Brexit – What will be the cost if the UK exits the EU?

The German Bertelsmann Foundation with the assistance of the IFO Institute have produced a report attempting to analyse the effects of a UK exit from the European Union.  The report makes sobering reading for all, but particularly people in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The report makes a serious effort to put figures on what has to date been a very esoteric discussion.

It looks at two assumptions, a “soft”exit and a “hard” exit, examining the likely GDP loss and the  Table below summarises the likely level of losses.

chart

Northern Ireland, caught between Ireland and the rest of the UK is likely to be an even greater loser than anywhere else.

It is difficult to see how any re-negotiation can go anywhere near satisfying UK demands. Free movement of workers is a core principle of the European Union and no change will be countenanced by other states, particularly countries like Poland. The Social Insurance rules pre-date UK membership of the EEC, dating from 1971 and again are a core principle. The complexity of  habitual residence can be seen from Irish Social Welfare rules on the matter. The European Court of Justice is also likely to have its say at some stage on such an issue. If you cut contributions by one State, then others will be clamouring for for similar treatment. Finland’s large net contribution was an issue in their recent General Election.  Finally, even if a revised treaty was possible, what chance a new EU treaty, with no real benefits, being accepted by all EU parliaments and of course by the Irish public by way of a referendum?

The Irish Civil Service are already started to prepare for the eventuality of UK departure. However, looking at these figures, I sympathise with their efforts to squaring this circle. However with the combined Conservative/UKIP/Liberal Democrat vote running at 56% plus or minus 2%, it is becoming more and more likely to be a problem to be faced in the near future.

chart2

 

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  • Dan

    The £50 million a day not wasted on contributions will help soften the terrible blow of controlling our own destiny….and borders.

    Sure the Republic of Ireland can start increasing it’s contribution, alongside the other successful states remaining, to help fill the gap in the budget.

  • Ernekid

    If the Tories get a government together following the election, we can look forward to years of uncertainty if the UK moves towards a Brexit. Cameron has a snowball’s chance in the Sahara of getting a meaningful reform package for Europe. There’s no desire to start messing with the nature of the EU when Greece is threatening to totally implode and take the rest of Europe with it. Cameron has built no allies in Europe but has plenty of people he’s alienated such as Merkel, Hollande and Juncker. the Finns and the Dutch might be sympathetic to the UK but Cameron hasn’t done anything to foster a working relationship.

    If there is a Brexit referendum it’ll tear the Tories apart, increase the likelyhood of Scottish independence and create exactly the sort of uncertainty business hates.
    If there is a vote for an Exit it’ll lead to years of negotiations and economic uncertainty doing untold damage to the UK and Irish economies.

    I just hope Miliband becomes PM and makes a concerted effort to rebuild the European relationships that David Cameron has damaged

  • Korhomme

    If there is a referendum, and an overall majority in the UK vote to leave, what then for Scotland where they might vote to stay in? Or N Ireland, where we might vote to stay in? There’s another circle to square.

  • NMS

    Yes, it can only be a horrible mess. But once the train takes off from the station and builds up momentum, it is very hard to stop without derailing the carriages. Let me put an alternative to you, the UK as a whole votes in favour, but England & Wales vote against. Should they split and leave?

  • steaming

    The UK’s contribution is about 0.4% of UK GDP. And that was factored in in the report. So the 2.98% loss in GDP includes the saving on the contributions, ‘softening the blow’ from a 3.04% loss to a 2.98% loss.

  • NMS

    Dan, when compared to the other net contributors, the UK per capita contribution is quite low. However, outside the EU, the UK will still have to comply with EU rules and regulations. The Norwegians call it “membership by fax”. If you don’t comply, you don’t trade. The cost of compliance remains, but no input into policy. The problem is that the UK has never really “got” Europe. The issues of now, seem also to have been the issues of sixty and seventy years ago. May I suggest a visit to your local library to borrow the late Hugo Young’s book, This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair.

