William Hague’s political schizophrenia

William Hague stated at the end of last year that he is minded to vote for Britain to remain in the European Union partly because he fears “Brexit” could lead to the breakup of the UK and partly because “Brexit” would weaken the EU. This has hardly been a case of coming off the fence. Hague’s euroscpticism has always been suspect. The general public saw through its shallowness in the 2001 General Election when they returned Labour to power and ignored the Tories’ half-hearted campaign under Hague’s leadership. His current position is much confused both intellectually and politically. He has failed to grasp that it is not possible to believe in democracy as well as EU membership.

BREXIT

William Hague may have been in the forefront of politics for many years and is much respected. However this does not confer any automatic right for his confused views on the EU to be takne seriously.  On the other hand, it is useful for those of us who support withdrawal to listen to such a Europhile ally of the PM as it will help us to sharpen our attacks on supporters of “”remain”.

In this piece, where I comment respectfully upon his words in a Daily Telegraph article dated 22nd December, I will be using the excellent rebuttal of the Europhiles’ arguments by Robert Oulds on this website, which also contains a rebuttal by CIB of 7 major Europhile issues.

SECURITY AND NON-DEMOCRACY

The security of Europe rests not with the EU; indeed the EU does much to unsettle it. Most certainly security depends not upon the forces of Luxemburg or even of the other smaller 25 EU members nor even with the might of the UK with France and Germany but upon NATO, where we work with the USA. It is NATO that provides security for Europe and the wider world. [Please see footnote A].

The EU has endangered that security with interference in the internal affairs of states from the Balkans, the Ukraine, Iraq, and North Africa as well as by its trade negotiations, as in Ghana for example. The EU provides no safety for anyone through its sclerotic involvement in foreign affairs. Yet Mr Hague says “We still need the EU to provide the safe harbour for the docking of fragile democracies, and it would be strange to champion that idea but abandon it ourselves.”

I need hardly remind Mr Hague that there is not an ounce of UK-style Democracy in the EU.  The EU “parliament” has only limited powers [Please see footnote B] and Mr Hague has acknowldged its limitations: “As to the European parliament, it does not remotely provide democratic accountability for the simple reason that most voters across Europe do not take elections to it seriously and are not usually aware of the identity of their MEPs. It is not possible to be accountable and anonymous at the same time.” He misses the point of course. It is just because the EU parliament is without a strong set of democratic teeth that no one can take it seriously. Ask the MEP’s in the UK.

Accordingly the idea of there being a democratic dock within the EU for “fragile democracies” is nonsense. The EU actually destroys national democracy. It was designed to do so and will not change its course.

EUROSCEPTICISM OF MR HAGUE

“And I am often asked whether the years I spent in EU meetings and negotiations made me less Eurosceptic than when I toured the country 15 years ago with my ‘Save the Pound’ campaign” said Mr Hague. “The answer to that is “no”, since close acquaintance with central bodies of the European Union does nothing to create enthusiasm for them. The Commission itself, generally the best-performing of the EU institutions, could benefit from the spending cuts and rigour to which most national governments have been subjected. The European Court of Justice has pushed the boundaries of treaties and is capable of imposing burdens on businesses which suggest a detachment from reality.”

“Even more worryingly, some of the most cherished projects of European unity are in deep trouble – the Schengen zone buckling under the weight of new migration, and the euro bedevilled by flaws which were obvious at the start. There is a legitimate question as to whether the EU can survive in its current form two or three decades from now.”

These statements are unquestionably true. The totalitarian Commission maintains its fundamental straight course onwards towards an united non-democratic federal auperstate, as it alwasy has done. Mr Hague knows this full well.

“It is high time for a vigorous debate to get going. So far, what I have written above would be cheered on by my old friend Liam Fox, who has advocated withdrawal, by old Cabinet colleagues tempted to campaign to leave in the forthcoming referendum, and even by Nigel Farage as he reels from the discovery that a rebel who joins you from another party simply becomes a rebel in your own.” Correct in part only!

EUROPHILIA AND FEDERALISM OF MR HAGUE AND THE IRRELEVENCY OF THE PM’S NEGOTIATIONS

“Yet here I part company with these fellow critics of the EU, distinguishing between deploring the state of an organisation and deciding it is best to leave it. I wait, first of all, for the outcome of the negotiations the Prime Minister has launched, the importance of which should not be underestimated in continental capitals.”

