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Hopes and fears expressed ahead of milestone EU referendum

June 21 2016

Hopes and fears expressed ahead of milestone EU referendum
As the EU referendum campaign draws toward its inevitable climax those with most at stake in the outcome; an embattled construction sector amongst them as it grappling with a skills shortage, dependence on inward investment and reliance on cheap imported materials, are looking to the future with a combination of hope and fear.

Whilst it’s fair to say that a clear majority of those spoken to by Urban Realm expressed a desire to remain a part of the European club enthusiasm is markedly muted with many viewing the vote through the prism of Scottish independence, specifically whether an in or out vote may or may not make such an outcome more or less likely.

It’s noteable that far from the polarising views of Indyref in which there were clear dividing lines between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps this time round things are far less clear cut - even though most voices in the Yes campaign are backing so-called Bremain, some are still on the fence or flirting with exit, Malcolm Fraser amongst them.

Fraser said: “The EU is a racket, focussed on the interests of the corporate oligarchy; however the government of Britain is that and more, and there are elements of consumer, environmental and legal protection in the EU that a brexited Britain would shred. What is someone who cares, first, for the integrity of democracy to do? “

Even avowed backers of remain couch their support with very real reservations around a continuation of the status quo as Collective Architecture’s Chris Stewart attests: “Our profession is sliding downwards and although I will vote to remain which I hope we do, if we do not then may that be the catalyst for a bigger change.”

Similarly Willie Miller of WMUD will enter the voting booth holding his nose to vote in as whilst he acknowledges that the EU ‘needs reform’ Miller believes that the UK government is not the body best placed to achieve that. Instead Miller again makes the case for an empowered Scottish parliament to engage directly with Brussels on policy.

Those advocating a leave vote are concerned that they may be tarred with the racism brush as leading lights in the withdrawal camp stoke immigration fears, as architect Alan Dunlop articulated: “I'm truly disappointed that both the leave and remain groups have again led with ‘project fear’ and that the principle issue for those voting to leave is immigration and I do not wish to be associated at all with that.”

Instead Dunlop extends arguments made during Indyref, particularly in relation to national sovereignty and democracy, decrying the EU as a ‘massive bureaucracy’ that is fundamentally ‘anti-democratic’.

Amidst the pervading cynicism there are some who still hold fast to European ideals, notably Paul Stallan who told Urban Realm: “Europe is our critical friend. Whether it is the movement of people, resources or commodities we have responsibility to participate rather than turn our back. If we are confident in our own national affairs and priorities we have nothing to fear from being a member state and much to contribute."

Ultimately the fight for Scottish independence was decided by concerns over the economy and a drift toward the status quo and it is likely that such factors will again play a decisive role this time round, but with current polling effectively deadlocked few will sleep easy this Thursday.


Leo Tolstoy
#1 Posted by Leo Tolstoy on 21 Jun 2016 at 12:49 PM
Is there any end to the talents of our glorious architects?
We are just SO not wurthy. Whateffer next?
- Alan Dunlop on Vatican III? Malcolm Fraser on all-in wrestling?
Where would we be without the great and good, to lead us to the promised land, eh?
#2 Posted by Philip on 21 Jun 2016 at 13:17 PM
"The EU is a racket, focussed on the interests of the corporate oligarchy"......much like HFM then non?

#3 Posted by Matt on 21 Jun 2016 at 13:24 PM
Phew I've been having sleepless nights worrying about what Malcolm, Willie and Alan have been thinking about this....
Big Chantelle's Ma
#4 Posted by Big Chantelle's Ma on 21 Jun 2016 at 14:44 PM
#2 At least the EU can organise decent design once in a while...
#5 Posted by Pete on 21 Jun 2016 at 14:50 PM
‘Loss of Sovereignty’ is a complete red herring in my view and an irresponsible stoking of Nationalism of the kind that contributed to Jo Cox's killing. It's a completely naive and abstract notion. At best though, assuming it means to have power over ourselves, the fact we’re having a referendum underlines that we have absolute sovereignty. It’s all in our own hands.