  • 23×7

    I’m wondering whether this analysis properly considers the positive impact to the Irish economy of a Brexit. As the only English speaking EU member it will benefit significantly from inward investment that would have gone to the UK. Even the period of uncertainty up to the referen-dumb will help the Irish economy.

    I don’t believe there will be a Brexit anyway. Once Nissan, Airbus and HSBC flex their muscles it’ll focus minds.

  • chrisjones2

    no input into policy

    Was there ever any?

  • chrisjones2

    Mmmmmmm …..a drop of 0.7% of GDP in return for freedom? Hard choice innit

  • 23×7
  • Ernekid

    When you actually look at the evidence, it’s clear that the UK has an massive impact on the course of EU legislation and policy, A lot of EU regulations were adopted from pre existing British regulatory frameworks as the EU operates on a model of best practice.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Ian Mansfield in his prize winning study A Blueprint for Britain: Openness not Isolation postulates three scenarios: best, likely and worst.

    His figures: Impact on GDP of the Best Case, Most Likely and Worst Case Scenarios

    Best Case BC, Most Likely ML, Worst Case WC

    EU Trade (£bn) BC -7.7 ML -9.3 WC -19.2

    External Trade (£bn) BC 5.6 ML 2.1 WC -1.8

    Budget Contribution (£bn) BC 10.0 ML 6.0 WC 10.0

    Regulatory (£bn) BC 3.8 ML 2.5 WC 3.8

    FDI (£bn) BC 4.5 ML 0.0 WC -15.6

    Debt interest (£bn) BC 0.0 ML 0.0 WC -17.2

    Total Gain or Loss (£bn) BC 16.1 ML 1.3 WC -40.0

    Total Gain or Loss

    (%GDP) BC 1.1% ML 0.1% WC -2.6%

    His figures demonstrate the case that Brexit will have in the end only a marginal effect on the economy after a period of re-adjustment: even in the worst case scenario.

    He says:

    It is abundantly clear that the UK can have a positive economic future either inside or outside the EU. Canada, a smaller economy than the UK, prospers alongside its much larger neighbour, the United States; New Zealand has forged a successful nation despite its decision not to join with Australia in the late 19th century. The UK is a modern, developed economy of almost 65 million people, the 6th largest economy in the world with strong international alliances. Whilst close economic and diplomatic relations with other European countries are both inevitable and to be greatly welcomed, this does not imply that membership of the EU is the only way these can be achieved.

    He continues:

    What is equally apparent is that a UK exit from the EU would result in different costs and opportunities than a path of ever closer union. Many of these costs are an inevitable consequence – even if joining EFTA there would be at least some degree of reduced access to the Single Market – meaning that appropriate policies and wise negotiation must be carried out if the UK is to reap the benefits. Whatever the arrangement, there is likely to be a trade-off between the level of access to the single market, and freedom from EU product regulations, social and employment legislation, and budgetary contributions.

    it is likely that the pattern and structure of the UK’s trade and economy would have shifted to reflect a greater global outlook, with greater bilateral trade with the emerging powers of the world and with the United States. The EU would continue to be a major trade partner, perhaps the single most important, but probably with a share closer to 30-35%

    He concludes:

    Ultimately, whether or not the UK exits from the EU is a political, not an economic decision. A wide range of factors, in particular the ideological question over where sovereignty should reside, will be at the heart of any future referendum. This paper does not, therefore, address the question of whether or not the UK should leave, or advocate for or against such a course of action. What it does do is demonstrate that, in the event of such an exit, there exists a scenario for an open, prosperous and globally engaged UK that is eminently achievable.

    http://www.iea.org.uk/brexit

    The final figures of the Bertelsmann analysis seem to be broadly in accordance with the Mansfield paper.

