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Dave Beans

If The Uk Did Leave The Eu

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An article written 18 months ago...some interesting thoughts..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-bruton/united-kingdom-european-union_b_2323058.html


One sentence in a recent article in the Economist, on Britain's relationship with the EU, really alarmed me. This was a "senior Labour figure" saying, "Whatever our position on Europe, we cannot be seen as an anti referendum party." If Labour adheres to that line, the UK, including Northern Ireland, could be out of the EU by 2016.

This is because, in the next British General Election campaign, it would mean that both Labour and the Conservatives would be promising a referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU or not.

The parties are being driven to make this promise by the threat of UK Independence Party to tip the balance in key constituencies. For example if UKIP took even 5 percent of its vote away from the Conservatives, this could send many tens of seats over to Labour, even though, under PR, these UKIP votes would have transferred back to the Conservatives, when the UKIP candidate came to be eliminated. UKIP voters are primarily concerned about immigration and only secondarily do they want Britain out of the EU.

The Conservative plan is to try to renegotiate the terms of UK membership and put the terms to a referendum. It looks as if Labour may adopt a similar policy, so as to prevent a leakage of its votes to UKIP.

It is very unlikely that the results of any such renegotiation, whether conducted by Labour or the Conservatives, will satisfy British popular expectations. And if that is the case, the UK electorate may choose in a referendum to leave the EU, as a of protest against the perceived failure of their own politicians to negotiate a good enough "deal" for Britain.

This negotiation is likely to be a disappointment because the expectations in Britain are simply unrealistic. It will not be a negotiation with bureaucrats in "Brussels."

The results of any renegotiation for Britain would have to satisfy the Governments of every one of the other 26 states. Britain may want to pay less, but other countries may want it to pay more. Many other EU countries see the very things British negotiators would most like to be rid of, like the working time directive, as part of what they gained, in return for their opening up to the Single Market in the first place. Concessions on these issues will, in particular, be anathema to left leaning Governments, of which there are an increasing number, on the continent. Exempting Britain from the CAP, another possible British demand, will get nowhere.

British popular opinion has been constantly led to believe that the EU is a foreign entity, with which Britain has a sort of treaty, and not as what it actually is, a Union of which the UK is a participating member with a vote on every decision. The role of British MEPS, British Ministers, and a British Commissioner in EU decisions is ignored. All decisions are presented as emanating from an "unelected" bureaucracy, and the role of "elected" British MEPs and "elected" British Ministers in the whole process is passed over as if it never happened.

In the latest poll, 49 percent of UK citizens say they would vote to leave the EU, and only 32 percent that they would vote to stay in a large margin of 17 points.

If possible results of a renegotiation are hyped up in the next British General election, and if there is lots of talk of "red lines," the margin could widen even more, if, as I expect, the actual results of the negotiation then prove to be paltry. No matter how good the pro-EU arguments might be, when the referendum campaign itself actually starts in earnest, the mountain that might have to be climbed may simply be too high. Referenda can deliver surprising results, for which no one has planned. Extraneous issues, anger, and complacency, can lead people to vote contrary to their own objective interests. And in the UK case, there is unlikely to be a second referendum.

I am particularly worried about the effect of Britain leaving the EU on the fragile situation in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland, and its reversible peace process, is being completely ignored in the debate taking place in Britain on whether to have a renegotiation and referendum on the EU. It is also being ignored in Brussels, where the impatience with the British is palpable, and where there is little disposition to accommodate what are seen as unreasonable British demands, being put forward when the EU has far more important things on its mind.

Obviously if the UK leaves the EU, it will negotiate a new relationship with the EU. All sides will agree on that. After all 50 percent of British exports go the euro zone.

But what sort of relationship will it be?

One of the big drivers of anti EU sentiment in Britain is immigration of EU citizens from central and eastern European countries, like Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltics. Gordon Brown famously encountered this sentiment during the last British General Election.

If the UK had left the EU, it would be entirely free to restrict immigration from these particular EU countries. But as a continuing member of the EU, the Republic could not restrict the entry of EU citizens. So if the UK wanted to prevent these EU citizens entering the UK through the Republic, it would have to introduce passport controls at Newry, Aughnacloy, Strabane and on all other roads by which such immigrants could cross the border from the Republic into the UK.

