Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the international business editor of the Daily Telegraph, offers us his reasons for voting Leave, together with a formidable list of the difficulties that we may expect if a majority of British voters follow his example. If you have time we recommend that you read the whole article; if not we have picked out some highlights.
His reasons are clearly stated but his warnings are stark.
“Let there be no illusion about the trauma of Brexit. Anybody who claims that Britain can lightly disengage after 43 years enmeshed in EU affairs is a charlatan or a dreamer, or has little contact with the realities of global finance and geopolitics.
Stripped of distractions, it comes down to an elemental choice: whether to restore the full self-government of this nation, or to continue living under a higher supranational regime, ruled by a European Council that we do not elect in any meaningful sense, and that the British people can never remove, even when it persists in error.”
He is less concerned with the economic effects of Brexit, which he says are “trivial”, no doubt relative to the chief of his concerns, our democracy.
“The Project bleeds the lifeblood of the national institutions, but fails to replace them with anything lovable or legitimate at a European level. It draws away charisma, and destroys it. This is how democracies die.”
He has first-hand experience of the EU and understands how senior eurocrats would react if we decide to remain.
“Hard experience – and five years at the coal face in Brussels – tells me others would seize triumphantly on a British decision to remain, deeming it submission from fear. They would pocket the vote. Besides, too much has happened that cannot be forgiven.”
He emphasises the dominant and unrelenting powers of the European Court of Justice.
“Britain’s opt-out from the Charter under Protocol 30 – described as “absolutely clear” by Tony Blair on the floor of the Commons – has since been swept aside by the ECJ.”
The EU does not accept responsibility for its failures.
“Nobody has ever been held to account for the design faults and hubris of the euro, or for the monetary and fiscal contraction that turned recession into depression, and led to levels of youth unemployment across a large arc of Europe that nobody would have thought possible or tolerable in a modern civilized society. The only people that are ever blamed are the victims.”
And there is no way back.
“In any case, even if we do not go forward, we may not go backwards either. By design it is almost impossible to repeal the 170,000 pages of the Acquis*. Jean Monnet constructed the EU in such way that conquered ground can never be ceded back, as if were the battleground of Verdun.”
He is not impressed, any more than we are, of the VoteLeave campaign on our behalf.
“The Leave campaign has offered no convincing plan for our future trading ties or the viability of the City. It has ruled out a fall-back to the European Economic Area … The EEA would be a temporary haven while we sorted out our global trading ties, the first step of a gradual extraction. The Leavers have not embraced this safe exit – or rather, less dangerous exit – because it would mean abandoning all else that they have pledged so promiscuously.”
*Acquis Communautaire – worth looking up and quite disturbing. (see References #3)