Saturday, 4 June 2016
Five reasons to leave the EU
1. The Remains
Look who wants us to stay in the EU. Gordon Brown, Edwina Currie, Eddie Izzard, Chuka Umunna, David Cameron, Richard Branson, Caroline Lucas, Mandelson, Kinnock etc.
Smug, superior, profoundly ignorant people. That is not to say I have any time for Farage or Johnson and most of the eurosceptic crowd for that matter, but the remain crowd are comprised of the great and the good belonging to an orthodoxy that we just can't get rid of. They are as much a part of the problem as the EU is.
Some believe that quitting the EU means handing the power to the likes of Johnson and Gove so they plan to go with the devil they know, but when we do start pruning away the wastrels, they won't last long either. I have always seen Brexit as a means to an end to clear this whole rotten bunch out.
2. An ideas revolution
Listening to Corbyn prattling on about renationalising the railways and ditching Trident tells us we have a political class stuck in a timewarp, completely out of ideas. The Tory party isn't in great shape either. Nearly every one of their policy proposals has resulted in a u-turn or a climbdown and they lack the courage of conviction to see anything through. They are empty shells with nothing to offer.
As long as the UK is occupied by the EU we are not going to see any radical shift in policy. And because our politicians have no ideas of their own they will lazily go along with every passing fad. If we are free of the EU many of the constraints will be gone. Those who have ideas will no longer bump into the brick walls. We can redesign our energy and trade policies and implement real innovations without having to work to someone else's agenda. Leaving the EU will break the political deadlock.
3. Democratic reform
If we get rid of this malign bunch and take the powers back we will be designing a lot of new institutions from scratch. That's going to require a lot of consultation and public involvement. Parliament will not have the bandwidth to mess around with its usual myopic obsessions. To make room, a lot of responsibilities will have to be kicked back down to council level where they belong. That means councils will be a lot more at liberty to make changes. We will have more of a say in what they do.
4. Repairing the damage
The Common Agricultural Policy sucks. It's an anachronistic, bureaucratic mess. What we need is an integrated rural policy so that agendas are not at odds with each other - so we can have a bit of joined up thinking. The countryside is not just about producing food. It's also about flood management, habitats and tourism among other things. In some places we have government doing that which could and should be done better by farmers. Moreover when we see farmers dropping cattle rearing and turning over the fields to ugly and wasteful solar panels, we know something is deeply wrong.
Ever since the floods in Somerset there has been ongoing investment in the region. Two years on and the place is barely recognisable. Everything looks better, old tilting weirs have been replaced, drains cleared and rivers dredged. It took a major flood to rattle the system out of its complacency. But the investment only goes as far as what it takes to placate angry residents. This is all stuff we should be doing as a matter of course. What we saw in Somerset was the result of twenty years of policy neglect, in part caused by the centralisation of power. Very much a consequence of imposed EU policy.
The same is true in our energy sector. We are riding two horses. We are trying to meet vanity driven EU objectives while also trying to keep the lights on. We need the grown-ups back in charge and focussed on getting the job done. There is no reason why energy should be as expensive as it is. None at all. Everywhere you look you see that gradual decay has set in, in subtle ways that you don't notice. Brexit will breathe a gust of fresh air into public administration.
Brexit will be good for jobs. For starters we won't be waiting years for the EU to complete bulky trade deals. We will be opening up new markets, having the freedom to negotiate for ourselves. We will have our own trade and aid policy which will create new overseas opportunities. And though we won't be having a bonfire of regulation as some believe, we will have a great deal more control over which ones we adopt and when.
We will have an enhanced say at the global top tables and so we can shape the rules and voice our concerns. Participation at the top tables is the best way to protect jobs. We can forge better links with our existing trading partners, redesign our immigration policy and be more open to our friends. We are not going to lose our trade with the EU and there is every reason to believe that we can do more if only we are allowed to.