The European Union and You
We’re out. Now what? Well, sort of…
The issue of EU membership transcends mere political debate to omnipresence in contemporary public discourse. In consequence of alterations in public sentiment, the prospect of Britain leaving the EU was growing increasingly before the vote. A prominent survey estimated that 51% of the British population were in favour of leaving the EU in June 2013.1 This can be seen to reflect the dichotomy or chasm in the opinions held by the public regarding Britain’s membership of the EU, and one can also deduce that Britons, on the whole, desired a fundamental reassessment of Britain’s relationship with the EU. Furthermore, in view of the then-Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to hold a referendum in 2017 regarding Britain’s membership of the EU, determining the consequences of leaving the EU and the necessary measures that Britain must undertake in promoting a free, prosperous economy was imperative.
Moreover, whilst David Cameron had pledged to renegotiate British membership of the EU and hold a referendum on the conclusion of those negotiations, the principal difficulty with this approach was that it quixotically presupposed that a markedly superior agreement was obtainable without leaving the EU. Nevertheless, the British people were unable to have their ideal relationship with the EU. As underlined by a poll conducted in 2012, if presented “…a more detached relationship [with the EU] that is little more than a free trade agreement”, merely 26% of those who partook in the survey would still favour withdrawal. However, leaders in the EU are evidently disinclined to bestow Britain complete access to the single market exclusive of the prohibitive financial costs. Thus, any possible alterations to the relationship between Britain and the EU has ostensibly been inconsequential; notwithstanding, the economic advantages of Britain leaving the EU can be seen to offset any detriment.
With reference to secession, the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) facilitates through Article 50 the voluntary withdrawal of a member state from the EU. However, a member state’s secession from the EU would involve intricate, protracted negotiations concerning the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and therefore the matter of withdrawal is neither uncomplicated nor clear-cut. There are, however, several alternatives to the UK’s present pseudo-membership of the EU. The UK could once again become a member of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and continue to take part in the European Economic Area (EEA) in an effort to retain single market access. Alternatively, the UK could, as this essay will propose, pursue a looser arrangement with the EU, similar to Switzerland’s relationship with the EU. Switzerland, as a member of the EFTA but not the EEA, has arranged bilateral agreements with the EU. It is nevertheless evident that whichever arrangement the UK forms with the EU, there will almost certainly be an exchange between the degree to which the UK can access the single market, be free from a certain degree of EU product regulations, evade legislation pertaining to employment and social matters, and the effect on the UK’s budgetary contributions to all EU organisations.
The above is an extract from the PDF downloadable from The Institute of Economic Affairs.
The position from the Left is exemplified by this article: The left must put Britain’s EU withdrawal on the agenda – by Owen Jones.
A quick excerpt from the article:
“Ugly indeed. As the former European commission adviser Philippe Legrain puts it, “Germany is proving to be a calamitous hegemon,” overruling even France’s objections.
The euro suits Germany, of course, as a weak euro is good for its exports and prevents poorer EU countries getting a competitive edge. But look at how the EU has operated. It has driven elected governments – however unsavoury, like Silvio Berlusconi’s – from office. Ireland and Portugal were also blackmailed. The 2011 treaty effectively banned Keynesian economics in the eurozone.”
The Non-Partisan Party is, obviously neither Left or Right, so it is free to adopt the best ideas from any political stance, provided the outcome is what is best for the people of the UK.
In our humble opinion, even though the UK public has voted, we did not think Article 50 would be invoked and as such, we would not be leaving the EU any time soon. We were obviously wrong.
What the UK Thinks about the EU Referendum
The point about a governing democracy is that we should be able to vote in, and kick out those who govern over us. The idea of “pooled sovereignty” is not useful as no one in any country knows precisely what is going on.
The EU Parliament isn’t really a parliament as we know it. An MEP isn’t being voted into a meaningful position. It is the only Parliament in the world where you cannot initiate legislation, propose legislation or even repeal legislation. All of this is done only by the Commission.
The Non-Partisan Party would open the subject up for debate, and ensure all perspectives were included. A national, televised debate, with a list of pros and cons for both sides, would ensure an informed public before any referendum were established. If you have the details of the ramifications of your decisions, including time frames and future consequences, you are more able to make an erudite decision. This is the main aim of TNPP.
In the interests of non-partisan politics, here are some facts about Brexit from different sources. You can make your own mind up.
The buttons below take you to various sites that argued for or against leaving at the time it was relevant.
And here is an interesting speech from the then-Prime Minister Edward Heath. The web site is clearly interested in campaigning for an independent Britain. This does not mean TNPP is leaning this way: but in line with our philosophy, it’s an interesting perspective.
Finally, as the public opinion changes from week to week on whether we should stay in or leave, depending on which newspaper you read and which poll they have conducted the most recently, we at TNPP think all sides have an argument that holds water. Sir Bernard Ingham has a perspective which we think is as important as the rest. Read it here.