UKC

What did the EU ever do for us?

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To add to the debate:
...........................................
In the week when the UK's five media billionaires won their battle to waste our time, money and political capital on a EU referendum, I thought it a good time to post the great letter by Simon Sweeney in the Guardian, which he kindly allowed me to reproduce in my book, "The Prostitute State - How Britain's Democracy has Been Bought":

"What did the EU ever do for us? Not much, apart from: providing 57% of our trade;
structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline; clean beaches and rivers;
cleaner air; lead free petrol; restrictions on landfill dumping; a recycling culture;
cheaper mobile charges; cheaper air travel; improved consumer protection and food labelling;
a ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives; better product safety;
single market competition bringing quality improvements and better industrial performance;
break up of monopolies; Europe-wide patent and copyright protection; no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market; price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone; freedom to travel, live and work across Europe; funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad; access to European health services; labour protection and enhanced social welfare; smoke-free workplaces; equal pay legislation; holiday entitlement; the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime; strongest wildlife protection in the world; improved animal welfare in food production; EU-funded research and industrial collaboration; EU representation in international forums;
bloc EEA negotiation at the WTO; EU diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty;
European arrest warrant; cross border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; counter terrorism intelligence; European civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa;
support for democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond; investment across Europe contributing to better living standards and educational, social and cultural capital. All of this is nothing compared with its greatest achievements: the EU has for 60 years been the foundation of peace between European neighbours after centuries of bloodshed.

It furthermore assisted the extraordinary political, social and economic transformation of 13 former dictatorships, now EU members, since 1980.
Now the union faces major challenges brought on by neoliberal economic globalisation, and worsened by its own systemic weaknesses. It is taking measures to overcome these. We in the UK should reflect on whether our net contribution of £7bn out of total government expenditure of £695bn is good value. We must play a full part in enabling the union to be a force for good in a multi-polar global future.

Simon Sweeney,

Lecturer in international political economy, University of York"

Please share - the anti-EU campaign will have the full force of Murdoch's and the other media billionaires papers whose agenda is to destroy all our human rights.

http://www.theprostitutestate.co.uk/

As I wrote in The Prostitute State, over 80% of UK papers are owned by five media billionaires: Rupert Murdoch, (Sun/Times), Barclay Brothers (Telegraph), Richard Desmond (Express) and Lord Rothermere (Daily Mail).

Murdoch is Australian living in New York, Rothermere lives in France, the Barclay Brothers in the tax havens of Monaco and Guernsey. All of them use tax haven entities to avoid UK taxes.

So key question is in light of the above list, why have these billionaires for decades tried to destroy* the EU's democratic institutions? #
.....................................................

*'Undermine the credibility of' is possibly a better way of putting it, but even so, there's some very impressive and beneficial things in the list, and perhaps destroy is the right word if democratic processes rely on people believing in their validity to participate or engage with them?

#Another question may be to ask what they've contributed to the UK...?
Post edited at 01:39
6
 john arran 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

Yeah but no but yeah but ...
 Toccata 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

Of course many aspects of your list are also why people want out.

1
In reply to Toccata:

> why people want out.

Received my first salvo of referendum 'information' from UKIP yesterday. Apparently we cannot afford to fill our potholes because all our money is sent to build big bridges in Greece!

We can scoff, but this characterises the quality of debate and explains why a good many people want out.
 john arran 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Toccata:

> Of course many aspects of your list are also why people want out.

... much like a lot of poor people in the US railed against Obamacare, for which the only explanation seems to be absurdly effective media influence.

Sadly I think Murdoch could get turkeys excited about Christmas.
 Big Ger 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:
You have to love that " providing 57% of our trade;" or in other words, they need to buy what we are selling!

"structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline;" or in other words, gave us back some of the money we gave them, to pay for renewal projects we were responsible for.

"clean beaches and rivers;" like this you mean; Clean Sweep - South West Water's £2 billion project to transform the region's bathing waters and sewerage network - is complete. Or this: http://www.cornwalltoday.co.uk/join-a-beach-clean-near-you/ or this even? http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/beach-cleans

cleaner air; The EU cleaned British air? HTF did they do that...

lead free petrol; It was actually the Yanks who took the lead in removing lead from Petrol, it was inevitable that the UK would follow.

"restrictions on landfill dumping" The United Kingdom's strategy for sustainable development was published in 1994. In the field of waste management, the strategy requires that the present generation should deal with the waste it produces and not leave problems to be dealt with by future generations (a generation is considered to be 30£50 years). Nothing to do with the EU.

a recycling culture; We got this from the EU? Give me a break here? Interest in environmental issues was largely raised during the 1960s, with the hippie generation playing a major role in raising awareness and rebelling against consumerism and the monopoly of major corporations over resources and markets. Before the EU was instituted

I could go on and bust many of these myths.
Post edited at 07:04
14
 john arran 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

> Interest in environmental issues was largely raised during the 1960s, with the hippie generation playing a major role in raising awareness and rebelling against consumerism and the monopoly of major corporations over resources and markets. Before the EU was instituted

That may well be true but such 'interest raised' still needed (and still needs) to be translated into legislation. Thank you EU.

3
 Andy Hardy 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

Rather than"bust those myths" I'd like to know if the people backing Brexit would have done any of those things, or simply dismissed them as "unnecessary red tape". If they get us to leave will they rip up human rights, WTD, H+S, &c?
 Toccata 23 Feb 2016
In reply to John Postlethwaite:
> Received my first salvo of referendum 'information' from UKIP yesterday. Apparently we cannot afford to fill our potholes because all our money is sent to build big bridges in Greece!

> We can scoff, but this characterises the quality of debate and explains why a good many people want out.

Shocking. I'm certain the cost of a free trade agreement with the EU in the event of a Brexit will far exceed what we pay in now.

Ideally in the next 6 months we should try and buy everything from France. If we leave we can threaten counter-tariffs and the French will riot in Brussels. Voila! Free trade agreement for free.

(As UKC has lost its light hearted nature in the last few years, I'd like to point out the last comment was a joke).
Post edited at 07:48
 lummox 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Andy Hardy:

Almost certainly. The Cons have already started - the UK " Bill of Rights ", wildlife protection measures either being starved of funds or ignored.

If people vote for BREXIT,it will be a matter of months before they start attacking maternity/paternity leave, statutory holidays, 48 hour working week etc. etc.
4
 Tony the Blade 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:
> I could go on and bust many of these myths.

Please do, I find your comments thought provoking and gives me cause to rethink BREXIT or BRIN?

Edit: Genuine comment even though it reads like I'm being a knobhead.
Post edited at 08:22
In reply to Big Ger:

> "clean beaches and rivers;" like this you mean; Clean Sweep - South West Water's £2 billion project to transform the region's bathing waters and sewerage network - is complete. Or this: http://www.cornwalltoday.co.uk/join-a-beach-clean-near-you/ or this even? http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/beach-cleans

> cleaner air; The EU cleaned British air? HTF did they do that...

By imposing Europe-wide standards with which we were obliged to comply. You can be sure that without this industrial companies, including the now-privatised public utilities, would all be claiming such environmental measures were all far too expensive and would negatively impact (as they tend to put it) on profit (or shareholder value as they tend to put it). In fact they do this already and try to get exemptions if they possibly can.

Of course, we could just have our own environmental standards for water and air quality, home insulation, recycling, biodiversity etc, which could, in principle, be more ambitious than the EU standards (what with us being so marvellous and not having to worry about whether ex-Eastern bloc countries would be able to manage it). What do you think are the chances of that?
1
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Of course, we could just have our own environmental standards for water and air quality, home insulation, recycling, biodiversity etc, which could, in principle, be more ambitious than the EU standards (what with us being so marvellous and not having to worry about whether ex-Eastern bloc countries would be able to manage it). What do you think are the chances of that?

The fact remains that numerous countries outside the UK have all or many of the things listed. Clearly Australia and Canada don't have "EU representation in international forums" but they can, and in many cases have, drawn up their own environmental, labour, H&S etc etc etc regulations without demanding the need to mimic the EU. It is specious to believe that all those things listed are dependent on membership of the EU.

Quite a few of the "inners" fail to distinguish between arguing on the grounds of the benefits or negatives of specific policies of the EU as opposed to the addressing the broader issues of sublimating independent sovereignty to collective interests. They risk simply appearing to be undemocratic. They want to be in the EU because they don't like the outcomes that they think UK democracy would produce.



1
In reply to Big Ger:

Most of the examples you give are UK government responses to EU legislation which they helped create.
 lummox 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

Given this government's actions so far with regard to the environment and land management, believing that they would provide as stringent environmental standards is frankly laughable.
2
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to lummox:

> Given this government's actions so far with regard to the environment and land management, believing that they would provide as stringent environmental standards is frankly laughable.

Read what I wrote.

1) The environmental protections being referred to are those put in place over the past 40 years. It is prefectly possible that the UK govts over that period would have introduced most of them.

2) See my second para. You are doing just that: making a decision on something that will dictate how Britain is governed for a 100 years on the back of the polcies of one administration with 4 years left to run.
4
 Andy Hardy 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:
> [...]. They want to be in the EU because they don't like the outcomes that they think UK democracy would produce.

Do we have democracy? A party that only gets 25% of the votes cast http://www.conservativehome.com/highlights/2015/05/lets-not-get-carried-away-the-conservatives-only-... should not be ruling.

Then we get into the murky world of lobbying and undue influence. Impossible to prove, but hardly conducive to democracy. Looking at mainstream media most papers and many broadcasters are controlled by non-dom billionaires who have decided that they are backing the out campaign. I don't believe that they want what's best for the average Briton, they want what's best for them.

Net result of all this is, yes you're right I wouldn't want the outcomes that a UK democracy unfettered by "EU red tape" would bring.
Post edited at 09:43
 lummox 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

I know you are a paranoid android, but where does the idea that the EU would even still exist in 100 years come from ?
1
 Sir Chasm 23 Feb 2016
In reply to lummox:

Why wouldn't it?
 RyanOsborne 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

> 1) The environmental protections being referred to are those put in place over the past 40 years. It is prefectly possible that the UK govts over that period would have introduced most of them.

Possibly, but it seems highly unlikely that any introduced environmental legislation would survive the current government if it weren't for the EU.
2
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Andy Hardy:


> Then we get into the murky world of lobbying and undue influence. Impossible to prove, but hardly conducive to democracy. Looking at mainstream media most papers and many broadcasters are controlled by non-dom billionaires who have decided that they are backing the out campaign. I don't believe that they want what's best for the average Briton, they want what's best for them.
>
As I pointed out on elsewhere. UK "democracy" is deeply flawed. But all the flaws of UK democracy are magnified several times over in the EU:corporate lobbying, professional elitist politicians, low voter turnout, unelected or quasi democratic institutional interference etc., etc.



1
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to lummox:

> I know you are a paranoid android, but where does the idea that the EU would even still exist in 100 years come from ?

