By Alex Singleton
If you think that leaving the EU would be catastrophic, take a look at Greenland. By rights its people ought to be poor. Their island is isolated, suffers from freezing weather, has a workforce of only 28,000 and relies on fish for 82 per cent of its exports. But it turns out that since leaving the EU, Greenland has been so freed of EU red tape and of the destruction of the Common Fisheries Policy, that the average income of the islanders today is higher than those living in Britain, Germany and France.
Greenland’s politicians realised that the fisheries policy was ruining their fishing industry. They had the guts to stand up against the all the prophets of doom and let their people vote in a referendum on leaving the European Community, as the EU was then called. On January 1, 1985, it became independent of Brussels – the only country ever to do so.
Greenland was, with Britain, one of only two EU countries to be heavily dependent on fishing. In fact, Britain had, in some estimates, 80 per cent of Europe’s fish stocks when it entered the EU, because our fishermen had carefully managed them, while the fisherman of Spain, France and Italy had destroyed most of the Mediterranean stocks.
The surprising thing is that while the unemployment from closing (loss-making) coal mines is frequently denounced by Labour politicians, more British workers lost their jobs as a result of gigantic French and Spanish boats being permitted to raid our stocks. Few of those politicians seem to care.
But care they should, because it is not just fish where the EU is damaging us, but in financial services, manufacturing – indeed, its ever-increasing regulations impose unnecessary costs across the whole of our economy. Greenland, which retains free trade with the EU, shows that we can have the benefits of European exports, without the costs of its diktats. It’s surely time that we, too, said goodbye to Brussels.