Suddenly it all starts to become clear.
When The Boiling Frog wrote earlier this week about how UKIP threatens to lose any in-out referendum for the anti-EU side, he reminded readers that UKIP still does not have any plan for leaving the EU.
On the Sunday Politics, UKIP Councillor Suzanne Evans, even said to Andrew Neil in response to his question about whether the party had a roadmap to leave the EU in the event of an ‘out’ vote, ‘wouldn’t that be great?’.
But an article today in the Financial News (£) might just explain why there is no exit plan for leaving the EU… UKIP is apparently developing a carefully crafted secret weapon that would see the UK stay inside the Customs Union! Not inside the internal market, but inside the Customs Union and negotiating its own trade agreements:
So what has changed? Why are the money-men and women being lured to the “bloke in the pub” with his Brexit rants and no policies? They are heavyweights too: Crispin Odey, who has in the past hedged his bets by giving money to Ukip and the Tories; Andrew Perloff of Panther Securities and Christopher Mills’ Harwood Capital are also donors; while Andy Brough of Schroders has signed up.
This is why – they are being persuaded that “the man in the pub” is developing a carefully crafted secret weapon to the crude In or Out stance. It is for the UK to stay within the EU’s Customs Union by negotiating its own trade agreements. Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, any country wanting to exit has two years in which to negotiate new arrangements with the Customs Union. To date, Farage has only hinted at joining a customs union. But Anglo-Sino’s [Stephen] Hill, who privately funds Tim Aker, Ukip policymaker and an MEP candidate, reckons Farage could win this election outright – and many seats at the next election – if he were to reveal that more elegant solutions are under review other than the emotive In-Out one.
If ever there was a moment that confirmed the people around Farage in the upper echelons of UKIP have absolutely no bloody idea what they are talking about, this is it. In spades. Writ large. Ignorance and incompetence on a galactic scale.
For what has been explained above by Margreta Pagano is even more of a fantasy than David Cameron’s renegotiation of powers from Brussels. It is political and economic Neverland, demonstrating UKIP’s ‘thought leaders’ don’t even understand what a Customs Union is. This is underlined by the rationale that is given:
Such a move, says Hill, would counter much of the nonsensical scaremongering from LibDems and Labour that pulling out would lead to the loss of millions of jobs. He has a point: if the UK were to exit but negotiate to stay in the Customs Union, UK plc would be allowed to vote on all trade matters but on an intra-governmental basis, not supranational one.
The beauty of this approach is that by staying in the Customs Union – rather than joining Efta for example – manufacturers can trade duty-free within the Customs Union area: Turkey and Monaco have Customs Union agreements. And the UK has a strong hand to play: the EU exports twice as much in finished goods to the UK as we do to the EU – mainly Germany’s car giants, BMW and Mercedes.
This is utter dreamland. This is a fantasy third way, supposedly not in, supposedly out, but still completely under EU control as today. If the UK exits the EU, it leaves the Customs Union. If it negotiates to stay in the Customs Union then it is by default in the EU. Anything votes on trade matters on an ‘intra-governmental’ basis means internal… to the EU. This Tim Aker plan is cream cheese moon stuff. It is the world of barking cats.
A Customs Union is by definition a supranational entity because decion making is centralised and the ability of member states to strike independent trade deals is removed. One only needs to look at Turkey – out of the EU but in the Customs Union, where the decisions on trade agreements and tariffs are made in Brussels and handed down to Ankara to implement. That is not independence. In the Customs Union the trade deals and common tariffs are negotiated and struck by the EU on behalf of all member states and all member states have to apply them. That is where we already are today.
Vote UKIP for a brighter new yesterday is a phrase that becomes more accurate by the day.
There is no way a member state can go off and sign its own deals because all other member states in the Customs Union have to agree with it and adopt it. Anything else would mean there is no Customs Union at all – in effect the EU would be bringing itself to an end. Like that’s going to happen. Any legal matters in the Customs Union get resolved at the European level in Luxembourg, and under this staggeringly idiotic plan that would have to remain the same, which means the UK courts would not become supreme.
Following this plan, UKIP would be contradicting its own long stated aim for the UK to be outward looking and able to strike its own trade deals with other countries around the world on our own terms. It would be tearing up the notion of UK courts being the sole arbeiter of UK related matters. Its promises on immigration, to stop the free movement of people, could never be delivered. It would consign the UK to maintaining the status quo of trade agreements and tariffs being set for us rather than by us.
In short, if UKIP were to adopt this as policy then forget Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, UKIP would be the party of in. Their fantasy third way is delusional rubbish. And to think, UKIPpers look up to these idiots, laud them and declare I should be supporting and assisting them.
Nigel Farage told John Humphrys on Radio 4’s Today programme that he would do a deal with the devil to get an EU referendum. Why bother when UKIP is considering a plan that keeps the UK in the EU while only pretending to be independent? This isn’t a case of good ol’ Nige not doing some detail, this is a case of failing to understand the basics.
A policy of ‘out’ that really means ‘in’ should defy belief. But this is UKIP and no amount of crass stupidity should surprise anyone any longer. If you plan to vote UKIP because you want to leave the EU, you may want to think again.