We aren’t naïve or narcissistic enough to believe that our kinsmen in the United Kingdom are reading our editorials or, even if they were, are acting on our counsel. But they should, particularly on the following question: Should the U.K. stay in the European Union? Or should it go?
That’s the decision for voters in our colonial Mother Country during the “Brexit” referendum on June 23.
Though we are bound to the EU via the U.K., we here in the Cayman Islands are relegated to the children’s table and aren’t being given a say. We’ll offer our advice anyway: Get out. Get out now.
We’re not saying the EU necessarily is a “bad” entity. We are saying it is bad for Britain.
Forged after the horrors of two world wars, under the principle of, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” the EU has done much good, particularly for the smallest of its 28 member states by providing them access to a very large market of 500 million–plus people. But make no mistake; the common market is merely a tremendous economic carrot to be dangled in front of the individual European nations to achieve political ends — actually, a single political end, that is as absolute as it is transparent — “European Union.”
For countries like Ireland, Luxembourg and Greece, the EU has been lighthouse, lifeboat and life support. The EU has enabled them to emerge from the hegemony of traditional powers, compete against much larger entities and, when all else fails, seek recourse to a safety net in times of crisis.
In that context, acquiring stability and security through sacrifice of sovereignty may be a fair trade-off (albeit not one to our liking).
Not so for the U.K. — which is the third-largest EU member state in terms of population, the second-largest in terms of GDP and the foremost, in terms of reluctance to be involved.
In return for its bending to the Brussels-based bureaucracy, Britain has found itself on the receiving end of moronic regulations and an intolerable influx of culturally incompatible migrants.
On the regulatory side, we’ll give two examples of EU absurdity: 1) Instructing growers to discard bananas that were too “bendy”; and 2) Banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can help prevent dehydration.
On the migration side, we could cite 375,000 examples, which is the estimated annual net migration into the U.K., with 220,000 coming from the EU and 155,000 from the rest of the world.
Opponents of Brexit have thus far conducted a historically tone-deaf campaign to persuade U.K. voters to remain in the EU, with its two principal arguments being that, if the U.K. leaves, “bad things will happen” economically, and if the U.K. remains, British leaders (namely Prime Minister David Cameron) will attempt to slow, halt or even push back the EU’s thus-far inexorable drive to meld the U.K. with the rest of Europe.
The popular response to the elite’s pabulum has been predictably bland. As for us, the arguments against leaving also ring hollow. We are extremely skeptical of dire economic forecasts that depend on unforeseen complexities, and we are even more skeptical of assertions from U.K. leaders of their ability to prevent assimilation and homogenization by the EU.
Again, the EU’s tectonic march toward “ever-closer union” is neither good nor bad: It is simply the nature of creeping governance.
We in Cayman have seen more than enough of European-style bureaucracy and regulation — in the form of the OECD, FATF, and their liberal like. Blacklists, gray lists, white lists … please.
The June 23 referendum may be British people’s best and last chance to avoid imbibing any more of that sort of poison. They ought to seize the opportunity to run away with Usain Bolt record-breaking speed.