8 pitches for #EUref: 3 academic, 5 political; 2 to leave, 6 to remain #EUDebateNI

EUDebateNI student3x3In-between the first and second EU Debate NI events, David Cameron came back from Europe with his negotiated deal and the EU referendum was set for Thursday 23 June.

This afternoon’s discussion was hosted in QUB Student’s Union. Academics and politicians made two minute pitches (some sticking to the time better than others) before the audience broke into smaller groups to discuss issues of interest with a election of the speakers.

You can listen back to the eight sets of opening remarks. Politically David McNarry had remarkably little of substance to offer in his comments to persuade people to vote to leave, though his emphasis on listening and the need for the public to be informed is to be welcomed. Christopher Stalford took a much more nuanced and non-dogmatic view: the EU was neither all good nor all bad, but on balance was worth leaving. Declan Kearney called for a civic movement to campaign to remain, while Duncan Morrow spoke of the effect of borders and education, and Claire Hanna framed the value of the EU in terms of problems that don’t stop at borders and require cooperation.

On balance, a much more insightful set of contributions that I’ve heard so far in this campaign.

01 Leslie BuddDr Leslie Budd (Open University). I think the debate so far has been very narrowly focussed on budgets and trade and the reporting from Westminster has been like an episode of the Simpsons with the politics being like Sideshow Bob and the economics like Homer! I don’t want to focus on that. I want to talk about the wider issues of education and culture and the kind of integration that gives us. This referendum is really crucially important for Northern Ireland given all island cooperation and the opportunities and for the younger generation this is a life-changing decision. Governments of all persuasions have let young people down with respect to payment for education and employability. My concern with a Brexit is that – and I am pro-EU – is that it reduces opportunities for younger people and their employability over the long term in the UK, but particularly in Ireland which like Scotland of people leaving and coming back again, and that instability and that uncertainty is what concerns me. I didn’t want to talk abut economics, because as we know economists tend to be miserable by profession and I didn’t want to follow in those footsteps, even though I’m an economist!

02 Hugo MacNeillHugo MacNeill (chairman of the British-Irish Association). I was up here a couple of years ago when someone tried to organise a similar conference and I think about 5 people turned up to the session on Brexit. And I remember thinking at the time” do people up here understand what the issues are and effect not just things like trade and economics but people’s lives? Three points strike me. A House of Commons Research Library report looked at the impact throughout UK of a Brexit and it said that between 2007 and 2013, €1.5bn was transferred for projects in Northern Ireland. Secondly it said that trade would be harder hit in NI than anywhere else in the UK. And trade is not just an abstract concept but relates to people’s jobs. The Institute of European Affairs in Dublin did a great study about Brexit and includes an essay by John Bradley on what might happen to Northern Ireland. Whereas Britain could survive quite well it would be much more challenging here. Thirdly, the Good Friday Agreement is laced through with references to both Britain and the Republic of Ireland being part of the EU, and the fact that that would change would have big implications. As someone from the PSNI said to be a few years ago at the British-Irish conference: “it’s hard enough for us dealing with flags, parades and all these other issues, but if they put up border controls I’m out of here”. The last time Britain had a debate about the EU back in 1973 the issue people cared about was the economy and jobs and would we be better off. In a recent survey, the biggest thing in the UK is migration. It’s an important subject for Europe, but is it the most important subject for you growing up in Northern Ireland. You’ve got to wonder whether if UKIP hadn’t emerged in the last couple of years, would we be having a referendum that has such profound consequences for the UK? Lastly, this isn’t just about Brexit. The British-Irish Association has been looking at the potential changes in the UK: Scottish [Independence] referendum vote, English votes for English laws, the rise of English nationalism. Brexit will have a big impact … Massive potential changes that will not just affect people in abstract ways but affect the lives and futures of people in this room and people out there in the most vulnerable and marginalised communities.

