British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Sableagle » Sun May 22, 2016 2:26 pm UTC

Better a tyrannical British plutocrat than a French altruist, eh?
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby SlyReaper » Sun May 22, 2016 2:36 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:Better a tyrannical British plutocrat than a French altruist, eh?

Yeah, because tyrannical plutocrat is totally synonymous with democracy, and altruism is always a trait one associates with crony-capitalist bureaucracies.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby sardia » Sun May 22, 2016 2:57 pm UTC

How do you measure the degree of democracy in the UK vs the EU? Like are you opposed to the process or the outcome? For example British chocolate not being chocolate. Would you be ok if the UK agreed to that in a trade deal as opposed to however it's done now?

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby SlyReaper » Sun May 22, 2016 5:02 pm UTC

The glib answer is "are the people who make the rules for us the people we elected to make the rules?"

However, if you really want some quantifiable metric of democraticness, how about this? "How many layers of organisation and abstraction are there between the voter and the people who make the rules". So for example, the highly democratic system would be one where the Big Cheese is directly voted for by everyone. The UK is slightly less democratic than that, because we elect local representatives, and those representatives elect the prime minister. However in practice, MPs always support the leader of their own party, so a vote for an MP is a vote for the leader of that MP's party.

The EU scores poorly in this metric, because the people who make the rules are appointed, not elected. The process for appointing members of the EU Commission involves elected politicians, but it's not a transparent or easily-understood process.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Sableagle » Sun May 22, 2016 5:14 pm UTC

You distinguish the current UK government from a bunch capitalist cronies how?

SlyReaper wrote:However, if you really want some quantifiable metric of democraticness, how about this? "How many layers of organisation and abstraction are there between the voter and the people who make the rules". So for example, the highly democratic system would be one where the Big Cheese is directly voted for by everyone. The UK is slightly less democratic than that, because we elect local representatives, and those representatives elect the prime minister. However in practice, MPs always support the leader of their own party, so a vote for an MP is a vote for the leader of that MP's party.
The Big Cheese? Isn't that what's being discussed in the US Election thread? The US has a system under which any billionaire or millionaire stooge of enough billionaires who wants to be in charge and is willing to spend the money or sell enough promises to enough plutocrats can spend a while being the puppet of the plutocrats who own the country and helping them keep the masses poor, uneducated and disenfranchised so they can stay rich and powerful. Anyone who lives in a non-swing state doesn't get a say in the process at all, and probably won't ever see a candidate except on TV.
If you want an actual democracy, move to Ancient Greece.

If we had no layers of abstraction, we'd have Transport Minister Clarkson, speed limits and environmental laws would be abolished, cycling would be illegal, the vehicle with the highest power-to-weight ratio would have right of way, pedestrian crossings would all be removed, jaywalking would be a capital offence and trucks would be banned from all roads with fewer than four lanes in each direction.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby SlyReaper » Sun May 22, 2016 5:34 pm UTC

The US has a system where campaign spending is effectively unlimited, and donations are used by plutocrats as legalised bribery. It's a massive problem, but one I'm confident will eventually self-correct. It's part of why candidates like Bernie and Trump became popular in this election. Bernie because he has a reputation for standing on principle. Trump because his campaign is for the most part self-financed. Both have decried the situation - I can't remember if either of them promised to do anything about it. Whether Trump wins this one or not (is Bernie still in with a chance?), it's clear that Americans are waking up to how much that system stinks, so candidates who do promise to do something about it will get more popular with each election cycle until it's fixed. That's exactly how democracy should work.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby sardia » Sun May 22, 2016 7:05 pm UTC

Sly reaper, like the US election, the UK election won't work out As cleanly as you think it will.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby SlyReaper » Sun May 22, 2016 8:10 pm UTC

What? You mean it won't be instant rainbows and unicorns? Bummer.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Soupspoon » Sun May 22, 2016 9:24 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:What? You mean it won't be instant rainbows and unicorns? Bummer.

I prefer freshly-ground rainbows and unicorns, anyway. It's the flavour.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby ijuin » Mon May 23, 2016 3:32 pm UTC

"Cheese" is indeef how I would describe most elections...

