Leaving a Union

Lord Soley

The EU referendum debate last Friday brought out an important point about leaving a union of which you are already a member. A similar argument applies to Scotland leaving the UK as well.
Lord Shipley in a very well informed contribution made the point that leaving the EU could make the UK more, not less dependent. The same applies to Scotland leaving the UK as the Governor of the Bank of England pointed out.
Lord Shipley said:
“Norway is often cited publicly as a parallel for the United Kingdom. Inside the European Economic Area it may be, but it has no direct power in the EU, it has no seat at the table and it cannot vote. However, it still has to abide by directives just as full members do. Indeed, Norway has to implement three-quarters of all EU legislation, including the working time directive. It has to implement other employment laws—consumer protection, environmental policy and competition—and has to contribute to EU budgets. Norway’s per capita contribution is just over £100; the UK’s net per capita contribution is £128. If we join the EEA, there will be little saving in practice for us.
Switzerland is often cited as another example that we might emulate, but it has no right of access to the single market and it has to negotiate each and every case separately. Even Switzerland contributes to EU budgets at £53 per capita. If we left the EU, it is possible that we could operate with a most-favoured-nation status, but that would mean that 90% of UK exports to the EU by value would face tariffs. If we were in the EEA, trade would be tariff free and, as with Norway, the four freedoms relating to the movement of goods, services, labour and capital would apply, along with the implementation of three-quarters of EU legislation over which, as I have explained, we would have no say.”


Go to column 1494 to see his contribution.

16 comments for “Leaving a Union

  1. Dave H
    03/02/2014 at 12:11 am

    If that’s the case then clearly we don’t need to be members of the EEA or implement their directives. If UK goods heading for Europe are subjected to a tariff, we’d just have to implement a reciprocal tariff on European goods heading our way. Trade wars are not good, but a bit of reciprocity goes a long way.

    If I’m not trading with Europe (i.e. domestic and other overseas destinations) then I shouldn’t have to comply with European red tape. The argument is that the boost to trade with the rest of the world by having the European millstone removed from our necks would more than make up for any loss of trade with Europe, which is a declining part of the world market in any case.

  2. LordBlagger
    03/02/2014 at 11:55 am

    However, it still has to abide by directives just as full members do.


    No it doesn’t.

    If it wants to trades, its good have to comply. That’s just the same as China. If it wants to sell goods in the EU, the goods have to comply.

    Equally, if we want to sell goods to the US, those goods have to comply with US law.

    Such deliberate deceit over having no control.

    Indeed, Norway has to implement three-quarters of all EU legislation, including the working time directive

    No it doesn’t.

    It’s very simple. The trade balance is in favour of the EU. Tarrifs hurt the EU even more than they hurt the UK.

    Then we can just say no EU migrants on welfare. They can do the same. Who wins? The UK. We don’t have to susbsidise migrants who don’t pay their way.

  3. LordBlagger
    03/02/2014 at 11:56 am

    If we were in the EEA, trade would be tariff free and, as with Norway, the four freedoms relating to the movement of goods, services, labour and capital would apply.


    So why don’t you fess up?

    Of those four freedoms, the UK can stop migration.

    After all, if the right of freedom of movement of capital doesn’t apply in the EU, if you are Cypriot, its not a right is it? It’s optional.

    • maude elwes
      05/02/2014 at 2:44 pm


      This is especially for you to go over. Scroll down to the heading ‘/The Downward Slide has Begun.

      You should be thrilled with the content for, it proves you right on a lot of your economics.


      However, pulling out of Europe is not going to help but it will hinder our situation badly.

      • LordBlagger
        05/02/2014 at 6:11 pm

        Because when you add in all of Britain’s “unfunded obligations” – promises the Government has made on things like public sector pensions – our debts swell to 900% of our economy.


        The one area that Moneyweek get wrong, is the banking side. Here the state isn’t on the hook for all the banks debts, its on the hook for the expected losses on the gurantees. That’s far less.

        The general points are correct.

        Pulling out of Europe will help, if the state does the right thing.

        1. Remove low skilled migrants. They are net consumers. That saves money.
        2. Keeps high skilled migrants.
        3. Forces the unemployed to do the jobs low skilled migrants were doing.
        4. Cuts regulations
        5. Cuts taxes.

        All of that needs the exit of the EU.

        • maude elwes
          11/02/2014 at 8:48 am


          3. ‘Forces’ the unemployed to do the jobs low skilled migrants were doing?

          If a living wage was paid to our unemployed across the board there would be no need to force anyone, or, indeed ‘persuade’ come to that.

          Funny how in the 1960’s we had full employment in the UK where did that go? Mismanagement of government has been rampant since Thatcher and Reagan ran this country. Don’t see any unemployment in that sphere though do we? And when they are finally voted out, they are simply kicked up the rump into that House of hangers on called the Lords. How many more seats there is going to be needed after the next election? All to be paid for by struggling tax payers.

