Monday, 31 August 2015

There are few immediate benefits to Brexit

We have already discussed on this blog how Brexit makes only marginal difference to the amount we pay into the EU budget. Even if we worked entirely independently, the money would still be spoken for by way on continuing agricultural subsidies and taking over those functions previously delegated to the EU. As we also note, we don't know for certain which EU programmes we will still opt into for the sake of continued cooperation with our EU friends and allies.

Similarly, this "trade with the rest of the world" shtick is also a touch optimistic. To achieve anything like parity in trade we would be looking at considerable international development just to bring our trading partners up to scratch. Since African producers still have to meet EU standards if they want to export, it makes little sense for them to have a different production line for goods going to the UK. So even if we could relax our regulations, the regulatory might of the EU makes such a proposition unlikely.

Much is said of our new found influence at the top tables, a case I have made many times. That gives us marginally more influence in how supposed EU laws are made, but since the UK is often the driver of international and EU law, there is no real evidence to suggest that the outcome of the global law factory would look any different or that any government we elect would use a veto even when they have one.

Similarly, without real reform of international treaties on refugees, Brexit has only slight implications for the global migration crisis. Brexit may be a precursor to achieving such, but in and of itself it's not that influential on the matter.

The EU is also steadfast in recognising that free movement of people is a cornerstone of the single market and if we are to maintain access to it, it is likely that we will still subscribe to freedom of movement with few, if any, concessions. Some corners of the Eurosceptic world are keen to point out that our trade non-EU is growing faster and that might well be true, but whatever the numbers are (and there's no use bickering over it) we need the EU market. It is not something we can casually abandon.

Since we would more than likely continue with Erasmus and Horizon 2020 and we will continue to support Frontex and international policing efforts, we would see little disruption in those respects. In fact, in the short to medium term, Brexit accomplishes very little.

Of course this will not sit well with my dwindling eurosceptic audience who are busy tweeting away, promising the world on a stick. That's more their problem than mine. Smarter eurosceptics will see the value in making this case. The Yes campaign will seek to create a wave of panic, making all kinds of drastic prognostications which are wholly risible. By conceding Brexit makes little or no difference, we have the initiative in looking like the rational ones.

Presently the bottom feeders in the kipper fraternity are not only promising the world on a stuck but also raising the spectre of being overtaken by Islam and swamped with foreigners. It's a crashing bore, it's wrong and it's not helpful. Everything depends on creating a vibe that exudes quiet competence and rationality. From there, we can say that most of the benefits business and individuals enjoy remain uninterrupted and business need not panic.

That then leaves us with that "why bother?" question again. The clue is as we noted earlier. There is no real evidence to suggest that the outcome of the global law factory would look any different or that any government we elect would use a veto even when they have one.What Brexit represents more than anything is a gesture. A statement of intent. One that says while we are partners with the EU we are not tied to it's destiny and may seek a different path.

It's true that mighty though our economy is, it doesn't compete with the collective might on the world stage and we may wish to combine our efforts with the EU to get the best for us, but were we to make sufficient domestic democratic reforms, there is the possibility that we could have a government that would use the international veto. This is why we advocate direct democracy. Why should agreements of TTIP magnitude not be put to a referendum? We can't do that now as members of the EU, so the EU is in fact an obstacle to democracy.

The essence of democracy is when people can use their collective might to say no to their government. It should be noted that the EU is in fact our government presently and being that we are structurally outnumbered and outvoted in every sense, we cannot collectively wield our power, thus by definition it is not a democracy.

In the longer term we might reap the benefits of international trade and remodelling our trading techniques to a system more befitting the modern world, but for now nether the corporate CEO nor the man in the street would be able to tell the difference should we actually leave the EU.

Thus, as we have already outlined, the task of the No campaign is to promote what we could have outside the EU and demonstrate why the EU stops us having it. As someone who would rather g and live and work in New York than Paris, I'd quite like to push for open borders with the USA. I don't see the US being in any particular rush to have those talks with the EU. I can't say of the UK would have any greater luck, but we can press for that if we choose to.

Of course we must be careful not to oversell the possibilities in that political reality often crushes the grandest of visions, and whatever we present must stand up to scrutiny, but the key is having a vision that appeals more than Mr Cameron's status quo.

More than anything Brexit must be a confident assertion that that EU subjugation is insufficient and that we have a future in our own right that is not tied to the needs of the eurozone. We must promote that single truth that we are with Europe but not absorbed by it. It is our proclamation to the world that just breaking down barriers with Europe is yesterday's idea and we want to smash down more. The EU will erect fences, while we will tear them down.

We've seen what the grand EU idea was. It didn't work and it never will and we reject their isolationism and protectionism just as much as we would Ukip's similar outlook. One is just the extension of the other. We're not saying "tomorrow the world belongs to us" nor are we talking about putting on the red coats and marching across the globe once more. We are talking about taking our rightful place at the top table as part of the global community, building a global single market where every voice is heard.

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