Saturday 25 June 2016

Well, maybe it's not so bad.

Look, the vote was for Brexit, so now we have to make the best of it. Let's stop the doom and gloom. Here's what we should do.

Join EFTA, the European Free Trade Association. Currently, that consists of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein. This gives us access to the EU markets, as well as those four countries.

We'll need to agree to the free movement of labour with the EU, but rather than giving up control of our borders, we would retain control of our borders, subject only to that free movement of labour, and to the rules that allow family members from outside the EU to immigrate (those rules aren't EU rules, our sovereign parliament freely decided on that).

We'll also have to agree to adopt pretty much all EU legislation, but whereas in the past, this was compelled on us by Brussels, in the future, this will be legislated by our own sovereign parliament, of our own free will.

We'll no longer have to contribute the £350 million per week to the EU (although Farage now says that number was a "mistake"), but as part of EFTA we will have to contribute to the EEA grants, which is unlikely to be more than that £350 million.

We will *not* have to join the Euro or the European Defence Agency, but we should probably stay part of NATO. We might have to join the Schengen area (the other EFTA countries are all in) but that's optional.

When Scotland votes to leave the UK and join the EU, we'll be freed from the Scotland subsidy. Scotland's share of UK income is 9.4% while they get 9.2% of expenditure. OK, it means we get a net loss by losing Scotland, but if that's what they want, that's what they should have.

And if Northern Ireland decides to break away from the UK and join the EU, all I can say is - if it's what they want, then good luck to them, dealing with any Troubles will be your own problem, and cheerio.

If we want to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, that's a separate issue; leaving the EU doesn't get us out of that. We can leave the ECHR and avoid all its pettifogging regulations about human slavery and torture, but there would probably be some resistance in the UK electorate on that.

So we can, if we negotiate carefully, wind up with all the benefits of EU membership, but without having the expense of sending 73 MEPs to the EU parliament to vote on their silly laws, rules and regulations.

So let's stop moaning and being gloomy; if we manage this right, we can have all the benefits of EU membership, lose Scotland, get our country back and all at a cost that's not much more than what being in the EU used to cost us.


  1. I believe that Nigel Farage said that promising to spend the £350 million per week we contribute to the EU on the NHS instead was a mistake (and it was not his promise or mistake, but that of the Leave campaign from which he was excluded). It may be that the number was also inaccurate or didn't take account of the money we get back from the EU, but that was not the mistake he was talking about.