Saturday, 16 April 2016

ConservativesIN| Mark Field MP: What exactly does ‘leave’ entail?

ConservativesIN| Mark Field MP: What exactly does ‘leave’ entail?

"Ultimately we – states as much as individuals – all respond to incentives. Where precisely would the incentive lie with the remaining EU nations to make life easy for a departing UK? Indeed the existential threat implied by Brexit would arguably lead to a highly restrictive exit deal if only to act as a strong warning for any other prospective leavers. The ‘Swiss’, ‘Norwegian’ and ‘Turkish’ models outlined above are special agreements struck with neighbouring states contemplating future accession or some sort of closer union. As a consequence they may offer considerably better benefits than anything the UK might reasonably anticipate after negotiating a journey in the opposite direction.

Geopolitically, it is difficult to argue that the UK outside the EU would retain its global influence, especially in a world increasingly dominated by continental-sized powers such as the United States of America, China and India. Harping back to a wistful place at the heart of the British Commonwealth is surely little more than that – an unrealistic, naïve reluctance to cast off post-imperialistic pretensions.

That is certainly how such a UK ‘alternative to the EU’ seems to Indian opinion formers. Indeed Prime Minister Modi made it clear in his visit to the UK last November that he fully supports the UK’s continued membership of the EU and regards us as a key gateway for his nation’s exporters to the EU. It is a view shared by each and every other head of government of our key trading counterparts, bar Vladimir Putin of Russia. For Australians (especially since Malcolm Turnbull took the helm as premier) and New Zealanders, meanwhile, the world has moved on. Whilst the love-in with monarchy shows few signs of abating any time soon, these countries increasingly regard themselves as twenty-first century Asian nations. Nor have they forgotten the sense of betrayal when we joined the EEC. As for Canada…well, their pride in the Royal Family owes more to desire to differentiate historically from an internationally unpopular USA, but their economic and strategic interests lie firmly within their own continent. New Premier, Justin Trudeau, is certainly no Anglosphere supporter in the style of his predecessor Stephen Harper."

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