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Offline Irisado

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The UK's EU Referendum
« on: April 26, 2016, 04:28:22 PM »
Since this is my 10,000th post here, I thought I'd try to make a telling contribution, so here goes...

As many UK members will be aware, the UK is holding a referendum on 23rd June on whether to remain in the EU or to leave.  This is one of the most important decisions many voters are going to take in their lifetimes and the debate has become very heated and clouded by a significant amount of misinformation.  The majority of the voting public has no clue about how the EU works, resulting in numerous requests for the facts, but the trouble is a lot of EU related issues do not have clear answers, making it difficult to provide short fact based answers to many of the key questions.

I have taught and researched EU politics, so I've been trying to inform people as much as possible through talks and online discussion about how the EU works and what some of the misconceptions about it are.  As a result, I thought I'd try to clear up a few issues about the EU for anyone here who happens to be interested or for any UK members who are unsure about how they are going to vote.

To begin, I'd like to clear up the biggest myth of them all, and that is the claim that the EU is a dictatorship and/or is unelected and unaccountable and tells us (the UK) what to do.  It is not and it does not.  Like all member states, the UK sends elected MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) to Brussels to vote on legislation, while our ministers (elected MPs from our governing party) sit on the Council of Ministers.  The European Parliament and Council of Ministers co-legislate on proposals from the European Commission (which initiates legislation).  This is called the Ordinary Legislative Procedure and it covers the majority of EU decision-making.  The Commission is also heavily lobbied by member states and interest groups of all kinds when drawing up its proposals in much the same way as national governments are lobbied and take evidence in the UK.  It can be argued that the Commission, being appointed, is unelected and lacks democratic legitimacy, however, the European Parliament has to approve the appointment of all Commissioners and has rejected some in the past, so this is an issue which is open to debate and discussion.

Much of the rest of the debate about the EU is open to debate, but there are a number of other facts which need to be stressed.  The first is that leaving the EU would not solve the supposed immigration problem that the UK has.  This is because the UK is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, so it bound by its asylum regulations, and given the mass immigration from countries outside the EU, the flow would not suddenly dry up if the UK were no longer in the EU.  The second is that the EU budget costs the UK a lot of money and we receive nothing in return.  While it's true that the UK is a net contributor (£8.5bn, a very small figure compared to government spending within the UK, such as the £116bn allocated to the NHS budget for 2015/16), it receives money back from the EU in terms of investment in poorer areas and regions.  Notably, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and parts of North-East/South-West England receive significant funding from the EU regional fund.

Many of the other issues are open to debate, but the trouble is that so many meaningless or incorrect statistics are thrown around by both sides that it's hard to discern who is telling the truth.  There is, however, a useful source that can help: Research Briefings - EU referendum: impact of an EU exit in key UK policy areas.  This summary is the most impartial that I have found, so it may be a helpful read for anyone who is undecided.

As for me, I'm very much in the remain camp.  The majority of people who I have taught over the years end up having a more positive view of the EU than they did before they learnt more about it, so I'd encourage anyone who is unsure about the EU to look up the facts about it before making up their minds.  We can also discuss any EU related issues in this topic if anyone wants to learn more or to debate particular issues.

I hope that the UK will stay in the EU, because to retreat to the days of the Empire, and to look for a lost era of influence would be very harmful to the future interests of the country.  Also, the EU has been a massive leap forward in terms of integration, cooperation, and peace in a continent that was, for many centuries ravaged by war and disharmony.  Yes, the EU has faults, and yes reforms need to be made, but the UK needs to be at the heart of the EU to work with others to make them and not sail off into splendid isolation and turn its back on its neighbours.  I believe that the majority of the evidence supports these views and the future of the UK is within the EU.  I will thus be voting to remain.  How about you?
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2016, 05:57:07 PM »
What a 10,000th post!

To be honest I was in a bit of a quandry over which way to go but at the moment I am leaning towards voting to leave.
I don't understand the economics and to be honest I'm not even going to try, I've never studied economical science and like you have mentioned there are so many figures being bandied around it's very tough to know what is real and what is inflated/deflated.
My big issue is with TTIP, as a member of the EU we have to be involved with it and for someone in my line of work it could be pretty disatrous.
I work in the public sector and in the last elections a Conservative majority was my worst nightmare, no matter how many times they try and say that they don't want to they are slowly selling off bits of all of the public sector services (Hospitals, Prisons even Police) and it is starting to really have a negative effect, the service level provided by these 3rd party companies is not up to scratch in most cases and in some it's even costing the government more than if they had kept them public!
TTIP gives them a lot more scope for larger companies from the states etc to come in and get involved, even bringing staff with them with no issues from VISAs etc. Should TTIP come into place I could quite easily see American Corporations coming in and taking over parts of the NHS and parts of the Prison service, two services that the UK is famed for and as much as we like to complain about them possibly two of the best in the world for what they do.

I'm not going to lie, I am extremely distrustful of this government, having gone 4 years having pay decreases every year and seeing colleagues flocking to leave a service which is on it's knees makes me quite anti-conservative. Yes things may not have been much better under Labour but I can see things getting a whole lot worse than they are now under Cameron.
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2016, 06:30:55 PM »
I'm voting to leave.  And here's why.

First of all, I think the euro is an unmitigated disaster and it needs to go pronto.  It won't survive another market crash.  And Greece is about to go under again very soon.  And it's never going to recover until it can get its own currency that it can devalue to relieve the pressure.  Incidentally, we were told that we had to join the euro or Britain would be left isolated with no investment, a broken economy etc whilst the Eurozone surges forth without us.  That didn't quite happen though did it?

