It is useful in honest debate to not only observe the principle of charity, but to seek out the best of one’s opponents’ arguments.
One of the best arguments I have heard against Brexit is that Westminster is no bastion of freedom and the EU keeps its worst excesses in check.
The Home Office is no friend to freedom. Immigration restrictions abound: I hear of papers presented at conferences with their lead authors absent because of problems obtaining visas; I have met Indian computer programmers who have to pay a health surcharge to come and work here; others are messed around to the point that it is no longer worth it. There is no shortage of enthusiasm for homegrown meddling, be it a new Office for Tackling Injustices or sin taxes or filtering the Internet.
The inhabitants of Westminster are not exactly opposing bad ideas from the EU, either. GDPR and the copyright directive were met with support.
The EU does at least have a somewhat liberal outlook. The freedom to work in and trade with a large number of neighbouring countries is a huge benefit. The way that the referendum campaign for leave was run certainly attempted to appeal to those who might favour restrictions in the movement of people and goods. Left to their own devices, civil servants and politicians in Westminster might find more opportunity for meddling and restricting. There is no reason to believe that things will automatically get better.
I disagree with that assessment because I am an optimist.
Things will not get better inside the EU. The EU is almost impossible to change. A grass-roots campaign to oppose some new regulation has almost no chance of succeeding. First of all people would need to become aware of the incoming regulation in plenty of time, not when it is already a fait accompli as tends to happen. And then any campaigning would have to happen across multiple languages and cultures with different attitudes requiring different marketing strategies. It does not work. Instead the EU is a mysterious black box periodically emanating unpredictable decrees.
So we have to get out. And then the real work will begin. But at least Westminster is tangible. We do get to hear about bad ideas before they happen. There is a sense that writing to one’s MP has some small effect. Grass roots campaigns do change things. Outside the EU there is hope. Inside the EU the state is guaranteed to get bigger and more intrusive.