Is a reformed federal UK within a reformed, more federal European Union an answer to the constitutional itch??

Great observation from David Torrance on the bending of identity politics in an awkward stretch of the road between two referendums…

…while articulate Euro-sceptics such as the MEP Dan Hannan and Times commentator Tim Montgomerie frame their arguments in “British” terms, Little Englander sentiments are often to the fore, particularly among UKIPers. Indeed, it’s striking how closely their arguments – a quixotic mix of magical economic growth, regained “sovereignty” and an improved relationship with the “other” they seek to leave behind – resemble those of pro-independent Scots a couple of years ago

Suddenly those who warned of “uncertainty” and economic turbulence in the case of Scotland seem very certain that the UK leaving the EU wouldn’t have the same negative impact. The Brexit case lacks much empirical evidence beyond belief, faith and all the woolliest elements of modern identity politics, but that won’t really matter. Yesterday Nigel Farage took a leaf out of the SNP playbook by framing the EU referendum “as being the people versus the politicians”, and as we’ve seen that can work a treat.

It’s been equally entertaining to watch Nationalists grope around for pro-EU language that won’t make them sound like the proponents of “Better Together” they derided for being too “negative” back in 2014. Of course it’s almost impossible, for you can’t warn about the loss of influence and economic consequences associated with Brexit while simultaneously cautioning against “Project Fear Mark II”.

Hmmm, awkward. Torrance however concludes there is another answer abegging for both the UK and the UE…

Pete Wishart did say something sensible last week, when he urged Conservative MPs to “create” their own Parliament and then join him and Members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at Westminster to “consider the great reserved issues of foreign affairs, defence and international relations”. “It is called federalism”, he added, “and it seems to work quite adequately in most other nations.”

I’m glad to welcome him to the federalist fold, for the ideal, perhaps quixotic, is surely a reformed federal UK within a reformed, more federal European Union? For only that would give adequate expression to Scottishness as well as Englishness, Welshness and, admittedly more awkwardly, Northern Irishness.

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  • Dan

    I’m looking for the ‘great observation’ bit….

  • Kevin Breslin

    The EU is not a federal entity, and perhaps will never be, it is an international association of 28 countries putting their collective egos aside for a moment and finding a broad mutual consensus and compromise on many transcontinental difficulties.

    I agree a bit with Torrence there is a bit of the chasing windmills mentality going on but I don’t think there is such a thing as an “answer” to this issue. No one wants anything set in stone, and the status quo I feel doesn’t set anything in stone.

    I support the EU because it protects freedoms such as freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom from discrimination not the systemic set up, these are freedoms the Leave crowd wish to get rid of.

    The main UK nation that could benefit from a more federalized EU would be England in my opinion. The English identity was based on re-enforced “continentalism/globalism” not an insular one, but an insularism-multiculturalism hybrid, it would have the greatest clout in a federal entity making up a 10th of the EU, and if it wanted to it could have a broad range of caucus networks with like-minded European regions rather than broad church minded European nations. It would still hold onto the benefits of CAP (with the rebate), the science funding, and if it’s worried about over population it can simply have more people settle in the beautiful Eastern European frontier with manifest density, not simply cost of living tourism.

    I’m not sure the average English UKIP voter will agree with me.

  • Thanks Tank

    I think we’ll see the continued emergence of English nationalism.

    The side bits and the bit on the neighbouring Island will find that the Union is undermined most from London in years to come.

  • Thanks Tank

    The chance of a Federal Europe was buried last year.

    It will be Merkel’s defining European legacy, one she will not want.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Merkel’s legacy is actually quite strong at the moment despite her critics, she used her pragmatism to reach compromise while her opponents completely wasted their opportunism. The fact you can’t really get away with being Donald Trump in Europe highlights how a continent that has suffered so much under isolationism and insular governance will reject it for saying it has all the easy answers again.

    Merkel doesn’t really need federalism, she only needs practical co-operation in the face of common adversity. The Trumps of Europe don’t do pragmatism, they do authoritarianism and know little else.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well have you given any thought to the London vs. Rest of England problem?

  • terence patrick hewett

    Ireland is in a difficult position stuck between two powerful hegemons: the big circle to square in an islands federal solution is the English hegemon, which can only be achieved via a constitutional reformation resulting in a federation of four independent nations outside the EU. There are big prizes to be had: a possibility of a united Ireland and a massive re-developement of the de-industrialised areas using current/future technology of the emergent 3rd industrial revolution.

