Today’s fact: other countries have rights and interests just
as much as we do.
The anti-Europeans are so focused on what they see as OUR
rights and interests that they have a real problem getting their heads round the
idea that our European neighbours have THEIR rights and interests too.
A similar thing happened in the Scottish referendum. The
pro-independence campaigners were so obsessed with their own interests, they
could not understand that the rest of Britain would consider ITS interests and
say: ‘No. You can’t keep the pound.’
Because the other EU countries are better at selling things to
us than we are at selling things to them, we have a huge trade deficit, but to the anti-Europeans in their parallel universe, this weakness is a strength,
for it means the rest of Europe will be desperate to offer us a stonkingly favourable
trade deal. Unfortunately it does not work like that.
Europe sells about 8 per cent of its exports to us. One would
not want to give that up, but if push came to shove, one could do without it.
Between 40 and 50 per cent of our exports go to Europe. If we lost that, it
would destroy our economy. In any post-Brexit negotiations, the rest of Europe
will have the strong hand, and we will have the weak one. We will be the ones
desperate for an agreement.
The anti-Europeans want a relationship with the rest of the
Europe that gives us all the benefits of EU membership with none of the costs,
and they blame any suggestion of a refusal to give in to their demands
on spite. Europe would certainly be justified in feeling spiteful when you look
at the constant vituperation it receives from the anti-Europeans, but spite is
not the reason it will refuse the Brexiters’ demands. The reason is that it is
not in the interests of the rest of Europe to concede them.