The Norway Option

I note, courtesy of The Economic Voice, that which is referred to as ‘The Norway Option’ has reared its head again with the publication of a Civitas paper authored by Jonathon Lindsell.

‘The Norway Option’, for the benefit of new readers, deals with how that country trades with the European Union while maintaining the relationship at  what might be termed ‘arms length’.

This report by Jonathan Lindsell shows how Norway does have influence where the introduction of ‘EU Law’ is concerned, not only by her mandated participation in that process, but also by her membership of standards-setting bodies such as Codex and UNECE, to name but two.

Needless to say there are still those who are adamant that Norway does not have influence, an example of which is this article, one appearing today in the Daily Telegraph and being authored by Ben Wright – incidentally, the IEA paper to which he refers can be read here. It is difficult enough to attempt to nullify this repetitive meme by means of writing and it becomes even more difficult when in debate. Let me relate, briefly, an incident which only occurred last Thursday:

I had been invited to speak at a public school in Oxfordshire about the UK’s membership of the European Union and in particular the costs and benefits of that membership, where my ‘opponent’ was one Graham Jones – a Liberal Democrat and former Oxford City Councillor (he lost his seat last year). Speaking about Norway and her relationship with the European Union, having carefully explained about the derivation of ‘law’ and the setting of ‘standards’ by bodies under the aegis of the United Nations; having explained how the European Commission is mandated, under the EEA, to involve Norway in pre-legislative discussions; having explained that as a result of that requirement Norway sits on more than 200 European Union Committees; having explained that, as a last resort, Norway has the power of veto over European Union legislation – Graham Jones then told the audience that I was completely wrong and that, regardless of what I had said, Norway had no say whatsoever in the formation of ‘EU Law’!

That any forthcoming Referendum campaign on the UK’s membership of the European Union may well become personal and vindictive was illustrated at the aforementioned venue when I was subjected to what can only be described as an attempted ‘character assassination’ by Graham Jones, one which branded me a racist and Islamophobe. That this failed can only again be illustrated by the teacher, who organised the debate, writing to the think tank who sponsored it, complaining bitterly at the unwarranted attack, the substance of which he and the other members of staff present felt uncomfortable with; coupled with the fact that a number of the pupils that formed the audience kept me talking in the car park afterwards about democracy and our lack of it.

When I have yet to see any mention in the MSM of Lindsell’s paper (although I may have missed it, having been a tad distracted the past few days) then one could say the chips are stacked against a free and fair ‘referendum debate’ – neither are matters helped when those with opposing views to yourself ignore facts and resort to personal abuse.



7 thoughts on “The Norway Option

  1. …’a free and fair ‘referendum debate’ … those with opposing views to yourself ignore facts and resort to personal abuse.’…

    Personally I’d question the word ‘resort’ there. From very long-term observation it’s the initial preferred – indeed invariably only – retort of choice. It’s been going on so long now it just can’t be some form of groupthink – it’s a specific and applied strategy.
    As extreme as it may sound, if you can be confident of confirming your suspicions about the words applied to yourself in this circumstance, it might be worth talking to a Solicitor? Is there a good-quality record of the exchange?

    …’regardless of what I had said, Norway had no say whatsoever in the formation of ‘EU Law’!’…

    That’s interesting in that he seems to have dodged your attack and attempted to misdirect the audience into believing you’ve said something else. That is very possibly evidence that ‘The Norway Option’ is becoming noticeable among the Europhile tribalists and that steps are being taken to nullify the matter. After your clear discussions about ‘The Single Market’, your opponent pretends you were talking about ‘The EU’. However, your piece echoes incidents I’ve had (mainly with LibDem EU evangelists) in the past few years. They dare not acknowledge this argument, because they literally cannot face the possibility it might be true.

    1. I have no intention of providing the idiot with yet more publicity (which he no doubt craves).

      That there is a strategy to nullify fact has been apparent for some time now.

    1. I deliberately withheld the name of the school and the think tank as I did not have permission to disclose same – suffice it to say it is a public school in North Oxfordshire.

      As to Graham Jones, I did give you his last constituency and political affiliation – which should be enough for you to ‘find’ him?

      1. Two or three years ago, I met Graham Jones in debate before the sixth form of another a Midlands public school. I was somewhat apprehensive partly because of his political experience and partly because I was just recovering from a severe gastric upset which prevented me from partaking of the excellent dinner which the school provided beforehand.

        I stuck to my prepared speech and was pleasantly gratified to win the debate by a landslide majority – to the considerable surprise of the staff. So Jones obviously feared reasoned argument so much that he thought that ad hominem attack might prevail in your case. Whilst undoubtedly an unpleasant experience, it does show how scared this quite senior spokesman. Of the European Movement must be running.

        Since then sixth form debates have become considerably harder to win – at any rate in state schools. There is a huge amount of pro EU literature, aimed through teachers at schools from nursery and infants upwards, giving a favourable, Low key impression of the EU.. To use this without counter balancing Eurosceptic material is a contravention of Sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996. We know that the EU material exists and that the Independence Movement has not produced literature for primary schools. Indeed we would regard presentations to such young, immature minds as Inappropriate and an abuse of education.

        If anyone has hard information of unbalanced teaching – particularly in primary education but also in secondary schools, please advise this blog as a matter of urgency.

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