A really great piece was written yesterday by Nick Harkaway entitled ‘Letter to an old, old friend who is voting to Leave the EU‘. It is a letter I have been trying to write myself, so its appearance is convenient – because now I don’t have to. It is also infinitely better than any effort I could muster.

In this age of internet-induced ADHD, however, this brief paraphrased (okay, mostly copied and pasted) summary of Harkaway’s key arguments and linked sources might be useful to my own old, old friend.

  • Despite the message on the Brexit ‘battle bus’, the EU is a net benefit to us financially.
  • Exit from the EU will cause Britain considerable short term pain…and it looks pretty severe, especially for poorer families.
  • The EU combined has power to negotiate a trade deal with the U.S. that doesn’t allow overseas corporations to sue their way to commercial advantage in our country at the expense of our population. Britain alone does not.
  • A great deal of misinformation has been written in our press suggesting that the EU bombards us with mad rules. So much so that the EU now maintains a directory of EU myths in the UK.
  • The European Convention on Human Rights, which actually is a separate treaty largely authored by us in the 1950s, has been the focus of a lot of ire recently. But again, when you consider the rights it guarantees, they seem self-evident and necessary.
  • Various parts of the UK’s infrastructure depend on workers from outside the country — most notably the NHS (see here also).
  • Immigration simply has no negative effect overall on jobs, wages or public services.
  • The majority of immigration into this country is still non-EU anyway, though the graphs are converging at the moment (play around with the graph tool — it’s revealing).
  • We put a tiny fraction of our annual national spend (and get back more) towards membership of a vital trading bloc which is also a landmark project in the effort to prevent neighbouring countries with a history of violence from warring on one another .
  • Our departure could bring the EU down [which can only lead to further uncertainty].

Leave just seems utterly nebulous to me, a vapour of misplaced anger made superficially coherent by a very competent demagoguic effort backed by very, very rich men. Rupert Murdoch wants us to Leave — by itself a reason not to — and he’s throwing plenty of weight behind the effort.” – Nick Harkaway