Pennine foods strike, Crystal Peaks, Sheffield May, 2016

By Dawn M. Sanders

No institution is perfect, yet the EU brought us certainty and collectivism, but what will be sacrificed in the prevailing consequences of the recent referendum? Let’s examine three areas:
The university sector, the environment and worker’s rights.

The university sector

“I was pretty clear during the campaign, it was in the best interest of this region to remain in the EU.
The vote has happened, we need to respond in a way that secures and protects the success of outstandingly good universities like Sheffield Hallam.” Vice Chancellor Chris Husbands said.


EU students coming to the UK, are treated as home students and vice versa,
Yet with Brexit, we have been thrown into a pool of uncertainty depending on negotiations.
Students, staff and research are the main areas of concern and of these, Husbands said staffing has the implication of mobility of labour
In the short term, proposals will still be submitted via the European Research Council
And Horizon 2020.
He said: “The good thing about the European Union, is not just the money, although important, but the collaboration that it drives.”

Non-EU students pay significantly higher unregulated fees, so these students will be faced with proportionately higher fees than they paid to study in the UK as a member state.

With unregulated heightened fees on the horizon, how will the UK be an attractive player throughout the world after Brexit?

The environment


All engines at the ready, and why?

the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) have stressed grave concerns, following the referendum result and possible impact on environmental legislation.
The EU has the highest standards of environmental laws in fact – 600 pieces of legislation.

President Stephanie Wray said: “Although not the decision we would have liked, the environmental sector must seize this as an opportunity for the UK to be a global leader in enhancing the natural environment…”
Six months prior to the referendum seemingly forgotten, the grand façade of Conference of the Parties
(COP21) was over in Paris. The thin veil of rhetoric quickly came off.
Within 5 days, David Cameron gave the green light for fracking.
In the first week of 2016, London surpassed a year’s emissions.

If the UK could get away with such damaging manoeuvres without EU interjection – the argument by Brexiters that there was too much interference into our affairs, just didn’t stand. Obviously, the UK yielded enough power on its own terms, what is worrying is, how much worse off will environmental sustainability (or lack of) remain after Brexit?

Worker’s Rights


Pennine foods strike, Crystal Peaks Sheffield, June, 2016

Alistair Tice, coordinator for the Socialist party in Sheffield and Brexit supporter, described the EU several times as: “A capitalist, neo-liberal institution.”

He vehemently stressed how the EU not only inflicted austerity, cuts and privatisation on member states, it undermined worker’s rights. For example: “What has the EU said to the strikes going on in France, where workers have been taking action over 3 months against a ‘so-called’ Socialist government – making it easier for employers to fire workers? I’d ask you, what did the EU do to stop this Tory government from bringing in this trade union bill? Nothing!”

He is right to scrutinise, but the argument the UK has been autonomous in weakening its own trade union laws, from the Thatcher years to the present, prevails with or without EU backing. .

The undermining policies enshrined in EU Court of Justice laws promote deregulation and casualization, Tice pointed out –the perfect breeding ground for migrant labour and resentment. He seemingly downplayed any hint immigration was the backbone of the Brexit campaign, not taking account of the enormous economic boost brought to the UK from the continent, from the NHS to education.

What led to Brexit, was a classic mismanagement of clarity and coherence in how the UK benefits from the EU. There was a concentrated dogma of what we contribute economically rather than what we get back. What lacked was unbiased information – what dominated was a playground mud fight of political agendas.
The implications on the university sector, or environmental consequences were two crucial elements absent from the main arena, worker’s rights fared better in debates – not withstanding blatant milking immigration concerns.

With all the short-comings of the EU, UK governments keep its citizens blissfully in the dark about the many things it funds: roads, housing estates, further education schemes – where are the demarcations of EU contributions?
The likes of Vice Chancellor Husbands or the environmental sector are right to raise alarm in light of Brexit.


© 2016