How little thought have ‘the Brexotics’ given to any form of risk from a putative #Brexit?

This morning’s #SluggerReport featured this great essay from Ferdinand Mount in the London Review of Books (h/t Ciaran!). Here’s  some of the highlights in the argument…

Splendid isolation’. ‘Very well, alone’. ‘Fog in Channel – Continent Cut Off’. That is the name of the game, the only game that appeases the dreams and resentments of the Brexiters. It isn’t about economics. Decca Aitkenhead traipsed all the way to Nigel Lawson’s gentilhommière in Gascony to seek enlightenment on the economics.

But all she could get out of the long-serving chancellor, by far the most experienced voice in the Leave camp, was that ‘the important issue is democracy and self-government. It is about that principle. Self-government is more important than anything else.’ Lawson or Farage, it comes to the same thing: Nigels against the world.

But the voice is the voice of Enoch. Mr Powell, as he liked to style himself in his later prophetic period, never ceased to argue that joining the EU had been a great betrayal, but that it was a betrayal which could and would, sooner or later, be reversed. In 1994, not long before he died, he declared that ‘Britain is waking from the nightmare of being part of the Continental bloc to rediscover that these offshore islands belong to the outside world and lie open to its oceans.’

Powell had not only a passionate attachment to his own nation-state but a chilly indifference to everyone else’s. He thought the Cold War was a delusion (the only foreign country he had a soft spot for was Russia). He didn’t care a jot if Saddam Hussein swallowed up the whole of the Middle East so long as he didn’t invade Sussex.

He was quite unmoved by the break-up of Yugoslavia and the bloodshed that followed. Like Auden, he regarded the United States as ‘tiefste Provinz’, and derided both its culture and its geopolitical pretensions. He insisted that the Republic of Ireland be treated in all respects as a foreign country. Aliens began at Dundalk as well as Calais.

He was indifferent to whatever the Continentals got up to, so long as they didn’t impinge on the freedom of the UK to follow its destiny. Other countries, other minds have no meaningful existence. Weapons-grade solipsism.

But, he notes…

…there is a rough distinction worth making between those Outers, on the one hand, who are merely fed up with the daily frictions of life in the EU (often confused with the frictions of modern life generally and with excessively fussy regulations imposed by our own Parliament rather than by Brussels) and would like to see a looser arrangement with our neighbours, and, on the other hand, those who are gripped by a full-throated longing for untrammelled national independence.

There is a difference between those who want to make a dramatic protest and those who have a settled longing to live utterly apart, to be eternally outside – exotikos, as the Greek so nicely puts it.


Brexotics remain deaf to the rather more subtle thesis advanced by that great contrarian Alan Milward in The European Rescue of the Nation-State (1992): that the underlying purpose of the drive for European union was to retrieve the nation-state from its ignominy and demoralisation after two catastrophic world wars, and to anchor it in a network of institutions that would secure peace and prevent beggar-my-neighbour policies of protection and blockade.

Yes, Monnet and Schuman used devious means to chivvy the process along, but the end purpose was a worthy one: in return for a modest and ultimately retrievable (how else could we be holding this referendum?) sacrifice of day-to-day sovereignty and a piffling contribution from national revenues (the UK’s net contribution to the EU is well under one per cent of government spending), the nation-state would be able to hold up its head and bask in the sun again.

We shouldn’t tamely accept that Britain’s case is different because it never succumbed to fascism or extreme nationalism. We indulged in competitive imperialism and were often standoffish and inert in overseas relations. Britain too joined arms races, and sometimes initiated them.

You have only to compare the energy and farsightedness of Wellington, Aberdeen and Palmerston in maintaining the Concert of Europe for forty years after Waterloo with the flabby and self-centred diplomacy of Britain in the Edwardian period to see how far the sense of international responsibility had shrunk.

Enter Edmund Burke…

I am less concerned, though, to defend the ramshackle and blatantly imperfect institutions of the EU than to warn of the dangers inherent in nation-worship – something the Brexotics never confront. Many of those who will be voting to leave, such as Norman Lamont, take General de Gaulle as their model, but it was that cynical-romantic statesman who liked to quote Nietzsche’s scorching maxim that ‘the state is the coldest of all cold monsters’ (fromAlso Sprach Zarathustra – it’s even more chilling in the German: ‘Staat heisst das kälteste aller kalten Ungeheuer’). Even de Gaulle held back from quoting Nietzsche’s next sentence: ‘The state also lies in a cold fashion, and the lie that crawls out of its mouth is “I, the state, am the people.”’

It is a heresy to identify state-worship with ‘traditional conservatism’, or to imply, as the Brexiters often do, that they are the only true patriots. Patriotism is certainly a conservative virtue, but it is not the only virtue, and it is not enough.

