Friday, 2 February 2018

The EU never intended to negotiate a sensible deal with us they want to humiliate us

Yanis warned the UK government not to negotiate with the EU or they would end up humiliated like Greece. The EU have led head girl Maya merry dance and every time the music stops May has obligingly given more away to the EU.

Wise up Mrs May the EU are just wearing you down with these false negotiations They never intended a deal.  Just send Barnier a note to this effect  and say we will not play this crooked game any more and we will leave on 29th March and thereafter trade with the EU under WTO rules and sit back and wait. Our quislings will wail,.the CBI business will moan endlessly, the BBC will foam at the mouth but just get on with domestic affairs, building houses, financing the NHS and our schools and putting immigration controls in place. and dish Corbyn.

Do not listen to the FCO or HMT. Go to the North and the Midlands and talk to ordinary people and listen to what they say. Withdraw UK military forces from mainland Europe and set up UK talks with Putin.

The just wait. There are plenty in Europe,Poles \Czechs, Greeks  who remember what the Germans did in 1939/45.Give them time to think what the EU will be like without the UK and wait, wait and wait. As Eartha Kitt used to sing, "an Englishman needs time."


Anonymous said...

Hear Hear.
I couldn't put it better myself.
But how on earth will she ever understand.
Never I guess as we Brits sit back and let it happen.
The French know how to do it also how did the poll tax thing go?

Niall Warry said...

Through your eyes you see one thing and I see another.

It is not the EU's fault that Mrs May has as yet not presented a plan. she has asked for more time and the EU has suggested a Transitional deal. So all the EU has said is that given that everything remains the same they expect us to obey the rules of the other 27. For the EU's perspective this sensible.

If Mrs May had negotiated an Efta/EEA type deal then she would have solved all her problems namely

1. Free of political EU
2. Remaining trading with SM which mostly obeys the rules from international world bodies.
3. control of F of M via article 112 of the EEA trading agreement
4. Free from ECJ adjudication.
5. Irish border issue solved.
6. Free to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world.

Edward Spalton said...

Whilst Varoufakis recommended leaving the Article 50 process, he also said that the UK should somehow immediately make the transition to EEA/EFTA membership , as suggested by Niall Warry. That would be an interim stage for the five years or so
it would take to negotiate a full settlement from that platform. People who applauded Varoufakis's initial statement had not read as far as the second part.

The U.K. posture has been a strange mixture of arrogance and weakness. " Having our cake and eating it" was an expectation that we would leave the EU and " make our own laws" but the EU would continue to allow our goods free access to their market " because they sell more to us than we do to them" . I have heard both David Davis and Rees Mogg say that the EU would be bound to cave in at the last minute because of this.

It is an EU requirement for all importers from outside the EU to have a representative appointed - either a company or individual based in the EU- to be responsible to the authorities for the compliance of goods with EU standards before any customs duties are charged - even if they are zero. Even countries with extensive free trade agreements ( like, say, Korea) have to do this. It is an inevitable consequence of becoming a third country, as Mrs May insisted a year ago that we would in her Lancaster House speech. If HMG had been serious, it would then have started giving advice to British firms as to how to go about this. We had equivalent timely advice in advance of joining the EEC in 1973. Yet only 3 weeks ago David Davis was whingeing about the EU " making" us a third country, when it is what HMG decided it wanted us to be from the beginning.
Neither has HMG decided on a desirable end settlement. Like the South a Sea Bubble its policy is " a scheme for an enterprise of great advantage but nobody to know what it is" . The EU has been a paragon of transparency by comparison - playing for its side, of course. David Davis told an American audience that he would be relying on his self-proclaimed qualities as " a charming bastard " to achieve whatever his undisclosed objectives are. The humiliation, I suggest, is self-inflicted.

Niall Warry said...


Edward it's nice to get support from someone who understands the reality of the current Brexit situation.

The Tory Ultra's like JRM, beyond some British bulldog rhetoric, don't actually know what they are talking about.

Stephen Harness said...

We have to remember that as PM, David Cameron dismissed the EEA/EFTA option. He also trashed such an agreement either by ignorance or deceit to suit his preference of EU membership.
It was also stated during the dreadful referendum campaign that a vote to leave the EU was a vote to leave the Single Market and Customs Union. In fact leaving the EU does have these these consequences.
I have been a supporter of the EEA/EFTA route but I now see many problems. The referendum was fought on an immigration ticket. EEA/EFTA membership will require accepting the four freedoms.
EEA/EFTA membership will require a 'court' perhaps not the ECJ but a court mirroring it.
A five year interim period does sound excellent and I have been a supporter of it. However such a transition would require agreement by all political parties of this direction of travel.
EEA/EFTA is seen as stepping stone to actually joining the EU and not as an exit strategy.
EFTA membership may not be accepted.
A future Corbyn government, persuaded by the unions, may well seek comfort within the EU.
When it comes down to it, in politics there are greater things in play, actually forming the government of the day and the last general election highlighted this. The EU issue was relegated to a secondary issue. As a candidate in 2010 and 2015 hardly anybody asked me a question about the EU. Elections are fought on the economy.

Blind stoat said...

^^@Stephen - just to be clear on the referendum itself, regardless of what different individuals might have claimed the vote was about, the simple fact is that voters were asked whether to remain in or leave the eu. That was it. No other condition was attached. Therefore, the government is completely free to decide how and on what terms the UK should leave.

Stephen Harness said...

Obviously the government of the day can negotiate a deal with the EU and say this is what you voted for. In reality 48% of the UK population voted to remain in the EU and are opposed to a hard Brexit. The majority of the 52% did not vote to leave a foot in the door.
We could remain in the EU and thrive but only if we had learnt to cheat, ignoring the detail that we do not want. Other countries do this and get away with it. As a nation we are too honest.
The General election has changed the dynamics of Brexit because the tories now only have a slender majority and Labour in their heart of hearts do not want Brexit.
Yes, even Farage suspects a Norway type deal will emerge and possibly will.
That said, not at any price and walking away must remain an option.

Niall Warry said...

Stephen Harness as they say in the military you are on permanent 'Send' and not on 'Receive'!

Please read carefully:-

1. The question, as BS said above, was do we want to remain nor leave the EU.
2.The EU is political and SM is about trade we need and should get our feet out the EU but keep them in the SM via EEA.
3.The EEA has its on management set up free of the EU.
4. Trade deals have costs, rule & regulations and an adjudication process.80% of the EU's acquis concerns trade and most of trade 'stuff' come down from international bodies.
5. The EEA is not direct under the ECJ.
6. Article 112 of the EEA agreement allows us to restrict F of M.
7. Free of the EU but in the EEA we can negotiate other trade deals with other countries.

Being frank SH you are not up to speed on how world trade works and I would guess get most
of your info from the inadequate legacy media.

Blind stoat said...

^^@Niall - your reference to Article 112 needs some further qualification. As with so many aspects of the EU, the legislation covering the operation of the EEA is deliberately vague (to the point of being contradictory) - and nowhere more so than with regard to the vexed issue of "freedom of movement".
Yes, Article 112 MIGHT be used to afford the UK a degree of temporary respite from what would otherwise be completely unfettered access by any and all EU residents. BUT such respite would only ever be temporary and would inevitably be subject to withdrawal by Brussels as and when it saw fit.

Edward Spalton said...

Stephen Harness,
You are quite right about Cameron's statements on the EEA/EFTA arrangements during and after his " Hug a Husky" trip. They were widely accepted by people as far apart as Nigel Farage and committed Europhiles for the reasons you claim. An MP told me they had their ears well,and truly bent on this subject. As European legal,documents are so crashingly boring, very few people bothered to check.
But the VoteLeave campaign set its face against advocating ANY post referendum victory policy on the grounds that the campaign was not a political party and so would not be a government in the position to deliver it. They banged on about £350 million a week for the
NHS instead.

Blind Stoat,
Nobody advancing the EEA/EFTA option regarded it as a final policy aim but as a step in a process of disengagement in an imperfect world. I have been opposed to our membership of the EEC/EU since 1972. Like most campaigners, I used to think independence would be a single event.
We would say " We're out but quite willing to go on trading with you on more-or-less present terms. As you have such a favourable balance of trade, we are sure you'll agree. So cut along, there's a good chap" . And that would be it. This is more or less the " having our cake and eating it" position .