  • Graham Parsons

    Indeed. What is described as English nationalism is really London and the SE nationalism.

  • Graham Parsons

    Did we not have freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom from discrimination before we joined the EU? Could we not have these things if we left?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Not to the same extent, the only security of freedom of movement is non discriminary reciprocation, which Leave want rid of. Their demands for special British privilege will collapse because there is no appetite for accepting inequality and no justification for the need for inequality in other European nations. Going outside the EU/EEA arrangements would mean the UK putting limitations on its own citizens for limitations elsewhere as you can’t have the cake and eat it too. Joining Switzerland/Norway ties in the EFTA would mean the UK to have very similar migrationary commitments to the EU anyway.

    I’m also not sure my freedom from discrimination is protected when prejudices are being escalated against other groups of people.

  • eamoncorbett

    You have a point there.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I’m reminded of Mercedes Lackey’s comment about the 2 saddest words in the English language.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    That’s a question that many non-London little Englanders are required to consider.

  • OneNI

    Do Irish nationalists really want a United Ireland – as this is the only viable way to achieve it, as part of a Federal UK outside the EU.
    Surely better to be a big player in the UK, trading strongly with USA and the rest of the non EU world than a bit player in a German dominated EU.
    If UK leaves EU Ireland’s tax policies will be squashed by the jealous Germans and French

  • OneNI

    Yeah that’d work. NOT. We’d all be forced to join the Euro and we’d have to make huge cuts to public expenditure. It’d be Greece without the sun

  • John Collins

    Kevin
    Before 1916 Home Rule MPs were begging Westminster to put more investment into Ireland. The two main parties In Britain had no elected MPs in Ireland and totally ignored the concerns of the Irish MPs. Thus was lost Southern Ireland. Thus may well be lost other peripheral regions in the near future.

  • Starviking

    What investments were they begging for?

    As for the main UK parties ignoring the concerns of the Irish MPs, how do you square that with the Liberal’s successive efforts to pass Home Rule Bills?

  • John Collins

    Well the Liberals day had passed and they made no attempt to stop illegal armies importing vast amounts of arm into to the country. The Leader of His Majesty’s opposition had said ‘there are more important things that Parliamentary Majorities’ and went totally unchallenged for this treasonous behaviour. If Home Rule had come in we would have been utterly under represented at Westminster. Remember Ulster with 1.4 million people got a paltry 12 MPs at Westminister and Mainland Britain with 41 million people got 628. Hardly proportionate. But what was new. Ireland had one quarter of the population of the then GB in 1801 yet they got less than one sixth of the MPs at Westminster. (104 out of 680) Essentially when dealing with the English the Irish were always on the teat next to the tail. Since the Act of Union our population had fallen by 15%, theirs had risen by 180%. Since 1922 the population of the ROI and GB has increased at almost the same rate. Do we have to say any more.
    Much is made of the decline in the Protestant population in the ROI since independence and this is highly regrettable, however the Roman Catholic Population in what is now the ROI was halved in the last eighty years of British Rule

  • Kevin Breslin

    There were 32 Liberal Unionist MPs allied to Balfour. Now the Liberal Unionists were outnumbered 82 to 32 by other Irish MPs, which is around 28% of Irish MPs.

  • John Collins

    Kevin
    I think some of those Liberal Unionists were elected for GB Constituencies as there were only 104 Irish MPs in Westminster. I know a few HR MPs were also returned from English Constituencies.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And one Irish nationalist was elected in GB, so that would mean 23 Unionist “Irish” assuming the 104 MP tally is correct and there were no other parties in the mix. I think post Famine is more relevant to these stats showing the rise of the Land League and the IPP rather than pre-1916. Certainly at the time of Daniel O’Connell there was an Irish Conservative presence, that was before 1916, but long before it.

  • Starviking

    If Home Rule had come in we would have been utterly under represented at Westminster.

    Well, that was because we would have had 100% say in most if not all Irish internal affairs, with a large Irish Parliament. I guess the thinking was that with an Irish PM to represent the concerns of Ireland to the Westminster Parliament, less Irish Westminster MPs would be needed. There’s also probably a reflection of the West Lothian Question too: Ireland having full say in internal affairs, and being able to strongly affect GB legislation.. That’s also the reason why Northern Ireland had a lower number of Westminster MPs after Home Rule, and why the numbers were increased after Direct Rule.

