What Brexit would look like for Britain

Life outside the EU could be very good for us

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

‘So what’s your alternative?’ demand Euro-enthusiasts. ‘D’you want Britain to be like Norway? Or like Switzerland? Making cuckoo clocks? Is that what you want? Is it? Eh?’

The alternative to remaining in a structurally unsafe building is, of course, walking out; but I accept that this won’t quite do as an answer. Although staying in the EU is a greater risk than leaving — the migration and euro crises are deepening, and Britain is being dragged into them — change-aversion is deep in our genome, and we vote accordingly. Europhiles know that most referendums go the way of the status quo, which is why their campaign is based around conjuring inchoate fears of change.

What is the alternative? Well, all the options involve remaining part of the European free-trade zone that stretches from non-EU Iceland to non-EU Turkey. No one in Brussels argues that Britain would leave that common market if it left the EU. Nor, in fairness, do Remainers. Instead, they talk about jobs being ‘dependent on our trade with the EU’, hoping that at least some voters will hear that line as ‘dependent on our membership of the EU’.

So when every non-EU territory from the Isle of Man to Montenegro has access to the European free trade area, which model should we follow? The nations arguably most comparable to Britain, being neither microstates nor ex-communist countries, are Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. All three prefer their current deal to ours: 60 per cent of Icelanders, 79 per cent of Norwegians and 82 per cent of Swiss oppose EU membership. Who can blame them? Norway and Switzerland are the wealthiest and second-wealthiest nations on Earth.

Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA); Switzerland is in EFTA. The EEA was established in 1992 as a waiting room for the EU. It contains what was originally envisaged as a transitional mechanism for the adoption of EU legislation — the ‘fax democracy’ which Europhiles like to bang on about.

Never mind the archaic metaphor: Little Europeans are nostalgists at heart. The charge is that Norway has no vote in some EU regulations that it later enforces. But this is more a problem in theory than in practice. According to the EFTA Secretariat, the EU generated 52,183 legal instruments between 2000 and 2013, of which Norway adopted 4,724 — 9 per cent. A written answer to a parliamentary question in Iceland found a similar proportion: 6,326 out of 62,809 EU legal acts between 1994 and 2014. Yet rather than use the official statistics, Europhiles have seized on a remark by a Eurofanatical Norwegian minister to the effect that ‘three quarters of our laws’ come from Brussels, and have -solemnly translated that throwaway line into an official-sounding ‘75 per cent’.

In Switzerland, there is no ambiguity: the figure is zero per cent. The Swiss sometimes copy EU regulations for reasons of economy of scale, though more often both Switzerland and the EU are adopting global rules. But though Swiss exporters must meet EU standards when selling to the EU (just as they must meet Japanese standards when selling to Japan), they generally don’t apply those standards to their domestic economy. Britain, by contrast, must apply 100 per cent of EU regulations to 100 per cent of its economy.

Switzerland is not a full participant in the single market in services. This doesn’t mean, obviously, that UBS can’t operate in Frankfurt, but it does mean that Swiss financial institutions are not part of the same regulatory structure as those in the EU. If they want to trade there, they must adopt different rules. The flipside, of course, is that Zurich doesn’t need to worry about the expensive and sometimes downright malicious EU regulations that menace London: the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, the short-selling ban, the bonus cap, the Financial Transactions Tax.

Now here’s the clinching statistic. The EU takes 64 per cent of Swiss exports, as opposed to 45 per cent of British exports. Europhiles like to claim that ‘around’ half of our exports go to the EU, but that figure has fallen by 10 per cent since 2006. How much lower must it go before we drop the idea that we need to merge our political institutions?

To summarise, then, Norway gets a better deal than Britain currently does, and Switzerland a better deal than Norway. But a post-EU Britain, with 65 million people to Switzerland’s eight million and Norway’s five, should expect something better yet.

The deal on offer is based on free trade and intergovernmental co-operation. We’ll recover our parliamentary sovereignty and, with it, the ability to sign bilateral trade deals with non-EU countries, as Norway and Switzerland do — an increasingly important advantage when every continent in the world is growing except Antarctica and Europe. We’d obviously remain outside Schengen.

Would we have to pay a participation fee? According to Professor Herman Matthijs of the Free University of Brussels, who has produced the only like-with-like comparator, Iceland’s annual per capita contribution is €50, Switzerland’s €68 and Norway’s €107 — largely because Norway insists on opting into lots of EU aid and research projects. Iceland, though it has precisely the same treaty terms, chooses to participate in fewer common activities and so pays less. The United Kingdom’s -current per -capita annual payment, by the same methodology, is €229.

Why should the other member states allow Britain such a deal? Because it would be in everyone’s interest. The UK runs a structural deficit with the EU, only partly offset by its surplus with the rest of the world. On the day we left, we would immediately become the EU’s biggest export market. The idea that either side would wish to jeopardise the flow of cross-Channel trade is bizarre. And, in any case, it is remarkably difficult, under WTO rules, to apply a trade barrier where you previously didn’t have one.

Many European federalists actively campaign for Britain to be given an economics-only relationship — what Jacques Delors calls ‘privileged partnership’ and Guy Verhofstadt ‘associate membership’. It would allow them to push ahead with a European army, a common tax system and so on, while Britain led an outer tier of some 20 European states and territories, part of a common -market but not a common government.

‘Iceland is much better off outside the EU,’ says prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. ‘Unemployment is minimal, purchasing power has never been higher, and we have control over our own legal framework, currency and natural resources.’

Iceland has 300,000 people. Britain is the fifth largest economy in the world, the fourth military power, a leading member of the G7 and one of five permanent seat-holders on the UN Security Council. I think we might just about scrape by.


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Show comments
  • Rik

    But,but but,the inners keep telling us the lights will go out all over the UK,30 million jobs will be lost,we will be global pariahs,every kitten and puppy will die and a plague of boils will afflict us all if we leave.They wouldn’t exaggerate would they??……………………………..

    • Mary Ann

      No of course they wouldn’t exaggerate, but you would.

      • Ferris Dueler

        They were exaggerating when they seriously said 3.5million jobs would be lost. Not dependent on EU or at risk. Nick Clegg said they would be lost.

        They were exaggerating when they seriously said each house hold benefits £3000 EU membership. This stat has since been debunked.

        They wrongfully said not joining the Euro would hurt us. That talk of brexit would hurt us, that holding a referendum would hurt us. They said we’d lose market access, that a tariff wall would replace what we’ve got. Even John Major has admitted that last one is wrong.

        How many times to they need to be proven wrong before people see the positive arguments for leaving the EU?

      • polidorisghost

        Read Ngaire Lowndes dignified post and compare it to your simpering response to Rik.

        • Brian Jones

          Why? Is Ngaire lowndes some sort of Mystic Meg who can actually see the future?I’m voting out as I have faith in the British nation to rise above any problems when not constrained by Brussels and I want our sovereignty back.

          • polidorisghost

            Have I disagreed with you?

  • evad666

    To paraphrase Gloria Gaynor “We will Survive”.

    • janetjH

      evad, other great nations didn’t!

      For us – from the industrial powerhouse of the world to a third rate
      multi-culti slum in just over 100 years

      Wow! What an achievement – and our politicians want us to trust
      their judgement on the EU?

  • grimm

    The second paragraph to Hannan’s piece is the crucial one. It will take a huge effort from the Leave Europe campaigners to overcome the British Electorate’s fear of change. I don’t see anything like that effort being made. On the contrary, there seems to be a laid back assumption that the migrant crisis has won the argument for them.

    • Mary Ann

      Farage was probably right to make his snide remarks about foreigners, to win the argument.

  • carr30

    The UK is reckoned to be the 9th (not the 4th) military power http://uk.businessinsider.com/these-are-the-worlds-20-strongest-militaries-ranked-2015-9?r=US&IR=T . It’s struggling even to maintain that position.

    Maybe other statistics in this article need to be treated some scepticism.

    • MC73

      If you are treating articles with a pinch of salt, you might want to extend that to Business Insider.

    • Ferris Dueler

      We were recently 4th and in other articles Dan’ has corrected this.

      Once our new aircraft carriers are commissioned in 2020 sure we’ll climb back into top 5 military powers. Which is roughly how long brexit might take.

      • Mary Ann

        But will they have any aircraft to put on them.

        • Mike777

          Helicopters (which are aircraft) initially, which is the way we deploy troops and special forces into distant war zones. And in due course the US-built strike aircraft ordered by Gordon Brown and now long overdue.

  • sarahsmith232

    No point in trying to persuade using numbers, if you ask me. In what way is our nation being damaged by EU membership, that means our sense of self, not our economic self.
    We’ve got the worst of all possible worlds. Most confuse the morality of the Metropolitan ‘elite’ with Liberalism, not only are the 2 not the same, they’re usually the direct opposite. Same deal with the Euro ‘elites’, this political union is nothing more than a vehicle for these ‘elites’ to force their illiberal politics on an unwilling half billion people. We’re not benefitting economically, taxpayers are being fleeced to pay for the CBI’s members to get enjoy their single market privileges. While unelected ‘elite’ illiberals get to play at being the Messiah sent to save us all from our backwardness.
    Anyone that believes this is all so admirable is a small minded, led by the nose, little Metropolitaner.

  • stickywicket

    Excellent article Dan. As ever.

    But you gloss over the immigration question. Norway and Switzerland have signed up to free movement of people as a price for free market access. Yes, Switzerland is trying to change that, but it isn’t yet clear whether the UK would gain proper control of its borders upon exit.

    What’s your view on that?

    • Holmeboy

      Totally agree, that really is the crux of the matter.

    • Mary Ann

      The price of veg would go up, unless of course we import cheap labour from outside the EU.

      • stickywicket

        The price of veg would come down if we offered developing countries the opportunity of free-trade deals with us, with tariff free access for their food.

    • liberalunionist

      Articles 112-3 of the EEA agreement allows EFTA members to unilaterally take measures to control immigration from the EU “if serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties of a sectorial or regional nature liable to persist are arising”. Liechtenstein first triggered the clause in 1998, and has continued to restrict immigration since then with the deliberate aim of limiting the share of foreigners in the population.

    • CheshireRed

      Is there freedom of movement between the USA and EU? China and EU? India? No? So how come we’d be expected to stick with freedom of movement if we became independent? It doesn’t make sense as a pre-condition.

      • stickywicket

        I fully agree, but nevertheless all countries that have tariff free access to the single market have acquiesced to free movement so far. But, of course, Schengen may collapse between now and Brexit, thus strengthening our hand.

  • Holmeboy

    The million dollar question is whether leaving the EU can have an impact on immigration. Personally, I am undecided on this referendum, the thought of the likes of Merkel controlling our immigration policy is what worries me, however, a lot of commentators say that even if we leave the EU we won’t escape that hazard, and if that is the case then what is the point?

    • Mary Ann

      You must remember that Cameron has refused to take any of these refugees that have arrived in Europe under their own steam, as for migration from EU citizens, there are about the same number of Britons living in the rest of Europe as there are people from other EU countries living in Britain. I have talked to British pensioners living in Europe and I have yet to meet anyone who expects to be able to stay in Europe if Britain leaves, most pensioners will not be able to afford private health care and frozen state pensions. i.e. as it was before we joined Europe.

      • WFC

        Pensioners have been retiring to Spain, and elsewhere, since the 1960s – long before we (or Spain) – joined the common market.

        • Mary Ann

          All the pensioners I know have retired within the last ten years, and those I have discussed the matter with have all said they will have to go back. The EU opened up retiring to their place in the sun to ordinary people on modest pensions. Once again Europe will only be a playground for the rich.

          • WFC

            Ordinary pensioners have been retiring to Spain, and elsewhere, since the 1960s – long before we (or Spain) joined the common market.

          • Ferris Dueler

            How many pensioners are we talking about? Because it seems to me that shackling ourselves to the corpse that is the Eurozone will make all 60 million of us suffer. Against how many pensioners? And we’re not even 100% sure what will happen after Brexit. Worst case they’ll have to fill in some paperwork for residency?

          • Mary Ann

            60 million people are not suffering because we are in the EU, 60 million people are benefiting from us being in the EU especially those with the get up and go to do something to improve their lives, freedom of movement works both ways and if you’re not scared of foreigners it’s brilliant.

          • Ferris Dueler

            The only benefit is the single market. We can retain single market access on the outside. If people have to fill in a little paperwork for visa access so be it. We’ll still accept migrants, asylum seekers and refugees as we always have done. But I don’t think anyone can argue an Austrialian points system wouldn’t be better than an open door.

            But I’m glad you mentioned people with the ‘get up and go do something’ attitude. The ‘do’ers’ in society are usually the best entrepreneurs even just tradesmen and women who have the guts to leave their large employer to start up on their own.

            These are the people who generally have what it takes to start up a business. But in the EU corporate lobbyist in Brussels demand more regulation. Because they know that it creates barriers to entry for new businesses. lower competition means a worse environment for consumers. So we all suffer.

            People living in the Eurozone are suffering because one interest rate to control everyone’s spending doesn’t work. That’s why Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have such huge debt problems. huge unemployment. In turn demand for UK goods in these contries has fallen as austerity bites. So we suffer the consequences of the Euro and more bailouts might be needed in the future. Even France looks a little shaky.

            Since 2008 every part of the world has started economic recovery except the Eurozone. Our fate is tied to theirs so we suffer too.

            Also not everyone who wants brexit is scared of foreigners or migrant workers. My reasons for brexit relate to democracy and economy.

          • goodsoldier

            She doesn’t really believe we are scared of foreigners: it is her shtick that has been drummed into her by government institutions like the BBC and the educations system. It’s an easy way to feel superior to imagine Brits have only an inchoate sense of basic social morality which must be remedied finally by the EU.

          • mohdanga

            Having your country overrun with non-English speaking, 3rd world Muslims who don’t assimilate is not being “scared of foreigners”, it’s common sense. Please use some logic.

        • janetjH

          Not only to Spain, but to France, Greece and Italy.

          • Brian Jones

            But are these countries going to evict people who are self supporting and actually contributing to the economy as most expat pensioners are? How many EU pensioners are there residing in the UK.

      • goodsoldier

        You never learn, which means you are a troll. You spout lies all the time to promote the EU. All you can do is lie because if you told the truth about the EU, everybody would want to leave asap.

      • SunnyD

        “there are about the same number of Britons living in the rest of Europe as there are people from other EU countries living in Britain.” You haven’t provided any links to back up your claim, but even if we take it as gospel, you surely see the flaw in that ‘argument’? I’ll give you a clue (in the form of a question): What is the comparative land mass (in square miles) of Britain and “the rest of Europe”?

        • Brian Jones

          I’ll give you another clue. How many expat British pensioners are self sufficient and contributing to the economies of the host country.

    • Ferris Dueler

      immigration might be the issue that gets people up-in-arms. But it’s only a small benefit of leaving.

      If we leave we can:-
      Escape an undemocratic, centralized power – they tend to fail.
      avoid further bailouts as problems with the single currency persist.
      burn regulations that strangle enterprise and competition (yes we’ll follow EU regs’ when exporting to EU who doesn’t?)
      Grow our global trade.

      At the end of the day EU isn’t going to become the superpower they dreamed it would back in the 60’s. We don’t need the EU to stop Germany invading France. And we definitely don’t need a regional protectionist customs union in a globalized world.

  • Mary Ann

    Be nice to see the speccy being more balanced and doing some features which put the case for staying, but I suppose balance is too much to hope for.

    • Ferris Dueler

      The problem with that is it’s mainly scaremongering and not a positive case for staying.


      • Mary Ann

        And the main case for leaving seems to be a mix of misinformation and xenophobia

        • mohdanga

          Again, wanting to protect your borders and have the self determination as to who enters YOUR country is not xenophobia.

    • goodsoldier

      The BBC has had all the time in the world and our money for years now and they can never come up with anything good about the EU except that you can travel without passport controls, border obstructions, that climate change will be solved, that homophobia will go away, and the rest of the bullshit. They cannot admit that the EU is just another device to sneak in socialism across Europe, socialism for us, and capitalism for the wealthy, the Establisment and the corporations. We will pay taxes until we have not a cent left to leave our children, and if we do, it will be confiscated out of fairness and equality laws.

      How do you feel about the way the EU is allowing women to treated by many migrants? As usual, women are negligible next to le projet. EU. Merkel will get the job done even if it means women and homosexuas will pay dearly for her socialist dream. She hasn’t changed since her GDR days.

      • TheJustCity

        From being an East German communist apparatchik, Merkel is now set on turning all of Europe into East Europe. Middle-East Europe.

  • 6Story5

    The Inners do not want us to recuperate parliamentary sovereignty. Heath appointed Geoffrey Howe as Solicitor General. How had written in Crossbow in 1964 that the new EEC legal system would be directly binding on citizens of member states. This was an erroneous judgement. from a supranationalist perspective, the Rome Treaty founding the EEC was a poor sister; their hopes were pinned on Euratom, a much more ambitious project for a common nuclear policy. De Gaulle shot that down.The proponents of an EU though did not abandon hope. In 1963 and 1964, judicial activism by the European Court of Justice claimed the supremacy of EEC law over the laws of member states. This principle had never been explicitly stated in the Rome treaty(had it been, the EEC would never have come into existence). The ECJ subsequently expanded the principle as applicable to virtually all possible forms of EU legislation.

    Howe and the Ins of the time assumed that this was the spirit of EEC law. This was definitely the case for the supranationalists. But none of the member states, most notably de Gaulle’s France, subscribed to this theory, other than verbally. Indeed, de Gaulle was so outspoken against EEC pretensions, that it cost the other states nothing to sing from an integrationist hymn sheet. Howe, who knew next to nothing about Europe, took the chanting for real.

    Four decades on, the ECJ has no treaty powers whatsoever to underpin its claim to be the EU’s supreme Court. Giscard d’Estaing( his father bought the prefix in 1922 as part of the family strategy to elevate itself from peasantry to aristocracy) inserted a clause in his Constitutional Treaty giving the ECJ powers of supremacy. But that was dished in the French, Dutch and Irish referenda voting against. The relevant wording is moved to an annex in the Lisbon Treaty. This is what the legal opinion of 2007 says:“It results from the case-law of the Court of Justice that primacy of EU law is a cornerstone principle of Union law. According to the Court, this principle is inherent to the specific nature of the European Community. At the time of the first judgment of this established case law (Costa/ENEL,15 July 1964, Case 6/641 there was no mention of primacy in the treaty. It is still the case today. The fact that the principle of primacy will not be included in the future treaty shall not in any way change the existence of the principle and the existing case-law of the Court of Justice.” In other words, ECJ and its activism is not treaty based. At best, it is convience that the member states are ready to accept, some of the time. In the case of Germany, the Constitutional Court has stated quite clearly that the EU is no more than an alliance of states. The French constitution opens with the clear statement that France is “une et indivisible”.

    The official UK position is thus more supranationalist than the Pope. The 1972 Act of Accession states categorically in Section 2.1. that EU law overrides national law. The Act thereby makes parliament bind itself to becoming in effect not even a rubber stamp for law made elsewhere. The UK’s accession to the EEC was a putsch against parliament, in other words a betrayal of our inherited rights to govern ourselves.

    Whether the Inners or Outers win, what matters most is the recuperation of parliamentary sovereignty. All else is chaff in the wind. wee my blog: https://storybookreview.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/the-uks-supranationalism-is-at-the-root-of-its-eu-difficulties/

    • Denis_Cooper

      Yes, it is merely an assertion by eurofederalist lawyers on the ECJ. However it is an assertion which is accepted by the UK government and by most of the UK Parliament.

      • 6Story5

        It is accepted by the UK government because parliament so decreed in 1972. I would have thought there are plenty of MPs who do not agree to this supranationalist doctrine, that sidelines the parliament in which they sit.

        • Denis_Cooper

          You’d think so, but on two occasions in recent years when MPs have been invited to vote in favour of the sovereignty of their own Parliament only small numbers have been prepared to defy their party whips and do so. The last time was in January 2011 during the passage of the European Union:


          The effect of the proposed amendment would have been to insert these words:

          ‘(1) The sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament in relation to EU law is hereby reaffirmed.’,

          but that explicit reaffirmation of the sovereignty of our Parliament was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs, Division No 161 here:


          Ayes 39, Noes 314.

          • 6Story5

            I see that we have plenty in common.

        • goodsoldier

          Since everything is done for them ,why don’t they resign?

  • Mike777

    Among the many pieces of misinformation, fear, uncertainty and doubt on EURef being spread by the Remain camp is the claim that we’d lose all our influence if we left the EU.

    As if being outvoted more times than the rest put together could ever be deemed influence?!
    Or our inability to prevent Frau Merkel from doing her own thing regardless of the other 27 states?!
    Or by regaining our own seat at the WTO we’d not have greater influence?!
    Or being founder members of NATO, the 5th largest global economy, the 4th biggest military budget?!

    Yesterday we were “influenced” perhaps by Cameron announcing 300,000 more jobs added to our employment total, I wonder how many of those were to recent jarrivals from the EU and elsewhere?

    • CheshireRed

      Our current influence is 1 nation of 28 and 8% of the vote. A vote that is constantly rendered irrelevant by QMV.
      We discuss over an agreeable working lunch, get out-voted and are then obligated to apply the latest EU directive.
      So much for influence from within.
      Now compare to what could happen if we left.
      1 nation of 1 with 100% of influence of OUTCOME, of whether we adopt a law in full, part or not at all.
      No Jaw Jaw over posh sandwiches and we leave the EU to do their thing.
      That law is passed and the now independent UK takes a look at it. Do we want to ‘mirror’ that law or not?
      If we adopt it in full them by definition that action renders loss of influence moot, as we’ve chosen to adopt it in full.
      Where we REALLY gain is when we only partly adopt a law ie the bits we want, or reject a law its entirety.
      Result, we’d have total control over OUTCOME. (No wonder the EU / EC hate that idea so much) They’re deliberately not discussing that, instead muddying the waters over insignificant ‘influence’. Outcomes matter more than anything else, and currently the outcome is the UK always loses.
      I suspect you’ve guessed where my vote is going. LEAVE.

      • Mike777

        Spot on (from a Cheshire Blue) !!!

  • Mike777

    Surely the biggest fear in all of this is that being shown by our political class – fearful that they’d have to start managing things themselves instead of delegating it all lazily to Brussels. They’d have to earn their keep, they’d be accountable, and they’d have far fewer hiding places 🙂

  • Daniel Hannan and Vote Leave are continuing to take people for fools. Associate Membership is not some privileged position outside the EU. A two tier property is still a single building. Membership is membership. Britain would remain part of the EU second tier, remain bound by the ECJ, continue to receive and implement directives from Brussels.

    The only difference is that the full members will take decisions and further integrate to service their place as Euro currency users. Associate Membership only exists as a concept to enable this deeper integration while keeping non Eurozone countries under Brussels’ control. So what Hannan is doing is trying to position continued EU membership as something other than that. He’s being completely disingenuous.

    He is being a loyal director of Vote Leave (since 22 Dec 2015). That group has always wanted a reform deal, of the type they always demanded in their guise as Business for Britain. They never call for or endorse Brexit because they want to remain in a ‘reformed’ EU, and everything they do is geared to achieving that outcome. Even Dominic Cummings’ notion of a second referendum only exists to reverse a vote to leave after further EU talks and some more crumbs from the table.

    If you want genuine Brexit, Hannan and Vote Leave are not on your side.

    • Fully in line with Vote Leave’s Matthew Elliott view that he would be comfortable to remain a member of “a two tier Europe”.

      Tory ‘Judas Goat’ duplicity is on full display here.

    • liberalunionist

      I share a degree of concern about Vote Leave, but Hannan has been clear about what Britain needs out of this deal: autonomous trade, fiscal freedom, an end to the CAP and CFP, UK citizenship, and- probably most importantly- Parliamentary supremacy. So the time to criticise him is when he ends up advocating a deal that doesn’t secure Parliamentary supremacy, and not when he’s talking about the minimum Britain getting in the event of voting Leave being the Norway option.

      Leave has to establish Norway in the public mind before Cameron comes back with the ‘British model’, so that the public are absolutely clear there’s a better and more appropriate deal available. What Leave can’t do is lose sight of the short-term goal of winning the referendum in the interest of ideological purity.

      • “Parliamentary supremacy” is not possible with EU membership. That is simply not a debatable point.

        Hannan is doing what all Tories have done since our membership – attempting to dishonestly portray our membership as something different than it is.

        If Hannan really wants all of those he argues then he would say so by arguing explicitly for exit which is the only way they can be achieved. That he doesn’t reveals 40 years of Tory deception.

        Many of us are really really bored of decades long Tory BS.

