Coffee House

Michael Gove: Why I’m backing Brexit

20 February 2016

1:09 PM

20 February 2016

1:09 PM

For weeks now I have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of my political life. But taking difficult decisions is what politicians are paid to do. No-one is forced to stand for Parliament, no-one is compelled to become a minister. If you take on those roles, which are great privileges, you also take on big responsibilities.

I was encouraged to stand for Parliament by David Cameron and he has given me the opportunity to serve in what I believe is a great, reforming Government. I think he is an outstanding Prime Minister. There is, as far as I can see, only one significant issue on which we have differed.

And that is the future of the UK in the European Union.

It pains me to have to disagree with the Prime Minister on any issue. My instinct is to support him through good times and bad.

But I cannot duck the choice which the Prime Minister has given every one of us. In a few months time we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe I would not be true to my convictions or my country.

I don’t want to take anything away from the Prime Minister’s dedicated efforts to get a better deal for Britain. He has negotiated with courage and tenacity. But I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.

My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.


But our membership of the European Union prevents us being able to change huge swathes of law and stops us being able to choose who makes critical decisions which affect all our lives. Laws which govern citizens in this country are decided by politicians from other nations who we never elected and can’t throw out. We can take out our anger on elected representatives in Westminster but whoever is in Government in London cannot remove or reduce VAT, cannot support a steel plant through troubled times, cannot build the houses we need where they’re needed and cannot deport all the individuals who shouldn’t be in this country. I believe that needs to change. And I believe that both the lessons of our past and the shape of the future make the case for change compelling.

The ability to choose who governs us, and the freedom to change laws we do not like, were secured for us in the past by radicals and liberals who took power from unaccountable elites and placed it in the hands of the people. As a result of their efforts we developed, and exported to nations like the US, India, Canada and Australia a system of democratic self-government which has brought prosperity and peace to millions.

Our democracy stood the test of time. We showed the world what a free people could achieve if they were allowed to govern themselves.

In Britain we established trial by jury in the modern world, we set up the first free parliament, we ensured no-one could be arbitrarily detained at the behest of the Government, we forced our rulers to recognise they ruled by consent not by right, we led the world in abolishing slavery, we established free education for all, national insurance, the National Health Service and a national broadcaster respected across the world.

By way of contrast, the European Union, despite the undoubted idealism of its founders and the good intentions of so many leaders, has proved a failure on so many fronts. The euro has created economic misery for Europe’s poorest people. European Union regulation has entrenched mass unemployment. EU immigration policies have encouraged people traffickers and brought desperate refugee camps to our borders.

Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity. Razor wire once more criss-crosses the continent, historic tensions between nations such as Greece and Germany have resurfaced in ugly ways and the EU is proving incapable of dealing with the current crises in Libya and Syria. The former head of Interpol says the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe” and Scandinavian nations which once prided themselves on their openness are now turning in on themselves.  All of these factors, combined with popular anger at the lack of political accountability, has encouraged extremism, to the extent that far-right parties are stronger across the continent than at any time since the 1930s.

The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time. It was developed in the 1950s and 1960s and like other institutions which seemed modern then, from tower blocks to telexes, it is now hopelessly out of date. The EU tries to standardise and regulate rather than encourage diversity and innovation. It is an analogue union in a digital age.

The EU is built to keep power and control with the elites rather than the people. Even though we are outside the euro we are still subject to an unelected EU commission which is generating new laws every day and an unaccountable European Court in Luxembourg which is extending its reach every week, increasingly using the Charter of Fundamental Rights which in many ways gives the EU more power and reach than ever before. This growing EU bureaucracy holds us back in every area. EU rules dictate everything from the maximum size of containers in which olive oil may be sold (five litres) to the distance houses have to be from heathland to prevent cats chasing birds (five kilometres).