It was only four years or so ago that I realised independence would be a process and, in quite an agonising reappraisal, came to grips
with the facts. It now appears that, by having ruled out the EEA ( which gets rid of 75 per cent of EU law) the government is taking us into
a position of total subservience to all EU law for a transition period which will almost certainly need to be extended. Free Trade Agreements take a long time.

I would recommend Googling both FLEXCIT, a really detailed, realistic plan and Professor Baudenbacher YouTube for his recent speech on the functioning of EFTA court. He is the retiring president of the court, giving his personal opinion. It's about an hour but less trying than ploughing through the usual EU prose. A legal friend of strong pro independence views found it most enlightening.

Niall Warry said...


To all who read this blog register the words of Edward - Brexit is not an Event but a process that will take time and it is important NOT to jump to conclusions but to know your facts.

Not being for the Efta/EEA deal because one assumes Article 112 is not all it seems is absurd especially if one is NOT offering anything better.

Article 112 is a fact and out of the political EU we could use it and virtually do what we wished with it.

Blind stoat said...

^^^Niall, I think you are overstating the usefulness of Article 112.

All member states of the EEA are required to adhere to the 'four freedoms'.
Yes, an EEA member state can invoke article 112 and impose TEMPORARY restrictions on the normal working of any of the four freedoms - for instance freedom of movement.
But that does not mean that an EEA member state can simply 'opt out' indefinitely.

In essence if the UK were to become an EEA member but not an EU member, we would be obliged to accept all EU rules and regulations insofar as they were trade related - including the rights of would be immigrants' to enter and work in the UK. But there would be no obligation to become politically integrated with the remaining 27 EU member states so the apocalyptic "ever closer union" would no longer apply.

Stephen Harness said...

Certainly not on 'permanent send' Niall. I got into politics because of the EU issue, twice parliamentary candidate, researched to the point of becoming boring. Left UKIP because of an intellectual vacuum and complete rejection of an exit strategy. Accepting of FLEXCIT which I have read and referred to many times.
I see the weakness in FLEXCIT being an assumption everybody wants the same destiny of travel and destination. I supported FLEXCIT and the idea of a further period of negotiation to another arrangement. However the weakness of this position and nativity of it is it would require all political parties and politicians to buy into it. They do not.
As I have said before the referendum campaign was pitiful and fought on immigration with an NHS sweetener built in. The referendum was not educational but won on soundbites.
Accepting EEA/EFTA will mean immigration continues, immigration is not my issue but the issue close to the heart of many people who voted for Brexit. We are in big trouble if Brexit actually means we do not control our borders.
Niall I am happy to trade insults but please do not accuse me of assembling information from the leagacy media. I am quite capable of reading Richard North, appreciating his work but at the same time seeing the many holes in his FLEXCIT. Convince the government how trade works not me, I have no influence on that subject.

Edward Spalton said...

Blind Stoat and Stephen Harness,

I am not being snide here but have you a better suggestion?

The great advantage of the EEA/EFTA arrangement is that the economic bits are all in a working package which is known and tolerable. Once you step outside and start negotiating an FTA item by item, you are in for a very long haul indeed and I doubt the capacity of DExEU and the FCO to cope with it. The FCO has been cut back just as savagely as our armed forces. The staff turnover at DExEU is four times the civil service average. In an immensely complicated business where everything is related to everything else and "nothing is decided until everything is decided", that is an enormous handicap. As I mentioned earlier, David Davis relies on being " a charming bastard" to get through it all. I listened to the speech when he said it.

If HMG had been serious, it would have started informing businesses exporting to the EU of the need to appoint a representative, a firm or individual resident in the EU, to take responsibility to the authorities for the compliance of their products in all respects. This applies to all countries, including those with free trade agreements, like Canada and Korea.

I was a director of an animal feed mill when we joined the EEC and we received very timely full advice of everything we needed to do to comply with the strange new system. That should have started immediately after Mrs. May's Lancaster House speech but at that time they still believed they "could have their cake and eat it" - leave the club, not be bound by its rules but expect to be treated as if they were still members. So, the Florence speech would have done to start that - but nothing!

With regard to free movement, if Liechtenstein can restrict it, I am sure it is not beyond the powers of Her Britannic Majesty's Government. If the EEA really didn't work, we could be out by simply giving a year's notice and then find out the true meaning of WTO rules.

As Old Bill, under heavy bombardment in the WW1 Bairnsfather cartoon said "If you know of a better 'ole, go to it!" You'll probably find I have jumped in too.

Niall Warry said...

SH - You talk of 'Immigration' but that does NOT cover the four separate issues each with their own considerations:-

1. F of M - which in the EU we cannot restrict but in the EEA we can. Oh! and by the way nobody in government is actually saying we would completely stop F of M as it is needed.

2. Legal immigration from the Common Wealth - right to bring over family and relations.

3. Asylum seekers - governed by the Geneva convention and not EU.

4. Illegal immigration and economic migrants etc.

Yes you've been around but you still have some homework to do!!

Stephen Harness said...

As I have said, immigration is not my issue, for many reasons. 50% of immigration coming from outside the EU for one. The fact that we as a country, went to war in certain countries to give them freedom. Many of those countries are now experiencing hell, or no longer present a block to a mass movement of people. I accept our responsibility as a country because we are responsible it we accept collective responsibility on behalf of Blair and Cameron.
The point I make about immigration is that many of our electorate voted for Brexit because of immigration, my issue was democracy and sovereignty as well as trade (I live on an east coast estuary facing Europe - the EU has failed us - we have nothing, no fishing, no industry, no manufacturing - all gone since we joined the EU). In truth the issue of immigration swayed the vote towards exit. Any final deal will have to address that point or somebody is going to have to be very honest, something missing from the referendum campaigns of both sides.

Blind stoat said...

^^^ Edward, no I certainly do not know what the answer is! If I did have a solution, or even a cunning plan - I would be happy to propose it. I accept that EEA/EFTA might be the best way forward - at least insofar as the near term economic dislocation might be limited versus what it would probably if we reverted to WTO rules.

However, I think Stephen makes a valid point when he says that a large part of the 52% probably voted 'out' because of the immigration issue. And, if it were to become known that the UK was considering signing up to an exit deal which did not give us permanent control over immigration, I think there would be negative implications. The nightmare scenario, as far as I am concerned, would be Farage et al calling for a second referendum at which the question would be, not simply do we want to leave the EU, but do we also want to have control over immigration (meaning specifically the UK could not agree to EFTA/EEA solution). That vote - I believe - we (i.e. the 52%) would be certain to lose.

Speaking purely personally, I am in the same boat as Stephen - as in immigration was not the reason why I voted leave. For me the issue has always been sovereignty and democracy.

Which is why - perhaps perversely - I would be prepared to countenance a 'hard' (i.e. go straight to WTO rules) exit IF that meant we avoided any possibility of a second referendum. Yes, there would be very considerable economic trauma. But I'm not sure it need be any worse for us than for our erstwhile EU partners - provided only that HMG was prepared to play hardball - i.e. the first consignment of Welsh lamb held up at a border post and there will be TWO container loads of French beef sitting rotting somewhere near Dover....... up to and including all out trade warfare.

If, ultimately, that's what it took to guarantee BREXIT - with no second referendum - I would be willing to accept it.
and NB: I'm not convinced that going straight to WTO rules need necessarily be such a bad the long run. After all we plummeted out of the ERM in pretty spectacular fashion, but ultimately we survived. I have a sneaking suspicion that the same might apply to being forced to revert to WTO rules.

Edward Spalton said...

Blind Stoat,
Thank you. After 40 years of musing on ideal outcomes in the wilderness, I guess that the reality of Brexit will not live up to anybody's fond expectations but the widespread media and political class ignorance about the way the EU works can certainly lead to unnecessary, avoidable difficulties.

As you mention the ERM debacle, I would recommend looking for Professor Vernon Bogdanor's YouTube lecture from Gresham College. About 10 minutes from the end,,he deals with the political consequences - namely the loss of trust in the financial prudence of the Conservatives and the Blair era. Until then, many people were really frightened of the possibility of a Labour government. Afterwards they weren't. I remember the patronising Conservative posters in 1997 " Yes it hurt. Yes it worked". The Tories were out for a generation.

Righting the ERM was fairly simple - a sharp reduction in interest rates.. A botched Brexit with any significant economic hardship would last much longer. So, I think, would the political effects - at least equivalent to the 1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws on the Tories and very likely as great as the 1922 debacle on the Liberals. . For a selection of articles, you might try our CIB website

Stephen Harness said...

