It’s time to leave the European Union so Britain can achieve its global ambitions once more.
Our little island has always had an internationalist outlook. The cluster of members which make up our British family has always looked beyond its own borders and seen hope, trade and opportunity.
Take the Scottish nobleman Henry Sinclair. Evidence suggests that in 1398 he packed his bags and explored Greenland and North America, an impressive one hundred years before Christopher Columbus. Take also Mount Everest: the mammoth mountain named in honour of the Welshman, Colonel Sir George Everest, who completed the great Trigonometric Survey of India in 1806. Also, Sir Francis Drake: the Englishman who set his masts to circumnavigate the entire world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580.
These people are but a few of the greats in our history. Their achievements show that our small island has always led the way in global exploration and innovation. The upcoming referendum on our membership of the European Union gives us the opportunity to once more become a global nation.
The Remain camp peddles fear. They say we are small and unable to enter the global stage once again. Perhaps we’re even smaller than we were in the age of Colonel Sir George Everest, particularly in a globalised and more accessible world. But, in such a brave new world we must not turn our back on the rest of the world, particularly growth economies, only to fix our gaze on the coughing and sick EU neighbourhood. It’s time to peek beyond the European Union to rekindle the internationalism that helped shape Britain and the Western World.
On the ballot paper on June 23rd is more than membership of a political union. To back Leave is an opportunity for us to say how confident we are in our nation’s ambitions. When in the voting booth, put an X next to Remain if you think our global ambitions are dependent on Brussels bureaucrats. Succumb to the belittling fear mongering of the Remain and Stronger In camp, which say we need our European colleagues to set our own laws, and have control of our own borders. Vote Remain out of dithering fear, petrified that if you should put your faith in Britain and vote Leave, there’ll be a clap of lightening and the four horseman of the Apocalypse will instantly ride out of a blackened sky.
Voting Leave promises optimism and hope, much more than what the Leave camp might have you believe. If we vote out, we will emancipate ourselves from a political project and the toxicity of its currency, which has been a stifling anchor on the incredible force of European and British innovation and creativity. It took the EU seven years to strike a trade deal with Canada. The Elizabethan Sir Francis Drake travelled the globe in a shorter time than it took the EU to set up this trade agreement, showing how disabled and immobilised the European Union has become by its own bureaucracy.
Look also at the proud nations of Spain and Greece, which gave us Aristotle and Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, now kicked to the dirt, and having to take a begging bowl to Germany. Similar to how Islamic Sharia has ruined the human and innovative spirit of the Persians, the Euro and ever-closer Union has sabotaged the potential achievements of the Greeks and Spaniards.
I make this emotive case to leave the European Union, but others are making a more reasoned and economic case. Even the leader of ‘Stronger In’, so used to making a negative and miserable case of Britain, slipped up and admitted that wages will go UP if we leave. Similarly, Lord Lawson said that the idea that British withdrawal from the EU would cause a ‘shock’ to the world economy is ‘absurd’. In addition to this, the boss of British Airways said we should be wary of Project Fear, and that it would be safer for Britain to reclaim control. He also commented that BrExit would have no impact on business.
The point on security is important. Remain would have you believe that Strasbourg diktats on food packaging regulation has kept the peace in Europe, completely negating the success of NATO. They also say we would be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks, threatening us with the horror that a London or Birmingham Bataclan styled attack is more likely, all in order to keep you clutching to nurse’s suffocating skirt. They forget not only NATO but also the ‘Five Eyes’. This is a club of English speaking countries, including the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia which all share intelligence. The French and German intelligence services aren’t apart of this exclusive Five Eyes club. It is the cooperative partnership of the Five Eyes that is the source of homeland security not Brussels. If we leave the EU, both NATO and the Five Eyes club will remain.
But, the strongest case to vote Leave is indeed abstract in notion, but it is one that has huge consequences for all our lives: The idea of sovereignty and democracy.
The European Union has slowly eroded the sovereignty of its member nations. It should be the choice of voters to elect and kick out politicians and rulers. We don’t have that luxury in Britain, in France, in Belgium, or in Poland. None of us have entire control. None have the ability to vote on who makes up to over 50% of our laws.
The history of Europe is marred by the struggle to win such freedoms and has long fought against tyranny and oppression. The European Union has become an affront to the hard-worn victories that have been awarded to us throughout our historical struggles. It is ugly and unrelenting in its illiberal and undemocratic charge against member nation’s self-determination. It is faceless and unaccountable in its disregard for democracy. Instead of its original plan of trading goods for wealth, the EU now trades sovereignty for control.
But we have a chance, a small opportunity to correct this wrong. The British can do what it does best and say: “Thank you awfully, but no.” Don’t vote because of fear, vote with pride and strength. On the ballot paper on June 23rd vote for your faith and confidence in Britain, in her history, in her achievements and the belief that her better days lie ahead. Vote for democracy; vote for sovereignty; vote Leave.
Ben Brittain is Conservative Party activist and works for the mental health service. He is a Local Elected Authority Governor, as well as a committee member on the Birmingham Governors Network.