If our side were in any way effective I would not have to be ripping holes into both sides. And though many suggest I ignore the losers on our side, there comes a point in debunking where one has to attack them in order to make the point. Here we have nasty piece of europhile propaganda pretending to debunk Anne Widdecombe. Again, from InFacts.
It really doesn't help that Widders is off her trolley. And though she is a nice old lady much like your nan, she has been in Westminster since the early days of the Empire. Just by osmosis she should be more informed than she is. If she is to be excused for senility on account of her age then she should retreat from the field entirely.
And so to business. As usual, please accept my apologies for the tedious fisking format, but it has to be done this way.
Widdecombe doesn’t think the EU would insist on the UK accepting EU regulations in any post-Brexit trade deal, because “we are its single largest importer”. Not so. The EU would make this demand if we wanted full access to the single market. That is because the single market has at its core one principle: I will remove regulatory barriers to your exports if you do the same. We would have to accept EU rules without a vote if we wanted to retain our financial services passport, for instance.
If we chose to go without full access to the single market, we could cut a deal where we don't accept EU rules. But the price would be greater barriers to trade. And the wider the divergence between UK and EU rules, the more costly trade becomes. We could well leave so we can make our own rules, only to find we would be better off imitating EU legislation.
Course, this eurosceptic notion that we can have a bonfire of regulation is a childish fantasy and given the volumes of information available to ordinary people now, it's genuinely surprising that such a view is taken in any way seriously by any adults in politics.
Again we find the Leave campaign's total absence of a Brexit plan leave the field wide open to speculation. The key point for me is that such speculation is a fools errand in that reality tends to suggest that both sides will settle on an EEA single market agreement because nobody on either side is exactly sure what the consequences would be of a sudden drop out of the single market even if a fairly comprehensive deal could be reached.
The depth of integration runs far deeper than most on either side really understands. Even the Cabinet Office has suggested Brexit is a process rather than an event and in undertaking such a journey the first step would have to be a baby step - using the EEA as a departure lounge. There is no other sane way to do it.
The real angle on regulation for leavers is that the EU is not the progenitor of its own regulation. It is almost entirely a rule taker rather than a rule maker - and with globalisation of regulation ramping up all the time the EU is becoming increasingly redundant and if we really do want to have a say in the rules then we need our own independent voice and veto at the top tables without being told what to do. In this, both sides of the Brexit debate are absolute dinosaurs. There are more dinosaurs in this debate than Jurassic Park.
Widdecombe says that if we go, “We can fix up trade agreements with the rest of the world without having to worry about the terms of EU membership.”
That’s perfectly true. We would not, however, enjoy the same bargaining power we have as part of a bloc of 500 million consumers. We would lose most of our existing trade deals with non-EU states. And we would not benefit from the trade pacts the EU is now negotiating with the likes of China and Japan; we would have to restart talks from scratch.
Perhaps most importantly, we would also lose our existing trade arrangements with the EU. For all its faults, the bloc is still our largest trading partner. We would have to renegotiate our trading arrangements after a possibly acrimonious split, with a bargaining disadvantage.Now this a pierce of europhile garbage that stinks to high heaven. Firstly this is a twist on the "going it alone" meme they use which is baloney since we have any number of options for trade alliances once we leave. There are fluid configurations depending on the sector which is far more agile than slavishly siding with the EU each and every time.
In any case, Efta is the logical interface for EEA dealings and the power of Efta+Uk is not exactly a wet lettuce is it? Norway being an energy giant, Switzerland being the world's bank and the UK being a global services hub. Even if the EU did make its own rules it would be absolutely inconceivable that we would not have a say or a veto over rules we adopt. The very idea is laughable.
Moreover, the market size advantage is overstated in that while it can notionally dominate the field, with EU comprehensive trade deals taking several years and stalling many times along the way, there is more advantage is having smaller, incremental deals that can be easily replicated. In any case, while the EU is a large market, it is not larger than the rest of the world, and in international votes, like one we have seen at the IMO recently, the rest of the world can tell the EU to get stuffed. It is also a lie that that we would have to renegotiate our existing trade agreements.
Ever closer union
If we stay, Widdecombe says, “We condemn our children and grandchildren to an ever-increasing absorption into a foreign power.”
This is also untrue. The EU has stated that the treaty clause calling for “ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” won’t apply to the UK. We will not be dragged into a United States of Europe if we stay.
If you believe that, stay right there. I have a bridge to sell you. The fact of the matter is that even if this were true, the EU can and will abuse its powers to assume competences on an ad hoc basis depending on its immediate agenda. It happens often and in a sphere of government largely unnoticed and unreported. There barely need be "ever closer union" since the EU effectively has the powers over us that it wants. Not forgetting that Dave's dodgy deal is not in any way binding.
Again we see the dangers of letting clueless politicians speak for our side and the liability Vote Leave has created by not having a realistic, reassuring and credible Brexit plan. When put to the test Europhile arguments do not stand up - and if we had a half way competent Leave campaign we would be absolutely demolishing them. Ho hum.