Passing Brexit was a Mistake for the United Kingdom
Brexit: The vote for the UK to leave the European Union.
Mistake: A poor judgement (by the majority of British voters).
United Kingdom: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Burden of proof is shared. First round is acceptance. No new arguments in the final round.
When considering policy it is of utmost importance to always consider the economic effect. Nations typically thrive when their economies do. However, Brexit will almost certainly hurt the British economy.
The British economy is heavily dependent on trade with the EU. Trade with the EU accounts for half of Britain's exports and imports; moreover, Britain's exports to the EU account for 15% of its GDP. (1) The main reason for this was due to the limited, if any, trade barriers the British experienced while in the EU. So, it can be observed that being in the EU gave markets for the UK to export its goods and also allowed it to import goods for cheaper. This is obviously good for Britain as a whole, as it creates demand for their products overseas (creating more jobs in areas where British products and services would be in high demand) and also allows the people to purchase goods for cheaper (due to avoiding tariffs, border control, etc.) The London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance, created a model showing two possible outcomes for Britain. One scenario is if the UK makes its own free trade agreements with the EU (like Switzerland and Norway) and the other is if the UK is unable to make such agreements, and thus faces much higher trading costs and barriers. Both result in British national income dropping. If Britain is able to negotiate such deals the expected decline was calculated to be 1.1% of GDP, but if they are not, the expected decline was calculated to be 3.1% of GDP. (1) The study also accounts for the common counter-argument that the UK will save money that currently goes to the EU, which will stimulate the economy. However, not only is this a very miniscule amount, 0.53% of the national income, the study also showed how Switzerland and Norway pay on a per capita basis 41% and 83%, respectively, what the British currently pay to the EU, just to have such trade deals. (1) One may argue that the British will simply be able to negotiate new trade deals with other nations. However, this argument is weak seeing as there is currently nothing stopping the British from currently doing so. In fact, it may be more difficult now that the UK has left the EU. The EU is currently negotiating two major trade deals with the US and Japan (the world’s largest and third largest economy, respectively). The study calculated that these trade deals likely would have saved British households a total of £6.3B. (1) Finally, another benefit Britain gains from being an EU member nation is it is highly integrated with other European economies. One of the benefits of this is that Britain receives a lot of direct foreign investment. Currently, Britain is beat only by the US in the amount of direct foreign investment. This is because, in the EU, the UK is well integrated with European markets and can act as “export platform” to the rest of Europe. (1, 2) However, many international banks are considering moving some of their business from London to Frankfurt in response to Brexit, as Germany is another major economic power in the EU. (2) This could become a trend, especially if the British are unable to negotiate new trading deals with the EU, as the UK will become much more economically isolated than its continental counterparts. Not only that, but Britain will also not be integrated with EU policy, that could affect their business in other ways. Jacob Funk Kirkegaard lays out this argument as such: “If you are Nissan or some other car producer with major production in the UK, today, the same safety standards and environmental standards allow you to sell everywhere in the European market,,,[but if the UK leaves] you would no longer be able to sell into other European markets, not because you face a small tariff but because you'd have to go through another set of safety certifications. This kind of thing would be repeated in every industry you can think of.” (3) The argument here clearly displays how Britain’s reduced integration would make it harder for companies to sell to Britain and EU nations, simultaneously. When one considers that the EU is a much bigger market than the UK, it is reasonable to conclude that companies would rather adjust to EU standards over British standards. Thus, the UK will also suffer from its reduced integration with the rest of Europe. Overall, it is clear that Britain greatly benefited from its trade deals and integration with the rest of Europe as an EU nation, thus leaving will hurt their economy.
Another common argument for Brexit is that the EU forces Britain to take in migrants who leach welfare and hurt the economy. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the British will now implement a more restrictive immigration process. However, this will also hurt the British economy in the long run. The main thing to consider is that the reputation of the lazy migrant is unfounded. For instance, over a ten year span, migrants contributed a net £20B to British public finances. (4) Also, immigrants were also found to be 43% less likely than natives to receive state benefits or tax credits. (4) Not only that, but one only needs to consider that the UK is facing an aging crisis. Due to relatively low fertility rates and increased lifespans, Britain will be facing an increased strain on its pension services and healthcare, while also seeing a decline in productivity (less people of working age). (5) For this reason, it is important to consider how the British economy will look in the following decades, because without increased immigration/migration, the British will undeniably see its workforce shrink and public spending increase. To conclude, from an economic perspective, Britain is in desperate need of immigrants.
