so, would it accept EU control of immigration, demolishing much of the campaign's grass roots support in one fell swoop?
Refusing to acknowledge any of the concerns of the opposing side leaves us all weaker, while dumbing down the campaigns to taunts does this referendum a disservice. But having waded through enough name-calling and confusing statistics for a lifetime, these are the reasons I will be voting Remain.
1. Leaving the EU does not guarantee increased border control. While Brexiters bemoan the 330,000 immigrants who came to the UK last year, they ignore the fact that EU trade partners Norway and Switzerland are bound by free movement rules despite not being EU members. The difference? They have no say on the rules that govern their immigration policy because they aren't EU member states.
2. We have no idea what would happen to trade if we left the EU. Apart from potentially not being able to negotiate a favourable trade agreement with the EU, there are also 68 countries that have free-trade agreements (FTAs) with the EU, with whom we would need to establish new trade deals. Renegotiating as a 'most favoured nation' outside of FTAs could see an increase in tariffs and a knock-on reduction in exports that could lead to higher unemployment.
3. We are far better placed to deal with the refugee crisis as part of the EU. Despite cries that EU membership allows people to flow freely to the UK undetected, Britain did not sign the Schengen agreement, meaning it has every right to stop people at its borders, which have added protection from other EU countries such as France. The EU should also be working towards a cohesive policy to help refugees from countries such as Syria, with our membership guaranteeing a vote on how to help solve these problems.
4. The referendum is dealing directly with claims that the EU is undemocratic. The moment the EU became a political body rather than a trade bloc, we deserved to have a say in whether we wanted our laws to be made by someone other than our government. Now we have that say and, if we vote to remain, the EU becomes something we democratically voted to join.
5. Much like Faces nightclub on a Saturday night, if you leave after midnight, you ain't coming back in. It is no secret that the EU would not be prepared to offer Britain a free pass to return at a later date should we realise Brexit was a huge mistake. However, if, as the naysayers suggest, the EU becomes overrun by far-right politicians and we need to leave, there is the possibility of holding another referendum in future. In fact, given Cameron's tenuous position if Leave does win, it wouldn't be surprising to see a rushed renegotiation of terms and EU referendum 2 sooner rather than later.
6. Although the economic impact of Brexit is based on estimates, and therefore the outcome is highly uncertain, the markets historically do not do well in times of uncertainty. The economy is predicted to shrink by just 2% compared with the 2008 downturn's 6%, but given the outcome of austerity UK, which included cuts to domestic violence services and disability benefits, any threat to economic stability should be taken seriously.
7. While it's unlikely worker's rights enshrined by the EU – maternity and holiday pay – would change immediately on leaving, there would be little protection to stop future UK governments from changing these as they see fit. No doubt Cameron and co's apparent commitment to dismantling vital public services is not inspiring confidence in protecting these rights.
8. Despite sluggish growth in the eurozone, it is not currently the slowest growing economic zone apart from Antarctica; that honour is held by South America. Although, as Leave rightly says, it was the slowest growing apart from Antarctica for the four years from 2010-14. But investment uncertainty and the loss of access to the single market have seen economists overwhelmingly suggesting leaving the EU would bring further economic uncertainty.
9. The NHS is highly unlikely to benefit from a large injection of cash if the UK leaves the EU, particularly given the aforementioned potential economic instability and the fact that if indeed any money is saved from leaving, it is unlikely to be directed to one particular area of the budget. However, what is possible is an exodus of foreign doctors and nurses, who help prop up the health service and will be flung into uncertainty in the event of Brexit.
10. Do we honestly believe we are stronger alone? Indeterminate economics, from both camps, aside, we live in a time of uncertainty. There are a host of problems around the world that will have an impact on us regardless of whether we are in or out of the EU, not least instability in the Middle East, a refugee crisis and the threat of internet and external terrorism. While we are by no means a weak country, our links with our closest neighbours cannot be overstated.
We share information, we develop policies together, and we have a seat at the table. What Brexiters appear not to realise is that the table will still be there – and we will only be left with the scraps.