Brexit – Reasons to Remain

The recent amendment to the Queen’s speech by some in the Labour Party struck me as decidedly odd – asking the Tories not to support their own Queen’s speech was always a very long shot. Corbyn’s reaction may have been disrespectful to the 70% odd of Labour voters who wanted to remain. But as this leaves him without having to take ownership of Brexit negotiations, I rather agree with Dr Mike Galsworthy of Scientists for the EU that it may have been a reasonably smart move.

And although rumours remain that Corbyn in the Benn tradition, wants out of the EU, I doubt that he will in the end be able to justify his support of that view.

So I thought I might try and summarise the reasons to remain.

First the ‘negative’ ones:

  1. Most obviously, after seven years of austerity and with a shrunken and demoralised civil service together with a set of politicians both lacking vision and negotiating skills, Britain is in no position – if even it ever was – to get a good deal, never mind the best deal, maybe any deal.
  2. There is little doubt that leaving will make the UK poorer. Far from ‘frictionless trade’, trade will necessarily be slowed as, as has so often been pointed out, the UK will not get a better deal out than it originally had in. That is not spite or contempt, it is just a political necessity for the EU.
  3. It is important for the future of the UK (particularly if we want to ‘take control’) and especially, given the current US regime, that we are not forced further into bed than we are already with the United States. The EU provides a friendly and local counterweight.
  4. Doubling the distance halves the trade. So the idea that we’ll get all these wonderful trade agreements with other larger nations thousands of miles away, even if by some fluke they materialised, doesn’t alter what I think is referred to as the gravity model of trade and is endearingly and simply explained here. And doubling the distance still halves the trade even with the jet engine and advanced telecommunications. Yet we share a common land border with the Irish Republic, and the English Channel, if we need reminding, is just 21 miles wide.

And then a little more positively:

  1. The EU has been good at – or at the minimum not destructive of – engendering peace, on a continent that has given rise to the last two world wars.
  2. The EU enables Britain to participate in setting common EU and international standards. Although if Brexit had been properly handled Britain would have better propspects of an individual input according to Dr Richard North, the proponent of Flexit. He is however, noticeably dismissive of Britain’s current negotiating team who tellingly and amusingly he labels “wand wavers.”
  3. The EU is of sufficient size to stand up for individuals and individual countries against the corporate world and world corporations.
  4. The EU facilitates easier repatriation of serious criminals among its members.
  5. The EU provides at least some safety in numbers against backsliding on climate change.
  6. The EU provides a substantial co-operative platform for scientific research and academia in general.
  7. The single market (a British idea of course) enables the EU to provide just one lot of red tape for all and not 28 different sorts.

I may have missed some compelling reasons to remain and I’d be delighted if others can provide additions.

Of course all these reasons to remain could be separately negotiated and continue outside the EU, but then that rather begs the question as to why exactly are we leaving?

If we do eventually leave it would be self inflicted harm simply to enable the ‘wand wavers’ to work their magic.

I fear wreaking havoc would be much more likely.



  1. Sean Danaher -

    For me the ease of travel in the EU has been a boon. Being able to work in France and Germany without any visas; paperwork etc is invaluable. A detailed post on this tomorrow from Geoff Plant will explore this further.

    The absolute havoc that Brexit could have on Northern Ireland is also not a risk I would have been prepared to take.

    1. Peter May -

      Agreed. But many Brits seeem to have been persuaded that the ability to work in another EU country without hindrance is a disadvantage. Perhaps ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ needs to be repeated?
      And as you say if the troubles in Northern Ireland were to start again it would be disastrous for both the UK and the Republic. The Conservatives’ recklessness is their hallmark.
      I’m still hopeful that the whole Brexit project will collapse. Even if you did originally agree with the idea I think describing the Brexiteers as wand wavers neatly sums them up.
      It will be just like reducing the deficit to nil by 2015, sorry 2020, sorry the near future.

  2. Ms Christine Bergin -

    I cannot see any advantage in tying the UK to what seems to be devolving into the worlds largst failed state. Not only did their stupidity and greed almost collapse the worlds economy but they will not stop their rapascious warmongers from fomenting trouble and misery wherever they please. We know they would love to get their hands on UK assets such as NHS and any thing else they can monetize. Why would any sane people wish to cuddle up to such a monstrisity? The EU seems to have some humane ideas at least. Some of our best trained negotiators are employed and trained by the Unions an asset totally despised by our tory government.

    1. Peter May -

      I’m presuming the failed state of which you speak is the US?
      Trouble is most Brits are monolingual. The US speaks English mostly. And many top flight students seem to go there for extra education. In science that is generally good but in economics that is generally bad. And the economists are the ones that turn into politicians…

    2. Sean Danaher -

      I’m sure you mean the US? I think the UK has been badly managed over the last 40 years but nothing like the US. Its so sad! I’ve mentioned before that I lived in the US during the Carter-Regan presidential race and dreaded the prospect of Regan winning. There was no question in my mind that back in the 60s and 70s the US was the greatest country on earth. The rot may have set in before but it was Regan’s victory that set the US in the direction of the neoliberal distopia it is becoming.

      Regarding negotiators, I’m sure many of the Union trained ones are excellent and badly needed. Despite right wing UK propaganda the EU probably has the best trade negotiating team in the world. May seems to be clueless and totally outgunned.

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