The deed is done. After reading literally hundreds of articles, books, e-mails and posts about the subject – I have finally, finally decided. I was inclined to vote out, but was not ideologically committed to it and I realized it is a big decision so I decided to spend a lot of time reading, investigating, thinking and praying. I have read and watched some excellent pro-EU material – possibly the best was Lord Heseltine (Tory) and Simon Hughes (Lib-Dem), although I was greatly impressed with a Liverpool academic whose name I have forgotten! On the Leave side I have been really impressed with Gisela Stewart (Labour), Daniel Hannan (Tory) (his performance here was stunning –
Brendan O’Neill (Marxist), Jim Sillars (SNP) and an unknown socialist shop steward who was superb.
I’m not going to repeat what I have written elsewhere but here are the main reasons why I have voted to Leave. Rather than write another chapter I have linked to some of the best articles and videos I have seen on these topics.
This is for me the key issue. Those who make our laws should be accountable to those for whom they are made. The elected should answer to the electorate. The demos needs a democracy. And the European project is fundamentally at its core anti-democratic. See this article from Frank Furedi
What is the alternative to democracy? Autocracy and technocracy. Instead of the dictatorship of the proletariat, we have the dictatorship of the elites, who use democracy as a tool but disregard it as a foundational principle. I knew that this was the case for the Eurocrats like Juncker, but this referendum has shown me how this is disturbingly making headway in the political chattering classes. I have been told that democracy doesn’t really exist anyway, that it is all about human ‘rights’ and that we are better of in an autocratic EU than a democratic UK because the former would prevent the latter from electing a Tory right wing government. Apart from the fact that this is demonstrably not true Tony Benn’s principle is apposite –
“I’d rather have a bad parliament than a good king”
The autocratic elites and their well-heeled middle class allies are not opposed to democracy. You are allowed to vote – but only if you vote for what we tell you to vote for. That’s why democracy has become so weak in the UK because it appears that the political parties are just different shades of the same colour. All the political parties are on board…but you might vote against us anyway? Take this as an example: “We attended a rally this morning at which the four big political parties – Conservative, Labour, LibDems and Green – were united in their call to keep Britain in the EU – for jobs, trade, rights and security. We’re stronger in Europe.” Who is representing the 40% of Scots who are for Brexit?
But now the Establishment is desperate. The polls are much closer than they would like. They believe that young people are like sheep and if you tell them being in Europe is cool and about having Lattes in Barcelona, they will do the ‘right thing’ and vote the ‘right way’. Why else do you think they extended the voting registration deadline? Because they thought that the Facebook campaign was working and that it was more young people who were more likely to vote yes. If it had been pensioners do you think that they would have bothered? Or if this had happened during the Scottish referendum? Not a chance. The Elites like democracy as long as the plebs don’t really have a choice. That’s why, with a possibility of losing, so many of them are saying it was a mistake to have the referendum. How dare people be given a say? Why can’t they leave it up to us, their betters? The experts?
I’ve lost count of the number of posts of people who have said that the EU is more democratic than the UK parliament. That the Commission are just a civil service, answerable to the European Parliament. Every SNP politician at least in public repeats the same mantra from the same party approved crib sheet. EU commissioners are better than the House of Lord. They forget to mention that the EU Commission is an unelected political executive which is the only body that can put forward EU legislation – and that the House of Lords is a second chamber, primarily for review (which I would argue should be removed as well). I have had right on progressive liberal democrats tell me passionately that Lord Hill, as the EU Commissioner is democratically elected because he was appointed by a democratically elected Prime minister. I despair. If you cannot vote in or vote out the people who make your laws you are not living in a democracy. End of.
Let me give you one example of how this works Jeremy Corbyn wants to nationalize the railways. As it happens that is a policy I support. But even if he is elected by the British people he is not allowed to carry out that policy. Even if a majority of MEPs are elected to support that policy, he is not allowed to carry it out. We cannot vote that policy in or out. He says he will ignore the EU but he is either being stupid or telling lies. Because he cannot. European law always trumps British law or elected British governments. And this is what progressives, liberals, socialists and conservatives want to vote for?!