    Since the Act of Union our population had fallen by 15%, theirs had risen by 180%. Since 1922 the population of the ROI and GB has increased at almost the same rate. Do we have to say any more.(emphasis mine)

    Yes, we have to say and do much more: lots of things can affect population growth and movement.

    Much is made of the decline in the Protestant population in the ROI since independence and this is highly regrettable, however the Roman Catholic Population in what is now the ROI was halved in the last eighty years of British Rule.

    The Protestant population could, and should have been accommodated. As for the demographics in the last 80 years of British rule, Famine, sustainability, and availability of migration all have roles to play. Without British rule the first two would still have had big impacts, but the availability of the third may have been adversely impacted.

    Finally, can you detail any of these investment that you said Home Rule MPs were begging for?

  • John Collins

    Just three points
    (1) when the Scotch and Welsh Assemblies were created why was their number of MPs not greatly reduced. After all it is widely regarded that their delegated powers are much greater that those that were being delegated to the Dublin parliament.
    (2) As far back as the Famine British Politicians, like Lord Morpeth and George Bentwich, among others were asking the British Government to invest as much as 16 million pounds into the Irish economy for schemes like State Funding of railway construction, in order to help to grow prosperity on Ireland. They were quoting the case of Belgium especially, and indeed several other Continental countries, where state investment was seen as a means of driving social change and more access to markets etc. The island of Britain was itself one the richest entities in the World at the time and could have afforded this outlay, which would have helped quell disaffection in Ireland, but it failed to do so. You also should read Dr Robert Ambrose MP’s ‘ A Plea For the Industrial Regeneration of Ireland’ (1909) . It is available for about €10 from the NLI, Kildare St. Dublin. It would give you a fair idea that the ‘investments’ they were begging for are no figment of my imagination.
    (3) If a Government when repeatedly asked to do so show no interest in solving a problem, or even empathising in any way with the enquirers concerns, they are on the road to trouble. On several occasions, in the early 20th Century Home Rule MPs like Ambrose, Redmond ,Dillon, and indeed several others, pleaded for action from Westminster to have something done about emigration, They were merely sneered at for the most part by representatives of the main parties. As Ambrose prophesised in 1909 ‘if something is not done about this there will be revolution on Ireland within the next ten years’. And sadly so there was.

  • MacTurk

    The chances of Ireland voting for rejoining any version of the UK is basically NIL

    Your claim that Ireland would “Surely better to be a big player in the UK, trading strongly with USA and the rest of the non EU world than a bit player in a German dominated EU.” is proof of historical and economic ignorance.

    While in the UK, and for most of the period 1922-73, the Republic was poor, undeveloped, and UTTERLY dependent on the UK for its low-added value exports. Prior to EEC accession, the UK took more than 85% of our exports – mostly cattle on the hoof, and unskilled labour.

    The situation now is that the USA accounts for 30% of Irish exports, the EU/Euro zone takes more than 45%, and the rest of the world accounts for the balance. We have successfully diversified our export markets, and the UK accounts for less than Belgium. Meanwhile, our exports now are generally high added-value goods, and services.

    Any honest assessment of the long, and often unpleasant, relationship with our large Anglo-Saxon neighbour to the east would make the point that any sensible Irish person would be very, very, wary of any return to the cold and clammy embraces of Britannia.

    As a small country, we are always going to be a bit player, a price taker, not a price maker. It is far more sensible, and very definitely in our national interests, to be a member of a rules-based organisation than be out in the cold.

    The claim that “If UK leaves EU Ireland’s tax policies will be squashed by the jealous Germans and French” is fact free supposition about a future possibility.

    In reality, given the fact that a lot of the Central and Eastern European members have flat rate, low rate, taxation systems, and the German federal states all have different tax systems, the chances of that coming to pass is zero.

    If England votes to leave, while Scotland votes to remain, Indyref Mk 2 will come along swiftly, and the UK will break up.

    Where that will leave the Northern Ireland(NI) Unionists will be a matter for them. It will be interesting, mind you.

    There is also the small problem that the NI Unionists are loyal to a vision of Britain which has not existed for at least 40 years…..

  • MacTurk

    New applicants to join the EU have to make a long term committment to join the Euro, when they meet the criteria.

    And the institution which makes the decision that any given country meets those criteria is the national government of that country.

    NO country can “…be forced to join the Euro…”, that claim is complete nonsense.

    As is the claim that “…we’d have to make huge cuts to public expenditure”.

