The front page of the Daily Mail 25 June 2016.
The paragraph in the image above reads:
“It was the day the quiet people of Britain rose up against an arrogant, out-of-touch political class and a contemptuous Brussels elite. Read the Mail’s incomparable writers of the most tumultuous event of our times”
That first sentence really sums it up. However, let’s go into a bit more detail as to why I voted to leave the EU, and for Britain to get out.
First, to answer the inevitable ad hominem attacks from the other side, I am neither racist nor uneducated. Here’s my Linked In profile to verify the latter. You’ll just have to take my word for it on the former.
The Common Market
When Britain joined the European common market in 1975 (the year I was born mind you) the people who voted for it (some of my family among them) were voting to join an economic free trade area that promised an improvement to their existing situation. Forty-one years later, that situation has not improved – since realistically, the balance of trade lies with the EU needing the UK way more than the other way around. The common market is not as much a draw when we could/will trade with others – and will still get to trade with the EU anyway! That will not change because they need us. We can now negotiate directly with India and Australia for instance, where the EU trade negotiations with those countries have dragged on for nine years without results. Malaysia has already suggested (prior to the vote) that they would trade with the EU and Britain separately. Most other countries will do this of course as well, and we can also approach other countries (such as India and Australia) ourselves.
Norway and Switzerland, especially the latter (as they don’t have a sovereign oil fund), and to a lesser extent Iceland, show that countries in this area can survive – and even thrive – without the EU. The UK has as much, if not more, going for it than those countries.
Arrogant Out-of-Touch Political Class and a Contemptuous Brussels Elite
I don’t follow too much of British politics, though I know who the major players are. I had never heard about Nigel Farage up until this thing started, or most British politicians save the ones most people could name (Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Theresa May). I certainly don’t care about any of them, as they are mostly a bunch of sycophantic idiots. (Though If you’ve never read any of Boris Johnson’s books, I suggest you do, and you’ll realise he’s much much smarter than he puts on.) I only recently met my local politician because they’re considering building a bridge over the Thames right in front of our building and that would totally ruin the view. (I’m renting though so it was a curiosity thing as much as anything that got me to the meeting.) Cameron is easily the biggest fool in this, as he was the one who said we’d hold a referendum in the first place, playing right into Farage’s hands, and he did it get himself elected. Well, it also got him unelected. People should have choices in these things, but I’m guessing he was so arrogant as to believe it could never happen. People were saying up until the results came in from Sunderland that it could never happen. This shows just how out of touch they really are.
The unelected Brussels bureaucrats, who are all arrogant to the point that they utterly disgust me, think they know everything can can plan for everything. Juncker would be wise to keep his mouth closed and keep himself off the television. I don’t know what to make of Mario Draghi but they all think they know better no matter how often they are proven wrong.
Project Fear v. Project Hope
The concepts from “Project Fear” are certainly not believable. Every time Cameron opened his mouth he made a claim even more outlandish than the last. Yes, I knew there would be short-term pain – I am dependent on “Cable” (the exchange rate between the pound and the dollar) for my American interests and sterling’s drop will hurt me for the time being. Nonetheless, we are still the 5th largest economy and the pound won’t be this low forever, even if it drops a bit more short term. When I arrived in the UK in 2012, the pound was at $1.60. It’s $1.37 at the time of this writing. It’s been as high as $1.70 and as low as $1.40 while I’ve been here, and since the more recent was $1.40 then it’s only down $0.03 in the short term. (It will go down more I’m sure.)
It’s been pointed out to me that the UK will now no longer be the 5th largest economy. There are two ways to measure it, and of course yesterday when it was proclaimed that France is now the 5th largest economy they were going based on the one measurement (based on the currency) and not the other (based on actual GDP). So it’s debatable how quickly that will actually change (and whether the London Economic group will so publicly reverse their proclamation when the pound increases in value). Even if we lose Scotland and Northern Ireland, England and Wales combined have the ninth largest economy in the world, and there are plenty of people who will still be willing and able to trade with us, including the EU.
Cost v. Benefits
Britain spends more in the EU than it gets back, by far. The actual numbers are irrelevant, but I’m not getting anything of benefit for that money, regardless of how it ends up being spent eventually. Whether it does me good or no good here at home (I suspect the former), the money is still here at home. Reciprocal benefits, supposedly not monetary, do not affect the average person and certainly don’t affect me.
Freedom of Movement
Freedom of Movement (in the EU) is the biggest potential loss from leaving. I am fine with the free exchange of people as long as it’s legal and measured, but the latter it just hasn’t been. Though I am British by citizenship I came to this country only four years ago myself and a year later I brought my Malaysian wife here – legally, something we had to prove through quite a bit of paperwork. I know a lot of EU citizens who are here working and I know UK citizens who are in the EU working. The idea that somehow they’ll all be deported suddenly – or really at all – is silly. Negotiations with the EU will obviously grandfather-in people on both sides.
However, the greater portion of free movement is into the UK, and not out. There are plenty of arguments on both sides, but Cameron promised bringing net inflows below 100,000 people and he’s still off by a factor of three. I don’t care what people come to the country, or where they’re from, but realistically the population of Britain has sky-rocketed. (We’re above 65 million now, about a fifth the amount of the US in an area approximately a third the size of Texas.) People coming to the UK puts tremendous strain on our resources, and then we’re expected to still pay more into the EU than we get back. The fact is that we’re already supporting the lion’s share of everything on top of having to deal with the expanding population and strain on resources.
The British People
I’ve had a lot of discussions with a lot of people who are surprised that I voted out. One thing I’ve learned being an Anglophile as a boy (not knowing then that I was British as well as American) and later as a British Citizen is that the British people are not to be underestimated. You can cite any number of historical examples of the British people being tested throughout history, and in every single case they will have come through unbroken. The British pride, and the British will, are second to none, and anyone who remembers the UK before the EU – in any case – remembers what it means to be British. It seems though that 48% of the population – mostly skewing younger, and who have never known a non-EU Britain, are the only ones who don’t realise that.
This was the biggest thing for me – there’s the future to consider. If the progression of the EU over forty years gives us what we have today – a bunch of arrogant sods who couldn’t plan their way out of a paper bag getting paid hundreds of thousands of euros to make rules the rest of us can’t even vote on – then what will it look like for my son when he’s forty? Or his children? Will the EU reform? The reforms that have been promised, by the UK government and the EU government, are laughable at best and insulting at worst. They have no intention to reform and why should they? They don’t see the results of their policies – people who make policy purposefully isolate themselves from the people they affect and the policies they effect.
We’ll still have almost all the same benefits we have now, because we’re a modern nation and short-term petty vindictiveness aside, we’ll have a stronger position to negotiate with the EU outside the EU. Do they want to trade with the 9th largest economy? (Yes, they do.) Then when we sit down to bargain we’ll come to arrangements very similar to what we have and almost no one will be affected. Anyone who might be – and that’s a big might – has a really long time before anything actually affects them.
In the long run, there is very little downside to leaving and nothing but potential upside (especially as we move towards the glorious agorist future), with the tradeoff for a bit of short-term pain. I made the decision based on that, and my wife did as well for the same reasons.