Brexit. Why do Brits want Out of the EU?

Fri 22 Jan, 2016 03:24 am
Here's a bit of talk about Brexit, but no real reasons for nearly half of Britain wanting out. Is it mostly a perceived lop-sided trade issue?


Would appreciate insider details.
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View best answer, chosen by Lash
Fri 22 Jan, 2016 04:49 am
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Sat 23 Apr, 2016 08:20 am
This is going to be a highly emotive issue for most of us over the coming weeks, with facts and figures being blasted at us from all directions until we're sick to death of it all and totally confused.

Each side will consider themselves patriots of the highest order who see themselves as totally right. It's a bit like a miniature Civil War, this one being fought with words and stats rather than guns.

From a purely personal viewpoint, having been immersed in France in a big way over the past thirty years, I soon came to the conclusion that the EU, even way back then (1980's) was not a lot more than a giant juggernaut of a gravy train.
More frightening though, is that The EU today is a very different and much more politically powerful animal than it was then, regulating morecand more of our European lives every day, clicking the legal ratchet in its favour with every new piece of legislation that is passed.
I honestly feel that Britain (I can only speak as a Brit but am aware that a lot of my French "family" feel roughly the same) is gradually being governed more and more by faceless EU bureaucrats who, rather than have our (EU citizens) interests at heart, are relentlessly marching towards full Federalisation of the Union and overriding the powers of the democratically elected governments of each member state.

There will be, and has been already, great scaremongering to come from the 'remain' camp (Obama is a classic) and if you were to believe their schpiel we would all be cast into the void if we were to leave, never to trade with a single country in the world ever again.
I say that is bollocks. And anyway, this for me is not primarily about the bottom line profit and wealth.

This is, for me, about regaining our democracy, To once again have the right to govern ourselves through our democratically elected MPs, pure and simple.

Obama came over here and tried to put the frighteners on us, because Britain leaving the EU does not seem to suit the USA for whatever reason.
He was wrong to do this, IMO, as I honestly feel that it will just put people's backs up.
I strongly suspect that if the average American was faced with such a situation where they were expected to stump up billions of dollars each year so that unelected outsiders could rewrite their laws, then the average American would be up in arms, to say the least.

I fully expect to be pulled apart here by clever staisticians and nitpickers, but I am just telling it from my heart.

I would rather be worse off financially in a full democracy once again, rather than go along and play sheepy baa-lamb to the EU as they march over us all on their road to full Federal Union.

I also honestly believe that there are millions of fellow Europeans out there who are quietly wishing that it was them who had the opportunity of an In Out Referendum.

I will supply a link or two to a few interesting articles as and when, so you may gain a bit more insight.

I expect to get a lot of flak now from "remain" members and will try to remain civil.

In a nutshell, for me it is 90% about British democracy and its survival.

End of.
Sat 23 Apr, 2016 08:23 am
First link......,

This Member of the European Parliament puts the case very well.

I , and many, many Brits, have been feeling like this for years.

It is certainly worth reading from end to end, imo.

Sat 23 Apr, 2016 10:04 am
Here's how the above article starts. It is the first in a series of articles, blowing the lid off Brussells from the inside......

Please, please sack me! Euro MP DANIEL HANNAN on the money and perks he gets from Brussels for making Britons' lives harder... and why he is begging the nation to have the courage to put him out of a job

"Will jobs be lost if we decide as a nation to leave the European Union? Only mine.
I am a British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and my simple plea to you when you vote in the referendum in June is this: Help me abolish my well-remunerated and comfortable position. Please, please sack me!
I still remember my utter, nerveless shock on my first day in Brussels after being elected as the MEP for South East England in 1999. Having found my office, I was invited by a very helpful lady to hand in my plane ticket from London for reimbursement.

The sum I was given in return was so large I assumed there had been a mistake. ‘I’ve only come from Heathrow,’ I explained. ‘No mistake, Monsieur,’ she replied brightly. ‘That’s the kilometre rate from London.’
I protested: ‘But there’s no way anyone could spend that sum travelling here from London.’ She put me straight: ‘That’s how the rate is calculated.’

MEPs travelled from their constituencies to either Brussels or Strasbourg (the European Parliament meets at both, at vast expense) and were reimbursed on the basis of the priciest notional fare, plus an extra ‘time and distance allowance’.
Even on a top business class fare, you could make a tidy sum. If you flew EasyJet, you could trouser the better part of £800 a week — tax-free, because it counted as expenses rather than income.
My next call was to the ‘general expenses’ official, who told me I was entitled to nearly £3,500 a month as a bloc grant.

