Monday, June 20, 2016

The case to leave the EU is about openness, tolerance, kindness and freedom

The shocking murder of Labour MP Jo Cox may well prove decisive in the referendum on EU membership.   Tommy Mair appears to have repeatedly shot and stabbed the MP and for all we now know, when asked for his name he shouted out “Death to Traitors, Freedom for Britain", but Mr Mair doesn't believe in freedom.

It appears he is a fascist, and so of course, the new narrative has been that “politics are too angry” and that the anti-EU campaign has “fuelled” this murder.  Of course, those claiming the hate tend to be on the left/Remain side, like legendary leftwing polemicist Polly Toynbee, who once claimed Conservative welfare cuts were like The Final Solution for the disabled.  You can’t do much more in hate than accuse your opponents of being Nazis can you?  Of course Labour is led by a man who used to go to the funerals of IRA terrorists and invite their leaders for meetings, all the time it was waging war against the UK public and UK government (and had killed several MPs).  Corbyn’s statements against hate and violence are as duplicitous as they are disgusting.  The late Jo Cox had a range of views across the spectrum, including a belief that the world shouldn't let Assad barrel bomb and drop chemical weapons on civilians, which saw her be damned by the mediocre "Madame Mao" Labour front bencher Diane Abbott as a "warmongering Tory".  She faced a campaign for de-selection, which Labour has carefully airbrushed away, as her tragic murder becomes politicised.  She did support remaining in the EU, quite vehemently, so it has become easy to claim that the other side were opposed to her.

Yet, the narrative that links the murder to leaving the EU may well stick among undecided voters, especially as polls have been close throughout the campaign, and most recently have put Leave ahead by a few points.  

It’s grossly simplistic and opportunistic to claim, as Remain advocates are, that their side is about kindness, tolerance and openness, when the EU is neither open, nor particularly tolerant and kind with its trade policies, or indeed with diversity of opinion about itself.

The EU isn't open when it maintains a fortress around it trading with the world, especially on services and agriculture.  It has been a force for openness in trade within with enormous resistance from one of its founding members, France, which sees the EU as a tool for "solidarity" - code for spending ever more taxpayers' money on its dirigiste vanity led economic nationalism and absurd profligacy for 19th century farming enterprises.

The EU isn't tolerant when it ignores referenda in France, Ireland, the Netherlands on EU Treaties and simply demands their governments ignore them.  It isn't tolerant when it says that it wont allow "extremists" to be in government in Member States even if democratically elected.

The EU isn't kind when it continues to flood world markets with subsidised agricultural produce, undermining exports and domestic production in developing countries, and so impoverishing poor country producers, whilst funding subsidies for Prince Charles's farming empire.  

Do I think leaving the EU will mean the UK will embark on some free market libertarian revolution of less government?  No, not really.  However, within the EU the only certainty is that there will be growth in EU spending programmes, growth in regulation and ever less accountability for the new laws and spending from Brussels/Strasbourg (don’t forget the EU has two locations for its Parliament, because France wanted an impoverished area to get a boost, so monthly the entire Parliament relocates between cities, at a cost of over €330 million annually).

For all of the relatively mild rhetoric about immigration, the Leave campaign is led by politicians who have mostly been sceptical about government power and all are advancing an agenda of more free trade, more openness to the world and greater engagement with the world.  Leaving the EU is not the fascist/socialist vision of a self-sufficient island that waves a flag and shuts out the world (although those who hold those views want to the leave the EU because its own internal market is an anathema).

I don’t doubt a vote to leave the EU will be a shock, initially to financial markets, more fundamentally to the EU and to the UK Government.  However, the shock need not last for the UK, when there are many years to negotiate leaving the EU and a new trade relationship.  It wont give succour to Putin, nor will it mean a loss of influence for the world’s fifth largest economy.



Given that the EU has proved that it is structurally incapable of reform, we now have a choice. Do we cave in, because we’re too scared to leave? Or do we vote to retrieve our sovereignty, walk away from the whole racket and engage with the world on our own terms? A vote to leave would represent an extraordinary vote of confidence in the project of the United Kingdom and the principle of national self-determination. It would also show reform-minded Europeans that theirs is not a lost cause. And that we stand willing to help forge a Europe based on freedom, co–operation and respect for sovereignty.

It isn't a vote for UKIP politicians, for leaving the EU will put most of them out of a job.  Nigel Farage isn't even an MP, and the one UKIP MP, Douglas Cardwell, is very much a libertarian.

I urge all those in the UK eligible to vote, to Vote Leave.  It is time to break free, for a more open, a more tolerant and a kinder UK. 

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