The question is...
Do you think we should govern our own country, make our own laws, control our own borders and have our own Supreme Court?
Or do you think it better we sub-contract out the running of our nation to a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels that we can’t vote for and we can’t remove?
I know my answer!
In 1975, the country was asked to vote on joining the EEC. It was sold to those old enough to vote as a trade deal. A common market!
Eight countries forming a mutual trade alliance. Back then to join the club cost about £7m a year and this trade block accounted for a third of the world’s total trade. Fast forward 41 years and this organisation is now called the EU, has 28 member states and costs us £10bn a year net to be a member.
Its trade now accounts for about 20 per cent or one fifth of total world trade and this is decreasing year on year. In 2013, the EU countries exported £292bn worth of goods and services to us – we are their biggest market - not the other way round.
The UK is the fifth biggest exporter and economy on the planet. The performance of EU economies is poor.
The EU depends on the UK buying their goods. Germany exports £11.5bn cars to the UK; Italy exports £363m shoes; France exports £940m wine; Spain exports £537m fruit. The UK’s share of exports to the EU has tumbled from 51 per cent 20 years ago to 43 per cent now – while our exports to the rest of the world are soaring.
And it wants to get bigger. It is a country – it has its own parliament, politicians, anthem and currency. And I suspect that if the question today was should we join this organisation we would say NO!
As this is a business meeting, a question to ask is how many British businesses trade with the EU? Most firms only trade within a ten-mile radius of where they are sited. Of the 21 per cent of our GDP that depends on overseas commerce, ten per cent is accounted for by trade with the EU, and 11 per cent by trade with the rest of the world.
So, in other words, for the sake of the ten per cent of our economy that is linked to the EU, we must apply 100 per cent of EU rules to 100 per cent of our businesses!
Polling by Perspective Research Services in August 2015 found that, by 2:1, SMEs think the EU is a hindrance rather than a help to their business. More than 70% of SMEs want the British Government rather than the EU in charge of employment law, health and safety, and trade negotiations.
69% of SMEs agree that the UK can trade and cooperate with Europe without giving away permanent control to the EU. Just 25% believe single EU rules make trade easier and that the Single Market is good for jobs and living standards.
At the weekend Sir James Dyson rubbished claims British international trade would suffer outside. The billionaire inventor said warnings that Britain would be shunned in international markets in the event of a Brexit were “absolute cobblers”.
Last week, the chairman of the manufacturing firm JCB, Anthony Bamford, wrote to his staff in the UK explaining why he's in favour of a vote to leave the European Union.
Chief economic adviser at the insurer Allianz, Mohamed El-ERIAN said Britain leaving the EU could help solve some “fundamental divisions”. He said there were two fundamental divisions of the EU; The British view — that it’s a super free-trade zone, that it’s a destination. Whereas, that of Germany-France is that it’s a means to something else — to an ever closer union!
Great Britain is a great country. We are the 5th biggest economy in the world. We are the 4th largest military power in the world.
We are one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a leading member of NATO. Our security and intelligence services are recognised as the best in the world.
And when we leave the EU will continue to be an important market but they sell far more to us than we do to them. Now the world has become our best market. 43 countries outside the EU, like Mexico, have EU trade agreements so that they don’t have to pay tariffs on goods. We will join them.
The EU forced us to give up our separate seat at the WTO – and now wants our seat on the UN Security Council. We say “no”. When we leave the EU, we will get our seat on the WTO back. Unshackled from the EU, we will be free to make our own agreements with new powerhouse economies such as Brazil, the Phillippines and Commonwealth members like India.