The next item on my list of reasons for leaving the EU is the development of the country’s growth. I’m not talking about the trade with other nations, I’m talking about science, technology, energy, transport and infrastructure. One of the reasons that I feel deeply affected by the EU is where my speciality lies. I’m a science student and I am currently studying electronic engineering and I am planning on going to work in the field of science and technology.
I was once asked where my Euroscepticism came from. Well in answer to that question my Euroscepticism came from a long time ago when I was starting to read about the EU’s power and influence. When I was a young aspie I was a big fan of classic science fiction and fantasy dramas which were made years ago after the war. These were the classics like Dr Who and Thunderbirds which used supranationalism and peaceful cooperative establishments to secure peace and prosperity as a means of escapism during the height of the Cold War. They featured world governments instead of national governments and dismissed all forms of nationalism and supremacy as an evil, shamed scourge on society. It seemed that they showed us that nations on their own could not be trusted to run their own affairs because of a natural tendency of fear and suspicion between each other. These TV shows also inspired my love of science and technology and influence my politics as well. I used to have faith in international cooperation to build a better world and lead the way of discovery and progress both for social ideals and productivity.
As I grew up I started to see how it reflected in real life and saw that my beliefs in supranationalism were not the same in the 1990s – 2000s. The very establishment of world peace that I thought was the saviour of humanity like the EU was becoming like the tyrant that stifled our ambitions in order to protect their own selfish interests. I’ve seen the way that the EU prevented scientists from developing new ideas to advance science and society. The way the EU insisted on bloc partisan agreements just to allow it’s member states to make a decision for their own countries undermined the very principles of democracy. It was then that I realised that supranationalism was wrong and that the ideal world envisioned by my favourite sci-fi writers wasn’t the same. Later I would come to understand that most people who worked in the arts and sciences who create these ideal worlds were old-fashioned left wing, social-liberalists. They had a concept for an ideal world which granted people an alternative reality that could be better than what life itself had to offer. I am glad to have that part of my life where I can escape into my own world but out of that fantasy is a set of ideals that we can create something better than what our ancestors achieved. The EU is an example of an old way of life that has no place in the world. All it’s interested in doing is protecting the establishment figures that have lost their purpose that need to be shown that there is a better way of life that they can’t see.
I have been a life-long science geek and I love to read about science and I like to explore the possibilities that you can achieve with imagination and creativity through remarkable discoveries and great inventions. But there is a way in which my imagination is being stifled by people who like to do things the way they believe is right. There have been some interesting contrasts between British science and German science. Germany has still managed to successfully hold onto it’s car manufacturing and much of it’s science and industry forms an integral part of it’s economy. James Dyson, British inventor of the bag less vacuum cleaner has claimed that much of the EU’s stance on scientific development is in Germany’s favour and in some cases with France, Italy, Spain and Austria. So much so that he has had to relocate manufacturing of his products to Malaysia just as the vast majority of British manufacturing businesses have. You can’t walk into a store in Britain without something marked ‘Made in China’ written on the label. Europe has a much better way of holding onto it’s industry but Britain doesn’t. Part of that is because of the expense of production and part of that is because of EU legislation that affects development. What else has the EU done to hold back British brains from developing their ideas?
Okay first of all Britain’s decline in manufacturing and science and technology isn’t down purely to the EU. But the EU has played a significant part in it’s decline. British physicist and celebrated cosmologist Stephen Hawking has called for the scientific community in Britain to hold onto our membership of the EU for he fears that Britain’s scientific abilities will be undermined. Hawking along with 150 members of the Royal Society has written in a letter to the Times about the implications saying that it will restrict the free movement of scientists from the continent. Apparently the freedom of movement laws in the EU allow the UK to recruit many of it’s best researchers from Europe which constitutes most of the UK’s scientists and having less of them will be a disaster for UK science and universities. Especially as the EU has a large number of scientists with EU grants and have chosen to move here. This shows an interesting demographic in which the high achieving academic kind of scientists seem to be amongst the most pro-EU whilst the scientific geniuses in the lower part of the scientific spectrum who work in heavy industries like inventing, manufacturing and technology are pro-British. This represents a hierarchy between those who work with their intellectual abilities and those that work with their hands.
In their argument the Royal Society used Switzerland as an example where the Swiss have recently restricted migration of workers and it’s failing to attract young talent. If Britain is to gain investment in science it needs the EU’s continued increased funding, which has benefited the UK as a whole. This investment that is needed is for infrastructure projects, farming, manufacturing and the free movement of the best brains in every scientific field. But what they don’t understand is the business and development side of things from the people building things out of the EU’s money. The EU is constraining us and myself included and I worry that I won’t have access to or the means to develop my abilities when it comes to graduation. With this outlook I am likely to become one of the many science students along with the trainee doctors, engineers and SME technology gurus going for jobs abroad and I fancy Norway or Switzerland for that.
Let’s start with something about Switzerland that these upper class boffins are thinking. Now Switzerland is home to CERN – the European Centre for Nuclear Research. Convened in 1954 by 12 European countries without any assistance from the then European Coal and Steel Community. It was not set up by a political establishment but by physicists and engineers in nuclear research with backing from 12 member states which included Britain, France, West Germany, Norway, Sweden and Belgium. It has no governance or influence from the EU but instead has it’s member states chip in and contribute to the running of it’s facilities. Today it’s backers are member states outside the EU which include Israel and it co-operates with all other countries around the world. The EU would struggle to get this far with this amount of international cooperation if they had started CERN in the first place.