If the UK is outside the EU, tariffs would have to be collected on UK exports entering the Republic. Average EU tariffs are quite low, but some tariffs, on things like dairy products and clothing are quite high. Customs posts would have to be placed on all roads leading across the border to ensure collection of these tariffs. Smuggling, with all its potential as a funding source for other forms of illegality, would become very profitable again.

But the human and political cost in border counties would be the worst aspect of it. Nationalist communities would again feel cut off from the Republic by the inconvenience of passport controls, and the efforts to market Ireland as a single tourist destination set at naught.

Some might say that these fears are exaggerated, because the UK could negotiate a free trade and free movement deal with the EU. To enjoy continued free access to EU markets for its goods and services, Britain would have to continue to apply EU rules, as now, but WITHOUT having had any say at all in them, something the UK does have as an EU member. This is what Switzerland and Norway have to do. It would also have to continue to contribute to the EU budget, as Norway does. That would be even more annoying to British euro sceptics than the present situation.

Furthermore free movement of people is one of the drivers of anti-EU sentiment in Britain, and UKIP voters would be very dissatisfied with any deal that did not give back to Britain itself, the right to decide who could, and could not, work in Britain.

I believe the Irish diplomatic service, which had remarkable success in the 1980s in laying the foundations for previous Anglo Irish Agreements, should intensively brief all British MPs on the possible dangers to the settlement we have achieved in Northern Ireland, of setting off a train of events, including a referendum, that could lead to an unplanned and precipitate exit of Northern Ireland, along with the UK, from the European Union.

Edited by Dave Beans

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I'm sure there'll be a lot of attempts to subvert democracy for whatever reason, like this one.

And I'm sure the effect of it will be to make people still angrier.

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I doubt if the Northern Ireland situation will have any effect whatsoever on British voters.

This guy, although apparently neutral in most of his article is scratching desperately for anything vaguely anti UKIP.

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If we leave and/or there is Scottish independence - there will be a decade dealing with the unintended consequences.

Manufacturing will improve, but our cost of living will get worse, EU will sort their act out and start to look like a club we want to be in again.

Millennials will get in to government and full assimilation to an EU super-state will happen.

We'll all still be here predicting the big one next year.

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If we leave and/or there is Scottish independence - there will be a decade dealing with the unintended consequences.

Manufacturing will improve, but our cost of living will get worse, EU will sort their act out and start to look like a club we want to be in again.

Millennials will get in to government and full assimilation to an EU super-state will happen.

We'll all still be here predicting the big one next year.

why would manufacturing improve?

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I doubt if the Northern Ireland situation will have any effect whatsoever on British voters.

This guy, although apparently neutral in most of his article is scratching desperately for anything vaguely anti UKIP.

If we want to control our own destiny, then fine...however, if we did pull out of the EU, and perhaps brought in quotas, wouldn't EU countries do the same to us?

I lot of people on here say "ooh, go abroad (perhaps Europe) to live a better life", but if this is made twenty times harder by quotas..then aren't we shooting ourselves in the foot? I want to work abroad at some point, and I like the fact that I can go to any of the 28 EU countries if I so wish..

Edited by Dave Beans

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why would manufacturing improve?

Some big companies would leave UK (they are only here as we're a gateway to EU).

Pound will drop in value against Euro (our biggest export market).

A lot of EU legislation will get kicked out just after exit - so our labour costs will drop.

We'll end up being a mini-Germany producing a lot more but with higher imported food/oil costs (offset by cheap labour and lower tax) - net we'll export more but have a crappy standard of living and no more French holidays.

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The UK would have to rejoin at some point as the consequences of sleeping in the bed you have shat in become clear. The problem would then be that the UK would become an accession country with restrictions placed upon it's citizens to ensure they did not undermine the living standards of workers in Poland, Romania and Croatia..

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Some big companies would leave UK (they are only here as we're a gateway to EU).

Pound will drop in value against Euro (our biggest export market).

A lot of EU legislation will get kicked out just after exit - so our labour costs will drop.

We'll end up being a mini-Germany producing a lot more but with higher imported food/oil costs (offset by cheap labour and lower tax) - net we'll export more but have a crappy standard of living and no more French holidays.

i would have thought that labour costs would rise in the short to medium term

less immigrants coming in, working age population declines

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why would manufacturing improve?

