EU Debate | Daniel Hannan MEP | Proposition | 19Ago2017 20:43:04
OXFORD UNION SOCIETY - People Who Shape Our World
And now look to Daniel Hannan, all you college. to continue the case of the proposition.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, every campaign generates its truisms, its hackneyed phrases, its clichés and this one is no exception; and one of the great clichés that defines this campaign is head versus heart. But of course, clichés become clichés for a reason, and I think a number of us feel tugged, viscerally one way and intellectually the other, including me.
I absolutely get the emotional appeal of Europe; I speak French, I speak Spanish, I've lived and worked all over the continent; seventeen years I've been in Brussels, I have some very dear friends there, among the eurocrats; of course, being eurocrats they all want Europe to be a single country, and the federal system, and all the rest of it; but that doesn't stop them from being decent people, kind neighbours and loyal friends;
but you can't be ruled only by your heart. Saying, I am supporting the EU because I like Europe, would be rather like saying, I am supporting FIFA because I like football; we need to look, not at a fantasy European Union, that is all at peace and collaboration among nations, but rather look at the one that is in fact taking shape under our noses; a racket, which far from benefiting the least well off, as the treasurer was just saying, takes money from low and medium income people and gives it to the most privileged and to the big corporations;
in fact, if you listen, never mind what the leave side are saying, if you listen to what the leaders of the remain side are saying; lord Rose has said, in a considered and measured way before commons, if we vote to leave wages will increase, and lord Ashdown has said, if we vote to leave, food prices will fall,
and I fail to see how either of those things is bad from the point of view of someone on low incomes; but of course, both lord Ashdown and lord Rose regarded these as terrible and undesirable developments.
Mega-banks and multinationals
Just ask yourself, why it is that the mega banks and the multi-nationals are pouring money into the remain campaigns? Why is it that Goldman Sachs and J. P. Morgan, City Bank and Morgan Stanley, and all the rest, are funding the people campaigning not to let us recover our independence? I'll tell you why, the thing that surprised me when I was newly elected MEP, was the extent to which these giant corporations wanted more regulation; see, I'd innocently supposed, being elected as a conservative, that being private enterprises they want freedom of action!
I was disabused of that within about a week of arriving; they love regulation! Because they can afford the compliance costs more easily than their smaller rivals. They have captured the Brussels machine and used it to raise barriers to entry; very good news for the cartel of established multi-nationals, very bad news for the innovator, the start-up, the entrepreneur, and that's why the European Union is falling further and further behind in the world!
The year we joined, nineteen seventy three, the twenty eight countries that now make up the EU, were thirty six percent of the world economy, last year it was seventeen percent and falling; but this is a maritime merchant country, you know, we don't sit on great natural resources in this green damp exquisite island home of ours; we have to make our way in the world by what we buy and sell, that means we have to be where the costumers are, and it's increasingly clear that the customers are not in Europe.
And that's why, despite being myself within that privileged cast of eurocrats with large salaries and tax rate expenses I am inviting you to fine me, in a moment, I'm inviting you to fine me. I would not be doing that, if I were not convinced that the country, as a whole, will be better off; that the economy, as a whole, will grow after Brexit and will therefore incidentally I hope there'll be some kind of job for me to go to afterwards, as a newly unemployed MEP, maybe even doing something a bit more useful than regulating everybody else.
Question from the audience
You asked the question where Britain's trade is 50% of its imports and exports are within the EU. Small countries in the EU still make up part of the G-20 like, do you see that changing that?
Well, let's look at what's already happened right? Ten years ago, you say 50% of our trade, let's look at the actual figures. Ten years ago, the EU was taking 55% of British exports, last year it was taking 45%; where is it gonna be in 2030? where is that figure gonna be in 2050? How low does it have to go? Before we drop this bizarre idea that we need to merge our political institutions with those of neighbouring countries, in order to have a minority say over common standards, in a declining block; and the only declining block in the world, right?
Over the last ten years every continent has grown, except Antarctica and Europe, and in fact if you count the cruise ships it's only Europe because the Antarctica economy on that measure is booming, so we are really in the wrong place, now, why am I confident that life will be better outside?
EU is anti-democratic
Well, two things; first, democracy, contrast this union, the Oxford union, with the European Union. The people who take the decisions here are elected, now, actually, I'm now learning they're not very often elected, they've become kind of semi-eurocrats in the sense they rig the elections. But at least in theory you have the right to remove them as and when you will, now I say this in no belittling spirit, I had a lovely time when I was here, I spent a lot of time in the Union, I had a massive crush on the foxy librarian from Summerville, I was very happy here, but I hope that members will not take it amiss, when I say that this Union doesn't aspire to administer half a million Europeans, right? Its ambitions and its scope are somewhat more limited and yet, it's democratic.
