I don’t know if you may have figured this out already, but in case it wasn’t obvious, I am an ardent Remainer and resolutely pro-EU. When it was announced Leave won the referendum in 2016, I just couldn’t fathom it. I was in a state of complete confusion as to how we as a nation could inflict so much damage onto our future prosperity, but not only that we also turned our back on our European brothers and sisters.
I was angry, and I was hurt, I lashed out at those which had taken my freedom to work and travel in Europe and I was angry that the UK had taken a massively regressive step away from unity, a step based on nationalistic ideals and fed by the nostalgia of ‘Empire’.
This referendum should have never been put to the public in the first place. Not one single person had really any idea what it meant to leave the EU, let alone how complex the process would be. We’re still here two years later negotiating the deal that was meant to be ‘the easiest deal to negotiate’.
It was all bollocks from the start, you go back 5 years or so and the public didn’t have a problem with the EU except the small minority which made up UKIP. Then David Cameron started losing Eurosceptic Tory MP’s to UKIP, and in a bid to save his own arse, he promised the UK a referendum on EU membership (which no one really cared about in the UK till it became a thing) if they voted him back in in the next General Election. So now we’re in this shit show because of a self-serving bastard, and the country has never been so divided.
So, then we have the referendum, Leave won, to everyone’s shock…what happens as soon as it is announced…the realisation that the Brexiteers had to keep to their campaign promises. Everyone remembers the big red bus with “£350 million for the NHS a week” …what does our favourite Brexiteer, Nigel Farage, back track on the next day after victory….
So much of what Brexiteers claim is demonstrable nonsense. EU bans bendy bananas? Nope. Quitting the EU would be good for UK public finances? False. 80% of our laws are imposed on us by un-elected foreign bureaucracy? Lies. I could go on but its all out there to see for yourself. Brexiteers claim Remain was running Project Fear, but it was Leave who built itself on the politics of fear and as always, the favourite scapegoat of history was used; foreigners and immigrants, predictably. What is also painfully predictable is that people still fall for this in the 21st century. It’s just sad.
I could go on all day, and probably will bang on about this in future blog posts, but I want to share with you my most fundamental concern with Brexit and why I think we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by leaving the EU. The simple fact is the UK can’t compete with the likes the USA, China, and Russia, and going into the future India and Brazil. Neither can France or Germany really, not outside of the EU anyway. It’s just not logistically feasible. In the EU the UK has access to a market of 500 million individuals, outside we’re shy of 70 million individuals. We can’t afford to think we can go this alone and risk becoming irrelevant on the world stage.
The old idea that 19th century European nation-states can rule, influence and compete in the 21st century is laughable at best. These nationalistic ideas need to die, and we need to ground ourselves in a new European identity which incorporates individual national identity (after all we are all European). The EU has its flaws don’t get me wrong, but we’re not going to be stronger out of it, we will be weaker. We should fight to stay in the EU, reform it, and create a more perfect union, more intimately connected to our European family so we can unwaveringly move forward into the 21st century, championing European ideals and culture.
Stephen Fry made this short video about the EU which I think everyone should watch.