I think there is a growing pattern in the arguments put forward by the REMAIN and LEAVE parties in the EU referendum debate. Those advocating REMAIN are able to adduce a long list of establishment figures who claim it will be a disaster if we vote to LEAVE:
- Large companies who have the ability to manage the plethora of EU regulations to compete in the EU market place;
- Academics who have their hand held out for EU money that we provided in the first place;
- US President Obama as he plans an exit from his failed presidency;
- Various and assorted world leaders who have had their arms twisted by David Cameron to play the fear card;
- Diplomats who enjoy their place in the UK establishment and depend on it;
- Some past leaders of the security services and the armed forces who seem to have had their arms twisted by Cameron.
Against these establishment figures, we have an array of those who believe we have to leave:
- Many small businesses who cannot cope with the suffocating EU bureaucracy;
- Politicians who have seen the EU from the inside and believe it is doomed to failure and that we would be much better off out of it before that failure happens;
- Security and military chiefs who believe NATO is the key to security for the nations of Europe with its pledge of mutual support in the face of attack and not some shadowy EU defence force under the control of 28 nations;
At the end of the day, I don’t think this is an argument that can be won on specifics. I think we need to see the inevitability of the failure of the EU single market as presently constituted. The only way for the EU to succeed is either:
- to secure an ever closer union through a federal Europe in which the 28 EU members subjugate their sovereignty increasingly to a United States of Europe with strong ministerial control and an ever-diminishing pretence of effective democratic accountability – just impossible in a Union the size of 28 EU nations. or
- to revert to a trading union which is what the UK first joined and to abandon the concept of “ever closer union”. Much as the UK might welcome this, I do not think the concept exists in the psyche of the EU bureaucrats and it will not be allowed to happen. Unless something sufficiently cataclysmic occurs – like the UK leaving the EU.