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In for Hatter's Sake

Half in, half out of Europe – that’s great if you’re Norway
As Lisbon reopens the old splits, there is an alternative to full membership. But would it work for Britain?
Roy Hattersley
...To the rational observer, half in and half out seems exactly the right place to be — for Norway. Its economic agreement with Europe does come with strings attached, but none of them binds Oslo to policies that damage its national interests. Its relationship with the EU is exactly that which, 30 years ago, stickers in thousands of British motor-car rear windows were demanding: free trade without political union.
For Norway, Edward Heath’s promise has been kept. There has been “no unacceptable loss of sovereignty”. But as Norwegians will happily agree, Norway is special. An à la carte Europe is not available to Britain, although in Bergen and Oslo last week I dared not say why. Half in and half out of Europe is a status for small countries happy to remain on the margin of big decisions.

So the benefit we get from Europe is that clapped out political losers can posture and pretend they have influence, I wonder why Roy Hattersley thinks that is a price worth paying?


If you are a Norwegian citizen, there is nothing wrong with being on the periphery of major EU decisions. You don't care, because they can't mess with your life anyway.

If the UK becomes a small, independant nation, otside of the EU, we won't care. Our "status" as an EU nation only benefits our political elites. The rest of us have to pay for these dorks to stride around on the world stage, projecting power and punching above their weight. Boldly and mightily. And that.

Er, they are only ever punching us!

We want to trade with the EU. That's all.

I do business with Safeways on a regular basis. I pay money, they supply milk, bread, and talcum powder. I can always do this without changing the common law, violating the civil liberties of Ethel at the checkout, or forcing all the other shoppers to buy the same brands as me.

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