EU Referendum

Post Reply
Tony Williams
Posts: 1294
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:51 pm
Location: Somewhere in England
Contact:

EU Referendum

Post by Tony Williams » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:29 pm

I can see this being a hot topic for months to come, so I might as well kick it off.

First of all, a confession: I have always been pro-European, voted for membership in 1975 and was even a supporter of the Euro - until the financial crisis starkly revealed the need for much closer coordination and control between the participating national governments.

However, I have become increasingly disenchanted and frustrated in recent years by the bloat, inefficiency and corruption in the EU, its constant expansion of its powers as well as geographical extent, and its inability to reform itself or tackle the major problems facing it: particularly the economy and the immigration crisis. On the latter point, the complete confusion of the EU was starkly shown by the criticism of Turkey for allowing refugees through their country to Europe, while at the same time criticising the same country for not opening its borders to Syrian refugees. No wonder Turkey is getting fed up with the the EU.

I think that had I known in 1975 what was going to happen, I might well have voted against joining. But that is not at all the same thing as voting to leave now. In 1975 we had trade agreements with numerous countries, especially via EFTA and the Commonwealth, but we lost those when we joined the Common Market and if we left the EU now we would be entirely on our own, with no trade agreements in place with anyone.

It is all very well saying that our trade with the rest of the EU benefits them more than us, but that doesn't mean they will bend over backwards to give the UK a favourable deal. They will be angry at what they will see as a self-serving betrayal and will be just as likely to say "piss off, then". Much like the popular mood in England might well have been if the Scots had voted for independence.

One thing I am clear about: those who confidently say that Brexit would be either a complete disaster or marvellous for the UK are (a) liars, (b) deluded, or (c) both. There are far too many unknowns and a virtual guarantee of loads of unintended consequences; Brexit would very much be a journey into the unknown.

I am generally cautious and risk-averse, so if in doubt about anything tend to stick with the status quo. The problem is that the EU's status isn't likely to remain very quo, so to speak. The crises hitting the organisation are likely to result in it evolving in a rather unplanned way, so who knows what it will be like in a decade's time - or even if it will still exist?

All of this adds up to a major headache as far as I'm concerned. As things stand I will probably hold my nose and vote to stay in despite Cameron's obvious failure to achieve any meaningful changes, but I'm not all all enthusiastic about it.

Incidentally, with reference to the current negotiations: why does anyone think it is a good idea to have marathon negotiating sessions by the end of which everyone's judgment is likely to be much worse than usual due to mental fatigue and lack of sleep?

User avatar
chaggle
Posts: 2260
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:01 am

Re: EU Referendum

Post by chaggle » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:23 pm

Very good analysis which just about sums up my understanding (or lack of it) and my position.

If I were to vote now I would vote to stay in for much the same reasons as you but I might not vote as I don't understand the issues nor the consequences.

The expat forums I am still on (even though I'm no longer abroad) are full of it and I have to say that the 'outers' are winning hands down but I think this might be expected - it's far easier to knock than justify.

I would add that I am slightly influenced by the fact that most sensible mainstream, politicians and parties seem to be 'inners' (I don't count Boris, Farage nor Liam Fox as sensible, mainstream').

Not much to go on - I know...
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

DrS
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:43 pm

Re: EU Referendum

Post by DrS » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:12 am

The expat forums I am still on (even though I'm no longer abroad) are full of it and I have to say that the 'outers' are winning hands down but I think this might be expected - it's far easier to knock than justify.
It's the same in Tenerife, and here many are pensioners ... and I have to say that it baffles me. Why if you're using free movement rights, receiving pension increases because still in the EU, and free healthcare thanks to an EU S1 system, would you even consider voting to leave? I agree with Tony and Chaggle as to the ambivalent feelings, which I share, but as a pensioner living outside the UK but within the EU, I would have thought the motivation to stay in to be much stronger than the average shoulder-shrugging can't-call-it person who actually bothers to think about it for more than two minutes!

User avatar
chaggle
Posts: 2260
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:01 am

Re: EU Referendum

Post by chaggle » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:03 pm

They say that they hold their views altruistically - for the good of the UK, not for their own benefit.

I even have one friend who is a naturalised (the most vehement kind of) Gibraltarian who is rabidly an outer, where Gibraltar is a confirmed inner.

The 'winning hands down' comment was actually about quality and persuasiveness of argument rather than quantity of expat although that is certainly true as well.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

Croydon13013
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:48 pm

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Croydon13013 » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:03 pm

DrS wrote:It's the same in Tenerife, and here many are pensioners ... and I have to say that it baffles me. Why if you're using free movement rights, receiving pension increases because still in the EU, and free healthcare thanks to an EU S1 system, would you even consider voting to leave? I agree with Tony and Chaggle as to the ambivalent feelings, which I share, but as a pensioner living outside the UK but within the EU, I would have thought the motivation to stay in to be much stronger than the average shoulder-shrugging can't-call-it person who actually bothers to think about it for more than two minutes!
I was thinking similar things when I read Chaggle's post. I don't know the details but shirley EU-resident expats would be hit hard by a "brexit"? Spain and others aren't going to try to be nice to UK citizens if we leave the EU.


