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Opinion: The Status Quo Is Not An Option In The EU Referendum

Published on: 19 Jun, 2016
Updated on: 23 Jun, 2016
Cllr Christian Holliday

Cllr Christian Holliday

By Christian Holliday

Conservative ward councillor for Burpham

This article is the fourth of a series of five setting out Christian’s personal views on the EU referendum debate. They are written in response to Nils Christiansen’s articles which commenced with: Why I Will Be Voting ‘Remain’ in the EU Referendum.

The EU’s best days are not only behind it, in an increasingly globalised world, the old 1950s mentalities of the EU are actively harming the UK and Europe as a whole.

The “burning platform” created by the EU, as discussed in my previous articles, which has driven us to this referendum in the first place, gets hotter and more dangerous as every year passes.

EU & UK FlagsThis week we saw the ruling from the European Court of Justice that said it was lawful for the UK to withhold family benefits to EU migrants who were not working, if they did not have the right to reside in the UK.  Members of the Remain campaign were quick to welcome and share news of this ruling, as if it were a reason to stay.

But they missed the main point completely: regardless of your views on the Government’s policy, what on earth are foreign courts doing interfering in the minutiae of the British benefits system?

Opinion Logo 2The EU now has plans for greater harmonisation of tax affairs and a common defence force, amongst other far reaching matters.  The economic instability caused by the Euro is now being used to justify “more Europe”, which will, if past experience is anything to go by, create a new crisis of one sort or another, thereby justifying “more Europe” once again.

The cycle will continue until a United States of Europe is achieved.  The EU project never stands still for long and it is important that voters appreciate this.

The status quo is not on the ballot paper.

Post Brexit, Britain will be like most countries on Earth – not in the EU.  Like all these other countries, we will trade and prosper on the back of our ingenuity and the quality of our goods and services.

If we have something others want, they will buy it.  Entrepreneurial British business people, such as James Dyson and Lord Bamford (JCB) support this viewpoint, whereas vested corporate interests seek to run the UK economy down as part of project fear.

Yes, trade deals can be useful, but they are not essential.  Our largest single trading partner is the United States if America, with whom we have never had a trade deal.

In my view we should be listening to the entrepreneurs who make positive things happen.  The Remain campaign wheels out “independent experts”, most of whom are government and/or EU funded, to scare people.  They also tend to be organisations that called it wrong on both the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) and British membership of the Euro, such as the CBI.

There are many successful countries around the world from which to draw inspiration.  Singapore has been mentioned.  It has been achieved through transparent government, pragmatic leadership and forward looking, pro-innovation business policies.  In short, all the things the EU isn’t.

Two of the most successful countries in Europe are Norway and Switzerland.  The remain campaign is constantly attacking their models of interacting with the EU.  Yet, neither Norway or Switzerland have any plans to join the EU.  Clearly there lack of EU membership is no great hardship for them.

Britain will of course follow a path befitting the fifth largest economy in the world. Our exports to the rest of the world are growing twice as fast as exports to the EU.

I recall attending debates on Britain’s place in Europe when I was in University, around 16 years ago now.  At the time pro-Europeans were arguing that ‘ nearly 60% of our exports go to the EU.’  Ten years later, such campaigners were arguing ‘half our exports go to the EU’. Today they state ‘over 40% of our exports go the EU’.  The trend here is clear.  The EU is becoming less and less important to us as a market.

At some point in the 2030s Britain’s economy will overtake that of Germany. (Yes, Germany has bought itself a few years extra time at the top by accepting one million refugees, but at a catastrophic cost, socially and politically).  Clearly, the UK will be a major economic player well into the future.

Winston Churchill said: “We are with Europe, but not of it.  We are linked but not comprised.  We are interested and associated but not absorbed.”

When Charles De Gaulle vetoed Britain’s first application to join the European Community in 1963, he observed that: “England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her interactions, her markets and her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions.”  Nothing much has changed since that statement was made.

