I love Britain. I love Europe too.
I'm a Europhile through and through.
Probably more so than most people who are voting to remain. OK, that’s just my opinion!
I speak many European languages. I'm a frequent European traveller. I have friends in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Greece and the list goes on.
So let me talk to you about the Brexit debate.
The question is simple:
Should the United Kingdom - remain a member of the European Union or - leave the European Union?In the EU? Outside the EU? What'll it be?
We're getting too much information. I'm a details guy. But on this occasion, I'm leaving out the details and focussing on the issues.
Here are my thoughts:
On the economy
Both sides are quoting figures. On the Remain side, you have established and reputable organizations telling us about the negative consequences a Brexit could have on the British economy. Some forecasts are verging on doomsday.
On the Leave side, you don’t have many economic studies or fancy reports. They say that on the economy, we’ll do something between slightly worse to slightly better.
They are not making pie-in-the-sky predictions.
The truth is probably somewhere in between. Fact is, no one knows how the economy will look either in or out of the EU.
Personally, I estimate the "shock" will be no worse than a comparable period of short term uncertainty. Think back to when the coalition government formed in 2010.
OK, the financial situation wasn't great. However, once over the initial shock, financial markets will bounce back.
The EU doesn't do trade deals quickly. It’s taken years and the EU still hasn't done a trade deal with India, China or the US.
Would it take years?
Well, the advantage we have is that we already have a trade deal with the EU. We're part of the Single Market. No EU country who buys from us would want to be left worse off.
So why would they make it difficult for us when we could make it difficult for them?
I think EU immigration has been positive for Britain over past 10-12 years. I have made many friends in the UK from France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Poland and from all over Europe. I have enjoyed practising my European languages.
On balance, people from the EU put more into the British economy than they take out.
Remember, we are growing older. We need a working population to fund our future pensions. Also note that it’s a two-way street. We Brits are free to live and work in the EU too. And how!
Meanwhile, I am all too aware that people here are concerned about the increasing population.
- we need controlled immigration.
- a few have not integrated into British society.
- an increased population affects public services, housing and drives down pay.
For me, democracy is the only issue that seals the deal. My simple question to the EU Commission :
Who elected you?Not just that. EU institutions are distant from all of its EU citizens. Just think of how the EU tossed aside democracy when they dealt with the Eurozone crisis, especially Greece and Cyprus.
Indeed, imagine if the EU were a single European nation state - and many argue that's already happening. If this "European nation" wanted to join the EU as a new member, it couldn't. As it would fail on its own test of democracy!
I'm pro-Europe, pro-Brexit. I suspect that there are more of us than you think.
I’m voting to leave. But that may not be the choice for you.
Read up. Get confused. See through the fog. Decide. And most importantly:
GET OUT AND VOTE LEAVE ON JUNE 23!