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby SlyReaper » Mon May 23, 2016 6:59 pm UTC

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Soupspoon » Mon May 23, 2016 9:08 pm UTC

There's Fear from the other camp too, if you're not too blind to see it....
First of many linkies: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-e ... m-36317915

The problem as I see it is that if it was a neutral issue (could be better one way or another, but generally equal arguments for both sides) then there would be 'true fear' and 'untrue fear' opportunities aplenty, from both sides. But imagine that actually there's compelling arguments in one direction. The true-fears would mount up on that side and drown out both the 'allied' untrue-fears and the few remaining fears (true or untrue) left to the other. And so such fears will become prominant and noticable and (frankly) embarassing by their multitudinousness, whilst never convincing the standfast opponents and getting on the nerves of the waverers (of which I remain (NPI!), myself).


And I had a most unpleasant discussion with good friends, last week, in which they insisted that anything but Leave would put us straight into a federalised EU superstate, within six months. ??!?? No point in arguing.

(I never wanted that conversation, but I knew it would happen. Their opinion is that Sky News (same group as Fox, for those who don't know) is Communist! I don't see eye-to-eye with them, politically, and they know it and know I know they know it. You can only imagine the strength of friendship we feel, outside of politics, to remain buddies...)

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby leady » Tue May 24, 2016 12:41 pm UTC

You should probably ask yourself why such conversations are unpleasant for you, tiresome I can understand, but unpleasant?

Whilst your friends are a little out on the timing (by a couple of decades plus I imagine), they are quite correct that contrary to the view above, the direction of change is always one way and any retrenchment (of which in the EU I can't think of a single one) is trivial - its a 5 steps forward, 1 back walk :)

Now of course if the EU were re-constructed as a true republic with a true clean constitution rather than the meaningless crap like the EURHA, then I'd have far less of an issue. In fact I'd actually be reasonably supportive. Most countries in the EU would have kittens though, if they had to provide crisp rights to their citizens, and Germany in particular would have full grown cats if it had to actually fund its hegemony.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Soupspoon » Tue May 24, 2016 1:15 pm UTC

Adopting the stance to Remain, as you say, leaves us with time aplenty to revise aplenty, forestalling any possible total commitment, altering the concept to one we could tolerate being within or even having another internal interogation to see if we absolutely now want to get out of the now more imminent process.

Going for Leave, however effectively nixes our opportunities. They'd not be keen to take us back if we retreat, we won't be able to mould their structure to one that we'd want to join deeper and its possible that the whole project collapses so that there's nothing to join, in any coherent shape.

You could bet on a new EU arising from the ashes of the old (c.f. the League Of Nations and the United Nations), but it'd be a long-shot (and I'll be accused of siding with Project Fear if I continue with that c.f.'s comparison, though that was not my intention).

It probably suits the "Not In, Never In" people just fine. But I like this fence I'm sitting on I don't want to leap down on either side, and that way lies a downward slope that puts me where I'm absolutely not sure I want to be. Don't tell me that I'm the one making the potentially unreversable decision. (Especially when I've not even made the decision that I, with insignificant effect on the end-result, will make upon the day. Just because I see more offputting illogic on your side, it doesn't mean I won't swing your way, given any reasonable reason to...)

Like the times I've found myself between absolutist atheists and potentially agnostic theists, I've found my position as a merely implicit atheist to draw me into the argument against the more irrationally vocal of the groups, surprising myself even though it keeps on happening. I try not to do that any more, because it is a thankless endeavour.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue May 24, 2016 1:23 pm UTC

As an external observer, it's a straight two way vote, yeah? There's really no fence sitting option.

Either option could, in theory, be reversed at a later time, but "no decision" isn't actually an option, yes?

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Xenomortis » Tue May 24, 2016 1:38 pm UTC

Well, you don't have to vote.
But yes, the actual voting slip will only have two options: "Leave" and "Remain".

And whilst technically not binding, it would be poor form for the government not to follow through.
Reversal later is unlikely too - in the event of a Leave vote and we exit the EU, would we be quickly welcomed back later? And if we vote to stay, the political establishment would not be keen on doing this again.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby leady » Tue May 24, 2016 1:59 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:As an external observer, it's a straight two way vote, yeah? There's really no fence sitting option.

Either option could, in theory, be reversed at a later time, but "no decision" isn't actually an option, yes?


