Features

Why leaving the EU wouldn’t make Britain any more free

19 March 2016

9:00 AM

19 March 2016

9:00 AM

One of the most appealing arguments for Brexit is that it will make British citizens freer than they are now. The greatness of Great Britain lies, after all, in its long history of relative freedom. But now, so the proponents of Brexit like to claim, Britain is shackled by the tyranny of the EU, as though ‘Brussels’ were some alien dictatorship in which Britain plays no part.

Columnists huff that Britain is now just a colony of this ‘foreign superpower’. That the EU exists as a superpower would come as news to most people in Brussels — and everywhere else. The European Union has no army and no joint foreign policy, and cannot be described as a state, federal or otherwise. The closest thing it has to a government would be the European Commission combined with the European Council, where national government leaders haggle over and decide on EU laws and policies. Britain is a major player in both institutions. Odd colony.

It is not a loathing of foreigners that necessarily inspires the anti-EU arguments. Indeed Brexit’s brightest star, Boris Johnson, likes to express his fondness for Brussels and European culture. In the past, he has even voiced his support for British membership of the EU (when he wasn’t spreading rumours about EU bureaucrats wanting to ban bent bananas and square strawberries). Now he sees a ‘great and glorious’ future for Britain outside the EU and urges his fellow citizens to ‘vote for freedom’.

But few concepts, except democracy perhaps, are as fuzzy and as often abused as freedom. The question is freedom from what, or to do what? In the US, promoters of so-called state rights and the right to carry weapons depict themselves as freedom-fighters — freedom from the interfering federal government that deprived southern states of their right to slavery and now supposedly ‘wants to take our guns away’.


No doubt there are unsavoury elements in the Brexit campaign as well. But let us consider instead the more respectable arguments. For Brexiteers, freedom is often linked to parliamentary sovereignty. A proud nation should be free to make its own laws, without meddling from foreign institutions, such as the European Commission or the European Council. This argument seems persuasive. The commission does indeed propose all kinds of laws and directives, which have to be approved by the council, and voted on in the EU parliament. Some of these laws might be better left to national governments. But again, Britain has considerable clout in the institutions that shape them. If Britain wants to retain access to the single European market from the outside, it would still have to abide by EU laws and regulations, but without any influence on their creation. The sense of freedom regained might turn out to be no more than an illusion.

What about human rights, another familiar bugbear of the Brexiteers? Britain was one of the founders of the European Court of Human Rights in 1959. These rights were established by the European Convention on Human Rights, signed by Britain and much influenced by British jurists. Citizens can lodge complaints against member states if they feel their rights have been breached. Most complaints are against the Russian government, very few against the British. Even though this court is not formally a EU institution, anti-EU campaigners in Britain see it as an intolerable assault on national sovereignty. Would British citizens be freer without their government being bound to international agreements on human rights? Would it enhance their freedom not to be able to sue their own government in a European court? I’m not persuaded.

Britain is a great trading nation. Brexiteers like to claim that the UK, once released from the shackles of Brussels, will again be free to trade with the whole world. There is, however, nothing to prevent Britain from trading with non-EU nations now. Germany has far more business in China than Britain has. To be sure, Britain could try to establish new trade agreements with non-European countries. But it seems foolish to give up Britain’s current status; being in Brussels but outside the eurozone is the best of all worlds, at least for the time being. I’m not convinced that Britain would be in a stronger position if it left the EU altogether. The US has already indicated that it would not make special trade deals with Britain alone.

Perhaps the most emotive argument for leaving concerns immigration. Here, too, the word freedom is relative. Freedom of movement in the EU is one of the fundamental rights of all EU citizens, including the British, even though Britain does not share the open borders of the Schengen zone. A British builder, or scholar, or artist, or businessman, does not need a special permit to live in Paris, Barcelona or Berlin. But that is one freedom the Brexiteers would wish to curtail. True, outside the EU, Britain might have more liberty to stop Polish builders or Romanian nurses from settling here. I say ‘might’ because Norway must let in migrants from EU countries as a price for trading in the single market. But would less freedom to move around Europe really enhance the freedom of British citizens?

So why would so many British people, or perhaps more accurately English people, wish to leave the EU? Some of it has to do with an insular frame of mind. Why are Spanish, Dutch, French or German soccer players, happy to play for clubs all over Europe while few English players follow their example? Some of it is political: left-wing Brexiteers see the EU as a capitalist cabal, while right-wing Brexiteers see leftish foreign busybodies sticking their noses into British business.

I don’t want Britain to leave, because I think the deeply flawed EU is in considerable trouble and Britain can do more good, for itself and for Europe, inside the EU than out. I would feel less comfortable in a Franco-German Europe. Or forget the ‘Franco-’ part: there is absolutely no reason any more to be beastly to the Germans, but few people, even Germans themselves, want to be dominated by Berlin.

The EU needs its Atlanticist western seaboard, and not as a sour outlier, wallowing in memories of faded pomp and circumstance. Inside the EU, Britain can balance the continental powers and use its liberal traditions for the common good. Outside, perhaps cut loose by a far more pro-European Scotland, England will survive, but with markedly less sway. And if freedom means more than being left alone, there will be less of that as well.

Ian Buruma is the author of Voltaire’s Coconuts, or Anglomania in Europe.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Rik

    Remind us again about that “great influence” we have,whats the count,72 major measures we have opposed,and how many did we win?? ZERO,some influence,go and peddle your lies and fantasies elsewhere.

  • Ed White

    Yet another limp-wristed and short-sighted view from another visionless journo who doesn’t understand – or certainly believe in – these islands and its global-looking people , nor even the origins and true importance of directly accountable parliamentary democracy.

    • OmnipotentWizard

      We have become a lot more wealthy since we joined the EU.

      • Ed White

        So sad you may only consider life consists of the accumulation of material wealth but my grandfathers fought and gave their lives in the defence of the very principles of sovereignty, democratic self-determination, accountable government and cultural preservation. There are no more precious issues in our world than freedom, liberty and democracy – these are the real ‘wealth’ that matters.

        • OmnipotentWizard

          That comment could only have been made by someone who is relatively wealthy.

          In the UK we are more free, equal, wealthy, healthy & safe than at any time in the past.

          • Ed White

            Oh dear… no I’m really not if you regard a two bed bungalow in Kent and no pension “relatively wealthy” but you’re right – it is precisely because we were handed such freedoms, equality and security won by our forefathers that we JUST about still have that today…. Surrendering this legacy to remaining in that failed, foreign and now obsolete political construct is to deny our children and grandchildren that which we inherited. Surely we are all merely ‘tenants’ of our country who have no right to deny our future generations that which we have been given by our forefathers… Remember, we’ve done relatively well as an independent island nation for around a thousand years before the EEC/EU popped up and no where else on earth does it require political and judicial union of separate countries to buy and sell stuff to each other.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Strangely we have been in the EU for quite a while and we are wealthier, healthier, freer and safer than at any time in the past. I wonder why?

          • Edward Smith

            Your argument is not only factually wrong, it’s also outright pathetic.

            Britain is more than capable of standing on its own two feet.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Edward – Wizard Rule 64: A rude response is no substitute for a sound argument.

          • Edward Smith

            Neither is a platitude like that.

            In any case, I apologise if you feel it was rude.

          • UKSteve

            Ignore him – he’s an infantile tr0ll.

          • UKSteve

            It wasn’t rude – it was quite truthful.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Steve – You have a brain the size of a gnats testicle.

            That wasn’t rude – it was quite truthful.

          • UKSteve

            Errr….no – same size as the average male I’d guess – but with an IQ of 146, tested and certified.

            Now if you can just wean yourself of Enid Blyton, and read some other books….

          • OmnipotentWizard

            There is no correlation between iIQ scores an common sense.

          • UKSteve

            Very true. But your post looks absolutely ludicrous, in light of this.

          • Mr B J Mann

            0nanistWazz0k you are rude and no substitute for a sound argument!

          • OmnipotentWizard

            You did understand that simply disagreeing with someone is not the same as being rude BJ?

          • Mr B J Mann

            ..!.,

          • Mr B J Mann

            ..!.,

          • FrancescaMacfarlane

            Try telling that to a Greek.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            I don’t care about the Greeks – I’m not pro-EU, I’m pro-UK and that is the reason I want the best of both World’s by staying in the EU but outside the Euro.

          • ThatOneChap

            We will have to join the Euro in 2020 and Dave’s negotiations have failed to secure any safeguards against that.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Making up scare stories to support you prejudices does smack of desperation.

            BTW: Did you know that we will all have to wear lederhosens on Sundays if we stay in the EU.

          • ThatOneChap

            The Euro 2020 framework set out for Lisbon calls for increased financial and political integration under stability and convergence with 2020 set as the target date for bringing the EU closer towards being a unified nation state. This is set out clearly on their own websites which stress the need for action to convergence and building a broad consensus in support of it. Part of this, for the UK, is the adoption of the Euro and bringing us into closer political and financial union with the EU. It’s not a scare story. Why not, instead of saying I’m making stuff up, put forward a good case for this political and financial convergence that the UK will have to comply with to remain a member of the EU over the next five years? Why is it in our national interest to do it?

          • OmnipotentWizard

            No one has, no one can and no one will make the UK join the Euro. Being inside the EU but outside the Euro is a sweet spot. I’m not pro-EU (I don’t care what happens to them) but I am pro-UK.

          • UKSteve

            More rubbish.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            And no counter-argument.

          • UKSteve

            Fallacious and erroneous rubbish is just…..rubbish – there is no valid argument.

          • Hybird

            Freer? Paul Weston was arrested for quoting Sir Winston Churchill. People have been arrested fro refusing to bake a cake. People have been arrested for burning a book (that they owned) on their own property.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Paul Weston was arrested for failing to disperse and not for what he said…

            Wizard Rule 19: There are none so blind as those who quote evidence selectively.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So that’s alright then.

            He supposedly still has the freedom to quote Churchill:

            He just has to stop doing it and disperse when he’s caught doing it or face arrest!

            Tell me: did you forget to include not opening mouth without engaging brain in your 0nanistWazzock Rules?!

          • OmnipotentWizard

            You know very well that it wasn’t just the quoting of Churchill. Even the Daily Express admits that – so I suggest you re-read their article.

            Wizard Rule 68: Aggression is often used to mask a weak
            argument.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Responding to 0nanistWazzock’s Rule 68: Aggressive use of made up rules by 0nanistWazzocks is always used to mask a non existent argument..!.,

          • Mr B J Mann

            And I suggest you reread my reply:

            You know very well that I admitted it wasn’t just the quoting of Churchill. Even I admitted that – so, again, I suggest you re-read my post.

            Apologies for labouring the point and repeating myself.

            But you are clearly not only an !mpotentWazzock, but an illiterate one too!!!

          • David S

            Wealthier yes, unlike many EU members, the others debatable, none of it thanks to the EU.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            If was just a coincidence that we started to get a lot wealthier immediately we joined then?

          • scanhead

            “Remember, we’ve done relatively well as an independent island nation for around a thousand years before the EEC/EU popped up…” Yes, and built an ’empire on which the sun never set’, until it did, after centuries of bloodshed and two world wars that both came about when British trade and power was threatened by Germany. Peace in Europe through free trade and closer relations was at the very foundation of the EEC/EU and if only in that respect alone, it has been unequivocally and wonderfully successful.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Until Germany and the EU started the Balkan Wars.

            An now the war in Ukraine!

          • stuartMilan

            you’re still a long way from demonstrating that this is true thanks to the EU. NATO kept the peace with the USSR, not some bumbling nobody like Cathy Ashton

          • OmnipotentWizard

            The EU keeps the peace internally and NATO externally stuart – didn’t you understand that?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yes, it provided a mechanism for rejecting an Austrian government it didn’t like, sending in bureaucrats to replace the Italian government it didn’t like, and overturning an Irish referendum it didn’t like, all with having to use jack-boots on the ground:

            Well done EU!

          • Edward Smith

            Nonsense. What planet are you living on?

            Free – Certainly not. We are under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and our national parliament is subordinate to the European Commission. The regulation filtering down from these foreign institutions have made the British people considerably less free.

            Equal – No. Equality of opportunity is certainly on the downward path. The financial crisis dealt a huge blow to equality, while the EU has certainly done no favours to social equality in the UK, let alone countries like Portugal and Greece.

            Wealth – Wealth is a point of view. The housing crisis is part testament to a lack of it, and guess what can be attributed to that, the EU. The UK cannot keep up with the demand for housing with a net population growth of 300-400 thousand per year. If we’re talking about GDP growth, this may coincide with our membership of the EU, but I can assure you, it is not a product of it.

            Safe – This is clearly nonsense. Freedom of movement throughout the European continent has clearly been a disaster for our national safety. It was the absence of border checks for instance which allowed the attacks in Paris to materialise. If Turkey joins the EU, which it looks likely to, we will be even less sage than we are now, especially given its insecure borders with its neighbours.

            So I ask again, what planet are you living on?

          • Ed White

            Beautifully put! Excellent stuff.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            And here is a more balanced view of what has happened over the last generation in the UK:

            Wealthy – We can now afford almost three times as many cars per million people on the road. People have twice as long vacations and will probably go further. We eat out four times as often. People spend longer in retirement. Obesity is now a problem that our parents certainly couldn’t afford. The number of households has grown as we can afford to have less people per house. Benefits have far outstripped inflation.

            Healthier – Life expectancy has increased by fifteen years! People have far fewer days off work due to sickness. Infant Mortality is at an all time low. Cancer survival rates have never been higher.

            Safer – There is no longer a threat of nuclear war. Violent crime is at an all-time low. There is more chance of dying from a bee sting that being caught in a terrorist attack.

            As for equality I’ll let you look at the ONS figures:

            “The ONS’s ‘Wealth and Assets Survey’ provides snapshots of recent distributions of household wealth in the UK…” It shows that the share of the UK’s wealth owned by the bottom 50% has actually increased since 2006 whereas the share of the top 10% has decreased. The only large change (increase) has been in the top 0.01%. (Source: ONS (2014))

            “…what planet are you living on?” One where facts beat prejudices.

          • Edward Smith

            And guess what:

            Absolutely none of those things are attributable to the European Union!

            The same has happened across the rest of the non-EU developed world! Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand amongst many more.

            You have failed to address any of my points, while simultaneously attributing general advances in worldwide wealth to the EU.

            You’re either deluded or a cynical BSE stooge.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “Absolutely none of those things are attributable to the European Union!” So you have visited that alternative universe that allows you to make such a firm statement Edward?

            I clearly addressed all areas. The problem is that you just have a set of subjective opinions. For example you said “The financial crisis dealt a huge blow to equality,…” and I disproved this with actual data from the ONS.

            And statements of “fact” like “If we’re talking about GDP growth, this may coincide with our membership of the EU, but I can assure you, it is not a product of it.” You can’t assure anyone of that “fact” as you simply don’t know and it would be arrogant to claim you do.

            And then you say ridiculous things like “Wealth is a point of view.” No it isn’t – it is how much you can buy for your money and here is a attributed and checkable fact about the staggering increase in wealth since we joined the EU: From the “Vehicle Ownership and Income Growth, Worldwide” report from “Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds” Table 1 shows that in 1960 the UK had 137 per 1000 people and in 2002 we had 515 cars per 1000 people. That is almost four times so the vehicle increase is even more staggering than I previously thought.

          • Edward Smith

            In any case, your argument has proved what you said is entirely speculative.
            You say that my claims are non-falsifiable, but that argument works both ways. I could just as easily return the question and ask whether you ‘have visited the alternate universe’ which allows you to make such a firm statement on the successes of the EU?

            I do not claim to posses data which I could use to categorically prove that these advances in the wealth of the United Kingdom are attributable to the EU (though I would be happy to bet that such data does exist), though the fact that similar advances in wealth have occurred in nations outside of the EU appears to rubbish your theory that the EU has been the primary cause of the generation of wealth in the developed economies throughout the last few decades.

            Once again, there is no evidence to suggest the car ownership data you have provided is attributable to the EU, I’m sure you would be able to find similar statistics for non-EU countries.

            It is however, curious that you mention car ownership, since car ownership in particular is poised to enter a steep decline, and I refer you in particular to millennials http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/ . It is the inability of the millennials to purchase cars and houses which goes to show that increases in wealth have not been as constant as you claim, particularly since the financial crash. It is because of this that the UK will soon surpass peak car ownership.

            This is another example of what I mean by wealth, GDP per capita may have increased since the financial crash, but trends would increasingly suggest that the millenial generation is poorer than the generation that preceded it.

            You accuse me of not being able to demonstrate that wealth generation in the UK since 1973 is a product of EU membership, while at the same time you have completely failed to demonstrate that wealth generation in the UK since 1973 *IS* a product of EU membership.

            This whole argument is entirely speculative; though I don’t for a moment suspect anyone can change your mind on the matter. You seem completely content to sell the sovereignty and national destiny of the United Kingdom to a foreign power on the unproven basis that it would put more money in your pocket.

            Personally I find that attitude mercenary and disgusting. But that I suppose is where the battle lines are drawn between remain and leave.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “You say that my claims are non-falsifiable, but that argument works both ways.” I can back up everything I’ve said. I’ve already given you the evidence to show we are not become less equal as a society and that we are a lot more wealthy than previous generations. What else would you like me to provide evidence for?

            “I could just as easily return the question and ask whether you ‘have
            visited the alternate universe’ which allows you to make such a firm
            statement on the successes of the EU.” It is hardly an alternative universe as we know the UK is much more wealthy than when we joined. I don’t care about the EU as the UK is doing rather well.

            “I do not claim to posses data which I could use to categorically
            disprove that these advances in the wealth of the United Kingdom are
            attributable to the EU.” Neither do I – all we do know is that inside we get wealthier and outside we don’t know.

          • UKSteve

            Brilliant, Edward, but I suspect we’re dealing with a world-class tr0ll here.

          • Mr B J Mann

            “And here is a more balanced view of what has happened over the last generation in the UK:…..

            People spend longer in retirement.”

            Does that mean the 0nanistWazz0k thinks the EU can even make us live longer?!?!?!!!

            “…….Healthier – Life expectancy has increased by fifteen years! People have far fewer days off work due to sickness. Infant Mortality is at an all time low. Cancer survival rates have never been higher.”

            “…’what planet are you living on?’ One where facts beat prejudices.”

            Classic comedy trolling, Wazz!

          • Mr B J Mann

            “And here is a more balanced view of what has happened over the last generation in the UK:…..

            People spend longer in retirement.”

            Does that mean the 0nanistWazz0k thinks the EU can even make us live longer?!?!?!!!

            “…….Healthier – Life expectancy has increased by fifteen years! People have far fewer days off work due to sickness. Infant Mortality is at an all time low. Cancer survival rates have never been higher.”

            “…’what planet are you living on?’ One where facts beat prejudices.”

            Classic comedy trolling, Wazz!

          • OmnipotentWizard

            So you haven’t actually got any counter argument then BJ? Just repeating what I said in italics interspersed with meaningless one liner is not very clever.

            If you are having trouble understand what a troll is then there is an excellent online dictionary.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Why should I need to deploy my couner arguments to a ridiculous claim when I only need to demonstrate the claimant shooting themselves in the foot?

            It’s you who haven’t actually got any counter argument.

            Just claiming that when I cleverly repeated what you said when you did it was and pointed it out was repeating it in italics interspersed with meaningless one liner is not very clever isn’t a counter argument.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “Why should I need to deploy my couner argument…” If you were actually giving up then why did you bother to reply with meaningless one-liners?

            If you think I’m wrong when I say “We can now afford almost three times as many cars per million people on the road…” Then challenge me on the point rather than sinking to the level of UKIPpery insults.

            BTW: Here is the evidence to support that claim:
            From the “Vehicle Ownership and Income Growth, Worldwide” report from “Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds” (available online) Table 1 shows that in 1960 the UK had 137 per 1000 people and in 2002 we had 515 cars per 1000 people. Check the number at the time we joined the EU to confirm my three-times assertion.

            Come on – man up. Less insults; more mature debate.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Says the child who makes up childish rules to “prove” he’s winning!

            What would be the point of trying to reason with a child wh can’t, or won’t read?!

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Repeating what I wrote in italics and interspersing them with meaningless one liners is not very clever.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Very true.

            When I’m responding to something so dumb there’s no point in wasting any cleverness on you.

            I’ll save it for a worthy opponent.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Cluck…cluck…cluck..

          • Mr B J Mann

            We already know you’re a child.

            And you keep confirming it with your posts.

            So there was no need for you to remind us yet again!

          • OmnipotentWizard

            I guess you are the sort of childish person who can’t stand not having the last word?

          • Malcolm Stevas

            We’ve been getting that way since the 19thC. The EU has contributed little to our wealth, indeed we are net donors to EU funds, not net recipients. The EU has most certainly not contributed to our freedom, something achieved and confirmed through victory in WW2 then by NATO. We are less free in the EU than if we were no longer constrained by its regulations and governed ourselves fully once more. We are less healthy than e.g. France or Germany, not because those countries have been in the EEC/EU longer than us but because their public healthcare systems are better organised than ours.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “The EU has contributed little to our wealth,…” Then how do you explain the remarkable changes in the UK over one generation:

            We can now afford almost three times as many cars per million people on the road. People have twice as long vacations and will probably go further. We eat out four times as often. People spend longer in retirement. Obesity is now a problem that our parents certainly couldn’t afford. The number of households has grown as we can afford to have less people per house. Benefits have far outstripped inflation.

