Britain’s road to insanity

Jon Danzig |

linked in britain road insanity

David Davis only last March said we’d never pay anything like a £50 billion settlement to leave the EU. Boris Johnson said the EU could go and whistle for the money. Priti Patel said the EU should be told to sod off.

During the referendum campaign nobody was told anything about the cost of leaving the EU. We were only lied to about all the money we’d reclaim – including the nonsense that the NHS would get an extra £350m a week.

And yet here we are. We’re going to pay a large amount to leave the EU because those are our obligations. We can’t wriggle out of the payments we signed up to whilst a member.

The EU stood firm, whilst Mrs May and her hapless team of Brexit ministers huffed and puffed and let months go by living in denial.

The reality of Brexit is now sinking in fast.

And here’s the oddest thing. The UK government is negotiating to leave the EU, just so they can negotiate another arrangement with the EU to give us as much as possible of what we’ve already got, but on considerably inferior terms.

Does it make any sense?

No. It doesn’t. The EU is the world’s largest free trade area. As a member, we receive huge benefits worth enormously more than the net annual membership fee of £7.1 billion a year.

As a member, we enjoy free, frictionless trade with our biggest trading partner by far, right on our doorstep, where almost 50% of our exports go to and over 50% of our imports come from. Nowhere else in the world comes close to that.

The UK government is desperate to continue to enjoy similar membership benefits of frictionless trade with the EU after we have ended our membership, because they know that our economy’s survival depends on it.

But the UK government has said it wants to continue to enjoy membership benefits as an ex-member, without being part of the EU Single Market or customs union, without agreeing to the rules of the EU and its market, without being subject to the European Court of Justice to oversee those rules, and without paying anything to the EU for access.

It’s not going to happen. Mrs May knows this.

Before the referendum she said clearly and loudly, “It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy.”

Yet that’s exactly what Mrs May now wants. She says she aims to achieve a new trade agreement with the EU that’s unique to us, that no other country in the world has ever achieved.

Of course, it’s not going to happen. In two words, it will be the EU telling us to ‘sod off’.

What’s the point of a club if you are going to allow non-members to enjoy the same or better benefits as members? What club allows that?

So here’s the bottom line. Britain needs frictionless trade with the EU. We need free movement of goods, services, capital and people for our country not just to survive, but to thrive. We need to continue with the status quo: the arrangement we have now.

Has this sunk in yet?

We’re leaving all the benefits of the EU, only to desperately try and get back as many of those benefits as we can after we’ve left.

We’re going to pay around £50 billion – money that will come from us, you and me – to try and achieve what we’ve got, but less of it, and on considerably inferior terms.

This is complete and utter madness. It will be much better to just keep the current arrangement. It will be cheaper, and we will all be better off.

As an EU member:

  • we have a say and a vote in the running, rules and future direction of our continent;
  • we have full and free access to the world’s largest free marketplace;
  • we enjoy the right to live, work, study or retire across a huge expanse of our continent;
  • we enjoy state healthcare and education when living and working in any other EU country;
  • we enjoy free or low-cost health care when visiting any EU nation;
  • we are protected by continent-wide rights that protect us at work, when shopping and travelling;
  • we benefit from laws that protect our environment (and have, for example, directly resulted in Britain’s beaches being cleaned up);
  • we enjoy excellent EU trade agreements with almost 60 countries, with more on the way, on advantageous terms that Britain is unlikely ever to replicate.

So, we’re going to pay £50 billion to throw that all away, just so we can get an inferior arrangement with the EU, in which we’d still have to agree to the rules of EU trade (over which we’d have no say) and we’d have less access to our most vital customers and suppliers outside of our home market.

And what are we gaining? Surely something?

No. All the reasons given to leave in last year’s referendum were based on lies and false promises. There are no good reasons to leave.

More sovereignty? Nonsense. We’ll get less. In the EU, we gain a share of sovereignty of our continent. Outside the EU, we’ll still live on a planet and have to obey thousands of international laws and treaties. We share sovereignty with NATO, for example. Is that a reason to leave it?

Fewer migrants? Really? Just think about it.

Most EU migrants in Britain are in gainful employment, doing jobs that we simply don’t have enough Britons to do. So if they all left, we’d have to replace them with about the same numbers of migrants as we have now to get all those jobs done. What’s the bloody point of that?

More houses, schools and hospitals? Think again. Without EU migrants we’ll have fewer builders, teachers, doctors and nurses. Migrants are not the cause of our problems. Blaming them just excuses successive UK governments from investing sufficiently in our country.

Get our country back? We never lost it. If being in the EU means losing your country, why aren’t the 27 other EU member states complaining?

Our own laws? The vast majority of laws in the UK are our laws and passed by our Parliament in Westminster.

But in the EU, we benefit from laws for our continent that no single country alone could ever achieve. Could our UK government have got mobile phone companies to scrap mobile roaming charges across the entire EU? Of course not. It took the might of 28 EU countries working together to achieve that, and so much more.

The EU is run by faceless bureaucrats? Another lie. The EU is run and ruled by its members, the 28 countries of the EU, along with its democratically elected European Parliament. The European Commission is the servant of the EU, not its master, and the European Parliament has the power to choose, and dismiss, the entire Commission.

We are leaving for no good reason, not one. We are paying £50 billion to leave. We will be poorer, and with less sovereignty, fewer rights and protections, and restricted trade, and diminished power after we’ve left.

What’s the point? There’s no point. The country really has gone nuts.

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