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‘Joining the World: Britain Outside the EU’, by Nigel Lawson

PDF: Joining the World: Britain Outside the EU

Nigel Lawson, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1983-89 and architect of Britain’s economic rebirth, explains why Brexit would be good for Britain. In Politeia’s Joining the World. Britain outside the EU, Lord Lawson explains that:

The EU’s object has been political Union from the start. Monetary Union was a means to an end, and a ‘reckless gamble’. It cannot work without fiscal and political union. The EU, is NOT Europe ‘with its great history, incomparable culture, and diverse peoples’. Rather the EU has always had political integration as its end. Economic integration was seen as the means to that end, the ‘creation of a federal European super-state, a United States of Europe.’ But, Lawson comments, this objective is ‘profoundly misguided’: the conditions which made the USA a success do not exist in the case of Europe.

It makes no sense, Lord Lawson urges, ‘to be part of a political project whose objective we emphatically do not share’, and he dismisses David Cameron’s opt-out from the political union as ‘completely meaningless’.

‘Most of the world is not in the EU and … most of these countries are doing better economically than most of the European Union’. The alternative to membership of the EU is simple, he says: it is ‘not being in the European Union’.

Lawson explains the economic benefits of being out of the EU. These include:

  • Saving the 10 billion pound a year net subscription, ‘for nothing in return – the figure is calculated after netting off everything …[d] at present receive from the EU’.
  • Liberating 87 per cent of the UK economy from a bureaucratic Brussels and business from ‘excessive European regulation’.
    Restoring the conditions for a flexible economy. It was intelligent deregulation, Lawson comments, which drove the reforms that restored the UK economy during the Thatcher administration.
  • It is Nato, not the EU which maintains Britain’s security. To the claim that EU membership is necessary for British security, Lord Lawson points out that, for this, we depend, not on the EU, but NATO. More generally, in ‘today’s globalized world’ cooperation over security needs to be on a ‘global scale’.

The EU in its present form is ‘profoundly’ undemocratic. The EU suffers not only from ‘a bureaucratic surplus’ but also from a ‘democratic deficit’. That is a matter ‘of particular concern in the UK with our addiction to freedom and democracy … [one] connected with something even older and … more fundamental, self government … Which includes control of our own borders, which we cannot achieve so long as we remain within the EU.’

‘Membership of the European Union, however well-intentioned is an affront to self-government’ concludes Lord Lawson. It offers nothing ‘that remotely compensates for this. What the British people want, I believe, and what we now have in our grasp, is a genuinely global future as a self-governing democracy.’

Joining the World: Britain Outside the EU, is published by Politeia,, 14a Eccleston St, London SW1W 9LT.

*Lord Lawson of Blaby has been a member of the House of Lords since 1992. As Member of Parliament for Blaby before that he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Energy Secretary in the Thatcher governments.

Press enquiries: Politeia, 020 7799 5034 or or to Lord Lawson via Alexandra Rathbone,

Lord Lawson of Blaby

Nigel Lawson was Member of Parliament for Blaby between 1974 and 1992, since when he has sat in the House of Lords. He served under Margaret Thatcher as Energy Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer and was author for Politeia of Joining the World: Britain Outside the EU (2016).

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