Living with the EU is like having a constant cyber attack on our law codes, rules and regulations. The system is never stable, with the EU constantly seeking to extend their grip, change their laws, and increase their jurisdiction. They do all this in the name of European integration. They often try to tell the UK that it is mainly needed for the integrity of the single market. This is simply untrue.
To have a successful trade you usually have a system where the customer specifies what he wants, and the supplier explains what he has on offer. If they coincide at a good price there will be a transaction. Sometimes the customer side influences what the producer makes, because of course the producers want to sell more and need to listen to what the customers want. Sometimes the producers influence what the customer wants, because the producer defines a need or offers a solution which the customer finds attractive.
If you want to have a common market between two or more countries you can do so by having the simple rule which has been applied to the EEC/EU. That states that if something is of merchandisable quality in country A, it can be offered for sale in country B, as all countries in the zone accept the standards in each other’s jurisdictions. It does not mean customers will also accept the quality or style of any given product across national borders, but makes it easier for producers to offer their goods and see what happens.
The EU has moved on from this idea to seek to legislate for a wide variety of common standards and specifications for goods and services. They have got a long way towards there being an EU recipe or approved way of designing and making many things. This cramps innovation, may bring EU producers out of line with demands elsewhere in the world, and requires a large national bureaucracy in each member state to enforce the common rules.
The argument over leaving is usually couched in narrow terms in relation to trade and the common market by its supporters. They are old fashioned and out of date in this respect. The EU has long since moved on from being a common or single market, to being much more. They say the UK would still have to conform with EU rules and requirements when selling to the EU from outside. It is of course true that the UK has to conform with US rules and specifications when selling to US customers. Where we would gain from being outside the EU is we would not longer have to apply all those same rules and regulations to our dominant domestic trade in the UK, nor to goods and services supplied to the rest of the world outside the EU.
The defenders of the EU still say we would lose influence over the EU rules and standards for that minority of our output which would be exported to the EU. Even that is only partially true. Some of the EU’s rules comes from global agreements, where the UK would gain a seat at the world table and therefore continue to influence by that means what the EU was going to do. It also misses the point that where the EU is legislating beyond global minima the UK currently has little ability to stop them where we disagree. The UK government has lost a string of court cases over financial and banking regulation in recent months illustrating our inability to steer even in an area where we have the largest economic presence in the EU.