Mr Hague forgets that how many issues which desperately need addressing are not on the PM’s little list of four items which he is discussing. There is no reference to the ECJ and its control over the UK Supreme Court, Fisheries, the Free Movement of Peoples, the UK’s right to represent itself on global bodies (The Top Tables), the cost of our membership, the red tape suffered by the 80% of UK GDP involved only with internal UK trade, reform of the CAP and so on.

In conclusion there is no substance to the PM’s negotiations or “thin gruel” as Mr Rees Mogg called them. Their conclusion will be trumpeted as a success but in reality, the fanfare will merely be a repeat of Chamberlain’s “Heston moment” in 1938 as John Petley refers in his January 2016 Article on the CIB web site.

THE ECONOMY OF THE UK

“The arguments about what is best for our economy will rage back and forth. Those who say we have to be in the single market to shape it and benefit from it have the edge and that will be a vital edge as the public weighs the implications of their choice for their jobs and businesses” says Mr Hague.

Many businessmen and economists would disagree. We can access the Single Market from outside the EU, by joining Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who have plenty of say in the formation of EEA- relevant regulation, even if they do not take part in the final vote. People like Lord Bamford and Sir James Dyson may not have made detailed analyses of the best exit strategy, but thier confidnece that we can not only survive but prosper outside the EU is well founded. With only 20% of UK GDP linked to total global exports and of that only a diminishing 7% of UK GDP comprising trade with the EU, it makes little sense for that tiny dwindling tail of 7% to wag the growing dog of 93%!

CONCLUSIONS

It is clear that Mr Hague is politically and economically generalising and being economical with the actuality. There is no attempt by Mr Hague to support his line of argument with facts and reasoning. Mr Hague’s current position is much confused both intellectually and politically. It is not possible to believe in national democracy and at the same time support our bondage to the EU?

Furthermore, how can Mr Hague think that the UK has any possible useful influence inside this total disaster?

Why a tariff union, Mr Hague? It is entirely counterproductive to the UK trade outside the EU which comprises 64% of UK exports.

Why must the UK guarantee the obligations and debts of the Euro and its failed experiments to the ECB and the IMF? This weakens the UK and makes it vulnerable as it borrows ever more to do this and then borrows more to pay interest on the borrowed sums! Hence Mr Osborne imposes more and more taxes on those who can least afford it!

Why has the UK lost so many of its seats on important world bodies just to be represented by one member acting for 28 with conflicting and confused objectives? Why support our membership of a political union if all we are talking about is a free trade area, Mr Hague?

In short, Mr Hague, who seemed to show such promise when he made that memorable speech at the 1977 Conservative Party Conference when he was only sixteen years old,  has proved one of the great political disappointments of recent years.  His schizophrenia over the EU suggests that for all the hype of his early years, he possibly never was a suitable person to lead our country after all.

FOOTNOTES [FOR WHICH I AM INDEBTED TO THE CIB.]

A) NATO: Since 1999 NATO changed from being a highly successful defensive alliance into an aggressive, go anywhere- bash anyone organisation with unlimited ambitions to “humanitarian interventions” anywhere in the world which suit US/EU policy. The first such adventure was Yugoslavia (1999),an unprovoked attack, admitted to be illegal but thought, as in “1066 & All That”, to be a “Good Thing”- also completely contrary to the then existing NATO charter but Blair & Clinton just did it. And the Bundeswehr used the opportunity to cease being “citizens in uniform” and become a force able to operate overseas. As General Naumann (whose title would have been Chief of the Great General Staff in palmier days) put it “German forces will be engaged for the protection of the market and access without hindrance to the raw materials of the entire world”. NATO is up to its neck and beyond in the operations in the Ukraine and elsewhere, targeted against Russia. Victoria Nuland, US Under Secretary of State, boasted of spending 5 billion dollars destabilising Ukraine and the EU itself, plus sundry intelligence agencies (like the Bundesnachrichtendienst and state funded NGOs like the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung) are not far behind). The EU has a slightly different terminology for these operations and calls them “The Export of Stability”.

