Monday, 17 October 2016

Hard or soft, eggs is eggs...the Brexit question

Except of course, just like your egg, there's not a clear line between hard and soft, a big range from barely cooked at all (very runny) to something you could use as a weapon (very hard). And everyone has an opinion - from grand economists and lawyers through to the last taxi driver you spoke with and the lady at the Co-op.

This is Simon's guide to making this decision. It's not definitive but it has the merits of being brief and information light.

1. You can make the egg harder, you can't make it softer. If a harder Brexit means removing ourselves from more of the entanglements we have with the EU then going back when we realise such a removal wasn't the best idea is more difficult.

2. The softest of soft eggs is still a cooked egg. The public voted to leave the EU - to put the egg into the boiling water. So barely cooked at all - the EEA option or similar - is still leaving the EU. And if we want it harder, we can always boil it a little more

So the logic here is to start soft - to step across the line that says "EU membership". This changes little (which is why some Brexit Ultras are opposed) but it has the merits of only ruling out things that are directly related to EU membership such as joining the Euro. Everything else remains available - from the 'semi-detached' situation inherent in being an EEA member through to the hardest of hard scenarios where our trade is determined by WTO rules alone and we have whopping great tariffs on imports (this is a really dumb idea and is why John Redwood shouldn't be allowed anywhere near trade policy).

What depresses me most is the persistence of Remain Absolutists who want to overturn the referendum result because "the people are stupid and lawyers are clever" (I summarise their position here but this is close enough - you can replace lawyers with academics, Guardian writers, bloggers, pundits or blokes who used to work at a bank). It would be rather more helpful if such folk accepted the result - ended the dreadful sophistry about it being 'advisory' - and argued for an initially soft Brexit achieved by stepping across that line.
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asquith said...

Unfortunately, there are few signs of David Davis, Boris Johnson or disgraced former defence secretary Liam Fox having a plan agreed and working diligently to follow it through.

Of course, as a Remain voter and supporter of the democratic process and what-have-you I accept that we're leaving and want to work with anyone to make sure we benefit as much as possible from whatever happens, I'm naturally for staying in the single market and I like freedom of movement but who even knows what the plan is?

It would appear to be a vindication for those who said we'd go in a more closed, protectionist and generally shrunken direction and the libertarians wouldn't prevail. There should be no rubbish that a handful of Remainers have talked about a second referendum or finding some loophole to stay in- we're leaving and that's that- and while everyone should work together constructively to build the new situation I'm afraid there is no shielding people from the negativity and incoherence of what's upon them.

And it can't be said that the Daily Mail etc make a constructive argument or a fair representation of Remain voters, pointing out the reality of the situation isn't "scaremongering" but the most patriotic thing possible, certainly showing far more concern for the people of our country than Paul Dacre or Rupert Murdoch have ever summoned forth.

Junican said...


There are so many aspects that it is hard to know where to begin. I have no intention here other than making a few comments.
My first comment is in respect of Impatience.
The idea of a 'United States of Europe' might well be a worthy one, but such a thing must be 'allowed to develop'. From what I have read, such a situation was always the intention from the beginning. The 'Common Market' was only a step in that direction. For some reason, certain people began to push for 'unity' and started to draw up laws (and not just plans) to FORCE the unity. The creation of the Euro was one such.
My second point concerns 'freedom of movement'. In my opinion, that freedom can only come AFTER unity has been achieved. In any case, freedom to travel around Europe has been the situation for centuries, and to settle. Recent problems have arisen due to MASS movements and not freedom to move. Thus, currently, the UK is a magnet simply because it is comparatively 'well-endowed'.
Thirdly, the EU has been 'captured' by certain special interest groups, such as the Global Warming crowd and the anti-smoking crowd. Witness the horror of the Health Minister, Subrey MP, who signed the latest EU smoker persecution directive on behalf of the UK, being ignorant of the regulations in that directive about e-cigarettes.

We are right to disengage - at least for the time being. The EU NEEDS to fall apart. As presently constituted, it can do no wrong. It is never ever mistaken. Its edicts are written in stone. Someone must break the mold. That is what the UK has done.