Brexit – Could Britain out-Europe the EU ?
Brexit, bloody Brexit. No prizes for predicting what continues to dominate the news and will continue to be the stuff of current affairs and pub discussions for the next few years. Today sees the return to the House of Commons of the Brexit bill, a vote for which will see the government empowered to trigger Article 50 and start negotiations.
Much is being made in the Sunday press of the lack of a fallback plan – hopefully this is just yet another own-goal which is driven by newspapers with their eyes on their own bottom line. There is no Brexit alternative.
Do it Differently, Do it Better
It might be possible to include another option in Britain’s bid for refugee status. Other members of the EU are watching Brexit closely. Immigration and free movement is the clear issue, fuelling populism and the politicians’ continuing crusade to destroy all meaning.
What if there was an EU2 ? An alternative coming-together of European nations – including and even championed by a newly independent Britain – which competes with the EEC’s federalist approach. The aim would be to provide all the benefits that I voted to remain, whilst eradicating the need to be managed by un-elected officials.
There are possibilities. A loose coalition of European nations, treating together on common issues including trade but which does not attempt to dilute the authority of each member. Removing the worst sources of corruption and eliminating the bureaucracies of Brussels, Strasbourg et al. Leaving each country to manage its own laws, agree standards and particularly its own immigration. Cooperation on aspects such as the environment, banking regulation, defence, border control, policing and agriculture would present no greater challenge than for the EU. We could see countries discussing such topics within a new, looser Council of Europe, unencumbered by a third layer of civil servants and without dictates from an artificial Euro judiciary.
Such an alternative Europe could give a useful bargaining chip to David Davis, especially if Eurocrats are sensing the possibility of their own disintegration. The danger is that they would seek to ensure Britain does not play it as part of any agreement – the ultimate European non-compete clause. I suspect that more than a few current members would consider membership of a looser European coalition with interest.