BREXIT: We Should Leave

4 Jun

This month, Britain will hold a referendum on staying within the European Union – or leaving, entering uncharted waters as the first member state to withdraw from the EU. Much has been said, over the last couple of months, to push the case for going and staying, with wildly optimistic and depressingly pessimistic scenarios put forward by both sides. This is not a referendum anyone can afford to ignore. It will set the course of British (and profoundly influence European) politics for a generation.

I’m voting leave.

And the reason for this is simple. I do not trust the EU.

At base, the EU is a political project. Worse, it is a bureaucratic project. Yet, in so many ways, it fails to offer the advantages – such as they are – of either, while magnifying the colossal disadvantages of both. This is no small matter. Politicians are often driven forward by wishful thinking while bureaucracies grow – and keep growing – as long as they can. As anyone who has worked in a large organisation can testify that each department will fight to obtain and use as much as it can – and, as they grow, they lose sight of what the organisation is designed to do. The European Union has that problem on steroids.

This is combined with a second problem – a serious democratic deficit.

In any large organisation, there is a fundamental problem that tends to cripple and eventually destroy them. On one hand, the people at the top work hard to gather more and more power into their hands – efficiency is a common excuse – but on the other hand, the people on the top tend to lose their perspective. From a strictly bureaucratic point of view, a dozen or so people being killed might not be a serious problem; from a personal point of view, the death of a single person is a major disaster. Or, using a different example, from such a point of view all problems look the same and thus can be solved with the same solution.

Put slightly differently, every problem is a nail and so can be solved by whacking it with a hammer.

This explains many of the problems we commoners have in doing battle with the bureaucratic cockroaches who infest every major organisation. The bureaucrats we meet, face-to-face, might actually understand the problems, but it isn’t them who makes the decisions. A bureaucracy has no room for individual initiative. It simply cannot work unless everyone follows procedure, no matter how bone-headed or outdated procedure happens to be. The person on the ground, the person with the greatest understanding of what is actually going on, is the person without the power to handle it.

Combined with political wishful thinking, the consequences have been dire.

The problems besetting Greece – and Spain, Portugal and Ireland – owe a great deal to political wishful thinking. The Greeks lied about their economic position – and the EU, determined to keep expanding, didn’t bother to perform any sort of due diligence. This created a problem that can be summed up like this; the Greeks thought the EU would back their bills, the banks also thought the EU would back the Greeks … and the EU was under the impression that they wouldn’t need to back the Greek bills. Greece went into debt on a colossal scale and couldn’t pay.

The thing that galls me about this is that, when we were renting a home for the first time, I had to pay six months in advance because (as a writer) I don’t have a steady income. I have no monthly paycheck that is fixed (barring getting fired). The renting agency refused to allow me to rent until I paid up front. Later, when we started to buy a home, I had to prove – again – my ability to pay. And I was dealing with relatively small sums of money, even by the standards of a renting agency.

Did the EU not think to do any due diligence before accepting Greece et al into the EU?

Apparently not.

The EU rests on a series of increasingly faulty assumptions. Can a number of countries, each one having a different political culture, inch towards political union without friction? Can those countries work together when they have very different interests? Will the populations of those countries, increasingly nationalist as the economic good times come to an end, tamely accept the EU handing out increasingly irrational and illogical rules and regulations that cast a long shadow over economic growth and political development? Will even the oldest and cleanest governments resist the temptation to cheat when other countries cheat and face no consequences? And can the Euro actually survive when its mere existence has made the economic storm raging over Europe far worse?

Trust in the EU is practically non-existent – and why should it be otherwise? The EU has a profound democratic deficit. Brussels has shown a frightening lack of regard for the democratic will of the EU’s population. We voted against the EU constitution – and realistically, who could love such a document? – only to be told that parts of it would be implemented anyway. The gulf between the EU’s government and its people has grown so wide that the government has no real conception of the problems facing ordinary people, choosing instead to focus on dunderheaded ‘green’ projects and political correctness – issues that bring high costs to the ordinary citizen. And, as we have recently seen in Germany, governments are growing increasingly concerned with looking good, while showing a terrifying lack of concern for the rights of its citizens.

The EU rose out of the ashes of war, backed by the American security guarantee. (The assertion that the EU ensured peace in Europe is utter nonsense.) It’s designers believed that nationalist thinking was largely responsible for the horrors of World War Two and worked hard to exclude democracy from their planning. And they may have been right. Nationalism certainly played a major role in Hitler’s rise to power. But in choosing to ignore the feelings of the people, in choosing to make it clear that the average person had little say in the EU’s development, in choosing to mock and degrade those who could be branded as reactionary (and the usual barrage of charges of Bad Think, Political Incorrectness, Etc), the EU destroyed its own legitimacy …

… And from their lofty height, we all look the same.

In short, the EU’s bureaucrats and their political masters have chosen to ride The Plan down in flames, rather than admit that they might be wrong.

The EU needs to be reformed. But the EU has shown a profound unwillingness to reform.

