An Emotional Cushion

A quick straw poll down the pub last night revealed that at least two of my mates think that Britain should be less than an independent self-governing country and that they will therefore vote for Britain to remain in the EU (they didn’t quite phrase it like that). The conversation did not dwell on the topic and I did not say much—I find it difficult to talk about the EU with friends, for it very quickly becomes apparent that I know about 50 times more than anybody else and that tends to be the end of that—but I was both mildly impressed and disappointed in equal measure.

Impressed because one of my friends (one of the Remainers) ventured to say that, “The likelihood is nothing much would change” in the event of a leave vote. How he discerned that from the barrage of garbage from the Prime Minister and the “big leaves” is beyond me. Another friend (an undecided) then ventured that, “there will have to be a gradual transition”, which once again left me wondering where he has been getting his information because that is certainly not the message coming out of the legacy press. I didn’t ask but my gut tells me that, in both cases, this was just their latent common sense speaking. This did, however, give me the opportunity to say that, “Britain’s governance is far more integrated with the EU than most people understand; the EU institutions have a say in an enormous number of policy areas”.

Not exactly a killer point, but an important one nonetheless. I do not think that most people have any conception of the fact that, unlike every self-governing nation-state, Britain does not have an independent trade and industry policy, which means no right of reservation or veto at the global top tables like Codex, UNECE and the ILO, where industrial standards and labour participation rules are codified. Furthermore, Britain, host to more than 60 percent of “EU waters”, has to conform to a Common Fisheries Policy decided in Brussels, with input from countries that do not even border the sea. Finally, adherence to the Common Agricultural Policy means that food and land management strategies cannot be easily adapted to address local ecological and environmental needs in Britain, which are different enough in Scotland, Yorkshire, Somerset and East Anglia, without also having to devise one-size-fits-all measures for our rural counterparts in France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovakia.

What followed was less edifying. The Remainer followed up his “no change” comment by saying that, “They’re not going to just kick ’em all out, so some people are going to be upset no matter what”. The undecided concurred, “Yeah, I’m surprised that my dad, although he is a bit ‘old man racist’ is in favour of leaving, given that he spent so much of his career working in Belgium for a Belgian firm”. The other Remainer kept his own council, as did I, for the most part.

This is probably not a fair sample, but I think that these are interesting comments in as much as they scratch at the surface of the underlying irrationality of the Remainers’ position. For all of their claims to be desirous of facts and evidence, when offered (by me, at least), the response is to clam up and stop communicating. No. In the case of these young professionals, two with young families, the “remain” position is the one that flatters their vanity; it is the reasonable, pragmatic, sensible choice, opposed to the reactionary and racist choice.

That is at least as much a failure of the “leave” campaign and one that we need to do everything in our power to address as we enter the crucial stage in which those who have an open mind will be looking and wanting to be convinced by the evidence that we present. However, they will be reluctant to do so unless we can provide an emotional cushion that flatters their ego, too.

An Opportunity For Meaningful Political Change

So far, the Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign has claimed that, in the event of Britain’s EU exit, people and businesses based in the remaining EU Member States would all refuse to trade with people and businesses based in Britain, thereby cutting themselves off from one of the world’s wealthiest consumer markets. Why anybody would behave in such an irrational and self-defeating manner is not something that the Remainers ever explain.

Not only that. In the event of Britain’s EU exit, according to the Remainers, the EU institutions and the remaining EU Member States would refuse to co-operate in matters of security and defence. The form that this would take is never specified, and quite why the rest of the EU would choose to cut itself off from GCHQ, Mi5 and Mi6 is difficult, if not impossible, to fathom.

Cross border scientific co-operation would also suffer, the Remainers say. In the event of Britain’s EU exit, the EU would spurn opportunities to work with world-leading researchers at Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Aberdeen and elsewhere in the UK. Once again – why?

Some of the claims the Remainers make about the consequences of leaving are quite serious and require serious answers (others are just ridiculous), but every single one of them works both ways. That is why the Treaty on European Union allows for a minimum specified period of two years to negotiate an exit agreement with any succeeding state. The EU institutions bind themselves to host countries in a manner that is challenging to reverse, but that does not mean that the process is impossible, it simply takes more time than many of us would like.

