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In or out?
In 70%  70%  [ 7 ]
Out 30%  30%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 10
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 Post subject: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:08 pm 
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Just wondering what people's thoughts were on the subject.

Personally I'm voting out for economical reasons. I have tried to ignore all the articles from various high powered individuals either way because I find it difficult to determine which of them is genuine and which are just saying one way or the other for their own personal gain.

Everything I've read about the facts makes me want out. That's not to say doing so wouldn't make me nervous and I'm sure there are downsides to it, but the things I care about and value would benefit from an exit, I believe.

I fully expect the results to be to remain, and I'd be surprised if the margin was closer than 60/40, but I can hope.

Discuss.

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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:30 pm 
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I vote to stay in our problems are better solved with a voice at the table I think we already have a pretty good deal where we keep our own currency and the amount we get out compared to what we put in isn't that ridiculous works out at less than £50 per person which is pennies for a country of our size.

I also think the buffer that the EU provides stops the absolute tw*ts in this country from introducing even more laws/rules that will only protect their rich mates.

I also strongly believe that it's a ridiculous failure of government that we are even having this referendum in the first place this is why we vote for a governement so that we the people don't have to vote on this sort of stuff for ourselves. We've already had elections and UKIP didn't win so why are we having another vote?

The main problem with this whole thing is it's impossible to get any accurate information everything that is put out there by each sides is heavily biased to suit their argument we have no idea what the actual truth is.

Given the fragile state of the world economies at the moment. USA has Trump, China growth slowing down etc etc I think going out on our own now is very risky and I think the EU will make it very hard for us to maintain a beneficial relationship with them we will have to pay a price to remain in the single market.

I just don't see anything I can believe in from the leave side to convince me to take the risk I'd rather just carry on with things the way they are and try and work with the EU to get some changes that help us.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:11 am 
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I agree JSP

the leave side seem to just spout spurious information without fact. In the short term it will be catastrophic, the pound will drop and the economy shrink with unemployment going through the roof.

Both sides agree that.

In the long term, you have to say, why would the EU give us a better deal than they get themselves?

It seems to come down to immigration. They say immigration is crushing the NHS. Mostly the immigration is young people searching for work. What will happen when we pull out of Europe, we will still have immigration, but all the hundreds of thousands of expats will need to return to the UK (me included) most of whom are retiree's who will really stretch the NHS.

There will always be immigration, this will just make it harder, and that goes for all the people that leave the UK every year so the population level will probably remain the same.

I just don't see any positives in leaving at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:22 am 
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Immigration is a big issue in this country because we have such good public services they attract a lot of people from within the EU into this country that puts strain on the NHS, Schools, Housing etc most of these people come here to work it's something like 98% of EU migrants are in employment as they don't have access to benefits straight away so if they don't get work they have to go home. This isn't a new thing we've always attracted people from all over the world to come to Britain it's what helps makes the country great.

I think we do need more control as the population growth isn't sustainable and as a country in debt we can't keep taking people in but we need to sort that problem from within the EU not from the outside pulling up the draw bridge and isolating ourselves isn't going to help in my opinion. We need a stronger voice within the EU not a weaker one if we want to force change there is a flaw in the EU with the freedom of movement people will always try to go towards the areas with the highest "quality of life" and if talented people leave those struggling areas how do they grow? More needs to be done to motivate people to stay where they are and improve the quality of life in these places which is sort of why UK puts more in than it takes out when it comes to money.

I understand why a lot of people on lower incomes want out as they probably rely more on these services than I do and that money is now being spread over more people so the standard of services is dropping but the biggest problem for the country in my opinion is coming to the realisation that everyone has to start paying more tax and those at the top earning levels need to dig deeper than those at the bottom.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:28 pm 
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I don't think immigration is that big an issue on Brexit. I haven't seen anything to suggest expats will have to come back to the UK (I could well be wrong, I just haven't read that anywhere), and in all likelihood not a lot will change. We're never going to pull up the drawbridge, the only thing that might happen, is that we will introduce stricter rules on those coming into the country. A points based system like Australia sounds good but in practice I honestly don't think much will change in terms of immigration.

In terms of trying to sort things from within the EU and 'better to influence things from the inside', everything I have read suggests we are almost powerless to stop anything.

The countries inside the EU are terrified that we will leave because it is likely that it will spell the beginning of the end for their plans for a single super state. Germany and France spread stories about how bad it will be for the UK if we left. Why do they care? Because if we left, they will have to pick up a much larger slice of the bill each year, and every time yet another country collapses. If we leave, and thrive, other countries in the EU will see that and want out. Make no mistake, they're absolutely terrified of us leaving.

