Brexit hits the buffers of logic

Brexit, the will of 52% of the people, now completely consumes the UK’s political energy. Yet the process itself is stuck in paralysis, because it is trying to confront incontrovertible logic head on. It has hit the buffers of reality. Hence Teresa May’s paralysed government, and the permanent state of internal feuding from Tory Brexiteers, who remain full of nationalist passion, but void of logical argument. The nightly appearance of their cheerleader Jacob Rees-Mogg on our TV screens needs countering with that logic. Here is some of it.

1 UK currently has the best trade deal available with the EU by being a member of the EU. Any deal as a non-member must by definition be worse. Therefore, UK should seek a deal as close to the existing deal as possible. Philip Hammond was totally right in saying this. His detractors are definitively wrong. This is a matter of logic and not of opinion.

2 Similarly, the EU, due to its size, has extremely good trade deals with a wide range of other countries. The UK is extremely unlikely to achieve better deals with those other countries than the EU has achieved. Moreover, this is going to cost an immense amount of diplomatic negotiating effort and at a time when one major partner, the USA, is adopting very protectionist policies, and recently nearly shut Bombardier out of its aircraft market. Hence immensely more political energy consumption with a paralysed outcome.

3 The Northern Ireland border with Eire must remain open. This universally acknowledged requirement has the logically unavoidable consequence of free trade. This is deductive logic. It is 100% objective. No creative ambiguous form of words, or vacuous policy proposals, can contradict its clear conclusion. QED.

4 The idea of ‘taking back control’ is a chimera. UK/EU integration is extensive, and in many cases irreversible. Look at UK infrastructure, where

  • 40% of UK powerplants are owned and operated by EU companies (25% France’s EdF, 15% Germany’s RWE and Eon).
  • 25% of Heathrow airport is owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, which also owns 50% of Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Southampton airports (whilst the US Global Infrastructure Partners group owns 81% of Edinburgh airport, 75% of London City airport, and 42% of Gatwick airport – curiously Manchester City Council owns 35.5% of Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands, and Bournemouth airports!).
  • Arriva Trains, owned by Germany’s Deutsche Bundesbahn, operates 25% of all UK railway franchises, more than either First Group or Stagecoach.
  • Spain’s Telefonica (owner of O2) is the UK’s second largest mobile telephone provider with a 20% market share.
  • Spain’s Santander bank is the second largest mortgage lender in the UK.

Since UK relies so extensively on EU companies to run our powerplants, airports, railways, telecommunications and banking sector, then what does ‘taking back control’ mean? Our interest rate and currency conversion rates are also determined for us by global market networks and not subject to our ‘control’.

There is no doubt that Brexit is an unmitigated disaster for the UK. It flies in the face of logic. We need to unashamedly campaign vigorously for a second referendum on the proposed deal, and/or push for Bino, ie Brexit in name only.

* Geoff Crocker is a professional economist writing on technology at www.philosophyoftechnology.com; a contributor to Basic Income Earth Network, www.basicincome.org; and runs ‘The Case for Basic Income’ at www.ubi.org.

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45 Comments

  • Peter Martin 30th Jan '18 - 6:25pm
  • I disagree
    The Pro EU camp is hitting buffer of reality, which is why some of them are going in circles as they realise there will be no reprieve and the political landscape is shifting . In this context taking back control really means getting rid of the international mind set and hauling our political leaders off the world stage. It’s putting the focus back onto the reality that the business of politics is (always was) national and local. If the Tories (amongst others) are really tearing themselves apart it is because Brexit is removing the delusion of significance and because they will almost certainly have to go for the Norway option. This in turn removes both the fantasy of a free market Utopia and gives them one less big stage to posture on. No more presidential PMs, no more pretence of being a big player and the special friend of whoever happens to be in the White House. Personally. I think this is a long overdue political correction and an immensely enjoyable one. There as always been, in some quarters, a tendency to ponder Britain’s post colonial role on the big map, but really voters appear to be more interested in the NHS, their pensions. their housing, their services, their savings, their local schools and things like pot-holes.

  • Peter but what if the EU don’t give us the special deal the Brexiteers crave, a much more likely scenario than the one you are pushing; what next “What if we stay in the EU and they demand all first born are sacrificed on an alter” is that going to be the cry of the brave Brexiteers.