‘Massive Bureaucracy’ is a fabrication. The EU deals with a budget slightly larger than the NHS with an administration the size of Leeds Council. Pretty efficient.

‘Anti-democratic’ is also misrepresentative. European Directives are ratified by members we elected and a Council including our Prime Minister. Perhaps if we hadn’t voted in UKIP by the dozen they’d have been a bit more constructive on our behalf? Anyway, we should take a look at the inherited privileges of the House of Lords first.

TTIP is one of my biggest concerns but it’s our government pushing the worst aspects of it (like a company’s right to sue a government) so you could imagine what kind of deal they’d strike with other countries if they were on their own.
#6 Posted by Terra on 21 Jun 2016 at 20:05 PM
Vote IN ya bas! :)
#7 Posted by Clive on 22 Jun 2016 at 07:36 AM
someone recently showed me the definition of 'Farage' in the Urban Dictionary.
Worth looking up if you are foolishly considering Brexit..
Pierre Bezukhov
#8 Posted by Pierre Bezukhov on 22 Jun 2016 at 10:32 AM
Actually I agree with Alan and it's scandalous to link the murder of an mp by a lunatic with those wishing to leave the EU. Those that do Pete are irresponsible.
Don't think so
#9 Posted by Don't think so on 22 Jun 2016 at 10:47 AM
#5 33,000 people are employed by the European Commission. In the European Parliament, 6 000 people work in the general secretariat. They are joined by Members of Parliament and their staff. In the Council of the European Union, around 3 500 people work in the general secretariat. I think Leeds council has slightly less.
Wrong here too, Pete
#10 Posted by Wrong here too, Pete on 22 Jun 2016 at 11:20 AM
751 MEP's and their staff the world's largest parliament with the exception India, which moves every month for four days from Brussels to Strasbourg costing £928 million in the seven-year cycle of an EU budget. I think that also makes it slightly bigger than Glasgow City Council and if not representative of a ‘Massive Bureaucracy’ I don't know what is.
Walt Disney
#11 Posted by Walt Disney on 22 Jun 2016 at 12:47 PM
Has Urban Real ever thought of doing a recipes page? Something like 'Malcolm Fraser's 15 minute suppers" or "Alan Dunlop's fun with pasta" or something like that. An architect's opinion on buffalo mozzarella is just as relevant and probably more plausible and more interesting than their opinions on politics.
#12 Posted by Philip on 22 Jun 2016 at 13:06 PM
Truly inspired idea Walt...If his banter is anything to go by I reckon Fraser's recipes would be a tad more laboured than a 15 minute supper though.....
Can we stick to architecture/articles actually relate to erm… architecture and the Urban realm....that includes not posting about whether a friggin contractor has been appointed to 'Break Ground' etc..

Leo Tolstoy's big toe.
#13 Posted by Leo Tolstoy's big toe. on 22 Jun 2016 at 13:19 PM
#11 Hear hear, Walt.
Got it, in a wunner.

Walt Disney
#14 Posted by Walt Disney on 22 Jun 2016 at 15:04 PM
Stick to keeping the heat in, the rain out and if it looks good, and nobody gets brained building it, then we've all won a watch.
Elaine McGuiness
#15 Posted by Elaine McGuiness on 22 Jun 2016 at 16:09 PM
As a student my view is that Malcolm and Alan both make very valuable contributions to the debate in Scotland and I'm always interested in reading or hearing what they have to say. More than Walt and the other spineless dopes that post here under a false of daft name. So keep it coming.
#16 Posted by Pete on 22 Jun 2016 at 21:06 PM
@9 and 10. You're absolutely right "don't think so". Leeds council employs roughly 33,000. The EC actually about 34,000. 46,356 people in admin for the whole EU, some of those in this country (e.g. translators etc that any replacement system would need to some degree anyway). Doesn't seem excessive for 500 million people or 'the biggest parliament in the world outside India'. They have a lot to do!
Birmingham City Council have nearly 60,000 employees serving only 1 million!!

No comments on the other points? Something tells me you wouldn't agree with any of them...

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