The sad fact is that the referendum was a golden opportunity for great debate and education. So many outcomes were nailed to the mast and positions either ruled out or not discussed. Cameron must take a great deal of blame for setting the agenda and rubbishing the Norway option. How fantastic would have been a North versus Cameron versus Edmond debate, and I mean a real debate not just Question Time soundbite with a commentator interrupting every few seconds. Instead there was no education within the referendum and a some downright lies. I was told by two UKIP MEPs to my request for an Exit Strategy "What do you want one of those for?"
We are now having to trust that May can prevent humiliation, as Eric puts it. Is it 1937 all over again?

Frank W said...

The single market is in many respects a myth anyway. Actually I shall rephrase that. There is no need to write "in many respects" because if it is a myth in any respects at all then it is a myth full stop. You cannot have a half-single market, just as you cannot be half-pregnant.

For Christmas presents, my brother in Italy decided to purchase me a selection of cricket books on Amazon. Residing in Italy, he tried first of all through but thought the books seemed rather overpriced (I'm talking specifically about the price of the books, not the postage). Naturally, being cricket books, they were all being sold through UK vendors anyway rather than Italian ones, so he looked again on There he found all the same books, all through the same different vendors, all via the same operation we call Amazon, at significantly lower prices.

As they weren't surprise presents, we were discussing the whole thing in advance of purchase to make sure I got the books of my choice. We wondered if the discrepancy was something to do with the UK being outside the eurozone, so as a matter of interest we checked the same books from the same vendors on for Germany and for France. We discovered two more sets of completely different prices, so it was clearly nothing to do with being inside or outside the eurozone.

Anyway, in the end, Bro and I agreed that he should just purchase an Amazon gift voucher for me and leave me to order the books myself. However, when I tried to use it on, I found I couldn't, because he had purchased it on and it could only be activated there. Lunacy.

Now, you could of course say if there is any criticism to be made for this nonsense, it lies with Amazon itself and you would have a point, but at the end of the day the fact that Amazon can price the same products from the same vendors so differently from EU country to EU country - and indeed from eurozone country to eurozone country - demonstrates to me that the so-called single market is all a load of hot air, at least as far as the idea of it existing for the benefit of consumers is concerned.

I have focussed on this Amazon issue but before anyone suggests it is insufficient evidence, there are many other examples as well, from mobile phone contracts to expats not being able legally to subscribe to Sky TV or whatever outside the UK and Ireland. Also go in any supermarket in any EU country, or watch the TV ads in any EU country, and apart from the big multinational brands that are nearly all American or otherwise non-EU anyway, you will not recognise the vast majority of brands (food brands in particular) outside their own country or linguistic group. I'm not saying that is necessarily a bad thing - the focus on local producers, that is, rather than the annoyance of not being able to watch the TV channels you want - I'm just saying that it all adds up to demonstrating the single market is a myth and all the politicians, journalists and the rest of us who are currently getting so hung up on whether we should stay in it or leave it would do much better to forget about it and stop wasting so much time and passion on something that is all just a big Brussels lie anyway.

Niall Warry said...

Frank W - I find your examples not at all convincing and my understanding is pretty clear that the SM and the larger EEA are the most complex, sophisticated and yes successful trading area in the world.

It is simply absurd and shows a complete lack of understanding on how world trade works to right the SM off as a Brussels lie.

BTW I've been fighting to leave the EU since 1997 when I stood a Referendum Party candidate and I support Flexcit and the Efta/EEA interim deal.

Blind stoat said...

^^^^ Edward, I accept all your comments as regards the aftermath of the ERM debacle being an easier problem to fix than the likely consequences of a hard (revert to WTO rules) exit from the EU.

^^^Niall, common sense would suggest that if Article 112 represented a sort of universal panacea, we would not be having this discussion in the first place. If it was simply a case of saying 'OK, let's sign up to EEA, but immediately invoke Article 112 and opt out of anything to do with freedom of movement' the problem would be solved. Nearly all the pro single market / EEA supporters would be satisfied and ditto, the vast majority of the 'we don't really understand / care about the economic consequences so long as we can stop immigration' faction would presumably also be content. Job sorted! But it is clearly not that simple because Article 112 does not afford the flexibility and protection from 'freedom of movement' that you - and some others - appear to think it does.

Blind stoat said...

PS Edward, re the likely impact of EU exit on the current political landscape, I really couldn't care less. I have not considered myself to be 'a Tory' for nigh on 30 years.

Quite simply, as far as I'm concerned, the Conservatives - as a party - are not fit to govern this country.
If the Conservative party ceased to exist as a consequence of UK departure from the EU it would not bother one jot.
...and I might add that the same applies to Labour and the Liberals

Edward Spalton said...

Blind stoat,

I have not been a member of the Conservative party since Maastricht and have no particular affection for it, as such. I was in UKIP from 1994 -2000. I supported my Conservative MP who is a strong Leaver and campaigned in the referendum. The absence of a credible alternative could well give us Mr. Corbyn, which I would not like a little bit.

A plague on all their houses!
Let us hope something wholesome emerges.

I am actually more concerned that a botched Brexit would break up the UK, as people in Scotland and Wales could say with some justification "We could have done a better job ourselves"

And that would accomplish the aim of every would-be dominant European power since 1707 - not, I think, to the benefit of any of the inhabitants of these islands.

Blind stoat said...

Edward - yes, I agree with your thoughts regarding Scotland.
They would clearly feel hard done by - with some justification, I might add - were they to be on the receiving end of a botched EU exit.

But the population of Scotland is small enough that it cannot be beyond the wit of human intelligence (or even that of the tory party) to ensure that they are NOT economically disadvantaged.
The Govt. should be making that point to the Scots ...and the Welsh .....and the Northern Irish very clearly

Stephen Harness said...

Terrifying thought that the EU do actually want to persecute poor old UK for initiating divorce proceedings.
We also have the Labour Party waiting to adopt a popular stance, today arguing for staying in the Customs Union, or indeed anybody's Customs Union.
Perhaps we should not be burning our EU flags just yet.

Frank W said...

Niall Warry, please try to be more polite, less insulting and more factual in your replies and then I may begin to find your own arguments more convincing. If you make more effort to be less boorish, you may be able to concentrate more on your grammar for starters and make fewer schoolboy howlers such as "right the SM off" when the correct word is "write". It is honestly hard to convince anyone intellectually when you produce such ungrammatical drivel is that.

Edward Spalton said...

Proverbs 15:1

Blind stoat said...

@ Edward - quite

@ everyone else:
I do not profess to have an answer, but I believe the following points are relevant:

1. 52% voted leave / 48% voted remain. We do not know, but we can reasonably assume that SOME of the 52% would NOT have voted leave had the question been 'do you want to leave both the EU and the EEA?'- i.e. it is probable / likely that 'Leave' would have fallen short of a majority IF the decision had been a binary: EITHER 'Stay in the EU and accept uncontrolled immigration' OR 'exit the EU but go to straight to WTO rules and accept the economic trauma that will probably ensue'.

Blind stoat said...

2. The govt has the right to negotiate an exit as it sees fit, provided only that we DO exit the UK. That means there should NOT be a second referendum under any circumstances because we have already voted on the issue - and the result is quite clear: we have decided to EXIT THE EU.

Niall Warry said...

Frank W - If you consider my response 'boorish' you must have a very thin skin.

While spelling and grammer have never been my strong point the important thing is surely what is said or written and I'm afraid I still maintain the example you gave, for believing the SM is a Brussels lie, was absurd.

Have you read The Great Deception by Dr R North and C. Booker and further to that have you read Dr North's Flexcit 400 page work?

My solution to a safe economic Brexit is the Efta/EEA option.

What is yours out of interest??

Alan said...

An interesting read:

Trust this is of interest.

Frank W said...

Niall Warry, at least you are honest about spelling and grammar not being your strong point (you even managed to spell "grammar" incorrectly in the act of saying so). To those weak points, you should also add a weakness in verbal comprehension, because you seem not to understand the word "boorish" in all its meanings. Perhaps you are familiar only with it as a synonym for uncouth or loutish, in which case let me inform you that wider dictionary definitions of the word include discourteous and impolite. Dismissing someone as showing "a complete lack of understanding" and contemptuously remarking that their arguments are absurd (a remark you have now repeated for good measure) certainly come under this definition. It is not a thin skin that causes me to say so (but thanks for the further boorish insult), but just a better grasp of the English language than that possessed by yourself (on your own admission).

