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In the United Kingdom, where a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union is likely to take place before the end of the year, things could get a lot worse. If, deluded by mendacity and make-believe, Britain votes to quit the EU, the referendum – introduced as a way to placate the growing number of anti-EU voices in the Conservative Party – will have blown up Prime Minister David Cameron's cabinet and done irreparable harm to Britain.For starters, the argument that the United Kingdom could negotiate favorable terms for selling its goods in the EU makes little sense, as Europe's single market matters far more to British exporters than the U.K. market matters to European businesses.Claims that leaving the EU would enable the U.K. to pursue its own commercial interests, like Norway or Switzerland, fail to acknowledge that these countries have to accept the rules of Europe's single market in order to access it – rules that they have no part in making. By January, Britain, having just kicked the EU in the teeth, could find itself attempting to negotiate, under a new prime minister and cabinet, a new political and economic relationship with the EU's 27 other members.Nowadays, even if another EU member agrees with the U.K., it might not say so, in order to avoid being tainted by our toxic brand.
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