As the polls open in very short time I thought I'd jot down a few points to back up my position before the voting gets going. Firstly to refute a few Remain myths:
- Remain say that leaving the EU will cause untold economic tragedy to the UK. If that is the case how is it that Canada, Japan, Australia and numerous others countries around the world that are not part of the EU are doing just fine? Also Markus Kerber, the head of BDI, or federation of German industries, has said it would be "very, very foolish" to impose tariffs on UK goods if Britain votes to leave the EU. This is the central plank of the Remain argument and it has crumbled under the pragmatic realisation that EU countries value their free trade with the UK.
- Remain say that Turkey is not about to join the EU. Why then did Turkey's President Erdoğan say that "David Cameron was our chief supporter" and express shock that Mr Cameron had said on the Andrew Marr show that "There is no prospect of Turkey joining the EU in decades." So who is Mr Cameron telling the truth to? The people of Turkry or the people of the UK? Hint - he refused to say that he'd veto Turkey's accession. It is Government policy to bring Turkey into the EU and the UK is spending money on this very task. If it wasn't the case, these things would stop.When Turkey joins, the area in which any person can come to live and work in the UK will border Iraq and Syria. I don't consider this to be a secure and safe enough situation.
- Remain say we should stay in the EU and reform it from the inside. (Please note even the remain side accept the EU is in desperate need of reform.) Yesterday however Jean Claude Juncker took the unusual step of saying that: "The British policymakers and British voters have to know that there will be no kind of any renegotiation. We have concluded a deal with the Prime Minister, he got the maximum he could receive and we gave the maximum we could give." So basically there are no more concessions the UK can ever have from the EU. That means by definition that we cannot reform it any further by staying in. The EU needs reforming, but it needs a bigger shock that Britain staying in to do it - and according to Mr Juncker, out means out, and the EU is so determined not to be reformed that even that won't lead to reforming the unedifying monolith of the EU.
Now just a few points about the case for leaving...
- We get British sovereignty back. This for me is the biggest issue. When you include directives and regulations, over half of British law is dictated to us by the EU. The commissioners handing down these laws are unelected and unaccountable to us - the people affected by those laws. That is not democracy, not British and not acceptable and we must take control of our country again.
- We get back control of our own borders, meaning that we can turn anyone away if we feel they may be of disadvantage (i.e. want to cause harm) to the UK. The important point being if WE (as in Great Britain) think they may be a disadvantage - not if the EU thinks so or not.
- We can trade more freely with the rest of the world on terms that are bilaterally advantageous, without having to worry if those terms are good for 27 other countries as well.
- We can open our country up to the world using an Australian style points system to decide who can come to Britain. This means people can come on merit from anywhere and that just being from one of 27 particular countries doesn't give someone a free pass if they can't get in on merit. There will still be immigration, but we will be in control of it.
- The 88% of businesses that don't export to the EU won't have to abide by cumbersome (and often ludicrous) EU regulations. They will only need to adhere to British standards and the standards of any countries they may be exporting to.
- We can continue to work with the countries in the EU on a variety of issues including Security, Science and Research, the Arts and Trade. There is no requirement to sign away our sovereignty to do these things. (We already do them with non-EU countries - proving that it is possible). We can also increase our work with non-EU countries in these areas.
- We can breath new life into the Commonwealth.
Of course which ever side wins, the other side's predictions of doom will never be fully tested. I sometimes wonder if that is why the people at the top of the remain side are fighting so hard. Because they know their dire predictions are so wrong that they will look like fools if we leave and actually, we do rather well for ourselves.
On past form over the centuries, there is no reason Britain, the 5th largest economy in the world can't do very well without the EU. In fact if the EU were responsible for British economic success, wouldn't surely all EU countries be experiencing it?
If we Leave though, we will still see the rest of the EU continue moving in the wrong direction. There will be more political integration, Turkey will eventually join up and there will be an EU army. We might however have given the other European peoples the impetus to start getting their countries out too. Several other countries are already showing signs that their people want referendums too.
If this happens the EU may be forced to change against its own will or face the prospect of falling apart. If the later then perhaps a far better version can be put in it's place; an actual democratic version, that doesn't try to take countries' individual sovereignty from them. Either way Leaving is the only hope for achieving real change in the EU - and certainly the only hope for Britain.