Overall, it is abundantly clear that Brexit will be a negative force on the British economy. Britain will lose several benefits it gained from being an EU nation, as well as likely facing restrictive immigration laws which will only hurt the country in the long run.
It doesn’t take much convincing to realize that a country is better off unified than divided. However, the passing of Brexit threatens to literally break up the country.
A little less than two years ago Scotland voted to stay in the UK. One may assume then that, that would be the end of the issue; Scotland will remain part of Britain. However, during the Brexit vote Scotland voted heavily, 62% to 38%, in favour of staying in the EU. (6) Also, in response to the Brexit vote, polls are now showing support for Scottish independence to be at 59%. (7) In fact, following Brexit, Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said that it is “highly likely” that Scotland will have another vote to leave the UK. (8) Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the passing of Brexit will likely lead to a literal dividing of the UK, which would undoubtedly be a mistake for the UK.
I come from an outside point of view (meaning I am not a part of the UK), but I try to keep up with the affairs of the country since I intend to move there in the near future. I'll begin by acknowledging what you said about the economic downfall of the country as a whole due to the passing of Brexit. I believe you are absolutely right, and I will not contend your reasoning. What I will contend is the fact of a lack of faith in a country that could potentially become a great independent body.
Let's talk a little bit about the EU. You said a lot of really nice things it does for the UK, but I believe those things are a temporary fix that hold certain consequences in exchange for the EU's services , meaning if the UK left the EU, the UK would eventually land back on its feet again, only without the crutch of the EU being there. In my understanding and research, the EU creates a bloated bureaucracy that just doesn't handle well when it comes to things such as border control, cultural defenses, and excessive regulation. It is a fair fear and logical one to be afraid of terrorism. Their open boarders were an issue. Put it this way: Imagine being an American and having open boarders, particularly after the scare of 9/11. It would be terrifying to say the least. So, of course, safety is an issue, especially when you are dependent on it, and the EU is doing a lousy job of isolating terrorism. An independent UK could provide this amenity so much better and more efficiently with control over its borders.
Now I'd like to talk about documents. The EU's constitution is just...Well, huge. It's hundreds of pages long, very confusing, and it displays an almost sharia-like regulation on all aspects of human life. The lack of a real separation of powers invites the abuse of power, especially with a constitution that is so complex. Once again I am going to compare the EU's constitution to the US's constitution (I'm not being bias I promise, I just want to compare how the two work separately). The United States constitution works really well, and it is because it is very short and very easy to understand for all citizens so as to retain their rights and understand their government and privileges given to them. The United States is not a perfect country, but its citizens absolutely fight more for their rights because they know their constitution. The UK weening off of the EU gives them an opportunity to set up a much better and less corrupt/easy to corrupt constitution that enforces the main laws and that isn't dominated by lobbyists. The separation of powers is almost non existent it seems in the EU, and that leads for corruption.
There are many different reasons for becoming an independent country, they can range from freedom of speech, to national boarder protection, to even having a national sense of pride. Being an Independent country is a beautiful and a well sought after ideal. I think that there is a mountain to get past that most people are to scared to go over, and that is the economic and relation- losing implications that come with leaving the EU, but sometimes you have to have a little vision of what the future can hold. All good things come after hardships, and to become an independent country, the UK will most certainly feel the brunt of their actions--at first, but as time goes on, the UK will form relations again, they are a well respected country that holds a lot of power in Europe. The economy will come back, and the people will be more independent, more free, and more able to establish themselves as an almost new country of sorts. If people could only look past the dark days, they would see a light at the end of the tunnel for the UK.
I agree with you, the UK is going to hit some hard times...Some very hard times. But it is worth it in the end to become an independent, self sustaining country.
When considering whether a policy is a “mistake,” everything should be accounted for and if a policy will bring more bad than good, it should be considered a mistake. In other words, neither Con nor I need to show that Brexit is completely good or bad either way for Britain. Merely, we need to show that, all things considered, Brexit is a net positive or negative for the UK.
Argument 1-Economic Effects:
Con has conceded this whole argument; therefore, we both agree that Britain will face an economic downturn as a result of leaving the EU. This means that Con accepts that Britain will suffer economically from the loss of free trade deals and lack of immigration to stimulate the economy.
Con failed to respond to or even reference this argument. Therefore, due to a lack of rebuttal, the point stands that Brexit will most likely lead to Scottish independence.
Con’s case can be broken up into three arguments: disadvantages of open borders (his third paragraph), the burden of the EU’s complex constitution (his fourth paragraph), and the benefits of being an independent a nation (his fifth paragraph). I will address each of these separately.