Burke insists that the love for the ‘little platoon’ we belong to in society ‘is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind’. He also insists that ‘it is with infinite caution that any man ought to venture upon pulling down an edifice which has answered in any tolerable degree for ages the common purposes of society.’

He finishes with a consider of economic and political risk factors, which he concludes:

The purpose of sketching out these half-dozen areas of risk is not to claim to know how bad they would turn out to be, but simply to point out how little thought the Brexotics have given to them, or to the suspicions and fears they have roused, not just in their own country but across the whole continent.

There remains the last and to me the worst suspicion: that they would be quite happy to put their supposedly beloved country through a period of prolonged turmoil and stagnation simply for the exhilaration of being on their own at last. No one since Greta Garbo has said ‘I want to be alone’ with such feeling.

Or perhaps it’s not so much Garbo as the chant sung by the fans of Millwall FC that I should be thinking of: ‘No one likes us, we don’t care.’ At the time of writing, Millwall are lying fourth in Football League One. For the uninitiated, this is really the Third Division.

It’s probably the firmest political grip I’ve read on the Referendum to debate thus far.  Do take the time to read the whole thing.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • terence patrick hewett

    Top class casuistry is always a pleasure.

  • Angry Mob

    To answer your topic question:

    Probably a more interesting question is how little thought have “Bremainers” given to any form of risk from a remain vote?

  • Pasty

    Given the consequences that David Cameron and his Government Departments are saying would happen if Britain were to leave then WHY Did Cameron say he would leave if he didn’t think the changes he agreed were the Holy Grail ? Surely it would be more honest to say that given those same consequences then Cameron would never Leave and the changes he agreed would be binned. If it is that bad then Europe now know they do not have to deliver.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The development of the transistor by Bardeen/Brattain at AT&T Bell Labs in 1947 kicked off a revolution which wrought changes in society that dwarfed any of those achieved by political philosophy. And it is the insurgents: whether they be the savage pre-pubescent Lordless Flylings of ISIS or the emergent politicals of the SNP or Ukip which are using them so effectively. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light the political consensus may: but dying they are.

  • Ernekid

    Europe will tick along for the next few decades. There might be a few economic or political snafus along the way but it’ll be mostly harmless

    That depends how badly we’ve buggered the environment. If the more dire projections are correct we could be entering Mad Max territory.

    Or the Space Squids might show up and humanity will be locked into an interstellar fight for survival. Who can predict the future?

  • Gerry Lynch

    If the aliens invade, I bet Katie Hopkins becomes a real life Kristine Walsh – the evil collaborationist media spokesperson for the “visitors” in V: The Original Miniseries.

  • Jim M

    If there is a Brexit, I’d be concerned about the effect on NI of being the UK’s ‘insecure back door’. I can’t imagine border checkpoints being seriously considered, so there will have to be much tighter controls at airports and sea ports. Which won’t be much fun for those of us using them.

  • mickfealty

    Thanks for this. One of the big problems with that document is that it’s only a manifesto. Phase one includes ‘repatriation’ of EU law in Agriculture and remaining inside the single market.

    Two questions arise for me. One, who would have a mandate for such direct actions? And two, is it even possible to do both of those things?

    The mandate you’d get from a referendum is crude and broad. So we have Peter Lilley signing an opposition motion seeking to protect the NHS from any EU agreement over TTIP and Dan Hannan telling us the NHS is a disgrace.

    Strikes me that we are being sold several policy tracks that are either impracticable (all EU law to have force must be embedded in UK statute) or incompatible with one another, either implicitly or explicitly.

    Brexit is all things to all men whilst Remain is simple incarceration.

    In your view what are the risks of staying (given the UK is beyond the reaches of the EZ)?

  • On the fence!

    “Brexit is all things to all men whilst Remain is simple incarceration.”

    That’s a stunningly one-eyed view of the referendum!

    Either side could be boiled down to one simple straight-forward view, if you wanted.

    Either side could be mocked for the wide and diverse, even odd-ball, mish mash of opposing views within it,……….if you wanted!

  • On the fence!

    “There might be a few economic or political snafus along the way but it’ll be mostly harmless”

    If someone in the “leave” camp came out with a statement as utterly ridiculous as that they’ve be laughed off stage, and rightly so.

    Greek financial crisis, the tragic handling of the migrant situation, Ukraine, “mostly harmless”???????????

    Words fail me!

  • mickfealty

    You have to imagine what actual changes would have to ensue to make that necessary though: because apart from darkly intoned mentions of migrant issues, it’s not clear that Brexit will change anything much in that regard.

