" I fail to see how leaving could possibly end up a bigger disaster than staying. "
"Before we joined we had space programs,"
Till a committee of the "great and good" decided those nice Americans could do it all for you, and anyway what does HMG need with satellites? that was in 1969.
"built our own planes, "
While civil service policy at the MoD (like that in the US) said the UK needed to have "national champions." That' lead ultimately to the formation of GEC and BAe. Nothing to do with Europe, except some countries were also stupid enough to ignore the fact that competition (if done right) can lower costs. Now the UK has El Reg's favorite defense con-tractor BAe.
"had armed forces worthy of the name (and not equipped by Spanish tanks and Belgium guns), "
Which might, just might be better than something that BAe builds (10 years late and as usual Billions Above estimate)
"control over our own sources of power (not told we can't burn coal and must import French energy), "
You'd like to follow the D and walk away from the Tokyo accords, or Tony Blairs legally binding requirement to lower green house gas emissions across all industry? It looks like you don't know that both of these were several decades after the UK joined the EU.
"could grow and sell any apples we wanted,"
And could continue to use toughened glass windscreens, despite laminated types being safer (the DoT blocked their introduction but cited "National Security" as they couldn't tell anyone why only they thought it was safer for about a decade).
" could produce enough milk for our needs,
Maybe the privatization of the Milk Marketing Board had something to do with this, or the low quotas to allow the UK to continue to import NZ butter instead?
"could sort out taxation as we wanted,"
Because it's the EU that sets VAT at 20%?
Oh no it isn't, is it. That's set by the Treasury.
As are taxes on drink, tobacco and fuel.
" could make enough steel for our industry and decide if an industry was strategic and important enough to support etc etc etc"
Did you know that it's possible to specify in govt contracts a "buy local clause" ?
Completely within EU rules. AFAIK most of Europe uses such things but the UK does not.
UK civil servants believe they must (at all times) demonstrate they are getting "best value for money."
Besides making a decision to buy local would require the UK to formulate something (let's call it an "industrial strategy") to support it's UK industries. But that's a waste of time "Let the markets decide," has been the battle cry for decades.
And they have.
There are something like 3000 "non tariff barriers" countries can use to encourage their local producers and discourage foreign competition according to the WTO.
But the UK civil services does not like using them.
Just like penalty clauses to government con-tractors or the PFI contracts.
So if you were just trolling, congratulations, I have been trolled. Well played.
But if you sincerely believed any of the bo***cks you spouted, and voted in the UK Referendum based on your ignorance and prejudices, then as the yoof are inclined to say "you been played like a b**ch."
You'd do better to vent you spleen at the British Civil Service, who BTW through the Home Office f**ked up support to migrants to the UK, helping to create all those "immigrants overwhelming council resources" stories so popular with most of the UK press.