Yes of course the important thing is what is said or written, but if in the latter case it is poorly written then the quality of your argument is inevitably reduced. It is no good blithely saying "oh well, spelling is not my strong point" when you are trying to convince me that you understand, better than I do, what you yourself describe as something "most complex" and "sophisticated". Why should I believe you have the intellectual capacity to understand something so complex, and therefore why should your opinion of it be in any way credible, when on your own admission you do not even have the intellectual capacity to recognise the difference between "write" and "right"?

Arrogantly dismiss my examples as absurd if you will (and by the way, I gave four examples, although in your last post you seem to think I gave only one, so perhaps we can add lack of arithmetic to your list of "not strong points"), but at least I did actually set out examples to back up my argument. Your only argument has been to insult me as absurd without giving any facts to say why that is so. Before lecturing everybody pompously on how the single market is the world’s most complex trade agreement and before brushing off factual examples of where it does not function for consumers as “unconvincing”, it is for YOU to explain clearly and factually WHY this wonderfully complex single market does NOT have any bearing on Amazon’s practices from eurozone country to eurozone country, does NOT have any bearing on TV service providers from EU country to EU country, does NOT ensure the freedom of mobile telephony service providers and ISPs to operate universally across the EU, and does NOT ensure that so many brands are freely available in supermarkets across the EU.

Over to you, Mr Complex Theorist. Convince me. When you manage that, I will answer your questions, but for now the onus is on YOU to provide a few facts rather than just dismissive barbs, because you haven't provided any at all so far.

Henry IX said...

Frank W - you're wasting your time on one of the biggest f@ck-wits the human race has ever produced.... It will take him about 2 weeks to work out what you've said and then he might just about copy and paste the same thing he's written about thousand times before!!

Stephen Harness said...

We are now having the debate that should have been part of the referendum process and is was not. We all have one thing in common, a desire to leave the European Union and for that reason we should respect our individual input. The government of the day have been dealt a certain hand to play, partly because of a position inherited by the previous PM and partly because of divisions within divisions. It is good that the EEA/EFTA route is being fully explored but also that there is an acceptance that walking away and invoking a WTO solution is more than a threat. As we hear this morning, George Soros is funding a Remain initiative. The real enemy are forces that look to defy democracy and a Labour Party governed by Momentum and Trade Union bosses who see votes for actually Remaining.
Good debate though, and educational.

Niall Warry said...

Henry IX - very erudite.

Niall Warry said...

Frank W - OK so let me start again and accept my initial response was a tad 'boorish' albeit that was not my intent.

You described the SM as a Brussels lie based on your main example of an issue surrounding a mail order with Amazon and then added mobile phone contracts, Sky TV and TV advertising.

I'm NO fan of the EU but when I think of the SM or EEA I have learnt to accept that it is the most sophisticated. complex and yes successful trading block in the world which surely is about TRADE in goods,services and capital with a common agreements on tariffs and non-tariff barriers etc all with the aim of creating 'frictionless borders' which they surely have. Also one needs to accept that all such 'trading blocks' or indeed a trade deal just between two countries requires rules,regulatiuons, costs and an adjudication process.

My solution to Brexit is an Efta/EEA type deal as yet you have not told me yours?

Finally sarcasm is the lowest form of wit ;-)

PS. With regards to spelling and grammar while blogging it is certainly true the less you do and the more time one takes to type the better -any way that is my excuse!

Niall Warry said...


Stephen Harness - if you really want to be part of the Brexit debate you should read and engage in Dr North's EU Referendum with a readship of some 25,000 plus a day to his daily posts.

Edward Spalton said...


Hear, Hear!
As the government set its course a year ago to be outside the EU, EEA, Customs Union etc, it was a prime piece of Tory Boy arrogance to expect to " have our cake and eat it" - To leave the club, declare we would make our own rules but expect our goods and services to be treated as if we were still a member.

HMG also showed disregard for British exporters who are badly in need of timely guidance about how to deal with the EU when we are a Third Country. Yet only a month ago, David Davis was whingeing about the EU " making " us a Third Country when it is simply what we become as a result of leaving.

When we joined the EEC, firms in the agricultural sector received first class guidance well in advance. So although the European Communities Act 1972 did not pass until October, we were well ready by 1 January 1973, The principles upon which the EU trades with Third Countries are well established. Even firms from countries with free trade agreements ( Canada, Korea etc) have to appoint representatives based in the EU, responsible for the health and technical compliance of their products. HMG has been fighting shy of telling businesses about this and the prospect of the ghastly, vassal state " implementation" or " transition" period is the result of their dilatory behaviour in not grasping this nettle from the start.

Of course, in my view the EEA/EFTA option would be a far better transitional option but I hope whatever route they take is done as well as it can be. We are moving our of the period of rather shallow debate ( elsewhere than on this blog, of course!) to decisions which are going to have profound effects on the livelihoods of millions of people and on the revenues available to the state.

Stephen, I also agree that the enemies are those of our fellow citizens who see themselves as " Europeans with British passports" rather than the EU itself. Way back when the Sun ran its immortal headline " Up yours, Delors!" I reflected that it made us feel a bit better but had no effect at all on M. Delors, as long as friends of his project ran our government

Blind stoat said...

^^ Stephen, I fear that the most serious threat could ultimately come from the UKIP/'Brexit hard left'.

Rather than accept that the Govt has the right to opt for "EEA/Brexit-lite", Farage and his ilk appear to be ready to risk a second referendum in an attempt to enforce a WTO rules (zero immigration) solution. That, in my opinion, is complete and utter folly.

There is a real risk that the entire exit process is derailed by an unholy alliance of both remainers AND hard brexit advocates pushing for a second referendum. That would be nothing short of a tragedy.....and totally at odds with the will of the people as expressed in the June 2016 referendum.

Henry IX said...

"Also one needs to accept that all such 'trading blocks' or indeed a trade deal just between two countries requires rules,regulatiuons, costs and an adjudication process."

The WTO has all that too. And if we went for a bespoke deal with the EU this should be pretty much a non-issue too, as we're starting with all that in place. The idea that things are so complicated is largely a . loser-Remainiac spiel to frighten/demoralise the public and b. far more applicable to totally new trade deals.

Niall Warry said...

The WTO is a set of guidelines to help two or more coutries reach a trade agreement and out of the EU would not shorten the process of renegotiating back into the SM. It could be done but it would stll take some years not months.

There is no getting away from the fact world trade is complex and requires adherance to rules,regulations, incurs costs and needs the setting up of an adjudication process.

You may think things are simple but they are not especially with the EU which we have been integrated with over 40 years and on leaving every single agreement needs to be rewritten to make them legally water tight to meet the new circumstances of us being outside the EU.

Stephen Harness said...

Niall, of course I visit and read EU and I own numerous Dr North books such as Castle of Lies and The Great Deception. I have followed Flexcit and enjoyed the Flexcit the Movie. I have contributed to and have been insulted by Richard. No problems with that.
I am accepting of an exit strategy such a EEA/EFTA. Sadly the terms of exit were defined by David Cameron and UKIP via immigration. May has sanctioned those terms in her vision for post-Brexit.

Niall Warry said...

SH - we must give up on Efta/EEA yet.

Niall Warry said...

More haste less speed - MUSTN'T!

Stephen Harness said...

No never give up. After l left UKIP to become an Independent Councillor November 2016, I attended a pro-Brexit public meeting in Grimsby hosted by Caroline Stephens and two UKIP MEPs. I made great fun by asking for an exit strategy "what do you want one of those for? I was asked. At that point I suspected that Brexit, if we won, would be problematic.
In truth for me, the referendum campaign was a great disappointment followed by a great victory. Now, do we win the peace.

Blind stoat said...

^ Stephen, I agree that not having a pre-prepared exit strategy has led to the dilemma that we now find ourselves in. But, in truth we can thank our lucky stars that there never was an exit strategy. Had such a strategy existed I suspect that we would never have won the referendum.
I am not an advocate of counter factual history but consider the following:

1. Knowing everything we know now, it is almost certain that, had the Govt presented an exit strategy (prepared by civil servants with supporting forecasts etc. etc.) it would have involved some form of EEA/EFTA type proposal. And crucially it would have still involved both substantial payments to the EU and the acceptance of (almost) uncontrolled immigration. The Govt would have said that any "revert to WTO rules" exit proposal would lead to VERY significant economic turmoil - and the treasury would have produced credible forecasts to support that claim. The WTO option would have been comprehensively ruled out as unworkable - and the arguments advanced to rubbish it would have been very similar to those that Messers Warry, North et al have been invoking.