B) The Powers of the EU parliament: – Actually the parliament (so-called) has acquired some powers, like confirming or rejecting the proposed President and members of the EU Commission. Whilst its function is mainly “advise and Consent”, it can withhold consent in committee and sometimes does. The Commission with the vital and perpetual sole power of initiative then has to come back with a modified proposal. What the parliament (so-called) does not have is any democratic legitimacy, as Mr Hague rightly points out. There is not much demos but quite a lot of kratos in it. It is by no means powerless and is asserting more power and influence than ever. If the parliament’s majority opinion (taken from the large central groups that control the EU parliament) coincides with that of the Commission, it is very likely to prevail. The European Council (of prime ministers and presidents) would have difficulty in resisting determined, long-sustained, combined pressure by the Commission and Parliament singing from the same hymn sheet. The EU institutions do have a life and power of their own – just as Dr. Hallstein (see Edward Spalton’s CIB earlier paper) intended.

Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

A letter from our President to the Leicester Mercury

Come the New Year we will be steeped in preparations for the EU referendum requiring evidence based facts and not EU biased wool pulled over eyes, especially by Little Europeans who would have us believe that we are too small and cannot stand on our own feet. The pages of Mailbox were filled at one time by letters from local European Movement members who predicted that it would be a disaster to stay out of the euro. They have been proven hopelessly wrong but no doubt they will again try to strike fear where and when they can. What they cannot do is silence the growing awareness of the damage done to Britain and its industries over the past forty years. A vote to stay in the EU will commit our children and generations to come to ever closer political control no matter how much our present Prime Minister tries to convince us otherwise.

I would like to mention two quotations that remain in my mind, one from the Conservative party:-
In my lifetime all our problems have come from Mainland Europe and all our solutions have come from the English speaking nations of the world” (Margaret Thatcher)

and one from the Labour party:- “This island is made mainly from coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organising genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.” (Aneurin Bevan)

The national organisation financed only by public donations founded in 1969 for a free UK that I am elected to head, will continue to campaign to inform and restore pride in Britain as a self governing nation engaging in friendly relationships with nations of the whole world, especially the Commonwealth. We have put up with our unelected European Union masters long enough. It is time to leave and more usefully spend the £33,000,000 net we give away to the EU every day. They might not miss us but will desperately try to hang on to our money whilst pretending they might change their ways

John Redwood’s New Year Message

We want a new beginning. We want to restore our democracy, and to change it for the better.

It is fitting that many of us have boundless ambition for our country. We know that independent the UK can be richer, freer, and more of a force for good.

Restored to our rightful place at the top tables and councils of the world, the UK will have more capacity to help shape the future.

Able to make our own decisions about who to welcome here, we can be fair to people from all round the world and no longer have to discriminate against the non Europeans.

Lets make 2016 a great year to rank alongside 1660 and 1688 when our freedoms were increased by political actions.

Bruised and battered the old year goes out amidst war, floods and the usual political recriminations about the role and cost of the state.

All was not lost, as 2015 at least broached some of the big issues that we need to confront to restore our democracy and find justice for England.

It is true that on offering England her voice, it was muffled badly by the  Hague reforms. Our devolution settlement remains too lop-sided as well as under continuous pressure from the SNP.

2015 has usefully highlighted some of the ways the British people and their Parliament have lost control. The inability to change our VAT on tampons exploded the  myth that we can still choose our taxes. The failure to restrict benefits to economic migrants show how one  of Labour’s red lines with the EU has been wiped out. The powerlessness to achieve the very popular government target for net  inward migration stands as a prime example of our lack of power and authority as a country.

These matters roll into this year in search of a solution. 2015 will not have been in vain if we decide to leave the EU, the cause of so much damage to our democracy.

Cam’s great sham will need some pretty wrapping paper

With December’s European Council meeting now behind us, the political world is now winding down for the Christmas break. What are we to make of the situation as 2015 draws to a close?

Firstly, things have moved on dramatically in the last year following the victory of the Conservative Party in May’s General Election. David Cameron’s commitment to hold an in/out (or rather, remain/leave) referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU has concentrated minds in the withdrawalist movement. The goal for which some of us have been striving for 40 years or longer could finally be within our grasp in the next two years.