Another reason is the situation with Turkey.  It's going to be admitted to the EU, and that's despite the fact that it has an authoritarian dictator (Erdogan) in charge.  I was reading with disgust about that comedian in Germany who's being charged with insulting the bastard, whilst in Holland he's asking for the names of other people who insulted him.  Not to mention the matter of the Armenian genocide.  That the EU heirarcy is prostrating themselves to this scumbag shows how weak and morally bankrupt they are.  They should be condemning him in the strongest terms possible constantly.  Incidentally, in my opinion not only should Turkey be blocked from joining the EU, it should be kicked out of NATO.

And the EU didn't keep the peace.  The Cold War and NATO did.  It was NATO who dealt with the Bosnian War, not the EU.  And we don't relay on the EU for security.  It's the Five Eyes that protect us.  If anything the EU hinders things on account of their incompetence. 

The reaction of the EU to the recent Dutch referendum also strengthened my resolve to leave.  They don't care about democracy at all.  They have their plans and agendas and they're going to pursue them regardless of what the opinion of the people is.

Then there's the constant problems with the ECHR.  Yes that's a separate organisation but since we can't do anything about it whilst we're in the EU I have no choice but to vote leave.  Anders Brevik's recent successful appeal was the final straw for me.  The only thing he deserves is a rope around the neck.

And I know too that if we vote to stay in the EU it is going to hammer us merclessly afterwards because they'll have called our bluff.  I predict an avalanche of legislation and power grabs dropping on us.  And I also predict that Cameron's so called deal will be voted down in the parliament, making one reason to stay a moot point.

We'll survive outside of the EU.  We're the fifth biggest economy in the world, on course to be the fourth.  Much smaller countries than us do ok without being part of a partnership like the EU.  So will we.  Maybe when the EU finally collapses we can set up a new common market in its wake that is a market only and leaves the political power grabs in the bin.

I'm set to vote to leave, and I fear that if we do stay it'll be the biggest mistake we've made in decades.

 

Offline Irisado

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2016, 07:11:36 PM »
I don't understand the economics and to be honest I'm not even going to try, I've never studied economical science and like you have mentioned there are so many figures being bandied around it's very tough to know what is real and what is inflated/deflated.

The problem is that even those who have studied it do not really know, because economic forecasting is so very difficult.  What is likely is that the glorious forecasts made by the leave campaign about how easy it would be for us to make bilateral trade deals are extremely unlikely to be that easy, as Obamas's speech a few days ago indicated, and that while the UK is not as dependent on trade with the EU as it used to be, it still makes up a very large percentage of our trade.

Quote
My big issue is with TTIP, as a member of the EU we have to be involved with it and for someone in my line of work it could be pretty disatrous.
I work in the public sector and in the last elections a Conservative majority was my worst nightmare, no matter how many times they try and say that they don't want to they are slowly selling off bits of all of the public sector services (Hospitals, Prisons even Police) and it is starting to really have a negative effect, the service level provided by these 3rd party companies is not up to scratch in most cases and in some it's even costing the government more than if they had kept them public!
TTIP gives them a lot more scope for larger companies from the states etc to come in and get involved, even bringing staff with them with no issues from VISAs etc. Should TTIP come into place I could quite easily see American Corporations coming in and taking over parts of the NHS and parts of the Prison service, two services that the UK is famed for and as much as we like to complain about them possibly two of the best in the world for what they do.

I also have concerns about TTIP, but not enough for it to worry me about our membership of the EU.  Here's why.  It's more likely that we'd end up with a more moderate version of TTIP if it goes through the EU, because the nature of the EU means that the majority of extreme positions will make way for a compromise.  Let's face it, if the Conservative government were to forge a bilateral deal with the US the chances are that they would create a deal which would allow for greater privatisation and liberalisation of the public sector, so EU membership may well help us out a bit here.

Also, consider that Tony Blair's Labour government was very keen on part privatisation and privatisation, finishing off much of what Thatcher and Major started, so it's not just the Conservatives to blame for this ;).  They are taking it even further though, so I share your concerns.  However, I think that the EU offers a better chance of improving the deal for the public sector than would be the case if the UK were to leave and negotiate its own trade deal with the US.

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I'm not going to lie, I am extremely distrustful of this government, having gone 4 years having pay decreases every year and seeing colleagues flocking to leave a service which is on it's knees makes me quite anti-conservative. Yes things may not have been much better under Labour but I can see things getting a whole lot worse than they are now under Cameron.

Consider what may happen if vote leave won.  Cameron would probably resign early and Boris Johnson would, in all probability, challenge for the leadership, and he could easily win with the backing of Eurosceptic Tories.  The result would be a much more right wing government than the one we have under Cameron.  On that basis, I'd argue that the public sector would be safer for longer if Cameron keeps hold of the reigns of power.

First of all, I think the euro is an unmitigated disaster and it needs to go pronto.  It won't survive another market crash.  And Greece is about to go under again very soon.  And it's never going to recover until it can get its own currency that it can devalue to relieve the pressure.  Incidentally, we were told that we had to join the euro or Britain would be left isolated with no investment, a broken economy etc whilst the Eurozone surges forth without us.  That didn't quite happen though did it?

There was a debate about Greece dropping out of the euro and economists concluded that this would be even worse for the Greek people, so the EU has done its best to prevent this from happening.  That's not to say that austerity has been successful and that the reform package has been well thought through, but the dominance of the IMF and World Bank in terms of influencing financial governance tie the hands of many a world leader.

