David Cameron failed to get a fair hearing, let alone a decent deal, after he promised a renegotiation with the EU and a referendum on the outcome. He lost the subsequent Referendum; this was attributed by many as a vote on the big issue he had attempted to get Brussels to accept – immigration.
When presented with concrete questions people tend to make simple choices but they may actually be driven by factors outside the boundaries they were given. It is quite possible that many voters decided that the attempted renegotiation proved what they had long felt – that we were in a remote and bullying Union, not concerned with Britain’s needs and appearing to favour others more, like Germany and France. If this is true then the treatment May is receiving by Brussels will have confirmed their fears, and even if a messy deal is finally reached resentment will fester. This is called ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’, or if you don’t like that expression, ‘Populism’ – UKIP produced a poster featuring a queue of migrants but not much else to merit the latter term in its intended pejorative sense, unlike the significant populist parties in most of our Continental partner countries.
During the Referendum campaign the Remain side focused almost exclusively on what could go wrong if we left the EU and they made hugely exaggerated claims – such as 500,000 immediate job losses following a Leave vote, against an actual 300,000 fewer unemployed, and despite ongoing immigration.
Why should Britons love the EU? No clear and convincing reasons have ever been presented, is that because there aren’t any? War will break out, families will be £4,300 worse off, sandwich makers will go broke, lorries will queue up at Dover, aircraft will be grounded, crops won’t be harvested, our cops won’t be able to extradite criminals from Spain. These are all negative arguments for remaining as members.
What are the positives? More economic growth – it hasn’t happened over the last 45 years , ; as part of a big group we can negotiate more and better trade deals – but few have been arranged with major economies or trade areas so far (Japan recently became the only one); we can still eat Spanish oranges and tomatoes – Moroccan ones will be cheaper without Customs Union tariffs; German cars will be more affordable – we can buy Jaguars, Hondas and Nissans or we can decide not to match the EU’s 10% tariff on imported cars. There must be some actual positives, they’re just not too obvious or important to a majority of us.
Of course there’s the really BIG one – we’re unlikely to go to war with Germany again. Except we seem to be on the brink of an economic war already. Our spies have warned that the EU will reject the Chequers White Paper because it thinks alignment on goods but not services will cost it 9% of GDP over 15 years through competition, because trade in goods entails services – car finance for example (London is quite good at financing stuff). So what Brexiteers believe to be a debilitating deal (the White Paper), the EU fears will be a roaring success for Britain. The EU hates competition, though it doesn’t admit it, they call it an un-level playing field. That’s why it’s failing – competition requires renewal, its absence results in slow decay. They would rather damage their own economies than give a competitor a chance of success.
They’re going to miss our spies when they stop acting with them (they have rejected security cooperation), especially if we continue to spy against them in this cold economic-war.
Nor do we know what will happen when the eurozone collapses. After the rouble zone collapsed its top nation invaded Georgia and Ukraine and still occupies parts of both. What will the eurozone’s top nation do when it too loses its export markets and its debtors default?
War? You cannot be serious! We’re about as serious as the guestimators in the EU’s competition bureau or the UK Treasury’s Brexit department.