            “We are less free in the EU…” Hasn’t had any effect on me (or you).

            “We are less healthy than e.g. France or Germany,…” Big oops Malcolm. According to wikipedia the figures on longevity at 2010 are:

            France 81.09 years, Germany 79.41 years & UK 81.73 years.

          • UKSteve

            “The EU has contributed little to our wealth,…” Then how do you explain the remarkable changes in the UK over one generation”

            1) Saint Margaret Thatcher and 18 years of highly responsible, judicious and forward-looking economic remodelling after Labour’s almost-successful attempt at bankruptcy and permanent economic destruction.

            And you quote Wikipedia? Wow, quite the scholar.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            We know we do well in the EU. We don’t know how we would do outside the EU.

            “And you quote Wikipedia? Wow, quite the scholar.”
            Wizard Rule 77a: People that are losing an argument will often try to discredit the source of the information they are arguing against. (In football this tactic is known as “Playing The Man”)

          • UKSteve

            Look up the Ronnie Hazlehurst obituary story ,and you’ll see why many intelligent people regard Wikipedia as a standing joke.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Look at the UKIP website ,and you’ll see why many intelligent people regard them as a standing joke.

            Wizard Rule 8: Just because you want something to be true that doesn’t mean it is.

          • UKSteve

            I know, it’s another source of laughs, along with your posts.

            Poor attempt at avoiding the topic, there! 1/10 – must try harder!

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Never believe anything on a website belonging the a Union, Political Party, Charity or Pressure Group.

            There are some sites that are more reliable – Wikipedia, Gapminer, Skeptics, ONS, …

          • UKSteve

            Pure nonsense, I’m afraid.

            Wikipedia – standing joke – did you do my check?
            ONS – kidding right? Busted more times than a reusable piñata!
            Gapminder World is currently not working with the latest Flash Player (v. 21).!!!! – who funds this, looks suspiciously “EU-ish” to me
            Skeptics – you have got to be kidding – that list of “authors” Does any of them have a degree? In anything?

          • OmnipotentWizard

            If you like your information biased then keep on reading THOSE websites Steve. That is your choice in a free society. But bear in mind that it does make your posts that much easier to shoot down.

          • UKSteve

            “There are some sites that are more reliable – Wikipedia, Gapminer, Skeptics, ONS, …”

            “If you like your information biased then keep on reading THOSE websites…”

            I think you’ve missed a couple of doses of your meds.

            “But bear in mind that it does make your posts that much easier to shoot down.” – not happened in 6 years, even by much, much better than you.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “not happened in 6 years, …” This is known by the technical term of self deception”.

          • UKSteve

            No, it’s called a fact. “Dictionary time” (again!)

          • Malcolm Stevas

            The Thatcher and Major governments: we joined the EEC in the ghastly ’70s when under Labour and Heath government, things were fairly ghastly. I recall those times all too well. Thatcher’s three governments turned things around dramatically, and even Major carried on the good work to some extent.
            If you’re not aware of the considerable and very real constraints on our ability to run our own show, imposed through EU membership, you’re not paying attention. Our vote in the Council of Ministers (might have mentioned this already) is now worth around 8% and the UK has hardly ever achieved any significant amendments or bans on EU regulations. And don’t mention the ECHR…
            Health? I base my assessment on wide experience of the health systems in this country (especially recently, via a family member) both private and NHS, and those in France and Germany. I know their systems work better than our NHS.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “Thatcher’s three governments turned things around dramatically,…” The first two did. She got silly in her third term.

            “If you’re not aware of the considerable and very real constraints on our
            ability to run our own show, imposed through EU membership, you’re not
            paying attention.” It is a shabby debating tactic to say that just because your interlocutor doesn’t agree with you then they are ignorant, stupid or ill informed.

            I might agree with you about the ECHR.

            “…France and Germany. I know their systems work better than our NHS.” Obviously not as life expectancy in the UK is greater than both those countries.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            I don’t think I was particularly insulting: it’s simply that the transparently high degree to which the UK is now governed by rules made in Brussels makes your doubts about the effect on our sovereignty seem not credible.
            Re health/longevity I doubt there’s a simple black-white answer. I will acknowledge that your figures are probably correct: I don’t make things up or cite dodgy sources and I assume you don’t either. But I repeat, I have personal knowledge & experience of those French & German ssystems – they work better, in ways that would take too long to explain except for two instances: a family member was able to consult with a specialist within 45 minutes of walking into the doors of an urban hospital in France, received expert advice, and paid €70… It is inconceivable that this might happen in UK, even in the private sector but definitely not under the NHS. In Germany, the State-conducted compulsory medical insurance scheme enables one to consult with the specialist of one’s choice – from the start…

          • OmnipotentWizard

            I understand the French system mainly from Stephen Clarke’s excellent book A Year in the Merde. There is a whole chapter where he “…explore France’s wildly generous medical system” where they pay but can claim most of it back. I guess having to pay up front in this country would stop so many people with non-problems clogging up our system. He describes the French as a nation of hypochondriacs and I thought we were bad.

            There are been rumblings that the French system is beginning to break down because it cannot be afforded any more. We’ll have to see.

            I’ve no idea what happens in Germany.

            But (according to the Wikipedia article on longevity) people in the UK little (a bit) longer than in both France and Germany.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            I should have added that longevity is not the same thing as health: I have referred to what I believe are the better (more prompt, accessible, affordable) health systems in France & Germany, but longevity is subject to all manner of influences. I would not care to speculate about what sort of correlation there might be, or extraneous factors.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “longevity is not the same thing as health” But it must be a good indicator. It is a mixed picture. We have (slightly) worse Cancer Survival rates than France but (slightly) better Infant Mortality. So I guess they are about the same in outcomes…

            The real question is – can we afford it with all this increased longevity.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Not under the NHS, no. The political class is terrified (not too strong a word) of doing anything at all to the NHS but sooner or later this vast, Kafkaesque, unaffordable behemoth will have to go under the knife, with something more rational in its place – something that entails far greater individual resonsibility for health & wellbeing while still offering a safety net for the indigent.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            It is hasn’t collapsed by now then I hardly think the NHS is likely to do so in the future. In fact the introduction of trusts and more non-core functions being privatised is making it more manageable and affordable.

            Things will change and there will always be the discussions about what drugs can and cannot be afforded.

            Maybe the French system will fail first who knows.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            If the NHS (and the French system) hasn’t collapsed so far then it is unlikely they will now. People never take “individual resonsibility” and without a little prodding it cost the tax payer more in the long run.

          • UKSteve

            “Thatcher’s three governments turned things around dramatically,…” The first two did. She got silly in her third term.”

            No. You’re applying your own prejudices here, and look wanting.

            Saint Margaret had come to see the pernicious and sinister effects of the SEA she signed (unread, of course) in 1985 come to fruition, so took a famously anti-EU stance, exemplified by “the Bruges speech”.

            So, the knives were out. Sigh, if only you’d read something.

          • UKSteve

            Thanks to 18 years of Conservative rule, and despite 2 attempts by Labour to bankrupt us.

            You’re hilarious. Well, actually, a joke.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “You’re hilarious. Well, actually, a joke.”
            Wizard Rule 77: People that are losing an argument will often try to discredit the person they are arguing with. (In football this tactic is known as “Playing The Man”)

          • UKSteve

            Or, that you lack intelligence, reasoning, learning, knowledge, insight, careful or even critical thinking, etc., etc.

            This is known on the internet as “dealing with a clueless tr0ll”.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Wizard Rule 64: A rude response is no substitute for a sound argument.

          • The_Missing_Think

            If someone with an 146 IQ thinks UK Labour caused a global bank meltdown, and it had nothing to with the banking industry’s actions, or European and American Govts, then that just shows how IQ tests are utter useless twaddle.

          • UKSteve

            Absolutely(sic) perfect example of a “straw man” argument. One to be framed, I think!

            Now, to complete the picture and make it fill a nice A4, can you show me where I said that? (Your Disqus moniker is so appropriate, bless!)

            Oh, and I think you meant “utterly useless…..”

          • The_Missing_Think

            “… can you show me where I said that? (Your Disqus moniker is so appropriate, bless!)”
            _____

            That’s more proof that you’re a high IQ thickie.

            “… despite 2 attempts by Labour to bankrupt us.” (no 13 trillion bank errors involved… right?… just all Labour’s fault).

            “… but with an IQ of 146, tested and certified.” (but always side steps debate with spelling error nit-pickery?… yeah sure…. more like 046).

          • UKSteve

            Wow – this is 2 posts I can frame for examples of window-licking imbecility from you today. Congrats “Missing Think” (LMAO!)

            There’s too much disabusal involved for a cret1n0us tr*ll with less brains than a cheap pork pie, and who is still on Ladybird books and Lego.

            And yes, all Labour’s fault. Books to you must be like kryptonite to Superman.

          • The_Missing_Think

            Q. “no 13 trillion bank errors involved… right?”.

            A. “And yes, all Labour’s fault.”
            _____

            How much money did you pay your carer, to Photoshop your wall hanging 046 certificate?

          • UKSteve

            ‘…than a cheap pork pie’. Why didn’t you call yourself “The_Missing_Brain”, would’ve been brilliantly apt. Now, back to licking windows for you, adults are discussing matters.

          • The_Missing_Think

            I suspect your carer took pity on you, and your little oak framed, wall hanging 046 certificate.

            Does it have little curtains as well, for rainy days?

          • Extricate

            Are you familiar with the concept of a control experiment?

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Are you familiar with the concept of a leading question?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Tell that to the Greeks!

            Or any of the 200 odd countries that aren’t in the EU but are also. more free, equal, wealthy, healthy & safe than at any time in the past!!!

          • OmnipotentWizard

            I don’t care about the Greeks. I’m pro-UK no pro-EU. That is why being in the EU and not the Euro is such a sweet spot for our country.

            “Or any of the 200 odd countries that aren’t in the EU but are also. more free,…” I think you’ll find the majority are less free and some by a very long way.

          • Mr B J Mann

            ..!., troll!

          • OmnipotentWizard

            troll (n) – anyone BJ Mann disagrees with.

          • Mr B J Mann

            troll (n) – anyone 0nanistWazzock disagrees with..!.,

          • OmnipotentWizard

            I guess originality is not your strong point BJ.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I kinda guessed I wasn’t the first to call you an 0nanistWazzock!

        • Edward Smith

          Hear, Hear! Though in reality the economic arguments against Brexit are nonsense. It’s a win win situation.

          I think you will like this short video, I thought it very moving myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_S6KfpqnXQ

          • Ed White

            Thanks and indeed I did – as should everyone. Enoch Powel’s words are as right and relevant today as they were back then.

          • Edward Smith

            The remain campaign is built upon what is largely a pack of lies and its so vital the British people realise this. It is little more than an exertion of the interests of the empowered over the interests of the powerless; an elite sleight of hand.

            Much of this elite is part of, or directly affiliated with major corporations, all of whom leverage their financial might to scare the populace away from acting in its own interests and voting to leave.

            – This elite profits from the lower wages, which are driven down my mass migration.

            – Benefits from EU regulation. Their corporations can afford to take the burden of this regulation, in fact they often dictate and approve it themselves while their market-share competitors in the SMEs are driven out of business. This increases the market share of such corporations and thus entrenches their monopolies.

            – Benefits from the many access points of the EU: Unlike the SMEs, these big corporations can afford for lobbyists to have EU regulation tailor made to their interests. The elite likes the clandestine bureaucratic structure of the EU for this reason, there are more figures to rub shoulders with (bureaucrats, MEPs, etc.) and hence there is greater capacity for corruption.

            The EU is nothing less than a cabal between bureaucrats and corporations, with the corporations lavishly supporting the oligarchs in the commission in return for de facto monopolies or cartels. This is why the Brexit campaign is being being blitzed by a scaremongering campaign which ‘OmnipotentWizard’ seems happy to peddle.

            It is vital that we reassure any undecided voters of the economic case for leaving. These multinationals do not speak for the interests of the British people. We have everything to gain from leaving.

          • Ed White

            Beautifully articulated and cuts right to the core of the reality of it all. There really is nothing to fear in leaving and everything is there waiting for everyone to regain.

          • Edward Smith

            There is a fantastic, very balanced IEA blueprint for the Brexit economic case here, it does a fantastic job at dispelling all the nonsense we are hearing from the remain campaigners.

            Definitely worth a read: http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/Brexit%20Entry%20170_final_bio_web.pdf

          • Ed White

            Excellent. Thank you. Will pass this on to as many as possible. I’m sure your own forebears will be proud!

          • Edward Smith

            I would like to think so, I certainly think we all have a duty to get out there and campaign for what our ancestors died to protect.

            Being in my twenties, I am pretty detached from the wars. Even so, two of my great-great grandfathers were killed in the First World War, and this coupled with an absolutely compelling array of arguments on economics and national sovereignty is more than enough to make me do everything I can to ensure our country makes the right decision.

            It’s incredibly frustrating to see people be taken in by these ludicrous scaremongering claims!

      • KingEric

        Not necessarily as a result of the EU. Everyone has got richer and Britain would have even if it had never joined the EU.

        • OmnipotentWizard

          Have you visited this alternative universe that allows you to make this statement with such certainty.

          Inside the EU – we know we get wealthier.
          Outside the EU – uncertainty.

      • Edward Smith

        Crucially though, not *because* of the EU. In spite of it.

      • MikePage

        And I have become fatter but where is the logic?

        • OmnipotentWizard

          The logic is we know we become wealthier inside the EU but we have no idea what life outside would be like.

          • UKSteve

            Spectacular idiocy, our 30 year trade gap with the EU is estimated at £2 trillion.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            I could quote large scary number out of context as well Steve, but I’d rather stick with the facts. Lets look at what has happened to us since we joined:

            We can now afford almost three times as many cars per million people on the road. People have twice as long vacations and will probably go further. We eat out four times as often. People spend longer in retirement. Obesity is now a problem that our parents certainly couldn’t afford. The number of households has grown as we can afford to have less people per house. Benefits have far outstripped inflation.

          • UKSteve

            Repeating idiotic bilge – your metier – doesn’t make it come true. It makes it tedious bilge – and hilarious.

            And for your education, it wasn’t out of context.

            Our trade deficit with the EU etc. since 1973 has been calculated at nearly £2 trillion.

            It is a dysfunctional and completely unnecessary parasite sucking us dry. Try and read something; here, try this:

            http://eureferendum.com/themarketsolution.pdf

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Now that is better as it puts the number in context and shows that it takes over 40 years to crate a scary number. Now which of my facts to you think is “idiotic bilge”. Lets take car ownership:

            From the “Vehicle Ownership and Income Growth, Worldwide” report from “Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds” …in 1960 the UK had 137 per 1000 people and in 2002 we had 515 cars per 1000 people. That is almost four times so the vehicle increase. If you take joining the EEC as the starting point then the same report shows a growth of three times (as I said in my bilge).

            Lets take eating out:

            “According to a report produced by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), Britons spent £31 billion on eating out in 2006, compared with some £7 billion in 1981.”

            Do a little more research in future.

          • UKSteve

            LOL.

            I presume broccoli sales have gone up in the last 40 years? Well, that’s because we’re in the EU, and if we Leave, our heads will instantly explode! QED!

            Your insanity is very entertaining, but I do wish you well.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Just trying to dismiss someones post because it doesn’t match your prejudices really caught you out this time Steve.

          • UKSteve

            No, Poor, poor mupp3t.

            I was using hyperbole and wild exaggeration to illustrate the ludicrousness and pure nonsense of virtually all of what you type (and did it with devastating effect and panache, because I’m brilliant!)

            😉

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “I was using hyperbole…” Good for you. I tend to use attributed information from credible sources. That tends to work a little better.

            “…because I’m brilliant!”
            Wizard Rule 61: A big ego is useless when it comes with a small brain.

          • UKSteve

            No – I’ve seen your posts ….”credible” …..Wikipedia, and a Schools website – utterly hilarious (LMAO!)

            Strongly suggest you get an adult to show you how to use a dictionary. And books. You really should have gone to school. At some time.

          • MikePage

            That’s not logic, that’s hypothesis. Superstition is built on that stuff, it’s worthless.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Incorrect – that is recorded history.

          • MikePage

            Not in this context.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            What does “Not in this context” mean. We have become a lot wealthier since joining the EU. We have overtaken France and Italy since we joined. History doesn’t understand “context” it is just something that has happened.

          • MikePage

            It means you don’t understand what I’ve written.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            But the real question is – do you understand what you’ve written?

            Have a go – what does “Not in this context” mean.

          • MikePage

            That’s weak. Don’t think I’ll bother.

      • NickG

        We have become a lot more wealthy since we joined the EU.

        Relatively speaking, not especially, how have we done pro-rata relative to say Australia, New Zealand Canada and Singapore – none of which are in the EU… say over the last 45 yrs?

        Britain joined the Common Market, then the EEC, the European Economic Community, back in 1972, when the UK was still recovering from WW2 and de-colonisation. There were still un-rebuilt bomb-sites from WW2. Indeed, Britain’s last WW2 debt repayments were not made until as late as 2006!

        More, the UK was, until the late 70s, often in misguided thrall to Labourite Socialism, which acted as a massive fetter on the UK’s economy. Ironically, in comparison to vanquished post War Germany, where rationing ended in 1950, 4 years before victorious Britain! Thanks, in part to sage economic guidance to the Germans in the aftermath of the war from the Allied occupiers. Advice not taken by the British victors!

        The UK started to gain proper traction and enter the post colonial WW2 economic renaissance only after the 1979 Tory victory under Maggie.

        There are 196 countries in the World and currently 28 in the EU – how on earth do these 168 countries manage?

        In the cohort of counties outside of the EU are all the major Anglosphere lands – the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, together with the second tier Anglosphere nations, the likes of South Africa, India, Singapore and the rest of the Commonwealth.

        • OmnipotentWizard

          I worked in Australia in the mid 1970s and the exchange rate was 1.6 Australian Dollars to the pound. It is now over 1.8 so we have done better than Australia. You’d have to check the others if you wanted to know.

          “There are 196 countries in the World and currently 28 in the EU – how on earth do these 168 countries manage?…” Most of them quite badly and the rest by being inside trade pacts. By being in the EU but outside the Euro we get such a benefit.

          “War Germany, where rationing ended in 1950, ….Thanks, in part to sage economic guidance to the Germans in the aftermath of the war from the Allied occupiers.” That is too simplistic. Here is the real reason:

          The guilt that Germany felt about the war and the fear of hyper-inflation led German workers to have voluntary wage restraint (try telling that to Unite) and hence they prospered while our industry was driven down by the unions. This is changing:
          “Germany must increase workers’ salaries to help its neighbours out of the economic slump” the European Union’s employment commissioner Laszlo Andor.

          ” Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann last month said German wages have scope to rise as much as 3 per cent because ‘we are practically in a situation of full employment’. This runs counter to many on the German right, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who believes its low wage policy has given the country its competitive edge. Pay remains a prickly issue in Germany, which has just approved its first national minimum wage to come into effect in January 2015, despite stiff opposition from employers. – (Sky News 17/08/2014)

          • UKSteve

            “I worked in Australia in the mid 1970s….”

            WHAT!?

          • OmnipotentWizard

            I guess English isn’t your strong point Steve so let me explain:

            For a period of time about midway between 1st January 1970 and 31st December 1979 I spent some time in a country named Australia which is situated in the Southern Hemisphere. While there I undertook a defined task in exchange for the payment of money.

          • UKSteve

            I have a degree in English.

            I guess maturity isn’t even in your galaxy; you mostly type the most juvenile and uninformed rubbish, and yet yet we’re expected to believe that?

            PS. You might want to dial back on the failed and pathetically inappropriate attempt at sarcasm, while you’re quoting, so that you don’t look a clueless b3ll 3nd.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            Don’t get upset Steve – you made a silly comment and I took the P out of you. Get over it.

          • UKSteve

            No, a perfectly apposite comment, as all of mine are 😉

            I never get upset, just…..even!

      • Adam Carter

        But so has the rest of the developed world. It is progress certainly, but it hasn’t been caused by the EU.

        • OmnipotentWizard

          “…it hasn’t been caused by the EU.” So you’ve visited the alternative universe that allows you to make that statement so confidently?

      • hobspawn

        Not as wealthy as we were going to be.

        • OmnipotentWizard

          Indeed – whilst in the EU we are predicted to overtake Germany within fifteen years.

          • hobspawn

            Outside within ten.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            That isn’t what people with more knowledge than you are predicting.

          • hobspawn

            Are they the ones who predicted Britain was f***ed outside the Euro? You know, the experts, the commentators, the financial press, the business ‘community’?

            We will thrive if we leave.