Rebuttal 1-Open Borders:
Con’s argument for open borders is riddled with bare assertions and absent of any evidence. Con’s argument can essentially be boiled down to the idea that the EU does a “lousy job of isolating terrorism,” yet an independent UK would be much more efficient at spotting out terror threats. However, neither of these ideas is presented with any evidence. Thus, there is no reason to accept Con’s argument that Britain would deal with terrorism better without the EU.
Rebuttal 2-Complex Constitution:
Once again, Con provides no evidence for his argument. He argues that, because the EU has a relatively complex constitution, it leads to corruption because it’s confusing. However, that argument is ultimately unconvincing because no evidence is provided. He mentions how the American constitution works better because its simplicity allows Americans to fight for their rights more. However, there is no evidence for this, nor is there evidence that the EU is corrupt and trampling on the people’s rights. Once again, this leaves Con’s argument empty.
Rebuttal 3-Benefits of Independent:
Con continues to argue with bare assertions, absent of any evidence. This argument can essentially be boiled down to the fact that being an independent nation is better and that Britain will bounce back, better than ever. It’s a really idealistic argument, but lacks any substance. For instance, there is no reason to accept the premise that being an independent nation is better. He simply states it, along with brief mentions of freedom of speech, national border protection, and national pride. Border protection has already been discussed, but he doesn’t show how the EU suppresses Britain’s freedom of speech or national pride; Con also fails to demonstrate why either of those helps the UK. Con also fails to provide a reason to believe Britain’s economy will bounce back, beyond bare assertions. No statistics to demonstrate this and he had already conceded to my arguments that would suggest otherwise. Therefore, there is no reason to accept any of Con’s statements in this argument.
To conclude, due to a lack of any evidence, Con has failed to provide any convincing reasons why passing Brexit was a good decision. Also, due to Con having no rebuttal to my points that passing Brexit was a bad decision, it stands that passing Brexit was mistake for the UK.
Argument 1: Economic Effects:
You are right, there will be an economic downturn. That unfortunately for you was not what this debate was about, the subject of this debate is "Passing Brexit was a mistake for the United Kingdom", and not "There will be an economic downturn due to the passing of Brexit". So I believe I am in the clear to agree with you on the economics of the situation. This does not mean I agree with you that Brexit was a mistake. I clearly stated that anytime a country desires to gain freedom there will be a storm before the clear. I believe the economy will become bad before it becomes good again, the difference is that the UK will be independent once it climbs atop the economic hill and ends up on the other side, thus making it a prospective decision. According to the World Trade Organization (of which the UK is a part of), over half of the UK's trade is with other countries and not with the EU, so that is over half of their trade that will go unaltered. As for trade with the EU, the UK is a number one trade market for many countries under the EU, and for that chain to break would be devastating to both countries, so I don't really believe it will happen. For instance, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity at MIT, the UK is the 9th largest export economy in the world and is the most profitable export market for countries that are in fact in the EU. For ex: Germany. The UK alone accounts for 34% of the German surplus with the EU making the UK by far Germany's most profitable export market. That is just one example of how the EU will probably without a doubt continue on with the UK in trade markets.
Argument 2: Scotland
You said that "It is reasonable to conclude that the passing of Brexit will likely lead to a literal dividing of the UK, which would undoubtedly be a mistake for the UK". You did not back up your argument. I'd like to know why the division would be a mistake for the UK, which you did not expound on. I would like to suggest that a division of the UK could in fact be a very good thing. For one, Scotland might become independent again (like they were before the year 1707) under the European Referendum. The First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond stated "an independent Scotland, aided by its oil wealth, would be one of the world's richest countries". Scotland actually would be in a good position for wealth if they became independent of the UK, and not only that, Scotland would have all the things I mentioned in my first argument that comes with independence: more freedoms, national pride, leeway for better prospects, etc. Now, Scotland also wants to rejoin the EU if they become independent (You don't need evidence for this, just look at the news right now), which wouldn't be the worst thing to happen for them. As for what happens to the UK if Scotland leaves, it will not be the end of the UK. For one thing, (and this is my opinion, nobody elses) if Scotland leaves the UK, that if anything, will give the North East a great advantage in trade--having a land border with an EU country will be excellent for trade and relations. And once again, I will state: An independent country is better than a dependent country.
