What they really want: End of the EU

Jon Danzig |

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So now the truth is out. The ‘Leave’ campaign don’t just want Brexit – they want to see the end of the European Union.

Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, said as much in his keynote speech this week for Vote Leave, the official campaign which he leads, fighting for Brexit in Britain’s EU referendum.

Mr Gove said:

“Britain voting to leave will be the beginning of something potentially even more exciting – the democratic liberation of a whole continent.”

He described Britain’s departure from the EU as “a contagion” that could spread across Europe.

Reporting on Mr Gove’s speech, the BBC stated:

“Leaving the EU could also encourage others to follow suit, said Mr Gove.”

Commenting after the speech, a senior aide for the Leave campaign indicated to the Herald Scotsman that Mr Gove would be, ‘happy if Britain’s in-out referendum sparked similar polls across Europe.’

The Herald Scotsman reporter asked if Brexit would lead to the break-up of the EU as we knew it and the aide replied, “Yes.” When asked if the Out campaign hoped that it would trigger “the end of the Brussels block” the aide replied, “Certainly.”

In his speech, Mr Gove suggested that far from being the exception if Britain left the EU, it would become the norm as most other EU member states would choose to govern themselves. It was membership of the EU that was the anomaly, argued Mr Gove.

The Guardian headline was:

‘Brexit could spark democratic liberation of continent, says Gove’

The Telegraph headline:

‘Michael Gove urges EU referendum voters to trigger ‘the democratic liberation of a whole continent’

The Express headline:

‘BREXIT WILL BREAK-UP EU: Leave vote to spark domino effect across bloc, says Gove’

The Bloomberg headline:

‘U.K. Brexit Vote Would Be End of EU as We Know It, Gove Says’

The Irish Times headline:

‘Michael Gove says other EU states may leave EU’

The right-wing of the Conservative Party, which makes up the biggest support for the Vote Leave campaign, is now in tune with UKIP’s long-held ambition to see the end of the European Union.

On Talk Radio in Spain three years ago, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said that he not only wanted Britain to leave the European Union, he also wanted to see “Europe out of the European Union” – in other words, the complete disintegration of the European Single Market.

This week, Mr Farage shared a Brexit rally platform with Conservative cabinet minister, Chris Grayling, who backed Mr Farage’s chant of, “We want our country back.”

The battle lines are now starkly clear. Britain’s EU referendum is not just about whether Britain should remain in the European Union. It’s now a referendum about whether the European Union itself should continue to exist.

This is no doubt going to wake up all pro-EU supporters across the continent. What happens in Britain on 23 June could result in Brexit and EU breakup.

Britain chose not to be one of the founding members on the Union back in 1957 but joined later, in 1973.

Now Britain might be the first member state to leave the Union, with the open aspiration of the ‘Leave’ campaigners that some or all of the other EU members will follow to the EU exit.

It now seems impossible for ‘Leave’ campaigners to continue with their rhetoric that Britain could negotiate a ‘good deal’ with the European Union if the referendum results in Brexit.

EU leaders will no doubt be in a state of heightened alarm that not only could Britain’s departure from the EU trigger the downfall of the EU, but that this is actually the stated aim of Brexit campaign leaders.

For all of us who cherish the European Union as one of the most successful post-war projects, this is now a battle to ensure that Britain’s EU referendum doesn’t result in either Brexit or the end of the EU.


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