Conservatives for Liberty believe that Britain should be a self-governing, democratic nation state and this aspiration is incompatible with EU membership. Power is not vested in the British people and Westminster is but a subordinated vassal; this is intolerable. During a crisis of confidence and identity we made an historic error; now we must grasp the opportunity to correct that error. It is time to restore democracy in Britain and return dignity and prestige to the mother of all parliaments.
In a real free democracy, the people elect their representatives directly and have the final say on who governs them. Yet the Commission is unelected, the Council of Ministers is a government the British people cannot remove, and MEPs have severely limited power. The EU has voting rituals and many of the vestiges, but it is not a democracy. This is never going to change.
Our renegotiations have been an irrelevance. By far the most significant development in Europe is the plan for the next EU treaty which aims to complete the economic and political union, making the EU a de-facto state. Non-eurozone countries will have to negotiate their place in this federal union – we fear that this will see the UK cede more power. We would effectively have second class status on the outside and, having voted to remain, the UK will be more marginalised than ever as the eurozone integrates further.
Conservatives for Liberty has never been and will never be comfortable in a subjugated position within the EU. The fundamental mismatch between us is the source of much tension and ill will between the United Kingdom and the other 27 member states. This can only be resolved by leaving and forming a new, positive and constructive relationship.
We do not seek isolationism and nor do we call for a severance of ties – but rather a constructive partnership with the EU based on intergovernmental cooperation. This means leaving the political and judicial union and establishing a new, positive relationship based on commerce and close cooperation across a wide range of activities such as security, science, aviation, sport and academia. This is mutually beneficial and inevitable; those who assert that this will all end, as well as those who promote the idea of cutting ourselves off, are selling a wholly unrealistic scenario which has no credibility.
The EU’s anti-democratic supranational structures are not replicated anywhere else. Instead, other countries are relying on intergovernmental cooperation through the vast array of global organisations and institutions which are facilitating global trade and finding global solutions to global problems. Britain will not be isolated or alone. Like numerous other prosperous independent countries we will be fully engaged with the world.
Britain needs to get with the times and take its place at the top tables of the world with an independent voice. It needs to grasp the opportunity to become an international force for progress; a global champion of free trade, democracy, intergovernmental cooperation and political reform. We cannot do this when we are constrained by the EU and our trade policy is an exclusive power of the EU.
It is not in the nature of the British people to be parochial or unambitious. We must free ourselves of our little European mind set. In this modern age of globalisation we need flexibility, agility and the ability to adapt. We need the power to act of our own accord. There are untapped markets out there and we do not even have the power to sign our own trade agreements. The EU lumbers through vast, complex agreements that take years and often fail. We could be concluding multiple, industry specific agreements and breaking down tariff and technical barriers in the time it takes the EU to even adopt a common position.
The UK spends billions on international development but we can’t link it to our trade policy; if the two were coordinated we could help to spread prosperity. Instead this is one of the many powers we have outsourced. Our aid money is largely wasted and the EU puts up protective barriers that actively harm African countries. There is nothing progressive about that: Britain can do better than this.
We have a clear choice between subordination or the road to democracy. While the so-called “special status” in the EU may be superficially attractive, it fails to solve the fundamental problems of being a state within a supranational entity. Nothing on offer changes the nature of the EU nor are there any guarantees about the ultimate destination of our continued membership.
A ‘Remain’ vote would not be a vote to stay as we are. The EU is being forced to change, leaping from one crisis to another – and with Britain as part of the EU we have no idea where it will end. We are told it will be a “leap in the dark”, but the truth is that in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote the government’s priorities will be to alleviate risk and secure the economy. There will be no doomsday scenario or severance of ties. The first step is leaving; from there we have a world of exciting opportunities.
Signed by the Conservatives for Liberty team:
Emily Barley, Chairman
Paul Nizinskyj, Creative Director
Thomas Stringer, Director
Ben Kelly, Web Editor
Neil Wilson, Head of CfL Northern Ireland
Stephen Hoffman, Parliamentary Liaison
Daniel Gavigan, Policy Analyst NI
James Johnson, Events Co-ordinator