THE EU REFERENDUM: Both Sides of the Coin

Christopher Jackson & Ben Patterson

A referendum on our membership of the EU will take place on 23 June 2016. You will be asked:

Should the United Kingdom REMAIN a member of the European Union or LEAVE the European Union?

How will you vote? Some made up their minds long ago, for or against. Others will review the evidence. What will be best for you, for your children and their children? Once decided, there will be no room for a quick reconsideration. If we leave, that will be that, at least for many years. Future generations are likely to be significantly affected by the answer we give. Better off outside the EU, or better off where we are? Even the term better off is subject to individual interpretation. There is no answer free of any doubt. Each of us will give different weight to different aspects depending on our own circumstances.
Given the polemical jungle of claims and counter-claims, many people have said they would welcome a short, clear and factual statement of the case for leaving the EU, and of the case for remaining in the EU. Both Sides of the Coin aims to provide the best arguments on each side of the debate, together with some background for those who want it, and access to underlying evidence. We aim to provide information on the key issues, as fair to both sides as we can make it, about this important decision. Time is of the essence here, and we know there will be imperfections despite our efforts. Even so, we hope this compendium of issues, arguments and facts will prove useful.
Corrections of fact, or improvements in argument on Both Sides are welcome, and may be sent to us at: These will be considered for inclusion in future editions. While, like those Marxist economists renowned for balanced economic treatises, they try to be fair, readers should know that the writers personally support ‘Remain’.
As arguments develop and facts become available, Both Sides of the Coin will change. The text is in layers, starting with a simple list of points. A Click leads to a brief explanation of each point… and to more evidence for those who want it. Then come myths and claims about the EU, with some analysis. Myths are sometimes downright untrue and not supported by the facts! Then comes a list of more points that seem of any significance. Finally we list useful references.
Some on each side feel very fiercely. We hope all will assume goodwill towards others, simply because whatever the decision, we shall have to live with each other afterwards. Good luck with your decision.
Christopher & Ben

The authors express their thanks to the many organisations and individuals whose published work has been made available, and to others – from both sides of the argument – who have provided additions and corrections. Any errors remaining are ours alone. We are grateful to: Richard Ashworth MEP; Richard Corbett MEP (; the European Parliament Library for documentation; to the Foreign Office & the CBI for access to documents and to Lucie Moxham of Pegu Design for website design.

Christopher Jackson (former MEP for Kent East) and Ben Patterson (former MEP for Kent West) were among the first MEPs elected to the European Parliament. They served for fifteen years, from 1979 until 1994. They were appointed Honorary MEPs in 1994.


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