Was this to rent an office? I asked. No, no, he replied, we give you offices in Brussels and in Strasbourg.
‘For computers and equipment, then?’
‘No, you get that, too. It’s for other incidental expenses like postage and petrol.’ ‘Seriously? Three-and-a-half grand a month?’
‘As I say, sir, it’s an unconditional grant. You don’t have to submit receipts. You just nominate which bank account it goes into.’
T he bottom line — as I discovered — is that, without doing anything improper, an MEP who makes full use of his allowances can take home, net, considerably more than the British Prime Minister.
Why am I telling you about my first day at work? Because it’s a clue as to why I am inviting you to serve me with my P45. The expenses are a neat demonstration of the gap between theoretical ideals and practice. The EU was launched from exalted motives — peace and co-operation among nations — and there can be a temptation to give it the benefit of the doubt.
We often half-pretend that we are dealing with some fantasy EU, one that rises above the grubbiness of politics and embodies a lofty ideal. It seems almost bad taste to look in too much detail at the one which has, in fact, taken shape before us, with its dodgy accounts and its private jets.
The way in which MEPs are remunerated is one small example of how, rather than being pure, the EU is often, in the exact sense, corrupting — that is, it makes otherwise good people behave in bad ways.
I know several MEPs who came to Brussels without feeling especially strongly about closer integration, but who drank in federalist assumptions as they guzzled down their allowances.
What is true of the MEPs is equally true of the many giant corporations, mega-charities, think-tanks, professional associations and lobbyists who make a living out of the Brussels system. These groups are, as you might expect, the Praetorian Guard of the Remain campaign.
For their executives, staying in the EU is not about sovereignty or democracy; it’s about mortgages and school fees.
For Britain as a whole, though, there’s little doubt that we’ll be better off out. It won’t result in a radical overnight transformation. But we’ll begin to follow a different trajectory, less dependent on an enervated and declining eurozone and more focused on the rest of the world........"

Full article on above link.

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Sat 23 Apr, 2016 10:15 am
The second article in the series. This one is a doozy!

EXPOSED. Pro-EU cheer leaders in the pay of Brussels: Continuing a devastating series, Euro MP DANIEL HANNAN reveals the REAL reason charities, quangos and lobbyists are desperate to keep Britain in the EU

On Saturday, Euro MP Daniel Hannan asked you to sack him and so help abolish the fat-cat perks enjoyed by Eurocrats and Brussels politicians. Today, he reveals the back-scratching culture of Brussels, where it’s the EU-funded lobby groups and quangos who are the loudest supporters of ever-greater union...
A recent public letter warning against Brexit argued that EU laws have ‘a hugely positive effect’ on the environment. It was signed by the heads of a dozen green pressure groups including Natural England, the Green Alliance, the RSPB and the Natural Environment Research Council. What was not mentioned was that the European Commission funds eight of the 12 organisations directly.
Of course, ‘protect our countryside’ sounds so much prettier than ‘protect our grants’, but you can’t help wondering which issue motivated them more.
It’s a familiar ruse. The last time Britain had to approve a major transfer of power to Brussels was in 2007, when we ratified the Lisbon Treaty. Introducing the Bill in Parliament, the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, made a great song and dance of quoting a whole range of organisations in favour. ‘The NSPCC has pledged its support, as have One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam,’ he said, looking pleased with himself.

Environmental organisations support the treaty provisions on sustainable development, and even the commission of bishops supports the treaty. This is a coalition, not of ideology, but integrity.’
Integrity? It turned out every organisation he cited was in receipt of EU subventions. Hardly surprising, then, that they should dutifully endorse a treaty supported by their paymasters.
What was surprising was the extent of their financial dependency. When I asked the European Commission how much money it had paid these organisations, it emerged that Action Aid, the NSPCC, One World Action and Oxfam had among them been given €43 million in a single year.
So, can organisations in receipt of such colossal subsidies legitimately claim to be independent? Can they even describe themselves as charities, at least in the sense that we commonly understand the word?
As for the ‘commission of bishops’, that turned out to be the ‘Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community’, a Brussels-based outfit whose purpose was ‘to promote reflection, based on the Church’s social teaching, on the challenges facing a united Europe’.
In other words, while seeking to give the impression of broad support for a new transfer of powers to Brussels, the British Foreign Secretary was reduced to citing a body that would be out of business if the EU disappeared.

Back in 2003, when the European Constitution was first being drawn up, 200 organisations supposedly representing ‘civil society’ were invited to submit their suggestions on what it should contain. All of them were in receipt of EU grants.

This is how the system works. The EU funds an interest group. That group duly demands that Eurocrats seize more powers. Eurocrats then announce that, in response to popular demand, they are extending their jurisdiction.

