My 350 on BREXIT: The Norwegian model

The British government could decide which EU legislation should be discarded and which should be amended in the British interest.

Carlos Fleming
5 July 2016

There is no reason why the British government can’t proceed with Brexit while maintaining access to the single market. This will of course necessitate the free movement of peoples through Europe. This option is often called the Norwegian model.

There is a great deal of frustration and anger from Remainers and particularly from the voting youth due to the perception that the leave voters, voted out ‘solely’ due to a desire to see controlled immigration. The Norwegian model would be a fantastic way to put this theory to the test. Allowing the free movement of peoples to continue, allowing trade to continue, but dispensing with the undemocratic institutions.

The British government could decide which EU legislation should be discarded and which should be amended in the British interest. If we proceed with this approach Article 50 will not be worth the paper it will be written on and much of the legitimate Scottish and Irish nationalist concerns will be mitigated.

Of course the continuation of uncontrolled migration to (and from) the UK will cause mass outrage among the Leavers. It is important to stress that on the face of it, this referendum was not a vote for or against immigration: it was a vote for or against leaving the EU. This sentiment is also reflected in the fact that Scotland did not vote to remain or stay in the EU in 2014: they voted to stay or remain in the UK and all which that entails.

One of my close homosexual friends voted to remain in the EU and like many he was disappointed. He responded by signing a petition for a second referendum. Here in Northern Ireland same sex marriage is still illegal despite being democratically passed by our devolved Assembly. The legislation was blocked by the ‘Democratic’ Unionist Party (DUP). Regardless of how you feel about Brexit the answer is not to curtail the democratic will of the people. In an adult democracy, age should not be relevant.


In the aftermath of the historic British vote to leave the EU, openDemocracy is asking for our readers' thoughts on Brexit and what needs to happen next in 350 words. We've had an extraordinary response and you can read them all here.

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