  • mike_in_brum

    Ian Buruma is Dutch. Of course he wants us to stay, so that they can keep on scrounging on us. F.O. back to where you come from!

  • JohnJ

    This article is like the froth on the cheap cappuccino I had this morning.
    England’s greatness was national pride that drove thousands and thousands of tiny workshops and inventors. You poms invented just about everything worthwhile around the world from calculus to gravity. Someone please make a list. Then, if you stay in the EU hen house as just another chook, you can at least remember the days before bureaucracy ruled, before short grey suited men scurried around with compliance lists checking and clucking, checking and clucking, checking…

  • MikePage

    Do you still live with your mum, Ian?

    • OmnipotentWizard

      Wizard Rule 77: People that are losing an argument will often try to discredit the person they are arguing with. (In football this tactic is known as “Playing The Man”)

      • MikePage

        I take it you don’t understand my point then.

        • OmnipotentWizard

          I understand it very well – you want to portray your protagonist as someone who doesn’t have the experience/knowledge/intelligence/balance that you have so you can pretend that your opinion is more valid than his.

          This is an unworthy debating tactic used by people who are struggling to find a counter-argument.

          • MikePage

            Speaking of the argument, do you have ANYTHING to contribute or are you just going to run up and down the touchline blowing your whistle?

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “…do you have ANYTHING to contribute…” Yes – I’ve shown up your illogical bias for what it is.

          • UKSteve

            Err no, only in your wildest dreams.

            You’ve only posted bilge about “we eat 4 times as much food because we’re in the EU”. I can only assume you’ve missed a dose of meds.

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “According to a report produced by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), Britons spent £31 billion on eating out in 2006, compared with some £7 billion in 1981.”

            DO’H!!!

          • UKSteve

            Well that’s me convinced!

            “Nurse, he’s out of bed again!”

          • OmnipotentWizard

            “Well that’s me convinced!” Hardly.

            Wizard Rule 80: There are none so blind as those who don’t want to see.

          • MikePage

            That’s not argument, that’s ad hom.

          • UKSteve

            It’s all he ever does. Claims to have “worked in Australia in the 1970s”, but posting style is of a 14-year old.

          • MikePage

            As old as that?

            Sorry – channelling Ed Reardon. Yes, it is two Ls.

  • Boleslaw Bierut

    Is Spectator turning PC EU?

  • 4194

    Both the Spectator and DT seem to be softening their anti EU lines, probably realising Brexit increases the cost of our EU trade with tariffs and rules of origin on goods and services, customs admin and border checks on goods, uncertain FDI and fewer jobs (resulting in hard up newspaper customers). Higher bills for business and households, a devalued pound and further economic recession. Possibly too little too late though, the polls are now seemingly with Brexit.

    • KingEric

      Are you a BSE stooge?

      • 4194

        And you Brexit moron, perhaps.

        • UKSteve

          Ahhhh….there it is at last – I suspected it was there all along. We have your measure at last.

          Feigns “discussion” of the arguments, all the while regarding Leave voters as “morons”.

          • 4194

            Provide a convincing alternative economic model for the UK post a Brexit.

          • UKSteve

            ….And responds to posts without even reading them.

            Already provided – multiple times.

      • MikePage

        That’s a mental picture I can’t unsee!

    • Tom Cullem

      The EU is unsustainable in its current form – it is now on the brink of selling Europe to a blackmailing dictator in Turkey for a tenuous and impractical solution to a problem the EU should have seen coming lo these two years past. Its incompetence is ruining the continent.

      The truth is, if Brexit prevails (and frankly I don’t think the polls really reflect that) it will be partly the EU’s fault for not securing its external borders a long time ago, and putting Turkey’s hands around Europe’s windpipe, and presenting Europeans already unhappy and angry about the cultural impact of mindless immigration policies over the last few decades, with the spectre of adding millions of Turks to the equation.

      And lastly, what the EU is really afraid of is that if Brexit prevails, you will see strong movements in Denmark, France, and Holland, for starters, in the same direction. In the end, Brexit will end up being moot, and you will see a two-tiered EU.

      Merkel’s migrant policy and the EU’s incompetence, forcing her and it in a bid to save their respective political derrieres into a blackmailer’s deal with Turkey, just might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

      • 4194

        The EU is a customs union not a federal state. It has no army and few member States seem to want that. Hence the external border failed at its weakest links, but fairly quickly scotched by fences, including the UK’s at Calais.
        The US which contributes 75% of the NATO budget wants Europe to do more for its own region. The UK share is about 7%.
        The migration crisis remains problematic for Schengen, needed to facilitate cost effective goods transport. Hence a needed revision for NATO responsibilities, to cope with future disturbances such as Syria and stem free movement in to Europe. But Turkey strategic geography and Muslim history presents a huge obstacle to NATO strategy in the Med region.
        Cameron’s renegotiation is in effect creating the opportunity for Associate status, possibly for others as well, especially should TTIP emerge.

        • Edward Smith

          The EU makes no secret that its ambition is to transform the Eurozone into a federal state. This has always been the ambition since the very formation of the EEC as stipulated in the treaty of Rome. So your statement on this amounts to outright deception on Heathite proportions.

          The point is not so much that Britain is poised to become part of a federal European state but that the Eurozone is, and that when this occurs Britain will be totally dominated by it.

          In that scenario, EU laws and regulations would be made entirely in the interest of the federal union and not the UK, whose interests would be quite different. In particular, the red card system that Cameron has negotiated is worthless; how would it be possible for Britain to persuade half of Europe to vote against its own interests in order to protect a single member state? The critical thing from Britain’s perspective, is the ability to act alone to protect its own interests, and that means the right of veto and significant powers returned to the UK Parliament.

          Angel Merkel has openly expressed a wish to create an EU army, and it is actually the failure of the EU to deal with the geopolitical challenges that it is currently facing that will be used as a precedent to create it.

          Perhaps your most ludicrous claim is that Cameron’s renegotiation has created an associate status for the UK. Since the Eurozone is intent on becoming a fully-fledged federation and makes no secret of it, even if British ‘exemption from ever closer union’ were actualised, Britain would end up an impotent satellite on the periphery of a European Federation, and that, is the best David Cameron can offer us.

          • Ed White

            Well said.

          • 4194

            And is a mere desperate cry for the past.

          • Edward Smith

            I assume you’re one of those fools that go around proclaiming that ‘Westphalian sovereignty’ is obsolete.

            It is only obsolete if you make it so; it’s all relative.

            In 100 years time all of the world’s political entities will be nation states. All these supranational projects would have collapsed and hence, we would have learnt enough from the mistakes of the post-war supranationalists to not emulate their failings.

          • 4194

            Hyberbola

          • 4194

            The EU-N. America trade bloc (40% of world gdp, and much more with TPP Pacific group included) will likely determine the direction of future world trade regulations. Cameron’s renegotiation is designed with that strategic purpose for the UK’s 2% of world gdp. A stand alone UK would be negotiating FTAs in a world of large trade blocs. Best to tap in to the EU negotiated FTAs, already more than 50 strong and quickly growing.
            As for a European army, the US contributes 75% of the NATO budget and wants EU to do more for its region.

          • Edward Smith

            Like all clandestine political projects (the Soviet Union included), the EU will fail. When it collapses it will be devastating – it has already wrecked the economies of many of its member states and will not cease doing so until the project ends in disaster, which it inevitably will.

            The EU is as good as the Titanic heading towards an iceberg, best we abandon ship while we still can.

            As for TTIP, this will clearly be a disaster for Europe, giving American corporations undue economic influence in the continent. This, I can assure you, is not in the interests of the people of Europe.

            I can only encourage you not to delude yourself anymore.

          • 4194

            Dream on in unreal conjecture. If it happens it’ll get sorted, and we’ll move on to the next piece of human purposeful endeavour or disappointment, as always. Triumph and disaster etc.- Kipling.

          • Edward Smith

            ‘If it happens it’ll get sorted’. Yes, it might.

            Assuming the collapse of the EU hasn’t crippled the economies of the former nation states of Europe beyond repair to the point where law and order itself has broken down.

            If it does ‘get sorted’, it will be through a return to nation states, the ultimate political reality.

        • WTF

          Thank goodness it has no army !

    • Edward Smith

      Absolute nonsense.

      The remain campaign is an elite sleight of hand. It’s an exertion of the interests of the empowered over the interests of the powerless.

      Much of this elite is part of, or directly affiliated with major corporations, all of whom leverage their financial might to scare the populace away from acting in its own interests and voting to leave.

      Even in the unlikely event that the UK couldn’t strike a free trade deal with the EU, the UK would still be better off after striking FTAs with non-EU nations. Why? Because we currently are currently subject to tariffs on most imports/exports from non-EU nations whom the EU doesn’t have an FTA with (and this is a very large number.

      The FDI and jobs remark is total tosh, and you know it.

      – The elite profits from the lower wages, which are driven down my mass migration.

      – Benefits from EU regulation. Their corporations can afford to take the burden of this regulation, in fact they often dictate and approve it themselves while their market-share competitors in the SMEs are driven out of business. This increases the market share of such corporations and thus entrenches their monopolies.

      – Benefits from the many access points of the EU: Unlike the SMEs, these big corporations can afford for lobbyists to have EU regulation tailor made to their interests. The elite likes the clandestine bureaucratic structure of the EU for this reason, there are more figures to rub shoulders with (bureaucrats, MEPs, etc.) and hence there is greater capacity for corruption.

      The EU is nothing less than a cabal between bureaucrats and corporations, with the corporations lavishly supporting the oligarchs in the commission in return for de facto monopolies or cartels. This is why the Brexit campaign is being being blitzed by these ridiculous scare stories, the likes of which you are peddling.

      This is a war of conflicting interests, and those that advocate Remain do not do so on behalf of the greater good of the wider population.

      • 4194

        The EU has over 50 FTAs and growing quickly. The India FTA is only being held up by UK resistance to worker transfer demands by India negotiators, and China does not yet have market economy status, and shouldn’t until dumping is resolved. US Pacific TPP, TTIP, and CETA also might emerge. Not much useful left.
        As for large corporations they feed the SMEs and so largely control jobs creation.
        Moreover not enough of UK SMEs export hence our huge trade deficit, and need to do much better, not let them off universal trade regulations.
        The rest of your argument on globalised cabals is waffle.
        I’m only interested in jobs and prosperity for British workers.

        • Edward Smith

          One of the reasons why the SMEs struggle to export is because of the EU regulation that is imposed upon them.

          Before the EU existed in its current form we had a purer form of free-market capitalism. The EU is only entrenching corporate monopolies, these monopolies are anti-free market and stifle the operations of the SMEs which form the bedrock of the British economy.

          Aside from the argument over national sovereignty which subsumes every other argument. The economic case for Brexit remains compelling. While Britain remaining in the EU might be in the interests of the EU itself, it is not in the national interest of Britain. It makes no sense to talk of the national interest within a supranational body.

          Brexit will guarantee the UK the primacy of its supreme court, a non-debased democracy and economic prosperity through its newfound ability to tailor international decisions and free trade agreements to its own interests.

          • 4194

            EU regulations haven’t hindered the top EU exporters out performing the UK in world export markets and intra EU trade itself.
            The rest of your sovereignty points are determined by countries sharing in order to benefit trade from unfettered access to the EU customs union.
            As for UK national interest this has always been to try to ensure through alliances that no individual country dominates European politics or military. That’s still so today through the EU and NATO.
            Trade agreements are mostly guided(dictated) by the bigger economy. That’s increasingly regional blocs not individual countries. Not much advantage available to a go it alone UK in the context of EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, Mercosur, TPP, China one, and gradually Africa, India has self inflicted problems.
            Brexit offers very little compared to the potential economic downsides.

          • Edward Smith

            First and foremost, your comment about British foreign policy is indicative of a monumental misunderstanding. The ‘national interest’ of which you speak, maintaining the continental balance of power has completely failed.

            The idea was to have a continent comprised of nation states so that no singular power could dominate the continent against British interests. That is exactly what has happened through a German dominated EU.

            Secondly: I refer you to this excellent and wholly balanced IEA blueprint for Brexit: http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/Brexit%20Entry%20170_final_bio_web.pdf

          • 4194

            Prove it. UK gdp per head is in the top group of developed countries, having been transformed from the ‘sick man of Europe’ jibe a few decades ago.

          • UKSteve
        • blavozy10

          At last someone writing some common sense. The Brexiteers are unable to clearly set out the costs and implications of Brexit while attacking anyone who points out the supposed advantages of remaining within the EU including easily verified facts. Why are they unable to set out the advantages the UK would get in the medium and long-term from leaving, why can they not tell people how long it would take and how much would it cost ? Presumably because they are still arguing amongst themselves and are worried that providing any factual information would make the Brexit case seem even weaker than it already is.

          • Edward Smith

            Right here, a very strong, balanced case for Brexit:

            http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/Brexit%20Entry%20170_final_bio_web.pdf

            Far stronger than any of the bilge the remainers come out with.

          • blavozy10

            Thanks – a quick read does certainly highlight some interesting issues including the risks of things going wrong with Brexit – lots of ” should,” ” could”
            and definitely warns on uncertainity created by a Leave vote. And obviously the IEA study may not be the most impartial commentator, but still worth looking at.

          • Edward Smith
          • 4194

            Prove it.

          • Edward Smith

            We have to leave to do that.

          • 4194

            So we’re again back to Brexit’s lack of a convincing alternative economic model for the UK.

          • Edward Smith

            The compelling economic case for Brexit is almost entirely long-term.

            The EU is the only declining trade block in the world and the UK would be mad to shackle itself to it. 40% of our exports may go there now, but this figure will be much lower in 20-30 years’ time as the UK’s trade with the EU continues to decline relative to the world’s emerging economies. Once that is the case, any rationale for having any special economic arrangement with the EU would be redundant.

            I see no reason why Britain should struggle to strike Free Trade Agreements with non-EU nations. With regards to the EU, I see no obstacles to the UK gaining membership of the European Economic Area or European Union Customs Union; this would surely guarantee the UK free trade with EU member states. Even if there were no FTA with the EU the WTO would limit the amount of tariffs it could impose on British exports, notwithstanding the fact that the UK runs a trade deficit with the EU thus making any imposition of tariffs tantamount to economic self-harm on the part of the EU. The UK would reciprocate the tariffs and since the UK buys far more goods from the EU than the EU does from the UK, it would be EU producers that bore the brunt of such retaliation. This is notwithstanding the fact that the UK would be liberated from its tariffs on non-EU imports and exports.

            Let‘s not forget, just twenty years ago people like yourself were lining up to extol the virtues of the Euro, and look what happened. The anti-Brexit stories are remarkably similar to the stories that were bandied around during the debate as to whether Britain should join the single currency. As it happened it was the campaign to maintain Sterling that had the last laugh.

            When we leave, we will prove you and your ilk wrong once again.

            http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/Brexit%20Entry%20170_final_bio_web.pdf

          • blavozy10

            Unfortunately you’re absolutely wrong — I thought the euro was a very bad idea from the very start and would lead to major problems — as it has , But that doesn’t mean the UK should walk away from the EU, much better to
            remain and influence developments as they happen. Maintaining the balance of power within Europe as the UK had done for some 300 years will be easier if we are still within the EU — but in the poltiical union, nor in the eurozone –rather than sitting on the outside.

          • Edward Smith

            As it happens we have no influence. We would have more influence if we were actually part of the Eurozone and on track to be part of the forthcoming federation.

            The fact that we didn’t join the Euro means that we won’t have anything more than satellite status with the EU – it’s the worst of both worlds. The decisions will be tailor made to the Eurozone, while the UK will still be subordinate to the European Court of Justice. It is because we’re not fully in the club that we have no influence.

            Less than 5% of the officials in the EU Commission are British, it’s ludicrous to say we hold significant sway in the EU.

            The EU itself has completely distorted the balance of power on the continent. The balance of power was meant to be comprised of nation states, not a federation emulating the Zollverein.

          • 4194

            Compared to unfettered access to the single market, any form of FTA including EEA/EFTA and WTO rules increases the cost of our EU trade due to specific tariffs, rules of origin on goods and services, customs admin and border checks on goods, FDI uncertainty and not all sectors are likely to be included. Higher bills for business and households and a devalued pound. EU exports to the UK would gradually fall, so they would unlikely be willing to offer much in post Brexit negotiations.
            The top EU exporters already out perform the UK in world markets for goods, except a few niches and services, we’re ranked around 15th on productivity and bottom of the G7. Our SMEs don’t export enough.It will take decades of FDI to expand our rest of the world trade and so reduce the vast EU portion, while trying to compete against more competent foreign companies, notwithstanding that our top exporters are mostly foreign owned companies and their supply networks shifting about according to need.

          • WTF

            Tariffs cut both ways, give it up please !

          • 4194

            A cop out comment.

          • WTF

            Do you honestly believe that the UK wouldn’t apply tariffs on EU goods if they applied tariffs to UK goods ? That’s not a cop out comment, that’s common sense !

            As for the rest of your previous diatribe, its all fluff, speculation with no facts to back it up. You might look a little credible if your posts links to fact sheets on your vacuous claims but sadly there aren’t any !

          • 4194

            Obviously the UK could apply tariffs in response to the EU mandatory externals tariff regime. The problem is that most of our top exporters, especially vehicles are foreign owned, so probably would gradually shift production to the EU. Even more so since many items are sourced from within the EU and merely assembled in the UK.
            Hence with the EU about 45% of our trade, a FTA would be imperative for the UK, which would then involve rules of origin on goods and services, customs admin and border checks on goods. Also finance and services and other sectors would be difficult to negotiate, e.g. CETA and TTIP.
            Only by being a member of the customs union allows unfettered access, hence Cameron’s desperation to stay in. Not too mention uncertainty for FDI and the £ exchange rate.

          • WTF

            Too much supposition over what if with no actual facts that back it up, blatant fear baiting.

          • UKSteve

            I think you’re wasting your time wit this paid(?) tr0ll, WTF.

            He doesn’t read any links to any evidence, and as we’ve seen, he knows nothing.

          • WTF

            I agree, if only the captain of the Titanic had such advance warning of a disaster in the making !

          • UKSteve

            We are – while you remain as ignorant and uninformed as a fence post.

            Just between you and I, is it lucrative being a paid, but clueless shill for the EU?

            Here, have a read; you might not sound so intensely foolish.

          • WTF

            Nothing there that proves advantageous to the UK, any other points you care to make ! Perhaps you should debate the facts I’ve posted above !

        • UKSteve

          If only you’d read more.

          • 4194

            The Wikipedia list is much more comprehensive, and also lists FTAs under negotiation. Neither the US, EFTA or Switzerland have more.
            The UK might be the 5th largest by gdp, but also has the highest budget deficit to gdp ratio in the EU, and the highest current account deficit to by gdp ratio. Indeed is one of the few EU countries with a trade deficit, and the lowest productivity of the G7. Huge problems, restated by yesterday’s budget announcements.

          • UKSteve

            Your point was erroneous deeply flawed (it was Wikipedia after all), and so easily destroyed. With appropriate stewardship – and not this over-privileged, clueless, whey-faced poltroon – we can surmount those problems, but not while we’re crippled by EU membership.

          • 4194

            Dream on

          • UKSteve

            Brilliant and persuasive comeback.

            Not.

          • 4194

            You make yet another pointless comment

          • 4194
          • UKSteve

            ???

            All that page does is list the Overseas Countries and Territories separately. The second category is insupportive, because they could mostly be ‘in negotiation’.

            Your stance seems to be based on this utterly cretinous notion that if we vote Leave, we ‘immediately stop trade and stop speaking to the EU nations, so therefore we must look for alternative trading groups.’

            This is why I’m convinced that it is only perpetuated by paid agitators and propagandists, such as yourself.

            Our trade deficit with the EU is beyond staggering 0 and just hit record levels last quarter.

    • Andrew

      DT is advertising – e.g. advertorial from Osborne’s buddy from AXA which benefited so much from the Franco-German wrecking of the UK insurance export market by the EUs anti Anglo racist regulators.
      Spectator is trying to allow freedom of speech.

  • Dukeofplazatoro

    Yes, in theory Britain ought to have clout in the institutions which shape our laws, but in reality it is either not used or the calibre of those negotiating for us is so woeful we don’t effectively have any clout at all.

    This was what was satirised and explained in the recent Spectator where Cameron is depicted opening a silver salver to reveal something which looks like a lump of sugar wrapped in a Union Jack. As the issue explains, in theory he was a strong position to achieve concessions by threatening “Brexit”. In practice we got the Prime Ministers of Hungary and Poland telling us how to organise our social benefits.

    So it is no surprise that many, rather than trusting dodgy characters like the Kinnocks and Mandelson to negotiate on our behalf, we would prefer our own MPs, who – however bad they may be – are at least answerable o the electorate.

  • trobrianders

    More sovereignty and absolute sovereignty are different things

    • Edward Smith

      The question is not ‘are we sovereign or are we not?’ so your statement about ‘absolute sovereignty’ is redundant. The question is, ‘is the UK sovereign enough?’ to which the answer is no.

