Sometimes the worst people say the most pertinent things: when Enoch Powell spoke of the double standards of colonial Britain towards Mau Mau and domestic prisoners, he was on shockingly enlightened; when Henry Kissinger spoke of the importance of foreign policy needing to rest in hearts as well as minds, he was prophetic, and when Benjamin Netanyahu said ‘Political leadership involves always choosing between bad and worse’ he was right. It seems that the Leave campaign have either ignored Netanyahu’s excellent maxim, or are willingly choosing the latter. The European Union has many faults, but a Britain outside of it would be worse off, not better.
The claim that Britain could both trade freely with Europe, and control inward migration from Europe is as mendacious as it is doltish. No European country enjoys both access to the single market, and the ability to reject European migrants at its borders. Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, often vaunted by the Leave camp as examples of how post-Brexit Britain could prosper not only accept free movement of people from the EU, but are in fact members of the Schengen area, allowing passport free movement, a step further along the road to the borderless state that the vote Leave camp so loathe. The choice for a post-Brexit Britain is therefore, to cut itself off from the world largest economy, or to continue to freely accept EU migrants whilst having no say at the table of how the EU regulations it will have to abide by in order to trade with the bloc are drawn up.
‘But what of sovereignty?’ plead the Leave camp. The reality is that affairs which require the cooperation between states always require the pooling of sovereignty. A trade deal between two countries still requires the harmonisation of regulations and standards between the two parties, and that means that both sides are likely to have to amend some of their existing rules to support the other. To trade with the EU, our largest trading partner, and the world’s largest economy, we would be less sovereign, for we would as, other non EU members of the European Economic Area have, be forced to accept all EU standards without any say in their creation.
The Leave camp have complained constantly, of the negativity of the Remain campaign, to that I say: bad or worse? Because the reality of post-Brexit Britain, is far more dire than a status quo, in which is Britain not only richer, but is an influencer of the world’s largest economy, which we frequently use to our advantage.
If positivity is what the undecideds most crave, then a vote to remain, reflects many of the most positive things Britain has achieved. It was after all, the Allies, not Britain alone, through the pooling of talents, strategy, and lives, that defeated Nazism. Even as Britain stood alone in the face of what seemed overbearing Nazi aggression during the battle of Britain, there were Poles and Czechs in her Spitfires and Hurricanes; as Britain drew herself up against after the monstrous destruction of that war, we accepted American terms attached to the generous loans that our friends across the Atlantic gave us, and turned to Carribeans, Indians and Pakistanis to help build our NHS, and our country after the war – faces similar to those who the leave campaign now tell us are pushing us towards ‘Breaking Point’. Britain has always been at its very best when it has worked alongside its friends in the world, and with its peoples. A vote to remain would reaffirm that we have not forgotten how much stronger we are thanks to that outward looking positivity.
On bad people saying pertinent things, Nigel Farage once said ‘It’s not fearmongering, if it’s true’. He is right. To say that Britain would be worse off outside the EU is not fearmongering, because it is true. That Britain would reject the insularity and anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Leave campaign, and continue its tradition of looking outside itself and to people who can make a positive contribution to our great country isn’t fear-inducing anyway; it’s actually rather beautiful.