A short and simple question for Brexiters

On the whole, the discussion surrounding the Brexit process seems now to be about damage limitation, and earlier talk of it offering us new opportunities has evaporated. I am genuinely interested to know, from those of you who still supporting leaving the EU: can you tell me anything at all that you think will be better after we leave? I’m looking for concrete things, not abstract ideas such as the notion that we will regain “sovereignty”.

Salmon-topped shrimp tempura roll from Yen Sushi, Bath. Photo by Josefa Torres.

Thank you!

7 responses to “A short and simple question for Brexiters

  1. An answer from me comes as someone who is somewhat on the fence; and as such, so is my answer.

    The media has couched this as Brexiteer vs. Remoaner, to choose the generally irritating and uninformative epithets of choice. I’m not even going to consider their positive counterparts: well okay, it would probably be something like “Patriots vs. Openminds.” Bleh, not considering it was certainly the better option.

    Having spoken about the issue in person with actual people, which I hasten to add is not an example of snark, just that I seldom venture out, I am of the opinion that the above examples are false dichotomies and that people tend to be less absolute and more nuanced in their opinions. And that those opinions for the most part do not seem to have very much if anything to do with the stereotypes as enthusiastically shouted by the media.

    In my case, I lean somewhat towards Brexit. I’m not absolutely in favour, and nor does it imply that I support the Conservatives (I mean seriously, lol: I’m from Jarrow, for a start) and nor does it mean that I’m some sort of racist Europhobe: culturally, I’m a huge Europhile and think that our history and our cultures give us strength, unity and just general grooviness. I like Europe. It is a non-sequitur that I should like the EU. And vice versa.

    My reasons for disliking the EU? More of the same. More neolibs. More multinational globalisation. More tax-dodging. More lots of stuff I don’t like. Are they the same sort of bad in every single way as the Tories (by which I mean all current UK politics)? No, but they are broadly as bad, and just more politics, less accountability and more of all this sort of arse that I don’t want. I also note that we seem to be adopting the Americanism “lawmakers” when it comes to politicians. As much as I may baulk, it is not an inaccurate term, and is also why I do not want.

    So where does that take us when it comes to “reclaiming sovereignty”? What does that even mean? I have no idea. I don’t particularly relish the idea of handing more power to the Tories, but the one bonus is that their power seems to be more transient. So it has that going for it.

    Anyway, that, pretty much. I don’t take an absolutist political stance; I don’t think I’m especially dogmatic. I would just like less politics. And that’s my answer.

  2. I voted Remain – but if Brexit goes ahead I don’t think the sky will fall in. The UK seems to have endured a thousand years or so of history. Perhaps we’ll muddle through. Let’s hypothecate a few upsides.