2. Faced with those two alternatives, I believe the potential Leave Vote would have split. Part of the Leave Vote - and I think it would have been a significant part - would have decided that, IF the only CREDIBLE exit route was going to involve an EEA/EFTA solution and acceptance of the four freedoms, then there was really no point bothering and the UK might just as well stay in the EU.

3. On the other side of the Leave camp, the "ultras" (i.e. the Faragists/UKIP hard left), when told that there was no realistic likelihood of stopping freedom of movement, would possibly have just not bothered to show up to vote at all. Certainly, in my view, Farage would not have led as effective a campaign as he did, had he been forced to tell his followers that the UK was never going to be able to stop immigration because it was inevitable that the exit route would involve EEA/EFTA.

So, in my view we should thank Cameron/and the Tory govt for NOT pre-preparing a viable exit route. And we should also thank Farage and the "ultras" for campaigning on a promise of 'no more immigration' - irrespective of how unlikely it was that such a promise could ever be delivered.

Stephen Harness said...

Only time will tell and depends on success of the negotiations and what Brexit looks like.
It may well look like Corbyn and negotiations to rejoin or stay. I would take EEA/EFTA anyday compared to staying in the EU. I bought into EEA/EFTA and further negotiations to create a bespoke deal. I have since seen the weaknesses and problems of such an exit (4 freedoms, single market, political parties with a different direction of travel ETC . My thought is that the referendum result was achieved in spite of a dreadful leave campaign, possibly eclipsed by an even more dreadful remain campaign. Cameron set the terms of reference for the referendum and the EEA/EFTA route was dead in the water... we would be leaving the single market he said.

Anonymous said...

^ But Stephen, what Cameron said (or didn't say) was/is irrelevant. After all he's just another politician and politicians fashion their entire careers out of making fatuous and meaningless statements.

All that ever mattered was the question posed at the referendum - which was: should the UK remain in or leave the EU? The question was not: should we remain in the EU - OR leave but still remain in the single market?

Thank goodness.
Because had that been the question, I believe, we would have lost the referendum.

Blind stoat said...

^^ er, sorry Stephen, that reply should have said from Blind Stoat rather than Annonymous

Blind stoat said...

I always thought at the time that the Remain camp had far more to gain from presenting a credible and workable exit scenario.
But they chose not to.
That, I believe, was their single, most important error.

Conversely - and despite all the mutterings ad nauseam from Major Warry and his chums, North etc. about their beloved 'flexcit', I have always been of the view that that was the very last thing that should ever have been put in front of the voters in June 2016.
Had voters been told that that was the most likely exit route, the referendum would have been lost there and then.

Which is why I say we should be grateful to both Cameron and the remain campaign for failing to present an exit plan .......AND to Farage for also ignoring the siren calls from his own side (not least North and Warry) to present a credible exit plan.

Stephen Harness said...

Flexcit is a fantastic body of work even if you do not agree with the EEA/EFTA route. It is an honest attempt to educate any person with the time to read it. Just as Castle of Lies and the Great Deception documented the whole sorry mess of EU membership and deceit by many politicians. I certainly have learnt much from North and Booker but I am prepared to absorb information from all contributors, Dr Eric for example.
It does seem pointless going over the history of Brexcit because we have a known position and that is a Conservative government negotiating a deal from a position of weakness plus a Labour Party who are looking to pick up the pieces and become the government of the day. Possibly with the UK remaining a part of the EU.
Inevitably walking away has to remain a negotiating position and one with unknown outcomes. Certainly a Labour Government.

Niall Warry said...


Those commenting here who believe an 'Exit plan', had it been offered, would have lost us the referendum are ommitting to consider how it could have been very positive.

First an Efta/EEA option properly but simply promoted would have helped the 'don't knows' to realise leaving was not a leap into the dark.

Next I do not agree with those who suggest 'a plan' would have caused very committed Brexiteers not to vote. Ardent Brexiteers, worth their salts, would surely have voted to leave come what may.

IMO a plan simply promoted would have helped us win the referendum.

Blind stoat said...

^ Niall, clearly we cannot replay history, but I still maintain that NOT having an exit plan helped the Leave campaign win the popular vote.

Had either of the two principal leave campaign teams presented a comprehensive and credible exit plan based around an EEA/EFTA solution as you and others have (perfectly reasonably) proposed it would have exposed a massive faultline within the 'leave' camp - namely the divide between those of us who would be prepared to accept 'freedom of movement', provided only that we could reclaim our sovereignty and protect our democracy and those who simply wanted to see an end to immigration.
I don't think there was ever much chance of Farage and co. calling for an EEA/EFTA solution but the Iain / Pritti / Andrea / Gisela / Boris faction might have done so. The fact that they (and Boris and Gisela in particular) were willing to stick with the ultra simplistic tag-line of'take back control' (subtext: "end freedom of movement") and plaster "£350mn for the NHS" on the side of the bus was what really swung it.

Had the argument at any stage been sucked down into the weeds of "EEA/EFTA versus WTO rules", the divisions within "Leave" would have been exposed. Plus, Brussels would have quickly put paid to any notion of the UK having its cake and eating it - i.e. the EU apparatchiks would have ruled out any suggestion of the UK remaining in the EEA and hiding behind Article 112.

That at least is my view. When it comes to winning votes very often it is better to offer less rather than more information. Of course there will be consequences. But, let's be thankful - at least we won the vote.

Edward Spalton said...

Niall & Blind stoat,

In 2015 I gave three presentations of the EEA/EFTA scenario to UKIP audiences, using Peter Troy's film " The Norway Option" and they were enthusiastically received .

But the invitations got cancelled and dried entirelyup after Farage had told them what to believe.

This morning on Radio 4 there was a report of a survey showing that a considerable majority of people haven' t got a clue either way - not really surprising when the government hasn't either!

I have told my MP that they could use a prospectus taken from the time of the South Sea Bubble
" A scheme for an enterprise of great advantage but nobody to know what it is". That has suited them very well up to now but reality is going to come crashing in with some " either/or" choices which will, for good or ll,affect the livelihoods of many people rather than just exercising the brains of the contributors to this distinguished blog.

The failure of government to brief businesses on the consequences of their determination to become a " Third Country" shows how "frit" they are ( to borrow from Mrs T ).

Stephen Harness said...

EEA/EFTA was dead and buried below an RIP tombstone by David Cameron. I suspect he did not want the electorate to have a third way, either vote for a clean break or stay within the comfort of the friendly European Union family. I also suspect that he never considered the possibility of losing the referendum.
A clean break via a negotiated agreement is the outcome.

Blind stoat said...

^^ Edward, I am neither 'frit' nor convinced that crashing out of the EU and being forced to revert to WTO rules is such a bad thing.

I accept that there will be a period of severe economic dislocation if that is what happens. But, in many ways I would prefer us to bite the economic bullet now and get on with it rather than hang around trying to convince ourselves that somehow we can remain within the EEA and hide behind Article 112.

To return to Dr Edmond's original comment at the start of this discussion, I completely agree with him - the EU is not interested in reaching a workable, mutually beneficial relationship. The EU wants to punish and humiliate the UK for the simple reason that we have caused an upset in their beloved 'project'. The problem with the UK is that we typically set out to treat others in a fair and reasonable manner and we expect the same in return. But here we are dealing with an ideology every bit as insidious and tyrannical as 1920s Bolshevism.

You cannot deal with an ideology in the way that you might expect to negotiate with another government.
Ideologies do not do 'reasonable'. Ideologies do not do 'sensible compromise'.

They - the EU functionaries and apparatchiks - will go to any lengths to protect their vision of a federal, united Europe. Right now that means specifically that their clear intention is NOT to allow any sensible, reasonable deal with the UK. To do so, to allow, for instance the UK to achieve a sensible compromise deal, whereby it is able to remain in the EEA but retain control over immigration, would represent an outright defeat because it would simply encourage others to ask for the same deal.

Edward Spalton said...

Blind stoat,

I did not say that you were "frit" but HMG has been singularly negligent (or cowardly) in not pointing out the reality of the Third Country option they have chosen, if Mrs May doesn't manage whatever her "deep and special" arrangement is. The fact that they have got within 13 months of Brexit without knowing what that is, speaks for itself.

