So, all the talk today is centred on The Times article by David Charter, one headlined: “UK shunted towards ”second-class’ status”. From this article, at least what is visible beyond the paywall:
“A group of senior politicians in Brussels is to propose “second-class” EU status for Britain in a dramatic shift in thinking by the strongest supporters of a united Europe. They are to suggest that the UK should become an “associate member” under plans which would result in it staying in the EU’s single market but being stripped of its commissioner in Brussels, MEPs, and its right of veto in the European Council.”
The article proceeds to state the newspaper has discovered that the Union of European Federalists will publish, in the Spring, its own version of the next EU treaty. Richard North, EU Referendum, has passed his learned opinion on what I see as the Times presenting this latest ‘breaking news’. As with all journalistic ‘scoops’ this article is hardly ‘breaking news’, but then is not The Times usually behind the times?
In September this year Andrew Duff, President of the Union of European Federalists, published a pamphlet entitled “On Governing Europe” in which he discusses (page 63) what he terms as “The British problem again”; and “Associate Membership” (page 68). Only this month, on the 6th, he published an article on the website of the European Policy Centre an article headed “UK-EU relationship: Making the case for associate membership”. It is also noted that Duff states there is a need for Norway and Switzerland to upgrade their current unsatisfactory arrangements, a subject on which I commented earlier.
There has been much ‘traffic’ on Twitter in relation to this article in The Times, in effect all saying: “Yay, lets do it” and all without appearing to have any idea of how that could be achieved. We even have John Redwood lauding this “associate membership” meme and “renegotiating” our membership. We also have that well-informed journalist, Isabel Hardman writing in the Speccie:
“If this were not possible, the fear is that the ‘associate’ membership really would be second-class: a Norway-style arrangement where Britain is still subject to legislation from Brussels without having any say in its development.”
to which I commented:
“For heavens sake! When will you people, who classify yourselves as journalists, do your research and actually find out how EFTA/EEA works? When will you start to read the information on the EFTA website? Is not the function of a journalist to inform? How do you inform the public when you spread what are no more than lies purely because you know not that about which you write and are apparently too lazy to do your research? When will you stop ‘parroting’ what your political contacts tell you? When will you start thinking for yourselves? Sheesh!”
It is a continual source of frustration for me that people appear to accept, without question, what they are told and do not have the faintest desire to discover and/or confirm anything for themselves. It might be an idea if all who pontificate on Twitter and in the media were to visit the EFTA website and read about how EFTA and the EEA ‘works'; while also reading this in order to confirm that this ‘government by fax’ meme is but a lie; and that consequently those who rely on that which the ‘great and good’ in the world of politics and the media publish, only results in their being hoodwinked.