When the Commission sought new continent-wide rules on pesticides, it set up a group called Pesticide Watch — an amalgam of various EU-funded bodies — to push it in the direction it wanted. MEPs were then duly bombarded by emails from this campaign, presented as missives from ordinary citizens.
In much the same way, the Commission pays Friends of the Earth to urge it to take more powers in the field of climate change. It pays WWF (the World Wildlife Fund) to tell it to assume more control over environmental matters. It pays the European Trade Union Congress to demand more Brussels employment laws.
This is how the system works. The EU funds an interest group. That group duly demands that Eurocrats seize more powers
The EU machine-guns cash at its client organisations, these organisations tell it what it wants to hear, and it then turns around and claims to have listened to The People.
Virtually every field of activity has some approved, EU-sponsored pressure group to campaign for deeper integration: the European Union of Journalists, the European Women’s Lobby, the European Cyclists’ Federation.
These are not independent associations which just happen to be in receipt of EU funds. They are, in most cases, creatures of the European Commission, wholly dependent on Brussels for their existence. So when the Remain campaign tells us it has the support of some organisation or other, it is wise to check where their funding comes from.
Take UK Universities, which campaigns strenuously for the EU and claims that ‘EU funding is too important to be sacrificed’. British universities have had close to €900 million from Brussels since 2008.
What UK Universities won’t tell you is that all this money was, in effect, taken out of Britain’s contribution to the EU. If Britain withdrew, it could make an equivalent or larger payment directly, rather than routing it through Brussels. Yet they still want to stick with the EU. Why? Because of what the economist Milton Friedman called ‘the tyranny of the status quo’.
This does not just refer to the fact that human beings are change-averse, though we are. It refers, also, to the way in which a corpus of vested interests grows up around whatever happens to be the established settlement.

Eurocrats employed by Brussels are naturally gung-ho on the Remain side. They are well paid (with a very advantageous tax perk) and not about to bite the hand that feeds them. I can understand that. But some of those fighting hardest to remain in the EU are benefiting from the system at second-hand.
The ‘Europe Officers’ employed by local authorities; the financial regulators whose bread-and-butter work is the enforcement of EU rules; the representatives of the professional associations and trade unions that maintain a presence in Brussels; the bureaucrats who flit between their national civil services and lucrative Brussels secondments.
The professors whose chairs are endowed by the EU; the think-tanks that are contracted by the EU to carry out research projects on remarkably generous terms; the NGOs and charities in receipt of grants; the international aid consultants; the lobbyists, for whom the EU is a goldmine.
These recipients of EU largesse are likely to argue that Britain ought to have influence in Brussels, that the nation-state is passé and that the economy benefits from the EU. You are entitled to be sceptical about what they say.
Eurocrats employed by Brussels are naturally gung-ho on the Remain side. They are well paid (with a very advantageous tax perk) and not about to bite the hand that feeds them
My advice? Cherchez l’argent.
ONE of the reasons the EU is stagnating while other advanced economies grow is because cronyism and protectionism flourish in the undemocratic Brussels institutions.
Under this system, committees and technical experts meet and make trade-offs out of the public eye. It amounts to an invitation to lobbyists and pressure groups to reach secret arrangements behind closed doors.
No wonder lobbyists love the EU, intuiting from the moment they arrive that it was designed by and for people like them.
The grey, rainy streets of Brussels are to lobbying what Silicon Valley is to high-tech. There are reckoned to be around 25,000 of them plying their trade there as big business spends fortunes forging links with those who make the laws.
Oil companies, banks, new media outfits such as Microsoft and Google, pharmaceutical companies — all are at it, purchasing face-time to promote their vested interests. So, too, are causes such as Greenpeace, WWF and Oxfam.
What all these lobbies have in common, whether industrial or environmental, is a preference for corporatism and back-room deals.
What is bad about such a system is not just that it is intrinsically secretive and a paradise for vested interests. It also puts a major block on innovation and enterprise.
Vested interests rarely like innovation. Nor does the EU, which is, by its nature, hostile to anything new or different. Existing elites fear that the creative destruction of new inventions might jeopardise their position. They therefore lobby to keep things more or less as they are.

In the 28 member states, this isn’t always easy to achieve. The individual nations are democracies with independent judiciaries.
But in the EU, whose institutions were designed by men who distrusted democracy, it is far easier to reach cosy accommodations with decision-makers. As for the will of the people, that can go hang.
Let me give you an example. Twenty million citizens around the EU make use of complementary health products, but in 2005, the EU began to regulate higher-dose vitamin and mineral supplements, herbal remedies and other alternative medicines.
In 16 years as an MEP, I have never had so many letters and emails from worried constituents, for whom this was a burning issue.
Now, there are arguments on both sides for these medicines. I was puzzled. Why did the EU want to ban or restrict substances that were at best health-giving and at worst harmless? Regulation should be brought in only proportionately and only where there is an identified need.
Of course, Eurocrats see it differently. In their view, ‘unregulated’ is synonymous with ‘illegal’. The idea that an absence of regulation might be the natural state of affairs finds little sympathy.

Complete article:
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Sat 23 Apr, 2016 10:35 am
Article Three in the series.......

