This isn’t a blog on religious belief. I am sure it wouldn’t deter some readers, if it were but some don’t follow.
No, this is about having faith in something a bit more tangible – the United Kingdom.
I have lost track of the number of times, I have heard the ‘Remainians’ (the name given to those who want Britain to remain in the EU) say that a vote for Britain to regain its independence would be a ‘leap in the dark’. If I think of such an important vote as a leap, I prefer to consider it as a leap of faith.
I have faith in the United Kingdom.
I have faith that the UK can regain control of its democracy, which for many years has been constantly undermined by membership of the European Union. For many European countries, democracy is a relatively new phenomenon but not for the UK. The largest constituent of the UK, England, has enjoyed differing levels of representative democracy for more than a thousand years. It is a system, from which other countries have also benefited, particularly those in the so called, Anglosphere. Countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland and India, for example.
I have faith that the UK will be able to enjoy a thriving economy. The UK has always been a trading nation and we continue to be so. As the economies of the EU, and particularly the Euro-zone, have stuttered and stagnated over recent years, Britain has been slowly re-connecting with the rest of the world outside the EU. The Remainians emphasise that the EU is a market place of 500 million people. No doubt that is true. Remember though that there are 6.5 billion people outside of the EU. To save you doing the maths, that is 13 times more people outside the EU, than are in it.
Not that we would automatically lose access to the EU, were the British to leave.
Forget Project Fear with their talk about ‘3 million UK jobs are dependent on the EU’. The number of 3 million has been found to be a highly dubious extrapolation from old data but mainly remember that whatever the number of jobs, these are dependent on trade with the EU, not the EU itself. There is no logical reason why trade between a free UK and the EU, should be reduced. Yes Britain would need to conclude a trade treaty with the EU and of course this could very easily be concluded within a very short space of time. The template for this already exists. It is the way that trade is already conducted between the UK and its EU partners. All that is needed is for that to be converted into legislation. However, also don’t forget that failing that, the tariff rates that would otherwise prevail would be those from the World Trade Organisation. These WTO rates are in the range of 2-4% – so hardly likely to lead to a massive change in trade relationships. I also have faith that EU businessmen will pressure their own political leaders to quickly conclude a trade treaty with a now free United Kingdom. Given that the rest of the EU enjoys a significant trade surplus with the UK, does anyone seriously believe that these countries would not treat with a free UK so as to retain such a beneficial commercial relationship?
I have faith that those in power in a free UK and those in the EU and in the rest of Europe, will continue to see the benefits of cooperation on security issues. In this interconnected world, all governments need to cooperate and share information on security issues. It defies logic and common sense to think that a vote for Brexit, would then mean that Britain doesn’t share information that it gathers from GCHQ or other assets, with other members of Europol. The same applies reciprocally to the security services of other European countries.
I have faith that freed from making a net contribution of at least £10 billion a year to the EU budget (the amount is sometimes quoted as more than £20 billion but I have taken the lowest number, on which there seems to be no dispute), the money can be better and more efficiently spent in the UK. I am certainly right to have faith that the funds, when they remain in the UK, will be properly accounted for. The same can never be said of the EU. To me, the fact that the accounts of the EU have not been signed-off by auditors for the last 19 years speaks to at best, an extremely inefficient organisation and at worst, an organisation that is riven through with corruption and mis-spending.
I have faith that freed from the protectionist policies of the EU, the UK will be able to support developing country economies by buying their agricultural products. The EU Common Agricultural Policy has a terrible effect on the economies of these developing countries. One has to wonder just how many of the economic migrants from Africa now flooding into Europe are doing so because they cannot make a living at home, as a result of the trade barriers that the EU puts in front of the exports from their home countries. This isn’t fiction, just because it sounds like it, the EU imposes trade barriers on agricultural imports from third world countries and then turns around gives aid to those very countries. Sounds like economic colonialism to me but we hear not a peep from the ‘Left’ in the EU.
A British actress was recently quoted describing Great Britain as a ‘cake-filled, misery laden, grey old island’. Since I am not a ‘lefty’ I don’t subscribe to the self-loathing to which socialists and communists are prone. Cake-filled? Really don’t understand that – certainly don’t understand how Britain is any more ‘cake-filled’ than say Austria with its delicious sachertorte or a tredlnik from the Czech republic – such a strange, weird statement. Misery laden? Hmm, the actress was speaking in Germany, which ranked at 26th place, according to the 2015 Happiness Index, ranks behind the UK which is in 21st place. Grey? Maybe she should get out of her tinted-windows limousine and see the colours of Britain. There are some grim colourless parts of the UK, just as there are, in so many other countries, around the world but look at the variety of colour that extends across the British countryside and call that grey! Old island – yes, she is right on this. We are an old island and an old democracy as well but that hasn’t stopped our country turning out giants of industry, letters and arts, science and philosophy and politics. I have faith that we will continue to do so.
It is probably old fashioned to say this but I share my faith in the United Kingdom, with previous leaders of this country. I share it with Winston Churchill who, in 1940, when Britain stood alone against the Nazis, had faith in the British people and had faith that our British values of decency and democracy would prevail against the evil National Socialism of Hitler.
Join me, take a leap and have faith in Britain – Vote Leave!