  • NMS

    Terence, the name of the prize he won gives it away surely, Brexit. It is of course sponsored by Institute of Economic Affairs, a right wing anti-EU body. However his essay is available here http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/Brexit%20Entry%20170_final_bio_web.pdf

    It is certainly an interesting essay on the issue, there are certain wild assumptions, including one you highlight yourself, “The EU would continue to be a major trade partner, perhaps the single most important, but probably with a share closer to 30-35%”

    The analysis provide by the Bertlesmann Foundation and the IFO Institute which is headed up by the highly respected Dr. Hans-Werner Sinn are not connected with any particular political set of thoughts.

  • NMS

    Chris, the Maastricht agreement is one that comes immediately to mind. The lack of UK engagement with the EU is a far greater issue. There are very few UK applicants for posts within the Commission, I gather a lack of languages is a major issue. Most young East Europeans you come across speak English & German, apart from their own language.

  • Korhomme

    Good question; but the population of England and Wales is so much greater than the rest (Scotland and N Ireland) that we might be bound by England’s decision. But if England vote to get out, and Scotland wants to stay in, then the SNP will have another weapon in their fight for independence.

  • terence patrick hewett

    My premise was that the figures of the two papers were broadly in accordance. Of course subjective assumptions have to be made since we are dealing with possibilities. Outright economic warfare between the UK and the EU is highly unlikely tho not impossible. Mansfield caters for this in his worst case scenario.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The economic argument for staying in the EU is a red herring. It is worth looking at the automobile industry in the EU, much cited by EU protagonists.

    Ford has effectively left the UK: all they have left are engine plants. The automobile industry has a problem of over-capacity. The large auto-makers are now simply design/assembly platforms and distribution networks: they sub-contract most components and make very little. One of the items they do make is engines. However with the coming replacement of petrol/diesel engines with electric motor technology in the not too distant future the engine factories of the UK will be surplus to requirement since electric motors will be sourced from specialist manufacturers.

    Ford no longer assembles platforms in this country and has effectively left. All they have is a distribution network. They are sensibly looking to the future. And EU membership had no influence on the decision.

    The major auto-makers are all too aware that transport systems and technologies are beginning to merge in the same way that TV, PC’s, phones and allied technologies are beginning to merge. Driverless automobiles are already a reality; electric cars are already a reality; Formula E racing will advance the technology at a rate of knots using wireless battery charging, parallel capacitor technology and Aluminium-Air battery technology. Battery capacity is doubling every seven years (Phinergy is claiming 1200 miles for their Al-Air battery). The Mercedes F015, self-driving, Hydrogen Fuel-Cell powered, electric vehicle claims 685 miles per charge. The Detroit Electrics SP:01 electric car, based on the Lotus Elise platform, boasts a top speed of 155 mph: 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Graphene-fuel-cell electricity generation promises similar range and refuelling times to petrol engines. Self-driving, self-charging electric vehicles which will pick you up before and after work are being developed (V-charge project). Connected car data (as part of connected data) is already a privacy versus terrorism/security issue.

    The merging of these sorts of technologies with train-transport is on the cards. Rail lines are no longer necessary to guide a vehicle to its destination and rail-removal replacement technology is 6-7 times less costly to construct and maintain (see ref. Transport-Watch Fact Sheet No. 7). Proto-systems such as Network Rail’s battery powered train; the Independently Powered Electric Multiple Unit (IPEMU) is already in operation and is typically 20% cheaper to run: and no need for under/overhead electrification.

    The question asked is: do we need to encourage by subsidy companies like Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Ford who have their own agendas? (and nothing wrong with that) The answer is that we need more companies whose cachet is that their products are made in Britain: such as Rolls Royce Motor Cars, Bentley and of course Jaguar Land Rover: it matters not that they are foreign owned. Only 20% of JLR sales go to the EU; 80% are sold to the world. Where will Nissan move to? Not France: not Germany: to Turkey perhaps like Ford? And using our own money given to the EU to finance it? Turkey of course is not even a member of the EU. Being a member of the EU did not stop Ford leaving Britain. We need to learn from the Germans. The great strength of the German Mittelstand (estimated at 3.7 million companies) is that they are German and represent German interests: not corporate interests. Our democracy is not owned by multi-national corporations. In the end this is not a financial issue: it is a political issue.

