Wetherspoon's founder on the EU: "We've got to get out of this place"

It’s déjà vu all over again. Those arguing in favour of “Remain” are mostly the same characters that urged us to join the euro. Tony Blair, Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Peter Mandelson, and so on, are all at it. As before, the CBI and the FT, supported by the majority of big-company boards and economists, are also in the club. 

What the great and the good misunderstood the last time was that you can’t have a properly functioning currency if you don’t have a government, as I repeatedly said then. You need a government that has the authority to raise taxes from wealthy areas and to redistribute the proceeds to those who are less well off. So money raised from taxing London can be transferred to Port Talbot and Redcar, for example.  

The absence of a central government with these tax-raising powers is creating hell in the Eurozone, with no proper method of distributing money from Germany and Holland to Greece, for example, in the absence of a democratic mandate to raise the necessary taxes. In weighing up the pros and the cons in the current referendum, the great and the good struggle to understand that democracy, prosperity and freedom are inextricably linked.  

Democratic West Germany was more prosperous than communist East Germany and South Korea is more prosperous than North Korea. The US, with democracy enshrined in its constitution, has far outshone South America, which has struggled to introduce democratic systems. The problem with the EU is it is becoming increasingly undemocratic. The elite politicians and bureaucrats, who rule the roost in Brussels, are trying to create a country without the democratic authority of the peoples of Europe.  

This has led to chronic inefficiency, corruption and resentment. The EU’s accounts haven’t been audited for more than 20 years, the Eurozone is in a mess and much of Europe hates the Brussels bureaucracy even more passionately than the British. Unemployment is rife, with youth unemployment at or approaching 50% in a number of southern European countries. What an indictment of the masters of the universe in Brussels.  

The pub and restaurant trade, for example, will benefit greatly from leaving this disintegrating union. The EU charges high tariffs on food from non-EU countries, so our food prices will fall after Brexit. Wine from the Antipodes and from some South American countries will also reduce in price, as EU tariffs fall away. The EU creates a plethora of regulations covering many areas, which are largely invisible to us, but which weigh heavily on businesses.

In particular, every year or 2 a new project emerges from Brussels, which you either go along with or use huge energy to oppose the disastrous exchange rate mechanism caused chaos; I spent about a year opposing the adoption of the Euro in the UK and politicians struggle to hold back EU expansionism in treaties such as Maastricht and Lisbon.  

All businesses depend on the overall success of their economies. Democracy always brings more economic success than autocracy, so it has to be to the UK’s benefit to increase the level of democracy here by leaving the EU. 

As Eric Burdon and The Animals sang in those far off pre-EU days: “We’ve got to get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.”

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