The Bear’s Lair: Brexit Could Unshackle Britain From A Corpse

When Britain joined the future European Union in 1973, it appeared to be improving its economic outlook by doing so. Certainly when I foolishly voted “Yes” in the 1975 Referendum I thought so. Europe seemed the only bright possibility for the appallingly run United Kingdom, with 25% inflation that year and a Labor government leftist and incompetent even by the standards of most of that ilk — yes, I can assure younger readers that it was indeed even worse than Gordon Brown’s effort of 2007-10 (the advent of Sunny Jim Callaghan and the IMF the following year greatly improved it.)

However, since 1975 two developments have changed the picture. Margaret Thatcher came to power, and, while not free from errors, especially relating to the City of London, her policies finally turned around the wreckage of the 1970s British economy and smartened it up. Second in the late 1980s and onwards the EU bureaucrats, pleased with the progress they had made in assembling a free trade area, decided to turn it step by step into a superstate, without any proper democratic controls on its government. This should without question have been subjected to a referendum when proposed to Britain in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. Since a negative verdict then would not have taken Britain out of the Common Market, but simply stopped the zombie superstate in its tracks, Remain voters should rain their curses on John Major, who denied Britons that referendum, and not on the greatly more capable and democratic David Cameron.

Opponents of Brexit (apart from the undemocratic ones who want to ignore the referendum result altogether and make Britons keep voting until they get the result they want) now hope for a “Norway solution” whereby Britain would remain within the European Single Market, would continue paying its current very substantial contribution into EU coffers, would not regain control of its borders and would lose any say in what EU bureaucrats’ rules actually said.

That seems to me a very bad deal indeed. Britain would be subject to whatever budget increases the bureaucrats decided to award themselves, without having any say in the matter. Britain is already the second largest contributor to EU funds; by leaving itself vulnerable to looting in that way it would quickly find itself subsidizing endless schemes of social welfare and bailouts in southern and eastern Europe.

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(The Bear's Lair is a weekly column that is intended to appear each Monday, an appropriately gloomy day of the week. Its rationale is that the proportion of "sell" ...

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