Yeah, but like a lot of these things there will be nuance in the result regardless

65% remain = agreement to more EU
55% remain = status quo is okish
51% remain = warning to sort a couple of things
45% remain = renegotiate and try again
40% remain = soft exit
35% remain = hard and fast exit

Its quite possible I may have invented most of the above :)

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue May 24, 2016 2:22 pm UTC

Sure, but...that's just a reflection of public opinion. Who all wants what? Accuracy in that seems desirable, I would think. Not much reason to strategize to win by a lower percent or something.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby leady » Tue May 24, 2016 2:44 pm UTC

To be honest 80% of the UK public would express a preference that the EU was more accountable, had fewer powers and immigration was controllable within its borders

The real question is how strongly they feel about it, i.e. enough to risk their cheap holidays to the Algarve

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Echo244 » Wed May 25, 2016 11:14 am UTC

Xenomortis wrote:And if we vote to stay, the political establishment would not be keen on doing this again.


Depends how you define the establishment. Cameron's not going for a third term, and the mood in the Tory party will have to shift significantly, post-hypothetical-referendum-stay-result, to elect a pro-EU leader. Who will be the next PM. Unless something else happens in the meantime.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Xenomortis » Wed May 25, 2016 12:11 pm UTC

The majority of the Cabinet have backed "Remain", as have a larger faction of Conservative Party MPs.
And I think Boris Johnson is the only "prospective successor" (and an unlikely one at that) to have sided with "Leave".

You may argue that many MPs (and members of Cabinet, in particular) are afraid of "coming out" whilst the Government's stance is pro-EU, but I don't see the party position changing much after a vote to stay.

leady wrote:To be honest 80% of the UK public would express a preference that the EU was more accountable, had fewer powers and immigration was controllable within its borders

Well yeah, "Would you like to pay less for your subscription" is a question everyone would say yes to.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Echo244 » Wed May 25, 2016 12:34 pm UTC

Xenomortis wrote:The majority of the Cabinet have backed "Remain", as have a larger faction of Conservative Party MPs.
And I think Boris Johnson is the only "prospective successor" (and an unlikely one at that) to have sided with "Leave".

You may argue that many MPs (and members of Cabinet, in particular) are afraid of "coming out" whilst the Government's stance is pro-EU, but I don't see the party position changing much after a vote to stay.


It's not the stance of the Government that matters most; it's the stance of the Tory party members who'll be voting for the next leader. Most of the Cabinet have backed "Remain", if, in some cases, in the most half-hearted manner possible (Theresa May, I'm looking at you). Boris is for Leave; Gove is for Leave; May's gone for Remain while slagging off the EU as much as she can; Osborne's firmly in the Remain camp, but has fallen behind after having things thrown out of his Budgets within 24 hours... who else is in the running? And looking at the figures, while the population is split pretty evenly between Leave and Remain, the Tory party membership is largely for Leave. If there's a Remain result, there's going to be a lot of hostility directed at Cameron and the other Remain campaigners in the Cabinet for things like the Government leaflet in support of the Remain campaign, especially if the margin is small enough for that to have helped tip the balance in the referendum.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby elasto » Sun May 29, 2016 8:47 am UTC

Learnt a couple of new things from this article

Summary: The Brexit camp claim we send £350m a week to the EU. In fact we send around £250m (due to our rebate) and receive back £120m from EU spending. So our net contribution is around £130m.

But that wasn't the eye-opening bit for me - since it's easy enough to claim 'oh well, that's still too much...'

Eye-opening fact number 1: We actually send only 0.4% of GDP to the EU when states are normally expected to pay 1%. We in fact send the lowest GDP amount of any country in the EU...

Eye-opening fact number 2: Norway has to send £90m per week to the EU despite not even being a member, in order to gain access to the single market. It is also bound to the rules set by the EU, but, as a non-member, has no say in deciding them...

Conclusion: The amount we would have to send to the EU would almost certainly rise if we left, since we have a ridiculously good deal right now (unless we wanted to forgo being part of the single-market at all - which would be economic suicide...)

And that's on top of all the other economic downsides: 88% of economists fear long-term fall in GDP if UK Brexits

In addition, immigration would not change much (historically, 3 out of 4 immigrants are from outside the EU; we could halt that now but don't because they are net contributors) and talk of an EU army is more or less fantasy...

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby SlyReaper » Sun May 29, 2016 11:22 am UTC

elasto wrote:Summary: The Brexit camp claim we send £350m a week to the EU. In fact we send around £250m (due to our rebate) and receive back £120m from EU spending. So our net contribution is around £130m.


By that logic, nobody pays any tax. After all, you get it all back in the form of roads, schools, hospitals, etc, right? As for the rebate, that's not guaranteed. It's not written down as something the UK definitely gets - it has to be negotiated for every year. That means spending political capital that could otherwise have been used to achieve other things.

