Back in the heyday of the British Empire the Victorians were often bemused by the resigned fatalism they encountered among the more mystical cultures of the East, perhaps typified by the phrase 'it is written' with which many greeted the vicissitudes of life. Those self confident explorers and traders would rather agree with the words of Henley's Invictus 'I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul'. They would have no truck with defeatism and bemoaning the fates like Lear when he says 'it is the stars above us, govern our condition' but would rather agree with Cassius when he tells Brutus 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves'.
Now so many of their descendants, challenged to support withdrawal from the EU, resort to a similar fatalism when they say "we can't leave now" or "it's all too late" or "they wouldn't let us go". This kind of defeatism is not merely unworthy of a great people, it is also founded upon false beliefs. If, after the next general election, the political class is actually forced to concede a referendum on membership it behoves those of us who know that it represents the last chance for a peaceful exit not to let these kinds of specious arguments allow the Europhiles to win by default. It will be difficult enough to convince many apathetic people to vote against the status quo, and the combined weight of the establishment and media, but it would be unforgivable if we permit unreal concerns to destroy the cause. In previous generations those who sought to make radical changes knew that the people must be convinced that they must show courage when faced with what they might consider a leap into the unknown. Did not Marx say "Workers of the world unite: you have nothing to lose but your chains" and, even more appositely as Roosevelt proclaimed in his inaugural address "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself".
The only groups that benefit from EU membership are the political class, the bureaucrats, big business and the bankers. The undemocratic nature of the EU gives the politicians the opportunity to wield power without accountability and the institutions of the EU provide them with a wider stage upon which to enhance their careers. The senior, so called public servants, would love to emulate their fellows in Brussels and in effect make laws untroubled by the need to gain the agreement of the electorate. The multinationals and the bankers much prefer to make back room deals with easily corruptible apparatchiks, safe in the knowledge that there will be no democratic interference with their schemes. All these vested interests tell us that the economic consequences of leaving would be catastrophic, that we would be unable to export to the EU, that the other member states would take action against us, that millions of jobs would be lost, that EU funds would be denied to us, that we would lose influence in the world.
These assertions are tales to frighten children. Neither Norway nor Switzerland are members and yet they sell more to the EU per head than we do. About eighty per cent of our economic activity is within the UK, the part that relies on selling to the EU being less than ten per cent of our total output. No action would be taken against us by the EU, not merely because the rules of the World Trade Organisation would prevent them doing so but because their manufacturers would have a fit if they lost the British market. Breaking free of the restraints imposed by the EU would enable us to create many more jobs. The 'EU funds' of which the politicians so often boast, are just some of our own money, being given back, with strings attached. No longer would we be obliged to pay Brussels billions in order that they might better interfere with our nation.
As far as the matter of influence is concerned we in the UK have always been a global nation, sitting at the crossroads of the world. We are the centre of the Commonwealth and the fountainhead of English, the world language. We are a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a member of the G8, one of the few nuclear armed states, possessed even now with significant armed forces. We have access to friendly nations who share our common heritage and ideals and who have always provided our historic markets. We have no need to tie ourselves to a declining area like Europe, whose demographics alone doom it to be eclipsed by the developing nations of the world.
Only the politicians, bureaucrats, bankers and plutocrats will lose by our leaving. All that can stop us would be our own lack of confidence. Previous generations would never have doubted that this country has all that is needed to make its own way in world and would look with scorn upon those who are too cowed by lying politicians to reject rule by an alien entity. We must remember the old saying seize the day and do it. It is not too late.