I voted to leave the EU because I don’t want to be ruled by a corporate oligarchy whose ideological commitment to a federal Europe has created a fatally flawed currency, economic stagnation and impoverished millions of its own citizens through crippling austerity measures designed to prop up its own failed banking system.
Both prior to and after the result, the Remain campaign have consistently claimed that those who voted for Brexit (or Lexit, as in my case) were “economically naive” and simply didn’t understand the economic impact of a vote to leave the EU.
Accusations of Leave voters being stupid have been flung around by many. Clearly arrogance is not in short supply for the kind of people who make such accusations.
In England and Wales, what the vote revealed was a massive disconnect between the cosmopolitan elite in London (and only London) and the rest of the country. Even England’s second city (Birmingham) voted to leave.
What Remainer’s fail to grasp is that the economic benefits of remaining in the EU simply have not “trickled down” to the rest of England and Wales (nor Scotland and Northern Ireland.)
The riches they have enjoyed from a predominantly service based economic revival and a London centric housing bubble mean literally nothing at all to most of us outside London.
The Remain camp point to the economic instability that has certainly followed the referendum result. Over a week later we are seeing market volatility, the FTSE 100 is stabilising and the FTSE 250 (perhaps a better indicator of economic activity) is falling, while the pound struggles to hold its value.
As ever, the inevitable fiscal squeeze that will follow will undoubtedly impact upon those who can least afford it. Those who predominantly voted to leave.
However the Remain argument of “see, we told you so” is both premature and completely fails to address the sound economic reasons why they lost the referendum.
Firstly we do not know what deal the UK will strike with the EU. Despite the rhetoric of EU Commissioners like Junker it is not they who will have to face their electorates. Some EU politicians have issued “stern warnings” to the UK but, behind closed doors, it appears that there is little appetite to inflict further economic damage.
As Leave voters suspected German and French exporters do not want to lose access to our market any more than we do theirs.
So whilst the potential losses in the service sector may prove costly, perhaps weaker Sterling and an ability to freely negotiate trade deals with other economies, as well as the EU, could prove to reinvigorate UK manufacturing and exports. Who knows?
Successive UK governments, despite numerous attempts and lots of “big ideas,” have consistently failed to rebalance the economy. Yes, we have jeopardised our status as the banking centre of Europe and there will be a financial cost as a result. So maybe now a new economic balance will finally emerge?
However, no matter what the future holds, let’s be clear that the banking sector has done nothing at all to benefit the vast majority in the UK. Quite the opposite in fact.
It is because of their rampant, speculative profligacy that we suffered the 2008 economic crisis. The ideological, small state austerity that the Tory governments have burdened UK families with as a result, is the real impact of an economy too heavily reliant upon the whims of the money markets.
Put simply there is no economic recovery outside of London. So a Remain argument that we should all maintain the status quo for the sake of the economy is frankly laughable, unless you’ve got an investment portfolio of course.
Seeing as most of us can’t afford to put fuel in the car at the end of the month the “economy stupid” appears to be exactly that. Stupid!
But what is perhaps worse is the fact that none of the economic experts, who combined forces to try to influence the referendum, understand why they failed from an economic perspective.
So let’s look at some of the economic miracles that the EU has brought to the wider UK economy and the vast majority of people who live in England and Wales.
Cadbury moved factory to Poland 2011 with EU grant.
Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with EU grant.
Jaguar Land Rover has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia with EU grant, owned by Tata, the same company who have trashed our steel works and emptied the workers pension funds.
Peugeot closed its Ryton (was Rootes Group) plant and moved production to Slovakia with EU grant.
British Army’s new Ajax fighting vehicles to be built in SPAIN using SWEDISH steel at the request of the EU to support jobs in Spain with EU grant, rather than Wales.
Dyson gone to Malaysia, with an EU loan.
Crown Closures, Bournemouth (Was METAL BOX), gone to Poland with EU grant, once employed 1,200.
M&S manufacturing gone to the Far East with EU loan.
Hornby models gone. In fact all toys and models now gone from UK along with the patents all with EU grants.
Gillette gone to Eastern Europe with EU grant.
Texas Instruments Greenock gone to Germany with EU grant.
Indesit at Bodelwyddan Wales, gone with EU grant.
Sekisui Alveo said production at its Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Park foam plant will relocate production to Roermond in the Netherlands, with EU funding.
Hoover Merthyr factory moved out of UK to Czech Republic and the Far East by Italian company Candy with EU backing.
ICI integration into Holland’s AkzoNobel with EU bank loan and within days of the merger, several factories in the UK, were closed, eliminating 3,500 jobs.
Boots sold to Italians Stefano Pessina who have based their HQ in Switzerland to avoid tax to the tune of £80 million a year, using an EU loan for the purchase.
Swindon was once our producer of rail locomotives and rolling stock. Not any more, it’s Bombardier in Derby and due to their losses in the aviation market, that could see the end of the British railways manufacturing altogether even though Bombardier had EU grants to keep Derby going which they diverted to their loss-making aviation side in Canada.
39% of British invention patents have been passed to foreign companies, many of them in the EU.
The Mini cars that Cameron stood in front of as an example of British engineering, are built by BMW mostly in Holland and Austria. His campaign bus was made in Germany even though we have Plaxton, Optare, Bluebird, Dennis etc., in the UK.
So this asset stripping of the UK economy by the EU (and that is exactly what it is) is the economic reality for millions of British people. They see their jobs taken; community services chronically underfunded; wages supressed in the remaining low skilled jobs that are available; their communities struggling to cope with a migrant population explosion; erosion of their democracy and punitive central government austerity policies that supports the EU federal project at their expense.
So perhaps it is the Remainers who are failing to understand. Not because they are stupid (I would never be so “stupid” or arrogant enough to claim so) but because they are living radically different lives in London.
Leaving the EU will bring short term economic pain. But that means very little to the millions of us who have experienced nothing else for the last decade.