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10 questions Leave campaigners haven’t answered

by Jack Schickler | 13.06.2016

A vote to leave the EU would dislocate our economic and political arrangements. David Cameron would almost certainly have to resign. Boris Johnson would probably replace him.

Vote Leave has said that that, if we quit, we would also leave the EU’s single market and stop EU citizens having an automatic right to come to Britain. Beyond that, there are giant question marks. Here are ten.

1. How would they control migrant numbers?

Vote Leave says it would introduce an Australian points system to cut net migration to the tens of thousands. But it also says it wants more migrants from outside the EU. Given that net migration from outside the EU is already 188,000, how would it square this circle?

2. How would they protect “expats” and tourists?

Presumably the 1.2 million Brits already officially living elsewhere in the EU would be allowed to stay. But they could see their rights curtailed. What about British citizens who go abroad part-time, like Brits who summer in Spain, but officially still live in Britain? And would tourists need visas to visit the continent, as Dominic Raab, the justice minister, has suggested?

3. How would they keep Scotland in the UK?

If the UK votes to leave and Scotland votes to remain, would Johnson or whoever is prime minister allow the Scots a second referendum on independence? And, if so, how would he persuade them to stay given that many of the spurious arguments for Britain leaving the EU could be redeployed by Scottish nationalists as reasons for quitting the UK?

4. Would the Irish border be closed?

Pro-Brexit Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers says not, but her Vote Leave colleague Nigel Lawson disagrees. It’s hard to see how we could stop EU migrants entering the UK if the border remained open – as EU citizens could then just hop on a plane to Dublin and cross into the UK. On the other hand, closing the border would damage Northern Ireland’s economy and, possibly, the peace process too.

5. How could we work with the rest of the EU on foreign policy?

The EU has stood up to Russian aggression in Crimea by imposing sanctions and is trying to push forward a peace process in Syria. Would we want to continue with those initiatives and, if so, how?

6. How would we fight terror and international crime?

EU membership gives us vital weapons against terror, cyber crime and human trafficking such as Europol, the European Arrest Warrant, the European criminal records system and the Schengen Information System for illegal immigration. How would we keep access to these?

7. Would they try to break up the EU?

Brexiteers, such as Gove, don’t just want to leave the EU, they want to break it up. It’s possible that Brexit could trigger such an unravelling. This could destabilise our neighbourhood.

8. How would they react to falling tax revenues?

Most economic forecasts suggest Brexit would hit the economy and create a hole in the public finances. How would Vote Leave then stick to its promises to match current EU funding for farmers, scientists and poor regions of the UK? Would it cut spending in other areas, push up taxes or increase borrowing?

9. How would they conduct divorce negotiations?

We would struggle to get a good deal with the EU, given we need them more than they need us. Would we still be EU members in 2020, as Michael is Gove believes? Would we really get our way by blackmail, vetoing all EU decisions until they give us what we want – as Gove has argued?

10. What trade deals would they negotiate?

Now that Brexiteers have clarified they want to leave the EU’s single market and put an end to free movement, they can’t copy

Norway and Switzerland, which have fairly good access to the EU market. Johnson has floated the idea of mimicking Canada’s trade relations with the EU, while Gove has talked of Albania. But neither would give us nearly as good access as we currently have to a market that is responsible for nearly half our trade. As for the rest of our trade, the Leave camp hasn’t explained how we would replace the 50 plus free trade agreements the EU has with other nations, such as Switzerland, South Korea, South Africa, and Canada.

This article draws on articles previously written by David Hannay and Hugo Dixon.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

10 Responses to “10 questions Leave campaigners haven’t answered”

  • There are so many pros and cons to consider I don’t know about anyone else but it seems to me we are already doomed so it’s not really going to make any difference which way we cast our vote

    • It will make a great deal of difference Sharon. Europe isn’t going to go away. It will remain just a few miles away and linked by a land tunnel. By leaving we will do away with any influence we have in Europe. The EU isn’t perfect by any means, but at least by being in we can help to influence change. If we leave it will be the first time in our country’s history that we have turned our backs on Europe, so we would not be able to complain or change anything with our neighbours who are our biggest trading partners.

      • Britain was the first country to leave the Roman Empire around 410ad, so I think it would be fitting for us to lead the other countries out of the EU.

  • I would like to ask the Leave campaign which EU regulations /directives they want to discard. I am certain a lot of what they want to get rid of are workplace rights, environmental protection etc.

  • 1:They can’t state how many migrants because they are not elected, but border control enables us to manage otherwise uncontrollable migration and we then at least have the option of saying “enough for now, let’s prepare more before allowing more people in”

    2:British people in other EU countries can do what British people in non EU countries throughout the world do, get a work visa

    3:If most Scottish people vote to remain but UK leaves then they are entitled to another referendum, if most vote to leave then it’s irrelevant

    4:Immigration rules say who CAN live/work in the UK. There will always be illegal immigrants, the solution is NOT to declare everyone legal!

    5:The UN is not run by the EU council/commission and yet they collaborate for a common good – so, like that

    6:They same way we would with people not from EU countries. We share information with all relevant countries, not only EU member states

    7:The UK only gets to choose for itself, we don’t get to choose on behalf of all other EU states, they choose for themselves. You are just scare mongering, and it’s obvious

    8:Our economy will always go up and down. Should we trade our long-term interests to avoid an short-term “unknown” period that will pass?

