AS we approach the EU referendum, countless friends and colleagues, from both sides of the debate, have despaired of the lack of factual information – and the relentless scaremongering.
While I can sympathise, I also try to point out that the situation is not dissimilar to that in which one frequently finds oneself in one’s professional or personal life. We usually have to sift through conflicting accounts to make a judgment for ourselves, trusting to our instincts and intuition.
With that by way of background, I would like to share with you the judgment that I have made in deciding to vote for Leave.
There will be short-term challenges, but we are being asked to make a decision about the long-term interests of our country. For once, we have been given the opportunity to look beyond the “when’s the next election?” short-termism of our leaders and the so-called political elite.
My reasons are this: I think the United Kingdom should remain a sovereign country and I am fundamentally opposed to the EU’s stated objective of becoming a super-state.
I am absolutely convinced that the UK, should we remain, will continue to lose sovereignty as illustrated by developments since the last referendum in 1975 where the ballot said, explicitly that this was for a Common Market, and it was claimed that fears over sovereignty were completely unjustified. Yet, subsequently, supposedly cast-iron ‘opt outs’ have been consistently over-ruled.
More recently, this is reflected in an April 2016 document from our own Government stating that Britain has to adopt EU law and accept the rulings of the European Court of Justice over the British Supreme Court.
The report states that Britain and other member states must “adopt any legislation necessary” to ensure the national laws “give effect” to those of the EU. It goes on to say: “Member States have to make sure that any actions they take are consistent with the rules in EU law, and must adopt any legislation necessary to give effect to EU law in their national law.”
The EU has proven itself to be an undemocratic, unaccountable, bureaucracy run by a Commission acting as autocrats who have shown themselves in no way accountable to the people.
In its management of the euro crisis and migration issues, the EU has shown that it is unable to govern for the greater good, something vital for a supranational body. It has eviscerated the economies of southern Europe – Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal – with Greece’s total output down by 27 per cent since the crisis began, unemployment up to 24 per cent and the overall debt to GDP ratio at 171 per cent and still rising.
It has failed to drive economic growth, its whole orientation being to protect rather than to compete. A small, but recent, example of this is in streaming services where the success of Netflix and others has brought forward an EU proposal that 20 per cent of streamed content in any EU territory will need to be locally produced and featured prominently (let’s legislate, after all, that is far easier than actually competing to make quality programmes that people want to view).
With this by way of background, I believe that the ‘Remain’ group has totally misrepresented the choice presented to voters at the referendum. It is not, as they often portray it, a choice of either safely “remaining where we are” or taking a major leap of faith into a world of the unknown with ‘leave’.
I do not believe that there is a status quo option. It is either to vote to ‘Leave’ and, by doing so, put up with some short term upheaval as we seek to wrest back 42 years of control, or to vote to ‘Remain’ and watch our sovereignty continually drip away as the euro area’s significant and intractable financial issues play out.
I am an American, a British immigrant, a British resident for over 35 years and a British citizen. I love Britain and the British people, but I am no ‘little Englander’. I want us to be true to our history; an open, trading nation; willing to compete and embrace the challenges of globalisation.
Whatever David Cameron might think, I’m not a quitter. Quite the contrary. I believe in responsive democracy, I believe in the energy and talents of the British people, and in voting for us to ‘Leave’, I’m putting my faith in the people and institutions of this country to guarantee the future health and happiness of my family and my adopted nation.
Tim Dewey is chief executive of Keighley-based brewer Timothy Taylor & Co Ltd. He is writing in a personal capacity.