Britain is looking for a Brexit model that can work, but should they copy Norway? Absolutely not!

Once upon a time, the sun didn't set over the British Empire, the Queen was more than a symbolic figure, and "Rule Britannia" had meaning beyond nostalgia.

From a comms perspective, the rhetoric around Brexit not only matters, it’s essential, argues Peter S Gitmark
From a comms perspective, the rhetoric around Brexit not only matters, it’s essential, argues Peter S Gitmark

However, the United Kingdom is simply no longer a great international power.

Now the country must be realistic about what to expect of their relationship with the EU after the split.

So why is it that the negotiations aren’t going so well for Britain?

Firstly, from an EU perspective, the UK didn’t come to the table with much bargaining power. The UK needs the EU more than it needs them.

And although they no longer want to be members, the British Government wants to keep as much of the benefit of membership as possible.

One potential scenario being discussed is whether the UK can be granted the same status as Norway has today – as a European Economic Area (EEA) state, without any voting rights.

The deal is best the Norway was able to negotiate after Norwegian voters rejected EU membership – not once, but twice, in separate referendums.

Norway, a non-member state on the northernmost outskirts of Europe, is following Brexit closely.

Norway is a member of the European EEA and EFTA, meaning it is as integrated as possible within the EU-constellation, without having full membership or voting rights.

Norway is a small, tranquil country that is blessed with large natural resources in oil, hydropower, minerals and fish, so the deal has been an acceptable one for the EU.

The UK's situation is entirely different.

Many industries in the UK compete directly with industrial players in EU countries.

And would the Brits accept an agreement that would bind them to legislations passed by the EU without having the power to construct the laws they must conform to? I doubt it.

From a communications perspective, the rhetoric not only matters, it’s essential.

But so far, none of the rhetoric being used to describe the Brexit situation is accurate according to the realities of the situation.

The "Leave" campaign used words to re-paint the picture of a Britain that was a dominant and independent superpower, with no need to submit to the rule of Brussels.

And yet the reality is that British civil servants seem to be trying to arrange a deal that keeps the UK as closely connected to the EU as possible.

The only real way forward for Britain now is to stand on its own.

'No deal' is better for the UK as opposed to committing to a position where the EU’s interests will come first.

It’s about time that we change the narrative and be honest about the actual terrain as we map out a way forward.

Britain is now having to face reality. And unfortunately, it bites.

Peter S Gitmark is managing director at Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Norway and a former Norwegian Member of Parliament

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