As for the Norway thing - so what? Norway's business is Norway's business; presumably they get enough out of the deal to justify the expense. It has nothing to do with the UK.
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Mutex » Sun May 29, 2016 12:03 pm UTC

It wouldn't if Norway wasn't one of the models (if not THE model) being held up by the Brexit camp for a post-EU UK. The Brexit camp seem to be really struggling to come up with one potential positive of leaving that doesn't crumble on examination.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Soupspoon » Sun May 29, 2016 1:53 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:By that logic, nobody pays any tax. After all, you get it all back in the form of roads, schools, hospitals, etc, right?
By that simple sum, some people pay out less in tax than they get benefit back in tax-funded 'returns' and some people pay more than it would appear they receive.

But without taxes, who pays for the military? The lords do so in fealty to their king, either in wealth extracted from their subordinate lords and peasantry (local taxation!) or by drawing upon those lords and peasants directly to form their own standing units.

Without taxes, what about roads? In the past, it was habitual pathways maintained (if at all) only by local users in local stretches entirely when it only became more inconvenient to not maintain their stretch. Only with Government Acts towards Turnpike (i.e. toll) roads, did we start to get reliable transportation, and without taxation we'd be back to pay-per-mile across all roads (a not totally silly idea, but there are definitely better ones).

Let's return to a subscription Fire Service. Pay specific people to ensure that your house or business does not burn down. (Terry Pratchett pointed out the obvious problems with that... erm... 'racket'.)

Police! Police! I need the police! What do you mean the other guy can pay more than me? Of course he can, he's just stolen all my money!


(Luckily, taxation and representation are roughly in line, at all levels. Which is not to say that it can't be fine-tuned.)

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby SlyReaper » Sun May 29, 2016 2:43 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:By that logic, nobody pays any tax. After all, you get it all back in the form of roads, schools, hospitals, etc, right?
By that simple sum, some people pay out less in tax than they get benefit back in tax-funded 'returns' and some people pay more than it would appear they receive.

But without taxes, who pays for the military? The lords do so in fealty to their king, either in wealth extracted from their subordinate lords and peasantry (local taxation!) or by drawing upon those lords and peasants directly to form their own standing units.

Without taxes, what about roads? In the past, it was habitual pathways maintained (if at all) only by local users in local stretches entirely when it only became more inconvenient to not maintain their stretch. Only with Government Acts towards Turnpike (i.e. toll) roads, did we start to get reliable transportation, and without taxation we'd be back to pay-per-mile across all roads (a not totally silly idea, but there are definitely better ones).

Let's return to a subscription Fire Service. Pay specific people to ensure that your house or business does not burn down. (Terry Pratchett pointed out the obvious problems with that... erm... 'racket'.)

Police! Police! I need the police! What do you mean the other guy can pay more than me? Of course he can, he's just stolen all my money!


(Luckily, taxation and representation are roughly in line, at all levels. Which is not to say that it can't be fine-tuned.)

I think you misunderstood my intent. I'm not saying taxation is bad. I'm saying it's disingenuous to present the net contribution as "what we actually pay to the EU".
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Soupspoon » Sun May 29, 2016 8:11 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:I think you misunderstood my intent. I'm not saying taxation is bad. I'm saying it's disingenuous to present the net contribution as "what we actually pay to the EU".
If I already misunderstood you, unknowingly, now I know I don't understand your point.

What we pay the EU, we pay the EU.

Consider the pay-but-get-back rebate as a 'security', at worst. Rent a house and you may pay £200 quid a month1 for an initially indeterminate amount of time and an additional £200 (perhaps) extra as security towards end-of-term costs. Theoretically that's £400 down, then £200 back at the end of the month, at roughly the time you pay the next £400 of next-month rent and next-month security. But after the initial downpayment, you only need to find £200pcm, assuming no hiccups or decision to discontinue the rental.

Yet I hear £350million-'truthers' tell us that we lose the ability to spend that (actually insignificant) full £350m each week, when the periodic 'spend' truly is the lower net amount, with a Security Bond, in effect, of the rebate amount. If the EU refuses to return the rebate, unilaterally, then I foresee the UK having cause to withhold half the current subscription (if not all) unless there's a very good reason, like the EU complaining that we've been holding too many late-night parties, haven't been trimming the hedge and have been growing cannabis in the attic with illegally abstracted elecricity... Or perhaps that's the rented housing (but as an analogy it more or less2 stands). Ditto there'd be a stink if an agreed rebate is withheld when we give up tenancy/membership.


