Ten reasons we should compromise and consider taking the Norwegian option, by Alan Johnson

‘Norway is not a member of the EU but it is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), and therefore the EU’s single market. Having a deal like Norway’s means joining the EEA and having almost the same level of tariff- and barrier-free trade with EU countries as we have now, plus the ability to strike our own trade deals with non-EU countries. It also means accepting a significant proportion of EU law, including the “four freedoms”— the free movement of goods, services, people and capital.’ (Full Fact, the UK’s Independent Factchecking Charity)

‘The concept of compromise is not particularly in vogue, especially among young idealists. This is because it is perceived as an immoral agreement; as a betrayal of pure and absolute principles. For me, however, compromise is a synonym for life. “Compromise” does not mean to surrender or to turn the other cheek, but to succeed in meeting the other half way. The opposite of compromise is not idealism, but fanaticism, which is equal to death.’ (Amos Oz, Israeli novelist)

  1. Going Norwegian would face up to the true strength of our negotiating position (one fractious multinational state vs. a unified Continental Bloc of 27), the true condition of our politics (for shame) and our true economic vulnerability.
  2. It would preserve the Union, and avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
  3. It would be a reasonable compromise between the 52 per cent and the 48 per cent. Neither has persuaded the other in these last 2 years (or the last 40, come to that). We were In, but as out as in could be. ‘Norway’ means being Out, but as in as out can be. And let’s face it, that’s where these Islands of ours off the Continent – sceptered or otherwise – will probably always be, at least for a few generations.
  4. It would be acceptable to huge swathes on the left and right, from Jeremy Corbyn to Peter Hitchens, from the Daily Mirror to the FT.
  5. It would have majority support in the House of Commons. (The House of Lords already voted for it in May 2018.)
  6. It would secure the cooperation of the EU.
  7. It would avoid a no-deal economic disaster.
  8. It would be a reasonable compromise on free movement. Only EU citizens with a job to come to can migrate.
  9. It would honour the referendum, so would not break the back of our democracy or boost the far-right. If we decide to revisit the question in a generation, so be it.
  10. It would preserve some pretty important environmental, consumer and labour standards from any future race-to-the-bottom government.
  11. And if you still need a Spinal Tappish 11, Norwegians are not exactly poor. And according to the UN, Norway is one of the best places in the world to live. We should be so lucky.

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