Out or In - the cost
The Indy ran its front page today on the cost of leaving Europe.
After UKIP's shock successes in the European elections, Tony Blair said yesterday withdrawal would be 'extraordinary foolishness'. So what would it mean for Britain?
Britain would suffer a permanent loss of £23bn a year if we pulled out, says the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, an independent think-tank.
Withdrawal from the European Union would reverse fundamental employment and social welfare rights that UK citizens have enjoyed for more than 30 years.
Workers would be unable to bring sex, race or disability claims against their employers.
The 48-hour working week, regular breaks between shifts and a minimum 11-hour rest between shifts would also be obsolete. There would no longer be a statutory four-weeks annual holiday.
EU directives give two weeks' statutory paternity leave and increased maternity leave.
An army of lawyers and two or three full parliamentary terms would be needed to disentangle Britain from Europe.No one has any idea of the cost.
The Government would have to repeal hundreds of EU directives in UK law.
Britain would have to recall its judges from the European Court of Justice, losing a forum for settling arguments.
In October 2000 Britain incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law. By withdrawing from the convention and repealing this legislation British citizens would no longer be protected by a set of fundamental human rights
The 1994 EU habitats directive bans interference in breeding places of endangered species. It has been used by campaigners to prevent roads, housing and industrial projects.
Wild birds in Britain are protected by the EU birds directive.
The cost of phone calls has halved thanks to the EU's liberalisation of the telecoms market.
The cost of electricity to consumers fell by 6.5 per cent between 1996 and 2001.
EU deregulation has introduced competition on airline routes once jealously protected by national airlines.
Withdrawal would exclude Britain from future peace-keeping in crisis-hit regions.
It would deal a heavy blow to Britain's influence in military planning.
I think that is a fair summary of the pro EU argument - On the economic cost you might want to compare with the IEA's "Better of out?" "This new and revised edition of Better Off Out? brings up to date the estimates made in 1996 and shows that subsequent studies have independently confirmed its conclusion that the net economic effect of EU membership is close to zero. It does not argue for Briain's withdrawal. But, the authors say, withdrawal should 'not be dismissed as a practical option for the nation, if membership imposes conditions that the country finds onerous'."
And as for the rest of them nothing strikes me as being even slightly persuasive - just because we would scrap the EU protection of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers doesn't mean we wouldn't create our own similar directive in our own Parliament.