The European Union was inspired by the vision of bringing peace, unity and prosperity to Europe in the wake of The first and second world wars. We have these 11 men to thank for that. The first tangible manifestation of that vision was the European Coal and Steel Community with Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands leading the way. Note that two are former fascist regimes. This was followed by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 that established the EEC this abolished customs duties between member states and resulted in economic growth: Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom saw the benefits of this and joined the Common market in 1973 shortly after decimalisation in the UK. A curious imperial notion that had 240 pence as the makeup of a pound. Perhaps the Brexiteers fancy a return to that quaint notion (maybe they’ll lobby to bring back farthings, shillings, threepence and florins while they’re renegotiating every single trade deal in Europe post exit.)
In 1986 the economic vision is further strengthened with the creation of the Single European Act. and Spain and Portugal sign up. This provides the basis for a vast six-year programme aimed at sorting out the problems with the free flow of trade across EU borders and thus creates the ‘Single Market’.
So far, so positive.
Austria, Finland and Sweden join us in 1995. The Shengen agreement allows us to travel freely across Europe to exploit opportunity and share cultures.
Ten new countries join the EU in 2004, followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 and Croatia in 2013..
In 56 years Europe has seen war between nations shrivel and die. Sure terrorism is rife and internal conflicts remain but the Union has become a peace zone.
To my knowledge not one single country has even thought about leaving.
28 countries are joined in free trade, a bid to reduce pollution, economic development, fairness of law.
These are the rules for membership which cannot be met by Turkey. (One of the crazy fear mongering cards being played by Brexiteers)
- stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;
- a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces in the EU;
- the ability to take on and implement effectively the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.
And here’s where Turkey stands in terms of negotiations to meet the 35 ‘chapters” that will allow member states to consider entry to the Union. (Not looking promising, is it? )
Note that the Chapter entitled “Freedom of movement of workers” hasn’t even been opened yet and financial control has been on the table since 2007.
Please then, can we move on from the Turkey question?
So, we have peace, we have prosperity, albeit in a climate where the richer nations help the poorer ones – and we’re rich, and we have free trade with no real barriers.
Sounds kind of positive doesn’t it?
What’s more, everything the EU does is founded on treaties, voluntarily and democratically agreed by its member countries. Not, and I repeat not, crazy rules imposed on us from Brussels that Brexiteers so love to imply
We help agree/ratify these rules for the common good.
Some help us greatly, some are more challenging, but if the whole represents more than the sum of its parts, which is a fundamental rationale for the EU’s existence, then this is a price we simply have to accept and pay. We don’t all agree with every Scottish or UK law do we?
Nine out ten economists think Brexit is preposterous.
The Americans think it is preposterous.
Member states think it is preposterous.
The stock market, down over 5% in the last few days, as the realisation that Brexit is no longer a silly extremist Tory fantasy, begin to realise that it’s a distinct possibility starts, frankly, to shit itself.
Here’s a headline from this week.
The Bank of England has allocated almost £2.5bn of cash to City firms to help them handle any Brexit-related panic.
London’s stock market is plumbing new lows as traders continue to quake in the shadow of the EU vote.
And the copy that went with it?
The Footsie has now shed 378 points since the start of trading on Thursday, when Brexit fears began to mount.
That means a staggering £98bn has been wiped off the value of Britain’s biggest companies in four trading days.
Now, the Brexit vote is most commonly supported by pensioners.
What does a falling stock market do to pensions?
It’s like turkeys (but not Turkey) voting for Christmas.
It’s actually insane.
And Obama tells us openly and categorically that Brexit would put the UK “at the back of the queue ” for a trade deal with the US.
Mark Carney says “leaving the EU ids the biggest domestic risk to financial stability”.
Forget the numbers. Leave quotes “facts” that are every bit as misleading as Remain’s are.
The debate has been a shambles.
Just look at the fundamentals here and the direction of traffic since 1951.
Peace, prosperity and proliferation of membership. No need to be ‘forced’ into the Euro.
Leaving this would be a national disgrace.
The Scottish question
Now the eagle-eyed amongst you will note that I was a solid advocate of a “Scexit” in 2014. None of the arguments above applied.
We would have remained in Europe or would have negotiated our readmittance.
Our economy, based on the evidence at the time, and I accept the fall in the oil price hasn’t helped that p[articular argument, would, I believe, have benefitted.
And peace would have been guaranteed.
Should a Brexit vote manifest itself you bet Independence would rear its head again and the appeal of renegotiating re-entry to the EU would be the biggest single factor influencing the Scots.
But let’s not go there.
Come on Britain. It’s time to smell the coffee.