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Is the Refugee Crisis Fuelling a ‘Brexit’?

The most recent YouGov poll has shown that 41 per cent of voters would vote to leave the European Union for only the third time since official polling began in May. The poll suggests 38 per cent would vote to stay in the Union.

The disorganised and slow response of EU states to the refugee crisis is making it increasing difficult for pro-EU parties to convince the electorate of the advantages of remaining in the EU, the Prime Minister has warned.

With many refugees stranded in Calais for months, attempting to get to Britain every day, conditions are poor and food is only being supplied by very generous and hard-working charities. Kieran Goodwin, CEO of the World Youth Organisation, visited Calais last week and found refugees that had travelled for months from places such as Sudan and Syria to get to Calais in search of a better life.

People on the camp are making do with what they have. Although there is no real hygiene facilities and little protection in the main camp from security forces, the refugees are overwhelmingly calm and very orderly, given the circumstances.

In recent days, Germany has finally agreed a package to help German towns deal with the influx of refugees and other EU states should follow suit shortly. But the fact it has taken months to get this far, with widespread and very public disruption across Europe, means the British public will certainly be losing faith in the EU and its capability to deal with such a crisis.

After months of failed and punitive debt deals with Greece, the campaign to get Britain out of the EU definitely has the momentum. The campaign for Britain to remain a member of the EU needs to be more positive so it can show people how the European Union benefits the UK. With export tariffs back on the cards, should Britain choose to leave the EU, trade would inevitably suffer. The rights of British people to work and live in the EU, which has been so successful since British membership began, would also be restricted, as it is for any non-EU citizen.

Make no mistake, the EU is far from perfect. But, Britain could never inspire any successful reforms by jumping ship and merely shouting from the side lines.

It’s becoming clearer by the day that the refugee crisis is not going to solve itself. Although plans to take more refugees into Britain have been welcomed, the government could do more. Should Britain take 100,000 refugees evenly into the 43,000 UK towns and cities, this would clearly not ‘overcrowd’ Britain, as some commentators are warning.

Britain is not full and that is a myth that must be debunked as soon as possible. The point that Britain has its own homeless problem and should focus on homing them rather than refugees is an understandable one. But the causation of the housing crisis and the refugee crisis are very different. The government is to blame for the housing crisis, with a lack of affordable homes and social housing being sold off and not replaced. The refugee crisis has been caused by regional instability due to the rise of ISIL in the Middle East, particularly Syria. Dealing with the issue of the housing crisis and the refugee crisis separately is therefore a necessity.

Should the EU fail again in a future crisis, whether economic or humanitarian, the tide will surely turn in the ‘Out’ campaign’s favour. Unless pro-EU campaigners swiftly make a positive case for the future of the EU, and why Britain needs to be a part of it, a ‘Brexit’ could be a very real prospect by 2017.

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