Sensible idea: pity it’s entirely illegal

British firms who do not export to the EU should be freed from the most burdensome Brussels regulations, hundreds of business leaders will say today.

Business for Britain, a Eurosceptic campaign group representing 800 business leaders, will propose that only the five per cent of UK companies who trade with the Continent should be subject to the rules of the single market.


For the
aim and point of he single market is that it is, err, a single market.

Meaning that foreign firms trading here should face the same rules…..and thus all firms trading here must face those same rules otherwise it ain’t a single market, is it?

As to the larger picture the flaw in the single market idea is that us free marketeers only won the first part of the argument. That it should indeed be such a single market. The part we lost was that then everyone decided that it should be the continental style regulated by bureaucrats style market. Not a free one.

It’s from that that we suffer. Not at all that it’s a single market, but from the fact that it’s the wrong type of market. A French one, not an Anglo Saxon one.

11 comments on “Sensible idea: pity it’s entirely illegal

  1. They already can achieve that if they relocate the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in services and to Gibraltar in the case of goods.

  2. The EU is on our doorstep, its a big potential market. Still if companies are so secure, so big they can afford to turn down work from ellsewhere in the EU I say let them. Others of us will happily provide services to their EU potential customers.

  3. @ Martin Davies

    I detect a certain ‘more fool them’ tone in your comment.

    The attractiveness of being able to ignore some EU rules is going to be most applicable to small businesses that have either no possibility of selling anything into other EU states, or aren’t going to be able to sell enough to make it worthwhile dealing with the rules.

  4. There’s a noticeable absence of detail on what is proposed.

    “They include the working time directive, limiting working hours, the temporary agency work directive, giving the same rights to temps as permanent staff, and the EU climate change and energy package.”

    They’re hardly *that* onerous, are they? We already have the Swedish derogation for agency workers, and employees can opt out of the working time directive. Where’s the (horse)meat on these proposals?

  5. Well, it’s not really very sensible is it? Precisely because it destroys the single market.

    More sensible is for all firms to have the burden of regulation relaxed, and particularly for the smaller firms to have the burden relaxed the most. I’m quite laid back about Unilever having to abide by tighter regulations than a smaller outfit, but it should be based on size and not on whether it is an exporter.

  6. Britain was an “Anglo Saxon free market” before we joined teh commons markets was it? Clement Attlee, anyone? Harold Wilson announcing hats were off the ration, but not dresses? Exchange controls? Nationalisation of the telegraph system (1868!)? Navigation Acts?

    Come on. “Run by bureaucrats” was the “Anglo Saxon” style long before the EU.

  7. I mean, let’s go back to the good old days when you were free to ask the GPO if they’d be kind enough to rent you one of their precious stock of telephones.

  8. It’s not a single market full stop. It’s a single regulatory area, all in the name of the Level Playing Field (pbui).

  9. Basically they are asking for lots of little things like the market stall being allowed to sell apples and potatoes by the lb instead of the kg (yes, they are now but there were prosecutions for doing so under New Labour), not having to go through a complex legal procedure before asking a worker to do an extra shift because another guy is off sick, not having to measure the CO2 emissions of one-man-and-his-dog, not having to train your staff to deal with people who cannot speak English and being allowed to consider fluency in English as a factor in selecting employees, ….

  10. Martin Davies,

    You think an English plumber should accept customers from Italy? When Signora Rossi in Palermo has a backed up toilet, she should ring Ken Whiffin Plumbing & Heating in Chigwell and ask him for a quote?

  11. @Martin Davies
    My employers would be a good example of a firm who does a little continental trading.

    Out of a turnover of approx 1 million, we did one job on site in France this year (approx invoiced amount £4k) – I think we only took it on so the boss could load the van up at the duty free on the way home! I suspect this isn’t unusual with firms of our size in our sector.
    Meanwhile we have one full-time and one part-time admin to look after the legals, h+s paperwork, and payroll of approx 15 employees… (And we still break rules left right and centre as it’s the only way to actually get anything done).

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