A jeopardous delusion
Will Britain resist the forbidden fruit?
BREXIT 2016. On June 23, Britain is facing a decision of a potentially revolutionary dimension, the referendum on the country’s membership in the European Union. The portmanteaus word Brexit results from the combination of Britain & exit and occurred for the first time in January 2013 when the current British Prime Minister, David Cameron, yield to public pressure and gave his first speech about the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU. Today, headlines in every major newspaper are adorned with this term and the closer Britain inches to the referendum the more intensive and heated becomes the debate whether is it beneficial to stay in the union or not.
Particularly, two major campaigns are in a fight for convincing as many voters as possible of their point of view. In the red corner “Britain Stronger in Europe”, a lobbying group obviously in favor of remaining in the EU, and in the blue corner, the opponent, “Vote Leave”, with its ruthless belief that leaving the EU is the only solution to all of Britain’s issues, are the pugilist to keep in mind speaking of this fight.
The primary point of contentious in this debate is clearly the claim of Britain’s lost sovereignty. Being a member of the EU is considered to be incompatible with parliamentary sovereignty by the campaigners of “Vote Leave” and even partially by David Cameron. Sharing these concerns, however, can rather be seen as a tactical maneuver which allowed Cameron to maintain parliamentary supremacy.
In general, the sovereignty arguments compounds of three strands, the anxiety of losing more national sovereignty as a result of a further coalescing EU, accepting the fact that the EU membership accompanies the inviolability of European law being above National law and finally Democracy, more specifically the lack of democracy in the EU.
Speaking of national sovereignty, supporters of a Brexit use to think in extremes, black and white thinking, and thus, blend out advantages, such as sacrificing independency for an amplified influence. This example is not just applicable to the EU but also to the NATO or any other organization having treaties with Britain.
Having a closer look at the assertion of the lack of democracy in the EU, the issue of black and white thinking comes into play again. Unquestionably, it seems to be paradox first that the European Commission as the executive body of the EU, basically the government, is empowered to propose legislation on the one hand, but its members are unelected on the other hand. Nonetheless, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, both elected institutions, are responsible for adapting proposals made by the Commission. Thus, in this sense there is less of an absence of democracy, however, there are undoubtedly other factors embodying this lack, such as the problem of fighting and debating European issues almost exclusively on a national level despite the supranational status of the EU.
The burden of having a narrow perspective is also exhibited in the debate on the economical consequences of a Brexit in terms of Trade and Regulations. The EU is the key trade partner for Britain, 51% of Britain’s export of goods and 45% taking into account services, are taken over by the EU. According to the analysis of two leading think tanks, such as the Center for European Reform or the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is highly recommended to avoid a Brexit. Investigations by the CER have shown that Britain’s trade is 55% larger as a member of the EU. Besides, the OECD explicitly warns that a Brexit would cost each household £2200 by the year 2020, imposing a new “Brexit tax” to cover these costs would be inevitable in the end.
Despite all these facts and warnings, there are still many Britain, believing in the apparent economical advantages of a Brexit. In particular, it is asserted that Britain is far too regulated and leaving the EU would mitigate this bond. Britain’s trade, however, is mainly taken over by the EU, consequently, it is naive to think that leaving the EU will change anything. Instead of being a member of the EU entailing non-constraining access to the single European Market, Britain would have to agree on a trade agreement with the EU. Establishing such an agreement takes much time and in a post-Brexit world, Britain will face a counter partner who will not be in the mood for negotiations which, additionally, would lead to better conditions for Britain.
A short wrap up of further pros and cons accompany with a Brexit, according to both campaigners, can be found below:
After elaborating and deliberating on this matter, it seems like the story of Adam and Eve ensnared by a snake is about to rewrite itself. The ignorance of the truth, dissatisfaction about politics and the uncertainty of the country’s future, obscure objectivity in general public resulting in a bounded rationality. It is to be hoped that Britain will not make the same mistake as Adam and Eva and fall victim to the partly very unreasonable assertions made by the campaign “Vote Leave” and resist the malicious illusion of a Brexit, the forbidden fruit, that could solve all of their problems.