03 David PhinnemoreProf David Phinnemore (head of QUB School of Politics). No one can be clear or certain on what a post-Brexit world would be. There are lots of promises being made by the Out campaign, but I’m not sure that these can be guaranteed. Indeed we may believe some are false promises. On trade, what deal will be secured with the EU? What deal or deals with others? What will those deals look like? When will those deals be agreed? There’s a huge time dimension to this. Lots of unknowns creating uncertainty. There’s also uncertainty round funding. What will happen to CAP funding for farmers? What will happen to funding for education exchanges, to research for industry and universities, for cross-border collaboration, energy infrastructure projects, transport infrastructure projects, peace building, cross-border cooperation more generally. They may not be huge amounts but in an NI context they touch a lot of people. Sovereignty is a word often used in the context of European integration: whether we’ve lost it, we’re pulling it, we’ve surrendered it. There’s a variety of different views. If we leave the EU, what say will we have on matters that affect us? Yes some powers will be returned to the national and regional parliaments. But we will be outside probably the largest decision making body in the world, the European Union. We will be affected by what the EU does, but what influence if any will we have over it? What influence will we have over the relationship which the UK secures with the EU? Will we be like Norway and Switzerland? Attractive on the one hand – rich countries – but they are policy takers not policy makers. They sit on the outside. Secondly, why do we want to be in the EU? It’s a far from perfect political entity. It has its flaws: name me a political system which doesn’t have its imperfections, whether local, regional or international. If you’re in, you can help change it. If you’re on the inside you can do plenty more, you’re shaping the EU. You’re involved in cooperation. You’re involved in the largest market in the world. You’re promoting interdependence, you’re promoting understanding and awareness and opportunities. You’re enjoying free movement and tackling shared problems of the environment, discrimination, market domination by multi-nationals – can national governments really stand up to Microsoft and Google? You’re providing gender equality. You’re also providing security: political and economic and societal security. I’d argue that the world is probably too big for any state to address all these issues on its own.

04 David McNarryDavid McNarry (UKIP). Without UKIP, without Nigel Farage, we wouldn’t be having this debate. In 1975 I took the decision – then – to vote to go into Europe and into the Common Market. And I felt very privileged being given that opportunity. Some 40 years later we’re all going to get that opportunity, and I hope it’s an opportunity to rethink. I’ve rethought it. It was a disaster. It was a mistake. The timing [of the referendum] is not the best as we also have a Stormont election. Which one do you put as the priority and the most important is a matter for you. Much as I would like to separate them, they are in tandem. What we need to do is see how we can merge them and I hope that we will be able to merge them in the discussions that will decide people which party they are going to vote for for the Assembly and for how they are going to vote Yes or No in the referendum. I think we’ve got to be very, very careful not to allow this debate to become stale. I think [the result] will be close. I don’t believe that NI will vote to stay in. I just can’t concede that to anyone. There is nothing in our interest to stay in Europe, to be dominated by Germany and France and to have the wandering hoards of people coming here and all over the UK to access some kind of room where there isn’t room. Those debates are going to be very topical and I hope we will have an exemplary debate in NI and address those issues.

05 Duncan MorrowDuncan Morrow (Alliance). We’re extremely in favour of staying in the European Union [and] take nearly the opposite position of David. In our view the EU is one of the most important developments in Western European history. Before 1945 there were three wars which cost the lives of millions and millions of people. [We] have lived through a period of peace and prosperity that is unparalleled in European history. To start rocking that boat is extremely dangerous. In 1939 Europe was the Middle East of the world. We are now the most peaceful and prosperous part of the whole globe. Looking locally, within the context of the EU, Britain and Ireland have come together closer together as partners than ever historically. Cooperation over all kinds of infrastructure projects, over security, over issues like agriculture and tourism have become everyday practice to all our benefits. The thing which improved security here was cross-border cooperation and a new set of principles that aligned us on an international basis. It’s absolutely madness in Northern Ireland to start talking about re-erecting borders. It will be catastrophic for us internally and set us on a path which is not necessary … The introduction of custom posts. Are we going to talk about shutting down border roads again? Do you think that won’t have internal consequences for NI? This is really deadly serious. [On education] Erasmus is a huge programme of huge importance for the cultural development of this place. Talk about a backward and inward looking region? If we want to be an outward and forward looking region it’s all about how we connect culturally. The immigration debate is totally misplaced on this island. There is no other part of the western world where more people are emigrant as a proportion of the native born population than the island of Ireland. That’s a statistical fact. We are the people who move most across the world … it’s been critical to changing the entire atmosphere on this island as people who have been away have come back here. Opening the mind is not a bad thing …

