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The Truth Behind All the Scaremongering You Will Hear in the EU Referendum Debate

Experts agree that if we leave/don't leave the EU the economy will be ruined and we will be flooded with immigrants.

by Gavin Haynes
09 February 2016, 3:00pm

Refugees in the Calais "Jungle". On Monday David Cameron warned that we could see scenes like this in England if we leave the EU (Photo by Jake Lewis)

On Monday, David Cameron came out with the full frighteners. The tomato ketchup blood, the joke shop fangs. Vote for Britain to stay in the EU or the puppet gets it.

Migrants, he said. Thousands of them. Living in the fields of southern England. Just like they now live in Calais. All because Britain's idiot voters abandoned the EU mothership in their referendum. Cameron was right that if the Le Touquet Treaty Britain signed with France in 2002 were to be revoked, it would mean that migrants could just buy a ferry ticket to Britain (they can't right now because as a result of the Treaty, Britain begins at the Calais port). It's just that – as many "No" campaigners were happy to point out – the Le Touquet Treaty has nothing to do with the EU. It's only between Britain and France. Exactly the sort of treaty we'll need more of if we leave.

But if this was the first of many scaremongering stories, then what are the many? After the Scottish referendum, politicians understand that people vote for the option that seems least uncertain and scary. So where's the Project Fear of the EU vote? Which big scares are we going to be seeing from both sides in the coming months of lies and damned lies?

THE TRAVEL NIGHTMARE

Could travelling to Europe become more difficult? (Photo by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete)

The end of EU membership would mean the end of restriction-free travel within the EU.

THE SCARE
Picture every Brit who wants to hop the Eurostar having to take a half-day holiday to visit the French embassy, offer thumb-prints, spittle, letters of reference and several thousand pounds in surety, like, say Russian citizens have to if they want to visit Britain. Imagine the French border cop presently lazily swiping your passport through his machine transforming into a Gallic version of the crew-cut Robocops at JFK who always want to know what the purpose of your visit is sir, what you had for breakfast the day Hae Min Lee was killed sir and where exactly your mother lost her virginity sir.

THE REALITY
Going to France would become a lot like going to Morocco is now, or The Philippines, or Canada. Or, say, like going to France was in 1972. You 'd turn up at the border. Provided you weren't shitting condoms of heroin, you'd automatically get a visa stamp. You could stay for an initial 90 days, and, providing you hadn't stabbed anyone, have it renewed. Work visas would be a lot more tricky, though.

(Photo by Javier Izquierdo)

THE END OF BRITS LIVING ABROAD

If we leave, British citizens already living in Europe will lose all their social welfare entitlements, and possibly be kicked out. Just like we're gonna do to the Poles and Romanians.

THE SCARE
Your granny loses her villa on the Costa del Sol and is brought back to Croydon on an RAF mercy flight.

THE REALITY
A mixed picture. For the 400,000 British pensioners living in Spain, provided they kept their bank accounts, their direct UK state pension provision would go on as it already does. Welfare benefits, of course, are much more localised, so it'd be more dicey for the "I'm moving to Berlin" crowd signed on to the generous German dole. They might have to take their commitment to being a starving artist a bit more seriously.

SCEXIT

(Photo by Liam Turbett)

If England votes to leave but Scotland doesn't, then it would mean the end of the UK.

THE SCARE
If the English effectively screwed the Europhile Scots over, Nicola Sturgeon would seize the perfect moment to argue that Scotland should be free to remain within the EU, seeing as that's what Scots voted for, and the only way to do that would be via another independence referendum.

THE REALITY
The stats back it. A Sunday Times poll last summer suggested that 66 percent of Scots wanted to stay in, compared to 51 percent of English voters. But Scotland needs the UK Parliament to vote in favour of a new referendum bill, so the SNP would be relying on Labour and the Tories to effectively put a gun to their own heads and pull the trigger.

MORE EXPENSIVE ROAMING TARIFFS

A lot of EU "red tape" isn't Brussels telling you not to use hand sanitiser that isn't made from tulips – it's actually stuff that makes your life a lot better, and it'd be gone.

THE SCARE
You fly back from Alicante to Derby International Airport. You return home. To a bill. From Vodafone. For £123,000. For downloading five episodes of Baby Beauty Queens.

THE REALITY
This is a real thing. Once Britain is on the outside, British companies won 't necessarily be bound by its regulations, like the EU rule limiting the amount mobile phone companies can charge abroad. However, if British companies want to export goods and services into the EU, we'll probably remain in European Economic Area. That would mean that, like Norway, we abide by all the EU's rules (because that's the easiest way to export our goods), but won't have any direct input into how the rules are made. So, for most things, the noticeable change would be nil. But from a negotiating point of view, we'd basically be holding our dicks and waving from the other side of the glass partition at the orgy.

A EUROPEAN ARMY

Some Norwegian soldiers. State of this (Photo by Matthias)

If we remain in Europe, the deeper integration of the continent will mean a pan-European defence force, and a possible end for the British Army as a distinct thing.

THE SCARE
Imagine Our Boys marching shoulder to shoulder with Dutch soldiers. The Dutch – who probably have some clause in their contract that says they don 't fight on weekends or after 5PM. And the Scandos, who just want to fire written apologies for colonialism they never even did at the enemy. And the Germans. The fucking Germans.

THE REALITY
The idea has been proposed many times already, in many different configurations. However, the British have always threatened to block it, and in one of his few negotiating successes, David Cameron has already secured opt-out on the "ever-closer union" clause in the EU, so win or lose, we 'd be well within our rights to just tell them to eff off.

THE END OF THE CITY

(Photo by SLR Jester)

If there's one thing that financial analysts agree on, it's that leaving/remaining in Europe will destroy our financial services sector.

THE SCARE
Either being hog-tied to Brussels' bonus caps and red tape is going to smother our competitiveness, or being outside of the world's biggest economic trading zone will render us utterly pointless. Either way: we're doomed! Canary Wharf will be a ghost town full of empty black marble apartments and uncleaned bins of Nespresso capsules and the rest of the economy will follow.

THE REALITY
Either way – we're not doomed! The City may be more sluggish if we remain in, or more unwieldy if we leave, but the costs of firms relocating are astronomical, and besides, they'd all have to decide to relocate to the same place to derive the same hive-mind benefit London presently offers. Plus London still a place people actually want to live in, unlike the culture vacuums of Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong or Zurich.

WW2 II

An American bombing raid over a German city (Photo via)

Imagine World War 2. Now imagine something a lot like that, but now.

THE SCARE
The EU was set up specifically to prevent another war between France and Germany, initially by binding together their economies. If Britain leaves, the EU Jenga tower could collapse, leading to a renewed trade and influence war between the two biggest regional economies, an arms race, a charismatic dictator, and TOTAL WAR.

THE REALITY
If Britain does go, expect Greece to get more edgy. Expect the EU-loathing Danes to kick off. Expect the Europhobe Finns to get involved, then the other desperately screwed bits of the Eurozone like Spain and Portugal, and soon enough, the EU could be just France and Germany locked in a loveless clinch with a husk of remaining eastern European losers. But total war? It's only like only 6/10 plausible.

@gavhaynes

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