Well it's lasted fifty and is intended to last for ever ("ever closer union" and all that) so it seems a reasonable basis on which to work.

Actually I think it is highly likely that is implodes and has t be completely reformed within ten years, but that is just a personal view. We should vote, as one would have done in the Scottish referendum, on the basis that it is a lasting settlement.
1
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:
> Possibly, but it seems highly unlikely that any introduced environmental legislation would survive the current government if it weren't for the EU.

What does "any introduced" mean/refer to ?
Post edited at 10:26
1
 RyanOsborne 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

Environmental legislation that was brought in by UK governments over the past 40 years in the hypothetical situation that we hadn't joined the EU / the EU hadn't done it for us.
In reply to Postmanpat:
> They risk simply appearing to be undemocratic. They want to be in the EU because they don't like the outcomes that they think UK democracy would produce.

No, I'd like us to decide democratically to fully engage with an EU which, at its best, I happen to think is a very useful civilising influence and, at its worst, can be an inefficient and wasteful talking shop, which we should try hard to improve. I really hope that is the outcome.

If you detect that, hypothetically and given no other more realistic choices, I'd rather be dictated to by a well-intentioned social engineer than by a self-serving plutocrat, you're right!
Post edited at 10:30
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

> Environmental legislation that was brought in by UK governments over the past 40 years in the hypothetical situation that we hadn't joined the EU / the EU hadn't done it for us.

I don't understand why that hypothetical is relevant. What is relevant is whether a UK government could or would unwind all the legislation or regulation that is in place,and whether, over the next decade or so, there would be a brake on new regulation.
 RyanOsborne 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

It was your hypothetical that I was responding to

'It is prefectly possible that the UK govts over that period would have introduced most of them.'

I was saying that any introduced ones would likely be dismantled by this government given the attitude they've shown to the environment.
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:


> If you detect that, hypothetically and given no other more realistic choices, I'd rather be dictated to by a well-intentioned social engineer than by a self-serving plutocrat, you're right!

I wasn't referring to you!! It's seems to be true of a lot of the professional Tory bashers who really just see the EU as a convenient restraint on Tory policies and don't look far beyond that.
2
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:
> It was your hypothetical that I was responding to

> 'It is prefectly possible that the UK govts over that period would have introduced most of them.'

> I was saying that any introduced ones would likely be dismantled by this government given the attitude they've shown to the environment.

So , in the hypothetical situation that we had not been in the EU but that the UK government had hypothetically introduced equivalent legislation to that which the EU introduced, then it is hypothetically possible that this government could repeal it all in three years? Well, I guess.

Are you arguing that the same is true of the real existing legislation if, hypothetically speaking, we leave the EU?
Post edited at 10:47
 RyanOsborne 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

Well the existing legislation, i.e. the habitats directive, wouldn't apply to us anymore as it's an EC directive, so it wouldn't need to be dismantled, it just wouldn't apply I think? And the chances of the current government creating an equivalent is almost zero, especially given the colossal mess we'd likely be in whilst we spend years renegotiating trade deals.
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

> Well the existing legislation, i.e. the habitats directive, wouldn't apply to us anymore as it's an EC directive, so it wouldn't need to be dismantled, it just wouldn't apply I think? And the chances of the current government creating an equivalent is almost zero, especially given the colossal mess we'd likely be in whilst we spend years renegotiating trade deals.

Well, you may be right, but we don't know that. There are vast rafts of EU directives on numerous (not just environmental issues) that couldn't just disappear overnight with nothing to replace them. So it's surely quite possible that these things are basically left in place until time is found either to repeal, or change or confirm them?
In reply to Postmanpat:

> I wasn't referring to you!! It's seems to be true of a lot of the professional Tory bashers who really just see the EU as a convenient restraint on Tory policies and don't look far beyond that.

I didn't take it personally but it's hard to deny that currently, in the absence of any kind of functioning opposition, the EU is a welcome moderating influence in many areas. Internationalism is always a more attractive concept than isolationism.
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Well, you may be right, but we don't know that. There are vast rafts of EU directives on numerous (not just environmental issues) that couldn't just disappear overnight with nothing to replace them.

Directives only have effect when either UK law is introduced to enact them, or existing law is interpreted in a way that is consistent with them. So, if you want to get rid of their effect you'll generally need to change our law to say something different and/or persuade our judges to ignore EU legal precedents.

Regulations, on the other hand...
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Directives only have effect when either UK law is introduced to enact them, or existing law is interpreted in a way that is consistent with them. So, if you want to get rid of their effect you'll generally need to change our law to say something different and/or persuade our judges to ignore EU legal precedents.

>
In which case why won't they just continue until the goverment get around to changing the law? That is my point.
1
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> I didn't take it personally but it's hard to deny that currently, in the absence of any kind of functioning opposition, the EU is a welcome moderating influence in many areas. Internationalism is always a more attractive concept than isolationism.

This is partly because we are currently suffering from an especially hopeless opposition. But, going off track a bit, it does raise some very important issues about out current UK system. Essentially we have a first past the post system which creates a five year dictatorship on the back of pretty poor turnouts. What you are saying is that the EU is providing some balance to this very unbalanced system.
Couldn't we just look at reforming the Westminster system?
Post edited at 11:19
2
In reply to Postmanpat:

> In which case why won't they just continue until the goverment get around to changing the law? That is my point.

Yes, they will. Not that the more knee-jerk nay-sayers will have bothered to understand how EU Directives actually work. If what's objected to is interference from Strasbourg there will need to be a comprehensive rewriting of chunks of our domestic law.

In reply to Postmanpat:

> Couldn't we just look at reforming the Westminster system?

Well, of course we had a referendum about that not so long ago. The one where Nick Clegg shot his one and only bolt on hopelessly badly thought-though electoral reform when he should have used it to resist the increase in tuition fees.

KevinD 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> The one where Nick Clegg shot his one and only bolt on hopelessly badly thought-though electoral reform when he should have used it to resist the increase in tuition fees.

It is a shame he trusted the tories to actually deliver a proper electoral reform program as opposed to rig it to fail.
Jim C 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> Of course, we could just have our own environmental standards for water and air quality, home insulation, recycling, biodiversity etc, which could, in principle, be more ambitious than the EU standards ..

I suppose we can do all these things (better or worse ) than what has been introduced via the EU reguation, but that will certainly depend on what government is in power, and how long they can stay there .

The Tories will push their own agenda not restrained by the EU, and Labour (if it ever gets back in) will do largely the opposite of what the Tories have done.
Post edited at 12:27
In reply to Timmd:

And as another excellent piece dispelling some of the nonsense the Leave Brigade keep spouting...

http://www.richardcorbett.org.uk/mythbusters/

Alan
 Greasy Prusiks 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Great article thanks for posting.
In reply to Big Ger:



> cleaner air; The EU cleaned British air? HTF did they do that...

Erm....clean air legislation/regulations, perchance?
In reply to Big Ger:
> You have to love that " providing 57% of our trade;" or in other words, they need to buy what we are selling!

Which makes us money (!), that useful stuff which we need to pay for hospitals and things...
Post edited at 14:00
 John2 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

Well if this doesn't persuade you that we should leave, nothing will. youtube.com/watch?v=BBi-KXc0CRk&
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

That article makes me think leaving is a better option than staying!
Never mind the fact it is written by a Labour MEP who is hardly going to make a compelling case for leaving is he?
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

In fairness, that is pretty partisan. Try something a bit more impartial and more in depth

http://mypreferences.ashurst.com/reaction/PDF/6060-BRO_Brexit_doc_FINAL.pdf
 Ramblin dave 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

> Which makes us money (!), that useful stuff which we need to pay for hospitals and things...

Yeah, but I'm sure that if we left then the remainder of the EU would be in such a good mood with us that they'd ignore the fact that they've got us by the short and curlies over a barrel (remember that that's 57% of _our_ trade, not 57% of _their_ trade) and let us have a trade agreement that gives us all the bits of membership that suit us but with none of the obligations.
In reply to Gone for good:

> That article makes me think leaving is a better option than staying!

I'm interested as to how you take that from it?

Alan
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

The EU forces its will on member countries”

Well Im sorry, but over 1 million refugees courtesy of Ms Merkel bear testament to her forcing her will on the rest of Europe before telling everyone they had to do their bit because her open door policy fell on its arse! If thats not forcing its will on member countries I dont know what is.

In reply to Gone for good:

But the UK hasn't followed suit, to a pretty large degree the EU seems to accept our awkwardness/independence.
In reply to Gone for good:

> Well Im sorry, but over 1 million refugees courtesy of Ms Merkel bear testament to her forcing her will on the rest of Europe before telling everyone they had to do their bit because her open door policy fell on its arse! If thats not forcing its will on member countries I dont know what is.

So presumably you didn't think this was bad before you read the article then if you say that reading it made you think leaving was a better option?

On the subject of the refugees - have you got a better solution? Or do you think we should ignore them? And if we are not in the EU does that then give us more right to ignore them?

Alan
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

The UK has followed suit, albeit to a lesser extent, by agreeing to take in 20000 refugees over a 5 year period but thats not really the point.
My point was that the article posted by Alan James was written by a Labour MEP and the content was written to try and expunge some of the concerns expressed by his imaginary doubting electorate.
After reading the article I was left with a sense of 'fuc*ed if you do and fuc*ed if you dont.'
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I think the refugee crisis has been debated on many occasions both on this board and elsewhere and its probably not appropriate to go into it again on this thread.
You asked for some clarification, I gave you one example where the article writer stated that the EU does not impose its will on its member states and I merely pointed to one example. Maybe the 'EU' wasnt directly involved on that occasion but Germany and France have done so in the past and no doubt will do so in the future if it suits their agenda.
 Andy Hardy 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Gone for good:

The government has kicked the refugee problem into the long grass. Hopefully the war will end within the 5 year timescale at which point the govt wil stop accepting more refugees.

Also worth pointing out that 20K is 1/50th of 1M and that's over 5 years.

In no way could you argue that the EU has imposed it's will over the UK's will on this issue. I don't think the EU *has* a will on this issue.
In reply to Gone for good:

> After reading the article I was left with a sense of 'fuc*ed if you do and fuc*ed if you dont.'

But after reading your reply, I am left with the impression that you were firmly in the leave camp already anyway, and that all the article is to you is a series of inconvenient statements that you struggle to argue against so choose an issue not really mentioned in the article to try and discredit it.

> I think the refugee crisis has been debated on many occasions both on this board and elsewhere and its probably not appropriate to go into it again on this thread.

Not by me and you though and in the context of the EU debate, it is being frequently mis-used by the leave campaign as a reason for leaving with no suggestion of what to put in its place, and why it has anything to do with UK's membership of the EU anyway.

So with reference in particular to the UK in-out debate, I will repeat my question...

... do you think the UK being out of the EU gives us more right to ignore the refugee crisis?

