If there was a referendum on Europe....

(190 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 15-Jan-13 08:31:42

... which seems to be the hot topic... how do you think it would go?

I don't see why it has to be 'in or out'. It would be good if there was a shake-up of the EU. I call it the Hokey-Cokey option.

grin

<< lowers the tone of a high-brow discussion>>

lunar1 Wed 23-Jan-13 22:06:54

As it stands today I would vote out. We are supposed to be a democracy, yet I am 32 and have never voted on any of the decisions made by the eu. I have never voted for any of our representatives in the eu. How does that fit with democracy?

I also see people fighting for jobs, how will it help the people in the uk today when the floodgates are opened at the end of the year?

WidowWadman Wed 23-Jan-13 22:16:17

lunar "be a democracy, yet I am 32 and have never voted on any of the decisions made by the eu. I have never voted for any of our representatives in the eu. How does that fit with democracy?"

Why do you not vote in European elections?

Smudging Wed 23-Jan-13 22:56:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumzy Wed 23-Jan-13 22:58:50

Does anyone know whether DCs promise a referendum is legally binding on the Tories winning the next election

lunar1 Wed 23-Jan-13 23:01:18

No widow never! I've never had a ballot paper for one, should I have?

vadus Wed 23-Jan-13 23:06:58

alemci
Is it just us who are allowing the Romanians and Bulgarians free movement into the UK.

Not true: ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=508&langId=en

GrimmaTheNome Wed 23-Jan-13 23:15:55

My expectation is that the Scottish referendum will be 'stay in' and so will the EU one - although it does depend on exactly what negotiations yield and how the eurozone is going.

The eurozone - if it doesn't disintegrate - needs to integrate further which means that non-euro countries will inevitably be on a different footing. There have to be negotiations about the relationships with an increasingly federal eurozone.

vadus Wed 23-Jan-13 23:19:58

lunar1
I have never voted for any of our representatives in the eu. ... I've never had a ballot paper for one, should I have?

Are you a British or EU citizen resident in the UK? If so, then yes.
See www.europarl.org.uk/view/en/european_elections_in_the_uk.html
and www.europarl.org.uk/view/en/european_elections_in_the_uk/Can_I_Vote.html

Harriet35 Wed 23-Jan-13 23:34:55

I would definately vote OUT. I think Labour are massively out of touch with their voters on the issue of Europe. The majority of their voters want to leave Europe but aren't prepared to vote Tory because of it. But some people will be.

niceguy2 Wed 23-Jan-13 23:40:54

@Ivykaty. Your second question was about cars yes? I thought I answered that.

I cannot see why the EU would let us cherry pick the parts we like and not comply with the parts we don't. It would just send totally the wrong signals to the other 26 member states who would then want to be able to cherry pick their rules.

The problem I see is that the 'no' voters will vote that way because of two reasons:

1) They think UK has enough immigrants and it should stop.
2) That we spend billions and all we get in return are complex stifling rules.

What I fear they won't consider is that as members of the EU we actually benefit massively from free trade with other EU members and that in reality most of the rules we'd have anyway. There may be a nip & tuck here & there but at the end of the day we won't simply scrap every EU directive.

vadus Wed 23-Jan-13 23:48:31

AtoZandbackagain
The problem for the UK is that the EU is forging ahead with it's primary aim of 'ever closer union' which ultimately means one country called Europe with one currency, the Euro, one European Government, flag, anthem etc etc etc.

Esperanto speakers also have a flag and an anthem. Maybe they're out to get us too?

retrorobot Thu 24-Jan-13 00:23:21

ivykaty, to answer your question, and also address flatpackhamster's reply to my earlier posting:

The talk of the U.K. focusing on its trading relationship with China and India rather than on the EU is based on a wholly simplistic understanding of how international trade works.

An example: Honda makes cars in the U.K. Some of those cars are sold in the U.K. Most are sold elsewhere in the EU Those cars are not going to be sold to India or China because it is too expensive to ship the cars to India or China. Even ignoring the shipping costs, India and China have very restrictive trade barriers - massive tax on imported cars. Any car manufacturer selling mass market cars is expected to set up manufacturing in India or China, at least as to 70-80% of production. These countries have the clout to do that and the U.K.'s negotiating position against such one-sided trade barriers will be a lot less when it is on its own rather than part of the EU.

