With one bound…
…Britain would be free.
Well, not exactly.
There is an instinctive, and understandable, belief among many who wish for Britain’s exit from the EU that if only we could leave then all our problems would be solved. Free trade: tick. Control of borders: tick. Parliamentary sovereignty restored: tick. Unfortunately (perhaps) the world is not as simple as that.
Most forces changing the world with which we are familiar are outside the control of politicians. They include technology, demographics and the cluster of developments largely built on these called globalisation. These mean that world trade is increasingly borderless; that consumers across the world are uninterested in national borders and boundaries; and increasingly that economic migrants from the third world are unwilling to accept their exclusion from the perceived good life in the west.
Britain’s exit from the EU would do nothing of itself to confront or manage these issues. We would still face all the challenges they bring. However, and this is the crucial point, exit would mean control, and accountabilty to the British people, of decisions taken to respond to these forces.