  • Jim M

    Maybe I’m talking rubbish, Mick. I just assumed that if the UK was outside the EU, there would need to be more customs checks and more checks on anyone entering. But as you suggest, that would depend a lot on what arrangements were made. Obviously it is possible that in the event of a Brexit, it would all be a fudge and apart from some lawyers and bureaucrats doing well, very little would change. But it could also stoke an anti immigration populist upsurge, which would certainly mean the kind of things I’ve envisaged.

  • Ernekid

    In the grand sweep of European history, they aren’t really that significant. It’s not like the Mongol invasion, the reformation, or Napoleons reign or the Great War.

    The current events aren’t that irregular from a historical perspective. What is irregular is over half a century of relative peace and harmony that most of the continent has enjoyed.

  • On the fence!

    That’s an awfully arrogant and aloof attitude, never mind a total lack of empathy for those currently embroiled in misery in many other parts of Europe.

    I thought that was supposed to be the domain of the “leavers”.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Because Cameron is a perfect example of everything most people detest about the political class.

    He is duplicitous, two faced and prepared to do whatever it takes to maintain power for himself his class and his party with little or no regard to the needs of the country.

    Unfortunately for him Walter Scott nailed it when he said ” Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. ”

    In fairness you could say the same about all but an honourable few in virtually any party and any country.

    He panicked and offered the referendum in order to persuade right wingers to vote Tory instead of Ukip.

    In answer to the Thread question, no I don’t think sufficient thought has been given to retaliatory action which may take place as a result of us causing major disruption.

    Given that all remaining members will need to agree unanimously, to any trade deals with us we’ll be living in ‘ interesting times.’

  • Sir Rantsalot

    This is a “must watch” documentary on why we should leave the EU. We have absolutely no control over the laws that are made, and of course the theft of the UK fishing industry is well know already.
    “Brexit: The Movie”

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t think the European Union will go out of its way to punish the United Kingdom, but the insider advantage which I believe mainly to be the freedom that the UK had against protectionist policies from the rest of the EU, is going to be taken away. The UK’s indecision over what it wants from an Out vote is a lot more damaging than any punitive action by the European Union

    The Oxford Economist on Newsnight last night, pretty much summed up three main consequences.

    * Greater acquiesce to larger trading partners
    * Two years of negotiations to get suitable deals
    * Loss of all the deals that the EU had.

    I don’t know if the UK has the two year period that Lisbon Treaty allows to mitigate this. If it does it may be just as important. Many of these problems will be by accident rather than design, and the European Union rather than benefiting from “British adversity” may be frustrated by another contagion effect.

    The UK will also have enough Europhiles around so the excess free-market-ism, imperialism, nationalism, isolationism and narrow xenophobia becomes kicked to the kerb, and like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. These people even outside the EU will maintain a reasonable degree of Britain’s European identity and networks even with resistance from the ultras in the Brexit camp demanding more power and control for their cliques.

    It’s not going to be a divorce from Europe but it’s a separation from European partners, It’s not the end of the world if this happen, it shouldn’t trigger a global crisis, but it’s not going to trigger a new empire, or lead to complete financial meltdown.

    I’m not a British nationalist, I don’t have the entitlement complex to believe that net contribution 0.5% of its GDP that goes to Brussels is somehow going to mitigate all uncontrolled migration, nationalize failing key industries, save the NHS, protect the farmers and fishermen, improve the UK’s level of sovereignty, enhance border control and the UK defense forces, and allow a lot left over for freeing the Greeks from the debts they owe the UK, as a means to show the world that its 1 nation is kinder than 27 others all while keeping the single market, keeping the trade deals, keeping all the rights its citizenry has on the continent, and avoiding all customs.

    I think that sort of vanity and arrogance that it’s going to be puppies and rainbows leaving the EU is the sort of propaganda that exploits the most gullible Brexiter.
    It’s separatism gone mad, not a tough discussion of the priorities of rational independence, and a united dialogue that clarifies a pragmatic option between those who value the networks and opportunities that European Union provides and those that want to experiment with new markets.

    There’s a reasonable question about how the UK’s own sovereignty and finances haven’t been used in the best manner to tackle the domestic issues that are largely in its own control and its own responsibility.

    The most important thing about independence is “owning the bad decisions” and there are going to be bad decisions, because no one and no nation is perfect.

    There is going to be winners and losers if a Brexit occurs, some of those most passionate about staying in are going to benefit and some of those most passionate about leaving are going to suffer badly.

    There are risks in staying in, there are more risks in leaving the EU, and there are risks that neither being in the EU nor outside of it are going to mitigate. There are things that are going to be a lot more easier to philosophize over than to engineer.

    Loss is every part of risk as gain may be, every scientific and engineering breakthrough comes about by people looking at their limitations but still being able to postulate over what can and cannot be done.

    What disappoints me most about the Leave campaign, even though I’m intrinsically biased against it, (I will never identify as British, and I have no great empathy for people upset about Roma on the street or toasters that don’t char their toast.) is that it doesn’t seem to capture the nature and the power of risk.

