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How Boris changed his mind on Europe

Boris Johnson: stay today, leave tomorrow?

Writing exclusively for the Daily Telegraph, London Mayor Boris Johnson said that if Britain left the EU, “we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by Bwussels [sic]”. 

Mr Johnson made his remarks after Michael Gove and Philip Hammond became the first two Cabinet ministers openly to support leaving the EU unless there is significant reform.

But responding in his Telegraph article, titled ‘We must be ready to leave the EU if we don’t get what we want’, Mr Johnson claimed that, “the question of EU membership is no longer of key importance to the destiny of this country”.

In his article, Mr Johnson added that he supports an EU referendum – but warned that Britain’s problems will not be solved by simply leaving the EU as many of his Conservative colleagues apparently believe.

The mayor asserted:

“If we left the EU, we would end this sterile debate, and we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by ‘Bwussels’*, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and underinvestment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure.” [Boris's spelling].

He added:

“Why are we still, person for person, so much less productive than the Germans? That is now a question more than a century old, and the answer is nothing to do with the EU. In or out of the EU, we must have a clear vision of how we are going to be competitive in a global economy.”

Mr Johnson warned that there might be a risk that international companies could stop investing in Britain if we left the EU. He also cautioned that UK firms could be put at a “long-term disadvantage” if Britain was unable to “influence the standards and regulations in Brussels.”

There was also an argument, alerted Mr Johnson, that the EU, “is better placed to strike trade deals with the US, or China, than the UK on its own” – although this proposition hadn’t actually been tested.

Mr Johnson added that, “More generally, there is a risk that leaving the EU will be globally interpreted as a narrow, xenophobic, backward-looking thing to do.”

He wrote that there may be other good reasons for Britain to stay in the EU, “but I can’t think of them now.” On the other hand, if Britain left the EU, “we could save money… we get back our sovereignty.. we can no longer blame Brussels.”

But Mr Johnson’s article concluded that we “have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by Bwussels..”

And in a nuanced comment on the EU referendum debate, the London Mayor urged, “we need a much more informed debate about the pluses and minuses of EU membership”.

It should be noted that Mr Johnson wrote his article for The Telegraph back in May 2013.

Now, Mr Johnson is campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union. Writing exclusively for the Daily Telegraph he stated, “There is only one way to get the change we want – vote to leave the EU.”

The influential economist, John Maynard Keynes, is often quoted as saying, “When the facts change, I change my mind.”

Have the facts about the EU fundamentally changed since 2013?

No.

So why has Mr Johnson now changed his mind and is campaigning for Britain to leave the EU to ‘solve our problems’?

Your guess is as good as mine..

How Boris Johnson changed his mind

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