“People knew what they were voting for in June 2016!” – really? Do our Brexit test and find out.

  1. Can you explain in one or two sentences what the Customs Union is – and what part Britain currently plays in it?
  2. What is a common external tariff?
  3. What is the WTO and very briefly, what are WTO rules?
  4. What is the CAP? How does it work? How will British workers affected by it be better off outside?
  5. What proportion of our food is imported from the EU?
  6. What does “the single market” mean?
  7. How much – as a percentage of GDP – does membership of the EU cost the UK?
  8. What percentage of our trade overall do we conduct with the EU?
  9. True or False – the UK is a member of the Schengen agreement.
  10. Is the ECHR part of the EU? What is the ECHR?
  11. Which body decides on the design and shape of our passports?
  12. What is a Norway style deal?
  13. What is the EEA?
  14. What is EFTA?
  15. Can EU nationals be barred from entering the UK if they have a criminal record?


1: The Customs Union removes barriers to free trade between EU countries (including the UK) by banning tariffs (taxes on imports and exports) making trade easier and keeping prices down. This benefits UK consumers as well as businesses importing and exporting to the rest of EU.

2: Imports from nations outside of the EU are subject to a common external tariff; 80% of the money raised goes to the Central EU budget. This tariff does not apply in all cases – many imports from Africa come into the EU tariff free for example.

3: The WTO is a global body that governs international trade – setting default rules. The UK is currently a member of the WTO but trades on the terms set out as part of its membership of the EU. No major economy trades solely under WTO rules. WTO rules would require exports to be inspected for conformity with EU rules on product safety and specifications. This would be a disaster for exports and the roads leading to Dover. WTO rules also mean imposing tariffs on our exports which most experts estimate to be around 8.7%. Simply defaulting to WTO rules is not a viable option for a major island based economy. But it sounds good.

4: CAP – is the Common Agricultural Policy responsible for those famed butter mountains and milk lakes caused by over-production – as well as the ‘dumping’ of cheap food on Africa causing all sorts of social and economic problems. In 1984 it made up a staggering 71% of the EEC budget but this has since been reduced to 39%. CAP currently provides £3 billion a year to British farmers – whose industry contributes just 0.7% to GDP – propping many up.

5: The UK imports around 30% of all of our food from the EU which isn’t a major problem – unless you like to eat. We in turn export 70% of our food and drink into the market – which grew by 8% in the first quarter of this year. Currently food in both directions is untaxed (tariff free) across a frictionless border.

6: The single market removes barriers to trade and sets minimum and maximum standards for goods. These standards are generally judged to be among the very best in the world and govern everything from the noise a lawnmower can make to the safety of your car. In general these terms benefit both the manufacturer and the consumer and UK manufacturers wishing to export into the EU will remain subject to them after Brexit.

7: After rebates, membership of the EU costs the UK £3.7 billion – or roughly 0.5% of all government spending (the red bit)

eu cost
The RED bit ladies and gentlemen – the RED bit

8: The EU as a whole is the UK’s largest trading partner. Exports to the EU accounted for 44% of all trade in 2017. 53% of all imports into the UK came from EU partners.

9: FALSE. The UK is not a signatory to the Schengen agreement which opened borders between EU nations. That is why you are obliged to show your passport when you go on holiday to any other EU nation (with the exception of the Republic of Ireland.) We have full control of our borders.

10: The ECHR – European Convention of Human Rights and its court The European Court of Human Rights – have nothing whatsoever to do with the EU. Both are the responsibility of the Council of Europe whose 47 members include non EU countries like Russia and Turkey.

11: Passport size and standards are set by the International Civil Aviation Authority which has nothing to do with the EU. This is why most modern passports look the same. The colour and general layout of the EU passport was harmonised in the 1980s but they are recommendations not rules. Croatia has a blue passport and the UK did not need to leave the EU to change the colour of its travel documents.

croatian passport
Modern passports all look the same – EU ones can be blue

12: Norway is a member of both the EEA and EFTA (see below) Norway is a member of the single market but can pick and choose in other respects. If we went down the Norwegian route, the UK could leave the common fisheries policy and the CAP. The European Courts of Justice would no longer have jurisdiction. On the downside, the UK would still have to pay into the EU budget and while the UK would still have access to the Single Market it would have no say in the rules – rendering us a so called ‘Fax democracy.’

