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I read this Guardian piece on charities not staying neutral on the EU vote and immediately agreed with it. Then I saw the interesting debate over BMW explaining its position to its Rolls Royce and Mini workforce. Employers using their position to apply pressure and influence their staff is instinctively seen as a bad thing. I understand the arguments for organisations to stay neutral in a vote but are charities different? Is this referendum different?
So far, very little has been said or written about the impact on the third sector if we vote to leave the EU. Equally very little is being said about the role of an active and vibrant civil society in the proper functioning of democratic states and our contribution to a social Europe.
In Scotland, OSCR has given different advice to the charity regulator in England and Wales. Our sister council in England, NCVO, has produced a great paper on the EU referendum. It provides some very useful guidance and food for thought especially if you or your organisation are not actively engaged in any European networks.
For me, there are fundamental values at stake here. Do we want societies to promote and protect human rights, to strive to provide welfare and health equality, and protection for workers and women or do we want to step towards a world of Trump and the right in the UK who believe in growth, unilateralism, no equality, less workplace protection and the dismantling of human rights.
The EU is not perfect on these matters but its underpinning philosophy is very important. I think this is a critical time globally to stand up and have a voice. That is just my view, of course, but we do know that the EU referendum is likely to have implications for the people and causes that you support, so we would like to hear from you. Spare five minutes to tell us what you think by completing our short surveyon the EU.