Brexit for grown-ups
Another passionate and articulate voice joins the ranks of The Leave Alliance, recognising that while UKIP may have helped get us the EU referendum, neither they nor the freshly-designated Vote Leave are in a position to do anything more than preach to the converted.
David Taylor writes:
So don’t listen to the formal leave campaigns you see on the TV news or read about in the newspapers. I’m talking about Leave.EU, Grassroots Out, Vote Leave, and of course UK Independence Party (UKIP). I used to be a UKIP member because I wanted a referendum, and now we’ve got one, they are doing more harm than good.
These groups want to take the EU marriage certificate and tear it up in front of the EU, in some sort of dramatic gesture, and then walk away and have a bonfire of regulations, and start from zero, with great bravado, to create a bespoke trade deal with various countries around the world, which would probably take 5-10 years (it has taken Switzerland 16 years and their position is good, but not ideal).
That’s all bollocks, obviously.
This is a referendum, not an election. We are only being asked whether we want to stay in the EU or leave the EU. Nothing more.
If we as a nation decide to leave, nobody gets elected, not Nigel Farage, not Boris Johnson, or anyone else. They won’t even get seconded to some transitional team to work on extricating ourselves from the EU. So don’t even listen to them.
It is the current government who would be tasked with the leave process and the end state. This means Whitehall (civil service) and the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office).
So ask yourself: what process and end state would the current government choose?
I’ll tell you. They would choose to leave by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (sorry to be an anorak), and they would choose to enter the EEA (European Economic Area) as a member of EFTA (European Free Trade Association), of which we were originally a member.
Why? Because that is the solution that most closely resembles the current membership of the EU that we already ‘enjoy’.
What this means is that we would still be a member of the Single Market, we would still pay into the EU budget (about 20% of what we do now, based on Norway), and most importantly, we would still sign up to freedom of movement of people, capital and goods.
It is this last point that is the reason why you have not heard the Norway Option being promoted. UKIP, the progenitor of the leave impetus, is all about immigration, so the Norway Option does not address their issue.
Pick a number, but there are about 30% of people who want to leave, 30% of people who want to stay, and 40% of people who are undecided.
The UKIP immigration concern has a plateau, which has already been reached, and will not win the referendum. The undecided middle listen to all the ridiculous messages from both ends and, when push comes to shove, will probably plump for the devil they know, even though that devil is not a status quo, because the EU is proceeding towards political integration and that’s unstoppable.
So the thing about EFTA / EEA is that it is not a big risk. There is no bonfire of regulations, no loss of access to the Single Market, and no change to freedom of movement. But we do regain our sovereignty and self-determination. That’s the only real change we are after.
It’s a stable, low-risk departure lounge, from which we can consider other matters later.
That’s what the undecided 40% of voters need to know. That’s what will actually happen if the government is charged with leaving the EU.
If you want to know more about my point of view, look for Leave HQ and search for The Leave Alliance.
It is always encouraging to witness others “seeing the light” and coming to support the only Brexit campaign group to possess an actual, robust blueprint for safely and securely leaving the EU while minimising economic uncertainty. And it is particularly pleasing when the new recruit is a long-time, valued reader of Semi-Partisan Politics.
David Taylor, like me, has been on a political journey to reach this point. Readers may recall that I reluctantly gave my vote to UKIP in the 2015 general election, in protest of a thoroughly un-conservative Conservative Party and the desire to reward what I saw as genuine political courage from Nigel Farage’s party in speaking up for a segment of the British public – and for certain ideals – which for too long had been high-handedly ignored by the entire political establishment.
Though I do not presume to speak for him, I believe that Taylor’s journey has followed a similar trajectory to mine, ultimately becoming disillusioned with UKIP’s self-defeating focus on immigration to the detriment of our prospects for winning the referendum, as well as the amateurish infighting which continues to hinder the party.
Such people should be welcomed into The Leave Alliance – despite our growing social media and online reach, it is still not easy for members of the general public to become aware that there is another, better eurosceptic game in town than that offered by the likes of Boris Johnson and Vote Leave.
Our national media holds the independent political blogosphere in something near contempt when they think about us at all, which makes it very difficult to cut through the noise and reach people with our message (it would be altogether impossible without the levelling effect of social media).
The British press will gushingly write up almost anything that BoJo does, but are seemingly incapable of acknowledging the incredible work and research undertaken by The Leave Alliance’s largely unpaid team of citizen bloggers, and so it is up to all of us to amplify the message until it can no longer be ignored.
With UKIP teetering on the brink of civil war, Vote Leave determined to run an amateurish campaign that insults the intelligence of voters and the EU referendum a mere two months away, the need for The Leave Alliance is greater than ever.
If you have strong doubts about Britain’s continued place in the European Union but feel alienated by the superficiality of Vote Leave and worried about the potential economic consequences of Brexit, know that there is an alternative campaign with a compelling, comprehensive plan for safely leaving the EU in a controlled manner.
Then come join us in the trenches.
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