In its leaflet, UKGov demonstrates purely incoherent confusion.
If a government wants to make a case for joining (or remaining a member of) a union as part of a plebiscite vote, then it needs to spell out the strategy of that union and how it favours the plebiscite.
But UKGov doesn’t do that, in part because the European Union has no clearly documented strategy (and won’t do until June 2016 at the earliest). Only the objectives of the European Union are published, the UKGov has said repeatedly prior to this leaflet that it doesn’t share all of them (in particular, political union).
On the contrary, UKGov:
- compounds its own lack of strategy with irrational craziness to defend a defiantly-amended-status-quo by scaring the electorate against any form of useful, fundamental change;
- combined with an absolute ruling-out of the fundamental political aim of the European Union, i.e. political integration and the ultimate abolition of each member nation’s national government;
- then pretends that it is major world player;
- but one which apparently needs to belong to a club whose rules it doesn’t want to follow.
In so doing, UKGov demonstrates continued denial and ineptness that was present in the accession negotiations of 1968-1972.
As a result, UKGov’s leaflet should terrify both Brexiteers and EurIneers alike:
- Brexiteers depend upon a competent UKGov to weed out the individual laws that pervert global standards into a more corruptible European version (a classic example being how the European Union adopted International Accounting Standards except for the bit that would have revealed just how bankrupt French banks were, and probably still are; the technical reference is IAS39).
- EurIneers depend upon a competent UKGov to defend British interests from lobbyists in Brussels constantly seeking regulatory ‘protection’ from competition (barriers to entry) within their tin-pot industries (“national champions”), in their continuing zeal to rip-off consumers (a classic example being the Lisbon treaty, formerly the ‘constitution of Europe’).
The proof of UKGov’s ineptness is that it holds a mid-air position, thinking that somehow it is a workable compromise.
The mid-air position is that UKGov has sought a special status that means UK is in the EU, but without the apparent obligation to follow EU rules, or EU strategy (undocumented as at April 2016). The other 27 national governments of the EU have agreed to UKGov holding this mid-air position (presumably on a “be careful what you wish for” basis).
But the mid-air position is fundamentally, perverse illogical, akin to a naïve religious person trying to join a synagogue insisting that the Christian Trinity is the undoubted truth.
Noises from the European Parliament suggest that the Parliament can see the craziness of UKGov’s mid-air position. An opt-out from integration creates uncertainty for the European institutions, because if formalised, the opt-out becomes contagious. A German comedian has already proven this uncertainty: if the Brits can keep their freedom and pay less into the EU, then why is our German government so scared of demanding the same? This is the point at which a union would collapse: its solidarity would be bust.
- Either UKGov seeks to be a full member of the EU, in which case UKGov must ultimately submit to European political integration and self-abolition.
- Or UKGov doesn’t want its own abolition, in which case it cannot afford the risk to remain a full member of the EU. Instead, if it wishes only to trade with EU, then EEA/EFTA membership is all that is required.
It really is a very simple bi-nominal choice, and has been since before 1968.
The underlying “fear of missing out” from opportunities allegedly within the EU but out of reach of the EEA/EFTA is irrational, because trade is going to happen irrespective of government(s). Free trade agreements only ever formalise trade that already happens, and even then only to simplify bureaucracy that both trading countries stupidly impose on each importer. Hence why trade should be irrelevant to the voter in the referendum of 23 June 2016.
Given that the logic set out above has applied since 1968, it is bizarre that UKGov still seems to be hell-bent on denying the relevance and importance of the integrationist project. Bad economics is bad politics, and the integrationist project is bad politics that drives bad economics (i.e. the Eurozone, the Social Model of (Un)Employment, etc). Fine: let’s not get involved in bad politics. But there are easier ways to work with Europe than to be an obstinate member of the wrong club within Europe.
And all of this logic flows in volumes from the pages of UKGov’s leaflet. As always with the English, it isn’t what they say (or write) that matters: it’s always what they omit (or write) that matters.
And, by the way, since the Suez crisis of 1956, UKGov had indeed lost an empire and failed to find a useful role in the world. The European Union is no substitute for that former useful role, and, objectively, no-body in their right mind wants that role. Even some Americans have woken up to how much being the world’s policeman costs, especially when everybody else seeks to free-ride off one’s efforts. It would be much easier for UKGov to be a small player in the world for the next few hundred years, and dodge the bullets intentionally exchanged between the world’s larger players.