Alan
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Andy Hardy:

Yes... I understand that and have have said as much but in reality the EU is Germany and France and they play the pipe that everyone else has to dance to and I think the refugee crisis is a classic example of that.

The UK government has taken a different approach by agreeing to take 20k refugees, from refugee camps on the Syrian/Turkish border, but is also sending substantial aid to the affected areas which to me is a far more sensible and practical approach to the problem.
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:


> ... do you think the UK being out of the EU gives us more right to ignore the refugee crisis?

> Alan

I dont think that the UK are ignoring the problem. It is being managed on a more practical level by the UK govt and quite rightly so.

 tony 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Gone for good:

> The UK government has taken a different approach by agreeing to take 20k refugees, from refugee camps on the Syrian/Turkish border, but is also sending substantial aid to the affected areas which to me is a far more sensible and practical approach to the problem.

So the EU, under the guise of France and Germany, hasn't imposed its will on the UK?
 whenry 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
That's got to be the most biased set of statements I've ever read on the EU. To start with, he's wrong that the EU doesn't force its will on member states: it does. We might have signed up for broad principles, but the ECJ is very good at extending it's jurisdiction - hence Cameron's recent talk about making the Supreme Court check whether the ECJ has not exceeded its remit (something the German Constitutional Court also does). Additionally, the European Parliament can easily override the objections of our MEPs to force laws on to us - the only way to refuse would be /is to leave the EU.

As for the statement that Britons "don't lose out because of European migration" - tell that to agricultural labourers in Lincolnshire.

Edited for spelling.
Post edited at 15:28
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to tony:

I think I have made myself clear. I have clearly referred to an example whereby Germany in particular has imposed its will on EU member states. I was not referring to the UK specifically. I even said" forcing her will on the rest of Europe".
Is that clear enough?
In reply to whenry:
> As for the statement that Britons "don' lose out because of European migration" - tell that to agricultural labourers in Lincolnshire.

Part of that is down to employers not advertising in the UK and targeting their job adverts overseas, which they shouldn't be doing but do. It is about migration, but also about what English employers are doing too, so the problem can be solved at root within the UK, and without leaving the EU.
Post edited at 15:23
 whenry 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

Employers in the UK can't discriminate against workers overseas in the EU; aside from that, are they really going to turn down the opportunity to hire cheaper workers?
 tony 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Gone for good:

> I think I have made myself clear. I have clearly referred to an example whereby Germany in particular has imposed its will on EU member states. I was not referring to the UK specifically. I even said" forcing her will on the rest of Europe".

> Is that clear enough?

Not really. My interpretation of 'forcing its will' would suggest that Germany is making other countries do things they don't want to do. As you've shown, the UK is doing something different to Germany, as are many other EU countries, which are busy building fences. There is no single coherent EU position on Syrian refugees which is either being imposed or universally adopted by the whole of the EU.
 whenry 23 Feb 2016
In reply to tony:

Arguably (and I don't agree with this, as there doesn't seem to be much evidence that the refugees going to Germany want to come to the UK), there is some merit to this argument. Refugees in Germany are entitled to citizenship after seven years' residence, which will give them the right to move to the UK - and at present, we couldn't do anything to stop them - thus the German's actions could affect us.

Refugee levels at present are unprecedented, and I think that taking in such large numbers will have an effect on the host country - but it's a German problem at the moment, more than a British one.
 RyanOsborne 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:


> ... do you think the UK being out of the EU gives us more right to ignore the refugee crisis?

From my understanding, membership or not of the EU makes no difference to our treatment of refugees. How we treat refugees and asylum seekers is determined by the 1951 UN convention on refugees I believe. Someone else may know more, but I think the rules evolved under agreement within the EU, but we'd still have to comply with the 1951 rules if we were to remain part of the UN on leaving EU.

It's a bit of an insignificant factor to determine how to make a huge decision like the membership of the EU anyway. It surely doesn't outweigh the huge economic uncertainties, even for the most devout isolationists in our country.
 RyanOsborne 23 Feb 2016
In reply to whenry:
> Arguably (and I don't agree with this, as there doesn't seem to be much evidence that the refugees going to Germany want to come to the UK), there is some merit to this argument. Refugees in Germany are entitled to citizenship after seven years' residence, which will give them the right to move to the UK - and at present, we couldn't do anything to stop them - thus the German's actions could affect us.

Didn't DC discredit this recently though, saying that less than 2% of refugees to Germany in recent history have gone on to obtain citizenship?

And in any case, unless we left the EEA (highly unlikely) then leaving the EU would make no difference, as we'd still be subject to the freedom of movement.

*percentage might be wrong, but I think it was a really low number.
Post edited at 15:41
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to tony:

The point being Merkel said Germany will accept any refugee from Syria without consultation, without prior commitments, without agreement ......from anyone,. So they came and the rest of the EU have to deal with the consequences. Oh and try telling Greece that the EU isn't imposing its will on the country. That should raise a few laughs.
 Al Evans 23 Feb 2016
In reply to lummox:

> I know you are a paranoid android, but where does the idea that the EU would even still exist in 100 years come from ?

You mean like the UK won't because the Scots want to pull out?
In reply to Gone for good:

> I dont think that the UK are ignoring the problem. It is being managed on a more practical level by the UK govt and quite rightly so.

I didn't say that we were ignoring it, I asked if you feel that the UK would have more right to ignore it if we left?

Or put another less moralistic way, would anything change in the way the UK is dealing with the refugee crisis if we left the EU?

Alan
 Phil Lyon 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

A lot of the debate seems to centre about what the EU have or are currently affecting in the UK.

I know there'll need to be a lot of speculation but the key questions are:

what will change if we leave? are these things good or not?
what will remain regardless of membership? are these good or not?

e.g. will that 57% of our trade reduce as a result of leaving the EU, or might established trade continue?

 whenry 23 Feb 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

The Syrian conflict has already dragged on for five years, and there's no hint of any peace yet. The war in Bosnia only lasted for three years, and the war in Ukraine is too recent for anyone to have claimed refugee status yet (I presume DC was referencing those events primarily, as Afgan and Iraqi refugees seem to have migrated internally).

The longer you stay in a country, the longer you are likely to want to obtain citizenship, even if it is only to make it easier to find work and housing. (That's a guess, but it seems reasonable - if an end is in sight or fairly quickly achievable, you are probably more likely to think about returning home than staying. My logic is based on the fact that large numbers of refugees from WW2 remained in their host nations, and that was a longer running conflict).
In reply to RyanOsborne:

> It's a bit of an insignificant factor to determine how to make a huge decision like the membership of the EU anyway. It surely doesn't outweigh the huge economic uncertainties, even for the most devout isolationists in our country.

I totally agree which is why I want to tackle this point with those in the leave brigade who keep using it, or even worse, conflating the issue of refugees and internal EU economic migration.

Alan
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

More right, less right, either way you suggested we were ignoring it.
In answer to your question would anything change if we left the EU? I have no idea, do you?
 whenry 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Phil Lyon:

> e.g. will that 57% of our trade reduce as a result of leaving the EU, or might established trade continue?

BMW & Mercedes etc are not going to stop selling us cars because we're not in the EU; neither are we going to switch to Vauxhalls suddenly. Our biggest trading partners (according to HMRC) are the US, China, and Germany. We're Germany's biggest trading partner (and France and Ireland are not too far behind) - they aren't going to snub us if we leave the EU. Whilst smaller countries such as Slovenia may not be bothered about agreeing a new trade deal, it doesn't matter; as they are part of the EU, they have to negotiate trade deals en masse as part of the EU.

 summo 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

I don't think what eu didn't or did do for the UK in the past matter, what matters is the level of UK control in the future and how much say the unelected commissioners have in the future. Past has gone.

However, plenty countries in northern Europe have better work conditions, environmental laws, mat /paternity etc.. than the eu benchmark, why? because it's what their popultions wanted, I think the UK people like the idea of them, but would have never have initiated them because they cost more and it measures everything in terms of financial cost rather than quality of life..
In reply to Gone for good:

> In answer to your question would anything change if we left the EU? I have no idea, do you?

With regard to the refugees, I very much doubt anything would change much and I don't see it as a relevant point in the discussion of whether the UK should be in or out. Also, I agree with you, right or wrong, that the UK has already resisted the will of the EU with regard to the way we deal with the refugee crisis.

It was you that brought it up though.

Alan
 neilh 23 Feb 2016
In reply to whenry:

In terms of foreign direct investment ( overseas companies setting up here and investing here) we outsrip any other European country.

Our advantages include English. ease of business, and access to European countries via the EU.

Do we really want to risk all those jobs going elsewhere, say to France which would clearly love to have them , or Germany or Eastern european countries or spain etc etc.
 summo 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> With regard to the refugees, I very much doubt anything would change much and I don't see it as a relevant point in the discussion of whether the UK should be in or out. Also, I agree with you, right or wrong, that the UK has already resisted the will of the EU with regard to the way we deal with the refugee crisis.

the only point would be that without the Schengen a refugee would be unlikely to try and sneak across umpteen active borders to try and reach the UK, they are more likely to try and settle in one of the countries they reach along the way and share the wear more evenly across Europe.

Related to the refugees is the complete lack of joined up EU driven action that could improve conditions for them in their homeland. Everything has been led by individual nations, if you ignore the EU bribe to Turkey, which seems to have changed little. The EU couldn't even be accused of too little action, too late. It's more like nothing, ever. It was the same with the Ukraine/ Crimea, by the time the EU had had meetings about future meetings, dinner, more briefings, putin was in Crimea all done and dusted, and the EU hadn't even got round to agreeing to even threaten sanctions.

When the poo hits the fan, the EU is next to useless, either in the financial recession sense, or trying to save lives in a war sense.
Post edited at 16:44
1
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Yes, I brought it up as an example and you' forced your will' on me to get involved in this exchange.

Whether you see it as relevant or not will have no bearing on the masses who very obviously see it as very much part of the problem. They wont care if they are conflating the issue with EU migrants because whether they are a migrant or a refugee they will all be seen as taking away 'their' jobs and taking away 'their' housing and 'draining' the scarce financial resources of the UK. And that is going to be a strong argument by the out campaign whether you like it or not.
1
 Ramblin dave 23 Feb 2016
In reply to whenry:

> We're Germany's biggest trading partner (and France and Ireland are not too far behind)

Where are you getting this information from? Wiki suggests that we're their third biggest in terms of exports (behind France and the US) and their sixth biggest in terms of imports.

> they aren't going to snub us if we leave the EU.

No, they probably aren't. However, in order to continue trading there, British-based companies are still going to have to abide by a whole load of European regulations, except that we're no longer have a significant say in deciding what those regulations are. Cf Norway and Switzerland.
cb294 23 Feb 2016
In reply to John2:

Arrggh, mind bleach, please!!