        • liberalunionist

          Which is probably why Hannan says in this very article that “staying in the EU is a greater risk than leaving” and talks about “a post-EU Britain”. If he later shifts to saying we can accomplish these things with some form of ‘British model’ or ‘associate membership’ of the EU, prove he’s a hypocrite by quoting his own words about sovereignty back at him- just as Hannan did with Cameron. Unfortunately, winning a Leave campaign is going to involve people co-operating with other people they don’t particularly like, whether Conservative, Labour and UKIP. It’s going to mean people who want a Big Bang FTA/WTO exit being prepared to accept the Norway option for an unspecified amount of time, and it’s going to require convincing people who are happy with where we are now that voting Leave is the only alternative to things getting worse. Long-term Eurosceptics making a fuss about the credentials of fellow travellers kills the Leave campaign just as cleanly and effectively as the Vote Leave ‘only pretending!’ strategy. When the vote rolls round I’d rather have 11% fully-signed on with Flexcit and 40% who view the Norway option as a final stage than 49% fully signed on with Flexcit.

          The Leave campaign is going nowhere without compromise, just as the Scottish Yes campaign had to compromise over issues like the monarchy. But unlike the SNP, Leave can’t hang around for a few years hoping the oil price picks up. Either we show willingness to bury the hatchet over ‘decades of Tory BS,’ or we get centuries of EU BS to pile on top of it.

          • Hertslass

            several upticks. It’s the kind of thing that purists such as the Norths simply can’t see.

            Fine. If all people don’t accept their purist solution – we don’t leave. Then the Norths will have plenty of time when we’re still locked in, to argue the ramifications of what would and should have been the case had we voted to leave.

        • Mike777

          Well I read somewhere that the UK Government of the day back in the beginning (1970s) chose the supremacy of EU law over UK law by the way it worded our Act of Accession to the EEC. France and Germany did not, as they frequently demonstrate.

  • MrBishi

    Oh dear, Daniel Hannan has been reduced to telling porkies:
    “We’d obviously remain outside Schengen.”

    Schengen is mandatory for EFTA membership and EEA membership.
    Daniel also omits to tell us that Norway spends the per capita equivalent of £10 billion a year on its farming policy, which is included in our EU membership fee.

    • Denis_Cooper

      I’m sure that you’ll be able to support your assertion that Schengen is “mandatory” for both EFTA and the EEA by citing chapter and verse of the relevant legal provisions. But even if that was the case, EFTA and EEA are treaty-based organisations and treaties are not set in stone and can if necessary be varied to accommodate the needs of a new party. Indeed the EEA treaty was only devised to accommodate the needs of Norway after the Norwegian people defied their politicians by voting against EU membership, just as previously they had voted against EEC membership. This is not to say that I am necessarily looking to either EFTA or the EEA as the foundation of the UK’s new treaty arrangements with the rest of the EU.

      • MrBishi

        A couple of points:
        1. The EU aquis make it quite clear that Schengen is mandatory, it is written into EU law.
        But there’s an easy test, the only countries outside of Schengen are full EU members.
        2. EEA is an umbrella concept to allow EFTA members to enjoy the benefits of a customs union without joining the EU. I think it silly to believe that any country would be allowed to be a member of EEA without membership of EFTA or EU. But it is not something that can be debated on a blog, it may even result in a court hearing.

        • Denis_Cooper

          If you can make your bold assertion about it on a blog then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be debated on a blog, and there is no court with the power to decide how sovereign states can and cannot modify their treaties.

          I don’t quite understand your “easy test”, as there are numerous countries in the world which are outside Schengen and outside the EU.

          The idea of the EEA originally came from Delors because he was reluctant to see the EEC expand to take in more countries, but the final trigger was the rejection of EU membership by the Norwegian people. Without that it is doubtful that the EEA would now exist.

          • MrBishi

            Countries cannot unilaterally alter a treaty any more than one party to a contract can unilaterally alter it.
            You appear not to know what the “E” in “EU” stands for.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Nobody’s said anything about any country unilaterally altering a treaty.

          • MrBishi

            Perhaps you could, then, explain what you meant by your last post:
            “… there is no court with the power to decide how sovereign states can and cannot modify their treaties.”

          • Denis_Cooper

            What is there to explain? It says “states”, plural, and it says “their” treaties.

        • Hertslass

          If Schengen is mandatory, how come the UK isn’t part of it?

          • MrBishi

            Because we negotiated an opt out because we are a member of the EU and have a veto over treaty change.

          • Hertslass

            In which case it is not “mandatory”.

            Anyway negotiated opt outs, or negatiated anythings are not necessarily binding if EU wants to renege. Reform of CAP in return for Blair giving up rebate? Reneged upon before ink was dry. UK money not to be used to prop up euro? UK money used. Cameron at 1.7 billion payment penalty for doing better than restof EU? Money used. Opt out from immigrant quota? Brussels to prevent us deporting under Dublin agreement.

          • MrBishi

            It is mandatory to new members.

        • Ferris Dueler

          You’re talking as if everything is written in stone and unchangeable.

          Everything is impossible, until somebody does it. The small EFTA countries might not have been able to stand up and resist schengen. But as I’ve already mentioned the EU needs to keep us happy to avoid further bailouts in the Eurozone.

          As Boris Johnson put it, the cost of leaving has never been lower.

          • MrBishi

            In the land of dreams, anything is possible.
            My reality is grounded in EU, UK and International law.
            I have no objection to the Brexit lot having dreams but I feel that you should tell the electorate that they are dreams.

          • Ferris Dueler

            The important bit is I haven’t just said ‘this is what I want’. What you call dreams.

            I’ve backed it up with why we can get it. People demand something better, people change law.

    • Ferris Dueler

      I think Daniel Hannan knows where the balance of power will be during negotiations. If we’re outside Schengen now, it would be pretty hard for the EU to argue we should join during a time when barbed fences are being erected across Europe. Plus it would be political suicide if David Cameron agreed to it.

      Membership fee’s have been broken down to per person in this article. Don’t think he’s telling porkies. Sugar coating it? Yes.

      Even John Major admitted that we’d have to pay for single market access. I’m happy with that.

      • MrBishi

        Schengen is mandatory, it’s a founding principle and enshrined into EU treaties.
        The asylum seeker crisis may well result in it being suspended but it will return as soon as the crisis is over.
        The cost to the UK of leaving – and I mean properly leaving the EU not adopting some sort of associate membership – will be a default on our debt followed by a Greek style cut in pensions and state jobs and wages.
        This is why Hannan is looking for an alternative route.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Schengen was not a founding principle of the EU, the first Agreement was only made in 1985, 28 years after the founding Treaty of Rome, that is to say more or less halfway through the life of the EEC/EC/EU project so far, and that was an agreement made by only five out of then ten EC member states through an intergovernmental treaty, and it was only incorporated into the EU treaties in 1999.

          • MrBishi

            “The Treaty of Paris (1951) establishing the European Coal and Steel Community established a right to free movement for workers in these industries …”

            Schengen is simply the latest development of this strategy – no borders.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Establishing the right of free movement for workers – actually “persons” in the Treaty of Rome – is not the same as the removal of all border controls.

          • MrBishi


          • Ferris Dueler

            “whatever.” is as close as anyone gets to admitting they’re wrong.

          • MrBishi

            “Whatever” means I am so bored with your nonsense that I cannot be bothered to reply.

          • Ferris Dueler

            If that were true then why have you replied to my other 7 comments? Why does this one alone get the ‘whatever’ treatment?

          • Ferris Dueler

            You’ve literally just admitted your wrong about when Schengen came into effect.

          • MrBishi


          • Ferris Dueler

            “Halfwit.” welcome to the remain campaign, no need for positive arguments here.

        • Aberrant_Apostrophe

          Nothing about the EU is ‘mandatory’. How else would Germany and France be allowed to get away with constantly breaking fiscal rules? When push comes to shove, Cameron has the EU over a barrel and could negotiate fantastic terms for the UK. Whether he will or not is highly debatable.

          Why would we ‘default on our debt’? The debt you refer to is UK debt, not a share of EU debt, so there won’t be a Greek style cut in pensions , etc.

          • MrBishi

            If tariffs are ever imposed – when we leave the EU – our manufacturing base will relocate to the EU leaving us without the wherewithall to service our £1.7 trillion debt.

          • Ferris Dueler

            JUST STOP! tariffs will NOT be imposed. You and other scaremongers are the only people talking about tariffs.

            You want to talk about tariffs then lets talk about whose going to bail Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and possibly France out? There trade would be damaged too.

            You think German car manufacturers are going to let Merkel tariff wall us?

          • MrBishi

            Tariffs will be imposed – if we leave the EU – and that is a fact.
            To suggest that any other outcome is possible is to lie.

          • Ferris Dueler

            My argument is backed up with a substantial reason why tariffs wouldn’t be imposed.

            Could you do the same please?

          • MrBishi
          • Ferris Dueler

            Thanks for linking the rule book on tariffs.

            Unfortunately it doesn’t describe why the EU would insist on a tarriff wall with the UK after brexit. When such a move would be catastrophic to many EU economies.

            You might say ‘but those are the rules’. The purpose of the 2 year negotiation phase if we vote to leave is to come to an agreement on what the new rules will be.

            Nobody, not Brussels or London will do anything to jeopardise trade, let alone do anything that would end with more bailouts.

          • MrBishi

            You should carry a Dunning Kruger effect warning.
            Although research has shown that the congenitally thick do not benefit from positive feedback – and God knows this blog proves that statement beyond peradventure – may I suggest that you ponder the concept of a “non-EU country” and try to work out what will be the status of the UK if we leave the EU.

          • Kevanch

            We are the 6th largest economy in the world. We have a permanent seat in the UN. We created NATO and, with the Americans, are the leading players. We are members of the G7 where a lot of stuff is decided. We are highly innovative and creative. F1 teams are based here for a reason. Even the Germans. Our country was built on international trade. Our Empire was probably the biggest ever known. English is the language of business. The City of London is far bigger than Paris or Frankfurt. Our legal system is shared with much of the world and is, by and large, respected as being totally impartial, unlike the ECJ.

            We will once more be able to deal with the Commonwealth. We will be able to decide who comes into the country. Currently, getting staff from the English speaking world is a nightmare of red tape. We are cutting ourselves off from clever people who will benefit the country while attracting hordes of the unskilled.

            Upon leaving the EU, we can regain our seat at the WTO, get a free trade deal with India and China that suits us, not 27 others, along with any other countries who want to chat. We can make our own laws rather than having them imposed on us. If we choose to adopt some EU laws, that is fine, but that would be our choice, not Brussels. If we do not like the laws that are passed, we can get rid of one lot and get another lot in to repeal the daft stuff. Everything you cannot do with the EU.

            Once a right has been given away under the acquis communautaire rules, IT HAS GONE FOREVER. It can never be brought back. Never. Please remember that. With the EU, there is no going back at all.

            What on earth do you mean what will be our status? Free from euro meddling for a start and standing on our own two feet for seconds. Your problem is that you think we are not good enough to go it alone without the baleful crutch of the EU. Well, we are. We are a great country and widely admired around the world. Our democracy is stable and long standing. We have documented human rights legislation going back to 1215 that is still in place today, except bits of it are over ridden by the European Arrest Warrant.

            Of course the EU will trade with us. They sell us more than we sell them. We sell more outside the EU than in it and could do more. Look no further than all the Italian, German, French, Spanish and Czech cars on the roads. I have no idea what Airbus wings and engines cost, but if there is a tariff barrier it will work both ways and ram up the price of an Airbus which will make it uncompetitive compared to Boeing.

            Nissan came here for a reason. Why on earth would you build a car plant in England as far north as possible, an island on the edge of Europe? Because we have a stunning workforce, a sensible employment regime, a stable democracy and a lot of skills. Nissan in Sunderland is the most efficient and productive plant in the world. Do you seriously imagine that business is going to up sticks and dive into the restrictive practices of Europe? Have you ever dealt with this bureaucracy? Well, I have and if you think our lot are bad, you ain’t seen nothing.

          • MrBishi

            We can trade with the rest of the world now and yet we don’t seem to make much headway.
            Might this be because UK productivity is 20% less than the average of the other G& countries?
            Nissan came here to gain access to the EU customs union – or at least that is what they said.

          • Kevanch

            IF tariffs are applied, that is the rate. Immediately, the price of an Airbus goes up by a substantial chunk because we make the wings and engines.

            The cost of all those German, French, Spanish, Italian and Czech cars will go up. Nobody cares about the last three, but you can guarantee that the first two will have something to say on that.

            This will ripple around the EU. We buy far more from them than they do from us. If they become too expensive, we will have a global shop in which to browse. We will also get a bit of honesty in the accounting, something the EU does not understand given its accounts have not been signed of for 20 consecutive years. Anything shipped from here to an eventual destination outside the EU that goes via an EU port is classified as a sale in the EU yet our sales to the EU are still dropping.

            We have the 6th biggest economy, have a highly respected legal system, one of the 5 permanent seats in the UN, sit on G7 and G20 and the whole of the Commonwealth to trade with, starting with a billion Indians. The EU still has not managed a deal with them after 9 years! We are a key player in NATO which has and continues to keep the peace. We were instrument in setting it up.

            Our status will be just fine. Your trouble is that you have no confidence in your country whatsoever.

          • MrBishi

            The divine intervention theory that all EU, UK and international laws will be suspended.
            I like your confidence that we will continue to make Airbus wings if we leave the EU.

          • sirnigelgresley

            Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier has said at the Paris Airshow that the aircraft manufacturer will remain in the UK even if the UK votes to leave the European Union. Speaking to the BBC, Bregier said Airbus had no plans to relocate its British factories

          • MrBishi

            There’s no reason why not, aircraft assembly is zero rated for EU tariffs.
            Not something other manufacturers will enjoy.

          • Wittgensteinsfoot

            You really shouldn’t prod the animals like this. It’s insensitive.

          • MrBishi

            I can’t help it.

          • Wittgensteinsfoot

            Jesus is watching you.

          • MrBishi

            Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

          • Wittgensteinsfoot

            That’s all Greek to me ……

          • MrBishi


          • Wittgensteinsfoot


          • MrBishi

            Getting colder.

          • Wittgensteinsfoot


          • Wittgensteinsfoot

            Est Hindi?

          • MrBishi

            Colder still.

          • Wittgensteinsfoot

            Quo vadis?

          • MrBishi

            Here, we’ve arrived.

          • Wittgensteinsfoot

            Gratias Deo!

          • Wittgensteinsfoot

            Bit Juvenile that …..

          • Kevanch

            This is an absurd notion. Industry is not a veg stall in the local market. They come here because we have an impartial and respected legal system, sensible employment laws, even after the EU has tried to screw them up and a great workforce.

            In another post, you claimed that aircraft wings are zero rated. Wrong. There might well be no duty on them, which is a totally separate issue, but they are subject to VAT. When they are sold to Airbus, the UK manufacturer will have the Airbus VAT number and can therefore zero rate them. Airbus will pay the French rate which it will of course reclaim in due course. What actually happens is a contra entry against any VAT liability for the quarter.

            If we left, this principle would not change. We would not charge VAT on the exported wings and the French would have to pay VAT at the point of import. There would be customs forms and clearance formalities to observe, that is all. This would replace EU sales lists on the VAT 100 form and the truly ghastly Intrastats which impose a huge burden on exporting companies. Instead, this would revert to being done by Customs, which is where it was always done. Once in the EU, goods would travel seamlessly over borders. Even goods destined for places further afield such as Eastern Europe, the T Forms would give transit across borders until one reached a customs point in the destination country, the same as it was always done.

            What would change would be the issue of duties. If the EU went silly, which is after all its default setting, it would charge an import duty. This in turn would increase the cost of the aircraft, perhaps making it uncompetitive against Boeing.

            10% of EU car output is sold in the UK. If the EU slapped a 10% tariff on that, the French and Germans would hit the roof. We, meanwhile, would start looking at cars from outside the EU. I currently drive a Skoda, which I love and plan to buy another. However, I will postpone this decision until after the Referendum. It tariffs are applied, then I will look at something else, albeit reluctantly. Japanese cars will experience considerable growth on price alone.

            The French sell a huge amount of food to us. How much of it could we source elsewhere. Well, Somerset brie for a start. Upon leaving, we will get our fisheries back, so no shortages there. We produce plenty of beef and dairy and can import beef and lamb from all over the world. The price of food would actually drop because we will have got rid of the awful CAP and could shop in the cheapest markets.

            We have access to intelligence that the EU does not. I am sure that we help out our friends across the water when it is in their interests. Screw us over and we might feel less kindly disposed.

            I do however share your problem with our debt. The deficit might have gone down, but the debt has soared. Someone has done some fancy accounting somewhere.

          • MrBishi

            VAT is recoverable.
            I quote the motor industry and here’s what THEY say:
            I have stated what EU LAW says must happen.

          • Kevanch

            I know VAT is recoverable. I told you. It always has been. The SMMT likes the EU and says en masse negotiation with the likes of China is good. Except there is no deal in place.

            What it does say is that access to the EU market is essential. Nobody denies this. Do you really imagine that the EU would want to mess up something as bit as that? Assuming it was so minded, and being a dogmatic, inward looking, protectionist outfit, this is quite possible, you can be sure that France and Germany would soon put it straight.

            I also accept that common standards for a big market like the EU is very beneficial. Fine. We can adopt the EU standards of our own free will. We would be silly not to. But even if we had an attack of the stupids and decided to set totally different standards for the UK, everything sold to the EU would have to comply to their requirements. Again, no problem.

            This is the same as us selling cars to the US. They have to comply to American regulations which is perfectly reasonable. We do not have to pay them £55 million a day.

            With regard to your claim that you are quoting EU law, look at the top of the thread. You made the totally unfounded, wild and frankly stupid comment that all of our industry would up sticks and leave.

            All we have to do is comply with our customers’ wishes and requirements and that will never change unless they are so outlandish that we choose not to sell to them and that is fine too. Personal choice.

          • MrBishi

            I have spent some time pondering why Brexiters lie. Are liers attracted to Brexit or are they required to lie as soon as they join Brexit.
            I did NOT SAY that ALL our industry would leave for the EU I linked the motor industry report which says that they will and pointed out that our banks are equally vulnerable over passporting. These are FACTS, undeniable facts.
            Why did you mention VAT if you knew that importers are able to recover the VAT, was that you just lying again for the sake of it?

          • Kevanch

            If tariffs are ever imposed – when we leave the EU – our manufacturing base will relocate to the EU leaving us without the wherewithall to service our £1.7 trillion debt.

            Your words above. That is suggesting that the bulk of our manufacturing would vanish. No mention of the motor industry until later. Nor banks.

            I mentioned VAT because you made the claims in another post that there would be all sorts of additional charges over and above any tariffs that the EU MIGHT impose.

            This was factually incorrect and I pointed this out to you in an effort to appraise you of how the trade and taxes work. Your response is to call me a liar. Curious/

          • MrBishi

            You really do seem to spend your time clutching at straws.
            This is a blog and so it is “conversational” in tone.
            Simply taking one reply and hanging your hat on it is juvenile and time wasting.

          • Kevanch

            You are completely wrong on one thing. There is no question whatsoever of Cameron negotiating fantastic terms or even weedy ones that are binding. He told them right at the outset he want to stay in, so that is all his cards on the table before the first bet is laid.

            He is going for this EU immigrant benefit freeze thing, which he will probably get. If we vote to stay, you can bet your pension that the ECJ will overturn it on the perfectly fair grounds of racial discrimination and the runaway train continues on its chaotic way with barely a pause.

            We need to get out of this horror factory altogether.

        • Pioneer

          “The asylum seeker crisis may well result in it being suspended but it will return as soon as the crisis is over.”

          It will never be over, it will keep increasing.

          Complete control of borders is a requirement for a country.

          • MrBishi

            The problem – which the Brexit crew refuse to acknowledge – is that the UK could be a net emigration country tomorrow if only the government would stop immigration from NON-EU countries; something that is completely under its control now!
            Why do you think that matters will be different if we leave the EU?

          • polidorisghost

            Leaving the EU is a necessary though not sufficient condition for halting immigration.

          • MrBishi

            I fail to see why when we could be a net emigration country now, but hey, I’m not in denial.

          • Ferris Dueler

            The Brexit crew want control of immigration, not a BNP “send them back fence”.

          • MrBishi

            The UK has control over immigration now and doesn’t use it.

          • Ferris Dueler

            We have no control over immigration from EU member states.

            In an attempt to limit immigration we stop skilled workers from outside the EU because we’ve taken so many EU workers some of whom aren’t skilled.

            I don’t think anyone can argue an Australian points based system wouldn’t be better than an open door policy.

        • Ferris Dueler

          This is why nobody, not even Brussels are taking about UK properly leaving. Not only would we default so would Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, maybe France. Everybody would want UK in the single market.

          Regarding Schengen. You know what else was enshrined in the constitution (sorry I mean treaty)? That no nation would have to bailout another. When it suits them the EU can be flexible.

          In all honesty though, issues of immigration aren’t that important to me. Outside the EU we’d still accept skilled migrants, refugees and asylum seekers as we always have done. But no one can say an open door policy is better than Australian points system.

          To me this referendum is about freedom, liberty and democracy. Things you don’t find in the European Parliament. The very things that elevated the west and the English speaking peoples.

          Take a broad look at the world not just 5 years in either direction.

          • MrBishi

            Are you just out for the weekend?

          • Ferris Dueler

            It’s the weekend, time to party and spread ideas of liberty, democracy and freedom!

            Self governance rocks!

            I like my politicians accountable!

        • Kevanch

          Schengen is not mandatory and we are not part of it. What Schengen is all about is removing borders altogether. Thus, when travelling from France to Belgium to Germany, there are no borders. This makes it nice and easy for terrorists to be based in Brussels and go murdering in Paris or indeed anywhere else.

          We are outside Schengen which is why passports are checked coming and going. Good thing too.

          • MrBishi

            You are a halfwit who appears incapable of reading any posts properly.
            Your Brexit crew leaders are proposing to join EFTA, where Schengen is mandatory

          • Kevanch

            I always enjoy being personally insulted. Such behaviour generally means that a debate is being lost and the protaganist is reduced to personal insults rather than reasoned arguments.

            To which Brexit crew leaders do you refer? I have made no mention of them.

            I have read the appropriate texts in German. Luckily I can do that. The EFTA members of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are not in the EU and neither are they in Schengen. They do agree to allow EU citizens in and out but they still check them.

            The UK is in Schengen but retains the right to border controls, as does the Irish Republic. Thank you for helping me clarify that.

            However, you are quite wrong about Schengen being mandatory. It is not. In any event, once out of the EU, we would be free to decide what we did and did not sign up to without having to worry about the sensibilities of 27 others.

            I do hope that you will henceforth raise your standards of debate to acceptable levels.

          • MrBishi

            Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are ALL in Schengen.
            I can see how you accept being insulted and I find it impossible to believe that you have ever won an argument in your life.
            You confuse people walking away from you, exasperated by your ignorance as victory.
            You are a halfwit and a particularly stupid halfwit.

          • Kevanch

            Odious though you are, I refuse to sink to your level. I will let the readers of this thread form their own opinion.

            With regard to Schengen, it turns out that we are both half wrong and half right. I have learned something which came about because of your utter assertion that Norway etc. are in Schengen. Thank you. You can now learn that this is not quite the case, but rather a curious half way house.

            The original document I quoted was in fact concerning itself with the full Convention and so perfectly accurate if a little misleading.

            Non EU members cannot sign the Schengen Convention which covers common visa requirements and police and judicial so-operation. Therefore Norway etc. are not part of Schengen in the fullest sense.

            However, they have signed an associate agreement. The UK is also a part of Schengen but has retained an opt out not to relinquish border controls.

            You are also right that new entrants will have to accept Schengen. The reason is a little more ominous in that this is now an acquis communautaire which means that any new entrant automatically loses control of its borders. You might not be aware, but any right given away under an acquis communautaire is gone forever and this was slid into the Treaty of Amsterdam. The UK and Ireland have an opt out so technically are outside full Schengen, running instead a sort of Schengen lite, which is why we still have some border control and can therefore resist EU demands to take in migrants they are too ineffectual to stop coming over.

            However, any new entrant automatically loses control of its frontier, one of the core rights of a nation state if it is to retain any sovereignty and self determination.

            I do hope that this is now cleared up. Now that everyone can see what Schengen really means, they will appreciate the need to leave the EU if we are to retain any control of our country at all.

          • MrBishi

            You really are a halfwit of epic proportions:
            “(the EEA EFTA States are however part of the Schengen area)”

          • Kevanch

            In my explanation, I explained the difference between the Shengen Convention, which on EU members can sign, and associate membership and the UK opt out which might colloquially be described as Schengen Lite.

            Within the full Schengen Convention area, there are no border controls whatsoever on internal EU borders. Within what I choose to describe as Schengen Lite areas, there are border controls. If you travel directly from the UK to Norway, there are border controls because both are outside the full Convention, the Norwegians because they cannot, as non EU members, sign up to the convention and the UK because it has opted out of a part of the Convention, namely a refusal to have totally open borders.

