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Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
Scottish Innovation Party (SIP) Brexit


You can find good information about Brexit developments on Brexit Central

Also check out Lawyers for Britain

Also read Britain's Decision which is a pdf file issued to cover the main points on whether to remain or leave.

There is no “soft Brexit”

Admittedly the differences between customs unions, internal markets and external trade agreements are highly technical matters to explain to the general public. But the British public are a great deal more intelligent than some politicians give them credit for.

The Government reached the decision not to seek to remain in either the EU customs union or the internal market before the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech in January 2017, but little attempt was made to explain to the media or the public the reasons for this decision.

It is a crying shame that no serious attempt was made to explain and expose the massive consequences for this country if it were to stay inside the customs union or the single market, either before or during the General Election campaign.

It is a crying a shame because the vacuum has allowed a total myth to be propagated. That myth is that it would be economically better for the UK to stay inside the customs union and/or the single market, and that it is only pointless ideology or an obsession with curbing immigration at all costs which accounts for the Government’s rejection of these options.

In addition, an ill-thought out notion is gaining ground that post-Brexit membership of the customs union and/or single market in some way represents a “soft” Brexit which is a concession to the wishes of those who voted Remain, as compared with a supposedly damaging “hard” Brexit.

It is a crying shame because none of these arguments withstands a moment’s serious scrutiny and analysis. Post-exit membership of the EU internal market and of the customs union would put us in a limbo-land where we would be rule-takers, bound by huge restrictions on our economic and political freedom of action according to rules on which we would no longer have a vote, and which could be altered seriously to our disadvantage in future.

Since we would no longer have a vote on the internal market rules on financial services, we would be powerless to prevent them being changed even further to the disadvantage of our financial services industry in the City and in other major centres such as Edinburgh in furtherance of a misguided protectionist attempt to bolster Eurozone financial services. And we would be totally prevented from undertaking supply-side reforms of the regulatory burdens imposed on our domestic economy and international trade by the EU internal market rules.

We would be required to submit to our laws to being automatically overturned by rulings of the EFTA court which simply shadows the ECJ, Customs union membership would oblige us to continue to charge high tariffs on types of goods where we have no UK industry to protect, for the sole advantage of producers in EU states. British consumers would pay the cost of the tariffs through higher prices, but we would have to continue to hand over to Brussels 75% of the tariffs borne by our consumers.

Even more catastrophically, customs union membership would totally prevent us from entering into trade agreements with non-EU countries who now represent over 55% (and growing) of our export markets. On the other side of the ledger, the supposed economic advantages of customs union and internal market membership are grossly oversold.

Tariff-free trade between the UK and the EU can continue after Brexit under a free trade agreement which preserves our ability to decide on our own levels of external tariffs and to reach trade agreements with non-EU countries. Modern “friction-free” and “virtual border” customs arrangements can ease the flow of goods at the Channel ports and avoid the need for physical customs posts on the Northern Ireland land border.

And mutual recognition of standards based on a starting point where we are in line with the EU internal market rules can ease the flow of goods and services between us and the EU after Brexit. The idea that single market membership would somehow be easier to negotiate than a free trade agreement is another total myth.

If the UK wanted to belong to the single market after EU exit, we would need to apply to join the European Economic Area Agreement as a non-EC member. In order to join the EEA we would need the consent of 30 states (the EU members plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), all of whom would need to ratify the necessary treaty changes in accordance with their respective national constitutional requirements. This is actually a bigger barrier than what is need to secure agreement to a free trade agreement with the EU.

The reality is that there is no “soft Brexit”. It does not exist as a serious or credible option. Half-way house arrangements in which we are subject to EU rules but have no say in setting them are the worst of all worlds, which would continue to subject us to all the disadvantages of EU membership but not give us the freedom and opportunities of leaving the EU in shaping our laws, controlling our borders and taking advantage of global trading opportunities.

The only softness is in the heads of the people who advocate such half-baked and ill-thought out notions. When fully examined, the overwhelming economic and constitutional drawbacks of the limbo-lands of post-Brexit customs union and internal market membership are glaringly apparent. In these fluid times when the Prime Minister’s electoral miscalculation and failure to explain her Brexit policies has once more thrown open the door to these notions, it is vital that the real consequences of these choices should be fully understood, in order to prevent this needless election disaster turning into a catastrophe for our country.

194 countries and territories trade in the EU's single market without being a member of it.

It turns out that the USA, surprisingly, sells more in services to the EU than we do and that China sells more in goods. Not bad for countries that are not even members and it demonstrates yet again that the importance of single market membership has been blown totally out of proportion.

What are the essential ingredients for Brexit?

Brexit was always going to mean a bit of give and take. The process of negotiating our departure from the European Union needs flexibility on both sides.

So where should the UK be willing to make concessions, and where does Brexit mean sticking to our guns?

Plainly some of the hard-line Remainers’ suggestions about what needs to happen are incompatible with Brexit – which, one rather suspects, is exactly the reason the Remaniacs keep making them.

It would be impossible to claim to have left the European Union and still remain a member of either the Single Market or Customs Union. As long as you are in either, you cannot pursue your own independent trade policy. Indeed, if we remained a member of the Single Market, vast swathes of economic life – and much else – in our country would continue to be subject to rules made in Brussels. Leave the Single Market and you only need to comply with Single Market rules if selling into the Single Market.