Some people did argue that Tangi, but an evaluation was undertaken by pro-EU members of the Labour government (principally Gordon Brown) who concluded that it was not right for the UK to join the euro.  A correct decision in hindsight, but only because the way in which the euro is administered is flawed.  The European Commission had issued warning about Greek debt long before the crash of 2009, and even France and Germany were warned about their failure to stick to the criteria.  The member states ignores the warnings.  You could, therefore, argue that the member states were very much at fault here, and that the EU institutions were let down by the very governments who were supposed to be sticking to the rules.

The main point here though is that the EU is not the euro.  You can have the former without the latter, and the UK has an opt-out from the euro that's going to last, and has been written into the Treaties for a number of years now.  As a result, we are under no obligation to join the euro, so objection to the euro is not a good reason to take us out of the EU.

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Another reason is the situation with Turkey.  It's going to be admitted to the EU, and that's despite the fact that it has an authoritarian dictator (Erdogan) in charge.  I was reading with disgust about that comedian in Germany who's being charged with insulting the bastard, whilst in Holland he's asking for the names of other people who insulted him.  Not to mention the matter of the Armenian genocide.  That the EU heirarcy is prostrating themselves to this scumbag shows how weak and morally bankrupt they are.  They should be condemning him in the strongest terms possible constantly.  Incidentally, in my opinion not only should Turkey be blocked from joining the EU, it should be kicked out of NATO.

That's factually incorrect.  Nothing has been signed to grant EU membership to Turkey.  All that has been agreed is that Turks will have an easier time of things getting Visas to enter and work in the Schengen area in exchange for a rather bad deal over taking back immigrants who have passed through Turkey as a transition state.  Turkey cannot join the EU because it fails to meet the criteria and will continue to fail to meet them for a very long time.  There is no imminent prospect, therefore, of Turkish membership.

As for the comedian, that's an issue associated with German law, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU.

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And the EU didn't keep the peace.  The Cold War and NATO did.  It was NATO who dealt with the Bosnian War, not the EU.  And we don't relay on the EU for security.  It's the Five Eyes that protect us.  If anything the EU hinders things on account of their incompetence.

You're looking at the wrong part of history from that period.  It's the late 1940s and 1950s where you need to look.  It's all about how France and Germany came together to agree to form the European Coal and Steel Community, in order to assuage concerns about the militarisation recurring in Germany and to pool sovereignty over steel and coal.  This was the start of what is now the EU.  We (the UK) could have joined way back then in 1951/52, but we chose not to.  This was subsequently found to be a massive mistake which is why our leaders tried to take us into the EEC (now EU) twice in the 1960s, only to be vetoed by De Gaulle.  That's why we didn't get in until 1973.

As for Bosnia, you're right that the EU's response was poor, but the reason for that was because there was no EU defence force and this is why they had to rely on NATO and later UN peacekeepers (although this did not work out at all well).  Also, remember that none of the Balkan countries were part of the EU in the early 1990s, so to say that the peace project failed is something of a revision of history ;)

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The reaction of the EU to the recent Dutch referendum also strengthened my resolve to leave.  They don't care about democracy at all.  They have their plans and agendas and they're going to pursue them regardless of what the opinion of the people is.

The vote in the Netherlands was not a representation of the democratic will of the people.  The turnout was a dismal 32%, of which 65% voted against the treaty with Ukraine.  That's such a small percentage of the total population of the EU that it doesn't even register.  How is it democratic for such a small percentage of the population to hold back an EU deal?

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Then there's the constant problems with the ECHR.  Yes that's a separate organisation but since we can't do anything about it whilst we're in the EU I have no choice but to vote leave.  Anders Brevik's recent successful appeal was the final straw for me.  The only thing he deserves is a rope around the neck.

Fighting fire with fire never works and neither does capital punishment, but that's a debate for another thread ;).

The European Court of Human Rights is nothing to do with the EU, as you say, so how is leaving the EU going to change anything?  We'd still be bound by that court, unless we chose to leave that too.

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And I know too that if we vote to stay in the EU it is going to hammer us merclessly afterwards because they'll have called our bluff.  I predict an avalanche of legislation and power grabs dropping on us.  And I also predict that Cameron's so called deal will be voted down in the parliament, making one reason to stay a moot point.

Do you think that the other member states would give us preferential deals and want to be nice to us if we were to leave?  Again, this whole idea about power grabs and an avalanche of legislation cannot happen.  I refer you to the ordinary legislative procedure I outlined above.  Also, other member states would be against mass legislation, so where's your evidence that any of this is going to happen?

As for the deal being voted down in the European Parliament, they've already had the chance to do that, but did not do so.  If there were to be any challenge, it would be far more likely to come from a member state, but again, there has already been an opportunity to do this.

Quote
We'll survive outside of the EU.  We're the fifth biggest economy in the world, on course to be the fourth.  Much smaller countries than us do ok without being part of a partnership like the EU.  So will we.  Maybe when the EU finally collapses we can set up a new common market in its wake that is a market only and leaves the political power grabs in the bin.

We'll survive, yes, but we will lose out on a whole raft of preferential deals.  We will be isolated and adrift in the Atlantic pretending to be an influential country when we are not.  We do not have the political influence to be independent.  We are not a superpower.  As for smaller countries doing better, I'm curious, could you give me some examples please?

Finally, I refer you to the section in the document on Northern Ireland that I linked to in my opening post.  Northern Ireland is one of the areas which would lose the most in economic terms from the UK's withdrawal from the EU, so you'd effectively be hurting your own prospects.  I'm thus confused by your position.