And what would make the EU sort itself out?

Are they magic somehow?..are their people brighter, better, more productive than ours?

Do they not suffer the same banking system we have?

Are not 25% of their States bankrupt?..sucking wealth from the others ( including us )?

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Some big companies would leave UK (they are only here as we're a gateway to EU).

Name them.

If you wanted a gateway into Europe, you would set up there, avoid the transport premium that being in the UK costs and be right there with your clients.

Conversely, they wouldnt be subsidized by our taxpayers...and of course, someone has to supply the UK customer base.

This argument was used before we joined...thousands of new jobs...You may not recall, but there was a huge campaign to get UK firms to set up "partnerships" with EU firms.

The result...nothing...I raised this issue with the senior civil servant pushing this nonsense...I asked him face to face in a seminar "I see the need for partnerships, but just where is all the extra business to come from?..are the Europeans not producing products to satisfy demand already, are UK firms that are at all interested in exporting not already competing in these countries".

He said the jobs he foresaw would be in the Public Sector "facilitating" these partnerships, harmonising legal and technical standards etc etc.

Meanwhile, out side the window, as we were treated to this nonsense. workers were working on the building opposite sans helmets, and hanging off ropes from the roof, absailing to their work areas...unbelievable.

Edited by Bloo Loo

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If you wanted a gateway into Europe, you would set up there, avoid the transport premium that being in the UK costs and be right there with your clients.

Our advantage has been that we speak English, have open access to the EU and don't look too closely at corporate tax avoidance. Which makes it simple for Asia and US to base out of UK.

On leaving EU we would immediately be trading at arms length and start having issues with tariffs, compliance etc. that do not exist today.

Just as we are telling the Scottish now that once you're out - you are really out - the same applies to us on leaving EU. We save a bit on fees/subsidies, but we are immediately outside our biggest trading partner (£211bn a year according to CEBR).

Ford, Nissan and Honda have all made statements I believe on importance of UK being in EU for location of their manufacturing here.

A lot of US financial and legal firms base their EU operations out of London, whether you like what they do or not, they are an important economic contributor right now. These will become minor outposts if we go solo.

These firms give us the gravity we have now in EU (opt-outs etc.) and allow us to have more influence internationally than we deserve.

We're not far off being as internationally important as South Korea or South Africa - who have similar populations as England - but we would have less potential, not least as we'd spend a decade face-palming that the glorious 1950s didn't return the moment we left the EU.

We won't turn in to Switzerland if we leave (that would only happen if London got independence) - we would be more like Turkey.

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Could we resurrect the Commonwealth? I doubt it.

We would probably have been better off had we not joined in the first place, but now we're in it's probably better to stay in.

i think setting up a commonwealth trading bloc was a missed opportunity for britain

in the long term though we're better off in a trading bloc with our geographic neighbours than with countries on the other side of the planet

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If we want to control our own destiny, then fine...however, if we did pull out of the EU, and perhaps brought in quotas, wouldn't EU countries do the same to us?

I lot of people on here say "ooh, go abroad (perhaps Europe) to live a better life", but if this is made twenty times harder by quotas..then aren't we shooting ourselves in the foot? I want to work abroad at some point, and I like the fact that I can go to any of the 28 EU countries if I so wish..

Fine. Given I only speak English, like most Brits, I'm not planning on leaving for the EU anyway.

If I was going to emigrate it would be to an Anglophone country. Just another reason why ditching the Commonwealth for the EU was idiotic to be honest.

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i think setting up a commonwealth trading bloc was a missed opportunity for britain

in the long term though we're better off in a trading bloc with our geographic neighbours than with countries on the other side of the planet

I don't think so. What matters is diversity of resources, which the Commonwealth has, and Europe does not. European nations are like us, their economies are like ours. What we want to import is things like coffee or oil, and what we want to export are things like Jaguars and Britpop. I'm sure the Commonwealth would make a far better trade bloc than the EU would, on the grounds that the Commonwealth has things we actually need. French cheese and BMWs are nice enough but I think the economy would do better if we had deals to get primary resources rather than manufactured German goods.

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Our advantage has been that we speak English, have open access to the EU and don't look too closely at corporate tax avoidance. Which makes it simple for Asia and US to base out of UK.

On leaving EU we would immediately be trading at arms length and start having issues with tariffs, compliance etc. that do not exist today.

