David Campbell Bannerman has published ‘The Ultimate Plan B: A Positive Vision of an independent Britain outside the European Union’ booklet.
For nearly forty years, Britain has been a member of the European Union (EU) and its forerunner organisations, the Common Market, European Economic Community (EEC) and European Community (EC). In that time, the protectionist pressures of the 1960s and 1970s which drove the UK to enter the EU Customs Union have been much reduced and the world environment has become more inclined to free trade, thanks primarily to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), formerly the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT).
Despite this relaxation of the World economy and of tariff ‘walls’ to trade, the European Union (EU) has remained at heart undemocratic, protectionist, centralist and over bureaucratic. The EU has generated a red tape mountain that forces the member states to impose unacceptable burdens on their businesses and to make unwarranted and often damaging interventions in the lives of their citizens. This is not the British way but a Continental one which favours state control over personal liberty.
Supporters of the European Union try to scare British people into believing there is no alternative to British membership of the EU. They claim there is no ‘Plan B’ for Britain and we are fated, out of fear and a lack of confidence in our destiny, to remain with ‘Plan A’ – i.e. immersed within “an ever closer union” (as stated in the Treaty of Rome) to become a bit player with a diminished role within an emerging political superstate called the United States of Europe. Plan A has already led to Britain paying £48 million a day in membership fees, imposed over 100,000 regulations and directives on us2, and led to at least 50% (80% plus if German studies are to be believed) of our laws emanating from the EU.
Yet ever since joining the EC, a majority of the British population has expressed a wish to leave, particularly if an alternative trading relationship was proposed. An Angus Reid poll in July 2011, for example, found approximately 2 to 1 against staying in the EU: 49% would vote to leave the EU in a referendum; only 25% would vote to stay in, whilst 57% say EU membership has been negative for the UK; and only 32% believed it has been positive. Support for withdrawal from the EU is the majority view, and that view is hardening. A You Gov Poll in August 2011 found 52% of British citizens want to leave the EU, and just 30% want to stay in.
The Ultimate Plan B argued for here is of a Britain replacing its membership of the European Union with a simple, free trading relationship under a UK/EU Free Trade Agreement.
A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is a binding bilateral international agreement between sovereign countries and/or association of countries. The EU currently has 53 free trade or special trading agreements with countries all over the world, and is actively working for 74 more. Countries as diverse as South Korea, Morocco, South Africa, Chile and Mexico have Free Trade Relationships with the EU where their businesses can trade without the tariff barriers that were so prevalent in the past.
Under this Ultimate Plan B, Britain would negotiate a UK/EU Free Trade Agreement which conserves all the trade access EU membership currently provides but without the high cost of EU membership, and freeing Britain from the EU’s political control, federalist ambitions and regulatory burden. It is not the same as the European Economic Area (EEA) or European Free Trade Area (EFTA), which are valuable alternatives but involve more EU control. This is a cross-party position: an independent Britain could be more Interventionist or more Free Market, but either way it will be a decision taken by the British people and not the EU.
The ‘Positive Vision’ outlined shows an alternative for Britain outside the EU that is credible, sustainable, positive and better for all. This booklet introduces a theme that will be contained in a later, far more comprehensive book on the subject.
We call for the British people to be granted an In/Out Referendum on membership of the European Union. Most people under the age of 53 have never had the chance to vote on the EU and those who voted in the 1975 referendum were misled about the political nature of the project and the true loss of sovereignty. The British people only ever wanted trade – not take over.
Summarised here is a plan for the future, a better future for all.
This is the Ultimate Plan B.
David Campbell Bannerman MEP
TAKEN FROM ‘THE ULTIMATE PLAN B: A POSITIVE VISION OF AN INDEPENDENT BRITAIN OUTSIDE THE EUROPEAN UNION’. PUBLISHED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE FREEDOM ASSOCIATION. READ THE ENTIRE BOOKLET BY DOWNLOADING THE PDF HERE (Acrobat Reader or equivalent required)