            The whole issue is that once someone is within the EU external borders, they are completely free to wander at will, with or without papers. If they want to get into the UK, they either need proper papers or have a really good people smuggler.

            Yes, the states are part of the Schengen area but they are treated differently and are NOT part of the full Convention which is why passport and border controls remain in place.

            One day, you odious, obnoxious little toad, you will learn to read.

          • MrBishi

            Words, said Humpty Dumpty, mean what I want them to mean.

    • davidshort10

      No, we would not be in Schengen. Schengen countries have already broken the rule and Schengen will die. No British government would dare open its borders to the ‘swarms’ arriving.

      • MrBishi


        • Aberrant_Apostrophe

          A thoughtful and erudite response there, Mr B.

          • MrBishi

            You earned it and you deserve it.

          • polidorisghost

            Sorry Mr Duck but he’s right about Schengen being broken beyond repair.

          • MrBishi

            Do you really think that the current asylum crisis is going to continue in perpetuity?
            No wonder you sound so depressed.

    • Kevanch

      So why was my passport examined when I drove from Sweden to Norway and again from Norway to Finland? Schengen might well be the eventual demand, which is another strong reason to get out.

      • MrBishi

        Presumably to ensure that you were not a refugee.

  • johninkermen

    I am one of the ‘undecided’ We trade with the EU so will have to follow those rules in order to trade, as we do when trading with non EU countries.

    There are so many EU rules we have opted out of yet seem unwilling to put them to OUR benefit.
    I cant help feeling our lot are not giving their best and using the “Its EU Regulations” as an excuse for inactivity!
    One example immediately springs to mind. Failed asylum seekers, we are frequently told we cant send them back due to EU Regs YET this week we have been told, if we say yes to the EU they will stop us returning failed asylum seekers. It cant be both!

    • milford

      To those undecided I ask: Why would anyone want to be ruled by unelected foreigners rather than by their own elected government?

      • johninkermen

        The MP’s are elected, the civil servants are not, just as here. It is up to the MP’s to hold the civil servants to account, as it is here.
        I am still undecided because I doubt our lot here can do any better than our lot there!
        We have more ‘Opt out’ clauses than just about any other EU country yet our lot never seem to use them!

        • Ferris Dueler

          Brussels have un-elected EU commissioners they’re like civil servants on steroids.

          For example TTIP is a trade deal between EU, USA and I think Canada. Without going into details, millions of people across the EU have taken to the streets in protest against this treaty. The Independent or Times (sorry I can’t remember) interviewed the EU Commissioner in charge of TTIP negotiations.

          They asked how can you go ahead with such an unpopular treaty. Her answer word for word;

          “I don’t take my mandate from the European people”.

          Our lot, after brexit would be forced to up their game. They’d be in control again and the electorate are getting harder to please. Conservative and labour parties can’t assume it’ll always be a 2 horse race anymore.

          The fact that we’re having a referendum is proof of that.

    • Ferris Dueler

      with asylum seeker their are too different things happening here.

      1) is that we can’t send them back to the country the came from. Because of European laws on sending people back where they could be persecuted, executed etc.

      2) EU rules are that asylum seekers / refugees should register in the first EU county they set foot in. If they illegally make it to UK we have the right to send them back to whichever EU country they made it too first. In practice this rarely happens as asylum seekers throw away any travel documents.

      Which is why it looks like they’re having it both ways.

      It’s the latter which has been in the news recently as southern Europe is being swamped with refugees and they want to share the burden with wealthier northern states.

      Want to point out that in the past UK has called for an equal distribution of refugees and asylum seekers. We were constantly ignored by Brussels. Now the tables have turned and EU wants to change policy.

      Still undecided? Head over to Daniel Hannans YouTube Channel he puts the economic case forward.


      • johninkermen

        Surely the law you refer to refers to immigration/asylum seekers NOT international criminals. They DID break the law in at least two countries with seats in the UN and the Institute of the EU

        • Ferris Dueler

          yes point number one I was referring to immigration/asylum seekers NOT international criminals.

          sorry for any confusion.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “To summarise, then, Norway gets a better deal than Britain currently does, and Switzerland a better deal than Norway. But a post-EU Britain, with 65 million people to Switzerland’s eight million and Norway’s five, should expect something better yet.”

    As the government and its various allies are already telling lies about the positions of Norway and Switzerland I doubt that they will delve into what that “something better yet” might be, and what does it matter that the UK is so much bigger than those two countries when it no longer has the British Empire and is much smaller than the “post-imperial empire” which has emerged on the continent? And run by people who are our lovely “European partners” while they can have a large hand in the government of our country, but apparently will turn really nasty if we say that we no longer wish to be part of that EU system of government.

    • WFC

      By that argument, Japan should be applying to become part of China.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Indeed. The Remain side erect a nonsensical scenario, and, guess what, under that nonsensical scenario it could be a bit nonsensical for the UK to Leave.

  • LG

    The only benefit I can see to be outside the EU is we wouldn’t have to keep shovelling cash into the pockets of farmers and landowners under the common agricultural scheme.

    • Ferris Dueler

      There are a few more. The EU tariff wall would be gone so all our no EU trade would fall to the lower WTO rates. So even if we never signed a free trade deal with anyone we’d still be better off.

      The EU benefits large multinational corps’ by creating a huge regulatory burden that new upstart companies can’t cope with. Thus ensuring a quasi-monopoly of the established industry players. Outside the EU we can have a big bonfire burn all the useless regs’, keep the good and make Britain a place for enterprise.

      And don’t forget problems with the single currency haven’t been solved yet. Future bailouts are a possibility.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Which EU are you talking about? The one we have now, supposedly the “status quo”, when it is radically different from the “status quo” of 1975 when we last had a direct say on it, or the “status quo” will be subsist in another forty years time? Maybe you could tell us where we will be in 2056 if we vote to stay in the EU in 2016.

  • Peter Barrett

    Hannan’s legitimacy as a true Brexiteer will only improve when he states publicly that Brexit is a process and “the Norway option” is not a destination, but simply a single step in that process towards regaining full sovereignty.

    • Denis_Cooper

      And only one possible step.

    • Marvin

      We have no need to use other countries options and trade deals to shape our existence outside this asinine sinking lump of sewage. It is all to do with this spineless cling on PM who is too stupid to realise that he holds four ACES that is the highest hand in this game of poker but is beyond him and his 30 odd advisers.

    • liberalunionist

      Why? Leave’s sole aim in this referendum should be to persuade 50%+1 people that the Norway option is achievable and better than both the current deal and the ‘British model’ which Cameron is going to come back with. The proper time to discuss regaining full sovereignty is after this referendum is won and the Norway option is in place. If Leave becomes obsessed with hair-splitting ideological purity, instead of properly aiming for its short-term goal, Remain will win.

      • Peter Barrett

        Whilst I appreciate the enticing simplicity of your plan, I fear there are two tactics being used by the remains which must be countered. First, they are rubbishing the Norway option using ancient “fax government” quotes and digging up EU funded Norwegian academics. Secondly they shout loudly that there is no “plan” for a leave campaign. The best counter to both these erroneous arguments is “Flexcit”, a thoroughly comprehensive work, more than two years in the making covering every eventuality in the process EXCEPT the one in which the duplicitous Cameron loses the referendum then fails to invoke Article 50.

        • liberalunionist

          Except Hannan is already countering those tactics by publishing this article. He argues against ‘fax government,’ and he points out that a Norway-style deal is perfectly achievable. What’s the point in demanding that he make a public confession of faith in Flexcit? Are we going to tell the voters that if they see the Norway option as a final destination rather than a process then they haven’t thought things through sufficiently and they shouldn’t bother turning up at the polling booth?
          The Norway option is to Flexcit what the European Coal and Steel Community was to the EU. Monnet didn’t spend the forties loudly and demonstratively calling out other politicians for not fully signing up to his ultimate aim of a European superstate: he built consensus behind a single step, achieved it, then moved onto the next. The choice people must make between now and the referendum is either to help build a coalition with a variety of views but which concurs that Britain should leave, or to actively hinder the cause by impeding the formation of that coalition.

          • Peter Barrett

            The historical analogy is interesting. However, when the European Defence Community failed to be adopted in 1954 Monnet et al did not have a clamorous opposition claiming that they had no plan. Also they had a luxury which “Leavers” do not have – time. They simply waited for three years and rebranded their efforts within the Treaty of Rome. We do not have time on our side, we have but a single opportunity and we do have excessively noisy opposition. Every time Mr Straw and his cohorts speak they deride the Norway option and state that there is no plan. There will undoubtedly be the coalition you mention. I most certainly agree that if a voter sees merit in the Norway option as a step or a destination, they should indeed vote to leave – the more the merrier! Let’s face it, lesser arguments than this will bring the majority of kippers to the box. But on this part of the discussion the Leave side did not turn up early enough to set the agenda, we can only counter the remain argument at this stage. Personally I support the idea of a peoples’ campaign, but political personalities will always attract the media for comment and to be fully effective they should broadcast the corrections required to repudiate the untruths. There is a plan.

            Separately, I must comment that it is refreshing that total strangers as we are, who will never meet, share an ultimate aim and can freely and openly discuss our slight differences in views, hopefully adding something to the argument. I see little evidence of anything similar on the remain side.

          • liberalunionist

            I agree completely that we only have one opportunity, which is why it infuriates me that people seem to be obsessing over the 10% of the article where they disagree with Hannan rather than the 90% where they agree. At least when Remain deride the Norway option they’re making people aware that it exists: when Leave start splitting hairs they just make the campaign look divided and give the impression nobody has a clue what they’re doing.
            I too appreciate the good-natured tone of this particular discussion, but I have to confess I don’t agree with your impression of Remain. They don’t bother discussing their differences in views, because they don’t need to:

  • Ngaire Lowndes

    I am but a simple old woman. Am I alone in wondering why people are talking about national independence as a terrifyingly unknown, amorphous threat, rather than simply stepping back from the brink of EU chaos and servitude, back to being an independent sovereign nation? Does nobody else remember what it was like to be an independent Britain? Has this EU servitude so sapped our moral courage that we DARE not return to our former status as a world power?
    Or has it simply been the status quo for so long that most British people have only fading memories of what it was like to make our own laws and maintain our own borders.

    • TotalMassRetain

      What “servitude” is it that you refer to? I voted for the EEC in 1975 and have no experience of any “servitude” since, only freedoms and opportunities.

      I certainly do remember Britain before the EEC, though not in its Imperial heyday (that is never going to come back by the way). I remember a collapsing currency, sclerotic growth, high inflation, lousy industrial relations, poor quality manufacturing, obsolete industries in the 1960s and early 1970s. We were acclled the “sick man of Europe”. We looked at the EEC and saw modern, growing economies. We wanted some of that too. And whilst we can debate how much the Thatcher reforms contributed (as they did) by the 1990s we had been transformed from a low GDP/capita economy when compared to the EEC 6 to one of the highest.

      As for controlling our borders what Danny Boy conveniently overlooks is that Iceland, Norway and Switzerland (the latter at least for now) all are aprt of the EU freedom of movement. So a Norway like Brexit will still leave us with EU immigration.

    • Marvin

      It could be due to the type of Brits bred in the last forty or so years, whose single cell brains are only wired up to equality for minorities. For example, the LGBT, illegal migration/ any migration, etc, so insatiable is this lust for equality that they would stay in the comfort of this sinking Titanic because their desires to be a minority regardless of the abuse by the EU.

      • Suzy61

        ‘their desire to be a minority’… how true.

        It brings many, many privileges as amply illustrated by the late Keith Waterhouse, who once produced a list of ‘minorities’ who received funding under the lunatic GLC run by the barmy Livingstone. I forget the precise words but something along the lines of ‘one-limbed, African, tea-pot making Lesbians’.

        Funnily enough (or not)…they actually did receive funding.

    • Wiz

      We wouldn’t be taking back any of our independence. We would have to subject ourselves to the whims of global corporations just as much as we do now. There is only one world power, the US, and they treat us with disdain. The only reason they give us any attention at all is because we are in the EU.

    • Pip

      The fear of independence is merely being created by the establishment and their media propagandists in the hope that they can scare the less intelligent more ignorant types to vote to remain shackled to their failing Marxist experiment.

  • Uusikaupunki

    I remember that before this country joined the (then) “Common Market”, hordes of French visited Ramsgate (I think) on board the Hovercraft to take advantage of our cheap food in the suprmarkets.

    Going to join a ship via ferry, the taxi driver in Southampton asked me if I was going to visit “the expensive land of France”! Compare and contrast post- 1973.
    I voted to leave in 1975 and will vote the same again, given the chance. One thing worries me, however. After the last Referendum, Harold Wilson stated that in the event of the “Outers” winning, he would not have honoured the result.I seem to remember Our Dave also saying (in his weasel way) that this forthcoming referendum would be “non-binding” did he not? Or did I imagine it? Another “Cast-Iron” guarantee is needed, perhaps….(irony alert)….

  • TotalMassRetain

    The operative word in the above is “could”. Sure, if everything falls into place as Danny boy hopes maybe it COULD work out as he says. However, no-one leading the businesses that we collectively depend upon see things in the same way. After all what does a public school educated guy with no real world experience know that these captains of industry don’t? Danny boy got into Oxford on the back of his parents paying for a high cost education (for the record I got in without any of the advantages he had and have had a career in the real world) and has been in political adviser jobs (via his network of public school chums) before he became an MEP. He has no experience of running real businesses, negotiating contracts, trade deals or anything else that the real economy depends up. So, why does he expect to be taken seriously?

    He clearly thinks like a guy that is about to leave his wife thinks that she will be “reasonable” in the divorce settlement because it’s in her own “self interest” to do so. Yet he then finds arguments over the CD collection rapidly escalate into acrimony over the house, custody rights and the alimony. AJP Taylor observed that nation states behave more like spoilt children than grown ups and we can expect that after BrExit. France and many other EU states won’t want a special deal with the UK simply to satisfy German and Dutch exporters whose goods Brits will still want to buy.

    As for Switzerland: look at its geography Danny Boy. It’s totally surrounded by EU countries so of course the vast majority of its trade is with its neighbours. Norway has a low population and vast oil and gas reserves. Its economy simply isn’t comparable. As for Iceland, it’s a tiny population with few natural resources. The UK is a large state with a complex economy which has been increasingly integrated with the EU for the past 40 years. Thinking that can be disentangled overnight AND we’ll be better off is delusional. Still, I guess it COULD happen.

    • Marvin

      AND! What blind delusional thinking gives you the narcissism of assuming that you are definitely right on this. You are making up your mind on something that has not occurred yet, the probability of great prosperity outside this crooked sinking Titanic which will sink with the weight of 15million barnacles clinging on to it’s sides.

      • Wiz

        Some narcissists are not delusional, but it is unlikely that a truly delusional narcissist would engage in any kind of thinking activity to secure his narcissism. But more importantly, why would our crooked sinking Titanic be transformed into a straight-dealing, buoyant QEII as soon as we left the EU? Our City of London is a nest of thieves and they are preying on the national population. Or perhaps you expect them to up and leave as soon as we depart the EU? If so, that would reduce the level of crime, I quite agree, but do you think it would make us more prosperous? If so, how?

        • Marvin

          See what I mean? where do you get the idea that the City would up stakes and go elsewhere? Can you not see the EU have for a long time wanted to suppress and shackle the City to suit their needs? It will take a bit of time but when we realise how many billions we will save from not belonging to this sinking pile of dung
          I trust this country will rise out of the ashes of doom.

          • Wiz

            We can’t be a sinking Titanic at the same time as being in a pile of dung, especially if we are in ashes of doom. I think you are getting too excited about saving money, especially as we will lose money. And as Nigel Farage has said, in any case, money isn’t everything when it comes to national decisions. By the way, William Hill has the UK odds on to vote to remain. For a two-horse race, a vote to leave is very long odds against – 9:2.

          • Marvin

            Just for you, A pile of dung sinking like the Titanic. Is that better? I know there is no such thing as a poor bookie, but what was the odds for the Tories winning the election. If we win the leave vote, and this country is run the right way by the right people, The billions that we will save from not only the membership, but the demands every few years of a couple of billion because our economy is doing better than all of Europe’s, the million or so migrants not earning enough to pay taxes but suck billions from benefits, and god knows where else from not carrying the parasites of Europe.

    • flying dragon

      I got into Oxford in the same way as you and yet I totally respect Daniel Hannan for his views. I also run my own businesses and bizarrely totally respect him for his view. His view of national freedom trumps all.
      I have also been divorced, and while the process descended into much of the acrimony you describe, my word the freedom was worth it. 10 years later and I dread to think of my situation had I stayed married.
      The captains of industry whom you so adore have made themselves and their companies on the labour cost arbitrage that immigration has provided, and could not care less for the indigenous workforce that has seen the implicit social contract in the UK torn up.
      As for your country arguments, Switzerland has true democracy, free movement of labour but not of people (ie benefit tourists, opportunists etc). Norway is in many ways an island nation like the UK, sits in the miserable North Sea. Iceland is sitting on vast geothermal and fishing resources so your point is quite simply wrong. Above all, all three countries are fiercely independent and have been free of the tyrannic dictators that makes the rest of Europe so feeble and insecure. They understand and treasure true democracy. In that sense they have huge similarity to the UK. Oddly, within the EU Denmark shares some of those characteristics, and would follow the UK out in my opinion.

    • Ray Veysey

      “However, no-one leading the businesses that we collectively depend upon see things in the same way.” got this far and stopped reading, if you are going to begin by lying then there’s no point. A lot of Britain’s major businesses have clearly stated that being outside of the EU would make no difference to them. And who have you got on your side now? Goldman Sachs, having paid a £5billion fine for helping to nearly destroy the financial world, want to put a deposit down on TTIP so they can be at the forefront of the Asset Stripping that that will mean to us and the rest of the EU. Most of your comment is padding a weak case give it up and confess your interest, EU pension?

      • Wiz

        I agree with some of that, but if we left the EU we would have to sign up for something just as bad as or worse than TTIP in order to be able to trade with America. Canada a year ago wanted to protect a rare whale from a proposed quarry operation but had signed up for a North American version of TTIP. The matter went before a private court adjudicated by commercial lawyers from America, and Canada lost. There is no appeal from ISDS.

        • Ray Veysey

          We already trade extensively with the US, you are being massively pessimistic to see that having to change, we would not have to sign up for anything we would not be happy with, our customers in the US wouldn’t want to change and they would still want to sell us their fantastically useless and expensive jets

    • milford

      You seem to be saying that it would take too long to disentangle ourselves so let’s just stay. Such defeatism.
      What we’re entangled in is not the free-trade zone we joined, it’s morphed into an unelected bureaucracy with far-reaching powers over every aspect of ours and our children’s lives. I don’t care how long it takes. After all, there isn’t a shortage of time is there?

    • GTE

      So what assets of the UK, does the EU get in this divorce?

    • somewhereinthesouth

      It is also important to consider what could happen if we remain . The Eu could expand and include several poor states [ Turkey ,Albania etc ] our influence would decline ; the EU could become more centralised with Germany at its heart dictating to others economic or trade policy ; the EU could continue to decline in relative economic terms but desire to spend more ; migrants presently in the EU and Germany in particular could end upon the UK in due course ; our contributions could continue to rise without the UK having any control over the size of them and not much influence as to how they are spent ; Our trade with the EU may continue to decline compared to the rest of the world ; the EU could fail to get control if its external borders thus exacerbating the current migration crisis ; the EU could introduce further damaging or discriminatory regulations ; the EU could decide to erect tariff walls to keep out competition [ thus raising prices ] ; the EU could create its own army but fail to use it ; the EU could create its own foreign policy and dilute those of nation states ; the EU could demand a seat at the UN security Council and eject Britain ; the EU could decide it wants to become non nuclear [ power stations or bombs ]….etc etc . Add your own ideas …..

      I don’t know if these things will all happen , some probably wont but some are more likely to than not , and that is a HUGE risk, as most of the above would arguably be damaging to our national interest. If we leave there would be uncertainties but we would be able to trade freely with the EU as others do and have more control over our own future/.

    • Wiz

      Great post. I love your point about the best interests of France and Italy and Spain being dissimilar from those of Germany and Holland. And why would the majority of states in the EU want to cut a generous deal with the UK when we would simultaneously be whingeing about immigration and wanting an exemption from that too?

      • Michael

        Why would the majority of states in the EU want to cut a generous deal with us ? Maybe our big trade deficit with the EU would have something to do with it lol.

  • davidshort10

    Excellent article.

  • Sean_OHare

    So are you advocating that we should become Associate Members or not? If so why do you also appear to be advocating Brexit? The two are completely incompatible.

    • Hertslass

      Don’t think he is arguing Associate Membership. Note the words “across the entire globe”. Doesn’t fit in well with the naval contemplating EU machine.

  • sebastian2

    “change-aversion is deep in our genome,”. But “change” is what we’ve had thrust upon us, incrementally over years by foolish self-serving politicians and eager well-heeled and well-fed bureaucrats. It’s not working for us.

    So …………. we ditch the “change” and return to the tried and tested. Our sovereignty and our freely chosen links with our friends and allies across the entire globe.

    • janetjH

      I don’t believe that staying would avoid all future change in the EU.

      Remember the Treaty obligation “ever closer union”
      Remember the proposal for a European Army to keep turbulent provinces under control.
      Remember the Treaty obligation that ALL members of the EU will join the Euro by 2025.

      Verbal promises from various deceitful politicians that any of the above won’t happen to the UK are just that —verbal promises from a politician.

      Think very carefully before you vote “remain”, the EU is a project in progress, and it isn’t progressing in the direction that Britain wants or needs!

      • pigly

        Indeed! Remember the film where the man says ‘I am a politician therefore I am a liar and a cheat’. Pretty accurate I would say and most would agree. Heath should have been shot as a traitor. His head should be on a spike at Tyburn as an example to all others who would sell our country’s soul for their own ambitions. Kinnock and family come to mind. Now we have Cameron – make what you will of him but ‘selling your grandmother for a brass farthing’ comes to mind. Is there a politician in the wings who would act on behalf of his country rather than himself? Well I would rather trust Mr Hannan!!!

      • sebastian2

        I have no intention whatsoever of voting to remain.

  • Lady Magdalene

    We were forced to change from an independent, Sovereign democracy to a subservient statelet in the EU by the Establishment, who had no mandate to do it.
    What would BREXIT look like?

    • iMutti

      I apologise in advance for being the only Ds advocate today but your and Mr Hannan’s argument is entirely inconclusive.
      Partaking in a free trade deal of any kind with the EU requires free movement of labour (see Iceland, Switzerland, Norway), a key reason cited in both your arguments for leaving. So what you are advocating does not deliver the required outcome. Why advocate it then? It is, of course, entirely indicative of the disarray the Leave campaigners are really in.

      • liberalunionist

        Where does the comment you’re responding to cite free movement of labour as a reason for leaving? Furthermore, if “Partaking in a free trade deal of any kind with the EU requires the implementation of free movement of labour” then where is this included in the draft agreements with (let’s say) Singapore, South Korea or the TTIP?

        The more fundamental answer to your question, of course, is that the required outcome is one where Britain makes the decisions. We first decide to move to the Norway option, and to continue to trade membership of the EEA for freedom of movement (though with the ’emergency brake’ option in case it causes significant disruption). We are then free to choose to continue that arrangement, or to seek an alternative that better suits us. Either way, the decision that’s taken is one that’s in British interests and not EU ones.

        • Wiz

          The giveaway in that contribution is your use of the term ‘trade’ in the phrase ‘trade membership of the EEA …’ The decision to disengage from such a valuable source of national security as the EU is one that proceeds slowly, in your ideal world, rather than swiftly. And at each stage we trade away a real and tangible benefit in return for an illusory sense of self-orientation. We’ll be naked on our island in the North Atlantic, perishingly cold and miserable, barely able to afford our welfare state and with every incentive to sell off the NHS to America, but we’ll Have Our Country Back. Right, got it.

          • liberalunionist

            ‘Valuable source of national security’? Are you perhaps confusing the EU with NATO, Interpol, or the Five Eyes agreement? This is the EU, remember, which is still trying to work out how to support France. Just as important as making our own rules will be the power to sign trade agreements (full or partial scope) with the many other countries outside Europe with which we do business; the power to set our own farming and fisheries policy; the power to pursue a foreign policy orientated towards our own goals rather than Europe’s; the power to influence global trade rules instead of accepting them as they filter to us through the EU.

            If the benefits of the EU were ‘real and tangible’, Remain wouldn’t talk vaguely about ‘influence’ and ‘seats at the top table’. As things stand, we’d have more influence and be just as secure as a member of the EEA as we are in the EU.