Individually these rules may be comical. Collectively, and there are tens of thousands of them, they are inimical to creativity, growth and progress. Rules like the EU clinical trials directive have slowed down the creation of new drugs to cure terrible diseases and ECJ judgements on data protection issues hobble the growth of internet companies. As a minister I’ve seen hundreds of new EU rules cross my desk, none of which were requested by the UK Parliament, none of which I or any other British politician could alter in any way and none of which made us freer, richer or fairer.

It is hard to overstate the degree to which the EU is a constraint on ministers’ ability to do the things they were elected to do, or to use their judgment about the right course of action for the people of this country. I have long had concerns about our membership of the EU but the experience of Government has only deepened my conviction that we need change. Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’. I know it. My colleagues in government know it. And the British people ought to know it too: your government is not, ultimately, in control in hundreds of areas that matter.

But by leaving the EU we can take control. Indeed we can show the rest of Europe the way to flourish. Instead of grumbling and complaining about the things we can’t change and growing resentful and bitter, we can shape an optimistic, forward-looking and genuinely internationalist alternative to the path the EU is going down. We can show leadership. Like the Americans who declared their independence and never looked back, we can become an exemplar of what an inclusive, open and innovative democracy can achieve.

We can take back the billions we give to the EU, the money which is squandered on grand parliamentary buildings and bureaucratic follies, and invest it in science and technology, schools and apprenticeships. We can get rid of the regulations which big business uses to crush competition and instead support new start-up businesses and creative talent. We can forge trade deals and partnerships with nations across the globe, helping developing countries to grow and benefiting from faster and better access to new markets.

We are the world’s fifth largest economy, with the best armed forces of any nation, more Nobel Prizes than any European country and more world-leading universities than any European country. Our economy is more dynamic than the Eurozone, we have the most attractive capital city on the globe, the greatest “soft power” and global influence of any state and a leadership role in NATO and the UN. Are we really too small, too weak and too powerless to make a success of self-rule? On the contrary, the reason the EU’s bureaucrats oppose us leaving is they fear that our success outside will only underline the scale of their failure.

This chance may never come again in our lifetimes, which is why I will be true to my principles and take the opportunity this referendum provides to leave an EU mired in the past and embrace a better future.

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Show comments
  • Eriugena

    “My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.”

    If this were really true wouldn’t House of Lords reform be top of your agenda?

    Of the EU’s decision-making bodies one is directly elected (European Parliament) one indirectly elected (the Council made up of directly elected members of national governments) and one indirectly indirectly elected (the Commission appointed by agreement of directly elected heads of national governments). Only the EU’s Court is not elected but then Courts are hardly ever elected (not least int he UK).

  • Abby Semple

    It’s simply untrue to present the EU as less democratic than Britain. Gove blames the unelected Commission and unaccountable Court of Justice for ridiculous regulations (I hope he and Boris share a staffer to find or make up their examples of these). Surely as a Minister he is aware of the role of the European Parliament, which we elect directly, and the Council which is made up of the elected ministers of Britain and other member states? Is the UK’s Supreme Court (not to mention the House of Lords) really any more accountable than the one in Luxembourg?

    Democracy needs to function on more than one level. The reason why the EU is struggling is because we have outsourced difficult, long-term policies to it: trade, international relations, migration and environmental protection. It is far from perfect. But the prospect of being ruled purely by Westminster should not comfort anyone – let’s not forget about the expenses scandal, flip-flopping welfare policies and childish displays at PMQ’s. We need Europe, and Europe needs us, to balance each other’s worst tendencies. Gove has presented a very selective, and wilfully naive picture of the alternative.

  • Livelyjaynee

    Why do people talk as if Britain was forced to join the EU? Or that it was signed up without its knowledge of the rules of the game? These so-called EU laws, were they designed with no input at all from Britain?

    As for the system of democratic self-government which Gove said Britain exported to the US, Australia, India, etc, I would say the system did not bode well for the blacks in America or the aboriginals of Australia for that system entrenched the oppression of the “minority”.