Jeremy Corbyn understood this.
“The EU takes away from national parliaments the power to set economic policy and hands it over to an unelected set of bankers…”
TTIP, as I explained in the earlier article, is a key aspect of what is to come. When multi-national corporations can sue national elected governments we are all in trouble.
I find it more than a little amusing that so many middle class people who benefit from the EU are telling all and sundry that of course it’s not because they benefit. They support the EU because it really does help the poor. Isn’t it wonderful that the interests of the multi-national corporations, the corporate NGO’s, the government bureaucracies all coincide with helping the poor…what a wonderful world we live in!
Remember TINA? The great Thatcherite phrase now adopted by Cameron, Corbyn and Sturgeon – There Is No Alternative. To use Mr Meldrew “I don’t believe it”. I think there is such a thing as economic justice. I don’t believe that the young and poor in Greece, Italy and Spain have to pay for the failed policies and gambling of the bankers, corporations and politicians.
And to scorch another myth – there are some economists who think, as David Cameron used to think, that Britain will get on just fine outwith the EU.
Workers of the world unite – you have nothing to lose but your chains.
I loathe the anti-immigration rhetoric. As I loathe the pompous self-righteous middle class people whose main contact with immigrants is when they meet them as their wage slaves and who don’t understand why some working class people do feel overwhelmed. If teachers, doctors and Uni lecturers were losing their jobs I suspect they would not be quite so pompous. Nonetheless I think the anti-immigrant rhetoric is wrong and dangerous. I want more immigrants. I think of the hundreds of nurses from outwith the EU who have been denied access to the UK, or the nuclear physicist who had to return home to the US, or the Australian family in Dingwall who are in danger of being deported. We should have control of our borders and we should welcome more refugees and encourage immigration. We should not vote to belong to Fortress Europe where (mainly white) Europeans get freedom of movement but Africans, Asians, Arabs and Americans are greatly restricted.
Turkey is an interesting one. David Cameron tells us that Turkey will get in around the year 3000, yet he was the leader advocating that they should be fast tracked. A senior politician told me that there is a meeting on June the 24th (note the date) to discuss fast tracking Turkish accession. Its also why we are spending £675 million helping with their application – because we are looking forward to a long term investment for 3000!
This must seem a strange one but almost nobody seems to be taking seriously the intention of the EU Presidents to have a European army. It’s funny that this astonishing defection did not receive the attention it was due. But then what would Field Marshal Lord Guthrie know?!
This is of course closely tied in with the democracy aspect.
I had thought that only a relatively small number of British laws were made by the EU. ‘Experts’ and those who are ideologically committed to the EU were happy to parrot figures of 7-14%. But then Jeremy Paxman went and asked the British Parliament and this is what he discovered. 59% of British laws between 2010-2013 were made by the EU. These are not made in the European Parliament but by the EU Commission who are unelected by us and cannot be voted out by us. These are appointees of the political elite – and often are failed politicians. Does anyone else think it strange that Neil Kinnock lost two elections and was then given far more power as an EU Eurocrat than he had as a democratic politician?
But there are idealists, Christian and non-Christian, who live in a kind of fantasy world, divorced from biblical reality. They think we can all live together in perfect harmony and that utopia can come on earth – who needs nation states any more? I think we do. I think they are a check on human sinfulness and prevent any one individual group taking absolute control. But our utopians think that if we just think pleasant thoughts, wave rainbow flags and trust the elites to govern us, everything will be wonderful.
I believe in co-operation. But it must be the co-operation of free countries.
The best thing is for every democracy to live under its own laws whilst co-operating and working with others. A point which Toby Young makes rather well:
The EU is going to change
I am astonished at how many people think that the choice is remain in the EU as we are and have a stable economy, peace, workers rights, racial harmony, motherhood and apple pie. The EU is in deep trouble and it is going to change.
