Boris Johnson thinking small again

When one seeks an example of yawn inducing dog whistle politics, Boris Johnson rarely fails to deliver.  It never ceases to amaze that such well educated individuals can lack common sense and imagination.  But Boris has shown that to be the case once again with his ‘back of the fag packet’ call for a free labour exchange between UK and Australia.

As an appeal to the section of the Eurosceptic community that laments the UK’s change of focus from Commonwealth ties to subservience to the EU, and a piece of flag-waving to those who resent the high level of immigration from non-Anglospheric countries, Johnson’s comments about closer UK-Australian workforce links work perfectly and no doubt prove reassuring, perhaps even encouraging.  For those who want to see politicians suggesting approaches that fit the circumstances of the day, while providing evidence of some deep thinking and imagination, his comments are just so much more waffle.

By way of a quick observation, the Commonwealth was fine back then, but looking at it today as an alternative to the EU internal market would be a retrograde step.  Increasingly, at the time the UK was stepping back and looking closer to home for politicial harmonisation and trade opportunities, the Commonwealth provided as much of a bind for some of its member countries as the EU does to the UK today.  Consider the New Zealand experience, where Commonwealth driven approaches saw the high volume – low margin for lamb hold back and poorly compensate Kiwi farmers.  But as the UK turned towards Europe, New Zealand’s sheep (and dairy) farmers took the opportunity to better serve their own interests by switching to a lower volume – high margin model, which rejuvinated the agricultural sector and increased wealth.

Returning to Johnson, why his comment represents small thinking is that there is a whole world of opportunity outside the EU for labour exchange, trade agreements and – more crucially – establishing new blocs of countries with common interests to negotiate trade deals.

Look at the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations.  There are some large blocs there, such as the US, the EU and the BRICS.  The talks have stalled for years, particularly as the US and EU squabble over agricultural subsidies.  Imagine the UK left the EU –  dispensing with Brussels’ political baggage and instead representing itself on the world stage and truly having a seat at the real global top table – and opted to join EFTA as part of the strategy for retaining access to the internal market.  Some other EU member states could follow suit (thinks Denmark, Sweden and even Ireland).  Suddenly EFTA would have quite some clout.  Indeed it could then progress to become a trade bloc in its own right, sitting in WTO trade rounds like Doha, working for deals in our interests rather than the broader, more dilute interests of the larger EU bloc.

It could be a game changer, as trade with the US, BRICS and tiger economies of south east Asia could be via a genuine trade bloc rather than a customs union, not hampered by political governance issues.  This is just one idea.  It certainly has more vision and aligns better with today’s realities than Johnson’s small thinking and political gaming.

But this should not detract from the elephant in the room, which is the pressing and essential need to extract ourselves from the EU as quickly as possible, while preserving access to the internal market.

For this to happen the British people need to be convinced and reassured that the UK can leave the EU without suffering adverse commerical and economic consequences.  Enough doubt and fear has been created by pro-EU entities who falsely claim leaving the EU means losing access to the single market.  They pretend the negotiation option does not exist, and without providing any evidence for their rationale they reject EFTA membership as a stepping stone or even longer term solution.

The evidence that contradicts and exposes the Europhile claims, and undermines their political motives for keeping the UK under the control of Brussels, is irrefutable.  But it is only a handful of bloggers with their limited reach who are telling the story.  The Eurosceptic cause needs UKIP and every Eurosceptic organisation out there to tell the story and take control of the debate.  By defining the narrative and citing the evidence – namely having something of substance to say – even the media will not be able to ignore the available solutions which can help the UK chart its own course in the world.  It would certainly result in less attention being given to the inane waffle emanating from London’s indecisive and political greasy pole climbing Mayor.

11 Responses to “Boris Johnson thinking small again”


  1. 2 Edward. 26/08/2013 at 2:49 pm

    Good post, logical and reasoned guidance, there is not an argument about coming out of the EU – Britain must leave the EU but also have access to their markets as the remainder [EU] are entitled to our domestic market.

    We must trade, that is what Britain is about, we do not need Brussels apparatchiks running our lives, telling us how much energy we’re allowed and how to produce it, they even desire to control our conscious thoughts.