      Sovereignty is a spectrum, not a dichotomy.

      • trobrianders

        Precisely my point

      • UKSteve

        Indeed. I see the Tampon Tax (VAT) was applied(!) because the EU insisted on it.

  • Tom Cullem

    Sure we have more clout as we are – as soon as that deal with Turkey gets pushed through by a desperate EU, we’ll have all the clout we need to refuse entry to a few million Turks now on the same visa-free footing as other EU workers, on top of the millions of Eastern Europeans flooding in to undercut local worker wages, and increasing the erosion of European Judeo-Christian culture and finishing off Britain’s transition to just another Euromess. Right? Oh, and on top of the 10,000 failed asylum seekers we have to release into the streets after 28 days who, of course, will disappear into the shadows never to be seen again, and on top of the one million plus illegal immigrants that the Immigration Office has already admitted it doesn’t have the financial resources to track down and deport.

    The EU dislikes and has ignored Britain for most of its time in the EU although it is, of course, happy to take our billions in dues and offload its unemployed onto our shores. The EU is corrupt, incompetent, and its handling of the migrant crisis has finished off Europe.

    We can’t even get our fisheries issue settled, let alone control our borders.

    Maybe we can wrest the Mjolnir out of Merkel’s hands and bring it to Britain?

    • Roger Hudson

      The EU visa plan is just for 3 month visit visas, no right to work. They haven’t said if it is a Schengen visa or for all countries.
      No Turkish visas of any sort ,please.

  • WarriorPrincess111111

    If it is the same person, Ian Buruma lives in the US!!!!
    Had the above author any idea whatsoever – he would realise that the UK has very little influence within the EU as it is. 98% of the policies issued by the EU that were contested by British ministers – were passed! Some influential power that is. The activity of the EU has different intentions to those of Britain – it has become far more invasive in people’s lives than any agency employed to encourage trade between members would necessitate. Only those who are ignorant of the history of the EU and its numerous failures, the poverty and the pressures that the general British public are experiencing that has increased in the years since our membership and which never existed in our history before that time – there are so many reasons for the UK to separate from this historical failure – it is a pity that people who publish such reports are totally unaware of the reasons behind the British people’s purpose.

  • Romanian nurses? I haven’t come across many of them though there may be some. What I have come across in very large number is Romanian Big Issue Sellers which in my town have displaced just about all the old British Big Issue Sellers completely. I don’t know where the other ones went, but I’m pretty sure they were intimidated out of all the pitches by the newcomers. They were there for years, and now there are none. I’ came across six swarthy naves at a Magistrates Court when I went to give evidence the other week. Six out of about a dozen defendants and none of them appeared to know one another either. I’m assuming they were Roma, swarthy, stocky and speaking some east European language to their interpreters as they prepared to appear before the beak. 152,000 Romanians registered for NI numbers in 2014/15. Remember how the liberal elite mocked at concerns that they would flood in? I can. Glib, North London contempt for the working class obsession with being pushed out of a job, or a home is so contemptible isn’t it? So uneducated and common.

    • UKSteve

      Mostly Filipino (nurses).

      We caused a crisis shortage in nursing staff over there 10 years ago, because some of them are well-trained at the Subic Bay USN base.

  • Roger Hudson

    UK parliamentary sovereignty can be absolute, if people want. Any treaty can be reneged by a revolutionary sovereign parliament.

    • Edward Smith

      I believe the UK should leave the EU. Though I don’t believe that it is a question of ‘are we absolutely sovereign or are we not?’. I do however, understand the sentiment behind what you are saying.

      Sovereignty is a spectrum, so the question is more ‘are we sovereign enough?’ to which the answer is a resounding ‘no’.

      In effect we surrender sovereignty to a multitude of international organisations (WTO, WHO, ICAO etc.), so in this sense not even a nation like Japan is ‘absolutely sovereign’.

      A nation like Japan, however, is significantly more sovereign than the UK. Most importantly the Japanese people are under the supreme jurisdiction of Japanese courts.

      The British people are under the supreme jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and this is the crucial component of the argument.

      If Britain is to be independent in the true sense its supreme court must be supreme. As it stands it isn’t, and this can only be detrimental to the British national interest.

      • Roger Hudson

        And Japanese courts can order the ultimate penalty if it wants.

  • I had to stop reading at around the second or third time you tried to persuade me of what massive influence Britain has. Were you following Cameron’s renegotiation at all? I suspect not.

    Idiot.

  • Tickertapeguy

    First no European nation should belong to the European Union. It has been a disaster since its founding.

    Throughout Great Britain’s history what made her exceptional is that she did not belong to the continent of Europe and had a personality that is unique to her relative isolation as an island nation.

    From the Magna Carta to the birth of the Church of England due to the division between the British Monarch King Henry the 8th and the Papacy Great Britain was exceptional.

    This carried to the age of the Elizabethan Era of a Protestant Queen and daughter of King Henry the 8th where Shakespeare’s brilliance blossomed.

    From there to the British Empire that eventually included a quarter of the globe to the Industrial Revolution that transformed Europe and went on to new levels in Protestant based America. It is the exceptional nature of Great Britain that made her a world power.

    When Great Britain joined the EU it was not at the height of her power but at one of her lowest levels of it. There are many reasons that support Brexit. I just provided a few historical reasons.

  • Tickertapeguy

    To quote the article “But now, so the proponents of Brexit like to claim, Britain is shackled by the tyranny of the EU, as though ‘Brussels’ were some alien dictatorship in which Britain plays no part.”

    Another way of saying this is that the “greatness” of the European Union is consolidated in the political capitals of Europe and her banks, but not with the people of Europe

    When whole scale predatory sexual attacks are done on European women, her leaders ignore that and continue to bring in massive numbers of Muslims and Africans. When the average European is physically attacked, often killed, marginalized and treated like a third world peasant by these refugees,Europe’s leaders deliberately ignore them and continue with anti European policies.

    That alone is a good reason why the European Union benefits the few elite and devastates the common man and woman of Europe.

  • Davedeparis

    The EU is, by design, simply and perfectly impervious to reform. Suggest it and Europhiles will suck their teeth and subject to a boring lecture about the Byzantine, bureaucratic, labyrinth that is the EU hoping to bore you into submission and thus achieve with sheer tedium what they cannot do with reason.

  • Andrew

    A lot of this article is about the tyranny of one generation to take away democracy from future ones, talking about stale over simplistic human rights and courts vastly inferior to English common law.
    As a political system the EU is a bureaucratic oligarchy with only 2 nation states having any real influence – Germany and France.
    The British are allowed very little input. The head of the Bavarian German Coalition party and the former German Ambassador to the EU said the same thing – we do not want a British Europe – and the racist anti UK recruitment figures to the EU support that.
    What we have is the lowest common denominator of France and Germany labelled as being “European” when all that is the EU cesspit of special interest greed, with the Junkers and Shultz;s floating to the top.
    The Francophone bureaucracy presides over a heart of darkness vicious campaign against other interests – whether wrecking the fisheries from West Africa, to Newfoundland, and attacking the city of London for blatantly nationalistic reasons.
    The Merkel/German control of the executive has caused havoc with mass immigration, and their destruction of the southern European economy by enforcing internal deflation, has caused huge unemployment and mass migration to the UK. In a monument to their callous blindness they actually lecture the UK about not breaking their rules on freedom of movement, when German policy caused it in the first place. Add to that the thinly veiled supremacist views that the German leaders are using to justify their policies, and to me it seems they are heading towards a 4th Reich.
    These things are a disgusting perversion of European values, and I see nothing British, English or indeed personal values that could be shared. Best to rip it up and start again.

  • Jonathan Burns

    Amazing how Australia, Canada and New Zealand manage to survive, without surrendering sovereignty.

    What awful countries they must be, compared to the blessed members of the EU?

  • WTF

    I totally disagree for these reasons. If anyone bothers to list the pros and cons on the main issues that surround EU membership like the economy, jobs, EU legislation, border control, immigration, multiculturalism and diversity, if comes out like this.

    By far the majority of British citizens are neutral over arguments surrounding the economy whether we stay or leave. We don’t really know, the experts are 50/50 as are the politicians and they don’t know either. For every claimed negative there’s a positive to counter it.

    There is however a growing negative view towards job opportunities if we remain thanks to low skill British workers being further squeezed out of the workforce by cheap labor from eastern Europe. To add insult to injury,they can even send benefits home to non resident families.

    EU legislation although not a major sticking point yet, people are becoming more aware the EU legislates over 66% of the laws we rubber stamp and they’re starting to object to it. In fact its worse than that, un-elected European Council ministers draft and put forward new legislation, the MEP’s rubber stamp it and our civil servants apply it in the UK. Our elected members of parliament have no say whatsoever in the process !

    The real negatives to remaining in the EU are the four main issues of border control,immigration, multiculturalism and diversity, all of which are inter-related. People don’t want un-vetted immigration of the sort Mad Merkel has brought to Europe and they’ve had their fill of our own multiculturalism and diversity without adding more from the EU.

    There’s a lot of plus points here to leave without adding the savings of our membership fee.
    The remainers can keep their eyes wide shut, refuse to list the pros and cons, but many others like me take time out to create a shopping list over whether we’re better in or out rather than relying on ideological dogma.

    • Richard Lally

      I disagree but it makes a change to read a pro-exit argument that is not just the usual emotional rant.

      I accept there are some advantages to leaving but one argument for staying trumps all the arguments for leaving:
      “If Britain wants to retain access to the single European market from the outside, it would still have to abide by EU laws and regulations, but without any influence on their creation”.

      • WTF

        No one and not even the EU has stated that the UK will be denied access to the EU for trade if we leave, you seem to be implying there might be a trade embargo of sorts. In fact, your point can be used just as easily to disadvantage the EU to our market especially with the imbalance of trade between us. It is an indisputable fact that we buy more from them than they buy from us and its in neither of our interests to start a p**sing contest against each other.

        The simple fact is trade will continue as Merkel wont want to see tariffs put on German cars if the EU slaps tariffs on our exports to the EU as that’s in no ones interest. Its virtually certain there will be some sort of new trade agreement between the UK & EU but in any negotiation we’ll still have the trade imbalance as a bargaining chip in our favor. In fact, I’d suggest that the EU would have little option than to settle for existing trade terms but with us outside of the EU given that imbalance of trade.

        Naturally compliance rules would apply but they have applied for decades on products exported to European countries and whereas I as a project manager had to deal with different French, German, Dutch etc regs for electronic products decades ago, it would be no different in or outside the EU dealing with only one bode (CE) now compliance is harmonized. These aren’t serious issues or even obstacles that the UK as an exporter hasn’t had to deal with for decades anyway.

        As far as influence in their creation we have little influence anyway. Just look at the vacuum cleaner compliance that German companies finagled by using non real world testing of power consumption, or VW and the pollution scam. Then we have the kettle power consumption reduction that will ban kettles below a certain wattage despite it not saving any energy. My point is we have no say even if the legislation is completely and utterly flawed technically but on kettles it wont matter much as most kettles sold are used by Brits not continentals and we could continue using kettles that use less energy to make a cup of tea because they have a higher power element and boil proportionately quicker and have loss heat loss overall.

        • hobspawn

           “In fact, I’d suggest that the EU would have little option than to settle for existing trade terms but with us outside of the EU given that imbalance of trade.”

          Amen. I’m in central London, looking out of a window. I wonder what the streets would look like without all the Mercs, BMWs, Audis and Volkswagens. An interesting opportunity.

          • WTF

            We wouldn’t have any diesel polluting VW’s and I’d like to see the homologation body in the UK retract type approval for all German cars that fail to comply to emission standards and see the matter end up in the courts. That would give Mad Merkel something else to think about.

          • 4194

            I can at last agree with you on emission standards.
            But your implied prejudice against German cars in particual probably awaits disappointment post a Brexit. Luxury cars have high margins well able to absorb UK imposed tariffs and even sterling devaluation. In contrast UK assembled cars are largely cheap run-abouts on tight margins. Production likely would be shifted by the foreign manufacturers to more competitive locations when faced with the EU external tariff (10%). Devaluation of the £ wouldn’t help much because so much of the content is sourced from within the EU.
            So back to a FTA and all the incumbencies.
            Pity the Tory party that has to face the electorate after damaging Brexit consequences, dispatched to oblivion my guess.

        • Richard Lally

          “It is an indisputable fact that we buy more from them than they buy from us”.
          Agreed.
          Which is why they will have no problem applying non-member tariffs to our sales to them (which will hurt British business) unless we agree to comply with rules we have no say in!

          • WTF

            What part of a tariff war don’t you understand. If they apply tariffs we apply the same percentage tariffs in return and and as we buy 300 billion from them and they buy 200 billion from us, if the tariff in both directions was 10%, we would be better off by 10 billion. Do the simple maths !

          • Richard Lally

            I am smiling because I agree with your maths but not your conclusion!

            I think what you are not taking into account is that they are many and we are one.

            For an individual country in the EU Britain is a small player compared to the rest of the EU. A tariff war would mean that each EU country would have a small problem with Britain but still deal freely with all the other EU countries whilst Britain would have a tariff war with every country in the EU.

            But the real point is that it won’t come to a tariff war because what will happen is the EU will give us good trade terms and in return we will agree to abide by all the EU rules and standards WE HAVE NO SAY IN.

            Checkmate I think!

          • WTF

            If Iceland with 300,000 people can negotiate a trade deal with China surely you think a country of 60 million or so could negotiate trade deals anywhere in the world. I’m not suggesting we ignore the EU as they certainly wont ignore the 300 billion they get from us. Especially as a very large chunk of that isn’t the EU its goes to Germany and they can little afford to make up shortfalls from our contribution or trade imbalance.

            I’m not advocating a tariff war and its unlikely to happen but even if tariffs were applied, it would be a EU Tariff not separate French, German, Spanish tariffs so your point there is irrelevant and wrong.

            I’ve already pointed out that for decades we have been used to dealing with product compliance in other countries so that’s a non issue. As for EU rules, lets re-label that to “A Re-negotiated Trade Deal” because that is what it would be in practice. Sorry, fear baiting doesn’t work here anymore.

          • Richard Lally

            Your points are fine in themselves but they don’t really address my point that to trade on good terms with all those EU countries Britain will have to comply with conditions it has no say in.
            I believe I have been making valid points that don’t deserve to be dismissed as “fear baiting” but I admit I am afraid because I believe that not only will both Britain and Europe be worse off if Britain has no say in defining the EU, but also a weaker EU is the last thing humanity needs given (I summarize) Putin, China and muslims.

          • WTF

            Back in the 1980’s I rang a international support department for an IT company that had to ensure that our products met with every different European country on a one by one basis rather than common EU compliance. Complying with technical conditions is extremely easy these days to the EU & USA compliance (western compliance). As for trading rules, it would be no different for the EU & USA where we would have separate trading agreements whilst for the rest of the world, its generally back handers to the local agent with no product compliance. That’s the reality of world trade which I experienced first hand and it hasn’t changed except its far easier now on the European compliance front irrespective of whether you are in or out of the EU. Think iPhones in the EU for example despite a European GSM system that is different to the USA.

            As far as being worse off apart, that depends on both sides and negotiating a trade deal as there’s no practical reason for either side to be worse off unless a “you’re not playing in my sand pit’ attitude appears from Brussels.

            As for Putin, China and Muslims –

            The EU stirred the pot with Russia over the Ukraine instead of keeping their nose out of it. They virtually gave the Ukraine a nod and a wink that they would support them if they left Russia’s sphere of influence and look what happened there. China, well isn’t a direct threat but what if they are, there’s nothing the EU can or will do. On migrants, Mad Merkel is on this quest to bring Sharia law into Europe and that alone should give us reason to leave the EU.

            Lets face it, the EU and a common Foreign Policy is an oxymoron with 28 states with 28 different agendas who can’t even agree on local internal matters. I understand we are all funding EU embassies around the world, why ? What can they achieve on world peace, what can they contribute, what can they stand up for, what authority do they have. Unless you have a true Federal States of Europe like the USA, its pointless but that’s looking ever more unlikely now or even if the EU survives as it currently is. The EU has made itself weaker and the UK leaving will add very little to diminishing their power.

            .

          • 4194

            To repeat, any arrangement outside the customs union invokes ROOs, customs admin and border checks on goods. Services and finance would also not be included in a deal with the EU.
            A country with a large trade deficit would not want to increase export costs, especially with such comparatively low productivity as the UK and highly dependent on FDI. Indeed having spent the last 4 decades of FDI aimed at the single market a sudden departure from a customs union would not go without consquences for our trade.

          • WTF

            You poor boy, with trading everything is negotiable, that’s what trade is about !

          • 4194

            waffle

          • Richard Lally

            I am an IT person too. In the 90’s I was based for a while in Paris and thereafter in Brussels implementing Europe-wide computer systems.

            I know some people go to Europe and see how different it is but what I see is superficial differences overlaying fundamental similarities. This is partly because I have also worked in Hong Kong and Jakarta – if you think Paris is different to London you should visit Jakarta!

          • WTF

            Not quite the same thing as you were implementing IT system with products obviously approved in those countries by whatever means. My team had to get the products we wished to sell approved in those countries and that included HK, S. Korea and Japan.

          • 4194

            Iceland has mainly fish to exchange for tariff free Chinese manufactures. In exchange China has got a foothold in Arctic resources.
            Iceland also has to confront high processed fish products tariffs for its EU trade.

          • WTF

            And ? Whats your point ?

          • 4194

            A UK FTA with China would be a non starter while they’re not yet classified as a market economy and dumping. WTO rules at best for now.

          • WTF

            Little Iceland seemed to have managed a trade agreement with China.

          • 4194

            Easy, just give China what it wants. Switzerland did as well.

          • WTF

            Read and digest instead of posting personal and vacuous opinions. Remainiacs like you are full of it with assertions but vacant when it comes to facts. Do you ever bother to research any real facts or did the EU give you a brain transplant ?

            https://www.mfa.is/foreign-policy/trade/free-trade-agreement-between-iceland-and-china/

            http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2015/05/05/what-the-eu-could-learn-from-switzerlands-free-trade-agreement-with-china/

          • 4194

            You produce facts relevant to the UK not Iceland and Switzerland.

          • WTF

            Perhaps you don’t get it, the whole point about producing facts about Iceland and Switzerland is to draw comparisons of what the UK could be under the same remit as them. There are no facts about the UK being in the same arrangement as these to countries with the EU and that’s exactly the point of the comparison of what could be.

            Many endeavors carried out by a person, individuals or a country are very often mirrored from previous endeavors as in the case of all those mountain climbers who have reached the top of Everest after Hillary and Tensing were the first to do it. Most succeed and a few may fail but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try if the will and incentive is there and it looks quite doable. In fact, that others have done it before will give you extra confidence that it can be done rather than listening to a barrage of fear baiting by the remainers.

          • 4194

            China needs to obtain market economy status as a starter, stop dumping, comply with intellectual property rights, worker rights and wages, SOEs and much more. The US TPP for example is open for China when it meets such requirements.

          • 4194

            It’s more complicated when UK exports contain a high proportion of parts sourced from the EU, which could be gradually relocated. Most of UK top exporters are now foreign owned.

          • WTF

            Yep, its always more complicated, complex, difficult to substantiate when there’s not really any facts to back up an assertion and the only post is a personal subjective point.

          • 4194

            waffle

          • UKSteve

            Recognised by a persistently excellent practitioner.

            Does being a forum shill for the EU pay well?

          • 4194

            Drivel

          • UKSteve

            Yes, we know that’s what you type, but does it pay well?

            You make yet another pointless comment.

          • 4194

            You’re just a bad loser.

          • UKSteve

            You’re just a tr0lling cret1n.

          • 4194

            ditto with knobs on

          • WTF

            Exactly my point, nothing to substantiate your position what so ever.

          • 4194

            You don’t have a sensible point.

          • WTF

            To use your excuse, “Its complicated” for you to understand !

          • 4194

            Just answer my point or shut up.

          • WTF

            I would if you had a point backed up with facts that I could answer to !

          • UKSteve

            Utter rubbish.

          • 4194

            Pointless comment, without a reasoned counter argument.

          • UKSteve

            Many are just not worth it – as in yours. It requires a Sisyphean act to get people who spout “utter rubbish” to see another point of view, when they don’t even read provided proofs and material. It is the path of least resistance to let them wallow in their own knowledge vacuum.

          • 4194

            waffle

          • 4194

            waffle

          • WTF

            Its always too complicated according to many remainers.

          • 4194

            And dead simple according to Brexiteers. Dead being relevant.

          • WTF

            Specifics ?

          • 4194

            No. You answer my point on FTA complications.

          • WTF

            You’re like a child being asked at school why he didn’t do his home work and replies “its complicated”. Its always complicated when you either refuse to do something you’re averse to or refuse to confront the truth.

          • UKSteve

            Yes, but first you have to go to a school, which it seems 4194 “studiously” avoided.

          • 4194

            You’re just a bad loser, unable to prove your case.

