For a ‘Scrap-it’ Brexit: 33 Reasons Why … and Counting

Written by | Thursday, August 31st, 2017

The whole Brexit process is just a long list of errors and mishaps since Prime Minister David Cameron made a call in 2013 to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU and it is only now that the real costs and implications are becoming apparent. There are at least 33 reasons to scrap the Brexit and these are the strongest and most compelling ones.

First, most advanced democracies require a “constitutional majority” (around two-thirds) to change the constitution, which is largely comparable to leaving the EU. This precaution guards against what Edmund Burke in 1790 and John Stuart Mill in his 1859 work “On Liberty” called the ‘”tyranny of the majority”. The referendum represented an imbalanced choice between the known (EU membership) and the unknown (Brexit) and to this very day the British government is not able to say what it wants. Moreover, before the poll, the government called the poll “legally advisory” but immediately after the result became known, it was “politically binding”.

Second, the Brexit campaign was based on rampant lies on the part of those in favor of leaving the bloc, from allegations that London could save £350 million per week from EU budget contributions that would fund the National Health Service, through to the threat that millions of immigrants would flow to the UK following Turkey’s joining the bloc (which has, as a matter of fact, never been high on EU’s agenda). Regarding the migration from the EU, that one has already fallen substantially, especially from the eight Central and Eastern European member states, thanks to the “not welcome” signs. The net flow from these countries has dropped to almost zero.

Third, already in 2012, Prime Minister Cameron ordered a review of the workings of the EU and concluded that the EU’s competences with relevance to the UK were wisely chosen and there was therefore no reason for repatriating them. He ignored these findings and moved on to call for a radical reform of the EU. As a result, this renegotiation package did not include content compared to the expectations he had created, which had undermined the credibility of his recommendation to remain and left the current government with an extremely difficult bargaining position.

And there are many more reasons to ‘Scrap-it’ instead of ‘Brexit’, as Michael Emerson argues, that got more compelling by the day as the real repercussions become ever more apparent. The negative economic consequences are likely to build up further as the Article 50 process moves into its most difficult negotiation stage, increasing the risk and uncertainty factors. Time is short. Time to scrap the Brexit is now.

‘For a ‘Scrap-it’ Brexit – 33 Reasons Why … and Counting’ – Commentary by Michael Emerson – Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).

(The Commentary can be downloaded here)

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