Furthermore, the battle lines have already been drawn. We know what David Cameron is going to try to sell to the electorate. Forget all the discussions about opt-outs from closer political union and curbs on migrant benefits. There has not been and will not be any real renegotiations of any substance. Cameron has basically capitulated to the EU. “We need a British model of membership that works for Britain and for any other non-euro countries”, he said. What this really means, in the words of the former Environment Minister Owen Patterson is that “he is bumping around the back, towed along in the dinghy and this is all froth and bubble “

Associate membership – re-packaged as “The British Model” – will nonetheless be marketed by Mr Cameron as a major triumph – the result of “battling for Britain” in hard negotiation. Having downplayed expectations, Cameron will in reality be attempting to sell us a very shoddy deal – and not one for which he can even claim any credit. The original plans to turn discussion of a “two-speed Europe” into something concrete go back to a proposals by Andrew Duff, the arch federalist former Lib Dem MEP in 2006. It then moved up to consideration by the Bertelsmann-Spinelli group and the Five Presidents’ group. Carefully orchestrated press releases indicate that Mr Cameron has been going down this route for some months, with full support from leading figures in the Brussels establishment.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission, stated to a meeting in Brussels on 18th November that the EU “is a family. Over time, one needs to give them (we the children!) the possibility to find their place on an orbit that better suits their sense of temperature. But Brexit will not happen”. Give Mr Juncker’s words, we can take it that the plan has been agreed. There is going to be a great deal of theatre. The script and choreography are mostly written already.

It will be Cam’s great sham. At the heart of this new arrangement, nothing of substance will have changed:-

  1. We will still be subject to the European Court of Justice
  2. Our ministers will still be overruled by qualified majority voting at the Council of Ministers
  3. Our Parliament will have to implement legislation with no power of unilateral veto.
  4. The European Commission will continue to churn out new laws and if the European Parliament and Council approve them, we will have to put them on the statute books.
  5. We will have an opt-out from the Euro, but this basically means relegation to the EU’s second division – indeed, Mr Duff has actually used the word “relegation” to describe his associate membership proposal.
  6. We will be still liable for any future eurozone bail-outs, even though outside the Single Currency
  7. We will still be tied in to Europol
  8. We will not be on the EU’s “top table” in spite of that being one of Mr Cameron’s stated objectives.

That Cameron is working hand-in-glove with the EU élite is more than apparent from his refusal to consider the far better alternative of the Norway Model – i.e., retaining our access to the Single Market from outside the EU by re-joining EFTA and thus availing ourselves of the European Economic Area agreement.

  1. Unlike the UK, which is represented by someone from the European Commission, Norway represents itself at the real “top tables” like the WTO and the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe (UNECE).
  2. It can refuse to put EU legislation onto its statute books – for instance, it refused to implement the Third Postal Directive, even though it was labelled “EEA Relevant”.
  3. If the Euro goes belly up, Norway will not be liable for its debts.
  4. EEA countries like Norway are widely consulted when EEA-relevant legislation is being framed and the lack of a final vote is not seen by most Norwegians as a problem.
  5. Liechtenstein, whose relationship to the EU is likewise via EEA/EFTA, used a clause in the EEA agreement to apply an “emergency brake” on immigration from the EU 20 years ago and the “emergency” is still in force!
  6.  Norway does not participate in Europol and the Eurpean military police (EUGENDFOR) will not have any rights to operate in the country.

In short, the “Norway Option”, while not an ideal long-term arrangement, would get us through the escape hatch and is far nearer to achieving Cameron’s stated objectives than his crummy “British Model.” One of his former constituents, Dave Phipps, who was the author of the now-defunct Witterings from Witney blog when he lived in the area, met with him and explained the obvious benefits of the Norway Model, but it has not made any difference. Unless Mr Cameron is a bear of exceedingly little brain or suffering from severe amnesia, one can only surmise that his mind is not open to any possibility of leaving the EU, in spite of his utterances that nothing is off the table. While Steve Baker, the MP for High Wycombe, claims that, “the only logical and consistent position the Prime Minister can take is to lead our country out of the European Union”, that just isn’t going to happen.

