The single market is the key weapon in the Remainers’ counter-revolution strategy

The single market is the key weapon in the Remainers’ counter-revolution strategy

Britain’s decision-making process is decided by mood rather than any assessment of the national interest. We joined the EU in a mood of despair about our prospects. We voted to come out because of a mood of dissatisfaction about the results. Now Remainers see hope in the uncertainty produced by the general election result. In fact the election was about austerity and had little to do with Brexit, but it weakened Theresa May. The Unrepentant Remainers are now seizing that as a new point of attack, encouraged by a surge of optimism within the EU caused by economic recovery coupled with Macronmania.

Their first demand that we vote again hasn’t worked, so Remainers have decided to play a longer game by using both developments to persuade Britain that Brexit is so impossibly difficult with our government weak so and the EU so strong, that we’ll have to crawl back in despair and dejection or face decline, isolation and possibly eternal damnation.

That’s the counter-revolution. The demand to stay in the single market is its key weapon. It shackles us to high immigration, excessive payments, agricultural protectionism and a constant drain of tax revenues to tax fiddles in Dublin and Luxembourg. It prevents us helping industries and running effective industrial and regional policies, but it provides a nice hidey-hole to our flagging industry which is too timorous to compete on a world scale.

Remaining in the Single Market would be much the same as staying in the EU but impossible to achieve unless the EU agrees to change the rules. Which it won’t. Which makes it the perfect weapon. We can beat our heads against a brick wall for two years then be forced to give up in despair and crawl back to the EU’s less-than-loving embrace to sit on a naughty step somewhere on the periphery.

I can see why Britain’s vested interests and Euro-pensioners want to stay in. But the Single Market’s vaunted benefits are pretty thin. Our trade deficit with it runs at £50 billion. The other costs of being in – its membership fees and the costs of the CAP – are a further £20 billion or so. That’s a massive drain on our economy, though Remainers have no proposals for improving our performance and industry doesn’t understand that with a competitive currency we can easily overleap a common external tariff averaging around 3%. The only real gainers are in the City of London.

The second set of myths – that the EU is en marche, with inconvenient populists and Theresa May put back in their kennels and growth reviving – is equally vacuous. The EU is built on mirages and constantly needs new myths to keep members happy but this new one will be less than the last, on the birth of the Euro. EU tails are up, Theresa’s is down and that gives them the incentive to be even tougher. Nice words about how they love us, but nasty consequences if we go.

The EU is certainly doing better thanks to the ephemeral effects of the Euro Bank’s massive money printing. Yet the hopes triggered by New Macron, New Europe can only be realised by further centralisation to make the Euro work. This is unlikely. The Euro is structured to benefit Germany and force austerity on the weaker economies. Germany won’t rush to give up that. Nor will it redistribute its huge trade surpluses draining the weaker members. And us.

The new optimism doesn’t help Greece or Italy and any improvement will be confined to strengthening the Eurozone which won’t benefit Britain. So if we stayed we’d be even more peripheral, with no chance of returning to the vaunted position of influence Remainers promise. The EU is ever-ready to help new members and finance the transfer of British jobs to Poland, at our expense, but offers nothing to failed prodigals slinking back because they’ve lost confidence in themselves.