    It is time to say NO to Brussels diktat and harsh brand of authoritarianism. We fought two world wars to limit European ambitions, finally and by stealth the European order is having its way. It’s time to say enough.

  2. 3 Vanessa 26/08/2013 at 4:34 pm

    Welcome Back !

    I agree with most of what you say. But I would argue that to have another Bloc (EFTA) to negotiate our trade is not what we want.

    The EU has negotiated on our behalf for too long and not in our interest. I fail to see why another Bloc would necessarily negotiate for us. Why would we not be able to make our own agreements while being a member of EFTA?

    To create another trade bloc seems to me to be defeating the reason we need to leave the EU.

  3. 4 Autonomous Mind 26/08/2013 at 5:37 pm

    No, the reason for leaving the EU is to throw off political control. Where our trade interests match those of a friendly country, there is good sense in working together to achieve a better deal. Remember, the EU is about politics, not trade.

  4. 5 PeterMG 26/08/2013 at 11:11 pm

    Good to see you back AM

    Vanessa’s comment highlights another misconception about the EU that most people hold, that we are in a single market within the EU. The reality is that it is a Customs Union within the wider European free trade area. As you say getting out of the EU is all about returning power to our “elected” representatives so that we can take the necessary steps to make them accountable for their actions. Leaving the EU means we represent ourselves to the European free trade block and other bodies rather than the EU representing us.

  5. 6 Brian H 27/08/2013 at 7:27 am

    What? After spending so much time and treasure exporting their debased criminal class to Australia, the UK should now import their devolved descendants? >:p

  6. 7 Edward Spalton 27/08/2013 at 8:21 pm

    Brian H.
    I rather liked the story of the very upper crust Englishman who was facing a very aggressive Australian Immigration Officer.
    “Have you got a criminal record?” demanded the Officer

    “My dear fellow, I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t realise that one was still necessary”

  7. 8 Mark B 27/08/2013 at 8:27 pm

    Intelligence and commonsense are things one can have either of. You can also have neither, but rarely both.

    Boris, is indeed an intelligent man. But commonsense ? I doubt it.

    PS Good articles ! Glad you are back with us.

  8. 9 Edward Spalton 27/08/2013 at 8:34 pm

    Vanessa,
    I think you may not have considered three things

    Firstly that when a change, such as Britain’s accession to EFTA occurs, things elsewhere don’t stay the same.

    The EU would be considerably smaller (and poorer) and EFTA would have massively more clout with Britain in it and be able to take a far stronger line on many issues

    Thirdly, EFTA might not be the final solution of the EU problem for Britain but it is a powerful argument to win a referendum, completely destroying the fear about those “three million jobs” – provided it is presented intelligently. The corporate interests need have no fear of being excluded from that Single Market they make such a fuss about.

  9. 10 angela ellis-jones 28/08/2013 at 4:50 pm

    Mark B:
    ‘Intelligence and commonsense are things can have either of.You can also have neither,but rarely both’.

    This is a very sweeping statement.Margaret Thatcher had a large measure of both,didn’t she?

    I think the real problem is that people of a left-leaning mentality,even if intelligent,rarely have any commonsense.

    It never ceasesto amaze me how many ‘Conservatives’ fail to see that BJ is anything but a conservative.They seem to regard him as the Messiah,yet he’s a shameless libertine who paid for his mistress to abort two of his unborn children,who supports an amnesty for illegal immigrants,who denounced Coalition policy on benefits as ‘Kosovo-style ethnic cleansing’,and who has goodness-knows-how-many ‘equality and diversity’ advisers on his staff.Any true conservative would have sent the lot packing!

    And he isn’t even that clever.While his expertise in Greek may impress some people,those of us who have an aptitude in that direction won’t be overly impressed by a Second from Oxford.And he isn’t even the cleverest member of his own family – that’s Jo!

  10. 11 angela ellis-jones 29/08/2013 at 3:38 pm

    And as for hissupport for queer ‘marriage’,on which he has wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of Londoners’ money- how profoundly unconservative can you get?


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