I often get asked, As a Brexit supporter ca you give me one definite advantage of leaving the largest trading bloc in the world?
Well where do I start?
The question asks me to state the reasons why I voted the way I did but it is the wrong question all the same.
I voted for ‘leave’ but I didn’t vote to leave a trading bloc. I voted to leave because I had lost faith with the ability of the European Union to be able to successfully govern itself. There have been several tests of the EU governance model over the past decade or so and, in my opinion, the EU has failed almost all of them.
- The way that the EU treated Greece during their financial collapse was a salutary moment for me. I am not Greek, have never been there and don’t really have any intention to in the future, but the way that the EU put the interests of the German banks ahead of the outcome of the population was scandalous. A community of nations? Not a chance!
- The EU should never have allowed the Greeks to get themselves into the situation whereby their economy would go into free fall. Everyone knew the Greeks were fiddling the books, not paying taxes, running up huge pension liabilities etc, but nothing was done because the EU desperately wanted Greece in the single currency system and that political goal was more important that the welfare of the Greek population.
- Nothing ever is done to address real problems because the political goals (ever closer union, a single currency, an EU army etc. take priority, and that is the Achilles heel of the EU. Italy is in an equally parlous state: its banks are basically bust, tax avoidance is high and it has severe budgetary problems. Nothing will be done by the EU and they will do everything in their power to obstruct any action by the Eurosceptic government of Lega amd Five Star aimed at tacking the problem.
- The Southern European countries are all still suffering from a decade of zero growth Or negative growth), high unemployment and stagnation. I had a plethora of talented and skilled Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks and Cypriots work for me in London. I know they are not coming to London for the weather or the food. They are coming because their economies have collapsed and they are unable to find work. A generation of youth has been failed.
- The failure to offer a coherent and viable approach to the migration issue of a few years ago was the final straw. Again the Southern European countries who had to deal with the huge influx received no meaningful assistance. They were (and still are) thrown under the proverbial bus.
These are just a few examples of some of the biggest failures of coherent governance within the EU and national governments. This is not sustainable in the long term, you cannot keep “kicking the can down the road”. Things need to fundamentally change but I do not have any faith the required political will is there.
Ultimately I took the view that the EU did not have the political will or capability to join too many disparate political views and requirements together. The Northern bloc, Southern bloc and Eastern bloc have economies and histories/cultural biases that will take generations to merge even if the political will is there. It isn’t. This doesn’t end well and I don’t want my children to be tied into an organisation that is not capable of running itself.
Now this is not to say that I think that life outside the EU will be easy for the UK. It won’t. I am also not saying that the governance model in the UK is exemplary. It isn’t and the London centric bias needs to be fundamentally reviewed. But I am taking the very long view and I think that when the day of reckoning comes for the EU, which it will unless the EU is able to fundamentally change the way it is run and operated, then the UK (and my children) will have built up a diversified and resilient trading capability with the whole world and not just the parochial view it currently has with the EU.
Clearly the above analysis is flawed if you think the EU is well governed and you feel that I have fundamentally misunderstood what has happened over the past decade.