It shocked me a little that the Leave faction won the referendum because basic in much of my experience, basic inertia (among other things) makes it damn near impossible to effect a political change of this magnitude. Nevertheless, I support the Brits on this one, for a number of reasons.
1. Organic decision making
It’s no news that the EU has largely stretched beyond its original mandate. It rearranged it’s treaty starting in 2009 to give it many of the organs and powers of a state, including a strengthened Parliament and Presidency and expanded the reach of its decision making. And as its sphere of influence broadens and moves from solely economic to increasingly political, it becomes more and more an unfit way to make decisions for any one of its member nations. The bureaucrats in Brussels consider Britain’s unique interests as just one out of many that they have to balance and will have no qualms sacrificing those for the ‘common good’, as defined by them. The only people who don’t see the problem in that are those ‘cosmopolitan’, global citizen types who think putting your country’s interests first is somehow undesirable or low brow. The moment the important matters of British existence are subject to Brussels’ say-so, Brits have every right to withdraw their membership. Sovereignty is not a small thing to throw away lightly at the altar of the EU. Let the Brits flex their muscle.
2. The EU is increasingly uncompetitive
Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Portugal. All large EU economies facing structural issues with debt, unemployment, lack of growth and increasingly populist agitation (plus a whole lot of socialist experimentation in the side of France). That hasn’t counted all the perennial laggards like Czech, Malta, Cyprus etc. Put that all together and a picture emerges of a whole chain of countries who are hovering at the edge of ruin but cannot act on their own to improve their circumstance because of the EU. Instead, countries like Germany, UK and a handful of others are forced to bear that weight and pull them all despite their own very real domestic problems. As central bank intervention runs out of steam, it’s increasingly clear the EU has competitiveness issues it must address (including the wisdom of even admitting yet another struggler, Turkey into the mix). In the mean time, Britain made the right call to leave. One more countries should even consider.
3. Penny wise Pound Foolish
Every argument for the EU I’ve seen revolves around how much funding, or subsidy or trade or jobs are going to be lost because mother EU is no longer protecting over her British children. First off, when did we all become servants of Mammon like this? Just as man cannot live by bread alone, a country is more than just its economic considerations. But even on that front, a nimble UK with the flexibility to engage all options at its disposal sans all the restrictions that Come with being in the EU is at least worth trying. The heights of post imperial UK’s power in industry, finance, shipping, etc had nothing to do with the EU. If anything, as the EU’s influence has grown, the U.K. has actually diminished. We can trace the line clearly. The relationship might be causal or not but it’s fair to at least try the alternative and see. If it’s that big of a failure, the UK can always get readmitted to the EU. Perhaps even negotiate better membership terms. You wouldn’t hear the media admit it because it goes against their preferred narrative but There’s a good chance leaving the EU might improve the UK’s fortunes over time, whereas continued membership is just more of the same. For all the scare mongering and cries of doom and gloom falling all over the place, the U.K. was the best performing market in Europe yesterday. Temporary hiccups aside, It’s well worth a shot to try going it alone, as far as I’m concerned.
So in summary, do I support the British rejecting a de facto European government in favor of their own national sovereignty and economic self determination? Absolutely. Control your trade, control your borders, control your politics. There is nothing the UK gets from the EU that it could not get if it so desired by negotiation or its own legislation driven by what it’s people want. You want to let in more immigrants? Fine. Get the majority at Westminster. You want to lift tariffs or raise them with this country or that? Sit at the table and hammer it out.
I know the flip side of leaving the EU,like the rise in isolationism, right wing populism and xenophobia, possible break up of UK etc. but a free country has to take risks for its own well being as determined by its own people and bet everything on the chance that the risk might be well worth it. You cannot take that from them.