Some have blind faith that it will be reformed in a more democratic direction (although they have no evidence for this). The greater likelihood is that the euro will collapse and that the European states will be required to have a greater political union.
David Cameron says he has negotiated that Britain is not part of that….but a) that is not in any treaty and b) it does not apply to any subsequent British government. The real question on the ballot paper should be:
Do you wish to leave the EU?
Do you wish to JOIN a new United States of Europe?
The Working Class
As has been noted there is clear distinction between the wealthy, the middle class and the working class on this one. In effect the poorer you are, the less likely you are to be for the EU. Now our middle class progressives, conservatives and liberals unite to tell us that this is because the working class are basically uneducated and to put it bluntly, a bit dumb. Of course it’s not PC to say so but whilst some have, even more have hinted at it – because it really is what they believe. After all if we were as smart as them, we would agree with them.
From a middle class perspective the EU is great. You can be part of the Erasmus programme (if you are poor and working class in Scotland you are much less likely to get to a Scottish university than an EU student from elsewhere), retire to Spain, and take skiing weekends in France. Europe is a great idea. You associate it with lattes in Lazio, concerts in Austria, conferences in Paris, and research projects in Groningen, and church plants in Berlin; it’s a wonderful idea. If you are a corporate manager you like the cheap labour and the open market. If you are a politician, bureaucrat, stockbroker, large NGO or parts of the media and arts establishment….then of course you will be pro-EU. After all the EU funds you and you support the EU…its all very cozy. But what about the great unwashed? The untermenschen?
Oh – everyone ‘cares’. Everyone ‘virtue signals’ and talks about it. But it makes not a blind bit of difference.
One of the things that has struck me about this debate is the great divide – not racial..not about nationalities, but social and class. It is a massive two fingers to the poor. This photo sums up the real divide in this referendum.
I just thought I would throw this one in. Because apparently there are people who think that if you want to leave the political entity known as the EU it means that you don’t like the French, the Germans or the Greeks. I think I need to repeat this very slowly….I – love – Europe – and – I – am – opposed – to – the –EU. If you need to go and lie down in a dark room to figure out how that is possible, feel free…and whilst you are at it have a look at this wonderful video…
I hate being patronised, lied to and patronised by the Establishment
We were lied to before. We were not joining a common market which would not be able to make our laws. We were joining something that was intended to be an ever-increasing political union.
Our Prime Minister lied to us. He told us that he would campaign for a Leave vote and Britain would survive fine if he did not get substantial reformation. He got nothing and now he tells us if we leave it will be an economic disaster and could lead to WW3.
“It would mean a four-person eight-night holiday to Europe would increase by £230 while a 14-night stay for four people to America would increase by £620.”
I hate being patronised. I hate it when Nicola Sturgeon tells us that all of her MPs and MSPs support the EU because it’s better to be an independent country in an interdependent EU but impossible to be an independent country in an interdependent UK.
I hate it when Jeremy Corbyn, who has been anti-EU all his life, caves into internal party pressure and announces his Damascus road conversion to the EU.
I hate it when Edinburgh University sends round people to tell its students that they should vote Remain because its better for them (which being translated meaneth that Edinburgh Uni, one of the richest Unis, and corporate businesses gets substantial funding from the EU and they want to keep their snouts in the trough! It was for that same reason that on a matter of ‘principle’ they refused to get involved in the Scottish referendum believing that students should be free to make up their own minds – nothing of course to do with the fact that even more of their funding comes from the Scottish government!).
I hate it when John Major gets all emotional, self-righteous and angry about the British people being deceived – when he himself was a master of deception when he had an affair with Edwina Currie for four years. I’m sorry but if you can deceive your wife you are going to have no qualms about deceiving the country.
I hate it when Richard Dawkins writes in Prospect magazine with his false humility, “How dare you entrust such an important decision to ignoramuses like me?” He doesn’t mean it, of course. He knows how he is going to vote. He, of course, is going to vote the ‘right’ way; the way that all right thinking people should vote, without a shadow of a doubt. What he means is that the plebs should not be given votes and such decisions should be left to people like him, and his representatives.
