The Spectator

Reasons to be cheerful | 30 June 2016

A symposium on the benefits of leaving the EU

Noel Malcolm

It may sound both Pollyannaish and paradoxical to say this, but leaving the EU will enable us to have stable, friendly, cooperative relations with all our EU neighbours. Being cooped up in a dysfunctional system, where so much depends on backroom arm-twisting and competing for favours in a zero-sum game, doesn’t produce stable friendships. For those of us who feel (as I do) like real Europeans, it will be so much better to be the friendly next-door neighbour than the unwanted in-law in the quarrelling family home.
Noel Malcolm is a Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

Tony Abbott

I was one of those overseas worthies who advised against Brexit — in my case because the EU needed the UK more than vice versa — whom British voters cheerfully told to mind our own business. Now that the British people have spoken, it’s important to make the most of escaping the suffocating and unaccountable Brussels bureaucracy. It will be vastly easier for Britain to do trade deals on its own than as part of a bloc where all 28 countries have to agree. Britain is the world’s fifth-largest economy and it’s in every country’s interest to trade freely with it. Australia should fast-track a UK free trade agreement. There is no country on earth that Australians feel closer to and this is a chance for our countries to build a great future together.
Tony Abbott is a former prime minister of Australia.

Charles Guthrie

Military operations are badly run when steered by committee, which is why the European Union’s defence ambitions are alarming. The EU’s 28 countries have different policies and attitudes, all of which will want their say in planning and decision-making. This setup makes operational planning without clear leaders (which Nato has) a nightmare. What one needs so often is quick action and we now have a tremendous opportunity to get closer to the countries that really matter.

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