What has so far been almost wholly lacking from the debate on all this is any properly worked-out alternative vision of what Britain’s future in the world could be if we were to regain our independence by leaving.Equally lacking, although it is again explored in the Commons research paper, is any recognition of just how incredibly complicated a British withdrawal from the EU would be, because we are enmeshed with it by such a mountain of laws and other legal obligations.Regardless of Mr Cameron’s views, however, the Commons researchers then go on to explain how Britain could continue to enjoy full access to the single market by joining Norway and Switzerland as members of the European Free Trade Area (Efta), or, like Norway, as also a member of the European Economic Area.
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One of the odd features of this debate is that the only party committed to a British exit from the EU, Ukip, appears to have little understanding of how this could, in practice, be achieved – let alone a positive vision of how well Britain could fare outside it, to counterbalance the relentless defeatism and negativity with which the “consensus” establishment would seek to terrify us into staying in. Its calm, common-sense reviewing of the real issues once again brings home just how inane most of the public debate over Britain’s membership of the EU has become.
Too many Ukip supporters take equal refuge from reality by pretending that we could simply wave a magic wand by repealing the European Communities Act. Without the vision and the will to work for a positive alternative, it seems we are doomed just to limp helplessly on as a “foot-dragging and complaining member” of the “European project”, as it itself staggers helplessly on into a drably visionless and ever more uncertain future.
It is out of that rejection that the terrorists came, with murder in their hearts, seeking deadly revenge for the deliberate insults given to the religion which, however pervertedly, gave them a sense of identity.
Thus did we see yet again that age-old pattern whereby opposing extremes feed on their obsessive hatred for each other.
As the dust begins to settle on those, writes Booker, a clearer sense of perspective is starting to creep in round the edges.