There is a view that leaving the European Union (EU) will solve this country’s problems. This is wrong on two counts; firstly leaving the EU does not in itself solve any problems, although it may create the frameworks within which solutions could be developed. Secondly leaving the EU creates a miriad of new problems. There may well be new opportunities offered by leaving the EU but do these really compensate for the downsides? Taken together this could leave us with all of the existing problems plus a raft of new social and
So before deciding that leaving the EU is the answer we should surely try to understand what the problems are? Brexiteers had all sorts of reasons for voting leave, ranging from a protest vote driven by a desire for change, through immigration to “let’s make Britain great again”. There is no doubt that real problems exist in the UK today; a deep seated grievance at the stark inequalities that exist. Politicians have for a long time used the EU as a lazy excuse for these problems, blaming EU buereaucracy, institutions, policy for everything, instead of actually addressing the real problems here at home. I believe we must understand how leaving the EU is going to help us solve these problems otherwise how do we know we have the right negotiating priorities?
So what are the real problems we are trying to solve? Here’s a starter for ten based on some of the issues raised in the Brexit campaign that, according to Brexiteers, would be solved by leaving the EU:
- The NHS and social care
- Jobs and low wages
- Benefits of globalization not shared
- School places and the quality of education
- British culture under attack
- Unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy
- What else?
I suggest that leaving the EU will NOT solve any of these directly and, more importantly, they are all issues caused by the combined policies of a succession of British governments and have little or nothing to do with EU membership. I will explore each of these in future blogs.