Indeed, with sufficient political will, good faith, and a willingness to compromise, it is conceivable that a new relationship for Britain with the EU, trading and working together in areas of mutual interest, but shorn of the burdens of political union that are incumbent upon all EU Member States and which Britain singularly does not want, would be better for everybody.

Brexit is an opportunity for real, meaningful political change in Europe.

Sod Off Boris

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I used to quite like Boris Johnson, in the same sense that I used to quite like Eddie Izzard. Many years ago, when Have I Got News For You was still funny, Boris could do an entertaining comedy turn and I would laugh. The more I learn about the man and his politics, however, the less funny and the less interesting I find him.

The Boris Johnson of today is less like the Bertie Wooster character that he used to play in days gone by and more of a bullying man-child who shouts and sulks when his pretensions are challenged.

The fact that this long-time europhile has been adopted as the poster boy of the Vote Leave campaign, as a means to further his Tory leadership ambitions, tells you everything that you need to know about that ghastly Tory-led campaign. The fact that the other “leaver” groups, with the honourable exception of The Leave Alliance, endorse this man as their spokesman bespeaks the conformist mindset of those who should be striving to set the agenda.

Johnson’s recent appearance on The Andrew Marr Show is as good an example as any of the damage that he is doing to the “leave” campaign. Had a properly briefed politician with Johnson’s level of exposure had the opportunity to participate in a 25 minute interview on the BBC, he or she could have blown the debate wide open. Instead, we had Johnson’s ill-informed blathering.

It wouldn’t even take that much.

Marr: “Do you foresee Britain remaining part of the Single Market?”

Spokesman: “Yes”.

Marr: “What about freedom of movement?”

Spokesman: “It’s not going anywhere if we stay, let’s leave the EU first and then see what we can do.”

Marr: “And what about all those third-party treaties?”

Spokesman: “In international law the presumption of continuity should address that or even an adjunct to access EU treaties on a temporary basis so as to continue those provisions in the short-term would be in everybody’s interests.”

The above is not some arcane information available only to a small priestly class. In fact, the most important details have already been organised into a short pamphlet that is accessible to anybody.

Personally, I think that there are very serious questions to be answered about how and why the political parties have been able to co-opt and dominate the people’s referendum, thereby denying us the debate that we were all promised. The Tory Party is more than happy for the EU referendum to become the “Boris and Dave” show; Johnson sets them up, Cameron knocks them down, and Tory shall speak unto Tory, and the rest of us do not exist. Corbyn’s Labour is an irrelevance and Farron’s Lib Dems do not even qualify for joke status.

The latest outing for the blonde bombshell has already been demolished by more experienced minds than mine. Why anybody other than partisan Tory sycophants find this acceptable is beyond me. It is about time we started to set our own agenda.

The Plan That Must Not Be Named

Vote Leave and the Leave.EU/GO nexus are apparently determined to lose the EU referendum for the “leave” side.

Several months ago I wrote a piece about Leave.EU firing practically every “footgun” on the eurosceptic range. But Vote Leave and GO are no better.

For those who do not know, a footgun is something that you use to shoot yourself in the foot. The repeated assertion that Britain sends £350 million a week to Brussels, for instance, is a footgun. In spite of numerous people—allies and adversaries—pointing out that the figure is wrong, Vote Leave representatives and social media accounts continue to repeat that number ad nauseum. This absense of care and attention can only damage the credibility of the “leave” campaign, so why does Vote Leave insist upon promoting easily verifiable falsehoods?

A more nuanced example is the Vote Leave, Save Our NHS slogan, which, for the longest time I simply didn’t understand. What does a new relationship with our continental neighbours, working together as partners rather than accepting our subordination to a supranational bureaucracy, have to do with Britain’s national health service?

More often than not, journalists who use the term “dog whistle” in a political context are referring to something obvious. An effective dog whistle, however, is pitched at a frequency that only certain audiences can hear.

That Vote Leave slogan may be the first time the term has been applied appropriately, at least in my case, for it turns out that “Save Our NHS” is not a reference to Vote Leave’s love of socialist-style central planning but to mass immigration, which rather puts the lie to the prissy, self-important Tory whinging about the continuity UKIP campaign of Leave.EU/GO. No marks all round.