It is, in short, a fatally flawed structure, one that shows no respect for its populations, who increasingly fear and hate its influence. It may have played a role – and yes, it was a significant role – in building the modern Europe. But it has become a bureaucratic entity that, like all bureaucratic entities, is beyond reason, willing to smash social trust and harmony – and even undermine its own economy – in the name of an increasingly unattainable goal.

And, in doing so, it undermines its fundamental reason for existence.

There is much to be gained from peaceful cooperation between counties. Leaving the EU will not see us cast out of NATO (which isn’t an EU organisation in any case), nor will it automatically halt security and intelligence cooperation. It isn’t as if we don’t cooperate with countries already outside the EU. But such cooperation must take place with one eye firmly on our own interests. We should not sacrifice our interests and surrender our concerns purely to benefit the EU or anyone else.

I do not say that leaving the EU will not cause us any problems. There will be profound dislocations up ahead – although far less than we might expect with an independent Scotland – and probably quite a bit of pain. There’s no logical reason for the EU to wish to hurt us – particularly as such actions tend to cause blowback – but bureaucracies are rarely logical and react badly to any challenge to their power or their justifications.

But the EU is steadily collapsing. Perhaps it would be better to get out now, before the entire structure shatters beyond repair.

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69 Responses to “BREXIT: We Should Leave”

  1. GA Patriot June 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

    Hmmm. The Brits voting on Independence. That’s something us colonists can heartily endorse!

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 4, 2016 at 10:54 pm #

      Very Very Big Grin!

      • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

        No, it’s called ‘truth’ I know you as a conservative think that genocide is a moral good, that rape is a myth, and that anyone who disagrees must be murdered, but at least have the moral integrity to be honest about what that means, after all your candidates always run on platforms that openly call for these things, and your representatives try to push laws in support of these ends, so please, stop lying and force once speak the truth,. Seriously a single google search ‘Contra, CIA, war crime’ gets you all the evidence for what I said you could ever need, if you where interested in truth, but conservatives are only interested in power and access to war orphans….

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 5, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

        You don’t know me.

      • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

        So it would be fair to say in ‘conservative school, you are taught how to rape, using Iraqi or Afghan war orphans as practice doll,s how to torture, again, same targets, and how to lie, using the bible.

        Don’t even bother pretending Iraq was about anything other than access to orphans, as apparently it wasn’t oil, it was not WMD as that has been clearly shown to be a myth on a scale with Germanys pre WW2 claim of ‘Polish Invasion’ and it was not about democracy as occupation forces banned thousands of candidates from running, to clear the way for their man. No other motive remains.

      • Lodrik June 6, 2016 at 8:44 pm #

        what is wrong with that guy? (r godfrey…)

    • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

      Shame you slaughter wholesale any South American Nation who dares do the same.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 5, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

        😆

      • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

        so the American President ordering CIA assets and their Contra allies to stop hitting military targets, move on to young women aged 16-25 and cut their wombs out, photograph them as they died and send the photos to the white house is :lol, I see.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 5, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

        Amazing what you learned in “little kids school”.

      • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

        And you do not know me, but you evade and deny like a true conservative, so prove me wrong, admit the crimes of the mass murderers and war criminals of the Republican party.

      • utabintarbo June 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

        Wow. This guy seems to be drunk on the kool-aid. #ignorethetroll

      • r godfrey June 6, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

        @utabintarbo Well you are already ignoring at least a million dead via CIA back terrorists and dictators in SA alone, so ignoring a little more truth wont make any difference I suppose

      • shrekgrinch June 7, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

        Chris. I hate to be one to call for censoring anyone. Makes me sound like a hypocrite since I have been censored for what I’ve posted.

        But this crap is complete trollishness. If there was a reason to ban anyone, this would be it.

      • R godfrey June 8, 2016 at 6:41 am #

        Truth hurts huh?

      • shrekgrinch June 8, 2016 at 6:55 am #

        Trolling Crap isn’t truth. Noticed how you are using an account with a slightly different name. Got banned before, it serms.

      • R Godfrey June 8, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

        Nope I enter the name/email each time, depending what device I am posting on, so never been banned (always same email) seriously look into how many elected governments where obliterated by terrorists/ a military coup d’etat, and how barbaric the School of The Americas trained people doing it where, very little to choose between a CIA backed rebellion or a KGB backed one, but the CIA claimed to be defending freedom bt destroying democracy

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 4, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    I don’t have much information about the formation of the EU but I’ve always wondered about why the various European countries, with different languages & cultures, were willing to place themselves under a single government.

    From my readings of American history, I know about the debates about the forming of the US Federal Government.

    While the original thirteen states shared a common language and to a degree a common culture, there were plenty of arguments about “why should the thirteen states” become a single country”.

    There were serious thoughts about the original thirteen remaining separate along with thoughts of some of the states forming several smaller countries.

    IE The middle states forming one country, the southern states forming another country, etc.