CB
In reply to Gone for good:

> Whether you see it as relevant or not will have no bearing on the masses who very obviously see it as very much part of the problem. They wont care if they are conflating the issue with EU migrants because whether they are a migrant or a refugee they will all be seen as taking away 'their' jobs and taking away 'their' housing and 'draining' the scarce financial resources of the UK. And that is going to be a strong argument by the out campaign whether you like it or not.

But not a very good argument if the refugees are going to be there no matter what the outcome. I agree though that the right-wing press will flag it up since, if it helps build up the jingoism, then get it out there no matter what the reality is.

Alan
 Ramblin dave 23 Feb 2016
In reply to summo:

> the only point would be that without the Schengen a refugee would be unlikely to try and sneak across umpteen active borders to try and reach the UK, they are more likely to try and settle in one of the countries they reach along the way and share the wear more evenly across Europe.

Again, how would this change if we left, though? If anything, we'd be in a worse situation because we'd no longer have as much influence on the creation of a Europe-wide approach to dealing with the crisis.

In reply to summo:

> the only point would be that without the Schengen a refugee would be unlikely to try and sneak across umpteen active borders to try and reach the UK, they are more likely to try and settle in one of the countries they reach along the way and share the wear more evenly across Europe.

Ok, but this still has no bearing on whether the UK is in the EU, in fact you could argue if you wanted to that we would be in a stronger position to argue against Schengen if we were part of the debate since they certainly aren't going to pay any attention if we aren't at the table.

> When the poo hits the fan, the EU is next to useless, either in the financial recession sense, or trying to save lives in a war sense.

Not sure I necessarily agree with that but never-the-less, how does not being part of it make it better?

Alan
 whenry 23 Feb 2016
In reply to neilh:

Access to the EU is the only thing that would change; our English, ability to set up businesses in the UK, position on the world's time zones between the US and the Far East, strong and respected legal system, and position as holder of the world's third reserve currency are not going to change.
 Mike Stretford 23 Feb 2016
In reply to whenry:

> Access to the EU is the only thing that would change; our English, ability to set up businesses in the UK, position on the world's time zones between the US and the Far East, strong and respected legal system, and position as holder of the world's third reserve currency are not going to change.

You didn't address the point. If lack of access to the EU damages foreign investment, if it means London looses out to Frankfurt, we will be in trouble. Our economy has changed significantly since we entered to EU/EC, the successes have occurred while we've been in, nobody knows what will happen if we leave.

The specific problem of the UK economy is low productivity, I cannot see how leaving the EU will improve that.
1
 whenry 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> Where are you getting this information from? Wiki suggests that we're their third biggest in terms of exports (behind France and the US) and their sixth biggest in terms of imports.

From the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum - I acknowledge that the figures may be outdated (from 2013) and HMRC (2014).

> No, they probably aren't. However, in order to continue trading there, British-based companies are still going to have to abide by a whole load of European regulations, except that we're no longer have a significant say in deciding what those regulations are. Cf Norway and Switzerland.

Some of those regulations. We'll probably be able to ignore some of those regulations re financial services, and still have to maintain others around automotive standards (which we'd be unlikely to relax or change anyway). Increasingly we export to countries outside the EU where EU regulations are irrelevant (the figures have been hovering around the 50% mark for the last few years), and that's only likely to increase as the Eurozone stagnates.
 whenry 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Mike Stretford:

On the contrary - I have addressed the point. One of the reasons that London is one of the two leading financial centres in the world is that we are balanced between East and West and thus our trading hours cover the entire world. That isn't going to change and is the reason why many banks and hedge funds are based in the UK - and why 41% of foreign exchange is traded in the UK. Many countries, particularly those in the Middle East trade in the UK and invest in the UK because they can trust our legal system. That isn't going to change, and there are many businesses (including HSBC) that acknowledge this.

The idea is that leaving the EU will reduce red tape and thus improve productivity; whether that will be true is anyone's guess.
 summo 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> Again, how would this change if we left, though? If anything, we'd be in a worse situation because we'd no longer have as much influence on the creation of a Europe-wide approach to dealing with the crisis

Of course in the future, but the op did question past events. What's done Is done though.
In reply to whenry:
> Employers in the UK can't discriminate against workers overseas in the EU; aside from that, are they really going to turn down the opportunity to hire cheaper workers?

They can't discriminate, but some do in favour of overseas workers, have heard it from the horse's mouth you could say.

If the jobs were advertised in the UK as well, that would make things fairer, by allowing the people within the area to apply for and get the jobs as soon as they appear.
Post edited at 17:58
 summo 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:



> Not sure I necessarily agree with that but never-the-less, how does not being part of it make it better?

If shows that in peace the eu, will happily take money in power from nations, but in a time of need, they either don't act, or are many years too late.

1
In reply to summo:
> If shows that in peace the eu, will happily take money in power from nations, but in a time of need, they either don't act, or are many years too late.

(Raises hand) You've not said how not being part of the UE makes anything better...
Post edited at 18:01
In reply to Timmd:
> If the jobs were advertised in the UK as well, that would make things fairer, by allowing the people within the area to apply for and get the jobs as soon as they appear.

I don't know what the truth is behind this one but the farmers you hear tend to be pro-EU and say they couldn't get their crops in without seasonal workers from across Europe. Whether this is because the workers are cheaper, or because Brits aren't good at doing grubby seasonal jobs, I don't know, but the farmers certainly suggest the latter.

A quick search for 'fruit picking jobs' though reveals that this is an international industry for young people wanting to fund their travels around the world. That would indicate firstly, that Brits benefit from this overseas, secondly, that if I were a Brit looking for a fruit picking job in the UK then one would be very easy to find, and thirdly, that the absence of open migration is no hinderance to people getting jobs picking fruit in all sorts of countries.

Alan
Post edited at 18:18
In reply to summo:

> If shows that in peace the eu, will happily take money in power from nations, but in a time of need, they either don't act, or are many years too late.

Well you could probably trot that out for the United Nations as well. I think it might be because Syria is an impossible problem, as was Bosnia.

Whatever, it has no bearing on the UK being in or out of the EU.

Alan
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
Interesting, perhaps the people I'd come across who were talking about it were extrapolating from one employer doing that to 'this is what happens'. That seems very possible.
Post edited at 18:21
 Mike Stretford 23 Feb 2016
In reply to whenry:

> On the contrary - I have addressed the point. One of the reasons that London is one of the two leading financial centres in the world is that we are balanced between East and West and thus our trading hours cover the entire world.

You haven't addressed it. Frankfurt is an hour out, they could easily change their trading ours. If the deciding factor is being in the EU that could tip the balance in their favour. Neither of us know, but I've yet to here an argument as to why we should take the risk.

> The idea is that leaving the EU will reduce red tape and thus improve productivity; whether that will be true is anyone's guess.

I'd say not as other countries in the EU do better than us

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/graph.do?tab=graph&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tsdec310&...

I feel you are trying to frame argument around a more emotional urge. I'm not having a go as it's a common thing for people to do but it isn't persuasive. Anyway, that might not matter as a lot of older people who vote seem to be thinking out. A guy at work who's about to retire said we were one a great country and will be again, he got ridiculed with 'you want to invade India', but it doesn't mater he'll still vote out any many other will....could be close.
 thomasadixon 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

If the EU had the power of the UN there would be no call to leave, if the UN had the power of the EU we'd all be calling to leave - or our justice systems would collapse as decisions like Julian Assange's became law and despots became the judges of our highest courts.

You're arguing that the EU is something we should stay a member of, the fact that it's utterly failed to plan for and deal with its problems - like the migrant crisis - is a bloody good argument against our being members. It still has no response, and it's internal institutions (Schengen) are collapsing. It should have had one years ago.

Would you trust any other organisation with such problems to run your affairs?
In reply to summo:

> When the poo hits the fan, the EU is next to useless, either in the financial recession sense, or trying to save lives in a war sense.

Very true in many ways, but as someone who spent much of the 00s studying EU joint foreign and security policy, the main reason for this is the member states (many of them, not just the UK) were really reticent about polling sovereignty here in any serious way. The discussions about Eurocorps and the like went back to the mid-90s but never really got anywhere. There have been EU flagged missions doing peace keeping in a few central African countries and the like, but that's about it. Really no appetite for Euro-Army from anyone.
 summo 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

> (Raises hand) You've not said how not being part of the UE makes anything better...

I don't think the EU has done anything that couldn't be done by individual nations anyway. All the things people cite, are often done individually by other countries first etc.. then the EU picks it up.

 Big Ger 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Rather than"bust those myths" I'd like to know if the people backing Brexit would have done any of those things, or simply dismissed them as "unnecessary red tape". If they get us to leave will they rip up human rights, WTD, H+S, &c?

I think that the UK would have followed the natural progressions that these "gifts from the EU" represent.
 summo 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> Whatever, it has no bearing on the UK being in or out of the EU.

it does though, ever EU country is bearing extra costs because of IS/ISIS in Syria, if it is not dealt with, it will get worse. Money is flowing out of Europe in support, social media and fighters from Europe, there is always more that can be done by countries within Europe, EU border exit checks improved? Or perhaps even some entry checks?

We have all now given money to Turkey for their assistance in this matter too, a non EU nation and not where the root cause lies either.

The migrant crisis is no doubt costing many British haulage companies a small fortune in delays and fines if migrants are found on their trucks.
Post edited at 19:06
 Big Ger 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Of course, we could just have our own environmental standards for water and air quality, home insulation, recycling, biodiversity etc, which could, in principle, be more ambitious than the EU standards (what with us being so marvellous and not having to worry about whether ex-Eastern bloc countries would be able to manage it). What do you think are the chances of that?

Reasonable, we still have political discourse in the UK, let's not forget we also had a [laughs] left-wing government in the UK under Bliar and Brown which could have taken on these ideas.

 Big Ger 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

It would appear that the "In" supporters seem to think nothing good can come out of the UK without the generous benevolence of the EU.
5
 thomasadixon 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> And as another excellent piece dispelling some of the nonsense the Leave Brigade keep spouting...


Really, excellent?

The argument about how many laws come from the EU is a bit pointless in my view (2000 different statutes dealing with minutiae are far less important than the SEA, one law) but taking those laws that have been passed by our Parliament and ignoring everything issued by the EU is disingenuous at best. Regulations, Directives and the rulings of the ECj all have effect without being technically implemented.

The spinning around the EU forcing the member states to do things is just silly. The EU is an organisation which member states give power to, we allow them to overrule us, that's how it works. Of course the EU forces stuff on the member states - that's its job. If you're a europhile this should not be a bad thing, it's a good thing, the UK is part of a greater whole and so submission to the central power is necessary and good for all. Why argue that it's not true? Disingenuous at best.

Leeds council employs more than the EU apparently, okay I'll take that as true - so bloody what? Leeds council deals with all running of the city, the EU farms out all local implementation to the member states - to people like Leeds council! More disengenuous, and meaningless, nonsense.

