The options would range from full withdrawal, which would probably mean negotiating 26 new treaties with our ex-partners, to some semi-detached relationship with the EU itself.
Is it too much to ask that a BBC reporter understand the issues on which he is reporting?
Were Britain to withdraw from the EU, the only immediate issue would be that of trade: everything else can be delayed until later. So, would we have to negotiate 26 new treaties?
When countries outside the EU negotiate trade agreements, do they negotiate 26 new treaties? No, they negotiate with the EU and specifically with the EU Trade Commissioner (currently Peter Mandelson) because the EU Commission controls the Trade Policy of the EU member states. That is the whole fucking point!
This will become even less of an issue after the ratification and rendering into law of the Lisbon Treaty, because the EU gains a legal identity. So, trade-wise, negotiation would be with one entity only, not 26.
In fact, the only area in which I believe EU member states will have some autonomy is in foreign policy—it is in a separate document (although the government insists that it is one of the "red lines", I don't believe that it is formally written into this Treaty. Yet).
But, in this case, nothing has changed: we will still negotiate separate treaties with the 26 member states. However, if their foreign policy is being taken over by the EU (which it always will be to a large extent given how much rests on trade deals), then we will only have to negotiate with the EU
Being Norway or Switzerland might prove of great benefit to the UK. But becoming Switzerland or Norway would be painful and a long-drawn-out process.
As I have said, you fucking chimp, it would not be because we would negotiate with one entity only: the EU.
And, whilst being in EFTA would be better than the current bind that we are in, why would we want to join that organisation either? The EU is putting more and more pressure on Switzerland, for instance, to harmonise its tax laws and eradicate its "harmful tax competition"; we want none of that either.
No, we negotiate on our own terms: and those terms are that we have a £9 billion per annum trade deficit with the EU, that we are the world's fifth largest economy and the world's third largest trading economy.
No, negotiating trade with the EU will be no problem: the really hard work will be attempting to reconnect with the rest of the world, especially the countries of the Commonwealth whom we sold down the river in 1972.
Not that I would expect a Beeb reporter to understand any of this: for Mark Mardell, it seems, the federal EU is the only option.
God save us from the petty and ignorant visions of pusillanimous men.