Jon's EU Referendum Vlogs

Peterborough Green Party member and candidate for Hampton Vale in the Peterborough City Council elections is Jon Phillipson Brown. Jon has created a series of brilliant videos. In them, he sets out his reasons why 'REMAIN' is the right choice for the UK.

I feel really passionate about this, so I'm going to try and do a series of vids saying why I think the UK should remain IN the EU. Please comment, agree, disagree, share etc. as you see fit.
Posted by Jon Phillipson Brown on Thursday, 9 June 2016

Transcript: I want to say something about this EU referendum that we’re facing in the UK because it really worries me, the idea that the UK could leave the EU. It scares me, to be honest, and it bothers me that so many people seem to think that that might possibly work out for the UK. I think it would be an absolute disaster.

And it also bothers me that the campaigns on both sides have been really negative I think there are loads and loads of really good reasons why the UK should and must remain in the EU, so I want to make those positive arguments for staying in the EU. Here’s my first one.

We live in a world which is increasingly globalised. I hope everyone would agree with that. I think it’s true that the problems that we face and their solutions, be the issue terrorism or global warming or multi-national companies avoiding tax, these are international problems. They’re not problems that respect national boundaries and I think the solutions to those problems also lie in international cooperation.

Of course the EU isn’t perfect. There are loads of things wrong with it but it’s as good an organisation as we’ve got, and I don’t see any way in the foreseeable future that it can be replaced by anything better. Britain has a huge voice in the EU. We’re really powerful players in the EU. I think we would lose some of that influence if we left. We need to be in there, going to those meetings, on the pitch, not shouting from the side-lines. International cooperation is the way forward, not isolationism.

My 2nd video, my 2nd reason for voting to remain in the EU.
Posted by Jon Phillipson Brown on Friday, 10 June 2016

Transcript: My family and I have a particular history with the EU. So this is my personal reason. My family and I lived in Spain. We’re all UK citizens, we were all born in the UK. But from 2005-2014 we had nine fantastic years living in Spain. We moved to Spain because we could, because we thought wow, this is an opportunity, we can go and live in another country and experience something more of what this wonderful world has got to offer us. And we can do that, and we know that we’ll get healthcare there, we’ve got the right to work there, I have the right to start up a business there. I had the rights to do all of those things and I did that securely, knowing that I was okay to do that.

We’re very lucky. No other generation has been so fortunate to have this profound freedom to go and do that. Just to go and move to another country just to experience it, to get to learn and experience being in another country. We are very, very lucky to have that situation. That situation hasn’t happened by chance. It’s not just luck that made that happen. It’s happened because of a historical process, because of the work of millions of people, because of the sacrifice of people. In the first instance, the sacrifice of people of my grandfather’s generation, including my grandfather who died in 1940, serving with the RAF. He was just 28 years old. That fight to defeat fascism was the beginnings of the EU.

The EU came about to make war between its states not just unlikely but impossible. These days it’s unthinkable isn’t it that there could be a war between France and Germany or between Britain and France. But it hasn’t always wen that way and it isn’t that way by chance. We have a massive profound freedom and we would be monstrously ignorant to turn our backs on that.

Reason number 3 for voting for Britain to remain in the EU. Trade and Jobs.
Posted by Jon Phillipson Brown on Saturday, 11 June 2016

Transcript: My third reason is to do with trade, jobs and immigration.

At the moment, 44% of the UK’s exports go to the EU. That’s a fact. You can look it up on 44% of our exports go to the EU. It’s a massively important trading partner. If we were to leave the EU, they would impose tariffs on our exports, making them massively uncompetitive. They will still be fantastic products, but fantastic products need to be competitive, they need to be value as well as good. Companies would think twice about buying our products. That could cost us thousands of jobs. That could risk sending us into a huge recession.

In order to get rid of those tariffs we could negotiate with the EU but the price of that would be we would have to accept EU rules without being part of the EU, without having the chance to form those rules. We would have to accept things like free movement of people, so in that sense leaving the EU would not solve immigration at all.

For example, look at Switzerland. Switzerland is not part of the EU. Switzerland thought they could go it alone. For ten years in the 1990s they paid the tariffs, they traded throughout the EU and it had a disastrous effect on their economy. They suffered a ten year recession, the longest recession in OECD history. I don’t want that to happen to Britain. I think we need to stay in the EU. We need to continue trading within the EU in this free single market.

Here is my reason number 4 for voting for the UK to remain in the EU: protection of our natural environment.
Posted by Jon Phillipson Brown on Sunday, 12 June 2016

Transcript: My fourth reason for voting remain is to do with our natural environment and the wildlife that we share it with. We all like animals don’t we? They’re cute and fluffy and cuddly but nature’s more important than that, isn’t it? Ultimately, all of our economic and social prosperity depends on us having a healthy, natural environment, to provide us with clean air to breathe, water to survive on, bees to pollinate our flowers to give us food. And, frankly, without those things, even with the best economic plan, we’re screwed.