    The fact that so many British engineers and scientists are for remaining within the European alone for me, would be a sign that while the UK may need to take risks, it’s more than able to take them being within the EU and having a look at reforming both the EU and itself through greater engagement with people not withdrawing from them.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And I would urge people to watch this rebuttal of that movie:

  • Sir Rantsalot

    I’ll watch all 8 mins of this later. But the 2 mins I just watched, here in work, is a guy talking into his web cam in his spare room. He hasn’t made any points or rebutted anything yet. Started with the standard personal attacks on the people in the documentary, they’re the same people that always come up… etc.
    Do you really think this is a rebuttal of the facts and figures exposed in the Brexit movie? Which point is actually rebutted?

  • Anglo-Irish

    There is an additional worry when it comes to leaving over and beyond the EU reaction.

    The Americans have made it very plain that they want us to remain in the EU.

    As we all know the ‘Special Relationship ‘ is nonsense. It suits both parties to maintain the fiction but the main component of the relationship is, and always was, American interest.

    The US like us being in the EU, it’s the biggest single market in the world and we’re their ‘inside man’ .

    Leave and our usefulness to them is diminished, when you find yourself in difficulty that’s when you find out who your friends are.

    Sometimes it can be a bit of a letdown.

  • Kevin Breslin

    How about this…

    “Firstly, a “free” Britain could not make its “own laws” all the time when dealing in the international space. So to “go global” and make all those spiffing trade deals, there needs to be agreements on regulations. That’s what the single market is. Agreed standards. Right now our governments and MEPs are elected by us and vote on cross-border agreements. If we pull out – how do we get a democratic say? We don’t. And we don’t gain freedoms on Brexit, we lose them. We lose freedom of movement, freedom to hire from the EU visa-free, freedoms of access to the single market, freedoms associated with the working time directive potentially, rights to cross-border care potentially. What are the freedoms these Brexiteers speak of then? It is simply their own freedom to rule this country. Little people get no more freedoms as the neoliberals roll their protections away.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Not in the grand scheme of things it ain’t. Likening the miserable economic situation in Greece, say to the massive loss of life, damaged physical infrastructures and sexual abuses due to wars, invasions, occupations and the turmoil of post conflict deracination and the shifting of both borders and foci of political control actually reveals an aloof and unempathetic reading of history from a solipsistically contemporary standpoint. It could be argued that all that has happened in the EZ over the last 8 years is that it hasn’t lived up to its promise. Wars don’t tend to either but they do bring about much greater destruction in their execution. At least the present European situation’s recovery plan is less traumatic than rebuilding your life (if you’re lucky to still have it) from real zero.

  • hgreen

    Because the negotiations were a complete red herring. He had to look as though he was making an effort and being tough with our European partners. As anglo irish states, he and Osborne are complete bullshitters.

  • On the fence!

    A few fancy (and to some of us, unintelligible!) words do not disguise the nonsense of your point, which assumes that a Brexit will automatically catapult us back 100yrs so that the turmoil we have now will be better than two more world wars, numerous violent dictatorships, etc, etc. Essentially a re-run of the past 100yrs.

    That scenario is no more likely than Europe being torn apart by the inability of a large, cumbersome, feckless, needlessly bureaucratic organisation, to respond to developing situations in a timely and appropriate fashion. In fact given the increasing amount of evidence over the past couple of years, I’d say the latter is a much greater possibility.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Which is consistent with the narrative of John Bull, the free born and independently minded English yeoman:
    I’m surprised Mount didn’t cite him in his scholarly article as his spirit recurs so frequently in race memory. When listening to Farage and some other brexiteers I feel that there’s a strain in British and particularly English thought that we’re all free marketeers (potentially or just fondly). Fair enough if we had the American dream but we don’t. It’s perhaps more accurate to say regulation isn’t stifling when it’s self imposed.
    There is conversely a myopic quiescence present among the ‘middle English’ (and by extension across the UK) and it’s there that the UK holds itself together and it is to foreign influence where the only defiance arises.
    Freedom like many abstracts is an illusion. We are not immune to the shackles of neo-liberalism whether we remain or leave. But then there’s something very British about the statement ‘at least we’ve only got ourselves to blame’ if things don’t go to the plan of ‘muddle through’.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    “Firstly, a “free” Britain could not make its “own laws” all the time when dealing in the international space. So to “go global” and make all those spiffing trade deals, there needs to be agreements on regulations.”

    A free Britain CAN make its own laws, that’s the point of leaving the EU !! Yes agreement on regulations is part of a deal, whats the point being made here? Making a deal with a small number of regulations is preferable to the EU stupid complexity. Check the 50, 70, 100+ EU regulations in the movie about things such as taps.
    A major point raised in the vid is that you don’t need a trade deal to do trade. Lots of world trade is done WITHOUT requiring a trade deal. When Remainers talk about losing trade deals, it is just deception to create fear.

