LeaveHQ, 07/11/2015  

As Leavers we're supposed to vigorously disagree with our opponents. One such opponent is Professor Duncan French writing for europhile blog "The UK in a Changing Europe".

His take home point is largely that Brexit is complex, requires a good deal of compromise, it's not going to be done in a hurry and there are obvious pitfalls to each approach.

He says "In the event that the UK were to withdraw from the EU, it would undoubtedly seek a new arrangement with its largest trading partner. Such an arrangement may be similar to that which Norway has as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), or it may need to be bespoke on the basis that the UK had been a full member of the EU and its ties more integrated than those of Norway, which has never been a member. And has often been remarked, Norway is subject to many of the rules of the EU, without the benefit of being involved in their negotiation."

We're not going to dwell on his largely baseless assertion that Norway is not involved in the negotiation of EU rules. Anyone who wants to try this argument on with us is welcome to humiliate themselves. What we do note is that the first and most obvious solution to his mind is in fact the Norway model. 

For us, this is something of a vindication in that from a practical real world perspective, not only is the Norway model the most sensible, but also the one our own negotiators would probably arrive at by default given that they have time constraints and have to work within the political realities that present themselves. In essence, we have a europhile academic arriving at the same conclusion we did - the Norway model is the only game in town if we want to leave the EU.

French expands the point further by saying "European Union law has been integrated into almost every area of British law; employment, commercial and company law, health and safety, environmental law, agriculture and fisheries issues to name but a few. Indeed, in light of the likely formation of some kind of an ongoing relationship between the UK and the EU after an exit vote, and the complexity of surgical removal from British law of “EU” elements, if indeed that was possible – together with having to meet new EU rules to maintain access to the single market in the future – exit from the EU would have substantially less legal impact than many might imagine."

Keep in mind this a europhile saying this. What he's saying is is that while Leavers will have to significantly lower their expectations - very little would change as far as business is concerned. So he is by definition confirming that the Norway model is a risk free option.

And in that we would agree. This is why the Norway model is the first choice of interim solutions in our own Brexit plan where in the first instance, we adopt the entire body of EU law as our own, using the Norway model as a departure lounge to de-risk Brexit - and then we take our time disentangling ourselves from the mistakes of the past.

What we do get almost immediately is a full vote at the global level with right of reservation and a veto, and all the time in the world to decide which laws we want to keep, with one of the finest minds on the Europhile side confirming for us that it's a risk free proposition. 

This ought to focus minds on the Leave side as it is a note of caution to moderate the kind of promises they make as to what Brexit may achieve in the short to medium term - but it seems the best minds in the business are agreed that the Norway model is a safe bet - and thus it follows, the remain side lack credibility with their ever more risible scaremongering. 

By adopting the interim Norway model, we clear out and bypass all of the points of contention, thus we are left with just one argument - the one of whether Norway has influence in the rule making or not. That ought to be an argument we can comprehensively win. 

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