Conclusion: Once again, I will say that I agree with you, the UK will have the disadvantage due to Brexit....At the beginning. (I'm not saying you win this argument, don't misinterpret that, I am merely agreeing a point with you). But if you could see the benefits of becoming an independent country, then for all that is holy, why not take a chance? People are so scared of change and the implications of change, that they cower. I truly believe that the UK voters voted on Brexit because they had faith that they would come through on the otherside unscathed and rewarded. I do not believe that all UK people didn't understand what Brexit was when they voted. In fact, only millions were googling Brexit after the vote out of 64 million people.( The news likes to exaggerate things). The UK will be fine as long as they do everything correctly. Trade will come back, independence will become a flying beacon of freedom, and the UK will find its place in this world with bigger and better prospects that were never thought possible before.
Con more or less dropped all of his arguments, and due to a lack of response, conceded to my rebuttals. In reference to his opening arguments, Con only made reference to the fact that it is common knowledge that the EU constitution is much longer than the American one. However, that’s beside the point, I didn’t even dispute that. What I disputed was the assumption made by Con that, because it’s longer, it leads to more corruption, prevents Europeans from fighting for their rights, and causes the EU to trample on people’s rights. Without any evidence to that effect, there is absolutely no reason to believe it. No instances of EU corruption, no instances of Europeans being confused over their rights, and no instances of Europeans losing their personal rights were provided by Con. Thus, without evidence, he is simply speculating and making assumptions.
Con did not once reference his open borders argument and his argument about the benefit of independence was linked into his rebuttal on my arguments, so I’ll address that there. As it stands, however, Con’s arguments remain absent of any evidence.
Rebuttal 3-Benefits of Independence/Argument 1-Economic Effects:
Con attempt to mitigate the economic downturn by arguing that Britain will benefit in the long term. However, the evidence here is still shaky and the benefits of independence are still not made clear.
Con begins by emphasizing the fact he stated in the previous round that “there will be a storm before the clear.” That’s nice, but it doesn’t mean anything, it’s an empty statement. I can say “when things go bad, they keep getting worse.” Again, it doesn’t mean anything without anything to back it up. However, he is basing his argument on the idea that Britain will climb back to its pre-Brexit economic state and that this is better, because it will be independent. Con provides some level of evidence for this, which I will address later. However, I highlighted last round that Con didn’t provide a reason why it is better to be independent:
“For instance, there is no reason to accept the premise that being an independent nation is better. He simply states it, along with brief mentions of freedom of speech, national border protection, and national pride. Border protection has already been discussed, but he doesn’t show how the EU suppresses Britain’s freedom of speech or national pride; Con also fails to demonstrate why either of those helps the UK.”
I might as well say it is better for the UK to be part of the EU, because it becomes more integrated with the rest of Europe. No explanation as to why being more integrated with the rest of Europe is better for the UK, but it’s the same level of reasoning done by Con as to why Britain would be better off independent.
As for evidence that the UK will recover, Con just tries to downplay the EU’s effect on the British economy. He takes a bird’s eye view of the fact that the majority of Britain’s trade comes from non-EU nations and that the other EU nations benefit too much from their trade with Britain. However, it is important to realize that being in the EU opens Britain up to trade with a lot more than just EU nations. I will refer back to my opening argument in which I reference the EU making deals with the US and Japan, and it was calculated that it would have likely ended up saving British households a total of £6.3B. (1) Also, to expand on that point, the deals with the US and Japan would have given British businesses easier access to U32; of the world’s market (by value). (2) However, those are only two examples of EU trade deals with international markets. In order to appropriately rebut Con’s point, I’ll give more examples of how being in the EU gives Britain access to more than just European markets. The EU has separate deals with over 50 countries. As of right now, EU trade deals account for 60% of British trade. (2) However, when you also consider deals the EU is currently negotiating (such as the aforementioned ones with the US and Japan), EU trade deals could eventually account for 88% of British trade. (2) Another major deal to consider is the EU’s deal with South Korea. Following the EU-SK deal, British trade with South Korea increased over 50%. (2) This is no suprise, as not only is South Korea a growing economy, the EU allowed it to be much easier to trade with the South Koreans. Also, the EU’s recently signed deal with Canada would have potentially raised trade with Canada 29%. (2) I could go into more depth, but it should be clear, that Con’s statement that “over half of their trade will go unaltered” is misinformed and flat out wrong. Con will likely rebut that Britain could just remake the trade deals it has, but that is a foolish idea. Looking at Canada (who only exports about 3.2% less than Britain in value), we can see they have a lot less trade deals than Britain (as a member of the EU). (2, 3) This should be obvious, as