    Ironically, it was concerns about European countries meddling in North American affairs that convinced the states to unit under a limited Federal Government.

    Personally, I think the possible breakup of the EU comes from a limitless EU super-government along with the lack of reasons to stay united.

    Why should Europe stay united when there seems to be little reasons for it to unite in the first place?

    • r godfrey June 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

      Reasons to unite (now rather than then) : To prevent what are frankly small countries becoming irrelevant and chew toys for the rising powers. 2) To reduce reliance on the US which has very different interests than most European States, and will continue to diverge as time goes by. 3) Being the Super Power is better than being the whipping boy. 4) Money dear boy, lots and lots of industrial and information industry power, coordination is to loose now, but time will change that, not laws. Also 28 nations get far better trade deals than 1 ever would, tho TTIP is a shambles and should be aborted, 5) Stability, it has worked so far to stop a major European war, and with NATO, the other pillar of that stability falling apart as it becomes clear how divided it is, with, again different interest for the US and EU, it is more necessary than ever,

    • shrekgrinch June 7, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

      We actually screwed up our first pass. Our present Constitution of 1787 is actually our SECOND one. Before that, we existed as a loosely united nation under the Articles of Confederation.

      The Articles were not well thought out, there was the equivalent of what we would call today to be communist rebellions (Shay’s Rebellion being the most historically famous of them) as the economy had collapsed.

      Trade barriers between the states and hyperinflation caused by the Brits printing massive numbers of counterfeit continentals during the Revolutionary War caused that. Since every state could run its own foreign policy, Britain played one against the others. Since any state could pass laws absolving the debts of people out of state, people just had to move to that state and go to court to have those debts eliminated (hence why bankruptcy law is set as a federal matter under the current Constitution). I was a mess.

      But we learned from it and the resultant second try turned out to be much, much better. It is still in business even after centuries since first ratified and put into place, after all.

      The EU reminds me a lot of the Articles of Confederation, only with a lot more bureaucratic power and taxation authority. But still as messed up and as undemocratic.

      Europe needs to embrace full on federalism Swiss-style if you ask me. Break up Germany and France and create a bunch of little mini-states the size of Bavaria or Holland, instead. For the executive branch, an Executive Council just like Switzerland has and an elected lower house and an upper house like Germany has. But it won’t happen. So the EU is doomed as currently constructed.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 7, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

        Off Topic.

        I read of a comment of the French criticizing the New Government of the US (think it was in a bio of John Adams).

        Basically, the French wondered why the new US hadn’t “gathered all the power into the center”.

        John Adams was a bit sarcastic about “where is the center of the US”.

        While the Articles were badly flawed leading to the Constitution, both acknowledged that there were thirteen centers of power and to create one nation, those centers of power had to be convinced that some power had to be “given up”.

  3. Richard Parks June 4, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

    Thank you so much for your incite Christopher. I am a citizen of the USA and therefore I have no dog in this hunt. But I deal on a daily basis with the EU, and while I didn’t have much hair to start with I am quickly losing what little a have left. God, I thought that our rules and regulations were endless but they in no way compare to the EU and they have had only 30 or so years to do it in not 240 like us.
    My only concern is going to be whiplash, massive resentment and even possible retaliation from within the EU itself. Since Britain imports so much of its food stuffs and hard good from the EU or going through EU ports with EU custom agents….. etc etc etc. I think you can understand. One shipload of perishable goods setting on a dock for a week while the missing paperwork is found or inspections done for the 10th time could easily bankrupt a smaller company and Britain like America depends on those smaller companies whether it wants to accept that or not.
    So keep the faith, chin up, and think you can always move back to Malaysia.

    • shrekgrinch June 7, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

      UK can cut a free trade deal with us. They already have one with Canada via the British Commonwealth. We’ll export all the food and fuel they would need.

      The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and UK should also open up labor migration between themselves. Again, the last four already have that after a fashion under the British Commonwealth.

  4. r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 12:12 am #

    The EU Parliament elections are the most democratic I get to vote in, and the only ones where my vote actually matters, no nation with FPTP can claim to be truly democratic, if their is a democratic deficit in this country it is in the fact that a party can get approx 30% of the votes at the general election and gain 100% of the power (or indeed that UKIP [as much as I dislike them] got millions of votes, and yet only representation by a single MP) That is a travesty.

    • John June 5, 2016 at 6:39 am #

      @r godfrey. The actual election may be democratic, but what do you get for your vote. You get 751 MEPS who can do nothing. They cannot raise legislation, they can amend proposed legislation in agreement with the European commission, but they cannot reject any legislation that is put forward by the commission. So it sounds like you are voting for some pretty toothless watch dogs.

      • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 9:43 am #

        That is an argument for more power to the EU Parliament, not to leaving the EU and giving more power to the anti-democratic gerrymandered old boys club that we call a parliament. If my fellow country men are insane enough to vote leave, I hope Scotland breaks away, and I can apply for citizenship of the new Scottish nation, in the EU.

