Laura Sandys: Beware use of the c-word in the Brexit debate

Written by Laura Sandys on 15 June 2016 in Opinion

Boris Johnson and co like to talk about restoring national control, but the notion that leaving the EU will somehow achieve that is a myth.

The Brexiteeers have been clever at using the c-word again and again. That word is control. It resonates with a sense of alienation that has grown over the past 10-15 years - a sense that elites have marginalised the electorate, if not ripped them off.

It also chimes with a sense of insecurity many people feel about their working life or their family budget in a rapidly globalising world.

But the notion that leaving the EU is will somehow restore national control is a myth. The public will be seriously disappointed if they think that Day One in Brexit Paradise will deliver them greater control, or that immigration levels will drop.

We will not gain more control of our country by losing control in our continent. We need to exercise power and control wherever we can find it in a complex and volatile world. 

We won’t gain greater control of migration by withdrawing from working with Europe that tries to manage a global phenomenon. We won’t regain control of our economy by losing our place at the table where more and more global – not just European – rules are being set. 

We will not have more control of our economy by losing ease of access to 500 million customers.   

It is crucial to look behind the agenda of those leading the campaign to leave. Today they promise the world to Tom,Dick and any farmer they meet, but since when have higher spending on the NHS or an increase in wages been  high on the wish list of these Brexiteers?

Their plan is not just about getting out of Europe – that is the first step in a longer term strategy that has been developing for over 20 years among libertarian circles. Look at the thinking of the Taxpayers Alliance, the Institute of Economic Affairs or the Adam Smith Foundation. They see Europe as putting a brake on the sort of country they want to see and aspire to  a Britain of turbo-charged deregulation and minimal government, in which economic output “Trumps ” quality of life and the protection of our environment

The Remain campaign has made the undefined destination of Brexit one of its key arguments. But in these last week or so we need to be clear with the public that many leading Brexiteers do have a plan, but it is a plan which will come as a big shock to anyone who feels that they are being offered more control. 

Brexit is a  “power grab” not by those who want to liberate the public from the shackles of Europe – but a libertarian clique that will trap us into a new order shaped by a strong libertarian philosophy. 

The world of rampant capitalism that we have seen during the Parliamentary inquiry of Sports Direct. Beware if you are ill – just get better; if you want to have a baby – have it at work; if you want clean air, move out of our cities; if you want clean beaches pick up the muck yourself.

Do not believe that coming out of Europe is what is on offer – the true destination is A  Brave New World which is a whole load more frightening than Brexit!

Laura Sandys is chairman of the European Movement UK and a former Conservative MP.


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