06 Declan KearneyDeclan Kearney (Sinn Féin). This is a watershed debate and decision. it needs to be seen in the context of the evidence. When you make your decision on the 23rd June the only way to approach this is discussion is on the basis of strategically stress-testing the political and the economic evidence that is set before you. From a Sinn Féin point of view, this island’s place is in Europe. This region’s place is in Europe. We face a market of 500 million citizens across the European mainland. The implications of all of that for progressive and future trade deals and exports phenomenal. But not just in the context of the European continent in itself. We’re a strategic gateway for foreign direct investment. Since 2006, the Executive has secured and promoted 27,000 inward investment positions – new posts, new work, new jobs – as a direct result of our relationship within the European Union. And most of that employment has come in from North America … securing planned investment of £3.25 billion. Our membership of Europe gives us access to Asian and other markets far beyond our wildest dreams. And that’s all key to how we regenerate and grow and develop the regional and island economy. The exit agenda itself is entirely bound up with the internal management of ideological tensions within the British Conservative Party. It’s driven by ‘little Englander’ perspective, driven by isolationist thinking, it’s about cutting ourselves off from what we have now become an integral part of being. In terms of the Europe that I would envisage us all benefitting from, what we have is imperfect, but there is an opportunity to develop and grow the agenda of a social Europe and that’s where our primary focus needs to be. So Europe has been good in terms of workers’ rights, democratic rights, human rights, it’s good in terms of progress … The economic relationship we enjoy with the EU is strategic. Since 2007 up to 2013, it’s estimated that 10% of the regional economy’s GDP was linked to European transfers. That’s phenomenal for a small regional economy like ours here in the six counties. We are net beneficiaries – don’t be told differently – in terms of the finding we’ve enjoyed since 1995. Since 1995 the northern economy and the six border counties have attracted from the EU €5.64billion in terms of PEACE 1/2/3/4 funding as well as InterReg funding plus the net benefits of social funding. Who is going to replace that funding in the event that a decision is taken to remove this regional economy from the EU Are the Tories going to pick up the tab? I don’t think so. Finally, exit has huge implications which re intangible, but also concrete. The EU has played a central role in the development of our peace process. It’s been key to the stability of the political institutions. And it’s been key to ensuring that the rights that have been defined in the context of the European experience have influenced the character and architecture of the Good Friday agreement. So an exit poses a threat to the continued endurance of the rights we enjoy and can appeal towards under the framework and the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement. What we need facing into this agenda is a civic platform of like-minded members of civic society, businesses, trade unionists, political parties and local communities. What we need to do is make the positive case: staying in Europe is about cooperation, social and economic solidarity, it’s about rights that you and I should not take for granted but continue to enjoy, it’s about investment, it’s about prosperity, and most important of all, in terms of the social Europe, continued and ongoing reform.

