Why I Voted to Leave

This article appeared in the print edition of the Evening Telegraph: 22/04/2019 [Online], Available: https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/ewan-gurr-i-voted-for-brexit-in-2016-and-i-still-want-us-to-leave-the-sinking-eu-ship/  [Accessed: 2019, Apr 23]

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I voted to leave in the European Union referendum of 2016. But let me say this at the outset, what bothers me is the lack of civility that has seeped into the debate via the use of terms like ‘Remoaner” or ‘Remainiac’. If you voted remain, you may lose my agreement but you will never lose my respect for the right to your own opinion. Also, my support for leave is not support for the Conservative handling of the exit process and nor, among my reasons for leaving, was immigration an issue. The main reason was the idea that we should be a self-governing and globally-focused nation that can define its own destiny without requiring the approval of an international institution.

This is why I also believe in Scottish independence and bringing power close to home but Jean Monnet, one of the EU’s founding fathers, backed “irreversible federation”. Some estimate the EU has as little as 18 per cent power so why be concerned? But, last year, the Scottish Government used less than that amount of power to set up its own social security system. More power equals more potential but engagement with the EU is dire. I was among the pitiful 35 per cent who voted in 2014 but I remember one Remain campaigner telling me in 2016 she did not vote two years earlier. I said: “So you want a seat at the European table but you don’t care who is sitting there?”

Secondly, like many Remain supporters, I value the economic benefits of trade but see global potential. Had I been living and able to vote, I probably would have backed the Common Market in 1975. Where I believe things have gone wrong is in the political structure that now enshrines that economic relationship, about which the public were never consulted and which I feel undermines democracy. I am among the number who would have liked to have left with a deal but, in the last month, trade links have been forged with Norway, Iceland, the Pacific Islands and all Caribbean countries not to mention the big global players, like the USA, who await our call.

Thirdly, Italy’s recession was a reminder that the Eurozone is in terminal economic decline, hanging on only by the extraordinary support it receives from the European Central Bank. Meanwhile, our economy continues to outpace competitors like Germany. It was also announced this week that the UK, for the first time in 10 years, nudged USA out of the number one spot for inward investment. But, reality check, there have been four recessions since joining the EU, the Financial Times projects another and it is always people experiencing poverty who suffer most. So let’s hit the eject button before we become like a life-raft pulled under by the sinking ship.