Britain should vote to remain part of the EU. Here's whyby Bronwen Maddox / May 18, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
The 23rd June referendum on whether the UK will stay in the European Union will be an immense jolt to the country’s politics and economics whatever the result. If British people vote to leave, they will deliver to the country one of the most momentous shocks since the Second World War. If the UK votes to stay, the resulting tumult within the Conservatives could lead to the end of one of the country’s main political parties as we now know it.
The campaign has unleashed tensions within that party and the nation that are the opposite of what David Cameron intended three years ago when he committed himself to a strategy of “renegotiation and referendum,” hoping to settle once and for all the Conservative rift over Europe. When Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, consulted his 27 counterparts in the EU last year, he found them agreed on only one thing: that Britain’s Prime Minister had been crazy to set the referendum in motion.
Some of the debate has been illuminating; much has not, and much has veered towards comedy as one side or the other has invoked Norway, Albania, or other countries which in few ways resemble Britain as a vision of the future. Much of the dialogue—particularly the claims to have the monopoly on truth in judging the economic impact—resembles the kind of accusation with which journalists are particularly familiar: “You’ve got your facts wrong. The facts are that I’m right.”
Nonetheless, I have set down here the reasons why I think the vote should be to “Remain.” This also represents the position formally taken by Prospect magazine, which occasionally does endorse a position ahead of a vote. However, I have not attempted a comprehensive rebuttal of every facet of the “Leave” campaign, as some publications have done. I have concentrated on the three main reasons, as it seems to me, why the “Remain” case is overwhelmingly stronger. They are the uncertainty that would follow a “Leave” vote, the economic impact, and the damage that Brexit would cause to Europe, to democratic values and to the west.