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For Every Fact You Learn About The EU, You Get A Reward

Let's all learn some things about the EU referendum, even though it's terrible and boring.

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ATTENTION EVERYBODY: The EU referendum is coming up on 23 June and it would be pretty great if we knew literally anything about it.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Because so far the debate around the EU has been confusing, a little bit depressing, and, most of all, boring.

So if you're anything like a normal person, you probably don't know much about what this referendum could mean – or you've heard a lot of big claims that sound like BS, because they probably are.


OK, Alberto, first question: How much money do we ACTUALLY spend to be in the EU, and what do we get back? People on the telly keep telling us lies, and finding out the truth feels like a lot of effort.

Daniel Leal-olivas / AFP / Getty Images

Alberto: The Vote Leave claim that we send £50 million a day to the EU is misleading. The amount of cash the UK actually hands over to the EU is £40 million per day, because the UK's "rebate" is applied before any money is transferred to Brussels. Then, once you factor in the money the UK receives back from the EU you get Britain's "net contribution": £27 million a day. You can find the numbers here.

Using a gross and not a net figure would be like saying you paid £20 for a pint because you did not collect the change. Nobody does that.

Right. Alberto. Not to brag, but I’m a very cosmopolitan person with many international friends. Will all my European pals be deported the day after we vote to leave?

The CW

Alberto: No. On this issue, it's the Remain camp that have been cheeky. The Leave campaign has been clear: Anyone already in the UK will be able to stay. However, implementing a new policy in parallel to the current system could be administratively complicated. For example, someone might leave the country and then come back. We just don't know what an immigration policy outside the EU would look like in detail.


Right. OK. What kinds of people want us to vote Leave and what kinds of people want us to vote Remain?

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Alberto: Broadly speaking, younger people and households with higher social grades and levels of education tend to support Remain in greater numbers. Older people and those on lower social grades and education lean for Leave.

The two official campaigns, one for each side, are called Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe. But they are not alone in making the respective cases. The Conservative government’s official position is for remaining in the EU, but the party itself is split on the issue, with several prominent Tories, Boris Johnson above all, backing Brexit. Most of the Labour party supports staying in, even though party leader Jeremy Corbyn says there is a lot he wants to change about the EU.

UKIP wants Britain to leave the EU. The SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dems, and most of the Greens want to remain.

I won't bore you with everyone else, except to say that basically every international organization, and most foreign leaders, want us to stay in the EU. They really don't like uncertainty.

Anyway, no matter what happens on 23 June, will David Cameron lose power? Would there be another election just 'cos people are mad at him?

Daniel Leal-Olivas / Wpa Pool / Getty Images

Alberto: It depends on what happens on 23 June. Sorry. If Britain votes to Leave, pretty much everyone agrees that Cameron will have to resign. Maybe not immediately, but he would go shortly after a vote.

If Remain wins by a tiny margin, then it will be difficult to predict what happens because the Conservatives are split in two and being pretty mean to each other. So either way, governing (that thing governments are actually meant to do) will be complicated. The only scenario in which Cameron would be safe, and able to put his challengers in their place, would be if he can secure a big Remain win.


Will European wine become more expensive? This is very important to me.


Alberto: Maybe. This will all depend on what arrangement the UK secures with the rest of the EU if the country votes to leave. If Britain were to also exit the single market then some products and services would become more expensive. But on the flip side, British wine isn’t too bad, I’m told. If that’s your kind of beverage, that is. I haven’t personally tried it.

Did you know, by the way, that Britain is the world’s largest importer of prosecco?

OK, Alberto, but what about my future boozy ~Girls on Tour~ holidays in Spain? Will they be more expensive? This is also important to me.

Alberto: In the immediate term they most definitely would be more expensive because everyone pretty much agrees that the pound would be weaker. So once you get to Spain, everything you buy, eat, and drink (unless you bring your own British wine with you) would be that little bit pricier. But in the longer term, the price of flights and holidaying in the sunnier parts of Europe would depend on what deal the UK gets and on what happens to the pound relative to the euro.


So what would Brexit actually mean for immigration and migration to the UK?

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Alberto: The only thing we know for certain is that Britain would not be able have both full access to Europe's single market and restrictions on freedom of movement – it would be one or the other.

There is an irony at the heart of the immigration debate. Most people say that immigration is the one thing they most dislike about being in the EU, but they also say that the freedom to travel and work anywhere in Europe is the one thing they like the most about the EU. Over 100,000 Spanish citizens work and live in the UK. Over 400,000 British citizens work and live in Spain.

Freedom of movement works both ways.

Will all the Europeans hate us forever if we leave?

PA Wire / Stefan Rousseau

Alberto: Hate is a pretty strong word, but I think it's safe to assume that any negotiation post-Brexit would not be a walk in the park.

If we leave the EU, will it bring about an end to oppressive non-flammable flags?

Man tries to burn EU flag, can't burn it because of EU directive on flammable materials

Alberto: Possibly. Britain could choose to make its flags flammable, but it wouldn't be allowed to sell them to EU countries. So British flagmakers could end up stuck with a whole load of stock that nobody wants – and because the stock of flags would now be flammable, it would also be hazardous. All this is because any product sold in the EU needs to meet common guidelines. For flags, that means they should be non-flammable.


What are the polls looking like right now? Is it gonna happen?

Age 43 is the crossover point between Remain and Leave, according to YouGov via @MattChorley's Red Box email

Alberto: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Truth is nobody has a fucking clue. The phone polls have shown strong Remain leads, but online surveys suggest the contest is close. The betting markets say Remain. Some of the underlying numbers show voters aren't too convinced by the claims coming out of either campaign. And of course, the polls were all wrong at the last general election.

But one thing everyone agrees with is that voter turnout could be decisive. So, whether you want to stay or go, you should register – and vote. Voting is the single best way to get your voice heard.

You can read more about the polling here.

Will other countries also try to leave the EU if we leave?


Alberto: This is actually the one thing that European governments fear most. But not necessarily because voters in other countries would want to leave too (most other European countries are more pro-EU than the UK). They fear uncertainty: the idea of the EU as irreversible and inseparable, a marriage meant to last forever, would mean less. As a consequence, several other founding principles, such as freedom of movement, could then come into question.


OK, last thing... When they say the deadline to register to vote is Tuesday 7 June at midnight, does that mean the midnight at the end of MONDAY, or the one at the end of TUESDAY? Sorry this question is weird.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Alberto: It’s not weird. This is the hardest question of the lot! The answer is Tuesday! You can register to vote here.

You did it, guys. You fucking learned. Thanks, Alberto. Thanks, world. Now listen to this with sound as your final reward: