Brexit is a win-win for Europe and the UK

by on 27 June, 2016


Britain’s vote to leave the European Union should be celebrated by all, writes Nikola Kaurin:

When you resign a job you’re essentially firing your employer.

It means that you’ve compared what you have against what you can get and you’ve decided that it’s in your best interest to go somewhere else.

The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union is no different.

On Thursday, British voters took a good hard look at the EU and they tendered their resignation.

What’s even more extraordinary is that the British electorate voted to leave in the clear absence of a defined alternative.

Or did they?

Contrary to popular wisdom, Britons voted for a very clear option. They voted for the option of successful European integration compared to the alternative of unsuccessful European integration.

But how is that possible? Simple. There’s no greater success story of European integration than the United Kingdom itself.

Britons voted in favour of restoring independence to a union of four European countries; England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Britons voted in favour of giving power back to three distinct legal systems; English Law, Scots Law and Northern Ireland Law.

Britons voted in favour of empowering national symbols such as the British flag, which displays the symbols of St George, St Patrick and St Andrew.

Brexit was not a vote against European integration, it was a vote in favour of the only kind of European union that’s ever worked for Britain. The union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It was a vote in favour of this small dingy little island off the coast of Europe that brought us Shakespeare, the Magna Carta and exported democracy to all corners of the world.

Brexit is not a great lurch into the unknown. Far from it. It’s a return to the known.

That being said, the United Kingdom now finds itself in one of the greatest political crises in its history.

Scotland is in open revolt. Sinn Fein is suddenly relevant and the Brexiteers are leaderless.

Britons have chosen a good destination but without effective leadership there’s the very real possibility they’ll get there with a wheel or two missing.

So where does this leave the EU?

Europe is potentially the biggest winner from Brexit.

After all, there is no better ingredient for good policy than when customers leave a poorly performing product and choose a well performing product.

Brexit provides EU elites with an opportunity engage in some long overdue critical thinking.

The EU was hurdling towards a major crisis long before Brexit but time after time we were told that the solution to every problem was more Europe and not less.

After Dutch and French voters rejected the European constitution, we were told that they had to vote again until they got it right.

During the Greek financial crisis, we were told that the ECB needed even tighter controls on monetary policy.

Now after Brexit, we’re being told that there’s no problem at all and that Basil Fawlty is up to his old shenanigans.

You can’t deny the reality that the people of the United Kingdom, Europe’s second largest economy and third most populous country, were at one stage enthusiastic about EU membership and now they are not.

In 1975, 67 percent of British electors voted to remain in the European Common Market.

In 1997, Tony Blair was elected on a promise to ‘put Britain at the heart of Europe’.

In 2016, 52 percent of British electors voted to reverse the decision that they made in 1975.

Voters in advanced economies don’t lightly make decisions that send shockwaves across the world so when they do it’s important to understand why they did it.

There’s no worse ingredient for policy than when politicians bury their heads in the sand and refuse to try to understand why people turned away from them.

When Americans cast off the shackles of the British Empire, the outcome was actually good for Britain because they learned from their experiences.

The Empire became more tempered in its policies towards the colonies and many of the ideas of the American Revolution later found their way into Westminster.

The time has now come for EU elites to take a good hard look at themselves, stop blaming others and figure out where they went wrong.

Nikola Kaurin is a member of liberal political movements in Australia and Croatia.

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