BBC muddying the waters

Anyone listening to the BBC news last week would have heard a misleading headline that Germany’s  finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that we would not be allowed to stay in the Single market

However, if you listened to the article in full, what he actually said was that if we were to stay in the Single Market, we would have to abide by the rules, including accepting the “four freedoms”. In other words, a bespoke deal isn’t on offer.

This is no great shakes. Whatever the wishes of many “leave” supporters, it will be the government which negotiates our exit strategy and we know that senior civil servants have been downloading Flexcit, an exit strategy document co-authored by, among others, Dr Richard North and CIB Committee member Robert Oulds of the Bruges Group. This advocates remaining in the Single Market by re-joinng EFTA and ths accessing it via the EEA agreement.

Herr  Schäuble’s words on which the BBC based their headline were given in response to the assertion that “Britain could continue to enjoy the benefits of the single market without being an EU member, in the same way that Switzerland and Norway do.” He replied, “That won’t work. It would require the country to abide by the rules of a club from which it currently wants to withdraw. If the majority in Britain opts for Brexit, that would be a decision against the single market. In is in. Out is out. One has to respect the sovereignty of the British people.”

As Dr North pointed out,  “The man thinks the EFTA/EEA (interim) option wouldn’t work. And that is on the basis of his interpretation that a vote for Brexit by the British people necessarily means a rejection of participation in the Single Market….What we have therefore, is an opinion based on an assumption, and nothing more than that – from a politician who is not a head of government, and who may not even be in office by the time Article 50 negotiations start in earnest……The finance minister is just another noisemaker in a debate polluted by noise.

While it is true that the degree of extra control over immigration which the EEA/EFTA route will allow us is not the same as that which may Brexit supporters desire, a recent poll conducted by Opinium, for the Bruges Group,  yielded the following results:

33% = Remain EU and Remain in the Single Market
13% =  Leave EU, join  EFTA, Remain in Single Market
39% = Leave EU, and have a Free Trade Agreement
16% = Don’t Know
Taking out the Don’t Knows, gives:
61% =Options to Leave EU (FTA + EFTA)
39% = Options to remain in the EU

(See here for a more detailed analysis of the result)
The poll shows that so strong is the desire of many to leave the EU that they are not taking much notice of the economic arguments. The “leave” side, however, needs to clean up its act. Recent polls are encouraging, but it would be a shame to lose a winnable referendum when the finishing post is in sight  because we are unable to reassure floating voters concerned about their economic wellbeing that the sky won’t fall in on  June 24th.  EEA/EFTA provides precisely such reassurance.

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  1. david bartropReply

    I watched Brexit the Movie on Google on my i pad, at no cost an excellent eye opener.The Remain lot were likened to Captain Cook giving beads to natives in exchange for their country, We have already done that with our fishing and are not about to give away our birthright.

  2. Mr J.GravinaReply

    It is the BBC’s job the “Muddy the waters” Its PURPOSE is to echo the position of the government. I sometimes get the impression it is as important as the program making.

    As regards “Brexit The movie” I downloaded the Youtube ‘Downloader’ and recorded the Movie to CD. I find the skulduggery taking place in Brussels absolutely breathtaking. I also understand WHY it is imperative the NO camp has to defeat Brexit, It could be the trigger for the break-up of the European Federation. For the UK Its importance is the the similarity to the break up of the USSR, the destruction of the Berlin Wall or self rule for India.

  3. MariaReply

    Not only can Britain leave the EU and have access to the single market, we’d actually get a better deal !!!!! What have you got to say about that, David Cameron ?????

    * Read the full article in The Telegraph,, 2016/06/13

    I strongly suggest that the unwise, vulnerable and undecided British voters who are worried about whether Britain would ‘hit a brick’ wall if it gets to leave the EU because of trade deals with the EU, should spare some time and carefully read this useful article published in The Telegraph yesterday and as mentioned above.

    Far too many decent British voters have been left confused over the referendum on 23 June 2016 whereby they have been and are still being fobb off, lie to and seriously scare mongered by the Remain campaigners who are so desperate and hard at work to keep Britain in the EU and would stoop to any level to get their way regardless of the consequences and most probably out of self interest.

    The Remain campaigner’s promises are false and their words are empty with no meaning because Britain has been an EU member since 1975 and far too much time has been given to renegotiate and sort out many very serious issues within the EU but unfortunately to no avail. They say what they like now and worry about the apologies, consequences, wrong predictions and misinterpretations after the Referendum as they very well know that it will probably be the last referendum many British citizens get to VOTE in and that there is no turning back the clock irrespective of the outcome.

    Europe is broken and hopefully and very possibly once Britain gets its freedom and democracy back it won’t be surprising to see how many more other EU countries will follow us therefore I urge all Voters to help not just lead Britain out of the EU but also in working hard together as a United Kingdom, afterwards, and in proving what an exceptional country and role model we could be again.

  4. Gordon WebsterReply

    EU Countries have too much to lose, not to agree to continue trading with Britain. Our Trade with EU Countries is down to about 10% of GDP and reducing year on year. Probably because more and more British jobs are being lost here and transferred to Europe – Land Rover Defender production stops due to Brussels new rules, and will never be built in Britain again. In the EU we are losing tens of, if not hundreds of thousands, of jobs. Green Targets and Expensive Energy is frightening away the rest of our jobs market.

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