          • Wiz

            With no influence with the EU or with the US. For no benefit – except illusory ‘Getting Our Country Back’ ones.

          • Jingleballix

            Wiz……….you’re either dumb……..or cognitively dissonant.

            Either way, you are spectacularly wrong…………the EU has no role in keeping ‘peace’ in Europe……….in fact, the longer it exists, the greater the danger of conflict.

            Did you know that the EU was ‘expansionist’……..it wants to expand its empire. That’s what all the awful bother in Ukraine was about…….the EU want Ukraine and its water and agricultural capacity to help water and feed another 100,000m Europeans that they have got planned for the continent.

          • Wiz

            The EU was formed to make impossible a war within Europe. That is still true, despite the increasing stresses and strains, which can and ought to be cured. If the EU ceased existing, we would be back to the old days, just as we are going back to the Thirties. That would be criminally irresponsbile.
            Ukraine, incidentally, is about Ukrainians (rather than Russians) wanting to be part of Europe and not the Russian empire. This is really terrifying to Putin, who doesn’t like the idea of his empire being whittled away. If the EU ceased to exist, there would be the real prospect of Greece making a deal with Russia. Greece would get loans and liquidity from Russia, and Russia would get a direct pipeline for its gas.
            Your use of the word ‘dumb’ suggests to me you are American, and without a good understanding of foreign affairs.

          • jbat001

            Sure…..because democracy doesn’t matter at all, does it!

            The only acceptable solution is that our elected representatives make our laws. Unless the UK public vote to join a federal Europe, Westminster MUST have primacy. Anything else is unacceptable.

          • big

            the uk will never have an independent foreign policy because its ruled by the usa, so is the eu. the uk is a neoliberal project, so is the eu, so is the usa,they all support ttip, along with all the major euro big corporations and usa equivalents ,westphalian sovereienty is dead, its effectively a barrier to trade the, wto enforce this globally.the uk will not get a better deal inside or outside the eu simply because the uk and global élite all want the same thing,ie they support a neoliberal global economic project. we are living in an “us and them world” and its “them”who are winning eg ; warren buffet, class warfare, the rich and how they are winning.so my advice ,stop blathering about getting our sovereign place in the world restored,trade , norway, or any other crap,because its not going to happen even if the referendum is won by the out side.

          • Kevanch

            You have a strange view of history. Britain has gone to the rescue of Europe twice now in two catastrophic world conflicts. NATO keeps the peace and did so throughout the Cold War and will do so again as relations with Russia continue to chill. NATO has more countries in it than the EU and it is to NATO that nervous countries turn. Who got it off the ground? Field Marshal Montgomery, a Brit. Who obstructed him at every turn? General de Lattre de Tasigny, a Frenchman. Nothing much changes.

            We will be naked on our island….really? We are a nuclear power, spend more on defence than other members of NATO except the States and are the 6th biggest economy on the planet. The EU contributes NOTHING to our security – quite the reverse. Look at the migrant situation. 1 million already and another 40 dead today. In amongst them are ISIL fighters. ISIL has said it will be infiltrating the refugee stream. There is no reason to suppose they are lying.

            The best that the EU has come up with is to reintroduce national borders which will merely inconvenience the migrants. It will not take them long to find a path over the hills. If they cannot be contained on the beaches and suitably processed, all is lost. In this the EU has utterly failed, partly because it has made no effort to even get started. Finally, even the EU is openly admitting that if something is not done very quickly, there will be a crisis. Well, that crisis is here and has been for some time.

            Barely able to afford our welfare state? It costs us around £10 billion pa in cold hard cash to be a member of this thing, for which we get nothing. What money we do get back is match funded, so capital projects cost 2.5 times what they should and it is the EU that decides what gets done in the UK not us.

            To suggest we are going to sell the NHS to the US is the dribbling blathering of utter insanity. TTIP is the secretive deal that the EU is working on and nobody is allowed to know what it is all about until it gets rolled out. Just like all the other stuff that is foisted on us.

            Several countries rejected the EU constitution so it was simply put inside a different cover and imposed anyway. Even the French did not want it and they love the EU.

          • Wiz

            You seem to think military clubs are a guarantee of security. They are not. It is the ability to stand up to bullies that is the guarantee of security. This is the fundamental reason why I want to stay in the EU. As regards your remarks about ISIL, you conflate and confuse two different things – migrants fleeing in terror, and willing to risk death in doing so, and ISIL terrorists. They are obviously not the same thing. The Paris terrorists were all EU residents. You say that we get nothing for our membership of the EU. But you aren’t counting the things I regard as most important, and upon which you put a value of nothing. You’re a paranoid fool.

          • Kevanch

            And if the bully is bigger than you? As President Truman so aptly pointed out, speak softly and carry a big stick.

            NATO has kept the peace, at least in terms of a European fight, since the war and at a time when communist countries were on the acquisition trail by any means.

            ISIL has clearly stated that it will be streaming in fighters among the migrants. Do you disbelieve this? ISIL tends to keep its promises as Christian aid workers like Alan Henning discovered.

            How do you explain the reports of migrant Christians being thrown overboard by Muslims in the boats? They have no papers. We do not know where they come from. They can say pretty much anything and totally swamped local officials will take it as gospel.

            You are right about Paris. They are all dead now. Where are the replacements? Who masterminded it all? I do not know. Do you?

            You regard the EU as a source of national security. None of them spend what we do on defence. The US has long been moaning about how it is doing all the heavy lifting with defence. We are cutting like crazy and are still the biggest spenders. You utterly fail to understand NATO.

            NATO is a club of nations who will come to one another’s defence if attacked. Thus far, that has proved an extraordinarily effective way of dealing with bullies. But if the EU gets rid of the Yanks and relies on an EU army, that will be a very different matter.

            The EU has a shiny new border force of 2,500, which looks like a decent start until one discovers that 1,000 of them are in admin. This lot have the right to go into any EU country on the say so of a eurocrat and take over its borders. This used to be called invading but I am sure that there is a suitably obscure PC euroword to hide the reality.

            Your best sentence is the last one. Because you have no valid arguments beyond vague assertions at odds with the facts, you accuse me of being a paranoid fool. As soon as a debate sinks to personal abuse, it is obvious who has the better case.

          • Wiz

            Erm, ‘the dribbling blathering of utter insanity’ is what you said. To me, actually. So it must be me with the better case. All my assertions are based on fact, and when talking about the future and the prospects for security and prosperity we can only fire assertions at one another. You said ‘if the EU gets rid of the Yanks and relies on an EU army, that will be a very different matter’, but you keep on, time and time again, confusing military accountability with national security. Whose army, exactly, would have successfully stopped the Paris terrorists? And what good was the biggest army in the world on 9/11? These are valid arguments, and are based on fact.

      • Kevanch

        Free trade does not involve free movement of people. The EU has free trade agreements with around a third of the countries in the world (but not India, something it has been fiddling about with for 9 years now) and that does not involve free movement of their citizens. Free movement only applies within the EU. If you think that the 300,000 + pa migrants is a problem, wait until Turkey gets in. It has 90 million people with a lower standard of living than Romania and Bulgaria.

        Equally, to suggest that we will suddenly not be able to travel to EU countries if we leave is quite disgraceful. We could freely travel (ie no visa) before the Single Market and there is no reason to suppose that this will change.

      • BARROSO

        Utter nonsense. The E.U. has free trade arrangements with something like forty countries without having free movement with the vast majority of them. Amazing how Europhiles simply can’t come up with a single honest argument

        • iMutti

          Iceland, Norway and Switzerland run free movement of labour agreements with the rest of the EU.

          Can Britain be like Iceland. The answer is NO.
          Can Britain be like Switzerland. The answer is NO.
          Can Britain be like Norway. The answer is NO.
          Both in the eyes of philes and ‘sceptics’ who are clearly completely out of their depth.

          • BARROSO

            Yea what about the other forty odd countries that have free trade agreements and no freedom of movement. The only way you Euro filth can argue is through lies. Pathetic

    • Suzy61

      ‘statelet’… very good 🙂

  • 3 paras in. Your facts are wrong. “Change aversion is deep in our genome”?? That is what we would like to believe – now – because it fits the rapidly shifting modus operandi concerning immigration.

    But, sadly, the exact opposite has been true and that is where the rot began. The UK’s “flexibility” has been the chant of successive PMs for the last couple of decades – until it went belly up. It was the reason – apparently – why the UK (according to Cameron et al) had trumped other failing European countries with trade success, particularly in deregulated financial services (and we know what happened there). It was the reason (excuse) for the removal of trade unions, closure of historic manufacturing industries, privatisation etc etc. without feeling any need to fill the vacuum for those communities. Add to that the UK’s rapid absorption of American consumerism – way ahead of European countries. And there you have all the evidence of a country devoid of aversion to change.
    Ironically, it was other European countries such as France, regularly maligned by UK leaders, that were failing because they were “change averse”.

    Your article seems to believe that the solution to all our current woes is to be found in “wealth” creation – that would continue to be for the 1% only, I assume. When in fact it is precisely that which is creating a crisis on so many fronts – unaffordable housing, overpopulated South East etc. Until we create an economic system which fundamentally believes in narrowing the gap – globally – then things are set to get progressively worse – very rapidly – in or out of Europe.

    As EF Schumacher said over half a century ago; “Any economic system that supports the rich man getting richer whilst the poor get poorer is a system that has failed.”

    • Feanor

      central banks. state power handing our privilages, taxing away people’s fruits of labour – part-slavery is what it is. you want the state to increase their power – something that is creating the problems you mentioned. you want hard working people to be forced to give their money to ”historic” manufactirung that was obsolete and worthless, loss making. you should support free markets, free from the state power and markets of free people freely arranging their economic affairs. but you won’t because you live in a bubble of more state power, more slavery as a remedy. sick

    • GTE

      The problem isn’t wealth creation.

      The problem is wealth destruction by the state.

      Mr Median’s NI comes to £5,008 this year. Someone who has just retired will have paid in 47 lots of that in value terms. They have been shafted because they get no wealth from that. The state has spent the lot. Instead they get a bit of state pension and a massive debt that the state has hidden off the books.

      So you have got it completely wrong when you attributed the wealth gap to the rich. The problem is the state and its ponzi fraud.

      Bit my guess is you want more take from the state. More redistribution which is what the welfare state has done. More dependency.

      The end result, more inequality.

      • mikewaller

        Don’t blame the State, blame democracy! The debt has arisen as a result of the politicians making unsustainable promises to buy votes. Figures I have seen suggest that the lower 60% of taxpayers take more out of the system than they put in. Pensions are a case in point. Because they are funded from current taxation, today’s pensioners only paid enough to support a generation that died far earlier than they are likely to do. Ergo, they have “put in” no where near enough to cover what they can expect, on average, to take out. But you have to be very brave to tell them!

        • Flash_Harry1

          See those low paid workers who paid their dues for almost 50 years, ‘ I have seen suggest that the lower 60% of taxpayers take more out of the system than they put in.’ Usually they’ve done work which by age 60-65 has them suffering incapacity and quite often many don’t make it past 3 score years and ten, thats 3 years at a hundred quid a week at our new pension age. Not all of us have spent a life pen pushing and will live to a ripe old age, something the clowns ruling over us all should have considered before moving the already distant goalpost of retirement age. All of my own work has been physically demanding from mining aged 15 with a succession of graft since fool tories dismantled British industry, 60 now and crippled with arthritis, possibly no chance of getting back even a portion of what I paid in, then having somebody very brave telling me my stolen pension funds weren’t sufficient I’m supposed to accept that, tell you what send him round. Bravery by the way is the wrong word, ‘idiot’ is the one you’re looking for.

        • Kevanch

          Politicians buying votes is indeed a huge problem. People do not like having nice things removed. The whole idea of in work benefits is no more than the state subsidising business.

          Our pension system is in much better shape than the rest of the EU, which is not saying much. Just be thankful you are not a Greek pensioner!

      • Zorander

        “They have been shafted because they get no wealth from [national insurance contributions]. The state has spent the lot. Instead they get a bit of state pension and a massive debt that the state has hidden off the books.”

        And the NHS, of course. You may not consider that to be wealth, but I’d suggest that’s because you have an especially perverted set of values.

        “So you have got it completely wrong when you attributed the wealth gap to the rich. The problem is the state and its ponzi fraud.

        “Bit my guess is you want more take from the state. More redistribution which is what the welfare state has done. More dependency.

        “The end result, more inequality.”

        This is so manifestly absurd that you can’t seriously believe it. Inequality has risen dramatically in this country at a time when welfare has been cut back, and inequality declined following the post-war creation of the welfare state.

        What is it, something like 62 people now own half of the world’s “wealth”, and you think that’s a result of redistribution via the welfare state? That it’s delusional is the kindest thing I can say about such thinking.

        • Tom M

          “….something like 62 people now own half of the world’s “wealth”….”
          Convenient left wing war cry. It has always been thus, ever since the beginning of time. One of the war cries of the French Revolution was that 200 people owned France. Not much different today I imagine.
          Whilst I would agree that there is something very wrong with the last round of ups and downs of our capitalist economy whereby few of those responsible thought it necessary to throw themselves of tall buildings. I don’t mind that people can become rich but they must be allowed to fail also.
          I wouldn’t condemn the whole idea because of recent bad practice though. In the whole of recorded history the only system to lift so many people out of poverty has been capitalism. There is no denying that.
          That our wealth, generated by all levels of society, has been grossly misused by Government is more likely to be correct than blaming individuals.

        • Johnnydub

          Yes and the rise of the uber-rich tallies very neatly with the growth of the state. Classic corporatism in other words. Your answer? More state.

      • I suggest you read Schumacher.

        He makes the case that both capitalism and socialism have failed people. Capitalism as set out above. But socialism too because it makes the assumption that everyone wants to aspire – when all clearly do not. What is called for is a broader “middle way”. But the situation we currently have is a long way from that.

        The US holds up its list of billionaires as a success story – people who have more money than they can spend in a lifetime, who are doing little to reinvest in people, depleting the “capital” – the environment, stripping forests, polluting the seas etc. Meanwhile those in roles such as nursing have little merit “apparently” in the rules of today’s society and are treated accordingly by the super rich. Whilst celebrity talent – derived from the US – is lauded.

        There is little investment in sustainability and more going into the pockets of already seriously wealthy people – banking just one example. Much of that wealth is gained through “playing the markets” – a more benign way of saying “exploiting the vulnerable”. We have to get past wealth being seen as the only measure of a successfully, and more importantly, morally functioning society.

        The current crisis is rapidly becoming biblical/prophetic, created directly as a result of extremes. It is clearly a moral lesson. I’m just amazed that others don’t see this.

        • Kevanch

          Where celebs are talented, consumers buy their products. We go to the cinema, watch the football, tennis and golf matches, buy the clothes etc. etc. We, the consumers, make them. Without us buying or watching of our own free will, they would be nothing.

          That said, I have no idea how Big Brother fits into this, but then there are some easily impressed people out there; quite a few of them it would seem.

    • Johnnydub

      Barring the US and the headcase that is RBS the worst bank in Europe for utter wealth destruction was Deutsche Bank.

      Read a book or two about the sales of CDO’s in the states. Every time they had some really crappy stuff to sell, they punted it into Deutsche Bank.

      Have you read their latest results? 7Bn Loss in the quarter. And how much exposure to frankly toxic European state and corporate debt?

    • Kevanch

      It is all relative. Years ago, the poor were genuinely hungry. Now they are obese. Curbing the trade unions was essential because they were grossly abusing their power.

      Well run unions work well with well run companies and the two should sensibly co-exist as checks and balances. Invariably, the initiative will tilt backwards and forwards over time but while introducing proper democracy into unions was long overdue, I am unimpressed at the endless union bashing, such as the new idea that a majority must vote for a decision to be binding.

      In most UK elections, the electorate do not bother to vote, but the result is still binding. Level playing field please.

  • seangrainger

    Norway and Der Schweiz have several things in common — fantastic downhill ski racers like Didier Cuche Pirmin Zurbriggen (just destroyed the sheet ice on the top section of Calgary innit) and Aksel Lund Svindal gorgeous girls but above all SMALL populations. Both would fit into Livingstone’s people’s GLC republic. Your case may still be valid but you have to start from somewhere else guv.

    • Kevanch

      That is the whole point. Iceland has a population of some 350,000 and can sort out a free trade deal with China. If a third of Birmingham can do it, I am damn sure the 6th biggest economy in the world can do it.

      Btw, it is die Schweiz unless it is the object of the sentence. Just thought I would mention it 🙂

  • UnionPacificRX

    Yes it could be good for Britain. If Great Britain breaks of from the EU then the EU will be flying the Islamic flag while Great Britain flies the “Union Jack”

  • The eu flag used above perfectly declares several problems with the european union;
    1/ disparate economies of eu28.
    2/ disparate societies of eu28.
    3/ disparate intentions of eu28.
    4/ disparate governments of eu28.
    5/ disparate trading profiles of eu28.
    6/ that a post-brexit eu flag should show a drastically reduced radius of much duller stars.

    • Kevanch

      When I bought my car, I wrote into the contract that I would refuse delivery if the plates had that silly, dreary flag. That caused a bit of a stir, but now I proudly fly the Union Flag.

      Incidentally, a Frenchman asked Cameron if he felt European and he had to mumble some nonsense. I have travelled all over Europe and have never, ever heard a national describe themselves as a European. They are proud nationals of their own country and so they should be.

  • mikewaller

    Claiming that the UK is like Norway and Switzerland is ludicrous. Both of them have huge piles of money we just have a huge pile of debt. With Norway, it has been the oil reserves which are huge in relation to its population and with Switzerland it is a combination of financial services, the production of goods of high intrinsic worth by an exceptionally skilled workforce and neutrality. We simply cannot make our economy like theirs and therefore being outside the EU would entail far more risks for us. Maintaining our comparatively high standard of living as voters will increasingly demand, will entail protectionism of some form or another, and the EU is by far the best trade bloc available to us.

    • redbear22222

      … but we have something neither Norway or Switzerland have, which is the opportunity to re-engage in close trade with the ready-made commonwealth /north america trading networks, including (but not limited to) Australia, the US, Singapore, India, Hong Kong, Canada and New Zealand, linking into all the networks of free trade zones that these countries already have with the rest of S-E Asia, and central and south america, ranging from CER to NAFTA to the TPPA, and free trade agreements with the likes of Korea and China.

      The UK would be welcomed into these arrangements, given the UK is a large open and like-minded economy. And these regions have dynamic growth rates, unlike the sclerotic, Euro-impeded and highly protectionist EU. The EU is unable to have meaningful trade agreements with these regions because it remains fundamentally so protectionist (for example, the “free trade” agreements the EU is currently negotiating with Australia and NZ are viewed as something of a joke by the media in those countries, because the EU has insisted they exclude any meaningful concessions on agriculture, which is the lifeblood of those two economies).

      • Kevanch

        Let us also not forget a common language, similar culture and legal systems. And India. That is a country of a billion souls that are all trying hard to trade up. The EU has been 9 years and counting sorting out a trade deal. Nothing like a sense of urgency to hurry things along.

      • mikewaller

        I have already answered this in reply to someone else. First, I do not believe that the UK could withstand exposure to a totally free market without a massive decline in living standards, a huge rise in unemployment and the near total abandonment of those for whom such a market would have no economically viable place. Second, if you think the French (or whoever) are dodgy bastards when it comes to economic fair play, try the Yanks! Democracies respond to voter pressure, not the principles of economics. The mere whiff of a voter rebellion on the effect of oversea’s competition on the US steel industry had Geo W. building a neat little protectionist wall right round it.

        For all its limitations, the EU does have generally agreed rules of conduct; the world you envisage doesn’t! Independent sole traders could soon find every door shut in their faces as we move into an era when the World can produce far. far more things than its aggregated income can possibly purchase. “We either hang together or hang separately”.

    • rtj1211

      How will staying in the EU help us deal with the huge pile of debt?

      • Johnnydub

        Well leaving would stop them bleeding us dry with contributions and tying our economy up is useless rules just off the top of my head.

    • Tom M

      You sound like you are making the case to present the EU as a sort of Social Security for failing countries.

      • mikewaller

        Can you think of any other way in which we can maintain a standard of living totally out of kilter with most of the rest of the World (in 2012, £15,000 p.a. was said to put an individual in the top 4% of wage earners!) when we no longer have the technological edge to justify it? When I was a boy the rest of the World supplied the raw materials and folks like us produced the manufactured goods. That simple dichotomy has long since gone and if we stepped out into a fully free trade world we would experience exactly what economists of all stripes predict: the ablest amongst us would do brilliantly; the great mass would have their standard of living driven down to the mean of any group in which we found ourselves and the least able would face economic destruction. Sadly, in the UK the third category is sizeable and has largely proved no contest to immigrants. Of course, the same process would be going on within all the other participants and amongst the democracies the consequence would be an irresistible pressure towards protectionism. An early example of this was Geo. W Bush’s reaction to the US steel industry coming under pressure from much more efficiently produced foreign imposts: all the free trade rhetoric was abandoned in favour of protectionism. The key difference between being in such a group of nations and being in the EU is that the latter is subject to common rules and regulations. It may be sclerotic, inefficient and beset by corruption but of the holes available to a poor old post-imperial has-been like ourselves which has already sold of the family silver and racked up a massive debt tall to maintain a standard of living we do not in aggregate deserve, it is by far the best one for us.

        • Tom M

          What you are saying Mike is that in the UK we are living beyond our means. I agree. If we are correct in that assumption then staying in the EU and using it as our national social security office only puts off the evil hour. They suffer from the same problem as we do or much worse.
          Protectionism doesn’t work in the long run. Of course I accept if we adopted protectionism there would be a lot of people with no money to live on for a long period whilst we proved the theory.
          I think that for the long term survival of the UK we have to meet the world on the terms that prevail. If that means bringing back low cost manufacturing to the UK with attendant lowering of living standards then that’s where we must go. The population must be provided with a means to make a living.
          Being part of an empire such as the EU will just slow any remedial action to a halt or worse because historically empires never downsize willingly they cling on till the last gasp.
          What we cannot do is have politicians keep borrowing money to prop up a lifestyle that cannot continue to exist. I hear regularly from the left, on such as QT, “…..Britain is a rich country…..”. How they can even begin to say that is a mystery to me when our income is considerably less than our expenditure and it seems beyond the wit or wish of any Government to reverse that.
          It is more than likely that another recession will happen long before we have paid this one off. What then? Keep borrowing?
          Fortunately it’s probably a case that some form of herd protection prevails because all countries in the West are in the same state.

          • mikewaller

            The late Simon Hoggart presented a brilliant series on TV called “The Hollow State” just before the 1997 election. In it, an American economist had this to say about the realities of globalisation: “If you are David Beckham you can virtually write your own pay-check; but if you are just a coolie, then you are only going to get coolie wages”. To me, that is inevitable if we go it alone. As I said in reply to somebody else, in 2012 an income of £15,000 was said to place the recipient in the top 4% of global wage earners. Start factoring that into the political realities of the UK now and you might as well usher Corbyn into No.10 today.

            It was always said of the US that its great strength was that it worse came to the worst, it could virtually shut up shop and simply trade within its own borders; and this I suspect it will increasingly turn to as democratic pressures respond to the effects of globalisation eating up more and more American jobs. Ever since its population got past,say, 15 million, the UK has never had the shut up shop option but in the context of the EU we could have. It therefore seems to me insane to get out now. That said, I am fully aware of the huge risks inherent in the enormous frustration that would be created within emerging nations who, having collectively built up a new workforce of about a billion industrial workers, find the most lucrative markets becoming increasingly closed to them. But against the above scenario, what else can we do?

  • Pioneer

    Exit is imperative.

  • voidist

    BUT e,u does not exist now does it…? a mass of land that can be invaded by arab hordes at will

    cant surley be called a state can it ?

  • Happy65

    Regaining sovereignty, democracy, retention of ‘British’ values are top of the list for BREXIT…

    ….but equally important… I don’t want millions of Sharia brainwashed migrants with German/Swedish/Belgian… passports wandering into Britain in a few years time having been EU naturalised.

    The suffragettes are turning in their graves,

  • Mike777

    Whatever your views on the sclerotic, inward-looking, anti-democratic, unaccountable, bureaucratic, stagnating bloc our politicians wish us to succumb to, the vote is ever so simple:
    VOTE LEAVE – to leave
    VOTE LEAVE – to put a rocket up Juncker, Tusk, Merkel and the other EU leaders who are far too pre-occupied with their economies and migration to take our renegotiation seriously. Brussels didn’t accept the Danish and Irish referendum votes so changed their tune and asked them to have another go, they don’t take no for an answer. Then at least they’ll have to either accept our demands in some mealy-mouthed way to prevent other North European countries following suit or let us go and lose our huge contributions.

