There are many arguments concerning why the UK should remain a member of the European Union that I have been waiting for David Cameron to use for months now. But he finally used one in particular yesterday for the first time. It’s a simple one: if we voted to leave in the referendum, it wouldn’t be us out of the whole thing and clear the next day. What would begin instead at that point is a two-year period of renegotiation with the EU on what Brexit actually would mean in practice.
It spells out just how much voting to leave is neither simple nor straightforward. Imagine two years of parliamentary backlog while the House of Commons is completely taken up with working out which bits of law inherited from the EU stays and which bits go; having to talk through what the new deals would look like; having to figure out a way past the whole, “single market = freedom of movement” conundrum some way or another.
When I myself have used the two year argument in business circles, it has proven remarkably effective. Are you dreading the prospect of the next four months being taken up with nothing but the European Union? Well if we vote to leave, the next two years and four months will be like that – at the very least.
There are lots of reasons why Britain staying in the EU is a good idea. But using one that is easy to understand and works extremely well on the English mentality in particular (“Two further years of bother? Sod that.”) is a very good ploy. I’m glad someone advised the prime minister to start using it. While I’m here, he also needs to start pointing out that the Norway option includes freedom of movement in it given the Brexiteers always leave that very crucial detail out, but hey, he’s only just started so hopefully he’ll pick up that one as well.
Definitely. Only when we got in to all that, would it become clear just how enmeshed our system and consequently, our lives are with the EU, and what exactly we would be losing. By then it would be too late. Even those of us who heartily support the case for remaining in the European Union, and certainly those who do not, would become sharply aware of the truest adage. ‘You never know what you have until it’s gone’
That adage can be equally well used by Leave in reference to a time when we had Parliamentary sovereignty and it mattered a damn who we elected to Westminster.
And after all that I bet we’d opt back into much anyway! However very useful that this argument has traction in business circles. Will definitely use!
But… ‘we’ve been heading in the wrong direction for so long that it would be really tedious to turn around, so let’s keep going even farther in the wrong direction’ is not a very good argument?
Steve Peers says
The argument won’t convince anyone who hates the EU with every fibre of their being. But I think he’s aiming for soft and undecided voters.
Bob Webb says
That’s not the argument, but let’s assume you’re right, that we’re heading in the wrong direction inside the EU, then please offer a viable and trustworthy alternative direction, because leaving with incalculable costs, short, medium and long-term, is irresponsible at best. We’re in the EU; let’s get on with it. Leaving is no alternative.
The Parliamentary overhead for leaving is just one aspect. What about the leaving negotiations with the European Union? They will make it hard for UK to prevent others trying the same.
Two years? Totally worth it. If this is the best argument for Remain, that the process of Leave is ‘boring’, I suggest the campaign is pretty intellectually bankrupt.
ANGELINA Seager says
It all boils down to the money wasted and channelled to the EU coffer, just way too big, that instead be substantial to be used in local projects.
However, it contradicts world globalisation as a mean to progress. Leave voters seem to admit to regression! Or simply again the superiority complex that is inherent in being British?Is it? Justify!