With apologies to the late, great Ian Dury for the title, I thought I might lay out why I’m in favour of leaving the EU as a matter of record and with no hope nor intention of trying to convince anyone else. I will warn you know this post is probably going to ramble quite a bit as the question of whether to leave the EU or not isn’t in some ways the simplest of things. I should observe to begin with that I’m a bit of an idealist, with classic liberal leanings and a tendency to min-archism.
So as people who’ve read this blog or follow me on facebook/twitter I’m quite firmly of the opinion that we should leave the EU. Please note that that’s the EU, not Europe, not EFTA not the EEA or anything else just the EU. This distinction has been clouded quite a bit by both sides but mainly by the remain camp. We’re part of Europe geographically, mainland Europe will be our neighbours no matter how we vote, so the idea that we’ll stop trading or co-operating with them is laughable at best. but on that note lets start by looking at the economic argument – first and foremost both sides are making meaningless pledges and the experts are guessing as much as us – because there is no precedent to base any prediction on. However lets put that aside, lets assume that leaving the EU will have bad economic consequences for at least the medium term – that’s no reason not to leave. I find it amazing that people that normally argue that there is a social aspect to wealth creation are now just all about the financial consequences. I’m also horrified that this nation has been so reduced that economics trumps all, abolishing the slave trade wasn’t a smart move economically but it was the right thing to do, giving everyone the vote cost money but was the right thing to do. The UK has a proud history of doing the right thing regardless of the cost, so to bow now before mere financial pragmatism is a betrayal of a long history and a sorry state of affairs.
The other argument I see a lot of is that there are many problems facing the world, that require global solutions. If this is this really the case, and in many instances it may well be, then why do we want to lock ourselves into a regional body diminishing our voice? Surely to tackle global problems we should be sat at the global table speaking clearly and leading the way to solve those problems? Not merging our voice into a single muted EU voice? If we agree with the EU position why would we want to reduce our vote and voice by letting the EU speak for the entire continent when we could be making additional arguments in support of the EU’s position or even arguing for even stronger action? If the problems are global then the right place to talk about them is globally not regionally in the EU.
When it comes to laws and regulations, there is nothing to stop us adopting things the EU do that we think are good, but again increasingly in a global market the EU is just rubber stamping global decisions. So why do we need the EU as a middle man when we have a place on the one global bodies could influence the decisions there and no depend on the EU to speak for us and to duplicate the same rules? Leave argue that far too many of our rules come from the EU, which is a good reason to leave, remain argue they don’t so what’s the advantage of staying if the EU has so little influence on us?
The UK is a net contributor to the EU, so everything around the UK that was “EU funded” could have been funded by the UK directly with less administrative drag. It’s just that success governments of all flavours haven’t done so, which is a UK problem not an EU solution. The EU is just painting over the issue and using expensive paint to do so.
All of the things the EU is alleged to improve turn out to be ways of either side stepping Westminster or being an expensive middleman between global bodies and local implementation. If there are problems in Westminster we should solve them there, not count on a top heavy EU to do the work for us. If things need to be solved at a global level we should be working there not muting our voices in an EU committee. On numerous matters of human rights and social justice the UK has been and is a world leader with the EU holding us back, no minimum wage in the EU, tax on tampons and energy enforced by the EU.
There is nothing to stop the UK co-operating with the rest of the world on any matter we choose, from pollution to terrorism to human rights, we don’t need the EU to do this for us. We could open our borders to the entire world rather than just the Eu if we went our own way, rather than being held back to a parochial protectionist world view by the EU. We could open our trad to the third world rather than imposing import tariffs on them, we could provide aid to the other countries with out the cost of EU bureaucracy. There is nothing that the EU does that we can’t on do on our own faster, better and more efficiently. The only reason to think we can’t is if you think that the UK electorate won’t support it and that the UK Government is beyond redemption. If you think that how do you ever imagine that the Eu can be improved or that the EU electorate is any better, except that they’ll hold us down in a numbing bog of mediocrity, where nothing much bad happens but neither does anything much good – whilst the rest of the world moves one.
So if you have no confidence in your fellow country men, no confidence in changing your Government and think that adding extra layers of bureaucracy and state control can actually improve matters then by all means vote to remain part of the EU. If on the other hand, you thing that we should be outward looking to the entire world, tackling global problems at a global level and can lead the way by example in matters from technology, to the environment to human rights then I’d suggest to you that we should leave the parochial inward lookign bureaucratic EU and resume our place at the global tables trading and working with the entire world not just our nearest neighbours.