07 Chris StalfordChristopher Stalford (DUP). Like most people we as a party awaited the outcome of the deliberations that the Prime Minister had with the other European leaders and we then made a judgement based on upon what he said he was trying to secure and what he actually has secured. The Prime Minister assured us there would be treaty change and fundamental alteration in the relationship between the UK and the EU. When the Prime Minister’s package was brought back the response of John Mann MP probably best sums up the response throughout the country to it – “Is that it?” – because the fundamental changes that the PM promised in the General Election and since have not materialised. There has been no repatriation of powers from Brussels to the UK, no increase in the controls over the borders we have, nothing to demonstrate the cutting of red tape and reducing bureaucracy. I’ve heard various speakers in favour of remaining saying that they recognise the need for reform [but] I have not heard one of them this afternoon outline where they think that reform should be. Ultimately this comes down to a cost benefit analysis: the cost of us remaining gains the benefit that we receive as a country. There are good things that Europe has done, I’ll not deny that. But there are also negative things and we have to make a considered and balanced judgement. There’s no point me standing up here and saying “the EU is evil incarnate and everything it does is wrong” and then others saying “the EU is the best thing since sliced bread and everything that it does is right”. The answer lies somewhere in-between those two positions and that’s where this referendum is an opportunity for the country to carefully consider the merits or otherwise of the UK remaining a member state of the EU … It does the country a national disservice if people on one side refuse to concede that there are holes in their position … we have to find a position that is considered and balanced and in the best interests of the UK. And on that basis I think that the thin gruel that the PM brought back from his negotiations is not good enough, not anywhere near what he said he would secure for the country and on that basis I think it should be rejected and people should vote to leave the European Union.

08 Claire HannaClaire Hanna (SDLP). The SDLP is 100% for a remain vote. Being pro-Europe is in the party’s DNA. I’m personally very proud that 45 years ago when we were being founded … from day one was located in European social democracy [which gives] a wider outlook. I welcome some parties that have been Eurosceptic and have weighted up on merit to see that we are best in Europe, but I do fear that some parties that define as Eurosceptic are utterly Euro-phobic and regardless of any reform that could have come through would have rejected it and had their position set on out. For me it is a no brainer. Europe is the ultimate conflict resolution project. Just look at the thousand battles that happened across the continent until World War Two and what has been achieved since then … It shouldn’t be a unionist or a nationalist position. It’s equally devastating for here regardless of your long term constitutional aspiration. It would copper fasten partition and roll back some of the small reforms we’ve had and progress on north-south over the last ten and twenty years. And from a unionist perspective I think that it would precipitate the break up of the Union. I firmly believe it would put Scots over the top in terms of their own Yes referendum. There are a million statistics that people have probably used this morning. 1 in 8 jobs could be at risk, 3% of the North’s GDP, we’re absolutely a net beneficiary and it’s very clear that any saving that the UK would make – and yes I know the statistics are disputed – but I think the Treasury’s statistic that they are approximately a £9bn net contributor. If you accept that there’s no guarantee that that saving would come here. George Osborne hasn’t shown in any way that he is minded to spend a penny more than he needs to in NI. Even with the Barnett Formula, it’s all driven by what suits England and we just get a consequential of that. To me the debate has to be not just about the goodies we get from Europe, the cargo cult of that. It has to be about the values, it has to be about cooperation, it has to be about free movement of people. It has to be about the 30,000 EU nationals that have made NI their home and are making a major contribution, the backbone of a lot of industries. There’s a major cloud over the heads of those people at the moment and those who are seeking to pull us out will need to address that. All of the big issues – climate change, refugees, crime – none of those problems stop at the border. In a very big wild uncertain world we can’t go into our shell and say we are going to deal with them on our own. There are reforms and there is bureaucracy. You don’t administrate something that has 500 million people without having some bureaucracy. The tinkering around the edges that David Cameron suggested – and I’m not saying they were without merit – but they certainly weren’t the reforms … I do want to see a more social Europe, I think the austerity and issues around bailouts and paying for it have created a deficit for a lot of people. As somebody said to me: “If we find ourselves explaining the difference between the Council of Europe and the European Council we’ve lost the referendum” but there are bigger ideas, it’s about working together and the best way to do that is in Europe.

Snap poll resultsThe electronic poll by LucidTalk at the end asked the audience and contributors how they would vote if the referendum was today. 73% would have voted to remain in EU; 19% to leave. (A small, youth-heavy sample with an abundance of students and in no way representative of Northern Ireland.)




Snap poll by genderBroken down by gender, not a single voter who had identified as female chose to leave the EU … which pollsters see as a risk-averse gender split common to referenda.

