Steve Bullock @GuitarMoog Immigrant, Musician, Sound Engineer, SNP, ex-negotiator for UK in EU. Brother of @JuliaKayPotts. Supporter of @FinalSayForAll. Dec. 07, 2018 2 min read

I agree with most of this report - EEA+CU is a poor 2nd best to EU membership, though also miles ahead of the 3rd best.

However, I think that putting the section titled "Free Movement Would Continue" in the Chapter called "Problems with EEA membership" is a big error. 1/

My view is that, even aside from the points about a lack of participation in decision making themselves, which are serious, an EEA+CU solution would be unlikely to be stable. 2/

How long before the calls for a ref on leaving the EEA start? Would it be at the first new vacuum cleaner regulation, or would it be kettle efficiency that the faux, manufactured outrage would be directed at? 3/

If Brexit happens (and remember that the future relationship will be negotiated after Brexit) then that may well be worth it to avoid worse outcomes. While remaining is possible though, I'll keep arguing for the best, not least worst option. 4/

But one definite advantage of EEA+CU would be that it maintains Freedom of Movement. It's an advantage economically, eliminates most of the harm caused to the @The3Million and @BritishInEurope, and it maintains an important right that UK Citizens are set to lose. 5/

I know the original drafter of this (who is a fierce defender of FoM) included a positive case for FoM, but this seems to have gone missing, and FoM has been, deliberately or inadvertently, portrayed as a problem to be solved. 6/

This is a problem. Freedom of Movement is central to the EU and EU membership (as it is to EEA membership). If we cannot or will not sell it positively, and treat it as a problem to be solved, or at best tolerated, we may as well give up. 7/

I'm not naive. I've studied politics and worked in and around it my whole life. I get that the point it to say "Look guys, it doesn't even do what you claim it does". And that point is true. 8/

But it has to be accompanied by a positive case for FoM, and not pose it as a problem in itself, or it is playing to the ERG, Govt, and other Brexiters' dreadful demonisation of it, and the people who have used the right to it. 9/

A key criticism of the 2016 leave campaigns was their dishonesty. We get nowhere if we adopt the same approach, no matter what the polling or focus groups tell us.

Remaining means saving our Freedom of Movement. Don't apologise for that. Explain it. Shout it.
10/10

PS, I take no pleasure in criticising those on my own side in this, but we have to be honest with ourselves. Apart from the moral point of honesty, it just doesn't work not to be. It always gets called out eventually, and will diminish us and our case when it is.


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