In this essay, I will present 3 or more reasons, citing textual evidence that answers the essential question, “What were the reasons the British people chose to leave the EU?”, and close with how it relates to today.
First, an economic point of view on the relationship between the U.K and the EU reveals many strains, just by itself- consisting of disagreeable measures like VATs, certain trade deals, and money policies- among others. The article “17 reasons to love Brexit '' supports this idea when it explains that: “So, what could we do once we Brexit? Well actually, given how extensive EU law is, an awful lot… Leaving the EU reopens whole areas of policymaking off limits for decades.” While this quote doesn’t directly explain some of the perks of supporting Brexit, those reasons are scattered throughout the article. As an example, VATS (a type of tax, required by the EU) is widely hated in Britain- and both the government and the people desire to get rid of it. However, due to their status as a member of the European Union, the government was unable to. EU decisions, law, and policies overwrite the countries’ governmental counterparts; which is the stem of many other problems, economic or not. Other than the unlikable tax, the EU implemented many other measures that the people of the U.K did not support. There are many possible instances of this happening, notably with the rejections of duty free flights, more sensible funding processes, wholesale train markets, and banning the export of baby animals for slaughter. However, the largest issue that occurred between Britain and the EU is on the topic of competitive banks. The British people want to have strong, competitive banks, not only domestically but also internationally. In contrast to that idea, the European Union has to compensate for all of its member countries, and most of them are not as wealthy or strong as Great Britain. Because of this factor, the EU puts in many bank-related laws that are meant to let all its countries be relatively similar. This reduces the reputation of British banks, as they are no longer allowed to follow certain laws that let them be successful. In summary, we can understand the British people’s justification for leaving the European Union just from economic issues alone. And, of course, they had many other disputes on topics completely unrelated to the economy.
Second, many citizens of the United Kingdom clearly dislike the amount of power the EU has over their country, and are frustrated about not being able to change many of its often strict policies. This is proven in the article “The United Kingdom Formally Leaves the European Union, January 31, 2020”, as it quotes the Prime Minister who led Brexit, Boris Johnson, when he said that: “...And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act. It is a moment of real national renewal and change." Just from this small part of his speech, the disatisfaction about the EU can be identified, considering he uses strong language that symbolizes hope for the British people- even during a day that would otherwise be considered, if not of loss, then at least of change with an unknown future. This overall hope could possibly be linked to the fact that the U.K was and is still a powerful country- they probably don’t like the EU’s method of applying the same rules to every member country. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, and perhaps it’s quite logical in order to somewhat fit all its members, but the fact that the peoples of each country don’t actually get a considerable say in the laws are what’s causing the British to leave, especially because Britain is generally so independent and well-off by itself; without the need for any Union to implement disagreeable policies on them. That, in summary, is the second major factor influencing the British’s decision to leave- the smaller supply of flexibility and freedom in the EU compared to by themselves.
Third, member countries are expected to give up quite a lot to the EU- power, an individual view on topics, and, to some extent, a part of their culture, among others; many of these things the British were hesitant and reluctant to give away in the first place and are clearly glad to take back. This claim is supported by the article “Has the UK benefited from Brexit?”, when it revealed that: “Much of the reason for Brexit was for the UK to 'take back control' of borders, money and laws… Brexit is a part of the current political and economic landscape, shaping political and economic policy for the years ahead.” Clearly, the British aren’t really excited about how much the EU is taking away from their country. Power was addressed in the previous paragraph, but much more must be sacrificed in order for effective supranational cooperation. One example of this is the priority of your own countries, compared to group priorities. Outside of cooperation-focused organizations (the EU is one, as well as NATO or the UN), it’s perfectly fine and reasonable to focus on your own country’s needs above everyone else- that’s good leadership, and it’s natural to do so. On the other hand, once you join such organizations, they must consider the wellbeing of every member- from the European Unions’ 27 countries to the United Nations’ 193. For this reason, larger and more powerful countries are often unable to adjust to this kind of policy, mostly because they’re more used to being independent than anything else. There’s also the fact that you have to focus on tackling group problems, and again, that can often be difficult considering your country might not actually have anything to do with the issue in the first place. Other than that, individual culture is diminished, mainly because there’s less unity if everyone does their own thing, speaks their own language, uses their own currency, etc. As of now, the EU hasn’t made a move against languages (luckily), but it has made most of its members convert to the euro as a common currency. And while that is for the goal of easy and efficient trade, it does have its problems. Money is a kind of culture, while not being as apparent as religion or language. Enforcing the euro means removing many currencies that may have been in use for centuries, such as Germany’s Deutsche mark- which had been implemented ever since Germany was unified in 1817. In turn, removing those currencies means that you’re sort of removing history, and using the same currency is damaging to individuality and uniqueness. The British didn’t like that to the point that they kept the pound, rejecting the euro. To recap, we can see clearly that yet another reason for Brexit was to preserve many areas of British culture, as well as regaining the ability to focus on their own problems above the problems of the other member countries.
To conclude, the British people’s reason to commit to Brexit was perfectly understandable, due to certain inevitable faults within the European Union. The most apparent one is economic issues- which splits into two main categories of disagreement. First is taxes- namely, the hated VATS, which both citizens and the government of Britain wanted gone, but the EU insisted they stay in place. Secondly, the EU must contribute to all 27 member countries at once (28 at the time, since Britain was still in) which hurt the competition possibilities of the British. Along with this, the people of the member countries couldn’t change any laws or policies that the EU put in- leaning a bit too much towards tyranny for the British people to be happy about. They wanted to be able to govern their own affairs and regain their own power, since the U.K had always been considerably independent and the world’s most powerful country before the United States. But it wasn’t just power that they wanted again- the U.K sensed that the EU, in the name of unity, could also get in the way of their individual goals and even their culture, since both had a relatively negative impact on the values of supranational cooperation, which are the previously-mentioned unity, peace, and simple trade. This makes an impact on today, as well. Even though Brexit was 3 years ago now, the U.K might have been very different if it had not happened, and they are still very influential around the world. They are one of the United States closest allies, as well as trading us a lot of different products and brands. Without their decision to Brexit, all this could look very different. Maybe our trade would have been through the euro instead of the pound, or maybe they could have even diminished in power due to the group standards that the EU imposes. So, while leaving the EU had many negatives and was a somewhat messy process, it was certainly justified in the end.