I could go on, but I do not wish to test people’s patience with an overabundance of examples, so, finally, we return to the Leave.EU campaign, which recently put out a video saying, “The remain camp cannot tell us how much worse things will get if we stay in the EU”. I would like to think that this video will be the nadir of that misdirected and wasteful campaign, but I fear that it will not be.

The attack might have had some purchase were the “leave” camp united behind a comprehensive Brexit plan that provides credible answers to serious questions about the risks associated with leaving the EU. Unfortunately, Vote Leave and Leave.EU have both rejected the idea of using the Flexcit plan as a campaign manual and a means for providing people and government with a post Brexit vision.

Shorn of a credible intellectual base, Leave.EU has resorted to copying ideas from the Remain campaign, which produced an earlier video saying that the high-noise “leavers” do not know what “Out” looks like; the irony being that Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE), Vote Leave, Leave.EU and GO are all well aware of the Flexcit plan and The Leave Alliance, but, like Voldermort, none dare speak its name.

Perhaps the greatest irony of all, however, is that serious people among the “British establishment” are reading Flexcit. Want that the big “leave” groups were so practical and pragmatic.

If we are going to win this, we cannot rely on the substandard material of the big campaign groups. We’re going to have to do it for ourselves, which is what I always expected, so let’s get on with the job.

A Brief Comment

I have very little to say about the atrocities in Belgium, but, having chosen to involve myself in the EU referendum campaign, I feel the need to comment briefly, if only to distance myself from the egregious idiocy of those who would seek to politicise the event, even before all of the details are known.

James Delingpole and Hugo Dixon are both equally ghoulish to use such barbarian savagery as a pretext to promote the “leave” and “remain” causes, respectively.

Security cooperation will continue post Brexit and it is misleading and irresponsible to say otherwise. Those who suggest that our security services would not work together were Britain to leave the EU are simply not serious, and in my opinion not worth the attention.

The security, defence and intelligence issues associated with these kinds of attacks are probably even more complex and multifaceted than the Brexit debate. To that end, waiting for the information needed to understand what has happened, amidst calls for “action”, is a far more productive activity than crass political point-scoring.

This is not a Brexit issue.

Hobgoblins

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One of the few things that the “leave” campaign has done relatively well is ridicule the idea that Britain’s EU exit will lead to the apocalypse. Months ago, the @DailyFUD Twitter account produced a series of graphics that were heavily retweeted by one Daniel Hannan, depicting dragons raining down fiery death from the sky, the awakening of the kraken and other such absurdities.

The sort of hysterical ninnydom promoted by the Remainers is a massive turn off for most people, yet Brexit scares still receive enormously disproportionate levels of attention in the legacy media. This has much to do with the bovine way in which legacy journalists, for all of their Woodward and Bernstein-styled moral posturing are slavish conformists with scant interest in pursuing the truth, for fear that it may lead to politically incorrect conclusions.

In fact, that is who political correctness is intended to control. If certain thoughts are unthinkable, they very quickly become unsayable, and while the occasional prole might be squished under foot to set an example for the others, it is the intellectuals—those who work with ideas—that the system strives to keep in check.

The American writer and cynic, H. L. Mencken, famously said: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”.

To that end, Brexit scares follow a familiar pattern. Just today, The New York Times published a puff piece promoting political campaigner, James Hansen’s latest contribution to the global warming debate, under the guise of “science”. The story is interesting in a Brexit context owing to the extremity of the claims and its appeal to authority. The NYT sees fit to quote Dr Michael Mann of all people saying that Hansen’s predictions are well outside the perceived “consensus”, which, if you know anything about the topic in hand, is truly Alice Through The Looking glass style stuff.

Whether the topic is a climate scare or a Brexit scare, the method of presentation favoured by the legacy media is almost invariably the same: make an outrageous claim about the negative consequences that will follow a particular policy choice and then quote a prestigious source in lieu of reason or evidence.

The message is always the same too: you, dear reader, have no more moral authority nor political autonomy than a naive child in need of adult supervision; remain within the confines of the perceived moral majority, whatever it may be, and you’ll be safe.

