How do we know the UK government will adopt this position?
Another frequently expressed concern regarding the market solution is; how do we know that if we leave the EU the government will adopt this position? If we accept that this is the most sensible route, how can we trust the government to be sensible? Is the government not so often incompetent? Can they not be relied upon to make a mess of our exit and muddle into an undesirable post-Brexit situation?
Again, this is a matter of realistic politics and needs to be analysed within that context. In the event of a Leave vote in a referendum the government will look to the Civil Service to propose the most sensible way forward. This isn’t just a matter for MP’s and the Cabinet to argue over, they will ask staff at Whitehall to make Brexit a reality. The finest minds in the Civil Service will be tasked with proposing the most risk-free, economically safe method of extracting the UK from the EU. Having already done some analytical groundwork, they will have already concluded that that the Brexit process is complex and, if mishandled, potentially very risky indeed.
This balance of competence is a prime example of the extremely high quality report that we can expect, the product of intelligent minds and forensic, balanced analysis based on political realities, not ideology, emotion or ideals. Exactly the same consultation process will be undertaken in the event of a Leave vote, thus we can expect a pragmatic and reasonable approach that will produce a report that suggest the safest and most reasonable option.
They will guide the government to the “path of least resistance” and propose, in the first instance, a model that as close as possible replicates the benefits currently enjoyed as an EU member and accords with current government objectives, which is to enhance trade with EU member states and protect access to the Single Market. Of all the options that retain Single Market access (of which there are several which I will analyse in due course in a future posts) EFTA membership and trade through the EEA is clearly the most beneficial and easiest to negotiate. It offers by far the easiest and smoothest transition, secures the economy, and minimises the disruption of what is unavoidably a major geopolitical event.
Despite cynicism, the British Civil service is one of the finest in the world, and those formulating the best course of action will be intelligent, risk averse and knowledgeable; they will look to exactly what the market solution proposes, de-risk leaving the EU, protect the economy and maintain the highest levels of stability possible. They will conclude that secession must be done in stages, and in the first instance a “soft landing” is necessary. Anything else is economically risky, and politically impossible as the City, UK business, and the EU would not tolerate it, and would warn against it.
To de-risk Brexit, protect our economy, secure an agreement promptly, and win the referendum; the market solution is the answer.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty