People often complain about voting these days. They say it doesn’t make any difference. They say that, whatever party they choose, they get the same old broken promises. In fact, they say, there is no point in bothering at all.
Well, whatever you say about this referendum campaign, it is a moment of fundamental decision. When you pick up your ballot paper on Thursday you have it in your hands to transform Britain’s current democratic arrangements for the better.
What is the Remain camp offering? Nothing. No change, no improvement, no reform; nothing but the steady and miserable erosion of parliamentary democracy in this country.
If we vote Remain, we stay locked in the back of the car, driven by someone with an imperfect command of English, and going a direction we don’t want to go.
If Britain votes to remain in the European Union, then we continue to be subject to an increasingly antidemocratic system that is now responsible for 60% of the law that goes through Westminster – a phenomenon that contributes so powerfully to the modern voter’s apathy, the sensation that we no longer control our destiny, and that voting changes nothing.
If we vote Remain, we do nothing to rebuke the elites in Brussels who have imposed the euro on the continent, and thrown a generation of young people on the scrap-heap, and who are utterly indifferent to the misery they are causing for the sake of their bankrupt ideology.
We will remain prisoners of a trade regime that will not allow this country – the fifth-biggest economy on earth – to negotiate with America or China or India or any of the other growth economies of the world; because that privilege is reserved exclusively for the hierarchs of the European Commission, of whose vast staff only 3.6% come from this country.
If we stay, we will find our global influence and weight not enhanced, but diminished – as the European Union cuckoos us aside from our seat on international bodies, from the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation to even the North East Atlantic Fisheries Management Board, which determines the fate of the fish in so much of our waters.
Iceland has a seat. Norway has a seat. The Faroe islands have a seat. We are represented by the European Commission.
We are not more powerful, or more influential for being around the table in Brussels – look at the pitiful results of the so-called renegotiation earlier this year. We are drowned out. And it is an illusion to think that if we vote to remain, we are somehow opting for the status quo. The status quo is not on offer.
Think of what we can achieve if we vote Leave. We can take back control of huge sums of money – £10.6-billion net per year – and spend it on our priorities. We can take back control of our borders, and install an Australian-style points-based system that is fair both to people coming from the EU and non-EU countries.
We can do global trade deals that the EU Commission itself believes could generate another 300,000 jobs. Above all, we could take back control of our powers to pass laws and set tax rates. We can reorientate our economy to the whole world.
Why shouldn’t we do this?
People can sense the true motives behind Project Fear. It isn’t idealism, or internationalism. It’s a cushy elite of politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats, all circling the wagons and protecting their vested interests.
Now is the time to believe in ourselves, and in what Britain can do, and to remember that we always do best when we believe in ourselves . I hope you will vote Leave, and take back control of this great country’s destiny . This chance will not come again in our lifetime , and I pray we do not miss it.
Prime Minister David Cameron says self-imposed humiliation awaits if the country walks away
Jo COx’s murder was one of those events that stop you cold; that shock you down to the core. Jo wasn’t yet a household name, but was known in Westminster as a brilliant young MP. Principled, energetic and down to earth, she was passionate about the causes she believed in. She cared for her constituents.
She cared about our country. And she cared deeply about the plight of people who were suffering around the world. For me, Jo embodied Britain at her best – a country decent and compassionate; one that reaches out to make the world a better place.
It is not easy, in the wake of Jo’s murder, to turn to the question of Thursday’s referendum. But we must. For, as Jo had been pointing out, our country stands at a crossroads. We face an existential choice. This country has a big decision to make.
First, our economy hangs in the balance. Today, Britain is on course to be the success story of the 21st century – growing faster this year than any other advanced economy except America. We’re an open, dynamic, trading nation. The single market we are part of inside the EU was practically a British invention. It is common sense that if we left, trade would be damaged, and investment would suffer because businesses would no longer be able to access the EU from Britain in the same way. Our economy would be smaller. There has been debate about the impact of this; whether we’d suffer a “mild” recession quickly after leaving, or if it would be a severe shock. There’s been discussion about how much unemployment would go up by. There’s been debate about how much poorer Britain would be.
But try and find a single credible voice who predicts Britain will actually be better off, more economically secure and better able to fund our public services if we left.
There isn’t one. And so it’s no surprise there hasn’t been a serious attempt from the Leave campaign to contest the central economic facts: that Britain will be worse off if we left. Debilitating uncertainty. Higher prices, lower wages, fewer jobs, fewer opportunities for young people. How could we vote for that? I say: don’t risk it.
Second, Britain’s place in the world is also at stake. I’ve been prime minister for six years. And I can tell you: Britain is a stronger force in the world when we’re working from the inside as part of the world’s most important organisations. Whether it’s the UN, Nato or the European Union, we have a seat where it matters.
If we leave the EU, it will still be a very important forum for sorting out the biggest problems that affect Britain. We just wouldn’t be there. It will still take decisions to tackle terrorism, climate change and migration. It would be a diminution in our standing in the world; a self-imposed humiliation for a proud and important country. That’s why our allies want us to remain and our adversaries want us to leave.
I’m so proud of Britain – this open, tolerant, big-hearted country . But I believe this referendum is a watershed moment. W e are going to have to make a defining decision on Thursday: will we choose Nigel Farage’s vision – one which takes Britain backwards; divides rather than unites? Or will we choose the tolerant, liberal Britain?
The EU is not perfect. But in a way our membership is an expression of our Britishness – outward-looking, compassionate – and sceptical . So much is at stake . So rarely will we make a decision of such magnitude. And it’s irreversible. There is no turning back if we leave.
So ask yourself: have I heard anything to convince me that leaving would be the best thing for the economic security of my family? Is walking away in keeping with the influential country Britain has always been? Is leaving going to build the kind of open, compassionate country I want my children to grow up in? And if you’re not sure, don’t risk leaving. If you’re not 100% persuaded, there’s only one place to put your cross.
The implied probability of a British vote to remain in the European Union soared to 78% yester day.
This was up from a range between 60% and 67% on Friday, according to bookmaker Betfair’s odds.
Rival bookie William Hill said it was offering odds of 1/5, or an 83% chance, for a vote to Remain.
“It has not been unusual during the campaign to see sudden surges for one side or the other, and although the Monday money was mainly for Remain we still took a £5000 (R109000) bet for Leave,” said William Hill spokesman, Graham Sharpe.
– additional reporting by Reuters