    You may not have noticed, but you are living in a state – the UK – which has, over the last six or seven years, been making “…huge cuts to public expenditure”. Mr Osborne has promised even more reductions in the public expenditure, and promises to shrink the state sector to a size not seen in over 100 years.

  • OneNI

    Any new country seeking to join EU after the break up of the UK speculated about would have to join the Euro.
    Actually I live in NI and there have been no huge cuts in public expenditure whatsoever

  • OneNI

    I agree Mac chances of the Republic rejoining UK is very low therefore chances of united Ireland also low as this is the only economically viable way to bring it about.

    Your economic overview to defective. Not least your assertion that USA takes 30% of irish exports. Actually the USA and UK COMBINED take 30% of Reoublic’s exports 16% USA and 14% UK. (Which actually is a very strong argument for Republic to follow UK out of EU)

    ‘definitely in our national interests, to be a member of a rules-based organisation than be out in the cold.’ The Eurozone and Irish banking crisis would suggest the Republic was in the cold.
    Your idea that in absence of the UK the central and East european countries would rally to defend low taxes is quaint. The truth is these countries have little economic or political muscle
    and your supposition that UK vote to leave will lead to Scotland leaving UK is based on a poor understanding of the facts. Will Scotland vote to leave the UK, apply to join EU and join the Euro?
    The increasingly hysterical ‘concern’ voiced by the Republic’s politicians about the impact of UK Leaving the EU on NI is very revealing. Its not about NI they realise the impact could be hardest on the Republic unless it follows the UK out

  • Starviking

    The number of Scottish MPs was reduced significantly, because they were getting a parliament. NI and Wales suffered no reduction as we only got assemblies.

    Thanks for the info on the request for state funding, it’s something I will have to check out.

    On the subject of Ambrose, how did he tie emigration to unrest? Was emigration shorthand for poverty, or was he making a different point?

  • John Collins

    Well thanks for the information re Scottish Parliament. As regards Ambrose and the shorthand of poverty I am not sure. I studied his career as an MP because he was a very distant relative of mine (his grandfather was my 3 times great grandfather) and of course he was a native of Newcastle West our local market town. They were an interesting family, One first cousin was Daniel Ambrose, another medic, and was a short term MP for Louth. Another was John Wolf Ambrose, the Newcastle born engineer, who developed the changes to the layout of the Hudson River in New York that enabled it to be such a successful port. Among his grandfathers direct descendants there was at least 22 medical doctors and that was only those of the second and third generations. and every one of them worked outside the island of Ireland, so poverty was not the only reason for emigration, in their immediate case anyway.
    However he does a study of exports from Irish Ports in 1852 and compares to the exports from the same ports in 1907 and it shows a drop in content of materials exported by about 60%, He also claims that for every one pound Ireland gets from the GB Exchequer it puts in 4 pounds.
    Overall I think one should read the document in its entirety. As Henry of Navarre might have said if ‘The French Crown is worth a mass’ then this document is worth a debate. It is available from NLI Kildare St, Dublin for about ten Euro.

  • MacTurk

    Your various claims are based on ignorance, innumeracy, and delusional distance from reality.

    According to the Irish Central Statistics Office(CSO), updated export figures, starting in 1970, show that the USA took 24% of Irish exports in 20125(to November 2015). Granted, it is not 30%, but is still TEN percentage points higher than your claim…..

    The EU, including the UK, as of November 2015, took 60% of our exports(same CSO figures). If the UK is excluded, then the EU as a whole takes 46%, which is one percent HIGHER than the figure I stated. Obviously, this means that your silly claim that the UK takes 14% of our exports, “Which actually is a very strong argument for Republic to follow UK out of EU” is innumerate nonsense. No sensible person, or company, ignores the 46% to concentrate on the 14%….

    Your claim that “The Eurozone and Irish banking crisis would suggest the Republic was in the cold” is equally nonsense. As numerous reports, the most recent(The Oireachteas Banking Inquiry)published yesterday, have pointed out, the Irish banking crisis was caused by purely national factors, namely lack of regulation, reckless lending and utter-reliance on lending to a single sector, and Irish people who can think know very well we were saved by having the ECB, and our EU membership, as a safety net.

