On Thursday, if you haven’t seen the snarky and petty videos that have been popping up on Facebook, there is a referendum on whether the country stays or leave the EU. I have spent a long time listening to the arguments on both sides, not just suffering through the debates, and the God awful quirky fun videos showing how lol super awesome fantastic everything is, but the more serious stuff too. I was quite prepared to vote remain but I have come to the conclusion that Britain will be richer and a better place to live in the long term if we Leave.
Im not doing this because I am stupid, or racist or confused, in thrall to the right wing media, under the spell of Rupert Murdoch, that I only like the “right sort” of immigrants, want to go back to the “Glory Days of Empire”, or I am under the illusion that leaving will lead to a free market utopia; and I am certainly not a fascist. The bile that has been slung by both sides has been awful. If you are voting to remain, you are not a traitor, nor stupid, nor any of the other insults that have been thrown at you. We just disagree, thats all, and its the summer; the Olympics will be on soon, so can’t we all just calm down a bit?
I think this because the EU, far from being an organisation that wants to open doors, is an insular organisation obsessed with closer integration, with an air of superiority and high handedness which is incredibly off putting. There can be no leading in the EU without joining the Euro. I very, very much doubt that there will be reform the EU, to make it more accountable, to have a Parliament that can initiate and repeal legislation, if we vote to stay.
I don’t think democracy is the best thing since sliced bread. Most people are not interested in politics, and from the way this campaign has been run, I can see why. But if we have a system in which there is no accountability for seriously screwing up, then why think about anything else apart from closer integration? What the EU lacks isn’t just democracy but a liberal, democratic culture, where people are listened too. I don’t disagree that this is being lost in the UK (stupid racist northerners, don’t we know better than them!) but this has never been a thought within the EU’s mindset. The worst thing about this political age is that ‘We know, and are better than you”. The EU exemplifies this mindset.
The EU has quite frankly fucked up every major crisis that has come its way. In Bosnia, it was “the time for Europe”, which then sat back and let tens of thousands of people die. It was told repeatedly that the Euro was an awful idea, it surged ahead, and to protect that project it has crushed Greece and the rest of the southern Mediterranean, and destroyed a whole generations hopes and dreams. It had a large part to play in messing up in Ukraine (this is not to absolve Putin from what he did, which many Leavers are disturbingly happy to do). It was quite frankly obvious that there was going to be a migrant crisis in 2015, I was at a conference at the start of the year where we were told by an organisation that had already saved thousands of lives the previous year it was only going to get worse. The EU had no plan, no response, it categorically failed to think and did not listen.
Life won’t come to a halt on the 24th if we vote to remain (but we might have World War Three and another Great Depression if we leave, right?). The EU is a broadly liberal place, and stops lunatics like Corbyn from implementing utterly ruinous policies like nationalisation, which is good, but has no mechanism to prevent the EU messing up on an even larger scale.
The biggest risk to leaving, from my point of view, is that the controlling aspect that I want us to escape from in the EU will be replicated here. No, socialism, collectivism, leftism, whatever you want to call it, is not the solution to our problems. Simply more democracy isn’t either, but I think that the arguments and solutions that classical liberals have will win through, the optimist I am.
I don’t think a major danger if we leave is that people stop trading with us. Business is done by individuals, not politicians, but there will undoubtably be a shock to markets, and frankly, I don’t know how bad or mild it might be.
In regards to immigration, some of my best friends have come from outside the European Union, and being outside of it has not stopped them coming here. But then again, the rest of my friends are from inside the EU – I want an open immigration system. If we leave, and choose to centralise, restrict and control, it wont just be us who suffer the consequences, and it would be an utterly stupid policy to stop people coming here to make their and our lives better. If we leave, we will have to demand better from our decision makers, and because the buck will stop with them rather than them palming issues off to the EU we might even get some better decisions.
The choice is not between the status quo, the lack of mobile phone roaming charges and the slightly cheaper holidays, the witty tweets of celebrities that have too much money to really care about anything except fighting the good fight against those they see as racists.
The choice I see is between closer integration (which may well turn out fine, but judging by the past record, probably wont), or a situation where, if we want, we can take ahold of the opportunities that lie open to us in the world. If we fuck it up, we might be able to slip in with all those American refugees fleeing to Canada in the next few years.
Anyway, I am going back to reading, away from all the fucking John Oliver videos.