The disastrous ignorance about the potential impact of leaving the EU is obvious in almost everything anyone says about it from either side.
By Peter Hitchens and cross-posted from The Daily Mail
I have a nightmare. It goes like this. The Government abandons futile negotiations with an arrogant European Union and declares: ‘Very well, we are going it alone!’ Many cheer at this demonstration of Churchillian toughness.
And then the day comes for our departure, and there is chaos, because all the warnings come true – that without the Single Market almost all of our links with EU countries have no legal basis, and an impossible barrier of bureaucracy grounds planes, traps lorries and closes the Channel Tunnel.
The problem with this nightmare is that it is impossible to be sure that it will not happen at the end of March next year. Nobody really knows. What if it does happen? I will come to that.
Before anyone accuses me of spreading Remainer propaganda, I would like to point out that I have been urging a British departure from the EU since I visited Norway in June 2003. As I wrote here then: ‘Norway is prosperous, happy and free. Its countryside is neat and well husbanded, its towns and cities orderly and comfortable… it runs its own affairs, trading cheerfully with the EU.
‘Its fisheries and farms have not been wrecked or bankrupted, as ours have, by “Common” policies that suit France, Germany or Spain. Its supreme court is in Oslo, not Luxembourg, where ours is. Its monarchy is not menaced by a European president and its flag doesn’t have to fly alongside the EU’s yellow stars.’
Until then I had been vaguely hostile to the EU, but not actively in favour of quitting it.
After Norway, I wanted to leave, though most of those now noisily flourishing Union Jacks and demanding exit at all costs were either silent, bored, or actively in favour of staying. I still don’t know what’s come over them.
About the same time, I read the superb book, The Great Deception, by Christopher Booker and Richard North, by far the best account of the long story of shame and dishonesty which is Britain’s involvement in the EU. Both men, like me, want us to leave. I began to notice, after reading it, the pitiful level of knowledge of the subject in our political class, and in our media.
And that disastrous ignorance is still obvious in almost everything anyone says about it from either side…