We've said from the outset that the Remain camp is mainly noise and an adjunct to the real EU debate, thus addressing their points is little more than entertainment - and not time well spent. But it's Saturday, and I feel like some light entertainment.
Possibly THE most pernicious europhile think tank, ECFR, has produced a list of foreign policy implications of Brexit. Let's take a look...
1. No more United Kingdom.One thing that guarantees "no more United Kingdom" is continued membership of the EU. The EU already significantly reduces our global influence and is set only to take more powers and will seek ever more exclusivity on the world stage to the point where our own UN delegations are erased entirely. As a subordinate state with no global reach and subordinate to the majority will of the EU, we cease be be a democracy and in all the ways that matter we cease to be a country.
Scots are determined to stay in the EU. If Brexit happens, they will vote for independence. And we should brace for the return of violence in Northern Ireland: the peace process has depended on London and Dublin working together as partners within the EU.
Moreover, the Scottish threat is somewhat fork tongued in that the SNP will push for a referendum in any eventuality. How Scotland votes in such an eventuality is unknowable since EU membership is not guaranteed for Scotland, and cooperation from London is not in any way guaranteed either. Put simply, outside of the EU, if London does not wish for Scottish independence, it's just not going to happen. The terms of a separation would have to be put to a second referendum. London would ensure the Scots voted it down.
As to the return of violence to Northern Ireland, I don't think ECFR could be more patronising and insulting to the great many British and Irish officials and politicians who made the peace process happen. Could they be any more crass?
2. No amicable divorce.The example of Spain and Gibraltar is an odd one to pick since Spain already has done nothing to dial down its malevolence and the EU has done nothing about it either. And actually, it is for ECFR to prove that a separation would necessarily be acrimonious and why that suddenly means that wider international law no longer applies. Good luck with that.
Brexit would do great damage to the rest of the EU, particularly with the boost it would give to forces of nationalism and intolerance across the continent. Britain's former partners would not thank them for it. What incentive then for Spain to dial down its campaign to recover Gibraltar? Or for France to continue to allow Britain to operate its border controls on their territory?
3. No special deal on trade.We've been over this and we will never tire of shooting it down. The point of Brexit is to secure better deals by way of having more of a say and greater leverage where the regulations are drafted at source. This is of course, not the EU. This does not mean having a worse deal with the EU in that we can leave the EU and remain members of the single market on more or less the same terms until such a time as we devise a better alternative.
No non-EU country gets full access to the single market without accepting a) freedom of movement (all those Polish plumbers) and b) all relevant EU regulations (but with no say in their drafting). Why should they cut Britain a better deal if it left – would you? Yes, around 10 percent of Europe's exports come to Britain, but 45 percent of Britain's go to them.
4. No El Dorado elsewhere.Well they picked the very worst example possible here. Intellectual property rights are the domain of the WIPO convention. It is upheld by the WTO, not the EU. These people don't know what they're talking about. We address the "side deal" issue later in this post.
The EU does not stop Britain trading wherever we want. But the British economy needs trade that is fair as well as free; as Britain's steel industry has recently discovered. Nowadays, the right freedoms and protections (eg to stop the other guy pirating our technology, or blocking access to the best bits of his market) are secured through detailed agreements and the EU, as the world's biggest trading bloc, is leading the way, with deals in place or in the works with two-thirds of the world's countries. Next up is the EU/US mega-deal; and the US have just made clear they will not bother with a side-deal with Britain if it leaves the EU.
5. No Commonwealth alternative.Sorry. No arguments there. We have lambasted our own side for making these precise arguments. But that is not to say there are not many benefits to a more democratic, self-confident Britain asserting its values on the world stage, exercising its new found agility in trade matters. As we noted just recently, the world has moved on from the quaint old EU.
"Outs" fantasise about a global Anglophone community waiting to welcome us back like the prodigal son. But whenever Brits say this, there is never an answering echo. The old empire countries have moved on – not always with happy memories. India is buying its new warplanes from France, not us.
6. No more ‘special relationship’.We don't enjoy free trade with the US - and nor does the EU - and TTIP notwithstanding, it never will. The USA is rigging TTIP for its own advantage and will retain most of its protectionist measures. The TTIP that eventually passes will be talked up with great fanfare, but it will be a shadow of the comprehensive free trade agreement many envisaged. It's too ambitious and threatens too many vested interests.