Why Britain will never get what it wants in Europe: Seventy times, we tried to block EU laws. Seventy times, we failed. Euro MP DANIEL HANNAN lays bare our impotence in Brussels

This week in the Mail we're publishing Euro MP Daniel Hannan's devastating inside account of the EU. Yesterday, he exposed how pro-EU cheerleaders are funded by Brussels. Today he reveals why Europe is utterly incapable of reform...
Ask yourself this fundamental question. If the United Kingdom were not already a member of the European Union, would you vote to join?
Or would you go along with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, the non-EU nations that most resemble Britain, and steer well clear?
In all three countries — comparable to us because they are neither ex-communist nor micro-states — there are solid and settled majorities against joining the EU.

upporters of membership have never been able to answer the crucial question asked by the leader of Norway’s No campaign in 1994: ‘To what problem is the EU a solution?’
Back in 1975, when the UK held its previous referendum, the then European Economic Community (EEC) did seem to offer answers.
This was the era of the three-day week, government controls on prices and incomes, power cuts, double-digit inflation, deficits and strikes.
Britain was in economic decline, outperformed by every European economy. When British people looked across the Channel, they saw what looked like a success story.
The then six members of the EEC had bounced back from World War II while we were close to collapse, dragged down by war debt, inflation, low productivity and lack of competitiveness. Linking ourselves to Germany’s ‘economic miracle’ seemed sound sense.
Yet almost from that very moment, the problem we thought we were solving was changing. Although no one knew it at the time, the European economic miracle was coming to an end.
Just as Britain decided to join, Europe was about to be outstripped by other parts of the world. Our timing could not have been worse.
What’s more, for the sake of closer trade ties across the Channel, we cut our links with Commonwealth countries we had long done business with and set aside sensible habits and traditions that had stood us in good stead for generations.
We were an island and a maritime nation with global reach, yet we chose to tie ourselves down to a mere continent.
People can argue over whether that made sense at the time, but what is indisputable is that it makes no sense today.
Never before has geographical proximity mattered less. In the internet age, a company in Luton can as easily do business with a firm in Ludhiana, India, as with one in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Indeed, more easily. The Indian company, unlike the Slovenian one, will be English-speaking. It will share the British company’s accountancy methods and unwritten business etiquette.
If there is a dispute, it will be arbitrated according to common law norms with which both are familiar.
Britain is the third largest investor in India, and many British firms that operate there, such as JCB, see no point in being in the EU.
India, for its part, is the third largest investor in the UK, owning more there than in the other 27 members of the EU combined.
When it comes to trade, though, it is a very different story. JCB cannot sell its machinery tariff-free from India to the UK, any more than can steel-maker Tata from the UK to India.
Why? Because commerce is controlled by the European Commission.
When Britain joined the EEC, we surrendered the right to sign independent trade agreements. As long as we remain, we have no vote and no separate voice in the World Trade Organisation.
Our interests are represented there by one twenty-eighth of a European Commissioner — at present a former sociology lecturer from Sweden.
Instead, the EU’s Common Commercial Policy drags us into a trade policy that protects the various vested interests around Europe — Italian textile workers, Polish farmers, French film-makers and so on.
And this at a time when British trade with the rest of the world is growing, while our trade with the EU is shrinking.

Supporters of the EU like to tell anyone who’ll listen that ‘around half our exports’ go to the EU. ‘Around’ is a flexible word. In 2006, 54.7 per cent of Britain’s exports went to the EU. In 2015, it was 44.6 per cent. Where will it be ten years from now?
The fact is that the EU economy is struggling, hide-bound by its single currency. This year, Canada will grow by 2.3 per cent, the U.S. by 2.8 per cent, China by 6.3 per cent and India by 7.5 per cent. The UK will grow by 2.1 per cent, and the other non-euro European states by 3 per cent.
But the eurozone, after eight years of stagnation, is expected to manage only 1.6 per cent growth. Does Britain, despite her global links, want to remain attached to such a stagnant customs union?
At what point will we drop the bizarre argument that, for the sake of a dwindling minority of our commerce, we must merge our political institutions with those of other countries?
Will our children look back at the 2016 referendum and wonder why we missed such a unique opportunity to step amicably off the bus?
But Europe can improve, we are told. The fallback position of EU supporters, confronted with some indefensible Brussels policy, is to say: ‘Well, that’s something we ought to reform rather than just walking away.’
Brilliant! Reform! Why has no one thought of it before? In fact, the story of the UK’s involvement, first with the EEC, then the EC, now the EU, is of constant attempts at reform. But we’ve failed time and time again.
Why? Because those who drive the pan-European project have a totally different agenda from ours.
You won’t find many British politicians over the past 50 years, from any party, who openly favoured a United States of Europe.

