Are we sleep-walking out of Europe ?

Looking at the information (?) that has so far been disseminated, it would appear that the debate that occurs in public will be directed by statements that are at best misinformed or incomplete; or, more likely, deliberately distorted versions of the truth bent to reflect the proponents specific political position, whether that be declared or undeclared.

I do hope some more honest brokers step forward to present a balanced view of the potential benefits and risks of both positions.  However I fear that their voices will not make newsworthy stories and the misinformation will hence be further promulgated.  I also fear that the nature of this will be obfuscated to the extent that many of the British population will not be able to distinguish the distortions contained within.

It's all quite simply really, the UK will be damned for remaining or doomed for leaving  

It would be very interesting to have a forum poll vote with 1 option selection from:

* Remain a member of the European Union
* Leave the European Union
* Have not decided yet
* Not going to vote

Plus - change of mind option

I was going to set up an EU in or out poll vote myself but couldn't fathom out how it's done these days on the present hoop.la

Sadly it don't look like we are allowed to set up poll votes now, or the real-thing EU vote come to think of it : (

Debs

Huge posted:
George Fredrik Fiske posted:

...
Of course we cannot have referendums on every issue, 
...

ATB from George

No, of course, that would make the country a democracy, and we can't have that can we? 

I live in a country that has four referendums each year with three or four items to vote on each time so it certainly is possible. But you are right in that the UK wouldn't be able to cope with anything like real democracy.

 

rodwsmith posted:

It's all a bit scary as a Brit living in France.

Despite having paid (a lot of) tax here for the past nine years, I suspect it will become at the very least massively more bureaucratic for UK nationals living in the EU (of whom there are far more than vice-versa I believe). 

This is simply too multi-layered an issue to be put to a referendum that may well he decided by the (popularist) opinions of Murdoch and Dacre/Rothermere.

Whatever one's opinions on politics here, it seems as though Cameron has misplayed this. It was as much a sop to UKIP as it was to his own bachbenchers (whom he can control), and UKIP turned out to be the straw dog many people suspected they would be.

With the state of the oil price (upon which all of the SNP's economic prediction and assertions were based), the idea of a Scottish independence vote rerun are severely curtailed, and the likelihood of an even greater result in favour of keeping the union, even if the rest of the UK left the EU, increased. Sturgeon and Salmond both know this, so despite the anomalies and ammunition for a new Scottish referendum, that wouldn't happen any time soon.

The real problem is that everyone's partisan stance means it is difficult to gauge the financial benefits/costs of EU membership for the UK. I for one am not convinced that leaving will constitute a fiscal gain for the UK (the reverse probably) and even if it might, it's too much of a risk to take, as it certainly won't win us any friends.

We have little to gain and much to lose. But you can't quantity either...

Besides, my only option might be actually to become French, and that would mean having to unlearn how to drive including  having the ability to indicate in a car somehow surgically removed.

I agree with all you have written Rod, including the prognosis on Scotland.

The parts I have highlighted confirm my view that getting hard facts about the economic advantages of staying or leaving is difficult and politicians and the press are primarily playing on emotions. Not a good basis for important decisions.

Huge posted:

Looking at the information (?) that has so far been disseminated, it would appear that the debate that occurs in public will be directed by statements that are at best misinformed or incomplete; or, more likely, deliberately distorted versions of the truth bent to reflect the proponents specific political position, whether that be declared or undeclared.

I do hope some more honest brokers step forward to present a balanced view of the potential benefits and risks of both positions.  However I fear that their voices will not make newsworthy stories and the misinformation will hence be further promulgated.  I also fear that the nature of this will be obfuscated to the extent that many of the British population will not be able to distinguish the distortions contained within.

As with Rod's post above, I agree with what you have written.

I was non-plussed by Stephen Johnson's (Boris's Dad !) piece on Jeremy Vine's show today in which he set out his view that we should remain in Europe for environmental reasons. He seemed to suggest that without the environment issues, we would be better off out of Europe - but gave no reason.

I'm not proposing that we should leave, but I rather suspect there are issues equally important to the environment that we need to consider.

