The Leave Plan

Lots of people complain that the Leave Campaign in the EU referendum hasn’t put forward a plan for what we do after brexit. So, just to settle that question, here is the 100% official Leave Plan*.

We won’t be doing any Article 50 nonsense. We’re repudiating a treaty, why not just say so? Instead we will push through an act of parliament to do the following:

  1. Repeal the European Community Act entirely, and any other acts or sections of acts the HoC library can find that gives EU law effect in the UK.
  2. Repudiate all EU and proto-EU treaties, formally ending our membership of the EU, the EAA, and the Council of Europe.
  3. Strengthen the Human Rights Act. First by requiring the relevant parliamentary committee to meet, take evidence, and publish a report after any declaration of incompatibility. Second by requiring the Speaker to make time after this report for at least an hour of debate on the motion that the relevant lines(s), clause(s), section(s), or act(s) be repealed. Third by permitting the Supreme Court to issue an injunction preventing the government from applying the incompatible law until this motion is defeated.
  4. Make the jurisprudence of the ECHR and the ECJ invalid precedent in UK courts. Make previous judgments that have depended on such precedents also invalid precedent. Standard common law rules of interpretation will guide what the rights protected by the Human Rights Act are.
  5. Grant all persons physically present in the UK on 23rd of June indefinite leave to remain.
  6. Confirm that the current visa regime remains in place until explicitly replaced, freedom of movement from the EU remains provisionally.
  7. Amend the Fixed Term Parliaments Act to make the date for the next election the 1st Thursday in May 2017. This gives all parties time to make their policies on a wide range of former EU competencies clear and give a new parliamentary mandate to the considerable reforms made in our laws.
  8. Allow by SI any EU regulation to be added to a schedule of provisional regulations. These will remain in force until 2020, by which point they must all be replaced by standalone acts. The regulation must be quoted in full in the SI and amendments made to it elsewhere will not become part of UK law.
  9. Amend the Scotland Act to make it clear that holding referenda on constitutional matters is a reserved power held by the UK government only.

Some argue the UK is too weak to negotiate trade deals, we dispute this, but we will not be negotiating any trade deals. We are unilateralists in the trade war. A second act of parliament will:

  1. Abolish all tariffs and customs duties for international trade unconditionally.
  2. Pay a 90% subsidy to any company to pay for getting their product independently certified as conforming to the standards of some other nation.
  3. Unless specific UK laws apply to the article, permit for sale in the UK all goods which are fit for sale according to the standards of any of a list of nations (initially the IMF list of “Advanced Economies”) amendable by SI.
  4. Permit for sale in the UK any imported article which, if it were produced in the UK, would be permitted for sale.
  5. Make miscellaneous provisions for country of origin and national standards labelling.

The chancellor will issue an emergency budget within a month to replace from central funds all EU funding like for like. The reminder of our contribution will be used to cover contingencies and transitional arrangements, and to lower corporation taxes.

* ok so obviously not really. But that’s kind of my point here.

There is not, and never can be a “Leave Plan” because there is no “Leave Party” campaigning for political power. This is what I’d do. It’s never going to happen because parliament doesn’t agree with me.

But likewise Nigel Farage’s plan is never going to happen because parliament is doesn’t agree with him. Even Boris’s plan is rather moot. He has to get it through a europhile majority house of commons. And *that* assumes the parliamentary Tory party makes the mistake of putting him on the leadership ballot.

What happens after we leave is unknown, just like what happens after an election. A parliament will meet, it will have views, it will enact things. What things? Who knows, maybe bad things. But I’ll vote my MP out if they are.

What happens if we remain is also unknown. Will the Protocol of Frankfurt by pushed forward? Will the Five Presidents report? Will the same tactics as were used with the Lisbon Treaty be used to push these measures forward against the will of many of the peoples of Europe? Who knows. Damned if I know what to do if they are.

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Why I will vote Leave.

I’ve written this and re-written this so many times. Here goes one last attempt.

People are surprised I’m a Eurosceptic. I’m liberal, I’m not a racist, I’m well educated, I’m cosmopolitan. Why am I on Nigel Farage’s team?

I am not now, nor have I ever been “on Nigel Farage’s team”.

TL;DR – This isn’t about which team is better, brexiters are awful people, they happen to be right. The EU doesn’t help protect important values in the UK. Migration is great, but not enough to justify the EU. Nations having different laws according to their own preferences is good.

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Greece, the EU, and civilisation

That’s the good thing about Europe. It doesn’t matter if we lose a country, lots more where that came from.

I’ve been reading Guns, Germs, and Steel recently after apparently independently inventing one of its conclusions. Jared Diamond argues the whole thesis far better than I could, but he doesn’t flesh out this particular sub-idea much, so I thought I might.

Right now Greece is exploding. They’ve just elected a government that borders on the delusional, they have impossible debts, they are likely to soon fall to either an EU backed civilian coup or to a psudo civil war. In sort, things right now are not great. It’s likely the Greeks will be poor for a long time.

Countries explode every now and again, it’s inevitable in any large complex system which can fail. And you hardly have to cast your mind to find examples. France in 1793, Russia in 1917, prohibition era USA, the Cultural Revolution in China. And that’s only focusing on recent history, we can think of the Crisis of the Third Century in Roman history or the An Lushan Rebellion in Chinese. What matters in civilisations is not preventing such things (that implies rather unpleasant amounts of stasis) but in dealing with it gracefully when one of the states that make up your civilisation explodes.

That is one of the great defining features of Europe over the last few millennia. You can’t destroy all of European civilisation in one explosion. Napoleon and Hitler were terrible for the lands they conquered, but Europe survived easily. Even the Romans couldn’t unite  Europe enough for their loss to be devastating. When the Western Empire fell the East was still there, still flourishing. When the East finally fell to the Turks Italy was there happy to take up its bounty of books and skills.

Compare this to China, where their entire civilisation was overhauled by Mao’s insanity. Taiwan is an outpost of the old China, but one that was too small and weak to rekindle the old civilisation when the Great Leap Forward had devastated so much.

Had a Greek Mao arisen he would no doubt have destroyed Greece in just as effective a way as he destroyed China. But not the whole of Europe. The Scots would have survived. The Greeks who flead to the safety of Finland would have kept old Greek literature and customs alive. That would have made starting the old country up again after the explosion much more easy.

This is one of the big problems I have with projects like the federal US and the EU. Yes you can get much much more done like that. But you’re making the outcomes in far flung places correlate with each other. Which means the chance of a disaster happening to all of them at once slowly creeps up.

If the Greeks blow their economy up that’s sad for them, but the thousands of expats all over Europe can return and restore something like the old country afterwards. If the EU blows up its economy you’re suddenly reliant on the Swiss to get your whole continent out of trouble. And not even Swiss banks have that much gold.

By making the EU act as insurance against the failure of nation states you make it more likely that any given state will survive, but also more likely that all Europe will go up in flames. And I don’t think that’s a trade worth making.