Almost all wanted a Europe of nations —a flexible alliance of states, co-operating to achieve what they can’t achieve singly, but ultimately responsible to their own democratic institutions.
If that model had ever been on offer, there would have been no argument, and we wouldn’t now be holding a referendum.
The problem is that the EU has steadily been moving in a different direction.
The pattern has been the same from the beginning. Every British leader has promised a fresh start in Europe and has tried to win friends and gain influence over there by making some initial concessions.
Each has found that the concessions are pocketed while the EU continues its stately march toward federal union.
The EEC that Britain joined in 1973 as essentially a super-free-trade area has since extended its jurisdiction to foreign policy, environmental regulation, immigration, criminal justice and social policy. It has acquired the accoutrements of statehood, from uniformed armed forces to a standardised driving licence.
Now it aspires to a common tax and social security system.
A Common Market has been turned into a quasi-state. Yet still we delude ourselves, imagining the other members are on the verge of coming round to our point of view.
Today we’re told that the euro crisis has revealed the limits of integration, or that the collapse of Schengen heralds a return to the pre-eminence of national authorities.
But there is no evidence that the EU’s rush to closer union is slowing. In Brussels, the euro crisis was seen not as evidence that monetary union didn’t work, but as evidence that it hadn’t gone far enough and should be extended to economic and fiscal union as well.

Eurocrats and MEPs have begun to demand debt-pooling, fiscal transfers, a shared finance ministry and, ultimately, EU taxes.
These are not the loopy ideas of a few fringe federalists. They are the road signs that the EU plainly intends to follow.
Other aims include deeper integration of national labour markets, greater coordination of social security systems and harmonising insolvency law, company law and property rights.
If we remain, the UK will, of course, stand against all these things for a while, then be outvoted, and then sulkily go along with them. How do I know? Because that has been our story ever since we joined.
Since majority voting was introduced in the late Eighties, the UK has voted against an EU legislative proposal 70 times — and lost 70 times. No other country is so regularly isolated and outvoted.
This gives the lie to the Remain argument that being in the EU gives Britain influence. In fact, despite being the second largest financial contributor, we have very little influence.
As one Council official frankly admitted: ‘Even the best idea can die if it’s presented by the UK.’
This isn’t because of some Eurovision Song Contest style prejudice against us. Britain finds herself isolated in the EU, not because of any conspiracy against her, but because she fundamentally differs from the others politically and economically.
Our economic outlook is different and we do not accept the EU’s objective of political union.
There being no sign that the British people are ready to become patriotic citizens of Europe, that isolation will continue. Britain will carry on being outvoted and ignored.

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Sat 23 Apr, 2016 10:43 am
And the final article........

If tiny Guernsey thrives outside the EU, why can't we - the world's fifth largest economy? Concluding his definitive series, EU MP DAN HANNAN says forget the Remain camp's Project Fear. The real risk lies with staying in...

Yesterday in his insider’s account of the EU, Euro MP Daniel Hannan exposed Britain’s impotence in trying to deal with Brussels. Here, in the final part of his powerful series, he insists that our future could be very bright indeed — as long as we vote to leave...
Euro enthusiasts love to sneer at Brexiters like me: ‘So what’s your alternative? D’you want Britain to be like Norway? All cold and empty?
‘Or like Switzerland? Making chocolate? And cuckoo clocks? That’s what you want, is it? Eh?’
It’s tempting simply to answer that, if you’re in a structurally unsafe building, the obvious alternative to remaining is walking out.
And with the migration and euro crises deepening, the EU is just that — structurally unsafe. So much so that staying in is a greater risk than leaving.
But I know, too, that fear of change is deep in people’s genomes, and we tend to vote accordingly.

Given the chance to win something of greater value by staking something of lesser value, we tend to make the mathematically irrational decision to stick with what we’ve got.

As Remain campaigners are well aware, referendums the world over tend to be won by whichever side is opposing change. And they can hardly be blamed for making change-aversion their key argument.
They don’t want to get drawn into arguments about democracy, or sovereignty, or the EU’s declining share of the world economy, or border control, or Britain’s budget contributions. They’d much rather conjure up unspecific, inchoate fears about change.
Fear of the unknown has become the mainstay of their case.
One pro-EU friend, a Conservative MP, put it to me: ‘It’s like banks. Everyone moans about their bank. But how many people take their accounts elsewhere?’
To which I reply: Well, you’d move your account pretty sharpish if you thought the bank might fail. In my view, the EU is now so rickety that sticking with it can hardly be called risk-averse. Voting to leave is now the safer option.
What people need to understand before they choose which box to tick is that there is no status quo in this referendum. What we face, rather, is a choice between two futures, both of which we can sketch with some confidence.
One future involves being part of the continuing political amalgamation of the EU, a process that has been rumbling along since 1956, but in which we will cede control over the larger questions of foreign affairs, economics, security, human rights and citizenship to Brussels institutions.
The other involves a new relationship based on a common market, not a common government.
A vote to leave will result in a trade-only deal with the EU. We will remain part of the European free trade zone that stretches from non-EU Iceland to non-EU Turkey.
No one in Brussels argues that Britain would leave that common market if it left the EU. Given that every non-EU territory from the Faroe Islands to Montenegro has access to the European free trade area, it would be preposterous to claim that the UK, uniquely, would be denied full market access.
This is obvious when we consider that the balance of UK-EU trade is very much in our favour. The UK market is worth £289 billion, so the EU is hardly likely to turn its back on us.
Indeed, it needs our market more than we need theirs, so it is absurd to claim that non-participation in the various political structures in Brussels would mean trade coming to a halt.
We will keep our trade links and, like every other independent state, we will negotiate our own deal on departure, tailored to suit our own conditions and needs.
Will it be the Swiss, Norwegian or Icelandic model? No, none of these. It will be one especially for us.