    Richard/David

    I fear the neo-liberals (how I hate that word, as they seem to be neither new or liberal) appeal to the public is waning rapidly, as the following article sets out

    The Public Is Becoming Restive over Britain’s Privatized Utilities
    Even the Financial Times throws in the towel…………………..
    The Financial Times article criticizes utility financial policies and then ends up asking whether existing utilities could be replaced by local non-profit organizations. These would have lower profitability requirements and would be required to reinvest profits back into the utility business. It’s a sad day for capitalism when even the staunchly neoliberal editorial board of the FT advocates for government ownership of the means of electric utility production. That is the real news.

    https://wolfstreet.com/2018/01/28/britain-privatized-utilities-energy-policy/

  • Richard Underhill 30th Jan '18 - 7:27pm

    52% of those who actually voted, with large numbers of people disenfranchised.

  • Peter Martin 30th Jan '18 - 7:32pm

    Just as an aside: I’m not sure why we have a tendency to use the word ‘Eire’ unless we are using Irish Gaelic. We talk about Germany rather than Deutschland, Spain rather than Espana, Poland rather than Polska etc etc.

    So why not just Ireland or the the Republic of Ireland if we need to distinguish between the two parts?

  • Peter Martin 30th Jan '18 - 7:41pm

    Frankie,

    You’ve obviously not taken seriously the warning by Thomas Piketty that the EU could be destroyed by economic austerity. This is not some far fetched fantasy like your “alter” (sic) killings but a serious risk. Even Sigmar Gabriel, who all followers of EU politics will know well, says the same thing:

    “German Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel is beginning to warn the German people that they may need to learn to cope without the security of the bureaucracy, as the EU’s dissipation is a very real possibility.”

    As an obvious Europhile you might consider reading the European press a little more!

    https://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/01/08/german-economic-minister-the-european-union-could-be-finished

  • Tony Greaves 30th Jan '18 - 8:11pm

    If the EU collapses (which I don’t expect) we would be dragged down with it. And in time (probably sooner than we imagine) there will be another European war from which we will not be spared. People are playing in very dangerous waters. By the way the European press is generally altogether more accurate and fairer than much of the British press!

  • The problem the brave Brexiteers have is they are wailing for the EU to implode, but as Tony Greaves has pointed out if it does we go down with it anyway. While in the EU we could try and in many cases succeed in setting it’s path, outside we can do nothing but watch. I know we have posters who just want to retreat to their local villages, with local people and pretend the world has nothing to do with them, but their reluctance to accept we live in a global village is a reflection on their fear of the reality we all live in. Many of them fear the relentless pace of change and yearn for a slower more certain time, understandable but I’m afraid unachievable. They dream of previous romanticised times and wish to return to a time that never existed. The sad thing is even if they could role back time, they wouldn’t like it, all the downsides they have forgotten from their youth would soon shock them to the core; twas not what i expect they will whisper, I’d forgot about that when i looked back through rose tinted spectacles .

  • Ah Peter a Europhile, not me I’m very cynical i don’t believe in fantasy and i certainly don’t believe any human institution is perfect. I’m willing to take a small wager the EU will muddle through, because for the majority of the people who live in it the EU is a better bet than being alone facing the trade blocks of the USA and China. As we are about to try that and will fail (you only have to look at how Tinkerbell and the Benny Hill Tribute Act fail in negotiations with EU to know that) the desire for anyone else to follow us will trail off to nothing, at which point what will the Brexiteers say.

  • Bless Glen wants us to retreat from the world and be more like Norway. I don’t think you understand what Norway’s role in the world is Glen, for a small country isolationist they are not.

    Norway plays an active international role. It has mediated between Israel and the Palestinians as well as in the Sri Lankan conflict, and has participated in military action in Afghanistan and Libya. Ex-premier Jens Stoltenberg is Nato’s secretary general.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17743896

  • The global village is not real. There is no mechanism for it and never was one. It is not about retreating. It’s about the reality that people are not connected by some sort of grand global vision. This is because history, customs, beliefs. languages, the political infrastructure, as well as the actual infrastructure are essentially local/national and all the electorate are local/national too. Voters are not electing MPs to solve the problems of the world. Metaphorically speaking, they’re electing them to get potholes in the road fixed. The global village is free-market utopianism in pretty much the same way religion and Marxism are utopian. Except the idea that people are united by the ability to shop on Amazon is even flimsier! The point is that those lumpy awkward cultural, political and structural realities continue trundling along . Thus “the global village” only really means a high conservative, a socialist, religious zealot or Anarchist anywhere in the world might like old NWA records or favour Nike Air Max over Dunks, but have nothing much else in common whosoever. The point being that the way things are perceived is subject to all manner of factors and the way they evolve is not linear. This is why the internet is more like Babel mixed with Babylon than a way for the world to unite around shared values and why search engines are programmed to favour confirmation bias.
    It’s kind of depressing, really.

