Conservative politician Andrew Lewer was elected to the European Parliament representing the East Midlands the East Midlands in May 2014. Andrew is campaigning for Britain to leave the EU.
Most of the big decisions you make come down to one thing – your gut instinct. You can do all the research you like, look at the pros and cons, what is right and wrong and listen to what other people think but the final say is down to you. The EU referendum is one of those big decisions.
Across the UK people are very divided – even some families and households. There is no doubt many feel very strongly – or want to win strongly – and will use every tactic in the book to make you think their way.
We have had classic examples recently particularly with the Treasury and Chancellor weighing in.
I – like many – have been very disappointed at the current unfairness in the promotion of the arguments. Spending £9 million on a glossy, 15-page leaflet just days before the spending rules cut in was not what was promised and made no attempt at balance or fairness.
So far, the Remain campaign seems determined to frighten voters into submission by making wild claims of the damage to the economy and our presence on the world stage.
The true position is no one knows – least of all the Treasury. It failed to spot the financial crisis but apparently it is now able to predict what will happen to the UK economy in 14 years’ time.
None of us can predict the future but the Leave camp is expected to have all the answers. We do not, nor do we pretend to have. What we do know is where the EU is heading. Make no mistake the EU is on a mission. It is not a secret. There are many examples where the EU’s answer to any crisis is a bigger, more powerful role for the EU.
That is not what we signed up to. But that is the fundamental goal of the EU project – an ever closer union.
Take a look at the recent five president’s report: “Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union”.
Take a look at one of my own specialisms – Regional Development where from 2007 – 2013 the UK received £9bn but put £30bn into the EU to work towards “cohesion”, the principal beneficiaries being southern and Eastern Europe.
The idea that a future inside the EU is a model of calm and safe status quo is not borne out by recent history. Over the last decade it has lurched from unpredictable crisis to unpredictable crisis.
We need to be able to react, adapt and change. We cannot if we are tied to 27 other countries’ agendas and problems.
The EU is not willing or capable of delivering the change we need. None of us can predict what staying in or coming out will mean.
What I do know is that I want the UK to control its destiny rather than take a chance that the EU will listen, change and deliver what Europe needs.