"Outside the EU we would still be subject to 700 international treaties"by George Magnus / February 22, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: Cameron’s compromise
Read more: Twelve things you need to know about Brexit
It played out exactly as expected. Late night negotiations in Brussels. A deal. A referendum announcement. A media fest over which cabinet ministers would opt for the Brexit camp. Boris. And a continuing storm of commentary and opinion. There’ll be four more months of this, but will most people be any the wiser about the key issues regarding the European Union by the time we vote on our membership of it on 23rd June?
One thing that many agree on is that the terms negotiated between David Cameron and his EU partners will not swing the result. They were enough for the Prime Minister to claim progress as the basis for campaigning for “In,” but the issues people are going to argue about are far more substantive than those he debated with EU leaders. Arguments will revolve around economic issues such as the single market, net EU budgetary contributions, and trading arrangements. And ultimately will revolve around whether the UK’s interests are better protected if we are in the EU or if we stand alone. (The odd thing is that, despite the fact that these economic issues will be central to the debate, few people understand them).
There is another way to put all of this. This referendum was only ever going to be about one thing—and that thing is called the “trilemma.” Whether people know it or not, this is what we are all going to be arguing about.
I can certainly appreciate that this isn‘t the hottest conversation topic to have over a beer at the Frog and Nightgown, over a latte at the cafe or even on Twitter. But this notion of a “trilemma,” as formulated by Harvard Professor Dani Rodrik while he considered globalisation over ten years ago, is important if we are to completely understand this referendum. As a descriptive term, it fits the EU referendum like a pair of nice warm…