Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Theresa May on why we should remain in the European Union



If you want a pragmatic, nuanced argument for Britian remaining a member of the European Union, I recommend the speech by Theresa May.

Not today's speech, but the one she made at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London on 25 April 2016:
if we do vote to leave the European Union, we risk bringing the development of the single market to a halt, we risk a loss of investors and businesses to remaining EU member states driven by discriminatory EU policies, and we risk going backwards when it comes to international trade. But the big question is whether, in the event of Brexit, we would be able to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the EU and on what terms. 
Some say we would strike deals that are the same as the EU’s agreements with Norway, Switzerland or even Canada. But with all due respect to those countries, we are a bigger and more powerful nation than all 3. Perhaps that means we could strike a better deal than they have. After all, Germany will still want to sell us their cars and the French will still want to sell us their wine. But in a stand-off between Britain and the EU, 44% of our exports is more important to us than 8% of the EU’s exports is to them. 
With no agreement, we know that WTO rules would oblige the EU to charge 10% tariffs on UK car exports, in line with the tariffs they impose on Japan and the United States. They would be required to do the same for all other goods upon which they impose tariffs. Not all of these tariffs are as high as 10%, but some are considerably higher. 
The reality is that we do not know on what terms we would have access to the single market. We do know that in a negotiation we would need to make concessions in order to access it, and those concessions could well be about accepting EU regulations, over which we would have no say, making financial contributions, just as we do now, accepting free movement rules, just as we do now, or quite possibly all 3 combined. It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy.
She is good on Scotland and the Union too:
if Brexit isn’t fatal to the European Union, we might find that it is fatal to the union with Scotland. The SNP have already said that in the event that Britain votes to leave but Scotland votes to remain in the EU, they will press for another Scottish independence referendum. And the opinion polls show consistently that the Scottish people are more likely to be in favour of EU membership than the people of England and Wales. 
If the people of Scotland are forced to choose between the United Kingdom and the European Union we do not know what the result would be. But only a little more than 18 months after the referendum that kept the United Kingdom together, I do not want to see the country I love at risk of dismemberment once more. 
I do not want the people of Scotland to think that English Eurosceptics put their dislike of Brussels ahead of our bond with Edinburgh and Glasgow. I do not want the European Union to cause the destruction of an older and much more precious union, the union between England and Scotland.
It is hard to argue with any of that.

Which leads us to the conclusion that Theresa May is pursuing policies she knows to be harmful to the national interest because only by doing so could she get to be prime minister.

And they wonder why people have a low opinion of politicians.

1 comment:

Vince Hall said...

Brexit: Why are we doing this ridiculous thing?
She became PM by default, she didn't need to convince anybody.
So why is she still pursuing this hard Brexit strategy?
I think only 30 % of people in the UK want that.
Definitely worse out of the EU.