This article was originally posted on The Commentator
The EU now appears to be aiming to try and keep us within a Single Market-like state, as a de facto dependent vassal, continuing to pay vast sums of money into their ever-inflating, unaccountable budget. This cannot be allowed. We must get Britain out of the EU asap. Out means Out.
The most recent rumblings to come out of the EU should worry even the most ardent Brexiteers. The comments made by Donald Tusk last week, echoed by Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU Parliament’s self-appointed chief Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt, indicate that, in their minds, the opportunity for the British public to change their minds on Brexit remains open.
This is, after all, what the EU’s leaders actually want. Brexit is entirely reversible, they believe, regardless of our Referendum.
For the British Government and a ‘Real’ Brexit, this presents a problem. As long as in the minds of the EU’s leading figures Brexit is seen to be revocable, through a ‘Brexit in name only’ deal most likely, they have no incentive to creatively craft a mutually beneficial future relationship with the UK outside of the EU.
In fact, they actually have key reasons not to do so. By offering the UK a bad deal, the EU would no doubt be attempting to alter the British perspective on leaving. Using Project Fear Mark 2 in their efforts to halt a ‘Real’ Brexit’ If the UK’s future relationship with the EU in any way resembles Single Market membership, it would be a betrayal of Brexit and what is best for Great Britain.
The EU now appears to be aiming to try and keep us within a Single Market-like state, as a de facto dependent vassal, continuing to pay vast sums of money into their ever-inflating, unaccountable budget.
To achieve this, the EU seems willing to use a very high-risk strategy, allegedly preparing to reject the UK Government’s comprehensive free trade proposals.
By doing this, the EU is now overtly offering the UK two choices. Either we accept Single Market membership (rebranded as regulatory alignment by Remainers) ‘or else’ – ie walking away with No Deal, and able to trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
These rules would mean the introduction of import and export tariffs, which average under 2 percent, and form the basis of the majority of global trade. Not so bad after all.
The EU is clearly calculating that by doing this they are likely to reduce the British public’s support for a ‘Real’ Brexit. They are hoping we don’t call their bluff and walk away without a deal.
In their mind, having reduced support for Brexit with a bad deal offer, the UK would be only too willing to accept their preferred option of effective Single Market membership (‘regulatory alignment’) — which many of our Remain voting politicians would doubtlessly be happy to accept.
However, the EU’s leaders are acting under the false premise there is a groundswell of support for Single Market membership, and that Britons are afraid of a WTO Brexit. This is simply untrue.
Within the EU, the idea of Britain remaining in the Single Market has been artificially inflated by a fervently Europhilic cabal of has-beens and professional malcontents. The leader of this faction is the Chancellor, Philip Hammond — and he has continued this negative rhetoric in Davos this week, indicating the UK is seeking only ‘modest’ changes from its EU membership.
While many saw the Daily Telegraph’s branding of Conservative Remoaner Anna Soubry MP, and her gang “mutineers” as extreme, her recent trip to Brussels to meet Michel Barnier has undoubtedly undermined the UK’s negotiating position.
By fermenting the possibility of remaining, they have reinforced in the EU’s collective psyche, the need to propagate and enhance Project Fear Mark 2, in an attempt to assist their allies in keeping the UK tied to the decaying corpse of the Single Market. They don’t seem to care about undermining the British Government, and reinforcing the idea the EU should offer only two options — Single Market ‘or else’.
However, the antics of Project Fear clearly failed during the EU Referendum campaign, and there is no reason to suspect this will work now. Britons are not changing their minds about Brexit. As we can see from Get Britain Out’s mailbag, the Great British Public are increasingly in favour of leaving the EU as soon as possible, and if needs be, on WTO rules.
As renowned economist Sir Patrick Minford, (a former economic advisor during the Thatcher years) has predicted GDP will surge by just under 10 percent — an increase of £180 billion — if we leave the EU on WTO rules next year.
If the EU continues to negotiate in bad faith, its high-risk strategy is doubtless going to backfire, as a No Deal WTO Brexit would cost the EU as much as £500 billion, according to the Professor. If the EU wants to secure a favourable Brexit deal with the UK, it is imperative its leaders desist in their current underhand tactics.
The British position is clear. Single Market membership (in any form) is against the spirit of the Referendum result and is wholly unacceptable. In the 2017 election both the Labour and Conservative manifestos included commitments to leave the Single Market. The Government must reinforce the point that leaving on WTO rules would not be such a bad thing, and the recent announcement of Government funding to prepare for a No Deal outcome was welcome news.
Only once the EU realises the UK is utterly committed to leaving, either with a good deal or on WTO rules, will they have the incentive to think creatively and negotiate a realistic, bespoke and mutually beneficial trade deal, instead of playing these games.
To Get Britain Out of the EU we must leave the Single Market and Customs Union, and under no circumstances can we give in to the EU’s blackmailing tactics.
While a free trade agreement with the EU might be preferable, leaving on WTO rules would allow our economy to flourish without being shackled to the EU’s coattails, and for the UK to regain its position as a global trading nation.
Daniel Huggins is a Research Executive at cross-party grassroots campaign Get Britain Out