          A method of getting rid of the ineffective political breed for good must be pushed on Parliament by some method. Direct Democracy would be the solution. Rid of the coat tail brigade is the only answer to solvency.

          • LordBlagger
            11/02/2014 at 11:56 am

            Yep, we can force you to employ a full time cleaner on a living wage. You have to pay their wages, and their NI etc. Plus, its optional for the cleaner to do any work.

            That’s what you’re asking. Companies have to pay, no matter what the worker does for them.

            Of course, there is a far easier solution. You just don’t tax the poor. That way, their take home pay goes up. That’s what you are trying to get by forcing employers, to increase the take home pay.

            The state could solve most of the problems at a stroke, by not taking the poors money.

            Ah yes, there’s that 9,000 bn debt that has to be paid. ….

          • Dave H
            12/02/2014 at 5:35 am

            Herein lies the problem. It is important to have a safety net, but it also is important that it is not too comfortable, and not too deep for people to climb out. When someone considers they’re better off remaining on benefits than getting a job then the system is broken. I can’t really fault them for making that decision.

            On the other side, it’s all very well telling people to go get a job, but if there are no available jobs then you’re not going to get them off the dole.

  4. Gareth Howell
    03/02/2014 at 3:42 pm


    So to join the EU, the state is obliged to join the EEA as well, but if the state leaves the EU, it does not have to leave the EEA also, but may if it wants to!
    So the campaigners, to be consistent ,would have to campaign to leave the EEA as well??

    Dave’s first line has got it exactly.

  5. Gareth Howell
    03/02/2014 at 3:49 pm

    We see and learn of seismic shifts (metaphorically speaking one hopes) in the international politics of the Middle east and Central Asia, statements from US sec of state with regard to their respective philosophies and politics, which are intended to encourage greater international union amongst them, whilst a tin pot stooge from the UK Sleeper party, does his utmost to promote withdrawal from the EU?

    I am very glad indeed of the EU foreign policy on Iran, which Hillary Clinton does not yet seem to have sorted out, in her own mind, or if she has, it just does not coincide with the EU’s. Without it we would have to be worrying a good deal more about our own FO relationship with that state and the international region of central Asia.

    • Gareth Howell
      04/02/2014 at 3:35 pm

      “I am very glad indeed of the EU foreign policy on Iran, which Hillary Clinton does not yet seem to have sorted out, in her own mind, or if she has,”

      It may be that in future we shall have the two different foreign policies presented every time an issue of international importance occurs in Iran’s front or back yard. That will be a healthy semaphore conversation of three.

  6. 10/02/2014 at 3:57 am

    Lord Soley,

    It would be a tedious process difficult to prove to your readers or yourself to show my family connections over millennia to a sizable number of crucial uniting and dividing number of processes of creating and dissolving unions. I think clearly there can be unintended consequences. While it does not seem likely Europe and a separate UK would go to war in a generation it might happen in bit longer time. Clearly the UK benefits from the ties to the great diversity of human and other resources in Europe and the UK.

    Perhaps your compatriots who want to leave wish it for many reasons. However, the chief may be a concern about where this is all headed. Clearly the European Common Market has evolved a great deal and is headed in certain direction. My Acadian ancestors migrated to the New World and abandoned their deep network of roots as an existing society around La Rochelle because the modern era was destroying the union of Languedoc–Pais des Coutumes and Languedeouil –Pais des Lois which was how they saw France. After much bllodshed it seemd the way to preserve who they were into the future. They and my ancestors who may or may not have been qualified to be in the CIncinatti sought independence from a British Empire which was centralizing after a great victory in the previous world struggle against France. The failed attempt to achieve an independent Confederate States of America attracted my ancestors and their friends because it seemed the only way to preserve a recognizable fascimile of the future they intended when they joined the Union. In my case this theme goes much further back in time.

    You are I believe of a party and ideology which seeks broad and global change and adaptation most of all. I do not mean you are always reckless or ill-advised. But if you wish to communicate with those who wish to leave seek to answer how the changes they foresee can be true to the reasons their ancestors in ideas, beliefs and blood agreed to the unions in the first place.

    Whether I could have been a great success if I had behaved very differently I do not know. But at nearly fifty I seem to have paid a high cost for certain choices of priority but feel I had little choice. I would imagine the relevant groups you are addressing feel much the same way. For them a real risk of ceasing to be Scot or British is not endurable if they can do anything to stop it.

  7. Gareth Howell
    13/02/2014 at 8:20 am


    Lord Soley may not be able to attend Constitution committee, with all his other pressing responsibilities, so the Likely questions at the bottom of this link may help him.

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