Let me just start by condemning the idea that leaving would lead to applause. This idea that we would be making this “grand statement” on European aﬀairs is nonsense. No country would pat us on the back and say “well done”, no nation would stand up and applaud. We would not be greeted as champion monarchs but as petulant children; whinging that our nationalism is being overshadowed by international cooperation, and as a nation of bitterness; devoted to the idea that they have a universal right to dictate and others follow.
This will not be the case, and nor will it ever be, when it comes to negotiations. Simply because we may decide to leave does not mean that we will then be able to dictate what happens next. All of our negotiations will be bilateral, for the UK as a single nation does not have the power to force a unilateral agreement with one of the largest trading blocs on the planet. If the day comes when we do have to renegotiate, there will be no fanfare, only the cry of anguish over the fact that those we wish to trade with have refused to accept our terms, whilst we watch as our economy shrinks, jobs are lost, and progress slows right down. There will be no Canadian system; America will send us to the back of the queue. Economically, we have the best system going for us right now, and it would be an act of madness to consider otherwise.
The UK as a single nation does not have the power
Furthermore, the issues we face as a nation are no longer national. Almost every danger we face nowadays is international, in spite of what one may desire. Climate change, the rise of excessive globalisation and multinational corporations more powerful than an entire country are challenges that cannot be fought through isolationism. Only by working with our allies through pooling our sovereignty can we ensure that future generations have something to look forward to, something to live in, and something to work for. To retreat back into our isolationist hub is not the way forward.
Granted, the EU is flawed, but so is every political institution. Nonetheless, our elected representatives vote for the EU’s laws, not the Commission. The Parliament makes the laws and the Commission, like our Civil Service, suggests and proposes amendments. There is no grand dictatorship.
But here’s the thing. We can lead the Union, and the possibility of the UK playing a positive and highly inﬂuential role in the EU is fully realisable. The European Union needs reform, yes, but leaving it is not how one ensures that that happens. Instead of reckless hightailing, we need to actually engage with the Union and take an active role as citizens of Europe outside of these referenda. In 2014, 35.6 per cent of the population turned out to vote in the UK’s European Elections. Imagine the message we could send if it was above 50 per cent – if we, as a people, actually mobilised for once on a reformist, rather than an exit-based, pledge. Before we decide to bugger oﬀ back to our bunkers, we should ﬁrst actually have a national conversation about reforming it, if that is our wish. Only by engaging with it can we actually hope to reform it.
Nevertheless, when you go to the polls on 23 June, I strongly advise you to remember this; this referendum is more than just about the European Union. It is about who we want to be, and what we wish to become, and I’m not talking about whether or not we wish to be Unionists. It is about whether we want to be Great Britons, or Little Englanders. I for one know exactly which one I’d rather be.
I wouldn’t go as far as Boris Johnson to compare the EU to Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, it is nothing more than a gravy train for the corrupt and greedy. Its role is not to unite but to dominate, overrule and suppress.
It is no coincidence that all the banks ‘jumped ship’ at once, or that people are being starved into the ground as borders are open for all. Nor is it a coincidence that the EU is trying to remove each country’s rights under its own constitution.
We commence with the resounding clutch of Brussels. The developing countries colloquially known as the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), provide British businesses with an unparalleled opportunity to grow into untapped emerging markets. This opportunity is indeed limited by the Brussels bust.
The belief that staying with the EU is vital to the UK economy is a narrow minded approach when considering the more holistic trading opportunities that an EU free UK will have to provide. By removing ourselves from the EU we would have the opportunity to make the independent decisions necessary to improve the UK’s trade with the BRIC countries and other nations. To bolster these political ties and relations will make for a stronger, more grounded Britain.
In Layman’s terms, we would have greater ﬂexibility in deciding which countries we engage with. If this opportunity itself is nurtured and utilized appropriately by the Government, leaving the EU may mark the start of the Golden Age of the British economy. As Larry Elliot claimed in his article in The Guardian, a Brexit may also ‘be the best answer to a dying Eurozone.’ There was indeed an elephant in the room during Mark Carney’s recent three-monthly update on the state of the economy. This came in the form of the shocking state of the Eurozone after the failure of the single currency experiment. This was ignored by the governor of the Bank of England. Why? Because, although Britain is likely to stay in the EU, Brexit will remain a live issue unless the Eurozone can sort itself out. Britain is not in the euro, for which we should all be thankful. But let’s be clear: staying in the EU means hitching the wagon to a currency zone unable to go forwards or backwards.
The EU is a gravy train for the corrupt and greedy
The EU, in general, is a drain on the British economy. A huge amount of money given to the EU is allocated to wasteful spending such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In 2006, 45 per cent EU spending went towards the CAP. To put this in perspective, that’s almost half EU spending allocated towards an industry that generates only 1.6 per cent GDP. This is unnecessary and is unequally distributed. France beneﬁts immensely while countries with very little agricultural sectors sees few beneﬁts. Yet, we are expected to foot the bill for this wasteful policy.
Although it is true that the initial aims of the EU were to aid regional security, now that the bonds of trade have been established, peace in Europe now has nothing to do with the EU. The ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the U.S means that we are not as dependent upon EU security as we could be and thus we are no longer tied to the union.
A diﬀerent Europe is needed. A no vote would upset EU complacency. It would press the reset button. It would force the EU to seek a new balance between international regulation and freetrade. However arrogant it might seem, Britain would have triggered reform. That is surely what everyone wants.
Is the EU for YOU?
“Politicians have turned the referendum into a cannibalistic power game” – Katie Jenkins
“We are given too many statistics but also not enough” – Susannah Keogh
“This seems a far too important decision to be decided in a referendum” – Ollie Lund
“Both sides appear to be lying” – Victoria Bos
“The only reason there is a debate is because old people don’t like foreigners” – Sam Woolf
“JK Rowling thinks we should stay in – and that’s a good enough reason for me, tbh” – Hannah Butler
“For the bants, let’s Brexit” – Jeremy Brown