    It may well be that Britain’s membership of the EU is no longer fit for purpose. Let arguments for or against be presented without recourse to the prevailing view of an emasculated Britain stripped of its powers by the evil EU.

    • Jhren

      In America, at least, the British government actually did try to keep white settlers from expanding into native lands. As an American, I’m sorry to say we were not so enlightened.

      Argument for leaving the EU: We want you in America.

  • Lindum

    Cameron says he has sound legal advice saying the EU deal is legally binding — but he won’t show it to us – the peasants –
    Petition to see his legal advice

    Is he lying?

  • Philsopinion

    “The former head of Interpol says the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe””

    How does that work?

    “and Scandinavian nations which once prided themselves on their openness are now turning in on themselves.”

    Is that because of the profound changes that have been forced upon them by both the EU elites and their own?

    Do bear in mind Gove is a mass immigrationist.

    “We can forge trade deals and partnerships with nations across the globe,”

    I’m starting to think he means TTIP or some kind of independent replacement. That would make all his talk of ”the people” deciding hog wash.

    I have to say this statement has given this Outer pause for thought.

  • Arthur Rusdell-Wilson

    When I was at school we were taught to write, “The reason the EU’s bureaucrats oppose OUR leaving ….”

  • Kwesi Dickson

    Gove’s appeal to Britain’s history of leading the world in
    abolishing slavery is ignorant, to say the least. It was the French empire that
    was first among European empires to abolish slavery in 1794 – 39 years before
    the British did in 1833. Though the French abolition did not survive Napoleon,
    it is telling to note how the British responded to the French abolition: they
    promptly invaded Haiti in order to RESTORE slavery. Glorious history, that.

    • Jhren

      Ugh, stop it. The empire really did abolish slavery before most others, and not only that, but actively interdicted the slave trade and destroyed slavers. It can’t be perfect, but it was better than most.

      • Kwesi Dickson

        There’s no early bird reward for realising one’s own depravity. Next would be a prize for the most repentant mass murderer or the gentlest rapist. Absurd. The circumstances of abolition point more to cynicism – compensation to slave owners for loss of property – than any sense of repentance. Shame, shame, shame.

        • Jhren

          The empire was not an individual person, who can be accused or ‘repent’ of a crime. It was a whole community filled with people who were motivated by different virtues and flaws, one which lasted for hundreds of years and encompassed many generations, not one of which was guilty of any crimes committed by their predecessors or deserves to be shamed because of them.

          • Kwesi Dickson

            Yet it is easy to take comfort that Britain was ‘better than most’. And, in the original piece, I can sense Gove positively glowing with pride at the memory of abolition. Of course history is complex, but why would anyone say that responsibility and shame fall away from generation to generation but comfort and pride do not? Both you and Gove would appear to have conveniently selective readings of history. Now, that’s a shame.

  • Bodkinn

    Politicians like Mr Gove are plainly highly intelligent and competent but I wonder if they have the ferocity necessary to face and beat the beasts of the inners who seem to be prepared to rip throats out to get what they want.

  • David Ross

    Dear Michael,

    “If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.”

    But what if the corruption is institutionalised and embraced by all political alternatives?

    Let me give you an example.


    Brown steals DB provision from the populace he purports to serve (£5bn / annum in additional taxation to “serve the greater good”). Meanwhile however he maintains DB provision for the Government and it’s employees.

    2000; It is clear private sector DB provision is in terminal decline. What does the Government do about it? The ONS reclassify the “BBC, Royal Mail et al” from the public sector to the private sector for the purposes of reporting occupational pension statistics. This gave the impression DB was alive and well in the private sector, the reality was terminal decline.

    2001; MP’s help themselves to a barrow load of additional DB pension provision funded entirely by the tax payer.

    If we accept Transparency Internationals definition of corruption as “The Abuse of Entrusted Power for Personal Financial Gain” then this vote is an excellent example of corrupt Governance.

