A Better Alternative


This is the second in a series of posts responding to the Prime Minister’s speech at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House). The first was Cameron In Context.

Fortunately for all of us, an entirely different set of circumstances to those that concerned Monnet and MacMillan now pertain and the reality of life in 21st century Britain is overwhelmingly better than I dare say either man could have envisaged from his mid-20th century perspective. As fellow blogger, White Wednesday, has described, globalisation is killing the EU, rendering its bureaucratic structures obsolete. Newspaper columnist and author, Tony Parsons, recently expressed a similar sentiment in a more popular form for GQ magazine.

The intellectual basis for these arguments is expounded upon in-depth at EUReferendum.com—the search facility is your friend—and on Pete North’s Politics Blog and now on campaigning website Leave HQ. In brief, the aim of achieving “regulatory convergence” to facilitate cross-border trade within Europe, which accelerated with the creation of the Single Market, has gone global. This year, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is celebrating 20 years of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which mandates that signatories apply international standards where one exists.

The fact that both Britain and the EU are party to this agreement means that the entire argument about “Single Market access” and “no say” over Single Market rules is mute. Non-EU Member States that participate in the Single Market via the EEA agreement, like Iceland and Norway, and even countries way outside the EU, like Australia, which agree to maintain regulatory convergence with EU trading partners, backed by a formal Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on conformity assessment, are not concerned about having “no say” over the “rules” because around 80 percent of the rules are made elsewhere, in global bodies, such as UNECE, Codex, the ILO, the IMO, etc., where those countries have independent representation.

David Cameron said during his Bloomberg speech:

Our participation in the Single Market, and our ability to help set its rules is the principal reason for our membership of the EU.

And he emphasised during his Chatham House speech:

The single market has rules.

We will not always get what we want from those rules.

But we have more influence over them from inside the EU, where those rules are actually made.

Apparently, the Prime Minister knows not of what he speaks. His argument is out of date. What he calls “the principle reason for our EU membership” is a compelling argument to “leave” the EU and forge a new relationship for Britain with the EU, founded on the principles of independent self-government and intergovernmental co-operation.

The world has moved on from the quaint old EU. There is an emerging global single market and Britain needs to leave the EU to ensure that British ideas are represented in the global system and play a full role in shaping those processes.

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