I voted out, and I want you to understand why:
1. I simply don’t consider it to be a legitimate form of governance, in being neither representative of, nor accountable to, any useful definition of a collective ‘us’. I respect that you may feel differently.
2. The noble ideal of increasing harmony and wellbeing between european nations reached its high water mark pre-Maastricht, and that since then it has been working in reverse. I will not condone what has been done to an entire generation of young people in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Life chances ruined by the Euro with endless 40% youth employment.
In what universe was I going to tacitly support an institution I didn’t believe in, carrying out actions that I abhor?
Actually, that’s not quite true. I was quite content with what modest renegotiation Cameron pulled off, and would have been happy for Remain to have won on a narrow margin. I may even have supported it. However, throughout the renegotiation I said the one thing I wanted more than anything, was that whatever we got back should apply to all. An end to ever-closer-union, i.e. the ability for a recent accession state to say no to the Euro if that is their wish, or, the ability for an existing Euro nation to withdraw if it was bad for their society. We needed a EUrope that understood the difference between a Single Market and political union, with the tools to enforce that difference. This resulted in a third reason:
3. At the end of the renegotiation, when all was looking positive, Belgium with the support of others, demanded that the concessions secured by Cameron must apply only to Britain. **
I looked at millions in Southern Europe being broken on the wheel of the Euro, and I looked at callous indifference of Belgium and Co in demanding what they did. The project mattered more to them than the people. Not in my name.
I made my choice:
a) understanding that EU citizens resident in the UK would not be kicked out.
b) in the belief and hope that we will end up in the EEA/EFTA, with freedom of movement.
If someone has made their life here (friend, acquaintance, or otherwise), of course I want nothing other than that they should continue to do so. I offer my apologies to EU citizens for the colour of the debate, it was ugly and a matter of deep regret.
Already Der Spiegel reports that Germany is looking at an “economic Schengen”, finally bringing the possibility that the Euro can be fixed for Euro nations (and not at the expense of non-Euro nations). Why did it take leaving? I offer no apology for my decision.
the words “ever closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom”. This clearly meets the manifesto commitment, however in a sop to Europe’s federalists like Belgium early drafts suggesting this exemption might apply more broadly – for example to countries like Poland and Hungary who have no intention of joining the Euro any time soon – were removed. This is a blow to Mr Cameron’s calls for the EU to accept the need for a looser, more flexible ‘live and let live’ Europe.
the Belgian government had been appeased over its concerns about the rejection of “ever closer union”. The UK would get a special opt-out – while every other EU country was still expected to move towards deeper integration.
Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, is one of the strongest critics of Mr Cameron’s demand for Britain to be excluded from the EU treaty mantra of “ever closer union”. Mr Michel once told Mr Cameron in a private meeting: “If you want to go, just go. We will not let you ruin Europe by staying.”
A compromise largely favourable to Britain was found for French concerns about differential treatment for London banks outside the euro zone as well as to Belgian grumbles about Britain setting a precedent for states to snub EU integration.