Mr Cameron may already have his “British Model” neatly under wraps, but there isn’t very much actually to wrap it in. The mainstream press is preoccupied with benefit restrictions on EU migrants and the opposition Cameron faced from Poland when he raised the subject of a four-year residency period, but this is a sideshow. The opt-out from “ever-closer union” is meaningless and recognition of the UK’s right to keep the pound is hardly a great concession. An agreement to cut red tape – in other words, addressing the lack of competitiveness within the EU – is hardly a big deal. True, Cameron complained in February 2014 that the Commission “is so obsessed with red tape that it believes that removing regulations which damage businesses is an act of self-harm”, but in reality, as new regulations are handed down from global standards-setting agencies, the EU does actually ditch obsolete regulations and will continue to do so.

Furthermore, the treaty changes which would be required to formalise a two-tier EU won’t be ready for signing until after the UK referendum, so all he can do is offer us a promise. Thinking back to his “cast iron” guarantee of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, this doesn’t really inspire any confidence.

Admittedly, opinion polling doesn’t inspire much confidence either, but last week’s YouGov poll, suggesting that perception of the success of Cameron’s supposed renegotiations hold the key to securing a “leave” vote is consistent with a number of other studies. If he can find some suitably pretty wrapping paper, selling the British Model as the middle way, the safe option that resolves our long-standing frustrations with Brussels, he may win. As it’s his only hope of winning, we can be assured that the spin machine will be revved up to full speed. Our task is not to be distracted by side issues like benefits for migrants. If we can show the public – and in particular, the undecided – that underneath the wrapping paper, Cam’s great sham is a non-solution meaning more Europe and even less say in how it is run, we can pull off a great victory.

On that note, a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year from all of us in the Campaign for an independent Britain. Let us hope that 2016 will be the year when the tide finally turns irrevocably in our direction

Mood Music

To win the referendum for the UK to leave the EU, we will need to battle on a number of different fronts. Some of the crucial issues have been frequently mentioned on this website – the need for a credible exit strategy, the need to ensure our sums are correct and, of course, how to handle the thorny issue of immigration, which can be a bit of a two-edged sword.

One other important but much more “fuzzy” battlefront issue must also be addressed if we are to win – mood music. It is not sufficient merely to offer a series of facts explaining how much better off we would be as a free country; we need to make withdrawal feel good. This all sounds very wishy-washy, but basically, it’s all about soundbytes. Our opponents are past masters of this. When I took part at a debate at Southampton University back in September, one of my abiding recollections was that my principal opponent, Peter Wilding of British Influence, didn’t attempt to rebut my criticisms of the EU but instead made it appear a much safer option to remain.

Our Chairman, Edward Spalton, has also noted the power of mood music. Edward has participated for several years in the CIVITAS programme of information about the EU, speaking to sixth forms in debate with representatives of the European Movement. He used to win every time, usually convincingly. However, around two years ago he had the salutary experience of losing a debate with an MEP who advanced very little of substance except to say “The EU is like a family. Like your own family it’s not perfect but you would be very lonely without it”.

During the recent Council of Ministers meeting, many leading political figures on both sides of the channel have been canvassed for their opinions about Britain leaving the EU and their comments are far more laced with mood music than substantive arguments.

John Major, for instance, claimed that leaving the EU was “dangerous”. That’s very emotive word. What exactly does he mean? What increased dangers will we face? Invaders from Mars? A plague of locusts? He then went on to say that leaving the EU would leave us in “splendid isolation”. Again, a very fuzzy term. From what exactly would we be isolated? We would still be members of the UN, Nato, the Commonwealth, UEFA and countless other international bodies; our airports and seaports wouldn’t suddenly close if we left the EU, our international telephone and railway links would still continue to operate and Dover would still only be 21 miles from Calais. Or does he really mean that withdrawal would usher into power some Kim Jong-Un-like ruler who would close down all contact with the outside world?

Glenis Willmott, a Labour MEP, told the meeting of the European Parliament that she found it “hard to believe” the UK’s “position as a global leader” was “under threat”, adding that she hoped “sanity prevails”. Well cheer up, Mrs Willmott. Regaining our places on the world’s top tables, we will be far more of a global leader than in our present situation, shackled to the EU. As for sanity being the exclusive preserve of the “remain” camp, the very fact that Nick Clegg is included in their number is surely enough to dispel that particular argument!

