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An absolute must watch before you vote: Professor Michael Dougan analyses the EU referendum debate

(43 Posts)
catchtheninkynonk Mon 20-Jun-16 10:55:28

I hope this link works.

This is the clearest fact-based assessment I've seen. And it's from someone who knows the field better than anyone, and whose entire academic credibility depends on his ability to objectively assess facts.

alli1968 Mon 20-Jun-16 14:11:46

I saw this yesterday and shared it widely with my friends and FB. You are right - it cuts through the rhetoric and i learned a few things too!

catchtheninkynonk Mon 20-Jun-16 14:28:42

There's a YouTube link as well:

Chalalala Mon 20-Jun-16 14:35:18

since we're looking at academics (excellent talk by Michael Dougan!), here's the take of Fields medalist mathematician Tim Gowers:

explains why we need the type of international cooperation enforced by the EU, using game theory smile

Meggy12 Tue 21-Jun-16 08:50:38

Thanks for sharing, I was not going to bother voting because I couldn't make up my mind. Prof Dougan's presentation has made it a lot clearer...

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 21-Jun-16 09:53:54

This chap is rather biased and doesnt understand some key elements such as Flexit. If I get a chance I will pen a structured response later.

Wilmo Wed 22-Jun-16 12:28:00

Let me start by saying I agree with him when he says that both sides of the campaign are guilty of making outlandish claims. However, I have many issues with this video.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that Professor Michael Dougan holds a Jean Monnet chair, which basically means he receives EU funding to study and promote EU law so he is hardly unbiased or independent.

Secondly, the video only focuses on a very narrow area of the EU debate, i.e. trade and sovereignty. He makes no real mention of people’s concerns about immigration, for example, or the impact that has on community relations, suppressing wages and keeping people in poverty, preventing affordable housing, the strains on the NHS, GPs, etc. Nor does he at any point consider that the EU is constantly changing or how it will look in future (the EU is committed to “ever closer Union” as well as admitting more, poorer countries), or what impact those changes will have on both us and the EU as a whole. Or the fact that the far right are increasing in popularity in Germany and France among other countries, including Austria and Britain, too of course, and that this is caused by EU failings and so is likely to get worse. Or the fact that the EU is economically stagnant and becoming less and less relevant in global trade terms. And so on – there’s so much more to this referendum than trade agreements that he doesn’t even scratch the surface of.

Thirdly, he states that Britain is a sovereign state with full control. If that's the case, then why were we treated to the unedifying spectacle of our Prime Minister going begging to the EU to be allowed to implement laws that the British people had voted for in the last election, only to be sent home with his tail between his legs? If we're a sovereign state in full control, why didn't we just enact those laws?

He also states that there will have to be a review of the UK legal system done so quickly that it will have to be done by government not through parliament. This is utter nonsense and another example of fear-mongering, albeit with a more respectable face than Cameron/Osborne. There are plenty of precedents of countries leaving unions and forming their own legislature (e.g. when India became independent from Britain, Poland after the fall of the Soviet Union, etc). In these cases, the leaving countries simply adopted the existing legislation as is and then gradually changed the ones that the people wished to be changed through normal parliamentary procedures. There is nothing stopping Britain doing this in the event of an 'out' vote. He must surely know this and so for him to talk about dishonesty on an industrial scale while making these claims is a bit rich.

He also says that if anyone tries to claim they know what'll happen if we vote to leave then they're "seriously deluded". I assume he’s referring to the Leave campaign here as the rest of his video is directed at them but this comment should really be aimed at the Remain camp, as they're the ones making all kinds of wild but specific financial predictions as to what will happen if we leave.