We are and always have been global facing.  Economically and politically, we need to cut ourselves free and chart our own course once more, and I hope that other EU countries will follow suit.  Not for the first time in history, we must lead in Europe, this time by voting Leave on 23rd June.

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Responses to Opinion: The Status Quo Is Not An Option In The EU Referendum

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    June 19, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    With apologies to Cllr Holiday, I will be voting Remain. Not for any of the reasons stated in the media or talked about with friends.

    No, my decision is being made purely in the fact that I don’t think our Conservative government is able to run our country without the support from Europe.

    • John Armstrong Reply

      June 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Lisa Wright is quite right but HM Government hasn’t been running the country for quite some time. The EU has been running it and look at the state that Greece, Italy and Spain are in. And indeed the UK, with our £1 trillion debt and 1.5 million young unemployed.

      After Brexit however a British government will be running the country, it just won’t be the current lot, at least not for long.

      John Armstrong is the chairman of Guildford Ukip

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    June 19, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Perhaps our present government is not the best we have had in recent years, but it has been democratically elected unlike those unelected and overpaid bureaucrats in Brussels.

    • Stuart Barnes Reply

      June 20, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Hear, hear! There is the other benefit of voting out also of course – we get rid of David Cameron.

  3. John Schluter Reply

    June 19, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    We elect our MEPs in a democratic manner. Overpaid is an opinion, I don’t know what the going rate is but I don’t see Farage feeling guilty about his salary.

  4. Roslyn McMillan Reply

    June 20, 2016 at 12:21 am

    In response to John Armstrong, no, the EU does not run this country. Our rather callous government does – and its friends in the banking industry have a lot to answer for for the financial state we have been in.

    I suppose Ukip MEPs, who oppose the very institution to which they were elected, may not have been wholly committed to their responsibility, but I presume they and the British Commissioners have been representing our interests in European matters as much as those of other member states.

    I wonder if we are so completely wrapped up in our own well-being as to disregard the rest of the EU? I am old enough to remember the pulling together of European countries after the Second World War to try to prevent the circumstances leading to such a conflict occurring again.

    Richer nations, as the EU developed, naturally contributed more than the poorer ones. With any large organisation there is a need for updating and reform over time and the EU certainly needs this, but to desert it now, rather than work within it, suggests we would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  5. Bernard Parke Reply

    June 20, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Interesting point made above regarding voting in a democratic manner for our MEP, but what influence do they have over the unelected bureaucrats and the 27 other member countries in the EU?

    In fact, we are very much aware of our MP here in Guildford but how many of us know who our MEPs actually are?

    Click here for a list of South East region MEPs. Ed

    • Mary Bedforth Reply

      June 23, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      I do and write to all 10 of them. I hardly ever get replies.

  6. Sue Fox Reply

    June 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    The EU Commission equals the UK Civil Service each comply’s with the wishes of elected members, each commissioner is nominated by a member government. MEPs attract the electorate about as much as local councillors do, please remember if you don’t vote you get what others want.

    If enough MEPs reject a a commission proposal it won’t get agreed.

    Those of us who have benefitted from the EU have a responsiblity to vote for future generations, i.e. remain, and then make sure UK government gets a better deal for all members of the Union.

    Enjoy the peace – for once in my life I agree with David Cameron, this has to be a first! “Don’t quit!”

  7. Jim Allen Reply

    June 20, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Too late to try and convince me. I want, in fact I demand we have a sovereign right to set our own housing needs and the amount of infrastructure we need for the benefit of the people of England. I simply cannot follow any logic which moves people to where the jobs are as opposed to putting jobs were the people live.

    The infrastructure is currently in place right across the EU – so why are people flooding into the UK to work forcing us locals to provide duplicate facilities, that already exist across the EU, to the detriment of our island.

    Totally irrational to use a finite resource of our planet to duplicate what already exists.

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