Calm down and slip the noose of Brussels

4 June 2016 – by Nick Leslau

It’s time to turn down the volume on the Brexit debate. There is way too much noise and emotion without much credible substance. We all seek the same goal – long-term prosperity – and what we need is a more objective debate on how best to secure it.

Nick Leslau

As the son of an immigrant, I see only good, both economic and cultural, coming from immigration and abhor the “they nicked our jobs” rhetoric voiced by the worst of the Brexit campaigners. Yet so much of the case for Bremain is founded on the fear of immediate-term economic disruption. I agree that the commercial constipation of the past couple of months won’t be improved by Brexit, which would create a period of further inactivity as we seek to establish a new status quo.

However, I want a new status quo.

This debate centres on issues way beyond the next 12 months of commercial considerations. It is about democracy, independence and the unfettered ability of this nation to self-determine the future for our children and grandchildren.

For me, the argument is simple. The EU is utterly undemocratic. Who can name their MEP? Who knows what the 25,000 highly paid lobbyists in Brussels funded by big business are lobbying for? We know that European politics is inherently corrupt, so why do we just accept it? Secret deals are being done daily by arrogant, unaccountable politicians with too many private agendas and I really don’t like it.

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Lord Young pointed out recently that continental Europe is run by constitutional law, with its roots in Roman law. There is ordnance for everything and life within the regulations is highly prescriptive. In the UK, common law and precedent rule our lives and Young’s view, which resonated with me enormously, is that the reason the UK has for so long punched above its weight is the liberal freedoms it enjoys to push boundaries and innovate in so many fields.

As we gravitate towards the European state, we will be consumed by the restrictive practices and conventions of the lowest common denominator, a morbidly obese Europe in desperate need of a tortuous diet of structural reforms. As a result of this, the economic malaise on the continent is giving birth to a scary nationalism, which will threaten more than just our financial lives, and I want us to be one giant step removed from it.

London is the greatest city in the world in which to live, work and play – and will continue to be on 24 June, whether in or out of the EU.

The notion that it will cease to be the financial powerhouse of Europe is twaddle, as is the belief that major European countries will punish us in retribution for leaving.

Both sides need each other to trade, so they will.

To live in the UK is a privilege. Its legal structures, cultural diversity, ambition and intellectual energy and creativity need to be maintained and developed without the noose of the failed European project around its neck.

For the property sector and industry generally, Brexit will cause an initial period of instability, but in the longer term I believe the extra freedom we will enjoy will be positive for occupational demand. No one surely is suggesting that property values in Zurich or Manhattan are dependent upon anything other than supply and demand, so why will our market be any different outside of Europe?

I recognise that many will be making a decision on 23 June based on their jobs, mortgages and cost of bringing up kids, which is hugely important, but so is their longer-term future and, if any of the above resonates at all with you, then this is the time to debate it. The opportunity to change tracks may never come again.

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