Time to Say No: Alternatives to EU Membership Paperback – 17 Oct 2011
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About the Author
Ian Milne has been the Director of the cross-party think-tank Global Britain since 1999. He was the founder-editor (in 1993) of The European Journal, and the co-founder (in 1995) and first editor of eurofacts. He is the translator of Europe s Road to War, by Paul-Marie Coûteaux, and the author of numerous pamphlets, articles and book reviews, mainly about the relationship between the UK and the European Union. His most recent publications are A Cost Too Far? (Civitas, July 2004), an analysis of the net economic costs and benefits for the UK of EU membership; Backing the Wrong Horse (Centre for Policy Studies, December 2004), a review of the UK s global trading arrangements and options for the future; and Lost Illusions: British Foreign Policy (The Bruges Group, December 2007), which assesses UK foreign policy since 1945 and suggests how it could become more effective. He graduated in engineering from Cambridge University and in business administration from Cranfield. His business career was in industry and merchant banking in the UK, France and Belgium.
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The book is worth reading for its short but authoritative stating of these arguments. But I will now explain why it is generally useless. Mr Milne imagines a referendum, in June 2014, on British membership of the EU. He imagines this will go in favour of withdrawal, and that the governing and opposition parties work harmoniously together, and with the EU institutions, for a phased two year withdrawal as required by the Treaty of Lisbon. After this, the country can be free again to govern itself.
The problem with this scenario is that its main assumption is absurd. This country is not ultimately governed from Brussels. We are not victims of foreign control. It is a false belief that our own liberal and therefore benign institutions have been checked by the European Commission, and that leaving the EU will have much the same effect as removing a stone from a horse's hoof. The truth is that, just as before 1973, this country is governed from London, and by our own ruling class. All that EU membership has achieved is to help make the exercise of power by this ruling class less accountable.Read more ›
In his foreword, Lord Vinson writes, “If one cannot change regulations through elected representatives then democracy is in denial. If you cannot sack those who rule you, you no longer have sovereignty.
“This is the Britain we know today. We must reverse it. Like other countries, we could manage perfectly well outside Europe: we are a global trading nation. Britain must discover that democracy means self-governance and that self-governance only works with national independence.
“In every respect we would be better off out.”
Milne writes, “A country doesn’t need to be in the EU to sell to the EU. The USA, for example, not in the EU, sells more to the EU than the UK does, without paying a cent to Brussels or imposing an ounce of EU regulation on the US economy. The EFTA countries, not in the EU, export a higher proportion of their worldwide exports to the EU than does the UK.”
“On withdrawal, the EU would continue to trade with the UK. EU-26’s biggest single customer worldwide is the UK, and EU-26 sells far more to the UK than it imports from the UK. Under Articles 3, 8 and 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU is constitutionally obliged to negotiate ‘free and fair trade’ with non-EU countries - which it does. Besides, discriminating against exports would be illegal under the rules of the World Trade Organisation.”
The Lisbon Treaty obliges the EU to reach an agreement with any member-state that wishes to withdraw. Its Article 50 says: “Any Member-State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements ...Read more ›