          • WTF
          • 4194

            Restating my point of view.
            Compared to unfettered access to the EU single market, any form of FTA after Brexit increases the cost of our EU trade, with tariffs, bureaucratic rules of origin on goods and services, burdensome customs admin and border checks on goods, legal wrangling on non-tariff clauses, and FDI uncertainty now well integrated in to the EU trade networks developed over recent decades. Our rest of the world trade can readily continue to expand from this solid platform.

          • WTF

            There is no such thing as unfettered access, what ever gave you that illusion and even Schengen is gone for the moment. There’s a raft of legislation and rules that we are required to follow that act as ‘fetters’ so its not any real different whether we deal with the EU in or outside it or any other country or trading block. Goods coming into a EU country have to be checked for correct paper work and country of origin to determine whether there will be tariffs required or not. I can’t drive a truck of booze from say Spain to another EU country without checks and that hasn’t changed since before we entered the EU or now. I find your simplistic attitude of sweeping all the issues aside as no longer existing as being disingenuous as there are still checks to be done on many issues of goods moving across the EU. You are trying to spin it as though I can just fly between EU countries without any intervention by the authorities when that’s patently not the case.

            Before the so called free movement of goods after we joined the EU, I personally had to clear UK and French (or others) customs with UK products BUT the amount of time I wasted checking in and ‘checking’ out at the other end were far less with customs involvement than what I now spend checking in and leaving without any goods. So much for progress !!!

            What went wrong I ask myself ?

          • 4194

            Even the EEA Agreement does not extend the EU Customs Union to the EEA EFTA States.

          • WTF

            There’s always bureaucracy when moving goods between countries for security reasons if nothing else and since Schengen is now defunct for all intents and purposes, there no longer is free movement of goods and people as previously envisioned.

            Perhaps the real point here over in/out is who fears it the most if we leave. Is it the people, not really as life BEU (Before EU) worked fine as has AEU (After EU) has worked and it will work again if we go back to the future. The people who are most afraid are all the civil servants, bureaucrats and politicians who fear for their positions due to the EU if we leave. Thats the real truth of the matter !

          • 4194

            Only as long as jobs and prosperity keep rolling in.
            And BEU the jibe was ‘sick man of Europe’. Our politicians are seemingly just as incompetent now as then, if the current NHS mess is a guide.

          • WTF

            In recent history BEU also includes military dictatorships in Spain, Portugal & Greece and not forgetting about WWII all across Europe and a Spanish civil war. That makes the UK rather benign in my book even if it was the sick man in Europe for a while which isn’t the case now. I million migrants from an alien culture in Germany will certainly go down well with the indigenous population as we’re seeing right now and its beginning to look like shades of the early 1930’s. Perhaps halting NHS freeloaders will significantly help the NHS recover if we’re out and don’t have to deal with Mad Merkels Migrants !

          • 4194

            I’m certainly with you on restricting NHS free loaders to almost zero. I would also want to go further with a new financial model, the current treasury block grant and Soviet style central planning seems set for collapse. State school education in its present form and method of funding hardly inspires either.

      • hobspawn

        That is very interesting. I was unaware that people in EU countries had no access to cheap Chinese products.

        You’re just a liar.

        • WTF

          In the 11 years I lived in Spain from 2004 to 2015 my town went from no Chinese discount stores to 20 but not only that, I regularly bought cheap items post free from China and had no issues with Spanish customs.

      • UKSteve

        You don’t read anything (you know, books, and such) at all, do you?

        http://www.eureferendum.com/documents/flexcit.pdf

  • Partner

    The usual tired an totally dishonest arguments are dragged out. Just because we are not 100% sovereign in all respects does not mean that sovereignty and freedom are illusions. I am sick of that particular bit of gross dishonesty. Showing a passport, taking about 5 minutes is a small price to pay for control of our borders. Oh dear? Are we as a nation really incapable of negotiating replacement bilateral arrangements for trade when these things move at a snail’s pace and everyone knows the stays quo will be preserved pending a negotiation that will take two or three years and everyone will lose interest within 4 months or so? Give the truly hopeless FCO some work to do intend of grovelling to their EU masters. Poor them .

    There is nothing here that is not a gross and unwarranted distortion pedalled 1000 times before by the adherents of EU – a cross between a religion founded on myth and a messianic cult.

  • Tamerlane

    If we weren’t in and we were being asked to join on June 23rd, would we?
    End of debate.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      We would join. There is no good reason not to.

  • Yorkman99

    Are the Inner changing tack? Now saying in or out it makes no difference.

  • DaHitman

    Thought this was a right-wing website, seems to be more Guardian/BBC these days

  • Marvin

    These obsessive that are totally content with forever swimming in the sewage of the cesspit, never mention how Britain objected to 72 decisions in the last ten years, and were voted down 72 times. Top table my rear. How many sick rapists, criminals, murderers, suspected terrorists and every other law breaker who uses Britain as a safe house have been refused deportation because of some asinine and ignorant law imposed by some asinine ignorant judge. We couldn’t stop foreign migrants from 27 countries abusing our benefits system, but through fear of the referendum, they have surrendered on the Tampon Tax. Besides this way we could get off this paper Titanic and save this country from Armageddon.

    • #toryscum

      Personally, I’m hesitant to give up my own human rights to enable the gov to kick out the anecdotal Somalian rapist. I find it interesting that you consider human rights law ‘asinine and ignorant’, are you not a human too who receives protection from said laws? The expression ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ springs to mind.

      • PaD

        How about the rights of young women who dont want to be raped? Asian/african raping is NOT anecdotal

        • #toryscum

          So the police just need to enforce the rape laws that are already in the statute books? Human rights laws protect everyone, including your regular white Englishman, not just rapey immigrants. If immigrants lose their human rights, everyone does. Why would you want to give up the rights that protect you!?

          • PaD

            utter drivel of the same nature coming out of multi-culti mouths for 40years..human rights human rights ad nauseum…have a reality check.
            those areas are self governed in collusion with mostly labour politicians..but some tory as well..postal votes?
            the human rights laws you seem to be do enamored of DONT EXIST in the real world of Bradgird Rotherham Oxford Towerhamlets..they only exist as a weapon to suppress dissent from the opinion if those that sit around and MAKE THEM UP..eg.a foreign violent rapists right to family life thereby avoiding deportation..what other society/culture has this as a ‘human right’,

          • #toryscum

            Your reply contradicts itself and makes little sense. I attempted to write a rebuttal but I’m have no idea what point you’re trying to make, do you?

          • PaD

            if immigrants lose their human rights everyone does?
            No the rapist immigrant only loses his right to rape again..in this country.

          • #toryscum

            In the next general election, I’m going to take away your right to vote.

  • ZJX

    Three issues:

    I do believe ‘no joint foreign policy’ exists but not because it hasn’t been tried or attempted, but rather because it is undeniably futile. Pressure has been exerted from Brussels to converge the foreign policy of certain member states, although because those countries have witnessed first-hand the absurdity and unfeasibility of such policies, they have rebelled. Hungary and Slovakia serve as prime examples. The quotas simply do not suit. Look at the pleas from Hollande when it came to Syria, we bowed without question and sacrificed resources for the sake of frivolous symbolism. Evidently, the instances where we do cooperate all too often culminate in disaster. Libya is a sad case. It has been the desire of Eurocrats to disparage patriotism in order to augment constitutional patriotism. The latter has failed to deliver, so where better to place our faith in than ourselves?

    Second, the assertion that ‘Britain has considerable clout in the institutions that shape’ it is ridiculous. Not only did our prime minister fail to secure a meaningful deal, but that deal could actually be vetoed by EU law. The nature of the EU is becoming increasingly fascistic, with the core of power gleaming outwardly from Brussels. It is time to stifle that light.

    Thirdly, you spoke of freedom, and then introduced a story that bedeviled the concept. By instantly tarnishing and belittling freedom in one of its variants you leave little room for any proponent to defend it. The ‘sense of freedom’ that is absolutely winnable will allow us to reassert ourselves economically on the world stage. Indeed, if we are talking about ‘free trade’, then what better way to celebrate freedom than to shatter the deals with Europe and buy goods at global prices as oppose to inflated ones? And to answer your question: ‘Would British citizens be freer without their government being bound to international agreements on human rights?’ The answer is yes, because there is such a thing called freedom to exercise justice. And if the system of justice at current is backward, unfair and ironically unjust, then we are within our rights to resent and alter these short-sighted stipulations disguised as a superior ethical mode of law.

    Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ currently acts as the anthem for both the European Union and the Council of Europe. This is state-like behaviour. And to suggest that one of the largest economic blocs on the planet is impervious to its own status as ‘superpower’ is a misleadingly humble statement.

    Yes, freedom is often an ‘abused’ term, but a term you yourself have abused by plunging it needlessly into the mire of EU control. In other words, you haven’t given freedom it’s freedom; you have instead anchored it, and therefore wrongly concluded it would be less favourable to experience freedom freed from a bloated, tyrannical and declining institution which you have implied is absolutely essential for freedom to operate. This is a sad case.

    • WTF

      Ironic that the EU should pick Beethovens ‘Ode to Joy’ and then we had the ‘Migrant Droogs’ who in familiar Clockwork Orange style run rampant across Germany, a rather unfortunate choice of music I think !

  • hobspawn

     From wikipedia: Buruma argues for wholehearted British participation in the European Union because they[sic] are the “strongest champions in Europe of a liberal approach to commerce and politics”.

    Sorry Dutchman, rescue yourselves. Britain has done more than its fair share of rescuing Europe from its political insanities. Freedom is the freedom of a lemming to step aside from the suicidal stampede and walk away from the cliff.

    Remains rot, Leaves grow. We CAN Leave.

    • Richard Lally

      It does not benefit Britain for Europe to be in a mess. Neither is it in Britain’s interests for Europe to be effectively dominated by Germany’s interests.

      The way we address both these dangers is by being at the table with a vote.

      But I waste my words – you passionate haters of “Brussels” don’t care if Britain and Europe are worse off with Britain on the sidelines because you so hate having to co-operate with “frogs and krauts”.

      • WTF

        I agree it doesn’t benefit either party for Europe to be a mess but when a relationship breaks down, its best to part. My first marriage broke down primarily due to my ex-wife who is still a complete ‘mess’ but should I have stayed with her, h*ll no, I should have left a lot earlier than I did. Just as I found a far better partner with whom to live with in my 2nd wife, there’s plenty of other countries willing to trade with the UK rather than expecting an intransigent EU to change its spots. There are some spouses who can remain friends with their ex’s and I’m convinced the UK will try with the EU if it leaves, but if they have unreasonable demands, they’re not close friends at all.

        If that’s the case and if we leave, then we keep our relationship on a strict business level and treat them as they treat us whilst nurturing closer relationships elsewhere !

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Don’t be silly. You’re just reiterating the daft “xenophobia” charge, like Buruma.

        • Richard Lally

          Would it were so. It is quite obvious from many of the comments on these pages and elsewhere that xenophobia, well seasoned with jingoism, is a very real problem that seriously undermines reasoned argument.

          A brief (light-hearted but illustrative) aside:
          I went to lunch with a good and popular colleague. He asked me where I was going on holiday and I said “France again” to which he said “I hate the French”. Surprised (I’d never heard him say anything negative before), I asked him if he had had a bad experience in France to which he replied “I have never been to France”!

          • Malcolm Stevas

            I’ve met a very few people like your colleague, and generally their kneejerk dislike turns out to be based on not very much, or folk memories of Napoleon – or even Agincourt.*
            I honestly do not see much genuine xenophobia here – maybe on slightly loony sites such as Breitbart, though there it’s American xenophobes, dimwit semi-literate backwoodsmen. Most of us passionately opposed to the EU are at pains to rebut the all too frequent and very stupid suggestions from “Remainers” that to be anti-EU is to be anti-European. I’m married to someone from another EU country: I’ve visited most other West & Central European countries; I’ve been to Germany and France a great many times, and like both countries. Next week I’m off to France for a while, and look forward to renewing friendships with my neighbours (none of them English) in the Midi…
            * My own aside: a friend with a house in Spain, in a small inland town, told me about a chance encounter in a bar with a local who was passionate in his excoriation of Sir Francis Drake! He was outraged at the depredations of this vile English pirate, as he described him…

          • UKSteve

            “Would it were so. It is quite obvious from many of the comments on these pages and elsewhere that xenophobia, well seasoned with jingoism, is a very real problem that seriously undermines reasoned argument.”

            The last refuge of the terminally clueless; you haven’t a clue as to how to counter an argument, so you shout racism and xenophobia.

            maybe if you’d read something?

            Maybe this site is more up your street?

          • Richard Lally

            I confess my views are substantially influenced by what I read in the Economist and the Financial Times. Also by the Spectator except on the subject of Europe!

            What do you read?

          • UKSteve

            A great many things.

            At one time, 3 books a week, less now (mostly politics / polemics / biographies – a lot of dry political biogs)

            A handful of carefully selected blogs, this more than any (http://eureferendum.com/ – daily) because of the depth and breadth of research, and the exposure of UK main stream media (esp. BBC) for the garbage it is. I have posted a link to this already.

            Telegraph and Speccie – less than I did due to quality of reportage, site modding, etc

            The Economist – rarely / Independent – extremely rarely

            NY TImes / Washington Post / New Internationalist

          • hobspawn

             “I confess my views are substantially influenced by what I read in the Economist and the Financial Times.”

            Both of which pushed hard to scare Britain into joining the Euro. Neither has published an apology for that disgracefully stupid propaganda effort.

      • PaD

        Its not to do with frogs and krauts..its to do with the islamisation of europe..and the frogs krauts swedes BRITS eyetyes et al who are enabling this nightmare

      • UKSteve

        Spectacularly childish.

        Seriously, you’re not more than 12 years old, are you? If you are, you should be worried.

      • UKSteve

        When are you going to type something supportive of your stance that can be debated, rather than just wildly ignorant, unjustified, injured and histrionic propaganda?

        • Richard Lally

          For someone like you to call me ignorant is absurd!

          • UKSteve

            I’ve read your posts on here – trust me, I’m spot on, and I notice you’ve avoided the question (which was expected.)

            Your comments are absurd.

      • goodsoldier

        You are a bigot. A typical small-minded, nasty man. Please move to Molenbeek in Brussels and express yourself loudly.

      • hobspawn

        The usual “you’re racist” reflex, in order to avoid the effort of thinking.

        It is because I love Europe and Europeans, our closest cousins in the world that we must leave. It is the only way to help them now. The EU has proved over and over again that it (1) has almost no understanding of democratic principles and practice and (2) that it is incapable of reform and good governance. Blame nobody else for what is happening in Greece today. Or Spain or Italy or France or Germany. Or Macedonia or Hungary or Sweden. Do I need to labour the point?

        If you can’t see that the EU is destroying Europe with its naive goals and unworkable structure, then you’re just not paying attention.

        The only way to save Europe, the continent I love above all others, is to leave the cancerous EU, and thereby accelerate its replacement by something more free, more practical, and more successful.

        • James_2014

          a lot of people talk about democracy as though we are a pure democracy -the truth is that all government is only to a degree democratic – and that at some point decisions need to be made with only sporadic democratic oversight. Our own elections mean that the governments are elected every five years by an absolute majority in only a few key constituencies. The EU is structured so that big decisions common to us all are taken as a large group – this to me seems beneficial – and an awful lot of good law has come out of it. Eg good safety standards, water quality, air pollution levels that bring governments to account (eg London) and for the benefit of the population and a myriad of other areas that quietly add to our quality of life. This works because if we all have the same standards it reduces the chances to cheat – eg by using underpaid overworked labour, or by skimping on safety. This is a complex system that it grossly traduced by over simplified comments about being anti – democratic- something that is untrue.

          • James_2014

            http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmselect/cmeuleg/152-xxxiii/15204.htm#a2
            This Parliamentary report is somewhat out of date *(2002) but interesting nevertheless

          • hobspawn

            Sorry, the EU is not responsible for our access to fresh air. The one-size-fits-all principle is currently destroying the economies of Greece, Italy and Spain, to name but three. It is the only shrinking trade bloc in the world. The EU Commission rides rough-shod over the needs of the member states in the name of ‘homogenising’ European policy and culture, and abolishing the member nations. At the same time the EU pays danegeld to Turkey in the mistaken hope that it will stem the flow of migrants salivating over our absurdly indulgent benefits systems. The EU is encouraging a muslim invasion of unprecedented proportions, and failing to control its borders, paying scant consideration to the conflict this will bring wherever muslims achieve political influence.

            Water was clean before the EU. Taps will not spew sewage the day after we leave. Leaving is the only way to stabilise the rapidly growing burden EU immigration places on our creaky infrastucture.

          • James_2014

            If you want to misrepresent what I said ther eis not a lot of point in this exercise – I did not say the EU was responsible for our access to fresh air – what it does is set standards for maximum pollution, The Commission does not ride rough shod as you say – it needs the approval of the Council and Parliament for measures it brings in. In many areas we have a veto – those areas most important to our individualism. Inevitably one has to surrender some powers in the interests of obtaining common standards. What is unfair is not properly to examine the benefits that flow from this. For what it is worth the Turkey decision seems poor to me – however I am far from convinced Turkey has got much back – there will be huge resistance across the EU to it coming much further. The EU is most certainly not encouraging this invasion – it was caused by war – indeed one that has its origin in the policies of George Bush supported by Tony Blair. The countries most resistant to your so called muslim invasion are those on the border – and members of the EU. Like it or not the best way to stop the so called invasion is to stay int he EU and help it deal with the problem.

          • hobspawn

             “If you want to misrepresent what I said ther eis not a lot of point in this exercise – I did not say the EU was responsible for our access to fresh air – what it does is set standards for maximum pollution…”

            Thank God for the EU! A snivelling ingrate country such as Great Britain could not possibly set standards for clean air without the EU. We haven’t the scientific history and establishments to carry out such difficult tasks. We would get the standards wrong! And to whom would we pay fines if we failed to comply? God bless the EU. You’re even dafter than I thought.

            “The Commission does not ride rough shod as you say – it needs the approval of the Council and Parliament for measures it brings in. In many areas we have a veto – those areas most important to our individualism.”

            The veto will be taken away by our puppet masters if we vote to stay in: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jun/02/britain-eu-veto-opt-out-david-cameron Once we give the EU the green light in this referendum, we will not be allowed to stand apart. We will adopt the Euro and abandon the constitutional rôle of our monarchy within ten years. National individualism is precisely what our friends in Europe’s traitor class intend to abolish. One law for the Lion and Ox is oppression.

            “Inevitably one has to surrender some powers in the interests of obtaining common standards.”

            Complying with standards used to be optional. Why should we abandon our democratic principles just to use international standards? We used international standards quite happily before joining the EU. Your argument is trite nonsense.

            “What is unfair is not properly to examine the benefits that flow from this.”

            We have been examining the benefits very closely for 40 years. We see a collapsing continent, the only shrinking trade bloc in the world. The EU is destroying Europe and our right to self-rule.

            “For what it is worth the Turkey decision seems poor to me…”

            And how will you express that opinion to the rulers making the decisions on it? They don’t gice a crap for your opinion, worm. Submit.

            “…however I am far from convinced Turkey has got much back – there will be huge resistance across the EU to it coming much further.”

            How can we resist the decisions taken in a closed room by our feudal overlords? Do you honestly believe they represent public opinion?

            “The EU is most certainly not encouraging this invasion

            Balls. Merkel said “come, we will give you our homes”, and when they came she turned to her fellow EU conspirators and said, “there, take them, it’s an order”.

            “…it was caused by war…”

            This is utter balls and you know it. The overwhelming majority are benefits migrants. Look more carefully at the people in the background of the traitor press propaganda photographs. They are all young men. If it’s due to war, where are the women and children?

            “…indeed one that has its origin in the policies of George Bush supported by Tony Blair.”

            Complete balls, see above, Iraqi and Syrian young men in huge quantities. Where are the women?

            “The countries most resistant to your so called muslim invasion are those on the border…”

            Yes, because unlike you, they understand the disaster that we face. They see the behaviour and attitudes of the jihadis we are luring to our fragile homelands.

            “Like it or not the best way to stop the so called invasion is to stay int he EU and help it deal with the problem.”

            It is failing utterly even to see the problem, let alone deal with it. The Marxian PPE boys who run the club are sure that mass immigration will make us all rich!

          • James_2014

            I think I have won this argument but it gives me no pleasure that you seem to have relied on invective that show your prejudices eg Puppetmasters ingrate country and balls. You also seem pretty illogical – eg your denying that the problem has its origins in the Bush idiocy- the fact that a lot of economic migrants may be mixed in does not mean that the cause is not the appalling state of affairs in the Middle east…I am happy to argue in sensible terms – but it is quite clear from your language that you would rather roar than argue!

          • hobspawn

            I’ll say this simply: all the evidence from less compromised sources suggests that the Iraqi/Syrian contingent among migrants entering the EU is small, i.e. less than 20%.

            The real story here is that the EU is not capable of controlling its borders, or chooses not to do so, despite the fact that recent elections show that there is great concern in the EU electorate that the uncontrolled immigration is going to cause serious problems.

