The British would be wise to get out of the European Union now while they can.
I admit I'm selfish on writing on this question repeatedly. I believe the EU is inherently hostile to the United States and that in the long run could be a threat. I'd kill the EU and if Britain sets the precedent of successful resistance, others may follow the example.
And I value the friendship and alliance of the British, which I believe would be submerged in the continent-wide Euro elites proto-empire.
But yes, I also believe Britain--as would all European states--would be better off outside the smothering embrace of the continent.
UPDATE: Beevor ably describes the background and flaws of the European Union. But then finishes with this non sequitor:
But the EU’s flaws do not justify its destruction. Alliances are fragile entities. They take time to create and are always vulnerable to vicious circles of suspicion and resentment. Whatever we might think of the EU – whether we love it or loathe it – one thing is certain. If Britain pulls out and thus provokes or accelerates its disintegration, we will instantly achieve most-hated nation status, not just in Europe but far beyond. It could well turn into the worst example in history of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Why does this destroy the EU? The EU existed before Britain joined. Those who remain can enjoy the EU without Britain, which could negotiate free trade with the EU. And with North America for that matter.
Nor is the EU an "alliance." NATO is an alliance--free states freely associated to carry out a common goal. The EU is a proto-empire that will entangle Britain (and other nations) in regulations and a strengthened EU military and police force that will be built at the expense of national military and police powers.
As for most-hated nation status, is he falling-down drunk? Britain won't even be the most hated nation in Europe given how the EU's popularity is taking hits everywhere over its failures and its obvious tendency to ignore popular will.
And the rest of the world honestly doesn't pay enough attention to European politics to make that kind of leap. Participation in the Iraq War hasn't dented Britain's reputation despite the Left's hatred of that action, yet leaving the European Union will do the trick? Really?
Face it, if Britain leaves the EU, Britain will only become the most unpopular state in Brussels.
And after the British example that you can successfully resist the Soviet Union Lite being built on the continent, more states will join the resistance and decide that exit is a good idea--which will catapult them to "most unpopular in Brussels" status.
This vote is Britain's best weapon to remain free. Shoot on sight, shoot first, shoot to kill, keep shooting.