    The coming technological shakeout of the Third Industrial Revolution will leave major companies vulnerable to competition from nimbler organisations, simply from advances in smart manufacturing technologies: so these vast assembly units are likely to have a limited shelf life.

    Apple, Sony, Google and A123-Systems are becoming significant players in the industry: this has got German and French publishers and manufacturers so worried that they are attacking Google with EU anti-trust charges. According to Stefan Heumann of Berlin think-tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung:

    “Initially this was publishers against platforms. Now it is about Google
    expanding its reach into areas of traditional manufacturing [like] cars and home appliances. This has German industry worried.”

    “In the 1970s and 1980s, the policy was to attract a big plant and that was going to save you,” said Karen Maguire, an expert at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “That only lasts for so long unless you can innovate, upgrade and diversify.”

    It cannot be said too many times ”You can’t buy investment that lasts.” Trying to ‘pick winners’ and pay for inward investment is simply playing and paying to corporate rent-seekers which may be good short term PR but it distorts the market: it is a lazy politicians way of not confronting the issues of training and investment in R & D and people. It also leaves the country open to blackmail and corruption.

    It’s worth looking at Renault, (they have a partnership with Nissan). Renault has begun to move much of its operation not just out of France, but out of Europe entirely, to a new plant in Morocco. The French news corporation Actu-Eco claims that Renault will continue to increase production at the factory in hopes of eventually producing 400,000 vehicles a year.

    Renault cars are sold around the world under makes like Nissan, Samsung, and the Russian Avtovaz, making Renault the fourth largest car manufacturer in the world. Perhaps encouraged by the success of its Tangier site, Renault is considering building another large factory in Algeria.The French government is increasing its stake in Renault in an attempt to derail this trend: much to the concern of Carlos Ghosn the CEO.

    According to agencies some of the production is intended for EU markets. Neither Algeria nor Morocco is a member of the EU.

    PSA-Peugeot-Citroën is following suit: it is opening an engineering centre in Morocco creating 1500 jobs dealing with research and design as a possible prelude to low-cost vehicle assembly. PSA is negotiating the closure of its
    Aulnay-sous-Bois plant near Paris as well as laying-off employees at its other
    plants in France, and focusing its activities on producing low-cost models outside France and possibly the EU altogether

    Ford has continued its withdrawal from the EU by closing its factory of 4000 workers in Genk, Belgium on 21st Dec. 2014: in November 2014 Opel (GM) closed its factory in Bochum, Germany. Opel closed its Antwerp plant in 2010

    Auto-makers chase economies: they go where it’s cheap. No regulations. End of story.

    The re-balancing of the British economy has already started with the creation of the Catapult Network. This network, which operates under the auspices of Innovate UK is based on principles similar to the Delft Centre of the Nederlands and the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany and helps businesses cope with risk management; adopt, develop and exploit innovative products and technologies. The centre of gravity of the British economy needs to be moved away from the South East and this is deeply dependent upon the on-going UK constitutional reform: a process which is being hampered by parochial, small-minded Westminster politicians who can neither think big nor understand technology or the implications of technological advance.

    The financial argument for staying in the EU is a red-herring since the motivation behind this debate is entirely political: the pro-EU camp does not have any other argument. Try selling communautaire to the Brits! Britain is not a platform for corporate interests; or a stage for middle-class radicals to act out their revolutionary wet dreams.

  • Practically_Family

    Closer to home, do you fancy being an excise man at a reinstated border checkpoint in… for sake of argument… Middletown?

    I could see a coathanger and a leaky black bin bag by the side of an unapproved road in Louth in your future. Or as your future.