  5. lanebrianp June 5, 2016 at 12:32 am #

    Following along as an outsider, I see Britain as the main stone holding up the EU and Britain best leave before the collapse.

    • Lodrik June 6, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

      that is the most stupid thing i read this year…
      Britain ALWAYS had issues with the EU and they want to be part of it, they want a seat of power without the rules the other states agreed on (just look up why they came later in the “IG Metal Pakt”…
      Britain never wanted to become on of the central pillars so I dont give a damn if they leave now.

  6. brian June 5, 2016 at 1:28 am #

    I’m an Australian – good. Got that out of the way.
    You will leave . . .and not because of any rational reason.
    A few years back I was on a Rhine cruise and as part of the entertainment a nice German professor was invited on board the boat. This was by way of explaining to us poor benighted antipodeans the history and purpose of the EU. . . All good as far as I was concerned. Except . . .for a handful of older British middle class residents who took exception to everything the poor fellow said. Very knowledgeable, quite erudite they were.
    The lasting memory is seeing these retirees backing this 30 something into a corner and angrily disclaiming at him.
    What I got out of the incident was. 1. The original antipathy was alive and well, 2. Facts be damned because we don’t like you.
    I’m sure of certain of one thing. No matter what happens, finger pointing and blame shifting will go on. Well? Why not? It’s been happening for decades already.

  7. Bugs June 5, 2016 at 1:44 am #

    As a brit, I think the answer is staying will have pain, leaving will have pain. its not going to be an easy ride whatever we do.

    Whatever we want, the gov will do what they want after the vote, so yes, they will leave if we vote to, and they could make it work, but they could make leaving fail if they wanted, and go running back to join, or, we could stay, and they could make that fail , or work..

    Realistically, on paper we have a choice, but in practice.. just like any election, they will promise, this, and say that.. and then once in, will do exactly what and how they please.

    A wise man once said “The desire to be a politician should be enough to ban you from ever becoming one” .. and frankly, he was right.

    • PuffinMuffin June 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

      I heard another wise man say this: “I knew a promising young man once. He became a politician, and just carried on promising.”

      • Lodrik June 6, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

        thats called losing fate…

  8. Anarchymedes June 5, 2016 at 4:57 am #

    Some say that we in Australia might be adversely affected by Brexit (although I fail to see how: no offense, but our major trade partners are China and the USA, not the UK), but if I had a say in this, I’d vote ‘leave’ too. Unless it’s an empire of some kind (even if it’s a ‘democratic empire’: yes, it’s possible to scare and/or brainwash people into voting ‘the right way’ – just look at Russia), the unification should be based on having more in common that differences; on genuine mutual respect and appreciation. Just like any relationship, it must imply the willingness to make adjustments, and to compromise for the sake of staying together – because being together is better than being apart. In this sense, the EU resembles a bad marriage where the partners fake love and affection for the sake of ‘image’ and social acceptance. And when I see such a ‘happy family’ (which I do too often for my liking 🙂 ), I can barely hold myself back from screaming, ‘Divorce now!’ You hate each other: who the hell do you think you’re fooling? And then there are those reports on the news, of seemingly ‘inexplicable’ murders, or muder-suicides, in ‘absolutely perfect’, ‘happy’ households… but I digress.
    The vast majority of people out there are parochial, nationalistic, patriotic, and religious. I’m not one of them, and I’m not really concervative either, in many ways. But I know better than to lie to myself and pretend that it’s not so. That we are centuries ahead of where we really are, in terms of our awareness of our shared roots (Out-of-Africa? Edem? Whatever), of the interdependency of all countries and all economies on this crampled dirtball, and of the need to look deeper than the accent, the skin colour, the eye shape, or, say, the preferences in food for true similarities and/or differences – although, having said that, even I would never, ever start praying five times a day, or fast, or throw myself under the hooves of a heard of cows, or do other silly things the fanatics do, just for the sake of the relationship 🙂
    IMO, the EU failure stems from their stubborn attempts to pass their wishes for the reality. Yes, there was a wave of idealism after the fall of the Berlin wall. ‘It’s a final countdown,’ remember that song? And this wave would’ve probably eventually passed anyway, the way waves alwayd so, but the GFC speeded it up considerably, and when poverty crept in at the door, the love for all fellow Europians flew out of the window. There is nothing – I mean, nothing real – that unites the members of the EU now. No shared purpose. No overriding common identity. Not even an enemy in common – they all disagree about who the real enemy is, turning NATO into the ‘No Action, Talk Only’ laughingstock. And the polititians still try to ignore it. So bye-bye, Eunuch Union. Learn to face the reality; then we’ll talk. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, as you enjoy the sights of our zoo, please take special care not frighten the ostritch: its cage has a concrete floor.’

    • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 9:46 am #

      Given the unmitigated disasters that the last rounds of intervention by NATO(either as NATO, or by member states working in coalitions) has unleashed actually being ‘Talk Only’ for a while and stopping making things worse, doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

  9. Veraenderer June 5, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    As a german I hope the EU shrinks to a core EU so we can start to reform it.

