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Sat, Jun 25, 2016
So, the biggest vote of a generation has been and gone. It came after a campaign painfully lacking in useful information on either side, and it departs leaving nobody really looking good.
The Prime Minster, David Cameron, whose best answer to the huge responsibility of deciding how to handle an enormously complicated political decision was to say "Fuck it, you decide, I'm not going to", has made it clear he'll be continuing with his abdication of responsibility by handing in his notice rather than deal with the results himself. Everybody is therefore asking "What happens next?" with a certain amount of trepidation.
Well, there's a lot of uncertainty, of course. But I think I have the answer. It's based on something once said by the great philosopher, Calvin:
One of the most notable lacks in the Leave campaign was its answer to "What's the plan for after the vote?" which was famously answered with "lol, dunno!" by the head of UKIP. Slightly more useful answers cited examples of other non-EU countries that we could emulate.
My argument is that the proposal of the Norweigian model is not just good, but the best possible answer, and here is why:
The original referendum back in the 70s was to join the common market. A persistent complaint from Leave was that the EU was "not what we voted for" and it's perfectly true. So we could satisfy both referendums by leaving the EU and staying in the single market.
So far so good. But there's more!
The Norway model gives access to the single market via the EEA - the European Economic Area. The UK could continue to trade with the Europe pretty much as it always has. This would settle the markets and ease the fears of the international corporations that are suddenly finding London a less-attractive base of operations.
Even better, as all informed voters will be aware, the House of Commons indicated long before the vote took place that it would use it's (roughly) 3:1 pro-Europe majority to block any attempt to take us out of the EEA. So it would actually be very difficult for our leader (whoever that turns out to be) NOT to go with the Norway model or something very close to it.
But what makes it the ideal solution is this: Membership of the EEA not only gives unrestricted access to the single market. It also requires that members: abide by EU regulations regarding the market; allow free movement of workers; and pay the EU for membership - to the tune of something like £200 million a week.
The Leave campaign never ceased to talk about reclaiming control of our borders; and the (wrong) amount of money we pay into the EU each week was even emblazoned on the side of Boris Johnson's Leave campaign bus.
The Norway model would mean nothing changes on either front. And that's what makes it so perfect!
Everybody who voted Remain - the 48% - gets to feel pissed off because they didn't get what they voted for.
Everybody who voted Leave - the 52% - gets to feel pissed off because they got EXACTLY what they voted for. Just not what they actually wanted.
The entire population thus gets to come together, unhappy but united again in our common hatred of our politicians, who always, ALWAYS get it wrong.
And the politicians? It's ideal for them, too: They get to answer every problem with their tried-and-tested approach of blaming everything on the immigrants they can't stop from coming here; and the lack of cash they have to work with because it all goes to Europe.
Life would quickly settle back to normal. The Europeans already here could stop worrying about being thrown out, the Brits abroad likewise. Trade would continue much as it always did before. The UK stops having to worry about EU policymaking because it no longer has a say in it. The entire population settles down and resigns itself to not having got what it wanted, as usual, and the whole thing is over.
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