The British European Referendum

Should Britain leave the EU?


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MatrimSaric

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Since another big referendum is approaching and the previous Scottish one was debated in such a reasonable manner...on this site I thought a general thread on the subject would be amusing.

Being English I do have a dog in this fight so my personal opinion is that I am an 'outer'. I have many reasons, some which mirror the SNP attitude in the earlier referendum. The biggest is that I feel that any country which is willing to sacrifice freedom for a tiny amount of extra cash in their pocket deserves freedom, or extra cash for that matter (there is a quote somewhere concerning something similar though i cant be bothered to find it). I don't see other countries desperately giving up sovereignty to form big faceless bureaucratic trade blocks and the thought that the 5-6th largest economy on the world would not be capable of standing on our own feet is laughable. The current European project was designed to reduce the 'impact' on democracy and ensure the same technocrats rule regardless as to democratic choice.

If the outers win then I expect a Norwegian type model where we accept free movement and lots of trade laws to continue access to the market but also the ability to move away in future and to block other legislation. This is the simplest and least friction involved response.

Rather perversely I also agree with Roy Jenkins opinion that there are only two coherent arguments with regard to Europe - either entirely out or entirely in. This weird half way house Cameron is proposing is particularly ridiculous. Most of the Remains camps arguments could be used against Remain as an argument in a different choice to take the Euro and go 'all in'. Basically if we are 'in' then we should join the Euro and look at dismantling all the national governments to move towards a democratically elected 'US of Europe' with one state, one armed force etc etc.

I don't see the debate being particularly reasonable or sensible. The Remains (and the establishment) are already kicking in the old favorite (project fear) with much random threats of plagues of locusts and co-coordinating doom calling. I am particularly incensed by the argument by the current government that we are too feeble and weak to do things ourselves without Europe telling us what to do. Use of stats also follows standard propaganda lies
(I rather enjoyed a 'remain' argument that we export 47 billion ish to Europe but Europe only exports 10% of their goods to us which ignores the fact that that is 10% of a much larger base and is a much larger value than the 47 billion meaning if trade barriers pop up then Europe is more hurt than us. It also ignores the Rotterdam Effect which means that goods exported to the Netherlands tend to be moved out of Europe but still count as trade to Europe). I also find it amusing that various people are removing old anti-Europe articles in an attempt to claim they never were and for ex-sceptics suddenly (probably for job reasons - almost like the opposite of Boris) suddenly being keen on Europe. The SNP are particularly amusing as all the arguments for leaving the UK are now ignored as they argue the opposite for the EU.

As a final aside the Greek communists put up an interesting argument with regard to changing the Euppean project recently and though I am very far from being anything close to a communist (and think the Greeks idea that 'voting' to ignore all your debts whilst still wanting more money from those self same debtors was weak willed) the fundamental point about Europe is something I agree with.

Anyway what does everyone think. Remain, leave or go all in. I suspect the vote will be Remain because fear and greed can do a lot to persuade a sceptic to vote against their conscious (and at its heart Britain has always been mainly sceptical hence the deliberate attempt to avoid describing the European project as it actually is (and as noted in cabinet papers of thirty years back)) but would love it to go the other way. I also try to keep in mind Oliver Cromwells intelligent comment to 'Think it possible you may be mistaken' (perhaps better to have a quote from someone who wasn't a military dictator) so feel free to persuade me otherwise.
 

Martin Mayers

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My heart says out.

My head has been speaking to my clients over the past few weeks. Overwhelmingly they want to remain part of Europe. Cutting through all the responses I've had, the general consensus is that trade with Europe will be much harder if we're out. Business is challenging enough. Extra challenges are not welcome.

My clients put my food on the table and roof over my head. So I'll be voting in.
 

Vinnie

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This "sovereignty" adjustment is a bit false. If we were not sovereign, then we could not withdraw.
If you consider what Europe has caused of prevented us from doing and really do down into it, there is very little that we did not want to do anyway.
 

MatrimSaric

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This "sovereignty" adjustment is a bit false. If we were not sovereign, then we could not withdraw.
If you consider what Europe has caused of prevented us from doing and really do down into it, there is very little that we did not want to do anyway.
That's an interesting point of view. I would respectfully disagree ( i suppose I would being an outer). There is quite alot I disagree with with regard to what Europe has done and is going and as sovereignty is defined as 'the authority of a state to govern itself or another state.' you could easily argue that the amount of legislation that comes from Europe which we have no capacity to get rid off is a clear and present example of lack of sovereignty. Leaving is one part of sovereignty and only a tiny part at that.

