The European Union (EU) has certainly had an eventful year in 2015 dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis; the growing threat of the Islamic State; the disastrous condition of the world economy and the Greek debt crisis among other things. Having avoided a “Grexit” last year, the EU now faces the possibility of a “Brexit” after British Prime Minister David Cameron announced in late February that Britain would be holding a referendum on the country’s membership to the EU on the 23rd of June 2016.

So why exactly would the UK want to exit? The people in favour of leaving, which includes about half of Conservative MPs and (according to online polls) nearly half of the population, believe that Britain is being held back by the EU and that a Brexit would give them the chance to negotiate a new EU relationship. The primary reasons they cite involve trade and immigration. From an economic standpoint, Britain believes that exiting the EU will result in them being able to secure better deals with China, India and America and that Britain’s contribution to the EU budget can be put to better use in scientific research and development. It also believes that it can free itself from EU regulation returning control to the government over fields such as health, employment laws, etc. With the Syrian refugee crisis turning out to be a problem without an immediate solution, Britain also wishes to further strengthen its immigration laws and reduce the number of people coming there to work.

The Prime Minister however doesn’t want a Brexit, but simply wants a re-negotiation of the terms of Britain’s membership. Mr. Cameron has said that if he is able to get the reforms he wants, he will campaign for Britain to remain in the EU in the buildup to the referendum. So what does he want? Broadly speaking, he wants two things. From an economic point of view- to secure an explicit recognition that Euro isn’t the only currency of the EU and that Britain should not have to contribute to Eurozone bailouts. From an immigration point of view- to restrict those coming to the UK from claiming certain benefits until they have been a resident for at least four years. Other than these broad objectives, the UK is essentially lobbying for more sovereignty; to free business from excessive interference; remove trade barriers in the services and digital sector. He has also reiterated his standpoint that Britain would resist any move to join an “EU Army” or adopt the Euro.

So this brings us to the golden question, should Britain leave the EU or not? Well there really isn’t a right answer to it, most big businesses want Britain to stay as do a large number of Britain’s scientists and researchers (Professor Stephen Hawking has said that a Brexit will be “disastrous” for science). On the other hand some business houses and ministers recognise some of the obvious benefits a Brexit would bring and feel that it is the right course of action indeed. Whereas polls at the time show that 55% of Britain’s citizens want to stay in the EU, one can’t really predict how the numbers will change by June.
Shraman Ghosh
[email protected]

In a performance that lasted a whole of 10 mins, Akshay Labroo and Nikhil Saha of Ramjas College delivered speeches that made them the winners of a one-week sponsored tour in the UK, which includes visits to historical sites, academic institutions, cultural events along with peer group interactions. The Great Debate, organised by the Delhi University in collaboration with The British High Commission  was witness to  participation of 46 teams of the 54 that registered.

In an interactive session on 8th January,2014 at the the British High Commission, Paul Rennie, Head of Political and Bilateral Affairs released the motions for the debate to the participants while , the coordinators of the debate Ms. Suchitra Gupta and Ms. Sumitra Mohanty explained the rules and regulations . Present at the event was Ms. Priti Patel, Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom who encouraged the participants to visit the country.


The debate was divided into two rounds with the first being held on the morning of 9th Jan, 2014 and the final at 3 pm at the Viceregal Lodge, University of Delhi. The five teams that made it to the finals were Dayal Singh Collge, Janki Devi College, Miranda House, Ramjas College and Sri Venkateshwara College. The teams debated on the motion, “This house believes that it is the best time to be young” and were  judged by a panel of eminent judges including Ms. Ktty Tawakley, Deputy Head Press and Communications and Mr.Stephen King,General Manager Virgin Atlantic which had partnered with The British High Commission to sponsor this debate.

The Vice Chancellor Mr. Dinesh Singh and Sir James Bevan, UK High Commissioner joined the participants a little later in the session. In his speech ,Sir James Bevan listed the top ten reasons on why an Indian student must choose UK as the place to continue their studies over its other competitors. As for the amount that goes into sponsoring a UK education he said, “Studying in the UK is not cheap. But in life you get what you pay for,quality costs money and the cost of a UK education is possibly the best single investment you can make in your own future”. In his speech the Vice Chancellor regaled the the history of debating in India with the example of Mahatma Gandhi and stressed on the importance of form and matter in a debate.


While everybody enjoyed the debate and the opportunity it presented,the participants were made to wait a long time before the declaration of the results of the preliminary round. At the feedback session, the coordinators were suggested to have an award or recognition for not just teams but also speakers individually, which they promised to include in the next season of this debate.The organisation of the programme under Pradyumna Bora was well performed and managed to resolve issues of late participants and disqualification of a team timely.

imagecourtesy: British High Commision

For more photos visit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukinindia/sets/72157639548562095/

For the transcript of Sir James Bevan’s speech :https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/uk-education-the-best-for-the-brightest–2