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Letter: I Do Question the Claim That Brexit Is Has Been a Disaster

Published on: 17 Jun, 2024
Updated on: 17 Jun, 2024

From: John Perkins

In response to: We Need Closer Cooperation with Europe

David Roberts says no one now “seriously questions that Brexit has been a disaster”.

Really? Nobody questions that view of Brexit? I do for one. And I am not alone.

It would be useful to see some figures proving that it has been an economic “disaster”, otherwise the claim looks like uninformed opinion. Attributing the current state of the economy entirely to Brexit, while ignoring factors such as the money wasted on Covid, the war in Ukraine and the influence of the OBR [Office of Budget Responsibility] and  the Bank of England, both of which have shown a remarkable ability to be wrong.

Political influence and reputation are harder to measure, but there are countries, including some in the EU, where leading politicians support it. The view of the current administration in the USA is not shared by the opposition there and was not shared by the previous executive.

WWII, which occurred during “the last 85 years”, caused Britain catastrophic human and economic cost and bears no comparison with anything since.

Undoubtedly Suez caused huge damage to the reputations of both Britain and France, showing that neither were major world powers any longer. It’s impossible to imagine that the Tories forced France to join in their “escapade”.

To the cost of joining and leaving must be added the cost of membership over 40 years, some of it obvious, some less so. If those costs were damaging then they must be set against any calculated gain.

It’s never a good idea to negotiate a relationship from a weakened position, especially one where the other side has proved to be much better at it. Last time, the EU easily bested the feeble May, Robbins and others in negotiations, to its advantage and the detriment of the UK.

All of the deals with the EU made by third countries such as Switzerland require them to obey EU rules. Why does the UK need closer cooperation unless there is an obvious benefit other than the somewhat mystical one of ‘influence’.

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Responses to Letter: I Do Question the Claim That Brexit Is Has Been a Disaster

  1. John Murray Reply

    June 17, 2024 at 4:39 pm

    Quite apart from anything else, it is surely far too early to make any sort of a judgement. Britain is like a person emerging from a 47 year jail sentence and suffering from institutionalisation. After growing used to having all their decisions made for them and being subject to a regime they are disorientated. For young people it is worse, as they were effectively born into captivity.

    The country needs time to find its feet in the world again. We need at least ten years out before any sort of evaluation can be made. All we know for sure at this stage is that the terrible predictions made by Remainers have not happened.

  2. Peter Hyde Reply

    June 17, 2024 at 5:04 pm

    John Perkins is not alone. France and Germany both tried to conquer Europe. Their leaders decided the best way to avoid future wars was to join in a union so they could dominate together. I wanted the UK to have as much control as reasonably possible over its own affairs and I have no regrets about Brexit. It was never about economics or power and influence for people like me.

  3. David Roberts Reply

    June 17, 2024 at 6:48 pm

    The arguments about the economic benefits or othrwise of the EU are ultimately sterile, since there are so many what-ifs and no-one can prove a counter-factual.

    But if it’s mysticism you want, look no further than the Brexiteer notion of “national sovereignty”. As a diplomat I learned that there’s nothing mystical about power and influence.

    As the old Brussels saying goes, “If you’re not at the table, you’ll be on the menu.” That just about sums up where the UK is now.

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