The scope, or lack thereof, of the Brexit debate, as conducted by the legacy media, tells us that journalists will accept the craven conformity of following the example of their betters; anybody presenting the view that free people should take responsibility unto themselves and that evidence and reason are appropriate tools for shaping political opinion and thereby political action are excluded. The fact that the only press coverage that The Leave Alliance launch received was in the column of one Christopher Booker, who is a long-time collaborator and personal friend of Dr Richard North, the principal author of the Flexcit plan, tells you most of what you need to know about the intellectual integrity of those who work for legacy media outlets.

Moreover, Flexcit and The Leave Alliance, have been snubbed by the big “leaver” groups, which have not even given us a courtesy mention. I welcome you to draw your own conclusions from that.

As to the veracity of the work of mere “bloggers”, the news that Flexcit has become required reading among civil servants in Whitehall will surprise nobody who has been paying serious attention to this debate for any length of time, or who has read Flexcit for themselves. What Dr Richard North and others have produced is a serious policy document that takes Brexit as its aim and then works backwards from there to define the series of steps that will need to be taken to make that policy outcome a reality. The pragmatism and practicality of the approach is precisely why the other “leaver” groups are ignoring Flexcit even as the (broadly pro-EU) civil service is reading it. The professionalism of the “bureaucrats” stands is stark contrast to the amateurness of Vote Leave, Leave.EU and GO.

Which brings us back to somewhere like where we came in. Remaining in the EU means entrusting the future of this country to people who resemble the big “leave” groups in almost every respect; those who would presume to protect us from hobgoblins rather than engaging in reasoned, evidence-based argument. However, the fact that dedicated individuals within The Leave Alliance are having a bigger influence than any of them on the government position post leave vote is a strong indication of what is possible.

Brexit is not only about taking responsibility unto yourself and saying, “no”, to all of these people, it is about giving yourself and future generations the opportunity to say, “no”, again in the future.

The Leave Alliance Launch – Part I

Yesterday I attended the launch of The Leave Alliance (TLA). TLA is a network of new and established political groups, bloggers and tweeters who are committed to winning the EU referendum for the “leave” side. What makes TLA unique among the declared leave groups is its support for a credible Brexit plan.

Flexcit: The Market Solution is a six-phase plan for recovering Britain’s national independence in stages, as part of a continuous process, rather than as a one-time event. That change of perspective shifts the Brexit debate firmly in the direction of pragmatic and practical politics. The exact form that our post-Brexit deal takes is less important than our vision for what we will do with our national independence. Self-governance means taking responsibility unto ourselves and, if our politicians are any indication, a long process of discovery and rediscovery lies ahead.

So as to short cut the economics- and trade-centred debate that has been allowed (some might say encouraged) to obscure the more important political question—who governs Britain?—the Flexcit plan advocates remaining in the Single Market and then working to create a genuine free trade area in Europe whilst also rebuilding the national policy-making framework and enhancing our democracy by means of The Harrogate Agenda.

TLA members include EUReferendum.com, Restore Britain’s Fish, The Campaign for an Independent Britain, The Bruges Group, Futurus and The Harrogate Agenda.

The first person to speak at the event was founder and director of Restore Britain’s Fish, John Ashworth, who wonderfully summarised the destructive and alienating affect of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and what he called the “whole sordid 43 year affair” of Britain’s EU membership involving as it does nothing less than “the eradication of our nation”. The betrayal of Britain’s fishermen by successive governments is in fact a perfect microcosm of the destructive impact that delegating national governance to supranational EU institutions has had upon Britain as a nation state. Mr Ashworth’s brief description was greeted by spontaneous applause.

EUReferendum.com, the foremost Brexit blog in the country, run by Dr Richard North, Pete North, and now supplemented by a Bloggers Army, was ably represented by Pete North. This group is committed to the idea that restoring and enhancing Britain’s democratic self-governance is the first stage of a process that will give ordinary people more say over their own lives and the future direction of their country. Mr North spoke specifically about the unique efforts of EUReferendum.com’s Bloggers Army to influence the online debate, challenging opinion-formers, diffusing scaremongering and setting forth a serious vision for an independent Britain.