In terms of trade, Norway gets a better deal than Britain currently does, and Switzerland a better deal than Norway.
But a post-EU Britain, with 65 million people compared to Switzerland’s eight million and Norway’s five million, could expect something better yet.
But won’t we still have to conform to huge chunks of EU rules when we are outside, just as Norway and Iceland do?
Gasping and swooning with all the theatricality of Victorian matrons, EU supporters have claimed this as a clincher in their case. Yet that issue has proved to be more a problem in theory than in practice. Between 2000 and 2013, the EU generated 52,183 legal instruments, of which Norway and Iceland adopted fewer than 10 per cent (and the Swiss none at all).

In that same period, Britain, by contrast, had to apply 100 per cent of EU regulations to its economy. So even if we had to settle for a Norway or an Iceland-style agreement — which we won’t — we would be far better off out.
The very fact of mentioning Norway and Switzerland will lead to more scoffing from the pro-EU campaign. ‘How can you possibly compare us to those countries?’ they will ask. ‘Britain is very different.’
So, if Norway and Switzerland are too exotic for a true comparison, how about Guernsey in the Channel Islands? Guernsey is an English-speaking, common law, parliamentary democracy. Its currency is the pound. Its head of state is the Queen.
It is, for certain purposes, in political union with the UK. Its political system resembles ours in every way.
Except one. Guernsey is outside the EU. Essentially, it opts into the economic aspects of EU membership, but opts out of everything else.
The Channel Islands are outside the Common Fisheries Policy, outside the Common Agricultural Policy (except for import duties on non-EU produce) and outside the common rules on justice, home affairs, foreign policy, employment law and environmental regulation.

Guernsey is part of a free-movement area with the UK and Ireland, but controls immigration from the rest of the EU. Indeed, startlingly to British eyes, it really does have an immigration policy: its legislators vote on whom to admit, on what terms and in what numbers.
They set an annual population target, and issue their residence permits accordingly, mainly taking in temporary workers from Latvia and Madeira.
They are currently debating how many Syrian refugees they might take in.
Parliamentary sovereignty evidently suits the people of Guernsey. Their economy has been growing steadily at around 3 per cent a year, their GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world, unemployment is in the hundreds and crime is virtually non-existent.
Ah, say EU supporters, but Guernsey is a tax haven — that’s why it is doing so well.
If, by that, they mean there are lower taxes in Guernsey because — unfettered by Brussels — they can run their own affairs efficiently and attract investment, this is surely an argument for leaving.

‘But you can’t compare us to Guernsey,’ the scoffers will then cry. ‘It’s tiny!’ But are we seriously supposed to think that small nations can thrive outside the EU, but large ones can’t?
It’s extraordinary how quickly EU supporters switch from ‘Britain has to be part of a bigger bloc’ to ‘You can’t compare us to small countries’. Apparently, we’re simultaneously too large and too small to prosper.
The Chief Minister of Guernsey is a hugely impressive man called Jonathan Le Tocq, one of the last islanders to have been brought up speaking the local Norman French dialect.
He studied in Paris and feels very European. But what he prizes above all is the sense of accountability intrinsic in the island’s parliamentary system.
‘People know that they’re in control,’ he told me. ‘If they don’t like a policy, they can get it changed’. Extraordinary, really, that such a thing should need saying.
Extraordinary, too, that Britain, which developed and exported the sublime idea that laws should not be passed, nor taxes raised, except by elected representatives, should now look enviously at its Crown possessions off the Normandy coast.

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Sat 23 Apr, 2016 10:46 am

I hope that these articles and my personal feelings on the matter help you and other non Europeans to better understand what many millions of us Brits are feeling right now.

Only one side of the coin, maybe, but deep in my bones I foresee a very close contest on this one.

And for all you people from the truly democratic world, please just don't see these posts as a wall of text to get bored with and move on.

This stuff is actually happening. Just imagine how you would feel if these shenanigans were being played out in your country.