The EU is bureaucratic, compared to the UK. It takes ages to make decisions because of all the different interest parties that have a say. Here Parliament makes the rules, and so can do so very quickly. He's a europhile, he should argue that this is a good thing, that the power of the UK Parliament is too great and must be checked by the bureaucracy of the EU and it's many power holders. Instead he compares apples with oranges and finds the answer he's looking for - the EU is not whatever it's critics claim it to be.
4
In reply to summo:

> it does though, ever EU country is bearing extra costs because of IS/ISIS in Syria, if it is not dealt with, it will get worse. Money is flowing out of Europe in support, social media and fighters from Europe, there is always more that can be done by countries within Europe, EU border exit checks improved? Or perhaps even some entry checks?

> We have all now given money to Turkey for their assistance in this matter too, a non EU nation and not where the root cause lies either.

> The migrant crisis is no doubt costing many British haulage companies a small fortune in delays and fines if migrants are found on their trucks.

But none of these things change if the UK is in or out. The delays will still be there, the migrants will still be there and the UK will still be pouring money in (since we are already amongst the largest donators without anyone actually forcing us to be).

Alan

In reply to Big Ger:

> It would appear that the "In" supporters seem to think nothing good can come out of the UK without the generous benevolence of the EU.

I think you are completely missing the 'In' argument if you think that. Plenty of good can come out of the UK it is just that the UK and the EU are both stronger with the UK as part of the EU. I think we'd get by outside the EU, I just don't think we would do as well.

Of course there is the doomsday scenario which would mean Brexit would lead to the break up of the UK (very likely), and a boost to separatist governments across Europe (quite likely), leading to ultimate break up of the EU (possible) and a return to border squabbling and ultimately conflict (not that likely but significantly more possible than if the EU were stronger).

Alan

 Big Ger 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> I think you are completely missing the 'In' argument if you think that.

If you read the "IN" arguments above, (which I was referring to, sorry, I should have made that more clear,) I think you can see that they indicate a belief that all goodness flows from the EU, and that the UK is a totalitarian anti-environment, corporate controlled, state subdued and manipulated by "evil media barons".

> Of course there is the doomsday scenario which would mean Brexit would lead to the break up of the UK (very likely), and a boost to separatist governments across Europe (quite likely), leading to ultimate break up of the EU (possible) and a return to border squabbling and ultimately conflict (not that likely but significantly more possible than if the EU were stronger).

There is also a chance that we could continue with strong nation states interacting harmoniously without the need for the expensive bureaucratic monstrosity of the EU.

3
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Really, excellent?

The point of the myth busting article is that it busts myths, most of which were stupid generalisations in the first place. It isn't saying that Leeds council employing more people than the European Commission is a good thing, it is using that as a reposte to the argument that the EU is a sprawling bureaucracy. As you say, so bloody what? That's the whole point!

Alan
1
 Big Ger 23 Feb 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

> Most of the examples you give are UK government responses to EU legislation which they helped create.

Most of the examples in the OP are legislation which the UK could, and probably would, have made without having to fund the EU to the sum of 4 billion Euro a year.
4
 thomasadixon 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> The point of the myth busting article is that it busts myths, most of which were stupid generalisations in the first place. It isn't saying that Leeds council employing more people than the European Commission is a good thing, it is using that as a reposte to the argument that the EU is a sprawling bureaucracy. As you say, so bloody what? That's the whole point!

The apparent myth is that the EU is overly bureaucratic, it doesn't respond to that at all. It just implies it's a false claim with a pointless comparison to an utterly different organisation. Soundbite, sliding, response that doesn't deal with the issue.

For example, for the EU to make a trade agreement it needs to follow a complicated process that necessarily takes far longer than the UK government would to make the same decision if it retained that power. This is a bad thing for us. That's the claim. What does the size of Leeds' council's employment roll have to do with anything?
1
 zebidee 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> Plenty of good can come out of the UK it is just that the UK and the EU are both stronger with the UK as part of the EU. I think we'd get by outside the EU, I just don't think we would do as well.

The irony of this is that the arguments being used by Tory politicians pushing for a Brexit (horrible word) are the same ones that the "Yes" campaign were using during the Scottish referendum.

These being the same Tory politicians who at the time were using the converse arguments to push for a "No".



1
 Postmanpat 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> The point of the myth busting article is that it busts myths, most of which were stupid generalisations in the first place. It isn't saying that Leeds council employing more people than the European Commission is a good thing, it is using that as a reposte to the argument that the EU is a sprawling bureaucracy.
>
Yup, but the problem seems to be that in "busting myths" it is just creating new ones. I don't buy the Leeds City council comparison. The EU spends Euro6bn per year on "administration" which is five times Leed's total spending budget. The article appears to include only employees of the Commission as "bureacrats", hence it comes up with a number of about 32,000. This is equivalent to Derbyshire CC's employee total (and maybe Leeds') but the Derbyshire (and probably Leeds) number includes 8,000 teachers. Including all the other institutions and "quangos" in the EU there are estimates as high as 170,000 bureacrats.

In reply to thomasadixon:
> The apparent myth is that the EU is overly bureaucratic, it doesn't respond to that at all. It just implies it's a false claim with a pointless comparison to an utterly different organisation. Soundbite, sliding, response that doesn't deal with the issue.

At the risk of being pedantic, the myth is that it is a sprawling bureaucracy, not that it is overly bureaucratic. These are subtly different I think in that the former relates to a huge organisation that geographically sprawls and by necessity wastes money on merely existing. This is where the comparison to Leeds City Council is relevant it is admittedly, quite subtle and tenuous.

The fact that the EU is bureaucratic is hardly a surprise - what do you expect with all those different opinions and agendas - I would never argue that it isn't bureaucratic.

> For example, for the EU to make a trade agreement it needs to follow a complicated process that necessarily takes far longer than the UK government would to make the same decision if it retained that power.

Not sure what you base that on. The deal between Canada and (admittedly) the EU took 7 years. The US has 20 free trade agreements in total which seems a pretty tiny number for such a massive trading partner that everyone wants to do business with. These things are a nightmare and take years to negotiate.

It will take the UK a while to renegotiate this lot - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_free_trade_agreements

Alan
Post edited at 20:54
1
In reply to Mike Stretford:
"Frankfurt is an hour out, they could easily change their trading ours. If the deciding factor is being in the EU that could tip the balance in their favour. Neither of us know, but I've yet to here an argument as to why we should take the risk."

I think this is extremely unlikely. London is the favourite place to do exotic finance (dark pools, HFT, short selling, FX, tax arb/div arb. etc) due to the regulatory framework (lax/fair/low touch/understanding...there are others take your pick) The financial legal profession is equally embedded in the square mile, the language and time zone. Moving en masse to Frankfurt where the framework and regulation would most likely be far more controlling and restrictive (maybe many think a good thing?) makes this the most unlikely of scenarios if BREXIT happens IMO. Deutsche Boerse looking to merge with the LSE should get a few conspiracy tongues wagging and how that might work if BREXIT is anyones guess though.
Post edited at 20:54
 Jim Hamilton 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> The point of the myth busting article is that it busts myths, most of which were stupid generalisations in the first place.

The £3k benefit per family mentioned seems to be based on a 2 year old CBI report. Google also brings up a C4 blog “Fact check". This concludes “So should we take this (CBI) claim seriously? We think not.”
 thomasadixon 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> At the risk of being pedantic, the myth is that it is a sprawling bureaucracy, not that it is overly bureaucratic. These are subtly different I think in that the former relates to a huge organisation that geographically sprawls and by necessity wastes money on merely existing. This is where the comparison to Leeds City Council is relevant it is admittedly, quite subtle and tenuous.

It's an anti-EU claim, apparently those who want to leave are spreading this myth, does he get to define the detail? The anti-bureaucracy argument is based on too much red tape, on difficulty of getting things done, that the EU systems get in the way and that it keeps spreading into more areas. That sounds enough like sprawling to me. See PMP for the real sizes, although as said I can't see it addresses the claim in any way.

> The fact that the EU is bureaucratic is hardly a surprise - what do you expect with all those different opinions and agendas - I would never argue that it isn't bureaucratic.

I'd say that I wouldn't expect any different given the system, and that this is one good reason to leave.

> Not sure what you base that on. The deal between Canada and (admittedly) the EU took 7 years. The US has 20 free trade agreements in total which seems a pretty tiny number for such a massive trading partner that everyone wants to do business with. These things are a nightmare and take years to negotiate.

I base it on the decision making processes in the two places. Here a government minister would make the decision. He wouldn't need treaty change, he doesn't need the heads of Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, etc to sign on the dotted line before it's effective. If he needed to create statute it follows standard parliamentary process, much quicker, much simpler, than the EU process.

> It will take the UK a while to renegotiate this lot - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_free_trade_agreements

Doubt it, and I'd note the many, many, countries that aren't on that list compared to the ones that are.
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Have you got aspirations to become a MEP?
You seem very defensive and are going to great lengths to express your support and admiration of the EU.
1
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:
I found this article quite interesting. Boris fires his opening salvos. Apologies if it has already been posted.
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153498932666317&id=7972991316
Post edited at 22:03
1
 john arran 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Gone for good:

Maybe that's because, despite its imperfections, it's a way better prospect than the isolationist alternative.
1
Graeme G 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

One thing and one thing alone stands out as the most important contribution europe has made to the UK. They banned corporal punishment in schools.

Only over 200 years after they did it in Poland
2
Gone for good 23 Feb 2016
In reply to john arran:
The UK has many friends and allies outside of Europe and will continue to do so within the EU. I don't think isolation is desired or expected.
Post edited at 22:08
1
 Big Ger 23 Feb 2016
In reply to Timmd:

Seeing as we are all sat at computers:

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 617/2013
of 26 June 2013
Commission Regulation (EU) No 617/2013 of 26 June 2013 implementing Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to ecodesign requirements for computers and computer servers Text with EEA relevance

OJ L 175, 27.6.2013, p. 13–33 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)
Special edition in Croatian: Chapter 12 Volume 005 P. 286 - 306

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32013R0617&from=EN
In reply to Gone for good:
> Have you got aspirations to become a MEP?

> You seem very defensive and are going to great lengths to express your support and admiration of the EU.

Erm, since this thread is about the EU, it might be more interesting (for most people) if people posted about that, rather than being personal, which can be a waste of band width (imho).

'I think you're silly...'
Post edited at 02:11
2
 Roadrunner5 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Gone for good:

> The UK has many friends and allies outside of Europe and will continue to do so within the EU. I don't think isolation is desired or expected.

The US is really not happy at the threat of the UK leaving the EU. That relationship will almost certainly be heavily affected. The Obama administration have already, supposedly, threatened that US investment in the UK will be reduced by billions of pounds.
3
 Big Ger 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Roadrunner5:

Nice of the US to threaten the UK in order to keep us in the EU. To look after US interests there no doubt.
2
 Roadrunner5 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:
I thought there was a story recently that the US were involved in making sure the UK did sway towards Europe back in the 60's? Its no secret the US sees the UK as a gateway into European markets.