    In 2005 the IEA publish a paper which provides an indication of the true value of DB pension provision. It valued a police pension to be worth excess of contributing 70% of salary into a DC pension scheme. DC being the sort of pension “enjoyed” by the hard pressed tax payers.

    In the years that followed DB schemes (including MP’s) in the public sector continued to run up massive deficits. Monies that should have been spent serving the greater good was instead redirected into ensuring “the dream of retiring whilst still relatively young on an index linked income for life” remained a reality for the Government and it’s employees.

    2008; Cameron promises to end “pensions apartheid” starting with MP’s.

    2016; MP’s pensions have been tinkered with. Crucially they are still on a very generous “Defined Benefit” arrangement. Cameron caved in on his pre-election promise to tackle the pensions apartheid which has divided society.

    All other European countries are embarked on similar corrupt activity. There is one exception. Denmark. All in Denmark are on DC arrangements. The only debate to be had is the employer and employee contributions. I say that’s fair and transparent. That’s why Denmark is the least corrupt Government according to Transparency International.

    SNP; Refer to the shameful 2001 vote. The only party to vote unanimously for more gravy at the expense of Generations Y and Z.

    UKIP; 2010 manifesto pledge to end pensions apartheid. In 2015 Aker says he had a look at public sector pensions and “got scared”.

    Labour; The creators of pensions apartheid who have nothing to say on the subject but are unelectable in any event.

    All of this = “democratic dictatorship”. Private sector workers and generations Y and Z are financially abused to ensure the Government and it’s employees can live their dream.

    The gap has never been wider. Dave talks a good game but delivers nothing.

    Transparency is the enemy of corruption;

    Tackle corrupt Governance. Getting out of the EU is a good start.
    Did you think we weren’t paying attention and wouldn’t notice?

  • Mary Ann

    How’s that for integrity

  • Nick

    The most important thing for me is the price of Cornish pasties.If the price rises following Brexit I’ll vote to Remain.

    And I’m really serious about this.

  • liberté liberté

    Charles Gave; Institut des Libertés (rough translation with Google) From time to time, I feel diffuse but certainly false that politicians take voters for fools. We just had a remarkable illustration in connection with the
    renegotiation of a privileged status for Great Britain in the European
    Prime Minister, David Cameron, for domestic political reasons related
    to the rise of anti-European party led by Nigel Farage was forced to
    promise to the British people before the last British elections a
    referendum on whether to continue the Britain in the European Community. This
    same Prime Minister then announced that he would renegotiate “special”
    conditions for GB and if he got what he was asking other countries as
    “privileges”, he would recommend to the people to vote for maintaining the country into European structures …

    We see the enormity of the string.

    Of course, he would ask nothing really essential.
    Of course, other countries and Brussels would push cries of outrage to these requests.
    Of course, long and difficult palaver would take place in Brussels until the wee hours of the morning.
    course, around 6 or 7 am, before the new radio, our heroes would emerge
    out of their night work waving a piece of paper saying they had reached
    an agreement that would guarantee peace in our time ( Fine allusion to Chamberlain and Munich).

    And as a result of this completely unexpected agreement Mr. Cameron
    can therefore recommend in good conscience every British citizen to vote
    for maintaining Britain in European structures.
    This really take the British electorate for tench.

    First, the European institutions have NEVER respected national sovereignty since they were created to destroy. We remember the referendum on the European Constitution in France and
    Holland rejected for having them imposed by a treaty some time later.

    also remember that the Irish voted no to the Euro and were invited to
    vote again until they accept the Euro weary of war, only to be told
    later that they could never again out.

    We remember the vote of the Greeks, immediately betrayed by Tsipras
    that one wonders how it has affected to betray his constituents as

    As stated very clearly the German finance minister “there is no democratic exit from the European institutions.” It could not be clearer: this is what Brezhnev said the Czechs or the
    Poles in 1968, putting forward his theory of “limited sovereignty”

    And so we will have a referendum on June 23 on whether or not to Britain in Europe. And despite the support of the British Prime Minister, it is far, far from over.

