This house in Newquay is a good symbol for how Britain sees itself in Europe.
The house probably believes that it is self-sustainable, while relying heavily on commerce and cooperation with the mainland.
In the Cornish Guardian, a letter was published this week, asking “Why are the Cornish so pessimistic about Brexit when we live in such a lovely part of the world?” The correspondent went on to argue that this, combined with “a lovely climate” and being “surrounded by sea” will attract visitors and endless riches.
This shows the inward-looking naiveté plaguing parts of this country. Nobody, especially not me, wants to dispute that Cornwall is beautiful. I love it here! But the combination of beautiful landscape, lovely climate and lots of water is hardly a unique selling point in a European Union that includes countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Portugal and Croatia. Even Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany and the Netherlands have coasts with plenty of water, and they do get nice weather from time to time. If holidaymakers want to go to an English-speaking country, there are Malta and Ireland. Why the number of visitors from the EU to the one country, where their free international roaming and their health insurance won’t work anymore after Brexit, should increase dramatically, I don’t know.
- More about Brexit.
- And more about the United Kingdom.
- Zur deutschen Fassung dieses Artikels.
One can rely on commerce and cooperation with other countries without forming a political entity with them.
One could, if one would take a 3-year negotiation process at least a little bit seriously and if one’s own parliament was in anything close to unity about what it wants out of that relationship.
That is a technical objection (to be sure, a very valid one), which doesn’t relate to the actual question of becoming a part or leaving the EU.
I definitely see the concerns of people who do not want to subject their country to the decisions of others.
It’s not more “the decisions of others” as decisions by the British or Scottish parliaments or the local council of Devon.
The UK has elected members in the European Parliament, quite a large share of it actually, due to its population, which give it considerable influence. The UK has always been represented in both the European Commission (Julian King currently holds the security portfolio) and the European Council.
And, of course, like all other 27 member states, the UK is fully involved in all decision-making processes.
If at all, one could say that the UK has received special privileges, most famously a rebate on membership contributions and exemptions on the Euro and on Schengen.
Actually, I can’t think of a single decision that was taken over the objection of the UK government. (This doesn’t mean that every British citizen is happy with every decision, of course, but companies who don’t want working-hours regulations, for example, would be equally unhappy if those regulations were passed by Westminster.)
Lastly, membership in the European Union vastly increased the territory in which British citizens could enjoy citizens’ rights, live, settle, study, work, vote and do business.
Some of the technical questions also point to the flawed substantive decision.
Claiming that the UK would have all its current EU contributions as extra money to spend, for example, was really dumb and I don’t see how anyone could believe that. Because once the UK doesn’t contribute to the EU, it will of course have to organise and finance all those services itself, from air-traffic control to financial services regulation, from approval of new medicines to international student exchange programmes. It will still cost at least as much, probably more because it will be done on a smaller scale.
And then, the UK will still have to abide by EU rules if its companies want to sell into the EU market, only that it won’t have a say in making these rules any longer.
Or the questions of the Irish border. A large part of the Brexit campaign was based on “we need to protect our own border”, which was silly because the UK always could do that, as it was not in Schengen. The fact that Britain doesn’t have any exit controls, not even at international airports, has nothing to do with EU law (all other EU countries have them), but was a domestic British decision.
And then, it turns out that the whole country has been caught by surprise by the existence of Ireland next door. Now, the official policy of the “we want to control our own borders”-government is that they definitely do not want any border with Ireland under any circumstances. What is that about?! How do you control immigration by not having a border? How do you collect tariffs from your own trade deals without border inspections? And, the thing that makes me really angry, why would you risk the fragile Irish peace process for something that nobody exactly knows why they want it? People forget quickly, but until 1998 we had a civil war here. And the Irish terrorism hasn’t stopped: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-10866072 Ignoring the ramifications on Ireland, as the British government continues to do in its English-centred snootiness, is grossly negligent.
No, this Brexit was not very well thought through at all.
“… people do not want to subject their country to the decisions of others.” It’s a welcome change in a mindset of a country that used to run fifty or so other countries as colonies 80 years ago.
But it’s not the decisions of others! We are part of the process. But once we leave we really will be subjected to the EU’s economic might without having a say.
I hear North Korea is also pretty scenic with lots of water.
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