  • Korhomme

    My mother used to tell the story of returning from a holiday in Greenore, wearing several layers of ‘foundation garments’. When she said that she had nothing to declare, the customs man on the train said, in a very broad southern accent, that she had nothing with her that wasn’t on her, and let her pass on.

  • jonlivesey

    Not really. The result of the referendum will be announced for the UK as a whole and then acted on. If Scotland or N Ireland can’t live with that, they can always hold independence referendums.

    Of course, last September we saw the SNP’s “certain” 60/40 referendum win turn into a 55/45 loss, mainly over economic issues. So it isn’t that likely that a “desire” to stay in the EU would trump day to day realities.

    Scots would have to balance what benefits they would gain from EU/euro membership with what they would lose with exit from the UK.

    So, no mysterious circle to square. Just a series of decisions for voters to make.

  • jonlivesey

    Their fight for independence, job losses and trying to deal with a 9% fiscal deficit inside the euro. Good luck with that. Maybe Tsipiras has some helpful hints.

  • jonlivesey

    Ireland is the only English-speaking EU member? I think the rest of the EU might disagree with that. English these days is pretty much the common language of the whole EU.

  • jonlivesey

    Right. Everyone is pushing this completely un-sourced scare story from Germany. The reality, however, is that the EU would be highly motivated to come to a trade deal with the UK.
    Do they really want to end up trading with communist China but not with the UK?

  • jonlivesey

    This is a tired old argument that europhiles trot out, presumably because it impresses them.
    Why isn’t the US complaining about government by fax, or Canada, or China?
    The answer is simple. Their exporters have to observe EU regulations when exporting to the EU, and otherwise the EU does not affect them.

    That’s what we want for the UK.

  • jonlivesey

    The name of the prize doesn’t give anything away. The point is that while europhiles keep talking about their vague “benefits”, which are never enumerated, Mansfield got down to specifics and produced numbers.

    What’s telling here is that europhiles never challenge his numbers. They jus say, as oyu have “Oh, that was just a Brexit paper, so we can ignore it.”

    Why is it that europhiles are so careful to keep to vague claims and FUD? How is it that German think tanks can throw out completely unsourced numbers like 14% of GDP, and europhiles nod wisely and say “That sounds about right”?

  • NMS

    Here is a link to an Open Europe publication on the same topic for those who are interested http://openeurope.org.uk/intelligence/britain-and-the-eu/what-if-there-were-a-brexit/. It suggests a cost of around 2.2% It also makes reference to various other reports, quoting different costs

  • NMS

    Terence, UK auto exports to the EU are of the order £8,500M. While the UK auto industry is no longer locally owned, multi-nationals have invested a lot of money there. Do you think Nissan would stay in NE England if the UK was outside the EU?

  • NMS

    Jon, I have provided a link to another report above, which may be of interest to you. The two German think tanks are internationally renowned and could not be described as “Europhile”. Dr. Sinn who is in charge of Ifo in particular has thrown plenty of stones in the EU’s direction over the years.

  • 23×7

    Why do you think Google, Apple, Facebook and Samsung have their european headquarters in ireland and the UK and not in Luxembourg like eBay and Amazon? These US companies will look for skilled English speaking staff to work easily with their US based colleagues. It’s why the scramble to reduce corporation tax here in N.I. is such nonsense.

  • terence patrick hewett

    They are not the points I am making: the point is that technological advance is rendering large auto-manufacturing plant obsolete. That auto-makers chase economies: that EU membership has no influence on these decisions. That Ford, GM, Renault, PSA are pulling out of Europe and this is happening because of the pressure of technological change which will get heavier and heavier. Nissan will in the end leave Sunderland regardless of EU membership when the time, in their judgement, is right.

    I’m an engineer: we montitor technological change as a matter of course. Everybody in the auto-industry knows these points.

    And above all that EU membership is a political act not an economic one.