    “That’s what the single market is. Agreed standards.”

    Its not, its a market… But we’re talking about leaving the political EU state. We will still be trading with the EU like loads of other non EU countries.

    “Right now our governments and MEPs are elected by us and vote on cross-border agreements. If we pull out – how do we get a democratic say?”

    The movie shows how EU laws are made in secret by committees. The MEPs cannot make any laws, they just vote on them. That’s the first time I heard that, so yet to be verified. But if MEPs cant actually make laws, how is the EU democratic? We currently don’t have any say.

    “And we don’t gain freedoms on Brexit, we lose them. We lose freedom of movement, freedom to hire from the EU visa-free, freedoms of access to the single market”

    We lose freedoms?? That’s nonsense designed to create a fear response. We don’t lose freedom of movement at all, you can go to a country and work with a work visa, loads of us do it in the US and Australia. I am working abroad with a work visa. Its no big deal. We don’t lose access to the single market, we just trade with it like all the other non EU countries.

    “rights to cross-border care potentially”

    First of all, care is not a right. Again incorrect terms are used to create a more dramatic impression and more fear. If you mean NI/ROI care, cant we make those arrangements ourselves?

    “What are the freedoms these Brexiteers speak of then? It is simply their own freedom to rule this country. Little people get no more freedoms as the neoliberals roll their protections away.”

    The freedom to make our own laws and international arrangements for the benefit of our country. The little peoples freedom is being restricted by the EU not the UK. Its the EU laws that tell us what we can and cant do, that is the whole point in wanting to leave !!
    So you see, the remain hot air, is all deception and trickery.
    Watch the vid for facts.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    None of what I wrote assumed a catpulting us back 100 years or even 80 years. I was rebutting your original argument and you made a series of assumptions from that. Economic crises, even severe ones are not as devastating as modern warfare to put it plainly.
    On another point, attempting to undermine another’s argument with anti-pretentious posturing does not establish any credibility.

  • On the fence!

    Credibility on here????? Mate, I’m a farmer and a mechanic, “credibility” on sluggerotoole is worth exactly the square root of feck all to me so I wouldn’t waste my time posturing, “anti-pretentiously(????)” or otherwise to get it.

    But I’m real good at sniffing out bullshit!

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Can you sniff out your own though? Inverted snobbery ≠ virtue. A Gramscian interpretation of inverted snobbery is collusion in one’s own oppresson. Which takes us back to main issue here about European elites and individual liberty.

  • Kevin Breslin

    In terms of regulations there needs to be a degree of serenity here.

    There are 3 sets of regulations being outside the EU will not change.

    1. The regulations of the internal EU, the UK has to accept exporting to it. There will no longer be as much British influence here.
    2. International regulations, the UK has to accept exporting to these nations.
    3. The UK based regulations and International obligations that are going to exist because British not the EU were responsible.

    I don’t believe that having the regulation pressure that at the bare maximum, Bulgaria and Romania have to deal with has been a crippling effect on the UK. Indeed the only EU country that has less regulations to deal with than the UK is the Netherlands, and Switzerland, a non-EU nation has significantly more than France.

    In terms of trade deals, yes the UK can simply use the World Trade Organisation rules, but I don’t think giving every nation carte blanche so the UK can have carte blanche is going to have popular support. There is a democratic barrier against laissez-faire capitalism in every country, and cultural ones in non-democracies like China.

    Trade deals will be made in the name of protecting sovereignty, and they will be inconvenienced by the protectionist instincts of trading partners, cultural barriers, and language barriers.

    The nonsense trade deficit argument used by some Brexiters as leverage can be torn apart on the basis that if the dogma were true, the Republic of Ireland could hardball the United Kingdom into getting any trade agreement it wanted. Purchasing power isn’t something the UK government controls anyway the only way the UK could use a trade deficit in its favour is to impose sanctions and force citizens to buy elsewhere.

    Let’s talk about the fear spread by those on the Leave camp about the democracy within the EU, and the alternative democratic oversight that the UK population is somehow going to get from being outside the EU.

    You are right that the EU Parliament doesn’t have the final say, it’s the elected national governments who have the final say through the Council of Ministers, and the European Council. For this reason the EU is still more of a multinational organisation rather than a pan-national organisation.

    Rather than have MEPs scrutinizing the actions of governments across the continent and the various strands of British national opinion having access to treaties. The UK government of the day takes on a supreme role to decide a UK national group-think, and in secret discusses international arrangements that are to the benefit mostly exclusively of those that have elected them into office.

