By voting “no” in 2008, the people of Ireland clearly and decisively rejected the Treaty of Lisbon. The EU responded by telling the Irish to go back and do the vote again!
However, there is a lesson to be learned from the Irish. Although they were told to vote again, the NO vote forced the EU into making significant concessions to the Irish.
Following a NO vote, the EU did a deal with the Irish.
The second vote came in Yes because the Irish were given concessions. That’s almost certainly what will happen if we vote to leave the Union. We’ll be told: “Go back and do it again.”
By voting No, it is likely that the EU will be amenable to doing a deal with our politicians. The EU works by using Brinksmanship. To get what we want, we have to force them into blinking first.
In any case, if we are forced to leave after voting for Brexit, there are benefits:-
A more entrepreneurial, less bureaucratic British economy should be good news for our economy.
There’s £10bn-odd in savings that the UK would make on its contributions to the EU.
The UK has a trade deficit with Europe – we buy more from them than they buy from us. So a trade war is no more desirable for Europe than it is for Britain.
In any case, it is a requirement of EU Law that any member state who choses to leave has to negotiate leaving terms. A new trade deal with the EU could be pre-negotiated before any Brexit. As Britain is already a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Under these rules, Europe must offer us “most favoured nation” trading status.
It is interesting that the Swiss have trading agreements with the EU and don’t suffer from not being a member of the EU.
The EU is becoming less important in our overall trade mix. The Office for National Statistics states that the EU’s share of global GDP has fallen from 30% in 1993 to 24% in 2013. That reflects the growth of the emerging markets. The proportion of trade accounted for by the EU “has fallen consistently since 1999”, reports the ONS. In fact, as MEP Daniel Hannan points out, “Britain is the only EU state that sells more outside the union than to other members.”