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Sat 23 Apr, 2016 11:04 am
Now, before the usual stuff starts up about being a leftie or a fascist regarding this referendum, let me point out that there are politicians from both left and right on both sides of the argument..

Some career politicians (several Tories, Jeremy Corbyn etc) have miraculously switched sides to protect party unity (and their own skins) in recent weeks, but basically the Tory party have been pretty much split by the issue, and the Labour party are trying to appear united under their very left of centre leader Jeremy Corbyn, who now appears to support the "remain" camp.

However, this is a recent conversion which puts me in mind of the spoof socialist anthem we sung as kids :
"The Working Class can kiss my arse,
I've got the Foreman's job at last"

It seems that principles go out of the window sometimes..,,,

Here are some of his previous quotes regarding the EU.....

July 2015 – “Brutal”

“If the EU becomes a totally brutal organisation that treats every one of its member states in the way that the people of Greece have been treated at the moment, then I think it will lose a lot of support from a lot of people.”

June 2015 – “Colonies of debt peonage”

“[If] Greece leaves both the eurozone and the EU its future would be uncertain, but at least it could be its own. … There is no future for a usurious Europe that turns its smaller nations into colonies of debt peonage.”

January 2015 – Undemocratic

Public opposition to the EU’s TTIP treaty is “a cri de coeur for democracy and for the right of people to elect a Government who can decide what goes on in their country.”

April 2013 – “Worst of all worlds”

“Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, has no problems integrating rail services with Germany, France and Italy, and I do not think that any other country should have any problems either. What we have is the worst of all worlds.”

February 2011 – Human rights abuses

“We have EU trade agreements with a number of countries that include a human rights clause that has not been enforced or effected. Is it not time for us to look again at the whole strategy for the region?

May 2005 – “Simply crazy”

It is morally wrong [to] pay farmers to over-produce… then use taxpayers’ money to buy the over-production, so it is already a double purchase, and it is then shipped at enormous public cost across the seas to be dumped as maize on African societies. … The practice is simply crazy and must be stopped.”

October 2003 – Morally Unjustifiable

“[W]e are now exporting 40 per cent of the world’s sugar and subsidising it to the tune of €500 per tonne. That is not justifiable in any moral or other sense. We are driving cane sugar producers in Africa and elsewhere out of business so that European sugar can be dumped on their markets.”

May 1993 – Opposition to Maastricht

“I am sure that [Labour MPs] will vote against the Maastricht treaty again tonight, primarily because it takes away from national Parliaments the power to set economic policy and hands it over to an unelected set of bankers”

March 1993 – EU Army

“[W]e are moving towards a common European defence and foreign policy. That being so, one must ask who proposes it, who controls it and what it is for? … Title V states that the objective of such a policy shall be “to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests and independence of the Union”. What exactly does that mean?”

As part of the whitewashing of Mr Corbyn’s past stance on the EU, he has also deleted a number of blogs on his personal site which are critical of the EU. One, titled “The Plight of a Forgotten Land” included the following quotes:

“The EU, to its shame, concluded a special trade agreement with Morocco for fishing rights that includes the waters off occupied Western Sarah. In doing so, it authorised the plunder of natural resources on a grand scale with no benefit at all the Saharawi people.”

He added that Morocco’s occupation of the Western Sahara “involves the gross abuse of human rights and theft of natural resources – and the EU is directly responsible.”

A spokesman for Labour Grassroots Out said that it was “disappointing” that Mr Corbyn has been deleting comments and articles critical of the EU, adding: “People respect Jeremy as a man of principle and this behaviour does not meet the standards expected of him.”

The spokesman said he believes Corbyn has been forced into a pro-EU stance by his party colleagues, against his own personal judgement.

“Jeremy Corbyn has been put in a very difficult position by the Labour party. He is a lifelong opponent of the undemocratic EU and, in private at least, this view has not changed,” he said. “It is hard to credit the idea that he sincerely believes the EU can be reformed – Cameron tried and failed.

“Labour’s approach is causing a real risk of serious electoral damage in the North, with UKIP the big beneficiary. Had the party adopted a more open approach to debate, this would have been far less likely.”

Probably a right wing nut job magazine, but it was thecirst place I found seversl quotes in one place....

And just to balance things up, here's what the UK Socialist Worker has to say.....

"Jeremy Corbyn is wasting a golden opportunity by backing the European Union...."

0 Replies
Sat 23 Apr, 2016 11:18 am
The point I was trying to make is that this is NOT a simple Left v Right matter.
Walter Hinteler
Sat 23 Apr, 2016 12:06 pm
I'd thought, this could became interestingly.

But it's not easy to continue after these numerous "Brexit-posts".

I'm sure that there's a reason why God created a ditch between Great Britain and continental Europe.