Most companies manufacturing in the U.K. are manufacturing for a world market but the U.K. is not their only or their main manufacturing base. Companies aren't in the position of saying that rather than sell widgets to businesses in other EU countries they'll sell them to businesses in India and China - companies would like to sell the widgets everywhere - as many as possible.

In any case, as I said in an earlier post, the free trade argument is a bit of a distraction, because a lot of the anti-EU views are based on antipathy towards immigrants from other EU countries who come to the U.K. The two points that need to be said on this (which I touched on in my earlier posts) are:

(1) TAX CREDITS

(i) Pro-migrants say migrants come to work, not get benefits - they aren't able to just come here and claim unemployment
(ii) Anti-migrants say migrants come to get benefits
BOTH SIDES ARE RIGHT IN WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Migrants do work, but the crazy tax credits system means that if you work your income will be topped up very significantly. So the migrants are doing work, but they are also getting tax credit, which is technically not benefits, but makes them much better off. And of course, there aren't that many British people to do the work because lots of them are better off only doing 16 or 20 or 30 hours because anything more is effectively taxed at 100% as they lose an equal amount of tax credits.

Tax credits are a really bad idea for many other reasons, but the point is that low paid, low skilled migration, not just from the EU, but from elsewhere as well, started after tax credits were introduced. Tax credits were a Labour Party "bribe" to their core voters. The rest of us are paying the price (except for the betting shops who are taking in plenty of money as a result of them).

(2) IMMIGRATION FROM OUTSIDE THE EU

Between 2000 and 2011 the number of people in the U.K. born in the Indian sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan) increased by over 550,000. That's at least 50,000 people a year over 11 years (the figure is likely larger as it assumes that everyone from those countries in the U.K. in 2000 is still alive and in the U.K. in 2011). Maybe the U.K. should focus on stopping that migration, which it can do easily.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign-born_population_of_the_United_Kingdom#Countries_of_origin

One thing to remember is that right now any British person going to another EU country has the same rights as someone coming to the U.K. For example, there are now proportionately more British people in Ireland than there are Irish people in the U.K. However, if you as a British person try to move to India or China you will not find it so easy. For example, you won't be able to buy a house without being a citizen and it will be virtually impossible for you to get citizenship.

Do you really think that British people have more in common with Indians and Chinese than they do with people from other EU countries. DH is from Malta. The WHOLE of Malta was awarded the George Cross during the Second World War in the words of King George VI: "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history". I would remind you that Singapore and Hong Kong fell to the Japanese but even while the Maltese lived on a quarter of the U.K. rations they did not surrender. My children go to school with the grandchildren of Polish men who flew with the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Britain has friends in the EU if it knows where to look for them.

Harriet35 Thu 24-Jan-13 00:36:52

"One thing to remember is that right now any British person going to another EU country has the same rights as someone coming to the U.K"
What country can British people go to where they can earn £800-£1000 a week for working in a supermarket or factory or picking vegetables? There's no incentive for normal British people to work abroad.

AliceCrowley Thu 24-Jan-13 00:38:28

Any referendum will be pre-determined by those who manipulate the newspaper reading classes.
If you consider the rubbish and lies they use to stir up resentment against the Human Rights Act, it's pretty easy to guess which way it would go.

PariahHairy Thu 24-Jan-13 00:42:01

I would vote out, but that is just because I like change, change is good.

vadus Thu 24-Jan-13 00:42:24

Harriet35

I think Labour are massively out of touch with their voters on the issue of Europe. The majority of their voters want to leave Europe but aren't prepared to vote Tory because of it. But some people will be.

All three main parties were committed to continued British membership of the EU at the last election, and between them they had the overwhelming support of the electorate at the ballot box. This has been the case for decades; parties that have promised an EU exit in their manifestos (UKIP, BNP) were and still are fringe parties. So it's not entirely true that we've never had any say on EU membership, even though it seems that way to many people.

I do think that the EU has a democratic legitimacy problem, but that has more to do with the fact that hardly anybody takes part in European elections or shows an interest in European politics, most people don't know anything about European institutions, EU political processes are intransparent and European politics is ignored and goes unscrutinised by the media. This creates an environment where bad decision-making and corruption can go unchecked, and politicians can blame the EU for their own failings (which isn't to say that the EU doesn't have failings).

I think the solution is to reform EU institutions and promote better understanding and scrutiny of them, and not to hold constant pointless referendums about every EU treaty as some people seem to think.

A straight in-out referendum might be a positive thing if it leads to a proper informed debate about the EU, and Britain's role in Europe (and the world); and if it acts as a catalyst for reform.

But I do think that Cameron has promised the referendum for party-political reasons: He sees UKIP as a threat to his hopes of winning a majority at the next election, and the referendum promise as a way of warding it off. It's pretty sordid to gamble with the UKs future for reasons of electoral tactics.

retrorobot Thu 24-Jan-13 00:44:14

Harriet35: Who are "normal British people". The unskilled and uneducated?

- Many hundreds of thousands of British people are living and working elsewhere in the EU and have been for years. You don't know them because you're in the U.K. and, I'm guessing, don't work in a globalised industry.

- There's no incentive for unskilled and uneducated British people to go abroad because the tax credits system in the U.K. gives them so much. Get rid of tax credits and British people will have to take cleaning jobs rather than sit at home and watch Trisha.

vadus Thu 24-Jan-13 01:08:40

Harriet35
There's no incentive for normal British people to work abroad.

"711,151 UK citizens were living in other EU countries in 2011, says Eurostat."
(www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20448450)

Some go to work in other EU countries, others to study or to spend their retirement. It's not clear that these opportunities would remain open to us if we left the EU. I think these freedoms are a good thing for British citizens, and it's only reasonable that they should be based on a measure of reciprocity.

retrorobot

I think you may be slightly overestimating the effect of tax credits on the whole migration issue.

flatpackhamster Thu 24-Jan-13 08:23:29

retrorobot

The talk of the U.K. focusing on its trading relationship with China and India rather than on the EU is based on a wholly simplistic understanding of how international trade works.

These countries have the clout to do that and the U.K.'s negotiating position against such one-sided trade barriers will be a lot less when it is on its own rather than part of the EU.

What a simplistic understanding you seem to have.

What's the guarantee that the EU's negotiating position will be in the UK's national interest? Not much point in having a strong negotiating position to sell X to China if we're going to be undercut by a multinational whose head office is in Luxembourg and whose factory has moved to Slovakia.

As it stands the UK has no right to negotiate unilaterally with another country. Any and all trade agreements must be carried out by the EU.

Most companies manufacturing in the U.K. are manufacturing for a world market but the U.K. is not their only or their main manufacturing base.

Remarkable claim.

Companies aren't in the position of saying that rather than sell widgets to businesses in other EU countries they'll sell them to businesses in India and China - companies would like to sell the widgets everywhere - as many as possible.

That's quite a tower of cards you're building here.

In any case, as I said in an earlier post, the free trade argument is a bit of a distraction, because a lot of the anti-EU views are based on antipathy towards immigrants from other EU countries who come to the U.K.

What a lovely way to dismiss the people who disagree with you. Their views on trade don't matter because they're just a bunch of darkie-hating plebs.

Between 2000 and 2011 the number of people in the U.K. born in the Indian sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan) increased by over 550,000. That's at least 50,000 people a year over 11 years (the figure is likely larger as it assumes that everyone from those countries in the U.K. in 2000 is still alive and in the U.K. in 2011). Maybe the U.K. should focus on stopping that migration, which it can do easily.

2/3 of the migration was from EU nations. I don't disagree that the Labour government should have stopped that migration, and we now know that it didn't solely so that it could boost votes for the Labour party - a vicious act of cynical manipulation which, even given Labour's extraordinary record of wickedness and mendacity, is hard to beat.

One thing to remember is that right now any British person going to another EU country has the same rights as someone coming to the U.K. For example, there are now proportionately more British people in Ireland than there are Irish people in the U.K. However, if you as a British person try to move to India or China you will not find it so easy. For example, you won't be able to buy a house without being a citizen and it will be virtually impossible for you to get citizenship.

That would work fine, if the living conditions and job markets were the same across the EU. They aren't. That means that your level playing field really isn't anything of the sort. How many British workers are going to head to Poland? Far fewer than have come the other way.

Further, because English is the global lingua franca, we in the UK are in the unique position of being the likely recipient of migrants from every nation. How many Spaniards learn Polish? How many Czechs learn Swedish? But everyone learns English.

Do you really think that British people have more in common with Indians and Chinese than they do with people from other EU countries. DH is from Malta. The WHOLE of Malta was awarded the George Cross during the Second World War in the words of King George VI: "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history". I would remind you that Singapore and Hong Kong fell to the Japanese but even while the Maltese lived on a quarter of the U.K. rations they did not surrender. My children go to school with the grandchildren of Polish men who flew with the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Britain has friends in the EU if it knows where to look for them.