To conclude, I agree that there are some problems, notably regarding the euro, but the weight of evidence shows that a number of the points you are making do not correspond to the facts.  As a result, I'm left rather baffled by your desire to leave, since many of your complaints about the EU are not based on the reality of the situation.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 07:24:45 PM by Irisado »
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2016, 11:00:49 PM »
I'm not from the UK so my opinion doesn't really matter one way or the other. I think stay, if it matters.

This has also come up in the US elections with The Donald. When it comes to renegotiating trade treaties, what makes the exit people think they're negotiating from a position of strength rather than weakness? What's currently off the table to make the deal better than what's already there?
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 11:04:15 PM by The GrimSqueaker »
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2016, 10:57:49 AM »
Martin Schulz himself said in an interview that if the EU was a state wishing to join, it would not be accepted because it does not meet it's own requirements.

IIRC the EU Parliament does not even posses legislative initiative. Sure, they can oversee stuff from the Council and the Commission but in the end, they really can't do much except for talking. This is not good, since the parliament is the only democratically elected body in the EU.

To the 'normal citizen' it seems like the real power in the EU is held by Banks, Companies and their army of lobbyists. When an expert committee for banking largely consists of former Goldman-Sachs scum, you know where you're at ;). But maybe I'm just a conspiracy nut who's read Nineteen eighty-four too many times.

Ten years ago I was very much in favor for a swiss membership in the EU but seeing how things developed I have to say I'm glad we're not in it (and I'm very much left wing). I'm looking forward to see the outcome of this vote, whatever it will be.
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Offline Irisado

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2016, 11:11:11 AM »
IIRC the EU Parliament does not even posses legislative initiative. Sure, they can oversee stuff from the Council and the Commission but in the end, they really can't do much except for talking. This is not good, since the parliament is the only democratically elected body in the EU.

They do a lot more than just talk.  They're a co-legislator (see the ordinary legislative procedure in my first post above) and have far greater powers than they used to.  They can also lobby the Commission to initiate or draw up legislation, so they're not powerless.

Quote
To the 'normal citizen' it seems like the real power in the EU is held by Banks, Companies and their army of lobbyists. When an expert committee for banking largely consists of former Goldman-Sachs scum, you know where you're at ;). But maybe I'm just a conspiracy nut who's read Nineteen eighty-four too many times.

Banks hold too much influence and power everywhere, so this isn't just an EU specific problem.

Quote
Ten years ago I was very much in favor for a swiss membership in the EU but seeing how things developed I have to say I'm glad we're not in it (and I'm very much left wing). I'm looking forward to see the outcome of this vote, whatever it will be.

The Swiss deal with the EU is interesting, as some have suggested that the UK could follow this model, but many in the know in Switzerland don't advise the UK to go down this route, and for good reason.  I think that this article explains the issues quite well: EU referendum: Can Switzerland show UK route to Brexit? - BBC News.
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2016, 01:22:25 PM »
There was a debate about Greece dropping out of the euro and economists concluded that this would be even worse for the Greek people, so the EU has done its best to prevent this from happening.  That's not to say that austerity has been successful and that the reform package has been well thought through, but the dominance of the IMF and World Bank in terms of influencing financial governance tie the hands of many a world leader.

Yes it'll be harder in the short term but it's probably the only way they'll recover.  Staying in the Euro is never going to repair the damage and they'll just linger in the limbo they're stuck in now.  The financial event horizon has been crossed.  Sure the national governments have to share their portion of the blame but the Euro has got to go.

I laugh too at how we're doing better than the other EU countries by namely staying out of the EU's key schemes (the Euro and the Schengen Area).  From supporters of the pro EU side I've been told to my face that 'yes, the two corner stones of the whole EU project have been complete disasters, but at we still have to stay in the EU for their benefit and ours, and eventually we should join the Euro and Schengen Area too, to share the burden'.  No thank you.  :P

That's factually incorrect.  Nothing has been signed to grant EU membership to Turkey.  All that has been agreed is that Turks will have an easier time of things getting Visas to enter and work in the Schengen area in exchange for a rather bad deal over taking back immigrants who have passed through Turkey as a transition state.  Turkey cannot join the EU because it fails to meet the criteria and will continue to fail to meet them for a very long time.  There is no imminent prospect, therefore, of Turkish membership.

I expect them to be given a fast track entry in the near future, because Erdgan has them over a barrel.  Turkey will join the EU eventually, and this will effectively move our boarder to the middle east.  I will do all that I can to prevent that, and if voting to leave is what it takes then so be it.

The vote in the Netherlands was not a representation of the democratic will of the people.  The turnout was a dismal 32%, of which 65% voted against the treaty with Ukraine.  That's such a small percentage of the total population of the EU that it doesn't even register.  How is it democratic for such a small percentage of the population to hold back an EU deal?

The Netherlands was the only country decent enough to ask it's people for their opinion.  If we were given a say over the matter I'd have voted against it as well, as would everyone I've asked about it (currently in the high twenties).  This is why the EU hates referendums.  The last thing we need to do right now is get involved in the Ukraine's mess.

Fighting fire with fire never works and neither does capital punishment, but that's a debate for another thread ;).

The European Court of Human Rights is nothing to do with the EU, as you say, so how is leaving the EU going to change anything?  We'd still be bound by that court, unless we chose to leave that too.

I want capital punishment reinstated, and if leaving both the EU and the ECRH (two separate organisations yes but ones closely tied together) is what it takes to get it again so be it.

Do you think that the other member states would give us preferential deals and want to be nice to us if we were to leave?  Again, this whole idea about power grabs and an avalanche of legislation cannot happen.  I refer you to the ordinary legislative procedure I outlined above.  Also, other member states would be against mass legislation, so where's your evidence that any of this is going to happen?

