Why the ‘Norway Option’ Presents a False Choice for Brexit Britain
If there was one thing that unified the 17.4 million Britons who voted to Leave the European Union, it was to end freedom of movement between the UK and the EU, as the utter failure of the EU’s Schengen Agreement means that anyone from anywhere can simply walk across an EU border and can’t be deported under EU law.
These days, the bloc doesn’t even police much of the EU’s perimeter, whether on land or sea. People arrive from anywhere; They are given a landed immigrant card that entitles them to the same rights, privileges and freedoms as any EU citizen — which includes eligibility for free healthcare, social welfare programmes and social housing. And in recent months, rioting refugees and economic migrants have agitated for employment guarantees and it looks like they may win that right. Which is a right that not even native EU citizens enjoy. (Just to show you how nutty it can become in the EU)
Therefore, for some UK MP’s to suggest that the so-called ‘Norway Option’ is a viable way to honour the instructions of The People, they are sadly mistaken. In no way can continued free movement of persons from a bloc with zero control over its borders form part of the legitimate remit of British MP’s who work for the good of the country and its citizens.
Signing up to a worse deal than the UK has now is a non-starter. Signing up to a worse deal than Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Agreement is also a non-starter. The so-called ‘Norway Option’ just isn’t an option for the UK and no amount of spin is going to walk back the primary demand of 17.4 million British voters.
As baseball umpires say; Steeeerrrike One!
Onward to Strike Two:
Another reason that anyone who believes in democracy and sovereignty shouldn’t be pushing the Norway Option is that another primary demand of 17.4 million British voters was to end the jurisdiction of the European court and Norway remains under the jurisdiction of the ECJ on many matters — especially on trade related matters.
British MP’s should know better than to peddle this shambolic plan that continues to allow freedom of movement and ECJ jurisdiction over trade, some healthcare, and other social issues.
The ECJ is a fine institution in and of itself, and that is recognized around the world. No issues there. However, it’s an EU institution and by definition it must rule in the EU’s favour — as it isn’t named the Chinese Court of Justice, the Australian Court of Justice, nor is it called by any other name. It’s an EU-centric organization and everyone realizes and respects that. It’s a court that’s in business for the EU — not Norway, not for post-Brexit Britain and not Japan — for three more examples.
Again, signing up to a deal that’s a worse deal than the UK presently has with the EU just isn’t an option.
For now, as long as the UK remains within the EU, the UK has a small amount of ‘pull’ with the ECJ as the UK is a dues-paying member of the EU for the time being — but after Brexit the UK won’t have any say into how the ECJ operates, nor will it be allowed to offer unsolicited legal opinions to the European court
Umpire, please make the call: Steeeerrrike Two!
On to Strike Three!
BASEBALL ANNOUNCER: “Alright everybody, get ready. The Norway Option is down two strikes and the last and final pitch is imminent here at the bottom of the ninth inning. Let’s see what happens… and no matter which way it goes folks, it’s going to be a blockbuster.”
Ask any Norwegian what they think of the Norway Option. That’s it. I win!
And the Umpire calls: Steeeerrrike Three!
BASEBALL ANNOUNCER: “It’s ‘Game Over’ for the Norway Option team!”
Yes, folks. It’s just that easy. Because there is hardly to be found anywhere in Norway anyone who would agree that their present deal with the EU is a good deal.
Business owners there like it because it grants them access to the huge EU market. But it’s a costly access and there are millions of regulations that must be strictly adhered-to which drives up costs for those businesses.
But the vast majority of Norwegians aren’t business owners surrounded by mountains of regulatory paperwork to keep them well-insulated during the harsh Norwegian winter.
Most are people who appreciate the EU for what it is, but don’t like masses of homeless refugees and immigrants sleeping in the streets and panhandling (such things were never before seen in Norway!) and making their contribution to other crimes — and increasingly nowadays — organized crime rings led by recent immigrants from North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
In a country of only 5 million citizens, Norway has enjoyed one of the world’s lowest crime rates. Indeed, most years go by without one (not even one!) murder per year. Historically, Norway has astonishingly low rates of rape and other sexual assault, and the lowest rate of property crimes in the world. However, since freedom of movement was foisted on Norway via their arm’s-length EU contract these things have almost become commonplace.
The beautiful Norwegian people and the pristine countryside have been befouled by relatively large numbers of low-level criminals and Norwegian business has been curtailed by the high cost of accessing the EU Single Market.
It’s like getting nicely dressed for an outing to a prestigious art gallery and paying good money to see the Mona Lisa or Group of Seven painting and then getting spit-on by a refugee hiding behind the artwork. (That’s how I imagine Norwegians feel about their à la carte deal with the EU)
I won’t even start on the loss of sovereignty in other ways, nor will I discuss other high costs that Norway and Norwegian consumers must bear as part of their country’s deal with the European Union.
But let’s end this discussion without prejudice to the EU, which, aside from the problems noted above, has become a great asset to our world and leads the world community of nations in many ways.
It’s just that at present, with unrestricted immigration and the high costs of exporting into the EU’s Single Market, combined with loss of sovereignty as an EU member or arm’s length member, it’s not the best deal, nor is it the only game in town. Yet, let us continue to respect old Europa for all the positive things she’s accomplished.
BASEBALL ANNOUNCER: “Okay folks, that’s a wrap. It was an easy win here today at the ol’ ball game; Come back next week when Canada+++ goes up against the ‘No Deal’ Brexit team from Britain’s ERG. Goodnight everybody!”
- Why the Norway model is a flawed blueprint for Brexit (TheConversation.com)