Can you imagine yourself happy with a situation where the USA was a member of an “American Union”, comprising Canada, U.S.A., Mexico, seven countries in Central America and twelve countries in South America? The government of the Union would be based in, say, Equador and would have authority to pass laws which the US Congress had no option but to accept. The Court of Justice , based in Honduras, would have precedence over your Supreme Court. And there was free movement of labour, where citizens of any of the other countries had almost unlimited access through your borders? In addition, you would be expected to provide a large part of the financing of this organisation, which was so mired in corruption that the auditors had failed to sign off the accounts for twenty years.
Well, neither are we.
Having fought for years to restrict the EU’s growing intrusion into our lives, yet failing miserably, we were at last given an opportunity to bring our involvement to an end, when David Cameron offered a referendum in a desperate attempt to hold his own seriously split Conservative Party together and in the hope of winning last year’s election. He did so without imagining in his wildest dreams that he could possibly lose. Having won the election, he then had to honour his promise, with the result that, last Thursday, a majority of the voters took their one and only opportunity to have their views prevail.
To say that the establishment and the political elite were devastated is an understatement. Having threatened the electorate with every possible dire warning of the consequences, from massive tax rises, inflation, pension cuts, even a possible WW3 (honestly), the fact that the peasants had revolted was inexplicable to them, and they tried to discredit the result in any way possible.
The reasons for the vote to withdraw are mainly twofold. Most people rejected the warnings of long term economic disaster. It was accepted that there would be some turbulence, which has occurred, but we will be free to make trade agreements worldwide rather than confined only to a shrinking European market, and our long term prospects are good. The first reason to withdraw was immigration. Some people are anti-immigrant by nature, and oppose any. The remainder are concerned that, at present, we cannot restrict almost all applications from the Eurozone (population 500million) on principle. Last year we received an influx of 330,000 immigrants at a time when the Prime Minister had undertaken to reduce numbers to “tens of thousands” This is becoming increasingly impractical. We are a country not much larger than Florida, with a population one fifth of the whole United States. We have no wish to prevent immigration, but the majority of people feel the need to have some control over numbers, and this is inconsistent with E.U. Policy. The second reason for the desire to leave is the belief that we need to recover our national sovereignty. To have arrogant, unelected European bureaucrats, openly pledged to ever closer union, dictating our way of life to ridiculous lengths is unacceptable. Hence we voted out.
Even whilst we are in England we have followed your election with interest, some amusement and some concern. However, our own political shenanigans are currently taking precedence on the worlds newsstands and broadcasts. We follow events in America on-line in the NYT and on CNN and Fox News, and feel that you may be getting a wrong impression about events here. It is the Exiters who have the long term interest of the country at heart and the Remainers (politicians, bankers, industrialists, union leaders etc) who wish to preserve their benefits and power. It all looks to be a shambles, and indeed in many ways it is. But it will sort itself out in the Autumn when we have a new Prime Minister and negotiations begin with the EU. We have stood on our own before and can certainly do it again. In the meantime your pension funds may take a short term hit, and for this we apologise. But hold tight, and it will all come right. Remember the words of your great President Franklin D. Roosevelt at his inauguration in 1933. There have been much greater disasters than this in our history. 23rd June will forever be our Independence Day.
Ian D. Small