  • I never said the global village was a nice place Glen, it’s just the world we live in. When the Chinese President or the US one makes decisions that effect you, you are linked to them even if you don’t want to be. Supply chains are global and wishing to retreat to a local village (or even a local country) for local people is just effectively shouting “Stop the world I want to get off”, won’t work and will just cost us all as reality rolls over us.

  • Arnold Kiel 31st Jan '18 - 8:42am

    Geoff,

    to add to your integration-list:
    – city of London handling 80% foreign money (and half of its firms foreign-owned)
    – London (and thereby national) housing market upheld by foreign buyers
    – sectors reliant on foreign workers: construction, health, hospitality, agriculture…
    – 95% of motor industry foreign owned and managed; single-market-scoped
    – immigration only growth-driver absent “British” births and productivity-advances
    – future energy-supply even more dependent on foreign know-how and capital (Hinkley point)
    – airlines operating with 9 freedoms

    Funnily, not even the bravest Brexiters want to lose any of these. They want a global world of capital, goods, services (and will find out they even need and want the people), but they want this to have more of a provincial touch and feel. For reasons beyond me, they believe Westminster is a better decision maker than Brussels (even though the ongoing negotiations clearly demonstrate the opposite). They also refuse to accept that protecting the wealth-generation of this global division of labor requires common rules. All very strange. I sincerely hope it will hit the buffer soon.

  • Peter Martin 31st Jan '18 - 8:51am

    @ Geoff Crocker,

    I notice you state your occupation as “a professional economist”. Can you present a reference to support the theoretical basis of the eurozone? The concept that one currency can be successfully shared by 19 separate countries, with maybe another half dozen or so, with their currencies pegged to the euro, in preparation to follow.

    I can give you references by economists on the left, like Joe Stiglitz, and also those on the right, like Milton Friedman, to state the contrary. That it is an experiment which is bound to fail.

    Maybe they are all wrong and somehow, like many hope, the EU will “muddle through”. None of us can foretell the future with absolute certainty. But we all know that if we board a plane with serious design faults, we are less likely to reach our destination unscathed. Why are so many people prepared to take such a huge risk with the EU economy and its future survival?

  • Peter Martin 31st Jan '18 - 12:00pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    “London (and thereby national) housing market upheld by foreign buyers”

    em> “Funnily, not even the bravest Brexiters want to lose any of these.”

    You need to speak to the younger generation a bit more, Arnold. Whether they are remainers or leavers, I think you’ll find they want less expensive house prices.

  • Arnold Kiel 31st Jan '18 - 2:57pm

    Peter Martin,

    are you aware that a 10% devaluation of the UK housing stock would reduce UK home equity by gbp 600(!) Billion(!). As our most notorious macro-economist, do you believe the highly leveraged balance sheet of this financial house of cards called the UK economy could sustain such an implosion?

  • Peter Hirst 31st Jan '18 - 3:58pm

    The Conservatives are in a pickle and in trying to recover they are doing all sorts of things that are not in the country’s interests. They put survival and loyalty above being our representatives. They are also confusing ends and means for their own ends.

  • The concept that one currency can be successfully shared by 19 separate countries, with maybe another half dozen or so, with their currencies pegged to the euro, in preparation to follow.
    … That it is an experiment which is bound to fail.

