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EU referendum

In/Out referendum.  

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The £33 million quote (a UKIP favourite) is arguably true in strict financial terms, but its about the same as saying you give £30 to St. Johnstone every Saturday and then complaining about it. You pay that yes, and then you sit and watch the game that you paid for. You could cut off that spending as UKIP want sure, but then you'd lose the accompanying benefits which are unquantifiable. It's not like we pay it out for nothing.

He referred to Merkel as a crazy German lady. I don't agree with everything she does, but calling her crazy is clear hyperbole, and the reference to her nationality and gender sounds like it could have come straight out of Farage's mouth - why disparage a professional person who has achieved far more than HertsAgain ever will in this way? You can dislike her policies or performance, but to belittle her as a crazy lady is unpleasant at least in the sense it hints at an underlying sexist/xenophobic resentment or bias there.

He also claims that she is opening up the EUs external borders to all and sundry. Firstly, as German PM she has no control over the external borders of the EU, but the prevalent idea that Germany alone runs the EU is a myth. If we even were to imagine that they run it then they'd be better qualified than anyone else - **** knows Germany is a far more pleasant place than Britain which we have destroyed long before migrants came to help out, so the thought of living in a country in which Tory governments had the total control people seem to think leaving the EU will give us is horrific.

On the same theme, the idea that the borders are open to all and sundry is an insulting exaggeration. I fully agree that many politicians have been too slow to act on the migrant issue. I won't pretend to know what the ideal answer is but it is clear that too many politicians have been hamstrung by the ideological bind they find themselves in - with previously comfortable liberal viewpoints being challenged by the influx of fairly destitute immigration but reluctant to take any action for fear of finding themselves amongst the racist scum on the other side. The migrants issue is too complex to answer and has been handled badly so far in my opinion, but it is a hyperbolic falsehood that the borders are open to anyone or that Merkel has either sought or facilitated this. 
More importantly, it is a total fallacy to think that leaving the EU will have much of an impact on this for non-EU migrants. They will still flow through the rest of the EU and if we were to be out of the EU then, engaging in a little hyberbolic imagining of my own, I can't imagine France will have any remaining incentive to prevent them coming here - any migrant leaving the continent for Britain will no longer be the EUs problem but rather ours - will EU countries bordering the Channel really fight to keep them? Further, it not as though Royal Navy patrol boats loaded with machine guns will suddenly spring into action as many proponents of the migration argument seem to imagine - we will still be bound by not only decency but also other international conventions stemming from the UN such as the UNCHR - the convention on refugees, or at the very least morally bound by them. Hard to imagine strict legal ramifications from breaches of this but certainly an untold amount of international bad will comparable only to Trumps' America. As for 'civil wars throughout the continent' - insane hyperbole.

A related topic is the idea of sovereignty and freedom of decision making - UK will still be part of NATO and could in theory be legally bound to accompany e.g. Turkey in war with Russia. To complain about being bound to EU laws on straight bananas or fishing stock (designed to prevent over-fishing - how shameful) on the grounds of sovereignty and not have problems with the fact you can still be dragged into war with Russia against your will is an insane double standard.

The complaints the Out crowd about EU migration are far more legitimate in my opinion - but Cameron has already achieved a size-able concession in this regard with the changes to child allowance being the same as country of origin. I'd like to think it is plausible to achieve further steps in the direction in future. It wouldn't even have to just be Britain getting special treatment in this regard but it could be extended to any country not part of the 'ever closer union'. The countries that are the most entrenched in that concept are those who, like Britain, would benefit from reduction in support payments to EU migrants and it may well find support - Remember HertsAgain thinks Merkel runs the EU, and Germany would be better placed than anyone to benefit from this as long as it didn't threaten the closer union with France and a select group of countries - so I'm sure she can just adopt it instantly, right?

HertsAgain also says the budget hasn't been signed off in 20 years. Another absolute falsehood propagated by the Tory media. There are always lengthy debates about the EU budget which are mostly caused by MEPs the likes of Farage and his national equivalents whose sole electoral mandate is to disrupt and prevent the EU from taken effective action or being able to pass votes through the EU Parliament. This doesn't mean it isn't 'signed off' in the accountability sense of the word. Here's a link to the 2013 budget audit in which every penny was accounted for http://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/AB_2013/AB_2013_EN.pdf although they did say 0.2% was at risk of being subject to fraud (lower than most national governments).

My personal view is that the EU is a fantastic idea which has lost its way slightly. It is hard to put forward this opinion without at least opening yourself up as sounding slightly racist, but I think the idea of the UK, France, Germany, Scandinavia and a few others being bound in union was fantastic. This was then followed by some expansion, which was then followed by slightly more tenuous expansion, and then more tenuous expansion, and so on. Even these expansions to include post-soviet or other developing states were done for absolutely the right ideas, not only a sense of European unity but also that the best way to help develop/improve these countries include them. Unfortunately geopolitical events beyond the EUs control like the financial crash and the middle east have rendered the situation less palatable now - giving rise to the complaints behind the referendum, but I think an EU which had kept itself to just the 'core' European countries would be currently flourishing by comparison.
However, leaving isn't the answer - staying in and helping the EU adapt to this changing world is the best way.

