Sunday, 27 March 2016
Some questions for the Remain campaign
So, remainers, let's get down to brass tacks. You want us in the EU at any cost. It doesn't bother you at all that MEPs have no real power to hold the EU executive to account. It doesn't bother you at all that Britain is virtually defenceless against laws it does not want. It doesn't bother you that we are being gradually erased from all the global top tables and subordinate to the EU.
It doesn't bother you that the unresponsive CFP is totally impervious to reform. It doesn't bother you that the Prime minister has lied about his bogus reforms. For you, it's all in the greater good and you will tell any lie in support of that. For you the ends justify the means. Ok then.
It's great for you that the odds are in your favour. You will probably get what you want. And we know what is coming next. We know that the civic administration of Spain and Italy is held together by string and glue and eventually what happened to Greece will happen to one or more Euro states.
The EU will again need to assume administration in order to keep the Euro from folding and it will become apparent that the EU will need to introduce more direct governance measures. In effect we will see the final pieces put into place to make the EU the one true supreme government for Europe.
What we do know is that Britain will not submit under any circumstances to that level of control and will be exempted, thus creating that two speed Europe, if not actually by name then through divergence. From that day forward there will be an inherent internal bias within the EU that eurozone member states come first. That's not unreasonable in their position, not least when EU governance is a such a mess.
In order to shore up those economies, quite obviously the agenda for trade will put their needs first. They will have to. The future of the Euro depends on it. So the questions you really have to answer is how Britain is served by not being able to initiate its own trade agreements with other countries, and why it is good for Britain to have to wait its turn in a queue for EU diplomatic resources when other countries deal direct at the global top tables?
In effect you will have given us the worst of all worlds where we are not "leading in Europe" because we're not in the Euro. We certainly won't be a priority concern, and if the Euro is at any point in immediate peril, we can be sure our objections to new legislation will be ignored. Again, in their position I wouldn't blame them.
Worse still, we will not be able to act independently and will only benefit from future EU trade deals if we share those industrial concerns under negotiation. Britain being a diverse and modern economy means we will have distinctive needs that we cannot address. We get neither the benefits of independence or the benefit of being at "the heart of Europe".
And in this, we still haven't solved any of the fundamental problems of the EU. You say we should stay in so we can reform the EU, but when has that ever happened in any meaningful sense, and when can we expect to see that yawning democratic deficit plugged? Where is your plan for reform? Where is your timetable? How can Britain stay afloat without the ability to take up its concerns at the top tables?
Britain has strong historical and cultural ties with India and we could be gradually dismantling barriers to trade, but the way the EU approaches trade, we will be waiting years for that to happen. Today we note that once again talks have stalled in accomplishing a comprehensive deal. Why should we be locked into this obsolete way of doing things? Why should we have to wait our turn? How long must we wait? Why is it better to be on the fringes of Europe without the same level of global participation and agility as Norway?
Meanwhile, as the EU progresses, there is no way it is going to exempt us from every measure it takes to bring Eurozone stability. We are told we will be left out of ever closer union but that's not actually true is it? There next time we adopt a single strand of EU law we are defacto breaking that agreement. We have no veto in the same way Norway does. Why is EU membership better?
Norway has a tangible veto by way of shaping the rules the EU adopts and it has the leverage of joining other ad-hoc alliances against the EU. It has a real emergency brake on immigration. It has the power to initiate trade talks with whomever it so chooses and enjoys more or less full access to the single market on the same terms.
Norway still cooperates fully with Interpol and participate in many of the academic cooperation agreements. They can have their cake and eat it. They can have multilateral cooperation as well as close ties with the EU without being subordinate in every single way.
For sure they still pay into the budget and still accept some of the laws but the have the right to say no. So really my question is why it is better for us to be a fringe concern of the EU, locked into their agenda, when reality already tells us we are going a different way to the rest of the EU? Why should we be on the fringes of the EU with no real say in core EU activities and even less say at the top tables? Why put us between a rock and a hard place?
Brexit does not mean leaving the single market, nor does it mean the end of cooperation with the EU, nor does it mean giving up on any of the rights we enjoy as citizens of the free West. We can be partners with the EU but not subordinate to it. We can be allies and not slaves. We can end a forty year old schism in domestic politics and move on from a dispute that will not go away. We can remove the thorn from the paw without causing major disruption.
In the face of this, when we lose so very little by leaving the EU, why should we maintain this political deadlock? Why should we perpetuate this row that won't go away? This referendum will not settle the issue. When the gains for remaining a member of the EU are so marginal given the direction it will take, we need to know why it is that Remainers think it is worth the sacrifice. For the life of me, I can't see it.
In the end, only about half the population wants to stay in the EU- and many of them only because of the fear you have spread through dishonest means. Does that not suggest to you that we need a different relationship? We need to find another way so we can settle this.
Nothing is settled if we stay in the EU. Chances are domestic politics will become even more fractious and toxic as nobody is happy with the status quo. Those who say we should remain in the EU need to tell us what they think a vote to Remain will actually solve. If you think this puts an end to the EU question you are very, very mistaken.