Around 50 students and staff attended an event at BU questioning the UK’s future as a member of the EU, ahead of a referendum taking place on Thursday 23 June.
14Live, which was chaired by Dr. Dan Jackson, Principal Lecturer in Media and Communication at BU, saw four panellists tackle questions around the economy, sustainability, international law, and the effects of the referendum on both the UK and Europe.
Panellist and first year BA (Hons) Politics student, Thomas Dence said: “We had a very in-depth debate, with two of us on each side of the panel, where a lot of issues came up. The big issue for me is globalisation. We are not in a world where being little Britain actually makes a difference any more.
“We’re working on a much more global scale and this is something that I argued very strongly against the Leave campaign. We are now operating politically as a Union across the world. The USA doesn’t operate as individual states; they are united, very much as the EU is moving towards a much more centralised method of politics.”
Panellist and second year BA (Hons) Politics student, Morgan Thomas said: “I’m campaigning for Britain to withdraw from the European Union. I believe the European Union today is completely outdated. It’s a product and hangover of an age where economic trading blocs seemed the way forward.”
“In the modern 21st century, technology has eliminated the need for regional trading blocs. Alongside the decline of these, is the fact that it is anti-democratic, and has many commissioners that are completely unelected and all appointed.”
The audience, who were anonymously asked for their view ahead of the debate, were largely in favour of remaining in the EU, with 88 per cent of participants expressing an intention to vote to remain. After the debate, the same poll produced a result of 92 per cent to remain.
Audience member Jasmine Connolly, who works in the Marketing and Communications Department at BU, said: “My basic stance is that I came in to the debate with the plan to vote to stay in the EU and after the debate I was actually undecided. The debate made me realise that there are still a lot of areas I need to research before making my final decision.
“I think a lot of people focus on one issue they’re passionate about and base their decision on that, and that’s what I had done when coming to my original conclusion. However after the debate I realised I need to look at the wider picture and really think about both options and what they would mean for all generations and our country as a whole.”
Dr. Dan Jackson, Principal Lecturer in Media and Communication at BU, added: "All four of the student panellists, from both sides of the debate, were a credit to themselves, their degree courses and the University. I was staggered by the quality of their arguments and their handling of the evidence.
“This was a debate that was also conducted in a constructive and informative spirit. Hopefully this meant that our audience walked away knowing a bit more about the key issues as a result."