    Your claim that “Your idea that in absence of the UK the central and East european(sic) countries would rally to defend low taxes is quaint” is based on ignorance of the recent history of those states. They have NO NEED to “…rally to defend low taxes…”, mainly because they already have them, and have very ably defended them. Equally ignorant, in terms of how the EU actually works, is your claim that “The truth is these countries have little economic or political muscle” They have all the political muscle their EU membership, and associated votes, gives them. As for economic clout, the Visegrad Group(Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, & the Czech Republic) is the fifth largest economy in the EU.

    You claim that my “…supposition that UK vote to leave will lead to Scotland leaving UK is based on a poor understanding of the facts”. If it is, then numerous major political figures, in Scotland and England, are also suffering from “…a poor understanding of the facts”, most notably Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, Alec Salmond MP, the ex-Scottish First Minister, and, most recently, Pat McFadden MP, co-chair of the pro-EU ‘Labour In’ group of MPs.

    The latter recently asked “What would the effect on Northern Ireland be if its neighbour to the south is in the EU but it is not, and Scotland, the part of the UK with which it has the closest links, is pushing for independence in part so it can remain part of the EU while Northern Ireland is not?” He went on to say “The economic and other implications of such a situation are unknown. But at the very least they pose a set of questions that are not there now.”

    The answer to your question “Will Scotland vote to leave the UK, apply to join EU and join the Euro?” is, almost certainly, in the event of England voting to leave the EU while Scotland votes to stay in, going to be ‘Yes’.

    If the UK votes for Brixit, the short term impact for the Republic of Ireland will be quite negative. The short term, and long term, impact on NI will be highly negative. If, as seems highly likely, Scotland votes afterwards to bring the UK to an end, it is utterly unlikely that the impact on NI will be anything other than completely negative.

    The majority of employment in NI is in the state sector, and most of the rest is in agriculture. The loss of EU subsidies resulting from Brixit will not be a positive for NI, and the current UK government is intent on reducing government debt, and the size of the state. The short term, and long term, outlook, in post-Brixit NI, is not positive.

    The Republic will, long term, benefit. We will greatly increase our Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) from outside the EU, a lot of the foreign financial institutions currently based in the City of London will move some, or all, of their operations to Dublin, along with Frankfurt, etc, and a lot of UK companies who trade with the EU will probably shift their operations to the Republic, or elsewhere in the EU.

    This is not a fantasy; several major investment banks in the City have baldly stated that they will leave the UK, in the event of a Brixit.

  • MacTurk

    Deleted duplicate

  • MacTurk

    As I clearly stated above;

    “New applicants to join the EU have to make a long term committment to join the Euro, when they meet the criteria.

    And the institution which makes the decision that any given country meets those criteria is the national government of that country.

    NO country can “…be forced to join the Euro…”, that claim is complete nonsense.”

    With which part of this did you have comprehension problems?

    The situation regarding EU applicants and the committment to Euro membership has nothing to do with Britain leaving the EU. It has been a standard condition since the Maastricht Treaty of 1992.

    “Actually I live in NI and there have been no huge cuts in public expenditure whatsoever”? Really?

    So the massive political crisis about the reduction in the block grant, and the necessary cuts, were all about a fantasy?

  • OneNI

    I have my figures and you have yours. 😉 but you make a telling misunderstanding I was suggesting the Republic leaves the EU to focus on its trade with the UK. I was suggesting it leave to concentrate on its trade with the UK, the USA and other rapidly growing non EU markets

    Again we will disagree on where the fault for the Irish banking crisis lies.

    On corporation Tax you think the Republic can maintain it position post Brexit I think you are mistaken.

    Sturgeon and Salmond campaigned to take Scotland oit of the UK on a ;false prospectus’ Thankfully they lost. I have every confidence they will continue to do do.

    ‘The loss of EU subsidies resulting from Brexit’ These subsidies are paid for British taxes and you assume the Govt will radically cut them over night and possibly single NI for harsh treatment. As mentioned above from the EVIDENCE of the treatment of the Block Grant in recent years there is no reason to make that assumption.
    As for this nonsense about financial institutions moving from UK to Dublin or elsewhere that’s what the supporters of the Euro said. And it is a fact that they were completely and utterly 100% wrong.
    MacTurk did you think we should have joined the euro?

  • MacTurk

    “I have my figures and you have yours”? My figures are the latest from the CSO. I stated that quite clearly. I have no idea where yours came from, but they are unattributed, and almost certainly out of date.

