Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Alistair Meeks at Political Betting argues that "Leave" are all over the place

Not withstanding the well argued comments from Jim King on the comments thread for the "Challenge to Brexit Supporters from a Floating Voter" post on this blog on Saturday, there has been a complete lack of any consistency in the "Leave" side messages about what would actually result if Britain votes "Leave" on 23rd June.

My previous post described one of the two pieces Alistair Meeks has written on Political Betting this week, about trade deals. He also wrote another arguing that Brexit messaging has gone all over the place - a view I agree with - and this gives both sides a problem.

The so-called "Norway" or European Economic Area (EEA) model would not have a significant negative effect on jobs - but it would mean that we would have to accept free movement of people.

The "World Trade Organisation" option would give Britain significantly more notional independence  and some areas of real independence - including the ability to restrict immigration - but we would cease to be part of the European Single Market and it is wholly unrealistic to pretend that this would not have a negative effect on trade and jobs.

And there are multiple options in between, as Alistair describes in the article.

I've seen a number of posts from Brexit supporters complaining that "absolutely nobody" on their side is arguing for a Norway style solution - which is not quite true - and therefore that it is not reasonable for "Remain" supporters to attack "Leave" by criticising the Norwegian option.

But until such time as the "Leave" side come up with a clear consensus on what they actually do want, what can "Remain" reasonably do but point out the problems with all the "leave" options and particularly the most plausible ones?

And frankly, the most plausible strategy put forward by those people on the "leave" side who appear to be anchoring their arguments in the real world is that we should start with the Norway option as a template and try to negotiate something as much better from there as we can get.


Jim said...

The remain side should be attacking the hell out of the EEA (Norway) option, Its exactly what I would be doing to if I were on the remain side.

This is because its the most dangerous to the remain side.

Whilst I do not think the EEA will be the final end point of Brexit, it is the first stage of a multi stage process. Its the stepping stone that will get us out of the EU, within the 2 year article 50 imposed timeframe.

So yeah, fair game, I would be keeping quiet about the further stages, Presenting the Norway option as the "Leave" final destination then pointing out very strongly all its weak points.

Though I would very much like to see someone from Remain present a "what Remain looks like" document. Its not the status quo, with the EU it never is.

Jim said...

As to the Brexit supporters who are saying to you "Absolutely nobody" is arguing for a Norway solution, well its kind of true in that we only endorce it as stage 1, but it is the first stage, there for we do.

Also its pretty clear to me, if they are worried about the free movement of people, that they will never see a "None single market" brexit.

the reasons for this are that it would be too damaging for the EU
and It would be too damaging to the UK governments funding source (the UK economy.

For all their faults national governments actively try to............hang on I will start this sentence again.......

For all their faults Conservative national governments actively try to avoid committing economical suicide.

Chris Whiteside said...

Some good points there, Jim.

I suppose in one sense nobody is arguing even in the short term for a deal identical to Norway's because nobody in their right mind would argue that we should sign the Schengen agreement, which Norway has.

However, a "Flexcit" deal which starts with EEA/"Norway minus Schengen" as the base case and aims to negotiate on from there is probably the best "Leave" option.

Jim said...

Also I do note the Irony here too.

let me explain. (again)

The Flexcit plan uses the EEA (Norway) option (as you rightly point out, minus Schengen) as its first stage, this means in the early stages of the Brexit process, the flexcit plan does indeed compromise on the four freedoms (including the free movement of people). in the short term.

to reject Flexcit out right for this reason, ruining the "leave" sides most plausible, most workable, and best chance of winning the referendum is a ludicrous stance.

It vastly increases the chances that Remain will, Keeping the UK locked inside the EU, and thus stuck with the free movement of people permanently

Perhaps those people ought to sit down, with a strong cup of coffee and think long and hard about that.

Jim said...

Another analogy for you, I like analogies>

Did you ever hear the story of the boiling frog. Now it may or may not be factual, I don't know, but its a blooming good example.

So the tale goes, If you drop a live frog into a pot of red hot water, then he will jump right back out again. (much like every member of the EU would have in the mid 70's if suddenly the EEC had morphed to today's EU overnight). However if you put the frog into a pot of water at room temperature, he is quite happy. maybe swim around a bit and just sit there, then you put the pot on the stove and gradually increase the temperature of the water, and the frog stays put, quite happy, there he stays until the heat is so intense it cooks him and kills him. (this is very similar to the Monnet method, one small bit at a time.

So to save the boiling frog, when the water is now extreemly hot, but not quite lethal, what do you do?

Do you take him out of the pot and put him in the freezer? (WTO sudden death brexit) - well if you thought about this first you would probably pick up on the fact the shock would kill him.

So instead what you would opt for is to turn off the stove heat, and let the pot cool gradually, much in the same manner it heated up in the first place (Flexcit)