So why do so many of the figurehead Brexiters use that figure. Not only unapologetically, but in the face of stark reality that they are proven to be misleading? They would be better off attacking the inefficiencies of the process (unlike the rent or membership analogies, the 'security/deposit' isn't retained in escrow or counted as landlord/club liability in the accounts, but passes back and forth3 each time. That's the kind of arguement I could take seriously, but (for some reason or other) I've never even heard this being proposed, just the outright lie about the pocketchange pre-rebate/pre-benefit figure... Why? It's almost as if the Brexiters want to sabotage their own campaign, or worse...



1 Sounds too little for London prices, sounds too much for non-London prices, but it's been a while since I rented so let's not quibble over my obvious out-of-touchedness with the modern housing market...

2 It breaks down as an analogy in that the UK doesn't 'rent' its 5/6ths share of the British Isles from Europe, but an alternate analogy, still with the concept of security/deposit payment, could be that of membership of a golf club. Forfeiture of deposit and expulsion due to non-payment of bar-tab, causing excessive damage to the fairway, drunkenly damaging the Club Captain's volvo or wearing trainers (in increasing degreees of severity). And an amicable resignation of membership would get the deposit back, normally.

3 If there's no creaming-off-the-top being done, then someone deeply involved in some part of the financial field is definitely missing a trick...

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Grop » Sun May 29, 2016 8:31 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Eye-opening fact number 1: We actually send only 0.4% of GDP to the EU when states are normally expected to pay 1%. We in fact send the lowest GDP amount of any country in the EU...


I suspected as much, although that was more prejudice than information.

I don't particularly hate the UK or want it out of the EU, but I certainly think this country is complaining too much.

(Someone cynical might say they should complain more).

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Echo244 » Tue May 31, 2016 9:09 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:So why do so many of the figurehead Brexiters use that figure. Not only unapologetically, but in the face of stark reality that they are proven to be misleading? They would be better off attacking the inefficiencies of the process (unlike the rent or membership analogies, the 'security/deposit' isn't retained in escrow or counted as landlord/club liability in the accounts, but passes back and forth3 each time. That's the kind of arguement I could take seriously, but (for some reason or other) I've never even heard this being proposed, just the outright lie about the pocketchange pre-rebate/pre-benefit figure... Why? It's almost as if the Brexiters want to sabotage their own campaign, or worse...


The core of the Leave campaign seems to be an emotional appeal, rather than the studies and projections and analysis of the Remain camp (who seem to be struggling to connect with people). Figures are unimportant in such emotional approaches - you use the biggest remotely applicable one available, deliver the greatest possible emotional impact, grab the front pages, then rubbish the followup factchecks - which will barely make it to a small story on the bottom of page 6.

Soupspoon wrote:Yet I hear £350million-'truthers' tell us


Interesting choice of words. Not that it has any bearing on other Leave proponents, but the only person I know who's tried to talk to me about voting Leave did so at the end of a conversation which featured such highlights as her trying to explore whether she could talk to me about the Moon Landings being a hoax, and other such conspiracy theories. ;-D
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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby leady » Tue May 31, 2016 9:29 am UTC

Grop wrote:
elasto wrote:Eye-opening fact number 1: We actually send only 0.4% of GDP to the EU when states are normally expected to pay 1%. We in fact send the lowest GDP amount of any country in the EU...


I suspected as much, although that was more prejudice than information.

I don't particularly hate the UK or want it out of the EU, but I certainly think this country is complaining too much.

(Someone cynical might say they should complain more).


Says someone in the one country in Europe that really takes the mickey in CAP transfer payments from Germany :) (yes France is half the net contributor of the UK)

If France actually paid its proportional net amount, then I suspect a lot of the British moans would be slightly muted (only slightly though)

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby kingofdreams » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:12 pm UTC

Grop wrote:'I don't particularly hate the UK'


aww I feel the glowing warmth of pan-European fraternalism
Picard- I shall appoint you my executive officer in charge of radishes

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby PeteP » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:47 pm UTC

kingofdreams wrote:
Grop wrote:'I don't particularly hate the UK'


aww I feel the glowing warmth of pan-European fraternalism

I would go so far as saying that I think the UK is kinda, sorta okay I guess? I don't actually have a particularly strong opinion about any country in europe including my own. Well I have opinions about the politics of my country of course, but the country as a whole is just a country not much better or worse than the ones around it.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Mutex » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:34 pm UTC

kingofdreams wrote:
Grop wrote:'I don't particularly hate the UK'


aww I feel the glowing warmth of pan-European fraternalism


It might be too much to ask for other countries to like us at the minute.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:17 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
kingofdreams wrote:
Grop wrote:'I don't particularly hate the UK'

aww I feel the glowing warmth of pan-European fraternalism

It might be too much to ask for other countries to like us at the minute.

