Wednesday, 8 July 2015

One pager from Dominic Cummings on "Why do I want Britain to leave the EU?"

I've added this short polemic to my blog because it represents modern British Euroscepticism at its most cogent (and concise).  It's a positive economic case that doesn't get heard enough.

The EU suffers a combination of huge debts, mass unemployment, a rapidly ageing population combined with unsustainable pension obligations, and an anti-entrepreneurial and anti-technology culture. It has created a euro that damages prosperity, undermines democracy, and encourages extremism. Its dysfunctional bureaucracy is manipulated by corporate interests who like to use the EU machinery to crush competition (just as people from Adam Smith to the democratic left have warned about big business). From public procurement to international trade, our membership undermines good government and sensible policy and wastes billions annually. It is so bureaucratic and slow-moving that it cannot adapt quickly to challenges and is the opposite of the sort of agile institution necessary to cope with contemporary and imminent global challenges – for example, it is so slow moving that it remains stuck with agricultural subsidies dreamed up in the 1950s and 1960s that raise prices for the poor to subsidise rich farmers while damaging agriculture in Africa.

Meanwhile, we need new forms of governance to cope with the spread of markets and technology. We need global cooperation on many issues including profound technological changes such as genetic engineering and robotics. Such cooperation is undermined by the dysfunctional and parochial EU.

Whether they abandon the euro, muddle on, or make a great leap forward to the long planned political union, Britain will do best for herself and Europe and by removing itself from this experiment and showing an alternative path. We could help strengthen international cooperation on the biggest issues facing humanity. By demonstrating the success of a different approach, we could have real influence, rather than the chimera of influence vainly chased by the Foreign Office from meeting room to meeting room since the 1970s – a chase that simply led to concession after concession rather than influencing Brussels to change path.

A NO vote will force a profound rethink of how we organise politically and enable us to develop new systems based on decentralised cooperation and distributed decision-making. This is vital given all the problems the world faces. My 2013 essay and this blog (here) described many of these problems and suggested some ideas about how Britain could place education and science at the heart of its national policy instead of EU membership. This would be far preferable to our current behaviour –  petulant and embarrassing whining and obstructionism on the euro-federalist project, combined with a complete lack of useful alternative ideas born of post-Suez Whitehall defeatism.

We can do much better…

Originally published on Dominic Cummings' blog - June 19th 2015.  See (bottom of)