One way or another, Britain will have a national referendum on EU membership. But the point of the referendum is not to vote. It is to choose between different futures. The advocates of the EU, like Lord Mandelson, argue that Britain needs to “concentrate on using all of our influence and energy in building up Britain’s influence in Europe”.
That is the same siren song Britain has heard since the days of Harold Macmillan: if only Britain really tries its hardest, if only it commits to the EU wholeheartedly, it can lead the EU in ways that serve British interests.
This hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work in the future. Staying in the EU means outsourcing the control of Britain’s borders, the sovereignty of Parliament, and, increasingly, its economic, fiscal, and foreign policies to Brussels…
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