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Richard North, the angry Sage of Bradford

Posted by Thersites on UTC 2018-11-02 16:53.

The essence of Richard North's Brexit plan, 'Flexcit' was for the United Kingdom to wiggle a little bit out of the European Union and park itself in an interim state involving the EEA and Efta. No one apart from the Great Doctor has ever grasped all the nuances of his plan, but to the laity it has become known as the 'Norway Option'.

Since entering or remaining in the EEA and Efta would mean remaining in the EU Single Market and to a large extent therefore effectively remaining in the EU but outside its counsels, the Great Doctor has never really explained how this state in any way corresponds to the departure of the UK from the EU – which is what the British people voted for at the Brexit referendum.

The question of how long this interim state would be interim was never explained either. In international affairs 'interim states' tend to become permanent states – vide Cyprus, Korea, Palestine and many other examples. It would probably take another referendum – which will never occur, after the experience with the Brexit one – to heave the UK out of the interim state.

However, hope springs eternal in the Great Doctor's breast:

This, of course, would mean abandoning any ideas of negotiating a Canada-style agreement, and accepting that we will be part of the EEA system for a considerable time. That, however, does not prevent renegotiation of the EEA Agreement at some time in the future, or its further development, and if membership ever becomes intolerable, we only have to give a year's notice to leave.

Just like that! More Tommy Cooper than Baldrick. Certainly not the Brexit for which people thought they were voting.

The Great Doctor has now covered Nick Boles, a Conservative MP, in slime and vitriol for having the temerity to propose the adoption of the Norway Option. This plan was of course the Great Doctor's invention and as such no one has any right to propose it but the Great Doctor himself, who has invested much invective over the last few years in propagating the plan to an ignorant laity – to no effect whatsoever.

Now this idiot MP has tipped off the Norwegians to the Norway Option, who came back by return tweet to say that Norway would not allow EEA and Efta to be misused as a temporary fix to get the Brits out of the EU. The Great Doctor directed all his most poisonous venom at the hapless MP for blowing Baldrick's the Great Doctor's cunning plan to sneak up on Norway and the EEA and Efta unnoticed.

He [Boles] needs to let the grown-ups do what is needed.

Just the sort of gratuitous insult that is his speciality and exactly the kind of remark that has not only left the Great Doctor ignored for all these years but made almost everyone his enemy.

North is not a foolish man – just a very angry, arrogant and insecure one who can never resist a put-down. He is a technocratic authoritarian with a hatred of the demos. He must in his heart realise that the entire plan about which he has spent all these years scribbling is a total bust: it was never and would never have been accepted by anyone – let alone the British people – if only for its interim status.

The problem for Nick Boles is… well, simply that he is not the Great Doctor, poor chap.

Had that [in-depth research] applied to Nick Boles, before he had launched his abortive "Norway Now" stratagem, he might have better understood what he was attempting to do, and the political limitations of his own ideas. But, as it was, he tried to reinvent the wheel, coming up with his own version of the "Norway option", with very little idea of what he was dealing with.

[…]

Now that his ill-considered idea has been exposed to the real world, it has fallen at the fence, as it was always going to. There is no recovering it. It is dead. It cannot survive the outright rejection of the Norwegian government.

The hope is that Boles has not done irreparable damage, but I fear he has. The rejection is being spun as a general rejection of the Norway option, which means there isn't now enough time to get a new initiative up and running. In many respects, this was our last shot at the Efta/EEA option. Boles has blown it.

Bole's 'ill-considered idea' was coupling the Norway Option to a time limit, which is necessary to fulfil the essential meaning of Brexit: leaving the EU and all its works in a timely manner.

In 'blowing it', Nick Boles has also demonstrated the great political flaw in the Norway Option that was there all along: the technocrat's faith that all these political shenanigans would be accepted by all of the parties concerned: the British voters, parliament and government, the EU, the EEA, the Efta and other stakeholders such as Norway.

Baldrick's North's cunning plan has been totally discredited. As has the Great Doctor's airy assumption that because Liechtenstein (pop. three dozen) has a specially crafted opt-out to freedom of movement, the United Kingdom (pop. 66 million) would be legally entitled to one, too. This all looks good on the Great Doctor's clipboard, but it is political la-la-land.

He is now reduced to wailing about how unprepared the Government is for Brexit Day, that Armageddon will seem pleasant by contrast and ranting about all the fools and incompetents that believe a no-deal Brexit is possible. Once again, we find the Great Doctor, who has ostensibly been trying to get Britain to leave the EU for decades, now on the Remainer side and helping them mightily with his doom and gloom. He will have to stay in his padded cell for a while yet.

All quotations come from North's recent posts on his blog eureferendum.