signing a deal with all of the EU economies is more attractive than just signing a deal with one economy. Also, Britain will not have nearly as much negotiating power. With the weight of all the EU economies, it is much easier to gain favourable deals. This is obvious, because the EU has much more to offer than an independent UK does. This is why stronger nations such as China in the China-Switzerland deal, South Korea in the SK-Australia deal, and the EU in the EU-SK deal, get better deals and have more ability to dictate terms. (2) Therefore, it is undeniable that the UK will be unable to sign trade deals as good as they had with the EU. Finally, I will respond to Con’s point that his example of Germany will want to continue having the same deals with the UK. My opening argument addressed this idea, and the study provided still predicted a 1.1% decline each year in GDP. (1) Why? Because as mentioned above, the EU is a much stronger negotiating party than the UK and the UK loses its other deals mentioned above. Plus, we need to remember that as the UK becomes more isolated, the rest of the world is still globalized. Using Con’s source, Britain’s exports to Germany can be analyzed. Transportation (e.g. cars, aircraft and vehicle parts, motorcycles, etc.) and machinery (e.g. engines, computers, and telephones) account for 17.94% and 20.04% of Britain's exports to Germany, respectively. (4) These are primarily manufacturing sectors, and there is no reason to keep manufacturing jobs, such as these, in the UK when they can easily be relocated. I included a quote in my opening argument which explained that an independent UK would have its own safety restrictions and regulations, as well, making it more complicated for most companies to operate in the UK. Obviously, these companies would rather focus their efforts on the European market than the British market. Plus, one has to consider London’s large financial sector. I also showed in my opening argument how many banks are considering moving much of their operations from London to Frankfurt. Again, this is obvious, the market is much larger in a EU nation like Germany than an independent UK.
Overall, it can be concluded that the chances of Britain bouncing back to its previous economic levels is wishful thinking and there is no reason to believe the UK is better off independent, as Con provided no evidence to that effect. Thus, Brexit will undeniably hurt Britain’s economy in the short and long run, with no forseen benefits.
Finally, I will once again bring up my immigration point from my opening argument, which Con never touched. With the likely decrease in immigrants, Britain will have immense strains on its pensions and healthcare, and iwll have less workers for future generations. Obviously, this hurts the UK in the long term.
Con says I lacked any evidence that a divide of the UK would be a bad thing. I’ll briefly expand on this idea. We are not arguing what’s best for the Scottish people, we are arguing what is better for the nation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. That nation currently includes Scotland. The UK losing Scotland undeniably makes the UK less powerful, that’s just a simple numbers game. In other words, we don’t care about how good it is for Scotland, if it hurts Britain. Now, Con argues that for Britain, having a border with a EU nation, will help it. This may be true, but to effectively rebut this, we have to consider what Britain also loses from Scotland, which will just strengthen my economic argument. In 2014, Scotland’s exports were worth £76B and Britain's total exports were $473B. (5, 6) Using today’s conversation rate, Scotland accounted for over 20% of Britain’s total exports. However, it is even more important to consider what Scotland has. Scotland contains many minerals (such as coal), suitable land for agriculture, and North Sea oil (which Con makes reference to). (5) These natural resources (most notably the oil as petroleum accounts for 11.4% of the UK’s exports) are sectors that cannot be relocated like a car plant can, weakening Britain’s negotiating power, further abroad. (6) Therefore, it is clear a separate Scotland will hurt the UK.
Without any evidence, Con’s arguments hold no weight and his rebuttals of mine were ultimately unconvincing. It has clearly been demonstrated that in the long run the UK’s economy will be hurt by leaving the EU, through the loss of favourable trade deals and the likely decline of immigration. Also, it has clearly been demonstrated that an independent Scotland would hurt the UK. For this reason, it is clear that passing Brexit was a mistake, and I urge voters to vote Pro.
I believe in independence. It is strange, hard to come by, and is difficult to attain, but it is there, and the UK is grabbing it in a historical way. I know it will be difficult at first and I know there are people who are skeptical, but I truly believe with all of my being that it will be 100% worth it in the end when the UK can look at themselves as a thriving independent country in a world where independence doesn't come by very often. The news can say all they want, but based upon the past, independence has always garnered self sufficiency, and that is something worth attaining in my book. I believe in a more free and independent UK, and I believe in the country, so much so that I have no doubt they will make careful and well thought out decisions for their future as an independent body.
As to my debate competitor: I am sorry you didn't find my information helpful...I don't know how to give you more evidence than I already have. If you decide not to read the EU constitution or the WTO, or any links of information that I gave to you, then my friend, you are purposefully blinding yourself to my debate which clearly answered all of your questions that you gave. But thanks anyway for debating the subject, it has been invigorating and full of knowledge.