As for the deal being voted down in the European Parliament, they've already had the chance to do that, but did not do so.  If there were to be any challenge, it would be far more likely to come from a member state, but again, there has already been an opportunity to do this.

They aren't making any moves until after the referendum.  They know that voting down before the vote will favor the leave camp, so they'll just wait until after the vote before screwing us.  And if we do stay, we will be pressured to join the Euro and Schengen.  Ever closer union is in the constitution after all.

As for preferential treatment, we buy far more from other EU countries than they buy from us.  We are the customer, and they're the shop.  That gives us the advantage.  If they start screwing around with us we can simply take our business elsewhere and leave them to sink in their own spite.  I can't see Germany (the one's really in charge of the EU) accepting tariffs on all those cars they sell us.  And being in the EU didn't stop Ford moving Transit production to Turkey either.  I think it actually helped them to do that thanks to the mess of the Euro.  I strongly believe that if things continue as they are the EU won't exist by the end of the decade anyway.

We'll survive, yes, but we will lose out on a whole raft of preferential deals.  We will be isolated and adrift in the Atlantic pretending to be an influential country when we are not.  We do not have the political influence to be independent.  We are not a superpower.  As for smaller countries doing better, I'm curious, could you give me some examples please?

In the EU we are only 1/28th a nation.  Outside of it we're a whole nation.  We'll take our seat at the WTO back and we'll trade like any other country in the world.  It's not about being a superpower.  It's just about being a sovereign national that makes it's own way in the world.  The EU wants to trade with New Zealand and they're way smaller than us.  Switzerland and Norway too do perfectly OK outside of the EU.  As does Japan, South Korea, Australia etc.  If the EU is such a good idea other regions would be looking to replicate it.  But they aren't.

I would rather that Europe was made up of good neighbors rather than bad roommates, as it currently is now.  Oh, and the EU is not Europe.  Hopefully one day Europe will realize this.

Also, we give the EU a contribution, and they give us a bit of it back and tell us how to spend it.  I'd rather cut out the middle man and just keep the money to begin with.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 01:28:11 PM by Captain Calamity »

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2016, 04:28:06 PM »
Yes it'll be harder in the short term but it's probably the only way they'll recover.  Staying in the Euro is never going to repair the damage and they'll just linger in the limbo they're stuck in now.  The financial event horizon has been crossed.  Sure the national governments have to share their portion of the blame but the Euro has got to go.

Where's the certain evidence supporting this assessment and this claim?  Removing the euro does not solve the problems at all, because the issues are far more complex than the currency and its regulation.  They go far deeper into how individual nation states manage their economies.  There is no silver bullet to solve the eurozone's economic problems and economic cycles mean that there's still a reasonable chance of the eurozone recovering in the longer term.  Much depends on the markets and the actions of the member states.

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I laugh too at how we're doing better than the other EU countries by namely staying out of the EU's key schemes (the Euro and the Schengen Area).  From supporters of the pro EU side I've been told to my face that 'yes, the two corner stones of the whole EU project have been complete disasters, but at we still have to stay in the EU for their benefit and ours, and eventually we should join the Euro and Schengen Area too, to share the burden'.  No thank you.  :P

Equating the euro with Schengen is a strange comparison.  Also, I'm pro-EU and I am explaining to you that neither has been a complete disaster.  In fact, Schengen is anything but a disaster.  It's not Schengen which has caused the influx of immigrants, it's the global situation, combined with the weak external border in a number of places, which are entirely separate problems.

I said in my previous post that the UK has opt outs from the euro and Schengen.  What makes you think that the UK will be required to opt in?  Our opt outs dates back to long before Cameron's deal.  For what you're saying to be true, there needs to be evidence to support it.  If you have any, by all means share it, so that we can discuss it.  Based on my research though, the evidence is that the UK will maintains its opt outs from these two areas.

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I expect them to be given a fast track entry in the near future, because Erdgan has them over a barrel.  Turkey will join the EU eventually, and this will effectively move our boarder to the middle east.  I will do all that I can to prevent that, and if voting to leave is what it takes then so be it.

Where's the evidence to support this assertion?  Even if Turkey were to be admitted, and as I've said this is a very long way from ever happening, it would take years, if not decades, for it to be admitted, and it would have had to have reformed massively.  Negotiations have been taking place on and off for a few decades now, with little progress being made, because the talks keep breaking down and are not resumed for long periods of time.  Turkey is, therefore, a complete non-issue for this referendum.

Also, given that the UK is not in Schengen, how would it move our border to the Middle East?  We still maintain our own border checks.  I would be happy to see us join Schengen, so it wouldn't matter to me anyway; however, as I have said above, the UK is going to keep its opt-out, so there's no need to vote to leave the EU over Turkey or Schengen.

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The Netherlands was the only country decent enough to ask it's people for their opinion.  If we were given a say over the matter I'd have voted against it as well, as would everyone I've asked about it (currently in the high twenties).  This is why the EU hates referendums.  The last thing we need to do right now is get involved in the Ukraine's mess.

Referendums are a very ineffective method of testing public opinion, especially on complex issues, because the majority does not understand what they are voting for and vote without sufficient knowledge of the facts to make informed choice.  How many of the people you asked know what was in the EU's treaty with the Ukraine?  Do you know?  What was it about?  What was the substance behind it?  How many of these same people understand how the EU works?  Do they know how decisions are taken?  Do they know about all the benefits the UK gets from membership?  I venture to suggest that they, like the vast majority of the UK population has no idea about any of these things, and this is why EU member states (note that it's important to assign responsibility correctly) are reluctant to hold referendums related to the EU.

