I think that Britain should vote to leave the European Union, because a Britain outside the European Union would be better for Europe, better for the wider world, and better for Britain itself, in at least the medium and long term. The EU has not lived up to its expectations or delivered on its promises. As a political entity, the European Union has failed and is continuing to fail to bring about improved freedom, security, employment, prosperity and positive global impact.
The EU has instead taken away power from its constituent nations; misdirected the commercial efforts of our companies; misdirected the diplomatic efforts of our politicians; prevented us from fully utilising a globalised economy and an internationalist political agenda; taken away accountability from our processes of governance and rendered us unable to make the basic choices that are the right of a self-governing sovereign nation, in accordance with our national interest. I believe that if this is true, any perceived benefit of remaining, pales into insignificance by comparison.
However it is dressed up, the Prime Minister’s deal does not regain control of EU migration. As a true internationalist, I believe in welcoming the skills that we lack and providing refuge to the most vulnerable; yet entirely unnecessarily, a lack of control over EU migration has impacted our public security and the demand on our public services, inflating house prices, over-crowding our schools and over-bearing our healthcare industry. I want our country to regain control of the wheel, and have the dignity and freedom to discuss a new and better relationship with Europe and the wider world, based on trade, security and friendly co-operation.
I love Europe. I love its diverse cultures, languages, landscape and history. And the Christian values which have influenced European culture and law, I share. The values of the prevention of war, the advancement of peace in a troubled world, and even the desire – at least – to find an appropriate response to the migrant and refugee crisis.
But the EU of today is not fit to promote these noble ideals – despite the rhetoric. You only have to visit Greece and talk to them about how they feel, to realise how an entire generation has been impoverished by the failed EU economic project. The tough reality, that even most ‘Remainers’ accept, is that the EU is ill equipped to deal with the challenges of economic growth, financial crises, terrorism and migration. It’s very structure, goals and trajectory are signs that it is an analogue union in a digital age.
What’s more, the EU model of a top-down customs union, is nothing more than an unfortunate hangover from a bygone era where regional trade blocs were seen as the future. That old model has now been completely superseded and made redundant by technological advance. The world of today is one of internet-based services, Skype, low-cost imports/exports and cheap flights. In fact it’s still easier to do trade with countries like the US and Australia than the EU, by virtue of us speaking a common language.
Never in our history, has geographical proximity been so irrelevant for trade, so why do we insist on tying ourselves in to the one part of the world which is not experiencing any significant growth? We are a maritime people, connected by language, culture, trade, law, habbit and history to vast swathes of the world, but as long as we’re part of the European Union, we’re completely unable to sign our own trade deals. How have we got ourselves into such a position of dependency and helplessness?
However, it’s not just the economic price, it’s the democratic price. A civil war was fought to establish the principle that laws should not be passed, nor taxes raised, except by a decision of our own elected representatives. Now however, supreme executive and legislative power is held by people who have often had to lose an election before they can gain power.
Over time, since the European Economic Community (EEC) was formed, the EU has become less accountable, more interfering and more damaging to our national well-being, and has become more eroding of our national sovereignty. It has become an aggressive, offensive and secular supra-national bureaucracy, increasingly at odds with the Christian based rule of law and Parliamentary sovereignty which we have historically enjoyed in Britain. Since we joined the EEC in 1973, the political power which has been taken away from our elected representatives has snowballed, such that the EU now dictates policy areas as diverse as health, international relations, welfare, energy, farming and judicial procedure. What’s more – we pay for this privilege – to the tune of £350 million per week.
As with most political issues, there is no blueprint in the Bible to help me determine my opinion. So as a Christian, my view is not simply derived by reading God’s Word. But, the Bible has much to say regarding national identity and diversity as things ordained by God, to be celebrated. Throughout the history of Israel, through to Jesus and the Apostles’ teaching of the true Israel and the New Jerusalem, distinct nationhood and self-determination is seen as a blessing from God. There are also principles of power being limited, dispersed and accountable in the Bible, which help to shape my priorities regarding the best structure of our governance.
The question of our membership of the EU is not about cooperation. In today’s world of global terror threats, international crime, people trafficking and foreign aggressors, you’d have to be mad not to engage fully in international cooperation. But the problem with the EU, is that it presumes to take on the trappings and attributes of statehood, exercising legislative power over every area of industry, and over-burdening our wealth creators.
Nowhere else in the world, is any country expected to apologise for wanting the right to rule themselves. And Britain – the 5th largest economy in the world, the 4th largest military power, and one of the 5 members with a permanent seat on the UN security council – will not be coerced into completing the process of Euro-federalisation.
Let’s take back control of our home, our United Kingdom.
Let’s raise our gaze to more distant horizons and re-engage with the rest of the world, as genuine, hospitable internationalists.
Let’s Vote to Leave the European Union on June 23rd.