13: European Economic Area  (see link)

14: European Free Trade Association (see link)

15: Yes they can be denied entry and thousands often are. The UK retains full control of our borders and we are able to stop undesirables entering the country. Thousands of EU nationals are prevented from entering the UK every year. The EU’s 2004 citizenship directive states that free movement is not an unqualified right.



1 – 8     You’ve taken back control but you don’t have a clue what it means

8-12     Not bad – but did you really know all that in 2016?

12-15   Welcome to my blog Mr Verhofstadt

This blog follows on from an original – which you can read here if you are even half bothered



24 thoughts on ““People knew what they were voting for in June 2016!” – really? Do our Brexit test and find out.

  1. CAP has 2 pillars. Pillar 1 is subsidy. Pillar 2 is the rural development programme which grants money through the UK and devolved governments for agri-environment and support for the economy in rural areas. Basically good outcomes for birds, water quality and jobs in rural areas.


  2. There are obviously too many journalists with nothing to do so they try & write about Brexit because there is not a lot else to write about .The word leave means to leave the EU project & renegotiate our trade deal & relinquish or membership with the EU . Politicians set out the question which was passed by a substantial majority in the commons & left the public decide the outcome.Now the politicians have to extricate us from the EU institutions. If only they all accepted the vote & sang from the same hymn sheet then we would secure a sensible deal with the EU on our exit instead of the continuous squabbling between MPs & parties which makes us a laughing stock on the world stage


  3. Britain has been a laughing stock for years anyway from education to etc.ehealth.What Inwould really like to know is where you people get this extraordinary arrogant attitude towards “Johnny Foreigner” when you maintain a health and social service set up of a third world dictatorship with hard-working people like nurses etc.living on the streets and having to live from food banks whilst royalty bankers and politicos pay no tax and live in the most obscene luxury.If you think this is a good thing then you are truly evil- but then in my opinion many Brits here really are from drug running to illegal airport runs


  4. By all means have another referendum, but ask the question; Would you like Britain to join the European Union ? We could then get them to sell it to us, should be interesting.


  5. Of course, none of us knew in 2016, which is why lies and half-truths went unchallenged. But you shouldn’t be quoting 2014/15 for our EU net contributions of 0.5% of government expenditure – it’s a little more now, but nowhere near the 7% that is the average guess in one poll.


      1. Found it, but it’s Nov 2014, which is why I couldn’t find it. Nothing to suggest it would have changed before the referendum though.
        New YouGov research finds that people greatly overestimate this figure, and believe tax is distributed far more evenly than it really is. The biggest disparities include smaller-than-actual average estimations for welfare (12% instead of 25%) and health (12% instead of 19%) and larger-than-actual guesses for the EU budget (7% instead of 1%) and government administration (8% instead of 2%).


  6. As a number of your correspondents rightly point out, the question in the referendum was simple, and easy to answer yes or no to. The result shows that for a small majority, sovereignty is more important than any of the (supposed) benefits of remaining in the EU. Exit polls show that sovereignty was the over-riding factor for leave voters. Your article does not even mention the issue.


  7. Very good! Only point I would raise is that q7 asks as a percentage of GDP, but the answer gives as a percentage of govt spending, which is just one component of GDP. If you used full GDP, the percentage would be even smaller!!


  8. LOL

    I got 15/15.

    In fact I got more than 15/15 because some of your “answers” are wrong. Laughably so.

    E.g. The customs union is the extent of a geographic area bounded by a tariff and non-tariff barrier. Inside that customs union, consumers may only buy goods and services as decreed by the authorities governing the customs union, and will be subject to pay the tariffs and duties decreed by the authorities governing the customs union.

    The rest of you answers are so full of shit, it would take pages to dissect. [hint: when trapped inside a draconian customs union with punitively high barriers, you have no choice but to import most of your essential goods from other countries inside that same customs union]


    Once again, Remainders spouting beyond their pay grade. Stick to what you know.



  9. I could have said beclowned moron. It would have been more accurate to boot.

    Stop lecturing people on things you demonstrate you know nothing about.


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