    Whilst I don’t quite see the reasoning that lead you to mentioning the Euro, I suspect the euro will probably do better than the trendy all digital currencies such as Bitcoin, which are all froth with no central bank behind them…

    Interestingly, the Euro and the long-term stability of the eurozone is of more concern if you believe (post-Brexit) the UK could rejoin the EU at some later date, where almost certainly one of the terms of membership will be joining the Eurozone…

    Presently, it is becoming more and more obvious, in that it doesn’t really matter whether the UK is or isn’t in the EU, the EU (and eurozone) will cast a long shadow over the UK and if the UK wishes to maintain “frictionless” trading and other relationships it will be adopting much that comes out of the EU into UK legislation. Thus the question is whether our long-term interests are better served by being directly involved in the work of the EU, or by simply taking whatever the EU has agreed and then having the problem of translating it into something workable under UK law. I suspect T.Mays Brexiteers are beginning to have flashes of the real problem; I do hope they are able to reach the same conclusion as Margaret Thatcher before the UK falls off the end of the Article 50 conveyor…

  • Peter Martin 31st Jan '18 - 4:11pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    “Our most notorious macroeconomist “, eh? OK, I’ll take that as a compliment for now! 🙂

    Yes I am aware of the general problem. It has arisen because the UK has run a trade deficit for many years. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that. Someone, however, in the UK has to do the borrowing to support that. It really can only be government. But the government has balked at doing that and pushed the burden more on to the private sector than it should.

    That borrowing has mainly been on property creating a bubble. There is no easy solution. Either the bubble continues, as is, making property unaffordable for our younger people, or it deflates, creating an economic downturn which you’ll happily be able to blame on Brexit. Even though the housing bubble was inflated well before the vote for Brexit!

  • Arnold Kiel 31st Jan '18 - 5:49pm

    Peter Martin,

    the housing bubble is the result of more Europeans finding the UK an attractive residence than working in UK construction. The former is being killed off right now by Brexit, the latter will follow suit. “Indigenous Brits” are a shrinking species on track to fit the existing housing stock. My prediction is a crash which will not change the relative height of the first rung of the housing ladder while destroying first-time buyers’ rating and banks’ mortgage lending appetite and -capacity.

  • Peter Martin 31st Jan '18 - 6:20pm

    @ Arnold Kiel.

    Yes, most do tend to put down high housing prices to a shortage of land and high levels of immigration.

    However, Australia has just the same problems of high house prices as the UK in that there’s been a housing bubble generated by excessive private sector borrowing there too. There is no shortage of space in Australia with only 25 million people living in an area the size of the USA.

    So how do you explain that?

  • Geoff is, of course, correct. Brexit is founded upon an ideological fiction about Britains place in the world. IMHO , a second referendum will create a whole new set of problems. If the country rejects a negotiated deal, where does that leave us ? Do we go into another round of negotiations ? Do we crash out of the EU with no deal ? Do we just stay in the EU (and expect the Brexiteers to accept that with a shrug ?). If we think the country is divided now, just watch what a second referendum would do.
    Best option is BINO. I know it’s not party policy, but it’s true nevertheless. I suspect May and much of her inner circle know this is the only practical way forward, which is why we should pray she stays until the deal is cut. Or do we want Rees Mogg running the country . Lord forfend.

  • Quick PS. Peter Hitchens recently wrote that the democratic solution to all this is a Norway type solution which would please most Brexiteers (not the Rees Moog / Villiers /Bone brigade, but most of the non swivel eyed ones) and a good proportion of those voted remain. I never thought I would type these words but, I agree with Peter. Think it’s time to lay down. Nurse, my tablets !

  • Nick Collins 31st Jan '18 - 8:51pm

    @ Chris Cory

    I never read Peter Hitchens. Did he really say that? Wow! Would this site blow up if the reference were reproduced here?

  • I suspect it’s true most leave voters would accept the Norway option. The problem is that a lot of the debate is being driven by the polar ice caps at either hemisphere of the debate. This is because the EU is really a political project and the friction is about different vision of the world. The economic arguments are really just the bullets being fired. The Norway option solves most of them and would be fairly easy to implement.
    I voted leave because I think the EU is a bad organisation based on a wrong-head idea. I also think internationally minded British politicians have mostly messed up at home and abroad. I want my PMs restricted so that (a) they are forced to serve the electorate instead of trying to hang out with other “world” leaders and (b) to stop them trying to involve us in their fantasies of progress through force. But I recognise the economic ties can’t be cut that easily, thus I favour a Norway option. To me half out is better than half in.

    P.S
    Frankie,you can joke about local shops for local people, but your alternative seems to be like the monorail episode from the Simpsons.