    9:We buy far more from the EU than we sell. French and German unions won’t stand for a raw deal that sees them out of pocket

    10:This is an issue for the elected government, not those without legislative power whom are merely presenting the argument to leave

  • If we really think that slamming the door on our friends, neighbours and continental cousins is a good idea, then we need very good reasons. Trying to make our own house rules when we will have to continue to live and hopefully prosper in the continental community (‘taking back control’) is facile rhetoric, not coherent reason. Barring entry to less than 3 europeans per thousand Britons (the greatest net European migration we have yet seen) is jamming our fingers in the front door as we slam it. Our British governors have not yet seen fit to slam the back door on the other 3 per thousand we welcome from the rest of the world, so why would anyone think we should do so to our closest neighbours and friends? Check the numbers. Who do we think is going to mend and rebuild our house, look after our gardens, our grannies and our plumbing, buy our expertise and knowledge in our world class higher education system, cook and clean, and staff our hospitals, and so forth? Who is going to decide who we shut out and why?
    Fears that our European neigbours are out to get us, or about to take over our house, is simple scare mongering. We already have most favoured treatment from them, retaining our rights to check them out as they come in. We also keep our sovereign currency, and hence our economic management. We already pay substantially less per head for these rights to the single market than any other member state, thanks to our rebate. Our net direct cost is about the same as our own government currently spends on culture, media and sport (again, check the real numbers) – 1p in the £ of total government spending – a pretty miserly community precept given the advantages we already enjoy. And we already have both leading seat on the community council and our fair share of seats in the community parliament.
    We are risking not only a substantial part of our livelihoods, but also half a century’s friendship, collaboration and mutual aid, for what? A mess of pottage, a farrago of empty promises or the misrepresented piffle of a supposed fascist ‘superstate’? Will someone please tell me why we should even think about being so mean-minded, inhospitable and hostile to our closest neighbours – the biggest dominion of democratic nation states on the planet – and turn our backs on the largest single market in the world, right on our doorstep? The uncertainty is frankly frightening, and we should be very fearful.
    If you must vote to slam our front door, please be very sure that this is the right, sensible and responsible thing to do, especially as the vote is democratic and self-governing, and which will apply to all of us. My fingers are in the door-jamb, as well as yours, and those of your friends, neighbours and children.

  • Please be more careful and precise in the use of the word “veto” in question 9. In how many articles of the TEU and TFEU does it say a member state can “veto” something using a power of “veto”? Gove may well wish to break up the EU but it is in their hands if we vote to leave whether they let us do so. Judging by noises off from the Swedish direction, the EU is so unpopular, held together only by chewing gum, bits of string and British membership that it will inevitably implode if we leave. Let it. It won’t be our problem until the call up.

    Nowhere, as far as I can see, does it say that anyone who objects can ask for the form to fill in pursuant to a power of “veto” saying “You can’t do that because I object”. “I want this “vetoed” – ie null, void, cancelled and of no effect. If you want to do this, I “veto” it and you have to start all over again.” Most importantly, where does it say for how long the “veto” would have effect or how the “veto” would be lifted if the objection could be withdrawn?

    Take a decision such as Turkish membership under Article 49 TEU where, say, 20 EU member states want Turkey to join but 8 do not so the 8 prevent “the Council”, as per Article 13 TEU, from acting unanimously – which is the requirement for the accession of a new member state. It is unanimity that secures admission. So what is done by objectors is to form a blocking minority.

    Then the 20 in favour work on the 8 to persuade them to switch sides. If, eventually, 7 of them change their mind, the blocking minority reduces to 1. How powerful is that blocking minority? One on its own against 27 sitting there just refusing to be unanimous. If you were the 27 how soon would you get fed up with that?

    SCOXITeers will be having another referendum on independence whether we remain or leave. If leaving the EU is not the excuse something else will come up. Nicola Sturgeon has already confirmed Scotland will use the GBP when they leave the UK. She said it only recently having, I assume, entered both 11 and 10 Downing Street by the back door whilst George Osborne and David Cameron are distracted by the referendum on the EU. Blackmail is not on the cards for me. If they want to leave the UK and queue up for EU membership in an EU that contains Turkey, we just have to re-build Hadrian’s Wall but three times as high. All you are doing in Question 3 is egging them on.

    The insurgents have not discharged the burden of proof required of a plaintiff so I judge not for their case and will therefore vote remain but not because I am scared by the USA, the IMF, Scotland, the Bank of England or David Cameron’s odious threats against my pension. In any case, how does he propose to find out how I voted so he can know whether to steal my pension or not? That is a flagrant breach of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the ECHR if you have to show how you marked your ballot paper before you put it in the box.

  • Ten questions to ask the Remain side
    1. Did David Cameron promise to cut immigration to tens of thousands?
    2. In 2013, did the EU raise our contributions by £1.7billion due to our economy doing well?
    3. In the same year did it increase contributions for Greece by £89million?
    4. And did it reduce France and Germany’s contributions by approx £600million and £800million respectively.
    5. Can the Remain side guarantee we will never have to accept the Euro currency?
    6. Can Remain guarantee we will never have to integrate towards ever closer union?
    7. After 70 years of peace why does the EU need an army now?
    8. Will remain guarantee there will never be European conscription into this army?
    9. Does remain believe that David Cameron will be presented with the Coudenhove-Kalergi Award?
    10. Does remain agree with the content of President Sarkosy’s 2008 speech on comete integration and Interacial Marriage, that’s on YouTube?