The most recent post on with all the linked articles shows what may happen in the case of food products. Whilst the hard Brexiteers just about understand tariffs, they completely ignore the health and technical barriers and won't be told. At present, the only place where British business can get factual advice on this is - the EU! If I were a firm with any significant business in the EU, I would be considering options to transfer production to the EU 27. I believe that is beginning to happen.

Amongst independence campaigners of my age, I have noticed quite a few people who are keen for some sort of economic bust-up to show Johnny Foreigner a thing or two. I and people like me have bought our houses, raised our families and generally got a bit put by. They rather remind me of WW1 generals in their chateaux, planning the next big push. Whether the younger, presently employed people will relish their role as expendable economic cannon fodder, I rather doubt. In my 10 years or so debating and lecturing in schools, I was able to observe the strong swing of opinion in favour of the EU over the last four or five years which I mention in this talk to a Christian group

It's from before the referendum but the main points, I believe, still hold good.

I rather doubt that broad public support for independence would long survive any serious economic disruption. So I want to avoid that if possible and believe it could be avoided - but it's getting to be a damned close-run thing. A botched Brexit would last much longer than the ERM fiasco and that ushered in the age of Blair.

It looks as if it may happen by unpreparedness and incompetence rather than any cunning plan.

Blind stoat said...

Edward, whilst I obviously share your hope for a sensible compromise exit built around some sort of EEA/EFTA solution, I am not overly optimistic that it can be achieved. Not for want of honest endeavour on the part of the UK, but simply because the EU does not want to reach an harmonious accommodation with the UK, for fear that it might then serve as a template for others of the remaining EU27 wishing to follow in our footsteps.

Remember, when Cameron went cap in hand to Brussels to ask for a 'deal' on immigration ahead of the referendum it would have been the easiest thing in the world for the EU to agree to limit freedom of movement. It was that simple. All they had to do was allow the UK to suspend Freedom of movement and the referendum result would have been a foregone conclusion - i.e. a win for 'Remain' by a wide margin.

So why, if Brussels was not prepared to cut a deal on freedom of movement BEFORE the referendum (which they must have known would guarantee a 'remain' win), should they be willing to negotiate now, after the vote has been lost?

And just to reiterate, no, I do not believe that Article 112 will afford anything other than the most flimsy and transient protection against freedom of movement.

Niall Warry said...


Blind stoat - On what do base your belief that Article 112 only 'affords a flimsy transient protection' when Liechtenstein sets a precedent?

Also I'm assume you are aware that even the super cautious Mrs May has said she will not be stopping F of M altogether?

Niall Warry said...


Blind stoat - You are right that we will never know if a plan would have helped win the referendum but my contention is that the UKIP voter types, perhaps 20% of the electorate would vote to leave come what may so the 32% who won it for us were 'softer' Brexit types and I believe more of this group would have supported a well thought out logical plan that majored on causing minimal damage to our economy.

Blind stoat said...

Niall - regarding EEA and 'freedom of movement' simple common sense says that it is impossible to opt out of FoM simply by invoking Article 112. If it was that easy, there wouldn't be any debate about transition periods, the Norwegian model etc etc. We would quite simply have opted for EEA and invoked Article 112.
But the plain fact is Article 112 does NOT give any EEA member state a unilateral right to 'opt out' of FoM.....and if your chum, North tells you that it does then I suggest you tell him to change his brand of pipe tobacco.

As far as I am aware Lichtenstein is the only EEA member state which has been granted a permanent opt-out. In fact I'm not actually sure that strictly speaking it is permanent.

In any event Lichtenstein did not simply tell Brussels it was invoking Article 112 and 'opting out'. The whole process of granting Lichtenstein special treatment was massively complex and convoluted and, as with so many aspects of EU decision making, a big fudge designed explicitly to reach a 'solution' without the EU having to change any rules or give up any of its powers as regards enforcement of FoM within the EEA.

If anyone seriously thinks that the EU is going to allow the UK to go down the same route - without some enormous trade-offs (i.e. massive payments into the EU coffers) THEY ARE MISTAKEN.

Blind stoat said...

^^ Niall...and yes, clearly when we talk about freedom of movement, no one is seriously suggesting that the UK would ever seek to halt FoM completely.

Blind stoat said...

^^^ Niall, as regards who voted and for what reasons in the referendum, no - I obviously do not have any evidence as such to support my contention that NOT having a properly, worked out exit strategy helped rather than hindered the 'Leave' vote.

But that is my view.

And all I can add is that, had there been any public debate as regards the merits of EEA/EFTA versus a WTO rules solution, then there would have been a real risk of exposing fundamental differences between the Farage/hard-core UKIP faction and the more moderate IDS/Gisela Stuart camp. Exposure of that particular faultline would - I believe - have been exploited by both "Remain" and the EU.

Niall Warry said...

Blind stoat - BTW don't you get fed up with bumping into things! ;-)

It appears to me that it is you that are mistaken and, while I don't know you from Adam, I would still put my money on the indepth research and analysis of Dr North over you any day of the week!

Liechtenstein sets a precedent by invoking Article 112 of the EEA agreement which of course does not apply to the EU 27 and their Single Market.

Now, as we agree nobody in this country is talking about stopping all F of M so if we don't have a government or civil service with the ability to invoke Article 112 for a resrtriction on F of M for various reasons stated then we might as well all give up and accept our fate.


Blind stoat said...

Niall, ask yourself some very simple questions:

1. Is the UK in any way shape or form, the same as Lichtenstein?
Answer: no - it is not. Lichtenstein is a micro country with a population of three. Therefore the EU was prepared to do a special deal with Lichtenstein.

2. Would Norway prefer not to have to accept FOM?
Answer: Yes, of course it would. (and NB keep in mind that Norway's population isn't much bigger than that of Wales).

3. Has Norway unilaterally invoked Article 112 and declared that it is no longer going to accept FOM?
Answer: No - it has not. Why? Because it knows that the EU would never tolerate it and EEA rules simply do not allow a member state to 'opt out' in the way that some people (e.g. your chum, North) appear to think they do. NORTH IS WRONG ON THIS FUNDAMENTAL.......I will repeat: NORTH IS WRONG.

Blind stoat said...

^^ ...the last line should have said...North is wrong on this fundamental point....

Niall, I do not know what the solution is, but I do know that it is not simply a case of agreeing to remain in EEA/EFTA and immediately invoking Article 112.

And by the way, just because I don't know what the answer is, no that does not mean that I think we should simply give up and accept our fate.

Blind stoat said...

Niall, one final point and then I will shut up. - If you asked me if I thought the EU would ever allow the UK to remain a member of EEA and at the same time be willing to cut a deal on FOM, my answer would be: yes, I think that is feasible / likely.

BUT, the terms and conditions attaching to that deal would be so onerous as to bring into question why the UK ever voted to leave in the first place. Specifically, I think any such deal involving even temporary suspension of FOM would involve massive payments into the EU coffers - i.e. we would quite simply have to pay Brussels an annual fee for the privilege of not having to accept FOM.

PLUS I think it likely that the EU would tag on some sort of killer re-referendum clause - perhaps something along the lines of the UK can suspend FOM for a period of 5 years but at the end of 5 years there has to be a re-run of the referendum........and after that, unless you agree to rejoin the EU, you have the choice of either staying in the EEA and accepting FOM - or you can leave completely and revert to WTO rules.

Niall Warry said...

Blind stoat I don't beleive you are fully taking into account the precedent of a 'precedent' in treaty law.

In this case it matters not the size of the country involved Article 112 has been used and the precedent set.

Next as we agreed we are not talking about stopping all F of M and if the need arose, and I don't believe it would, free of the political EU we could invoke Article 112 even if there were objections.

The below is from a very quick search:-

"Although "free movement of workers" is an essential part of the EEA treaty, there is a fallback position if the level of immigration is considered too high.This is set out in Articles 112-3 of the EEA Agreement, which refer to the "Safeguard Measures" which permit the parties unilaterally to take "appropriate measures" ...

Blind stoat said...

Niall - not wishing to labour the point, but if it were really that simple and straightforward why are we even having this debate?

Don't you think that by now Theresa May would have said something like: "don't worry chaps, if needs be we'll simply stay in the EEA and invoke Article 112, in which case we'll have complete control over immigration - job sorted." ??

Who, among the 52% would have any problem with that solution - IF IT WERE ACHIEVABLE?.