Now, contrast that with the European Union, well, we just heard from my honourable friend from New College what Jean Claude Juncker thinks of democracy. There can be no democratic choice against the treaty. Ponder those words, there can be no democratic choice against the European treaties; Dominic made the point that the European Commission is undemocratic, actually he slightly understated the case.
Uniquely, we have fashioned a system that is anti-democratic in the sense that you generally only get to go there when you've lost an election, so it's only when like Chris Patten or Neil Kinnock or indeed now Jean Claude Juncker, it's been only when you're expressly rejected by your voters, that you are invited to come and legislate for them anyway, now, let me, let me submit my friends, that opposing that system doesn't makes us anti-european right?
If Britain were run this way, if we were governed by 28 unelected British commissioners, who, as a result of being invulnerable to public opinion, immune to the ballot box, had come out with such spectacular failures as the Commons Fisheries Policy, the Euro, the Schengen Zone, I'd be against that, most of you would be, it wouldn't make us anti-British, wouldn't make us Anglo sceptic, it would make us democrats.
Question from the audience
Yes, and this will be my last one Sir.
Given our media figures and content all around the world including America and Canada [inaudible] and the training scheme was at least EU. By your ignorant paradigm, what exactly has this abstract conception of democracy done to save the people whose jobs will now be lost as a result of loss of trade deals, loss of employment, and loss of [inaudible]?
Well, I'll tell you, we have no ability to (try ?) independent trade deals with countries outside the European Union; it's very important to grasp that (Sir ?), when you join the EU you give Brussels 100% control over your trade policies; we don't have a trade agreement with India, nine years the EU has been discussing it and has shelved it, right?
Is there a country in this part of the world that stands to gain more from unfettered commerce (within ?)? India is English speaking, for commercial purposes certainly, there's common law, right? There are 1.4 million Brits of Indian origin, we are the third largest investor in India, India is the third investor here, but we can't sign a free trade agreement because the Italian textile workers don't want the competition, and French farmers don't like the idea, we don't have a free trade agreement with Australia! Why? It's been held up by some Italian tomato growers; now, the Italian tomato growers may be right or wrong I don't know enough about the case but how on earth is it in the interest of our country to be prevented from pursuing global trade, exploiting our links of language and law, of culture and kinship and migration, that connects us to every continent and to tie ourselves to the world's only shrinking trade block?!
And, by the way, to pay for the privilege of belonging?! To the tune of 20 billion pounds gross, 10 billion pounds net every year. My friends, the European Union is obsolete, you know, we just heard from the treasurer that there was a very famous televised debate here in 1975, well, since few of us can remember 1975, other than perhaps lord Heseltine in between creating the purple turtle and running the Department of Trade;
I can tell you, 1975 was not a good time for this country, right? Three day week, prices and incomes policies, we were in a bad way; we looked across Europe, we said these chaps are doing something right. Does it feel that way today? When we look across the channel now, we see the European Union convulse in a twin Schengen and Euro crises. Does this look like a project that we would be rushing to join, if we were not already in, held there by the vested interests and the sum costs of a few civil servants, politicians and large multi-nationals;
Urging the audience to vote to leave
so, I am urging you to vote to leave because of the world as it's becoming, not as it was then, you know? it’s classic Simpson's Helen Lovejoy, isn’t it? Who would think of the children? Well, I'll tell you, I am thinking, and voting for my children. That foxy librarian from Summerville, is now the mother of my two little girls, and as you see she's, quickening in her womb is, after an indecent delay, is our third child.
Now, of the many, of the many things that I want for that child, is the right to grow up in an independent country, where we can hire and fire our own law makers. Edmund Burke said that a nation is a partnership, between the people who have died, the people who are alive now, and the people who haven't yet been born. Being a nation, means that we're not just a random set of individuals, born to a different random set of individuals. It imposes on us a duty to keep intact the freedom that we were lucky enough to inherit from our parents, and pass them on securely to the next generation. My late father, in 1944, volunteered to defend with force of arms, our right to live under our own laws, and our people, in our own sovereign parliament.
I don't want his grandchildren to loose that portion of their inheritance; so, don't let anyone scare you out of voting to do the democratic thing. We're not just the the fifth largest economy in the world, we're not just the fourth military power, we're not just a member of the UN Security Council, we have the world's most widely spoken language, we have the world's capital city, we export naan bread to India, kayaks to the Inuit, tea to China, we are a great country and our song is not yet sung! We still have more to give! Though much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.