Phil, of a different Bias, has released a new video, spurred by his observation that the Brexiteers have retreated from “Take back Control” to “Save the Pound” because if we were to rejoin, they think we’d have to join the Euro. This probably isn’t the case. Phil points out that Sweden has agreed to join up and did so in 2002, but hasn’t yet done so and has no plans to do so.

Actually, I think that of the opt-outs we had, the Euro is the least likely to be required; the issue of integrating a global reserve currency into the Euro maybe sufficiently risky for the EU to not press too much on that front, although of course there remains the fact that when the UK left the EU, the ECB mandated that all Euro capital market transactions were conducted within the Eurozone. Do we want that work back? Will they permit it to transfer back to the UK, is it possible for that to happen given the sale of the London Stock Market and London Clearing House to pan European exchanges?

So while I don’t believe the Euro will be a sticking point, I think something will be agreed. The Stability and Growth Pact is a bigger problem. Austerity vs Keynesianism is a political question and adoption should be accountable to the electorate and not frozen in unchanging treaties. This is not the case in the EU although a number of countries are in breach of the SGP thresholds, which were relaxed during the CV19 pandemic.

What might other sticking points be?

The opt-outs were,

  1. We didn’t have to join the Euro & we were exempted from the Stability and Growth Pact’s enforcement regime.
  2. We received a rebate on the financial contribution.
  3. We were outside Schengen and had a number of opt-outs from the Justice pillar
  4. and our relationship with the Court and the Charter of Fundamental Rights was weaker than most members, yet strong enough to remain full members of Europol.

(I didn’t know about the weaker relationship with the Court, and need to research its meaning but it seems that the pre Lisbon Treaty Labour Govt feared that the Charter of Fundamental Rights might conflict with our labour laws and we opted out of the Justice pillar probably to prevent judicial oversight of UK immigration policy. )

He argues as do I that the path we need is to align with the single market and its regulatory acquis, and re-join the customs union. This is necessary as part of a strategy for fixing broken Britain and may be achievable quite quickly. It will address trade friction, a problem Phil summarises as follows,  

‘ being a third country to your largest trading partner is shit’.

Although Labour are not yet there!

Phil argues that we should confront the arguments, particularly their strongest ones, as ignoring arguments is how remain lost in 2016. He thinks that Schengen is a step too far for the electorate; I am not so sure but I am convinced we need Europe’s young people to come here to work and study.. If the issue is immigration, then we need to argue for the right thing. We need workers and not just highly skilled ones, we should honour our citizen’s rights for family reunification, we must support the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and welcome overseas students, or at least those that want to come here now we have left Erasmus.

Perhaps now is the time to start talking about the issue that if we align with the single market, we will need to pass some judicial questions back to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Membership of the EU and its predecessors has always been a choice between economic security and sovereignty. In the UK, that sovereignty is not shared with the people and so it becomes a false choice. The FT is now strongly saying that Brexit has damaged our economy; we just need an answer that ensures should we get back in control and within the EU, that wealth and income are shared more fairly.

The Truss Government was an ERG Govt, it’s fall marks the end of Brexit.

We remain unlikely to be able to apply to re-join until membership ceases to be a partisan issue and that the UK, if it still exists, can offer a substantial and believably long-term majority in support of re-joining the EU. We are not there yet as the Tony Blair institute reports, and the EU won’t want us if  we plan to dance the okey-cokey.  The majority in the UK seem ready to consider dramatic measures to ease trade friction by aligning with the single market and adopting regulatory harmony with the European Union. I shall be doing my little bit to give it a push.

Brexit’s over, it’s just about the mopping up now
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