One of the greatest fallacies of the Scottish independence referendum was that Scotland was being offered “independence”. Yes, we would have been independent in many respects. But the undisputed plan was to immediately begin re-acceding to the European Union.
Whatever this meant – from fulfilling requirements to become a member again to no longer being one of the big players (usually meaning France, Germany and the UK) with a greater say than the other nations – we certainly weren’t going to be independent.
It was not only concerning to witness it seldom questioned by Scottish people that we would be rejoining the EU – despite expecting an in/out EU referendum as part of the UK – but it is concerning, too, that the majority of pro-EU politicians don’t want to reform it or even to achieve a better deal for Britain.
What is more, there is a lot of scaremongering going on as fans of the European project say we couldn’t survive without many of our decisions being taken in Strasbourg.
A new report authored by Ewen Stewart, Stuart Coster and Brian Monteith seeks to dispel the myths about the UK’s survival without the EU and explains why a Brexit would not bring economic isolation to the UK as scaremongering claims by politicians suggest.
The paper has five arguments to show why often-repeated political claims are intimidating the British electorate into shutting their minds to the possibility of change and preventing a rational debate taking place:
1. In reality, the EU is more dependent on being able to export to our significant market than we are on selling to the European Single Market.
2. There is a real threat to UK employment, influence and broader prosperity if we do decide to remain an EU member.
3. Our future economic well-being depends instead on gaining access and selling to the faster-expanding markets that lie beyond the EU.
4. Employment growth would be even stronger if Britain was free to adopt bilateral arrangements of its own, outside membership of the EU.
5. A growing percentage of cross-border issues and regulatory requirements are determined now by bodies at the global level.
A lot of research is looked into about the UK’s performance in comparison to that of the European Union. And the conclusion reached is that British jobs are not dependent on the EU and so this is no reason to leave. Jobs would in fact be gained by leaving the EU.
The UK has performed much more strongly over the last 6 and 12 year time horizons that EU averages while 14 out of our 20 fastest growing markets are with non-EU nations.
We have global links with the Americas, Asia and Africa, as well as the Commonwealth, meaning it is perfectly possible that the UK could have good trading relationships with not just our European neighbours but the rest of the world by enabling trade policy to be determined at home.
The political stability of the UK, the English language and the rule of law coupled with secure property rights and a population that is by far and away the most diverse in Europe mean we will always continue to benefit from global growth.
If the Scottish independence referendum is anything to go by – scaremongering a population about change can make the positive arguments shine and usually backfires. Hopefully it does.