Finally, the video purports to be a discussion of "facts and figures circulated by both the 'Leave' and 'Remain' campaigns". Well, I’m sorry but I don’t see anywhere in the video where he discusses any facts and figures from the ‘Remain’ campaign. All he discusses are the claims made by the Leave campaign that he disagrees with. And at no point does he discuss the dishonest claims made by the Remain camp (he does admit they’ve been dishonest), or anything that’s wrong with the EU or its failures – the Exchange Rate Mechanism (remember that disaster?), the current predicament of Greece, with Spain and Italy also suffering, the Schengen Area, etc. Where is his assessment of the Remain claims that pensioners will be £4,300 worse off, mortgages will go up £920, your weekly shop will go up by £220, etc, if he considers that anyone that claims to know what will happen to be “seriously deluded”.

Hardly an objective and independent assessment of the debate, and not one upon which to base your decision.

Chickenbrain2009 Wed 22-Jun-16 13:54:12

I wholeheartedly agree with the previous poster. This is, I am afraid a biased assessment. Several people I know have pointed it out to me, saying someone should rebutt it as such, but I simply havent had the time. Like a lot of things going on in this campaign I am afraid you are listening to a vested interest. Base you decision on your gut reaction, not some so called expert who is relying on the fact that others will not challenge what he is saying. I myself received funding from the EU and to be honest I was appalled at the lack of auditing. In reality I could have claimed anything, no one even asked for receipts for expanses! This is OUR money, I have never seen anything like it! A right gravy train!

Chalalala Wed 22-Jun-16 14:02:00

Base you decision on your gut reaction, not some so called expert

That's right, base your understanding of EU constitutional law on your instincts, not on the expertise of a professional who's spent his entire life researching the question and whose academic career and reputation depend on rigour and impartiality.

Sounds like a good plan.

LeaveTheRoundAbout Wed 22-Jun-16 14:02:46

Oh dear. Opening a thread up with this now?....
Your Professor is omitting and playing with words which reflect his biased EU view.

He omits words to give a certain image of us directing the EU. We do not. Our MEPs are toothless except to shape a proposal that the Commission initiated - if Commission don't like reshaping by Council and MEPs - a unanimous vote is required; or, if they are happy with changes and it contains "spirit of the treaties" they issue a 2/3 vote required.

As more countries join our vote will become even more diluted. The new countries will look to make alliances with other smaller and poorer countries.

Experts are to be listened to as a basis for your own research on the matter. EU is very complicated - this is another reason it is so wasterful.

He is clearly pro EU. If people wish to vote remain - then yes he'll confirm your view of the EU. Hopefully, however, you've also researched more fully behind what he says and can spot the "ommissions", but are still happy to proceed with his view of a benign higher aurthority above our Courts and Parliament that he believes we gave permission for...

We have not agreed to have European Court - superior to ours. We have been lied to by previous Prime Ministers and EU and now find ourselves in this position. Some say our Prime Ministers were lied to by Commission - apparently Thatcher felt misled.

This is our first opportunity to give our instruction to all our future elected governments that we do not give them permission to sign part of our democracy over to a higher aurthority, particularly in light of the fact we are unable to remove the Commission and the ECJ are there to enforce all laws passed and are superior to our Courts.

We do not have the opportunity to put a different Executive (Comission) in place. We do not vote on manifesto that the Commission wish to initiate. We vote for MEPs who have right to "ASK", along with a majority of other MEPs, for the Commission to consider inititating the "non controversial and in the spirit of treaties" initiatives. The Commission, whom we don't ever elect, decide which initiatives MEPs propose will proceed to drafting and being considered by Council and MEPs.

Those voting for leave wish our democracy to be returned to us in full and intact, so we can then choose and pass to a new representative when we are no longer happy with who is in power. We are unable to remove or select the Commission.

We are unable to overturn any laws that passed through on 2/3 majority but don't suit UK. The ECJ will enforce them, that is their remit. ECJ not connected with European Court of Human Rights - an entirely non EU entity, just happens to be in the locale.

