IEA, BrExit, Referendum, UKIP & Christopher Booker’s View
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins – Greg_L-W.
with the upcoming EU elections on 22-May-2014 I felt it was apposite to revisit the question on the minds of the majority of Brits which tends to stretch from the simple and in my opinion sensible Leave-The-EU option which in the long term would I believe serve our peoples, our Country and our planet best and the unworkable and dishonest idiocy of re-negotiated terms with the EU as put forward by Tories who quite clearly are either hideously ill informed as to how the EU functions or just obscenely dishonest in pretending they can change the EU and get unanimous support amongst the other vassal states – the precondition for any major change!
Revisiting an article of Christopher Bookers from last summer little or nothing has changed – UKIP still haven’t a clue and have absolutely no exit and survival strategy just a clique squabbling like ferrets in a sack to stay on the gravy train, with the aim to get more MEPs elected but with zero vision and less hope of changing ANYTHING having abjectly failed to do so to date, hence their continued failure in domestic politics!
The Torieas were shocked into a debate in The House of Commons by the Independent MEP Nikki Sinclaire who gathered well over 200,000 signatures and forced the debate to occur, a debate in which David Cameron’s Government was confronted with his largest ever rebellion and was thus forced to make an undertaking to hold a referendum, allbeit he hedged his bets as ever.
To carry on the fight for a referendum Nikki Sinclaire formed the ‘We demand A Referendum Now Party’ and is standing for the cause in The West Midlands as an MEP – we can but hope this hard working and refreshingly honest and open MEP is re-elected to continue her patriotic defence of Britain and her constituents.
Sadly UKIP having done absolutely zero to support the cause now see this as an apposite band wagon to jump on to get more income by getting more MEPs! However let us not forget thaty UKIP has no ethical leadership, lacks transparency and has such a poor selection rigging process that already candidates are falling by the wayside, exposed as racists, anti homosexual, Islamaphobic and corrupt.
Let us not forget that of the 19 MEPs UKIP has had elected their titular leader has subsumed almost all power to himself, controls incomes and appoints his wife and mistresses to the staff! Little wonder that of the 19 elected he has fallen out with at least half and the balance are as much use as a soup sandwich having achieved absolutely nothing of note in their period on the gracy train!
Even Ukip has no idea how to get us out of the EU trap
Our politicians are stumbling around in the dark when it comes to EU rules. There is only one way we can renegotiate our position with Europe to our advantage
There is virtually no political issue that generates more ill-informed nonsense than whether or not Britain should stay in the EU. We have those 304 MPs voting for David Cameron’s wish to renegotiate our relationship with the EU and put the results to a referendum no later than 2017. We have Theresa May announcing that she is going to demand a British opt-out from 133 EU regulations on law and order, but then apply to opt in again on 35 of them. We have John Cridland, head of the CBI, repeating yet again the old canard that it would be disastrous for us to think of emulating Norway and Switzerland, the two richest countries in Europe, because although they trade freely with the EU’s single market, they have no say in shaping its rules. On and on goes such grandstanding, not touching reality at any point.
The essence of the problem is that, while the British like some aspects of the EU, other aspects make them deeply resentful, without them ever really understanding the rules or how it works. Thus, for many years, as the EU surges towards “ever closer union”, Britain has, in the words of the late Roy Jenkins, become an ever more “foot-dragging and complaining member”. On one hand, the pollsters report that up to half or more of British voters want us to leave. On the other, we have an establishment “consensus” between most of our politicians, media and big business, claiming that, although the EU in its present form is unsatisfactory and needs drastic “reform”, we must stay in for all the benefits we gain from trading with it, and because it gives us “influence”.
It is this “consensus” position that is so riddled with contradictions that it amounts to no more than multiple wishful thinking. There is no way Mr Cameron could obtain the kind of “à la carte” relationship he hints at, let alone that he could do so if re-elected, in time for a referendum in 2017. First, the rules would necessitate a new treaty, requiring procedures so lengthy that it could not possibly be completed by 2017. Second, the return of powers he claims to want would breach that most sacred principle of EU law, that national powers once surrendered can never be given back.
So, legally and practically, it is impossible that Mr Cameron could get anything of what all those MPs voted for the other day. The only semblance of a realistic understanding of all the issues involved comes from a research paper recently published by the House of Commons Library on what would be involved in a British withdrawal from the EU. This explains, with an authority no MP could muster, that the only way Britain could continue to trade freely within the single market without having to accept so much of the rest of the EU’s political baggage, would be to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
But this, of course, can only be done by a country giving notice that it wishes to leave the EU. This alone can compel its fellow-members to negotiate with it the kind of new relationship Mr Cameron says he wants. And this he could not rule out more emphatically, as again in a recent interview with El Pais, where he said there was no way he could support a vote for Britain to leave.
Regardless of Mr Cameron’s views, however, the Commons researchers then go on to explain how Britain could continue to enjoy full access to the single market by joining Norway and Switzerland as members of the European Free Trade Area (Efta), or, like Norway, as also a member of the European Economic Area. This is precisely the option Europhiles such as Mr Cridland are so desperate to misrepresent, by falsely claiming that Norway has no influence over the single market’s trading rules. Anyone who argues this has no grasp of how the system works. Not only are Efta members fully consulted in the shaping of single market legislation, but much of it now derives from global organisations above the EU, in which Norway has a voice in its own right, exercising more influence than Britain, which too often has to allow the EU to speak for it.
But it is this argument – playing on the fear that unless we remain in the EU we will be without influence and even excluded from trading with it – that would be made the centrepiece of the campaign in any referendum on Britain’s continued membership. So relentlessly would it be put over by supporters of the “consensus”, given full voice by the BBC, Open Europe and others, that it is almost a foregone conclusion that the stay-in vote would win the day.
What has so far been almost wholly lacking from the debate on all this is any properly worked-out alternative vision of what Britain’s future in the world could be if we were to regain our independence by leaving. Equally lacking, although it is again explored in the Commons research paper, is any recognition of just how incredibly complicated a British withdrawal from the EU would be, because we are enmeshed with it by such a mountain of laws and other legal obligations. To disentangle all this would present a challenge so immense that it could only be brought off by a government fully committed to the task and fired up by a vision of how well Britain could thrive outside the EU. This would require a degree of political will which so far simply doesn’t exist.
One of the odd features of this debate is that the only party committed to a British exit from the EU, Ukip, appears to have little understanding of how this could, in practice, be achieved – let alone a positive vision of how well Britain could fare outside it, to counterbalance the relentless defeatism and negativity with which the “consensus” establishment would seek to terrify us into staying in. Too many Ukip supporters take equal refuge from reality by pretending that we could simply wave a magic wand by repealing the European Communities Act. With one mighty bound we would be free. Sorted. These are children.
I confess that when I read that Commons research paper, although it did not say anything new, I did end up depressed. Its calm, common-sense reviewing of the real issues once again brings home just how inane most of the public debate over Britain’s membership of the EU has become. Without the vision and the will to work for a positive alternative, it seems we are doomed just to limp helplessly on as a “foot-dragging and complaining member” of the “European project”, as it itself staggers helplessly on into a drably visionless and ever more uncertain future. So saying, I am off for a few days to Italy to look at 15th-century paintings, from the time when Europe was still in that frenzy of creativity and intellectual engagement that was to make its civilisation the glory of the world.
To view the original CLICK HERE
One thing that has changed since Christopher wrote this article is that a wave of optimism did sweep through the informed as the IEA announced the BrExit prize offering £100K to the winner who came up with the very best and most workable exit strategy to follow the day Britain was announced it would Leave-The-EU.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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