  • So you want the UK to be a rule taker and have no input into the rules Glen, hardly taking back control is it. Truely you can then honestly claim we are being dictated to by the EU, how ironic the Brexiteers ambition is to turn the UK into that which they complained about, are you a bunch of masochist’s?

  • Arnold Kiel 1st Feb '18 - 8:02am

    The whole Brexit-problem has by now become a psychological one. Deep down, few people still want it. The predominant argument for insisting on leaving is now: “For once my vote really troubled those on the top (or say establishent, the rich, politicians, the liberal elite, whatever). This felt good, because what is bad from their view must somehow be good for me, and I am not prepared to be fooled out of my victory once again.” Many people still believe that in this episode of the war between rich and poor they won, when in fact it is just another victory of some rich against all poor.

    Campaigning for another referendum or a Norway-option are in this sense psychologically necessary intermediate steps to minimize mental barriers and smooth the path back to reason; they signal: “you are still the boss here, and, of course, we will leave as you wanted us to; but let us make sure you don’t get even poorer in the process.” To be staged between now and the summer.

    In practice, both are best avoided, so the final line in this nudged U-turn will be: “ok, if most of us agree that we want the prosperity that full alignment with the EU rules bring, let’s also keep our seat at the rule-setting table and let us not risk this newfound unity by going through the divisive trauma of a referendum again.” To be staged after the summer.

    This drama (or farce?) needs as part of act three also a Government change to Corbyn, not only to have the votes in Parliament, but more importantly, again, for psychological reasons: “Here is the radical change the desire for which we first expressed on June 23, 2016.”

  • Frankie
    Two Ns in Glenn. That’s G-L-E-N-N.
    I don’t think being a “rule maker” in the EU really amounts to much more than the theoretical power of veto and extra costs. For what? To be part of a political project that I don’t believe in? To me that’s like arguing that we should all join whichever political party is in power so you can change it from within! Why not? The same “Do you want be a rule taker or rule make?” argument could be made!
    I don’t think the EU is particularly dictatorial. I simply think it’s a bad organisation based on a flawed premise and a desire to create an ersatz version of pre-reformation European unity that didn’t really exist in the first place.

  • Poor Glenn desperately twisting and turning to try to justify voting leave. You are happy for us to tag along with the EU implementing rules they make just so you can say we have left. That is left in name only and is abrogating responsibility, you are actually saying you would like to be part of the EU as long as you don’t have to have a part in making decisions (how strange, how sad). No wonder the more intellectual among the Brexiteers have long ago abandoned this forum. Faced with the car crash of Brexit and the relentless exposure of their claims to reality they made a strategic retreat, no doubt muttering “Bugger this for a game of soldiers, there’s no winning this debate; I’ve been badly let down by the Brexiteer leadership, this isn’t my sort of Brexit”.

  • Martin,
    I contend that some Remain supporters simply do not accept that other people don’t want be part of the European project. Thus they can’t compromise because it means giving up on a dream. Given that people voted to leave, do you want a Hard or Soft option and are you really willing to compromise? Straight, answer, nothing convoluted and no recourse to talking about your imagined view of what leave voters are like.
    As a leave voter I will happily accept a Norway style option. What will you accept?

  • I contend that some Remain supporters simply do not accept that other people don’t want be part of the European project

    Oh, they accept that they don’t want to. But they think that such people are wrong, probably racist, that what they want is impossible, and that those unwilling people need to be either shown that what they want is impossible and the European project is the only game in town or, in the last instance, if they really will not recant their unwillingness to be part of the European project, they must be tied up, gagged and quite simply forced to get with the programme.

  • Denis Loretto 1st Feb '18 - 11:54am

    Martin makes an important point about Ireland. Having made a close study of the Good Friday Agreement, embedded as it was by overwhelming referendum endorsement North and South, and the legislation implementing it, I am struck by the degree to which joint EU membership of the UK and Ireland runs like a thread through all of this. For example how many people realise that the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (which encapsulates the GF agreement in UK law) states in Clause 24 – “A Minister or Northern Ireland department has no power to make, confirm or approve any subordinate legislation, or to do any act, so far as the legislation or act……is incompatible with EU law…..” ? This and many other references to the EU would have to be altered post brexit, giving the lie to UK government assurances that the GF agreement is sacrosanct. But by what authority can these alterations be made – in an international treaty registered at the United Nations?

