Wednesday 30 January 2019

Is it too late for the Norway option (NOT Norway Plus)?

Last night Theresa May received from the House of Commons an appropriately nebulous instruction to renegotiate the backstop. Today the EU said that the withdrawal agreement cannot be reopened and there are no alternative arrangements to the backstop. Jean-Claude Juncker told Theresa May the backstop could be renegotiated if Britain were to enter into a customs union with the EU but in that case the backstop would not be needed.

The obvious solution, for the time being, is the Norway option, i.e. entering the European Economic Area if Norway and Iceland would have us, or creating our own replica of the EEA just for us if they won't (they are certainly not keen).

We could do as Norway and Switzerland do. They are in the single market but not in the customs union. They are free to levy tariffs on European goods and diverge from the EU on regulations, but in practice do not. And in practice if we trade with Europe we shall have to obey the EU's rules anyway. Norway's agricultural produce does pay a tariff and her agriculture and crucially her fisheries are beyond the EU's greedy fingers.

After that we can discuss whether to remain like Norway - and Norwegians are very happy with their status and made clear in two referendums that they do not want to join the EU. But so long as we replicate EU regulations and levy no tariffs we do not need a visible border in Ireland - not that a visible border should matter.

But I am talking about Norway, NOT Norway Plus which means joining the customs union and being unable to make trade deals.

Mrs May's idea of a bespoke deal is a terrible one. If we guarantee to pay the Europeans £39 billion (they only have a good claim to about half of that, by the way) and negotiate a bespoke deal France has said she will not allow our fisheries to be closed to European fishermen.

Yes the Norway option means allowing free movement of Europeans (why does the EU insist on this?) but is this such a problem nowadays? Britain will in any case have large Eastern European ethnic minorities for eternity, which is a very long time. And although the numbers of immigrants who came were far, far too big, Eastern Europeans on the whole are model immigrants. We can instead of excluding Europeans exclude non- Europeans.


  1. David Campbell Bannerman on GATT + Article 24. Lets Go WTO!

  2. Some words of wisdom in the middle of the Brexit mess came from an Australian friend who has worked in government and recently passed through London. “There is no complex task that government cannot present as simple if it wants to do it,” she said. “And no simple task that government cannot make too complex if it does not want to do it.”

    1. Very good. I love him. I liked this:

      In recent months I have been trying to put my finger on a term to describe one of the fallacies which many people today seem to have imbibed. It is something like this: “I know how I would have acted in history because I know how history went.” To give the obvious example, everybody knows that they would have been in the resistance if they had been French in the 1940s and would have assassinated Hitler the moment they saw him if they were German or anyone else. And yet people in history did not know what we know, and it seems to me that the lack of recognition of that simple fact is one of the causes of our current unforgiving attitude towards the past.

      Living through history makes it far easier to understand that nobody ever has much of a clue. My own explanation for the confusion and mess of the last few years has been that there are now too many variables at play to make any meaningful predictions. Human beings, with their failings, hidden motives and personal ambitions, were always the most obvious scrambling device. Then there are the different elements in any negotiation which look solid in the abstract but in reality are like juggling mercury. And now we have to deal with the added scrambling device of the media and social media.

  3. Whether you are for or against Brexit, it seems to me, that what is lacking is any kind of vision of the future. What will Britain's role and source of advantage in the world?

    1. A very, very good point. Had we a Prime Minister who believed in Leave he would have supplied what President George H W Bush called the vision thing. At the moment, and since the present Prime Minister pulled the alarm cord of Article 50, we have been talking tactics, not strategy, technique not artistic vision.

      Neither you nor I liked Mrs Thatcher but she, in her prime, would be a wonderful person to have in charge at this moment.

      The future all depends on our relationship with the EU. If we become Norway we are bound to regulatory equivalence and cannot be Singapore, low-regulation competitor to the continent. Mrs May would hate that anyway and so I think would the electors who have become very statist.