Frivolity apart, these examples show the potential power of soundbytes. We may dissect them and point out that there is no substance behind them, but we nonetheless have to master these tools and fight back – in other words, to use the soundbyte as well as the detailed economic study and the exit strategy document to counter our opponents. If the remain camp uses fear as a weapon, we must emphasise hope and opportunity. Personally speaking, I find the prospect of withdrawal incredibly exciting. It will be the greatest day in our country’s history since VE and VJ Days, both of which took place over a decade before I was born. People threw street parties to celebrate. Even though I am not much of a party animal, I fully intend that my village will have a party to celebrate independence even if it may fall on my inexperienced shoulders to organise it. But how can I encapsulate that excitement in a few pithy phrases? With the number of meetings and debates about the EU likely to increase during 2016, we will all need to develop our skills when it comes to mood music. We have a much better narrative than our opponents, but style as much as content and passion will determine how persuasively we come across to our audiences.

Ten answers to ten questions

The “Remain” camp will be seeking to probe all the “leave” campaigns and to pick holes in thier strategies. However, there is only a finite number of questions they can ask. British Influence has probably covered most of them in a recent 10-point challenge to us all. Here, below are their questions  with replies from Dr Richard North, which show that a well-thought-out leave strategy is on the one hand essential, but on the other, fully able to address our enemies’ challenges.

1. What would the Eurosceptic ideal arrangement between the UK and the EU look like and how realistic is it possible to achieve?

There is no ideal arrangement. We have never pretended that there was one, and it is facile even to suggest that there should be one. Essentially, after nine treaties and more than 40 years of political and economic integration, there can be no optimum or “ideal” mechanism for leaving the EU.

Nor is it possible or even advisable to specify precisely which arrangement might be best or most realistic for the circumstances, when the outcome depends on negotiations between parties. We thus suggest a series of options in our Flexcit plan, any one of which, if adopted, will permit a trouble-free exit as part of an overall process which involves six measured steps to freedom.

The real issue then is whether it is possible to develop a good working relationship with the EU once we have left it. The answer to that is an unequivocal yes, with every reason to believe that this would be beneficial to the UK and EU member states.

2. Every successful arrangement with the EU to allow countries outside of it access to the Single Market has included freedom of movement – how would we arrange access to the Single Market without agreeing to freedom of movement?

Under the options available to us, we would compromise on freedom of movement for the purposes of retaining access to the Single Market, pending a longer-term resolution. We recognise that Brexit is a process rather than an event, and the immediate goal of leaving the EU is best served by the continued adoption of freedom of movement, to allow for a staged exit.

In the interim, we would take such measure as are permitted under current agreements to restrict migrant flows, by administrative and other means. This would include dealing with non-EU measures which permit or facilitate third-country immigration.

3. Article 50 stipulates a two-year timeline for exiting the EU. However, the Swiss deal with the EU took almost ten years to agree. How would we avoid any post-Brexit arrangement taking as long as the Swiss deal did?

We do not endorse the “Swiss option”. The reason we propose the EFTA/EEA (“Norway”) option is that it is a well-established off-the-shelf option and the best for a rapid exit, within the two-year Article 50 period.

Should the Norway option not be accessible, there are other off-the-shelf options available, allowing considerable negotiating flexibility. There are no good reasons, therefore, why negotiations should not be completed within the two-year period.

4. Won’t the commercial interests of the remaining EU countries take precedence for them over giving Britain “a good deal” post-Brexit?

Article 50 prescribes that Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with the departing State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. International law and the rules of the Union require that the negotiation shall be carried out in good faith.

Within the framework of the negotiation, we are conscious that the legitimate concerns and needs of all parties must be respected. We also understand that the Union cannot, for its own purposes, offer the UK a better deal that it could secure through membership of the EU. Our plan, therefore, sets realistic objectives and ones which do not prejudice the survival of the EU or the commercial interests of its members.

5. Won’t the two-year (at minimum) period post-Brexit period see Parliament completely tied up in renegotiation with the EU to the detriment of all other legislation?

The Article 50 negotiation is a matter between the European Council, with the European Commission, and the Member State government. Parliament is not directly involved in the negotiation.

We would expect Parliament to approve the Government’s negotiating mandate, and to be informed as to its progress. There would also be some merit in the Houses establishing a joint, cross-party select committee to review and advise on the negotiations, and to report occasionally to both Houses. Any final agreement would also require the approval of both Houses, and possibly a referendum, which would also have to be authorised by Parliament.

