Steve Kerensky is the grandson of Alexander Kerensky, who led the Russian Provincial Government in 1917 until Lenin took power. Steve, who lives in Morecambe, is a writer and expert on Russian history. Here he gives his views on the EU referendum.
A lot of people are still trying to make up their minds about the EU - stay or leave? There are arguments on both sides, although it seems some of them are not much better than wishful-thinking.
These days we can`t compete in heavy industry with countries where the average wage is much less than it is here. Our strong point now is high-tech stuff like computers, medical technology, biomechanics and plant science, based on research in our world-class universities, like Lancaster. So when Prof Stephen Hawking, says leaving the EU will put all that at risk, as it is largely funded by EU grants, maybe we ought to listen?
People say we have a trade deficit with the EU and so we do. But that`s not the whole story. Some of our chief exports are merchant banking, legal and financial services and that includes insurance. Lloyds of London - not bank is an organisation based on all the big insurers and its profits for 2014 was £3.2 billion. The head has just said it will be very damaging to insurance if we leave.
What about Morecambe, what do we get out of it? Since 2005, so that`s not including the Prom & the Midland, the EU grants amount to £8 million. With Lancaster City Council being cut to the bone and maybe a bit further, maybe we`re going to need some more help from Europe.
We may be the fifth richest country in the world. It doesn`t always feel like it.
Some of think back to what we had in 1973, before we went in. But things have moved on.
Some of the multinational corporations are now bigger than many countries. Some of them are trying to force TTIP on us, as trade agreement that will allow such firms to cancel out the laws made by national parliaments.
You`re in shark-infested waters as a country on your own. The EU isn’t ideal but a lot of countries like Germany, France and Holland also want reform. It gives us an umbrella against economic storms and even big economies like China and the USA are going to think twice before pulling a fast one on the biggest market in the world.
Immigration will still be a problem and we`re more likely to solve it if we have the money to pay for whatever we do to cope and can co-ooperate with our neighbours. Anyway most immigrants only come for a few years.
Independence or isolation do not give us control. Many multinationals are as rich as some big countries. When they say jump, you have to ask: “How high?”
As my Yorkshire mum used to say: “You pays your money and you takes your choice.” So which is scarier? What we live with, or what we can only guess at?
Check this out for yourself: we get back in subsidies and low prices five times what we pay the EU.
All the big EU countries want the same reforms we do, don’t want a Superstate and will start work as soon as they know what we want to do. But they respect us and like us.
Will we be able to say that abut the US if they choose Trump? He`s the real scary one.
Good luck to you all,