I've always thought and said that the UK never should have joined the European Economic Community (EEC) but should have stayed in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
They wouldn't have these problems now.
0 Replies
Sat 23 Apr, 2016 02:11 pm
Hey man! Thank you for all this! I'm hanging out with the grandson today, but I know what I'll be reading tonight. Smile Very interesting crossroads for you guys- and we know there will be repercussions around the world. Fingers crossed for you.
Walter Hinteler
Sat 23 Apr, 2016 11:04 pm
[...]Gradually, however, Germans have begun to take seriously the possibility that the UK might actually leave the EU – and they are worried. They still can’t imagine a future for Britain outside Europe, but most Germans also think that Brexit would be bad for them, too.
What Germans fear most is that Brexit might lead to an unravelling of the European project. They worry that a British vote to leave on 23 June would strengthen the “centrifugal forces” within the EU and prompt other member states to hold referendums of their own – or least seek to use the threat of one to renegotiate their relationship with the EU, as Cameron did.
In any case, leaving the EU is not in the end an option for Germany in the way it is for the UK. Germany is simply too central to the EU, which, after all, was created in part as a solution to the vexed “German question”. The EU could survive a British withdrawal, but not a German one.

In Sweden, you would be hard pressed to find anyone – or at least anyone in a prominent position – who would use a milder term than “disaster” when referring to a possible Brexit. You will often find statements that Brexit would have even worse consequences for our country than the UK.
Why the strong emotion? Well, of course there’s an economic case to be made. The UK is Sweden’s fourth largest trading partner. Danske Bank calculates that after Ireland, Luxembourg and Belgium, Sweden would be the EU country hardest hit if the British economy were cut off from the European economy (with a loss of up to 0.48% of Swedish GDP).
One should not, however, make the mistake of thinking that Sweden would be tempted to follow the UK if it were to leave the EU. ou will find that tThe two parties seeking a new EU deal for Sweden are at the very extremes of the Swedish political map – one, the former communist Left party and the other, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.
Sweden really, really does not want the UK to leave the European Union. Yet this does not mean that Sweden, if Britain did decide to leave, would be prepared to offer the UK a better farewell deal than would be in the interest of Swedish business and Swedish jobs. Because for all of the love that Sweden has for the UK, there is one country that Swedes love more. And that is Sweden.

Brexit does, however, become an issue from time to time, with regard to the concessions that the European Union agreedwith the British with David Cameron for Britain in February. The deal offered by the EU did not come across here as being fair, and seemed like new privileges being granted to the UK, with unjust consequences for many Spanish people working in Britain and others yet to come.

Suddenly, or so it seemed, a Spaniard – or any other European – could become a second-class citizen in the UK. (And London is a beloved destination for young Spanish workers and students who want to improve their English while earning some money.) Nevertheless, with the UK being the second largest economy of the EU, there was not much option but to agree to Cameron’s requests. Certainly this was the feeling among Spanish officials close to those negotiations, who said that they felt forced to agree to the EU agreement, to keep London in the club of 28.
But the emergence of any party promoting Spain to abandon the EU is unthinkable.

All quotes from The Guardian's Europeans watch our referendum debate with fascination and fear
0 Replies
Sun 24 Apr, 2016 06:32 am
This looks like the last stand by some in Britain to opt out of the shadowy insidious horror of neoliberalism. Some of us in tthe US see the same battle via the TPP (trade agreement), and very likely Obama's recent trip to the UK was underwritten by neoliberal fat cats.

He did a little arm wrestling for the neolib side while he was there. I'm a little disappointed in Corbyn. I'm trying to see how he explains his conversion.

I guess it's clear that I think we should dismantle this global plantation system, and shop locally, so to speak.
Sun 24 Apr, 2016 06:43 am
Here's the argument, Lordy and Walter. Tell me if these neoliberal concepts find their way into conversations you hear about Brexit. I did see Corbyn alluding to trends toward neoliberalism in his pro-Brexit past.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Sun 24 Apr, 2016 06:44 am
Actually, most Brexit-supporters are neoliberals ... and nearly everyone is very keen on getting money from EU-funds for the support for regional products.
Sun 24 Apr, 2016 06:49 am
This loon Lash has stumbled across the term neoliberal, and now applies it to anything she doesn't like, or finds morally suspect. I don't think she has any idea what it means.
Sun 24 Apr, 2016 06:50 am
@Walter Hinteler,
That's a surprise comment. I definitely follow the logic of the reverse, but the social-economic underpinnings of the phenomenon is new to me, so I'll read more, thanks.
Walter Hinteler
Sun 24 Apr, 2016 07:02 am
Lash wrote:
That's a surprise comment. I definitely follow the logic of the reverse, but the social-economic underpinnings of the phenomenon is new to me, so I'll read more, thanks.
I don't wonder that it is surprising ... just ask some the main English Brexit politicians, how much money they've got from the e.g. the European Regional Development Fund.

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