A lot of high level cronies in high powered jobs don't want us to leave. Why? Because they won't be able to walk into tidy high paying jobs in the EU once they retire from their current post.

In terms of trade, the EU trade bloc was a great idea 30 years ago when freight costs were high and having close trade links with immediate neighbours was imperative. Nowadays freight costs are a fraction of what they used to be. We can just as easily trade with any country in The Americas, Asia, Australasia or Africa as we can with countries in the EU.

Why tie ourselves to the one part of the World that has not experienced significant growth since the global financial crisis? Over the last 10 years China's economy has doubled in size (though has slowed recently), as has India's and various other countries. The EU is exactly the same size as it was in 2006. Why would we chose to align ourselves with them? It makes no sense at all. As long as we are part of the EU we cannot sign independent trade agreements with countries outside the EU. The EU trade agreement with Australia is being held up because of some Italian farmers. The EU trade agreement with Canada is being held up because of some Romanian Visa issue. It's a ridiculous situation to be in.

Granted, trade with the EU may become more expensive, but let's not forget that the UK is the fifth largest economy in the World. The fourth largest military power...why are people scared that we're suddenly going to collapse if we left? A lot of people believe we will prosper significantly more from leaving than if we stayed as part of the EU. Also, we import a lot more than we export. Leaving the EU means we have the chance to go further afield for our imports, and we have access to a much wider customer base for exports. The EU needs us more than we need them. The German chancellor said should we leave, a trade agreement would be very, very difficult. Let's look at the facts. Germany runs a trade surplus with Britain. They export more than they import. What possible advantage would result from them either ceasing to trade with us, or imposing levys?! It would be completely counterproductive for them.

All the statistics on the effect on the economy released by the Remain campaign are based on trade with the EU falling, without taking into consideration the knock on effect of our trade with the rest of the World. Complete nonsense, I think most would agree.

There are significant arguments in favour of leaving based on the City of London, which can be found in this article.


Arguments to leave:

£10-11bn net saving per year

Ability to take control of our borders in a way we see fit. Whether we will change anything is another question.

Ability to form our own trade agreements with any and every country in the World. We will no longer be held to ransom by the cumbersome EU process of putting trade deals in place on our behalf.

Laws would not be imposed on us except by people that we vote into power. We can still choose to adopt laws the EU come up with if we like them, but if not, we can leave them.

Tax rises would not be imposed on us other than by those we vote into power.

Our sovereignty will not come under threat. The EU makes no attempt to hide the fact it wants to become a superstate.

The City of London will suffer hugely from remaining in the EU and succumbing to the incoming EU Financial Transactions tax (see article linked above).



If we look at a similar situation in the past - the referendum on whether to join the single currency 15 years ago. A large amount of economists came out and said the UK economy will suffer from not adopting the Euro. 65% of top level economists, in fact, were in favour of switching to the Euro. Our trade with the EU will suffer dramatically. Foreign investment will suffer. Sound familiar? We all know how that one turned out, and I don't think you'll find many people in the UK wishing the referendum had gone the other way.

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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:00 pm 
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My understanding of the way it works is those who already have residency in other countries who've left the EU would be fine but as they're now outside of the EU they might find that they don't have access to as many public services as they once did. In the same way those who've already moved to the UK legally under EU would still have the right to stay and as the whole brexit process could take as long as 2 years they'd still be free to come for well after the referendum so you might find you get last ditch efforts before the new points system comes in.

Not going to lie I work in construction if we leave the Euro and can't rely on foreign labour as an industry we are f*cked! We don't have a big enough domestic workforce to meet demand. There will be plenty of foreign companies getting twitchy about maintaining british offices/factories if we leave the EU

You mention the City of London and the finance markets what will stop these huge banks leaving the UK and setting up in Germany/Spain etc considering they trade within the EU surely they need to be within it?

As Obama said UK won't be going to the front of the queue we'll have to get in line to sort out deals with every other nation in the world we want to trade with if we leave it's not like countries will be desperate to trade with us anyway apart from luxury goods and financial services what are we actually offering to other countries?

The economy since 2008 has basically stopped growing we've had growth of less than 1% every year for almost a decade now a shift this big will send markets into freefall again as markets don't like uncertainty and we will face 2 years of mass uncertainty I think there might come a time when it's right to leave I just don't think it's anywhere near time now. The stat about a net saving of £10-11bn a year that is probably what we spend a week on the NHS?