    Here’s why.

    English people in general and in particular Conservatives are
    extraordinarily attached to the notion of democracy, after all, they
    invented over the centuries, from the Magna Carta imposed on King John,
    through the Glorious Revolution of 1689 and up ‘the takeover of the elected assembly (the Commons) on hereditary assembly (House of Lords) in the XIX century.

    But today’s Europe is not democratic. There
    is no separation of powers since the Commission has both the
    legislative and executive power as she is elected by nobody, being
    composed only of second-rate politicians have been defeated in elections
    in their own country.

    The European Parliament is not master of its agenda imposed by the
    Commission and is absolutely worthless if not handsomely maintain a
    multitude of poor that no one knows.

    the European Court of Justice, it is a parody of populated Supreme
    Court lawyers, many of whom had made the great days of communist courts
    at the time when the countries that have appointed them to these
    important functions were Communists. Entrust the maintenance of our liberties to those people is entrusted with the key to his cellar alcoholic sommelier.

    the choice for the English people will be extraordinarily simple: he
    will not vote for or against Europe, but to vote for or against
    democracy, which as everyone knows can not be exercised in each country that relying on National Sovereignty expressed through free elections.

    Basically, we have to choose between Churchill and de Gaulle on one side and Jean Monnet and the other Draghi. For
    it will have to choose between democracy, which we know is the worst of
    all plans to the exclusion of all others and Technocracy that brought
    us into this kind of soft USSR which all European countries are dying .

    question will therefore be: you want to be governed by people that you
    have not elected, not accountable to you, you can not fire in case of
    gross incompetence or outright corruption or want to be you governed by people you know, you can transfer at regular intervals and represent you?

    you be judged according to your Law (Common Law) that has evolved
    slowly over the centuries depending on the evolution of your company or
    you want to be judged on codes out any armed brains of politicians like
    crazy in France ( see our Labor code or our tax code for example)?

    there be no mistake: if the rule of European law on the Columbia law is
    not canceled, the European authorities will resume control of Great
    Britain inevitably some are the “guarantees” that Mr Cameron would get
    or . These guarantees are not worth the price of the scrap of paper on which they were written.

    And the debate for this referendum will pass through the two government parties right through.

    the Conservatives in power now, the big question will be Freedom vote
    for the referendum, first to those who are inside the government. If
    Cameron demand “loyalty” of the members of his government, there should
    be resignations in chain that could challenge his premiership. Moreover,
    there is no question that it can impose its will on the so-called back
    benchers, that is to say the basic members who are not dependent on
    anything from him for re-election. And
    all the more so if the non were to prevail, in my opinion, Mr. Cameron,
    disavowed, should resign to be replaced by a new prime minister, which
    could be either Osborne, the current Minister of Finance, or a very original character somewhat reminiscent Churchill, Boris
    Johnson, the former mayor of London, which has just recommended to vote
    on Brexit.

    Labor, the current leader of the party is an inveterate leftist, very
    to the left of Mélenchon home and seems to have little sympathy for the
    Atlantic-corrupt clique which manages Europe for forty years, while the
    little people English who
    sees what is happening in Calais, Germany or Sweden says Nigel Farage
    has been only can be wrong is to have been right before the others,
    which is rather considered a quality across the Channel …

    On the side of the “yes” do we find?