      Why did we not use a threat to leave Nato to help us negotiate a deal? Why do we stay in Nato?

    2. Why do we stay in Nato?

      Because your elites are both evil and stupid. And the British people are stupid. They'd be terrified at the thought of leaving NATO. If Britain did that then at any moment the Russian hordes would come swarming over the frontier and there'd be Cossacks in Trafalgar Square.

      The British people are extraordinarily gullible. They still live in a fantasy world where Britain is a Great Power and still has a mighty empire. You're still hanging on to Gibraltar. For pity's sake why? It's hard to think of any place less vital to Britain's interests in the 21st century. Except maybe the Falkland Islands. The British are delusional. NATO feeds those delusions.

    3. I was in Gibraltar recently and surprised to learn that both the British army and Royal Navy have left. Nevertheless its strategic importance is obvious.

    4. Back before the Falklands War I remember Woodrow Wyatt saying that there was probably oil in the waters around the islands.

    5. I was in Gibraltar recently and surprised to learn that both the British army and Royal Navy have left. Nevertheless its strategic importance is obvious.

      Its strategic importance to Spain and perhaps to other Mediterranean nations is obvious. Its strategic importance to Britain is zero. The Kiel Canal is of great strategic importance, to Germany. It has no strategic importance to Italy. It's the same with Gibraltar.

      I'm not surprised that the Army and Navy have left. That's so typically British. We're not going to pay to defend the place but we still want it because having it means we're still an Empire. It's the kind of brilliant strategic thinking that led to the disaster at Singapore. If you want an Empire you have to pay for its defence.

      Britain needs to accept that the Empire is gone forever, and it's Britain's own fault. You should never have made that catastrophic alliance with the French before WW1. What possessed Britain to trust the French? No sane person trusts the French.

    6. Yet the British empire was bigger at the end of WWI than at the start.

      Actually, the real point of no return was the decision not to ally with an Anglophile Germany in the 1930s. We looked a gift horse in the mouth and this was the downfall of the British Empire, of Britain and the Germanic races.

      We passed up the chance of a Pax Britannicus-Germanicus that would have been unrivalled and unchallengeable. With Germany as an ally British politicians would have been emboldened to take a more hardline less defeatist and less liberal attitude towards colonial affairs. Indian nationalists crushed, communist throughout the world rooted out and eliminated. Of course with the defeat of the Soviet Union communism would have withered and died very quickly and thus would have the “independence” movements.

      Britain and Europe would now be an unrivalled economic powerhouse experiencing an unparallelled burst of healthy creativity and optimism looking outside Europe for places to expand our population. Britain would have been best placed to exploit this with our boundless colonial territories.

      Africa would have been further developed into a breadbasket and provider of raw materials under British rule. The Races of the world would have been comfortable within their natural places with the Nordic-Celtic at the top ; that lean, fair rugged race with its tendency towards rufosity dominating the world with its light-eyed gaze - and rightly so. It is the natural order of things in a world shorn of perversion.

    7. Still pushing the old white is best rubbish Mr Wood.


    8. David I just read this. I am not prompt at reading comments. It was completely impossible for us to have allied with Hitler and to have remained allied to him while he tore up treaties and undid the settlement we and our allies imposed, even though we were unable to defend that settlement with Russia outside the European system of alliances. Even remaining neutral would have been very difficult. I do not know why D accuses me of pushing 'the old white is best rubbish' or what that means.

  4. I prefer the Asian immigrants in general to those Romanians whom descended on the local shopping area and turned it into a broken down dump.
    Pick pocketing and shop lifting destroyed a thriving shopping area.
    Now every other ethnic group is desperate to escape Ilford due to those louts.

    1. Well I’ve got good news for you. Non-European immigration is at its highest levels since 2004. Though I don’t think many Britons who voted to leave the EU expected that their race replacement would speed up even more.

    2. 'Now every other ethnic group is desperate to escape Ilford'

      I believe you...

