“There is one thing that you British will never understand: an idea. And there is one thing you are supremely good at grasping: a hard fact. We will have to make Europe without you –but then you will have to come in, on our terms”
Jean Monet, founding father of European Union (quoted in 1961)
As the Brexit Referendum Campaign draws to a close, Custom Products decided to present an analysis of some of the main themes in as a dispassionate but not disinterested way as possible. We have tried to examine the main reasons for ‘leaving’ and ‘remaining’, save the jingoism and hyperbole that has marked both campaigns.
Though we do not attempt to advocate either ‘leave’ or ‘remain’; it is rather evident, from a financial standpoint, that a vote for ‘Brexit’ would have long-lasting negative repercussions for UK incomes. It would also result in lower growth implying lower social mobility and possible higher public spending and taxes to bridge the gap. The title of our report, ‘Brexit: In and You’re Out, Out and You’re in’, however, reflects the reality that in this not a dry, cerebral issue, but rather an emotionally charged question. As a disinterested third-party observer, one would likely examine the balance of evidence and say, “No the British populace has not always been duped by Delors, no the EU is not necessarily as undemocratic as the Eurosceptics would have you believe, and ‘yes’ the financial costs of leaving are not negligible”. In other words, if one was residing ‘outside’ of the UK, it would be easier to vote to stay ‘in’ based on a cost/benefit assessment devoid of nostalgia and emotion.
However, as recent polls have shown, ‘leavers’ are only half as likely as the ‘remain’ voters to be swayed by financial arguments, with words like ‘sovereignty’, ‘democracy’ and ‘immigration’ striking an emotional chord. This has successfully tapped in to the well of dissatisfaction ‘inside’ the UK. ‘Leavers’ can honestly claim, that Churchill was not a staunch advocate of a ‘United States of Europe’ but rather a pragmatist who saw Britain’s future ‘with Europe but not of it’, and even possibly more with the US. The ‘Leavers’ are also right to point out that, in some respects, they were duped in 1973 and then 1975, when both Heath and later Wilson sold the British people, what Helmut Schmidt called ‘cosmetic adjustments’, that disguised the fact that the 1972 UK Treaty of Accession to the EU was far more than a ‘Common Market’. As Mr. Heath put it, the agreement ‘will not threaten national sovereignty, but get us going again’. However, the treaty did in fact subjugate the UK parliaments and subordinate UK courts.
Full report is available here