"I didn't know that the UK had negotiated continuation agreements with other countries. That's a good thing, for sure."
With all thats going on + chatterings from both UK and EU gov's I am not surprised. They change their minds like the wind changes direction :). Apparently there are a bunch of continuation agreements ready to be signed but ofc nothing can be signed until we are out (if it happens). There was also a lot of interest outside the EU to get deals on the table for when we leave but that was back in march. Hopefully they are still waiting for the day we leave.
"High tariffs aren't a symptom of the EU. They're a symptom of any economic region (or country) trying to protect its own markets and businesses."
That is true, but they are a choice and a bad one at that. As shown with Trump and China and the EU, tariffs are bad. Its one of the selling points for being the in-crowd of the EU between members. But it is exclusionary to the rest of the world. Trade tariffs have fallen massively since the days the EU is modelled on. High tariffs on Chinese steel for example was a huge cost on the US but we didnt suffer the same loss.
"I quite like knowing that the food I buy is not going to poison me or, worse, kill me"
Ok. I think we can all agree with that. Still no excuse for the far tighter regulations though. For example the cries of poisoning us with chlorinated chicken (the original cry was the chlorine was bad) forgot that salad is chlorine washed and that the US and EU food standards agencies vouch for its safety. I know the goalposts have moved now to 'conditions' of the chicken but only after the complaints were refuted with fact.
"Do you really want to eat lower quality, higher processed food imported from the US? Because I don't"
Then dont buy it. Who holds a gun to your head to buy it? Nobody. Compare that to the excessive regulation enforcing you buy from the promised land, but none of that foreign muck from the rest of the world. The only reason to ban it is because people would willingly buy it. You dont have to, nor I but who are we to dictate choice? If the EU go all demolition man and ban salt, alcohol and handshaking at what point is it absurd? Its absurd to ban peoples right to choose especially things deemed safe.
"Reducing or abolishing any regulations to entice US trade will have severe repercussions when it comes to negotiating an EU trade deal"
Thats the EU's fault then. When trading with any country in the world you meet the criteria of the importing country with your exports. You do not have to domestically implement such criteria otherwise nobody could trade. If the EU with the purpose of being 'pro trade' is so damned incompetent to fail at the one thing achieved throughout history globally then its not an advert for participating in the project. A fine example, we still drive on the left.
"Trade with the EU accounts for 46% of UK exports at the moment, compared to just 19% with the US."
We are trapped in the EU which has the express intention of making members interact more. Not only with incentives to trade within but to penalties of trade outside (quota, tariff and regulation).
"Or 28 economies representing a much larger financial interest vs one country. The UK is pretty insignificant when it comes to negotiating power. Except when dealing with the third world, of course."
Thats just wrong. One of the prime worries of the EU and brexit was the European located global financial centre which is in London. Leave without allowing financial trade and the EU takes a massive hit and we take a small hit. The EU is 28 competing interests screwing each other over by looking at individual interests which is the equivalent of everyone gets dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. On our own we have our interests to consider. Not protecting German manufacturing, French farms and 25 other very different economies.
"Sure, uncertainty has been hugely damaging. But that uncertainty exists for a reason."
True. It is due to not remaining nor leaving. Democratically we have elected to leave but the lack of will to do so is the problem. The problem in all simplicity is that leave is unilateral. They cannot stop us nor do we need any approval so there is no reason it cant be done. The GFA isnt an issue here, if there really is a rule saying no border then Ireland must abide by it. Both sides. EU can either break the agreement or (as the UK has already said) no hard border. It truly isnt a problem and if it is it shows the incompetence of the EU or a stubborn will to pretend it is.
"Leaving without a deal will be hugely damaging to the UK with regards to Northern Ireland."
The EU has made it clear that a no deal brexit would give the UK competitive advantage over the EU and that in the various agreements must not allow the UK to use them. The EU themselves acknowledge it.
"Fully remaining in the EU customs union will kill any chance of a free trade agreement with the US and will reduce the UK to a Norway like situation where EU regulations have to be implemented with no say over what they actually are."
Interestingly remaining in the EU will probably leave us in a similar position as our lack of solidarity with 'the project' will probably cause them to marginalise the UK and since we seem to afraid to leave we can sustain a kicking. Hell remainers might even say we deserve it (as has been said about certain EU actions so far).
Most importantly if the belief is we are trapped and cannot leave for whatever reasons is actually a solid reason to leave while it is such a unilateral option. Otherwise the country has been conquered/sold and so have we. If its a voluntary project then the democratic vote is in, we leave. If we are not a democratic country then it makes no difference what we want and that will upset remainers and leavers as time goes on.
"But if we remain a full member, at least we have a better chance of changing the EU for the better"
I remember the remain campaigns being wide and varied with the idea of changing the EU being one of them. Except the EU demonstrated they didnt want to be ruled by us. And why would they, we dont want to be ruled by them. Cameron went limply with his damp squib demands and was sent packing. And there are 27 of them, in or destined to join the EU proper and it is sinking under severe economic mismanagement. That is a lot we would have to change and we cant change it. The French president was elected on that promise and even he is finding out how the project doesnt like change. Much simpler to change the UK for the better.
"Regardless of what some people (read: idiots) might have you believe, we are a major contributor and negotiator within the EU."
That is true. The contribution part making some of the good arguments for leaving (not only do we contribute money but a lot of the EU rights were brought up by matching UK rights).