Who would want to leave a society that offers peace, prosperity and the rule of law; works together in harmony for the common good; gives citizens the right to choose who rules:? Has anything gone wrong with the European Union?
The EU was deliberately designed so that the people would be guided on the right path by ‘wise’ men to ensure that previous mistakes will never be repeated. That’s understandable, the alternatives were questioned and found wanting by Socrates (and Plato, Aristotle and many others since the Athens’ democratic period). However, the people are prevented by the design from ‘interfering’ with progress towards a federal government, which makes the EU vulnerable to popular opposition.
For Britain in particular we believe there have been few benefits and none at all that required the heavy-handed methods employed by the EU. It has been irrelevant to world peace and has not improved Britain’s prosperity, it also undermines some fundamental values of our democracy and law. We have written many articles about all this.
There has been no major European or global war since the EU’s foundation and we are richer than we were when we joined but any scientist knows that correlation does not imply causation. Of course we cannot re-run the period without the EU and prove evidentially who is right. Here’s the briefest summary we can manage on the key points.
Peace. The world has changed since 1945. By the time the competing empires of the major European nations (which dragged the whole world into their conflicts) had recovered enough from the last war to even consider another their empires were gone, replaced by the Euro-Asian Soviets and the Americans. These two came close to a third world war but the EU (EEC) played little role in avoiding this or any other serious threat to global peace. (Gawd Strewth! Brief Lies)
Prosperity. UK trend growth from 1945 to 1973 scarcely changed after we joined (it dropped slightly in fact). EEC6 growth was three times higher in 1973 but had petered out by 1980. It was most likely due to the post-war recovery of a devastated Continent and has averaged less than the UK’s thereafter. In fact the EU is the lowest-growth trade bloc in the world and its share of global GDP is fast shrinking. Many people in EU countries are being sacrificed for an ideological cause with millions impoverished and unemployed. Economic divergence and consequent political disharmony must split and possibly destroy the EU in time, despite its skill at spinning plates. (Did the EU Bring Us Growth?)
Law. English law has a radically different basis from most other European countries. Our law and courts are used globally, even for contracts unconnected with the UK (often between parties in other EU nations). Outcomes under English (and American) law are more predictable, in a system where you can even sue the government and hope to win. The ECJ has a mandate to interpret the law to favour the mission of the Union, in particular ‘ever closer union’ – it’s not justice based on the merit of evidence alone, as it should be. (The World’s Favourite Law)
Cooperation. There is cooperation in science, culture, environment and other areas but none that requires the heavy hand of the EU. Much of it existed, and still exists, under the Council of Europe (CoE), a broader and more relaxed structure where ‘cherry-picking’ is fine – cooperate in the areas you want to. Western science has always been based on international cooperation, that’s the reason for its strength and success. The EU has mostly absorbed or overwhelmed the older institution (the CoE). If the EU was an enlightened idea it would want the best future for its member nations and citizens plus mutually beneficial cooperation with others. It is overwhelmingly obvious that this is not the case. (An Alternative for Europe)
Democracy. The EU has a top-down approach to government, its leaders cannot be dismissed by voters and its parliament has few powers. The principle of ‘subsidiarity’ (taking decisions as close as possible to those affected and delegating up only what must be done at a higher level) is frequently mentioned but is a pretence. This is a ratchet for acquiring ever greater power (also known as ‘union’). (So What is Democracy?)
Fear. The other reason for not leaving is fear. Brexit will be disruptive but we don’t believe it would be the biggest crisis we have faced during the last half century, even with no deal, and we recovered from those. Our exports to ‘third countries’ on WTO terms are greater, growing faster and generate a surplus. No one can know for sure how serious the problems will be or how long lasting but the doom forecasters have always been wrong before and they’re mainly the same folk. These forecasts also assume that the EU continues on its current path whereas it faces huge problems of its own with a high probability that it will break up in some way, perhaps in a disorderly way that will cause everyone problems way out of proportion to Brexit. Does the EU intend to show the world that it is a union to which member nations remain not because they find membership beneficial but for fear of being punished? Will the countries stay in line when their national interests are affected? (Mini no-deal deals: A Happy 2019)
We have addressed all of these issues in this blog, sometimes rather rhetorically but with our evidence and sources stated. If readers want to follow any of these arguments further they can click the links.
We’ve included a key link with each summary topic and below we recommend more of our posts that add detail that has had to be excluded from this summary.
- Prosperity (Growth)
- Fragility (Fear)