The burden thus imposed, in total, would not be substantial and would be well within the capability of Parliament to accommodate without the allocation of any further resources.

Further, as a point of information, the UK would not formally leave the EU until the negotiation had been concluded, or the two-year period expired.

6. Without the weight of the Single Market behind us, how will Britain avoid being in a poor bargaining position with countries like China, should they wish to come to the bargaining table in the first place?

As regards existing trade deals, the UK will be in no worse position outside the EU than it will be in. It can rely on the legal assumption of continuity to ensure that it will continue to trade with third countries on the same basis as it did before it left.

As to trade generally, the “big bang” trade deals such as TTIP belong with the dinosaurs. They are expensive and time-consuming to negotiate and rarely deliver the benefits they claim.

The greatest growth in international trade is being achieved through innovative, flexible agreements such as the Partial Scope Agreements – and their equivalents which deal with technical barriers to trade – plus “unbundled” sector- and product-specific agreements, cast on a regional or global basis, without geographical anchorage.

The UK, freed from the encumbrance of the EU and the need to work within the constraints of 28-member “common positions” will be better able to partake in these innovative mechanisms, and improve its trading position far beyond that afforded by old-fashioned trade deals.

It would also be in a better position to broker deals between non-state actors, where growth potential is high, without being held back by the lethargic bureaucratic procedures of the EU.

7. How could voters be persuaded that the more radical alternatives to EU membership wouldn’t bring radical economic and political change with it that would disadvantage them?

Political realities suggest that the more radical alternatives would not arise. In our plan there are various fallback positions, some of which are sub-optimal for the time being, but hardly radical.

In any event, post-exit we will see the restoration of democratic controls over the legislative and treaty approval process. We expect Parliament to resume its historical function of reflecting the will of the people, and thus ensuring that undesirable and unasked-for changes are avoided – unlike at present, where the will of the people can be overturned by the undemocratic institutions of the European Union.

We do, however, recognise that there are weaknesses to our democratic system – in addition to those brought about by our membership of the EU – and thus propose as part of our exit plan reforms which will strengthen democratic control, and thereby better ensure that the wishes of the people are respected.

8. Are those who wish Britain to leave the EU proposing open borders – or even significantly relaxed visa restrictions – with all Commonwealth countries, including some developing countries with massive populations, and in some cases large scale internal political problems, such as India, Pakistan and Nigeria?

In our plan, we do not propose open borders – or even significantly relax visa restrictions – with any Commonwealth or any other third country. We would, however, seek to include mutually beneficial visa arrangements in any new trade deals, over which we would retain total control.

9. During the two-year negotiation period that starts with the triggering of Article 50 post-referendum, wouldn’t there be a large incentive for an unprecedented amount of EU citizens to emigrate to the UK while it was still legally possible?

Since our plan retains freedom of movement provisions, there would be no need for any citizen of any other EU Member State to make any special arrangements in seeking residential status in the UK as their rights and responsibilities will be largely unaffected by the UK leaving the EU. We expect EEA rights to be maintained.

However, it would be perfectly legitimate within the context of the Article 50 procedure, to negotiate a side deal on an intergovernmental basis, temporarily removing or modifying reciprocal establishment and citizenship rights, to pre-empt and thereby prevent migration surges.

10. Are proponents of Brexit willing to remove a crucial aspect of the Northern Ireland peace process and risk Scotland leaving the UK in order to leave the EU?

We think British Influence does a great disservice to all the players involved in the Northern Ireland peace process by pegging its success on the EU. Ultimately, devolution is helping to create a distinct governing body separate to London which will do more for peace.

As to Scotland, ironically, we would ask ten questions not entirely dissimilar to those pitched by British Influence. Those who say Scotland would break the Union should also read our Brexit plan in that they will find that breaking away from the UK is as politically and technically tricky as the UK leaving the EU.

The EU will likely reform on the basis of a two speed Europe to address the necessity for more economic governance over the eurozone. That is an inevitable consequence of currency union. Scotland using the pound means full separation is not a political reality. Thus, in most respects Scotland is as independent as it is ever going to be (give or take).