    1) We can buy, develop and sell GMO. The EU has a rather unscientific position on this technology. The UK has industries that could profit from a more logical approach to genetically modified crops. Other industries may also benefit – but I only know about the EU’s foolish position on GMO. The precautionary principle doesn’t make sense in a world with air-currents, plus the science is firmly against the current EU position.
    2) No possibility of becoming part of a greater federalised European super state by stealth. Irrespective of your views about the value of such an enterprise, the road to that conclusion hasn’t been well discussed in this country.
    3) Poor people with crap jobs may have less undercut competition for those jobs. I have no idea if this will actually transpire, or if it makes economic sense – but in theory less competition could ensure employers have to pay more for low paid work.
    4) More primacy for common law versus civil law. UK law has, on occasion, had to make way for more Napoleonic and Justinian ideas of justice – although many aspects of the human rights act were based on English common law. This is more an argument for lawyers and the upsides may be rather nuanced.
    5) Less rule by fiat. Napoleonic traditions do have some peculiarities in terms of culture. The European ruling classes for instance are more regal for want of a better word, and would be less likely to see themselves as subject to the whim of the people. You see this more in how the European commission deals with whistleblowers (viciously) and corruption (not much). The Italian president was able to reject the winning parties choice of finance minister for the benefit of the EU – an act which has no precedent or equivalent under English common law. Again, this is a nuanced argument, but I think it has some merit.
    6) Some particularly repellent arguments might end up getting retired from use from my less thoughtful remainer chums. I could do with seeing the back of “old people won’t be alive in the future, so shouldn’t get to vote” for instance – which is utterly repellent and shameful. It also doesn’t stack up logically – why bother voting on climate issues for instance if you can only vote on things that will be fully realised in your lifetime?
    7) less shameless attempts at sticking a middle finger up at the electorate – it would be nice when one half of the country doesn’t spend its time asking for new referendums transparently designed to split the leave vote because people voted the wrong way (and are all racists or stupid). I don’t need to see anybody peddling that crap anymore. I can also see the back of “the people’s vote” which might mean I don’t have to throw up in my mouth quite so much.
    8) Subsidies. The EU is a protectionist trading block, which is both a strength and a weakness. Some of our tax money for instance goes into protecting inefficient industries, like French farming, which prevents consolidation, increased yields and more efficient use of funds. Subsidies always have a cost – we might not have to pay thoses costs to the same level. Some are oppportunity costs, so won’t appear on the outgoing balance sheet, but could result in better allocation of resources.
    9) Trade. Over half of UK trade is already with countries on WTO terms – clearly WTO trade rules aren’t an impediment to some form of external trading. There are countries we can’t currently buy from (or rather consumers are prohibited by high tarriffs) that we could forge new trade deals with. Neither side can predict with certainty how that will pan out, so I don’t know if I can count this as a positive or negative – but I don’t think anybody else can either. Not with certainty.
    10) Ethical trade. One aspect to EU protection of expensive farming is that very poor countries cannot trade on an equal footing with us. We keep African farmers on the bread line by allocating our tax to keeping EU (and our own, in some cases) farmers artificially wealthy. This also hurts our own consumers and actually reduces the wideness of our food supply safety net. The more countries we buy food from, the less vulnerable we are to localised droughts etc. Plus, as mentioned, less dead african farmers. Less poverty in Africa, less war, less corruption, a rise in the middle classes and less economic refugees. All that good stuff.
    11) Arguably more democracy. I like democracy. I think it’s a fine invention. 1 vote in 60 million appeals more than 1 vote in 350 million, especially when you consider how useless MEPs are. If laws are passed we dislike, there is more scope to remove those lawmakers. Many EU decisions are not notable for taking place in the harsh glare of public scrutiny.
    12) The Germans will have the French all to themselves now.

    So there you go Mr Taylor – that’s the best I, a Remain voter, can manage. I’d be interested to know what a passionate but logical Leave voter would add.

  3. rjubber – That was an excellent argument for Brexit, possibly the best I’ve seen. Of course, I’m an American, so I obviously have no clue.

  4. I don’t know about anyone else, but my vote was not motivated by anything so venal as short-term gain. I voted Leave for the future: so that in a hundred, two hundred, four hundred years, the UK will still be a proud, independent, sovereign nation-state, not a mere province of a single federal European country.

    I voted so as to pass on to the next generation, and the next, and the next, the proud, glorious history of the United Kingdom, and not have that centuries-old tale end by being dissolved into a federal soup.

    Of what value are the next few years, set against centuries of tradition and history? Not much, that’s what.

  5. I am impressed by H’s ability to see four hundred years into the future.

  6. Oh, it’s easy: everything will be like it is now, but worse.


  7. Both sides in the argument are relying on their imagined capacity to predict the future.

    Irrespective of how Brexit turns out, long term trends suggest the future will be better not worse than the past. This applies to disease prevention, longevity, warfare, poverty levels and numerous other factors. Of course something could come along and upset those trends – global warming, global nuclear conflict, antibiotic resistance, mineral scarcity, Skynet etc – but accurately predicting how we will overcome those issues is probably impossible. All we can say is that so far humanity has generally trended in positive directions in most arenas.

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