  • sayajp

    There will be a catastrophic economic collapse when we get to the year 2000 and computers malfunction. We will all be poisoned by BSE and salmonella in eggs. We must join the Euro or we will go bankrupt. And if we leave the EU, people will have to eat kittens or starve!

    • starfish

      We will all be eaten by mutant Star Goats

    • Kevanch

      Quite. We are a powerful economy and a highly respected player on the world stage as we have been for an extremely long time. I think we will cope outside the EU.

  • Garnet Thesiger

    The quicker we get the chance to vote out, the better, whilst the horrors of Cologne etc are still fresh in peoples mind’s…

    • Mike777

      and not just Cologne, what about Rotherham, Rochdale, ….?

    • bramhall

      We have our own worse horrors than Cologne and an anti EU establishment which seeks to flood the country (as has happened) with as many impoverished people from the poorer countries of Asia and Africa as possible. Those against the EU are quite happy with mass immigration from the third world, simply because it is not immigration from the EU, even though most of the non EU immigrants are from completely different and in some cases incompatible cultural backgrounds.
      Non EU immigration is nothing to do with the EU and is entirely under the control of British governments, who have done nothing to limit the flow over the last 10 or 15 years. Why is this so when there are more non EU immigrants than from the whole of the EU, and once one has arrived, in a relatively short time the whole extended family arrives?

      • 9sqn

        I most certainly am not happy with non-EU immigration and I know of no-one that is. This does not translate to my being happy with EU migration either. But at least I don’t see thousands of Polish sitting in doorways off their heads in Khat, or demanding yet another mosque or forcing our schools to use halal. But how many EU immigrants are only EU by virtue of residency and actually hail from Africa and Asia. I believe there are no figures for this – at least publicly available anyway. If we vote IN, just wait another 3 or 4 years when this latest Cologne / Berlin / Stokholm crowd are free to come here. God .. or more likely Allah, help us.

      • Kevanch

        We can control non EU immigration and we do, albeit rather feebly. Getting across the border is one thing, but once in, papers are lost which makes repatriation virtually impossible, so they are let go. They are found working on the black economy, stuffed into unhygienic rooms. When found, they lie about their papers or sometimes have forged papers. They are arrested, told they are very naughty and left to report. Funnily enough, they vanish again. Now who would have guessed? Once an illegal is found, they should be interned pending repatriation with no possibility of ever coming back at all under any circumstances.

        We reward illegal behaviour and condemn good behaviour. Yes, you will get away with it for a while but when you are caught, you will be locked up and deported. Family members will be fully investigated and anything dodgy will see them kicked out too. That would include harbouring illegals, criminal activity that is obviously criminal – theft, fraud and repeat offenders for pretty much anything.

        If we are going to welcome people into our country they must recognise that it is our country and culture and while we are broad minded, there is a limit. If that does not suit them, they have the rest of the world to choose from. If they want to stay here, they will behave ad to be fair, most do.

        However, we can do nothing about those from the EU. This is why we have to build 250,000 new dwellings every year to cope with the homeless. Are there really a quarter of a million homeless every year?

  • Winstanley66

    Norway didn’t give away all their oil money and commit industrial hari-kiri.

  • pigly

    Now what no one seems to be mentioning is that VAT will be introduced on FOOD if we stay in because of the intention to harmonise tax rates throughout the EU. The minute our referendum is over, they’ve got us … and it will start immediately. Are you looking forward to paying 20% more for your food bill each week? Then traders will add a bit more because it is human nature, so I guess if we stay in you can expect 25% more on your housekeeping, but you will get slimmer because you won’t be able to afford to eat so much! . NOW WILL YOU VOTE FOR BREXIT?

    • Wiz

      I can’t see there is a single country in the EU which taxes food and drink routinely. There are sensible countries in the EU that tax sugary and fatty foods. I would be quite happy with such taxes. Who wouldn’t? NOW WILL YOU VOTE TO STAY IN?

      • Wessex Man

        it’s OK I get it I get it you are flipkipper in yet another personna

      • 9sqn

        No, not on your socialist nelly.


      Even if this is not true it might be a good downright lie that could frighten the less well educated into finally voting for exit , we need something ,as the collaborators will have unlimited funds at their disposal.
      If this is repeated often enough Cameron will eventually be forced to deny it , which in itself, with his reputation, will cause scepticism .

      • Conway

        Tax harmonisation is not a lie. It is a goal. France already has VAT on books and the UK has introduced it on ebooks. There is already VAT on some foods here. It is but a short step to say, there are anomalies, we should simplify the system. That would be the green light for tax on all foods (and children’s clothes – another anomaly with the continent).

  • Wiz

    If we voted to leave, the Tories would be terrified of what Farage would do to them if they tried to say ‘Right, now do you believe we’re serious? Let’s have a completely novel and revolutionary deal.’ Also I can’t believe that the likes of Daniel Hannan would be saying a vote to leave would simply be an invitation to go back to Brussels and have another go. The truth is that the EU represents a very sensible institution to be part of at a time when the capitalist system is going up in flames. In some ways it’s very accommodating of them to allow us to be part of their club when we have the City of London being such a protagonist in all the appalling capitalist scams that have been taking place.

    But the clincher, when it comes to staying in, is this: We need to be in the EU to keep the Yanks at bay. Very little else matters.

    By the way, wouldn’t you have expected this article to have said something about the free movement of peoples? How would a Norwegian or Swiss deal help with that?

    • John Andrews

      The EU is a sensible institution! Compared to what? The UK parliament? Nigeria?

      • Wiz

        Compared to you.

    • Wessex Man

      oh dear.

    • Bob Schweizer

      ‘..to keep the Yanks at bay.’? You mean like during WWII?

      • Wiz

        Hi Bob! Bet you could put a few Brits right on the way down to FLA! The Americans joined the war, by the way, to protect themselves after Pearl Harbor, and when the Battle of Britain had already been won. Are you trying to say the American war effort was down to philanthropy? What’s this got to do with TTIP?

    • Johnnydub

      “to keep the Yanks at bay” – this is moronic to say the least. The US are one of the globe’s leading cheerleaders for the EU.

      • Wiz

        Yes, they are. They want us to stay in the EU, because they know that nobody else has such a supple knee (copyright W. Shakespeare) when in the presence of the POTUS. And the UK in the EU means a great ramp to go thugging into Brussels. But leaving the EU will simply mean the UK can be duffed up without a thought.

        • Kevanch

          Just like it is at the moment. We are totally ignored.

    • Kevanch

      Keep the Yanks at bay? TTIP is looking to do the exact reverse. Mind you, without the Yanks, NATO would be a husk and the virtually defenceless.

      The bankers have behaved very badly and have been looked at very carefully. Perhaps not carefully enough, I grant you. But what about the EU, this sensible institution?

      Would this be the sober, sensible, careful institution that has not had its accounts signed off by the EU Court of Auditors for 20 years? Not any old accountants please note, but a court. While everybody is suffering austerity and cutting back wherever possible, the EU continues to demand budget increases! It is sensitive too! I am sure that the EU would never employ an accountant to sort out the accounts and then deliberately sabotage the implementation of a joined up system. Marta Andriessen would put you right on that one. Furthermore, all the software and licences had been bought and paid for so everything was ready to go except the eurocrat will. But there is good news. This was 14 years ago and nothing has changed. The EU does not do urgency or speed.

      The Irish voted against the EU constitution, as did the French and Dutch (darling slippery, multi millionaire, top socialist Tone never gave us the option) but it was simply re-badged as Lisbon and banged through anyway. Keep behaving like that and people will get cross. It is merely a matter of when.

      • Wiz

        The EU is a sensible institution to be part of at a time when the capitalist system is going up in flames. That’s what I meant, and that’s what I said. To talk about auditors is to miss the big picture. The EU is not especially democratic, and it is not the full transfer union it needs to be, and it is obviously not working at the moment, and the Euro, despite its robustness in value terms, plainly needs urgent reform, and the Germans need to allow the Greeks debt forgiveness, and a million other things. But you’d be mad to leave. As regards getting cross, I shall leave that to the outers. They are seriously angry all the time, and eventually they will realise it is with themselves.

        • Kevanch

          I know what you said and I totally disagree. You appear to think having no valid accounts for 20 years is a minor matter. Most people would beg to differ.

          The EU is not especially democratic. It is not at all democratic and has never really pretended to be. The parliament is window dressing. The EU will only every reform if the unelected eurocrats accept that the whole premise of the thing is flawed from top to bottom. This will never, ever happen. Well, not until the whole thing is broken and Europe destitute.

          The euro can never work. The rules laid down at the outset have all been broken. Debt ratios, bailouts, the lot. Furthermore, unless there is full fiscal union, the euro is doomed. Full fiscal union means giving up sovereignty lock, stock and barrel. There is no other way.

          The Greeks have gone bankrupt several times before. They are getting a quite good at it, except this time they are not being allowed to fail until the tension builds to a point where there is a massive, seismic shift taking in Europe and indeed the world.

          No part of the EU is working. It cannot. But it will continue on its integrationist path, gradually whittling away the sovereignty of nations until southern Europe wakes up to having its borders policed by the EU and the EU deciding who comes and goes. Even if that happens, the system will probably still collapse.

          Look at the USSR. Central planning and total chaos. By they were commies, so if that falls over, who cares? But the EU is the West and if that falls over………

          I am not cross. Well not until the next piece of underhand chicanery is handed down anyway. No, the poor sods left in the thing being bled dry on the one hand and prevented from earning a living on the other. They are the ones who will get cross.

          • Wiz

            To my surprise I agree with a lot of your reflections on the Euro. There are very few examples of federal currencies incorporating a transfer union successfully occurring in circumstances not involving some kind of military victory. What the Germans, I think, can see is that the Euro is not going to work until and unless it absolutely has to. And that will be when the whole continent is on the brink of internal conflict. And at that moment the Germans will, I believe, step up to the plate and institute widespread debt forgiveness. This will not be because they are altruistically committed to the EU. It will be because they would otherwise lose too much of their industrial advantages, and would imperil vast quantities of sovereign debt, and woud, incidentally, kill off Deutsche Bank. This would also kill off France as an impediment to the supremacy of Germany within the EU. France would have to defer to the Germans for the EU to continue. Just as the Germans had to accept the veto of France in connection with the Euro in the first place, and put up with Jacques Delors as the architect of the Euro, so the Germans would then agree to a full raft of democratic reforms in connection with the currency. This would mean a European Parliament worthy of the name, a European Central Bank with full powers to make asset purchasing interventions and to control inflation and to engage in investments and to make tax regulations and many spending decisions in all nation member states at the behest of the parliament, and which was answerable to the parliament, and a European Chancellor of the Exchequer appointed from MEPs by the majority leader who would be the main means of spreading wealth around the Eurozone. There is no reason why this new Euro should not be an extremely strong and robust currency, and Europe would rapidly become a true powerhouse driving growth around the continent and the world. A pipedream perhaps. But at the moment the Euro is failing disastrously, and cannot be allowed to self-destruct.

      • Cobbett

        Remind me again …what is NATO for?

  • rtj1211

    It really beggars belief that people are so ignorant about Switzerland that they think that all it does is make cuckoo clocks.

    It has a very significant pharmaceuticals and chemicals industry. It has a huge banking industry. It is the home of CERN, the nuclear particle physics accelerator hub. It has a thriving high tech research sector. It hosts numerous global/international organisations as well as HQ for many multinational companies. It has a huge tourism sector.

    It has a very very healthy GDP per capita.

    What is so terrible about that? It’s not as if we are now the world centre for aluminium smelting, steel production etc etc. We have a strong tourism sector, like Switzerland. We have a strong banking sector, like Switzerland. We have strong pharmaceuticals and reasonably strong chemicals, like Switzerland. We have strong high tech R+D facilities, like Switzerland.

    We have a major agricultural sector, bigger than that of Switzerland due to geographical factors. We have industries associated with the sea which Switzerland, as a land-locked country, can’t have. In those respects, we are more like Norway.

    I have to say that if you put the best of Switzerland and Norway together and added a few other things besides, you wouldn’t have the worst temple in the world for Britain to aspire to.

  • Damien Mullan

    What Irony. That in leaving the EU
    the UK loosens and exacerbates its immigration policy dilemma, rather than
    maintaining its current tighter policy in comparison to its European partners.
    I ascribe this change in fortune to the possibility of Brexit and the border
    implications on that 500 km stretch of international border that the UK shares
    with another sovereign jurisdiction, and fellow European Union member, the
    Republic of Ireland. The re-imposition of border and customs controls along
    that line is likely to produce two effects, one psychological, the other
    physical. Turning first to the physiological impact that its re-emergence will
    have on the ease of commercial and community life along that zone. It has been
    obvious over the course of the peace process how beneficial an open border has
    been for border communities, especially those in Donegal, Cavan, and Monaghan, from
    both Catholic and Protestant religious backgrounds, with the greater ease of
    movement people have accessing their natural hinterlands either side of the
    border. A border which is often described as one of the most geographically
    complicated, indeed incoherent, of almost any other on the planet, which the
    difficultly of policing during the decades of The Troubles testifies. The
    wrenching of the now soft-ease with which protestant inhabitants, for instance,
    along the county Monaghan border in the Republic, have had in journeying
    un-harassed for attendances in their nearest church services, in church
    buildings mere meters across the border in country Armagh, are just one of many
    examples replicated all long that border by both religious denominations. A picture
    deepened fourfold along the border region in regards commercial and communal
    activity in respect of everything else. This progress would be torn asunder by
    the reinstitution of a fixed border boundary with all the associated checks and
    intrusions. Such a physical manifestation can only be as a direct result of the
    UK opting to leave the European Union. And this is the sharpest and deadliest
    aspect of such a development, a physical barrier of separation in every
    respect. This unwelcome development will have profound challenges in the
    continued operation of the Common Travel Area (CTA), the current open and visa
    free area between the UK and Ireland. An umbrella mechanism that incentives
    cooperation and synchronization of immigration policy, within and between both
    jurisdictions, over which the UK has displayed through the experience of
    various EU wide opt-outs, an effective and discernible influence on the
    immigration and justice policies of the Republic of Ireland. All of which would
    be lost once the UK exits the European Union, as the Republic of Ireland is
    treaty bound to become a signatory of the Schengen Area in the absence of a
    reciprocal British opt-out, a scenario which would result from the UK’s exit.
    So whereas at the moment the UK and Ireland coordinate justice and immigration
    policy for the two island area, with the UK’s exit, such policy convergence
    would cease, as the Republic would now coordinate her policy on justice and
    immigration within the framework of the Schengen Area and in concert with its
    European Union partners. This would represent a major blow for the UK’s ability
    to externally influence the immigration and justice policy of another member
    state. Worse still, it would represent the negation of such influence on the
    only member state that the UK shares a land border with. If this scenario where
    to transpire and five-sixths of Ireland where to fall into the orbit of the
    Schengen Area, with all the policy divergence that would imply, concerning for
    instance the Republic’s immigration intake from frontline Mediterranean member
    states, combined with the porous nature of the land border, alluded to by the
    sustained difficulty during the height of The Troubles in the early 70’s, when
    25 thousand British Army personnel failed to fully secure and police the
    border, the UK will have done its interests severely down by adopting a narrow
    and short sighted interpretation of national and parliamentary sovereignty.

    • Kevanch

      We are not a member of Schengen but choose to have an open border with Southern Ireland. If that is good for the UK and good for Ireland, as a fully independent nation it us up to us what we do with our borders and if the Irish suddenly decide to change the ground rules, that is up to them. I would think that the one thing that would not change would be our border arrangement with the south in the event of Brexit.

  • Wessex Man

    The more I read of you Daniel Hannam the more I have to have what are you doing in the same party as Call me Dave?

  • Polly Radical

    Apparently Angela Merkel is wearing her favourite cologne again.

    • EppingBlogger

      Is that the multi-cultural one?

    • Marvin

      Excellent! was it made from rapeseed oil?

    • Sanctimony

      Angela Merkin is 24 carat minger who fronts the collective German guilt trip… the majority of the Teutonic electorate is driven by guilt ….

  • 4194

    How convenient for this particular argument, no mention of the Canada CETA, or the possibility of the US TTIP. All the EFTA/EEA countries are concerned as to how they will be affected. The treaties await ratification by each member State, the EU Parliament and the Canadian and US governments, a process after Brexit the UK would be bound by. The new bloc would be nearly 70% of UK trade, so no dodging should it come into force over the next couple of years.

  • EppingBlogger

    Dan is right to say that “to leave a burning building is better than staying” is not sufficient but it is equally unsatisfactory to allow the REMAINders to demand a detailed specification of what it would be like OUT while they are unable to tell us what IN would be like for more than a short time after the vote.

    We all know that greater integration, more regulations and less democracy are what the EU has been built to deliver. It will continue doing that in the future. It is a powerful reason to leave.

    Even if a voter was content with what exists in the EU today, they ought to be repelled by what it will be like tomorrow. This is a message we should repeat.

    The other main argument it seems to me is that anything the EU has done in the past or may do in the future which we like, we can do ourselves. If they adopt new technical standards, if they adopt new monopoly laws we like we can mirror it. It would be an efficient way of developing public policy to constantly analyse successes and failures of public policy in the other advanced nations: Germany, France, EU generally, Anglosphere etc. Even authoritarian regimes might accidentally stumble on a great idea!

    • Marvin

      It cannot be simpler what staying in means. At least a million migrants a year, god knows how many Turks when allowed, and total enslavement to unelected undemocratic buffoons like Merkel who opened Pandora’s Box of evil to engulf Europe and the west with untold evil, who will be our eternal masters.

  • JJD

    Hannan, you ought to stop being too modest. You need to step up and take the leave campaign by the balls. You are the man to front it up. You are by far the most effective communicator for the leave side, and to boot, you’re not a member of the hated “Westminster elite”, as someone like Lord Lawson is. Your country needs you!

    • Jack Rocks

      He is but the people who follow his speeches, blogs, writings and so on are just a tiny fraction of the voting public. Most people have probably never heard of him. Only political nerds like us.

      • Ned Costello

        Sadly, you’re right.

      • JJD

        I see that as being to his advantage. Almost everyone else is toxic. A neutral face, a relative unknown, would be a strength.

  • Kevanch

    Nobody has mentioned our fisheries. We will get back our 200 mile limit and can reinstate a sensible fisheries policy and repair the immense damage Brussels has done to the fish and our fishermen. The EU is proposing that fishing for bass on a sunny summer evening on the beach be banned!

    We need to get out of the EU and the Single Market and make our way once more in the world. So where are the lost jobs? The City? Unlikely. It is driven by G20 and Basel 3 regulations which the EU has adopted. However, the EU has put additional barriers up on top. Banks come to the City because London is a good place to work, English is the international language of commerce and our legal system is highly respected as being impartial and as such, reliable. That is unlikely to change.

    What about the 3 million jobs talked about? Again, highly suspect. Jobs come and go for a whole variety of reasons and doubtless some jobs will be lost upon Brexit. On the other hand, very many more will be created once we are free to trade freely with rapidly growing economies like India.

    Our food is more costly due to the CAP and VAT will be eventually liable on food. Look no further than tampons. They have always attracted VAT but the British government decided to charge VAT at 0%. The EU has said the minimum rate is 5%. We have no say in the matter.

    Everyone will have to register for and charge VAT if they are involved in any trade. Odd job men, window cleaners, the lot. That is another 20% on the household bill.

    We are a net importer from the EU. I am not sure that the German, French, Spanish and Czech motor industries will be thrilled at having import duties on their products. We will be alright. We simply buy more cars from Japan and China instead.

    However, the issue for those left wingers wishing to remain to bear in mind is this. If Jeremy Corbyn ended up in number 10, he would be unable to execute his policies of nationalisation because the EU would forbid it. So the country with the second oldest parliament in the world and with a human rights record stretching back to 1215 would find that a democratically elected government would have its hands tied by a bunch of unelected eurocrats.

    As a nation we have evolved and fixed things that were really bad. Like everybody else, we had a civil war. Unlike most of them, we fixed the institutions and systems rather than sweeping them away. Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector and never a president. It has worked. Our system is widely admired around the world.

    The EU is heartily disliked by a lot of Europeans and has and continues to cause chaos and misery within the Euro zone because it is forcing countries into a fiscal straight-jacket. The euro will end in tears yet and big ones, copiously shed at that.

  • JabbaTheCat

    This shallow drivel from Hannan is well fisked by Dr Richard North at EUReferendum blog…

    • ManOfKent

      Well if your a cat perhaps, but otherwise it verges on an incoherent unsubstantive rant for the most part.

      • JabbaTheCat

        Then go over there and argue against what’s being said…

        • ManOfKent

          Why bother? Norths submission to Brexit didn’t even reach the final stage no doubt because he proposed to exit the EU but effectively change nothing. Whats the point of that?

          Instead in the longer term he proposes to abolish the EEA which given its fundamental nature to the EU’s economic approach, such an aspiration seems a tad impossible to achieve.

          It just goes to show that just because one got a Phd in public sector food-poisoning surveillance it doesn’t make you any good at this politics lark!

          • JabbaTheCat

            Call the man out to his face and not behind his back…

          • diqi

            His blog and those of some supporters are littered with adolescent spite and venom directed at the backs of others. Dr North has some interesting ideas but finding ways to educate us unintelligent masses is apparently beneath him.

            Dr North and friends have some interesting and pertinent ideas but they are fixated on being right. They believe theirs is the only worthwhile approach but have forgotten that the key point is to win and winning will require compromise and cooperation with people who have alternative ideas.

  • tesshoeyMichael Hoey

    Yes, Dan’s the man to lead the Out campaign for sure. Bright and self-assured and not part of the Westminster elite. Let’s bombard him with emails and tell hime. If this is shallow drivel I like it!

    • GoJebus

      Me too. I hope him or someone like him will rise up and see off the pale and sickly, BBC/PC, ghastly surrender monkeys and vanilla robots who seem to have taken over our politics and raffled off our culture over the last few decades.

    • Marvin

      I would like to see a threesome in charge. Dan Hannan, John Redwood and Owen Patterson. Wise, articulate, knowledgeable and assertive.

      • Conway

        And, in Paterson’s case, until recently very pro-EU in his voting patterns!

        • Marvin

          I have heard him in the HOC many times in the last year or two and there doesn’t seem any evidence of what you have mentioned. I do admit, maybe he had a change of mind after be sacked as the Environment Minster.

  • Morris Jasper

    An unfortunate choice or Illustration for this piece, no?

    • Ferris Dueler

      The spectators editor is pro-EU.

  • Big_Louie

    As an American, I don’t see why Britain would want to stay in the EU. Your national sovereignty is already gone. In a generation or two Britain will merely be a province of the European Union, having as much power as a U.S. state or Canadian province does. At least in North America these states/provinces largely share the same culture, but in Europe that is not the case.

    Staying in the EU will cause increased strife and hatred toward other European countries and leaders. Should the Brexit vote fail, then frustration with the system will only increase, leading people in Britain to more desperate measures supporting far-right questionable entities. The wiser move is to channel this anger into a vote to leave the EU, calming the people down by restoring national sovereignty and democracy.

    It really is a no-brainer.

    • Marvin

      The problem is that a vast number of people have never been interested in what is happening in the country or the world and these are the one’s Cameron will con and terrify into voting to stay in.

    • Dr Strangelove

      Whether the UK is a member of EU or not, will make little difference to national soverignity or economic prosperity. That is because the true rulers are international banks and businesses, just as they are in USA.

      Incidentally when it comes to voting for far-right questionable entities, the USA easily trumps EU, despite the former’s common culture!

      • Ferris Dueler

        Don’t necessary disagree with what your saying.

        It just seems a little… cowardly. Sorry but you’re saying why try because international banks and businesses rule, we can’t win.

        This is exactly why we should leave. The EU is perfect for corporate lobbyists if we leave we can fight back. We can burn regulations that only serve to create a barrier to entry for startups. We can hold our policy makers accountable.

        A 100 years from now the UK referendum could be seen as a turning point. When people stood up and demanded liberty and democracy and halted the crony capitalism that threatened the free world.

    • Cobbett

      In two generations Third World immigration will have engulfed W Europe…so it doesn’t really matter if we’re in the EU or not.

      • colchar

        Yes it does. If Britain is out of the EU and develops its own immigration policies which limit migration from the third world then it will be OK. But that is all dependent on being out of the EU and the election of politicians with the guts to cut immigration from those countries.

        • Cobbett

          We can limit Third World immigration now if we wanted to. Nothing to do with the EU.

          • Kevanch

            We do, but not if they come in through the EU. If they have an EU passport, we must let them in. Some of the papers being used to get an EU passport are even genuine.