As we now at the point where most of the virgin initiatives have been passed and exist (see current state of Europe for further information) - there are fewer virgin initiatives for the Commission - they are more happy for the business lobbyists and EU leaders (again by majority) to propose initiatives that are good for big businesses. See Goldman Sachs sponsoring Remain.

As for our Prime Ministers etc. requesting and shaping initiatives - remember Junker is also a non voting member of the Council as well as being President of the Commission - handy that for helping with the "shaping" of that Comission proposal at the next stage in Council.

On election Junker says there is no rush for "harmonisation" we should have patience to achieve our destination (EU state). Frankly, I found his wording sinister of a slowly, slowly catchey monkey type. Obviously things have had to speed up somewhat since he made that statement, as so many other banking systems are due to come under enormous pressure in the EUzone (happening now, just not being reported).

theknackster Wed 22-Jun-16 14:07:20

He's posted a short follow-up covering immigration, Wilmo.

On the video itself, of course he's biased, but at least he's informed and speaking on areas that he's an expert in. I wish the whole in/out debate had been similar. e.g:

Base you decision on your gut reaction

Please don't.

Wilmo Wed 22-Jun-16 14:26:42

Chalalala - he has to reapply for his EU funding every 3 years; now imagine if he comes out against the EU - what do you think their answer will be to his application?

He has a clear conflict of interest, and as such cannot be regarded as impartial.

You're right in that you certainly shouldn't base your decision on gut instinct but neither should you base it on YouTube videos by people who don't reveal their conflict of interest and only cover a small portion of the actual debate.

bkgirl Wed 22-Jun-16 14:32:10

Yep he is solidly on the EU gravy chain. Extension to the house love, no problem. Another BMW, yep did the follow up.

Wilmo Wed 22-Jun-16 14:39:52

theknackster - thanks for that, but he's still being disingenuous, I think.

He says we chose not to impose transitional restrictions on the right to free movement, but we didn't make that choice; Tony Blair did. The people were never asked - this is our first opportunity to give an opinion, so to say it's hypocritical to debate it now is frankly ridiculous.

Plus once again, he only covers the positive side of the argument (i.e. he doesn't give a balanced argument, thus betraying his bias) - no mention of illegal immigration, for example. Or our inability to kick out criminals, for that matter. Nor does he cover the effect that mass immigration has on suppressing wages and causing housing shortages.

I do agree with him that some immigration is a good thing (and of course we should help those genuinely in danger), the point is it needs to be controlled immigration. Right now it isn't, despite what he may say - just look at the government targets and then look at the actual figures. They tell you all you need to know about how in control we are.

Chalalala Wed 22-Jun-16 14:41:52

do you know how academic funding works?

the academic integrity of the process is jealously guarded, academics are judged by other academics on the basis of the accuracy and rigour of their work. Not by evil eurocrats looking to protect their empire and writing names of traitors in their little black book.

of course no one is entirely free of bias, the key is to acknowledge it and make sure it doesn't come in the way of an informed, rational argument. Which he does.

in any case, as he explains, most of what he says is not controversial, it's basic legal stuff that all undergrads are taught.

Chickenbrain2009 Wed 22-Jun-16 14:44:37

Well I will leave you to get on this discussion, but yes I do stick to my advice. There are times when gut reaction is far more accurate than listening to people with vested interests. This is not about an area of expertise, it about the kind of country you want to live in, and I, for one, am fully capable of deciding that for myself without anyone patronising me.

Chalalala Wed 22-Jun-16 14:46:16

Extension to the house love, no problem. Another BMW, yep did the follow up.

Seriously, we're just straight up accusing people of corruption now, with zero evidence?

theknackster Wed 22-Jun-16 14:52:43

Wilmo - re: Tony Blair...that's the UK parliamentary system, though, isn't it? We vote them in to make decisions on our behalf until the next election?