It's perfectly possible to be friends with a country without being ruled by Brussels. Stop trying to conflate Europe and the EU. It's a lazy trick that all Europhiles try.

DontmindifIdo Thu 24-Jan-13 08:37:23

Harriet35 - i assume you've never been to Luxembourg, pretty much everyone working in the banking industry isn't a Luxembourger! there's a huge British and Irish community, as well as large numbers of Germans and French working there. DH worked there for years. Then he worked for a multinational in Germany, they had so many British staff in their Dusseldorf office they made the official work language English and every local wanting to work there had to accept every formal meeting would be conducted in English (and no, the parent company wasn't British or American).

There's a lot of things currently wrong with the EU and the benefits shouldn't be a reason not to look at the current set up and try to improve it for us, but just because we've are more likely to see the down sides doesn't mean there aren't upsides. There's a good case that at the moment the balance might have tipped towards more downsides than upsides, but that's an argument for improving our relationship with the EU, not scrapping it.

larrygrylls Thu 24-Jan-13 09:01:46

This is one of those debates where greater knowledge does not allow one to come to a better conclusion. It is an area where so called "expertise" has very little meaning.

Nassim Taleb:

"Not all experts deserve the title

Taleb also questions the authority of experts, asserting that the truth behind science is limited to certain areas and methods. In many areas having an academic degree and presenting oneself as a scientist is irrelevant. Indeed, authority can stifle empirical experience which, so many times, has proven to have a sounder basis for accuracy."

All the "expert" bankers and CEOs thought the greatest threat in 1999 was the "Millennium bug". None of them considered the massive overvaluation of tech stocks and the resulting misallocation of resources as a meaningful threat to global prosperity. In 2007 all the banking CEOs considered the greatest threat to be the lack of trading volatility and investment opportunities to be the most important threat. None seriously considered the overvaluation and fraud implicit in the securitisation of real estate assets.

Thus, take with a HUGE pinch of salt what CEOs and other experts tell you about the risks of leaving Europe. None have substantially more of a clue than you or me. Ultimately the best basis to decide this kind of question is political rather than economic. Normally when nation states have a good idea of who they are and are united in that view, economic prosperity follows.

VenusRising Thu 24-Jan-13 09:41:19

I'm all for staying in the EU.
And I agree with Xiaoxioing, if we leave business becomes bogged down in compliance checking.
What business can afford such time and money to check every shipment of goods?
We would end up with a small, no, tiny domestic market, as the economy shrank and then shrinks some more.

And what ever would the farmers do without their CAP? The net gain counties such as Kent would be totally ^%#ed, and the rest of us would have to bail them out.

We would still have to comply with fishing quotas, and these would be rigorously enforced by the EUs vessels, and it would be just such a headache to transport any goods and services.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about how beneficial the EU has been, especially in environmental and labour law, to everyone within its borders, as it runs so seamlessly. I doubt any country would have been able to do as much for their populace as individual states as pollution knows no boundaries, and the will sometimes isn't there for long term planning and enforcement.

Statutory paid maternity leave, with the promise of being employed afterwards has helped women return to the workforce after having babies, and health and safety legislation wouldn't exist if it weren't for the EU. How can we, as women who have benefited from these laws vote to have an unregulated and precarious situation again, like they have in the US and elsewhere- no guarantees, and a few weeks maternity leave.

A lot of people are reading the tabloids and soaking up their xenophobic bile as gospel, that is if they aren't swallowing some crackpot conspiracy theory. UKIP are polishing up their jackboots in glee.

I think Cameron has put his foot in it, and has had his hand forced to make good on an ill advised election promise (one he made to appear harder than UKIP) I think this will backfire on him, as it will alienate any reasonable person who may be induced to vote for him again (if there is anyone left in that category...)

Time to recognise that we have a lot to offer the EU, and that by cutting ourselves out, we will be out in the expensive and much reduced cold. Economically it would be suicide.

NC78 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:17:08

"There's no incentive for unskilled and uneducated British people to go abroad because the tax credits system in the U.K. gives them so much. Get rid of tax credits and British people will have to take cleaning jobs rather than sit at home and watch Trisha."

The people in cleaning jobs are usually on tax credits because their wages are too low to live on. Get rid of tax credits and watch people go hungry.

NC78 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:18:30

I would vote IN btw

Really cynical move by Cameron to avoid losing votes to UKIP.

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