‘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.