And there's precious few countries that haven't accumulated historical grievences, aplenty, should they wish to dwell on the negatives. (Agincourt, armadas, trade wars, territories, marbles, military takeovers, etc, and more besides before even leaving European shores.. And that's not even including "two World Wars and one World Cup, doo dah, doo dah", which are barely even considered as 'our fault'...)

Right now, though, Switzerland is on tenterhooks, I hear.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Mutex » Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:42 pm UTC

I'm talking about our very recent and current behaviour, not historical. Like that embarrassing nonsense when Cameron stamped his feet and got us lots of pointless concessions from the rest of the EU for show.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:20 am UTC

Mutex wrote:I'm talking about our very recent and current behaviour, not historical. Like that embarrassing nonsense when Cameron stamped his feet and got us lots of pointless concessions from the rest of the EU for show.

Sorry, yes, that was understood. But there's also historical grief that can be added to that, on top of our whining and insistence that we're a special starfish...

(We are, of course, but I'm not sure that our claim is vastly greater than any other member state, we just never were that comfortable with being as touchy-feely as the others decided to be, and hence our position out on the social periphary to match our geographic one, but we're Ok with that, because we're Facebook Friends with our Commonwealth relatives and long-lost cousin 'Merica... Possibly.)

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Mutex » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:35 am UTC

I was going to suggest geographical location affected the psychology of the country's inhabitants, eg our physical detachment explains why we feel detached from the rest of Europe politically. But that wouldn't explain Switzerland. They're bang smack in the middle of Europe.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby elasto » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:08 am UTC

I think there's also a hangover from our heady days of the sun never setting on our empire, and making an important contribution to winning WW2. It hurts our pride to suggest we need anyone - even as equal partners like the EU is. How dare anyone suggest we can't go it alone!!1

And it's true. We won't self-destruct if we depart - any more than Scotland would if it left the UK. However, we will be much worse off. And it won't even address immigration.

I think Switzerland can be explained partly because it's stuck in the middle of Europe: Such countries are forced to an extreme - either fully embrace the geographical reality... or fully embrace neutrality as a form of diplomacy. Most countries choose the former but Switzerland has made good mileage from the latter.

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Re: British EU referendum in June

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:53 am UTC

Mutex wrote:I was going to suggest geographical location affected the psychology of the country's inhabitants, eg our physical detachment explains why we feel detached from the rest of Europe politically. But that wouldn't explain Switzerland. They're bang smack in the middle of Europe.

Switzerland doubtless uses its mountainous borders in a similar way to our watery ones. That and the tradition arisen from its Helvetic era (the very font of its wish for neutrality? ;) ) and 'intetnal federality' developed to encompass its diverse cantons. The amount of Direct Democracy decisions that have been only marginally for or actually against tying up into the EU has rather stalled any attempt at regular membership.

A couple of years ago, the vote went for withdrawing from the immigration agreements with the EU, by a very very slim margin, but they've not actually done much with it (yet), probably partly because of the repercussions in non-immigration aspscts of free movement. It has been said that such negotiations have been sidelined by the EU counterparts, until our little Conservative Party leadership contest has been resolved by the public and everyone knows who is going to be asking for what w.r.t. the UK/EU relationship.

Some say Switzerland is doing very well, in not actually being in the EU, but I don't think that correlation implies causation. Their (in)famous neutrality has helped them ride out the storms of the last century and benefit somewhat from their own brand of 'island mentality'. It's perhaps no surprise that they've been considered a peculiarly landlocked 'offshore' economy, although that's something else that's been recently changing. They have been able to thrive outside the EU proper perhaps because they started in a good position. I'm not sure that bodes well for a still fragile UK that severs its current links, but only time would tell how that might go. (If we do drop out, trying to land upon the precise Swiss level of disengagement might be more foolhardy than just going for full 'globally independent' status.)

...but that's just an amateur assessment. I might be influenced by the information-sources that I once felt it worthwhile remembering, and may have missed or misremembered some counferfactuals.


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