I'm open minded to the idea of leaving but I find whenever I listen to people from the leave campaign on TV or Radio I just don't trust them everything they present is purely speculative and it always just decends to an argument about immigration.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:32 pm 
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JSP wrote:
You mention the City of London and the finance markets what will stop these huge banks leaving the UK and setting up in Germany/Spain etc considering they trade within the EU surely they need to be within it?


Nothing as far as I know (moving a bank from the UK to Spain would be suicide though). We will still attract plenty of foreign investment outside the EU as we would inside. As I mentioned previously they said not joining the single currency would be catastrophic for attracting foreign investment into the City. There's nothing to suggest this will be affected too dramatically. Trade with the EU won't cease if we left.

JSP wrote:
As Obama said UK won't be going to the front of the queue we'll have to get in line to sort out deals with every other nation in the world we want to trade with if we leave it's not like countries will be desperate to trade with us anyway apart from luxury goods and financial services what are we actually offering to other countries?


We're the fifth largest economy in the World, I can't see us having much difficulty sorting out trade deals. Countries will be desperate to trade with us because it's worth a lot. I take what Obama said with a very large pinch of salt.

JSP wrote:
The economy since 2008 has basically stopped growing we've had growth of less than 1% every year for almost a decade now a shift this big will send markets into freefall again as markets don't like uncertainty and we will face 2 years of mass uncertainty...


Out of curiosity, where has the two year period come from? Quite a few publications I've read said the hit to the market will be minor, and very brief. The long term growth is expected to far outweigh the short term instability.

JSP wrote:
I think there might come a time when it's right to leave I just don't think it's anywhere near time now. The stat about a net saving of £10-11bn a year that is probably what we spend a week on the NHS?


When do you think the time will be? The eurozone has shown over the past 10 years that it is not responsive at all in terms of trends in the global economy. It's cumbersome and slow moving, and a burden. In terms of the net saving, the NHS costs around £9.7bn per month, so the saving would be equal to just over a months cost of the NHS. At the same time it would reduce the annual deficit by almost 15%. If we look at the austerity cuts over the past five years, they have saved a total £35bn. Had we not been in the EU in that time we could have done without the austerity program and still been better off in excess of £10bn.

JSP wrote:
I'm open minded to the idea of leaving but I find whenever I listen to people from the leave campaign on TV or Radio I just don't trust them everything they present is purely speculative...

Unfortunately with a decision like this, nobody can say what will happen with any certainty. With the Remain campaign they can, because it will be the status quo. All the Leave campaign can rely on is hypotheticals and theory.

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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:16 pm 
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The 2 year thing is what I've read about how long it will take for the UK to fully withdraw from the EU it's not an overnight thing and while I agree there will be an initial hit if we vote out but I think recovery from that won't come until we are out at best it'll be stagnant if the withdrawal goes badly it could get worse.

Is the status quo really that bad though? In comparison to every other country in the world are things here really that bad? I know things aren't ideal for a lot of people but there must be a damn good reason people from all over the world want to come here to visit or work?

For me the leave option is a complete gamble and with so much unknown it is far to risky.

It also leaves a massive power void in the government surely the PM would have to resign if we vote out as he and most of his party champion the stay in campaign.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:40 pm 
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Quote:
Britain could face up to seven years of limbo if voters choose to leave the European Union in the 23 June referendum as negotiations take place over a new relationship, Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, has said.

With polls suggesting the result of the referendum on 23 June will be close, and voters keen to understand what the practicalities would be if Britain left, Tusk poured cold water on claims by some in Vote Leave that a new deal with the EU could be struck quickly.

Any country wanting to leave can trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which triggers a two-year process of negotiation about the terms of the departure with the other 27 member-states. The talks would be expected to tackle issues such as the tariffs the EU would apply to British goods, and the restrictions placed on freedom of movement.

Tusk, who chairs the EU’s main decision-making body, said that even if the negotiations could be completed within two years, the ratification of Britain’s new status could take much longer.

“Every single one of the 27 member states as well as the European parliament would have to approve the overall result. That would take at least five years, and I’m afraid, without any guarantee of success,” he said in an interview with the German daily Bild, to be published in full on Monday.

David Cameron has repeatedly stressed that Britain could face a “decade of uncertainty” while a new relationship is established with the rest of the EU if voters choose to leave.

Vote Leave campaigners have suggested the exit process would be relatively straightforward, and would then release Britain to strike new trade deals with non-EU states.