I find Tony Benn explained my base opinions best first the initial joining up to the EU


the most formal surrender of British sovereignty and parliamentary democracy that has ever occurred in our history
“If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system,”
and in more detail (plus that quote I could not remember appears to be Benjamin Franklin)

We have confused the real issue of parliamentary democracy, for already there has been a fundamental change. The power of electors over their law-makers has gone, the power of MPs over Ministers has gone, the role of Ministers has changed. The real case for entry has never been spelled out, which is that there should be a fully federal Europe in which we become a province. It hasn't been spelled out because people would never accept it. We are at the moment on a federal escalator, moving as we talk, going towards a federal objective we do not wish to reach. In practice, Britain will be governed by a European coalition government that we cannot change, dedicated to a capitalist or market economy theology. This policy is to be sold to us by projecting an unjustified optimism about the Community, and an unjustified pessimism about the United Kingdom, designed to frighten us in. Jim quoted Benjamin Franklin, so let me do the same: "He who would give up essential liberty for a little temporary security deserves neither safety nor liberty." The Common Market will break up the UK because there will be no valid argument against an independent Scotland, with its own Ministers and Commissioner, enjoying Common Market membership. We shall be choosing between the unity of the UK and the unity of the EEC. It will impose appalling strains on the Labour movement...I believe that we want independence and democratic self-government, and I hope the Cabinet in due course will think again.
Clever man really especially you will note the reference to Scotland being potentially happier as a 'single' nation in the EU but not a single nationout which explains the SNPs switch from 'leaving the UK to govern itself' to 'not wanting the UK to leave the EU to govern itself'

I think Enoch Powell (to switch to other side of the political persuasion) once said
Independence, the freedom of a self-governing nation, is in my estimation the highest political good, for which any disadvantage, and any sacrifice, are a cheap price
 

Marty Ward

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What would you vote if you were British? And why?
I am a big States rights fan because most issues should be solved locally as citizens have more input. It seems to me that is sort of what the individual countries in the EU are, they are your version of our States.

If the EU was imposing things that went against your countrys values or policies or whatever you need to consider why you are part of it in the first place. While there needs to be an overall body that sets broad policy and how nations, or States, deal with each other the individual Countries need to be able to let their citizens make the choices that effect them directly. Government grow their power, that is pretty much a given. In our case the Federal government has grown into a monster effecting every part of you day to day lives. If you as a citizen don't have control over your day to day lives under the current arrangement then I would say vote out.
 

Dave68124

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From an American's perspective, it has always seems like the British have had one foot in the EU and one foot out. I suspect given the recent drama of the EU, the weakening of the Euro and the pending disaster that European banks are going to face as they crawl towards Basel 3 capital requirements this will be an interesting vote on both sides of the Channel. I thought the British had it right to not go all in with the EU as the European bank seems incompetent at best and the economic power of Germany and France may not always align to British interests.

All I can say is careful what you guys wish for as the nations of Europe want to turn into one big socialist bloc. I think another country in Europe tried that before, and cultural and nationalistic issues among the population can only be controlled via the gun at the end of the day.
 

ChrisM

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From this side of the pond the "All in or All Out" argument makes a lot of sense, and given the EU's trend towards socialism and planned economies, it seems to make more sense to pull out to protect your own economic interests. Further - the recent French threat to open to border and let all those refugees near Calais re-settle in England is just shameful.

I'm rooting for the Brexit. I think its in both our countries interests.
 

Martin Mayers

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I'd vote "out." Europe is just a cesspool.
I would to if voting out didn't a) significantly increase the risk of me being out of a job, and b) render my shares (which I can exercise end of the year) worth considerably less than they are right now.

It's a difficult one for me. Because I really despise Europe.
 

Dr Zaius

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In a slightly different way, all Europeans are confronting the same basic problems which are plaguing Americans.

People want to control their own lives. And no matter the intentions, if that's taken away people will eventually try to take it back.

Europeans are slowly coming to grips with the fact that they no longer have control of their own lives. A benevolent tyranny like the EU works great when everything is going fine. But when the situation turns ugly and people have to make really difficult cultural and societal choices, then the whole thing goes to crap because people discover they aren't being represented, they're being ruled.

And we're seeing this play out all over Europe, from the Greek fiscal crisis, to the quest for independence in parts of Spain and Scotland, the "immigration" crisis, various cultural issues, the implosion of the Euro, Britain leaving the EU, etc.

Individual European nations are wrestling with the same fundamental problem that is putting American states against one another.

Things are different in Asia. But in the Western world, people want to control their own destiny. Rob them of that, and sooner or later the pitchforks will come out.

All that said, Europe is a major world player and the UK is key in helping keep the EU from going totally off the rails. Without the UK to sort of balance things out, who knows where the EU might have moved politically over the last 30 years.
 

