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