Also, even if the deal was the problem, voting to leave the EU doesn't solve anything.  If you want the EU to set different priorities vote accordingly in the elections to the European Parliament.  You can also hold national government to account via general elections here.

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I want capital punishment reinstated, and if leaving both the EU and the ECRH (two separate organisations yes but ones closely tied together) is what it takes to get it again so be it.

You won't get that ghastly approach to justice reinstated by leaving either the EU or the ECHR.  The mainstream opinion in this country is against it and so are the majority of politicians and those in the legal profession.

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They aren't making any moves until after the referendum.  They know that voting down before the vote will favor the leave camp, so they'll just wait until after the vote before screwing us.  And if we do stay, we will be pressured to join the Euro and Schengen.  Ever closer union is in the constitution after all.

There is no European Constitution.  That was voted down in referendums held in France and the Netherlands in 2005.  Ever closer union is in the treaties, yes, but as I keep saying to you the UK has opt outs.  These opt outs are not going to be overturned.  The claims you are making have no basis in reality.  The UK secured opt outs from the euro when the Maastricht Treaty came into being and from Schengen when the Amsterdam Treaty was signed.  These opt outs are still valid now.

Who is this mythical they who you keep referring to?  You can only mean other member states, and they're far more likely to make life much more difficult for the UK in the event of a leave vote.  There have been role-play decision-making exercises carried out on Radio 4's the World at One programme simulating what would happen in the event of either referendum result.  This was a few months ago, so it's not still available on iplayer.  The difficult nature of the negotiations facing the UK in the event of a leave vote were clear.

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As for preferential treatment, we buy far more from other EU countries than they buy from us.  We are the customer, and they're the shop.  That gives us the advantage.  If they start screwing around with us we can simply take our business elsewhere and leave them to sink in their own spite.  I can't see Germany (the one's really in charge of the EU) accepting tariffs on all those cars they sell us.  And being in the EU didn't stop Ford moving Transit production to Turkey either.  I think it actually helped them to do that thanks to the mess of the Euro.  I strongly believe that if things continue as they are the EU won't exist by the end of the decade anyway.

The stats from 2014 are as follows:

The EU accounts for 45% of UK goods and services exports and 53% of our imports.  This is on page 13 of the document I linked to.  This evidence shows that we do not by far more from them than they do from us, the percentages are very close.  Also, the import figure had dropped to 51% a few years before 2014, so what you're saying is not supported by the facts.  The analogy of the customer and shop is not correct either, so the UK does not have the sort of advantage which you believe it to possess.

How could the EU stop Ford moving production?  You argue, on the one hand, that it interferes too much, yet now you're claiming it should intervene :P?  Make your mind up ;).

You may have that belief, but again, where is the evidence to support that?  One of the most important things in any sort of debate is to have evidence to back up your points, otherwise they seem very unrealistic.  I just cannot see how you arrive at these conclusions.

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In the EU we are only 1/28th a nation.  Outside of it we're a whole nation.  We'll take our seat at the WTO back and we'll trade like any other country in the world.  It's not about being a superpower.  It's just about being a sovereign national that makes it's own way in the world.  The EU wants to trade with New Zealand and they're way smaller than us.  Switzerland and Norway too do perfectly OK outside of the EU.  As does Japan, South Korea, Australia etc.  If the EU is such a good idea other regions would be looking to replicate it.  But they aren't.

The UK still has its seat at the WTO.  You can see that by looking at the following information:
WTO | European Union - Member information
WTO | The United Kingdom - Member information

EU member states sit as part of the EU delegation, but also as member states in their own right.  Our seat was never taken away.

As for trading like any other country.  Could you expand on that?  There are lots of trading blocs and free trade areas around the world now.  The WTO also exerts massive influence over trading and national governments have, in effect, pooled sovereignty in trade by being members of the WTO.  Trade is not an exclusive competency of a nation state whether you're in the EU or not.  Also, knowing that you're more to the right of the political spectrum, I'm confused by your position, because the EU's neo-liberal approach to trade would surely fit with your preferences, so I don't understand why you're against it.

Other regions replicate the idea of a trading bloc.  Look at Mercosur and NAFTA, for example.  Also, note that Norway is a member of the EEA which means it must abide by the EU's rules on the freedom of goods, services, and people, but has no say on the rules governing these because it is not a member of the EU.  This would not be a good model for the UK to emulate, the Norwegians have even said that to us.  You can also see that the Swiss model would be unsuitable for us to follow by reading the link I posted in my reply prior to this.  Smaller countries can make different deals to us because they have smaller economies and smaller populations.  They have very different circumstances to the UK.

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I would rather that Europe was made up of good neighbors rather than bad roommates, as it currently is now.  Oh, and the EU is not Europe.  Hopefully one day Europe will realize this.


Relations between European states have been improved by membership of the EU.  You've seen what they were like beforehand.  Europe was a conflict ravaged land and not a pleasant place to be.  The EU has made Europe what it is, and every other country is reminding us of this.  Obama's speech was a passionate reminder of this.

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Also, we give the EU a contribution, and they give us a bit of it back and tell us how to spend it.  I'd rather cut out the middle man and just keep the money to begin with.

Yet, there's no evidence to indicate that this money would be spent appropriately at all.  You may find Fullfact's analysis of the EU budget interesting: The UK's EU membership fee - Full Fact.  You may also find the European Parliaments breakdown of where the money goes equally interesting: Infographics.  Select the UK and you can see for yourself.

