Friday, July 19, 2024
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Fox on Brexit: We must fight for every vote to Leave


The end is in sight. By Friday morning, we will know whether Britain is to Remain in or Leave the European Union.

Those who watch the polls will know that there seems to have been a shift in our favour, but now is no time for complacency. Make no mistake; the result of this referendum is balanced on a knife edge, and every single vote will count if we are to prevail.

If the polls are shifting, this is because of the hard work that every Brexiteer is putting in on the ground. The leaflets delivered, the telephone calls made. The conversations we have had with family, friends, colleagues and strangers. We have reminded people that Europe is not the EU, we have exposed the corruption and waste at the heart of Brussels, and we have shown the British people that there is another way.

Above all, we must keep countering the idea that to remain is to vote for a ‘reformed EU’. As the failure of the renegotiation showed, there is no reform in Europe. The old men of Brussels will resist every attempt at reform; democratic accountability and curbs on their power is what scares them most.

The Remain camp repeat the ‘reformed EU’ line like a mantra, hoping that it will prove a comfort blanket to those in the polling booth who are feeling the effects of project fear, allowing them to vote ‘remain’, in the vague hope that things will improve on their own.

They won’t.

As the EU continues to shake itself to pieces, those unelected bureaucrats in Brussels have convinced themselves that the only way to save their project is the complete destruction of sovereignty at a national level. They remain so blinkered, that their only answer to their self-inflicted chaos is more of the same medicine.

We can see where Europe is going, and we can see what its leaders intend to do next. The only question that the British people need to ask themselves is whether they wish to lash themselves to the mast of the ship as it sinks. The EU is a one-way ratchet that refuses to reform. It will break before it will bend, and when it does then the problems that the single currency has created across the Continent will be magnified tenfold.

The British are a naturally Eurosceptic people. We treasure our independence, have a healthy distrust of bureaucracy, and hold dear the democratic traditions that Brussels finds so inconvenient. Our economic prudence may tempt us to submit to Remain’s fear, but when we contemplate that those things that we hate most about the EU – its opaqueness, its myriad petty laws, its ever increasing cost and its failure to act in the interests of its own citizens – will be imposed tenfold on our children and our grandchildren, we rally to an alternative vision of Britain’s future.

Only the most devoted Europhile would vote to join the EU in its current form. Only those committed to the idea of a European super-state would willingly surrender so much for so little. Yet a vote to Remain next week is a vote for joining Europe, locking another generation into the situation that we are in now. There will be no second chance.

Democracy is the most precious and hard-won freedom of all. In this country, a civil war was fought and king beheaded to cement the right of our elected parliament to be the ultimate arbiter of law and justice. Every extension of the franchise since than has been a step forward, another affirmation of the right for those who live under the law to depose those who make the law.

In the past four decades this principle has been much eroded, as an overpaid and immovable bureaucratic elite has taken over. In 1975 we were sold a pup, as free trade has mutated into political union. Now, more and more of the British people want to take control, of our money, of a borders and of our laws.

We are only 48 hours from the decision, and the positive case for Britain’s future is cutting through. The Remain camp have thrown everything they have at us, and we continue to move forward. Democracy cannot be denied. People will not surrender their claim over their own futures.  Yet complacency is the enemy of victory. Do not stop pushing now. Throughout the campaign we have faced an uphill struggle, but nothing worth doing is ever easy. The stakes for our country’s future have never been higher, and in the final days there is still all to play for.

In 1975 we may have been weak, but today we are strong. As the world has shrunk, so we have outgrown the petty isolationism of the EU. It is time to close this chapter of our history once and for all, and step forward to embrace a new era; whatever the future may hold our country has the energy, prosperity and drive to face it. Britain’s most glorious days lie ahead, and we the people must be the ones to lead her there.

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Liam Fox
Liam Fox
Dr Liam Fox is the Conservative MP for North Somerset and former Defence Secretary.

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