Nigel Farage on a Norway-style Brexit: ‘There is absolutely nothing to fear’

The Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage argues that a Norway-style Brexit would be a betrayal of the 2016 EU referendum result.

In truth, Britain did vote in that referendum by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union.

But how it leaves and on what terms were not on the ballot paper. Brexit was as ambiguous then as it is now. 

The complex terms of Britain’s exit are for the government and parliament to navigate, which they are doing with great difficulty.

Farage claims the only way the 2016 vote can be honoured is for Britain to leave the EU without a deal and on World Trade Organization terms.

He is attempting to rewrite history. Britain voted to leave in 2016. It did not, despite his assertions today, vote on how to leave.

Most interestingly of all is how much he has changed his tune. Once upon a time, Farage was happy with a Norway-style Brexit. 

In fact, he regarded it as a genuine form of Brexit. Not a betrayal, but a delivery.

Here he is in a UKIP video from before the election laying out the pros and cons of a Norway-style Brexit, and making quite clear that, while not ideal, he was comfortable with it.

Farage even goes as far as saying there is “absolutely nothing to fear” from such a Brexit. There’s a full transcript below.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

“Well, last night at the Guildhall, David Cameron said if Britain left the EU we would find ourselves in the position of Norway where we could not actually decide ourselves on the rules that would affect British industry.

“Well, in a way it was a big admission because we have two big treaties with Europe. One is the Treaty of Rome, which went on to the Treaty of Lisbon, which is our membership of political union.

“But there’s a separate treaty that was signed in 1994 and that’s our membership of the European Economic Area. So what Cameron was admitting last night is that if we
leave the EU, we still have a free trade deal, not just with the other 26 EU
members but in fact with 29 other European states.

“Now, are we better off as Norway or as we as we are today? Well, the Norwegians do pay a contribution to the EU. It’s about one-seventh per capita of what we pay.

“They are completely opted out of the Common Fisheries Policy of the Common Agricultural Policy. They’re opted out of justice and home affairs. They’re opted out of all foreign policy decisions.

“They have, unlike us, a seat on the World Trade Organization and they’re able to make their own trade deals with all the other growing parts of the world.

“The drawback of the European Economic Area is we’re still part of a single market and, yes, rules would be made that would affect British industry over which we’d have no say.

“But, hey, how much say do we have at the moment because we’re in a very much minority position. And as the eurozone moves forward we will find ourselves increasingly on the outer fringe of the European Union.

“Members of it but actually with no influence at all. So the UKIP answer is this: There is absolutely nothing to fear in terms of trade from leaving the European Union because on D-plus one we’ll find ourselves part of the European Economic Area and with a free trade deal.

“And we should use our membership of the EEA as a holding position from which we can negotiate, as the European Union’s biggest export market in the world, as good a deal—my goodness me, if Switzerland can have one, we can have an even better one.”

Where Kim Jong Un went to school might surprise you

Kim Jong Un North Korea
Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea. (KCNA)

North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un went to a private school in Switzerland where he pretended to be the son of a diplomat at the embassy in Bern.

Kim attended the fee-paying Liebefeld-Steinhölzli School in Koeniz, south of Bern, through some of the 1990s and left in the early 2000s, according to his contemporaries, though exactly how long and when is unclear.

He went by the false name “Pak Un” and was placed under the care of the North Korean ambassador in Switzerland, Ri Su Yong, to who Kim is said to remain close, regarding him as a mentor.

His older brother, Kim Jong Chol, and younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, were also educated in Switzerland. Both now hold senior positions in the North Korean regime.

Kim Jong Un’s friends from his school years described him as a chubby boy who was a huge basketball fan, the Chicago Bulls being his team, which explains his friendship with the American basketball superstar Dennis Rodman, a regular visitor to Pyongyang.

He also owned a collection of Nike trainers, had a temper, and loved skiing in the Alps.

“He was funny,” former classmate Marco Imhof of Bern told The Daily Beast. “Always good for a laugh. He also hated to lose. Winning was very important.”

“He was a big fan of the Chicago Bulls,” Joao Micaelo, a former classmate of Kim Jon Un’s who became a chef in Vienna, told Reuters. “His life was basketball at this time. I think 80% of our time we were playing basketball.”

Another former classmate told The Brookings Institution that “we weren’t the dimmest kids in the class but neither were we the cleverest. We were always in the second tier … The teachers would see him struggling ashamedly and then move on. They left him in peace…He left without getting any exam results at all. He was much more interested in football and basketball than lessons.”

Local education official Ueli Studer told Reuters that a boy called Pak Un who was registered as a child of an employee at the North Korean embassy attended the Steinhoelzli school from 1998 until late 2000.

“The student Pak Un attended the school for two to three years and left abruptly in the middle of a school year,” Studer said. “Pak Un attended a class for non-German speaking pupils but then quickly moved over to another class. He was described as well-integrated, diligent and ambitious. His hobby was basketball.”

Everyone should read Stephen King’s essay on guns in America – especially Donald Trump

Stephen King
The novelist Stephen King (YouTube/The Late Show)

Once again, America is in the throes of a furious debate about its relationship with guns. Yet another deadly school shooting – this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where an ex-student murdered 17 people – has left a lot of Americans again asking, almost rhetorically: how many more times will this happen before the country gets tough on guns?

As the surviving high schoolers of the latest massacre do the rounds in the media, arguing for politicians to stop taking the gun lobby’s cash and get tougher on weapons so children can be safe in their own classrooms, President Donald Trump is repeating the National Rifle Association’s absurd go-to solution for school shootings: arm teachers.

But one of the best contributions to the gun debate in America, perhaps fittingly, came from a horror writer.

The novelist Stephen King wrote an essay called Guns back in 2013 after the Sandy Hook school shooting, in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, most of them children under the age of eight. He donates profits from its sale to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

In his thoughtful essay, King reflects on one of his own books about a school shooting called Rage, the main character in which – a mentally disturbed teenager – shoots and kills a teacher. When a student in the real world quoted from the book as he killed his teacher, and following a number of other school shootings where connections to Rage were made, King pulled it from the shelves.

King also grapples with the who, why and how of mass shootings. But it’s his conclusions on what to do about the gun issue in America that are most striking.

In the section titled, tellingly, “No Solutions, Reasonable Measures”, King argues for what amount to a range of pragmatic damage-limitation policies short of an outright ban on guns, such as restricting how much ammunition people can buy, and banning assault rifles – because who really needs an assault rifle unless you’re military or police?

“I read a jaw-dropping online defence of these weapons from a California woman recently,” King writes. “Guns, she said, are just tools. Like spoons, she said. Would you outlaw spoons simply because some people use them to eat too much? Lady, let’s see you try to kill twenty schoolkids with a fucking spoon.”

If you feel passionate about the gun debate, or are simply interested in it, you can buy Guns by Stephen King on Amazon. It’s well worth your time.