            This is a very fundamental failure on the part of the EU. Bearing in mind the projection that a billion or so Africans and Asians will wish to head to Europe, and the stated goal of the pan-European movement, to produce a new mixed race in Europe, what are the prospects for the European races?

            When we Europeans fully understand the vandalism that the EU, through incompetence or design, is subjecting us to, there will be to put it mildly, unrest. Certainly we can expect jihad to be a part of every day life throughout the EU in the decades to come. One could argue that it already has. What did the EU do to protect us?

          • James_2014

            Actually that is very helpful – at least I understand – you are motivated by fear of being overwhelmed by immigrants. The issue then is whether in fact your proposed course will help. I frankly doubt it. Europe is clearly acting on the issue – and the UK is in many ways best placed geographically of all countries. Leaving the EU will ensure that there is no incentive to intercept anyone before they get to the UK – and then we will have a nightmare at the borders. This country is hugely overpopulated and iyt is therefore hardly surprising that immigration concerns are showing here in this way. I really do not think however, that pulling up the drawbridge is the answer – particularly when the whole of the EU is actually as concerned as we are. The eastern states are being accused of near brutality with their walls and wire – how much more evidence do you need that this issue is of Europe wide concern?

    • James_2014

      Love your choice of lemmings – how many do actually make the turn. I would argue in rather mroe concrete terms than Buruma. Being old enough to remember the lights going out and our being so bankrupt that like Greece we ahd to go to the IMF I see our membership of the EU as coinciding with economic prosperity. Of course correlation is not always causation – but there is no doubt in my mind membership of the EU has brought enormous benefits.

      • hobspawn

        Post hoc, non propter hoc.

        Economic salvation came when Thatcher identified Britain’s real enemy within: militant marxists and the unions. It has nothing at all to do with the EU. There’s a big world out there. It has been growing far faster than the EU. The EU is a mechanism for decline.

  • wedpap

    britain better leave before they become sweden

  • Owen_Morgan

    Ian Buruma gave up being an honest writer about two decades ago. He sold his soul to Brussels.

    • Roger Hudson

      Lots of it about these days.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Burma is now Myanmar. Or Youranmar.

  • Lady Magdalene

    The UK doesn’t have “great influence” in the EU. The British Government has opposed 72 proposals from the European Council, because they weren’t in our interests, and has lost every single one of them. We have about 12% of the vote and are continually out-voted because our continental neighbours do not see the world the same way we do.

    NO laws should be imposed on the UK; our Parliament should be the sole legislative body for the UK.

    The EU doesn’t prevent us trading with countries outside the bloc, but it forbids us from entering into trade treaties and it loads costs onto our economy which make us far less competitive. Free from the EU, we can cut regulations and costs, making us more competitive.

    Finally, the EU imposes taxes on us and that is simply not acceptable. The tampon tax is in the news at the moment. The EU requires us to pay VAT on sanitary products. If the UK Government was in control this tax would have been scrapped years ago. But we can’t do that: instead the British Government has had to beg the EU Commission to relax VAT rules and 27 other governments have to agree.

    And the English aren’t insular. We were the first truly global trading nation. Our ancestors spread all around the world; we relate to the Anglosphere far more that our continental neighbours.

    However, the argument IS about Sovereignty …. and democracy.

    We want our country to be self-governing. And that simply isn’t possible inside the EU, which is a corrupt, fraud-ridden, incompetent proto-dictatorship.

    So we will LEAVE.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      I believe that currently the UK qualifies for nearer 8% of the vote (not 12%) in the Council of Ministers, just one factor in our diminished influence.

  • ‘If Britain wants to retain access to the single European market from the
    outside, it would still have to abide by EU laws and regulations’

    No, and stop spreading those lies!

    Any company using the single market has to apply single market rules to the goods/service and that is not the same as our county being forced to have said rules.

  • LG

    The worst are full of passionate intensity. See below

  • Polly Radical

    Lord Haw-Haw, only not quite so convincing.

  • 6Story5

    No. Its about who makes the rules and under what conditions. A century old tradition in the UK is that voters can vote th new lot in, then kick them out, and dish the laws they made. The EU just goes on and on: there is no opposition in the EU to EU policy. There is “consensus”, in other words bureaucratic comfort.

    • WTF

      Exactly the same argument over democracy is going on in America right now over Trump. Whatever your views about Trump are not really the issue, as the Republican party is so determined to thwart the will of the people who back Trump that some have said they would rather enable Clinton to reach the white house than see Trump there. As a consequence, the fear baiters on both sides in America are trying to scare their electorate just as the remainers are trying in the UK, but ALL of them are motivated for exactly the same reasons.

      They are all scared that the established status quo that has provided them a trough to feed from for many years may suddenly empty and they’ll be nothing left for them but to find a job. Even worse for them, most are career politicians who were originally failed lawyers which will make it very difficult for them to retrain.

      • 6Story5

        The left loves dealing in abstractions. Their word for what you are talking about is “neo liberalism”, and there is definitely a truth hidden in the abstraction. The roots of western utopian policy–democracy everywhere, human rights for all, free trade, equality, diversity, “integration”, supranational understood as standing over, so better than nations, which are the source of all the world’s problems, share holder value, “incentives”, the whole rag bag of “economics”-are many and have had different trajectories. But definitely, the left in the US following and after the Vietnam war, developed an anti government platform that was universalist. So take share holder value as an example. Managerialism was riding high in the 1960s. These were the years of Galbraith, Servan Schreiber, Vernon. The multinationals were thought to be creating a managerial western world that was converging on the “managerialism” of the USSR. In short hand, governments and bosses were the problem. So let’s strengthen “democracy”, human rights, shareholder value, European “integration”, given that nations were obsolete.
        Ideas like these have taken forty to fifty years to blossom, and now they show their serious deficiencies. You write as if the word “established” meant “right”. But if you look around, in Europe in any case, the denizens of the “establishment” all started out on the far left: They were never democratic. They always new best. They all called themselves “progressives” because they knew they were right. The problem is that these people have embedded themselves, especially in the media, universities, teaching professions. That is where Stalin in 1948 told the western European communist parties that they had to penetrate. 1989 was shock, but hey, ex communists in eastern Europe relabelled themselves social democrats, the old divisions between communists and social democrats have been healed( look at the slime that Corbyn has allowed to enter Labour) and now we have their reign in Europe. Highest unemployment rates since the early 1930s. Kick out elected governments. Finger wag at governments which do not like the ruling consensus. Troughs like Brussels for the greedy.

        • James_2014

          Interesting theory – not sure what you stance is on the question – it is true the Soviets attempted to inflitrate the intelligentsia – but it really did not work. If you dont like middle of the road views – I have to disagree insofar as the basic tenets of toleration and consideration need to be treasured.

      • James_2014

        Trump is succeeding for two reasons – first the opposition is split between two others and second the vast majority of republicans who hate all three have stayed at home. But yes there is a real mood of alienation. This occurs with all large organisations – the trick is to work out what is pure prejudice against large bodies far away (something I suffer from as much as the next person) and what is based on real balancing of benefits againt burdens.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Nice of Buruma to acknowledge that “It is not a loathing of foreigners that necessarily inspires the anti-EU arguments”, albeit it’s a sly way of implying that for many anti-EU folk the driver is indeed mere xenophobia.
    Leaving aside the straw-man stuff and flights of rhetoric, Buruma re-hashes some very tired suggestions, such as the business about our having to accept all manner of fresh restrictions simply to be allowed to trade with the EU. Does the USA go cap in hand to Brussels? China, Brazil, Australia? Twaddle. How about “less freedom to move around Europe” post-Brexit – can he really be suggesting it was difficult pre-1973? Perhaps he purveys this rubbish in the cynical awareness that many younger people might not know that really, before the EEC, we travelled very freely to Calais and even further destinations without much hassle until we reached the Warsaw Pact…
    I could go on, but there’s nothing new here. Very weak: Ian has done lots of Googling and regurgitates others’ clichés quite competently, but if he is to do well in the exam he must try much harder to think for himself and not insult the reader’s intelligence.

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      Ultimately these things come down to negotiating strength. So it is important to compare and contrast the relative strengths of Britain, U.S. China and EU when sat around the table negotiating trade deals.

      Britain – population 60 million
      U.S. – population 320 million
      China – population 1,400 million
      E.U. – population 500 million

      Now we cannot read directly across from population to negotiating power, but it is an indicator of relative strength. So US in its dealings with EU is in a relative position of strength compared to the position UK. Therefore it cannot be assumed that the U.S. example will apply to U.K.

      • MickC

        Population is not an indicator of economic power. China always had a large population, but no economic power until “free trade” and its adoption of a form of capitalism.
        If the USA becomes isolationist, ( a realistic possibility in the medium term) who will China sell to? The populous, but poor Africa? Booming South America? India?

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          There’s lots of could be and uncertainty about the future.

          And I did say that you cannot read across directly from population. I did say it was an indicator of relative negotiating power, not direct correlation. The main point being that your comments applying to US cannot be read across to UK position.

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Of course not. But the UK is still in the top echelons of world economies, bigger by far (for instance) than those European countries cited so often as examples we follow, Switzerland and Norway. Negotiating strength is something we’ve generally been good at – the present leadership excepted, of course. And let’s remember the EU’s substantial trade surplus with us: major EU corporations such as BMW, Mercedes, BSH and so on would not be prepared for their government to be unco-operative or obstructive in negotiating post-Brexit trade agreements.

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          I agree. I was pointing out that UK may not have the same negotiating strength of US.

          On the trade balance thing, it depends how you look at it. The EU sells more to us then we do to them largely because the collective EU economy is much greater than that of the UK. Proportionally UK exports to EU are worth 12.6% of our economic output. EU exports to UK are worth 3.1% of EU economic output, but that 3.1% is of greater absolute value than the 12.6%. Therefore it could be argued that a complete cessation of trade would hit the UK economy harder than those of the EU. However even that would be a gross over simplification,as the impact would vary from country to country.

          Like many aspects of the EU debate, there is seldom anything that is black and white. There are advantages and disadvantages of both alternatives. Often one is not better than the other, they are just alternatives, which makes the scare mongering claims and counter claims of both camps ridiculous.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Much in what you say but ultimately we have to choose: I wonder which way you plan to vote? As for those EU countries, I haven’t the figures to hand but Germany alone exports a very great deal to UK: this country is still BMW’s fourth largest world market, just as one example – plus all the others such as BSH, Mercedes…

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            I have fairly comfortable (not rich) lifestyle at the moment. My children have reasonable jobs too and being from the North can afford to buy houses. Why should I risk that with the uncertainty of a Brexit? However I do agree that Brusseks is a large faceless remote bureaucracy. So I’m open to persuasion.

            Regards immigration, an Exit vote would allow Britain to control EU immigration but wouldn’t make any difference to non-EU immigration. Overall I think the push factors behind immigration are more important than pull factors, so I don’t see being In or Out would make much difference.

            Regards soverignity, I tend to take the view that in a globalised economy with powerful multi national banks and businesses, that no country can be truly soverign in all respects. So the soverignity debate is a question of balance between compromise to get on in the World with others, and suiting ourselves. I’m not convinced being In or Out would make much practical difference to the big picture; though undoubtedly being out could help with some minor details of every day life.

            So overall for me the Brexit campaign need to convince me to vote Out, otherwise I vote for status quo.

            I assume you are in the Brexit camp?

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Yes. For me it’s sovereignty foremost: I detest and scorn the notion of our being unable to legislate for ourselves, without reference to Brussels. The UK has hardly ever secured significant changes to EU regulations, or managed to block them. As the EU has enlarged, and with the advent of QMV, our significance has shrunk. Currently our vote in the Council of Ministers is worth around 8% of the total. I am very much a European but first of all I’m English, and it doesn’t take much reading of history to see that over the past 1000 years our attitudes, our culture, our worldview, have always been marked off from those of Continental Europe.
            Re immigration, it’s true that extra-EU immigration is greater than that from within the EU, but that’s to do with our own government’s failings, and can be corrected by ourselves if enough of us are determined to do so.

  • Sid Falco

    just another islamophile waste of space.

  • enoch arden

    “That the EU exists as a superpower would come as news to most people in Brussels — and everywhere else.”

    It would be really strange if the people in Brussels happened to be unaware of the EU history. Robert Schuman, the founding father of EU, was a minister in the government of marshal Petain. It was the latter who pronounced in 1941 that a United Europe had been created as a union between France and Germany. He was talking about the 3d Reich. Thus, the historic link between the latter and EU is quite clear.

    • JoeCro

      The EU will be a superpower some day.

  • Ivor MacAdam

    …… shackled by the tyranny of the EU, as though ‘Brussels’ were some alien dictatorship in which Britain plays no part….. What a spot-on, excellent description of exactly how we see the European UNION. Not Europe. The European UNION. Run by a bunch of dopey Marxist bureaucrats who would be challenged running a whelk stall.
    The Only Way Is EXIT !

  • JEK68

    Every pro-EU argument is the same, it goes ‘the EU is a terrible mess and we need Britain to stay and try to help fix it’. Has anyone heard a good argument for the EU, because I suspect there isn’t one. The remain campaign don’t seem to have any valid arguments.
    The only thing that has made me think twice is the idea of trying to prop up the EU for the sake of eastern Europe not falling into Russian hands again. That is the only good reason to remain that I have heard and even that is not sustainable for long.

    • Jolyon Wagg

      They did give us viaducts.

    • sandy winder

      It is the expansion of the EU Empire eastwards (it can hardly go west) that is causing all the problems with Russia.

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      Probably the strongest arguments for remaining are

      – the economic damage caused by the immediate reaction to a Brexit
      – the political damage caused by the immediate reaction to a Brexit
      – potential relocation of HQ functions including banks from UK to the EU free trade area.
      – lack of clear or agreed vision of Britain outside of EU.

      On exit there is likely to be a negative reaction by the markets, as if there is one thing they hate it is uncertainty. So £ could fall, interest rates could rise pushing up Government’s borrowing costs, stock markets could fall. Of course what is not known is the scale or length of the shock reaction. Would it be a modest affect over a few weeks? Would it be a prolonged serious reaction causing permanent damage, from which the country could struggle to recover?

      There is also not an unconsiderable existential risk to that other Union, the U.K. Namely the Scottish question. Will it trigger a second ‘independence’ referendum? It is likely that the Westminster government will be weakened and divided by a Brexit vote. It is likely that Sturgeon will be emboldened and have support of the international community, not least remaining EU countries. The nationalists will undoubetedly attempt to seize their opportunity.

      It is possible that some businesses would relocate to gain the certainty of access to the single market. Whilst Britain could and probably will eventually do a trade deal with the EU, that could take several years, and may not result in removal of all tariffs. Secondly the EU could through various regulations (either intentially or unintentially) make it more difficult for UK companies to do business in EU. To remove this uncertainty some (not all by any means) could relocate either immediately or gradually over time.

      The vote to Leave seems to be to be a vote against something rather than for something. What will Britain look like outside EU? Is it a a Farage or Galloway model? They have shared a stage!!!! Many arguing for Exit do so from the premis that a post Brexit Britain will be governed in line with their preferences. Thus UKIP supporters see a free trade deregulated UK, with strong border controls, and a return to a traditional ‘way of life’. However others will see an opportunity for a post Brexit Britain to move to the left. Free of EU constitutional restrictions on protection of national industries, they see a return to the days of nationalisation and socialism. For me this is the great uncertainty with Brexit, I know what I’m voting against, but what am I voting for. In the weeks running up to voting day the Brexit campaigners will be challenged on this point, and any division or confusion could be the factor that swing the 1% that decide the result one way or another.

      • MickC

        Ah yes, markets! Always fair and free, never fixed, the ultimate arbiter of everything……

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          That is the World we have created!

          • MickC

            What can be created, can be altered….

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            Yes it can

          • PaD

            We?

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            Do you vote?

      • Richard Lally

        I agree with you but you don’t mention what for me is the biggest worry.

        A decision to leave will be followed by a long period of negotiation on the trade terms between Britain and the EU. We cannot know exactly what the terms will be but it will obviously be a compromise in which the EU give us favorable trading terms in return for Britain complying with most of the EUs regulations WHICH WE WILL NO LONGER HAVE ANY SAY IN**. Because we are the second largest economy in Europe we may well get a better deal than Norway or Switzerland but there is no way that the EU will agree to us having good access to their market without complying with most of their rules.

        • 6Story5

          Those companies who trade with the EU will have to be EU compliant; The EU will try to make the UK EU compliant. We’ll have to say No.

        • George Cowie

          The UK has over £60 billion trade deficit with the EU. They will be clambering to keep trading with us when we leave, so we can make our own trade deals with them and at the same time save our £55 million per day contributions.

      • JEK68

        You know what you are voting for? The EU is moving towards becoming a state which is a massive uncertainty in itself, and the uncertainty created by the EU in the economy, immigration, law and government accountability is far greater than if the EU had never existed.

  • Michael Lane

    You say that ” The US has already indicated that it would not make special trade deals with Britain alone.” Can you please explain who said this and when, because it does not stand up to reason?

    • Disqus Bolloqus
      • Richard Lally

        Brave of you to quote the Guardian on these pages! “red rag” and “bull” come to mind.

        (There have been some sensible cautiously pro-EU-on-balance articles in the Economist and Financial Times that might be received with less hostility. Unfortunately it is obvious from much of the ranting below that Brexiters prefer their “facts” to be spurious!)

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          It’s the first return on google search, not selected for any political reason. Of course one can take issue with Guardian (or any other newspapers) comment pieces, however when it comes to reporting news rather than commentary the Guardian is probably as reliable as any Brirtish newspapers and more reliable than most

        • Astonished and Dismayed

          Both of these publications stated the sky would fall in if we did not join the euro, both are fanatically pro-EU. Lionel Barber current editor of FT is a fervent europhile and ex-editor of Economist together with an Italian journalist who has based herself in the UK made that rather silly programme aired by I think it was C4 before previous election starring Angus Deaton – it ridiculed UKIP and made the claim that the EU was responsible for all good things under heaven. This ex-editor (Bill Emmott) is a mad, foaming at the mouth euro fanatic. So I am sorry I would not categorise both of these publications as middle of the road or unbiased

    • Astonished and Dismayed

      Correct it does not stand up to reason. Remark made by a trade representative – political appointee of current Obama administration. That political appointee had previously worked for EU. See the link and guess what his remarks were lapped up by the remain camp.

      Other authoritative voices in the Senate and Congress have said that statement is ludicrous. US not doing trade deal with its closest ally is unthinkable. You can rest assured when it came to it, US would cut a deal with its closest ally and one of the top inward investors into US.

  • Disqus Bolloqus
  • sandy winder

    Makes you wonder why many thousands of Americans fought and died to leave the British Empire when it would have been much better for its economy and jobs to stay part of it. Ironic/hypocritical that Obama now wants us to be a colony of a similar European Empire led by Germany. We may not have lost all our freedoms yet but it is only a matter of time before we do if we stay in it.

  • sandy winder

    Two words from Merkel showed us clearly who is running the EU. ” Welcome refugees”.

    • Tom R

      So what you’re saying is the refugees are running europe? Bit of an unconventional view surely?

  • Cobbett

    It’s autocratic, corrupt and incompetent….also it’s anti-European, as the response to the ongoing invasion of Europe proves…the sooner it’s history the better.

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      If you are referring to the current wave of immigration into Europe as the invasion, the existence or non-existence of the EU s irrelevant. The reason why those migrants are arriving in Europe is nothing to do with the existence of the EU. They are migrating because of wars in places like Syria, Iraq, Afghansitan and because of gross wealth differences between places such as sub Saharan Africa and Europe. The answer to the migration crisis lies in dealing with the push factors, not putting sticking plasters on gapping wounds such as barbed wire fences and deals with Turkey.

      • Cobbett

        The EU thinks it can speak for all….so its not ‘irrelevant’…especially as an Independent Italy and Greece would have to actually do something to stop it…and most of these vermin are from places other than Syria etc.

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          What could a small bankrupt country like Greece do about it? Sweet FA. They would merely wave the migrants through to their desired locations in the West as would countries in the Balkans.

      • Johnnydub

        Ok so nothing to do with Merkel unilaterally opening the gates, making an open invitation, then deciding its a EU problem and all the countries need to accommodate migrants?

        You’ll notice there are no migrants in Saudi Arabia, because they simply said no and are prepared to enforce that decision?

        Europe’s future is Molenbeek, where the locals throw stones at the cops arresting one of the Paris attackers…

        http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/653818/Molenbeek-terror-raid-Paris-attacks-Salah-Abdeslam-Belgium-riot-police

      • mohdanga

        “Immigration” usually entails the host country wanting the immigrants in the first place, not having them forced on them by the actions of some cookoo leader of a neighbouring country!! They are arriving because numbskull Merkel has thrown open the doors….there is plenty of wealth in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, yet not one of these Muslim countries, which would be so much more conducive to these “migrants”, have offered any assistance. Where is the outcry over their lack of action???????

      • Astonished and Dismayed

        And how many centuries do you think it is going to take to deal with those push factors. And in the meantime?