 

It isnt often you get a cogent argument on a website like this, that in fact may have been the first.

A little verbose, perhaps :). But its a complicated issue, something that cant be decided by reading headlines in the sun or the retard.

Jiangsu, if you ever feel like standing for parliament (the real one or the other), youve got at least 1 voter.

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If, as I expect, this thread turns into the usual few trying to score points off each other with their petty comments (which is already creeping in) then I think the yellow cards may well be missed and straight reds issued - so please try and play nicely and keep it to sensible debate.

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It isnt often you get a cogent argument on a website like this, that in fact may have been the first.

A little verbose, perhaps :). But its a complicated issue, something that cant be decided by reading headlines in the sun or the retard.

Jiangsu, if you ever feel like standing for parliament (the real one or the other), youve got at least 1 voter.

Make that two.

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Cheers guys - appreciate the sentiments. Think I'd need to learn how to appeal to the masses before I got anywhere though - bit of a weak point of mine atm.

In other news that 'crazy german lady' Merkel is now threatening to cut the benefits of even EU migrants if they don't contribute to society - more or less the same thing Cameron achieved in his Brussels talks for the UK. The German ministry (currently left-of-centre) recently said "Local authorities cannot provide for destitute EU nationals indefinitely. That was never the idea of EU freedom of movement". 

Baby steps but if even Germany - who are the key proponents of the ever closer union and, according to some Out voters, run the whole thing - are considering this change then there is real hopes of building on the minor victory Cameron already achieved. I despise Cameron with every fibre of my being but after his howler in calling the referendum in order to win the GE he has at least got this little thing spot on. Staying in would be the only way we could build on this and shift the benefits discussion in our favour further.

Changing the EU benefits system to payments at country of origin level would fix almost all of my EU concerns - it would be a diversion from the original EU dream and younger me would have called me xenophobic for saying it - but it is my firmly held opinion now, and I believe we can achieve it or close to it in the coming years by remaining part of the EU.

 

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But the notion that Cameron, or any other British PM can "change" anything is a non-starter - we don't have any influence to start with.  The EU needs us far more than we need them - that is proved by the balance of trade we have with them, which means we import much more from them than we export to them - however the percentage is diminishing year on year.  Leaving the EU will simply allow us the freedom to strike our own deals with other countries to import what we need - who are the remaining countries of a stagnant EU, which is in severe decline, then going to export to?

David Cameron is demonstrating, as well as anyone with open eyes and mind could imagine, what "influence from within" the EU means:

- He set out by saying that he's looking for fundamental change - for the whole EU, not just the UK.  Ok, admirable - a "we have some suggestions that will benefit us all" sort of approach.

- The areas of change he put to them to be looked at were national sovereignty, repatriation of powers, protection of borders, immigration, growth, competitiveness, improvements to the single market, the pound alongside the Eurozone, and a guarantee against “ever closer union” for UK. A pretty reasonable list of concerns for one of the major net contributors to the EU to want to have addressed, I'd argue.

- Then 6 MONTHS of shuttle diplomacy later sees the elected Prime Minister of our country - the 5TH LARGEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD, scrabbling around begging to secure agreement from 27 stubborn Europhiles to end up with some tinkering around the edges OF OUR OWN BENEFITS SYSTEM(!), and a "red card" system that I'd image will never be invoked!!

I would doubt that any of these scraps he's "won" will even be legally binding.  If it wasn’t so serious and desperately embarrassing it would be a comedy sketch.  If that’s the “influence” that those that wish us to remain "In" wish to protect, like our own Prime Minister, it seems, they have no right to be in positions of power and influence to develop our country.  It's not just him - the likes of Sturgeon, Corbyn and whoever the leader of the LibDooms is this week are all of the same view.  That's not representing the people of this country - it shows a crippling, and dare I say it traitorous, lack of ambition.  You could argue that the fault lies at Cameron's door, that he doesn't have the charisma or clout to carry it off, but I'd put money on the suggestion that NO British PM would get any further.

My personal wish is that now the PM has referred the whole issue to the British people in the form of a referendum in June, that the government and media simply supply everyone with the facts about our relationship with the EU, minus the fearmongering.  Some hope I guess.

 

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Again I feel you are clouding your generally good points with hyperbole. To suggest he has been dealing with 27 europhiles is ridiculous, a number of countries are massively unhappy with the current system. I've already shown that even the Germans are now moving away from the initial interpretation of benefits to EU migrants and its clear this is a trend which has significant potential to continue

Of course we can 'change' things - we just can't do it unilaterally. Cameron is a member of the European Council just like any other member and would carry significantly more clout if he was an active part of the discussions - you can't really convince a room of people with one hand on the door. We could be far more active in the European Parliament if we actually made a better attempt to contribute to it. Its a bit rich to complain about not having power when we have a large number of MEPs sent by people with views similar to yourself to deliberately obfuscate proceedings and refrain from making use of their powers.

I'm not sure what the basis is for your doubts that the changes to the benefits system will be legally binding - can you elaborate on why that is? Same goes for the red card idea - we've already used a similar power regularly since the EU's inception - or else we'd have the Euro. I share your wish for the issues to be put forward without fear-mongering but I worry that ship has already sailed for some people.

