It was only in October of last year that I wrote in this paper of the many benefits associated with remaining in the EU. This was before Cameron’s renegotiations and whilst the referendum was still safely tucked away in 2017. But now we know what a UK in the EU would look like, and the referendum is approaching with pace. So I’ve had a rethink, and if you favour remaining in the EU, I ask you to do the same.
Within the EU we are experiencing severe issues. It is unclear whether we are receiving true value for our money, nor is our direction as a sovereign nation clear, or even those who are now gifted legislative power over the British people. Let me ask you, can you name a member of the European Commission? Juncker, maybe? Do you know what the Commission is – what it does? What about the European Council? Or even the European Parliament, do you know who represents the UK there? In the awkward silences provoked by such questioning, we find that our society is edging ever closer to one in which a stratospheric leadership determines the workings of our everyday life.
It has taken me until now to realise this principle in full, probably because the economic arguments for and against the EU can be presented in such equally compelling ways. Proponents of the IN vote highlight the danger which Brexit presents to the corporate infrastructure of the UK economy. One example of this is the perceived threat to the UK’s financial services, chiefly in London and imposed by companies such as HSBC who have threatened departure from the UK in the event of Brexit. Claims like this must be considered carefully, but the likelihood of them is nonetheless minute. London is and will remain the financial hub of the world – in the event of Brexit it is more likely that companies will have to shape themselves around an independent London rather than holding the UK government to ransom. A London open to the rapidly expanding economies of countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China is a London altogether strengthened. Such markets could offer Britain new foreign direct investment opportunities and a myriad of paths toward heightened GDP growth, and subsequent increases in our standard of living.
In such a case, it would be unlikely that the UK would become isolated from nations such as Germany and France, having now reached a state of cultural and economic interdependence with continental Europe which cannot be easily rescinded upon. Not only would the nations within the EU be unlikely to isolate themselves from British interests, but they would be forced to come to terms with the awkward truth; the EU has an established trade deficit with the UK and for all intents and purposes, requires us in a greater capacity, than we require them. Brexit unequivocally offers us unconditional leverage on the economic future of our nation and our continent.
The future of Britain within this evolving super-state began to be debated back in the late 1990’s when Peter and Christopher Hitchens tackled the motion ‘Should Britain be abolished?’. This debate naturally brought many subsequent questions to the fore but amidst this, the brothers produced two opposite yet equally compelling views on the EU of the time. Peter Hitchens established that the EU was simply ‘the continuation of Germany by other means’ whilst his brother argued that if Britain were to leave the EU it would achieve only the ‘Serbianisation’ of itself from mainland Europe. By this Christopher Hitchens was pointing to the state of flux which had recently emerged in the Balkans, as a lesson to European nations in the importance of preventing collapses in cross-ethnic social cohesion through the valuing and maintaining of the EU.
His point remains the most compelling I have heard – yet time has revealed it to be outdated. Whilst it is true; we often forget that the ethnic groups within Europe do not necessarily identify with one another as readily as they identify with the continent itself, Britain is not as similar to the case of Serbia as Hitchens’ hyperbole would have you believe. We are not as ethnically at odds with our neighbours as Serbia was with Bosnia or Croatia. On the contrary, it is Britain alone in the EU, which has championed a culturally and ethnically diverse society over recent years. An independent Britain could therefore be capable of an independent future, free from cultural isolation and an agenda which was not designed with the future of the British people in mind.
As a nation we must now accept the uncomfortable truth: a Union which originally set out to protect Europe from itself, now threatens to engulf us in conflict once more. With the EU’s eastward expansion already manifesting in the Russian annexation of the Crimea, the promise of security within the EU becomes an ever more tenuous concept to digest. Outside of this unit, Britain could retain its security in the UN, NATO, the G20, the G7 Forum and the World Trade Organisation among others. Ultimately Brexit would undermine the EU’s dangerous direction, constituting a productive effect on the EU of a scale which could never be enacted from within. Above all, our departure would have meaning. To vote OUT is to vote for an exhibition of sovereign power – a message to all nations that a states’ future is its own. Brexit would not finish the EU, but it would force a profound and positive change in the European, and indeed the global, status quo.
It’s the innate nihilism within the EU’s vision which scares me, it’s the willingness to export our freedom. Every day our society marries with increasing accuracy to the Orwellian image and in many cases, we are told that our freedom is a worthy price to pay. The result of which should be obvious – in every vote to remain ‘IN’ the EU is the active trivialisation of our freedom, the direct decapitation of our sovereignty. Only by choosing to follow this trivialising narrative will you see it become true, but through such masochism, we shall come to be ruled by sadists. If nothing else, the past few months have taught me that in securing our future we must cultivate an uncompromising atmosphere, and when the day comes, we must fight for it in the hands of every British voter.
Image courtesy of Reuters/Dylan Martinez