Bringing further clarity to proceedings was Anthony Scholefield, director of the Futurus think tank, which was founded to address policy issues that have been neglected for too long among legacy sources. Mr Scholefield addressed the fact that the EU really is a unique institution—not an agreement between governments but a new structure above governments that is thereby incompatible with self-governance. That fundamental truth is what British politicians and businesses have never seemed willing or able to understand or embrace head-on.

The oldest anti-EU organisation in the country, the Campaign for an Independent Britain, now chaired by Edward Spalton, is also a member of TLA. Mr Spalton evocatively turned the Prime Minister’s “leap in the dark” metaphor on its head, suggesting that people think of Brexit “not [as] a risky leap, but [as] a confident step from the smoke and mirrors of the EU to a brighter, sunnier world”.

Rounding out the speakers present on the day was Niall Warry (who also did an excellent job chairing the event), director of The Harrogate Agenda, which is an integral part of the Flexcit plan, aimed at bringing real democracy (direct democracy) to the United Kingdom. Director of the Bruges Group, Robert Oulds, was not in attendance, but is likewise supporting TLA and its plan for a secure transition from EU Member State to self-governing country.

With the introductions in the can, the stage was set for Dr Richard North to expand upon TLA’s “public declaration of strategy”, a campaign component that is missing from all of the other Brexit groups. More to follow in part II.

British Innovation

Several months ago blogging colleague, The Brexit Door, published a very readable piece explaining the global dynamic underlying the European Commission’s claim to have removed roaming charges throughout the EEA/Single Market. That post was based at least in part upon the exemplary work of long-time Brexit blogger The Boiling Frog whose writing on the telecommunications field sets the standard for the genre. Part one of his two part series on EU telecoms regulation can be read here and the second part is available here.

Prior to Maastricht, however, telecommunications regulation was a matter for national governments and, unsurprisingly, it was during that era that many of the most important foundations for the broadband revolution, and especially for the mobile revolution, were laid, with Britain playing an important global role, setting an example that was later followed by others in Europe, America and Japan, and then replicated around the world.

In 1979, British telecoms were similar to every other telecommunications system around the world. Prior to market liberalisation, handsets, subscriptions, trunk lines, regional and local exchanges, network operations, maintenance and billing were all managed by the Post Office Telecommunications Service, which had existed since nationalisation in 1912. Financed by tax and bill payers and equipped with ageing infrastructure in need of upgrade and expansion, the British telecoms market was more ‘closed’ than any of its equivalents in the developing world prior to deregulation the 1990s and 2000s.

The British Telecommunications Act 1981 changed that, opening the industry to competition in three main areas: licensing an additional network in the form of Mercury; licensing private sector firms to provide services using British Telecoms networks; and allowing competition in the supply of connecting equipment. The lessons learned by the British informed governments around the world which followed Britain’s lead. The US Bell System was broken up in 1984 and Japan deregulated its telecommunications in 1985.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement to liberalise basic telecommunications came into force in February 1998 and despite worries about lower revenue streams for incumbents, international competition benefited and continues to benefit millions of ordinary consumers around the world. Private sector participation in joint ventures and subcontracting of installation and maintenance work improved network conditions, with high circuit costs and persistent lack of investment being at least partially arrested by restructuring traditional monopolistic entities to create independent commercial businesses.

The award of the first commercial mobile operator licence to Racal Vodaphone in the UK in 1982 likewise spurred interest in refining and developing that technology for the mass market. The model of licensing competition based upon fair business practices—governed by an independent regulatory body—has since been replicated globally, with well over 1,000 notable mobile operators worldwide.

As of 2012, there were over 200 fixed-line telecommunications providers, over 100 mobile service providers and over 1,000 ISPs operating in the UK. Opening the sector to other operators spurred investment in new technologies—many of which BT played a role in developing, yet lacked the energy and entrepreneurship to sell—including mobile and Internet services.

Those innovations and the lead that Britain took, especially with respect to licensing, was only possible because of the policy control that this country has since surrendered to supranational EU institutions. The certainty of having to find accommodation with 27 other national regulators—or surrender still more power to the centralising Commission—may mean “stability”, but it is also puts a brake upon further innovation and the kind of dynamic leadership that transformed telecommunications from a dull utility service into a cutting edge consumer business providing information, entertainment and genuine opportunity to (without exaggeration) billions of people around the world.