Just as we are telling the Scottish now that once you're out - you are really out - the same applies to us on leaving EU. We save a bit on fees/subsidies, but we are immediately outside our biggest trading partner (£211bn a year according to CEBR).

Ford, Nissan and Honda have all made statements I believe on importance of UK being in EU for location of their manufacturing here.

A lot of US financial and legal firms base their EU operations out of London, whether you like what they do or not, they are an important economic contributor right now. These will become minor outposts if we go solo.

These firms give us the gravity we have now in EU (opt-outs etc.) and allow us to have more influence internationally than we deserve.

We're not far off being as internationally important as South Korea or South Africa - who have similar populations as England - but we would have less potential, not least as we'd spend a decade face-palming that the glorious 1950s didn't return the moment we left the EU.

We won't turn in to Switzerland if we leave (that would only happen if London got independence) - we would be more like Turkey.

Sovereignty and political rights are more important than wealth, to me at least.

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I don't think so. What matters is diversity of resources, which the Commonwealth has, and Europe does not. European nations are like us, their economies are like ours. What we want to import is things like coffee or oil, and what we want to export are things like Jaguars and Britpop. I'm sure the Commonwealth would make a far better trade bloc than the EU would, on the grounds that the Commonwealth has things we actually need. French cheese and BMWs are nice enough but I think the economy would do better if we had deals to get primary resources rather than manufactured German goods.

Although aren't the likes of China getting ahead of us?

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/06/china-zambia-resources-imperialism.html

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Sovereignty and political rights are more important than wealth, to me at least.

when you say sovereignty you mean handing over power to the ruling class (represented by ukip)

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I don't think so. What matters is diversity of resources, which the Commonwealth has, and Europe does not. European nations are like us, their economies are like ours. What we want to import is things like coffee or oil, and what we want to export are things like Jaguars and Britpop. I'm sure the Commonwealth would make a far better trade bloc than the EU would, on the grounds that the Commonwealth has things we actually need. French cheese and BMWs are nice enough but I think the economy would do better if we had deals to get primary resources rather than manufactured German goods.

interesting point about diversity of resources

maybe this is the impetus behind eu expansion

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Could we resurrect the Commonwealth? I doubt it.

We would probably have been better off had we not joined in the first place, but now we're in it's probably better to stay in.

Why do we have to belong to any trading block

When the England got effectively booted out of the main European trading zone during the 15th-6th centuries after the crown lost its continental possessions and the nation was declared excommunicate at the Reformation the country simply sought new commercial opportunities in other parts of the globe.

Belonging to clubs or organisations has been a self limiting obsession for the UK in the last 50 years..

Anyway leaving the EU would not make the British one iota less European since that is something which exists as a result of history and geography not because some bureaucrats have dawn up treaties in Rome and Maastricht. I find the idea that my European identity belongs to the EU both laughable and offensive

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Sovereignty and political rights are more important than wealth, to me at least.

Absolutely,

This is about sovereignty not immigration or even being anti-European (whatever that is).

Being a member of the EU and being European are not synonymous although many of those in this debate like to confuse the two matters.

European history, culture and identity does not belong to the EU no matter how much they try to pretend it does and they can not take away from us what they did not give us in the first place.

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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Absolutely,

This is about sovereignty not immigration or even being anti-European (whatever that is).

Being a member of the EU and being European are not synonymous although many of those in this debate like to confuse the two matters.

European history, culture and identity does not belong to the EU no matter how much they try to pretend it does and they can not take away from us what they did not give us in the first place.

We could pull out of Europe, no one else allowed in, we create 100% of our laws, however the Westminster elite do not "run this country" for the benefit for you or I, but for themselves..

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Why do we have to belong to any trading block

When the England got effectively booted out of the main European trading zone during the 15th-6th centuries after the crown lost its continental possessions and the nation was declared excommunicate at the Reformation the country simply sought new commercial opportunities in other parts of the globe.

Belonging to clubs or organisations has been a self limiting obsession for the UK in the last 50 years..

Anyway leaving the EU would not make the British one iota less European since that is something which exists as a result of history and geography not because some bureaucrats have dawn up treaties in Rome and Maastricht. I find the idea that my European identity belongs to the EU both laughable and offensive

Plus 1

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