Why leave the EU?

Do We Need to be in the European Union?

Hasn't the EU kept the peace in Europe since the Second World War?

Actually no, it was the NATO troops, mainly from America, Britain and Canada whose standoff with the Communist powers prevented major conflict. Anyway, democracies don't make war on each other and you surely believe the member states of the EU are democratic nations.

Perhaps you're right, but isn't it obvious that if all the individual nations become one big country, they definitely won't fight each other again?

Unfortunately civil wars within states are often more destructive than normal wars. Did you know that the USA lost more dead in their Civil War than in all their other wars combined, including both world wars? All federations created from separate nations without the whole hearted support of their peoples eventually fall apart, usually with violence. Look at what has happened in Yugoslavia and the USSR within the last twenty years.

What about economics then? We sell more than fifty per cent of our output to the rest of the EU, so we must be a member

Why? Neither Norway nor Switzerland are members and yet they sell more to the EU per head than we do. Anyway, the fifty per cent figure is untrue. Firstly, they count everything that passes through the EU as being trade with the EU, which it isn't. A great deal goes on to the wider world. Secondly, about 80 per cent of our economic activity is within the UK. In fact, the part that relies on selling to the EU, is less than ten per cent of our total output

Ah! But if we left the EU we would lose those sales because the other members would block our exports. After all over three million jobs depend on our EU membership.

As we buy more from the other members than they buy from us, any action of that sort would hurt them more than it would hurt us. Their manufacturers would have a fit if they lost the British market. The assertions about three million jobs are tales to frighten children, propagated by politicians in an attempt to scare the people into supporting EU membership. Breaking free of the restraints imposed by the EU would enable us to create many more jobs. Anyway, WTO rules prevent the imposition of such punitive sanctions.

Even if this is true, we receive large payouts from the EU to spend on projects here. There are signs on new developments everywhere, saying constructed with EU money.

If you give me 20 pounds and I then give you 6 pounds back, on the understanding that you can only spend it on what I tell you and that you must also add another 6 pounds to the expenditure, would you think that you had made a good deal? You would tell me to take a running jump, yet this is precisely what is happening with the money we receive from the EU. Unlike most member nations, Britain pays far more to the central EU coffers than we ever get back. The EU funds of which the politicians so often boast, are just some of our own money, being given back, with strings attached.

How about the fact that if we agree to join the euro we will no longer be subject to exchange rate fluctuations and can travel throughout Europe using the same currency?

Try asking those Europeans unfortunate enough to live in countries that have adopted the euro what they think. Everywhere it has led to large increases in prices, hardly compensated for by avoiding the minor annoyance of changing currency once or twice a year. The point about the common currency is that it involves a common monetary policy that does not, and never will, provide the right rate for all the members at the same time.

Even if you are right isn't it to be expected that there would be problems when such a common currency is tried for the very first time in Europe?

This is not the first time a common currency has been attempted in Europe, and for that matter elsewhere. In the nineteenth century a Latin union, which included France, tried to establish one but, just as in all the other places it has been tried, it failed miserably. The euro will inevitably fail, for just the same reasons. Differences in the economic cycle and events which affect one country but not another, cannot be dealt with by a single exchange rate.

Whatever you say we can't just leave. What alternative do we have?

The alternative to being in the EU is simply not to be in the EU. However, if we really needed to look elsewhere, remember that while Continental Europe is inward looking, 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 the English speaking world, with access to nations who share our common heritage and who have already provided our historic markets. We have no need to tie ourselves to a declining area like Europe.

If all that you tell me is true why do our politicians, who are not all fools, tell us that it is so vital to our interests to be in the EU?

Because the only group that benefits from EU membership is the political class. The undemocratic nature of the EU gives them the opportunity to wield power without accountability. The existence of the institutions of the EU provides them with a wider stage upon which to strut their little hour and gives them an enhanced career structure. The only reason they support EU membership, is their concern for their own self interest and they will say anything, no matter how outrageous, to keep Britain in the EU.

(December 2005)