One of the problems is a lack of acknowledgment in some circles that we have to play the cards we're dealt not what we wish them to be. Simply repealing the ECA 1972 and hoping we can easily undo all that has passed overnight is not feasible. The ECA is not some kind of 'giant red reset button' that will magically takes us to a post EU nirvana. That is not how international agreements are made.
It's precisely because the EU rules and governs a great deal that unpicking a lot of it will take time and patience - and it must be done with the minimum of disruption especially in times of economic turmoil. To save the Boiling Frog you can't simply scoop him out of the very hot water and stick him in the freezer - the shock would kill him - you have to turn the heat off and allow him to cool down within the gradually cooling water.
If we are to rip up one set of terms and conditions (by immediately repealing the ECA) then a new set of terms and conditions must already in be place to cover things like; mobile phone roaming, telecommunications, mail to the EU, passport control, banking transactions, landing slots for aircraft, trade and so on. These things will inevitably take time to agree to. Taking trade as an example, to export to the single market as a non-EU country, a Designated Port of Entry is needed (DPE) to tunnel into the EU's custom union's walls - an example is here regarding fishing:
"List of ports in EU Member States where landings and transhipment operations of fishery products are allowed and port services accessible for third-country fishing vessels, in accordance with Article 5(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008"Thus without negotiating DPEs for the UK we cannot export to the EU by law outside the single market...all exports from the UK to the EU would literally stop overnight without agreements in place. Not ideal in the middle of difficult economic times.
Such facts will be used time and time again by Europhiles to devastating effect against the 'repeal the ECA' brigade in any future referendum, a referendum which is looking increasingly likely. This argument will galvanise the 'status quo' effect that affects all referendums plus being a potent dose of 'cling onto nurse' scaremongering - ensuring that any referendum will be lost by those that seek EU exit. "Exit will be a disaster" will be the cry, and by advocating repealing the ECA 1972 they will be right, and they will exploit such an argument to the full.
What we need, therefore, is a strategy to negate such views. Within Article 50 - the exit clause of the Lisbon Treaty - we thankfully have one.
Invoking Article 50 is an international legal requirement under the Vienna Convention of Treaties 1969. We are signatories to this act and if we are to remain part of the responsible international community then we have no choice but to invoke Lisbon's exit clause as per Vienna's requirements. Article 50 also allows us under Lisbon to negotiate a new 'relationship' - a new contract - which means when we leave (after 2 years), the exit will be relatively seamless, with minimum disruption.
Article 50 also has the bonus of calling Cameron's bluff. Cameron has no intention of wanting to exit the EU and will rig any referendum accordingly (my emphasis):
"I don’t want an ‘in or out’ referendum because I don’t think out is in Britain’s interests.”Thus we have pontification from Cameron that he wants to remain in the EU but wishes to negotiate a new relationship (my emphasis):
The Government is reportedly drawing up plans for an in-or-out referendum on EU membership. David Cameron is said to support a looser relationship with the EU but he is ready to give Britons the possibility of leaving entirely to ensure a referendum has credibility.Such protestations are pure fantasy. That the EU, who have a full blown Eurozone crisis on their hands, are going to listen to Cameron who wants to bring to the table negotiations over bringing back 'maternity leave legislation' to the UK" is someone whose favourite song must be Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. And as Roger Helmer notes, via Witterings from Witney:
Cameron’s idea that he can just show up in the Berlaymont Building and jettison half of the acquis communautaire is so much pie in the sky.”