One of my concerns is the complexity of extracting ourselves. UKIP have been suggesting we could be out within 6 months of a vote. Others are quiet on the subject. I think it would take many painful years, at least 5, to sort out the UK leaving the EU. There's problems like the fact that it is in the constitutions of NI and Scotland that they remain in the EU. There's the massive number of bureaucratic changes needed, and addition of all the civil servants needed, to start creating all our own legislation again rather than just writing Statutory Instruments that say "EU reg XXX applies". I'm sure there's other stuff that I'm not even aware of.
thIS sIGnaTure iS an

Tony Williams
Posts: 1294
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:51 pm
Location: Somewhere in England
Contact:

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Tony Williams » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:16 pm

Croydon13013 wrote: I'm sure there's other stuff that I'm not even aware of.
According to one source, thirty-five separate trade agreements which we currently enjoy via the EU, but which we would have to renegotiate separately for ourselves. And what would happen to tariff barriers in the meantime?

User avatar
chaggle
Posts: 2260
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:01 am

Re: EU Referendum

Post by chaggle » Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:26 pm

Croydon13013 wrote:
I was thinking similar things when I read Chaggle's post. I don't know the details but shirley EU-resident expats would be hit hard by a "brexit"? Spain and others aren't going to try to be nice to UK citizens if we leave the EU.
...
Bit like the English attitude might have been to the Scots if they had voted out? In that case there could well have been nastiness of a personal and vindictive type but I don't think there is that same depth of feeling within Europe. Technically however, UK expats might well be worse off.

The feeling among expats is that there were loads of expats in Spain before the EU (1986) and there will be after.

.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

Tony Williams
Posts: 1294
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:51 pm
Location: Somewhere in England
Contact:

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Tony Williams » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:04 am

Brexit would probably trigger another Scottish independence referendum, assuming that there is a significant majority in Scotland in favour of staying in the EU.

Quite how an independent "rest of UK" would control its own borders given land frontiers with EU countries is yet another complication. Hadrian's Wall is too dilapidated and not quite in the right place to make an effective barrier...

User avatar
chaggle
Posts: 2260
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:01 am

Re: EU Referendum

Post by chaggle » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:56 am

Tony Williams wrote:Brexit would probably trigger another Scottish independence referendum, assuming that there is a significant majority in Scotland in favour of staying in the EU.

Quite how an independent "rest of UK" would control its own borders given land frontiers with EU countries is yet another complication. Hadrian's Wall is too dilapidated and not quite in the right place to make an effective barrier...
You are assuming that a separate Scotland would remain in the EU or that they would be allowed to rejoin.

Of course we would have a land border with an EU state anyway in Ireland.

There has been speculation that the French would remove our border checks from Calais in the event of Brexit. I don't know how serious that 'threat' is.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

Tony Williams
Posts: 1294
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:51 pm
Location: Somewhere in England
Contact:

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Tony Williams » Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:41 am

chaggle wrote:
Of course we would have a land border with an EU state anyway in Ireland.
Yes, that's why I said "frontiers"; but the Republic of Ireland is not in the Schengen area. All new members in recent years have been forced to sign up to Schengen - and the Euro - as I understand it. Of course, whether or not Schengen survives for long is an open question, but it is considered one of the most fundamental aspects of the EU.
There has been speculation that the French would remove our border checks from Calais in the event of Brexit. I don't know how serious that 'threat' is.
Probably not too serious, since the French appear to be worried that removing the barriers to the UK would just encourage more immigrants to enter France.

User avatar
Zep
Posts: 1315
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:37 pm

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Zep » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:22 am

I was under the impression that Schengen had all but disappeared, for all relevant intents and purposes. FYI, as an Aussie, I had to get a Schengen visa in 1987 to visit Europe (Italy, Switzerland and France), but I don't need one now.

User avatar
Ketchup
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:15 pm
Location: Around the bend
Contact:

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Ketchup » Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:48 pm

I had to look up 'Schengen'. (My travelling days are over now :( , so I'm not that up to date with current borders and visas, etc.)

Anyhow, I found a good link which explains it all quite comprehensively.
'Schengen: Controversial EU free movement deal explained': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13194723

Of course, that report was dated 25th January - it's possible, with the current climate, that there could have been further changes since then.
~ Today is the Tomorrow you worried about Yesterday ~

Tony Williams
Posts: 1294
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:51 pm
Location: Somewhere in England
Contact:

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Tony Williams » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:28 pm

A brief summary of the arguments of both sides, from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32793642

Croydon13013
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:48 pm

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Croydon13013 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:36 pm

Tony Williams wrote:Hadrian's Wall is too dilapidated and not quite in the right place to make an effective barrier...
It's in exactly the right place. Would keep the Scots and the Geordies out.
thIS sIGnaTure iS an

Tony Williams
Posts: 1294
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:51 pm
Location: Somewhere in England
Contact:

Re: EU Referendum

Post by Tony Williams » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:03 pm

Croydon13013 wrote:
Tony Williams wrote:Hadrian's Wall is too dilapidated and not quite in the right place to make an effective barrier...
It's in exactly the right place. Would keep the Scots and the Geordies out.
We'd still keep Gateshead - there would need to be passport controls on the Tyne bridges.

Post Reply