I hate it when scientists with a political agenda misuse their authority as wannabe secular priests, by suggesting that if we leave the EU there will no longer be scientific co-operation. Don’t we already co-operate with non-EU nations? Is CERN not in Switzerland? If Israel is part of the EU science programmes, why could a non-EU Britain not share in that too?
I hate it when the government and the EU pay people to support them. It is rare to come across an ‘independent’ group which is not funded in some way by the EU. Some of it is quite blatant. The latest ‘honours’ awarded included 22 prominent Remain supporters including the chairman of Britain Stronger in Europe deputy chair Richard Reed, who gets a CBE. Other awards went to prominent financial donors.
I hate it when the elites tell us dumb plebs to listen to the ‘experts’. As I write a leaflet has just come through the door telling me that I should listen to the experts – ‘from Richard Branson to JK Rowling, to Alan Sugar and heads of the Bank of England and the TUC’. I leave Brendan O’Neil to comment: (forgive the language at the end, but if Luther could get away with it, I think we can let Brendan!).
– This is the trump card of the Remain camp: “Experts say we should stay in the EU. EXPERTS. Listen to them, you fools.”
Experts said it was a good idea to invade Iraq. Experts said Labour would do well at the last General Election. Experts argued against suffrage for women because – SCIENCE – women are “more visceral than rational”. Experts said blacks have smaller brains than whites. Experts said homosexuality is a mental illness. Experts said it was impossible that the Earth is moving through space because, unlike an animal, it doesn’t have “muscles and limbs” and therefore cannot move. Experts gave the 2009 Best Actor Academy Award to Sean Penn instead of Mickey Rourke.
Experts sometimes talk shit.”
I am opposed to Babylon
Bought and sold for Brussels gold.
On the 16th of June I read this from Isaiah 48:20-22
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,
your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be cut off
nor destroyed from before me.”
20 Leave Babylon,
flee from the Babylonians!
Announce this with shouts of joy
and proclaim it.
Send it out to the ends of the earth;
say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob.”
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock
and water gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.
I also read Revelation 18. Please note I am not saying that the EU is Babylon. I am saying that Babylon is the whole new system of idolatry – which relies on sex, money and power, the unholy Trinity. Something which our politicians seem far too wedded to.
Allow me the licence to explain why the following are NOT the reasons I am voting to leave…Its not because I am
A) A Heartless Racist
It’s all about immigration and not liking Johnny Foreigner. The pro-EU people are caring, loving, internationalists, whereas I am clearly a nationalist of the worst kind. Apparently not only a ‘Little Englander’ but a ‘Little Scotlander’ who wants out of England as well. It’s clear that I am one step away from being a Nazi.
B) An Ignorant Bigot
We have Scientists for the EU, and Academics for the EU, LGBTI for the EU, the NHS for the EU…. We have Abba, and Eddie Izzard and Barack Obama and Emma Thompson and some Noble Prize Winners.and I mean all these caring, intelligent people. It’s obvious that anyone who does not agree with them must be either stupid or a bigot. Someone who clearly is not ‘educated’ only reads the ‘Red Tops’ or is some kind of not so closeted racist.
C) Don’t care about the Gospel
For a bible believing Christian this was quite a painful accusation to take. Apparently being in the EU means that British people are free to move and live anywhere and therefore if I care about the spreading of the Good News this is what I should want. I have read an increasing number of evangelical Christians who genuinely want to evangelise and plant churches throughout Europe and therefore they say they are not interested in the politics, but just what will advance the gospel. I’m not sure that I even know where to begin with that one- it’s well meaning, spiritual, wrong and foolish at so many levels, so I won’t. I’ll leave it for another time. Watch this space…
Why Remain will win…
Not the band…although I do think that their classic ‘Down, Down,’ would be a good anthem for this country. No the polls are about even at the moment – but with around one in nine voters ‘undecided’, it is a fact that the vast majority of don’t knows, stick with what they think they do know, the status quo. I have even seen people advising that if you are not sure, vote for the status quo (although as we have already pointed out, the status quo is not an option. But it’s like the church – whenever we try to change things there are always those who will argue – ‘we’ve never done things that way’ and that type of ‘conservatism’ usually prevails.
