Britain and Europe: The Long Goodbye?
A speech given by Sean Gabb in Bratislava, on the 15th August 2017, to the Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS). He spoke to an audience of Slovak journalists and politicians on the background to Britain’s impending departure from the European Union, and discussed what may happen next.
The video was produced and edited by Philippa Gabb.
NB – the main speech is in English, though the flattering Introduction by Richard Durana is in Slovak.
In the 2015 general election, David Cameron needed to attract large numbers of UK Independence Party votes in order to secure an overall majority for the Conservative Party.
British entry to the European Union (then called the European Economic Community) had split the Conservative Party. This led eventually to the emergence of the UK Independence Party, which was able to take enough votes in the 2010 general election to deny the Conservatives a majority.
David Cameron’s strategy in 2015 was to offer a referendum on EU membership.
He made an error in calling the referendum in June 2016, when much British attention was fixed on the migrant crisis of 2015. The result of the referendum was largely due to fears of more immigration from Europe.
After the referendum, the Conservatives declared that Britain would leave, but had no plan for leaving. Either they were unaware of the complexities, or they were unable to agree on how to manage these complexities.
They still have not plan. Even so, Britain is to leave in March 2019, and the process will become increasingly exciting for impartial observers.
Dr Gabb’s own view is that the peoples of Europe are bound together by common experience and common problems, and that a close working relationship must emerge from the process of British withdrawal. His final point is that the European Union is not the best vehicle for articulating these commonalities.