Douglas Carswell

03 AUG 2016

Taking back control doesn't end with Brexit

Brussels is apparently demanding Britain foot the bill for the gold-plated pensions of British Eurocrats. Denialist Remainers might want to take note: this kind of thing is why over 17 million people voted Leave.

During the campaign, Remainers disparaged it. Since, some Leavers have downplayed it. But the truth is Vote Leave's message on the money – the £350 million figure – resonated with voters.


It was, partly, a question of fairness. When Britain is facing budget austerity, why are we funding EU budgets to rise? When the state pension is being squeezed, why should we bankroll a luxury retirement for ex-Commissioners like Peter Mandelson? Why be governed by a remote, rent-seeking elite when we can take back control?

I believe the potency of the £350 million argument goes further than the referendum. It could also herald a shift in the way we think about inequality.

From Karl Marx to Bernie Sanders, political campaigners claiming to want to clamp down on inequality have always advocated forced redistribution: more taxes on the rich; more Government intervention; more State, less private property.

But the EU shows up that socialist dogma. It's the ultimate centralised Big Government bureaucracy. And it's run by people who have rigged the system specifically to promote inequality: to enrich themselves – with inflated salaries and special tax rates – at taxpayers' expense.

Vote Leave put forward a different answer. We said the way to stop the racket isn't to give our rulers more power, but to take back control. Over 17 million people agreed.

Public sector privilege and cliquey corporatism aren't confined to Brussels. It's rife among our own ruling elite too. The solution isn't socialism; it's to give taxpayers more control over their money, and how their taxes are spent.

Could a political party win on that platform? The lesson from the referendum is that control sells.

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