Don Atkinson posted:

Does anybody have a good reference that sets out the economic case for staying v leaving ?

Does anybody have a good reference setting out the principal issues that should be considered ?

Nobody does because this is called second guessing the future.

But what is sure is that there will be a settlement either way. Both possibilities will allow for continued prosperity, though staying in the EU means agreeing to the continued erosion of UK sovereignty.

Germany and France will find a way of continuing to export to Britain without nailing us to the floor. They need us to prosper. In consequence they will allow us to export there.

But we certainly need to regain control of our borders and decide for the interest of the UK who we should let in, let alone that our own senior court administers Human Rights and so forth.

There are admirable countries that are intimately bound in trade with the EU but not members, who benefit immensely from not being tied to EU challenges to the absolutely sovereignty. Norway and Switzerland for two notable examples.

The EU may be annoyed by a Brexit, but it is in their interest quite as much as ours to preserve employment creating opportunities with regard to open trade, 

ATB from George

 

 

Is it not the case that the basis for much of the dissatisfaction with the EU, as far as  the UK is concerned, lies in the fact that the original scenario, that of a free trade area, has been hijacked over the years by those wishing to create a European super state, with all the bureaucracy which has resulted?

Had we stuck to the initial concept, and not allowed our self promoting politicians to strike deals behind the scenes, then we would more than likely not be having the present discussion.

Dave.

dave marshall posted:

Is it not the case that the basis for much of the dissatisfaction with the EU, as far as  the UK is concerned, lies in the fact that the original scenario, that of a free trade area, has been hijacked over the years by those wishing to create a European super state, with all the bureaucracy which has resulted?

Had we stuck to the initial concept, and not allowed our self promoting politicians to strike deals behind the scenes, then we would more than likely not be having the present discussion.

Dave.

I agree with what you say Dave, and I too, consider we have been let down by our politicians, especially those who have moved into the European Parliament, lined their own pockets and let a nation of bureaucrats take over.

But 20-20 hind-sight isn't necessarily the best basis for moving forward this time, although often it is !

George Fredrik Fiske posted:

Nobody does because this is called second guessing the future.


 

 

I agree George, that nobody knows the future. But most people, business and governments consider  what possibilities the future might hold and try to predict  the benefits and risks  of those possibilities and which would be in their best interest.

This is a bit more useful than "not bothering" or "guessing" when you are asking people to vote on their future.

Let's hope that you are right in thinking that it won't make much difference either way !

George Fredrik Fiske posted:

Apart from the past how are we to steer the future?

Quite so.

The UK electorate have had little say, over the years, in the steady progress towards this European monolith.

A referendum would at least allow people to make their feelings known, though we may safely assume that the information supplied by the various media, on the run in to the big event, may not present the clearest of pictures.

 That's it..................rant over! 

Dave.

 

 

 

I quite agree that the past must be considered with thought! Of course this is so obviously that it would not normally really need to be mentioned.

The truth is that in the EU we are being led by the nose on the basis that we want in, but if we don’t want in then they will certainly not want a complete divorce. Apart from Poland and the UK the EU is in the flatlining doldrums. They need us even more than we need them. They won’t require us to be in the EU club to be a significant generator of European Union prosperity.

ATB from George

 

dave marshall posted:
George Fredrik Fiske posted:

Apart from the past how are we to steer the future?

Quite so.

The UK electorate have had little say, over the years, in the steady progress towards this European monolith.

A referendum would at least allow people to make their feelings known, though we may safely assume that the information supplied by the various media, on the run in to the big event, may not present the clearest of pictures.

 That's it..................rant over! 

Dave.

 

 

 

I think we may safely assume that the news media [populist or serious] will be a small factor in the UK electorate’s decision.  The UK is not an entity that got where is has without a hugely sensible population, even considering the diversions the news media is supplying, or has supplied ...

ATB from George

dave marshall posted:

Is it not the case that the basis for much of the dissatisfaction with the EU, as far as  the UK is concerned, lies in the fact that the original scenario, that of a free trade area, has been hijacked over the years by those wishing to create a European super state, with all the bureaucracy which has resulted?

Had we stuck to the initial concept, and not allowed our self promoting politicians to strike deals behind the scenes, then we would more than likely not be having the present discussion.

Dave.

I don't think the original scenario was simply to create a free-trade area. That may be the reason why Britain wanted to join at some stage, but the "founding fathers" had other ambitions which the British never really shared. Most of the posts above seldom rise above the purely materialistic: what's in it for us? What do we get out of it?

I was born just after the end of the Second World War, within walking distance of the Belgian border - that border was a 10-foot wall as far as most people were concerned. Today, I can simply take the car, drive 45mn (no visible border...), and have dinner in Bruges - no fuss. Lille, where I live, is part of a Euroregion which includes Kortrijk and Tournai. That's what Europe is about. Corrupt Euro-politicians? No more corrupt than others, perhaps even less.

Frenchnaim posted:
dave marshall posted:

Is it not the case that the basis for much of the dissatisfaction with the EU, as far as  the UK is concerned, lies in the fact that the original scenario, that of a free trade area, has been hijacked over the years by those wishing to create a European super state, with all the bureaucracy which has resulted?

Had we stuck to the initial concept, and not allowed our self promoting politicians to strike deals behind the scenes, then we would more than likely not be having the present discussion.

Dave.

I don't think the original scenario was simply to create a free-trade area. That may be the reason why Britain wanted to join at some stage, but the "founding fathers" had other ambitions which the British never really shared.

My point exactly.

The concept at the time, as presented to the UK electorate, was one of a free trade area, nothing more.

The subsequent birth of a European super state was orchestrated without the consent of said electorate, which, quite apart from the present economic arguments either way, explains the feelings of many, over remaining part of this beaurocratic monolith.

Dave.

dave marshall posted:
Frenchnaim posted:
dave marshall posted:

Is it not the case that the basis for much of the dissatisfaction with the EU, as far as  the UK is concerned, lies in the fact that the original scenario, that of a free trade area, has been hijacked over the years by those wishing to create a European super state, with all the bureaucracy which has resulted?

Had we stuck to the initial concept, and not allowed our self promoting politicians to strike deals behind the scenes, then we would more than likely not be having the present discussion.

Dave.

I don't think the original scenario was simply to create a free-trade area. That may be the reason why Britain wanted to join at some stage, but the "founding fathers" had other ambitions which the British never really shared.

My point exactly.

The concept at the time, as presented to the UK electorate, was one of a free trade area, nothing more.

The subsequent birth of a European super state was orchestrated without the consent of said electorate, which, quite apart from the present economic arguments either way, explains the feelings of many, over remaining part of this beaurocratic monolith.

Dave.

Not exactly what I meant... I doubt the original drafters had in mind the concept of a super state. This was the immediate post-war period, remember, France and Germany (and other European nations) had been at war for the best part of a century.

Besides, if you see Europe as a super state, you must admit it is a very weak form of super state - powerless in many areas. Attempts have been made to create a more coherent whole: they have been largely unsuccessful (France, for one, voted against the European Constitution, which was totally unworkable).

The dilemma, for Europe, is how to be more efficient as a community of nations, while preserving national sovereignties and identities. It's like squaring the circle...

Not exactly what I meant... I doubt the original drafters had in mind the concept of a super state. This was the immediate post-war period, remember, France and Germany (and other European nations) had been at war for the best part of a century. 
This is certainly true at the time of the formation of the Common Market, (or Free Trade Area), in 1957.
However, by 1993, with the formation of the EU, the ideology behind that original concept had shifted somewhat.

 

 

Besides, if you see Europe as a super state, you must admit it is a very weak form of super state - powerless in many areas. Attempts have been made to create a more coherent whole: they have been largely unsuccessful (France, for one, voted against the European Constitution, which was totally unworkable).

The dilemma, for Europe, is how to be more efficient as a community of nations, while preserving national sovereignties and identities. It's like squaring the circle...

Whether or not I see the EU as a superstate is largely unimportant, I simply question the determination of our politicians to bring that scenario into being, without reference to the UK electorate.

Dave.

Friends

Fascinating discussion. It's interesting to read your views. Many of your views reflect an inward looking nationalism that is now quite common in Europe and here in the US. Common themes are a dissatisfaction with government and a concern about uncontrolled immigration. 

For myself I do have a fear that we are missing some hard learned lessons from WW 1 and WW 2. Those who lived during that time are no longer around to remind has how much better a little bureacracy is than having the beast  at your door. And, as recent history informs us, the beasts are still out there.

The EU is certainly an imperfect organization but in a different way so is the organization of the 50 US States. Some 200 years after federation we still deal with state to state issues. Imperfect people creating imperfect organizations. 

I have been casually following your EU membership debate over the years and always find myself thinking that you may well be unpleasently surprised by the uninteded consequences should you choose to leave.

In the event, good luck with the debate.

 

 

I totally agree with Dave Marshall's comments, when we voted in favour of joining the EU it was for its free trade market, not for a federal europe. 
 
The UK is a net contributor, so the loss will be greater for the EC than for the UK if we leave.  Some say it's better for the UK to have a say from inside the EC, but we are just a small voice amongst all the others, carrying little influence.  The UK is, I think, about the sixth largest economy in the world and as some suggest leaving the EC would do us harm is a fallacy.  Europe and the rest of the world would wish to continue trading with us - ask BMW, VW Group, Bosch etc. European laws are forced upon the UK, and we currently have only limited right to make our own laws. 
 The UK is a net contributor, so the loss will be greater for the EC than for the UK if we leave.

 

Don't kid yourself, it's going to make precious little difference - the European budget is peanuts compared to our national budgets. And if you think Britain will have a totally free rein once it's left the EU, you're making a mistake, I believe. Like Norway and Switzerland, Britain will probably have to comply with European regulations.

Personally, I don't care whether Britain stays or leaves, I lived in Britain for a long time, and I will continue to visit my friends and relations once Britain has left - I'm just appalled by the abysmally low quality of the debate in the media.

 
 
Chris G posted:
European laws are forced upon the UK, and we currently have only limited right to make our own laws. 

Not sure if that is true, sounds like an urban myth to me.

But, if it where true, would it be a bad thing. I personally don’t think so. 

What do you prefer.

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in Brussels by a committee who make the decisions for the benefit of the general public. 

Or 

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in London by politicians who make the decisions for the benefit of themselves.

 

 

My opinion of UK politicians isn't very high; my opinion of European politicians is however considerably lower, so in answer to your question, I'd prefer the UK politicians.  At least we have the chance to vote them out of office every five years (though better when parliament wasn't for a fixed term.  

Frenchnaim posted:

The dilemma, for Europe, is how to be more efficient as a community of nations, while preserving national sovereignties and identities. It's like squaring the circle...

The "European Union" and "Efficient" is an oxymoron.

Trying to get 28 nations to agree on anything is time-consuming, frustrating and expensive.

Getting them to change a rule, once it has been made, takes about five years - and that's for rules that all 28 agree NEED to be changed.

The UK isn't alone in seeing the need for change in many areas, especially in the areas that Cameron and Tusk have put before the European Parliament. But self-interest elsewhere will attempt to dilute or eliminate these proposals, regardless of whether they would improve the efficiency of the union of nations, or preserve national sovereignties and identities or not.

Will the EU be stronger with the UK in it ?

UK politicians make policies that appeal to the voters for the sole purpose of gaining votes and gaining/retaining power.

The same isn't true for EU politicians, in general nobody knows or cares what policies they come up with. (Unless it's a regulation on the shape/size of bananas, then it becomes front page news).

 

fatcat posted:

 

What do you prefer.

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in Brussels by a committee who make the decisions for the benefit of the general public. 

Or 

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in London by politicians who make the decisions for the benefit of themselves.

 

 

I'm not at all convinced that the assertions in red are justified.

Perhaps we should consider

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in Brussels by an un-elected committee.

or

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in London by elected  politicians.

 



 

 

 

fatcat posted:

UK politicians make policies that appeal to the voters for the sole purpose of gaining votes and gaining/retaining power.

The same isn't true for EU politicians, in general nobody knows or cares what policies they come up with. (Unless it's a regulation on the shape/size of bananas, then it becomes front page news).

 

Try working with EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). Its been a nightmare for the past 10 years and we are still trying to sort out their mess. This is just one example area.

I think you'll find many people do care about real issues and have to spend years getting things put right.

 

Don Atkinson posted:
fatcat posted:

 

What do you prefer.

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in Brussels by a committee who make the decisions for the benefit of the general public. 

Or 

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in London by politicians who make the decisions for the benefit of themselves.

 

 

I'm not at all convinced that the assertions in red are justified.

Perhaps we should consider

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in Brussels by an un-elected committee.

or

Decisions on laws, policies and regulations taken in London by elected  politicians.

 



 

 

 

UK politicians make policies that appeal to the voters for the sole purpose of gaining votes and gaining/retaining power.

The same isn't true for EU politicians, in general nobody knows or cares what policies they come up with. (Unless it's a regulation on the shape/size of bananas, then it becomes front page news).

I'd personally prefer the  unelected committee.

Frenchnaim posted:

An article which will answer some of the questions:

http://www.economist.com/news/...pe-budget-didnt-bark

Sorry, but it hardly answers any significant questions.

It's just a European whinge about who pays what into the common fund. Pretty pathetic really.

The whole funding issue needs to be re-structured to reflect who is able to contribute and who needs to receive, and it needs to be flexible to accommodate future changing circumstances.

The article does answer some of the questions about Britain's contribution.

But, as we say, no argument (not even a rational one) will convince people who don't want to be convinced. The issue is emotional as well - that is the biggest problem.

Frenchnaim posted:

The article does answer some of the questions about Britain's contribution.

 

That is true. But as you say, it only answerssome of the problems about Britain's financial contribution (direct payment). And my point is that Britain's financial contribution is not really a significant issue.The contribution system could be simplified and IMHO should be simplified.

But there a far more important issues than the contribution system per-se and I don't see much exposition or explanation of any real issues  Just sound-bites and as you say, emotional rhetoric.

That's why I suggested we might be sleep-walking, and based on a recent poll, leaving the EU by a margin of 9 points.

 

Boris is yet un-decided whether to support the in campaign or the out campaign.

Presumably after Friday, politicians on both sides of this issue will be voicing their opinions regarding the main issues that we, the voters, should take into account when deciding whether to vote in or out. Hopefully they will make the main issues crystal clear and likewise give us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth  about the issues and then, and only then, add their personal forecast about how the future might evolve under each scenario.

Meanwhile, I keep wondering why the Eastern European countries wanted to be part of the EU and why Germany, France, Austria and Denmark all want to remain part of the EU. Perhaps answers would help us in the UK come to a more appropriate decision ?

Dear Don,

The reason why France and Germany in particular wanted to join the Steel Union as it then was, was to bind themselves so closely with France on an economic level that another European War would be unfeasible. At the time De Gaulle stood against Britain, and Churchill was particularly keen to be in from the start. I think Europe would be quite a different place, politically,  if we had not been vetoed in the early days by the French administration.

The reasons why the Eastern European countries wanted to join does vary by the individual state. In many ways Poland and Czechoslovakia [as it then was] are part of the middle European culture that Germany in particular is the centre of. 

As for the other Eastern European countries, they were on the rebound from Communistic Dictatorships [as were Poland and Czecho, of course] and they would do anything more or less to add security for their exposed position in relation to Russia. 

I find it interesting that as soon as Germany re-unified, Norway [the voters not the politicians] decided that joining would not be a good idea. Earlier Norway would have joined, but things were left too late by politicians in the EEC and in Norway. 

On the whole I suspect Poland would be somewhat dismayed in the UK votes to leave Europe, and certainly the Irish Republic is not happy either. But which ever way the vote goes, the planet will continue to revolve about its axis, and trade will continue, and it will not result in Russian invasion.

A good settlement will be found for what ever contingency.  For an example of that look at Norway. Nothing is perfect, but something closer to ideal may be found in future which ever way the vote goes.

ATB from George

Add Reply

Likes (3)
jprJockymacwanderer
×
×
×
×