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  • Ernekid

    I’m yet to hear a single coherent argument as to why Northern Ireland would be better off outside of the EU

  • We know what will happen if we remain in. If we leave the future is vague. It is up to those in favour of exit to clarify and provide a cogent, believable vision. I doubt if they can do it. So why vote to take a leap into the dark?

  • Kevin Breslin

    A DUP speaker making somewhat of a balanced EU arguement. What’s going on here?

  • Chingford Man

    6 speakers for Remain, 2 to Leave: QUB’s idea of a balanced meeting. I’m surprised McNarry and Stalford gave credibility to a fairly obvious stitch-up. (Although Stalford made a lot of good points.)

  • Chingford Man

    Oh there’s plenty of visionary stuff (see Gove, Hannan, Farage, Carswell for starters). It’s just that you are determined to remain in the wretched customs union and don’t want to concede that anyone else has a point.

    Also, the way the EU is lurching from crisis to crisis, you don’t know what will hapen in the years to come. You can’t even be sure that Cameron’s so-called renegotiation won’t be watered down as it has no legal basis.

  • Chingford Man

    Maybe that’s because the DUP, TUV and UKIP are looking at the big picture for the UK as a whole at the moment and aren’t just as parochial as you.

  • Robin Keogh

    Can you provide details of the type of trade agreement Britain will have with the EU after Brexit?

  • Dan

    Do people actually nod their heads or mutter in agreement when Kearney speaks?

  • Graham Parsons

    More b.s. from the DUP. They made their decision before the pig botherer completed his negotiations. Then he mentions the importance of doing a cost benefit analysis, which conveniently he doesn’t elaborate on and which would lead to only one conclusion anyway, remain.

  • Graham Parsons

    You won’t because there isn’t one.

  • Karl

    The EU will do what the Tories did to the Scots. When it comes to the arrangements post Brexit, they will say nothing can be guaranteed and negotiations will need to take place after the vote.
    Once the Leave campaign wins, the EU will play hard ball because they wont want to encourage other countries to take the same route and they will need to use EEA countries as a template, so the Norwegians, Swiss et al dont think theres negotiating space.
    This idea that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU is nuts. The EUs whole project will be questioned and they arent likely play nice for the benefit of recalcitrant Tories.
    Ive heard the argument that because of the balance of trade being in favour of the UK, ie the UK buys more from the EU than the EU buys from it that the EU needs the UK. But to look at it in a more realistic way, 45% of the UKs exports went to EU countries but only 16% of the EU ‘exports’ went to the UK.
    Who needs who more?

  • Zorin001

    While i’ll be voting to stay in I agree that Salford made a number of good points and gave some food for thought. Hopefully the rest of the campaign will be in this spirit though I doubt it, and I include both sides of the debate in that.

  • Chingford Man

    What a silly question as such a deal hasn’t yet been negotiated. But since the EU needs to sell to us more than we need to buy from the EU, we will be in an excellent position to get a deal on good terms. Even Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, a former UK Ambassador to Brussels, has admitted:
    “There is no doubt that the UK could secure a free trade agreement with
    the EU.”

    Britain is a trading nation: why lock oneself into a sclerotic customs union?

  • Karl

    As I said above, 46% of UK exports go to EU countries, only 16% of EU ‘exports’ go to the UK. Also, that 16% is spread over 27 countries, so the impact will be spread.
    You are correct, there is no doubt that the UK could secure a free trade agreement with the EU but similarly with Norway and Switzerland there will be a price for that in terms of movement of people and adherence to EU regulations.

  • Danny

    1) It was not a QUB organised event, it was merely hosted by Queen’s University Students’ Union.

