We all know that there is going to be untold verbal and written diarrhea before the forthcoming Uk Referendum on the question of England staying or leaving the EU.
The debate has gone on so far as if there is a clear vision for what a “leave” vote might mean, which is total hogwash as there is no clear vision of what an EU exit would mean.
The outcome is highly uncertain as there are many unknowns including the timing of the vote and the outcome of the renegotiation.
The last time London broke away from Europe it was because of a fight with Rome. Henry VIII wanted to marry Anne Boleyn so broke off relations with the Pope, who opposed it.
There is one thing for sure it will be a long and protracted process.
Quantifying the precise effects of leaving the EU is difficult but here are a few indisputable hard facts whether the vote goes one way or the other.
If there is a vote to exit the UK government has two years to negotiate the terms of withdrawal under Article 50 of the EU Treaty.
So if the referendum is in 2017 it will not be till 2019 that the UK formally exits the EU, but this is not the end of the process.
The UK must pursue a number of third-party negotiations to replace treaties that no longer apply, such as FTAs.
As with any divorce, no-one can be sure whether it will be amicable or hostile.
An exit would mean recasting not only future trade relations with the remaining members of the EU, but also those with the rest of the world, many of which are the result of the EU negotiating as a bloc.
Regulatory divergence would increase over time, affecting trade volumes and reducing the attractiveness of the UK for investment.
The EU is currently negotiating a major new FTA with the United States (the TTIP) – as well as an ‘economic partnership agreement’ (EPA) with Japan. If the UK leaves the EU, it will not benefit from these and other free trade agreements negotiated by the EU in future.
Non-EU members like Norway and Switzerland pay to be part of the European single market.
So retaining access to the single market means accepting all the rules decided by ‘Brussels’ and voted on by full members of the EU.
Those countries, like Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, who want the market access, but stop short of seeking full membership, just have to accept whatever the EU decides.
A British exit from the EU would diminish rather than enhance the country’s standing and influence.
Reduced integration with EU countries is likely to cost the UK economy far more than is gained from lower contributions to the EU budget, the value of pound will fall worldwide.
The EU is seen as a major power in the world.
To say that Britain would somehow regain a unique and resonant voice in world affairs once it breaks away from a collective European identity is somewhat naive.
On the other hand the lost of the Uk to the EU would diminish its power standing in the world as a military power.
Britain’s exit would have far-reaching political ramifications for the rest of Europe. The ‘proof of concept’ of leaving the EU could liberate disintegrative, centrifugal forces elsewhere. Member states most exposed to Brexit are the Netherlands, Ireland and Cyprus. Each has very strong trade, investment and financial links with the UK and in the cases of the Netherlands and Ireland are closely aligned in policy terms.
The economic consequences for the UK from leaving the EU are complex.
However both the break with the EU and the uncertainty associated with it would be bad for business and damaging to the UK economy.
Being part of the EU does not restrict UK companies’ ability to trade with the rest of the world.
Beyond all the simple choice of ‘stay or leave’ there is a broader question that has, hitherto, been curiously neglected.
This is what not being a member of the EU would really mean: what, in short, is the most likely alternative to EU membership?
What is the reason after 43-year membership in the European Union the question is: Why is the Uk is holding a referendum.
Is it because the population was never given an opportunity to say Yes or No.
Or is it because David Cameron won the 2015 general election on a pledge to hold an in-out vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union no later than the end of 2017.
Is it because the English Political phych is still stuck in its history of Empire.
Is U.K. ‘now holding a Gun’ to EU.
Should the EU be allowing Britain to set the terms of the future direction of the EU.
Britain’s relationship with the EU, troubled by decades of anxiety over waning national power, the euro area’s threat to London’s financial clout, subsidies to French farmers and, more recently, mass migration which is spiraling out of control.
Is it to secure a better deal for Britain’s relationship with the EU? while it has refused to go along with more integrationist policies like the single currency and the removal of border checks. Abolishing the U.K.’s obligation to “ever closer union.
Is it because it wants to limit access to welfare payments for non-British EU citizens in the U.K.
That has proved most contentious with governments in countries such as Poland and Hungary. They have sent thousands of people to set up home in the U.K. and say the move would make their countrymen and women second-class citizens in a club where everyone is supposed to be equal.
The vital question is whether the U.K. will continue to have access to the single market.
There is little point howling from a distance.
In my opinion the European Union will not be shaped by England or for that matter any of its existing members. Current world events will shape its future.