We’ve heard a lot from the Remain camp about the ‘perils’ a newly-independent Britain will face. Most of these are blatantly false statements designed to keep wavering voters clinging fearfully to the Brussels comfort blanket.
We would be ‘punished‘ if we left, claim EU enthusiasts. The day after the referendum, so the argument goes, the rest of the EU would impose tariffs on British goods and services. EU leaders would immediately set about ruining the British economy so thoroughly that no other European nation would dare even think about leaving.
We see this line of argument constantly from those arguing for Remain. Migrant camps would move from Calais to Kent, claim French ministers (conveniently for David Cameron who made the same claim a few weeks before). Pro-EU business leaders claim they would up sticks and leave Britain if voters chose to leave. The governor of the Bank of England has been enlisted to warn of the perils of Brexit to the British economy. The old lie about “3 million jobs” being dependent on trade with the EU is trotted out again and again.
Lets accept for the moment the argument that if we left, the rest of Europe would immediately turn on us. What does that say about the relationship we have with those countries and the EU now? And more importantly, why should we allow ourselves to be poked, prodded and cajoled into staying members of a club that would resort to threats and bullying to keep us inside?
“The best way forward for Europe” is to threaten to hit the English as hard as we can”, write fanatical europhiles. If we left, the City would be made to suffer, the rest of the world would be convinced to shut out our trade and we’d be swamped with migrants. Britain needs to feel “vulnerable” and “dependent”.
That is the sort of line a domestic abuser uses to keep his victim compliant and submissive: ‘Yes, I’m violent and sadistic, and you’re clearly miserable in this relationship, but don’t you dare disobey me or you’ll get much worse.’
Britain has a proud history of standing up to bullies. Time after time, British armies have liberated the nations of Europe from tyrants and dictators.
When Philip of Spain sent his vast Armada to crush upstart England, Elizabeth I’s captains met it with cannon and fire-ships. When the Catholic armies of Louis XIV swarmed across the European continent; when French revolutionaries sought to remake the world through Terror; when Napoleon set out to conquer the world; Britain was constantly in the front line.
When the Kaiser’s military machine rampaged across Belgium and France, Britain chose to fight – it didn’t need to – and paid a heavy price for it. When Hitler’s totalitarian racist regime had swallowed up the whole of Europe, the British and their Commonwealth allies stood alone against him.
The reason many Britons do not swallow the ‘European Union prevents war’ lie so beloved by europhiles today is because we were never conquered or destroyed in the same way much of the rest of the continent was. Our ancestors never had to endure the sight of a foreign army marching through London in the same way the citizens of Paris, Berlin, Rome, Prague, Athens, Vienna and Warsaw did.
We British are rightly proud of our victories. What other country has been consistently on the right side of history in same way the English speaking peoples have? It is not in our nature to be cowed into silence. Defeat and submission are not in our national DNA. Britain does not tolerate bullies.
And that’s why all this talk of punishment and revenge will backfire on the Remainers. They may hope that they can scare us into voting to stay. But the more voters hear that our so-called friends and allies wish to force us to be obedient little Europeans against our will, the less likely they will want to stay friends with them.
No serious person on the pro-Brexit side advocates cutting ourselves off from the rest of Europe. The alternative to remaining in the EU is not some island nation siege-economy. Brexiters want a relationship based on trade and friendship.
If the other EU nations were to arrogantly push away the hand of friendship, we would undoubtedly face a period of hardship. But we would survive. We would be free to trade and make treaties with the rest of the world. We would still be a major world economy and military power.
And no British child would ever be allowed to forget that when Europe’s leaders had the chance to be our friends, they chose to treat us like lepers.
So next time you hear anyone on the pro-EU side argue that we would be isolated, punished or ‘crushed’ if we left, ask them the obvious question: Why would we want to be members of any club that would do that to us?
Chris has been a member of the Conservative Party since 2010. He believes strongly in individual freedom, personal responsibility, and the power of free markets to eliminate poverty by encouraging wealth creation. Follow him on Twitter: @
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty.