The Guest Blog

Guest blog post by Koldo Casla, Human Rights consultant at King’s College London.

I have lived in England for nearly five years, mostly in London, but due to personal reasons I have also become familiar with other parts of the country as well. I have always felt welcome here, for which I am grateful. I like England very much. I adore the preciseness of language, the humour, the diversity and buzz of the capital… I don’t even mind the weather! Ideally, I would like to stay for some time.

This is my caveat, which I believe to be necessary since I will argue that the European Union would be better off without the United Kingdom.

The UK has been part of the European Communities and the European Union for more than four decades. In the second half of this time the UK has enjoyed a special treatment granted by the other Member States. It did not adopt the Euro, it does not participate in Schengen, and it can pick and choose from within the areas of security, justice and police cooperation as it pleases. Even the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is not fully applicable in the UK.

But, as is well known, David Cameron promised to get more or leave. After intense talks behind closed doors, last Friday the European Council discussed and agreed on a new settlement for the UK in the EU. Brits will be called to an in-or-out referendum scheduled for 23 June.

I say it is time to fly free both for the UK and for the rest of the European Union.

As a EU citizen (national of Spain) living in London, I urge you to vote for Brexit.

Let me be clear. I believe there is quite a lot to change in the European Union, and hopefully Brexit will be a wake-up call. The grounds beneath the EU have shaken up in recent years, daunted by technocracy, austerity and political ineffectiveness (think of Ukraine, the Eurozone crisis, the refugee situation, etc.). Be that as it may, some sort of integration is more and more necessary in an increasingly interdependent world where European nation-states are decreasingly relevant. And this applies to the UK but also to all other European countries. For better or for worse, the European voice is fainting in the world.

I see European integration as a political necessity for which the UK is a serious obstacle. The British constituency either stops or slows the process down. Britain is a strong voice for a conservative agenda, utterly pro-business but not necessarily pro-liberalism, as shown by Eurosceptics’ insistence on the restriction of freedom of movement.

The EU suffers from many challenges, but its relationship with the UK is the only one that requires a surgeon. I beg you, dear British reader and voter, to vivisection the Great British Isles from the rest of the continent, or the other way around. I really don’t mind how you put it.

I know this may sound more difficult if you live in Wales or Cornwall, two regions that are notably dependent on EU cohesion funds. But don’t you worry, because with his campaign to recover national sovereignty, I am sure the Mayor of London intends to transfer surplus from the capital westwards. If you are a landowner and you are worried about the generous agricultural subsidies you annually receive from Brussels, you don’t have to worry either, since the invigorated Westminster will swiftly help you out. By the way, Boris, if the UK finally leaves, don’t feel the need to return the €27 million you got for the Emirates Cable Car over Thames; a small “cheers” with an EU flag would do.

Changes are always fearsome. Europeans on the other side of the Channel may be scared of the symbolic consequences. The UK would be the first country to leave this club. Yes, we would lose the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but we may get a less conservative and austericidal country in return: Scotland. Brexit could be that little push Scots need to demand a second referendum and put an end to 300 years of marriage.

Am I being too presumptuous? Wouldn’t a UK outside the EU expel me as well? I don’t think so. For every Spaniard living in the UK, there are two Britons living in Spain. Many of them are enjoying the sun in the south-eastern coast, but they are also enjoying the roads, public hospitals and the sense of security and legal certainty provided by police and functioning courts. I myself enjoy similar services over here in the UK, but alas, I am not the one talking about Spanexit, so don’t put the burden on me.

Dear British reader, European companies probably won’t stop trading with British ones, and tourists will keep invading London every summer leaving their Euros in Wetherspoon pubs, souvenir shops in Camden and expensive hotels in Mayfair. So if the fear that any of this may come to an end is making you reconsider your vote, well… keep calm and carry on. And vote out.

To be honest, I don’t think I would do it if I were you. I don’t have good reasons why you should vote out for yourself. But I am asking you to do it for me. Certainly don’t do it for Nigel Farage. He may end up missing the only parliament he has ever managed to get elected to.


This article was published first in Open Democracy:

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    1. Thanks Koldo.
      I am an old (71) European federalist, and I reach the same conclusions : UK must leave for the sake of our European Union and for a better integration of our nations.
      I am even going further than you : I have the feeling that from the begining the purpose of UK was the destruction of any association on the continent (old anti-napoleonian reaction), first with this forgotten association (AELE ?) than from the inside when UK realised it didn’t work. Check all dates from 1960 to today, and you will see some truth in my paranoïa.
      Vive le Brexit et bon vent !

  1. Dear Koldo,

    Like Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, the UK may be better off outside the EU.
    The EU has had plenty of time and resources (€) to build a solid union, alas.
    Unlike the UK, most other Member States keep being net receivers and many of them since the day they have joined the EU, even when that was 30 years ago.

    a non-UK, EU citizen living in Belgium

  2. So much of discussion concerning the EU and the relationship to it of the member states for such to readily resemble a dog’s breakfast;no opportunity to discern ‘flavour’, just instant revulsion.
    As with the Pig and the Chicken in a full-English breakfast, so too with the ‘euro’ and ‘non-euro’ states;there are those who are committed and those who are involved with the EU. Yet that breakfast would be missing something vital if either the pig or the chicken were not present.
    While I can appreciate that it may appear that the UK keeps the EU back from attaining any real sense of Democracy – any sense worthy of the assigning of Citizen status to the masses of the governed, that is. The UK seems to have had little difficulty in finding support for it’s ‘medieval’ liberal-democratic position. Indeed the EU has all but carved ‘Liberal-Democracy’ into its very breast.
    Rightly or wrongly, it is the people of the UK that shall deliver the verdict: Leave or Remain, with the usual profusion of confusion that is typical of Politics UK-style. While the people take over the responsibility that is so jealously guarded at all other times by our ‘elite’: Where, oh where, are the people when it comes to deciding things day-to-day; in the UK or the EU?
    Is ‘Citizen’ just a word?

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