    To re-iterate:

    “In the 1970s and 1980s, the policy was to attract a big plant and that was going to save you,” said Karen Maguire, an expert at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “That only lasts for so long unless you can innovate,
    upgrade and diversify.”

    It cannot be said too many times ”You can’t buy investment that lasts.” Trying to ‘pick winners’ and pay for inward investment is simply playing and paying to corporate rent-seekers which may be good short term PR but it distorts the market: it is a lazy politicians way of not confronting the issues of training and investment in R & D and people.

    An automobile is a very simple device: an analogy can be made with PC’s. There is no money to be made from hardware: it is the software where all the brass is made: which is why Geman industry is so worried about the activities of Apple, Sony, Google: they are cornering the market in the manufacturing of the future.

    Multi-national companies in Britain are indulging in the crudest form of B-movie blackmail for their own short-term interest:

    “Do as I say or the kid gets it”

  • jonlivesey

    Why do I think? I think tax rates have everything to do with it, and a Dublin accent has almost nothing to do with it.
    English stopped being a language decades ago. Right now it’s the West’s default communication medium. Science, air traffic, government, business, computers. It’s all about English.

  • jonlivesey

    There is a snowball’s chance of getting meaningful reforms in the EU, but you hope Miliband keeps us in?
    That doesn’t even remotely make sense.

  • jonlivesey

    Same-old same-old. Leaving the EU is not the same thing as leaving the Single Market. As long as there is a skilled UK workforce and access to European markets, the auto industry will stay here. As will other industries.

  • jonlivesey

    Oh dear. Just look at how the IFO “justify” their numbers:

    “If we take into account the dynamic effects that economic integration has on investment and innovation behavior, the GDP losses could rise to 14 percent.”

    The “dynamic effects”. Got that? This is from an EU whose growth rate has fallen from 5% a year to around 1%, whose average unemployment has risen from 5% to 11%, and which has gone from balanced budgets to chronic defict.

    These people are simply delusional. They are actually taking credit for “dynamic effects” on the UK economy to the tune of 14% – or something – when their own economy is in the mess it’s in?

    Am I supposed to imagine British managers telling one another that if we’re in the EU we have to invest and be innovative, but if we leave we can all go back to sleep?
    Investment and innovation are activities of individual companies. There isn’t some aura of dynamism that is bestowed by flying a blue flag.

  • 23×7

    Then why are they all not in Luxembourg like eBay and Amazon? Why are samsung and Facebook in the UK if the priority is to avoid tax. I’ll tell you why. The priority is skills availabity and English fluency for US companies. Tax is easy to avoid or minimise. Many companies are actually insourcing having had their fingers burned by developing world outsourcing. We are in many cases talking about highly complex products with complex support requirements where basic English capabilities won’t cut it.

  • 23×7

    Stay here maybe but if it’s a new inward investor why would I choose the UK when I can get the a skilled workforce innGermany or France without the EU risk? By holding an unnecessary referen-dumb the UK puts up a barrier to inward investors.

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes but finding absolute fluency in Europe particularly for specialised jobs can be tricky with a small pool to choose from. International trade might be conducted through English (quite often pigeon English) But domestic trade in all of these countries is normally through the mother tonge. Ireland’s second language is formally English but effectively its the first, as such companies and investors looking for a pure english speaking base will always choose Ireland or Britain over anywhere else.

  • Robin Keogh

    Actually trade with China is on the up and with the Chinese lleading the way with ASEAN and the pan pacific trade negotiations, China is a serious monster in term of international political economy.

  • Robin Keogh

    Very well said

  • Robin Keogh

    Well not necessarily, it would depend on what sort of trade agreement Britain can get with the mainland and the value of the Currency.

  • Robin Keogh

    But your argument is similar to the circumstances that saw the european experiment come about in the first place. French and German coal and steel Union. Eventually those industries went to pot. So Europe worked together to find an alternative, so the goal of Europe goes far beyond the economic. Politcal cooperation is absolutely central.

