In today’s Telegraph, Boris Johnson spells it out. Either we believe in Britain, or prepare to face the horror. Boris begins:”It’s June 24 and quite early in the morning – too early, frankly. You wke up with a vague but intensifying sense of guilt, and wonder why you have fallen asleep on the sofa. There are half-drunk beer cans lying around, crisp packets. The TV is burbling to itself in the corner of the room, and you know that in a second you are going to remember that something big has happened, and that you aren’t going to like it – and then it hits you: the Referendum! That’s right.
Yesterday morning you were on the verge of voting to Leave the EU. You were all psyched up. You could see that the case was unanswerable – that we were being asked to remain in an EU that was unabashed, unrepentant, undemocratic and, above all, unreformed. You knew that this was the last – the only – chance you would have in your life to vote for change, and to make the powerful listen. This was the moment for Britain to speak for all the people of Europe – everyone enraged with how Brussels works.
You began that Thursday determined to protest against the whole stitch-up: the way the European Commission conspires with big business to regulate out the competition; the lobbyists, the fat cats, the people who were responsible for the VW diesel emissions scandal; and all the billions of pounds of fraud and waste of the EU budget.
This was the moment to stand up for the dispossessed of southern Europe, their lives blighted by the euro. This was the chance to fight for the low-paid in the UK, their incomes compressed – according to the Bank of England itself – by the uncontrolled immigration that is a function of EU membership and the euro crisis.
Now, and now only, was the time to call a halt to the endless erosion of democracy. This was the day when you had resolved to give back to the British people their sovereign right to sack – at elections – the people who make the big political decisions. Yes, you were going to take back control.
You were going to give our government – the British government – the power to control our immigration policy, with a points-based system to serve the real needs of the UK economy. You were going to take back control of at least £10 billion a year of taxpayers’ money that goes to Brussels and that we never see again, which could be spent on the NHS or schools, or whatever priority the government chooses.
You were set to reclaim control of our national security – and stop the European Court of Justice intervening in Home Office attempts to deport terrorist suspects. You were going to take back control of taxation, so that this government could – if it chose – cut fuel bills for the elderly, or motoring costs, or the price of tampons. You were going to allow this country to set its own destiny, with a dynamic series of free-trade deals of the kind that have been impossible while the UK has been in the EU. You had decided once and for all to end the madness by which 60 per cent of the law made in Westminster is generated, one way or another, by the EU.
You were about to strike your own small but vital blow for freedom and democracy – when you suddenly bottled it. You swerved; you shied; you jibbed; you baulked. You screwed up your eyes in the polling booth and you found yourself momentarily oppressed by the sheer weight of the Remain propaganda – all that relentless misery about this country and its inability to stand on its own two feet.
For reasons you secretly know were nonsensical, you decided to go for what the gloom-mongers had told you was the safer option. Nose held, eyes screwed tight, you voted for Remain. And now you understand why you feel that sense of morning-after shame and abject remorse: because the burble from the TV is informing you that Remain have won. Yes, by the narrowest margin you – and fellow last-minute swervers – have helped to keep us locked in the back of the minicab, with a driver who barely speaks English, going in a direction we don’t want to go.
Now the TV is going to Brussels, where an exultant Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission president, is hailing the wisdom of the British people. “The British question is solved!” he announces over what looks very like a glass of champagne.
Assorted Europhiles are on the airwaves – Peter Mandelson and Tory ex-Cabinet ministers – proclaiming that the next step is UK membership of the euro. People are already talking about the plan to create a true “political union” with common EU rules on company law, property taxes, and many other areas of policy in which Britain will have no choice but to comply.
Brussels correspondents are reporting on all the plans that the Commission has been sitting on to avoid frightening the horses during the UK referendum. There is the directive that will seriously damage the UK art market; there is the famous directive on the power of vacuum cleaners and toasters; and dozens of others, none of which we can veto. It now seems – hey presto – that Britain’s budgetary contributions will go up, to more even than £350 million per week. There are plans for a European army, it emerges, that will undermine Nato.
You put your head in your hands – because you realise you have given the green light to a continuing and intensifying disaster: attempts to preserve the euro by creating a United States of Europe – a territory where people will have no choice but to flee the less competitive zones, with ever-growing numbers coming to Britain, from EU countries where the average wage is a fraction of our living wage.
A nightmare, yes? So don’t let it happen. Believe in Britain, and our ability as a proud, self-confident, and independent country to help restore democracy here and around the whole continent. Vote Leave on June 23.