Wednesday 30 October 2013

Shortlisted In The Brexit Competition

As described in the above video showing a BBC Daily Politics interview with Lord Lawson back in July this year, the Institute for Economic Affairs launched a competition for submissions on the best way to exit the EU. As an encouragement the competition came with a cash prize of 100,000 euros (rather ironically) for the best submission:
Against [the background of an 'out' vote] competitors are invited to compose a Blueprint for Britain outside the EU, covering the process of withdrawal from the EU and the post-exit repositioning of the UK in the global trading and governance systems,
Naturally, when looking at the list of judges where the concentration of their expertise was largely economically based, there was some reluctance to submit a paper when in reality the primary reason for EU exit is political. The founding father Jean Monnet always made it clear the EU was a political project. Ted Heath described it as a "common market" knowing full well it was a Trojan horse to facilitate political union. The Euro for example is a political project disguised as an economic one - with disastrous consequences.

In this context the primary objective of any withdrawal by the UK is to stop and then reverse the progress of political integration between the UK and the rest of the EU member states. This means that a successful "out" vote will be more a political event rather than an economic one, albeit one with considerable economic consequences.

Thus a twin-track approach has to be adopted. Not only to win a referendum, to negate the fear, lies and "cling onto nurse" tactics which have been used so effectively by, for example, the dishonest Europhile Nick Clegg - but it's also an acknowledgment that political withdrawal will be much quicker than an economic one. Should the UK public vote for a withdrawal from the EU they will be understandably impatient for a relatively rapid exit.

In this spirit as not to delay attainment of political objectives the economic question should be "parked". The primary aim is to deal with political issues while clearing the way for a favourable economic settlement in the future, which given the enormous and fiendish complexities of international economic treaties will take time.

The best way of achieving a reasonably quick political exit while acknowledging the economic difficulties is the Norway option - a ready made solution that allows the UK to leave the EU while remaining within the Single Market. It means no immediate disruption to trade but allows us to exit politically.

This was the fundamental premise of Richard North's submission, written with some help from fellow readers and bloggers. The publication of the shortlist of the 20 best initial submissions to the IEA are made today and Richard North's "Norway option" has been shortlisted. To be shortlisted to just 20 out of 149 entries is an achievement indeed, and an endorsment that the "Norway option" arguments is seen to have merit. Particularly important given our Prime Minister argues against it using a lie.

As I understand it UKIP did not submit an official paper (though some members may have done so independently). It's not unreasonable to assume that this would be their meat and drink; leaving the EU is their raison d'etre. But apparently not. The lack of a credible exit plan from UKIP is a frustration I’ve echoed before.

Revealingly it takes a few unpaid bloggers to be on the shortlist, while UKIP doesn't bother. Being on the shortlist now means writing a full submission of between 10,000 and 20,000 words by 10th February 2014 in order to win the IEA prize. More than anything winning means having the possibility of a document - an EU exit paper - that has "prestige", a document that would be taken seriously by virture of its IEA status.

Any contributions by readers to the final full submission are very welcome here and/or on the Eureferendum forum.


  1. We have no way of knowing if UKIP or their Economics Spokesman, Tim Condon entered. However two of the shortlisted candidates, Prof Stephen Bush and Kathleen Garner have been (fairly recent) UKIP candidates.

    I am wary of two of your assertions. First that economic matters need to be 'parked'. The EEA option might only 'park' trade and commerce with the EU; what would it do for the external free trade treaties concluded via the EU?

    The EEA option does not totally extricate the UK from the political relationship - it involves compliance with EU law in areas such as social policy, consumer protection, environment, company law and statistics.

    The relationship would also be policed in line with the judgements of the EU's court, even though an 'EFTA Court' might be the judging institution. Some single market legislation is a Trajan horse for political integration.

    1. As my post indicates, UKIP as a party did not submit a paper in line with my understanding with those who are well informed, but I made it clear individual members may have done.

      If Tim Congdon did, then he did so as an individual, and the fact he hasn't been shortlisted is a reflection of the quality of his submission particularly as he’s in favour of unilateral exit.

      As to your other assertions I never said the EEA option totally extricates the UK from the political relationship - and nor would it if fully came out - but that like Norway it would give us a much greater say than we have at the moment.

      As for your final paragraph you may want to read up on Icesave

  2. Submission in more than one posting. Long one. Sorry.

    Do we know the specific relationship the IEA will award to the winning submission first? Whilst I would assume they would not deign to claim authorship of it, it would be important to know how they intend to proceed having made their final decision. Will it be essentially a defacto endorsement of the winning submission as a preferred and recommended route to UK independence - and there being, will they enjoin a defence of the winning submission in public forums which the pro-EU brigades will stack against the recommendations?

    It's not difficult to see the winning submission being instantaneously assaulted on all sides as the EUphile tribe attempt to strangle the object of their offence at birth, and I would expect people like Nigel Lawson to be on hand to defend the submission - no matter which was successful - on 'Newsnight' with all the forces he could muster.