I don't think its a threat, just a warning. Others like Japanese manufacturers will also consider changing.

If this wasn't a real risk why did the GBP react so badly this week?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9791484/US-publicly-voices-concerns-over-Britain...
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/oct/29/us-warns-britain-it-could-face-trade-barriers-if-it-...
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35569134
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/brexit-problems-for-america-europe-by-richard-n--haass-...

All I'm saying is our relationships will change. How many times have US officials come out saying they aren't concerned?

The US/Uk relationship will be affected. Its hard to see a vote to lead not leading directly to Scotland leaving, which then brings in the submarine bases issue, a further US concern.

Economically, strategically, the US wants the UK to remain in Europe. We'll stay allies but I think that they will rapidly look for a more strategically and economically important one.
Post edited at 03:29
1
Gone for good 24 Feb 2016
In reply

> 'I think you're silly...'

I couldn't give a shit what you think.



1
 Mike Stretford 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:
> Nice of the US to threaten the UK in order to keep us in the EU. To look after US interests there no doubt.

Fact is, they are our superpower ally, our national defence strategy is completely dependent on them. It would be strange if they didn't say anything.

I know 'threat' was not first used by yourself in this discussion, but it is inappropriate. They will do what is in their best interest and that may well affect the UK negatively, that's the reality of the situation. We haven't been a superpower since the end of ww2, we have to cooperate with others. Thatcher understood this, she may have used nationalist rhetoric to stir the electorate, but her actions show she knew cooperation was required.
Post edited at 07:52
 Andy Hardy 24 Feb 2016
In reply to zebidee:

+1. And the arguments around trade deals are exactly those offered by the SNP with regard to a potential currency union with the BoE.

I can't imagine what the sentiment would be in the EU after Brexit, but I doubt it would be positive. If you were a member of a country club but decided that you didn't want to pay the subs, however you still want to use the pool you'd get pretty short shrift.
In reply to Mike Stretford:

There's plenty of ways to skin a cat. The US relationship with the UK has taken us into Iraq, Afghanistan, blind eye to Israel/Palestine, they gave us sub prime financial crisis and use our land as a stationary aircraft carrier to launch attacks in the ME (10 airbases currently).

Uk companies affiliates employ approx 880,000 US citizens in the USA and the UK is the largest foreign investor in the USA ahead of Japan, China, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland (figures from 2010).

I don't think the US is going to drop us like a hot potato if we leave the EU. I'm not saying it might not suit them, but there is plenty of skin in the game to suggest scare mongering that the US will punish us is overdone. As you say, the US will do whats best for the US, they wont cut their nose off to spite their face.
1
 Mike Stretford 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> There's plenty of ways to skin a cat. The US relationship with the UK has taken us into Iraq, Afghanistan, blind eye to Israel/Palestine, they gave us sub prime financial crisis and use our land as a stationary aircraft carrier to launch attacks in the ME (10 airbases currently).

> Uk companies affiliates employ approx 880,000 US citizens in the USA and the UK is the largest foreign investor in the USA ahead of Japan, China, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland (figures from 2010).

> I don't think the US is going to drop us like a hot potato if we leave the EU. I'm not saying it might not suit them, but there is plenty of skin in the game to suggest scare mongering that the US will punish us is overdone. As you say, the US will do whats best for the US, they wont cut their nose off to spite their face.

Hi Bjartur, I was going to reply to your post on London too, but's it's pretty much the same as the reply to the above. In both situations we just don't know. While things are going ok for the UK, which relatively speaking they are, I don't see the point of taking the risk.

I accept some have a strong urge for a completely independent UK, but if you don't feel that, there's only uncertainty, no benefits. I would add that the only time we have been completely independent as a nation for hundereds of years was in the late 60s/70s, and that wasn't the best of times. The 'empire' was in part a forced trade agreement with very favourably terms for the UK..... we won't get to do that again, we'll get our arses kicked!
In reply to thomasadixon:

> It's an anti-EU claim, apparently those who want to leave are spreading this myth, does he get to define the detail? The anti-bureaucracy argument is based on too much red tape, on difficulty of getting things done, that the EU systems get in the way and that it keeps spreading into more areas. That sounds enough like sprawling to me. See PMP for the real sizes, although as said I can't see it addresses the claim in any way.

> I'd say that I wouldn't expect any different given the system, and that this is one good reason to leave.

Interesting item on Radio 4 this morning about pig farming and the EU. Apparently the bureaucracy for rearing pigs in the UK is miles more complex than in the rest of the EU, or required by the EU - nation of animal lovers and all that. Consequently British pork is more expensive, but we can't make enough so we have to import cheap stuff which is what most consumers buy anyway. I am unsure if this is an example of 'good' bureaucracy but it is obvious that some people in the UK think it is.

> I base it on the decision making processes in the two places. Here a government minister would make the decision. He wouldn't need treaty change, he doesn't need the heads of Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, etc to sign on the dotted line before it's effective. If he needed to create statute it follows standard parliamentary process, much quicker, much simpler, than the EU process.

Trade deals are incredibly complex negotiations involving taxes, tariffs, investment guarantees and restrictions. It is the negotiation that takes the time, not the rubber-stamping at the end.

Also, trade deals are give and take negotiations which are always better done from a larger and stronger negotiating body. Why we are arrogant enough to think that the UK would be offered the same hard won deals the EU has managed, especially when there is a sense of urgency and desperation from the UK's side, beats me.

> Doubt it, and I'd note the many, many, countries that aren't on that list compared to the ones that are.

And trade with all those countries is subject to extensive bureaucracy and red tape and extra costs. That is the whole point of trade deals.

Alan

(I don't think I have ever typed bureaucracy so many times and it appears that my fingers finally know how to type it!)
 Big Ger 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> Interesting item on Radio 4 this morning about pig farming and the EU. Apparently the bureaucracy for rearing pigs in the UK is miles more complex than in the rest of the EU, or required by the EU - nation of animal lovers and all that.

Surely this shows that the UK is capable of producing it's own legislation without needing permission on pigs from our EU overlords.



> Also, trade deals are give and take negotiations which are always better done from a larger and stronger negotiating body. Why we are arrogant enough to think that the UK would be offered the same hard won deals the EU has managed, especially when there is a sense of urgency and desperation from the UK's side, beats me.

I think that if the UK leaves the EU, then within a very short time we would be dealing with Germany, France etc as individual countries in any case. I don't think the EU could handle BREXIT.


2
In reply to Big Ger:

> Surely this shows that the UK is capable of producing it's own legislation without needing permission on pigs from our EU overlords.

It shows that we are already imposing the legislation we want as a member of the EU.

It also shows that by bringing our standards on pigs to the EU we have managed to raise the welfare standard for pigs across Europe, just not quite to the level we demand, but better than they were getting. I am sure the pigs would vote against Brexit.

Now, can we do the same for humans or is it other countries in the EU that are taking the lead on that?

Alan

 Big Ger 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

The pigs may not vote for BREXIT, but the turkeys may still vote for Xmas.

 Andy Hardy 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:
> I think that the UK would have followed the natural progressions that these "gifts from the EU" represent.

They aren't "gifts from the EU" they are agreements between equal partners, of which the UK is 1.

I notice you say "follow". Can you think of a single example of the Tories (or UKIP) taking the lead to enact a law which extends workers rights at the expense of the employers? (for example the working time directive) Or similarly enacting legislation that protects the environment at the expense of business?

I heard Farage on the radio bleating about how big business has the EU stitched up with lobbyists etc etc. I suspect the truth is lobbyists would have a far easier time of it influencing h.m.govt post Brexit and he knows it.
Post edited at 09:20
 Big Ger 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Andy Hardy:
> They aren't "gifts from the EU" they are agreements between equal partners, of which the UK is 1.

The OP states that

> What did the EU ever do for us?

So I was assuming that the OP think these were done FOR us, and not things we did of our own volition.

> I notice you say "follow". Can you think of a single example of the Tories (or UKIP) taking the lead to enact a law which extends workers rights at the expense of the employers? (for example the working time directive) Or similarly enacting legislation that protects the environment at the expense of business?

A conservative government isn't necessarily eternal, (no matter how enviable we may think this would be,) they can be voted out. You know, democracy and all that stuff. Since we entered the EU we have had at least two Labour governments, have we not? It was, if you remember, a Labour government who OPPOSED our joining in the first place, and a Conservative one who took us in.
Post edited at 09:37
 neilh 24 Feb 2016
In reply to whenry:

That is covered under ease of business. But does not answer the question of all those overeas companies investing here because we have easy access to European markets as a result of membership.

Most people are not involved in shifting goods around within the EU. Anybody who is, knows how increadibly easy it is to do, because of the EU. It is so simple it is unreal at times.

In reply to Mike Stretford:

"I don't see the point of taking the risk....
I accept some have a strong urge for a completely independent UK, but if you don't feel that, there's only uncertainty, no benefits."

I agree that without doubt there is uncertainty, there is uncertainty and risk both ways, in or out. Of course we take sides and argue our case, but my belief is there is just as much uncertainty in remaining in the EU as there is in leaving. better the devil you know doesn't cut it for me because the EU is a fluid beast that is always trying to gain more powers. So how it looks today vs 10 years time is impossible to predict, but history gives us a very good idea of what to expect (some benefits, some negatives)

Firstly (as Gove mentions this morning) The EU court of Justice is not bound by Camerons agreement and can overrule it, and no 10's response is that "It is not true that this deal is not legally binding. Britain’s new settlement in the EU has legal force and is an irreversible international law decision that requires the European court of justice to take it into account."

Take it into account? Doesn't inspire too much confidence.

Secondly, we have the eurozone financial crisis which is still as fierce as it was 6-7 years ago. The ECB is running out of dry powder, we are looking at NIRP (negative interest rate policy) which will do more damage to the European banks which are currently on life support stuffed to the gills with European sovereign debt which is virtually worthless with only one buyer (the ECB) and spreads widening on many countries debt vs bunds meaning borrowing costs are going up. Couple this with millions of youth unemployment in the southern mediterranean countries and a German centric policy of austerity that they are forced to employ rendering these poor youths to a lifetime of misery a poverty to maintain German competitiveness. How will the Eurozone cope with another financial crisis and likely depression when house prices fall and debt must be written off?

Thirdly, the free movement schengen agreement conflicting with millions of ME and NA refugees/migrants and the lack of coherent policy plus unilateral decision making without consultation. We now have EU members ignoring the agreement and building fences, others waving them through one border straight through to the other border, and the weakest EU member (Greece) taking on the largest burden with very little help. All of this is likely to be ramped up to proportions unseen once the weather improves in April/may.

Fourthly we have the perceived loss of sovereignty which rightly or wrongly is held dear to many people of the UK.

