The UK’s price for agreement to a more centralised Euro area government should be a looser relationship for ourselves with the emerging colossus.
Most British people I talk to want trade, peace and friendship with our continental neighbours. The majority do not want a government in Brussels telling us what to do in a myriad of areas, where we would rather make up our own minds. There is no appetite for Brussels to control our money, our taxes, our budgets, our foreign policy, our armies or our criminal justice. Many British people are not happy with the way the fishing and agricultural policies work.
Everyone’s first priority is to protect and develop our trade with the continent. This preoccupation arises from years of wonky brieifng, implying that if we do not go along with all aspects of ther EU scheme we somehow will no longer be able to sell them our goods.
We need to recognise that the EU represents a minority of our trade when including services as well as goods, and a declining proportion of the total. We do not need to join the USA in order to trade with her. Our trade with Europe is protected both by the fact that they sell more to us than we sell to them, something they will not wish to lose, and by international agreements supervised by the World Trade Organisation. Those who fear for the export of British pharmaceuticals or weapons can rest easy in their beds.
The simplest way to fix the problems in the UK’s relationship with the EU would be to restore a modified UK veto over all matters. The new veto would allow us to say No to any law or proposal emanting from Brussels, but would not allow us to stop them doing it for themselves without us. This would take much of the pressure out of the situation.
No Brtish government after such a change could ever again say they had to do something to comply with the EU. We restore UK democracy. Any British government that wanted to be in line with the EU, or liked what the EU was doing, could adopt as much of it as they saw fit.
There would be no immediate revolution. The day after such a change the UK would still have the full panoply of EU law. The government could decide what bits it wished to repeal. It would be wise to do so carefully. It would be diplomatic to give plenty of warning to the EU authorities where we were going to remove parts of the canon, and to show them we intended to use the new powers sensibly. It would allow all those in the UK who still think EU law making is the right answer for the UK to defend the EU laws and to encourage us to retain them.
Europe would be liberated. The UK brake would no longer be regularly applied to the speeding train of European integration. The UK would get her democracy back. All laws in the UK would be ones the UK wanted, whether they originated in Brussels or at home. We would have a way of amending or repealing European law that did not work, whatever the rest of the EU wanted to do.
The UK could still take part in trying to find a common EU law in chosen areas, but both sides would be in a better position at the negotiating table. The EU would know we could not veto it, and we would know they could not force it on us.