    Oppositions, even Government back benchers in the UK are powerless to deal with these issues, and under UK constitutional law, the UK government of the day is under no obligations to put any international treaty it chooses to sign up to towards the British people.

    The big people in the UK society get to call the shots, the little people get little union flags, military victories and stories about how enemies overseas prevent the big people from being as generous as they want to be. No longer will it be Westminster and UK MEPS, but only Westminster, gerrymandered FPTP Westminster that protects the interests of two or three well funded parties.

    Westminster is 70% pro-Remain, so if there’s a Brexit, how can we say it reflects UK democracy?

    I believe leaving the EU will protect privilege and disadvantage social mobility, because there is no guarantee that networks for middle class and working class people, small and medium enterprises would be as freely obtainable if free movement gets stymied by EU nations and the UK protecting their own and stopping competitive outsiders. Certainly it is possible a lot of small to medium businesses will lose rights they had within the EU to do business in continental nations and vice versa

    In terms of freedoms of movement and so on, the fact is these freedoms won’t be gone entirely, however they will simply be a lot less freely available to the UK being outside the EU. Lorries going in and out of Calais may have to file a work visa and other paperwork because the UK and French are free from obligations to make life easier for the other one.

    The European Union would have no obligations to provide special status to the British people particularly when there is no intention on the UK to provide reciprocation. The Rest of the World will also not do that either. This Golden Rule is generally the only way of doing things.

    The UK cannot decide international arrangements, outside of the ones between the “nations” of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    International arrangements cannot be done on a one nation basis without war and colonization or unilateral submission. Is that the solution that the Leave camp proposes to ensure the rest of the world caves in to accept arrangements made by Westminster alone?

    The UK can try to dictate how the rest of the world decides to treat it, but this egotistical approach is likely to treated with rejection and mockery, the way British people would probably view the isolationist attitudes of North Korea.

  • mickfealty

    I tend to think that in the first place there’d be very little obvious change and the UK would sign up to whatever it needed to in order not to rock the boat and keep the money markets happy. Most of what the UK does now to keep inside the EU it would have to do to keep in with the single market.

    That includes free movement of Labour. As long as the Republic stays outside Schengen and retains the CTA, there’s likely to be little change and it won’t be an easy backdoor.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Net migration was not much more 2016 in 2016, in Northern Ireland. Brexit is not going to make Northern Ireland more or less of a refugee port.

    It has two effective passive weapons against immigration … Bad Weather and Being so isolated from the world it escapes international attention as a place to live in.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The change will be customs posts as are seen between Norway and Sweden even if they have a pan-border free movement arrangement.

    I believe that the UK will opt for EFTA and sell that as a pragmatic half way house between the Blukip Eurosceptics and the Blibdem Europhiles.

    It will still have Customs though.

  • Pasty

    David Cameron said that if he didn’t get a good deal he would recommend leaving the EU. Now his argument for staying is because the economy would be affected, x number of jobs would be lost, house prices would drop, GDP would fall etc. etc.
    All of these things would surely have happened had he not got what he thinks is a good deal for Britain and therefore had to recommend leaving. There is only conclusion that I can see from his decision to remain and that was that he had no intention from the start of leaving and would accept any offer of change the EU made as a “Good Deal”.
    Personally I’m a European and for staying, but if it helps Britain Wreck its economy and means the relocation of large number of jobs from London to a place within the EU (Dublin) then I’m all for the British Leaving.

  • Angry Mob

    I wouldn’t describe it as a manifesto, more of an unofficial white paper however maybe I should’ve pointed out chapter 4 sets out the various proposals and the associated risks with each before reaching the conclusion of the Norway option as being the path of least resistance.

    Can you give the sub-section you are referring to regarding repatriation of Agriculture so were literally reading off the same page?

    Norway does have control over its agriculture policies and any sphere of legislation could be repealed at the cost of market access for whatever that legislation effects. Norway did take the conscious decision to retain control of its agricultural policies including CAP and the CFP and any associated laws; in the interests of national food security. Most likely under the assumption that it was of most benefit to them as this allowed to do things such as subside farmers to a much higher degree possible than under the CAP.

    My actual point wasn’t about the risks that I see, but given that if brexiters are expected to see the potential flaws in leaving which is a fair enough point is it not reasonable to ask that the bremainers ask themselves the same for the implications of remaining?

  • terence patrick hewett

    As far as manufacturing goes everyone has to operate within the auspices of the ISO: the International Organization for Standardization. If you want to export medical products into the US you will have to submit to representatives of the FDA: US Food and Drug Administration crawling all over the shop examining you in minute detail. This will not change In or Out.

  • Angry Mob

    “…but the insider advantage which I believe mainly to be the freedom that the UK had against protectionist policies from the rest of the EU, is going to be taken away.”

