Better rights in the EU? Wrong

Do we have better rights in the EU as workers and citizens? A Facebook correspondent was challenged to name three things that were provably better as a consequence of the EU.

He refused the challenge on the basis that “I asked the question first” (he didn’t). Therefore it was up to the ‘Out’ side to name three things that are better in the UK despite the EU, or regardless of the EU.

So, here are three things.

Maternity leave rights are better in the UK
Andrew Neil wrung this admission out of a reluctant Hilary Benn, an ‘outer’ if ever I’ve seen one, taking it on the chin for his party. As is the lifelong anti-EU Jeremy Corbyn. Not only is the UK’s maternity leave law better than that in the EU, it also allows for 15 weeks more leave than the closest EU member rival, Ireland.

Paid holiday rights are better in the UK
EU law guarantees less paid holiday than UK law. Paid holiday has been part of UK law since 1938, long before the EU was even conceived, let alone launched.

Minimum wage is better in the UK
Only Luxembourg has a better hourly rate (€12.32) than the UK (€10.08). Once you get past France (at number 7), the rate halves, starting with Spain (€5.08) and descends to €1.25 with Bulgaria. Clearly, there is no common EU law that means the UK would have a better minimum wage if we stay in.

The EU Referendum is the most important vote of our lifetime. Both campaigning sides have behaved despicably. Lie upon lie upon scare tactic upon exaggeration – until we are bewildered. One of the lies is that we have better rights in the EU than we would have outside of it.

And to check things like that, there is the internet. Instead of listening to hours of nonsense, lies and scaremongering, spend that time finding information for yourself. You will probably do what most people do, search for information that backs up your own feelings about which is the better side to vote for.

But for the millions of ‘undecideds’ out there, it could be the best possible way of helping you to make up your mind. The only thing you have to beware of is that most of the information is biased towards ‘stay’. So if you want a balanced view, you will really have to dig.

Surely, though, that’s better than listening to another Farage rant about 75 million Turkish Muslims, or George Osborne threatening you with a tax rise? Certainly it is a myth that we have better rights in the EU, or because of the EU.

How to twist facts so that they no longer mean what they mean

Hilary Benn interviewed by Andrew Neil. Neil’s interviews with George Osborne and Nigel Farage are equally toe-curling.

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