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With Friends Like These… Why Britain should leave the EU – and how

David Conway, August 2014

Trust in the European Union has been in steep decline since the eurocrisis, and the 2014 European Parliament elections saw many MEPs sent to Brussels to represent parties opposed to the federalist agenda, and in some cases to the EU itself.

Euroscepticism has gone from being a political position that was treated with contempt by both the media and the political establishments to being a vital topic for debate.

Critics of Brussels expansionism, from different points on the political compass, have asked whether the political and economic benefits that Britain derives from membership of the EU are sufficient to outweigh the costs.

The Conservative Party is committed to an in/out referendum in 2017, should they win the general election in 2015. Opinion polls show fluctuating levels of support for Brexit, but, as David Conway argues in With Friends Like These…, it is scarcely reasonable to expect people to make up their minds on this important issue without setting before them the alternatives to EU membership.

Other European nations that are not members of the EU, as well as developed nations outside Europe, have found ways to trade profitably with EU countries. Britain should aim to replicate the trading status of these nations, in what Conway describes as the Norway, Swiss, Turkey and World Trade Organisation options. A fifth possible option has been canvassed by MEP David Campbell Bannerman under the name of ‘EEA Lite’.

Conway favours this and argues that EEA Lite’s terms can be achieved by making its acceptance a condition of Britain’s agreement to a new treaty that he predicts the EU will soon be forced to seek in order to resolve the eurocrisis.

About the Author

David Conway taught philosophy for over thirty years at Middlesex University where he was head of the School of Philosophy and Religious Studies. He subsequently joined Civitas as a Senior Research Fellow and continues the association as a Visiting Professorial Research Fellow.

His publications include A Farewell to Marx, Classical Liberalism, The Rediscovery of Wisdom, In Defence of the Realm, A Nation of Immigrants?, Disunited Kingdom, and Liberal Education and the National Curriculum. He voted against British membership of the EEC in the 1975 Referendum, having been persuaded by the argument that the attendant loss of sovereignty would be too high a price to pay, whatever economic benefits it promised.

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