Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Fisking Charlotte Vere

You know I dislike doing fisk pieces but then I dislike Charlotte Vere even more so there's a worthwhile trade off.
Staying in the Europe is vital for our economic success. The EU accounts for over half of our trade, and our membership of the single market is worth £500 billion to the British economy every year.
Well that's fine, the EU is not Europe. Yes, half of our trade probably is with the EU but we don't have to be in the EU to be part of the single market. 
The EU ensures a level playing field for British exporters and European institutions prevent other countries, such as France, from indulging their protectionist instincts. European law allows UK firms to establish operations in other EU states without having to go through the bureaucracy involved in setting up formal subsidiaries there. And, crucially, the EU “passporting” system allows British financial services to be sold across the continent.
"The EU ensures a level playing field for British exporters". In theory yes, but in practice not really. The UK tends to uphold its agreements. Poland doesn't and nor does France and Greece categorically doesn't which is half the reason it's a massive mess. Meanwhile, passporting rights are open to EEA members which is our most likely means of exit.
The single market’s principle of free movement of labour allows our businesses to recruit from a workforce of more than 500 million people. This has allowed them to find the people they need to employ to be successful in an increasingly globalised economy, while the Prime Minister’s new settlement has ensured that EU migrants cannot get full access to our welfare system until they have paid into it.
Except of course the PM's "reforms" are not binding, he's a liar and so is Charlotte Veneer. However, it is more than likely we will keep freedom of movement because whoever is in government will negotiation a retention of our single market rights. Neither Labour nor the Tories even want to leave the EU so they will go for the option most resembling full membership. The EU won't grumble much because such an agreement is fast with less uncertainty for both sides and is easier to accomplish than engineering a bespoke deal. More to the point, there would be disastrous consequences if we ended freedom of movement which is precisely why we won't do it.   
Through the EU, we have trade agreements with over 80 countries, and make use of its bargaining power in negotiations with major global powers including the United States, India and China. Because we are part of the world’s largest trading bloc, our clout is hugely enhanced. If we tried to negotiate those trade deals on our own, we would have to do so from a vastly weaker position.
That's if we had to renegotiate those agreements, which we wouldn't because of the presumption of continuity in international law. In any case, as much as europhiles crow about the EU's existing trade deals, few ever stop to ask if those trade deals are any good and if they are even relevant to British industry. Certainly the agreement we have with China is nothing even approaching free or fair trade.  
Brexit campaigners claim that even if we left the EU we could retain these benefits, but that, as Peter Sutherland, the former head of the World Trade Organisation, has said, is “magical thinking.” The process for leaving the EU is designed to put the leaving state at a disadvantage. If we voted to leave we would have just two years to re-negotiate all our trade agreements, including the most important one — with the EU that we had just spurned.
This is precisely why we will use an off the shelf agreement. We will use the EEA as our departure mechanism because it's safe, doesn't need to be designed from scratch and presents the least risk to both parties. That means we remain part of the single market and that is why we absolutely can retain those benefits. Vere is right though. Article 50 was designed to make life difficult and to make it one sided. That's why we had no business ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, it's why our government didn't give us a say and it's all the more reason we should leave. 
Out campaigners do not allow evidence to undermine their confidence. They assert that because we sell more to them than they sell to us, the remaining EU member states would have a strong incentive to cooperate, but this is a serious mistake. What matters to the rest of the EU is not how much they sell compared to the total size of our trade, but how much they sell compared to the total size of theirs. While the rest of the EU accounts for half of our trade, we only account for around a sixth of theirs. Our negotiating position would be extremely weak and any deal we could negotiate is likely to be much worse than the one we have now.
Because we will stay part of the EEA, who sells what to whom is neither here not there. Trade is unaffected. It's a total red herring argument. 
That has serious long-term consequences for our economic future. All reputable economic studies show that in politically realistic conditions, leaving would raise major barriers to our trade with the rest of the EU and that those barriers would permanently reduce the output of the British economy. That means less investment, fewer jobs and fewer opportunities for British businesses.
This is known as a lie. By "reputable economic studies" she means studies from think tanks she likes that assume we will leave both the EU and the single market in a single bound. The more you examine the complexity and depth of EU integration, and the short window we have for negotiating an exit, the less possible that seems. Europhiles always tell us that a bespoke deal cannot be engineered in two years and they are right. So since the EEA is the only mechanism available, there is no justification for these wild claims. 
Even in the short term, Brexit campaigners admit that leaving would cause a severe “economic shock”. The extent to which that shock would fade depends very much on the kind of relationship they hope the UK would have with the rest of the EU, but this is something on which out campaigners vehemently disagree. Some would like to arrange a deal like Norway’s or Switzerland’s: but that would mean accepting free movement and EU regulations. Others would prefer not to negotiate any kind of deal at all, even though that would allow tariffs to be imposed on our exports to the EU. They have no clear idea of what Britain’s economic relationships would be like if we left.
Well, since we have established single market continuity is the most likely outcome, if there is an economic shock, it will be a short one and the ones who lose most are the ones who will be left red faced because they are the ones who bought into all the risible scaremongering put about by europhiles.

As it happens we are more than able to withstand such a blip. We know this because even after the Euro currency crisis, we are still bouncing back faster. It should be noted that the EU was the cause of that shock wave and it probably won't be the last time. So if we are going to have another shock to the markets we might as well make sure it has a useful outcome like leaving the EU. 

Since we will have a deal similar to that of Norway, and we will have freedom of movement, there's no real reason to panic. Yes, we would end up adopting one in five EU regulations but for once we would have a veto and because we would have an unhindered vote at all of the global regulatory top tables, we would have a greater say in how they are made. That the Leave campaigns can't really say what out looks like, we just have to take an educated guess and in this we just have to take the Remain camp at their word. A bespoke deal is improbably so Norway it will be. Sounds great to me!

But the point here is that Brexit is a process, not an event and the Brexit settlement is not the destination. It's just the immediate means of leaving the EU safely. From there, adding our economic and political influence to Efta, we then are in a strong position to renegotiate the EEA agreement at a later date when the dust has settled. We can even do it one cooperation agreement at a time.  

If we're being realistic, in order to get out of the EU, we will accept whatever is on the table without opening up the nitty gritty for negotiation. It means we will swallow the lot. It doesn't mean wild changes for the UK but it doesn't make us any worse off either, not least when you consider we will have full and direct access to all of the global bodies that shape even EU trade rules. Those "reputable economic studies" Vere speaks of never even consider the plus column in this debate. 

Vere says that "It is not surprising therefore that a majority of members of credible business organisations, support a vote to remain. Leaving would produce a major economic shock, followed by years of uncertainty and risks permanent damage to the UK economy. That is a risk we cannot afford to take."

So let's consider this for a moment. Vere is not making an impassioned case for staying in the EU. All she's really saying is Brexit isn't straightforward and could get a bit tricky. Well, we know this. This is not news to me. That is not an argument for not doing it. But because she speaks from a position of ignorance, having failed to calculate the real world practicalities, she genuinely does believe it would cause all this mayhem. To her mind it is worth continued economic and political subordination because it's a risk. How absolutely pathetic! 

Instead of thinking for herself she depends entirely on received opinions and hugely biased "reputable economic studies". So there you have it. The "executive director" for Conservatives In (could you be any more pretentious?) is an ignorant, lazy liar. Whoddathunkit?    

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