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          Who knows? But building fences ain’t going to work.

          One big problem is booming world population which has increased 264% in my lifetime from 2.8 Billion to 7.4 Billion. And before you ask, I am under sixty.

          • BillBill

            “But building fences ain’t going to work.”

            Yaah? Seems to work really well for Israel and Saudi Arabia and India and, recently, Hungary et al.

            Also Turkey can stop and start the ‘refugee’ flows at whim.

          • Astonished and Dismayed

            Booming population together with wide spread use of the internet all conspire to make things worse.

            However we need a solution now, your answer might work over the long-run but it will not help solve today’s problem. At least fences will buy us some time, we need strong external border controls now and then we can look to help in some of the places you mention but even so, we are looking at multiple generations to even make a dent (if ever) into the problem.

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            Building fences will slow the flow, but they won’t stop the flow. Eventually they will collapse under the pressure and build up of millions of arriving migrants. Better to prevent them from beginning their journies than deal with the problem on our doorstep. However I agree it is a long term solution and sufficiently realistic to know that the international cooperation, money and resources to make a noticeable difference are unlikely to be applied. Therefore we will fallback on building fences, but ultimately In the long run. I believe that policy will fail.

    • JoeCro

      Closer union would sort out a lot of the problems.

      • Cobbett

        Like I give a sh*t about a Muslim/Third World Europe.

      • Cobbett

        Will not happen.

  • Richard Lally

    A question for all you passionate EU-haters (I really would like to understand):
    If the EU really is the unbelievably awful organisation you make it out to be why do David Cameron and George Osborne think we should stay in?

    • Bons

      Is that rhetorical? Them two are more than happy to watch the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of England practically merge under the EU Commission. Because Multi nationals, big bankers and big politicians such as these benefit from this trinity. It’s undemocratic. We do not have the power to un elect any politician after 4 years if they do a bad job. We cannot hold our own politicians accountable for their actions in the EU. That’s why they think we should stay in. They’re all bought by Goldman Sachs and untouchable by the people they apparently “serve”.

    • Tom Cullem

      Are you serious? They are protecting the investor class and the City and the global corporatists – those are the true economic beneficiaries of the EU.
      They don’t give a damn about Britain.

    • UKSteve

      Richard,

      You seem an intelligent fellow – you can’t seriously be asking that? Try this.

      This is the exact same challenge I have put to about 20 Disqus supporters, and literally hundreds of other forum users down the years. I’ve never even received a response, much less and answer:

      Name 2 good reasons (supported by authoritative evidence) as to why the UK should be in the EU.

      Any takers?

      • Richard Lally

        Actually on this occasion I think you are the one guilty of not answering my question!

        In this forum I have endorsed the views of the very few pro-EU posters (see disqus bollogus below). I have also acknowledged that the more reasonable Brexiters have some valid points (see WTF below).

        Reason 1: (I have made this point several times on this forum already and for me it trumps all the reasons for leaving). We may be able to get a better deal than Norway and Switzerland but in return for favorable tariffs we will have to agree to comply with many rules and regulations we no longer have a say in.

        Reason 2: An EU without Britain will be dominated by the interests of Germany. (For centuries Britain’s policy towards Europe has been “balance of power”; I think it is still in British interests to look to restrain the power of the dominant player).

        Reason 3: A Europe in chaos is not in our interests if only because countries in economic depression cannot buy much from British companies. On issues such as “fiscal responsibility” we are actually on the same side as the northern European countries. Without us Germany/Netherlands/Denmark/Sweden will have lost a major ally in pressing for more sensible EU economic policies.

        • UKSteve

          Oh dear.

          Richard, respectfully, you really should grow up a bit. To ask that ludicrously childish question indicates a lack of reading and reading forum opinions. If you are going to wildly generalise with insults against people who have very valid and reasonable opinions, what do you expect? No sane or rational person assumes that if we leave the EU, we will immediately regain control of our borders – only UKIPpers spout that, and it’s massively wrong.

          You asked: “If the EU really is the unbelievably awful organisation you make it out
          to be why do David Cameron and George Osborne think we should stay in?”

          The perfectly logical, appropriate, valid and correct answer to that question is, “you’ll have to ask them”. No-one – in reality , can answer for them, and this is why I accuse you of childishness. I offered you a link to RAE North and C Booker’s F R E E book, which will give you the entire history of deceit and betrayal, on which a reasonable person could make their own conclusions. Dollars to doughnuts you didn’t click on it.

          I don’t recognise the exaggerated scenarios you paint in 1 and 2, mainly due to our cataclysmic trade deficit over 43 years with the EU, and reaching record levels last quarter, and 3 is so blindly obvious and axiomatic…..what point are you making, if any?

          If you can get a copy, try the CD-ROM “Shoehorned into the EU”, and you will see documentary evidence of deceit and betrayal in the run up to signing the Treaty of Rome. There will be some uncertainty for 4 or 5 years if we leave the EU, in which time we will have signed new trade deals free of EU shackles.

          I expected you to avoid my question. Ah well.

        • hobspawn

          Reason 1: our goods will have to comply with EU regs to be exported there. They already do. We are a massive market for EU goods, one of the biggest. We buy far more from them than they from us. They will not impose a trade embargo because they can’t afford to! We will trade with or without small tariffs. It won’t matter, and no, we will not be bound by EU regs within UK. We can make our own! Just like we did before these gangsters blackmailed our feeble politicians into signing up.

          Reason 2: Newsflash: the EU already is dominated by German interests. Not just Greece and Spain, currently being shafted by German interests, but us too. We will be less dominated by German interests when we leave. You admit that’s a good thing. We may not be able to help Greece to escape the suffocating clutch of German hegemony, but our leaving is their best chance. It will force a rethink, which Camoron has shown we can not do from within.

          Reason 3: Europe is already in chaos. To survive, it’s best to leave a sinking ship before it hits the bottom. There is a wide world out there, and if the EU can’t afford to trade with us, well, somebody else will.

          The thing is broken. Have the wit to see it and give up your childish propaganda.

          • sussexoracle

            The reason we buy more from ‘them’ than we sell to ‘them’ is that we comprise approximately 10% of the population and market. But in any case that would depend on what exactly you were measuring. I don’t imagine for a moment that any other state in the EU tries to maintain a parity of trade with every other one.

            Elementary arithmetic tells us that if we were to lose free access to that market, then our competitors between them would lose only 10% of the total European market whereas we lose 90%.

            The reason Germany currently dominates Europe economically is they have concentrated on manufacturing products ordinary people want and aspire to.

            We, on the other hand, have conjured up multiple intangible ‘financial products’ to sell one another that most people don’t even understand.

            Oh, and happily dismantled our steel mining and shipbuilding industries and flogged off what remained to those nasty Germans, Our fishermen flogged off their agreed quotas to the Spanish and our governments have acquiesced in permitting our water, electricity and transport utilities – all key strategic resources- to belong to the French, Spanish and Americans,

            Finally, tell people living and trading in Europe that it is broken or that the euro is a failure. They enjoy the ability to buy and sell right across the continent without having to hand over anything up to 5% of the transactions to banks in hedging insurance,(against fluctuation) fees and commissions.

            The pound has dropped against the euro these last few weeks and though that can be good news for exporters and bad news for importers, it is irrelevant to currency dealers who will make on it regardless.

            Of course if I was making a few pennies on every single import and export I’d be up there on the rooftops waving the Union Flag and ranting about the EUSSR too.

            BTW. I put the ‘EUSSR’ in last because it guarantees most rational people will read no further.

          • hobspawn

             “Elementary arithmetic tells us that if we were to lose free access to that market, then our competitors between them would lose only 10% of the total European market whereas we lose 90%.”

            …and what do they gain by culling 10% of their market? If you think you have presented a reason why they will blockade, try again.

            It is certainly true that the UK needs to get more productive. That is a goal whether we remain in the abusive relationship or choose freedom. Luckily we have our own currency, which will reflect real value and enable us to compete, unlike the poor Greeks, whose country is being destroyed by the EU as we speak. It is a shame you have such a low expectation of what the people of this great country can achieve once they are governed in their own interest.

            China, Russia, the USA and Canada, to name a few, do not seem to have too much trouble trading with the EU, despite not being members.

          • sussexoracle

            The facts are that our main manufacturing industries are almost all owned by foreign interests. Apart from Rolls Royce Aero it is hard to think of any British company that leads the world in civilian markets. We do however, enjoy some prominence in selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.
            Our motor industry staggered from crisis to crisis while British owned and managed; today the same workforce produces world class vehicles under Japanese and German stewardship.
            (Witness the plundering of Rover by Phoenix while government stood by protecting the national interest by wringing its hands.)
            Of course the Japanese and Germans can switch production to Poland or Spain, both countries which would welcome the investment and employment. They will then be guaranteed a constant non fluctuating currency for the vast majority of their transactions.

            Moving on.
            The ‘poor Greeks’ you describe have been incapable of maintaining a stable economy or currency for over a century, and if it hadn’t been for a sleght of hand could never had met the criteria for membership of the euro. That said, try to compel the Greeks to swap their euros for drachmas and see how far you get. You’ll have to prise their euros from their cold dead hands.

            As for China, Russia, the US and Canada: the Chinese must make products that comply with EU regs with no input into how those regulations are determined. You may be unaware that there are sanctions in place against Russia. The Americans do not seem to have much trouble?
            Well, actually they do. The Americans would very much like to sell their hormone and antibiotic laden beef to us, along with their genetically modified cereals. They cannot at present, but no thanks to the British Government which has been lobbying hard in Brussels on their behalf.
            The British have long been prominent in pressing the case for Turkish membership of the EU, no doubt considering that to be in our national interest too. Unfortunately they are outnumbered on that in Brussels. Ah well. That’s democracy for you.

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        – the economic damage caused by the immediate reaction to a Brexit
        – the political damage caused by the immediate reaction to a Brexit
        – potential relocation of HQ functions including banks from UK to the EU free trade area.
        – lack of clear or agreed vision of Britain outside of EU.

        On exit there is likely to be a negative reaction by the markets, as if there is one thing they hate it is uncertainty. So £ could fall, interest rates could rise pushing up Government’s borrowing costs, stock markets could fall. Of course what is not known is the scale or length of the shock reaction. Would it be a modest affect over a few weeks? Would it be a prolonged serious reaction causing permanent damage, from which the country could struggle to recover?

        There is also not an unconsiderable existential risk to that other Union, the U.K. Namely the Scottish question. Will it trigger a second ‘independence’ referendum? It is likely that the Westminster government will be weakened and divided by a Brexit vote. It is likely that Sturgeon will be emboldened and have support of the international community, not least remaining EU countries. The nationalists will undoubetedly attempt to seize their opportunity.

        It is possible that some businesses would relocate to gain the certainty of access to the single market. Whilst Britain could and probably will eventually do a trade deal with the EU, that could take several years, and may not result in removal of all tariffs. Secondly the EU could through various regulations (either intentially or unintentially) make it more difficult for UK companies to do business in EU. To remove this uncertainty some (not all by any means) could relocate either immediately or gradually over time.

        The vote to Leave seems to be to be a vote against something rather than for something. What will Britain look like outside EU? Is it a a Farage or Galloway model? They have shared a stage!!!! Many arguing for Exit do so from the premis that a post Brexit Britain will be governed in line with their preferences. Thus UKIP supporters see a free trade deregulated UK, with strong border controls, and a return to a traditional ‘way of life’. However others will see an opportunity for a post Brexit Britain to move to the left. Free of EU constitutional restrictions on protection of national industries, they see a return to the days of nationalisation and socialism.

        • Sanctimony

          I can’t think of a better reason to leave the EU than that it might rid us of the pestilential, greedy, parasitical Scotch !

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            I quite like a drink of whiskey myself

        • UKSteve

          Great reply; thank you for being the first person in recorded history to even respond to this question! Although, I have to say, the answer are based on fears, rather then proven rationale.

          Why should there be economic damage? According to many sources, “no records are kept” of the trade deficit between the UK and the EU since 1st. Jan 1973 – so it is crudely estimated – and comes to nearly $1.5 trillion. No-one from the pro camp (other than deluded fantasists) has ever even contested that our trade deficit with the EU is colossal. Boeing? Andrew Liliico? Sir Simon Jenkins? Our record trade deficit last quarter? Prof. Patrick Minford?

          Why should there be political damage? The EU has been a catastrophic failure in every field in international diplomacy. I never thought – hoped – I would see concentration camps again, after my father liberated POWs in the last war. Where was the EU in the disintegration of Yugoslavia? Nigel Farage’s tirafe against von Rumpoy was incrediblty reude, but as often, contained kernels of truth. “Stop the traffic” was the exact phrase used, when the EU commission gathered at a private dinner to choose a new President. It’s the way they do things. if the EU were a separate state, it would not fulfil its own accession criteria.

          Potential relocation of HQ functions including banks from UK to the EU free trade area – this is the usual scaremongering and ‘helpful propagandising’, as with the big financials threatening to leave Scotland if it separated. If we follow Dr. Richard North’s brilliantly conceived Flexcit plan, there would be no need. (the first 3 pages are killers!) Did you knwo that 3 party chairmen of UKIP were economists, incl Dr. John Whittaker of University of Lancaster?

          lack of clear or agreed vision of Britain outside of EU. – Hmmmm, I suspect your reading list is a bit restricted, although, the major politicos, every single journalist and especially ALL media outlets are refusing to acknowledge the existence of Flexcit – which has been in development for 3 years. This was only released on Friday and it’s free – printed version costs £5. It’s a highly condensed version of Flexcit.

          There is bound to be uncertainty / slight instability on Brexit – but money speaks every language. Remember, the City was one the most vociferous exponents of us joining the euro, and the Honda chairman threatened to pull out of the UK if we didn’t join.

          Scotland is an utter irrelevance. Their entire “independence” pipe dream is based on anti-English hatred, and their economic model base don $120-a-barrel oil, despite a union they entered voluntarily 309 years ago. Moreover, they arrogantly assumed they could retain the £ and set their own fiscal policies – an absolute economic impossibility. EU lawyers told the SNP that if they seceded, they would not automatically become EU members by nature of their current co-opted status. If they wanted to join, they would have to join Schengen (massive border considerations for Scotland / England – we’d have to build a wall!), and ….adopt the euro, which they didn’t what to do.

          We had be deceived and betrayed into a union that’s struggled to survive 40 years, and may yet not.

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            Steve, the whole debate is about future unknowns. Therefore there is no right or wrong answer. The debate is a discussion about future uncertainties. You ask for authorative evidence. There can be none as we are talking of the future. Various ‘experts’publish various scenario predictions, but they are only speculation about what could happen. You ask why would there be economic damage? There might not be. But their might. No one knows the future. You asked for reasons to Remain. I highlighted some of the risks and uncertainties of Brexit. Equally there are risks and uncertainties about Remaining. Each citizen will have to balance these and make there own judgement, but ultimately it is a choice between two alternative futures. Each will carry risks and uncertainties, and one is not necessarily better than the other, they are just different.

            The one thing I hate about the current debate is the hysteria, and scare mongering from both camps of outlandish claims. It’s about time there was a grown up debate with a bit of respect and courtesy of opossinng views, and a recognition that no one, absolutely no one, can foresee with any certainty the future outcome of either Remaining or Leaving.

          • UKSteve

            And that was what I hoped and offered you, but you resort to this absolutely bizarre reply, proving that you’re unworthy of debate.

            I asked the question: “Name 2 good reasons (supported by authoritative evidence) as to why the UK should be in the EU.” – and instead you go an a rant about “scaremongering”, and “uncertain futures”.

            Your reply:“You asked for reasons to Remain. I highlighted some of the risks and uncertainties of Brexit.” So, what’s that got to do with “2 convincing reasons to stay in”? You’re the biggest pro-EU poster on here, and you can’t even answer that? We’re home and dry!

            Everyone knows that UKIP spouts rubbish – it’s expected (under Farage), but the only hysteria I see / hear is propaganda issuing from the Remainers, and it is a to behold! – “British holidaymakers stranded abroad if we Brexit”, “You won’t be able to get your car fixed if you have European breakdown cover” and other such rubbish.

            So my challenge remains unanswered.

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            Whatever

          • UKSteve

            Sums you up perfectly – the emotional intelligence and maturity of a 13-year old.

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            Steve, there is no point in discussing or debating anything with one who resorts to ad hominem and insults. Following your first reply I looked forward to a courteous debate on the issues, however I was sadly mistaken.

          • UKSteve

            Another dictionary avoider!

            Prove ad hominem and insults, or my assertion stands.

            Following my sourced and attributed reply to your post, I expected something more than immaturity and frankly, churlishness of your response.

            “Whatever”? That’s the best you can do, on this topic?

            It was bitterly disappointing, but I am a fool for thinking that anyone who spouts unfounded pro-EU nonsense repeatedly would come out with anything else.

          • Mary Ann

            Why should Britain benefit from leaving. No say about what our nearest neighbours do, no free trade with our nearest neighbours, no retiring to Spain for ordinary working class people………..

          • UKSteve

            Britain will thrive on leaving. We will be eventually rid of the parasite.

            The rest ….is some of the most brain-damaged propagandist rubbish I have yet read on anything! – you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support this.

            Does spouting pro-EU bilge pay well, MA?

      • Mary Ann

        Freedom of movement. Clout in the world.

        • UKSteve

          Nobody wanted it – and they knew it. That’;s by so much deceit and betrayal was necessary.

          “”Clout” – ROTFLMAO – nice try, Marytr0ll. See my post on Yugoslavia.

          • Mary Ann

            Come off it, “nobody wanted it” please engage brain, the 2 million odd British people living in the EU wanted it, and so do the 6 million who dream of their place in the sun.

          • UKSteve

            Wow. Incredibly ridiculous rubbish. This is why some users (rightly) regard you as a tr0ll.

            Please name the year of a general election where any member of any political party in any campaign even mentioned any of the following: (doesn’t have to be manifesto):

            Primacy of EU laws over UK laws
            Unlimited mass immigration to “rub the right’s nose in diversity”
            Loss of UK borders to allow free movement of people
            Multiculturalism

            (Hint: Give up in grace now, because they have never once been mentioned since 1973.)

    • licjjs

      Future job opportunities.

    • Johnnydub
    • br14

      “why do David Cameron and George Osborne think we should stay in?”

      Because the multi-national corporations that back both men (and evidently some in the Labour Party) want the UK to be part of the EU. Their lobbying organizations have moved en masse to Brussels over the last 20 years.

  • Watt

    Ian Buruma, a Dutchman who lives and works in the United States, should be told to mind his own business.

    • James_2014

      A really well thought out argument that holds together at every level!

      • Astonished and Dismayed

        Well it is not as if the author is an objective observer, is it? His article is cleverly spun to spread a veneer of racism / little englander over those that want to leave.

        His barb that the US trade representative stated US will not cut a trade deal was made by a political appointee that previously worked for the EU. What a surprise.

        This chap will not be in post for much longer and other more authoritative voices have stated that it is inconceivable that the US would not cut a deal with its closest ally.

  • Richard Lally

    OK. It is quite clear that my sensible arguments simply provoke more irrational ranting from all you passionate EU haters so I am going leave you to your intellectual squalor.

    • UKSteve

      So, in other words, my question frightened you off, and you have nothing?

      Ah well. Next….

      • Richard Lally

        Not at all Steve, not at all. I am not frightened, I am bored. I like good a good discussion as much as the next guy but the ridiculously passionate hatred of Brussels of the majority of people in this forum makes most of you impervious to rational thought which does not make for a worthwhile discussion.

        Last word: I can only hope that there are enough reasonable people in the electorate that we will not find out how tough it will be if England is wallowing self-pityingly in splendid isolation.

        • UKSteve

          Well, it’s good to see your reply, even if my mischievous taunt (and that’s all it was) is undeserving of it!

          I hear what you say, truly, I do. If you’re old, like me, and with a decent memory, you can remember all of the betrayals and deceit that have been deployed since the 1960’s, to get us where we are.

          If you read The Great Deception (free to download) , you’ll see that it started as far back as the 1930s with Arthur Salter, a civil servant.

          If you read the first 3 pages of this, you’ll get a flavour as to how we can leave and thrive. There is now a condensed version.

          No-one is putting anything at risk by voting Leave. I tried to address the post – that seemed genuine – from “Disqus bolloqus” – but it turns out he wasn’t interested in discussion after all.

          We will thrive outside the EU – or else I wouldn’t put my beautiful country at risk.

    • Mary Ann

      Brill.

  • Harryagain
  • Harryagain
  • Turrican

    The remain arguments seems to swerve maniacally from one extreme to the other. Buruma says here that we exert influence in the EU and it has no ‘hard power’ and therefore cannot be referred to as a state (i.e. the don’t worry the EU isn’t that important argument). Then Cameron says that our very lives depend on us staying in (suggesting the EU is extremely important and powerful in determining our destinies). The two arguments are incompatible, and both are disingenuous. I admire Ian Buruma for his excellent books on Japan and Asia. Unfortunately he is not quite on the mark with this piece on the EU.

