"The Prime Minister's view" says an un-named Downing Street spokesman "is that it is in our national interest to be part of a Single Market."
"That's right", I hear you say. "We might not want all that political union stuff, but it's good to be able to trade freely with the EU".
I agree that we want to be able to trade freely, but what makes you think that being part of the Single Market means free trade with the rest of the EU?
If the Single Market was a free market, any good or service produced in the UK could be bought or sold throughout the rest of the EU. But the Single Market means a good or service produced in the UK can only be bought or sold at all if it complies with a standardized set of rules.
Far from liberalising economic activity, the Single Market rules proscribe activity unless it conforms with an official's idea of what that activity should look like.
Out of all the economic activity that takes place in Britain, about 80 percent is based around internal trade. Of that 20percent of economic activity that relates to outside trade, slightly less than half – i.e. about 9 percent of total economic output – relates to trade with the EU.
Being in the Single Market, therefore, means that our economy must comply 100 percent with rules brought in to supposedly facilitate intra-EU trade, yet only 9 percent of economic activity is dependent on trade with the EU.
You have to comply with EU rules even if you are producing something that you have zero intention of selling within the EU.
Surely, it would be better if those firms and businesses wanting to trade with the EU conformed to EU standards, and the other 90 + percent of economic activity could carry on unhindered by the extra red tape.
Isn't that pretty much what China, Switzerland and much of the rest of the world do? They seem to have market access.
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