Finally, did you read about the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland?  Have you seen how serious the loss of income is likely to be?
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #9 on: May 3, 2016, 04:12:22 PM »
After the recent leak on TTIP provided by Greenpeace, I'm voting to leave without hesitation.  This shows the EU at its very worst.  Coporate lobbying deciding policy, shady and hidden back room deals, no democratic transparency.  To save the NHS we need to get out.
« Last Edit: May 3, 2016, 04:14:38 PM by Captain Calamity »

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #10 on: May 3, 2016, 04:27:57 PM »
The US has already stated that the UK leaving the EU means they'll be treated the same as countries like India and China when it comes to tariffs and barriers. President Obama also stated that the UK would be at the bottom of the list when it comes to future trade negotiations.

You're blaming the EU for what's happening everywhere, corporate lobbying behind closed doors. The New Zealand version, TPP, has the same amphetamine parrot going on *without* any involvement of the EU. The overlap is the US, (un)funnily enough.
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #11 on: May 3, 2016, 04:59:46 PM »
After the recent leak on TTIP provided by Greenpeace, I'm voting to leave without hesitation.  This shows the EU at its very worst.  Coporate lobbying deciding policy, shady and hidden back room deals, no democratic transparency.  To save the NHS we need to get out.

I'm sure that Greenpeace leaked every aspect of the deal, including those which don't fit their narrative ;).  Note that I'm not defending TTIP, as I said earlier in reply to Aurics Pride, I have issues with elements of it, but it would be even worse if the UK were to forge a bilateral trade deal with the US.

Outside of the EU, the public sector, which includes the NHS, runs significant risks.  Again, if you take a look at the House of Commons Library report you'll see why.  In summary though, the rights which workers have accrued over the years, which are supported by the trade unions, could be put in jeopardy.  Take a look at page 51 for further details.  In essence, this idea that leaving the EU somehow protects public sector workers of any kind is open to serious question and is dubious to say the least.

Specifically referring to the NHS, many decisions pertaining to healthcare are the competency of nation states.  In addition, the areas in which there is pooled sovereignty regarding healthcare have been very positive for the UK.  The UK has led the way in a number of areas associated with healthcare in the EU.  Would you want the UK to lose that role?

Regarding, the point about the lobbying, as Rummy says, this happens everywhere.  All national governments are subject to intense lobbying by all kinds of organisations.  These include organisations which are shady, yes, but also those which are not, including Greenpeace by the way, so the very source you're quoting from lobbies national governments and EU institutions.  As a result, I just cannot see why lobbying of the EU is wrong, yet you're seemingly happy for national governments to be lobbied.

Finally, we've talked about the issue of democratic transparency before, so I'll pose a question to you.  Could you explain to me how the UK government is any more transport than the EU institutions?  Blaming the EU institutions for something which happens all the time in national and local government in this country seems, to me, to be a rather odd position to adopt on your part.
« Last Edit: May 3, 2016, 05:01:04 PM by Irisado »
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #12 on: May 3, 2016, 05:05:50 PM »
Barry won't be the president for much longer though.  It'll be a matter for whoever replaces him.  I heard from another source that the UK might be first in line for a trade deal since it'll be quicker and easier to set up one with us as opposed to setting one up with the EU that can reconcile with all of the competing interests of the member states.  That could take forever.  So there's always that hope, however slim it is. 

And quite frankly if this what the US has in mind for a trade deal then they can shove it up their arses sideways.  :P

My point is, if our national government was to sign something like this into effect, they'd have to explain themselves to the electorate, who'd proably rip them a new arse and replace them with a government that would overturn it.  But the EU doesn't have to explain itself to an electorate.  It does whatever it wants.

I'm no fan of Greenpeace by the way.  But even a broken clock is right twice a day.
« Last Edit: May 3, 2016, 05:07:06 PM by Captain Calamity »

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #13 on: May 3, 2016, 05:25:24 PM »
Barry won't be the president for much longer though.

Hilary Clinton is likely to stick closely to the Obama line, and US companies really want to trade through TTIP with the EU.  Realpolitik dictates that they will prioritise TTIP as a result.  The UK will lose out if it is not part of the EU.  TTIP will have some negative consequences and there will be problems in some areas, but they are far less significant than the problems the UK could have in international trade from sitting outside the EU.

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I heard from another source that the UK might be first in line for a trade deal since it'll be quicker and easier to set up one with us as opposed to setting one up with the EU that can reconcile with all of the competing interests of the member states.  That could take forever.  So there's always that hope, however slim it is.

Which source?  Would you like to share it with us? 

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My point is, if our national government was to sign something like this into effect, they'd have to explain themselves to the electorate, who'd proably rip them a new arse and replace them with a government that would overturn it.  But the EU doesn't have to explain itself to an electorate.  It does whatever it wants.

Yes, the EU does have to explain itself to the electorate, through all the national governments of the member states and the MEPs.  Who do you think is driving this deal?  It's the national governments.  They want this.  Also, it's very unlikely that any new government would overturn such a deal.
« Last Edit: May 3, 2016, 05:26:54 PM by Irisado »
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #14 on: May 3, 2016, 05:33:18 PM »
Barry won't be the president for much longer though.  It'll be a matter for whoever replaces him.  I heard from another source that the UK might be first in line for a trade deal since it'll be quicker and easier to set up one with us as opposed to setting one up with the EU that can reconcile with all of the competing interests of the member states.  That could take forever.  So there's always that hope, however slim it is.