    2) In terms of those taking part, of the four remaining Executive Parties three are campaigning to remain in the EU and one is campaigning to leave. So that partly explains, without much trouble, the perceived imbalance of three pro speakers versus the sole DUP representative. As for McNarry he has to accept any platform he is offered. UKIP are relevant because of the EU. If UKIP NI don’t use the referendum campaign to try and boost their profile they will have no hope of adding to their single MLA and three

    3) Academics tend to be in favour of the EU because they do
    not need to pander to voter’s whims and can reflect coolly on the pros and cons of various policies, in this case EU membership. It is an undeniable fact that NI has benefitted greatly from the EU: peace money, infrastructure spending, research grants to the universities and foreign direct investment leveraged on NI providing a gateway to the rest of the single market.

    4) Stalford was reasonable, for a member of the DUP, but he did not persuade many in the room as to why leaving the EU was a good idea. His points were well-rehearsed and cribbed. That said, by stating that something was not all-good or all-bad was a nice progressive touch, for a member of the DUP.

  • Angry Mob

    I’m yet to hear a single coherent argument as to why Northern Ireland would be better off inside of the EU.

  • Danny

    Or if the UK refuses to accept key principles, such as freedom of movement, then the EU may penalise the UK – as they did when Switzerland voted to deny freedom of movement.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well Switzerland doesn’t have UKIP’s Australian Points System if that is introduced then turn about is Fair Play. Effectively outside the EU, it is vulnerable to reciprocated action.

    It would be difficult post Brexit for a UK citizen to go to a European (EU/non EU) country for a long term stay that you don’t provide for a skills shortage in, certainly if your income is anything lower or inclusive of a middle class earner.

    No more UK pensioners living on the continent without going through immigration red tape, even the whole Unionists taking Irish passports to find work in Germany seems feasible.

    That does come with the disclaimer “Fat Chance That’s Going to Happen though!”

  • Angry Mob

    The EU is a house of cards, remove the UK, the second largest net contributor and watch the whole thing drop. All the EU elite know this, hence why they put up with the moaning so long as the money keeps rolling in.

    As mentioned before Under EU Law, Vienna Convention of Treaties etc the EU and UK are bound to negotiate in good faith.

  • Karl

    They can negotiate in good faith but the idea that the UK can leave the EU, keep all the good stuff, stop paying into it and not see any downsides is laughable.
    The european political elite will see the removal of UK as the remover of a future blocker to the european project for greater integration and also the removal of a focus for future small country sceptics to collalesce around.
    It will also act as a lesson to those countries that the EU is like the hotel California. You can checkout any time you like but you can never leave.
    The UK will not come out of this well and that salient lesson will not be lost on observers.
    Now that may be the price that the SE England is willing to pay to become the global centre of world finance but the fate of the Fermanagh farmer is not entering into the calculations in either Brussels or London.

  • Chingford Man

    Oh, it may explain the imbalance, but not the fact that it was still a stitch-up.

    As to the academics, would we expect anything else? I guess the EU offers plenty of foreign junkets and the like. More importantly, most of them probably lean to the progressive left in any event, like academics everywhere. Much (but not all) of the Brexit case owes a lot to free trade economics, something distasteful and vulgar to such people.

  • Angry Mob

    The UK can leave the EU, because remember the EU is a political construct designed to bring about ever closer union. What we cannot do without is the single market in order to trade.

    The EEA is the route to access the single market whilst being outside political EU. Yes, free movement would still be a requirement and (much reduced) fees would be payable to the EFTA in order to access the single market. Then the UK can set down the path of regaining sovereignty.

    It might go the other way, without the UK the EU elite will be allowed to press ahead full steam on creating the EU superstate without the pesky UK raising the issue of sovereignty.

  • Robin Keogh

    You always seem to answer a question as if you are being attacked. I was only asking you because it appears to me that it might well be a common question that comes up. For the UK to win special country or special neighbour status outside the EU regarding trade, it will have to convince all EU countries to approve. The UK can depend on a warm ally in Europe in the shape of Ireland but not all states might share that feeling.

  • Karl

    Once the vote to leave is passed the UK have no negotiating room. They need to get out and they need the single market. Relying on the largesse of the EU not to get the best possible deal from their point of view in negotiations is a very weak basis on which to construct a ‘leave’ argument.