          • Cobbett

            How many Pakis, Bangldeshis, Nigeriansetc here have EU passports? I know thousands of Somalis moved here from Holland…and there are others coming in…but then there are ”family reunions”, Students etc from outside the EU. How many of the French in London are Algerian? (They’d just be classed as French…same as Turks from Germany would be German)
            But there are still 300000+ coming in from outside the EU

          • Kevanch

            Actually, no there are not 300,000 coming in from outside the EU. Those we can control. We can check them in, ask the purpose of their visit and if we do not like the answer, refuse them entry. If they misbehave we can kick them out, subject of course to the EU rules being followed as things stand.

            EU passport holders cannot be refused entry unless they are wanted on a European Arrest Warrant. They can come straight in, claim benefits, work for very little thus driving down wages and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

            If the Somalis were granted Dutch passports, that makes them EU citizens. In they come. French Algerian are indeed Frenchmen. But here is the thing. If they try to claim anything, if out of the EU, we could refuse them and if necessary, deport them. For as long as we are in the EU, we have to look after them.

            The 300,000 are coming from eastern Europe. Regardless of how hard they work, we are an island with a considerable part of our population squashed into the southern half of England, not the UK. Glib numbers are bandied about – 250,000 new properties every year for example. Where are they going to go? What will happen to infrastructure. Will water, drains, gas and electricity cope? We are on a knife edge with electricity as we stand now. Roads will get clogged up and the loony left will start screaming about banning cars again. Not theirs of course. Just everybody else’s.

            And who are these 300,000? Working men by and large who will then send for their families and start breeding. This in turn makes forecasting for public services pretty much impossible and so it goes on.

          • Cobbett

            You are sooooooooooo right…it’s………292000…how wrong was I ?”624,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending September 2014, a
            statistically significant increase from 530,000 in the previous 12
            months. There were statistically significant increases for immigration
            of non-EU citizens (up 49,000 to 292,000) and EU (non-British) citizens
            (up 43,000 to 251,000). Immigration of British citizens increased by
            4,000 to 82,000, but this change was not statistically significant”

          • Kevanch

            I was referring to net migration. I am sorry not to have made that clear.

            With regard to BNP/EDL membership, it is a question specifically asked when applying for a job with the police in any capacity whatsoever. Doubtless there will be others.

          • Kevanch

            I have just had a look at the icon attached to your name. That would explain your offensive attitude to minorities.

            The EDL absolutely hates Muslims, as much as ISIL hates us. Whether that makes them left, right, up, down or corkscrew matters not. They preach hatred, which is no good.

            The Nissan plant in Sunderland is the most efficient on the planet. We can do it.

            My point about having my passport checked in and out of Norway was to point out to you that Schengen did not apply there but it did everywhere else in the EU, contrary to your assertion that the Norwegians are signed up to Schengen. Personally, I do not care what they were checking but was pleased that they were, much the same as I am here.

            I used to be deeply irritated waiting at Immigration in Dover having driven all over Europe without stopping. Now I know why, I am delighted.

          • Cobbett

            900000 Brits out…900001 Third Worlders in. result = net increase of 1

            The BNP have gone back to obscurity…as for the lefty EDL, can’t say I’ve heard much from lately…have you.

          • 9sqn

            Beautifully put.

    • Mike777

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, quite refreshing as many of your fellow countrymen who I’ve spoken to think the opposite, asking why wouldn’t we want to be part of a strong trading bloc in Europe like US States chose to be in North America? Well we are – the English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish share the same language, culture (largely), currency and trading history – and are all members of the UK trading bloc, the 5th (soon to be 4th) largest economy on the planet. We’re also a founding member of NATO and a member of the European Economic Area, none of which requires us to continue on this roller-coaster towards a European super-state.

  • Marvin

    Desperation to be at the “TOP” table only means that we will be out voted 27 to one 99.9% of the time. I have heard Europhiles mention, one being the son of Jack Straw on the Daily Politics Show last week, that Brexit would bring disaster because nobody knows what will happen. SO! if no one knows what will happen then how do they get to the fact that it would be all bad? Now does one see the myopia of these cowards who are afraid of their own shadows.

    • Kevanch

      What we do know, on the other hand, is what will happen if we stay in. More federalism, more failed policies, more cost, more corruption, more loss of sovereignty, greater exposure financial cockups in the eurozone, less accountability and when Turkey joins, which is being fast tracked, free access to 95 million people with an even lower standard of living than Romania. Now, I wonder where they will all want to go.

      As this unfolds, our way of life will be steadily eroded and the indigenous Brit will become more and more side lined, as will indigenous Germans, French, Dutch etc. There is a lot of anti EU feeling abroad and the extreme right is growing all the time as more and more people find themselves being faced with no other option as the mainstream lot continue to lie and cheat with our future.

      If we get out now, we can nip the extreme right in the bud. If we do not, watch the EDL, BNP et al rise and rise. That is a truly horrible thought.

      • Cobbett

        Don’t be ridiculous…the EDL are not ”far-right”.

        • Kevanch

          Put it this way. If you are a member of the BNP or EDL, there are plenty of jobs that will be closed to you. I do not care where you put them on the political spectrum, they are deeply unpleasant.

          • Cobbett

            Know any of them? Also it’s not a requirement to list your political affiliations when applying for a job.

            EDL have got Jewis/?Hindu/que*r sections …they also posted an a*se licking obituary to Mandela on their website…if that’s ”far-right” then I’m a Leprecaun.

          • 9sqn

            EDL have been labelled ‘far right’ by the liberal left media. They are nothing of the sort. They have brought to light many of the injustices and cover-ups by the establishment, including the systematic and cultural abuse of young, non-muslim women in Rotherham, for which their former leader Tommy Robinson has been hounded in a way that stinks badly of a media / establishment conspiracy.

      • Marvin

        It is playing with fire as well, but the far right are the type that seem to have the power and the spine to face up to and reverse the destruction and doom facing the western civilised world or what’s left of it. Once the guillotines are done with then we could try and balance out the real world.

      • Conway

        I agree with your first two paragraphs. The “extreme right” is a chimera. We need to leave in order to free Europe from the EU, which is doing it no good at all.

  • grimm

    What is desperately needed is a serious and determined Leave campaign. At the moment I get the impression those opposed to remaining in the EU think that sneering at Brussels’ bureaucracy is sufficient to win the argument. Nigel “cheeky chappy” Farage and his UKIP movement do not have what it takes as their election performance has shown.

    When it comes to an actual vote the “great” British public will opt for the low risk, better-the-devil-you-know choice eased on their way by a few illusory concessions Cameron will have gained from our European “partners”.

    • Budgie

      There would have been no referendum without UKIP. Topping the polls in the EU elections and putting pressure on Crony Cameron is what’s got us where we are. And the Norway option is pointless – why leave the EU only to be still stuck in the EEA? – it would be like a fly that escapes a swat only to get stuck on the fly-paper. We don’t want the EEA and we don’t want Article 50.

      • grimm

        Getting that referendum may prove to be UKIP’s only lasting achievement. What really matters is winning the Out vote. That will only be achieved by giving the electorate a clear convincing picture of the advantages of life outside the EU rather than just harping on about the horrors of remaining inside it. We need forceful campaigners who will demand the right to be heard just as all those special identity groups who claim to be discriminated against have demanded that right.

        • Budgie

          I don’t think I would damn UKIP’s achievement with the faint praise of “only”. No, getting the referendum is hugely significant, and UKIP is the only beacon which gives courage to those who still shelter within the LibLabCon to vote to leave. The EU, with its Single Market, is a failure. There is just no need for the EU, or even the EEA, to have free trade between countries. I could harp on about the horrors of remaining inside it even more, but according to you that won’t win the out vote. Whereas I think harping on about “a clear convincing picture” (whatever that means) which actually results in us only aspiring to the same position as Norway, after the EU runaround of Article 50, won’t win it for us.

        • Kevanch

          There are 4 million voters out there, and rising, who are disillusioned with the Westminster elite who have never done anything apart from politics. All of the old parties, UKIP being quite new by comparison, lied to get us in, lied to keep us in and gave away swathes of our right of self determination in the meantime.

          What makes UKIP different is that those at the top have come from all walks of life and have endured the nonsense imposed by the EU. UKIP is not driven by ideology and historical baggage.

          Labour still vehemently opposes state funded grammar schools so that the clever kids, regardless of background, will get a really good start in life and go onto uni studying a real subject rather than facing a future on the bins.

          The Conservatives want to bash the unions every time there is any sort of dispute. The current rules are fine and the consequences of striking serious, so taking that action is very much a last resort.

          I am not sure what the LibDems stand for anymore beyond the fact that they love the EU which is neither liberal nor democratic.

          SNP want an independent Scotland without considering defence, diplomacy, civil administration such as passports, driving licences and all the other forms of certification needed in a modern society, never mind the minor matter of a currency. All this was to be paid for by North Sea oil. That would have worked a treat.

          UKIP’s budgetary policy was the ONLY one subjected to independent, expert scrutiny to ensure its viability. Labour spent us into the hole. Yes, there would have been a hole anyway, but it would not have been anything like the ugly dimensions. Under the Coalition and the Tories, the deficit has come down but the national debt doubled, They have simply dug a new, secret hole and filled up the old one with the spoil.

          In short, UKIP has a lot to offer, regardless of the referendum outcome.

          • Oddsbods

            Yes, Labour, the SNP, the Conservatives, the Liberals and the Greens all put Party before country without question. The UKIP is the only political party in Britain which puts Britain first, they have my support.

    • colchar

      UKIP did fine in the election, it was the electoral system that prevented them from gaining seats. The SNP won 50+ seats while UKIP only won a single seat – despite receiving more than three times the number of votes than the SNP did.

      • MathMan

        UKIP had 4 million votes and one MP. SNP had 1.5 million votes and 57 MPs. Conservatives had 13.9 million votes and 330 MPs. We are told this is democracy.

        • gruppenfuhrer

          I know what a joke iam Scottish and live in Scotland but I voted ukip and couldent believe 4 million votes 1 seat but 1.5 million votes 57 seats , 13.9 million votes and 330 seats , makes no sense at all, ukip get about a third of votes torys get and look aat the number of seat difference.

  • Conway

    … change-aversion is deep in our genome, and we vote accordingly.” On that basis we should vote LEAVE, which would be a vote for the known – we traded and ran our own lives for centuries before we joined the “common market” in 1973. If we vote to stay in we shall definitely be voting for change – the EU is always changing in its advance towards creating a superstate.

  • TKeen

    Writing from Canada here.. I remember when the EEC was just the Common Market. It seems now that people were fine with goods being able to move freely between the UK and Europe, but they’re not so wild about people doing so. Can’t Britain go back to a Common-Market style trade-only partnership with Europe without the weakening of political sovereignty? Why the ‘totally IN’ or ‘totally OUT’ choice?

    • Kevanch

      What we were sold in 1973 was, in effect, a trading club. What we were never told was that the whole programme was dedicated to eventual political and fiscal integration with totally open borders and everything driven by Brussels.

      What we were also never told was that every time a right was signed away, that was it for ever. There was no going back, just like virginity loss but nowhere near as much fun.

      Every time the EU messes something up at the top level, the answer is always more integration. The migrant crisis is a perfect example. Where was the EU help for Italy and Greece? Where was the help for the Balkan and East European member? Where is sensible intervention in Calais? Where is there any policy to stop the trafficking?

      The EU’s contribution is to talk about a mandatory migrant allocation around the EU, totally ignoring the fact that the migrants only want to travel to a few states such as Sweden, Germany and the UK. Once they are in a state and processed, they can then come here anyway.

      Canada is in a free trade agreement with the US. How would you react if this had morphed into what we have here and you suddenly found Canada over run with a mandatory allocation of South Americans unable to speak the language and largely unskilled but all demanding health, housing, schools, social services etc? Imagine also that in among them were criminals looking for new markets for drugs or active members of Shining Path dedicated to destroying your way of life.

      That is before we get into the destruction of our fisheries. You have had the Spanish on the Grand Banks and did not enjoy their idea of fishing one little bit. The difference was that you could do something about it. We cannot. Therefore, we have lost our sovereignty.

      You have a new PM. Regardless of your views, he was elected to deliver a programme by popular mandate. How would you like it if a faceless bureaucracy in Bogota told you that despite the will of the Canadian people, he could not deliver his programme?

      The EU works on the basis of acquis communautaire. This means that any national right given up can never be reinstated. Therefore, we cannot go back to a Common Market deal, so we have to get out.

      I hope that helps explain the issue. You might well be left thinking how stupid we were to sign up to such a deal and you would be right, but that would be a book!

      • MathMan

        Successive British governments have lied to the people about what sovereignty and rights we give up every time they sign another treaty. Now we have no control over our borders and our laws. There is no reason to assume Cameron will be any different ( no ifs, no buts, immigration down to under 10,000 per year and other porkies). The only person who speaks the truth about the situation is Nigel Farage. Time to get out.

  • Mike777

    Just as we predicted, these EU folk are just not engaged in this re-negotiation malarkey at all, this from today’s Indy….
    Guy Verhofstadt, former Prime Minister of Belgium and a leading European parliamentarian, has called on leaders to suspend negotiations on British membership of the EU and concentrate on the migration crisis. Writing in The Independent on Sunday, he says the EU “remains firmly in reverse gear” in the face of a “desperate humanitarian situation” and that talks about British membership are a distraction.

    • Suzy61


      This charming man, having turned his own country into a 3rd World pile of c*ap, wants the same for the rest of Europe. He lectures us – while stuffing his pockets with money from the EU lobbyists – and is so brazen he refused to put his signature on his ‘outside interests’ declaration.

      His demise cannot come a moment too soon.

      • John Andrews

        You exaggerate Verhofstadt’s charm. He is a skunk and Belgium should be partitioned between Holland and France, perhaps with Brussels razed to the ground.

      • Mike777

        Sounds a little like Juncker’s impact on Luxembourg. This EU club is an overpaid rest home and debating club for failed bureaucrats, it gets worse by the day.

    • mdj

      Belgium’s economy fared better during the period it had no government, than while people like Verhofstadt were in charge.
      Interesting to see him brandishing the ‘refugee’ issue like a suicide belt…

    • Alex

      Yes exactly, they have far better things to be thinking about than Britain’s whinging. I expect if it was Scotland saying the same thing you would come up with a response calqued straight from this.

      • Mike777

        But Alex the difference with the Scottish IndyRef was that, while the rest of the U.K. was very engaged in the daily news, we had no say at the end of the day. If we had been given a vote too the result might have been very different and it certainly wouldn’t have been a distraction. Surely the issue for the EU is that it doesn’t work that well for everyone else either:
        – 2 million EU immigrants here means 2 million fewer workers to help their economies
        – Schengen is flawed
        – the Eurozone has still not addressed the fundamental differences between the poorer low wage economies like Greece and E Europe vs the likes of France & Germany
        – it’s almost criminally undemocratic, inward-looking, protectionist and unauditable

  • paulus

    Well this is turning into an utter joke this Hannan. You need to put yourself forward as the spokesman for the out campaign. Your a much better orator and debater than anyone else. Your a conservative so your acceptable to everyone. We have nominated you so everyone needs to get on with i. We expect unanimous assent by Wednesday.

  • Derek

    Thank you Daniel for putting the clear case for leaving. I was out yesterday on the streets of Lymington and engaging with shoppers giving out Vote Leave leaflets. Among the approximately 50% who said they were likely to vote remain I found the most common arguments were that we needed to be part of a bigger block and that our trade would be adversely affected. These are just the things that the public have been exposed to over that last 40 years. It is going to be very hard to overcome 40 years of propaganda in a few months, but that is our task.

  • Allyup

    We do need to remember that the EU will always be grossly incompetent in all major decision taking because it is based on the politics of attaining full union at any cost. This means there is absolutely no learning process from past errors because just like the Pope the elite see themselves as infallible i.e. they have never been wrong yet -at least in their own eyes.
    One massive major error which they totally refuse to recognise is the creation of the Eurozone which all economists knew could only lead to massive debt and high unemployment due to reduced demand as salaries have to be reduced rather than have floating currencies.
    They totally refuse to see that Greece for one is bankrupt and so continue the pretence that this debt will be paid back.
    Having such little interest in the real world and what really works means the EU will go down the tubes in the 21st century which is a century of massive change based on a global economy rather than on living a left liberal 20th century political dream. Its not a century for idle political dreams.

  • mmcg968

    In what way did being a member of the EU protect the jobs of the all those steel workers thrown out of their jobs by the recent closures of steelworks across the country?

    The threat of loss of jobs if we leave the EU is a paper tiger. They happen if we’re in or out of the EU but what we do get back is our sovereignty, which should never, ever be negotiable.

    • mickey667

      In what way would leaving the EU have saved them?

      The government, OUR government has the power to save those jobs. Its chooses not to because of ideology.

      • Toy Pupanbai

        Free Trade, means you compete across the world with the lowest cost of the product regardless of any social cost to your own economy.

      • WFB56

        Absurd. You obviously know nothing about the situation nor the economics.
        I have personally brought two “dead” manufacturing businesses back from the grave, and one of the biggest impediments in both cases was the people like you who thought you knew what it took to make them work; you don’t.

      • andyrwebman

        The ability to negotiate trade agreements without waiting for the rest of the EU would be handy.

      • Geoffrey Bastin

        Not so. The government cannot intervene in problems with steel or elsewhere because of EU rules. Politicians make all sorts of sympathetic noises but they are impotent to act due solely to our beloved EU that seeks to dominate every member state.

        • mickey667

          Explain to me how Italy and Germany do it then?

          • WTF

            They break the rules, thats why.

          • mickey667

            I think they bend rather than break. For example using environmental laws to save their steel industries in a time of Chinese steel dumping.

            The point is, why don;t we do the same? We choose not too.

      • WTF

        The real point is you have countries like France who have continually bailed out Air France against EU rules as have other EU countries with some of their industries. We play by EU rules, they don’t !

  • mickey667

    Dan, was this article intentionally stat heavy, dry and boring?

    Was it an attempt to get into the nitty gritty, as opposed to the Union Jack Suit wearing kind of “WE ARE BRITAIN” approach is off-putting?

    Because, i must say, it didn’t work very well

    • NeilMc1

      A tad unfair mickey. There are a range of arguments that need to be put covering all areas of “IN” misinformation. Dan has given you considerable ammunition to argue the statistics, non flag waving, case.

      • Alex

        But he won’t find that as fun will he? Out is all about bombast and virtue-signalling to other Outers.

        • NeilMc1

          Not really. Out is all about wanting to get our country back from an anti-democratic organisation that will swallow and dismember Britain if we remain.

          Outers, can get a little passionate in their belief, largely because they can’t believe that nearly 50% of the British people would vote for this nightmare scenario!

    • WFB56

      When you are trying to make an arguement to get people off the fence, facts and numbers are useful. Unlike many on the “out” side, he’s trying not to preach to the converted.

      • WTF

        Looking at all blog sites the OUT camp generally supply verifiable facts to back their argument but the remainiacs rarely do, its all emotion and fluff for them. That’s exactly why Cameron chickened out of a debate with Farage as he hasn’t any facts to back his claim.

  • Andrew Finn

    We pay the EU £18 billion per year to run a £60 billion trade deficit with them.

    Once we leave, they should be paying us.

    • Bagsofsmoke

      The trade deficit is £3.6bn.

      • Bagsofsmoke

        And we paid £14bn last year.

        • Bagsofsmoke

          Full marks for trying though.

      • WTF

        No , in 2014 we exported 200 billion and imported 300 billion from the EU according to the ONS. Where do you get your figures from, the remainiacs ?

  • Nick

    I’m a pro-european Brit, who has spent the last 15 years living on the European continent (mostly in Germany) and the “We are British” brigade have done nothing but turn me away from their argument. This piece is one of the best arguments I’ve seen … it’s well presented, thought out and reasonable … and it’s given me something to think about.

    Having return to “Great Britain” after those 15 years … I find it should be renamed to something more like “MD” – “Mediocre Britain” the quality of life here is decidedly lower than on the continent … the earnings are less and the costs of living are massively higher.

    I love my country … I’m just extremely sad at what it’s become.

    Anyway, Daniel, thank you for some proper food for thought … I will give it it’s real deserves and consideration.

    • Sanchez

      I’m pro-European too, and that’s why I want out. I have come to the conclusion that our common European experience is not dependent on our EU membership, or for the EU’s existence for that matter.

    • Chris Mendes

      Good for you Nick. It’s a shame that you’ve been put off by parts of the Leave campaign in the past because of too great an emphasis on nationalism. The essence of the arguments rather than such background cheerleader noises is so much more important.

      And I would underline Daniel’s point about the bilateral trade agreements that we would be able to strike for the first time in a long time. The OECD in November released their economic forecasts and of us it said to quote “weak global trade is holding back exports”. Extraordinary. We’ve been EU members since the 70’s and we’re evaluated as being globally weak on trade. We’ve given it a chance. It’s time to leave and strike deals with India, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States for example, and watch ourselves flourish.

      (PS. I’m pro-European too. I’m currently learning French through a series of evening classes! But I’m anti-EU and I want us to be more productive globally rather inside Europe only, as well as more democratic which for me trumps all else.)

  • Tony

    Every time I visit the UK, it seems poorer, dirtier and more ill governed. London, an undecided mix of cultures, thronging with faces of every hue, is a city in decline, no longer even English or even European, a place apart. Increasingly it mirrors those poorer places in the globe where many of its inhabitants stem from; like some vast heaving refugee camp.

    Despite the splendor of the buildings this rump of a once gloriously outward looking nation seems set on its own destruction. It no longer reflects its great history, of wealth, dynamism and creativity, in either its universities or industry; a time long past.

    The UK’s current position is the consequences of a century of leadership, by a clique, who have failed to understand the march of history. An elite who have got almost every call for their nation’s future egregiously wrong. A beacon that had once brought enlightenment, vigor and progress to the world seems somehow corrupted and extinguished, living an existence of obscure mediocrity. No doubt the result of the transgressions of a gilded class, who bled dry the population, unable to escape, a deeply caste-ridden kleptocracy. While they, the ruling elite still hide their means in offshore islands and pay little or no tax.

    The current rulers, a class of Englishmen who seemed to govern as of right of birth, are about to compound the errors of the past by leaving the EU. UK politicians, advised and accompanied by a phalanx of unhealthy looking staff, sometimes still referred to as ‘Mandarins’, seem to inhabited a world of ossified bureaucracy whenever I see them. To a man, they always look and speak with an accent very different from the people I see on the streets of London.

    The Bundesrepublik Europa, being constructed in Germany’s own image by Brussels, will doubtless overcome its present difficulties. The UK’s absence from the enterprise will speed its completion. It will also make the result less rich than it might otherwise have been. But the UK will be much poorer. A vassal state comfortable in its own irrelevance. Dancing to someone else’s tune.

    • Blackadder85

      Could you please comment on the article instead of blabbering nonsense?

  • trobrianders

    Brexit would be great if we could shake off Scotland, Wales and N Ireland as well.

  • St Andrean

    I am belatedly joining this discussion thanks to a link to the article on FT.Com. Daniel Hannan makes a great deal of sense. I can only hope that the Brexit issue motivates discussion, passion, and participation in the same way that the Indy referendum did in Scotland where almost everyone who could vote did.
    As far as Brexit is concerned I will be trying to make Scots voters who I speak to realise that staying in EU is not the ticket to the gravy train that the SNP seem to think it is, and that we would be better off within a strong and independent UK than being one of the poor minnows in the EU

  • Taniere

    Unfortunately Daniel Hannan has not done his homework and fails to understand the situation in Switzerland. The main 7 bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland in 1999 include one on free movement of people (Personenfreizügigkeit) and Switzerland is in fact a Schengen-Associated country with open borders. In 2014 however, in a referendum, the Swiss people voted narrowly to impose greater restrictions on migration from the EU. The Swiss government now has to find a way to implement this decision by Feb 2017.
    Unfortunately, each bilateral agreement contains a “guillotine” clause which means if one agreement is reneged upon (which is probably what will happen), they all become null and void, including those related to free trade. This has already had repercussions for Switzerland. It is already effectively excluded from the Erasmus education exchange programme and negotiations on Swiss access to EU research funding has also been suspended by the EU pending the outcome of the free movement of people issue.
    All this could work out very badly for Switzerland so holding Switzerland aloft as an example of how much better life could be outside the EU could turn out to be a mirage one year from now. Sadly the issue for the UK may already be decided by then.

    • WTF

      I don’t see the Swiss prevaricating over protecting their borders from mass EU migration over weak threats from the EU, it just hasn’t happened. First and foremost they look after their own despite any threats from Brussels.

      • Taniere

        You seem to have missed the point. In order to gain access to the free european market and other benefits of the EU such as research funding, Switzerland had to accept free movement of people from the EU. There is no reason to think the UK would be treated any differently if it were to exit the EU and then try to negotiate a free trade agreement.