    not much except the so-called media “business”, that is to say people
    who owe their survival to contacts they managed to establish with the
    structures of power Bruxelloises and
    here I think the business lawyers, auditors, accountants, lobbyists,
    tax, basically those who create nothing but make the work of others more
    difficult. These
    groups are trying to be born among the people FEAR English, explaining
    that if the vote not prevailed, their standard of living would decline
    sharply. These
    people, well represented by the Financial Times, in general, were all
    supporters of the euro and had used the same arguments to try to force
    Britain to join the common currency. For
    example, the City would see its influence collapse since Britain is not
    in the Euro, the Euro market would automatically settle in Frankfurt or
    Paris, which would be very damaging to the institutions British financial. We
    know what came of it … or that other European countries would become
    protectionist against the English products, while ignoring the fact that
    Britain has a monstrous deficit with other European countries. protectionist become for Germany or France, it would mean not to sell BMW or Peugeot. We
    see who would lose … Never mentioned is the fact that Switzerland
    does not have expert advice of Juncker Draghi gold and gentlemen it by
    doing rather well. In
    fact, these people are those who rush to Davos every year and
    correspond with us at Attali gentlemen, Duhamel, Minc and Bernard
    Henri-Levy, each recognizes the remarkable ability to only make mistakes
    and go wrong all the time .

    And what can Europe “Institutional”?

    only course of action during the Greek crisis was threatening way
    little subtle Greece to stop funding the local government, which allowed
    the population to understand that Greek sovereignty had been sold for a
    mess of pottage by politicians both corrupt and incompetent. Britain has its own currency, here is something that will not happen. Oh yes, “they” will try to bring down the British Pound and local
    financial markets before the vote, to instill fear, but it will give me a
    wonderful opportunity to purchase …


    My military father said that Britain was losing most of the battles but won all wars. Because the only wars worth the trouble are those conducted in the name of Liberty. Once
    again, and true to its historic mission, Britain will defend freedom
    against tyranny … Rather die than slave, although slavery is presented
    at the beginning as being soft. Being free said John Paul II, it is able and willing to do what it should do. In Europe, we are no longer free and long.

    When Britain returned free, everyone will see that the emperor is
    naked, the new Soviet Union will collapse like the previous one, and it
    will be good, very good news.

    English vote is the most important thing for Europe since the Treaty
    of Rome in 1956. As Churchill said, without which we would be speaking
    German or Russian, I expect every English to do his Duty.

    England Go, Go!

    Except when France plays against England in Rugby, of course.

    There are limits to everything.
    Charles GAVE Institut des Libertés

  • liberté liberté

    I apologize for my terrible english. I am french and I utterly support a brexit not for the usual mainstreams reasons we find on the continent. Here in Paris the ones who support brexit have only one argument : English are there only to destroy EU and be the US bridgehead. In my opinion, the English brexit is an extraordinary chance for EU. This EU is a technocratic building totaly anti democratic. It has to be totally rebuilt from crash. I am sure the same vote in France will bring to a frexit!
    Please read (to be translated from french to english) this article from Charles Gave.

    • Arthur Sparknottle

      It would be a great opportunity for both our nations and for the rest too if we could only abandon all the undemocratic controls and trade together in friendship, and even swap our jobs so that well qualified English could come and work in France and vice versa. What we have now is a strangling bureaucracy, dictatorial regulations, and for Britain, a swarm of cheap low class labour and benefit scroungers from places like Romania. Our city streets are covered in Roma beggars. Now we did have beggars before, but they were OUR beggars. Now you hardly see an English beggar, they are all swarthy foreigners.

      There is nothing wrong with well qualified people working in friendly neighbouring countries, but we are getting a third of a million a year settling here of mostly low skilled people. We can cooperate and work together with both of our countries having sovereignty and the right to make their own laws without foreign interference.

  • Mary Ann

    Boris joins the out camp and Stirling falls against the Euro.

  • Paul

    Britain’s suicidal urge to remain under Brussels?? How can a Tory government do this? Fifty-five
    million pounds per day is paid by the Brits to the Brussels kleptos.
    Some of that is spent by the kleptos in Britain in return, but nothing
    near what the thieves in Brussels take from the fools in Britain. There
    would be no austerity measures in Britain if the fools stopped paying
    the thieves (Tory budget cuts are dwarfed by EU payments), yet the
    unions in Britain are on the side of Brussels. Go figure.