  • Angry Mob

    Step 1. Invoke Article 50.
    Step 2. Join the EAA/EFTA.
    Step 3. Profit?!?!!

    Actually what you are saying is wrong, once the vote is counted and leave is the choice, article 50 must be invoked. This gives us 2 years to find an alternative solution, during this time the EU is bound to negotiate in good faith if we were to have direct dealings with them.

    So if we go with the EAA we wont actually be negotiating directly with the EU for entry to that, if we go the free trade route we would have to negotiate yes, but as above it must be done in good faith and with the underlying concept of the Vienna continuation of treaties.

  • Karl

    OK. You win. Youre obviously a ‘glass half full kind of guy’. I hope it works out. I would like to see the UK leave as well as I think the fallout will be interesting from an academic and historic point of view. Im interested to see who the winners and losers would be from it and how its judged 5, 10 and 20 years down the track. Best of luck.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I suppose they could have invited a TUV speaker, or Eurosceptic Tory speaker or a dissident Irish nationalist … or let’s face it an actual grassroots opponent.

  • Danny

    Haha, comical.

    In term sof academic support, I think it has to do with the £1 billion p.a. of EU funding which helps pay for pioneering research. A figure which any British government would find hard to replace – especially one with the current fiscal outlook.

    That is if we take them as concerned about the impact on their profession and outputs.

    Perhaps it is simply the majority of well educated people can see the benefits of EU rather than the collective left railing against free-trade? There could be an academic research project in there somewhere…maybe even with a junket!

  • My observation would be that at the moment it’s quite difficult to unearth people who will speak coherently in public about the reasons to leave the EU. That may improve now the campaign is taking off. And if I go along with Christopher Stalford’s pitch that the EU is neither all good nor all bad, then listening to the points made by those who want to remain unearths reasons to leave too …

  • Chingford Man

    So is it about being “well-educated”, or just about milking the EU cow? Given the nature of the arguments advanced at the meeting, I suspect the latter. They probably don’t even realise the UK pays in far more than it gets back.

  • Chingford Man

    Of course there will be a trade deal that will be excellent for the newly independent UK because it will be so obviously in the interests of the rest of the EU to do so.

  • eireanne3

    some UK attitudes to the EU and EU attitudes to the UK here together with potential outcomes and pitfalls of the brexit referendum https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/the-british-question-faq/

  • Angry Mob

    Hmm possibly, I have my reservations if we will actually manage to leave or not, especially if any of current leave campaigns manage to get the lead designation.

    I think it will be interesting as well, if we do manage to leave and the EU does finally collapse, the other EU states may not know it at the time; but we would have done them the single greatest service.

  • Angry Mob

    Yeah, the UK only pours billions of British tax payers money into the EU every year, if we left how would we ever find ~ 1/28 of a billion for research.

  • Jollyraj

    “the pig botherer”

    To whom are you referring, and what do you mean?

  • Cavehill

    The imbalance and the ‘fact’ that it was a stitch up are the same thing in your argument, so how can the explanation above resolve one and not the other?

  • Pasty

    There is the question that if the English decide to take the UK out of the EU then Ireland would be a good place to benefit from the relocation of big banks and finance houses from London to Dublin. There is no way that the banks, insurance and finance business will want to pay a tarrif to trade in the EU when they could trade freely from a centre that is English speaking and has a well educated work force.
    A Vote for Out could be a Vote for job relocation to Dublin. Should Irish Republicans vote for Out in order to hit the UK Economically and the chance of hastening the break up of the UK through the likely Scottish Exit if the decision is to Leave ?
    The whole thing throws up many questions for both communities and what they should do due to the likely affects on the UK Union, and the DUP could by their actions on voting out bring about a UI in a short period of time. Is that not an interesting thought ?