        • WTF

          Firstly, you seem to have forgotten that the ‘free’ European market is not FREE, the membership fees are draconian.

          Switzerland has an opt out clause on migration from the the EU.


          That being the case, we have nothing to worry about leaving the EU. Trade is trade whether you are in the EU or not and judging by the amount of chinese goods found in Spain, there doesn’t seem to be any issues over not being a member of the club.

          • Taniere

            Try reading the article you cite in full. The Swiss had a “safeguard clause” not an opt out and in any case that expired mid-2014. Through Switzerland’s direct democracy system, the Swiss government executive has been forced into a situation against its better judgement ( and also to the consternation of business leaders) to apply curbs on EU migration. The full implications of this will not become apparent until next year but as I pointed out in my original post, Switzerland has already been partially excluded from the EU educational and research programmes.
            As for the membership fees, the net cost after taking account of what the UK receives back is just 0.5% of GDP. I don’t consider that “draconian”. In fact it seems a very modest cost to keep the old Eastern Bloc countries out of the sphere of influence of Russia.

          • Kevanch

            The key issue is that the Swiss asked the people. It is called democracy, something alien to the EU, hence its threatening and bullying position.

            It seems to me that the Swiss have been extremely sensible. It is a federation with three languages, but it works because anybody you talk to is Swiss. I am British, English to be specific but European insofar as my country is geographically located in Europe.

            We had no problem with the old Eastern bloc countries when they were behind the Iron Curtain. They, on the other hand, most certainly did and it was those states that quite understandably turned their back on the Soviet. They did not need to join the EU. All they had to do was to join NATO.

            As for the migration deal, presumably Switzerland is now free to choose who comes to work in the country. I assume that you are not suggesting that all migrant labour has stopped dead. That is what I want. I have no problem with bringing in people to work in the UK, but I want to be able to pick them based upon needs in the country and also to have the ability to throw them out if they cause trouble. All the Swiss have done is to stop loads of people pouring over the border unhindered. Quite right too.

            I am sure, given that Switzerland has the Hadron Collider, there are plenty of people who want to conduct research and when the UK leaves the EU, I am sure that we would be delighted to do some educational work. Both countries have excellent universities that would benefit.

            Switzerland must stand strong and independent in the face of intolerable bullying from an unelected and unaccountable EU.

          • Taniere

            Actually no, the Swiss did not ask the people – the referendum was forced on the government through a Peoples Initiative supported by the SVP (a bit like UKIP in some ways). A Peoples Initiative requires only 100,000 signatures to force the government to initiate a vote and the outcome is binding through a simple majority (in this case 50.3% versus 49.7% – so not exactly overwhelming). The BBC article cited by WTF was written in 2013 before this Swiss referendum took place in Feb 2014 so it does not reflect the situation today. So far the Swiss have not renounced the EU bilateral agreement on free movement of people but they have only until February of 2017 to either re-negotiate with the EU or under Swiss law they will have to renounce the agreement. Technically this means that ALL the other bilateral agreements (including trade) would lapse because of the guillotine clause written into each. So whilst Switzerland might be free to choose who enters the country it may cost them dearly. Watch what happens after Feb 2017!
            However, the main point I was trying to make is that in any post-Brexit negotiation, the EU would certainly insist (as they did with Switzerland) on free movement of people as part of the overall deal. If immigration is your concern, then nothing would be gained by Brexit.
            By the way – there are 1.3 Million EU citizens living in the UK and 1.2 Million UK citizens living in other parts of the EU. Sounds pretty balanced to me.

          • Kevanch

            Thank you for the explanation. Nonetheless, there was a mechanism whereby the Swiss could, if they felt strongly enough, force the issue. We were never given the option and even now, it is only being grudgingly offered.

            I very much hope that Switzerland overcomes this issue with the EU. She has a pretty good record of staying ahead of the game. To be honest, I find it appalling that the EU sees fit to foist its ideas of free movement on the Swiss. I wonder if they have tried it on the Americans? Even worse, the EU refuses to accept the view of the Swiss people, but then it does not accept the view of its own people either.

            I still want to leave this ghastly organisation and I hope that the very first people we make a trade deal with is Switzerland.

          • WTF

            I think by using the word Swiss, you’re referring to the Swiss government rather than the Swiss people but at least you have a mechanism whereby the electorate had a legally enforceable voice which the UK does not have.

            One year is a long time in EU history as who knew that the events on New Years Eve would happen and the changes in attitudes its already bringing about. The EU may not even exist in 2017 and the Euro along with it, at least in its current form. We are in uncharted political waters right now both in Europe and the USA and the winds of change are coming but not quite the way that Obama thought they would.

          • Taniere

            Yes excuse my sloppy use of language.
            I have to agree with your last statement – the world is definitely in uncharted waters.

          • WTF

            You still haven’t quantified just what fiscal benefits we gain from the EU so all your posturing is meaningless so far. I’m sure the Swiss feel that the price of losing out on educational and research programs is easily made up by not incurring the price Germany is paying for migrants. That said, the biggest research facility in Europe employs 2,500 scientists and support staff and is equal to any other in the world, sits 50% in Switzerland. Its that little research center called CERN which I have visited decades ago. I’m sure the Swiss are very concerned about your fear mongering.

          • Taniere

            Believe me as a Brit who worked in Switzerland for 23 years as a senior research manager – the 49.7% of Swiss who voted against the Referendum to restrict immigration are very worried indeed. And that’s not posturing – that’s fact.
            Also, like many people you seem to be confusing the free movement of citizens of EU countries with the Syrian/Afgan refugee/migrant crisis. Still, Germany may yet have the last laugh once the the immigrant population becomes productive and helps make Germany prosper even more.

          • WTF

            I’m not conflating or confusing anything. Living and working in a country not of ones birth is a privilege and not a right or at least it should be. To this end, I would say that there are several categories of migrants that can apply to live in a country not of their birth but with the following caveats.

            1/ ALL migrants applying to live in another country must be positively vetted with verifiable police certificates / records to prove they have not got a criminal history or links to terrorism.

            2 Spouses who apply to live in the country of their partner should be given preferential treatment for immigration on obvious compassionate grounds.

            3/ Non spouses who wish to live in another country must offer skills that an employer cannot source locally, they must have a job offer and their long term residency rights should only be available after 5 years of gainful employment.

            In both cases (2 & 3) the immigrant must be self supporting and be denied all benefits (except health care) for a pre-determined period.

            4/ Genuine refugees as with all other groups must also be subject to positive vetting and a cap on numbers based on GDP adjusted by national debt and applied globally. Middle east countries must not be allowed to duck the refugees crisis.

            There really shouldn’t be any other immigrant situations than those.

            Visitors of course need better monitoring to ensure they leave before their time limit expires.

            As far as intra EU migration is concerned, I would add the following caveats –

            (a) No benefits should be paid for the first 5 years when you move from your country of citizenship to another EU state.

            (b) Health care would be covered as its taken at source from your salary

            (c) Out of work EU workers would have to return to their own country to receive health care unless they had paid in 5 years contributions.

            (d) Migrants must stay in their first country of entry, work there for 2 years before being considered for a EU passport of that country.

            I think that about covers it, its not racist, bigoted but just common fiscal sense !

          • Taniere

            And presumably the 1.2Million Brits living in other EU countries should be treated in a similar fashion.

          • WTF

            I specifically proposed “ALL migrants applying to live in another country” globally and I made no mention of any citizen already living in any EU country including of course the UK. I see no reason that the current status cannot be grandfathered in and in any case, Brits have been retiring to European countries since long before the EU without any issues and with reciprocity.

          • Taniere

            We clearly are not going to agree on this and we have wandered a long way from the point I originally posted so it is probably time to wind up. But I refer you back to my original point, namely that the proposal made by many Brexiters that the UK could adopt the Swiss model simply would not meet the Brexiters’ demands. Like CH, the UK would still be a net contributor to the EU budget (although probably less); like CH it would still have to apply the same trade and commerce rules enacted by the EU and like CH it would still have to accept free movement of people (which clearly you personally do not want).
            Sadly this is the problem with the Out Campaigns – they do not have a clear, plausible plan for post-Brexit Britain but instead propose half-baked ideas (such as the non-viable Swiss model) that they have not even bothered to research properly. It seems that a wing and a prayer will suffice instead.

          • WTF

            There is one aspect not covered here and that’s the very different fiscal dynamics here between Switzerland and the EU vs the UK and the EU.

            In 2014 the balance of trade imbalance between Switzerland and the EU dropped from 74 billion to 43 billion euros on a total trade of 236 billion, so clearly Switzerland has leveraged itself into a more favorable position. This could explain why they are taking a tougher line on migration from the EU as a message has been sent to Brussels like ‘tariffs’ if they wont play ball.

            The UK in contrast does I believe export 200 billion to the EU but imports 300 billion in 2014. What I found interesting is that trade with the rest of the world had us in surplus in all areas except India. Now it might be a bit simplistic but if I ran a country, I’d concentrate on areas where the trade balance was in my favor and try and increase trade in that area rather than worry too much where the odds were less favorable. Low hanging fruits and all that !

            I genuinely believe that all the rhetoric we’ve been hearing from the Eurorats in Brussels is due to the fact that they know full well that an exit by the UK removes most of the power they currently have over us will diminish almost to zero and leaves them with no levers to use against us.


          • Taniere

            Thanks for your thoughtful comments.
            You raise some interesting points. The Swiss trade deficit data are intriguing but I am not sure you are making the correct inference. The question is, why was the deficit so extraordinarily high in 2013
            when the previous three years had been -35Bln; -48 Bln; -28Bln Euros? Your data are derived from Eurostat, I believe, but interestingly the equivalent data provided by Swiss Customs for 2013 shows a
            deficit of only -18.5 Bln Euros. So why the difference? This takes some tracking down but thanks to George Dorgan writing on SNBCHF.com the answer becomes clear. Eurostat (questionably) includes
            exports/imports of physical gold in its trade calculations.

            In 2013, UK private investors sold a staggering 1,464 Metric Tonnes of physical gold to Switzerland worth
            44.3 Bln Euros. I guess this was triggered by the crash in the gold price in 2013.

            Once an adjustment is made to Swiss 2013 import data to account for the gold, the apparent big fall in
            the Swiss trade deficit for 2014 disappears. Whilst there is considerable yearly variation, the overall trend over the past 10 years is for the Swiss/EU trade deficit to increase. Add to that the fact that the Swiss referendum to limit immigration took place in Feb 2014 when the 2014 trade figures had yet to accrue, it follows that these data could not have impacted the Swiss decision. Rather this was a leap into the unknown which has yet to play out when the Swiss government has to implement it in Feb 2017.

            This of course begs the question, what is Eurostat doing including physical gold sales as “Trade”? Gold
            bullion is money not trade. In one fell swoop in 2013, this distorted the UK’s exports upwards by 44 Billion Euros and inflated Switzerland’s imports by the same amount. I would certainly agree this is a dubious EU practice.

            Regarding the UK figures I’m not sure from where your figures derive but a House of Commons own briefing paper quotes for 2014 a trading deficit with the EU of -59 Bln GBP on a total trading base of 519 Bln GBP. This makes the UK deficit 11.3% of total trade compared with Switzerland’s deficit of 18.6%.

            Far from being in a stronger position in dealing with Brussels, Switzerland looks significantly weaker based on the balance of payments argument.

          • WTF

            I must confess I haven’t the skill set to drill down into the morass of details to get at the real statistical truth and I’ve yet to find anyone on either side of the argument of in or out who honestly portrays the facts in an un-spun simple manner. Whether politician or economist, most have an axe to grind but how do you get at the real truth in a believable fashion ?

            For that reason, in a purely personal sense I generally ignore fiscal facts portrayed by politicians & experts and disregard any financial argument to stay or leave. Once that’s done, its a simple matter of do I believe in self determination where at least the electorate can chose a path whether right or wrong or do I behave like those wanting a ‘comfort blanket’ of the EU in their mistaken belief (IMO) that it will protect them for all evils.

            As I’m no Corbynite or Bernie Saunders, I am against the state micro-managing my life controlling everything I do as I want to make my own decisions in life. The EU is IMO a social engineering experiment of which I want no part of when taken as a whole. It certainly hasn’t benefited me in any tangible way other than booze cruises to Calais not that I was looking for that anyway.

            Socialist claims to look after the weak and impoverished and in the context of health care I have no problem with that when compared with the American system and the even worse Obamacare, but paying for that and education for state schooling is the limit of socialist ideas I support. The welfare state as envisioned by Bevan was sound sense but it was corrupted by both left and right since its beginnings. Likewise the EU free trade area was sensible but then the cancer of control freaks and bureaucracy hijacked the project. The upshot of progressive (extreme socialist) policies from left and right in the UK, the EU and even the USA has left the weak and impoverished far worse off than ever before and left the centre paying a fortune in taxes with nothing to show for it. Immigration is the last straw and despite our own progressives being part of the problem, if we can dump the EU progressives we are then left with our own who at least we can vote out unlike the Council of Ministers or EU President.

            That’s it in a nutshell, I’m ignoring fiscal concerns because its virtually impossible to quantify and I’m going on gut feel and self determination as that’s something tangible to me at least.

  • ReaderLNDW3

    To all Brexit supporters: vote to leave if you want the UK

    -to lose its access to EU internal market

    – to have no say in European decision making

    -to enter a tedious negotiation process with the EU, it wouldn’t be so easy to leave after several decades in the ”club”,would take several years which would trigger uncertainty in business life and there is no turning back, divorce would be divorce forever

    – to lose its dominance in finance and business / banks leaving the CIty, multinational European headquarters relocating from London to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Geneva/

    Vote to leave if you want to see US and European companies reducing their UK workforce massively, if you want to see soaring pricess of products imported from EU ,German cars, French food, Dutch food,French cosmetics, Italian clothing, Spanish food /unless you replace them with their UK equivalents, good joke… /

    If you want no more easy weekend trips to the continent/ travel arrangements to Spain, France, Italy,etc…/

    Do you want to focus on trade with Commonwealth countries? sure, why do you think for example India would favour UK machinery products when it can also do business with the EU including Germany, France, Scandinavian countries? Uganda may consider preferential treatment, though, for UK clothing, big win…. As a result of Brexit the UK may also cease to exist if Scotland preferred independence and wanted to remain part of the EU.

    And what is this hysteria about European ”migrants” living on benefits? what a UKIP joke! It’s enough to take a walk on a London street and you can see who the real abusers are! It’s not the decent workers with a European background who abuse the system but the thousands of third world immigrants from Africa and Asia/ mostly muslim/.Who are the ones acting as slum landlords taking advantage of the situation of their fellow countrymen? Swedish expats or Pakistanis? Who are those veiled women who work zero day in their lifetime and are busy with claiming childcare benefits for their on average five children? French ,Polish expats or Pakistanis, Somalis or maybe Bangladeshis???

    On a side note: Norway and Switzerland pay huge amounts of money to have access to the EU single market and have practically adopted 100 per cent of EU legislation/+both are part of the Schengen area, free movement of EU citizens, workforce does apply/ without being able to influence policy making. The conditions of a European Economic Area- UK deal would hardly be different from those with the mentioned two countries= basically current situation of UK-EU relationship.Then much ado about nothing?? Please think it over again. Long-term prospects for a tiny island outside Europe are bleak. The future is for integrated trading and politic blocks, USA, China, Russia, EU, Asia Pacific, South America. Britain alone has no voice , cannot compete with these and would not be taken seriously when it comes to business and politics.

    • hysterical nonsense.

    • gruppenfuhrer

      rubbish, we have enough food to feed ourselves and farmers wouldent suffer from cheap polish imports , and do you think the german Italian French car makers will want to lose british customers , or will we all buy Hondas Toyotas etcthe Europeans need us more than Britain needs the EU

    • ReaderLNDW3

      EU needs Britain more than Britain needs EU…. joke of the year!!! If Brexit happens it won’t be such a big deal to the EU….but for Britain outside London… well, the subsidies will be missing in the budgets….there will be huge cuts in public spending and huge tax raises….

      • Kevanch

        You are right. The Brussels subsidies will be missing. But so will the payments. For every £2 we put in, we get £1 back and that often has to be match funded, costing us two and half times more than it should. Furthermore, Brussels decides which of our projects will be funded, not us.

        The CAP, originally designed for French farmers, has pushed up the price of food by around 10% and in the fullness of time, the EU will add a further 5% VAT on food. An awful lot of households would be very happy to see the cost of a weekly shop drop by 15%. We would be free to buy our food from anywhere in the world as well as being able to offer poorer countries a fair deal on their produce, something the EU does not.

        We would get our fisheries back and no longer have huge amounts of legislation foisted upon us by the EU. Not all of this has been bad, but lots has. We can keep the good stuff and bin the rest. The same applies to future legislation. If the EU has a good law, there is nothing to stop us passing the same thing ourselves. The key thing is that it would be of our own free will.

        The core issue here is that the EU programme is for a federal Europe of which the UK will be but a region. We have the most stable democracy in the world, thanks to our constitution. We follow the rule of law and full democracy. The EU does not.

        It has ignored its court of auditors, a court mark you, for the last 20 years during which time it has not had its accounts signed. That is your money which is being flung around with gay abandon. If you are happy with that, fair enough. I am not.

        It is run by an inner cadre who are unelected and cannot be fired. The Parliament cannot propose or change legislation which is put before it by the functionaries. Therefore, no matter who you vote for, you have no chance of changing anything.

        If we vote to stay, I will be looking to emigrate. I will be forced to leave this great country of ours which I love because lying politicos have, over the years, handed it over to what is in effect a dictatorship. I never thought I would see the day when I contemplated leaving the UK forever.

        • ReaderLNDW3

          The UK has to most stable democracy in the world??? Then what about Switzerland with its direct voting system and referenda on every little issues? Yet Switzerland is a member of the Schengen area and it pays considerable amounts of money to have access to the EU internal market so de facto Switzerland is a member of the EU just like Norway. They both survive on trading with EU. Just use your common sense and you’ll see in today’s global econominc system the UK alone is not a viable option.

          • monkeyinsingapore

            You talk utter rubbish.

          • MightyDiego

            Is there an echo in here? How about countering the points?

      • monkeyinsingapore

        There is absolutely nothing to support your conclusions. You typify the type of person that has contributed to Britain losing its confidence. You can move to Europe if you want to why the rest of us get back to building a re-vitalised Britain. We are not leaving the EU, but re-joining the rest of the world.

        • MightyDiego

          Oh yeah and the rest of the world will be so excited about that. Grow up you dreamer.

    • monkeyinsingapore

      What a load of rubbish!

      • madeintheworld750

        A very incisive, considered reply, monkeyinsingapore. You have convinced me that you know better! 🙂

  • Kevanch

    So ReaderLNDW3, let’s deal with this one point at a time.

    Lose access to the EU internal market. Really? We buy far more from them than they do from us. I have had a look at the figures and I reckon that the UK market makes up about 10% of new cars imported within the EU. Do you seriously imagine that the French and Germans are going to see that jeopardised? Under WTO rules, punitive duties may not be imposed, so even if stuff from over there costs 10% more, so what? We will find new, more competitive suppliers.

    Have no say in European decision making. We are largely ignored anyway, so not much will change.

    Why should we have to endure several years tedious negotiation with the EU? If it wants to continue dealing with the hugely profitable UK market, it will have to get a move on or others will move in with more competitive prices.

    There is no good business reason for headquarters and banks to leave the UK. Why are they here in the first place? Language, culture and respected legal framework for a start. Of the 28 ECJ judges, only a few are qualified for the job, the rest are political appointees and anyway, the ECJ is driven by the commission and does its bidding. Hardly impartial and afforded the respect which it deserves, which is virtually none.

    Employees also like London as a place to live and work. The City is innovative and dynamic. The basic rules are set down by the Basel conventions, currently Basel 3 to which the City abides. The EU imposes all sorts of extra stuff that does not work, such as the cap on bonuses. This is driving up salaries to an unaffordable level so the really talented people are tempted away.

    Why on earth would US, European and other countries want to move from the UK? We have a skilled, motivated workforce with sensible laws allowing firms to hire and fire. this is not the case in the hugely protectionist EU. When Thomson of France bought Ferguson, the plant in Gosport was the most productive in the group yet it was closed because of the absurd French laws covering redundancy. Thomson will therefore become less and less competitive. Nissan in Sunderland is the most productive car plant on the planet. Why would the Japanese want to close it? Indeed, it is being expanded.

    So yes, we can replace their cars with ours. They might not have the perceived cachet of a German badge, but they will be every bit as if not more reliable. We make cosmetics. British designers are found in many of the international designer brands but when you want really good clothes, you go to Saville Row, not some glass shop with a pretentious name, so we can do that better too. If the Spanish food is fish, yes we can certainly replace that because the chances are it is our fish in the first place thanks to the hugely destructive CFP which has decimated our fishing fleet and nearly destroyed our fishing grounds.

    How will leaving affect easy weekend trips? You present you passport at the border, buy your euros and away you go. What exactly is going to change? You surely are not seriously suggesting that we will need visas to visit the EU? Flights might cost more and that is one of the very few downsides of leaving.

    The EU has spent 9 years and counting trying to sort out a free trade deal with India. this is hardly progress. If we sorted out something rather faster, then yes, India would buy equipment from us. It would be cheaper for a start. Furthermore, we have a common language and common legal system, so they know exactly where they stand.

    The Scots have voted to remain part of the UK. Independence would cause it a few minor problems. North Sea oil is not worth much these days which has rather spoiled the SNP’s fiscal calculations. They dodged a bullet there, for sure. Scotland would need its own diplomatic corps, border protection, army, air force and navy. It would need to issue its own passports and driving licences. It would also need a currency. Finally, regardless of whether it had voted to leave in its referendum or after the event, it could never remain in the EU as a new independent nation. Joining the EU takes a bit longer than filling in the application form. The Scots, who have mightily benefited from payments from Westminster would suddenly enter a draughty real world when that cash was cut off.

    As for the migrants living on benefits, you are slightly missing the point. They are prepared to work for less money, which forces down wages. However, because we have generous in work benefits, the tax payer is picking up the tab, in effect subsidising business. Therefore, this workforce is a hidden outgoing. More to the point, our system cannot cope with such a huge influx of people. It takes 5 years to train a doctor, 4 years a teacher. In that period, well over a million extra people have turned up over and above the population growth planned for. How are we to deal with them?

    I agree with you about the third world immigrants, although I would argue that the genuine refugees tend to behave themselves. The economic mob is a very different matter. However, once in the EU and issued with papers, as EU citizens, they have free access to the UK. The numbers pouring across the Mediterranean are substantially up on last year, itself a massive shock to the system. Nobody can cope. It is easier to give them papers as soon as possible. Once that is done, stand by for incoming and there is absolutely nothing we can do.

    I also agree with you about the Swiss and Norwegian deals. They are restrictive, as is everything about the EU. The optimal deal for the UK would be a Free Trade Agreement with the EU. We would not be part of the Single Market and have free movement of goods but not people. There would be no restraints on trade elsewhere in the world, none of the social and employment legislation, no budget contributions and no CAP, CFP and all the other stuff. Britain would have full sovereignty. Yes, goods sold to the EU would have to conform to EU requirements, but what is wrong with that? We have to abide by US, Japanese and other requirements if we sell stuff to them, so nothing changes.

    What would change would be that the vast majority of businesses in the UK would not have to abide by restrictive EU directives, which make up the majority of our laws. Some say two thirds, others three quarters of our laws stem from EU directives. By being free of the EU, we could decide which ideas would be worthy of adoption and not everything coming out of the EU is bad.

    Finally, we would be shot of a system that is totally undemocratic and utterly unaccountable. It is undemocratic because the EU parliament does not drive the legislative agenda. It is given its work by unelected civil servants. It is the functionaries who decide what the parliament will do. In any other election, the voter decides who is offering the best manifesto deal, both personally and nationally, and casts the vote accordingly. If enough feel the same way, the incoming government delivers on its promises. The EU does not operate like this and nobody can change it.

    The EU has not had its accounts signed off in the last 20 years. But it gets worse. We are not talking about keeping the bean-counters on the corner happy. We are talking about the Court of Auditors being systematically ignored for 20 years. The Commission has totally ignored its own fiscal court for 20 years. How on earth can anybody accept that the rule of law at Commission level is respected when the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary?

    We might be a tiny island, but we are the sixth biggest economy in the world. A quarter of the world uses our common law system, including the US. That same quarter has English as its mother tongue. The rest accept English as the lingua franca of the business world.

    Mr Corbyn has stated that if elected, he would re-nationalise rail and utilities. If he was elected, he would find that these promises were undeliverable because they are against EU rules. So a democratically elected leader would be forbidden on delivering domestic policy by an unaccountable civil service in Brussels.