  10. Don Williams June 5, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    it’s time Great Britain stood up for it self again, we are not Europeans we are British. Various European countries have tried in the past to take over our country, at the moment we are rolling over and letting them. We must vote out on the 23rd.

    • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 11:33 am #

      apart from our German Royal Family and French nobility…

  11. soparch June 5, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    it is time we left the EU in fact it was a huge mistake to ever enter into it for a myriad of reasons. It needs fundamental reform as an institution before it is fit for purpose but that will never happen. There are too many noses in the trough to ever have any effective reforms.
    What annoys me most at the moment though is politicians from other countries putting their oar in. It has nothing to do with them – this is a purely BRITISH vote. (Though the fact that hundreds of thousands of EU economic immigrants will be entitled to vote, which may skew the result, suggests otherwise.)
    Why should we listen to politicians from Germany or France telling us what to do? The only reason I can see them wanting us to stay is Money. Lets face it we Brits are viewed by most of the continent as the unruly complaining child in the EU but we contribute a huge amount to the EU budget and that makes us valuable to them. I can see no other reason they would want a country like ours (whose people – though not the politicians – have always viewed the EU with a great deal of scepticism).
    And as to countries outside the EU telling us to stay. I fail to understand why President Obama or Hilary Clinton can make speeches saying that we should stay in the EU when it has nothing to do with them. I could not see either of them or any future US president ever agreeing to something like the EU – yet they say it is in our best interests. The US has lots of minor and some major international treaties that it has either not signed or not ratified yet they expect us to stay in something as undemocratic as the EU. What hypocrisy!

    • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

      The EU is far more democratic than Westminster. Oh and EU citizens in the UK are not entitled to vote in the referendum.

      • Stephen Baker June 5, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

        I am sorry r Godfrey but they are any eu citizen that has settled here is allowed to vote. I know of several from places like Lithuania, Poland and Latvia who are going to vote they have their voting cards.

      • r godfrey June 5, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

        http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq/voting-and-registration/who-is-eligible-to-vote-at-a-uk-general-election
        Additionally, the following cannot vote in a UK general election:

        EU citizens resident in the UK (although they can vote at elections to local authorities, devolved legislatures and the European Parliament)

        The referendum has the same voting conditions as a general election.

    • Richard Parks June 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      On behalf of an American that would never vote for Hillary Clinton, I’m sorry she opened her yap in something she should as usual kept quite. And as for Saint Obama there is no excuse.
      You are right we would NEVER allow an organization like the EU to have rule over us. And there is a very strong move the make the United Nations already an over bloated enity now into a World Union. Lord Help Us !!!

      • Anarchymedes June 6, 2016 at 11:14 am #

        The United Nations? There has never been a more impotent and altogether useless organisation in history. To take them seriously is the same as to believe that Santa is real. Let them call themselves World Union, or Galactic Empire: who the hell cares. 🙂

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 6, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

        There has never been a more impotent and altogether useless organisation in history.

        IMO the League Of Nations was worse. 😉

        On the other hand, the UN has lasted longer than the League. 😀

  12. Nicholas June 5, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    The only reason I want the union to stay alive is because I’m paid a hefty salary and benefits by one of its agencies…

  13. PhilippeO June 6, 2016 at 5:44 am #

    Agree with this.

    for any political organization to function there need to be a minimum level of ‘Trust’. both about the institution, and about other people in the organization.

    EU had failed on this.

    Its Institution is too undemocratic and distant to gain Trust of its citizenry. and people who inhabit EU have too divergent interest to generate Trust to each other.

    Britain (and other EU) is way better off swallow any economic pain and disruption rather than to continue longer pain caused by EU weakness.

  14. Mark P June 6, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    I noted that at the beginning of your discussion you mentioned that Scottish Independence would be more disruptive.

    Well, The Scottish Nationalist have indicated that Brexit would lead to another Scottish Independence vote. So we might get 2 for the price of 1.

  15. Les Barrie June 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    With you all the wsy Chris.

  16. Lodrik June 6, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

    The EU has many many problems but germany had war after war and i believe the EU is one of the main reasons why the hostilitys in middle europe cooled down.
    I am from germany and I know people that where spit in the face 50 years ago when traveling to Luxembourg, many people see us still as Nazis (Namibia was a german colony and they have one “Adolf Hilter Street” nowdays).

    and if any of you seriously believe that Britain wont reap consequences, lets remember that the US tapped the german Chancellor after germany refused to participate in the attack on Iraq…

  17. PuffinMuffin June 6, 2016 at 11:52 pm #

    The more I read and think about it, the more I feel voting to leave isn’t going to deliver what it sounds like it should.

    Apparently there is a large majority in Westminister intent on signing up to the single market as a sort of associate member. If we do this, we will then have to comply with a list of rules and regulations eerily similar to those we have to follow now. In addition, for reasons I cannot fathom, apparently we’ll still be expected to chip in to the EU budget (!)