EU politicians have united in warning British voters about the perils of Brexit. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said it would be difficult for Britain to command the same negotiating power from outside the EU; and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schaüble, said on Friday that Britain would no longer have access to the single market.

“In is in. Out is out,” he told Spiegel magazine. “I hope and believe that the British will ultimately decide against Brexit. The withdrawal of Britain would be a heavy loss for Europe.”


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:27 pm 
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Serbinator wrote:
The German chancellor said should we leave, a trade agreement would be very, very difficult. Let's look at the facts. Germany runs a trade surplus with Britain. They export more than they import. What possible advantage would result from them either ceasing to trade with us, or imposing levys?! It would be completely counterproductive for them.

Germany aren't going to turn down our money in a hurry. It's scaremongering that is becoming typical of the remain campaign. Yesterday they were working on the elderly voters by saying if we leave then their free bus passes are in danger :laugh:

Have to consider the facts, neither vote is a vote for the status quo. Should we remain in things are changing fairly dramatically. The day after the referendum there is an EU announcement about the next steps in the 'European Army', the FTT isn't far off which will affect the UK far more than any other country in the EU, and is still going ahead despite us opposing it on a number of occasions, it is likely that Turkey will join the EU in the next five or so years (meaning the open borders will run from the UK to the edge of Syria)...quite frankly the developments in the EU are very concerning, and it's something I think we need to get out of as soon as possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:18 pm 
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Both sides are scaremongering it's become a debate based purely on speculation and in some cases just outright lies neither side is coming out of this particularly well.

I'm sick of the whole thing already this is exactly why we shouldn't be allowed to decide on something like this because we're constantly being lied to by both sides of the argument as they try anything they can to get us to vote their way. You watch any of the debates on it and it just ends in a farce neither side can put across a coherant point they just end up squabbling like children. The media are no help either as nearly all media have an agenda on this as well as the media becomes a more powerful tool if we leave the EU as they have much more power.

Also, I'm probably as guilty of this as you are Serb but once you pick a side everyone will do anything they can to support it and not accept the arguments of the other side.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:41 pm 
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Voting remain.

I'm keen for more integration. An EU army seems like a sensible idea, as does letting the regions, Scotland, Wales and NI have greater autonomy. We should be a loose federation of regions all connected by membership of the greater union. Let the EU decide global policy, let the regions manage local policy. Get Westminster out of the hair of most of us so we can have a greater say in our own local affairs.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:19 pm 
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An EU army is a barmy idea. Who are we giving an army to? Forget that or army is to protect our boarders. You want your sons dying to fight a war on behalf of a European war?

The EU needs us. If it didn't and they didn't think we would be better off without they wouldn't be making such threats. We get a lot less benefit from the EU than we should for the money to put in. Time to go our separate ways. Other world is a much smaller place than it was in the 70's when these agreements made sense. Let's open ourselves up to the the rest of the world.

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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:14 am 
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Click The Link...http://nickcarterlando.com/


worth a read

Also there is a post on FB.

The UK economy lost 100 billion over 4 days when the Brexit campaign took a lead in the polls.

Our payments to the EU over the same period was 194 million.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:43 pm 
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Personally my only concern with regards to immigration is the fact that when (not 'if') Turkey joins the EU, we will effectively border Syria.

With regards to that guys blog, he places so much emphasis and weight on the back of experts opinion. Guess what, experts get things wrong. As mentioned in my post above, a huge majority of economical experts said if we don't join the single currency our economy would lose out, jobs would be lost, and the EU would stop trading with us etc etc. Turns out every single one of them were wrong. We're much stronger outside the single currency, jobs weren't lost and the EU trades with us now more than it ever has.

With regards to the stock market taking a hit recently, I believe it's due to the uncertainty the referendum is creating. The trust is nobody knows for certain what will happen should we leave, and that's what concerns the shareholders in these big companies. If we do leave, the market will likely take another hit, but then recover once they realise it isn't the end of the World.

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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:15 pm 
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Brexit will turn us into a little parochial backwater.

Our economy is mostly built on debt or service industries. Those service industries will lose a significant amount of business post Brexit as our European competitors eye a very good opportunity to use the EU legislation in their favour.

Debt will become more expensive as the markets devalue our economy.

We don't have a competitive manufacturing base, so we won't become a net exporter of goods. Shrinking market, nowt to sell, hard to get beneficial trade deals.

A condition of accessing the single market is to accept free movement of people; Brexit won't make on iota of difference to immigration.