    This would be particularly important if the submission Richard North has prepared is finally selected as the winner. It would be wholly inappropriate for media outlets to allow the usual preposterous mouthpieces of crony industry to publically rubbish it. The Authors ought have the opportunity to defend it against assault by reasonably qualified political peers, and not self-selected tribunes of misdirection and myth, such as Sorrell, Branson, Parris, Aaronovitch or Heseltine. In that I really and genuinely mean that if the case came to pass that Richard was to be interrogated by Paxman whilst Ruth Lea sat with him, that there would be the opportunity to veto an interview which would be at the peril of intervention and verbal sabotage by the powers representing the propaganda wing of the EU. That real, identifiable and accountable figures would have to state their respective cases against the submission, publically and on the record. Something they've striven to avoid at any and all costs thus far.

  3. Second part.

    The other article I'd like to consider would be the procedure of withdrawal at its negotiation stage. The winning submission will remain under attack even having been endorsed by an electorate, and there are many influential powers even within the Westminster bubbleworld who will use all their levers of action to undermine any efficacy it would have. They will be only too happy to see its effectiveness sterilised in the process of formation.

    Being that these powers, and those within Brussels will employ the best methods of delay, obfuscation, procrastination, sophistry and negation for propaganda and political ends, it would have to be assumed - and this assumption related to the public with some considerable clarity - that the Brussels administration would have to be seen as a hostile body should they not assist the passage of UK withdrawal with all due democratic assistance from the outset. In terms of provision of adequate timetabling, the making available of sufficient relevant negotiators, and the commencement, conduct and continuations of all negotiations for the entire period of their process without prejudice nor break unless there is legitimate and advance notice. Under the auspice of the Vienna Convention, perhaps a legal advocate should be installed within the EU Parliament who will conduct procedural defences of the UK position. Where EU figures attempt to block or divert UK intent by means of falsehoods or by antidemocratic procedure, that this advocate may present a continuous report on these matters to representatives assembled under the Vienna Convention. These same reports simultaneously being provided to the Speaker of the House of Commons to distribute to Westminster, which would be empowered to summon any such figures attempting to subvert the decision of the british people who might seek to obtain results which will be deleterious to the success of the submission's final negotiation state.

  4. Third part.

    These Brussels figures being legally compelled to defend any contentions they might make against the UK position to the HoC itself, or to a select committee., If found inaccurate, misleading or diametrically untrue, (or if those figures decline to appear to parliament in the same way) then the EU Parliament be subject to sanctions as requested by a UK Government made via the Vienna Convention representatives. Until the EU Parliament is seen to be proceeding in a manner which permits full legal and correct procedural passage and administration of UK withdrawal. That repeat misuse of such phenomena would disqualify permanently certain EU figures - or use of intra-EU authorities - should they persist, and that their dispositions not seen clearly to be moderated by such sanction.

    Even if that sounds like it's going too far, it can still be seen that it is in the interests of both the UK and the EU for the Brexit (and indeed any other nation conducting EU withdrawal, if this becomes seen as the eventual utility blueprint) to conduct the full procedure under the audit of a competent external authority to advise on compliance. That body preventing the veto or delay of any part of a bill under assumed powers that are illegal in some cases, or non-existent in others. (BF- you've highlighted many times the preponderance of the EUphile lobby to propose alleged blocks to UK withdrawal under terms which even under moderate consideration are wholly specious. It's not unreasonable to expect a continuation of the use of these methods).

    Finally, and briefly (sorry I've gone on so long), if we are going to leave 'something', it would help all parties associated to declare what exactly we are actually leaving. It means obtaining a fairly accurate statement of what the EU actually is in clear legal treaty terms. Hence no obfuscation behind flowery and nebulous twaddle such as 'it's a work in progress'. If we could demonstrate that the EUphile tribe are unwilling even to elicit such a fundamental facet of the matter, it could be an invaluable tool for the debate.

    I know all this probably isn't what you are looking for in terms of submission, but I would ask that it be filed under 'first principles'.

    Hope it helps.

    Best Regards,


    1. PS - unforgiveable - this should have been at the start.

      Many congratulations due to Richard North and to those who have doggedly persisted in helping him. It's no overstatement to say it's a real achievement.

    2. Thanks Anon for your responses, it's much appreciated. You're absolutely right that to be selected is a real achievement. Now the hard work starts 

  5. Pogles says - those within Brussels will employ the best methods of delay, obfuscation, procrastination, sophistry and negation for propaganda and political ends, it would have to be assumed

    What proof do you have? The Lisbon treaty actually commits to free trade and a co-operative neighbourly relationship with countries just outside the EU.

    The EU establishment might like to see the back of those reluctant Brits who were never that keen on European integration, bar a PM or nine?

    If a trade war was started, it would hit the continentals worse - therefore I don't foresee one as likely. As the EU is treaty-bound to offer us a free trade relationship, it would have to settle for ad hoc co-operation (e.g. via NATO and other international fora).

    The only thing I think they'd miss would be our money, but there is so much waste inside the EU that it would cope. They would still go to us cap-in-hand at the IMF for more propping-up.

    1. If we invoke A50, it is not in Brussels' power to delay, obfuscation etc. A50 is akin to handing your notice in at work - we're leaving and that is it. Given the fragile nature of the Euro the EU would be desperate to make any exit as smooth as possible.

      Nor can Brussels' impose anything on us, it has neither the interest nor the capability to do so...

  6. Spinwatch, if we leave the EU, unless we have negotiated a new agreement with the union on matters of trade with the customs union, it would not be treaty bound to offer us anything.