I observed several months ago that the Remain campaign is not so much pro-EU as anti-Brexit. To that end, I have yet to hear a single argument explaining why international trade and co-operation requires supranational governance.
There are none. Australia and New Zealand do not need the same currency, the same foreign policy or a common legislature and judiciary in order to work together. Neither do the United Kingdom and continental Europe.
EU membership is not about trade and co-operation, it is about the subjugation of the historic nations of Europe to a set of supranational institutions that are not governed by the same democratic—europhiles would say “populist”—pressures as elected politicians.
EU institutions are not remote, unaccountable or anti-democratic as a result of a design flaw; it is in their nature; that is why the Prime Minister’s assertions about remaining in a “reformed EU” ring so hollow. I do not know anybody who believes that Mr Cameron’s promissory note achieved anything of substance, let alone a “reformed EU”.
For all of the cries for Leavers to tell people “what Out looks like”—some of us have done so repeatedly and are sick of being ignored—the Remains have nothing to offer ordinary voters other than a desecrated promise of “reform” and hysterical threats that imply leaving the EU will end the Western alliance and collapse the global economy.
Everybody knows where further EU “reform” will lead. There is only one direction of travel in the EU, and the only way to avoid being dragged into an “ever closer union” is to leave. Even the logic of David Cameron’s claim to have won a “special status” for Britain—outside the euro, outside of Schengen and outside of “ever closer union”—points to the exit. The only reason to remain in the EU is to keep open the possibility of one day being dragged into an “ever closer union” and participating in all EU programmes including the euro.
If you genuinely support the imposition of supranational political and judicial institutions, with the power to coerce formerly sovereign nations into accepting policies that national electorates have no power to influence, then you should do so openly and honestly. You are setting yourself against the entire course of enlightened human history and aligning yourself with liars, charlatans and an assortment of other creeps and chancers, but David Cameron will happily accept your vote.