Britain’s got more clout as part of Europeby Bronwen Maddox / June 18, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2015 issue of Prospect Magazine
Heart, not head. Whichever way you vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, don’t claim it’s because of the economic benefit. That is the argument that Wolfgang Münchau is setting out here. As the contest begins to gather volume, it is a provocative one. Claims that staying in brings great economic value to the United Kingdom are all but bogus, he says.
Is he right? Broadly, yes. In arguing that economic concerns are not decisive, he undervalues the benefits, I think, but there are other factors you might also consider which could balance that out. Overall, though, this turns powerfully on questions which go beyond economics. Pollsters (see Peter Kellner, next article) steadily record that immigration is high in people’s concerns. For me, the loss of influence that I believe Britain would suffer if it left is a powerful reason to stay in.