There is a narrative that the EU is a bureaucratic, intrusive and costly organisation that tells the member states what to do. It is a view exacerbated by a concern about migration and is reflected in a rise of Euroscepticism and support for the ‘leave’ campaign.
The problem is that they tend to be gut instincts. While Britain has had an ‘on-off’ relationship with the EU, it has always benefited from the stability it has brought. Leaving the EU will make Britain less influential in the world, while it will still have to implement EU-shaped rules as nearly 50% of its trade is with the EU. Leaving the EU will create massive instability in the financial markets, as well as for companies based in Britain who have set up production flows based upon the EU market. It will deprive Britain of necessary labour and lessen opportunities for British people to work abroad. This will in turn reduce economic growth, impacting on everything from employment and taxation to pension funds. And while some may say that British sovereignty is regained, it is hard to think how Britain will negotiate effectively with the likes of China, India, America and many more.
Alasdair Blair (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jonathan Rose (email@example.com)
Department of Politics and Public Policy
De Montfort University