No, remaining in the EU is not the
‘Safe Option’

In Scotland’s Referendum for Independence many people campaigned, and many voted, on the assertion that the No vote was the ‘Safe Option’; the claims were that not enough planning for an independent Scotland had been made, with issues regarding currency that weren’t figured out, plus doubts over their membership of the EU, etc. Whatever your dog in that fight was is irrelevant here, however. Many are now making the same claims regarding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, claiming that the statist-quo is the best option, and that Britain will be stumbling in the dark at the other end if we do in fact retract, as we have not set out any concrete plans.

This is NOT the case, however. We know there will be a two year period where we will be figuring out the terms of our retraction, and negotiating a deal which will best benefit those in the EU, but most importantly, better suit the people and businesses of our country. It is hard to imagine that we will not be able to agree good terms, as they will benefit EU member states just as well as they will to us. The EU has many trade deals with other countries outside, and is continuously creating them, so why would we be any different?

In fact, it is staying in the EU which is more unpredictable and dangerous than leaving; when we elect our governments here, we do so based on the manifesto they put forward to us. Any new laws or changes are subject to debate by our elected representatives in parliament. However, we don’t elect the presidents of the EU, nor do we see proposals for laws or regulations before they are implemented so that we can debate and challenge them. Even if we did, the MEPs we elect to sit in the European Parliament have very little power to change anything anyway.

We need to realise that membership of the EU severs our ability to see what lies ahead for our country, and for us as individuals, as we play no part in the planning. We could not predict, when we originally joined, the route in which we would be taken down; How can we even pretend to know where we will be taken next? What larger form will the EU take moving forward? How much more intrusive will regulations become? How much more of our national identity will be sifted and sieved to make way for further integration? A Remain vote will give the EU the confidence to implement this ever closer union.

“What will a United Kingdom outside of the EU look like?” they ask. Well, that’s simple: Whatever the Hell we want it to be! A Leave vote would allow us to fulfil the destiny in which we choose. Let’s look at the objective facts; what do we know about our own country? As Dan Hannan has been championing, “We are the fifth largest economy on the planet; we’re the fourth military power; we’re one of five member of the UN Security Council – how much bigger do we have to be before we have the confidence to raise our eyes to more distant horizons, and rediscover that global vocation which we once took for granted?” We should stop taking for granted the influence, power, and sway we have with the rest of the world, and stop being so modest about our achievements… it’s much too European of us.

So, to anybody undecided who still needs some convincing, here are some things to consider-

  • We’re not looking to leave ‘Europe’ (that’s not possible, it’s a continent!), it’s the ‘European Union’ we want to leave. Don’t fall for the Remain side’s subtle suggestions of xenophobia and isolationism on that one.
  • We won’t lose our trade-links with the EU – we buy more from them than they can afford to block us from going forward. They also buy quite a lot from us. As unreasonable as the EU commission may seem at times, they are clever enough to avoid cutting off their nose to spite their face. In this way, we will have more power in the EU by being outside of it, by looking elsewhere for trade deals when it suits us better. While we’re inside we are powerless, which is evident to date.
  • We’ll be able to plan our immigration policy based on the skills the country needs, and not based on some preferentiality of geographical location. We can decide which, and how many, people come here rather than open-borders to many countries with extremely high unemployment rates. Open borders absolutely WILL be a feature of EU membership at some point in the future, which is a fact.
  • While every other continent in the world is experiencing massive growth economically, the EU isn’t. As a matter of fact, it is declining. Why stay loyal to a diminishing trade group when we could focus on trading more outside of the EU, something which is stifled by being a member state. As stated before, we are the fifth largest economy in the world; we can make it in a big way.
  • You will still be able to work in EU countries – they all need immigration the same way the UK does. It might work differently, but it won’t be off the cards at all.
  • You will still be able to travel and holiday in EU countries – they all have tourism industries to profit from, and UK citizens are some of the richest in the world. Of course we are going to be welcomed to travel.
  • You WILL NOT lose your ‘Workers Rights’ – they have been achieved mainly due to the work of the unions here in the UK;
    • If you’re concerned about your lunch break, annual leave, work hours, maternity leave, etc, then don’t worry! Those are protected by British law.
    • If you reference the quotas for female workers, don’t panic! Women are not the useless creatures this legislation suggests – you are more than capable of qualifying for positions by your merit without needing demeaning and meddling legislation. Equality doesn’t come from the EU, and it sure isn’t practiced there; just take a look at the top jobs within it.
  • There WILL NOT be a ‘hard-border’ with a military presence between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; they are both part of the Common Travel Area between Ireland, Isle of Man, and Britain, which existed before 1973.
  • We will hand more power back to the politicians that we do elect through our own democratic process. Make our local authorities more powerful and representative of the people they serve, rather than shadow play for the will of unelected bureaucrats in a different country. If we reject settling for the puppet-show the EU makes of our parliament and councils, it empowers us as individuals and makes our vote and support worth so much more.

Dan is is the Conservatives for Liberty Northern Ireland Policy Analyst. Follow him on Twitter: @danieljgavigan

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The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty