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Author Topic:   Brexit - Should they stay or should they go?
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 608
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 1 of 224 (785455)
06-05-2016 12:35 PM


The UK is only weeks away from a pretty historic vote regarding their membership in the European Union.

I see from the polling that the country is pretty evenly split between the 'stay' and 'leave' camps. There are still a large number of people who are classified as undecided, so this vote can essentially go either way.

I don't presume to have all the requisite knowledge regarding the particulars of what the ramifications of the UK leaving the EU might be; there is a tremendous amount of back and forth between both camps and both are utilizing scare tactics to drive their point home. Obama himself chimed in regarding his view that the UK should stay.

I know we have members on this forum that live in the UK and I am wondering what some of their views regarding this referendum might be.

Just to add some clarity to the discussion, I pieced together the following key items that are directly affected by this vote. Both sides have claimed pros and cons (from their point of view) regarding these items. But just to list them off as they are the key talking points in this discussion:

1. Membership Fee - Currently costs to be a member. There are some returns on this, but the UK pays more into the system than it gets out. Current cost savings of leaving are about 8.5bn.

2. Trade - More than 50% of UK trade is with the EU.

3. Investment - Both sides claim benefits in this regard. The 'stay' camp indicates that UK's role as an investment hub will be diminished while Brexit proponents indicate that free of EU regulations, they will be more competitive.

4. Immigration - Probably the most polarizing of the issues, but it is cited by both sides. Brexit supporters cite a lack of effective controls due to EU immigration laws usurping UK laws.

5. Jobs - Once again, both sides claim benefits of staying or leaving. Difficult to quantify this one.

6. Security - Clearly with the issues in the Eurozone and the recent attacks in Paris and Belgium, this issue is at the forefront of discussions.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by caffeine, posted 06-05-2016 1:17 PM Diomedes has responded
 Message 8 by Pressie, posted 06-06-2016 6:15 AM Diomedes has not yet responded
 Message 10 by RAZD, posted 06-06-2016 10:01 AM Diomedes has responded
 Message 11 by ringo, posted 06-06-2016 12:06 PM Diomedes has not yet responded
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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1263
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 2 of 224 (785462)
06-05-2016 1:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Diomedes
06-05-2016 12:35 PM


On the money side, while it's true that Britain pays in more than it gets out (as do all of the wealthiest countries in the EU), it's important to remember that a lot of that money is going to fund economic development in the rest of the EU which, as you pointed out, are amongst our major trading partners. Also worth noting that the poorer parts of the UK also receive regional development funds - it's not all going to Eastern Europe.

If the UK wants to retain the trade benefits of being in Europe (and this benefit is clear if you work in any kind of cross-border business) then it needs to at least remain in the European Economic Area. While in theory this could be done while leaving the EU (Norway is an EEA member but not an EU member), what is gained by this? Britain would still be obliged to follow EU market regulations, but would no longer be able to vote on them.

There seems to be a belief that we would receive some separate cushy trade deal from the EU, since Britain is so special, but there are several countries' governments I can see acting vinidictively in the event of a British exit.

Britain already has one of the cushiest deals in the EU. An opt out on the Euro, optouts on Justice and Home Affairs legislation and a rebate on contributions which means we pay less than another country of equivalent revenues would. And it would be tragic if we throw all this away with something like 51%/49% split in the referendum.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Diomedes, posted 06-05-2016 12:35 PM Diomedes has responded

Replies to this message:
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 4643
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.3


(1)
Message 3 of 224 (785468)
06-05-2016 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by caffeine
06-05-2016 1:17 PM


I was hoping this wouldn't come up... Ah well.

There's an enormous amount of smoke in the air but there really are only 3 important issues for the vote

1. Immigration. We have open boarders for other EU countries which means that millions of people from the poorer, ex-communist eastern European states are now in the UK. There are concerns about jobs, wages, housing, healthcare and benefits. Underneath that, there's a fear that Britain is no longer British.

2. Control. We are subject to a lot of laws that do not originate in the UK, some of which are seen to be bad for us - fishery policy, boarder control, the shape of bananas and human rights. (There is confusion between the various treaties but let's not go there - perceptions are more important than facts at this stage.)

3. The economy. Pretty much every economist and institution of any standing agrees that leaving is bad - at least in the relative short term and probably in the long term too. But those that want to leave aren't listening to economic arguments.

The final decison is going to be made almost entirely on gut feeling. I'm really, really pissed off at our Prime Minister for allowing this vote, he nearly lost Scotland, now he's risking Europe. It's idiotic.

I'm for staying.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Diomedes
Member
Posts: 608
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 4 of 224 (785473)
06-05-2016 3:55 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by caffeine
06-05-2016 1:17 PM


On the money side, while it's true that Britain pays in more than it gets out (as do all of the wealthiest countries in the EU), it's important to remember that a lot of that money is going to fund economic development in the rest of the EU which, as you pointed out, are amongst our major trading partners. Also worth noting that the poorer parts of the UK also receive regional development funds - it's not all going to Eastern Europe.

One thing I have considered however, although this doesn't directly affect the UK since they are still on their own currency, is what is happening in the EU as a result of the common currency. You have countries like Germany that are thriving, with very low unemployment and strong economies, while you have countries like Greece and Spain which are essentially in depressions. The issue is there appears to be no way out of their death spiral. Because Greece and Spain are now dependent on EU loans, they are now in a state if indentured servitude. They cannot devalue their own currency to become competitive and as a consequence, they are now beholden to the other countries. I am honestly not certain how that may mitigate itself.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by caffeine, posted 06-05-2016 1:17 PM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
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Diomedes
Member
Posts: 608
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 5 of 224 (785474)
06-05-2016 4:02 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Tangle
06-05-2016 1:58 PM


I'm really, really pissed off at our Prime Minister for allowing this vote, he nearly lost Scotland, now he's risking Europe. It's idiotic.

I have to admit, that is something that baffles me. The majority of the individuals who are pro-Brexit are from the conservative party. Why would Cameron (who is the conservative party leader) instantiate this vote? Did he grossly under-estimate the fact that the Brexit lobby and voter sentiment made this vote far closer than he thought? I don't really get the rational.

Incidentally, I actually think Obama made an error by making that pro-EU speech of his when he was in the UK. He ended up leveraging scare tactics regarding the economic consequences of leaving and I think that backfired. Many actually pointed out the irony of the President of the USA, a country founded on leaving the British Empire, chastising the UK for this vote.

By the way Tangle, you may have already seen it, but there is a Brexit movie floating around on Youtube. Link is here for anyone that might be interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTMxfAkxfQ0

Now this is clearly a propaganda piece pure and simple. But I have to admit, they did a good job of putting it together and it is troubling to see that there really isn't an effective 'counter piece' from the pro-EU folks.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Tangle, posted 06-05-2016 1:58 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 4643
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 6 of 224 (785478)
06-05-2016 5:49 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Diomedes
06-05-2016 4:02 PM


Diomedes writes:

I have to admit, that is something that baffles me. The majority of the individuals who are pro-Brexit are from the conservative party. Why would Cameron (who is the conservative party leader) instantiate this vote? Did he grossly under-estimate the fact that the Brexit lobby and voter sentiment made this vote far closer than he thought? I don't really get the rational.

The major reason was that the Conservative party has been split on Europe since we went in and it's been a running sore ever since. I think he wanted it settled.

There were also backroom deals done before the last election. Because of the immigration issue a minor exit party called UKIP looked like it would split the vote and create at best a hung Parliament. Cameron thought that by promising a referrendum he'd steal their thunder. As it turned out UKIP did poorly and the real opposition - Labour - got annihilated alongside the Liberals so the Conservatives got a majority. But he was stuck with the promise.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Diomedes, posted 06-05-2016 4:02 PM Diomedes has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Pressie
Member
Posts: 1605
From: Pretoria, SA
Joined: 06-18-2010
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 7 of 224 (785490)
06-06-2016 5:57 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Tangle
06-05-2016 5:49 PM


quote:
Cameron thought that by promising a referendum he'd steal their thunder
Yes, before he got elected the first time he promised that he'd call a referendum on the EU on condition that he'd get elected for the second time.

Edited by Pressie, : No reason given.

Edited by Pressie, : No reason given.

Edited by Pressie, : No reason given.

Edited by Pressie, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Pressie
Member
Posts: 1605
From: Pretoria, SA
Joined: 06-18-2010
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 8 of 224 (785491)
06-06-2016 6:15 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Diomedes
06-05-2016 12:35 PM


To me, personally, as non-British; the Brits can do whatever you want to. Those guys are really not that important anymore. Their time is gone.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Diomedes, posted 06-05-2016 12:35 PM Diomedes has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Tangle, posted 06-06-2016 7:07 AM Pressie has responded
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 4643
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.3


(1)
Message 9 of 224 (785494)
06-06-2016 7:07 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Pressie
06-06-2016 6:15 AM


Pressie writes:

To me, personally, as non-British; the Brits can do whatever you want to. Those guys are really not that important anymore. Their time is gone.

I really wish that was true, unfortunately it's not. Sure we no longer have an empire and control a fifth of the world's population but we're still have enormous political, cultural and economic influence. We're the fifth largest economy, a (nuclear) member of NATO and we get tangled up with the USA's insane wars through our so called 'special relationship'.

If we were smaller, less impressed by the bullies of the world and less concerned with our inglorious past we might be a lot healthier and happier as a nation. But maybe Brexit will help.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Pressie, posted 06-06-2016 6:15 AM Pressie has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18472
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


(1)
Message 10 of 224 (785509)
06-06-2016 10:01 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Diomedes
06-05-2016 12:35 PM


My opinion from the outside is this:

What the immigrant issue and the Greece bankruptcy issue has demonstrated to me is that the EU is more about corporate security and banker security than it is about people.

