EU Referendum - Apologies if this has been done to death...

(15 Posts)
ISeeTrouble Mon 20-Jun-16 12:12:51

Disclaimer: I am not too politics savvy and the below will no doubt appear to be very much in layman's terms because that is my level of understanding!!

I'm still undecided as to which way to vote. One thing that will sway me is the impact on women's rights, will women be in a stronger, more equal position within the UK if we leave? Although the EU has implemented laws that have cemented rights for workers and women, the Uk has gone above and beyond the basic legislation in areas such as maternity pay, and we are consequently better off in the UK than elsewhere in Europe.

My concerns with remaining in the EU are that sexist attitudes towards women are prevalent and normalised in other EU countries inc Italy, France and even Germany to some extent (reading about the rape laws currently discussed in another topic). The UK, although far from perfect, does seem more forward thinking (maybe that's me being naive??). If the EU progresses towards a more homogenised state, will these less equal attitudes persist and dominate?

However, if the Uk were to leave there is always a risk that new laws will have to be passed to stabilise economy/trade deals etc which could impede and reduce rights for workers/women. Just look at what the tories have managed to get away with in cutting benefits for the disabled.

I like the idea of breaking away from an undemocratic, white male orientated system which is a gravy train for some corrupt Europeans (UK included no doubt), but am scared that the alternative is too big a risk and could set the Uk back economically for decades.

Argh! Just don't know what to do. Can anyone offer some sensible advice??

PalmerViolet Mon 20-Jun-16 12:29:50

Some thoughts:

The EU parliament is neither unelected nor undemocratic, except in the very same ways as our parliament is and I don't hear anyone suggesting that we should be getting rid of that.

Our Parliament has proportionally fewer women and BAME representatives than the EU one, so if actually far more male, pale and stale than the EU one.

That MEPs from a certain party have conspicuously failed to undertake their role sensibly and have been living off the EU gravy train also doesn't mean that the whole thing is undemocratic, nor does the fact that no one could be arsed to vote in the Euro elections. Voter apathy is nothing new.

I know an MEP who works tirelessly for women's and LGB rights within the EU. She used to do similar work in the UK and has stated that it is far easier to get the EU parliament to listen to women's and minority voices than it is to get parochial and partisan local governments to do the same, that the EU parliament has been a force for positive change in this arena.

Sexist attitudes are normalised in the UK. In exactly the same ways as on the continent and in some novel and typically British ones.

I hope you will get to the answer you're most comfortable with, but these threads generally don't end well.

ISeeTrouble Mon 20-Jun-16 12:33:42

That is exactly the kind of response I was looking for, thank you for taking the time to reply. I know that I am pretty ignorant in the details which is why i was hoping for responses from all sides!
You have certainly got me thinking...

geekaMaxima Mon 20-Jun-16 19:19:26

There is a very very interesting talk / lecture here from a professor of European law at Liverpool Uni. He really, absolutely knows his stuff as he's one of the leading experts in the UK of how EU and Westminster laws work.

His summary is that, because the last 40 years of UK legislation has been interwoven with EU law, the entire legal framework will essentially become invalid if we leave and will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. It will also have to be done quite quickly because such a state of legal limbo cannot be maintained for long.

And because it's not possible for Parliament to do it (i.e., can't work through 40 years of legislation in one term), it will have to grant special executive powers to the government to do it instead.

So that will mean 40 years' worth of policy decisions to do with equality, worker's rights, women's rights, everything... will all be made by a tiny cabal of people with executive powers, without Parliament voting on any of it at all.

The potential for abuse is enormous, and there is nothing to stop lobby groups exerting enormous influence on the new legislation (in a way they would not be able if it went through Parliament). For example, maternity leave rights and shared parental leave are very unpopular amongst some vocal parts of the business lobby; will the executive cabal listen? Will they side ideologically with business interests or with vulnerable groups that need legislative protection?

I don't know. And anyone who says they do know are talking out their arse.

But the potential for an undemocratic, omnishambolic clusterfuck exists and I find it terrifying.

Both the Leave and Remain camps are massively under- and misinformed on this issue so aren't discussing it properly. But the above video talk is very clear and no-nonsense (it also talks about the legal side of trade agreements, etc.), and I highly recommend a listen. smile

Will they side ideologically with business interests or with vulnerable groups that need legislative protection?

Indeed.

