Why I'm Voting To Leave The EU

Since I know we are all bursting with enthusiasm for more EU Referendum stuff, here’s why I’m voting Leave.

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Since I know we are all bursting with enthusiasm for more EU Referendum stuff, here’s why I’m voting Leave.


Why I'm Voting To Leave The EU

Since I know we are all bursting with enthusiasm for more EU Referendum stuff, here’s why I’m voting Leave.

Share this article

In a nutshell, I want to live in a democracy. I like living in a country where MPs decide laws. It works well. I know my MP, Chris Heaton-Harris. A friend James Cleverly became an MP last year, and I treasure the fact that these people can make and change our laws.

We can petition them face to face. If they misbehave we can remove them (not you James, you are always well behaved).

I enjoy political chit-chat with intelligent folk like John-Paul Colgan and Borricade McCann. I want to watch Question Time knowing it matters.

The EU is run on a different principle. The founders Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman despaired at democracy in those bleak post-war years. They wanted a state run by civil servants. And lo, it came to pass. The European Commission holds supreme power. It alone proposes laws.

The European parliament is fake. It cannot propose laws. And it cannot remove them. MEPs can speak for a minute at a time. There is no meaningful debate.

Nigel Farage

For many, Farage is an unfortunate poster boy for the Bexit camp

What we have now is the “rule of the five presidents”. The future of the EU is set out in the Five Presidents’ Report. (Which is worth reading! It sets out the path of tax and social harmonisation. The completion of the project).

If Remain win we’ll wake up in a country where Monnet and Schuman’s vision is triumphant. Laws will be made by graduates of the College of Europe. Want to change something? You’ll have to approach the relevant Commissioner – who has no need to see you. They don’t face election! They may speak Hungarian or Latvian (the last one I spoke to spoke only Estonian).

Democracy will fade.

I thought this would dominate the debate.  I was so wrong! In fact many of my friends shrugged at the issue. Some actively reject democracy. “Politicians are liars.” “I don’t trust any of them.” The appalling death of Jo Cox prompted a rethink. Maybe they aren’t all rotters…

"Post-Brexit Britain? It will be indistinguishable from what we have now."

But I know this plea will not move many people. Hell, I'm only 60% - 40% convinced myself. And obviously there are many, many terrific reasons to vote Remain (and I think Remain will win).

Immigration has nothing to do with it. I see my Facebook timeline dominated by Farage opponents. Marina Hyde in the Guardian wrote Leavers “must stomach the reality that a vote for leave will be taken by Farage and countless others as a vote for him”. No won’t be. Farage is not even an MP. He won’t get to decide anything.

Leave have certainly run a terrible campaign. I put this down to the lack of resonance for the main issues. Democracy isn’t resonating. To do so would require voters to understand how the EU works. Most don’t (ironically).

Post-Brexit Britain? It will be indistinguishable from what we have now. We’ll join EFTA or the EEA. The four freedoms will remain. Goods, services, people and capital will move freely around Europe just as now. Iceland, Norway and Switzerland show how it works.

French and Slovakians working here will do so without interference. Mario Balotelli will still play for Liverpool (lucky them).

Read On:

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The Brexit Excuse: Why We Must Take Responsibility For UK Growth

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Pro-Brexit we’ll be just as European. Iceland is in EFTA, not the EU. They are just as European as the Irish. Norwegians are just as European as Italians.

European co-operation will continue regardless. Most European bodies have nothing to do with the EU.

For example:

  • European Broadcasting Union (home of the Eurovision Song Contest!)
  • European Pharmacopoeia Commission
  • European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
  • European Association of Archaeologists
  • European Society of Cardiology
  • European Association for Endoscopic Surgery
  • European Society for Human Genetics
  • CERN
  • European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
  • European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers
  • European Association for Astronomy Education
  • European Planetarium Network
  • European Association for Osseointegration
  • European Association of Co-operative Banks

These are all non-EU bodies. There are hundreds more. We’re not leaving them. We're not leaving "Europe". Just the EU.

So does democracy really matter? I think it does. Here’s why. In 2011 both Greece and Italy had their elected governments removed by the EU. Unelected personalities were installed as prime minister. In Italy, Mario Monti ran a cabinet of entirely unelected ministers.

It was the worst case scenario come true.

This is the future. National governments will be over-ruled, even removed, by the EU. This has already happened, twice.

So far the UK has had an okay experience with the EU. Others have not been so lucky.

Greece EU

Greece has been hardest hit by the inflexibility of the EU

For Italy and Greece the EU has been a disaster. They went “full EU”. Got the currency. Harmonised as much as they could. The result has been a total mess. Italy has had a decade of zero growth. And Greece? We all know about the horrors of Greece. Spain and Portugal too. Finland has just ended a three-year recession.

Youth unemployment? We all know the story.

For the southern European nations there’s no way out. They owe too much money. Their economies can’t take the short-term economic hit of Grexit or Italexit.

We almost committed the same error. But the euro was too agonising to join. We crashed out the ERM and have prospered ever since.

Our model should be Iceland. The Althing is the world’s oldest parliament. They are proud of it, and they’ve kept it. Iceland is richer, free-er and happier because of their refusal to end their democracy. Last Iceland confirmed it would not apply to join. Last week Switzerland also withdrew its application.

The European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker (pictured top, in case you were wondering what he looks like) claims “there can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.” Well, there is a choice.

Iceland: Alþingishúsið in Reykjavik

The Althing is one of the oldest extant parliamentary institutions in the world. The current structure was built in 1881 from Icelandic stone.

I hope we join Iceland and Norway in EFTA. We can trade and travel without limit. We can sign new treaties globally, just as they and other nations like New Zealand do (NZ signed a terrific trade deal with China in 2008. So clearly it can be done).

I wish Greece, Italy and Spain had followed Iceland, and stayed out the EU. They would be vastly richer and happier if they had. Poor Greece!

And us? I will vote to leave the EU, risky though that is, and vote to keep our democracy.

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Why I'm Voting To Leave The EU

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