There are a few certainties in the EU debate. It is certain that I will be campaigning to leave.
It is generally agreed that the Prime Minister’s ‘deal’ is not worth the paper it's written on.
It would have been a great deal more honest simply to ask for an in/out referendum without the absurd charade of the meaningless ‘renegotiation.’ It is certain that on 23 June either the ‘inners’ or the ‘outers’ will win. And it is pretty certain that by then we will all be bored witless by the whole subject. But that is more or less where the certainty ends.
Most of my correspondents on the subject are seeking the ‘facts’. Will we be safer/better off in or out? Well, if we knew the ‘correct’ answer to that question then there would not be much point in the debate or a referendum, would there? The fact is that I could (and will) produce a document outlining 10 incontrovertible facts in favour of staying in; and another
10 equally powerful facts in favour of leaving. There is no ‘proof.’ There can be no certainty. Votes will be cast on 23 June not on whether or not we will be better off in or out, but on how we individually feel about it. Do we want to be part of a United States of Europe, which despite the PM’s assurances on the matter is precisely where we will be heading in the event of an ‘In ‘ vote, or do we feel more comfortable in a Nation governed by our elected representatives sitting in Westminster? It's not a question of right or wrong. It's a question of who runs Britain.
I can understand the argument which says that we know what we have now, and we cannot say with any certainty what we would have if we left. People generally like the security of the status quo, which as a result tends to do rather well in referendums. People tend to be risk-averse. But there is a subtler, yet more important question to be asked. And that is: “what are we risking if we stay in?” The answer, I think, is potentially a vast amount. If we vote to stay in we are aligning ourselves with a defunct and outdated organisation; an organisation whose accounts have never been approved and signed off; an organisation which wastes vast sums of taxpayers’ money - being unable, for example, to decide such basic matters as whether it should be based in Brussels or Strasbourg, and wasting millions moving backwards and forward between the two as a result. It's an organisation whose economy is moribund to say the least, whose currency seems unlikely to survive another decade, whose structures and procedures make the Schleswig Holstein question look like child's play by comparison. It's a useless, interfering, bossy organisation, which soaks up our hard-earned taxpayers’ cash for assorted dopey projects; and which disregards the real interests and needs of the people of Britain in favour of some imagined greater good for the 500 million people of Europe as a whole.
I very much respect my friends and colleagues who think differently. There is no monopoly of rightness in this debate. There are some who genuinely would like to see a United States of Europe. Well good luck to them, but I could not differ more fundamentally with them on the subject. Within 10 years we will be swamped by immigrants thanks to their absurd Schengen Agreement; their currency will have spiralled out of control, and our nervousness about the unknown will have given them a green light to interfere in every aspect of our everyday lives.
Now is the moment when the people of Britain can do as they always have, and opt to rule themselves for the better of the people of these islands. Only by voting to leave the EU can we be certain that it is we, through our representatives at Westminster, who have a proper say over the prosperity and security of our children and our grandchildren.