    • James_2014

      You have lost me on this – the argument seems simple – if you have a place at the table and votes you can influence. If you do not then no one is going to listen.

      • UKSteve

        Exactly what “influence” do we have, being members of the EU?

        • James_2014

          Substantial – in pure voting terms the influence of the major countries has been recently augmented. In many areas we have the power of veto. In addition for legislation in many areas countries with over 65% of the population need to assent – and since we have a large population for our size this also is potentially of importance ( in point of fact we are at 65/501). That is the voting – but the real business is done in diplomacy – 70% of the decisions are unanimous – ie there is a lot of horsetrading to get a solution acceptable to all. That part is quantifiable. The unquantifiable part is that we have a highly effective diplomatic service and our extended post empire commonwealth in as well as the language advantage make us extremely effective (despite the press coverage of the odd failure). That is about as precise as I can get – but maybe you can give me more information. Quite how we would exercise any leverage if we were out is very hard to see. We have two main trade partners – Germany and Spain – but there are another 25 nations who may care rather less about being nice to us.

          • br14

            Despite the threat of a UK exit, David Cameron received only the smallest of crumbs in his attempt at “renegotiation”. And yet we have influence?

            We have no influence of any kind that makes a jot of difference to how the EU is ruled.

            If we were out, why would we need to exercise influence? We would make our own laws and our own trade deals.

            Just like the other 200+ countries in the world outside the EU.

            If EU countries didn’t want to be “nice” then we’d just buy and sell our products elsewhere to countries who were “nice”. But I doubt that would be a problem. Germany will make sure the UK can buy it’s manufactured goods. Just like Germany made sure Cameron received no genuine change to the EU.

          • James_2014

            I don’t agree re Cameron…but I really feel you have decided your position and have no desire to be persuaded. It is blindingly clear we have substantial input…evidenced by the fact that only 30 pc of the directives,regs etc go to a vote…the rest being unanimous. We have a big say in a huge market..?but I am afraid you really don’t want to believe it..Why this is interests me …maybe it is the remoteness of Brussels?…Large organisations always seem to engender suspicion..USA and EU…and there is desire That I share that we feel independent…something we in point of fact are…

          • br14

            We have limited input to EU regulations and laws because the directives etc are determined by un-elected Commissioners and their bureaucracies.

            Our elected representatives in the EU Parliament have only limited capacity to impact those directives. They can amend, but the amendments must be agreed by the Commission. And ultimately they cannot prevent legislation.

            The UK Parliament is bound to implement directives in those legislative area for which the treaties permit the EU to control.

            So apart from commercial lobbying (which is a quickly growing industry in Brussels), there is little influence your typical UK subject has over EU directives. He or she can appeal to their MP, but there is nothing their MP can do to influence the legislation. And of course, there is nothing their MEP can do either since the implementing body is the UK government.

            This is all by design. The governing structures of the EU are specifically designed to prevent input from the electorate. Monnet’s original design was for a technocratic “High Authority” that would ride above national governing organizations and supercede national interests.

            I imagine most EU supporters are quite happy with these arrangements because they see themselves as part of the technocratic elite. And if the EU was standing still perhaps that would be ok. But that is not the case. The EU is headed down a rather scary road towards an imperialist plutocracy that will inevitably eventually collide with other forces in the region.

            By the way, even if you assume the EU Parliament is “democratic” (though it cannot create legislation), due to the nature of the EU electoral system the UK still has less influence per capita than does Malta by a significant margin.

          • Turrican

            The vast majority of EU legislation is created by international bodies ‘above’ the level of the EU, such as Codex Alimentarius and UNECE. The UK is represented at these bodies by the EU (i.e. we do have influence, albeit 1/28th or to use your example above 65/501). However, Switzerland and Norway, outside the EU, represent themselves on such bodies. One could argue they exert more influence over the eventual legislation because they can change it before it even gets to the EU level.

          • PaD

            and Merkel unilaterally declares open borders thereby in a single stroke lights the fuse of disintergration of the whole edifice EU..because this is what WILL happen..mit’s happening right now. AfD.
            quantifiable?
            Certifiable!

          • UKSteve

            Well, James, this is straight out of a propaganda “play book”.

            Several friends of mine are UKiP members, and one of them worked for an MEP. He was aghast at just what a circus the EU parliament was, utterly futile, chaotic voting, with issues chosen by the Commission. His boss’ conclusion? “People must have a severely F’d up idea of democracy in they think this is what it’s about! The entire body of UK MEPs is 73, in a parliament of 751! That’s less than 10% representation!”

            The way the Parliament is run – on multiple sites – makes it hugely expensive. This nonsense of moving the Parliament to Strasbourg once every month is estimated at £145m per year.

            And these people would disagree with you, also:

            http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2013/02/eu-budget-beware-the-european-parliaments-veto-power/

            http://forbritain.org/MEPs%20votes.pdf

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/12139088/EU-deal-Strasbourg-parliament-ready-to-torpedo-Britains-emergency-brake.html

          • James_2014

            I agree that the there are loads of idiocies in the EU – but looked at from the other direction – it is really quite amazing that it works at all – with the huge disparity of cultures and languages – it was bound to be quirky. the point is that it is the only show in town – it has done a huge amount of good and the good by far outweighs the problems. Immigration is a problem we are acutely sensitive to because of population density and our popularity – but it is something the EU needs to address united. Baling out now is lose – lose.

          • Mary Ann

            Actually, if you live in Europe you soon realise that the people are not that different, but it is those with the get up and go to improve their lives who come to Britain and the unmotivated ones who stay at home.

          • UKSteve

            I’m sorry James, but this, if offered as an argument, is the weakest and most intellectually arrested piece of text I’ve read in years.

            “I agree that the there are loads of idiocies in the EU…..

            Based on 30 years+ research, I’ve never found it to be anything other than idiocies. It is wildly expensive, anti-democratic and politically impotent. Yugoslavia disintegrated in 1991 – a country on the EU’s back doorstep – what happened? The EU stood by, and watched mass slaughter, exterminations and…..concentration camps. Nazi-style. The ones the “Common Market” was set up to avoid. While John Major went scurrying off to ask Bill Clinton if he’d ‘send some of his awfully wonderful troops to help out’. The answer was “No”.

            We’ve just had a record trade deficit with the EU; nothing special there, because I’ve never been able to find a quarter where we have a goods (non-services) trade surplus with the EU – in about 16 years of checking. I estimate our total trade gap with the EU at £1.5 trillion over 43 years.

            “… that it is the only show in town – it has done a huge amount of good and the good by far outweighs the problems….”

            A statement of such spectacular ignorance and breathtaking imbecility, it actually offends the eyes. Yet, I may print it and frame it with all the others from you and your kind, and hope, one day, I find it hilarious instead of desperately and cruelly tragic.

            It is beyond rebuttal, in its child-like simplicity, and screams an aversion to learning, books, knowledge, research and information absorption.

          • Mary Ann

            That’s because you are reading with a closed mind, there are some good points and some bad ones, it claim that the EU has NO good points is to be economical with the truth. I suspect that the worse thing about the EU is, because everyone from every country has to be consulted it takes longer to make decisions but that does have the advantage of giving more time to think about the consequences. One of the best things, for those who have a spirit of adventure is, freedom of movement.

          • UKSteve

            Really MA, what patent nonsense.

            I realise that this is a Disqus forum, but you must know me from my posts by know!? Who do you know who is regular on this forum, that as a EUrosceptic is better researched then I? It isn’t a boast (who would brag about reading so many incredibly dull political biographies, trade figures, legal tracts, think tank reports, etc., etc?) merely a signal to those who would impute a ‘closed mind’.

            If you suspect that that is the “worst thing about the EU”, I have nowhere to go. I’m happy to debate anyone on any subject, but not someone with whom I’ve sparred so often, seemingly in utter futility.

          • Mary Ann

            What else do you expect a ukip member to say, Farage has said that he is going to use immigration to get us out of the EU, no mention of emigration of Britons going to Europe, 2 million people ignored because they don’t fit the ukip agenda. It’s not actually that much difference from the number of people from the EU in. But our outers are olds, expensive for the NHS and our inners are generally young, working and adding to the wealth of Britain.

          • UKSteve

            An amazingly ridiculous generalisation that stands on it’s own against an erroneous and nonsensical in the context of….well….nothing.

            I never listen to what “one-speech-Charlie” Farage says, he was so disruptive in Vote Leave Ltd., he was almost pushed. Exactly as I said he would be – like Bojo the Bozo – anything to sabotage the cause.

          • Mary Ann

            You shouldn’t take any notice of kippers, their leader has been very successfully stirring up racial hatred with his snide comments about foreigners, absolutely no integrity at all.

          • Mary Ann

            You have to be in it to have a say.

        • Mary Ann

          Depends of whether you bother to vote in the EU parliamentary elections.

          http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-parliament/index_en.htm

      • hobspawn

        If you do not have a place at the table, then you get your own table, waiter, menu and newspaper, you can order what you want, rather than the set menu, and you don’t have to pay a fixed share of the enormous wine bill run up by red-nosed alcoholics who refuse to speak to you anyway. N’est-ce-pas?

      • Mary Ann

        Careful, you shouldn’t apply logic, Brexit is about fear.

  • br14

    Who is this “we” in the authors basic premise “And we have more clout as we are”?

    My guess he means the governing elite. Because one thing is certain, ordinary voters will lose “clout” since the EU is as anti-democratic an organization as it is possible to find.

    So the author is correct. The elites would have more clout. It’s the rest of us that within the EU would eventually have zero ability to remove those making our laws.

    In other words, we’d have more “clout” to remove the elites by whom we are governed if we leave. Small wonder they want to stay in the EU.

    • Mary Ann

      We have more clout in the world being in the EU because there are 60 million Britons and 500 million EU citizens, which means better trade deals for the EU than Britain can hope to aspire to.

  • Jacobi

    Buruma should note that it is of little importance whether we leave the EU or not. The Channel will not widen, and trade will continue. Merkel has ensured that the EU as known has ceased to exist.

    Parliamentary sovereignty is always superior to international treaty agreements ( so-called international law) and that is so for non-English Brits, and Dutch, too please note!

    I would agree with him but for one point. The the real problem which will face us and our descendants is aggressive expansionist Islam. All these other little squabbles will be seen as just that as this danger gets under way. Merkel has done and continues to do her best to ensure that it will.

    Brexit!

    • Uzaydan Misafir

      Yes, trade will continue because you still need to buy our goods. What will stop is City of London since they are unlikely to have access to the EU-market. I think most people outside of Canary Wharf see that as another argument for Brexit.

      From the other side of the channel it is kind of hard to hear lots of Brexiters alway talking about immigration as a problem when it’s obvious you only mean European immigration. You are all fine with Asians and Africans. Farage himself is very clear on that. There is this fantasy about the Commonwealth and as you all know that means India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya etc.

  • Henryhomer

    Such disengenuousness, the European Court of Human Rights is not an EU insititution, but the European Court of Justice is and its judgements bind our own courts and overrule our Parliament. WIf we leave the EU our own courts will no longer be subservuient to the ECJ. That is a freedom worth having.

    • 6Story5

      For the subserviance to end, the 1972Act of Accession has to be abrogated.

      • James_2014

        Subservience – what sort of language is that? Go and look at the system – we are no more “subservient” than any other country.

        • Mary Ann

          If we had entered fully into the EU we would probably be running it by now.

          • 6Story5

            We entered it more fully than any other country, at least in legal terms. of course, the country never bought into the terms on which the UK entered the EU. Hence the permanent hiatus. In the question of the Euro, this was a French hang up to prevent being dominated by the Bundesbank. Because France considered the EU to be an alliance of sovereign states, once the Euro in place, it felt no further need to create the conditions for its success. That would have required France to implement the conditions stipulated by the theory of an optimal currency area. But France is not utilitarian, as were the economists who wrote the theory.
            The UK in my view is the mother of all supranationalists: that’s why we wax lyrical about the internal market. EU jurisprudence however followss the French script that the free market is the jungle, and the jungle has to be tamed by law, like the curveture of a bananae or the colour of a tomato.

          • Mary Ann

            You don’t believe that rubbish printed in the Tabloids about bananas, as as for the colour of Tomatoes, what are you talking about, we have red ones black ones green ones yellow ones, stripped ones, how many more colours do you want.

        • 6Story5

          Not true. Neither the German Constitutional Court nor the French Conseil d’Etat recognize the primacy of EU law as does the UK. heath and Howe believed that the EU was supranational. neither Germany nor France are convinced. The UK has made itself subservient to the EU. In the language of the German Constitutional Court, the EU is no more than an alliance of sovereign states. The UK, given the 1972 Act of Accession, could never say such a thing.

          • disruptivethoughts

            According to your interpretation of things as they stand, the problem is entirely the UK’s and not with the EU at all. Leaving the EU by repealing the Act would not improve matters at all in this regard.

          • 6Story5

            Your first sentence is correct. That is my position. The second is wrong: the UK, by the wording of Section 2.1. of the 1972 Act, has no way to counter the flood of ECJ interporetations and regulations from the EU to be implemented directly into UK law. This is not the case in France or Germany, let alone in the Scandinavian states. See my blog: https://storybookreview.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/the-uks-supranationalism-is-at-the-root-of-its-eu-difficulties
            What is vital is getting parliament to assert its discretion to amend and reject. It is in parliament’s powers. This is the key issue which Cameron refused to agree on with Johnson. Instead, of staying In the EU, but doing so on UK terms as the champion of a UK of states, and as a champion of the principle of consent, Cameron has clearly espoused the supranational position, at the heart of Whitehall’s position on the EU, whereby the objective of the EU is to convert all member states into provinces of a superstate. Cameron could have adopted this moderate position to stay in on our terms, while in effect remaining the most communautaire of member states. But he refused. he looked a massive referendum victory in the mouth and decided against. Please don’t get tempted into arguing that Cameron has leadership qualities.

          • disruptivethoughts

            It’s an interesting position, and certainly original amongst the fog of unconvincing arguments put about by the various campaigns. I’ll have a look at your blog.

    • Mary Ann

      And if we leave the EU then we can leave the ECHR and the Tories can decide what our human rights are, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they won’t be as good as they are now. Who wants to give up their human rights just so a few criminals can be chucked out of the country?

      • Henryhomer

        There are 47 members of the Council of Europe, only 28 EU states. There is no reason to be in the EU to enjoy the protections of the ECHR.

    • Kevin Harrison

      No it isn’t.

  • Tickertapeguy

    Quoting the article:
    “The European Union has no army and no joint foreign policy, and cannot be described as a state, federal or otherwise. The closest thing it has to a government would be the European Commission combined with the European Council, where national government leaders haggle over and decide on EU laws and policies. Britain is a major player in both institutions.”

    The above is true, but so is:
    Common currency. That means central banks and their regulations supersede national interests. Prime example is wealthier economies propping up failed economies within the European Union. If the EU did not exist Greece and her economic problems would be hers to bear and not that of Germany or other better organized economies.

    When people in Spain vote in a Socialist government regardless if that would mean a drain on resources, that should not be the problem of other European nations. But under this Union it is.

    No matter how it is cut borders do matter. if not Europe would not be experiencing a rise of hyper nationalism against a tidal wave of refugees & asylum seekers. If one or the another European nation wants to have an “open door” policy for these refugees it should not be an issue for the rest of Europe. But under this union it is.

    Simply put when those who run the banks, those who are the leaders and those who hold vast amounts of money are mainly the beneficiary of this Union and the common man is not then the Union has to be dissolved for it serves the few at the expense of the many.

  • Zalacain

    Britain has a government that spies on its citizens. http://uk.businessinsider.com/uk-government-draft-investigatory-powers-bill-how-it-wants-to-spy-on-citizens-2015-11

    There are also an enormous amount of surveillance cameras in this country. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10172298/One-surveillance-camera-for-every-11-people-in-Britain-says-CCTV-survey.html

    If Britain leaves the EU, the UK government will be freer, but not its citizens.

    • Mary Ann

      Very little of our laws actually come from the EU, far less than most people think, and if we want free trade with Europe we are going to have to keep most of them, along with freedom of movement, which is at least a good thing. But no say in the rules!

  • BillBill

    “It is not a loathing of foreigners that necessarily inspires the anti-EU arguments…

    “No doubt there are unsavoury elements in the Brexit campaign…”

    Why are we discussing the writings of someone who dismisses many of his opponents as racists right off the bat?

    Buruma wrote the Creepy book Murder In Amsterdam where he found himself unable to see any moral superiority in an amiable activist and this activist’s killer who shot him, cut his throat to the spine and then pinned a note to hid chest with a dagger. Plot spoiler: it was really the fault of the Dutch.

    Buruma is the epitome of the cold, rootless, cosmopolitan who sneers at ordinary folk for their attachment to a place and a culture but who are not clever enough to write for the New York Review of Books.

    • Mary Ann

      What annoys me is the outers never mention the millions of Brits living in Europe. We have friends who want to come to France but they are waiting until after the referendum before buying a house. I expect we will end up with an EEA type agreement, pay the money, obey the rules, freedom of movement and no say in the rules. Daft.

      • James

        People have been living abroad since before the EU. More Brits have left UK & Europe because the EU is rubbish.

  • Jojje 3000

    Once the UK is back on its feet and out of the recession there will be shifts in dominance, the EU will be heavily influenced by a prosperous UK.

  • James

    Cameron is a risk to national security and places financial interests of the elite above national security – even if it means allowing the UK to become swamped with terrorists.

    • RAnthony

      I doubt that as it would be bad for business.

  • Mr B J Mann

    freedom from the interfering federal government that deprived southern states of their right to slavery and now supposedly ‘wants to take our guns away’.

    “No doubt there are unsavoury elements in the Brexit campaign as well.”

    Wot?!

    Who smear people by insinuating that not only are they evil for wanting the freedom to own guns,

    But that they want them to protect “their right to slavery?!?!?!!!

  • JEng

    I find it disturbing that Camilla Parker Bowles is descended from that contingent of DUTCH who invaded England.

    How is that not disgusting even if you aren’t Scottish?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glorious_Revolution

    • JEng

      and it explains a lot why all these aristocrats are in the news all the time for their cray cray multiple marriages including the Crown Prince’s past adultery with his current wife.

      It’s gross.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        I find a lot of your writings unintelligible gibberish. But I do agree with the last line. Usurpers.

    • JEng

      There’s a term of art for this that escapes me at the moment – when your want more than you can handle and then you lose what was yours in addition to what you tried to take for yourself:

      The decline of the Dutch Republic

      Having England as an ally meant that the military situation of the
      Republic was strongly improved, but this very fact induced William to be
      uncompromising in his position towards France. This policy led to a
      large number of very expensive campaigns which were largely paid for
      with Dutch funds. In 1712 the Republic was financially exhausted; it
      withdrew from international politics and was forced to let its fleet
      deteriorate, making what was by then the Kingdom of Great Britain
      the dominant maritime power of the world. The Dutch economy, already
      burdened by the high national debt and concomitant high taxation,
      suffered from the other European states’ protectionist
      policies, which its weakened fleet was no longer able to resist. To
      make matters worse, the main Dutch trading and banking houses moved much
      of their activity from Amsterdam to London after 1688. Between 1688 and
      1720, world trade dominance shifted from the Republic to Britain.[93]

      • JEng

        do it again 🙂

  • Roger Hudson

    Buruma is a foreigner who constructs a silly ‘straw man’ argument, ignore him. A British sovereign parliament can enact laws , repudiate defective treaties and do what it needs to , subject to the votes of it’s British subjects.

  • Stephen Nicholls

    Who is this person and where has he been living this past 43 years? On some remote planet in a distant galaxy from what I’m reading. He clearly is one of these Europhiles with vested interests. There is not one thing he’s mentioned that I agree with.
    The EU IS meddlesome, it IS always telling us what we can and can’t do. It HAS wrecked our fishing industry, destroyed the lives of countless farmers. Many have taken their own lives in recent years and continue to do so every year. Look at the pub trade!
    Westminster is like a dog without teeth having to beg for every scrap of food that deigns to fall from the EU’s table.
    It may be true that we are trading with other countries outside the European Union, BUT and it is a big BUT we had to ask their permission to do it!. As to the migration problem, this is a global matter anyway. It shouldn’t be down to us or the rest or Europe to deal with. Then again, Merkel that mealy mouthed German chancellor was quite happy to invite the whole of Syria, Turkey, Bulgaria plus uncle Tom Tobley and all onto the European mainland. Because of this, WE have to pick up the pieces and accept people on our shores who have NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to be here. Our hospitals, schools and infrastructure cannot cope with the sheer number of migrants we are OBLIGED to take. I recommend that this man comes down from the planet Zog to Great Britain plant Earth and live amongst us for a week or two. He might actually learn a few things.
    The good news is the EU referendum will be with us in a few week time. WE ARE GOING TO LEAVE!!!!!
    To Ian Buruma I say only this. GO FORTH BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY!

  • Sally

    Now THAT is a dumb argument – Being more sovereign doesn’t necessarily mean you are more sovereign.

    How do people like this become writers, if they don’t even understand the meanings of words or make a logical argument?

Close