  • Zeno

    Northern Ireland can’t stay in as they wouldn’t meet the criteria,

  • terence patrick hewett

    Well yes: the point which I made was that the EU is a political construct rather than solely an economic one.

    The other point was that multi-nationals have other agendas and to rely on these organisations for development is flawed.

    And it is a political construct which relies on subterfuge to attain its ends

    When new Eurozone countries gained access to easy credit backed by German economic strength, one can only compare it to Tacitus’ cynical observation in his Life of Agricola concerning the Romanisation of British tribal leadership: Book 1 paragraph 21

    “Inde etiam habitus nostri honor et frequens toga; paulatimque discessum ad delenimenta vitiorum, porticus et balinea et conviviorum elegantiam. Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset.

    “Hence, too, a liking sprang up for our style of dress, and the toga became fashionable. Step by step they were led to things which dispose to vice, the lounge, the bath, the elegant banquet. All this in their ignorance, they called civilization, when it was but a part of their servitude”

    Roman policy was to corrupt the tribal leaders: and everything else followed.

    Juncker is un-ashamed about it: commenting on the introduction of the European single currency in 1999, Juncker said:

    “We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”

  • Zeno

    Good post.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Conor, you’re quite a character.

  • chrisjones2

    Not Scotlands choice.Its a reserved matter

  • kensei

    Eh? Source for anyone on the Yes side were claiming it was “certain”. The polls were for about a 30 point win for No until close to the end.

  • james

    Anyway, I thought everyone in Ireland spoke Irish as a first language, no? Else why do we in NI waste so much money on it, at the expense of French, German or Spanish??

  • james

    I think the fundamental difference is that children in every European country learn English in school, some of them to a very high level. In our two countries we spend similar resources trying to flog the dead horse’s tongue of a language not even commonly spoken here.

  • Robin Keogh

    your bank handed swipe at irish is indicitive of the contempt held by so many towards irish speakers and those who are trying to promote such an important part of our cultural heritage. I am surprised at u.

  • chrisjones2

    So all true republicans should support BREXIT as a way to damage the oul enemy

  • chrisjones2

    Cameron has a snowball’s chance in the Sahara of getting a meaningful reform package for Europe.

    So if its unreformable we need to consider if its worth staying – as do the other members

  • chrisjones2

    Milliband cannot build himself a bacon sandwich

    Your hopes are misplaced

  • chrisjones2

    Yes …and a lower pound will make exports cheaper. The major risk is that our economy is so much better than major EU states that the currency appreciates

  • chrisjones2

    ….and there is active internal discrimination> Competence doesn’t count – so long as the French and Germans get the major posts

  • chrisjones2

    Oh grow up Joe

  • james

    It’s neither backhanded nor a swipe. I’m pro building a better future for children and letting them maximize their opportunities. I just feel a disproportionate amounts of time and money are lavished on Irish language, and can see neither the point nor the tangible benefits.

  • Robin Keogh

    And make imports more expensive

  • Robin Keogh

    Do u feel the same about funding to the loyal orders?

  • jonlivesey

    I work with professionals from all over the World. India, mainliand China, Taiwan, Korea, et. The phrase “absolute fluency” isn’t even an issue.

    If we can more or less understand someone in an interview, that’s good enough.

    I think your broad claims about “companies and investors” is based more on opinion than on real-world experience. Investors and ompanies need staff to generate business. They are not going to stall a project watiing for someone with perfect English.

    As I said above, English rally isn’t a language any more. It’s a communication medium. Each country in the World has its own brand of English. There is really no “perfection” to aim at.

  • barnshee

    The loyal orders have separate schooling for their members children-publicly funded ?
    “Orange” is taught in the schools?
    There is a Department of “orange” at QUB?
    Etc Etc

    (I would give a penny of public money to the orange the irish the IRFU the GAA the IFA and uncle and cobbley and all)