  • Marvin

    I wonder why the politicians and the media ignore the tsunami heading towards this spring. The biblical exodus of a few million migrants who want what the previous lot have achieved, benefits beyond their wildest dreams and never want for anything because everything is provided. To sustain this, our £55/60 million a day will be doubled, we will be forced to accept a million migrants a year and every time our GDP figures improve we will have to dig deep into our pockets to help the hangers on. As Mr Gove’s article above proves, we have our own destiny and prosperity to grasp, and it won’t be there again.

  • Mr Creosote

    “I don’t want to take anything away from the Prime Minister’s dedicated efforts to get a better deal for Britain. He has negotiated with courage and tenacity. But I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.”

    Whilst I admire Mr Gove’s loyalty, it must be obvious to everyone that DC had the begging bowl firmly clamped between his teeth and both hands tied behind his back. Begging smaller countries (who we subsidise to the tune of £360 million a week!) for pathetic concessions and a list of unenforceable platitudes was a sight to behold. Watching the arrogance and faintly-masked distain of the Eurocrats was a nauseating experience we should not wish to repeat – but repeated it will be, in spades, if we cave in to “remain” vote and return to the table chastised to continue our role as whipping boy.

  • Spam Gangren

    The following sentence from Gove, which is entirely false, shows that the case for Brexit is built wholly on imagined benefits and deceitful arguments: “We can take out our anger on elected representatives in Westminster but whoever is in Government in London cannot remove or reduce VAT [yes they can; it was George Osborne who raised VAT in 2011, and he could lower it if he chose], cannot support a steel plant through troubled times [yes they could; whether they should is a different debate], cannot build the houses we need where they’re needed [yes they could if they changed the planning laws, and doing that is perfectly within the Westminster government’s remit; of course, weakening Green Belt laws might lose the Tories votes…] and cannot deport all the individuals who shouldn’t be in this country.” [yes they can; there is nothing in EU law which says a member state can’t remove illegal immigrants. It must go through the right procedures to do this, but those procedures have been designed by legal experts (not elected politicians) on the basis of human rights and wouldn’t be removed just because we exited the EU. Do we really want to throw away such hard-fought rights and freedoms, as the Brexit camp seems to be proposing?

  • David Taylor

    The penultimate paragraph should be on every poster about the referendum.

  • Fritz123

    “‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’.” This is the end of thinikng and this is the problem. To obey the EU rules. LIke a dog.

    But you dont have to leave the UK to rebel against its rules. Not all people in the EU are the same. The EU is not an old text by any founding fathers, it is a living instrument in the language of Scalia. It just needs other Europeanhs and the UK could be a starter.

  • Fritz123

    “But our membership of the European Union prevents us
    being able to change huge swathes of law and stops us being able to
    choose who makes critical decisions which affect all our lives.”

    Why dont you just do what you like? Make an “anti EU policy” within the EU. Why is this no option? All of that EU law is made with the consent of the UK.

    It just didnt happen by itself “because we are in the EU”. And what is done by men can be changed by men. There is all sort of “lawfare” possible. I am German but I have not yet found an argument pro Brexit that would convince me of the necessity of it. You take the EU much too serious. It is full of broken policies but lets make fun out of it.

  • Peter Lappo

    Shame Cameron didn’t read this. It would appear the UK can assert its democratic rights over EU law just like Germany does. As it stands the UK has to apply all EU laws without question. An EU directive could tell the UK to drive on the right tomorrow and we’d be breaking the law if we didn’t comply.

  • Toby

    “…the European Union, despite the undoubted idealism of its founders and the good intentions of so many leaders, has proved a failure on so many fronts. The euro has created economic misery for Europe’s poorest people. European Union regulation has entrenched mass unemployment. EU immigration policies have encouraged people traffickers and brought desperate refugee camps to our borders.

    Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity…”
    That sum it up perfectly! I can’t even understand why people would like to support that monstrosity.

  • Cheddarcakes

    Farage, Bojo and Gove I’ll take that over Cameron and Corbynovski

  • Anton Hodge

    Didn’t Iceland beat us to having a free parliament and abolishing slavery?