None of the ever closer union states just now really wish to be seen to side with Cameron while the UK is acting like a petulant child and threatening to leave if it doesn't get its own way, but its clear that many share his views about the future for a cohesive and functioning EU. If we somehow survive this horrific referendum then I'd like to see the UK begin to participate actively in the EU rather than deliberately muck it up and then complain when it doesn't work.

You've stated yourself that we are one of the major net contributors - but we aren't the biggest. Despite that we have been granted concessions that are ridiculously generous on paper - we didn't have to take the Euro and we already benefited from more generous implementation periods and conditions than other members - and that was before the veto power we have now been given and the guarantee of not being dragged in. We haven't done anything to deserve these concessions yet we have them anyway. I'm not sure what some people want other than just to have everything geopolitical wish handed to them on a plate. It doesn't work like that for Scotland in British terms (sadly), it doesn't and shouldn't work like that for the UK in European terms and it doesn't work like that for the EU in world terms. Leaving won't change that at all.

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You clearly are more aware of many of the relevant issues than a lot of other people who will be voting, even if we entirely disagree on the answers to those issues. 
I firmly believe that my views reflect not only what I want us to get from the EU but also what would be the most beneficial for the UK and its citizens as a whole.

In a democracy that doesn't mean that every single person has to share those views though so if you're convinced then fair enough. I also just hope that come the referendum enough people are suitably informed to make the right choice for them - and share your distrust of that happening.

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My view is that it's easier to reform an institution like the EU from the inside. If we exit, then we won't have any say in the changes they enact that might affect us.

Read my previous post on the influence we actually have from "inside" the EU...  Waiting until year dot when someone actually listens is not worth the membership fee.  As the club has expanded, the machine has made sure that our influence is eroded.  We are member of the G8, the G20, NATO and are also permanent members of the UN security council - all of which we have influence in.  We don't need to be in this club. 

The EU need you to remain in it, for one reason, and one reason only.

YOUR cash.

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Read my previous post on the influence we actually have from "inside" the EU...  Waiting until year dot when someone actually listens is not worth the membership fee.  As the club has expanded, the machine has made sure that our influence is eroded.  We are member of the G8, the G20, NATO and are also permanent members of the UN security council - all of which we have influence in.  We don't need to be in this club. 

The EU need you to remain in it, for one reason, and one reason only.

YOUR cash.

The influence we wield within the EU may as you say be minimal; however outside it we have none. 

The other institutions you mention have quite different raisons d'etre than the EU. 

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 . Think I'd need to learn how to appeal to the masses before I got anywhere though - bit of a weak point of mine atm.

JS , id stick with your principals rather than pandering to the proles ;) Theres a history of populists who really dont help! they usually wear one kind of red banner or another

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it will be fun listening to our southern neighbours complaining about scaremongering, companies telling employees what to vote and all the lies.

exactly what Scotland put up with 18months ago.

Win, Win for me. In vote and Brit Nat's who told us we were too wee, too poor & too stupid to have our own independence will be put back in their box. Out vote and indyref2 resulting in independence will be just around the corner.

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£55 million a DAY. Get lost.

Trident per week isnt far off that (and thats not including the ridiculous R&D or the decommissioning costs ,((((or the scandi's trying to sue us every year for the nuke shit we dump on their beaches)))))))),

we pay billions for something we all know aint ever going to to used, yet complain about an economic  system that isnt perfect, but is at least trying to do some good and help people..

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The EU need you to remain in it, for one reason, and one reason only.

YOUR cash.

I did a quick google, monty pyhton style, "what did the EU ever do for us......." I did highlight a couple of points towrds the end

What did the EEC/EU ever do for us? Not much, apart from: providing 57% of our trade; structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline; clean beaches and rivers; cleaner air; lead free petrol; restrictions on landfill dumping; a recycling culture; cheaper mobile charges; cheaper air travel; improved consumer protection and food labelling; a ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives; better product safety; single market competition bringing quality improvements and better industrial performance; break up of monopolies; Europe-wide patent and copyright protection; no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market; price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone; freedom to travel, live and work across Europe; funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad; access to European health services; labour protection and enhanced social welfare; smoke-free workplaces; equal pay legislation; holiday entitlement; the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime; strongest wildlife protection in the world; improved animal welfare in food production; EU-funded research and industrial collaboration; EU representation in international forums; bloc EEA negotiation at the WTO; EU diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; European arrest warrant; cross border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; counter terrorism intelligence; European civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa; support for democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond; investment across Europe contributing to better living standards and educational, social and cultural capital.

All of this is nothing compared with its greatest achievements: the EU has for 60 years been the foundation of peace between European neighbours after centuries of bloodshed. It furthermore assisted the extraordinary political, social and economic transformation of 13 former dictatorships, now EU members, since 1980. Now the union faces major challenges brought on by neoliberal economic globalisation, and worsened by its own systemic weaknesses. It is taking measures to overcome these. We in the UK should reflect on whether our net contribution of £7bn out of total government expenditure of £695bn is good value.

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