Niall Warry said...

Blind stoat - I was going to say this before and it is doubly appropriate after this post.

If you read 'Blunders of Governments' by Crewe and King it would open your eyes to the closed minds and incompetence of our politicians in whom it would appear you place far too greater trust.

Mrs May, and even some in the hopeless legacy media are saying this, is an incompetent PM with no grasp on policy issues save that which is put before her by those around her. In case you didn't know, from first hand evidence, Mrs May's decision to say we would leave the SM was taken from one person's advice that of Nick Timothy.

Finally writing in capaital will not address the fact that your view on these matters is I fear to say a tad blinkered and however much you repeat something it doesn't prove you are right and I'm wrong.

By international treaty law Article 112 of the EEA agreement allows a country to restrict F of M which we COULD do and then if necessary fight our corner over many years if there was disagreement over our decision. And as I've already said Article 112 is not available to the EU 27 who do not have a similiar agreement to use.

Blind stoat said...

Niall, merely so that I can attempt to measure the difference in our respective opinions as regards Article 112, please would you answer the following:

1. Are you (and North) saying that, assuming the UK were to remain a member of the EEA (and were happy with all other terms and conditions relating to our membership of the EEA) we could unilaterally invoke Article 112 and suspend the operation of FOM indefinitely?

2. Further, that having invoked Article 112, we would have complete control over who we let into the UK and for how long (- save only that of course we would be happy to accept near automatic right of entry for particular categories - e.g. academics taking up teaching posts at UK universities, senior banking personnel being transferred from European HQs to London and that sort of thing)?

Niall Warry said...

Blind stoat

1. Yes, but please note the Efta/EEA deal is only an interim deal on the way to something larger and better and second, in invoking Article 112 I would suggest that if we were sensible we not restrict F of M that worked against our own interests. Some issues around F of M simply need a government with resolve to be firmer within the existing framework.

2. My understanding is after invoking Article 112 we put in place 'controls' to implement the policy we desire.

Over and above the above I would remind you of an early reply to Stephen Harness:-

The concerns about inmmigration to this country must consider four different areas each with different solutions:-

1. F of M - which in the EU we cannot restrict but in the EEA we can. Oh! and by the way nobody in government is actually saying we would completely stop F of M as it is needed.

2. Legal immigration from the Commonwealth including right to bring over family and relations.

3. Asylum seekers - governed by the Geneva convention and not EU and desperately needs updating.

4. Illegal immigration and economic migrants etc. which needs international cooperation and firm action.

Stephen Harness said...

This the weak link within Flexcit. "an interim deal on the way to something larger and better". In all respect here is no guarantee that all political parties will follow that direction of travel. I am not arguing for or against EEA/EFTA just pointing out a reality that is not going to happen and there is no mandate beyond Brexit, whatever form it takes.

Niall Warry said...

SH - It is as though you are against all planning.

There was no guarantee D Day would work but I trust you agree we needed a plan.

Flexcit is a detailed plan based on a vision and of course there is no guarentee it will happen, in fact there is no guarantee you or I will make up alive tomorrow.

What is 100% certain is that without a plan and left to pure chance v ery little will ever happen.

Blind stoat said...

^^ Niall, where I think you and North - and the rest of your flexit brotherhood - become detached from reality is your belief that the EU will be quite happy to allow us to remain within the fold of the EEA, knowing that we can immediately opt out of freedom of movement - and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.

That is not a credible scenario as far as I'm concerned.

If it were a credible proposal, if that solution was on the table why aren't Theresa, David, Boris etc etc announcing it in the Telegraph? Why aren't they saying: "look, the worst case fall back position is that the UK simply remains within the EEA - but, don't worry folks, because even if we do stay in the EEA, we won't be tolerating any Freedom of Movement nonsense"?

And - OK, I take your point about politicians' stupidity - but if it were really that simple and straightforward we would certainly be debating it ad nauseam on Newsnight, Question Time etc etc.

But we're not. I haven't read or heard one journo in any newspaper or on the BBC telling me that if the UK stays in the EEA, it will be perfectly straightforward to end Freedom of Movement simply by invoking Article 112.

If you know of any reputable commentator or serious journo who has said that (and no, I do not include North in that category!) please do let me know.

Niall Warry said...

Blind stoat.

Your understanding of the 'legacy' media and our politicians is very different from mine as for some time I have not rated one single 'journo', as you call them, as having the first clue of how the EU works and thus how best to leave it without damaging ourselves economically.

Likewise our politicians literally don't understand the EU and I have first hand experince having now seen my MP on six occassions and talk on a regular basis to a fellow campaigner who has been visiting Westminster on and off for 30 years over the issue of fishing and he confirms my opinion that our MPs are all seriously ill-informed.

That you suggest 'Theresa,David, Boris etc' are susceptable to reason gives them all a level of competence they don't have. You really must read 'Blunders of Governments' by Crewe and King and it will open your eyes to the incompetence at the heart of all recent governments and the reasons for this. When I read it it filled in a load of gaps for me although I had for many years had huge doubts about the quality of our politicians who mostly act as celebrities rather than our servants.

I have no idea who you are or what your background is but IMO, from the evidence of your posts, you are not on the same page as I am having been campaigning to leave the EU since around 1995 and having been one of six groups that formed The Leave Alliance before the referendum, with a launch in London, to promote the Efta/EEA option which in those days was mainly called the Norway Option which as we know was rubbished by Cameron and Co probably because they knew it would worK!

Also your suggestion the pro-EU BBC would lead on pushing the Efta/EEA is not to accept or know what the BBC is. For 30 + years I fought the BBC over its bias, not paying my TV twice which resulted in two court appearances. I also ran the blog, which is still up,called 'bbcinstitutionalbias'.

If you want the serious and detailed analysis on issues surrounding Brexit, as 25,000+ people do every day, you should read Dr North's blog EU Referendum. However, and I may be wrong, but I sense that for, whatever reason, you are not a particular fan. However I can only repeat, and purely concentating on his output above all else, his research and analysis is hard to beat but is not mainstream because he has learnt from bitter experience, and direct contact with MPs, that you can try and lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. So learning the hard way and from practical experience he takes no prisioners in pointing out their stupidity.

The choice is yours but there is no one better to analyse this complex subject.

Stephen Harness said...

I do visit the EU Referendum blog and enjoy it. The research is superb and the North/Booker books are modern day leave EU bibles. That said I think it is fair to point out the weaknesses within the 'planning' as you put it Niall.
I merely point out that beyond the EEA/EFTA it is a fairy tale. RN will not be prime minister and most likely it will be Corbyn who will be looking to obey and seek sanctuary within Europe.
This is what the Trade Unions will want. There are not too many Bob Crows around to oppose this.
And of course Flexcit moves towards the Harrogate Agenda as a final solution and the brilliance of Flexcit loses touch with reality.
Immigration was not my issue but the issue for many. If it is EEA/EFTA somebody had better start to think of how to break it to those people.

Blind stoat said...

^^ Niall, the last thing I want is serious and detailed analysis as swallowed by 25,000 of your fellow devotees.

All I want is for you, or North..... or someone to convince me that, if we choose to, we can:
a) remain in the EEA (but not the EU)
b) unilaterally invoke Article 112 in order to opt out of FOM indefinitely

That is all I am asking.

So far I have not been convinced by the responses you have posted here, because they fall a very long way short of explaining HOW and WHY permanent control over immigration is going to be effected via Article 112 in the brave new world that we are all striving for.

Niall Warry said...

SH - its a very strident comment to say of anything any thing that they 'part with reality' especially as far as Flexcit and THA are concerned which are the results of a great deal of research and work. You would have more credibility if you at least came up with some alternatives.

So let's summaries the story so far.

After 40 odd years of integration into the EU leaving it is no simple process if you wish to continue the same frictionless trading arrangements we currently enjoy. Anything can be negotiated over time, for example the Canadian EU deal took seven years and covers far few goods than traded within the Single Market, but we don't have the luxury of endless time which is why as an 'interim' measure the least worse option was to remain in the EEA via Efta.

THA grew as a totally seperate movement before Brexit existed but always recognised that we needed to leave the political EU before our demands could be enacted. It became stage six of Flexcit on te simple basis that we realised without our demands in palce there is nothing stopping any future UK government taking us back in to the EU.

Flexcit is a realistic workable plan to leave the political EU while continuing to trade as we currently do to the tune of £250 billion while THA seeks radical reform to our system of governance to put genuine power in the hands of the people.