TTIP will be on the agenda like never before (see lack of beneficial trade deals). Workers rights will go down the drain and the public school toffs will laugh into their overseas tax havens as they turn the rest of us into low wage serfs.

Other than that, great. Let's go for it!


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:53 pm 
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Brexit won't make an iota of difference in immigration? Saying that invalidated your entire post. You do realise Brexit will allow us to let who we want in and bring across the skills we need rather than Tom Dick and Harry?

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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:54 pm 
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In today's society there is no excuse just to listen to what you're told. You can fact check everything in less than a minute so let's stop the media telling us lies.

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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:04 am 
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idontfeardeath wrote:
Brexit won't make an iota of difference in immigration? Saying that invalidated your entire post. You do realise Brexit will allow us to let who we want in and bring across the skills we need rather than Tom Dick and Harry?


You want to trade with Europe? Part of the trade deal will be open movement of people.

Quote:
“The package of stopping free movement, but remaining in the single market and being free to liberalise the [EU’s] external tariff, seems to be pie in the sky”, says Professor Nick Crafts of Warwick University.

If Britain were to remain a full part of the single market, it would have to accept EU regulations, including the free movement of people, without any influence in setting them. It would still have to pay for access to that market, as does Norway. It could not deregulate more than it can already today.
If the country were to adopt a looser trading arrangement, it would have more control, but would struggle to negotiate the same access for goods and services.


If you don't want complete acces to the single market, then you're relying on other trade deals. From the same FT article -

Quote:
Raoul Ruparel of Open Europe, a think-tank influential in Number 10 Downing Street, questions the premise that Britain stands to make big gains from striking deals with countries outside the EU. “Lots of countries get free-trade agreements,” he says. “The question is whether they are quality or not.” For example, a recent Swiss free-trade agreement with China opens up all of the Swiss market to China immediately, while maintaining tariffs on exports of Swiss watches to China in perpetuity.

Jonathan Portes of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a research organisation, adds that regulations could be a heavier burden for business outside the EU than in. At present, the rules that inflict most damage on the British economy are planning laws, a wholly domestic affair.

FT verdict
Today’s campaigns to leave the EU make for a striking contrast with the groups that opposed the common market in Britain’s 1975 referendum. In the 1970s the bloc’s opponents were fundamentally protectionist. In 2016, their rallying cry is freer trade outside the EU.

But assertions that Britain will be better able to foster trade with third countries once it has left the EU are not yet very credible. Nor is it likely that the country can maintain the same access to the European single market while cutting down on regulation and budgetary transfers.


http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/70d0bfd8-d1b3-11e5-831d-09f7778e7377.html#axzz4BpDRvgJw

Of course, you can find your own articles arguing otherwise. I believe what I believe and have credible sources to back up my judgement. So, no, my post was in no way invalidated and I have done plenty of research. Get off that high horse of yours.


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 Post subject: Re: Brexit - In or out?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:36 am 
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Quote:
Almost everyone agrees that the EU is not working well. It is also true that on almost any scenario, whether we are in or out, this region will remain our biggest and closest market. Whether it thrives or not is, or should be, of fundamental interest to us. All that matters is whether it thrives more or less by the UK being out or in.

For some, the only way to reform the EU is to break it up by our exit. The optimism of such a view is impressive. History is hardly littered with good examples of destruction leading smoothly to regeneration. Fine, perhaps, for the rich and powerful, who can, and will, ride out the many bumps along the way. But if you have few resources to fall back on and/or need to work, it is a risk you might prefer to avoid.

The alternative view is that the UK could, and should, play its full role as a key leader in reforming the EU. Those who favour exit argue that EU reform is near impossible, but they ignore the following: the UK has achieved change (eg Thatcher’s rebate on the budget, Major’s opt-out from the euro, Blair keeping us out of Schengen, and Cameron’s agreement to no more political integration); if the vote is to remain, the UK has a wholly new platform from which to lead the debate for reform; and recent polls show that citizens in every EU country are significantly disenchanted. Whether politicians like it or not, they will have to adjust.

Don’t let’s sell ourselves short. We should not underestimate how much our leadership, inside the EU, can make this massive region, right next door to us, work better, for us all.

I totally understand the general cynicism about economists’ predictions. I am on the side of those who argue that we have massively overclaimed what we know and have also pretended that economics is an objective science when actually it is shot through with value-laden assumptions. However, though we may not know much, we do know that any increase in uncertainty hits investment.

