Essay:Why I oppose the EU

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A very British exit

In the UK, few (if any) issues divide the public more than the question of EU membership. On the 23 June 2016 the UK made the boldest political choice in history and voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48%. In this essay I shall outline my personal grievances with the European Union. I will explain why I’m glad the UK voted to leave, and why I hope other European countries follow our example.

My opposition to the EU[edit]

  • The loss of sovereignty. While I think there are several good reasons to leave the EU, the loss of sovereignty is the most important. Slowly but surely British sovereignty has been eroded. A prime example of this is the fact that up to 60% pf UK laws are made by the EU. [1] While I do admit that other estimate this figure as low as 13%[2], I would argue that any laws that affect Britain that aren’t created by British lawmakers is unacceptable. In September 2019 Guy Verhofstadt MEP (the former leader of the European Parliament Liberals) gave a speech at the Liberal Democrat Party conference. In this speech he claimed that the time of Nation States is over, and "the world of tomorrow is a world of Empires".[3] Disappointingly (though unsurprisingly) his calls for a 'European Empire" was met with a loud applause by the Lib Dem conference.
  • The EU’s hatred for democracy. It has to be said that the EU is not a fan of democracy. There are countless examples of the EU wilfully ignoring the will of the people. This includes Ireland being forced to hold a second referendum after they (rightly) voted to reject the Lisbon Treaty, forcing the French and Dutch to accept the Lisbon Treaty after they voted against the EU Constitution (which was basically the same thing) a couple of years prior and the EU imposing austerity measures on Greece after the Greeks voted no. [4][5] From this it is clear that the EU has no respect for democracy, probably because it knows that ordinary voters have completely different interests than the EU bureaucrats.
  • Interference with member states. The democratically elected leaders of a country have every right to make policies in the interest of its own citizens. Therefore, I think it is unacceptable that the EU attempted to force Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into accepting migrants and refugees against the will of their governments. [6] Something I find quite ironic is the fact that many of Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies (like renationalisation) are actually illegal under EU law. [7] Now, I’m no fan of Corbyn but if he gets elected as Prime Minister he has every right to implement his referendum and it is unacceptable that a democratically elected government could get penalised by a group of Brussels bureaucrats for implementing its manifesto pledges.
  • Uncontrolled immigration. Sure, immigration is great and only nutcases would advocate stopping immigration altogether. But it is undeniable that the Freedom of Movement policy, a fundamental principle of the EU, is problematic. Quite simply we have no say on how many people can come into the country. In 2003 the number of EU migrants who came to the UK was 15,000. By 2004 this had shot up to 87,000 and in 2007 it had increased to 127,000. [8] In 2018 74,000 more EU migrants came to the UK than UK citizens who moved to the EU. Unsurprisingly this is all having an adverse effect on infrastructure [9] as well as contributing to wage compression [10]. Now, as I said above only a fool would advocate stopping immigration completely. I fully acknowledge that immigration have many positive influences on the country and its economy. I just believe our government can control how many people can come into its own country. Like many Brexiteers, I support an Australian-style points-based system.
  • The EU Army. Former Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg once described the prospect of an EU army as “a dangerous fantasy”. [11] Despite this, I don’t think Clegg got the memo. French President Emmanuel Macron has since called for an EU army, saying “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America”. [12] Guy Verhofstadt MEP and Chancellor Angela Merkel (the de facto head of the EU) have also signalled strong support for this, saying they “fully back” having an EU super army.[13] This opinion is shared by senior members of the EU Commission. On 1 December 2019 Ursula von der Leyen became Commission President. She is on record as saying that she wants a "united states of Europe – run along the lines of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the USA"[14] In 2015 she doubled-down on these claims, and stated that the creation of an EU Army should be "a long-term goal" for the EU.[15] Now, if these were the words of an unimportant pundit then they could be reasonably dismissed. But the fact these words came out of the mouth of the incumbent Commission President then I think they should be taken very seriously.
  • The EU will never reform. During the 2016 referendum, one of the most common arguments used by the remain camp was a promise of reform. They acknowledged that the EU was not in great shape, but argued that it would be best to stay in and reform it from the inside. This would be a sensible idea; however, I am not convinced at all that the EU is likely to reform. Asides from the fact that the EU bureaucrats aren’t going to let power slip from their fingers, there are simple logistical issues when it comes to reform – for example revoking signed treaties are easier said than done. [16] An ideal scenario would be to see power devolved away from the European Commission back to member States, but every new treaty has had to opposite effect. Year after year individual nations lose autonomy, and the power of the EU Commission swells. I strongly suspect that the EU will tighten its grip on the remaining members after Britain officially leaves.
  • Its not what Britain voted to join. Britain voted to join in 1975, but it didn’t vote to join the EU. Instead it voted to join the European Community. This was based almost entirely on trade. The country voted for closer trade relation, not for ever closer union, an EU Army, a European Commission and a European President, and a complete loss of sovereignty. The current EU is an abomination of its previous self.

The second referendum argument[edit]

Neverendum - The act of putting a referendum initiative on the ballot over and over, on the theory that voters will eventually support the proposition because they don't want to hear about it anymore.
—Urban Dictionary[17].

It is always heartening to hear people when they say that they voted to remain in 2016 but they, like any democrat, accept the result of the referendum and expect the government to deliver the will of the people. Unfortunately, not everybody thinks like this. A significant proportion of the public support holding another referendum. According to one opinion poll a whopping 59% would support holding a second referendum (once “don’t knows” were discounted from the survey). [18]. Several political parties (the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the SNP and large numbers of the Labour Party) have publicly endorsed holding another referendum.

It goes without saying that I would oppose another referendum. Even if I thought Leave would win by a 75% margin, I would still say that holding another referendum is a bad idea. Why? Because it would be an insult to democracy. Millions of ordinary Brits voted for this, and it would show that their votes don't mater to the ruling liberal elite because they didn't give the 'right' answer to the referendum question.

The irony is truly lost on the EU and its supporters. Brexiteers accuse them of not respecting democracy and they respond by trying to overturn the biggest display of democracy in British history.