Vinnie

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There is a fundamental disconnect when Brits and Europeans of Americans discuss governing. The UK has one of the most centralised governments in the world. The local governments are effectively controlled from Westminster as they raise under 20% of their own income. This being the case it is hard for us to understand a governing body that does not have such control.
How much of their own income do the various states raise and his much comes from federal taxes?
 

Marty Ward

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There is a fundamental disconnect when Brits and Europeans of Americans discuss governing. The UK has one of the most centralised governments in the world. The local governments are effectively controlled from Westminster as they raise under 20% of their own income. This being the case it is hard for us to understand a governing body that does not have such control.
How much of their own income do the various states raise and his much comes from federal taxes?
In Maryland the largest source of income is taxes on individuals, about $5 billion. The second largest source is Federal grants, about $4 billion.

http://www.marylandtaxes.com/finances/revenue/revenue.aspx
 

Vinnie

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In Maryland the largest source of income is taxes on individuals, about $5 billion. The second largest source is Federal grants, about $4 billion.

http://www.marylandtaxes.com/finances/revenue/revenue.aspx
From those sort of figures you can see where the US federal government has much less control than the UK government has. Even the Scottish assembly, a supposed independent body, is broken to Westminster for all of its funding. They are allowed to carry the income tax rate by 1% up or down, a power they have never exercised.
 
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There is a fundamental disconnect when Brits and Europeans of Americans discuss governing. The UK has one of the most centralised governments in the world. The local governments are effectively controlled from Westminster as they raise under 20% of their own income. This being the case it is hard for us to understand a governing body that does not have such control.
This is the rub of it for me, when it comes to the liberty argument. Westminster is far more centralising than Brussels, when we come to vote in our local elections we're essentially voting for who organises the rubbish (trash) collection and rules on planning issues. Except that Westminster can overrule any local planning decision in the 'national interest' if a developer can afford to appeal. Ultimately if we wanted to leave the EU all Parliament would have to do is to repeal the relevant act from 1970's.

The frustrating thing for me is the lack of any sensible debate on the relative merits and disadvantages of staying and going. The whole thing has got wrapped in soundbites and the Tory leadership contest and having to listen to Boris, who made his career out of making up stories about the EU, try to appear as harbinger of truth is a little bit too much.

I think if we leave the EU, it should be from a position of strength, not as the continent is teetering on the precipice of another recession, a migration crisis and the Russian bear at the door.
 

Vinnie

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I would agree.
I find the claim that the "stay" campaign is desiring to fear tactics laughable as that has been the default position of the "leave" campaign from the start. There is a very serious asked to the whole thing based around the sovereignty issue but that is beyond the understanding of the car majority of people.
If the adjustment comes down to an economic one then you are basically asking how much your vote is worth.
 

Tater

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This "sovereignty" adjustment is a bit false. If we were not sovereign, then we could not withdraw.
If you consider what Europe has caused of prevented us from doing and really do down into it, there is very little that we did not want to do anyway.
The USA was formed as a union of states that would still have some sovereignty (States Rights).

Today the "States" pretty much have no rights and it cost over half a million lives to start down that road.

I would say the EU sounds good...and there is likely to be a honeymoon period. But eventually (years, decades, ?), leaving will not be an option.
 

Vinnie

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Well given we have been part of it since the early 70s, out membership is already decades old.
 

Sparafucil3

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This is the rub of it for me, when it comes to the liberty argument. Westminster is far more centralising than Brussels, when we come to vote in our local elections we're essentially voting for who organises the rubbish (trash) collection and rules on planning issues. Except that Westminster can overrule any local planning decision in the 'national interest' if a developer can afford to appeal. Ultimately if we wanted to leave the EU all Parliament would have to do is to repeal the relevant act from 1970's.

The frustrating thing for me is the lack of any sensible debate on the relative merits and disadvantages of staying and going. The whole thing has got wrapped in soundbites and the Tory leadership contest and having to listen to Boris, who made his career out of making up stories about the EU, try to appear as harbinger of truth is a little bit too much.

I think if we leave the EU, it should be from a position of strength, not as the continent is teetering on the precipice of another recession, a migration crisis and the Russian bear at the door.
What happens when Brussel's raises those taxes and sends them to Greece, or Spain, or some other EU member who isn't as wealthy as the UK. You know as well as I do that Greece will always be Greece and you'll never be in a situation where you aren't compelled to carry them and you're likely to NEVER get anything back from them. I know that wouldn't sit well with me were I in those shoes. No way I would vote in. May as well just burn you're money. -- jim
 
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