UKIP prides itself on the positivity of its general election campaign, and is very much right to do so. Positivity wins. Positive arguments motivate people; they reduce people’s disillusionment with the political process, and give people something to strive for. “Vote for me because I’m good” is a much stronger argument than “Vote for me because the other guy is so terrible”. If this referendum is won by the eurosceptics, it will be because we managed to stay positive throughout the campaign.
There is no need to be disingenuous when staying positive. The key is to focus on the solutions rather than the problems, to focus on the future rather than the present, to give people something to hope for rather than something to hate. What I have done in this article is made a list of 10 parallel arguments for leaving the EU: the first argument of each pair (in italics) is perfectly valid, but focuses on the problem; the second argument in each pair (following the arrow) is the same argument, but focused on the solution. My hope is that this article will help eurosceptics to present their case in a more convincing and motivational manner.
- We need to get rid of freedom of movement. Uncontrolled immigration is a burden on our public services. —> We need a controlled, fair and ethical immigration policy which doesn’t discriminate against countries such as India, Australia and New Zealand. We need to preserve Britain’s public services, by managing demand and privileging skilled immigrants.
- The EU is autocratic, bureaucratic and technocratic. The jumped up civil servants in Brussels have no regard for nation state democracy. —> Britain needs to reclaim its proud democratic heritage. We the people must have the power to make our own decisions. We must believe in each other, and in the efficacy of our own democratic institutions. We are good enough to run our own country.
- The EU Common Fisheries Policy has destroyed the British fishing industry. —> Britain’s fishing industry can flourish outside the EU. We can reclaim our waters, and see the same success as countries like Norway.
- British business is being crushed by the burden of endless EU regulation that we can’t control. —> British business (especially small businesses) can prosper once we leave the EU. Businesses will be much freer. They will be regulated by democratically elected institutions, and will hence have a say over that regulation. Common sense will be returned to the world of business.
- The EU common asylum policy will endanger our country. It will allow terrorists and criminals to slip in under the radar. —> Controlling our own borders means controlling our own security. The UK will be safer outside the EU. We will continue to fulfil our obligations vis-à-vis those seeking asylum, but will do so in a managed fashion.
- The EU is a propagator of corporatism and crony capitalism. The lobbyists in the EU have undue influence, and are bleeding us dry for their own engorgement. —> Let us have a free, fair, popular capitalism. Outside the EU, we can have a capitalism that benefits the worker and the small business owner, rather than just the large corporations. We can have a more transparent and democratic system. We can have a government that works for the benefit of every class.
- The bailout system is a disgrace. Countries with sensible economic and monetary policy, such as Britain and Germany, are asked to cough up for the reckless, spendthrift governments of Greece and Spain. The spendthrifts never learn, and their people suffer under EU imposed austerity. —> Let’s bring responsibility back to Europe. Let’s make Britain an independent country, that uses free, mutually beneficial trade to maintain bridges with its neighbours. Let’s encourage other countries to achieve financial independence. Let’s make sure that those in power are always accountable when they make mistakes.
- The Eurocrats have no regard for national pride, identity, heritage or patriotism. They see these things as poisonous. They want to turn us into a mere component of The United States of Europe. —> Traditional British values, values like free speech, free trade, responsibility and private property, need to be upheld and reinforced. We should encourage a civic patriotism based on shared values, so that everyone can feel part of a free, functioning democracy. We should aim to unite our communities. As Mark Reckless said: our country is more than a star on somebody else’s flag.
- The EU is a black hole when it comes to finance. They once went 13 years without signing off a budget, and have continued misspending since then. Our hard earned wealth is flowing into the pockets of bureaucrats, lobbyists and God knows who else. —> We need sensibly managed finances and a careful, targeted reduction of our spending and debt. We’ll be much more able to control our finances when we’re free of the EU. Let’s return money to the pockets of British people, to the pockets of consumers, workers and entrepreneurs. We need to focus on getting our own economy back on track.
- We’re shackled to the world’s only shrinking trade bloc, forced to pay for the privilege of selling to countries who would buy from us anyway. We can’t sign our own trade agreements. Meanwhile, TTIP threatens our NHS. —> Let’s be a global trading nation, that looks beyond the boundaries of Europe. Once we’ve left the EU, we can do what Iceland has done and sign our own trade agreements with countries like China. When we sign our own treaties, we can set the terms for ourselves, making sure that valuable institutions are protected.