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Why I voted for Brexit

Michael Stephen Fuchs
(Image: Michael Stephen Fuchs)

Editor's Note: This guest post was written by Michael Stephen Fuchs, a US expat with dual US-UK citizenship who voted in favor of the Brexit. He is the brother of Yahoo Finance editor Erin Fuchs.

Britain is a welcoming country — I know, as I’m an immigrant myself, having settled in the UK twelve years ago. Admittedly, I may not be the stereotypical immigrant — I came from another rich country (the U.S.), admitted to Britain under something called the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, a points-based system. But I know what I’ve experienced — grace, and good humor, and a host of other characteristically British virtues. I also hung around long enough to get a passport, even singing “God Save the Queen” at my citizenship ceremony.

There are two points here. The first is that I went to some trouble and expense to acquire a UK passport, which for the moment is an EU passport — meaning I get to live and work in any of 28 EU member nations. This is an amazing privilege, one I love and value highly. The second point is that the Brexit vote wasn’t solely about immigration. I know from my experience that immigrants strengthen the UK — I’ve met a thousand cheerful and hard-working and good-hearted Czechs and Lithuanians and Poles (especially Poles) in my time here, all of whom without question make Britain greater.

And yet I voted to leave the EU anyway. Why?

I almost didn’t. As my personal interests, and my political position, are diametrically opposed, I nearly abstained. But in the end I concluded that this was an historic moment, and that it was my duty to participate — and I decided to vote my conscience.

I voted to leave because the EU is anti-democratic. The best estimates indicate that between 15% and 55% of the laws we are subject to in Britain are now passed by faceless, unelected, largely unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels. How did we get here? By voting to join a free trade block in 1975 — and hanging around, making no effective protest, as the EU morphed into a political project, and bloated federalist super-state.

I voted to leave because the EU is a boondoggle. They shuffle money from rich countries to poor countries (and also back to rich countries!) making decisions about what kinds of projects ought to be funded. (No, they don’t often consult with the citizens of either the country getting the project, or the countries paying for it.) A Portuguese golf resort, a Bavarian hunting lodge, a virtual clone of Malmo, Sweden in the video game Second Life. A hemp farm. Puppet theatre.

I voted to leave because EU membership burns the wealth of British taxpayers — to the tune of £23 million a day. And that’s outside of the billions it costs British businesses to comply with often bizarre and Byzantine EU directives, such as those enforcing the curvature of bananas, banning diabetics from driving, and making it illegal to sell eggs by the dozen. There may be a reason Europe is the only continent in the world with a shrinking economy. (I also voted to leave so we can make our own trade agreements, on our own behalf, with the rest of the world.)

I voted to leave because all of Britain’s attempts to change any or all of the above, from within, have failed — and were always going to fail.

I voted to leave because while I think free trade, and free movement of capital, and frictionless borders — and not to mention Europe itself, and Britain being part of Europe — are all fantastic... none of those entails an anti-democratic, statist, wildly expensive European super-state.

And while I’m neither totally thrilled nor all that comfortable sharing a camp with Nigel Farage, or (if they exist) Britons outside of London who just don’t like having so many immigrants around… I voted to leave because, as the man said, an idea is not responsible for those who believe in it.

For democracy, for fiscal sanity, for British sovereignty… I voted to leave.

And now I am busy planning my next European holiday, anticipating a bright and prosperous future for Britain, and looking forward to a wonderful relationship with the continent — one along the lines of that enjoyed by the very smart cookies in Switzerland.

Michael Stephen Fuchs is a Londoner, dual citizen of the US and UK, and bestselling author of the ARISEN series.