Britain has been too ready to take orders from Washington in recent years. But a close relationship with the world’s biggest super-power is still a big asset. Yet President Obama has spelled it out: the US will be much less interested in the UK if it quits Europe. And it is no use banging the NATO drum instead: it is EU sanctions that Putin takes notice of, not NATO tanks.
It is more likely that the US doesn't want a newly agile Britain asserting itself globally and competing with the USA. In any real sense, the USA is loyal only to its own immediate interests and the "special relationship" does not actually exist. There is a great cultural bond which can never be threatened because of our shared values and history but in the modern sense, that relationship means going to war whenever America does, and getting our people killed in largely pointless wars that we are in the habit of losing. If that is a special relationship, we can live with out it.
Obama asserts that the US will be less interested in the UK, but actually, that works both ways. The US has gradually been shedding many of its key industries, with many moving south to Mexico as Mexico enjoys a great many free trade deals that the protectionist US does not want. A comprehensive UK-Mexico agreement is of much more interest to us - not least because of Mexico's trade access to the far east. If the USA wants to miss out on that, that is entirely their loss.
As to sanctions on Russia, in what way has Russia responded that is not damaging to the EU's own trade? If the intention was to make Russia pull out of Ukraine, it hasn't worked - and isn't going to. Perhaps an independent UK brokering a new accord may have more success?
7. No protection from the refugee crisis.This is only a realistic scenario if there is a total breakdown of UK-EU relations where the UK is forcefully ejected from the single market. It is in nobody's interests for this to happen which is why both will seek to avoid it. Leavers have been very keen to stress that we would retain some kind of relationship with the single market, not least the Norway Model that allows us full participation. Put simply, they are clutching at straws.
"Outs" have been so vocal about controlling British borders that is a surprise to realise that Brexit would make last summer’s cross-Channel travel disruption worse, not better. Imagine having to pull border controls back from Calais to Dover – and then having to quarantine every unchecked ferry and Eurostar on arrival. And no longer being able to send non-European migrants back to where they first entered the EU, as can be done now.
8. No real sovereignty.We have explored previously on this blog how the sovereignty argument is of limited use in that we will always make compromises to secure agreements with trading partners. But ultimately sovereignty is the right to say no. Any government that is not free to act on behalf of its peoples is not a free country. In this regard the EU subordinates the elected British government and very often signs agreements on our behalf that we have previously vetoed. Thus is is not a Europe of cooperation but one of subjugation and suppression. We are hardly "masters of our own destiny" if the British preference can be overruled on the say so of EU judges, lawyers and commissioners.
"Outs" also bang on about recovering the sovereignty of Parliament, stolen by faceless European judges and bureaucrats. And, yes, the EU has made Britain clean up its beaches, and allows junior doctors to get some sleep. But real sovereignty is not about the Englishman’s historic right to swim in sewage if he wants to, or be treated by an exhausted medic. It is about remaining, as far as any country can in this globalised world, master of its own destiny. If we don’t want a world run from Beijing or Moscow, Britain needs to bulk up, and stand with European partners.
The examples that ECFR choose here, clean beaches and working time rules, are the product of global conventions that the EU unjustifiably takes credit for. They are the product of the ILO and UNEP. We seek greater influence on global bodies by leaving the EU.
Finally, the "stand with our European partners" rhetoric really is demolished with ease. Firstly Brexit does not mean an end to international cooperation, nor does it mean a souring of UK-EU relations. But the choice of the word "partner" is an interesting one. A partnership is a mutual relationship - which as we note, our "relationship" with the EU is far from a partnership. It more resembles domestic abuse or something far more sinister.
As we have noted so many times before, the entire europhile case depends on distortions, lies and a total denial of the existence of the levels of governance that sit above the EU. Not once have we encountered a genuine and honest case for staying in the EU. There isn't one. We continue to ask, where is the advantage in being an a submissive relationship to a political entity that seeks to erase out national influence at the global level. No other trade bloc demands this of its members and no other trade bloc so comprehensively dismantles the democratic mechanisms of its members. We keep pushing for answers as to why this is good for Britain. As yet, not a single good answer have they given - just the same old pack of lies.