NORWAY OR NO WAY

One more thought on the B-situation, and then, at least for a while, on to other things.

Norway’s relationship with the EU is a wonderful example of having your cake and eating it. And as we are the world’s champion compromisers, I have a feeling that this is where we might end up too, unless the pols have a rush of brains to the head and set up REF2 with new rules. And we, too, get real and vote to keep our membership in full.

Norway is not a member of the EU, but complies with EU directives on just about everything; pays into the EU and receives subsidies from it; generally behaves as though it is a member. Something like a golfer who does not want to join the club, but plays on the course all the time, paying fees for each round, and obeying all the local club rules. I am not quite sure why Norway has opted this out-but-not-out or in-but-not-in stance, but perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Norway is an immensely wealthy country, having husbanded its oil bonanza carefully and prudently. As against the UK, which appears to have sucked the oil tit dry, and is left oil-less, wondering what happened.

Norway has no presence on the EU Council, no direct influence on the Commission, and no membership of the Euro Parliament. On the latter, and in passing, I would have no problem if the Euro Parliament were to be dismantled, if only to throw the awful Farage out on his ear so that he has no elected status anywhere. And he could then kiss goodbye to the fat MEP salary and expenses he draws, and which we pay for, and he will never be elected to the British Commons.

When it became clear that Ref 1 had been lost to the Faragist Tendency, I made a prediction to my family. Britain will probably leave the EU by the front door with much ado and fanfare, and then very quietly creep back in via the back door, because a total withdrawal would, sooner or later, be considered suicide in the manner of the dope who sits on the wrong side of branch he is in the process of sawing off.

Image result for sawing off the branch you are sitting on

The difference, obviously, between Norway’s situation and ours is that Norway never joined the EU in the first place, and we have been members for 45 years. That makes a huge difference, and if we were to adopt the Norwegian model, we could never pretend that it fits perfectly. For one thing, the EU, pissed off with British arrogance and mass stupidity, might tell us to get lost. The EU, after all, is under no obligation to treat us according to what we want. It would have to be a negotiation, and we all know that negotiating with the EU is not a cakewalk.

I have been talking to people in France, Germany and Belgium. To a man and woman, they ask me what we think we are doing. And they ask the question sadly, with pained expressions. One of them said, “You’ll be sorry if you actually leave. You are as much Europeans as we are, and we need you to keep behaving that way.”

QED

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