And on immigration:
- if it's 'illegal immigration' you're worried about, that's nothing to do with EU membership, that's immigration from outside the EU (by definition)
- if immigration needs to be controlled, then why aren't we starting with the immigration we can control? As Dougan points out, half the net migration could be eliminated if we wanted.

LeaveTheRoundAbout Wed 22-Jun-16 14:57:23

knackster: Tony Blair - exactly why we should be worried about passing our mandate to a higher executive.

The fact we were already part of the EU at that time and subject to their treaties meant Blair could either go along with next step of integration or possibly ask us. Blair decided to go along without asking us.

If we weren't in the EU and subject to their Courts Blair would not have been able to so casually pass our right to say on whether we support freedom of movement.

LeaveTheRoundAbout Wed 22-Jun-16 14:59:53

We vote them in to take decisions on our behalf. Yes.

We don't vote our MPs to pass our right to elect and dismiss to a higher body (the Commission) whom we cannot remove.

Our democractic rights should be returned to us intact at the end of a parliament - not part of our right of self govenment passed to a higher level.

theknackster Wed 22-Jun-16 15:10:28

LeaveTheRoundAbout - as far as I'm aware any UK government could decide to withdraw from any of the various treaties that previous governments have signed up for on our behalf (indeed, if they couldn't there would be little point in tomorrow's referendum). I would imagine that the reason why none have done so yet, and the current lot wouldn't without this referendum result telling them to do so, is that it's 'worth it' not to on balance.

You can argue about 'worth it' for whom (and I may agree with you there!), but at the end of the day there is nothing stopping the UK population from voting in UKIP if they so chose, so I don't understand your 'loss of democratic rights' point.

Wilmo Wed 22-Jun-16 15:26:40

theknackster - with regards to loss of democratic rights, whether you agree with the policy or not this government was elected on the back of a promise to restrict benefits for unemployed migrants (it was part of their manifesto).

And yet when they won the election, Cameron had to go crawling to the EU and beg to be allowed to implement this. And he was refused. So, we're not allowed to implement laws we've voted for unless the (unelected) bureaucrats at the EU give it the go-ahead. You can't get much more of a loss of democratic rights than that.

And yes, we can vote someone different in next election and sadly, I think then there's a good chance that UKIP will benefit greatly from an 'IN' vote - given that the referendum is basically split about 50-50 at the moment, there'll be a lot of disenchanted people at that point. Especially with the way the campaign has been run with the constant lies, misinformation and personal attacks (from both sides).

LeaveTheRoundAbout Wed 22-Jun-16 15:30:53

Well indeed, worth it for so many vested interests. Not worth it for people on lowest pay in our poorest communities. Do look at Frank Field's blog on issue if you dont' have experience of what it's like to no longer be represented by party that your family voted for loyally, for decades and have them say conerns are racist. They will look for a new voice - and they are.

I've posted a few times today on why EU works nothing like our understanding of voting and returning power to the electorate, so will leave it there.

Wilmo Wed 22-Jun-16 15:31:23

Chalalala - at what point in the video does he acknowledge his bias?

If someone is portraying themselves as providing a balanced and impartial opinion (as he does), then they should look at the pros and cons of both sides of the arguments.

All I see in the video are discussions of the cons of leaving and the pros of staying. There's nothing whatsoever about the pros of leaving or the cons of staying. The same applies to his follow up about immigration.

This isn't a black and white argument - there are many nuances to the debate. If you only present one side, you're not impartial - you're campaigning for that side, and you should make that clear.

bkgirl Wed 22-Jun-16 15:36:30

No, not corruption but definite bias towards who pays his bills, pays for his holidays , mortgage etc and don't tell me for one second he isn't aware it will help next time he will apply for funding. He is not independent. He is biased. We need honesty and so far I am seeing very little of it. Why does he not explain how it IS possible to get round the veto? Why does he not talk about the EPP and what has been agreed at conference? Has he heard of a schedule of announcements post referendum? Does he feel it is ok to keep this information from the electorate? If so why?

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