The luvvies have been out in force again, falling over themselves in order to promote the supposed “benefits” of Britain remaining in the EU.
Now the EU is attempting to influence not only our children – with EU-funded books in our schools – but it’s attempting to influence academics, scientists and our students in universities as well. It came as a surprise to many recently, when Universities UK not only waded into the debate, but spearheaded a full-on assault for the IN campaign.
Launching a campaign, entitled ‘Universities for Europe’, Dame Julia Goodfellow told the press: “In the referendum debate, universities must stand up and be counted. We should be a powerful and positive voice on the benefits of EU membership.”
Of course, we don’t expect Universities to want to bite the hand which partially feeds them, but it is completely irresponsible to impose a pro-EU agenda to be pushed by academics. Especially when you consider nothing in her statement actually constitutes any kind of valid reason for staying in the EU.
MEP and UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall criticised the campaign saying: “Universities UK is a registered charity and is almost entirely state-funded. It is therefore heavily regulated against engaging in impartial political activity like this,” he said. “It will be interesting to learn how many of Universities UK’s representatives are also receiving direct funding from Brussels.”
Goodfellow told a press conference: “It is abundantly clear that the UK’s membership of the European Union has an overwhelmingly positive impact on our world-leading universities, enhancing university research and teaching. UK universities are at the heart of the biggest knowledge producing region in the world – and we all benefit from that – individuals, the economy and society.”
Dame Julia neglects to mention the money which is awarded to British universities comes from the EU research budget which Britain pays into in the first place! So we are just getting something back from the EU for a change. We are sure this money could be better administered directly by our own national Government, rather than the technocrats in Brussels. She also doesn’t take into account our universities were world-leading – even before we joined the EU.
Granted, the UK does well out of the EU research budget. Universities are believed to receive around £1 billion of the £6bn a year the EU awards to the UK. It’s the second highest amount awarded to a country after Germany. However, if we leave the EU, we can invest heavily in research projects ourselves with the money we will save. Our membership of the EU costs us more than £55 million a day – we could exceed the research funding money with just 20 days of savings. Leaving the EU would also end the scandal of the UK being forced to offer loans to EU students which will never be recovered. EU graduates currently owe the Student Loan Company £43 million!
There are currently 125,000 EU students at UK universities enrolled in the student exchange programme Erasmus, in which 14,500 British students elected to study abroad last year. This would not have to end if we left the EU. Countries such as Iceland, Norway and Israel are part of the Erasmus scheme, without needing to be members of the EU.
Dame Julia also claims: “The case for staying in Europe is about ensuring the future prosperity of the UK, it’s about maximising the chances of new discoveries that enhance the society in which we live, it’s about the UK’s standing in the world, it’s about British jobs and it’s about opportunities for British people now and in the future.”
This is also untrue. Her claims completely belie our history. As a matter of fact, Britain has the world’s 6th largest economy and is set to become the largest in Europe by 2035, making us the most successful economy in the west, after the United States.
The EU’s share of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is in terminal decline. In 1980, the EU’s world share of GDP was 26 per cent. It is now 20 per cent and will have fallen to just 15 per cent by 2020. Britain is already an expanding global trading power which exports more to the rest of the world than we do to Europe. We should be focusing on markets in the other 85 per cent of the world – outside Europe! Already 55.4 per cent of our exports go to global markets outside the EU, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) trade figures – and much much more is possible if we were not obliged to apply the EU’s tariffs.
We strongly encourage her, Universities and students to soberly look at the facts and the numerous reports which prove we could thrive outside of the EU if we Get Britain Out.
Jordan Ryan is a Researcher at Get Britain Out