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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Alex Singleton on how Britain should follow Greenland’s example and leave the EU

Singleton’s conclusion:

… it is not just fish where the EU is damaging us, but in financial services, manufacturing – indeed, its ever-increasing regulations impose unnecessary costs across the whole of our economy. Greenland, which retains free trade with the EU, shows that we can have the benefits of European exports, without the costs of its diktats. It’s surely time that we, too, said goodbye to Brussels.

Okay, cards on the table, Singleton is a sometime Samizdatista and a good friend of mine. But more pertinently, he is one of those free marketeers who is, unlike many of our breed, highly sensitive to mood, to atmospheres, to appearances, superficialities, surface trends, straws in the wind, stylistic nuances. He may not always be right about who is hot or who is cool (as opposed to merely who is right), but he is always thinking about such things. He is, after all, a paid journalist working for a major British broadsheet newspaper, who is trusted by that newspaper with editorial as well as writing responsibilities. When he writes stuff, he is typically wearing a suit. He is, in other words, the exact opposite of your typical old grump UKIPer. The significance of this piece of his about Greenland and the EU is not just in what it says, but in its timing. If Singleton reckons that now is a good time to be saying such things, that says something to me, as in something else besides what he is actually saying.

As still current Samizdatista Johnathan Pearce has often said here in recent months, especially in comments, something important just might be stirring in little old Blighty. It’s as if “we”, whoever exactly we are, have been sitting on our hands, waiting for Gordon Brown to depart, and then waiting to see how David Cameron would turn out (given that his mere words communicate so very little). Now we are beginning to learn, and now we are beginning to find our voices and to exert some actual pressure.

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11 comments to Alex Singleton on how Britain should follow Greenland’s example and leave the EU

  • Norway and Switzerland have similar status to Greenland: absence of trade barriers with no federal (political) union. They got it right at the start.

    If politicians are allowed get things wrong, and then put them right, why cannot the whole of the UK?

    Best regards

  • Norway and Sweden are part of the political union; in that they have to implement most EU policies, and pay significant annual payments, but just do not have a seat on the comission, or send MEPs to Brussels.

    The Norwegian Prime Minister went so far as to call it a “fax democracy” — all he does is wait by the fax machine for the next piece of Legislation.

    This Wikipedia diagram summarises the situation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Supranational_European_Bodies.png

    It is not Norway and Sweden in the EEA we want to be like, but Switzerland in the EFTA and Schengen. Free trade and easy international travel, no fees and no loss of sovereignty.

  • That’s quite a nice Venn diagram linked by Sconzey. Here is a key to the flags, for those who (like me) cannot remember them all.

    As he points out, it is very complicated: but neither Norway nor Switzerland have ‘delegated’ upwards, non-economic aspects of national sovereignty (and not many of those that are economic but not strictly trade, though more for Norway than Switzerland). I’m not quite sure why he mentions Sweden.

    Best regards

  • Johnathan Pearce

    As Brian says, it is now increasingly thinkable among those who think of themselves as sophisticated, worldly and “connected” to doubt whether the euro, for example, can survive in its present form. The same now applies to climate change – being a skeptic is no longer the kiss of death in quite as many social settings as it might have been as little as two years ago. It may pain us to realise that ideas spread not because they are right, but because they are “cool”, or “acceptable”, but that is what happens a lot of the time.

    Come to that, I wonder how long it will be before the same process of opinion shifting applies to the idea of genuine markets in banking and money?

    How about “Honest money: think of the children”. (aaaarrggggghh!!!!)

  • Paul Marks

    When an individual or association (company or whatever) exports stuff to a person or group in an E.U. member state the goods have to obey E.U. regulations.

    This is the same for goods exported from Outer Mongolia – or from BRITAIN.

    Goods sold by someone in Norway to someone not in an E.U. State do NOT have to obey E.U. regulations.

    Unlike goods produced in Britain (for domestic sale or for sale to someone outside the E.U.) which DO.

    So exactly who has the “fax Democracy” Mr Prime Minister of Norway?

