June 23rd, 2016. Independence Day. The UK electorate voted, against all odds, to leave the European Union. And they did it against the will of the then-Prime Minister, the then-Chancellor, the Leader of the Opposition, the then-President of the US, and against the will of just under ¾ of MPs. In fact, against the majority of the political class, the people of the United Kingdom voted for Brexit. There were numerous reasons and arguments for this vote, and, in this article, the arguments for Brexit will be explained.
Firstly, trade and the single market must be discussed. The single market is often championed by Remainers as ‘free trade’. However, this is incorrect. The single market is not free trade, it is protectionism on a European Union scale. An example of this is the 11.4% and the 11.8% tariffs on clothing and footwear coming into the European trading bloc. This has increased prices for ordinary people with the sole aim of protecting inefficient EU businesses. Other tariffs have also been put up by the unelected commission on a huge variety of products, from food to solar cells, damaging the British economy. In fact, only 15% of Britain’s GDP is engaged in the manufacture and sale of goods and services to the EU, yet the single market regulates 100% of the British economy. The EU’s overregulation has damaged manufacturing industries in Britain, and its protectionism has meant more expensive energy prices for these industries. But despite this, Britain continues to pay net £9 billion per annum to be part of this single market. Furthermore, to be a part of the single market it is necessary to be a part of the EU customs union, meaning Britain cannot negotiate free trade deals with the rest of the world, again limiting the UK to trade primarily with the EU.
The next point is immigration. From 1950 to 1997, net migration from the EU was approximately 30,000. Then, in 2004, 10 former communist countries joined the EU, followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007. Net migration from the EU has been running at net 300,000 a year since these countries joined, which is roughly the size of the city of Southampton. This influx of unskilled labour from these EU countries has caused the depreciation of many British workers’ wages, damaging their standard of living. As a member of the European Union, the UK cannot control immigration as it must abide by the single market’s freedom of movement, and therefore over half a billion people have the right to live in the UK. House prices in this country are at a ridiculous high cost and immigration has made a large contribution to this. Finally, the EU’s migrant crisis policy of granting asylum to anybody that steps foot in the EU is ludicrous; IS has explicitly said it will send their jihadi militants into the EU, disguised as refugees or migrants, threatening the safety of the EU countries. Moreover, this policy has allowed criminals to come into the EU: freedom of movement has also meant the freedom for criminals. Britain leaving the EU is the only way to stop these drastic policies.
Finally, the EU is a fundamentally undemocratic institution. The European Commission is unelected, yet it has the sole right to propose legislation. The Council of Ministers (a part of the legislature) is run on QMV (qualified majority voting) and weighted voting, with Britain having 29 weighted votes and Malta 3 weighted votes. This means that per head of Maltese population, Malta has 15 times more representation than Britain does. In the European Parliament, Malta has 10 times the representation that Britain has, proving the European legislature institutions to be undemocratic and unrepresentative. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) which acts as the EU judiciary, is a politicised court, pushing for increased European federalism and, as European law is superior to UK law, the ECJ is a superior court to the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court. Moreover, the UK does not get a say in the proposal of EU law; for example, an EU law that Britain had little say over, the European Arrest Warrant, led to a man from North-London, with no evidence being presented to a British Court, being arrested and dumped in a prison in Greece for a year, without charge. This damages concepts that are essential to British democracy, namely habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence before guilt, highlighting how issues of justice and home affairs has been thrown away by the political establishment to the European institutions, threatening democracy.
However, whilst all the points previously mentioned are of upmost importance and were crucial in motivating the electorate to vote to leave the EU, one of the main reasons why this result occurred was the Brexiteers themselves and what they believe in. They believe in Britain. They believe that this country is good enough to govern itself, to control its own borders, to strike new free trade deals, to change its tariffs and to cope without the European Union institutions. The Remainers, on the other hand, do not. They cannot see us without the EU, because they do not believe in the nation state. They believe that increased federalism is the only way for Britain to cope in the world. They do not believe in Britain. Brexiteers do, and the Brexit vote was symbolic of that.
Written by Rob White