Posted: 10/04/2016 at 09:35
Tetley - it takes two to make an agreement. If a country wants to trade with the EU it has to abide by their rules whether it is part of the EU or not.
The Schengen area is a group of countries within Europe who have agreed to have unrestricted travel within those countries for its Nationals. The UK has chosen not to be part of that area and we control our own borders.
Part of the price Norway pay for their trade agreement with the EU is that they have to be part of the Schengen area of unrestricted travel. This is the same for any European country wanting to trade on equal terms with the EU. They also have to share similar employment law.
Another consequence of the trade agreement with the EU is that Norway is subject to 21% of EU laws, but have no voting rights.
As it appears that the two of the big complaints in the UK about the EU are to do with unrestricted travel within the EU, despite the UK not being in Schengen, and also a lack of power when EU laws are being made, I really can't see how a trade agreement would improve things.
Yes, back in the old days we manufactured more of our own stuff - the cotton you worked with was grown in India and other countries and we brought it here to turn into clothes etc. Now India keeps it's cotton and makes the goods themselves, at far lower cost than workers in the UK would accept. If the UK bought cotton and made clothes here I doubt if you and I could afford them.
Mrs T was happy to get rid of our manufacturing industries as she wanted to remove the power of the unions - she believed the UK could exist on money made by the Service Industries e.g. banking and insurance. What she didn't realise was that they don't make money, they just move it about and charge for doing so. They get rich but the rest of us don't. Remember she talked about the Trickle Down Economy - well, money doesn't 'trickle down' - sticky fingers put it in off-shore accounts in order to avoid the tax that should be contributing to this country's well-being. Unfortunately the Blair government was so enamoured of the financial sector that he carried on where she left off.
Also back in the old days Australia, New Zealand and Canada produced far more food than they could consume - now their populations are growing and they have far less to export. Also, have you any idea how much it costs to transport food from Australia and New Zealand to the UK, compared with putting it in a lorry and coming through the Channel Tunnel or on a Cross Channel ferry?
You can't turn the clock back ... it doesn't work.