    This sounds like a “stitch up” to me. Just like with normal general elections, you can vote till you’re blue in the face, but little or nothing you want will actually happen.

    • John June 7, 2016 at 11:21 am #

      PuffinMuffin.

      Here is a link to an interesting article in the UK Daily Telegraph about the possibility of following the Norway model. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/01/leave-camp-must-accept-that-norway-model-is-the-only-safe-way-to/

      Note that just to trade with someone you need to follow their rules, just as we have to follow US rules if we want to export to the USA. What you don’t have to do though is have the trader’s rules in your own country. As the article explains Norway has no way implemented the majority of the EU regulations and defences. At the same time it can negotiate it own trade agreements.

      New Zealand, where I currently live, has a free trade agreement with China, most of Asia, and the US. Has the EU managed to negotiate that at all, no because there is too much conflict between 28 countries when they try to negotiate an agreement.

      • Anarchymedes June 8, 2016 at 3:01 am #

        Agree with that: and all the likes of Russia need to do to torpedo any agreement they don’t like (even when it’s none of their business, really) is to buy up and/or bully 1 (one!) small, insecure, and self-conscious member. If one out of 28 isn’t happy, nothing going. Chris says the EU’s problem is not enough democracy; I say it’s too much of one – and too little discipline and shared purpose. No overriding of a single petulant brat.

  18. Drowe June 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    I very much disagree with our assertion, that anything good would come out of Britain leaving the EU. I am german, but my girlfriend is british, so I spent a lot of time reading up on the pros and cons of a Brexit. My conclusion is, that it would weaken both Britain and the EU severely during a time, where we can not afford another crisis.

    Both Britain and the EU would lose political influence and importance in global politics, but Britain would lose a lot more there. Both sides would also suffer economically, since instability is a major factor in investments, it would cause companies to focus more on other markets, such as China and India. This inevitably leads to more unemployment and a shrinking GDP.

    It’s also not true that Norway is happy with not being in the EU, at least not its government. They still have to implement most of the rules and regulations of the EU, but they don’t have a vote in the decisions made. The norwegian government explicitly advised Britain against leaving the EU.

    In our modern world standing alone is not a desirable option anymore. The european countries (many of them anyway) are culturally close enough to eachother to be able to cooperate and even act outwards as a single political entity. Instead of widening the gaps between us we should attempt to close them, because otherwise, instead of standing together, we will fall alone.

    I agree that the EU needs to be reformed, that it has become a bureaucratic monstrosity, but that isn’t something that can be fixed from the outside. And letting it shatter may seem like a good idea, but it would be a desaster on a scale that dwarfs the 2008 financial crisis and may rival the great Depression of the late 1920’s and 1930’s both were incidently caused by too little regulation of the financial market, not by too much.

    Politically the rise of nationalism and fascism (*) or at least an increasing tendency to autocratic government, racial and religious division, as well as extremism both religious and nationalistic is worrying. Democracies are being undermined both by lack of longterm thinking and increasingly plutocratic or outright autocratic structures (USA for the former, Russia, Turkey and to some extent Poland and Hungary for the latter are examples). This should cause us to move closer together, not further apart.

    The increasing popularity of political parties that promote nationalism, isolationism and hate against people who are different is based mostly on fear, it offers no solutions, at least no solutions that are workable. They tend to not think about or at least communicate the dire consequences it would have if their policies are implemented. Their only real goal is power, and they do not care how they get it. The nations in Europe and that includes Britain should work to overcome their differences and stand against the tide of racism and hate that is sweeping over the world, instead of looking for a solution alone, that will not, and can not be found alone.

    (*)Fascism: a political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition

    • Anarchymedes June 8, 2016 at 3:13 am #

      Just take your girlfriend and come to Australia, mate. I’ve met a few Germans here, some of the gentlest and nicest people I’ve known among them, and I’ve never heard anyone seriously calling them Nazis or anything (not even when Socceroos lost to Germany in the World Cup: the German backpackers sang patriotic songs in Darwin’s pubs and no one was harmed; the local newspapers didn’t forget to mention that if it had been the UK, there would’ve been blood on the walls and the feeling of the WW2 resuming). 🙂

      • Drowe June 8, 2016 at 10:40 am #

        You will laugh, but since my father was born in Australia, I have an Australian passport and family there. I have thought about doing just that.