    If we retain access to the single market there is no protectionist policies that any other country also in the single market can place solely against us that would not be illegal under WTO rules, that is unless the policy was applied to the entirety of the single market but if the policy was designed to maim that wouldn’t happen as everyone would then suffer.

    * Greater acquiesce to larger trading partners

    * Two years of negotiations to get suitable deals

    * Loss of all the deals that the EU had.

    First point is debatable, we would be in the EFTA trading bloc consisting of ourselves, Norway, Swizterland, Iceland etc which would become the fourth largest in the world. Given that other countries like Sweden have indicated that they would make the jump if the UK did that sway could become greater at the EU’s expense.

    Second point known as article 50 of the Lisbon treaty as you mention, which can be extended by unanimous vote but this would be undesirable of course. We’ll retain market access by staying in the EU in the mean time.

    Last point is nonsense. The Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties (1978) articles will support the continuation of any trade deals that the EU had which were made whilst we were a member.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Is freedom an illusion? I wonder: To quote the masterly first page of the Oxford History of England 1914-1939 by A J P Taylor:

    “Until August 1914 a sensible law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly know the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroard or leave his country forever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police. Unlike the countries of the European continent, the state did not require its citizens to perform military service. An Englishman could enlist, if he chose, in the regular army, the navy, or the territorials. He could also ignore, if he chose, the demands of national defence. Substantial householders were occasionally called on for jury service. Otherwise, only those helped the state who wished to do so. The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale: nearly £200 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8 per cent. of the national income. The state intervened to prevent the citizen from eating adulterated food or contracting certain infectious diseases. It imposed safety rules in factories, and prevented women, and adult males in some industries, from working excessive hours. The state saw to it that children received education up to the age of 13. Since the 1st January 1909, it provided a meagre pension for the needy over the age of 70. Since 1911, it helped to insure certain classes of workers against sickness and unemployment. This tendency towards more state action was increasing. Expenditure on the social services had roughly doubled since the Liberals took office in 1909. Still, broadly speaking, the state acted only to help those who could not help themselves. It left the adult citizen alone.”

  • Angry Mob

    Actually the basis of what he’s saying is correct regarding regulation, some in the leave camp are misguided in their aims of deregulation but here he draws the wrong conclusion. Remaining in the EU does not allow us to sit at the top table of global regulators nor does it allow us to make our own laws nor does it offer us any more protections being in it.

    First of all the EU silences us on bodies such as the WTO, ILO, UNECE, ISO, WHO, ICAO, IMO etc where it either has taken our seat in place of us or where we sit along side them and we are bound to adopt the common position no matter how much we disagree with it or it is in detriment to our interests.

    Increasingly, more of our laws are made at an international level, then passed down to the EU for implementation. If we become an independent nation like Norway we would get the right of veto, right of voting, right of abstaining and the right to chair these various bodies that we do not have under the EU and thus increase the say in making “our laws”.

    Then of course he makes crude assumptions regarding the four freedoms would be curtailed given a leave vote, which isn’t necessarily the case.

  • mickfealty

    It has the form and the look and the length of a White Paper certainly. But a white paper has an authority that this (well written paper) lacks.

    It’s more analogous to a manifesto only in the sense that it’s likely to become ephemeral post Brexit purely because we aren’t voting on this and those who have prepared it will not be driving the post Brexit changes.

    I agree re Norway and CAP. Their agricultural system is more akin to the UK’s and Ireland’s prior to entry into the old EEC, and it has no doubt helped rural economies by keeping distribution systems much smaller and resources more local.

    But, and this is crucial to some of the problems we are going to face after any future Brexit, they made a calculated decision to preserve what they had and negotiated accordingly.

    But ripping out of all of these regulations (not to mention navigating onwards) is unlikely in part because of the cost, and the disruption involved. England is wall to wall prairies and the big milk distributors are EU based like Arla.

    An awful lot of stuff will remain in place for other reason than an alternative track may not be obvious never mind desireable. Inertial will account for an awful lot of things that don’t change, just as it did in the Republic after independence.

  • Angry Mob

    I’d agree and say initially it’s highly unlikely that we would face the ‘bonfire of legislation’ as some have suggested but over a number of years (10+) each directive of the acquis communautaire could be reviewed and judged on a case by case basis as to whether it is beneficial to keep, repeal or amend which will minimise any potential disruption.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Really one nation alone to regulate them all, I was expecting more of a stronger, more rational, less Union flag tinted arguement. Your case is rather thin on evidence and full of crude assumptions. In terms of international bodies the UK, the EU need a lot more than themselves to get WTO, WHO, and several other undemocratic EU bodies on its side. Brexit makes little difference in UN terms, the world doesn’t revolve around the UK, it doesn’t even revolve around Europe whether you define it by the EU or the continent west of the Urals, heck Eurovision, UEFA… They are all minorities. The U.K. has as many seats on these bodies as Mauritania or Belize or Saõ Tome e Principe … and that number is one.

