TUV leader Jim Allister has submitted this personal opinion piece on the Brexit debate.
“You probably never thought there’d come a day when you would have as much power as the Prime Minister in deciding the future of your country. Thursday, June 23, is that day. In the EU referendum David Cameron’s vote carries no more weight than yours. This is a decision for the people, not the political elite, try as they might to overwhelm you with their scaremongering and propaganda.
“None of us is likely in our lifetime to make a more defining decision on the future of the United Kingdom than we will make on 23rd June. In our hands lies the choice between reclaiming our nation’s sovereignty in making and interpreting our own laws, controlling our own borders, determining our own destiny, or, deepening the subservience of our nation to Brussels diktats and the onward march of EU governance and political union.
Put simply, should the people of the UK and those we elect make our laws, or Brussels bureaucrats? Should our Supreme Court be that which sits in London, or the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg? Should UK taxpayers have £20B of their hard earned cash paid over to Brussels every year or spent on our own people? That is the magnitude and import of the decision we will make.
For me there are three compelling reasons to leave the EU.
1. We can no longer afford the net annual cost of £10 billion, not to mention the huge cost of implementing crazy EU bureaucracy. Having been a net contributor for over 40 years we have poured enough of our scarce resources into the bottomless pit of Brussels. Building bridges in Greece and subsidising inefficient olive farmers in Italy may appeal to the one-way European ideal, but this is largesse we can’t afford.
2. Whatever the attraction of a common market in 1973, when Europe was a region of growth, the reality today is very different. The Eurozone is now moribund, with the lowest growth and GDP of any part of the developed world. With the growth elsewhere, for example the Americas and Far East, as a great trading nation we are being held back by the shackles that bind us to Brussels. Though most of our trade is now outside the EU, we are prohibited, because of our EU membership, from making a single trade deal with any of these countries. Staying in the EU will continue to tie our hands behind our back and stymie the prosperity that awaits us by frustrating the full exploitation of trade with the growth parts of the world.
“Of all the scare stories of the frightened ‘Remain’ camp, probably the most disingenuous is that we couldn’t trade any more with the EU. In circumstances where the EU every day sells us nearly £150m more in goods and services than we sell them (trade deficit of £13.3b in 1st Q 2016), the EU needs us in trade terms more than we need them. Thus, it will be in the EU’s own selfish interests to have a trade deal with the UK and, as we have the leverage of the trade deficit, it inevitably will be a good deal from our perspective.
Don’t worry Germany and France will still be busting to sell us their Mercedes, Peugeots, Renaults etc and the Republic of Ireland will not be cutting off its nose to spite its face when it comes to agri-food sales to GB. It should also be remembered that only a minority of Northern Ireland’s ‘exports’ go to EU countries. We sell 60% of what we ship out of Northern Ireland to GB, which won’t change.
3. Are we a nation at all if we can’t even control our own borders? Yet this is the price of EU membership. Untrammelled free movement leaves us hapless recipients of an uncontrolled flow of economic and other migrants. All we get to do is pick up the tab! Pay up and look cheery has had its day.
“It’s time to do what any self-respecting nation would do and retake control of our own destiny, laws and borders. It’s time to Vote Leave.”