And then think of what could happen. Pensions will fail, WW3 will start, ISIS will take over, the Russians are coming, beer will be put up, income tax increase, maternity pay abandoned, work house conditions reimposed, a Tory Right wing coup, Donald Trump on the throne. I think the best answer to this is quite simply – none of us know. I love the humour and honesty of Gyles Brandreth here
Andrew Marr, one of the best commentators and interviewers on this issue, argued last week that the Remain side was in trouble because they were losing the argument. He opined,
“The best bet for the Remain side is a dramatic last minute moment of alarm. That might happen,. But there’s precious little sign of it yet.”
And then a mentally disturbed loner with fascist connections killed a well-loved, hard working MP – who was also pro-European, pro-refugee. The moment had arrived. Without a moment’s hesitation pro –Remain papers were spinning wildly about it being a political assassination, a hate crime inspired by Brexit and a foretaste of what was to come. I have little doubt that some of the narrative put forward by some of the Brexit campaign would have been fuel for the fire to a mentally ill loner who had links to extreme right groups. It is important that whenever people speak they realize who might be listening. But that works at all levels. There are left-wing ‘progressive’ bullets as well. I have already been told that I am a racist, fascist scumbag (by those who are tweeting without recognizing the irony, ‘love wins’). The above-mentioned leaflet tells me I should vote because ‘Nigel Farage and UKIP will be voting’. It’s a disgusting ad hom, but then shame seems as rare as rationality in this debate. Again this is such a major subject that I will try and write some more thoughts about it later. But, unless the Remain side overplay their hand, I think this sad event will be seen to have had a key role. I hope not because it will do a great deal of harm to this country if that occurs, whatever the result.
So I think the result will be like the Scottish election – a surge of hope that things might change only to be dashed by a surge of the conservatism that prevents things changing. I predicted a 55/45 split then and got it spot on. I’ll go for the same again this time. Of course being neither omniscient nor sovereign, I could be wrong.
Anyway I’m done. I’m out of here.
Why I’m Leaving the Country
I’m actually going away to visit my first grandchild. So excited…..! And I love Australia…and we get to visit friends in Singapore and Hong Kong…looking forward to the break.
This country is sick
I’m fed up of the anti-immigrant racism and the small but vocal right wing fascism. I’m fed up of the middle class self-righteous moralism that is so full of virtue signaling whilst demonizing those who don’t share their values. I’m fed up of an amoral culture which calls evil good and good evil. And I’m fed up of a church which prostitutes itself to the culture, waters down the word, focus’s on the trivial, forgets the Holy Spirit, denies the Lordship of Christ, and deglorifies the Father. So the temptation is to stay in Oz…. except.
Why I’m coming back…dv…
- Those Australians won’t let me stay – I haven’t got enough points! Anyway who says they are any better? The grass is always greener.
- I read Rev. 22 and Ps 150 in my McCheyne readings and Psalm singing this morning….it felt like an ending. Which means there is a new beginning. I will take a month to breath, think, pray, relax, enjoy, worship and then return. Because….
- God is sovereign – every detail is in his hand. My illness taught me that I cannot even control my own breathing, never mind the great events of nations. I know that the Lord has called me to Scotland, the UK, Europe (whether in or out of the EU union) and he has called me to proclaim his word (along with many others) and I am not going to give up, back down or compromise on anything that He says. Whether ‘in’ or ‘out’ of Europe is irrelevant. Whether ‘in’ or ‘out’ of Christ is the only thing that ultimately matters.
