So, why do I feel we should leave the EU?

So, why do I feel we should leave the EU?

by Daniel Salt
article from Monday 23, July, 2018

MY VIEW OF THE EU and the UK’s place in it has been in flux for some time but it has taken the last two years post the vote to evolve to where it is now. In short it can be broken down into a few core views.

But first who am I?  

I was born in 1980 in a centre-left family. I have been pro-European all my life and believed in the concept of European Integration and have at various times in my life sneered at Eurosceptics. I remember Maastricht and “the bastards” and on from there.

I am married to a beautiful French lady and when I was 30 we travelled around the world. In the 8.5 months away whenever I was asked where I was from I would say 'London' or 'Europe'. I was 'it' a full blow Pro-European who even hoped that the UK would join the Euro someday.

I could never understand why people were anti-EU – what a wonderful liberal construct that did so much good in the world. It brought countries together, helped poor ones develop. It made us prouder to be from this continent as we were building something unique. 

So what changed? In a word, the Euro. I remember watching horrified as the EU via the ECB removed two heads of states in Italy and Greece; forced the Irish to take on their entire banking sector’s debt and drove the Greek economy and much of the south into a depression. 

How could this be happening? The EU were the good guys. They didn't do this – that was the US, the IMF, the World Bank. How could all these people be party to this horror. How could they sit by as people’s lives were destroyed and in many cases finished due to suicide? I remember sitting night after night raging at my wife about it. Not only raging what they were doing but the sheer economic stupidity of it. Cutting wages when the economy was in a depression just guarantees more depression! How the fuck was this happening? 

Then it dawned on me – slowly but growing faster and faster. No one wanted to admit the fuck-up as many of the same people were still in charge. The euro shouldn't have been created and they knew it but by now they were responsible so it had to survive. So they were going to do whatever it took for the Euro to survive, for the project to survive and for their pitiful careers to survive - 'Boom' my head exploded and so did my heart. The EU project was dead to me. 

How could you put a fucking currency before people?

Oh I still hoped that it would reform, that it would see the light, that it would see the disaster being played out in the south and I waited and I waited then the bailouts happened one and after another and I realised that no it wouldn't.  Extend and pretend was the objective.

This organisation did not give a shit about the south. It was their fault and I thought, ‘but that is economically illiterate’. By then I had realised they didn't care and so we wandered on towards Brexit and Brexit came. I remember sitting talking to my mum and her asking how I would vote and me saying 'I just don't know after Greece I am just so angry' and she agreed but on the day I voted remain because I thought it would be better economically and easier for me.

The results came in. We lost!  I was angry, so angry I remember shouting at my best friend who voted leave and saying he didn't realise what he had done (I think more in shock) but after I thought you know this could be good this could be what the EU needs a wake-up call and after a time I began to realise, watching Verhofstadt, Barnier, Tusk et al; they didn't get it. They didn't get the anger that was there.

For me over Greece and the state of the Euro but for others migration, democracy, laws – listening to the shameful descriptions of the UK as an extremist country and that it was an isolated case – I watched election after election and like Chemical Ali they keep parroting the same line 'This is an aberration' – completely ignoring the trends, completely ignoring the facts on the ground and I realised that they were literally cut off from reality – they had no idea what so many people were thinking!  

Then in the UK the shameful efforts to undermine the referendum with the Remain side – sitting in the EU building in London plotting and I just realised they and so many others have a complete and utter contempt for democracy whenever it gets in the way – and hey presto what happens – the Italian elections and the EU works with the president to keep the legal government from taking power – the ECB starts manipulating‏ the bond yields to try and keep them out or at least warn them not to get out of line – in Greece you see the latest bailout with everyone declaring its all successful – not one mentioning that  the children of the current Greeks will be paying this illegal debt.

On Brexit you see the weaponisation of the Irish border, the contempt for the UK’s democratic process, the total disregard for what people wanted, and more than the myopic short termism: attempting to crush the UK because it dared argue regardless of the broader signals, and I find myself here at maybe not the end but a new place. I feel the UK should leave with a #cleanbrexit. I don't want this country deregulated like some. I am broadly in line with European social democracy – but more importantly we need decisions made by our politicians.

I want to go vote and hold politicians to account. I want us to trade, cooperate and ally with countries but one where we have control. We the people. 

You know what? I might lose many of the arguments and this country might not be what I want all the time but at least I get to stand and fight and try and change things without being told you can't do anything about that as comes from the EU – that is democracy – that is something we are losing – not just over the EU but this expertisation of politics; farming out decisions from politicians because, like the central banks, they don't want the blame.

Quangos, utilities, whatever... politicians need to stop running away from decision making and be held accountable and, you know what? Personally I want them to realise that just blaming the markets or the EU or the 'system' is not good enough but we have to start somewhere and we start by bringing powers home, reinvigorating our democracy, reshaping our country, opening up the democratic space. What do YOU want to do with the country? As for the EU I feel its dying. The dream started dying 8 years ago and they are damn well doing their best to make sure it stays dead but I don't wish it will, it doesn't need any help from me.

I just don't want to be associated with it anymore. 

Hopefully we can take the UK and move away from these petty politics and start finding common ground on how to rebuild this country from the ground up. I speak to people on Twitter with wide ranging political views. 

There is hope. There is opportunity.  We won't get everything we want politically – but there is a chance to take the best of everyone’s ideology or views. Just because you are from the right doesn't mean everything demands a market or from the left state control. If you own a hammer not everything is a nail.

But it starts for me getting clean Brexit and starting a new exciting conversation, one that I never thought I would suggest we have. It’s strange how life changes you along the way. Strange the way important things fade and new ones emerge.

But before that let’s start by being kinder to each other. I have been as guilty as others but I have realised it is not healthy for me, for others or the country to rage at each other.  People hold their views because they care. Let’s all try and keep that in mind.

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