BBC shows some balance with Newsnight debate on Brixit

The BBC has peformed a rare public service by showing a measure of balance in last night's Newsnight debate on the European Union and the feasibility of British exit

by Tim Aker on 13 December 2012 12:34

Last night the BBC performed an essential public service. Newsnight aired a fair and balanced debate on the European Union and the feasibility of British exit.

The arguments to leave were clearly put and you could readily find them on our website

It is essential, however, to debunk the “scaremongering” (Paxman’s words, not mine) from the ‘In’ side. These positions, I will add without further comment, have been made in the past by those who believed (or still do) that Britain should join the Euro.

If Britain left, we would not lose Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). As David Tang said in the debate, if we sell and produce quality goods, then people will buy and invest in the UK regardless. Our language was suggested to be a more attractive hook for investment than our membership of the EU.

In Ernst and Young’s 2010 survey on FDI attractiveness, EU membership was not even mentioned in their table of key investment factors (page 11). It is notable their survey came before the height of the Eurozone crisis we witness today.

It was also put that there would be boycotts of UK goods. That position ignores the fact that the EU sells more goods to the UK than we sell to it and as such it will be mutually beneficial for the UK and the EU to arrange a swift free trade agreement. Retaliatory tariffs would harm the EU more than the UK.

A simple free trade agreement would be business as usual for those who currently export goods to the EU. Like we have to abide by US, Canadian, Australian and Chinese standards when we export to them, those that export to the EU would have to abide by EU quality standards and regulations.

Those very costly regulations, however, would not affect the 91 percent of the rest of our economy, our national wealth, which is not involved with the EU. It could also be argued that the excessive political regulations, energy regulations for example, could be scrapped overnight. Cheaper energy, cheaper goods, and more jobs come as a result.

Finally, the size of the EU market was lauded as a key factor of staying in. IMF forecasts, however, show the EU’s share of global GDP shrinking to between 17 percent and 12 percent by 2017 (page 10). This is down from a height of 30 percent in 1980. Of course the size of other markets outside the EU will increase in importance.

The Treaty of Rome, the foundation of the EU, makes political union unavoidable. Excessive directives and regulations promoting political union are precisely the reason why the British do not want to be a part of it. The relationship the UK wants with the EU is based solely on trade.

The choice on offer is trade and friendly relationships with the EU and the other member states or complete political union. There is no middle way; the only choice is to Get Britain Out.

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