1. ‘We need to co-operate with our neighbours,’ say Remainers, as if someone somewhere were objecting to the idea. Were the EU simply a common market, a regional bloc like Nafta or Asean, no one would have a problem with it. What makes the EU different from every other international association is that it legislates for its members. In any conflict between a parliamentary statute and the ruling of a Brussels institution, the latter takes precedence. This legal supremacy, which was not challenged during the renegotiation, is the basis for the political merger of the member states. The EU has acquired, one by one, the attributes and trappings of nationhood: a president and a foreign minister, citizenship and a passport, treaty-making powers, a criminal justice system, a written constitution, a flag and a national anthem. It is these things that Leavers object to, not the commerce and co-operation that we would continue to enjoy, as every neighbouring country does.
2. The EU is not a free-trade area; it is a customs union. The difference may seem technical, but it goes to the heart of the decision we face.