      16 January 2019
      Rafiullah Niazi had been working in Cranbrook Road phone shop, Khan Communication, when a vicious attack broke out in Ilford Cash and Carry next door.

      Footage shows a 19-year-old being chased into the shop by two hooded thugs moments after he walks to the till to buy a couple of drinks.

      One is seen carrying a machete while the other appears to be carrying a smaller blade.

      “There was just blood everywhere,” Rafiullah told the Recorder.

      CCTV footage shows the moment knife-wielding thugs attack a customer in Ilford cash and carry.

      He believes the incident was related to rival gangs who frequently deal drugs near the bus stops outside his shop, although he does not recognise any of those involved, and said that these type of incidents have become “normal in Ilford”.

      More from Ilford Recorder, Crime & Court section:

      Ilford drive-by shooting: Armed police chase group of men
      Friday, December 14, 2018
      Several shots were fired at a car.
      Armed police chased a group of men in a car after a drive-by shooting in Ilford.

      ‘Ring of steel’ around Redbridge: £1.5m CCTV cameras installed to fight crime
      Thursday, December 20, 2018
      Residents were petrified to live in their own homes at the beginning of 2018 after a spike in violent burglaries which saw new incidents reported almost daily.

      ‘Security guard’ mugs 90-year-old woman in Barkingside home
      Friday, December 21, 2018
      A man claiming to be a supermarket security guard violently robbed a 90-year-old woman in the doorway of her Barkingside home.

      Redbridge stabbing: Brave teen helps saves boy’s life
      Thursday, December 27, 2018
      A courageous 14-year-old saved the life of a stranger who had been stabbed in Redbridge.

      Thursday, January 3, 2019
      Ninety-eight per cent of vehicle crime in Redbridge has gone unsolved over the past three years.

      Monday, January 7, 2019
      Three men have been convicted of ambushing a Barking man and beating him to death with garden shears and pickaxe handles in an Ilford town centre revenge attack.

      Friday, January 11, 2019
      London Bridge terrorist Khuram Butt was able to plan the attack from Ilford despite being under MI5 surveillance, a pre-inquest has heard.

      Saturday, January 12, 2019
      Lyndon Davis was stabbed to death in Chadwell Heath. Picture: Met Police
      A sixth youth has been charged with the murder of a teenager who was stabbed to death in Chadwell Heath

      Friday, January 25, 2019
      Jailed: Three family members including Chadwell Heath man sent to prison for owning Islamic State propaganda


    4. Now I get it... It's the Gypsies begging on Oxford Street and in Mayfair and Marylebone that ruined Ilford's otherwise 'thriving shopping area'.

    5. The important immigration statistic for non-EU citizens is the statistic for people given the right to settle. There were 63,941 grants of settlement to non-EEA migrants in 2017 according to the Oxford University Migration Observatory. This was an overall decrease of 73% since the 2010 peak, though there was a 5% increase in grants of settlement from 2016 to 2017

  5. We can instead of excluding Europeans exclude non- Europeans.

    Do you honestly think there's the slightest chance of a British government, Labour or Tory, doing that? If they can't import Europeans they will want to import lots and lots and lots of non-Europeans. Almost certain at the highest rates in history.

    To exclude non-Europeans you'd need a British government that puts Britain first. You haven't had that for at least a century. It's not going to happen.

    Your own British elites are far more evil than even the EU elites.

    1. Neither elites are evil but horribly mistaken. Left-wing post 1960 Christianity has much to answer for and exhaustion and egalitarianism. Most of all the continual meditation on the Nazis.

  6. The important immigration statistic for non-EU citizens is the statistic for people given the right to settle. There were 63,941 grants of settlement to non-EEA migrants in 2017 according to the Oxford University Migration Observatory. This was an overall decrease of 73% since the 2010 peak, though there was a 5% increase in grants of settlement from 2016 to 2017.