Monday, 14 December 2015

Vote Leave is playing a very dangerous game

Vote Leave have been warned about making noises about immigration. It doesn't make a great deal of sense. Freedom of movement is not the problem with the British immigration system. It is multifaceted and complex. Ending freedom of movement does very little to solve these multifarious issues and hurts business. Moreover, demanding an end to freedom of movement puts us in a very weak position when arguing for Brexit as that also entails leaving the single market.

The EU has made it abundantly clear that if we want to stay in the Single Market, acceptance of the principle freedom of movement is non-negotiable. We can abolish freedom of movement or we can stay in the single market. We can't do both.

In order to leave the EU and secure the medium and long-term gains that accrue from so doing, we must accept a short-term compromise over freedom of movement. If we don't we are arguing for a Brexit that is uncharted waters and wholly uncertain negotiating territory. This is an unwinnable line of attack in a referendum. There are too many unanswered questions that have only speculative answers. 

On the other hand, we have a safe, secure means of leaving the EU in the Norway Option, but Dominic Cummings of Vote Leave believes that the riskier option is preferable so that we get a better deal. This is foolish. 

Brexit presents an existential threat to the EU. If it concedes an exit deal to the UK that is better than it could achieve within the EU, other Member States might be tempted to leave. A "better deal for Britain" could collapse the entire EU. For that reason, it will never be offered.

Thus, rather than hold out for unachievable perfection, an off the shelf exit is preferable to the risk of losing the referendum and staying trapped in the EU. We make whatever compromises are needed to get out quickly and resolve outstanding issues must be resolved once we have left.

The short of it is, Dominic Cummings is playing a very risky and reckless game, advancing arguments that simply don't stand to scrutiny. Moreover, Twitter knows it. Hereabove, Jonathan Portes gets thirty retweets for his observation that Vote Leave's tweet is built on a foundation of intellectual sand. In Twitter terms, that is a serious vote of confidence in a tweet. His view is clearly not an outspoken view. Such foolishness does not go unnoticed.

At this point we must ask if this is outrageous stupidity or deliberate, vindictive and wilful sabotage of the winning options. Knowing what we know about Dominic Cummings, the latter is looking more plausible. This man is a loser. He needs to go or we are staying in the EU. 

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