In other words corporate oligarchy over popular democracy in decision making.

So I think it is a failed first attempt at unification of the nations into a single political entity, much like the "Articles of Confederation" was a failed first attempt at unifying the states into a single political entity.

But then I'm a "radical" socialist democrat Bernie Sanders person that thinks people should come first.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : .


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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 13025
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 11 of 224 (785519)
06-06-2016 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Diomedes
06-05-2016 12:35 PM


I'm not a Brit but their Queen is on my money so I'm entitled to an opinion. Just a gut feeling but I'd be out like a bat out of hell.

And what RAZD said.


This message is a reply to:
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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1263
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 12 of 224 (785521)
06-06-2016 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Diomedes
06-05-2016 3:55 PM


One thing I have considered however, although this doesn't directly affect the UK since they are still on their own currency, is what is happening in the EU as a result of the common currency. You have countries like Germany that are thriving, with very low unemployment and strong economies, while you have countries like Greece and Spain which are essentially in depressions. The issue is there appears to be no way out of their death spiral. Because Greece and Spain are now dependent on EU loans, they are now in a state if indentured servitude. They cannot devalue their own currency to become competitive and as a consequence, they are now beholden to the other countries. I am honestly not certain how that may mitigate itself.

How to deal with economic disparities within the Eurozone is a problem, and not one I entirely understand. As I understand it, this is part of the purpose of the regional development fund - to channel money towards the poorer parts of Europe. Isn't this essentially how the US deals with economic disparity amongst its states? It's not like West Virginia can devalue its currency either.

This is, of course, not so relevant to Britain, since the UK and Denmark negotiated opt-outs before signing the Maastricht treaty that exempt them from any obligation to ever adopt the Euro.


This message is a reply to:
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Diomedes
Member
Posts: 608
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 5.8


(1)
Message 13 of 224 (785523)
06-06-2016 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD
06-06-2016 10:01 AM


My opinion from the outside is this:
What the immigrant issue and the Greece bankruptcy issue has demonstrated to me is that the EU is more about corporate security and banker security than it is about people.

In other words corporate oligarchy over popular democracy in decision making.

I have to say I agree with this. And that is what is troubling. It seems to me that the politics of the EU causes a situation where the more economically powerful countries have clout over the ones less powerful. And as I mentioned in my earlier post, we now have a situation whereby certain countries are permanently stuck in an economic 'malaise' whereby they are beholden to the EU for loans whilst simultaneously not being able to make themselves competitive because they don't have currency controls.

Maybe I am too biased as a consequence of my Greek heritage and the fact that I have family that was affected very negatively by the austerity measures that were imposed. But my guess is the sentiment would be shared by those in Portugal and Spain.


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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1263
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 14 of 224 (785525)
06-06-2016 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD
06-06-2016 10:01 AM


What the immigrant issue and the Greece bankruptcy issue has demonstrated to me is that the EU is more about corporate security and banker security than it is about people.

In other words corporate oligarchy over popular democracy in decision making.

I'm not really sure how you tie the immigrant issue into an idea of corporate oligarchy running the EU. If by immigrants you mean the refugee crisis, then I'm not sure the corporate oligarchy would have a unified view on the issue. And given that it's an issue which divides both the European Council and European popular opinion you're not making much of a coherent point here.

Worth bearing in mind, however, is the enormous day-today benefits we gain from the unification of the European market and the abolition of trade barriers. Maybe I'm biased on account of the fact that most jobs I've had in my adult life involve doing business with people in foreign countries, but the process is always cheaper and easier when it's happening within the EEA. Euopean competition rules have shattered many national monopolies across Europe by forcing them to open up markets to competition from the rest of Europe.

And the important point is that the abolition of barriers applies equally to labour as to capital. I can move freely within the European Union and it is illegal for any member state to discriminate against me on the basis of nationality. This has been an enormous boon to me, though I can understand how someone who lives ten miles from where they grew up only sees this freedom only as an invitation for foreigners to invade his territory.

And the EU gave to Britain for the first time an effective Bill of Rights, and yet this epochal acheivement is one of the things many in favour of leaving see as the problem.


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5519
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 6.8


Message 15 of 224 (785529)
06-06-2016 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD
06-06-2016 10:01 AM


What the immigrant issue and the Greece bankruptcy issue has demonstrated to me is that the EU is more about corporate security and banker security than it is about people.

And I thought it had more to do with avoiding another world war started in Europe.

I still think the idea of a united Europe is a good one. But I've always thought that it was a mistake to go to a common currency. The problems that you are seeing, such as the influence of the bankers, is because of that mistake.

The Brits at least avoided the mistake of the common currency. I'm inclined to think that they should stay. But it isn't my decision to make.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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