I have mixed feelings about this. I’m Pro-European but I think we should leave and none of my reasons are to do with ‘how much better or worse we’ll be financially’.
The European Union is a fantastic concept – many nations joined together with one government managing all the taxes providing, among other things, Health Care, Welfare, Defense and Social Services.
So what’s wrong? The concept works fine for the UK doesn’t it?
Well yes it does, although the UK has some of it’s own problems, which I’ll discuss later.
Fifty years ago when the idea of the European Union was being discussed there would have been two thoughts on how to implement the ideology-
Option 1 – Jump right in – Even though all the countries joining now and in the future would have different levels of GDP, Welfare, Health Services and Social Services etc, just join and open the borders! Over the years there will be a ‘leveling process’ as some countries standards fall and some rise but in the end all the countries will be roughly similar in all areas and then we’ll effectively be one country.
Now this is fine if you happen to be quite rich and can ‘weather the storm’. If you are middle class or poor in a rich country you will naturally over time see you standards fall, while if you are middle class or poor in a poor country you will see your standards rise.
Option 2 – Manage the transition in a slower more sensible way. Each country continuing to manage its own affairs but committed to the idea of contributing to the other countries and helping everyone to come to a similar standard in all social and economic areas, then, when all criteria are met we can begin an integration process. Of course the idealists would argue that this process would take too long and might never happen.
Now the reality is that we actually all committed to something in between my 1 and 2 but much closer to 1 than we should have been.
The instability we are witnessing is a reflection of the poor management of the integration. This is further exasperated by the ‘feeling’ that there is a very dictatorial style to the effectively un-elected commission we are trusting to manage this integration.
Unfortunately I think I know the choice this ideological group would make when given the option of “faster implementation of the ideology – for the greater good” and “a sacrifice of a few of the peasants”.
In a nutshell that’s my neanderthalish reason for voting to leave, however I would ask the rest of the European Union to maintain an adult approach to our probable departure. We’re not leaving for the fun of it, we’re leaving because we have genuine concerns. I don’t believe the European Commission has taken our referendum seriously and acknowledged that in the UK and many other countries in the European Union there is genuine concern to the management of the ‘leveling process’.
I actually wish they had listened more to David Cameron and taken our potential departure and the growing unrest in Europe seriously and used the time to review how the integration process has been managed and perhaps suggest some sensible changes.
After we leave, although Europe may throw it back in our face we should take the adult approach and suggest a set of criteria that the the new European Union needs to achieve, and vice versa, before we would consider rejoining. I appreciate this would probably not happen in my lifetime but that’s fine.
Now, on to Scotland and the other UK nations. To me the UK leaving Europe is not the same as Scotland leaving the UK.
Except in some small areas, mostly due to devolution, the UK already has similar Welfare, Social Services, National Health and our GDP is/was combined and shared. It makes absolutely no difference to anyone to break this Union.
Some rich Idealists in Scotland would get what they want of course and are well provisioned to weather the storm of unnecessary change but to almost everyone else in the UK there is no sensible reason or benefit.
My absolute ideal is actually a Star Trek like utopia where the Earth is one whole with one government, so in principal I’m all for the European Union but in practice it’s not working right now. The European commission is an un-elected group of idealists with a few dictatorial powerful leaders defining how we proceed based on an idealistic mandate. For me that’s never going to end well.
If I thought we could effect changes by staying in then that’s what I would recommend, but…. David Cameron already tried that, and the best I can tell, they laughed in his face.
Let’s get out.