  19. Big Ben June 7, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

    There are no honest politicians left. Full stop. ‘Nuf said.
    Is there anyone on this forum who was alive when the last honest politician was in office? Lincoln? (only if you’re a vampire). Churchill? FDR?
    It’s all about money and narcissistic power trips. As an earlier commentator wrote, anyone who volunteers to run for office should automatically be disqualified.
    That said, how is any ordinary citizen supposed to make a reasoned decision, be they Brits, Kiwis, Aussies or Yanks? All the news folks do is regurgitate what big business and the politicians blather in their general direction. After all, the media knows who pays their bills.
    Now, all that said, an individual is generally intelligent and/or wise. A small group of experts in any given field may achieve a narrow brilliance. But get a thousand people together, ask them one complicated question and you’ll get fifteen hundred answers. Then arguing, shouting and in the case of any given Trump rally, violence.
    Democracy is nothing more than mob rule. Unruly, loud and ineffective, with results that usually cost more than anyone expected. The worst form of government … except for all the rest.
    The Brits will vote. I expect it’ll be close, maybe 49/51, maybe 45/55. Same with the American presidential election this November. Either way it goes, the outcome will be largely irrational, inneffectual and irrelevant. Big Money has already bought the politicians and rigged the vote, and will carry on screwing the little guy regardless.
    And the 49 percent who didn’t get their way will scream invective at the 51 percent, who will scream back just a little bit louder, while all the geezers mutter, “Remember the good old days?” and Big Money laughs all the way to the banks that they own.

    • Anarchymedes June 8, 2016 at 9:45 am #

      So let’s just open the silos and launch the nukes: kill them all and let God sort them out. Right? 😉

      • Lodrik June 9, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

        I truely enjoy your sacasm ^^

    • Lodrik June 9, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

      I stopped reading after he included Churchill in his honest politicians list…

  20. shrekgrinch June 9, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    This does say it all, doesn’t it?

    UK protesters try to burn the EU flag, but can’t because of EU regulation on flammable materials

  21. biggus Dickus June 13, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    Imho uk shouldn’t leave the EU. In one point because it one of the major seatholder, next to France and Germany. The second is, if you don’t “work” for a change, then nothing will happen. UK done nothing then “bitching” for better deals for them self. They pay ~<0.5 of there GDP(BIP) and then there is still the rebate and the income of the deals. Many international bank deals go over London, with leaving the eu. Those deals would go over to Dublin, Frankfurt or any other major financehouse. With the lose of those deals Uk GDP will sink severe, because the UK politics is reducing the overall industry and strengthing the financesector (London). The EU needs to be reformed, but it does need the UK to do it. The EU is a political project that turnd in to a beraucratic nightmare, but that every country… EU was ment to prevent astrocities like WW1&2 and bring all European countries together as "friends". In the first EU reform, the only Country in the EU should be germany,france, the uk , netherland, belgium, lichtenstein. If this projject works "properly" then other nations can join. I think we should lose the nation view at all and have no borders, but its wishthinking. To the topic, that greace was able to join the EU was only possible because greacce cooked there books and the comissioner that checks the books and approves the application to join was a greak. Shortly after that he went in to an other department and then retired. So the hole thing was a hustle. The Uk has a history of "bitching" around and has a lack of diplomacies. The Uk is frighten that the german dictat what the eu is doing or not. The thing is germany does something! If you don't communicat, nothing will happen. If the co doesn't order his troops, the troops won't do that anything. The UK is still very racial and uk, france and germany should have learned the lesson on the hard way a couple of century ago… The uk parlament is a right goverment, because the King never signed the charta, that would allow the people to set up a parlament, the only reason that the Uk parlament is still standing is because the foreign nation accept it. The queen/king could technally dismantle the parlament. So to sum it up, uk should stay and get his/her fat arse of the couch and start working to reform the eu and so should the other countries to. I am half english and half german and I do like to follow the new of both countries. I'm either I am a cliff pisser or a kraut and I dislike both countries for their nazi-mentallity.

    • chrishanger June 14, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

      I think we have learned, over the years, that changing the EU’s mind isn’t easy – we may have a powerful voice, but so do France and Germany. To borrow a line from MadMike, the system itself is seriously flawed and largely beyond repair. Realistically, states like Greece and Ireland should never have been allowed to join. We actually have all of the disadvantages of a loose confederation and a united state, with none of the advantages.

      Chris

      • Drowe June 16, 2016 at 1:07 am #

        Yes there have been mistakes, and you’re right, the system is seriously flawed, but I disagree with your conclusion that leaving the EU is the right answer. It could work, if Germany, France and some others left simultaneously with Britain and formed a successor organization, but not if Britain is leaving alone.

        The whole concept of european nation states is no longer viable, not in the way it is now. Our population is too small, there are too few natural resources left, the only thing we have going for us is technology and others like China and India are catching up fast.

        Currently the Europe has the largest shared market of the world, together this gives us some leverage in trade negotiations, and even if the UK leaves the union, this will still be the case for the rest of Europe, but not for Britain. At least not until they agree to the same deal as Norway did, which is paying fees close to what a full member pays, without having a say in how it is spent. And that will possibly be more than you’re paying now, since Britain does get a third of the fees back immediately.

        The four major points that every member of the European single market has to agree to, whether they’re in the EU or not are the free movement of goods, capital, services and people, and that is not something the EU will compromise on. So one of the major selling points of not having people from eastern Europe immigrate does not hold water if you want to participate in the european market.