  • Pasty

    That does come with the disclaimer “Fat Chance That’s Going to Happen though!” – There were a large number of Unionists from North Down who took out Irish Passports to enable them to get free education in Universities not so long ago, money changes lots of things for many people.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh I’m sure many unionists have an Irish passport but my overriding point is the UK introducing some sort of Aussie Rules entry system on EU citizens even if they intend it just for Eastern Europeans is going to have major impacts beyond the Common Travel Zone which that arrangement wouldn’t be able to fix.

    Even if the UK took a laissez faire approach to All Ireland travel, the U.K. has the issue of Republic of Ireland effectively policing “free movement” at a border the way Poland would with Kalingrad for example. This is while at the same time the EU puts pressure to “Aussie rule” Britons using Ireland as a means of lowering the Britons free movement into the EU.

    I don’t know how that’s solved it’s a bloody quagmire.

    Similar issues exist for Gibraltar.

  • Jollyraj

    Daresay a few fawning SF underlings do, though I doubt the phenomenon exists much beyond that.

  • NotNowJohnny

    If UKIP really is focussing on the bigger picture then it’s unfortunate that David McNarry didn’t do so. Instead the first point that Mr McNarry thought fit to make was ‘The timing [of the referendum] is not the best as we also have a Stormont election. Which one do you put as the priority and the most important is a matter for you. Much as I would like to separate them, they are in tandem. What we need to do is see how we can merge them and I hope that we will be able to merge them in the discussions that will decide people which party they are going to vote for for the Assembly and for how they are going to vote Yes or No in the referendum.’ These are not the words of a man focussing on the bigger picture, this is a man focussing on anything but the bigger picture.

    At this stage Mr McNarry still has one of his two minutes left which he could use to highlight clearly the benefits of a leave vote for the UK and how the people of Northern Ireland could share in those benefits. Or he could do what other unionists have struggled to do and articulate clearly what the benefits of a leave vote are for the people of Northern Ireland. Instead, Mr McNarry goes on to use his final minute to say ‘There is nothing in our interest to stay in Europe, to be dominated by Germany and France and to have the wandering hoards of people coming here and all over the UK to access some kind of room where there isn’t room.’ I will leave it to others to decide whether Mr McNarry has articulated a clear and credible argument why we in Northern Ireland should vote to leave.

  • Chingford Man

    What are you on about. The panel was unbalanced and it was a stitch-up.

  • Chingford Man

    Everything he said was true. And it was only a minute.

  • murdockp

    All men and one woman. Typical ni.

  • Cavehill

    ‘Oh it may explain the imbalance, but not the fact that it was still a stitch-up’

    Also I do question the need for a balance when support for the arguments isn’t balanced across NI and in politics. If you invite the 9 parties at Stormont, at least 5/9 of them are going to be pro-EU (depending how the UUP fall it could be 6/9). How do you remedy that? Do you add enough antis to make it even? That’s slightly ludicrous.

  • Danny

    Well educated. As you will remember from the event if you were there, both academics advanced a number of arguments in favour of the EU: common security, citzenship, pooling resources. All the aspects that Unionists use to suggest that NI is better off in the UK.

  • Danny

    It would not be 1/28 of a billion?

    I suggest that you go look at the figures for UK contribution (gross), UK contribution (net) and then look at the level of funding acquired by UK Universities in competitive funding. IN fact perhaps it would be better if you acquaint yourself with how research funding in the EU works. Once you have done so we can have a discussion grounded in the facts.

    NB: The UK House of Commons’ LIbrary website would be a good starting point.

  • Angry Mob

    NB: The use of the tilde.

    It was a guesstimate but it does not detract from my point even if somehow the UK received the entire £1 billion it’s still pales to what our annual contributions to the EU budget are. Remember its not EU money, its British taxpayer money.


    “3) Academics tend to be in favour of the EU because they do
    not need….”

    Except that they get massive EU funding as you have stated, so surely they have a motive to support the gravy train.

  • John Collins

    A highly publicised,if utterly nonsensical, ‘event’, which David Cameron was supposed to have been involved in back in his student days, may be what GP is referring to.