Nature doesn’t respect natural boundaries. Migrating birds, for example. They don’t care or know that they’re in the part of the world that we call the UK or the part of the world that we call France or Spain or Italy and there’s little point in us legislating to protect them in the UK if they all get shot whilst flying over Italy. So natural conservation legislation is so much more powerful, so much more effective, when it’s done at European level. And this is something that the EU is good at. It’s not perfect. Of course we should continue making it better and improving it. But I contend that protecting the environment is something the EU does better than national governments can possibly do. I’ll give you two examples of EU legislation that supports this.

Firstly, the Habitats Directive. This is legislation adopted in 1992 to maintain biodiversity. It protects over one thousand animal and plant species and more than 200 different types of natural habitat and it does that across all 28 countries of the EU.

Secondly, the Zoos Directive. This is legislation to strengthen the roles that zoos play in the conservation of biodiversity and it sets standards for the licensing and inspection of zoos across all the countries of the EU. It’s legislation like this, alongside significant reductions in air pollution and in water pollution that the EU has been able to achieve far more than national governments would have been able to do individually.

And that’s why British organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British part of the World Wildlife Fund have come out strongly in favour of remaining in the EU. The Chief Executive of the RSPB Mike Clark said, and I quote, the EU has provided many benefits to wildlife and the natural environment that would be hard to replicate if we left. The safer option for nature is for the UK to remain in the EU.

Reason 5 for voting REMAIN: Workers' rights
Posted by Jon Phillipson Brown on Monday, 13 June 2016

Transcript: My fifth reason has to do with workers’ rights and what the EU has done to protect them and to increase them and to enhance them.

The EU has created various important rights for workers and other rights that existed previously have been enhanced. EU law takes precedent over national law here so it means than an over-zealous British government would never be able to take these rights away from people. First of all, I want to give you a couple of concrete examples.

1. The right to paid holidays. In 1998, in legislation called The Working Time Regulations the EU ensured for the first time that all workers across Europe would have the right to at least four weeks paid leave every year. And by the way, this was a measure that the UK government fought tooth and nail against. They even went to the European Court of Justice to have it annulled but they were not successful.

2. The right for men and women to receive equal pay. The right to equal pay was enshrined in the original treaty of Rome in 1957 that founded the EEC as it was then. At the time, Britain didn't have that legislation so we had to legislate in order to join the EEC.

In addition to these specific examples, the EU has had a significant and positive effect on lots of other areas of employment law. This includes protection from various forms of discrimination. Protection of pregnant workers, rights of parental leave, protection of part-time, fixed-term and agency workers and the right to daily rest and weekly rest.

So it’s not surprising then that the TUC has come out strongly in favour of Remain. Their general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said working people have a huge stake in the referendum because workers’ rights are on the line. It’s the EU that guarantees workers their rights to paid holidays, parental leave, equal treatment for part-timers and much more. These rights, he said, can’t be taken for granted. There are no guarantees that any government will keep them if the UK leave the EU. And without the backup of EU laws unscrupulous employers will have free reign to cut the rights of their workers.

Reason number 6 for voting to REMAIN in the EU: democracy
Posted by Jon Phillipson Brown on Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Transcript: My next reason for voting to remain in the EU is democracy.

We’ve got lots of different levels of democracy in this country from parish councils (I’ve recently become a parish councillor myself), we’ve got city councils, county councils, national government and the EU parliament. It makes sense to me that some decisions that are specific to a local community are taken very locally by local people. Others affect the whole country so they should be taken at a national level. Some decisions are best taken with international cooperation because often our interests in the UK are aligned with those of our European neighbours. And, as is often the case, if our UK representatives can convince our continental counterparts of the strength of what they’re arguing for, then the whole of the EU, all 28 countries, with all of their economic clout, can get behind the UK and magnify the voice of Britain across the world, acting as a megaphone for the British voice in the world.

The European Parliament is a democratic forum which we directly elect representatives to, the MEPs, by proportional representation. So, if you want to get stuck in yourself, you can get yourself nominated, persuade people to vote for you, and if you’re successful find yourself voting in the EU Parliament. It’s not the only part of the EU.

There is also the Council of Ministers, formed by an elected Government minister from each member state. And there there’s the European Commission. One commissioner from each member state, nominated by their member state. The commissioner’s job is to propose legislation which is then debated and voted on by the Council and the Parliament before it becomes law.

