Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Leave campaign is built on foundations of intellectual sand

Showing that the Leave campaign is no further toward any real understanding of the issues we have Nigel Farage ploughing headlong into the debate with yet more unrealisable nonsense about freedom of movement. In so doing leads the campaign up a blind alley. One that rules out any single market based exit plan. This is further compounded by an outburst of supreme ignorance from Lord Lawson.
I have been asked “what, then, is your alternative to being in the European Union?” A more foolish question is hard to imagine. The alternative to being in the European Union is not being in the European Union. Most of the world is not in the European Union – and most of the world is doing better than the European Union.

So far as the detail is concerned, we would repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which establishes the primacy of EU law over our own UK law. The morass of EU regulation, much of which is costly, unnecessary and undesirable, would become UK regulation, which we would then be free to accept, repeal or amend as our national interest requires. And we would continue to trade with the EU, as the rest of the world does today, almost certainly assisted by a bilateral free trade agreement, which they need far more than we do.

Above all, we would become once again a self-governing democracy, with a genuinely global rather than a little European perspective. We would prosper, we would be free, and we would stand tall. That is what this referendum is all about.
In this we get an insight into Lord Lawson's psychology. The fullest extent of his vision is simply not being in the EU. And never mind those details like a negotiated settlement via Article 50. No, in his mind we can just repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and let the chips fall where they may.

This immediately puts us in dangerous and hostile territory in that we'd be unilaterally breaking with a treaty obligation. What does Lawson suppose that does to our credit rating? And what about all the mutual recognition of standards and agreements on non-tariff barriers? And what about tariffs for that matter? All this, for reasons known only to Lawson, is simply swept away by a "bilateral free trade agreement".

Of course, if we are leaving the EU by feeding the the Lisbon Treaty into the shredder, then there is no legal obligation for the EU to enter any such discussions. By repealing the ECA, almost immediately, the EU erects tariff barriers, not out of spite, but because it has a common external tariff. That's just the legal default.

The EU has a common external tariff it must apply to all non-EEA members. If we match it in reciprocation, under non-discrimination rules, we have to impose tariffs on all our other trading partners. That creates havoc, so we end up not imposing tariffs on the EU while they impose tariffs on us.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of further technical issues this approach inevitably leads to. Put simply, it is not a credible case. It is not even approaching credible.

And then we have Lucy Thomas of Stronger In rounding on Iain Martin and Ryan Bourne, both of the London Toryboy set and never too far away from the IEA SW1 bubble.

As disagreeable though the lady may be, she is absolutely right in that neither of them can produce any guarantees of what Brexit looks like or on what basis we will accomplish a workable trade agreement. Naturally, Will Straw of Stronger In is having a field day with this. As indeed I would were I in his position.

From all of the Eurosceptic aristocracy we see nothing but supposition and empty assertion - and when confronted with the reality of their threadbare case, they go into hiding. In this, Stronger In are actually missing a trick in that dismantles their bogus WTO approach and does a better job of demolishing them than they do.

Here we see the entire edifice of euroscepticism exposed as wilfully ignorant and we see that the entire campaign is built on foundations of intellectual sand. They are gambling that the opposition wouldn't notice. Well, they have.

The Leave campaign proposes the most dangerous, risky and impractical Brexit route possible - they are barely even aware of the consequences of it, and expect the public will not get wind of it. And why is this? Any other route would mean accepting freedom of movement. And that wouldn't do would it?

A safe, measured, staged withdrawal that could be sold to the public has been jettisoned in order to pander to the Ukip base. This has now become a referendum of freedom of movement. The proposition put to the voters by the Leave campaign is now one of economic suicide - but hey, at least we'll keep the foreigners out?

Were I David Cameron, I wouldn't be in any hurry to delay there referendum. While he has secured no reforms of substance, even the status quo has more to offer than a Leave campaign that doesn't know what it wants or why, or even how to get it. Their case for leaving just doesn't stand up and it isn't going to make it as far as polling day intact. It's almost like a Brexit plan was a good idea. Whoddathunkit?

Anyways, suck it up people. We're going to lose the referendum - and we totally deserve it. Happy now?

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