By now you should have worked out that I intend to vote Leave, but in case you missed it, here is why.
[M]y objection to the EU has always been based on the handicapping effect of never-ending regulation that is impossible to avoid from such an institution. If you dedicate a few hectares of a major European city to thousands of highly-paid people whose livelihood depends on dreaming up new regulations, what else are they going to do but regulate?
But, I hear you say, regulations keep us safe don't they? We need them. Well up to a point yes, but that point passed decades ago in the case of the EU. I've written about EU regulations in my industry before which have absolutely nothing to do with safety whatsoever, but instead impose unnecessary costs on businesses, inhibit employment and push up prices for consumers.
We are well beyond the time where what we actually need is an institution which deregulates, but instead we pay billions to the EU to turn the ratchet further without ever bothering to repeal anything that is unhelpful. Anyone who has kept a close eye on the corrupt shenanigans surrounding the Tobacco Products Directive - particularly towards e-cigs where nothing has been made safer at all, but where innovation and consumer satisfaction has been thrown to the dogs - will attest to that.
The message that Brexit the Movie conveyed wasn't even a new one. It's incontestable that free markets, competition, light regulation and transparency are the most successful drivers of growth, employment, social mobility and betterment of wealth and disposable income. This has always been the case and no amount of governments pretending they "create jobs", by handing back only some of the taxes they take which could have been paid directly to workers, will change that.
Heavy regulation does, though, protect big businesses at the expense of small and medium-sized ones; props up failing business models; inhibits employment; strangles innovation; and raises prices to consumers.I was commenting after the first screening of Brexit: The Movie which I now understand has attracted over 3 million views in all formats. If you haven't yet seen it, I can highly recommend you do**, so here it is.
If that doesn't sway you, perhaps this excellent article from Tom Slater at Spiked will.
The EU exists to limit democracy, preferring backroom deals over public contestation, directives over debate. But it is not an imposition from without: it is the creation of our own national elites – the starkest manifestation of a fear and loathing of the masses that is as common in London, Paris and Berlin as it is in Brussels. The EU liberates leaders from their electorates, allowing them to make decisions in spite of us, and shrug their shoulders afterwards.
This referendum is not about Britain’s deal with Brussels – it is about the chasm between politicians and publics that cuts across Europe. A Brexit would not only be a blow for freedom at home, and wind in the sails of the Eurosceptic masses abroad; it would also be an affirmation of a truly European principle. From English rebellions to German revolutions, French commune experiments to Greek struggles against military dictatorship, for 300 years or more the key European value and the thread that has bound the people of this continent together, has been democracy. If modern European history could be summed up in one line, it would be people saying: ‘Give us more control.’
This is what European elites seek to undermine. The EU as we know it was born in 1992, in the wake of the reunification of Germany, fed by the fear of what Europe’s largest national demos, a country with a dark history now reunited as a free people, might do if left unfettered. Today, that same fear pervades. That Greece, the birthplace of democracy, has, in recent years, been so brutalised by EU-imposed austerity serves as a grim reminder of how, in the name of Europe, the EU has desiccated Europe’s most defining ideal.
A vote to Leave, we’re told, would be inward-looking, Little Englander, xenophobic. spiked rejects this view. The EU isn’t a wellspring of European-wide solidarity and cooperation – it’s a hiding place for our elites, an alliance of technocrats huddled together in fear of the masses. Real internationalism means believing in all peoples’ capacity for self-determination, for the freedom to carve out their lives as they see fit. A vote to Leave is a vote of confidence in all European publics, not just our own.
A Brexit would not be the solution to the dearth of democracy in Britain, let alone across Europe. But it would be a start. It would clarify the problem of democracy and allow us to begin peeling away the anti-democratic forces that still temper our political passions, from unaccountable quangos to unelected upper chambers to medieval monarchies. And it would be a break with the deadening, technocratic status quo that stifles new ideas for fear of an uncertain future.
spiked wants a more open and outward-looking Europe. For us that means more trade and cooperation; liberal immigration – both for those within Fortress Europe and without; and a return of intellectual risk-taking and political daring, so that we might rejuvenate democratic debate and steer humanity into a more prosperous, freer future. But democracy comes first. What a post-Brexit Britain will look like is up to us, the demos. And that’s what makes the opportunity we are being presented with on Thursday so radical, so exhilarating, so European.Hear hear. Removing one level of stultifying bureaucracy and injecting some much needed optimism certainly gets my vote.
Whatever you decide, best of luck and see you on the other side.
** And if you watch it with the subtitles supplied, it might interest you to know they were added by the boy P during his work experience with Martin Durkin earlier this month. Proud? Course I bloody well am!