        All of Europe is going to suffer another economic crisis if Britain leaves, but the damage to the british economy will be worse, at least initially. A study by openeurope estimates, that the immediate loss will be at least 1% of the GDP and could be as high as 2.7% that’s yearly between 3000£ and 8000£ per capita less. In the long run this could be turned around depending on how successful the trade negotiations are and how much can be saved by deregulation and liberalisation, but also on how well the EU does. By 2030 best case scenario predicts a 1.6% higher GDP than it would have been had Britain remained while worst case is 2.2% lower GDP.

        If Britain put as much effort in reforming the EU as it will have to put in leaving the EU, the outcome would be a lot better than even the best case scenario. Especially since most of the concerns the Brexit advocates cite for leaving the EU are not going to be solved by leaving the EU. In fact some effects will either be opposite from what people want, like less immigration or will be much less significant than most proponents of a Brexit want to believe, such as deregulation. Many regulations are already UK law, they don’t go away by leaving the EU. Some of the regulations are even more strict than EU law, those will definitively stay, some will have to be upheld to gain access to the European market, some will remain because changing them would be unpopular and some are sensible and shouldn’t be changed.

      • chrishanger June 16, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

        The core of the problem, as I see it, is that the EU is not going to reform – and we have no way to make it reform. Leaving therefore becomes the best way of cutting the Gordian Knot.

        Chris

  22. Helen jeffs June 18, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    There was nothing in this article except personal opinion and nothing to make me change my mind about staying in the EU.

    • shrekgrinch June 20, 2016 at 5:17 am #

      Most commentary articles are about opinion. What alternate world where that isn’t the case do you live on?

  23. Drowe June 20, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    @Chris
    I like an open debate and I know it’s highly unlikely that either of us will change our mind about the subject, since it’s mostly an issue of ideology and political theory. The Brexit referendum could have been an opportunity to really have a reasonable debate about the EU, unfortunately this hasn’t happend. Instead the campaings are mostly reduced to fearmongering and emotional arguments, many of which don’t hold up to scrutiny. The statement made by Boris Johnson that compared the EU to Hitler and Napoleon is a prime example and if you apply Godwin’s law, that can be taken as a concession of defeat.

    I have yet to hear or read a solid argument based on facts that supports the assertion, that a Brexit would be beneficial for Britain. Most of the arguments I’ve heard and read are based on immigration, economical benefits, less regulations/bureaucracy and a democratic deficit. However few of those supposed benefits hold up to scrutiny or are very overemphasised.

    I already said enough about the first two, so I won’t bother. There are however things left to be said about the rest. First the deficit of democracy, while this is somewhat true, this is something that actually has changed over the years and it also is by design. Of the three main branches only the EU parliament is directly elected by the population, the Commission and the Council of Ministers are not. That is because the Commission and the Council of Ministers only have one representative of each nation. Mistrusting those institutions only means you mistrust your own government and the governments of the other EU nations (this may be justified, but other nations get a vote too). Each EU nation has control over how their representative to those institution is selected, so Britain could hold a general election for those offices, if they so chose. The EU Commission is also not without oversight, the elected EU parliament can dismiss the Commission and needs to approve any proposed laws.

    Also not as clear cut as generally claimed, is the cost of bureaucracy. The EU Comission claims it employs about 32000 people, while other sources claim 170000. The actual number however is irrelevant, since it’s more important how much money is used to support the bureaucracy. And the numbers are more clear there, between 6% and 7% of it’s budget is spent on bureaucray and salaries. This seems like a lot, nearly 10 bn €, and it probably is. But then I tried to find out how much various governments spend on their bureaucray, and found it very frustrating to find relevant figures. The only helpful information I could find, was how much Germany is spending on it’s personell, it’s close to 10%, but that includes salary for military personel. So it’s hard to tell if the EU bureaucray is as big as claimed. Fact is however, that spending on administration has remained between 5.5% and 6.5% of the annual budget since 2007.

    Last but not least, regulations. Thousands of regulations have been introduced over the years, but the same is true for national governments. Important to know are the guidelines the EU claims to adhere to:

    1) Principle of conferral – it means that power cannot be transferred from member states to the EU without consent of the member states i.e. member states agree to allocate part of their sovereignty and autonomy to the Union’s institutions. Conferral of powers is managed through the treaties.
    2) Principle of subsidiarity – in areas which are not under exclusive EU competence, the EU can take action only where the same objectives cannot be sufficiently achieved by a lower level of governance (member states or subnational levels) and can, thus be better achieved at the EU level.
    3) Principle of proportionality – states that the EU may only do what is necessary, and not more, in order to achieve its objectives.

    If they are actually following those guidelines is not something I care to speculate on, they may or may not. I simply do not have the data to form an informed opinion on the matter. What I can say is, that Britain is one of the least regulated nations in the world, despite being an EU member. And that casts doubt on the narrative, that the EU overregulates.

  24. Lodrik June 24, 2016 at 7:01 am #

    you are out, if the french leave too germany may get the oppitunity to chear this shit up ^^

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