StrawberryQuik Mon 20-Jun-16 19:58:40

I don't think it's fair to say that other European countries have more negative attitudes towards women than the UK...for me as an Italian there are aspects of British culture where I think women are treated worse than Italy and I'm sure a German/French etc person would say the same about different specific issues. Off the top of my head Italy has subsidised child care, many people are entitled to paid carers leave, and better maternal health outcomes than the UK, all good things. Similarly 'ciao bella' type comments are annoying but I've only ever actually felt scared by men shouting things from cars in the UK.

For me that is actually one of the main reasons to remain, other countries in Europe are similar enough to us (the UK) culturally and economically for us to compare/contrast and see room for improvement in the UK and vice verse...I guess an analogy could be if I was a 1Ok fun runner I could chat to other fun runners and we could give each other tips, I couldn't really get as practical tips a swimmer or tennis player.

nearlyhellokitty Mon 20-Jun-16 20:00:34

Agree with geekamaxima. Also the TUC and Feminist groups I've seen have generally agreed that brexit holds major risks for women's rights. Have a look at the TUC website.

ISeeTrouble Mon 20-Jun-16 20:21:07

Many thanks for the responses and the useful links, will have a browse tonight and educate myself. All responses seem firmly on the remain side so far which is interesting.

DetestableHerytike Mon 20-Jun-16 23:25:17

I'm a Bremainer, if you're counting feminist votes for IN!

powershowerforanhour Mon 20-Jun-16 23:37:36

I think that if we leave, the UK will end up with similar employment law to the USA. Not good.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Mon 20-Jun-16 23:56:49

I would say that the UK has surprisingly persistent sexist attitudes compared to some of the countries you mention. Gender stereotyping is very much alive and well in the UK, even in the younger generations - so depressing.

Think about how in other European countries it is common to see male nurses, male primary teachers. And certainly you don't see much of the pink/blue, princess/superhero, nail varnish/plastic car rubbish polarisation of children's toys and clothes out of the UK.

I also believe some other countries have better maternity leave provision than the UK. Speaking from memory, Hungary and Estonia are particularly generous. Happy to be corrected by more knowledgeable posters.

scallopsrgreat Tue 21-Jun-16 10:10:00

I agree with StrawberryQuik and Elvira in that you aren't looking too deeply into sexist attitudes in this country or good things other countries are doing - Sweden as another example.

The issue is that sexist attitudes are the norm everywhere. I'm not sure removing ourselves from the EU will help counteract that. Women will more likely have a louder voice together and good things have already been done in that area.

Felascloak Tue 21-Jun-16 10:21:42

Personally alarm bells were ringing for me when Michael Give said that it would be up to the uk what workers rights they wanted if we left.
I can easily see maternity leave being stripped back as well as discrimination laws, simply because the opportunity exists to do that as part of a review of all our laws.
I don't trust the brexit campaign at all, I don't think they want to make things better for any except the capitalist elite, and I think the chances of them making changes that damage women are very high.

The only argument about the Brexiters I'd find persuasive is the one about democracy, EXCEPT I find the idea of a British democracy as somehow more democratic than an EU democracy somewhat arbitrary.

I did not vote for this current shower of arsewipes and their fucking inhumane austerity. My MP doesn't not represent me: every time I've contacted him about something I feel strongly about - such as protection from the harassment of people outside abortion clinics for instance - he fobs me off in an enormously patronising 'you are a ill-educated gnat compared to my towering male intellect' fashion. And when I reply to ask for more than a stock 'odfo' response, I am ignored.

So I feel as disempowered by British democracy as I do by EU democracy, but at least with the EU there are things like human rights and environmental protections.

PalmerViolet Tue 21-Jun-16 14:13:24

Some other workers rights that have positively impacted women:

Part-time workers are now treated the same as full-time ones. Women are disproportionately represented in the PT workforce.

While I agree that maternity and sickness leave are covered by UK law, it is enshrined in EU law, which reduces the amount by which UK govts can strip us of those rights.

The working hours cap and flexible hours protections also greatly affect women. Junior doctors and nurses for cases in point, but also in retail. When I worked in retail management, I was expected to put in 60-70 hour weeks, they can no longer make me do that.

The EU also looks at new legislation to see what impact it will have on women and children and has enshrined the right to family life. This govt particularly doesn't, and given the gerrymandering that they partake in, they will probably be there for bleeding ever.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now