Richard North, 01/08/2016  
 


Bradford on Avon yesterday played host to the English Civil War Society as it re-enacted the occupation of the town by a Royalist Army in 1643. Pete was there to photograph it and I've used one to illustrate my piece, which is about a change of tactics.

Basically, the problem in this "phoney war" between the referendum and the Article 50 notification- whenever it comes – is that we're in an information-free zone. More and more, we find the politicians don't have the first idea of what they are talking about, the media is worse than useless and the pundits are just creating noise.

Until we start getting something really solid back from the negotiation process, and that won't be for a while, I don't see any point in amplifying the noise, or giving the noisemakers a platform. They can waste their own time, and fill space somewhere else.

What we're going to do here on this blog is fill the information vacuum. From now, I'm going to concentrate on writing and publishing short monographs, typically about ten pages long, each on a specific aspect of Brexit. 

Written in the name of the Leave Alliance, and with a stunning concession to originality, I'm calling the series "Brexit Monographs". So far, I've written three in the series:
Monograph 1: Single Market participation and free movement of persons; 
Monograph 2: The WTO Option and its application to Brexit; and 
Monograph 3: Financial contributions after Brexit.
The first two have already been published, but they're now part of a coherent series. The third is about the financial contributions we are going to have to make after we've left. Here – amongst other things - I've been looking at how Canada and the US organise their cross-border cooperation.

The answer is, actually, not very well. North America might rate itself but we're doing it better. And while we can always bitch about the cost, international cooperation costs money. Between the US and Canada, the budgeting is fragmented and lacks transparency. There is no systematic, year-on-year tracking of costs. At least with the EU, you get clearly identified programmes and transparent budgeting.

What emerges from this is that, between sophisticated, open trading economies, a high degree of cross-border cooperation will always be necessary.

Bluntly, it doesn't make a lot of difference which exit option we adopt – whether Efta/EEA, a bilateral agreement or the WTO Option. Working with our neighbours in the EU has a price and it will be much the same whatever we do.

Furthermore, once we have covered the costs of agricultural subsidies and other policy areas where the EU picks up the tab with our money, and then paid the rest of our dues, there we be very little difference between what we will pay and what we were paying. At best, we'll save about £2 billion a year – about £40 million a week. At worst, Brexit could cost us about £2 billion a year more than full membership.

Anyhow, the details are in the Monograph. This and the others will be ignored the media - that's what they do. But readers are free to download them and use them as they feel fit. An acknowledgement would be nice and, as always, I draw the line at plagiarism.

The next Monograph is in the planning stage, and I'll publish it as soon as it is finished.






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