I SUSPECT that SE Ireland (SEI) (In My View), like many Tories spooked by UKIP, is cosying up with similar nonsense to curry votes in next year’s election.

SEI asserts that we can emulate Switzerland and trade with the EU. SEI quotes the Swiss Prime Minister, who said (SEI qualifies the quote with ‘basically’) “it only pays a basic fee to trade with EU and exports more to EU than UK does”.

Well that’s wrong for a start.

The numbers are: UK exports to EU – €261 billion; Swiss exports to EU – €169 billion.

Switzerland has a free trade agreement in goods with the EU but no agreement on services – including, astonishingly, on financial services. Remember that the UK accounts for a third of the EU’s wholesale finance industry.

Want to try selling the Swiss option to the City of London now?

No, I didn’t think so!

In 2009, the Swiss government acknowledged: “The existing [EU] barriers to market access place Switzerland at an economic disadvantage.” It added: “Switzerland loses out in terms of jobs, value creation and tax receipts.”

Although it is outside the EU Switzerland contributes about €450m a year to the EU budget.

Swiss sovereignty is overrated.

The country relies on roughly 120 separate bilateral agreements with the EU and it is expected to adopt every single EU regulation in each of those areas without any say on their shape, structure or content.

The simple truth is that whether the UK is inside the EU or out, we’ll have to follow EU rules and regulations to trade with it. Eurosceptics say they like the EU’s single market but don’t like the EU’s regulations.

What they seem unable – or unwilling – to understand is that there is no single market without regulations; it is the regulations that make it a single market.

Liberal Democrats know that the EU is far from perfect. It does need to change – to become less austerity-focused and neoliberal, for a start.

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy needs reforming and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement with the US, which will empower unelected corporations at the expense of elected governments, needs rewriting.

The two Parliaments in Brussels and Strasbourg are unnecessary and Strasbourg should be scrapped. But you don’t win a fight by leaving the ring.

You stay in and keep fighting your corner on behalf of British people and our economy.

UKIP’s real dream is of the UK as a tax haven for the global super-wealthy, with its native population turned into a servant class.

Farage is a City fat cat masquerading as an ordinary bloke, and most of his party’s funding comes from a City fat cat.

Many Tories, to their shame, will go along with this nasty agenda.