That Spectator Article –
The Spectator has a long record of being isolated, but right. We supported the north against the slave-owning south in the American civil war at a time when news-papers (and politicians) could not see past corporate interests. We argued for the decriminalisation of homosexuality a decade before it happened, and were denounced as the ‘bugger’s bugle’ for our troubles. We alone supported Margaret Thatcher when she first stood for the Tory leadership. And when Britain last held a referendum on Europe, every newspaper in the land advocated a ‘yes’ vote. Only two national titles backed what is now called Brexit: the Morning Star and The Spectator.
Our concern then was simple: we did not believe that the Common Market was just about trade. We felt it would be followed by an attempted common government, which would have disastrous effects on a continent distinguished by its glorious diversity. The whole project seemed to be a protectionist scam, an attempt to try to build a wall around the continent rather than embrace world trade. Such European parochialism, we argued, did not suit a globally minded country such as Britain. On the week of the 1975 referendum, The Spectator’s cover line was: ‘Out – and into the world.’ We repeat that line today.
Since 1975 the EU has mutated in exactly the way we then feared and now resembles nothing so much as the Habsburg Empire in its dying days. A bloated bureaucracy that has outgrown all usefulness. A parliament that represents many nations, but with no democratic legitimacy. Countries on its periphery pitched into poverty, or agitating for secession. The EU’s hunger for power has been matched only by its incompetence. The European Union is making the people of our continent poorer, and less free.
This goes far beyond frustration at diktats on banana curvature. The EU has started to deform our government. Michael Gove revealed how, as a cabinet member, he regularly finds himself having to process edicts, rules and regulations that have been framed at European level. Laws that no one in Britain had asked for, and which no one elected to the House of Commons has the power to change. What we refer to as British government is increasingly no such thing. It involves the passing of laws written by people whom no one in Britain elected, no one can name and no one can remove.
Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s chief strategist for many years, gave an example of this institutional decay. A few months into his job in No. 10, he was dismayed to find his colleagues making slow progress because they were all bogged down by paperwork that he didn’t recognise. He asked for an audit, and was shocked by the results: only a third of what the government was doing was related to its agenda. Just over half was processing orders from Brussels. To him, this was more than just a headache: it was an insidious and accelerating bureaucratic takeover.
With the EU’s fundamental lack of democracy comes complacency on the part of its leaders and the corruption of those around them — which has led us to the present situation. Voters are naturally concerned about the extraordinary rise of immigration, and their governments’ inability to control it. Free movement of people might have been a laudable goal before the turn of the century, when the current global wave of migration started. But today, with the world on the move, the system strikes a great many Europeans as madness. The EU’s failure to handle immigration has encouraged the people trafficking industry, a global evil that has led to almost 3,000 deaths in the Mediterranean so far this year.
In theory, the EU is supposed to protect its member states by insisting that refugees claim asylum in the first country they enter. In practice, this law — the so-called Dublin Convention — was torn up by Angela Merkel when she recklessly said that all Syrians could settle in Germany if they somehow managed to get there. Blame lies not with the tens of thousands who subsequently arrived but with a system hopelessly unequal to such a complex and intensifying challenge.
The Spectator was, again, alone in the British press in opposing Britain’s entry to the Exchange Rate Mechanism from the beginning. Why, we asked, should the Bundesbank control another country’s interest rates? When the single currency came along, the risks became greater: what if a country’s economy crashed, but it was denied the stimulus of a devaluing currency?
The answer can now be seen across Europe. Sado–austerity in Italy. Youth unemployment of about 50 per cent in Greece and Spain. The evisceration of these economies, in the name of a project supposed to bring people together, has been a tragedy.
Last week, a Pew poll showed how far dismay about the EU extends across the continent. In Greece, 71 per cent now view the EU unfavourably; in France, it’s 61 per cent. In Britain, it was 48 per cent — about the same as Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. This was why David Cameron had a strong case for renegotiation: the demand for change was widespread, and growing. A recent poll has suggested that Swedes will vote to leave the EU if Britain does. The absence of a deal worth the name was final proof that the EU is structurally incapable of reform.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the unelected president of the European Commission, sees intransigence as a great strength. His priority is the survival of the EU and the single currency: the welfare of Europeans and even the notion of democratic consent seem distant concerns. When he dismisses the ever-louder voices of protest as the shriek of ‘populism’, he echoes the Bertolt Brecht poem: ‘Would it not be easier… to dissolve the people/ and elect another?’ When Britain asked for reform, he took a gamble: that we were bluffing and would not dare vote to leave.
