There is nothing splendid about isolation. We should “Remain” in the EUby George Osborne / June 9, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
The decision facing Britain on 23rd June is the most fundamental for a generation. The referendum on whether we remain in or leave the European Union is more important than any general election. It’s true that the choice between our two main political parties is more stark than at any time since I was a child. But our political system means that every five years, voters know they will have the opportunity either to endorse the party of government or remove it from office. The decision on whether we remain members of the EU and the single market or quit both, by contrast, will determine our country’s fortunes and its place in the world for decades to come.
Let’s be clear: there will not be another chance to settle this question, no coming back for a second go. Do we “Remain” or do we “Leave” the EU? The most important thing to consider for me is what the referendum means for Britain’s economy.
As the country’s Chancellor for the last six years, I feel keenly my responsibility to say it as I see it. Doing all I can to safeguard and promote jobs, livelihoods and aspiration has been my driving motivation. Difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions have been made—always in the interests of the working people of this country. Britain has made great strides since the financial crash. We’ve helped businesses create over two million new private sector jobs, cut the deficit we inherited by two-thirds and led the developed world when it comes to economic growth. It’s clear that all of this is on the ballot paper on 23rd June.
It is beyond any doubt that there would be a profound economic shock across the UK if we vote to “Leave.” It’s totally disingenuous to claim we could negotiate some other deal, where we have some sort of access to the EU’s single market but don’t have to accept any of the costs and obligations of EU membership, including free movement of people. My French and German counterparts have made it absolutely clear in recent weeks that is not on offer—and how could it be?