CERN has a very big presence in the world’s scientific community and it was where a number of British achievements in science took place. Namely the creation of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners Lee in 1990 and the discovery of the Higgs Boson (God particle) in 2012 which was first proposed by Professor Peter Higgs in 1964 and was found by a largely British financed machine called the Large Hadron Collider and the money was not even passed over by the EU. Even today CERN makes great contributions to science and has a powerful economic market outside the EU with none of their political constraints on development. Talking of which the Swiss take great pride in their science for environmental and ecological purposes. 56% of their electricity comes from hydroelectric power and it has one of the best green economies in the world. Something that EU nations struggle to achieve because of too much bureaucracy and conflicting energy needs leading to high electricity prices.
In my experience I’ve seen some examples of a two-tier system of parallel cooperation between science and industry. If you think of the different standings in society between the rich and the poor in the context of an academic scientist and a creative engineer you’ll find that there is a polarity in research, wealth and happiness. Unlike engineers a scientist relies on money from research grants and those come from big governments and political bodies like the EU. These bodies are not actually really interested in science for economic development but science to promote changes in society and law. One classic example of this is the global warming culture that is the current popular science trend. The EU has made investments in green technologies and reductions in carbon emissions as one of it’s priorities for it’s member states to take action on. There are a large number of projects going on across Britain and some of them are not up to scratch because they are not as effective as the ones that are being produced in other EU states. Holland has one of the biggest wind farms in Europe and they are based on offshore areas exposed to the winds. The Dutch are very resistant to having the wind farms on land as they ruin the landscape view and ruin the heritage of their own famous windmills on the low lying plains. Recently the Dutch government had to stop subsidizing the wind turbines off shore because of rocketing maintenance costs which made them less green than they should have been for electricity production and that leads to higher electricity prices. Britain is one of Europe’s biggest wind power producing nations and part of it’s creation has come from an EU directive calling for 20% of the EU’s energy output to come from renewable sources by 2020, with the UK being set a target to have 15% of it’s energy output come from renewable sources. And if that wasn’t enough the wind turbines are made mostly by German industrial manufacturer Siemens, there are no British manufacturers of green technology as such.
Now although the scientific evidence for their ‘clean, efficient and carbon-less renewable energy output’ appears to be valid there are some things that the academic scientists are not telling the people from the engineers who build them. But that’s another story on green technology. Although I am in support of green technology and means to reduce carbon emissions I don’t embrace the government or the EU’s action on climate change as green lobbyists do. They help the EU to create laws which are unsociable and economically unviable for energy customers and affect development. Consider our energy companies which have merged into a large cartel known as ‘the big six’. According to them the energy prices for people’s homes that they are supplying are getting expensive because the European Commission is pressuring them into researching and developing green technologies to make them carbon neutral which includes taxation on the carbon they produce. That is bad for business and I can tell you many of these projects are not even capable of working effectively. What’s even more costly is for them to give up valuable production means of generating power to homes and businesses. It may be ethical for them to care for the environment and I am glad for them but I pity their predicament with the way their customer are being made to suffer. Especially as I am a British Gas shareholder.
There are some scientists who know of the EU funding for development of science and technology that is reletively poor for Britain. The EU funds science to it’s member states through the Framework Programme 7 (FP7). From 2007-2013, Britain only received 3% for R&D and that information comes from the Royal Society. These people including Professor Hawking want to stay in the EU yet they seem to forget who is really bankrolling British science. Most of the contributors to British science is business (45%), government departments (11%), Higher Education (11%) and other sources including charities (16%). Now these businesses have been shackled by EU regulations and they are vital to help create scientific and technological advances to ensure that Britain is on top of the world. Breakaway from Brussels and we have an open ocean of wealth to give to the world. We can develop trade with the developed nations of the Fareast like China and India which have huge investments in science with government ministers that include engineers instead of academic scientists. That’s why they have big development and innovation programmes and pay people to invest to make the country rich.
Speaking of business there are some science that is developing at my university. Essex is currently in the process of building links to the European Space Agency of which British astronaut Tim Peake works for. ESA is made up of an intergovernmental treaty of 22 nations that contribute to it’s funding and operations. It works separately from the EU and includes Canada as an associate member. The EU has a 20% investment the budget of ESA and the remaining nations make the other 80%. Britain has made many contributions to ESA by part building spacecraft. Consider the Rosetta-Philea spacecraft that landed on a comet last year. That has British built cameras, batteries, stabilisers and helium fuel tanks. So even if we did leave there won’t be any lack of cooperation with Europe it would continue on our own terms. Besides I have ambitions to travel into space myself and work for the UK Space Agency and work in association with NASA in the USA. At Essex there is an expansion of the university’s research facilities with a project run by a commercial research company called Blue Abyss. They want to build a large indoor pool to use for testing scientific equipment and marine science based STEM projects that could make Essex University home to the world’s biggest aquatic, research, training and development centre. One day should it be completed at the newly built Knowledge Gateway facility astronauts from ESA and other businesses will want to come here to what will become the MIT of Britain.
Political unions are not necessary for scientific excellence, international trade and intergovernmental operation is what is needed to keep the peace and prosperity. In this battle for making Britain a better place in the world the fight is between politically backed condescending academics and practical hands on geniuses who can make a difference.