I think these are all genuine concerns about remaining and are definite risks. Leaving won't negate them necessarily, but the perception that we would have a Westminster government that could make all the decisions they need in the best interests of the UK rather than whats suits 27 other countries is what drives many to question the pros of membership.



 Mike Stretford 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
>

> Leaving won't negate them necessarily,

This^.....

I didn't want to quote it all but good response, those are concerns, but the above sums it up for me. We can't have our cake and eat it, we can't isolate ourselves without crippling the economy. We have to compromise and I think we will get a better compromise by staying in, and having some influence.

I don't always agree with this guy but I think this is a good article

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/24/outers-win-lose-eu-referendum
Post edited at 10:11
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> I think these are all genuine concerns about remaining and are definite risks.

Yes they are concerns, no they are not risks dependent on the in-out vote.

Your first point is about trivial tory party power games. The benefits issue has very little significance to anything apart from being the prop used in the pantomime Cameron has just acted out .

Your second point has little to do with the UK being a member of the EU - the problems are the same and will affect us in or out.

Your third point has little to do with the UK being a member of the EU - the problems are the same and will affect us in or out.

Your fourth point is true but not a risk. It is shocking how powerful perceptions can be and it is true that being in or out of Europe essential comes down to a feeling.

Alan

In reply to Big Ger:

> A conservative government isn't necessarily eternal, (no matter how enviable we may think this would be,) they can be voted out. You know, democracy and all that stuff. Since we entered the EU we have had at least two Labour governments, have we not? It was, if you remember, a Labour government who OPPOSED our joining in the first place, and a Conservative one who took us in.

I think you are dramatically missing Andy's point here.

It is the EU that has fought for worker's rights and the environment, not the Tory government. That is a good thing and a positive reason to be part of the EU IMHO.

Alan
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> Your first point is about trivial tory party power games. The benefits issue has very little significance to anything apart from being the prop used in the pantomime Cameron has just acted out .

Except it gives the impression of being lied to. Lip service paid by Europe members to be removed by the EU courts of Justice. Are we being sold a pup? Why is everyone suddenly trusting Cameron I don't think it's trivial.

> Your second point has little to do with the UK being a member of the EU - the problems are the same and will affect us in or out.

Yes the problems will remain and they will effect us regardless, but it's how to handle the contagion? Also watching how Eurozone members treat other eurozone members when the chips are down...pretty ugly. Do we want to be tied to this potential economic time bomb or not? I believe this is a legitimate concern.

> Your third point has little to do with the UK being a member of the EU - the problems are the same and will affect us in or out.

I disagree. The perception amongst many is that the millions of migrants will eventually become EU citizens, there is no control of borders and there will be millions behind them. Nothing to suggest that the EU has a handle on this yet unless you can provide some. You don't think Merkel should have consulted all other EU members before offering a free pass? You don't think this effects the UK being in the EU?

> Your fourth point is true but not a risk. It is shocking how powerful perceptions can be and it is true that being in or out of Europe essential comes down to a feeling.

I would argue that to some, loss of sovereignty is a risk.



 Andy Hardy 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

> The OP states that
> What did the EU ever do for us?

The OP is clearly a reference to the Life of Brian, not to be taken literally

> So I was assuming that the OP think these were done FOR us, and not things we did of our own volition.

> A conservative government isn't necessarily eternal, (no matter how enviable we may think this would be,) they can be voted out. You know, democracy and all that stuff. Since we entered the EU we have had at least two Labour governments, have we not? It was, if you remember, a Labour government who OPPOSED our joining in the first place, and a Conservative one who took us in.

Odd then that it was a Labour govt in 1967 which applied for membership in the first place...
Gone for good 24 Feb 2016
 Mike Stretford 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

> The OP states that

> So I was assuming that the OP think these were done FOR us, and not things we did of our own volition.

> A conservative government isn't necessarily eternal

Not necessarily but they'll be hard to shift, especially if Scotland leaves the UK............ I think they will if the UK votes out.
 john arran 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Gone for good:

That's quite funny ... but also ironic seeing as the duty on alcohol in France is very much lower than in the UK and as pat of the EU we can bring as much into the UK from France as we like (for personal consumption), whereas under a duty free system we were limited to a couple of bottles.
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> I disagree. The perception amongst many is that the millions of migrants will eventually become EU citizens, there is no control of borders and there will be millions behind them. Nothing to suggest that the EU has a handle on this yet unless you can provide some. You don't think Merkel should have consulted all other EU members before offering a free pass? You don't think this effects the UK being in the EU?

I think we have a moral obligation as human beings to do something to help the refugees in a catastrophe that the West has had significant role in facilitating.

Alan
Pan Ron 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> I can't imagine what the sentiment would be in the EU after Brexit, but I doubt it would be positive. If you were a member of a country club but decided that you didn't want to pay the subs, however you still want to use the pool you'd get pretty short shrift.

I think the sentiment might at first be shock, but then might be quiet relief.

We aren't good EU neighbours. We demand a special status. That isn't what being part of a club is about. And we have an overblown sense of self importance - we are after all "Great" Britain, we are special, we are the former empire and we can be empire again if it weren't for those pesky Europeans with their cooperative European ways.

Farage doesn't quite realise that the 1950s Britain he idolises looks, to the rest of the world, like a sickly unpleasant country that few would want to have much to do with. The advantage of course is it will be far less attractive to migrants.
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH: "I think we have a moral obligation as human beings to do something to help the refugees in a catastrophe that the West has had significant role in facilitating."

Yes, I get that. You haven't addressed the concern of how it's handled.
KevinD 24 Feb 2016
In reply to David Martin:

> We aren't good EU neighbours. We demand a special status.

This argument irritates me since a casual look at the other countries shows that the UK doesnt really stand out. You only need to look at the Strasbourg mess for an example of that. Or the various factions which were involved in the recent negotiations with Cameron. Curious how often the high minded idealism shown by his opponents matched with their countries self interest.
 RyanOsborne 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> I disagree. The perception amongst many is that the millions of migrants will eventually become EU citizens, there is no control of borders and there will be millions behind them.

I think this perception is misguided. Refugees will only become German citizens after 8 years. So if they then decide to move to the UK (can't see why they necessarily would) then it's not as if we'd be taking on a huge number of destitute people who have no concept of european culture.

And it's not as if they would then arrive en masse, most would probably settle in Germany, having lived there for eight years, learnt the language, built up a network of friends, got a job etc.

It has no real bearing on the UK as far as I can tell, and it certainly shouldn't have a bearing on anyone's decision to leave or remain in the EU.

Especially as, as I've said before, if we left the EU we'd still want access to the single market, and still be subject to freedom of movement rules anyway.

In reply to RyanOsborne:

"I think this perception is misguided."

Who knows, problem is polls suggest it's one of , if not the leading concern for UK citizens. I don't think it will be easy to convince them otherwise, especially once the migration ramps up again in the spring. The "leave" camp and the press will make sure its all over the news as it sells papers. Your argument above for example would cut no mustard with my Mum and Dad (in their 70's) however right you may be (I admit that my working sample of two elderly parents is not reflective of the UK populace lol) . How you would convince them? I'm not sure...
 Mike Stretford 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> "I think this perception is misguided."

> Your argument above for example would cut no mustard with my Mum and Dad (in their 70's) however right you may be (I admit that my working sample of two elderly parents is not reflective of the UK populace lol) . How you would convince them? I'm not sure...

It's a huge challenge, and that generation does vote. I agree with Ryan, I makes perfect sense to me but in the minds of many older people EU=immigration, and that's that.

The only way to counter it may be to get the younger vote out. It might help if Corbyn actually sounded enthusiastic about staying.
In reply to Mike Stretford:

Yes, in my parents eyes, it's not just the UK, they feel sorry for the Germans!
 thomasadixon 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> Trade deals are incredibly complex negotiations involving taxes, tariffs, investment guarantees and restrictions. It is the negotiation that takes the time, not the rubber-stamping at the end.

It's only rubber-stamping if the people who have the rubber stamps have been kept in the loop in the negotiation. The whole process, from start to finish, is far more complicated because there are far more interested parties. Are you really trying to argue that the EU process is not more complicated that the UK equivalent?

> ...which are always better done from a larger and stronger negotiating body. Why we are arrogant enough to think that the UK would be offered the same hard won deals the EU has managed, especially when there is a sense of urgency and desperation from the UK's side, beats me.

What do you base this on? Logic dictates that any decision making process involving 28 countries, plus the EU institutions, will be more difficult and more complex than a decision making process which the a single government carries out internally. Factual reality shows that small countries (e.g. Switzerland) have organised far more FTAs, with more important countries, than the EU has managed in the last few decades. Smaller certainly seems better.

> And trade with all those countries is subject to extensive bureaucracy and red tape and extra costs. That is the whole point of trade deals.

A hell of a lot of this bureaucracy is created by the EU, so the limitations on trade you're talking about only exist because we're a member, if we leave they fall away - that's part of the argument to leave. Having said that, it's amazing how we survive working with all the rest of the world where the EU has failed to agree these essential FTA deals, it's almost as if they're not as vital as is continually claimed.

> Alan

> (I don't think I have ever typed bureaucracy so many times and it appears that my fingers finally know how to type it!)

Mine still don't!
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> I think we have a moral obligation as human beings to do something to help the refugees in a catastrophe that the West has had significant role in facilitating.

> Alan

Absolutely.
In reply to thomasadixon:

> It's only rubber-stamping if the people who have the rubber stamps have been kept in the loop in the negotiation. The whole process, from start to finish, is far more complicated because there are far more interested parties. Are you really trying to argue that the EU process is not more complicated that the UK equivalent?

No, I am arguing that it is an incredibly complex process no matter who does it, and the least complex bit is the rubber-stamping at the end. Yes, that bit would be more complex in the EU, but the bulk of the time is involved in negotiating the deal in the first place which would be a similar process for the EU or the UK on its own.

I would also add that it is an incredibly complex procedure that we currently don't need to do hence the time spent on negotiating 25-odd existing trade deals the UK has as a member of the EU is currently nil.

> What do you base this on? Logic dictates that any decision making process involving 28 countries, plus the EU institutions, will be more difficult and more complex than a decision making process which the a single government carries out internally. Factual reality shows that small countries (e.g. Switzerland) have organised far more FTAs, with more important countries, than the EU has managed in the last few decades. Smaller certainly seems better.

I wasn't referring to the time taken, but the quality of deal achieved. That was what I meant about give and take. If you are small you will have to give more than you can take.

> A hell of a lot of this bureaucracy is created by the EU, so the limitations on trade you're talking about only exist because we're a member, if we leave they fall away - that's part of the argument to leave.

Are you basing the 'hell of a lot of bureaucracy' on facts or the general impression you have of the EU? I haven't negotiated trade deals so I don't know but I strongly suspect your rose-tinted view of smaller countries will be mistaken when you get down to the finer points of import tax.

