Blog: Between Norway and a Hard Place or Singapore ain’t Clacton-on-Sea

June 30, 2016

TransCrisis blog post by Martin Lodge and Nick Sitter

Regulation will be at the heart of the relationship between a post-Brexit UK (or should that be England and Wales?) and the European Union. As politicians and civil servants scramble for answers as to what a future relationship may look like, rose-tainted images of a post-Brexit world are being paraded, whether this involves images of happy and sovereign Norwegian Vikings, cheese-melting Swiss or well-disciplined free-trading Singaporeans.

Assuming that Brexit does go ahead at some point in the future, then, as with any dissolving relationship, there are two questions that need to be addressed. One is what sort of life the departing partner seeks to have, and the other is how such lifestyle choices can be arranged in a way to maintain somewhat constructive post-divorce relationships. Some serious effort has been spent on analyzing the latter (although it was earlier dismissed by the Brexit coalition), less on the former.

The question about what regulatory standards the Brexit campaigners actually want points to two rival positions. One side, populated by those of the 'official' Brexit campaign, dreams of a world where red-tape doesn't exit, where environmental and labour standards have been minimised as they constitute barriers to innovation, and where employment markets are 'flexible'. This contrasts with the alternative Brexit vision of a world of regulatory standards that establish high market barriers to 'protect' domestic industries and 'protect' employment from any competition. This is the world personified by the typical broadcast from the town of Clacton-on-Sea, a heartland of anti-EU sentiment at the Essex coastline.

Continue reading the post at the TransCrisis blog.