I wrote this just before the appalling murder of Jo Cox MP, but removed all comment linked to the referendum for 72 hours afterwards. It may still have some interest.
I wrote a piece here on the comparison between Italian and Spanish in which I included a note in the economic balance between the two (“Contemporary Position”).
I noted that the two language spheres, Spanish and Italian, both have a music industry. But here is the thing – Spanish has 400 million speakers and Italian just 70 million. Those are not dissimilar to the Continental EU and the UK.
I noted that the practical reality of this is that Italian music producers have no option, if they wish to sell their products, but to record a version in Spanish as well as in Italian – all the big contemporary Italian singers from Ramazotti to Safina do this. Yet the Italian consumer has to put up with Spanish-language musicians recording only in Spanish; they are scarcely going to bother going to the trouble of recording in an additional language worth only 15-20% of their pre-existing market! especially when they know there is limited competition within that market and they may be able to sell on their own terms (i.e. in Spanish) anyway.
And so it proves. Italian-language singers have success in the Spanish-language market by recording in Spanish; and Spanish-language singers have success in the Italian market, er, also by recording in Spanish. Spanish has the numbers, so its linguistic interests dominate both – the Italian market has no control.
Control. See what I did there? The UK outside the EU would find itself in the exact same position as Italian music producers and consumers – it would have to sell to EU standards, and it would also have to buy to EU standards. The EU would continue to set the standards both that UK exporters and UK consumers would have to live by. The UK would have to adapt both ways, not the EU. The numbers tell you that, pure and simple.
So leaving the EU means ceding control.
Of course, the UK could trade with other less similar places, in the same way Italian music producers could export to less similar markets. Test out the average English speaker’s knowledge of Ramazotti and Safina (instantly recognised by millions across the globe), however, and you’ll soon find they don’t…
You see, there’s this thing called the real world…