While combatants wrestle over potential outcomes of the Brexit debate, we should recognise the part played in all these shenanigans by fear, borne of uncertainty. Many warnings against the dire consequences of leaving the EU have an emotional flavour not rooted in economic logic, while some Brexiteers counter such warnings with equally fanciful claims for the blessings of an EU-free future.
As so few participants in the debate appear to have done the most basic homework of examining the rules of the club, here is a brief summary of the conditions that apply to EU membership.
Even the term ‘hard Brexit’ isn’t completely clear as passporting rights are part of an EEA agreement, not an EU agreement. This is the so-called ‘Norway Option’ whereby the UK joins the EEA and operates outside of the common agricultural policy and fisheries policies. However, this would entail the UK still having to contribute almost as much to the EU budget, retaining free movement of people, and enacting EU regulations without having any say in how they are decided. This seems almost impossible.