Monday, 12 September 2016
Brexit Won't Be So Hard
A thought occurs: if we wanted to be as petty minded as the Eurocrats of Brussels are seemingly determined to be, could we not object to the fact that our 'partners' are conducting meetings of the 27 without us when we have not yet officially told them that we are leaving? The referendum, we keep being told (correctly from a strict constitutional point of view) was merely advisory. And so until Article 50 is invoked, or until Britain starts repealing legislation or perhaps withholds our contribution or some such measure, we remain full members of the EU and thus entitled to attend any bloody meetings we choose. Indeed we have paid for the bloody meeting rooms.
It seems that the Brussels panjanarmy are and remain in high dudgeon about our leaving and are determined to be awkward about it. They can do this of course because they are unelected and accountable to nobody. This is why Jean-Claude Juncker issued a presidential edict that he was not entitled to issue forbidding all negotiations with we upstart Brits. How dare we have the effrontery to vote to leave.
Brussels has been watching the summer's events and has concluded that the mild chaos we have seen since June 24th means that they are already winning this phoney war. Yet mild chaos was always going to occur. Indeed we predicted as much. We also predicted some moderate financial chaos too. Now that autumn is here all is settling down again.
And the same seems also to be true of the British Government's position. Teams are being formed and ideas being circulated. And anyway, we haven't actually indicated our intention to leave yet, let alone our negotiating position. We can take our own sweet time in doing so and there isn't a damned thing that Brussels or the rest of Europe can do about it. We shall invoke Article 50 once it suits us. And not until.
But even when we do let us imagine, as is not hard to imagine, that we find it difficult to do a deal with Europe in much the same way that the whole world seems to find it hard to do a deal with Europe because trying to get all of those disparate countries to agree is like herding cats. Well would a so called hard exit be so disastrous? Hardly. The benefits of the single market are exaggerated. How is it that the rest of the world manages to trade with the EU whilst not being members of this club? It's a point I believe many of us made prior to June 23rd.
The benefits of being in the single market are certainly there, but they are not so clear and demonstrable as to make us desperate. Being a member also has its costs in regulations and red tape. Even if our goods had to pay the EU tariff it would not be especially onerous and would be offset by the fall in the pound and by our being free of all of those regulations.
It's being reported today that it is possible that Britons might have to have visas to travel in Europe after our exit. Theoretically this may well be true and this is what Amber Rudd was acknowledging. But of course this would be idiocy of the highest order thus highly unlikely to occur. And the same is true over trade. It may well be the case that the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels wish to punish Britain for disobliging them. But the politicians facing elections will have other worries. They will also note that the British economy remains one of the healthier parts of the European economy, that we remain a huge market for European goods and in particular for German cars among other high end items. We shall no doubt be reminding our partners of these facts of life as negotiations get under way. How well would an already struggling EU economy cope with suddenly having one of its best customers operating on different terms? How would Germany react if they were pushed into recession thanks to Brussels intransigence? How would struggling France or Italy react?
Britain has a very strong case for demanding and getting a deal from the EU. But we have nothing to fear even if we don't. That is why those calling for a hard exit from the single market are surely right. Britain voted to leave the EU because the EU refused to listen or to allow us to govern ourselves. We are taking power back for ourselves. Our negotiating hand is a lot stronger than some would have us believe. Just ask the elected politicians of Europe.