Except they wouldn't need a trade deal with the EU, they'd already have one. The UK is the one that'd be negotiating from a measure of weakness as I highly doubt the terms would be similar to those already negotiated. Remember, these powers like to punish those who displease them so, IMHO, the EU would encourage the US to be hardline rather than forgiving. A lose/lose for the UK. That and do you really think your current government is going to do anything other than look out for their own interests? You mention being accountable with the electorate, how's that worked out for you so far?  ;)
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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #15 on: May 3, 2016, 06:12:19 PM »
@ irisado

It was Ted Cruz who suggested that the UK could be first in line for a trade deal.

Granted I highly doubt he'll win but it's one way to look at things.

@ Grim

Yeah it's true that the EU would encourage the US to be nasty with us out of spite.  I wouldn't put it past them.  I would only hope that we respond in kind against the EU.  Tariffs on German cars springs to mind.  After all, the Germans call the shots in the EU.  ;)

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #16 on: May 3, 2016, 06:27:26 PM »
Remember what I said about fighting fire with fire not working?  The UK would be in no position to take counter measures, because we'd be outside the bloc which all other major countries are advising us to be part of, so getting involved in some kind of tariff war would make a bad situation caused by leaving even worse.

Turning to Cruz, I do love how the media loves to selectively quote.  Here's what Obama actually said in full in relation to this issue:

Quote from: President Obama
Well, firsts of all, let me repeat, this is a decision for the people of the United Kingdom to make.  I’m not coming here to fix any votes.  I’m not casting a vote myself. I’m offering my opinion.  And in democracies, everybody should want more information, not less.  And you shouldn’t be afraid to hear an argument being made.  That's not a threat.  That should enhance the debate.

Particularly because my understanding is that some of the folks on the other side have been ascribing to the United States certain actions we’ll take if the UK does leave the EU.  So they say, for example, that, well, we’ll just cut our own trade deals with the United States.  So they're voicing an opinion about what the United States is going to do.  I figured you might want to hear it from the President of the United States what I think the United States is going to do.  (Laughter.)
 
And on that matter, for example, I think it’s fair to say that maybe some point down the line, there might be a UK-U.S. trade agreement, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon, because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done, and the UK is going to be in the back of the queue -- not because we don't have a special relationship, but because, given the heavy lift on any trade agreement, us having access to a big market with a lot of countries -- rather than trying to do piecemeal trade agreements is hugely inefficient.

Note how he's not making any sort of threat there, he's just stating the case of realpolitik.  Cruz can say what he likes in response, but like a lot of opposition leaders, they find themselves having much less freedom to change policy than they might have thought once they enter government, just ask Nick Clegg ;).  Also, I very much doubt that Cruz has the slightest clue about how the EU actually works.  It's not something that many US leaders really ever get to grips with.  What has been consistently stated by previous Democrat and Republican presidents, however, is that they want the UK to stay in the EU.  Remember that even Bush Jr was in favour of the UK being a member of the EU, despite the divisions and ructions caused by the Iraq War.

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #17 on: May 3, 2016, 07:03:24 PM »
All I'm hearing is that we should stand just back and let the EU and the US dictate our policies, and pay for the privilege.  Despite being one of the most powerful countries in the world in economic and military terms.  I think it's sick that the US wants to foster on us, their best friends apparently, a political situation they would not except for themselves in a million years.  When I see a North American Union, with the USA giving up its sovereignty to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean nations etc, then I'll take their advice to stay in the EU.

And as for the EU itself, they're happy to take our money in contributions but they don't want to hear us out on anything.  We've been outvoted so many times.  They are certainly not our friends, as their threats to us demonstrate.  Being in the EU certainly doesn't stop Spain harassing the UK over Gibraltar for example.  When the EU tells Spain to back off once and for all over the Rock then I'll believe that they're our friends.

And they are certainly not interested in meaningful reforms.  Like I said before, Cameron went begging to them for scraps and to be perfectly honest, they pissed in his face.  The evil Blair threw away most of our rebate in exchange for a vague promise of reform for the CAP which is yet to happen.  And the chance to be a big highly paid player in the EU hierarchy no doubt.  We're outvoted the most in the decision making despite all the money we fork over.  And it's still not enough because they're always asking for more.  Why the hell are we paying for this abuse?

I also think the EU is a bloated monstrosity of an organization.  Justify to me the need to move the parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg every month.  Why?

I'm voting to leave.  Things will be tough if we do, but it'll be worth it in the end.  The EU won't survive without us.  They need us far more than we need them.  Who else will pay the bills?  Plus, the eventual goal of the EU is to fully assimilate its members in their entirety.  Ever closer union after all.  And I don't want that.  Since they won't take no as an answer in regards to this, it's time to leave.
« Last Edit: May 3, 2016, 07:12:02 PM by Captain Calamity »

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #18 on: May 3, 2016, 07:36:44 PM »
What have you been reading?

It's not a lot different than in the US. Some states contribute more in federal funding than they get back. These states get to accept laws and regulations passed by the federal government without a means of neutralising them.

You're not losing your sovereignty to any one. The US is making a trade agreement with the EU. It's not all pretty but it's not all nasty either. Some of the DRM material is the usual shade of ignorant but we're used to that from politicians. What exactly in the agreement is bothering you that it's a deal breaker for the UK?

We're outvoted the most in the decision making despite all the money we fork over.

That's kind of how it works. Would you rather that only the rich get to decide everything on their own? Pay per vote? Maybe a minimum net worth before being allowed to vote?

The EU can survive without the UK. It'll hurt them but not fatally. A 10-15% reduction in budget I'd guess.
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Offline Calamity

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Re: The UK's EU Referendum
« Reply #19 on: May 3, 2016, 07:38:45 PM »
Very briefly, TTIP threatens the NHS, one of the cornerstones of our country.  That's the deal breaker for me.

 


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