Monday, 18 September 2017

Another Brexit timewaster

I am told I would be more effective if I limited my criticisms to the arguments and not the people. There is a certain cowardice in that position because people and their behaviour are very much at the centre of the problem. If it isn't the twisted mental contortions of Andrew Lilico or the outright lies of Boris Johnson and the Brexit Taliban, then it's ambitious social climbers whose opinions turn on a dime.

Then there are the wafflers and timewasters. A prime example of such being Henry Newman of Open Europe, unsurprisingly airing his ignorance on Conservative Home. Typically he sets up the EEA as the straw man...
What we do know is that the Government has ruled out the exact same relationship as Norway or Switzerland: the Lancaster House Speech made clear that we would leave the Single Market. And that hasn’t changed. The Treasury, however, seems to favour a position that leaves us just outside of the Single Market – the so-called “EEA minus” position. Their proposal would entail locking the UK in a regulatory ERM. We would technically be outside the EU and its Single Market, without a seat around the table or ability directly to shape regulations, but bound to implement all the EU’s rules and regulations anyway, other than if we made special pleading in a few exceptional cases.
Readers of this blog or any other with a command of the basics knows these mischaracterisations of the EEA option to be deliberate. These zombie arguments don't seem to die - but that goes with the territory. And then something else that goes with the territory is this... 
The Treasury is inexorably pushing Whitehall towards a Brexit that would limit our chances of ever seizing new opportunities outside the EU. It’s almost as if their aim is to prove Jean-Claude Juncker right – to show that Britain would have a worse deal outside the EU than we do inside. But there is an alternative: placing Britain further towards the centre of the spectrum between Norway/Switzerland and Canada. This would ensure the UK’s right to regulate our markets, and still leave the possibility of opting to adopt some of Europe’s regulations. Ministers need to be candid about the costs of such an approach, but also open to its potential benefits.
And this is where I lose all patience. Time and again these morons pluck things out of the air with no idea what they mean or any idea how to implement them. We've heard all of this before. EEA lite or WTO plus or Pick'n'Mix as though EU relations were a counter at Woolworth's.

For the uninitiated (not that you have any excuses by now) when Brexiters refer to a Canada style deal they mean an FTA in goods with a few added extras. The proposal here above being something that borrows from all the options on the table - which would effectively a bespoke mish-mash of bilaterals encompassing everything from goods to Euratom and Open Skies. As much as Newman has no idea what that even looks like, a destination without a roadmap is entirely worthless.

But in all likelihood the purpose of Newman's article is not to offer a vision on the way forward - rather these are weasel words to position himself between camps in the run up to the Conservative conference. It all sounds very reasonable to the non-thinking fraternity and is calculated for that very end - thus Conservative Home is once again engaged in manipulating its audience.

Sadly we are going to have to put up with a lot of this before, during and after the conference. The temptation is to expend energy debunking it but this is a fever that will have to burn out of its own accord. It is not deserving of serious attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment