An American friend asked me (as an Englishman) what was going on about the UK leaving the European Union. I thought I’d answer here because others may be interested. I know how frustratingly sparse the media coverage can be of events in another country.

This is no small matter. The UK is about to decide through a referendum of all voters the simple “yes” or “no” of whether it stays part of the European empire (now comprising 28 countries) or whether the UK goes it alone. This is, of course, a country that successfully went it alone for hundreds of years.

The decision will affect trade throughout the world, defence policy, foreign relationships and many other issues that make up the fabric of society.


To take a brief look at history, the Common Market (as it was originally called) was formed after World War II, in which Europe tore itself apart. The intention was to form a trading bond between some of the major economies in Western Europe.

There were six members, including Germany and France, which had been bitter enemies. Trade would secure harmony, it was believed, and the combined strength of the member countries would be a buffer to the Soviet Union (seen as the next threat to world peace).

The UK dallied for years about whether it wished to be part of this club. The question was answered in the early 1960s when France (fearing a reduction of its own status in the alliance) used its veto to stop the UK joining.

But, 10 years or so later, the mood was different and the UK joined.
Since that time, the character of the European beast has changed. Its long-term plan to become a United States of Europe went beyond doubt when it tried to impose a common currency, the Euro. Thankfully, the UK retained its good old £, much stronger than the Euro.

But the UK has suffered in two crucial areas:

1 – Unlimited migration within Europe has brought hundreds of thousands (possibly millions because the figures are cooked) of immigrants to a country with the attractions of a welfare state, free healthcare and free education.

2 – “Human rights” laws which often favour the villain over the victim.

Well, on June 23rd, the electorate of the UK gets to vote: Leave Europe or stay.

The odds have been running about even, but the “stay in” campaign, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, has been getting the worst of the publicity. Cameron himself has been trying to woo both camps. This generally competent leader could find himself out of his job whatever way the vote goes.

I have a sneaking feeling it’s going to be the “leavers” who win. I tell you, I hope so.

Copyright: David K. Bryant