Sunday, 11 October 2015

Killer Arguments against Brexit, Not

The referendum about whether Britain should stay in the EU has hit the headlines again, with Lord Lawson placing himself at the head of the campaign for a vote to leave.

For a brief period, all the pro and anti arguments have resurfaced in the media. Some are serious points, but many, and many of the most popular, are true KBNs. The current leader is "we must stay in the EU, because it is only the EU that has prevented war in Europe for the last seventy years".

Well quite apart from the fact that the EU only came into existence in 1993, if you look at history, the last war in Europe started by Britain was probably the Seven Years' War, which ended in 1763, 188 years before the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community, the original forerunner of the EU. The EU and its predecessors may possibly have stopped other European states from going to war in the last 70 years, but, if so, it is going to go on doing that after we have left.

Even if the predecessors to the EU, like the EEC, were responsible for keeping the Pax Europa, it is not the EEC, which we actually voted to join, that we are trying to leave, it is the EU, an organisation which, with its shenanigans in Ukraine, has arguably brought us closer to an new European war than we have been at any point since the second world war.

There are reasons for staying in the EU, but this is not one of them.


Kj said...


Mark Wadsworth said...

Fear (whether justified or not) of the USSR forced western European countries to huddle together in counter-alliances such as EEC or NATO rather than fight among themselves.

So it was the Cold War which helped keep the peace in Europe.

Plus I think that Europeans really had learned their lesson by 1945 and were in no hurry to do it again.

Mark Wadsworth said...

For the next one can you do "One third of British jobs depend on EU membership"? I love that one.

Will you also be doing the stupid "out" arguments trotted out by UKIP? There are so many good arguments for Brexit but UKIP usually choose irrelevant or incorrect ones.

DBC Reed said...

During the last referendum as a naïve young fellow I hooked up with an "organisation" that ran about London shouting for a Commonwealth Common Market.One of its beliefs was that the USA was stealing our old Imperial preference markets and was forcing us into Europe so that they could get on with it undisturbed. God, how naïve we were!Former Blackshirts who had started the whole Mosleyite Union movement countered that a united Europe was the only way to stop the Americans advancing their economic and political influence: de Gaulle took the same line more forcefully.
I still can see both sides of this argument and would vote to stay in if the EU grew a de Gaullist pair .Though Brexit might help restore the traditional British Resale Price Maintenance system.
I suspect I am in my usual very small minority.

The Stigler said...

It's also that we solved the problem of producing plenty of food, to the point where it's so cheap to produce food that it isn't worth the blood and treasure to steal your neighbour's land for food production. We're more worried about too much food in the west than too little. It's much cheaper to get them to grow the food and pay them for it.

To me, the EEC was a good thing, and for its time, worked. It fitted a world where we didn't trade much with Africa, Russia, the USA or the Far East. It was the correct size trading area for the early 1970s. And it was a trading area, with certain ideas that support that (like certain common standards such as weights and measures). UKIP bumped along for decades as an irrelevance because most people didn't care too much about metric martyrs. It's political union that people object to. As you rightly observe - the EU went beyond being just about trade and became about much more.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, there are so many wonderful things which the EEC/EU could have done if it were not beholden to corporatism.

For example; we could have formed a buyers' cartel for Russian and Middle Eastern oil and gas and flatly refused to pay more than cost-plus. Now that oil has fallen to about $50 a barrel, it would be a very good time to revisit this idea.

Or the EEC/EU could have responded to the wishes of its citizens and closed its borders to Islamists.

Or the EEC/EU could have pushed for LVT as a common tax base instead of VAT.

Had the EEC/EU done this sort of thing instead of straightening cucumbers and banning light bulbs, i would be a staunch supporter.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ooh, and can you do "Being in the EU helps tackle cross border crime" I love that one as well.

Random said...

MW, here:

Bayard said...

Mark, sorry, that one was such an easy target I couldn't resist. Good point about the Cold War. I hadn't thought of that.

DBC Reed said...

The old idea of a Europe independent from US economic and political control briefly sprang to life five days ago when Jean Claude Juncker said that Europe mustn't let its policy to Russia be dictated by the USA.Obvious relevance to Syria,Ukraine etc. Meanwhile British fat arses are despatching troops to reinforce Baltic States against "the Russian threat" and giving permission to fire missiles against Russian planes where we are supposed to be on the same side.American policy to get Russian influence out of Afghanistan by arming mujahedin with anti helicopter Stinger missiles sure worked a treat: jihadists are now killing people and destabilising countries on an epic scale.