At the moment, brexiters still can’t agree on the basic motivation behind brexiting. According to the likes of Liam Fox, Dan Hannan, et al, the EU brings us unacceptable red tape and leaving it will unshackle our economy. Others shy away from these kinds of claims because they accept that EU membership has a positive effect on our economy, and instead are keen to emphasise other issues that they think are more important than the economy.

We run into a similar conflict with protectionism vs globalism. Some people think that the EU is too protectionist and that it’s a mistake to tie ourselves to a slow growing trade bloc when we could instead be focusing on much faster growing emerging markets. For many others, the EU, especially with freedom of movement, is the embodiment of the kind of globalism which harms local economies and we should be more protectionist.

Meanwhile back on planet earth: free trade and a common regulatory framework is a pretty big deal. If you think the EU brings us red tape, try selling to the EU when we’re not a member. As for globalism, it sounds clever to bring up emerging markets, but fast growing economies are still very poor per capita. The EU’s wealth might not be growing fast, but it is full of people rich enough to buy from us at prices worth selling to them.


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