European Union Vote – 15th June 2016
The votes that each of us will cast on Thursday 23rd June will determine the future of Britain, of Europe and very possibly of the civilised World for many generations to come. Let us be clear about that. There are no second bites at this cherry. There will be no second referendum following a re-negotiation, no second thoughts, no turning back. A vote “out” will mean out and the Government will embark upon the process immediately. If, therefore, we are to pause for thought and to commit our heads as well as our hearts then we need to do it within the next seven days. Afterwards will be too late.
My record indicates that historically I have been and remain a Eurosceptic. While I have always supported the principles of free trade enshrined in a common market I do not, and never will, subscribe to the concepts of “ever closer union” or of a United States of Europe and I believe that in that I am in harmony with the views of very many if not all of those that I represent.
By the same token I have heard absolutely nothing, during weeks of campaigning, that persuades me that Britain will be more secure, physically or economically, were we to leave the European Union and even the belief that we would somehow be better-able to control immigration, the dog-whistle issue of the desperate, is founded upon largely flawed arguments.
Some Brexiteers have claimed that it is “The Establishment” pursuing “their own interests” that have sought to frighten the electorate through “scare tactics” while they themselves epitomise the Brave New World, the courageous Little People of the at present United Kingdom, that represent the aspirations of the future. I fear that they could not be more wrong.
There is a real danger in the “Back to the Future” search for some rose-tinted bye-gone age of the 1950s and 60`s that did not, ever, exist except in minds wallowing in selective nostalgia. That danger is that, in the search for some unattainable Utopia, we abandon the very real and tangible economic and security advantages that we at present benefit from and that we then spend a generation or more seeking to re-invent trade and security agreements on worse terms than those that we previously enjoyed. My old friend David Davis, a former Europe Minister, candidate that I supported for the Conservative Leadership and now a Brexit campaigner has said that “once we vote to leave we will negotiate a new relationship with the EU.” And that is precisely the problem. As someone rather wiser than I has said “they want a revolution but there is no indication as to what Britain would look like one day, one month, one year or one decade later”.
There are, in fact, clues. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Governor of the Bank of England, the Head of the International Monetary Fund, the President of the United States of America, those who have run businesses like Sainsbury`s, Marks and Spencer, and B &Q, the Vice-Chancellors of our Leading Universities, The London School of Economics, The Institute of Fiscal Studies, Health Service Executives and many others whose opinions are informed tell us that a vote to leave will lead to recession, job losses, a decline in real incomes, loss of inward investment and a weakened health service then ought we not to hear alarm bells ringing?
And when the Home Secretary, Theresa May, the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond and the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, all of whom are Eurosceptics but all of whom have access to MI5 and MI6 intelligence not available to the rest of us, in tandem with experienced Chiefs of our Armed Forces and of NATO, all say that our defence and security will, at a time of great international danger, be weakened if we leave the European Union then ought we not to listen?
It is, I think, also a near-certainty that if Scotland votes “remain” while the majority within what is at present a United Kingdom votes “leave” then there will be a further referendum in Scotland and that the Union itself will fragment. I cannot see a diminished UK as a major player within for example, a Security Council of the United Nations, NATO or many other International organisations within which our presence is, as the UK, highly regarded. It is, I think, a case of Little England or Great Britain.
I have just one vote on Thursday 23rd June. It is not my future that I shall be voting for but the futures of my three children and my five grandchildren. I want my family to be secure and prosperous and that is why I shall be voting for Britain, as a proud, great and independent nation, to remain within, and seek to improve and reform still further, the European Union.