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EU’ve Lost That Loving Feeling


An American’s positive view of Brexit


Malin Baker Bogue has worked in both Washington, DC and Westminster, and runs the Americans for Britain Facebook group


A


mericans might be considered the original Brexiteers, having


voted, caucused, and fought their way out of an empire in which they had no proper democratic voice back in 1776. So why should Americans of today rally ‘round the Union Jack and support a vote for Britain to leave the EU on June 23? Paul Revere is often said to have


cried “the British are coming!” But his actual words would have been “the redcoats are coming,” because he considered himself British. For Brits supporting Leave, the argu- ment is that the EU doesn’t have a monopoly European identity. The cry isn’t “the Europeans are com- ing” - Brits are Europeans. It’s “the bureaucrats are coming!” Because the EU authorities in Brussels certainly haven’t been treating Britain in the spirit of all for one and one for all. Whether it’s a system of farm subsidies which leave British farmers significantly worse off than their neighbors, or ever-increasing powers of regulation introduced by stealth, the EU has spent the last few decades increasing its authority but not its accountability. Americans shouldn’t make the mistake of think- ing of the EU as the European USA. Whereas Americans are most likely


66 The American


to know - and vote for - their federal representatives rather than their state and local ones, the opacity of the EU system makes it very difficult for Brits to engage with. Though turnout in national elections is higher than in America, very few Brits can even name their represent- atives in the European Parliament - a fairly toothless body without real legislative power (that instead rests with the unelected Commission). The British successfully pio-


neered political and human rights, with a legacy stretching centuries before Magna Carta. Sovereign European nations did the same for international relations, start- ing with the Treaty of Westphalia. What the EU currently does, Brits can do better either domestically or by working bilaterally or multi- laterally, without an extra layer of government on top, taking a cut of taxpayers’ money to hand back development or subsidy schemes which could be more efficiently run and regulation which is either more than is wanted (trying to ordain that Brits must let convicted felons vote) or less than is needed (many EU countries do not offer basic protec- tions to LGBT citizens, which Britain considers essential). Why hand over


£350 million each week for sub-par paternalism? Americans would never agree to a similar abdication of sovereignty, and they should stand with Brits who want a government that (while by no means perfect) they know, understand, and control at their elections. With Britain outside the EU, and


large swathes of power over trade, business regulation, and immigra- tion back under British control, there’s substantial scope for closer cooperation between America and Britain - a popular proposition in both countries, given the shared language and shared interest in high-tech development.


Restricted US Immigration As an EU member, Britain has


no control over the numbers of people from the EU who come to live and work here - meaning the only option for immigration control is to squeeze and then squeeze again the numbers allowed in from non-EU states, creating higher and higher thresholds for skills and earnings, and implementing quotas. British businesses have increasingly found it difficult and expensive (and sometimes impossible) to


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