All this has placed the Prime Minister in an impossible position. Unable to make a positive case for staying in the EU, he instead tells us that Britain is trapped within it and that the penalties for leaving are too severe. His scare stories, peppered with made-up statistics, have served only to underline the emptiness of the case for remaining. It also represents a style of politics that many find repugnant. The warnings from the IMF and OECD and other acronyms have served only to reinforce the caricature of a globalised elite telling the governed what to think.
Talk of anyone being made ‘worse off’ by Brexit is deeply misleading. Of the many economists who have made projections for 2030, none have suggested that we’d be poorer. The question is whether we’d be, say, 36 per cent better off or 41 per cent better off by then. Not that anyone knows, given the monstrously large margin of error in 15-year predictions. So these studies offer no real reasons to be fearful. This is perhaps why George Osborne had to resort to concocting figures, such as his now notorious claim that households would be £4,300 worse off. If the economic case against Brexit were so strong, why would the Chancellor have to resort to fabrications?
As the world’s fifth-largest economy, Britain has a reasonable chance (to put it mildly) of being able to cut trade deals with countries keen to access our consumers. The worst-case scenario is to use World Trade Organisation rules, tariffs of about 4 per cent. That’s a relatively small mark-up, and the effect would be more than offset by a welcome drop in the pound. And if house prices fall, as the Chancellor predicts, then so much the better. A great many would-be homeowners have been praying for just that.
There would certainly be turbulence, which would be the price of our leaving the EU. This would affect City financiers more than the skilled working class (two thirds of whom support Brexit). This week, we’re being invited to panic at the prospect of a falling pound. But why? A weaker currency would give our exporters the stimulus they need.
The question at this referendum is not whether Britain should co-operate with our European allies; the question is how. Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, has explained how our intelligence alliances are bilateral. Our closest is with the ‘five eyes’ of the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The Lancaster House agreements with France over military co-operation is another example. Alliances work when they are between nations with a shared agenda, with the ability and (crucially) the will to act.
The EU is an alliance of the unwilling, which is why it is useless on security — as we saw with Bosnia and Libya. Even the migrant crisis has to be handled by Nato, which has been the true guarantor of western security. It’s sometimes claimed that Vladimir Putin would want Britain to vote for Brexit. This is unlikely: what could suit the Kremlin more than European security being entrusted to the most dysfunctional organisation in the West?
As David Cameron rightly says, the British way is to fight rather than quit. Given that the EU has proved that it is structurally incapable of reform, we now have a choice. Do we cave in, because we’re too scared to leave? Or do we vote to retrieve our sovereignty, walk away from the whole racket and engage with the world on our own terms? A vote to leave would represent an extraordinary vote of confidence in the project of the United Kingdom and the principle of national self-determination. It would also show reform-minded Europeans that theirs is not a lost cause. And that we stand willing to help forge a Europe based on freedom, co–operation and respect for sovereignty.
The value of sovereignty cannot be measured by any economist’s formula. Adam Smith, the father of economics, first observed that the prosperity of a country is decided by whether it keeps its ‘laws and institutions’ healthy. This basic insight explains why nations thrive or fail, and has been the great secret of British success: intellectual, artistic, scientific and industrial. The principles of the Magna Carta and achievements of the Glorious Revolution led to our emergence as a world power. To pass up the chance to stop our laws being overridden by Luxembourg and our democracy eroded by Brussels would be a derogation of duty to this generation and the next.
No one — economist, politician or mystic — knows what tumult we can expect in the next 15 years. But we do know that whatever happens, Britain will be better able to respond and adapt as a sovereign country living under its own laws. The history of the last two centuries can be summed up in two words: democracy matters. Let’s vote to defend it on 23 June.