The switch from fixed-line to mobile phone packages, which are customer-oriented rather than subscriber-driven, also increases the economic and political clout of users, forcing utilities to become more responsive. Roughly 60 percent of mobile sales in sub-Saharan Africa are now smartphone sales—in Kenya, the ratio of smartphone to feature phone sales is 70:30—as people who have never used landlines ‘leapfrog’ their counterparts in the West.

The quality of Internet services has also been transformed over the past five years, as the submarine cable systems that encircle the globe begin to light up what Joseph Conrad once called ‘the dark continent’. For 10 years prior to the landing of SEACOM, EASSy and WACS, the only submarine cable system connecting West Africa to the Internet was SAT-3/WASC/SAFE, which enjoyed monopoly pricing. Today, new cable system entrants increase broadband coverage and lower connection costs for new subscribers.

Whether the smartphone would have found its way into those people’s hands without the bold regulatory initiative of the Thatcher government in the UK is something for academics to debate, the fact of the matter is that the global telecommunications industry was fundamentally transformed for the better because this country—America and Japan following soon thereafter, and the rest of Europe following after them—took a lead and showed that private enterprises (properly regulated) could provide better services at lower cost. Remaining in the EU may provide “certainty”, but it is the “uncertainty” associated with making your own decisions and, when necessary, charting an independent course, that brings forth the kind of positive change that is part of Britain’s history and which should be carried forward into Britain’s future.

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Alastair Campbell

Tony Blair’s former spin doctor is not a man who is known for playing with a straight bat, so when Alastair Campbell says of David Cameron that “at least he is fighting for what he believes in, and at least he is telling the truth as he sees it” you can be pretty sure that there is something amiss about Dave’s Dodgy Deal.

Effectively confirming what the more acute observers among the Brexit community have been saying for weeks, the House of Commons Library this week published a briefing paper specifying that the document signed by the Heads of State and Government is “not binding” on EU institutions. In other words, Dave’s Dodgy Deal is not worth the paper on which it is written. Yet, this man, who we consent to call Prime Minister, and his fellows (such as Alastair Campbell) are content to lie to the House of Commons—a resigning matter in previous eras—and the British public about the enforceability of the deal that was struck, even going so far as to claim that Britain now has a “special status” within the EU.

It is not a point that I would stress too forcefully owing to the sensitivity of the subject, but most people know that “special” is the politically correct word that teachers—and other students—use to describe anybody who is a little bit slow; anybody who needs special assistance in keeping pace with the rest of the class. Apparently, this is how David Cameron views the United Kingdom, a country whose history and traditions he regards with lazy contempt—who could forget the slovenly inability of this Oxford educated public schoolboy to correctly translate the Latin meaning of Magna Carta into English when appearing on the David Letterman show in the United States. As far as Dave is concerned, what makes Britain special is not its unique history of ordered liberty under law or the people who were responsible for that and associated triumphs, but its “special status” within the supranational EU, which he regards as offering a better future than a self-governing Britain.

The claim that Britain has a “special status” within the EU is insulting for more than one reason. First of all because the primary and overriding purpose of the EU has, always was and continues to be “ever closer union”. Everybody serious is aware of this and readily acknowledges as much. The only reason to remain in the EU therefore is to participate in further stages of political integration, surrendering ever more legislative and judicial power to the EU, along with, in due course, control over our currency, our borders and our military.

It is widely recognised that the end goal of the European Union is a United States of Europe. The idea that Britain could have a “special status” within such a structure is absurd. Remaining in means signing up to the whole kit and caboodle; not immediately perhaps, but over time, there can be little doubt about where a vote to remain would lead.

David Cameron’s ludicrous claim to have exempted Britain from the fundamental purpose of EU membership is so stupid that it does not even warrant rebuttal. Indeed, it is amazing that this canard has lasted so long.

There are even Remainer representatives who scold people for not recognising that Britain has a derogation from non-EEA immigration and asylum policy, for instance. Hence, Britain was not compelled, under Qualified Majority Voting (QMV), to accept a quota of the asylum seekers that Mrs Merkel irresponsibly invited into Germany.