To disagree with one or both is really only a reasonable position to take if you can suggest something better.

Blind stoat said...

PS Niall, please explain to me, IF it is so easy, WHY hasn't Norway simply invoked Article 112 and opted out of FOM?

WHY not?!!

Blind stoat said...

^^ Niall, just to be clear, I have already said that I do not know what the answer is. I do not have a solution, and I am certainly not decrying your flexit proposal because I think it worse than any other solution.

My point is simply that your entire proposal is conditional upon my acceptance of your assertion that the UK can opt out of FOM indefinitely merely by invoking Article 112.

That is the point I am trying to get across.

Convince me that we can unilaterally invoke Article 112 and FOM will no longer apply indefinitely and I will be delighted to accept your whole flexit proposal as the OBVIOUS way to proceed.

But, so far you have not come remotely close to convincing me that Article 112 will work in the way you describe...and ditto, neither has your friend, North....and, yes I have read much of what he has to say on the subject of Article 112.

Niall Warry said...

Blind stoat.

Your opening line says it all really and is one hell of a sweeping statement on 25,000 + people.

I think I've exchanged enough on here with you to know that we will have to agree to disagree for whatever I post about Efta/EEA or Article 112 you will simply say - prove it!

Have you read the 400 page Flexcit book I wonder because even if you disagree with it and can offer a better alternative, something thus far missing form you and its critics, it is a serious body of work.

If I'm not mistaken solving immigration is your main concern as to which type of Brexit to have even to the extent of accepting damage to our trade with the EU if necessary. However as I've covered on here now twice F of M is only one of four immigration areas we need to tackle with the other three having nothing to do with the EU at all and are really more of a problem than F of M.

If you know any of Pasha Glubbs writings you would know immigration is once of the main consequences of the age of decadence we are now in.

I will finish by repeating that an Efta/EEA type deal, on an interim basis, offers the best deal from all other options thus far discussed and if you know of a better one you really need to present it to us and explain why it is better.

Niall Warry said...

Blind stoat.

As to your specific question about Norway, not yet invoking Article 112, the answer is really not that difficult to work out but whether you accept these reasons or not is of course another matter!

The reasons are follows:-

1. Norway is a larger country than the UK with a fraction of the population so has plenty of room.

Norway 324,220 km2 with a population of 5.2 million

UK 242,495 km2 with a population of 65.6 million

2. As a Nordic country there attitude to immigration is generally more liberal althought this is starting to change as evident in Sweden.

3. Norway thus far needs the immigration under F of M and compared to us, in proportion to their own circumstances, has not had as many immigrants from the rest of the EU as we have.

4 Due to language, climate, jobs available etc Norway has not had the influx we have.

All pretty simple stuff really but if they want to restrict F of M then they could and probably would invoke Article 112 of the EEA agreement they are signed up to.

Stephen Harness said...

If the UK adopted an EEA/EFTA arrangement, and I am not arguing against that, there would have to be an acceptance that free movement would continue. The UK would not have an immigration policy and the UK would continue to be an attractive destination for migrants, immigrants and asylum seekers.
As I understand it Article 112 is an emergency brake and not a restriction. Adopting Article 112 would require a massive climb down by all the politicians who promised a fully functioning immigration policy and a great deal of honesty. "Take control of our borders" they said. The referendum was about about immigration.
I am not arguing against EEA/EFTA/Flexcit but just pointing out that it is not on the table. Yes a great body of work sprinkled with fairy dust...assumption everybody will support further negotiations to a better world. Of my god. The EU will stall our EU negotiations to the point that we obey or we burst out.

Edward Spalton said...

Blind stoat

Long before EU membership,the Scandinavian countries had a passport union with freedom of movement between the countries and minimal formalities about taking up residence and employment in each other's countries.

So the transition to Schengen did not seem such a big deal. Additionally, like us, Norway has a metropolitan Europhile class which is influential in the leaderships of some of the political parties. It was Stoltenberg, now Secretary General of NATO, who originally coined the phrase " fax government" to misdescribe the EEA system.

The Left has a problem of not appearing racist or anti immigrant but they are making their opposition felt to what they term " social dumping" - that is people from EU countries with low standards of wages and social provision gaining access to their welfare state.

Now that so much regulation is global from organisations like UNECE etc, Norwegians have told me that their fellow Scandinaviians in the EU approach them unofficially to oppose EU regulatory proposals in the ultimately responsible global bodies because EU countries are stuck with the Commission's " common position"

Nobody thinks EEA/EFTA is ideal, final or perfect but, from a practical economic angle, it is the least worst scheme I have so far seen.
Because it already exists, it would not need to be negotiated line by line over many years . It is adaptable to the needs of individual countries- " off the peg with alterations" rather than " bespoke" perhaps.

The government has been completely opaque both with us and the EU as to its objectives, apart from something " deep and special", since it had to give up its arrogant, ignorant expectation of " having our cake and eating it" - leaving the club, making our own rules and expecting our goods and services to be treated as if we were still members. No guidance has been given to British business - except by the EU, pointing out the realities of Third country status, for which they are totally unprepared. This is so different from our experience on joining when we were very well briefed and prepared. The whole situation stinks of incompetence, kicking the can down the road and hoping something will turn up. I truly hope I will be astonished by the masterful competence of our politicians and officials but I am not expecting it.

Niall Warry said...

SH - The point you still appear to overlook is that this government and even the Opposition are NOT saying they will stop all F of M so as that decision needs to be sold toi the public selling Efta/EEA would be a doddle.

Finally it is never too late to do the right thing.

Niall Warry said...

Edward - very wise comment based on practical experience and years of campaigning.

Stephen Harness said...

Niall. Again it is not my issue but Joe Public expects an immigration policy on a needs must basis. Temporary visa for fruit pickers etc. Not the freedom of movement defined within the four freedoms.
The opposition will do whatever it takes, say whatever it takes to get elected and will support uncontrolled immigration.

Blind stoat said...

^^ Niall, just to clarify my position:

1. Personally, I do not really care about immigration. That was not the reason why I voted 'leave'.

2. I am not saying that EFTA/EEA could not / should not be the way forward. I agree that it might be preferable to WTO, at least inasmuch as EFTA/EEA would possibly result in less near term economic trauma.

3. I am saying that, notwithstanding the possible attractions of EFTA/EEA, you and others (including North) are WRONG when you state that, as an EEA member, the UK would be able to immediately invoke Article 112 and simply opt out of FOM indefinitely.

4. I am certainly not asking you to accept my word on anything - but I would suggest that, rather than slavishly believing every word North utters, you look at what other commentators have to say on the subject of Norway and Article 112. For instance have a look at what Immigration Watch UK has to say on the matter. I think you will find that Immigration Watch agrees it is NOT simply a matter of unilaterally invoking Article 112.

Niall Warry said...

Blind stoat.
1. Understood
2. I agree
3. I fundalmentally disagree - on what do you base your assertion
4. I don't slavishly follow anyone but on Brexit there is no finer researcher or analysist than Dr North as to Migration Watch (not immigration) I agree that there are many solutions to restrict immigration but whether they mention Article 112 of the EEA agreement or not does not distract from the fact it is a solution that could be used.

I don't think I've ever suggested Article 112 is the only option to take to control and or restrict F of M but it is certainly an important one to use.

Blind stoat said...

Niall - reference my point 3 above, I base my assertion on the complete absence of any reputable commentator, politician, civil servant who claims that Article 112 will give us the immediate right to opt out of FOM immediately we become an EEA member.

You (and North) are the only people, as far as I can see, who are claiming that Article 112 gives us that right and that level of immediate protection against FOM.

Therefore, I have to query your analysis - and let's be clear, I am questioning your analysis solely as regards the working of Article 112.

Everyone else is suggesting that any EFTA/EEA solution will have to be negotiated as a complete package - and the starting point is quite clearly that IF the UK wishes to be a member it will have to accept ALL four freedoms including FOM.

Just because the EU was willing to cut a special deal in the case of Lichtenstein, it does NOT mean it will offer the same terms to the UK.

That is what all other sane commentators appear to think. You and North are the only people, that I can see, who are claiming that Article 112 can be immediately invoked and will give us an automatic and permanent opt out of FOM.

Eric Edmond said...

I have been away this last 2 weeks.Major Warry has complained blog is no longer taking posts. This is a test

Eric Edmond said...

You must declare you are not a robot