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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The compromise option that would make everyone but UKIP happier.. And the EU would be elated

After 4 torrid days I woke up today happier about the whole Brexit situation.

The widely forecast current political and impending economic crisis in the UK was dismissed by a despicable band of most unlikely bedfellows as, if not part of Project Fear, a necessary part of the pain of decoupling from the EU.

Until this morning I had widely discounted the EEA option (as advocated by the Adam Smith Institute, amongst others) as untenable.

The Leavers wouldn't accept retaining nearly all EU law and borderless travel, because sovereignty and immigration was a key plank of their campaign.

And the EU certainly won't be budging on much during exit negotiations, I'm pretty sure of that. Why should they? EU will have a combined GDP of about 7 times the UK (with the UK outside the EU).

We become a mouse negotiating with a lion over shared grazing rights.

Parliamentarians lined up yesterday to stress they will respect the will of the people in this referendum... And that's when it struck me.

What is the will of the 51.9% who voted for Brexit? What are they expecting?

Many might be expecting new hospitals opening all over the country with a £350m-a-week boost to the NHS coffers. Reading the news of xenophobic 'out now' messages others were certainly expecting Poles, Lithuanians and other Eastern Europeans to be sent home.

Only an extreme twist to the current political saga playing out in Westminster would lead to any of these expectations being met, and I'm hopeful and fairly confident the racists won't win the day here.

The mandate from the referendum is for the question asked on the paper: should we leave the EU?

And whilst some would claim taking full EEA membership is splitting hairs, others could rightly claim that a voter, having adequately researched the options, had concluded that should we leave the EU then EEA membership would be a good bet.

Others would point out that 48.1% of the population voted for full EU membership; so the mandate, whilst clear in terms of the question asked, was far from clear when it comes to how far we should distance ourselves from the EU.

No one happy

As a Remainer EEA membership would be a crying shame.  We would throw away a seat at the top table of EU politics for a delusion that the EU somehow stole our sovereignty.

This is madness. It is the language of the oppressed, yet the EU didn't enslave us as a nation. It invited us in to their club and said we could leave at any time - the door was always open.

All the talk of Independence Day is quite frankly utter bullshit.

Leavers won't be happy as the avalanche of European Law won't cease - it will be a condition of access to the EEA market. And interference of the European courts will shift from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to the EFTA Court, which to quote Wikipedia:
The EFTA Court has essentially been modeled on the template of the European Court of Justice
And UKIP won't be happy as they will have effectively funded Boris Johnson's coup against David Cameron and have little if anything to show for their efforts.

Life is a compromise

But faced with the breakup of the United Kingdom I'd bed even Eurosceptic Tories, having been dangled by the knackers over the chasm of social upheaval and economic ruin, would get in line behind such a compromise.

Above all it gives Government and Parliament an 'out'. It allows them to meet their commitment to respect the will of the people, stabilise the markets and start to calm the disquiet in parts of the UK voting strongly to Remain.

The people voted to leave the EU and we will leave the EU.

Anyone arguing this is a fudge would be met with the same response the Leavers have been dishing out to those arguing for a second referendum: You can't change the rules after the ballot'.

The ballot was clear - the mandate was to leave the European Union - which we will now almost certainly do. Because to undo the result by a Parliamentary procedure would risk bloodshed, and to go to the polls with a second referendum would be too risky.

Ever close union

And the silver lining here, for Europe, and for the UK in some respects, is that the Eurozone countries have been pushing for a closer union-within-the-union for a long time.

Some common fiscal policy would make sense for countries sharing a currency. Pooled armed forces is less contentious amongst central European countries as it is within the UK.

Ironically it has been the UK blocking such moves until now. We didn't want to be a second-tier member of the EU but we didn't want ever closer union.

I'll bet the UK out of the EU solves more problems for the European Union that they're currently letting on. Which is possibly why EU officials seem over-zealous for us to push the button.

We must stand firm till we get the deal we want, because they want us out as much as we want a good trading package.

Which is why I'm now confident we'll get an acceptable deal to join the EEA. Nothing too fancy, just enough to make everyone (bar the racists)... Happier.

And, as this ever-closer union becomes a reality for those left in the EU, even the UKIPpers may start to look on the bright side.

@JamesFirth

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