Not bound by the Common Asylum Policy, the British government has pursued a much more balanced policy of sending foreign aid money to the camps in Turkey, Jordan and Iraqi Kurdistan, while taking only a small number of the most vulnerable refugees.

This is doubly ironic because were the UK more integrated into the EU, as the Remainers would like, the freedom to pursue an independent policy would not have been available and, in all likelihood, the British government would have been outvoted, along with several Eastern European countries, thereby compelling us to adopt a policy that nobody in this country—not even the government, let alone the citizenry—would have freely chosen.

As Mr Cameron said during his Bloomberg speech, “more of the same will just produce more of the same”—and that is precisely what Mr Cameron has negotiated, regardless of how much he protests to the contrary.

The only way to secure the kind of new relationship that was promised at the outset of Mr Cameron and the Tory Party’s phoney renegotiation is for Britain to negotiate a genuinely new settlement via Article 50 of The Treaty on European Union—and that can only come after a vote to leave.

There is a great future for Britain outside of the EU, making our own policies, setting the agenda for our politicians to follow, and leading in Europe. But first we have to leave the EU.

A New Settlement

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People laughed when our inspiring and honest Prime Minister, David “integrity” Cameron, said that his aim was to achieve “fundamental, far-reaching change” to Britain’s relationship with the EU. Those same people are not laughing now. Britain is not in the euro, not in Schengen and has no obligation to participate in an “ever closer union”. Our position in the Single Market is secure while the political integration process can continue without us. Britain has a “special status” in the EU that is completely different to any other EU Member State.

Unlike every other EU Member State, Britain’s politicians and policy-makers are wholly responsible for Britain’s trade and aid policy—we can sign trade agreements and deals with any country interested in negotiating with the fifth largest economy on the planet—and we have full self-representation on the thousands of global bodies where technical standards for trade are agreed. Working in consort with EU partners when appropriate and diverging from the common position when necessary, Britain enjoys the best of both worlds, with the same voice, veto and right of reservation as the collective EU27.

Outside of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, Britain has the opportunity to revitalise areas of the economy that were previously administered by an ineffectual EU. Farmers and fishermen no longer need to look to Brussels, where rules are made in the interests of facilitating an “ever closer union”—British interests be damned—but to London, where the government is subject to the same democratic pressures as every other Western economy.

Policy control has also been returned in areas often associated with bureaucratic overreach and civil service gold-plating. From now on, energy and environmental policy will be the exclusive concern of British governments and though we will of course honour global conventions the policy mechanisms that Britain chooses can be adapted to suit local needs and conditions.

Probably most important of all, Britain will no longer be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). While Britain and the EU will continue to co-operate in areas of mutual interest, essential sovereignty will be returned to the British Parliament.

Of course, Britain will pay to participate in the rule-making bodies of the Single Market, which, together with farming subsidies, regional development funds, and science and social programmes, mean that the cost-savings will be slight. But then this exercise never was about reducing expenditure. Participating in the Single Market means that the four freedoms and 21 percent of EU rules apply to Britain, but with a full say at every stage of the standards-setting process, Britain has greater protection against unwanted regulation than any EU Member State.

Hang on. What was that Mr Hollande?

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That doesn’t describe Mr Cameron’s “new settlement” at all, Mrs Merkel?

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As per Mr Cameron’s “dodgy deal”, Britain is still an EU Member State. Trade, agriculture and fisheries policy remain exclusive EU competencies and Britain has but 9 percent of the vote in the European Parliament and 12.6 percent of the vote in the Council of the EU with respect to energy, environmental, transport and telecommunications policy, opposed to the full say that every sovereign nation-state takes for granted.

And, of course, as an EU Member State, EU law remains supreme over British law. Any assertion to the contrary is simply false. What exactly did Mr Cameron negotiate? What is “special” about the status that Mr Cameron tells us is such a “good deal” for Britain? Anything?

The alternative offer outlined hereabove is actually available to British voters should they choose to cast a leave vote. The return of essential sovereignty allied with continuity market membership and the assurance of economic stability is what Dr Richard North’s Flexcit plan envisions in the initial phase post exit. The opportunities for self-governance come into their own thereafter, but first it is essential to provide people who know in their heart that Britain should not be in the EU with credible reassurances. The Flexcit plan does precisely that.