A not entirely accurate map Credit - Wik

The latest suggestion to beat the Brexit Blues is that Britain should just sign up to be a rule taker from the European Union. As with, say, Switzerland or Ukraine. This doesn’t really help us as the point is rather to be free of the constraints imposed by EU rule making. Thus agreeing to be bound by the rules doesn’t really achieve the basic objective, does it? But that is what is being suggested:

Despite admitting the UK should not be a “rule-taker” in services, Mr Newman declared Britain should bow to Brussels on matters concerning goods.

Such an arrangement could allow the UK to have access to the single market in exchange for following rules set by the bitter bloc.

That “bitter” is an interesting thing for the subs to overlook, no? But as I say, it doesn’t achieve the basic goal:

With red lines being drawn all around her, prime minister Theresa May has no room to negotiate. We desperately need a new approach: a dispassionate analysis of which compromises yield the greatest benefits with the least loss of control. This middle ground is seeking a new bespoke economic partnership, where the UK remains integrated in a zero-tariff environment with the EU for goods but has the flexibility to diverge on services. We would have to maintain EU rules on goods in domestic law. From a business perspective, continued alignment on goods would come at little cost.

That last assertion fails on three points.

Firstly, we have no guarantee at all that there aren’t going to be more, and more costly, rules coming down the pike. The way to bet is that there will be. The EU’s regulatory omnibus is not known to be a static one now, is it?

Secondly, we’re not in fact running the country for business, we’re running it for consumers. So, costs of business aren’t the major consideration.

Which is our thirdly, those costs to consumers. For example, EU regulation bans vacuum cleaners with engines powerful enough to work nicely. Retaining that stupidity is a cost of continuing to be a rule taker. But it’s not a cost to business, it’s one to British consumers. As are the bans on incandescent light bulbs, creosote and so on.

As a round up it’s also quite obviously true that if you control the goods standards then you can control large swathes of the economy. Ban this or that can you can – and they will – ban all sorts of activities. Our being bound by their rules without input into them would thus cede long term control of what we may do.

Of course, anything we make and then export to them will have to meet the standards they have. As is true today of anything we make for the US, China, or any other markets. But the actual point of Brexit is that EU laws and rules no longer apply in Britain. Thus we shouldn’t accept any deal where they do, should we?

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Totally agree. No problem with making sure our products conform to EU standards for export to the EU but we should be able to make whatever we like for domestic consumption and export to non-EU markets.


This is people still at the bargaining stage- they got 48% of the vote, can’t we keep 48% of EU membership?

Hallowed Be
Hallowed Be

Theresa has already declared her cards- she ruled out the standards and tax competition long ago. Theresa is on the wet side so Euro politicians may see value (i.e. give something in return) to get something in writing on that that may tie her aftbears’ hands on tax. On standards/regs i suspect she’ll shy away from rule taking but would be consistent to go for equivalency. Then the argument moves on to who decides what’s equivalent.


Continuing to be subject to EU regulations, with no hand in making them, should be as big a non-starter as continuing to pay EU dues for over a year without influence. Who thinks it is “Brexit” to simply exit from having a voice in the EU but continue to face the annoyances that led to the majority vote? Surely no one who voted for it!