    There is a common mistake of confusing governments with peoples (one I would have hoped libertarians could avoid). The Prime Minister of Norway in question does not care about individual freedom or the freedom of the people of Norway in general – no doubt the person would sell them out in a heartbeat if he thought they would not vote him down.

    It is much the same in Switzerland.

    The government there would love to crush what remains of Swiss Democracy (and individual freedom also) by shoving the country into the E.U. – but it knows it would lose a vote, so it tries to do the same thing via the back door. Agreeing to treaties on “anti discrimination” and so on (all very nice sounding – at least to people who do not know that the “anti discrimination” doctrine is not compatible with freedom of association, or freedom of contract), but now the Swiss are being told that they can not deport foreign criminals.

    “Oh you voted to deport the criminals, in spite of a vast tax money propaganda campaign and near monopoly of the media, – sorry that violates the doctrine of anti discrimination…..”

    If Norway or Switzerland really had a “fax machine democracy” the ministers of these countries would NOT mention it – because that is exactly what they want.

    They want to be part of the big club – to go to conference meetings and be seen as part of an international elite (which they have been taught to see themselves as part of – right from school and university).

    As neither individual freedom or national independence have any value for such folk – they toss them away with a light heart (and lie about it also – as with the Prime Minister of Norway, who wanted a fax machine regime, and so pretended it already existed, in order to then make the argument “so we must join the E.U. in order to have INFLUENCE…..” at a later date).

    Bottom line:

    The elite are evil – they are just plain bad people.

    Till that basic fact is grasped politics can not be understood.

    Greenland shows that leaving the E.U. is possible – and Britain and all other members of the E.U. should leave at once.

  • Rob

    Great comment from PM.

    Slightly off topic so skip if not interested:

    As a sheep farmer we have just had the most rediculous change to sheep identification possible, barring a morning register or roll call out in the fields.

    A few years ago we had to tag our sheep in the ear to mark which farm it came from. Where ever that sheep ended up they know which farm it came from. A couple of years ago it chaged to two identical tags – one in each ear (nice doubling of profits for the tag makers of the EU although I’m sure they woudn’t lobby for such things).

    Then came electronic tags costing about £1 each instead of 15p (nice 600% increase in turn over for the tag makers there).

    Now, not only does each and every sheep need its own individual number (rather than the farm flock number) but on the movement forms you now have to list every single ear number on the movement form. So we have to fill in 200 lines and read the muddy eartags on 200 sheep before they go to market – Unless you buy and e-reader wand for about £2,500 then you can just do it electronically – guess who makes them?!

    But guess what they are only 98% accurate so for and average store market there can be up to 1000 lambs passing through that never get recorded. That is jsut one market in one week. Expand that over the whole country and that is a lot of sheep now pretty much untraceable. Wait for the shit storm when we get the next disease outbreak and can’t trace the movements properly. Who do you think will get the blame for this?

    However, You wont here a peep out of the farming unions who are too scared that their subsidies will be cut.

    Just another great EU success story.

  • nemesis

    Rob, I am just waiting for the day when they put electronic tags in our ears !

  • when they come to tag MY ear, they better have projectile weapons.

  • Laird

    Back (somewhat closer, if still a little O/T) to the original post, I see that the US is backing (politically and financially) an expanded Financial Stability Fund to support the Euro. In other words, now we’re bailing out Europe with more money we don’t have.

    We are soooo screwed.

  • Stuart

    Paul Marks seems to have a very accurate view of those who govern us. Despite many of these people swearing to uphold the constitutions of their nations and serve their people, they would do the exact opposite if given the chance. That is where the likes of Switzerland have it right. The people must have the right to put these dogs back in their kennels, and not have to wait up to five years for the next election.

    I noticed a long time back that those nations in Europe but not in the EU are put under pressure. If the EU were run by Hitler, he would have already invaded, but we live in a more civilised world where trade and economics are used as weapons. And the political leaders are offered a nice cosy club where democracy isn’t such an incumbrance. The EU is pure evil.