Why UK should stay in EU – in 300 words

by Hugo Dixon | 22.06.2016

We have a fantastic opportunity to lead the EU and make it better if we remain. But if we leave, we face serious economic and geopolitical risks.

The EU accounts for half our trade. If we leave, we will not get as good access to its market. We will lose the 50-plus trade deals the EU has with other countries. We will also lack clout in cutting new trade deals. This will be bad for jobs.

The divorce process would be agonising. Boris Johnson would probably replace David Cameron as prime minister. The EU would not make our exit easy as its priority would be to keep its club together.

All this would scare investors and consumers. Uncertainty could tip Britain into a recession. Contrary to the Leave camp’s propaganda, we’d have less money for vital services such as the NHS, not more.

Brexit would also weaken Europe at a time of turmoil on its southern border and when Vladimir Putin is flexing his muscles in the east. Donald Trump, an anti-NATO protectionist bully, may also be America’s next president. Post-Brexit Britain would not be in the room when Europe decides how to address these risks.

Brexit could trigger the break-up of the UK (with Scotland making another bid for independence) as well as the EU’s break-up. Britain would be blamed for decades. Instability in our backyard would threaten our security.

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By contrast, if we stay, we can set the agenda on things that matter to British people – creating the next generation of jobs, fighting terrorism and tackling global warming.

We are Europe’s second largest economy and on track to become the biggest. We have Europe’s most sophisticated armed forces, best intelligence agencies and centuries of diplomatic expertise.

We should lead Europe, not leave Europe.

This is an abbreviation of a piece already published on InFacts, entitled “Why the UK should stay in the EU – in 900 words

Hugo Dixon is the author of The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better. Available here for £5 (paperback), £2.50 (e-book)


6 Responses to “Why UK should stay in EU – in 300 words”

  • Security and Immigration will never be resolved if we stay in otherwise it would have already happened ! Euro zone is a disaster and it will get worse. Georgia is boosting its economy by selling apartments to anyone from the Middle East complete with a visa, this is the backdoor to Europe.

    • ‘Security and Immigration will never be resolved if we stay in otherwise it would have already happened !’

      I’m puzzled by your logic, Tom. Things can happen that have not yet happened!

      Yet, even if they are not resolved, do you really think they’d be better if we left?!

  • This referendum was about where our future legislature will be in decades time. Would it have been in Britain, where politics is sensitive to public feeling, or in Europe, under a construct built in the wake of fascism with the express aim to disenfranchise the masses.

    We entered a common market to find ourselves in a supernational polity. If we stay in a politician union, we will undoubtedly end up in a federation. You know very well that any safeguard Cameron can obtain will be quickly lost as soon as officials in Europe calculate that a political concession can be won from a weak UK government. It was in this spirit that our rebate was reduced in 2005 and our vetos conceded over the last two decades.

    Your book speaks hopefully of a European demos being realised only after the fact of greater integration. Now, it looks like your hope won’t be realised. For any transient uncertainty (a technical recession, they say), I’m glad we took this path. Circumstances in the following decades will vindicate our cause. We’ll one day rejoice in the independence that we very almost lost.

    • I want to add that the value of independence isn’t about influence in a changing world but the ability to control yourself and to react to changing circumstances. This was most recently demonstrated in a Greece left beholden to the EU in spite of a popular will for an alternative to austerity. These scenes will be repeated again after the Eurozone realises its fiscal union. Member states will lose the greater part of their ability to budget in their own right. Is that power, is that influence?

      To put it another way, political integration is the sacrifice of agency for some abstract seat at the “top tables”. For small people, little people, the decision is therefore easy.

      You’ll find that this sinister kind of globalisation isn’t happening anywhere else but in Europe, and for good reason. Federalism is not inexorable.

  • And what you said then remains true today.