Following Brexit, there would be a minimum two years (the period laid down in the Lisbon treaty) of uncertainty while we negotiate the terms. Only after this process has ended can the promised trade negotiations begin in full. The Brexiters assert such deals will be quick and easy – but with zero supporting evidence. Meanwhile, just about everyone who might actually know warns that the deals will take years. Pointing this out is not “project fear”, it is just reality.

Following Brexit, the likes of Tata, Nissan, Honda and Unilever will face a relatively greater incentive to make their new investments not in the UK but in mainland Europe. They are in the UK now because as an EU member we are a gateway to the 500-million-people EU market. Outside, for firms from abroad, we become a cul-de-sac. This is not just a guess. The chief executives of several major businesses are saying so. And, as less capital investment comes in, so the pound will fall, import prices will rise, and everyone on a wage or pension will be worse off.

What happens because of, and beyond, this short-term economic hit, is a matter of professional judgment. Mine is that the “mess” is likely to run far wider than economics.

Perhaps the sunny uplands will arrive quickly and peacefully. Personally, I doubt even the existence of the uplands. But, uplands or not, there is a big economic ditch in the way.

I recognise the anger that is venting itself on immigration. However, the loss of jobs and the downward pressure on the wages of the low skilled is more the result of international trade than it is of immigration (eg cheap coal in China is a main cause of the demise of the steelworks in Port Talbot).

Yes, there are indeed communities where job prospects are poor, where getting a GP appointment feels impossible, where schools are overcrowded and cheap housing non-existent. These communities need help with planning and resources. But, on average, migrants pay more in taxes than they take in housing, social services, education or health.

With the imposition of austerity since 2010, public services are under pressure, entirely separately from the demands of migrants. One of the more unedifying aspects of this campaign is observing Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, both members of a government that has been imposing cuts in public services, having the gall to blame this on immigration.

At the start of the campaign, the issue that worried me most was the increasing loss of control to Brussels and the European court of justice. Pooled sovereignty sounds fine, but where does the real power lie and what would happen post-Brexit? But consider the current arrangements. All decisions by the Council of Ministers – the supreme executive body in the EU – on matters concerning the treaties of the EU require unanimity. Thus, on many of the really big issues, such as the admission of Turkey, Britain can exercise a veto. This is a massive protection. And even where there is qualified majority voting, EU records show that Britain has been outvoted in only 2% of cases since 1999. No situation except complete autarchy would give you more control than this.

What about the claim that 60% of UK law comes from Europe? Research by the House of Commons library concluded that the figure lies anywhere between 15% and 53%. But as already indicated, even where the law is initiated within the EU, the vast majority is with our prior agreement.

If the vote is to remain, the UK has a wholly new platform from which to lead the debate for reform
In 2014 the supreme court judge Lord Reed addressed the question of the European court of justice. The court he describes is a far cry from the all-powerful supremo that is frequently claimed. It has “to rely on national courts to secure the effective implementation of EU law”, and there is a “collaborative rather than a hierarchical or competitive relationship between national apex courts and the court of justice”. There is no sense of the UK supreme court being pushed around or of great conflicts.

There could be a deep disagreement between parliament and an EU court. But it was parliament that passed the 1972 European Communities Act. What parliament has passed, parliament can repeal. This is our ultimate backstop.

But the purpose of a backstop is precisely that – only to be used as a last resort. To argue that because a deep conflict might arise in the future we should exit the EU now, is akin to a married person choosing to be divorced today purely because the need for a divorce might arise in 10 years’ time. Few marriages would survive such logic!

Now consider a post-Brexit world, in which we are supposedly “in control”. But this assumes everyone wants to trade and make political arrangements with us entirely on our terms. It’s a fantasy.

There is the real possibility of Scotland demanding another vote to leave the UK. John Major and Tony Blair, appearing together, warned that a vote to leave the EU would “jeopardise the unity” of the UK. So the “we” might become merely England and Wales.

At this point we enter the territory of who do we think we are and who do we want to be. The part of this debate that most puzzles me is the number of those favouring Brexit who claim their heart dominates their head. If your heart is about a deep sense of loyalty and commitment to the values and ideas the UK has stood for over centuries, I am entirely with you. But if your heart is telling you to risk the breakup of the kingdom, think what your Queen might tell you about where your true loyalties and commitments should lie.


Andrew Graham
Economist and senior fellow of the Oxford Internet Institute, was master of Balliol College, Oxford, from 2001 to 2011

Sums up my view perfectly.


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