Brexit- The only real choice?

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Brexit- The only real choice?

A referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union is now inevitable and inescapable. The two camps on either side of the argument have begun to put forward their case to persuade the British public. The referendum comes amidst the backdrop of strengthening growth and recovery in the UK, slow and stagnant growth within the rest of the EU and serious problems within the Eurozone. By the time the vote comes many different events will have shaped and influenced the opinions of those in Britain.

For my part I decided long ago where my cross will be put and that is in the box to leave the EU. Those who wish to stay in paint Eurosceptics as backwards looking people who hark back to a long gone era, people that wish to see Europe go back to its’ old warring ways and people who don’t believe in democracy. However, nothing could be further from the truth for it is democracy and freedom which the Eurosceptic argument is based upon.

Britain will suffer outside of the EU, its influence will decrease and it will cut itself off to markets are all points made by Europhiles as to why Britain should not even dare think of leaving let alone actually go about doing it. Yet there isn’t much evidence to suggest that this is the case.  Currently in international organisations such as the WTO Britain gives up its seat to the EU. Therefore by leaving the EU Britain will not lose its influence, but instead regain its own individual influence free from the demands placed on it by every other EU member who takes up the EU seat. It is often put forward that by leaving the EU Britain will cut itself off from the European market. This would never happen as it would be just as disadvantageous to EU member states as it would be for Britain and perhaps even more so. Even with this taken into account, in the Lisbon Treaty under Article 50 it states that any member seeking to leave will have a renegotiated trade settlement. Therefore were Britain to leave then its’ trade with the rest of the EU would be secured.

Much is made of the fact Britain would be less for leaving the EU, but this is a rather defeatist and unnecessarily negative view to take. It seems to be propagated that the EU is the best thing to have happened to Britain and that it was nothing before the EU came along. Yet the EU only takes up a short time in this history of this country and it was successful and prosperous long before it joined the EU and there is nothing to say it can’t be so again were it to be outside of the EU. Trade with the EU accounts for far less of our exports than it did five years ago, while the reverse is now true of places such as India and China. These are the markets that must be focused on as they will continue to grow while it looks as if Europe will continue to stagnant and take up less and less of global GDP. Furthermore Britain had to give up much when it joined the EU such as its ties to the Commonwealth in favour of the EU. In hindsight this was wrong as we have more in common with the other Commonwealth and Anglosphere nations than we do those on the Continent and so it is these relationships we should be looking to strengthen.

Referendums aren’t a tool well-liked by those in EU institutions. Take the recent Greek referendum. Some said it should never have taken place, others didn’t think the outcome mattered as who were the Greek people to say what should happen? Jean Claude Juncker said that he thought the question answered by the Greeks was irrelevant and would not help to understand what voters were trying to say. If this is the case it doesn’t say much for how highly democracy is held within the EU. Time and time again the EU has shown itself to be undemocratic and completely ignorant to the demands that are put to it by the member states.

In the end when it comes to the British referendum the British public will have to make a choice that they feel is right. For me it comes down to whether you want to have a voice of your own or be one amongst many competing voices trying to be heard. It’s about freedom and democracy and the ability to make the choices that are right for your own country. An institution made of up 28 members can’t hope to cater to the needs of everyone and so what do you actually end up with? A compromise no one is happy with? Scare tactics will be used to push the public to stay in the EU but people should look past the scare stories and judge the arguments as to what they want most not what they fear least. For me that’s a Britain outside of the EU, free to choose its own path, make its own deals and put the needs of its people first and foremost.

By Alex Walker