As described in the above video showing a BBC Daily Politics interview with Lord Lawson back in July this year, the Institute for Economic Affairs launched a competition for submissions on the best way to exit the EU. As an encouragement the competition came with a cash prize of 100,000 euros (rather ironically) for the best submission:
Against [the background of an ‘out’ vote] competitors are invited to compose a Blueprint for Britain outside the EU, covering the process of withdrawal from the EU and the post-exit repositioning of the UK in the global trading and governance systems,
Naturally, when looking at the list of judges where the concentration of their expertise was largely economically based, there was some reluctance to submit a paper when in reality the primary reason for EU exit is political. The founding father Jean Monnet always made it clear the EU was a political project. Ted Heath described it as a “common market” knowing full well it was a Trojan horse to facilitate political union. The Euro for example is a political project disguised as an economic one – with disastrous consequences.
In this context the primary objective of any withdrawal by the UK is to stop and then reverse the progress of political integration between the UK and the rest of the EU member states. This means that a successful “out” vote will be more a political event rather than an economic one, albeit one with considerable economic consequences.
Thus a twin-track approach has to be adopted. Not only to win a referendum, to negate the fear, lies and “cling onto nurse” tactics which have been used so effectively by, for example, the dishonest Europhile Nick Clegg – but it’s also an acknowledgment that political withdrawal will be much quicker than an economic one. Should the UK public vote for a withdrawal from the EU they will be understandably impatient for a relatively rapid exit.
In this spirit as not to delay attainment of political objectives the economic question should be “parked”. The primary aim is to deal with political issues while clearing the way for a favourable economic settlement in the future, which given the enormous and fiendish complexities of international economic treaties will take time.
The best way of achieving a reasonably quick political exit while acknowledging the economic difficulties is the Norway option – a ready made solution that allows the UK to leave the EU while remaining within the Single Market. It means no immediate disruption to trade but allows us to exit politically.
This was the fundamental premise of Richard North’s submission, written with some help from fellow readers and bloggers. The publication of the shortlist of the 20 best initial submissions to the IEA are made today and Richard North’s “Norway option” has been shortlisted. To be shortlisted to just 20 out of 149 entries is an achievement indeed, and an endorsment that the “Norway option” arguments is seen to have merit. Particularly important given our Prime Minister argues against it using a lie.
As I understand it UKIP did not submit an official paper (though some members may have done so independently). It’s not unreasonable to assume that this would be their meat and drink; leaving the EU is their raison d’etre. But apparently not. The lack of a credible exit plan from UKIP is a frustration I’ve echoed before.
Revealingly it takes a few unpaid bloggers to be on the shortlist, while UKIP doesn’t bother. Being on the shortlist now means writing a full submission of between 10,000 and 20,000 words by 10th February 2014 in order to win the IEA prize. More than anything winning means having the possibility of a document – an EU exit paper – that has “prestige”, a document that would be taken seriously by virture of its IEA status.
Any contributions by readers to the final full submission are very welcome here and/or on the Eureferendum forum.