The Brexit Explained

**My friend, Eamonn, explains what the Brexit is and why he’s in favor of it. If you are interested in writing the opposing viewpoint, I’d be happy to share it.

buckingham palace

Brexit is short for a British Exit from the European Union. The EU was started back in the late 1950s to create a common trading area in central Europe which would hopefully prevent another war breaking out. Originally France and Germany were the heavyweights but it expanded to take in the UK and Ireland in 1973, Spain, Portugal and Greece in the 1980s (once they had offloaded their dictatorships) and most of Eastern Europe after the fall of communism. It made sense for the UK which had lost an Empire and was an economic disaster zone to want to get close to Germany, which had been literally a disaster zone in 1945 (round the clock bombing will do that to you) but by 1960 had undergone an economic miracle. The French kept the UK out until 1973 but led by Ted Heath the British joined “the Common Market” as it was then called, with a promise that there would be no loss of sovereignty.

So if this is a deal to allow all of Europe to trade, to do business easily and cheaply, what’s the problem? Well, there is more to it than trade. To buy and sell to each other, we need some common rules and standards. To have those we need someone to make and enforce the rules, the European Commission and the Court of Justice. To give the rules some democratic basis, we need a parliament, elected by the peoples of Europe but with no power to propose laws, repeal laws or fire the executive. The fear is that if we make things too democratic, we might let some rabble-rousers take over and start another war.

So why does Britain want out? The British have never really been completely happy with the EU. They like their money in pounds sterling, and they don’t like being told by an overseas bureaucrat how long or curvy their bananas have to be. (Yes, that really happened!) The ideal of “ever closer union” which is repeated in all of the EU treaties doesn’t appeal to them. Their laws presume that you’re free to do as you like until the law, for some good reason, tells you not to. Most of Europe lives under the Civil Code, which presumes you are not allowed to do something until the State tells you that you can. The Brits like the idea that you can hire and fire your lawmakers but a lot of Europeans seem more content with having a professional class of trained administrators to run the country, or the whole continent, taking that burden off our shoulders.

The three big issues that are being slugged out right now are borders & immigration, money & sovereignty. The Germans opened their borders in response to the crisis in Syria, inviting mass migration into their country with its shrinking population. The trouble is that once someone arrives in Berlin from Damascus by way of Istanbul, he is free by law to go anywhere in the EU. No-one in the UK wants an open border, even if most people have no problem with controlled migration. They do want to have a say in who comes in and in what numbers.

Everybody who joins a club pays the membership fee, and the EU is no different. When the fee is used to move 751 huge empty file boxes in a fleet of trucks over 270 miles 22 times a year, it begins to look a bit silly. When the expenses paid to the owners of the boxes (members of the European Parliament) are never matched to any receipts at all, things get a bit fishy. When the accounts for the whole institution aren’t approved by the official auditors for 20 years in a row, maybe a net contributor like the UK needs to get the heck out of dodge.

Sovereignty, effectively the right to choose your own rulers, is the biggest issue in my view but the smallest for many voters it seems. The problem here is that the EU institutions make decisions but are never answerable for them. There is no electorate to throw them out, no voters who can show them the door.

So what’s going to happen on June 23? Every UK citizen (and even Irish citizens like me) living in the UK and Gibraltar, will vote to leave the EU or remain. Then we’ll see whether David Cameron’s decision to spend the equivalent of $13,000,000 of taxpayers money on a Remain mailshot was worth it. Either Britain’s future will be sealed as province of a united Europe with no separate destiny to pursue or perhaps, as I hope, the UK will fulfil Winston Churchill’s prediction that every time Britain has to “decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea that we shall choose”.

If you want to know more about all this Brexit the Movie is worth a look (full disclosure – it’s pro Brexit) as is the officially neutral BBC documentary Paxman in Brussels: Who Really Rules Us?

Buckingham Palace * Capture date: 23. Sep. 2004 * Photographer: Patrick Eustermann {{GFDL}} (copied from the German Wikipedia, uploaded there by userPatrickEustermann)

About Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Catholic author, speaker, CrossFit coach, and the Managing Editor of The Catholic Conspiracy website. She is the author of the best-selling books Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us and Can We Be Friends? She is a co-host of the popular podcast The Visitation Project, and is a columnist for The National Catholic Register. She and her husband live just outside Dallas with their eight children, a German Shepherd named Dave, and an ever-multiplying family of dust-bunnies.
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