> Having said that, it's amazing how we survive working with all the rest of the world where the EU has failed to agree these essential FTA deals, it's almost as if they're not as vital as is continually claimed.

I have tried to export books to the US and found that an unaffordable nightmare. I have also had goods bought in the US intercepted and had a stinging charge applied. It is the costs that rocket where there is no trade deal. That is the whole point of trade deals.

Alan
In reply to Timmd: >" I think we have a moral obligation as human beings to do something to help the refugees in a catastrophe that the West has had significant role in facilitating.

> Alan

> Absolutely.

Right, do you want to try and address the concerns of how this is being handled? Because just stating sound bites of moral obligations as human beings doesn't really shut down the debate for a lot of people. I think this is where the battle lines are on the street, not sparring over how long it takes to do a trade deal.

In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
I think there's something to be said for Cameron's approach actually, in trying to target help at the location of the problem, and that anything to do with matters of immigration relating to current unrest in the middle east, isn't something which should prompt people into voting to leave, because in the long view it will turn out to be a short term 'something to deal with', where the decision to stay in or leave the EU could have consequences which last for a lifetime (or two or three).

(Not all Syrians who have actually reached the UK want to stay, there's those who want to go home again one day.)
Post edited at 15:36
In reply to Timmd:

Something to be said for Camerons approach? Is that the adopted policy in the EU? Is there a coherent policy in the EU? Why do you think it's a short term problem? Why will it stop? What about when the EU likely expands into Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro (Turkey? ok, thats a stretch)? Is that nothing to worry about? Has the UK been a magnet for EU Eastern Europeans? How do you know it's a short term problem? Will this last "a lifetime" or will it just stop because it's only a "short term something to deal with"?

See what I mean? It's a far bigger question and worry than "in" supporters like to address. Have answers to these questions with solid reasoned arguments and you will make progress. Remember, like it or not, it will probably be the deciding factor in a huge amount of voters minds. It needs to be tackled head on or the battle could easily be lost.



 thomasadixon 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> No, I am arguing that it is an incredibly complex process no matter who does it, and the least complex bit is the rubber-stamping at the end. Yes, that bit would be more complex in the EU, but the bulk of the time is involved in negotiating the deal in the first place which would be a similar process for the EU or the UK on its own.

Can you explain how this fits reality? A huge amount of time is spent negotiating, within the EU organisation (incl. the member states), what the EU itself wants from a trade deal and what it will offer. There's no equivalent in the UK.

> I would also add that it is an incredibly complex procedure that we currently don't need to do hence the time spent on negotiating 25-odd existing trade deals the UK has as a member of the EU is currently nil.

I'd respond that we do need to do this ourselves, as the EU have failed to do it for us. 25 odd trade deals in a world with hundreds of countries when we've been in for over 40 years. The UK as a member of the EU is unable to negotiate trade deals, so it's hardly surprising that it's nil. Outside of the EU countries are doing much better.

> I wasn't referring to the time taken, but the quality of deal achieved. That was what I meant about give and take. If you are small you will have to give more than you can take.

Evidence, or argument? This just seems to be the standard bigger = better assertion.

> Are you basing the 'hell of a lot of bureaucracy' on facts or the general impression you have of the EU? I haven't negotiated trade deals so I don't know but I strongly suspect your rose-tinted view of smaller countries will be mistaken when you get down to the finer points of import tax.

The bureaucracy involved in signing trade deals is a matter of law, so fact, you can look up the rules as well as I. I strongly suspect that your rose-tinted view of the EU will not see any downsides to our membership.

> I have tried to export books to the US and found that an unaffordable nightmare. I have also had goods bought in the US intercepted and had a stinging charge applied. It is the costs that rocket where there is no trade deal. That is the whole point of trade deals.

Well I won't disagree there, but you'll have to argue that being in the EU, per se, means that we've got better trade relations with the world. That they've failed to negotiate any FTAs with major countries (unless we count Canada) doesn't support that argument. That FTAs are absolutely vital to us is part of the pro-EU argument - the obvious counter is that we trade well (and we do, trade is increasing, even if it is more difficult) with countries where we have no FTA.
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
> Something to be said for Camerons approach? Is that the adopted policy in the EU?

It's the approach which the UK is able to implement while still in the EU.

> Is there a coherent policy in the EU? Why do you think it's a short term problem?

It's 'relatively' short term, I think, regarding migrants escaping war zones, because the conflict (very hopefully) isn't going to last forever.

> Why will it stop?

See above.

> What about when the EU likely expands into Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro (Turkey? ok, thats a stretch)?

How likely it does expand could have something to do with Russia/Putin making trouble? If Cameron has been able to make things less attractive for immigrants just recently, and if the EU actually wants the UK to stay, which does seem to be the case, this suggests to me that further tweaks can be made to how the UK relates to the EU in terms of immigration.

> Is that nothing to worry about? Has the UK been a magnet for EU Eastern Europeans? How do you know it's a short term problem? Will this last "a lifetime" or will it just stop because it's only a "short term something to deal with"?

I don't think there is a lot to worry about, and yes it has 'so far' - but see above about there being willingness to keep the UK in the EU, and potential for future tweaks to immigration. Will what last lifetime....immigration or the current intense conflict in the middle east?

> See what I mean? It's a far bigger question and worry than "in" supporters like to address. Have answers to these questions with solid reasoned arguments and you will make progress.

Nobody know what will happen if we leave, either, mind you, it's not like there's definite doom in staying in the EU and definite sunny days ahead if we leave.

> Remember, like it or not, it will probably be the deciding factor in a huge amount of voters minds. It needs to be tackled head on or the battle could easily be lost.

And/or the benefits of being in the EU need to be clearly stated.
Post edited at 16:27
In reply to Timmd:

> It's the approach which the UK is able to implement while still in the EU.

Isn't Camerons approach to cherry pick migrants from refugee camps in Lebanon (good idea IMO) whilst trying to promote peace in the ME . How is that only implementable whilst being in the EU? What do you mena?

> It's 'relatively' short term, I think, regarding migrants escaping war zones, because the conflict (very hopefully) isn't going to last forever.

I like your optimism regarding the ME becoming a peaceful haven for the worlds Muslims in short order. But sorry, that doesn't much ice.

> See above.

See above


> How likely it does expand could have something to do with Russia/Putin making trouble? If Cameron has been able to make things less attractive for immigrants just recently, and if the EU actually wants the UK to stay, which does seem to be the case, this suggests to me that further tweaks can be made to how the UK relates to the EU in terms of immigration.

Regardless of Putin and Russia, you haven't addressed the issue of new countries from Eastern Europe joining and the impact on migration from East to Western Europe other than to say you don't think it's a lot to worry about?

> I don't think there is a lot to worry about, and yes it has 'so far' - but see above about there being willingness to keep the UK in the EU, and potential for future tweaks to immigration. Will what last lifetime....immigration or the current intense conflict in the middle east?

Err, Iraq invade Kuwait in 1990. Remember that? How old were you in 1990? can you think of much peace in the region since then? the decade before that was the Iran Iraq war...2011 Arab Spring...carnage ensues.I could go on but you get the picture. arguing that troubles in the ME are merely temporary just doesn't stand up to any scrutiny.

> Nobody know what will happen if we leave, either, mind you, it's not like there's definite doom in staying in the EU and definite sunny days ahead if we leave.

Agreed.

> And/or the benefits of being in the EU need to be clearly stated.

yes, I am hearing a lot about trade agreements, not a lot about immigration, sovereignty, TTIP and the euro/two speed Europe/unemployment. Funny that

In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> Take it into account? Doesn't inspire too much confidence.

That's just legal jargon, it's much stronger than it sounds. It essentially means that a court can't really come up with a judgment that contradicts it, without inviting being smacked down on appeal.

In reply to Dave Garnett:

I just read earlier that Tusk has come out saying it is legally binding, so taking him on his word, that's a positive for Cameron
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

And suggests that Gove, despite the nice things I said about him elsewhere, isn't much of a lawyer.
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Actually, despite being Lord Chancellor, he doesn't seem to be any kind of a lawyer. I didn't realise that was even possible, although I shouldn't really be surprised.

 Big Ger 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> Not necessarily but they'll be hard to shift, especially if Scotland leaves the UK............ I think they will if the UK votes out.

That's one of the problems of living in a democracy, you don't always get who you want. You could always move North of the border though?
 Big Ger 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> It is the EU that has fought for worker's rights and the environment, not the Tory government. That is a good thing and a positive reason to be part of the EU IMHO.

But the people of this country voted for a Tory government, so "workers rights" a vague and nebulous concept at best* was not high on the agenda of the UK population.

So are you saying the good thing about the EU is that it over-rides UK democracy and gives us a Green/Left wing government whether we want it or not?


*Who are "the workers" these days?


2
 Mike Stretford 24 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

> That's one of the problems of living in a democracy, you don't always get who you want. You could always move North of the border though?

Not so keen on dark(er) nights. Anyway I was commenting on your point the to someone else!
 thomasadixon 25 Feb 2016
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

As I understand it it's a decision, and it's legally binding as one, so Tusk's right. But a decision isn't a statute. The text is here - http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/uk/2016-uk-settlement-process-timeline/ - very long I'm afraid, and not easy reading!

The EU institutions can only act in accordance with the Treaties. When they do something they haven't got the power to do the ECj overrules them. The decision includes statements like "we declare that this is compatible with the treaties". They can state whatever they like, but the ECj gets to decide whether they are right or not, and if they're not then treaty change is needed. I think this is what Gove is getting at.

It also says this, "It is recognised that the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the Treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union. The substance of this will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision" (page 16 of the pdf). Seems pretty clear that Gove's right, and that fact is recognised in the text of the decision itself.

Treaty change is needed to make this law - but it is law that this must happen, so technically Tusk is right. It's law because a law says that it will be law, although it will have to go through a difficult procedure before the substance is law. Nice and clear.

Oh and the ECj have to take it into account, and that is true, but they can't just overwrite the treaties, so if the law hasn't yet been changed they'll have to rule on the law as it currently stands (even though it is law that the law will be changed). The wonderful complexity of the EU.
 Mike Stretford 25 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

> That's one of the problems of living in a democracy, you don't always get who you want. You could always move North of the border though?

It's not about me, you were replying to someone else who, presumably, was concerned about an 'eternal conservative government'. That's the thing about democracy, people will vote on the issues that matter to them.
 Big Ger 25 Feb 2016
In reply to Mike Stretford:

Thanks for clarifying Mike, my apologies.
 Mike Stretford 25 Feb 2016
In reply to Big Ger: No worries... my first reply was a bit vague, I'd had a drink and was chatting to my gf.

I might lay off these threads for a while..... 4 months of EU talk might get a bit repetitive. They say 1 week is a long time in politics, a lot could happen in 4 months!
In reply to Mike Stretford:

lol, I was thinking the same. It's the Scottish Ref debate all over again but with different actors.How many posts on this subject in the next 4 months on UKC? 50k?

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