    I think there is an arguable case to say that in enacting the Good Friday Agreement both the UK and Ireland gave up their right to withdraw from the EU – or at least from the single market and customs union.

  • Martin
    Thank you for your reply.
    My view on the Norway option is that it offers a smoother diplomatic route and is a compromise that acknowledges the validity of some of the Remain campaigns concerns. I do think it is incumbent upon the leave camp to act with a little humility and listen to opponents.

  • Dav
    People are entitled to think other people are wrong. It’s a perfectly reasonable stance. The EU issue is not really about economics and withdrawing even softly is the death of a dream for some people. Again fair enough.

  • I think there is an arguable case to say that in enacting the Good Friday Agreement both the UK and Ireland gave up their right to withdraw from the EU

    Not possible: that would be a parliament binding its successors, and the constitution is quite clear that that cannot happen.

  • Martin
    You changed the subject to the Irish border. Yes a Norway style solution could present one or two issues, but it is viable starting point. Let’s be honest you want to be part of the EU because you believe in the project. This is fair enough. I think the project is bad and I do not want to be part of it. I do, however, recognise the current links have to be worked around.
    As for mass immigration. I think that that there is very little electoral support for it to continue (over 50% remain voters also want it lowered) and suspect that convoluted links to Dublin is a teeny issue as most of the flow comes strait through places like Heathrow. Plus, if you think “little England” is so economically disadvantaged and so unattractive, why would the numbers stay the same.
    To me its much less important than beginning to end Britain’s involvement in the project.

  • Martin,
    To an extent yes as I believe an agreement can be reached through a soft Brexit. Be honest, the only solution to any potential issue you can accept is to not leave the EU. Again fair enough, but it is going to happen whether you accept it or not..
    Anyway, kind regards .

  • Denis Loretto 2nd Feb '18 - 11:56am

    Dav’s reply to my suggestion that the Good Friday Agreement in effect stops either the UK or Ireland unilaterally leaving the single market and customs union and perhaps the EU as a whole is –
    “Not possible: that would be a parliament binding its successors, and the constitution is quite clear that that cannot happen.”
    But bear in mind the embedding of the GFA by referendum and registration with the UN as an international treaty. There is clear precedent for the UK government or parliament not to take to itself powers to reverse a decision previously endorsed by referendum. Did anyone seriously suggest for example that the UK parliament could have reversed the 1975 referendum decision on Europe without submitting to a further referendum? The international dimension in the GFA makes it all the more unacceptable for radical change in it to be perpetrated by unilateral UK parliamentary action.

  • There is clear precedent for the UK government or parliament not to take to itself powers to reverse a decision previously endorsed by referendum

    I’m not sure that precedent is ‘clear’, but even assuming it is, we had a referendum and the result was to instruct Parliament to leave the European Union. If leaving the European Union is only possible by repealing the good Friday Agreement, that means the referendum vote implicitly instructs Parliament to repeal the Good Friday Agreement, so the ‘needs a referendum’ condition is satisfied (and the 2016 referendum was of the whole UK, not just one region of it as was the 1998 referendum, so clearly the 2016 referendum has a superior mandate).

    Being ‘registered with the UN’ is a red herring; Parliament must always be free to leave any international agreement, whithersoever registered, or it wouldn’t be sovereign.

  • Denis Loretto 3rd Feb '18 - 12:21am

    @Dav
    I can only remind you that your insouciant reference to abrogating agreements applies in this case to a situation of the utmost delicacy in an area which all history tells us does not respond positively to clumsy and overbearing treatment. I am sure I am not alone in getting increasingly fed up with the word “sovereign” in this complex and interdependent world.

  • Peter Martin 3rd Feb '18 - 5:30pm

    @ Denis Loretto,

    Being sovereign, or totally independent from other countries, doesn’t mean we don’t co-operate or trade with them.

    But that doesn’t mean we have to share a Parliament, or be under any pressure to share a currency. If we wanted to merge our countries into a bigger country which it itself would be sovereign than it would make sense. That would different.

    So, what do we want? Co-operation or merger? The old EEC was fine, if all that we wanted was co-operation. The reason for Maastricht and Lisbon, ie the EU, was to move towards merger. Ever closer union. If that’s what we want then, fine, let’s all be enthusiastically pro EU.

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