Monday, 16 November 2015

The point that Campbell Bannerman misses

It's all very simple you know. EU regulations are not made by the EU. In most respects production standards and safety regulations are made by ISO, UNECE, ILO, IMO and the likes. If you want to export to the EU, you have to comply - but since half the developing world and the vast majority of the developed world adopts the same rules then you STILL have to comply if you want to export.

The reason we don't have to build to the standards of China to export to them is because the global standards are recognised as the best ones, which is why China allows imports of our goods. There is no point in deviating from them.

And though only eight per cent of the UK economy export to the EU we have no idea what all those products are and whether they contain component products made in Britain but not exported. They would still have to conform to standards.

So if you are saying through Brexit we could somehow deregulate or lower the standards, producers would either continue producing to the highest globally agreed standard - thus also meeting current EU standard OR be put in the position of running two separate production lines.

And then if there are global companies who operate to the global standard but are then told to operate in Britain they must learn a whole new set of regulations, they will rightly conclude that operating in the UK is a bureaucratic mess and that we can't make our own minds up.

Then multinationals who like standard practices and methods throughout their entire estate for efficiency will not be pleased. And then to find that their suppliers have gone off half cocked and operate to a different standard will just be another good reason to quit Britain. I would.

Even businesses without overseas links may still have to adopt "export standards" if they are higher than their domestic equivalents, as the higher standards can convey the impression that the imported goods are of better quality or improved performance, making them more desirable. Supermarkets and other multinationals, on the other hand, will often want to avoid stocking produce conforming to different standards, and may opt for the higher set. Where "due diligence" certification is necessary for insurance and product liability purposes, again the higher "export standards" will often be applied.

More to the point, the damage done by regulation is largely in the transition phase. The costs of meeting EU standards is what killed a lot of small businesses in the early 90's - but changing them back would be just as expensive and just as much hassle. Having to study and train to a new set of standards and re-equipping isn't going to be cheap. Our local colleges and universities would have to rewrite their syllabuses too.

Campbell Bannerman is basically fighting old battles. Regulation and red tape is the narrative of the 90's and like all classic eurosceptics he hasn't modernised his arguments or his rhetoric and all of them are still stuck in a timewarp. He's from the same stock who are still grunting about imperial weights and measures.

The fact is, regulation is expensive to comply with, but the costs of NOT having an agreed set of standards just makes life MORE bureaucratic and more uncertain. The regulation we have is here to stay and you're not going to have an easy time of it after Brexit convincing domestic companies that after all the pain they went through the first time around that they have to do it all again.

In truth, there is a great deal of value in a global pooling of effort to develop good worldwide standards and why bother having our own ministries and quangos dreaming up regulation in a total duplication of effort? Since the leading global experts on regulation tend to be the same as our domestic ones, they would probably arrive at similar conclusions.

The modern argument about regulation is our influence in the making of it and our right of reservation, opt out and veto. We have seen a progressive takeover in this regard, with the EU muscling in and taking our seat and co-opting our vote which means we get less of a say in how they are made and have a tougher time initiating updates and amendments. The modern way to deregulate is to improve regulation and standardise it. Bannerman wants to do the precise opposite. He's missing the point of Brexit entirely.

And why is this? Put simply, the man is a blethering cretin with minuscule knowledge compounded by a galactic ego and a sense of superiority. The perfect hybrid of a kipper moron and a Tory snob.

Underlying this gaping stupidity is his claim this saves nearly £1000 per household. This is fag packet maths of a completely incalculable sum and strategically, it's a numbnuts argument that doesn't win favour with anyone except for the grunters who are just itching to leave anyway.

Furthermore, the promotion of his crass meme is on the basis that we are looking to leave the single market - which opens up so many uncertainties that if the likes of Bannerman and Ruth Lea's assumptions were the basis on which we would be leaving, even I as a committed activist would have to think twice about wanting to leave. Yes, that is just how seriously I regard the stupidity of his waffle. There is no sensible argument for leaving the single market even if we wanted to. Bannerman has zero comprehension of just how difficult that would be.

As it happens, europhile academics as well as a great many eurosceptics who actually HAVE thought this through are more or less agreed that the Norway Option is the most likely and the most risk free strategy should we secure a Leave vote. Ultimately, reassurance has to be central to the campaign and it has to be convincing, otherwise we lose the intellectual argument among opinion formers.

What we definitely don't need is the fly-by-night casual Faragesque fag packet calculations and assumptions promoted by Bannerman and Lea. A man of his influence writing such drivel in the Telegraph makes him more malevolent than the Remain campaign.

Those Leavers now criticising me for pointing this out need to think seriously hard if they actually want to win this or not. If they do, then the likes of Bannerman need to be isolated and run out of town. These dinosaurs with their ancient arguments are the reason we lost the last referendum and I am not going to sit idly by and allow them to lose this one as well.

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