160 countries around the world are not members of the EU but they are able to trade quite successfully with EU member countries. The main aim of the Stay in campaign is to terrify UK voters into thinking if we leave we uniquely will be unable to sell into the EU single market. Those who like Europe are so unpleasant about our partners in Europe as to think they will spite us on exit. It’s a strange paradox that those of us who wish to leave think more kindly of Germany and France than those who wish to stay.
As I have often pointed out, we are more customer than supplier as we buy more than we sell to the rest of the EU. As such Germany and France will want to keep our trade. As they will wish to continue with favourable ways to our market, they will not be looking for ways to stifle our exports, as we could simply impose the same restrictions on them.
The problem with the Single market is it is not a free market. The UK would like a free trade agreement with the rest of the EU, but that is not on offer if we stay in. Instead we have to pay large dues to the club and accept an extraordinary range of rules and restrictions on what we can do. We are told we have influence over these, yet history shows that we have lost many arguments. Our belief that we need fewer EU rules and regulations gets lost in the passion to drive through yet more agreements and directives.
Out of the EU there would be one huge improvement. All the rules and regulations we have to impose on all our business and trade would only have to remain on those goods and services we supply to the EU. Domestic activity and exports to non EU countries would no longer have to be under those same rules. At one bound we could be free for all but the 12% or so of our GDP that depends on sales to the rest of the EU, whilst that would have the same rules as today.
It is a nonsense to say that outside the EU we would be on the end of a facs telling us how to behave. As a supplier to the US, China, India or the EU we of course need to respond to what the customer wants. At the moment we are at the end of facs having to accept all the rules and regulations of an overregulated market and impose them on everything else. That is what we can free ourselves from.
Unfortunately the EEC/EU was never just a common market. It was always a journey to political union. Now it is becoming a wild ride it is becoming increasingly obvious that this is no market, but an excuse to create a government of the EU.