A Non-Populist Case for Brexit

Ever since the Brexit debate began, the case for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union has been dominated by arguments about immigration and about the cost of membership. In the U.K., the Vote Leave campaign famously claimed that “We send £350 million to the EU every week.” This slogan demonstrated what many considered to be the misleading nature of the Leave campaign. Supporters also claimed that Turkish membership in the EU was imminent, a move that would have meant a serious increase in immigration from Turkey.

However the £350 million price tag did not take into account that the U.K. also received money from the EU, and Turkey has never come particularly close to joining, especially since Recep Tayyip Erdogan became president.

The U.K. officially left the EU as of January 31, 2020. But the parties set up a transition period for the sake of negotiating a trade deal and other outstanding issues. That transition period ends today, December 31, so Brexit is, finally, officially official. While many of the arguments for it over the last four years have been populist in nature, there are plenty of reasons for more traditional conservatives to support the U.K.’s separation from the EU.

Conservatives believe in local government. We believe that as much power as possible should be relegated to individuals and families to make their own decisions, and that power that cannot be vested in households should be vested first and foremost in local governments, such as school boards, city councils. and state legislatures. 

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