    The CAP has put up food prices by some 10% due to its protectionist regime. The CFP has destroyed our fish. The EU wants to harmonise tax rates which means that we can soon look forward to VAT on food following the same principle that has put VAT on tampons. The UK did not want to do this but was powerless.

    As for your assertion that the future is for political and regional trading blocs, I am puzzled. There is a North American trading bloc, but I am unaware of the USA and Canada forging a political union. The same applies to South East Asia. What is to stop us trading with them. If Iceland, with a population roughly the size of Wakefield, can sort out a trade deal with China, I am quietly confident that the UK might be able to knock something satisfactory together.

    The euro is a disaster that is waiting to happen. The longer we wait, the bigger the disaster will be. Initially, the criteria were strict but that was quickly overlooked when first Italy then Greece wanted to join. Immediately, the criteria were ignored by the weaker currencies until they found themselves in a hole. At the outset, participants were told that under no circumstances would bail outs be entertained. When in a hole, stop digging. Not the EU. Greece has had several bail outs and is now forever doomed to crushing poverty and sending all the wrong messages to other poorly run economies within the eurozone. Greece will default at some point. Its people will soon despair of endless austerity with no end in sight and react badly. If Greece goes, the whole nonsense will start to unravel, leading to God knows what sort of chaos in Europe.

    The UK needs to be as far away as possible when that happens and we only have a fairly short period of time to shift our trade to the rest of the world so that we can emerge fairly intact. This we cannot do while a member of the EU.

    Contrary to the assertions of the pro EU lobby, the big unknown is staying, not going.

    • Bagsofsmoke

      …and breathe.

      • Kevanch


    • Luke Neave

      “If it wants to continue dealing with the hugely profitable UK market, it will have to get a move on or others will move in with more competitive prices.”
      And what exactly is stopping them doing it now?

      • Kevanch

        EU tariffs for a start. But then quite a lot are, hence our rather awful current account deficit, now running at 7%. Our exports, from a high cost economy will also be subject to import duties, probably at the same rate, making us very, very expensive. That is fine for premium goods, but down at the commodity end, like steel, we cannot hope to compete. We would struggle with the Chinese at even sensible prices. Interestingly, the US charges 236% import duty, while the EU charges 24%. One of them is way out of line. Given that our steel industry is effectively bankrupt, I think it might be the EU. Of course, we cannot set a higher tariff to protect against dumping.

  • colm

    Up until recently I was anti-EU, but the past years my thinking has evolved although I would never say Europhile. We have to be realistic. We need to stand back and look at the world and observe what’s happening. Many pseudo-democracies holding increased sway over us and the world, and threatening security e.g. Russia. Some dubious presidential candidates in the US election. Instability in the Middle East and huge migrant flows. Is it right to start fragmenting the EU at this critical time, even with its many faults? We need to reform the EU and make it stronger and more robust. The world is very different, even from five years ago. The UK has always been late in my view. It only joined the “EEC” in 1973 instead of being a chief designer of the whole project. It let the French, Germans and Italians get in there first – to its cost. The UK has much to offer Europe, and several other EU countries rely on Britain and appreciate what it brings to the table. Please think carefully before throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Realise that the world has changed, not just from the last century but even within the past decade.

    • Kevanch

      You need to look at the EU history a little closer. We applied twice and on both occasions, de Gaulle blackballed us. On the third go, the Common Market as was, had passed a law, just 6 weeks before we joined, that specifically took our fisheries away. Ted Heath knew that and still signed up. The Norwegians were asked in a referendum and were given the full facts and voted to stay out. Twice.

      What you fail to realise is that there is absolutely no possibility of us reforming the EU. Its structure is totally flawed. Its officials are immune from prosecution, they are unaccountable and it does not follow the rule of law. How can it? For the last 20 years, it has defied the Court of Auditors and not had its accounts signed off. Actually, it is less defiance and more a case of in goring the tedious little bean counters.

      The whole EU project as envisaged by Jean Monnet was federalism by stealth and in stages. Every treaty, more rights were ceded via acquis communautaire and once gone, can NEVER be regained. Ever.

      The EU is pushing ahead with its euro. we think that we are OK with the pound. We are not. The day will come when it is taken away from us and we become an EU region.

      Please watch this video for a clearer idea of what is really going on and carefully think about whether you still want to be tied into this ghastly project..


      • colm

        I stand corrected on the UK’s early attempts to join the Common Market. Thank you. But I still believe “get in there and negotiate” and stand up for our position and don’t be left on the margin – which we will be. In the long run do we want to be isolated from what’s happening on our doorstep? Britain is in a slow decline as a world influence (sorry, but true), and does need to reevaluate its role and how best it can project its influence. (I am not the Duke of Cambridge by the way.)

        • Kevanch

          Well, my solution to internally negotiating would be to tell the EU that they are not getting a single penny more until they sort out their accounts.

          If nothing else, it would grab their attention pretty sharpish.

          • Colm

            Fair comment. We should be able to say this as net contributors.

          • Kevanch

            Even if we were net recipients, the principle applies although pragmatically, it is unwise to bite the hand that feeds.

            The issue is that the EU project is all about further and deeper integration until there is full political, monetary and fiscal union.

            What this means is that everything will be run from Brussels. All political decisions will stem from the unaccountable and unsackable Commission. The inflexible euro will be the currency across the region and Brussels will gather all taxes.

            Given the above, it is utterly impossible to negotiate to get the thing to change course and for as long as national governments are happy to keep giving away sovereign powers, there will be little appetite for any meaningful change.

            Once the people finally rise up, it will be too late. Either there will be a flocking to full on exit parties such as UKIP who will form a government and take the country straight out or people will start to riot on a very large scale.

            Now you might find the idea of a UKIP government rather fanciful, but I dare say that the Liberals and Tories felt much the same about Labour when it first popped up. Given enough frustration and pent up energy, anything is possible.

            My core point here is that the only way the EU is going to change direction and move into a more flexible, democratic shape is if it disintegrates. While I want to leave because it is dictatorial, I have no desire to see Europe descend once more into Weimar Republic poverty and inflation but that is what is on the cards.

            Make no mistake. The collapse of the EU would be terrible, but unless it drastically changes direction, this is what will happen. Sooner or later, the economic chickens will come home to roost.

          • colm

            ……Have you also read the article “The real danger of Brexit” just published on The Economist? Everyone should read it.

          • Kevanch

            Thank you for pointing this out. Yes, it is an interesting read and there is a lot of good stuff in there for careful consideration. What the effect will be on sterling for example, is a bit of a worry.

            What interested me was the overall tone, which was if we leave, it would be bad for the EU to lose its second biggest contributor. It would also take us outside the EU nuclear discussions. Well, given we are one of two nuclear powers in the EU, the other being France, I am sure that with the US, we will be able to sort something out.

            Ireland is an interesting issue and I must look into this more closely. However, there was some interesting conversation on the radio the other day about the UK/Eire border. Currently, it is open. If it is in our interests for it to remain open, and it is, then if we leave, the arrangement will continue. It is a matter for the governments of the UK and Eire as to how we manage our borders.

            I am also not convinced at our trade figures with the EU. A lot of stuff shipping via an EU port on the way to somewhere else is counted as an EU import, which clearly skews the figures. I suspect that Intrastats might have something to do with this but do not know enough about their detailed workings to be sure. If you can shed any light, I would be grateful.

            I feel that the issue of NATO is a total red herring. This alliance was created in 1949, two years before the Coal and Steel Community, the precursor to the EU. The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957 which set the Common Market, then the EEC, then the EC and now the EU in train. As far as I am aware, we have not given up any sovereignty to be a part of NATO. While NATO might sensibly suggest that having common ammunition is helpful from a logistical viewpoint, it does not micromanage the UK forces. It would like members to spend 2% of GDP on defence, but if they choose not to, it cannot fine them or forcibly collect the money.

            By contrast, the EU charged us an extra £1.7 billion because at some point many years ago, our economy did rather better than expected. The Greeks also got hit with an extra bill but strangely, on that day France and Germany were a bit off the pace and so escaped a charge. Given that the EU has not had its accounts signed in 20 years and in the process ignored its own Court of Auditors, one has to question the accuracy of these estimates.

            If the 6 original members played any role at all in keeping the peace, it was the French and Germans getting into bed together, the French to keep and eye on the Germans and the latter struggling to overcome the embarrassment and horror of WW2 and trying to demonstrate that they really had turned over a new leaf.

            Now that the Eastern States have joined both the EU and NATO, it is to NATO that they turn every time the Russian bear growls. Having those states turn west was something Russian tolerated because it really knew that it had no real hold over them. Ukraine is very different and the EU has stirred up all sorts of trouble there and roused Russia into a new bellicose stance as a result of meddling in their back yard.

            I totally reject the argument that we need to be in the EU in order for EU nationals to work over here. The difference is that we select them for the jobs we need doing and if they misbehave, can kick them out. It took us 10 years to get rid of Abu Hamsa because of EU interference and we are now going through the same paid with his equally toxic daughter in law.

            At no point has anybody suggested that leaving the EU would result in some sort of drawbridge being raised. This is nonsense. The difference is that we decide who comes and goes. Nothing wrong with that.

            Scotland is an interesting issue. The Scots voted to stay in the UK and in order to get that result, promises were made with regard to power transfer to Holyrood. That is happening. The timetable might slip a bit, which is annoying, but by and large, the deal is on track.

            However, the essential numbers for Scotland have dramatically changed. The budget was based upon expensive oil, which is not now the case. I can see no reason why the 5th biggest economy in the world cannot work within the IMF, the WTO and everybody else. We are already at the NATO top table if only because we are the only country paying it full defence dues. If anybody has grounds for leaving NATO it is the US on the grounds that they have been spending untold amounts defending Europe while the Europeans have not really fully joined in.

            I also remain totally unconvinced about the security question. Why would the EU not continue to co-operate with us? It is in their interest to glean intelligence wherever possible. To cut off the UK would be self defeating.

            I also do not accept that we have nearly as much clout within the EU as the Economist would have us believe. In votes where we really do not want something, we pretty much always lose.

            I am also not convinced with the FTA payment and free movement of people argument. 5 million Norwegians and 8 million Swiss are not quite the same as nearly 65 million Brits. Furthermore, the Swiss are totally surrounded by EU states, so have to tread a little warily.

            The article points out that Brexit would deal a heavy blow to the EU, already on the ropes. It totally failed to ask why the EU is on the ropes. The ill conceived euro is one reason along with the chicanery and dishonesty inherent within the EU. If you have not done so, read the Rotten Heart of Europe by Bernard Connolly to get an insider’s view of how things are really done in Brussels.

            Yes, there will be pain involved in leaving, but nothing compared to the prolonged agony of staying. There is no reason why we cannot sort out our trade deals, especially if it is just and someone else rather than 28 and someone else. That is why we have no deal with China or India and the highly secretive TTIP talks with the Americans. We would not need nigh on a decade and counting to sort out a deal,although I do accept that it is not something that would be sorted out over a weekend at a nice country retreat either.

            There are some real concerns, I agree, but on balance, if the EU is dead set on continuing its federal agenda in defiance of all the evidence that it is not working, I can see no earthly reason why we should remain and stay part of the problem.

          • colm

            Thanks for replying, and arguing so well. You touch on a number of things, and I cannot respond to them all, but I will still offer some views on some of them. You refer to the land border with Ireland (Republic), and the Scottish situation. My perception is that a vote for Brexit is really a vote for England and Wales. The remaining parts of the UK do not want to leave. How will this be reconciled? To have any meaning post-Brexit, the Irish land border would need to be patrolled in order to control UK immigration, undermining the Common Travel Area Agreement within these islands, and also impacting on aspects of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement on north-south cooperation overwhelmingly endorsed by public vote throughout the island of Ireland. This is not a very neighbourly act. It will also affect so many British people.

            Regarding Scottish finances, granted, oil prices have fallen, potentially impacting on future Scottish finances. This will scare some Scottish people for the moment, yet any credible financial model should build in the variable / cyclical price of oil. Countries can ride the storm by building up financial reserves in the same way as Norway does. I do think Scotland will see this, and SNP will spare no punches in presenting their case.

            I certainly understand the concerns about EU accountability, and progression towards federalism. David Cameron has negotiated a special place already for London by protecting the non-Euro parts of the EU. The UK has already successfully negotiated a type of dominion status within the EU. However, exiting the EU will cut the benficial links we have with it, leaving a realistic chance of the UK itself breaking up, and affecting the free movement of people between these islands (including Ireland). Sterling will fall, reducing our purchasing power abroad, and while we might be able to broker new trade deals free from the shackles of the EU, our autonomy and isolation from our EU neighbours will also come at a price.

            Accountability is an interesting topic, but instead of collaborating with our like-minded neighbours on changing it, we are being churlish and running away instead, and not helping. But as long as we control our own borders, many people think this will save the day. I think a lot of us have become a tad deluded, and hopefully some more facts before the referendum will help us reach a more informed decision.

          • Kevanch

            Colm, we have virtually no influence in Europe at all. Heath took us in on very disadvantageous financial terms and handed over our fish. When Spain joined, with its vast, ruthless and destructive fishing fleet, we lost even more of our quota and as a result, our fishing fleet has been decimated.

            Maggie Thatcher led us further down the road of integration, but it appears that she was poorly advised and briefed by the Foreign Office and did not fully realise what she was signing up to. When the scales fell from her eyes, she dug her heels in hard. Really hard. As a result, she was fatally wounded by Geoffrey Howe when he resigned and was ousted some weeks later. Thus we lost our only Prime Minister since Eden who was prepared to stand up to the EU and say no.

            John Major led us into Maastricht, by which time people were waking up to what the whole thing was all about, but it was too late. Even so, he secured some opt outs that prevented the worst of the EU legal machine being foisted upon us and at that stage, even then, we would have had a chance of being able to stop the worst excesses.

            Alas, Tony Blair came along and he signed everything put in front of him and also managed to give away a great chunk of the rebate that Maggie had won. Because of the acquis communautaire system, once a right has been signed away, it can NEVER be reclaimed.

            The EU is dead set on full on federalism. Every time there is a crisis, and there is no shortage of those, both current and in the pipeline, the response is always the same. Greater integration, which means more loss of sovereign power.

            When the Balkans blew up in 1992 on the death of Tito, the EU was quite happy for the Serbs to do whatever they felt appropriate to keep their artificial federation together and then stood back while the most appalling atrocities were visited upon civilians whose only offence in life was their choice of God. It took the US and NATO to sort that one out. The EU did nothing.

            The euro has put pretty much everybody into a German economic model straight-jacket which simply does not work. The end result is dreadful unemployment, especially among the young in all of the struggling eurozone members, generally southern Europe. Greece is a ticking bomb. It is merely a question of which way the blast is going to travel.

            Perhaps the people will rebel when the penny finally drops that their austerity period has no end. They can never get out from under their current debt and when that realisation dawns, the Greeks are likely to become very cross. Bear in mind that they had a civil war at the end of WW2 and were ruled by a junta of colonels for a while, and then by an archbishop. Take your pick as to which is worse. If they have done it once, they can do it again.

            Alternatively, the Greeks will default unless given yet another huge bail out in which case the Germans will get very restive. Alternativ fur Deutschland has come from nowhere to something like a quarter of the popular vote. The ECB will then be between a rock and a hard place.

            Either it keeps throwing money at Greece, which is unsustainable and will upset the Germans or it lets Greece default, which will make the euro a very dodgy currency indeed in that it will prove itself to be unreliable. The other option would be to write off a huge chunk of Greece’s debt. Again. At this point, Spain, Italy, Portugal and France will demand the same treatment, which will have much the same effect on the euro because the ECB financial instruments will become utterly worthless.

            Finally, we have the migrant crisis and associated terrorism. Since mid 2014, the boat people were identified as a significant and growing problem, yet nothing was done until several EU countries started stringing up razor wire. We now have an EU deal with Turkey which is costing the UK £500 million and involves swapping illegal Syrians scooped up off the beaches with those in Turkish camps. Quite what this is supposed to solve is beyond me, and there is no mention of all the economic migrants. If the Syrian war stopped, the problem would solve itself pretty much overnight. All most want to do is to go home.

            As it is, Europol reckons that ISIL has landed some 5,000 fighters in Europe, but nobody really knows because the hordes of migrants pouring through cannot be vetted and will say anything to get in, so if Syria is the magic word, they all become Syrian. I suspect very few people can identify Arabic, never mind regional accents and dialects, so there is little chance of detection. Once papers are issued, that risk drops to vanishing point.

            The EU has pushed the cost of energy through the roof which is one reason why energy intensive industries are now uncompetitive, hence the steel drama.

            So what can we expect from the EU in the future if we stay? The EU insisted on VAT on domestic fuel all those years ago and has just interfered with out zero rate for tampons. Zero has now been outlawed – the minimum is 5%, hence the anger amongst the ladies. Coming along is VAT on food, children’s clothes, newspapers and books.

            Already our food is very expensive because we are forced to pay artificially high prices for EU food, brought about by the CAP ensuring that inefficient (or crooked) farmers stay in business. Because of the way it is run, it rewards the already rich, large landowners while smaller farmers continue to struggle. The EU makes no effort to audit CAP claims, despite being told that according to satellite imagery, the visible area of durum wheat was much smaller than the acreage claiming subsidies. And so it goes on.

            With regard to insularity, I think that you will find that there are a few rich countries carrying lots of small ones and can easily be outvoted. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas and no southern or eastern state is going to vote for a sensible CAP that actually runs proper audits. Nor is France and we must never under estimate the power of the French within the EU. They are formidable operators.

            We have tried and tried to reform it from within to no avail. The EU has taken on a life form of its own, unaccountable, unsackable and out of control.

            It is worth looking right back into EU history to discover that it has been the product of largely socialist or communist minds and is behaving pretty much the same as the Soviet Politburo. Never mind the evidence, just keep on enlarging and spewing out regulations.

            I do not know if the Irish examine passports from EU countries. If they do not, then why bother trying to get through the chunnel when a ship to Ireland will get you into Northern Ireland and straight into the UK? Maybe the north south border will need to be beefed up a bit after all. If they do, they are a Christian country and are as much of a target as anybody else and will become the Irish front line. A terrorist attack in Dublin would concentrate the mind pretty quickly.

      • Sanctimony

        Let’s not bring that squalid, androgynous, asexual, bitter and twisted lump of lard, Ted Heath, into this debate….

        The man was utterly self-serving and talent-free… his greatest claim to fame during WWII was to volunteer to command a firing squad lined up against a fellow Brit…

        Says all you need to know about the wretch…

        • Kevanch

          I agree but sadly, the shifty little toad got us into this mess and Cameron is showing no more signs of getting us out than Wilson. He has come back with empty promises that can either be kicked out in the EU parliament or in the ECJ and you can bet your pension the Commission will see to that.

          If we stay, the country is doomed.

      • Tom M

        Quite true Kevanch. The fisheries thing was a disgrace. If I remember correctly it was only noticed late on in the negotiation by anybody (just what do we pay these civil servants for?) and Brussels created the Common Fisheries wheeze to our distinct disadvantage at the speed of light.

    • inpips

      Could you have mustered any more meaningless cliches in one post?.

      Personally I’d love to rid this country of European bureaucrats, its all so repressive, you cant do this you cant do that, pay for this more tax on the next thing. So many procedures and red tape… its morphing into the old Soviet Block.

      Not that it really matters what I think, the people of this Country will be faced with weeks of propoganda and scaremongery and will ultimately comply… if not the count will be rigged.

      There is zero chance we are getting out of this mess without a fight so you can relax and enjoy all the fruits the European mother Government has to offer. All of which are rotten IMO.

    • Flintshire Ian

      When it comes down to security and the defence of free Europe it will always be about NATO and specifically about the Americans and Britain, and nothing at all to do with the EU.
      Most of the EU 28 are either too small, spend too little on defence or don’t like to put their troops in harm’s way.

      • Colm

        In terms of military action, absolutely. But I’m not sure it’s a convincing argument to leave the EU which would have wider implications on our security and influence.

    • Tom M

      “………We need to reform the EU and make it stronger and more robust……..”
      Motherhood and apple pie.
      If there was anything at all to learn in the past few weeks it is that the EU has no intention of being reformed or indeed even considering reform is at all necessary.
      My opinion of the EU is one of empire building bureaucrats whose only interest is in bigger (think Turkey) and not better.
      Of all the possible things they could have made better when the UK joined I see little or nothing. Their whole existence revolves around everything being controlled from Brussels. The solution to their total incompetence is always more power to Brussels.

      • colm

        A. Merkel agrees with Mr Cameron that EU reform is necessary. She said it publically last week. “Justified and Necessary” were her words.

        • Tom M

          Well she would say that wouldn’t she.

        • monkeyinsingapore

          You seem a bit naïve colm…..no offence meant.

    • madeintheworld750

      Your voice is a voice of reason.

  • Voting to remain means closer integration. Is everyone clear on this and EVERYTHING that means?

  • richard


  • Paul

    A great article illustrating very good reasons to get OUT!

  • Paul

    The angriest I get is when I read about Britain’s seppuku urge
    to remain under Brussels. How can a Tory government do this? Fifty-five
    million pounds per day is paid by the Brits to the Brussels kleptos.
    Some of that is spent by the kleptos in Britain in return, but nothing
    near what the thieves in Brussels take from the fools in Britain. There
    would be no austerity measures in Britain if the fools stopped paying
    the thieves (Tory budget cuts are dwarfed by EU payments), yet the
    unions in Britain are on the side of Brussels. Go figure.

    • Luke Neave

      It isn’t £55m a day or £20bn is it. What’s the point of ignoring the rebate?

  • WTF

    I think its time we renamed the two camps on Brexit to the “COULD” group and the “WILL” group for these reasons.

    much every article or post for staying in by the “COULD” group talk
    about it ‘could’ raise the cost of air fares, it ‘could’ increase
    migrants, it ‘could’ change workers rights, it ‘could’ make us
    vulnerable to ISIS, it ‘COULD’ this or that ad nausea. Nothing certain
    of course, no facts to back it, just wishful thinking scare mongering to
    try and convince us to stay in the EU.

    In contrast, by leaving
    the EU the ‘WILL’ group specifically state that it ‘will’ allow us to
    control our borders, it ‘will’ allow us to deny entry of any non UK
    citizen we don’t care to let in, it ‘will’ allow us to trade anywhere in
    the world without EU interference and it ‘will’ allow us to deport
    undesirables immediately.

    Additionally, on all current
    reciprocal arrangements with the EU, if we left, its ‘LIKELY’ that
    things will continue as before as any negatives applied to us can
    equally be applied to EU countries. So apart from the definite ‘WILL’
    we can add its ‘likely’ that trade will continue as before, ex-pats
    living in the EU will ‘likely’ see no changes in reciprocity, its
    ‘likely’ prices of food will not change, its ‘likely’ we will have
    breathing space to fix our divided society and finally, its ‘likely the
    Eurozone will collapse down to perhaps Germany, France & Holland and
    the EU will see all the recent entrants follow the UK and leave.

    • Luke Neave

      The only “Wills” you talk about are to do with immigration and this absurd idea that the EU stops us trading with other nations. We are not stopped the presumption is that we would benefit from signing our own trade agreements. As for it is likely that everything will continue as before, that is said not with any facts to support it but based on pure supposition.

  • colm

    Iceland and the UK are not fair comparisons. Iceland has 300,000 people, very dependant on fisheries and related industries (accounting for c.27% of GDP). The natural inclination is therefore to resist EU membership. Not mentioned in the article, but Iceland’s recent economic history has been very turbulent, exposing the vulnerability of small economies. But debt write-downs, having its own currency and banking system, and reforms, not to forget an international bailout, have raised Iceland to its feet again, admirably.

  • itsthepatriarchy

    makes no difference. UK has no voice within the EU… may as well leave, then…


  • BaronHardup

    I’m trading in my British passport. It will be worthless after Brexit.

  • Luke Neave

    Unemployment in Iceland is minimal, the assumption being what that membership of the EU would make it higher? The UK’s unemployment rate is also relatively low. If the argument is that membership of the EU would make it higher then the question is why? Regulation, if so why is our rate so low? You could argue that it is membership of the EURO leading to inflexibility when it comes to the value of the currency, so Denmark has a low unemployment rate, but we are not in the EURO and in any case Sweden who don’t have the Euro have a higher unemployment rate than Netherlands who do so even that doesn’t provide an automatically satisfactory answer.

    This is how the Icelandic president explained things, We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing here in Europe. …“.

    As for downright malicious EU regulations that menace London. “The short selling of sovereign bonds and sovereign CDS, in particular, has been seen to exacerbate the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, forcing up the borrowing costs of countries such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain to unsustainable highs.” But hey what matters is the financial markets ability to make money isn’t it. If the people suffer so what, we can always saddle them with our debt, right!