Some have suggested that because the Commission initiate that process they can therefore dictate to the EU what becomes law. This isn’t true because the Commission takes advice on what to propose from national Governments, from the EU Parliament and from a whole load of expert sources in deciding what to propose. And the Commission knows it must find approval for its proposals both from the Council of Ministers and from the EU Parliament. So they know that there is little point in proposing measures that are not going to be supported.

I wonder, if we were to leave the EU, would we still collaborate and cooperate and make decisions in conjunction with other countries or are we just going to turn our backs on them? The Leave campaign insists that they’re not arguing for isolation. Yet they’ve said nothing about how those discussions would take place. They want to get rid of this whole level of democratic engagement and they propose nothing to replace it with. So I wonder, would those discussions happen at all? And if they did happen, would there be any democratic representation in them? Nothing has been proposed. So what, all that important discussion with European neighbours, all that happens on an entirely ad hoc basis? I don’t think that’s wise. I think we need to stay in. We need to participate more, not less, with European democracy.

Video 7, reason 7 for voting to #Remain : scientific research. BTW, you can see all my EU videos together in one place, courtesy of my good friend Julie Howell at:
Posted by Jon Phillipson Brown on Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Transcript: My next reason for voting to remain in the EU is scientific research and the support given to it and the opportunities to collaborate within it that membership of the EU affords.

Scientific research brings together observations, knowledge and data to solve problems, invent solutions and develop new products. Science brings better medicines, cleaner energy, public health protections, safer environment, new technologies, and it works towards finding solutions to global problems such as striving towards a cure for cancer. So what does the EU do to support scientific research in the UK? First of all, it gives us a lot of money, quite a lot of money, actually. According to the President of the Royal Society, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, and I quote, the UK received 8.8bn Euros from the most recently completed EU research project from 2007-2013, having contribute 5.4bn Euros. That’s a net gain of 3.4bn Euros. He goes on, in spite of a reduction in UK government research funding to universities between 2009/10 and 2013/14 university research income increased over that period. This was largely due to increases in funding from the EU. Secondly, international research collaborations, many of which are facilitated by the EU, have 40% more impact than domestic-only research.

Being in the EU allows our scientists to take a leading role within a scientific superpower. EU scientific growth is second to none in the world, greater even than that of the USA. And that is dependent on scientists from different countries, including our own, collaborating, sharing infrastructure and working together in the EU. This research is not held back by national boundaries. It is facilitated and accelerated by international cooperation.

Video no.8 #Referendum is about national identity. For all my prevoius reasons for #Remain go to
Posted by Jon Phillipson Brown on Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Transcript: My next reason for voting to REMAIN is to do with national identity.

I believe that my national identity as a British citizen is more accurately represented and is safer with Britain in the EU that it would be if we were to leave. Let me explain why. I come from Grimsby and because I’m from Grimsby and my parents are both English, I’m English. Because I’m English I’m British. And because I’m British I’m European. There’s no conflict between those statements. I don’t understand when people say we’re not European we’re British. That doesn’t make any sense to me.

I think these things are like the layers of an onion and each layer adds something to the other layers. I think that we in this country have a great deal in common. We have more in common with the French or the Italians or the Spanish than we have, for example, with the Japanese or the Brazilians. I feel an affinity with European culture, with the Europe of Picasso and Beethoven as well as the Europe of Shakespeare. So I feel that this outer layer of European-ness enriches my identity and gives me something extra and does nothing to diminish my Britishness. Now, I understand that for some people different layers of their identity are more important than others.

For me personally, where I was born was Grimsby in South Humberside. Now that doesn’t exist anymore and we’re in Lincolnshire. It doesn’t matter to me at all. It makes no big deal. But I recognise that for some people, regional identity, maybe people in Cornwall or Yorkshire, that’s supremely important. But what’s much more important to me is my sense of Britishness. And as diverse as British people are I think that there are certain common values that we share or at least that we aspire to. Characteristics that make us who we are and of which we feel proud. For me, these British values include tolerance, compassion and a sense of fair play. We tolerate each other’s differences. We don’t always agree with each other, we don’t always get on but we respect people’s right to be different. We are compassionate. As a nation we aim to be good Samaritans.

I think we’re very lucky to be born into this wonderful and wealthy country. If we’re honest with ourselves we know that we ought to hold out a helping hand to people who are less fortunate. We have a sense of fair play. We have respect for the rules. For the rule of law. For democracy. We are famous and respected throughout the world for this.

 Do we deserve this fame? Well, I have to say, recent events make me wonder. Because I don’t see those values of tolerance, of compassion, of respect for fairness, I don’t see those values represented by the LEAVE campaign. I don’t believe those people really care about those values. In their place I see selfishness, arrogance and narrow-minded bigotry and my country’s not like that. My country is better than that and that’s why I believe it’s the right thing to do to vote REMAIN.

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