It would be dishonest and deceitful to claim to have left the EU, but remain in the Single Market or Customs Union. And millions of voters would, quite rightly, see it as a political sleight of hand, a three-card trick played on them by the political establishment.

Nor can the UK credibly remain within Euratom. That’s not because there isn’t something eminently sensible about cooperating with our neighbours over nuclear issues. There is – and we need to find post-Brexit ways of doing so. But the reality is that Euratom is not just another one of those EU agencies. It happens to be a founding pillar on which the architecture of the EU is built. If you leave the EU, you have to leave Euratom.

It’s a similar situation with the European Court of Justice. Leaving the EU means that the ECJ can no longer hold jurisdiction in the UK. This isn’t really a matter of interpretation or opinion, but a straight forward legal fact.

If the UK accepts that the ECJ holds jurisdiction over us, we are not a self-governing state. Which is perhaps why those who tell us ECJ adjudication is essential insist on it being so. They understand the implications and are setting out to deceive.

If they were honest, they would accept that it is perfectly possible to have in place all manner of agreements with the EU, without being subject to the ECJ. But they don’t.

What about EFTA, the European Free Trade Area? Personally, I’d be delighted if the UK, after Brexit, was to be a member of EFTA. And to remain in EFTA for the foreseeable future. Let’s cheerfully concede that. Why? For the same reason I would like to see Britain joining NAFTA, the North American Free Trade group. EFTA and NAFTA allow free trade. They are not about imposing common standards.

And that is precisely why I doubt that post-Brexit Britain can credibly be a member of the European Economic Area. The EEA, unlike EFTA, is all about imposing common standards.

Leave the EU, but join the EEA, and the UK’s relationship with the EU would be like Norway’s. Still vastly preferable to what we have today, it would mean having to comply with rules and regulations we had no part in drafting.

Those who suggest that we should have a Norway-type relationship with the EU on a transitional basis ought to remember: Norway was only supposed to have the relationship it has with the EU on a temporary basis. Two decades later, it is still in a sort of Euro-limbo.

There is nothing wrong with transitional arrangements, so long as there is a clear time limit in place at the outset.

What about immigration and the free movement of people? Or the so-called Brexit bill? If you listen to the pundits, these are areas of great contention, where the two sides are supposed to be at loggerheads.

Nonsense. It is already possible to see the outline of an agreement; free movement of people – the automatic right that every EU national has to settle – will end. But that does not mean that we cannot have the free movement of labour.

As for the Brexit bill, there will be some residual costs that the other EU member states might try to recoup. We are, of course, under no obligation to pay the EU anything after we are out. But we could act in good faith if such good faith was reciprocated. Rather than put us in a weak position, the issue of money gives us a strong negotiating hand.

If you stop to think about it, there are all sorts of agreements that we could strike with the EU on all sorts of areas; there are deals to be done on intelligence sharing and security. And the environment. Our universities benefit from the Erasmus programme and Horizon 2020.If the Remainiac rump was really interested in ensuring the maximum amount of continued cooperation with the EU after we have left, you might expect them to be making these sort of points. But they aren’t. Nick Clegg and Tony Blair are in the business of advocating ideas that would render Brexit meaningless.

But then again, the real negotiations are not between the likes of Nick Clegg and the rest of us. Any agreement will be brokered between the UK government and the EU. Our own Remainiac fringe might advocate positions intended to try to try to make a mess of Brexit. But the government isn’t negotiating with them. Which is precisely why I’m optimistic that we will strike a good deal.

Brexit means leaving the single market and the customs union. Here’s why
By Barry Gardiner, Labour MP, 24th July 2017 in The Guardian Newspaper

James Dyson: If Brexit talks fail with the EU it's 'no big deal'
The tech entrepreneur – and Britain's biggest farmer – says we will almost certainly have to walk away from talks with Europe and rely on the WTO

Sir James Dyson would make a good therapist for anxious Brexiteers. Everything about him is comfortingly precise — his manner and way of speaking, his owlish round glasses and blow-dried white hair. He exudes a Zen-like calm.

What he has to say is reassuring, too. He is as sunnily optimistic about leaving the EU as he was before the referendum last year.

‘I am very confident,’ he says, ‘in our ability to negotiate trade deals outside Europe — with Japan, Australia, China, America and so on — because it’s very easy. It’s just us negotiating with them. It’s very, very straightforward and you don’t have to satisfy 27 other people.’

The implication is that a deal with the EU will be harder. He confirms: ‘My view is we almost certainly won’t get a deal. We’ll have to walk away.’

But Dyson doesn’t think that matters. Falling back on World Trade Organisation rules would be ‘no big deal’, he says, because for him it would just lead to a 3 per cent tariff. ‘Frankly,’ he says, ‘lowering corporation tax a few percentage points would pay for that.’

In another interview he said that the EU represented just 15% of global trade and declining and so trade with the rest of the world should be our main objective. He also thought that India looked to be the global leader in the future and was excitined about the prospects. He was also very upbeat about growing trade with Commonwealth countries.

Listen to his interview at:
http://uk.reuters.com/video/2017/08/31/spotlight-billionaire-inventor-sir-james?videoId=372437668&videoChannel=2603&channelName=MOST+POPULAR

See also ProjectCheer2 for some good news.

Also see Boris Johnson's upbeat views on Brexit
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/15/exclusive-boris-johnson-yes-will-take-back-350m-eu-nhs/


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