    “I was suggesting it leave to concentrate on its trade with the UK, the USA and other rapidly growing non EU markets”

    We do not need to leave the EU to concentrate on our “…trade with the UK, the USA and other rapidly growing non EU markets”. Most obviously, because leaving the EU would offer nothing useful, in terms of increasing trade with any of those markets, and in the case of the USA, would be a step backwards, because we would automatically exclude ourselves from the benefits of the TTIP. Not to mention losing a major selling point when it comes to FDI from the USA.

    Neither the USA nor the UK is particularly ‘rapidly growing’. Nor are most other, non-EU, markets. China is going into a slowdown, if not a outright recession, Brazil is effectively in recession, India is not growing fast enough, and Russia’s economy is crippled by the collapse in oil prices.

    Ultimately, how would exiting the EU, which takes 56% of our exports currently, serve the Republic’s interests? It would not.

    “Again we will disagree on where the fault for the Irish banking crisis lies.”? This basically translates as “I have made my mind up, and I know what I know”. You are not willing to accept new data, nor will you change your mind, despite the evidence contained in at least four reports, various IMF submissions, etc, etc. The phrase ‘Closed mind’ comes to mind.

    “On corporation Tax you think the Republic can maintain it position post Brexit I think you are mistaken”? And you are deeply into conspiracy idiocy, which is why I am beginning to think you are an idiot, crippled by his inability to deal with reality.

    The most recent statement concerning EU taxation came from M. Pierre Muscovici, the European Commissioner responsible for tax matters, today(Thursday, 28/01/2016).

    “Our idea is certainly not to impose any kind of corporate tax rate at the national level. And we are not going to tell this or that country, you cannot any more have, let’s say, 12.5pc – I say that without any purpose – tomorrow. We are not going to force any country to raise its corporate tax rate.”

    Just a quick trawl makes the point that several EU member states have corporate tax rates which are close to, or lower than, the Republic of Ireland’s. Estonia sets a rate of 0%(for retained profits), & 20% for distributed profits. Malta’s is officially 35%, but 85.7% refunds give many companies an effective rate of 5%. Bulgaria is on 10%, as is Hungary(up to 500Million Forints,19% thereafter). Cyprus has the same rate as the Republic of Ireland(12.5%), Latvia & Lithuania are on 15%, Romania 16%, Slovenia 17%, the Czech Republic & Poland% 19%, Finland, the UK, Greece, & Croatia on 20%. The Netherlands sets 20% for profits up to Euro 200,000(25% thereafter).

    Beyond the 20% rate, we have Portugal on 21%, Slovakia, Sweden, & Denmark 22%, Austria 25%, Luxembourg 29.22%(5.718% on intellectual property income & royalties), Germany between 30% & 33.325%(Federal plus differing Lander rates), Italy on 31.4%, France 33%, and Belgium on 34%.

    “‘The loss of EU subsidies resulting from Brexit’ These subsidies are paid for British taxes and you assume the Govt will radically cut them over night and possibly single NI for harsh treatment”? A straw man argument. This I did not say.

    You assume that every future UK government will be willing to subsidise the agricultural sector. Best of luck with that.

    The entire agricultural sector in Britain could vanish tomorrow, and the impact on the UK economy would be barely discernible. It makes up 0.7% of GDP. It is doubtful whether the UK government, in the future, will be willing to subsidise such a marginal sector at all. Regarding your claim that “…there is no reason to make that assumption.”, I have to point out that there is, equally, no reason to assume that the opposite must be true …..

    “As for this nonsense about financial institutions moving from UK to Dublin or elsewhere…”?

    Yet more proof of your distance from reality. Three large American investment banks, Goldman Sachs being one, have stated, publicly, that they will leave the UK, in the event of a Brixit. Deutsche Bank has also stated, quite clearly, that they will move their current City of London operation to Frankfurt, if the UK votes to leave the EU. They have all made it clear that the European markets are more important to them. You can choose to believe what you like, but these institutions will follow the money, and their EU Banking Passports. A lot of other institutions are making the same plans, but not talking about it….

    The decision to join the Euro, or not, was, and is one for the sovereign UK government. They chose not to. I would say that if they had, cross-border traffic and trade would be a little easier, and the Border a little more porous/transparent.

  • MacTurk

    Quick update;

    Mr A. Blair has stated, as of January 26th, 2016, that he believes that Scotland will vote to leave the UK, in the event of a Brixit.

    Ms Sturgeon, on January 24th, reiterated her belief that a UK vote to leave the EU, but a Scottish vote to stay,
    would lead to an “overwhelming demand” for a second independence
    referendum.