Fringe Benefits?

The British government has a website in which it aims to explain, “Why the Government believes we should remain”:

The government puts a misleading (spin-doctor-dishonest?) twist on the UK’s opt-outs, giving a headline to “The UK’s special status”.

The UK Government has negotiated a new settlement with the EU ahead of the referendum. The Government believes this deal gives the UK within the EU the best of both worlds.”

The UK: will not join the euro, will keep its own border controls, will not be part of further European integration, will limit access to its welfare system, has a commitment to reduce EU red tape. This give Britain a special status?

Each of these opt-outs implicitly acknowledges a weakness in the EU. The government does not want to make these weaknesses explicit but seeks to assure us that seeing off some of the core aims of the Union makes the UK “stronger, safer and better off in a reformed EU” and claims that the UK now plays “a leading role in determining the rules that govern [the Single Market]”.

In a sleight of hand the government links Britain’s opt-outs to “a reformed EU”. The truth is that Britain has opted out because the EU has not been reformed.

The government does not explain how an opted-out Britain can “play a leading role”. Of course they want us to believe this – but of course we’re not that stupid, are we?

The British economy is stronger than that of the eurozone. Britain may be called on to give financial assistance to members which have suffered economically from failures of the common currency regime.

Hodgson 2

In football a trainer waits on the sidelines to assist players who get injured in the course of the game. The trainer is neither a player nor a spectator. The government describes the EU equivalent as having “the best of both worlds”. The trainer is in neither world and does not play a leading role, though he may once have  wanted to be a player.


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