    • RightPaddock

      Free Parliament yes, not sure about Iceland and slaves, were there any? And Bismark was the first to have a National Health Service – 60-70 years before Attlee introduced it to UK, he might have also had a minimum wage.

      • trobrianders

        And a natty ‘tache.

  • John Latimer

    Both the UK and Japan are similar sized island nations located off shore from continental neighbours. If Japan can continue its independent sovereignty in the wider world is there any reason why UK can’t do so?

  • Bob Holden

    Very well said. I fear that the argument over OUT or In isn’t articulating the choices available to the British public. I see no national discussion here in Canada about how this may be an opportunity for her compared to the impotence of NAFTA that undermines our resource, manufacturing and agricultural sectors in favour of our southern neighbour. I hear “Outers” talking about the Euro-fringe countries or going it alone. The answer lay in our shared past. By creating a global security and economic entity based on the ABC nations the world would have balance and prosperity, Russia, China, EU, USA and “US” the British Commonwealth of Nations. Stability comes in odd numbers!

  • johnrwalsh

    The scots should vote “leave EU” so they can trigger another referendum to leave the union

    • trobrianders

      England should get rid of commie Scots at the first opportunity

  • johnrwalsh

    The sheer fact that Britain ,the first country in the modern
    world to have any sort of democracy, that evolution dates back to maga carta,
    bills of rights, common law, industrial revolution etc. . a country that
    exported that system of governance to the entire world and forms the basis of
    American , Australian, new Zealand and India governance and many more, even has to discuss
    the question to its own population over wherever we would be better off
    going back to governing ourselves, or farming out our sovereignty to a Europe
    which only 75 years ago was ruled by nothing but monarchs , dictators and
    despots shows how far the education of our history to our children has been
    corrupted by left wing integrationists and centralist global utopians, have we as a people forgot who we are and who we once were ? i think we have. and i think its already too late when after 1000 years of ruling ourselves and making more of a success of it than any country in the entire world these “people” can frighten us by claiming that we will not survive if we left their cage , who do thy think we are .? Poland or Latvia or some small country that just been born???

  • CortexUK

    “Why Vote Leave” by Daniel Hannan, published 24 March 2016:,daniel-hannan-9781784977108

    “52 Jokers” Eurosceptic playing cards, out now:

    “BREXIT: The Movie” Kickstarter fundraising page – 9 days left to raise 25,000 of Her Majesty’s British Pounds Sterling:

  • Ingmar Blessing

    If I was British, I would not just be voting out, but quite likely also campaigning intensely for an out, since the entire thing is so incredibly stupid and ridiculous, you’d have to laugh all day long if it wasn’t also incredibly scary.

    As a German tough, I beg you: DON’T LEAVE US ALONE IN THAT THING!

    Our precious lefties, greenies and etatists cannot wait until Britain is out to finally tighten the rope around our neck completely. EU government, EU treasury, EU school curriculum, EU military, EU CO2 ban, EU political correctness, EU Sharia, EU “solidarity”-duty, EU what the f*ck ..

    And who will pay for that? Yes, correct, it’s the idiot who still works for his money.


    • CortexUK

      Leave you alone? Join us!

    • sidor

      You are absolutely right. Germany would be much better off outside the EU and, particularly, outside the EZ.

      However, you missed the point when blaming the lefties and the greenies. They are just the means. Political puppets. The driving force of the entire affair is the deep-rooted bonapartisme of the French elite. The trick was quite simple. They said to the Germans: “You want back your Great Germany? You will have it, but it will now be called EU. Pay!” And Germany has been paying for that political theatre for decades.

  • Julie A.

    Remain are waltzing this so far.

    15 point lead this weekend in the Sceptic Mail for Remain.

    Bookies have the odds shortening in favour of Remain while the OUTers continue to drift into never never land.

    Far too easy for Remain and they haven’t even really got started yet with their campaign.

    It’s going to be humiliation for Gove and co.