Friday, 20 May 2016

Brexit: stars back European Union membership

250 actors, musicians and other cultural leaders of the United Kingdom urged the Brits to vote for membership to the European Union in the upcoming referendum. In an open letter published on 20 May 2016, they argue it's better to stay in than out: 'let's not become an outsider shouting from the wings'.

My question is: maybe that's exactly what they want: to be an outsider shouting from the wings?

Visit Hadrian's wall protecting the Roman Empire ©
It's important to understand where the Euroscepticism comes from. Deeply rooted in history, the Brits have always been afraid of one big power on the European mainland. The Roman empire is just one of the examples in the UK's history, resulting in a wall quite high up north to protect the empire from invaders. Some remnants can still be visited.

More recently, Napoleon, Hitler and perhaps Stalin have tried to conquer Europe to install one powerful superstate. The Brits have fought Napoleon and Hitler (Boris Johnson?) and won, through hard times, endless battles and countless casualties. Since than, the UK's foreign policy alternated different views: either divide the states of Europe, or isolate itself from the mainland.

One can easily make the comparison. Today, the Brits are fighting the ever more powerful superstate. They couldn't divide it enough from within (support to Turkey's EU accession is just one of the methods) so now it's time to isolate itself from the EU.

So for the supporters of Britain in the EU, namely Britain Stronger in Europe, I'd argue it's better not to warn their compatriots that they'll be outsiders. That's exactly what they want.

I think it's better to point out the world's challenges: Russia's aggressive stance in Ukraine, Turkey's concentration of power, and all the turmoil in Northern Africa. These arguments may be more convincing.

More information: interesting article from the Guardian and an analysis of the pro-EU Economist.