    The EU doesn’t control the UK vote here, if it did it was vey Machivellian to make it recognise an independent Kosovo and not Spain. The U.K. Sits between the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America, neither of which are in the EU.

    The positions are decided on rotation, the vetoes only apply in extremely rare occasions like the Security Council. Rather than use that veto, it abused that responsibility to have an illegal war in Iraq.

    There is no EU consensus, there is no UK consensus and there isn’t a common platform within the UK or any other nation to define “our interests” … Was the war in Iraq carried in the UK’s interests? Are we supposed to believe that Iraq or the average British citizen had the power to veto any of that?

    The EU didn’t sanction that war, but the UK did, the Americans did … And now we hear about a perceuted, weak, stifled and constrained UK that cannot throw its weight about without restriction. The EU holding the UK back.

    You have absolutely no clue of how the UN works, how the EU works, you probably wouldn’t know who represents the UK in the UN or how that man gets his job.

    The sickening jealousy of Norway, or Switzerland or Albania for crying out loud is pathetic. Perhaps they look to the good old days where the UK could dictate trade deals with the USA and China and go to war with them if they fail to agree to their terms. I would say that approach is highly expensive without an Empire to exploit.

    Why would the EU sabotage any of the UK’s strengths, and shoot itself in the foot at the same time. The Common Market is a level playing field but there are winners and losers. This debate is all about power, ideological power, philosophical power, the power of the cult of personality on the television … I’m more concerned with the workers that power the television.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Donald Trump is backed up by a group called The Tea Party, symbolic of what happens when the UK tries to dictate a foreign trading relationship entirely on its own terms and entirely on its own soil. This in contrast to the 86% of EU arrangements that the UK and most EU agree with. The other 14% compromises.

  • Angry Mob

    Im talking about the context of trade and global regulation but you throw up straw man arguments at every opportunity intermixed with your rhetoric.

    If my case is thin on evidence, disprove it.

  • Kevin Breslin

    A good point, just as Dev saved the Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory … It would be interesting to see if the Leave campaign could likewise refrain from bitterness and assert a respect for what the other 27 nations have given them during their long period of international co-operation.

    I don’t believe the regulations handicap the UK, because these are common regulations that have to be obeyed across the market whether you are France or Finland, Belguim or Bulgaria, Luxembourg or Lithuania. The thought that the UK cannot obey environmental laws Bulgaria does, or the standards that Greece can manage.

    It’s not product standards or even environmental standards that are the problem, the problem is that UK companies hate EU labour laws and hate UK labour laws too.

    How many in Vote Leave support the National Living Wage?

  • terence patrick hewett

    It was the FDA which picked up the dangers of Thalidomide and refused to let it into the US: both we and Europe did not to our cost so I am not entirely convinced of the benefits of consensus.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well I would say there are a lot of unfounded assumptions being made about Sweden and other nations. I doubt EFTA works with the same bloc mentality as the EU does. It’s sheer hypocrisy to moan about the EU and aspire a sort of EU with the same trappings but closer to Britian’s self image.

    Also How can the last issue be nonsense?

    You think that the UK retains some sort of trade deal with say the Mexicans and Koreans after the Lisbon Treaty extension finishes? These deals are carried on the basis that the Mexicans, the Koreans know a deal with the EU is a deal with everyone in the EU. The U.K. can set up its own deal, but it’s not going to be able to piggyback on EU trade deals with other nations outside the EU.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t believe the EU is there for consensus, I believe it is there for a collective political forum. I would say there is a consensus to stop Thalidomide within the EU, but it was America that determined the proof. Politics in the international arena is not about consensus opinion, but consensus in structure.

    The EU allows nations to freely colaberate and share information, it allows 28 nations to advance medical breakthroughs and challenge the findings of other nations more freely.

    It’s why the Czechs have advanced proton beam radiotherapy before the NHS did. It’s why canabis is legal in the Netherlands but banned in the U.K.

    The E.U.’s motto is Unity in Diversity, and if you ever watch the European Parliament, something the Leave Camp wants rid of, you will see that diversity in action.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Ah Lord love us! there is nothing like a good few platitudes to cheer us all up! I rather agree with G K Chesterton’s in his book Heretics he gives:

    ”Nothing more strangely indicates an enormous and silent evil of modern society than the extraordinary use which is made nowadays of the word “orthodox.” In former days the heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox. He had no pride in having rebelled against them; they had rebelled against him. The armies with their cruel security, the kings with their cold faces, the decorous processes of State, the reasonable processes of law—all these like sheep had gone astray. The man was proud of being orthodox, was proud of being right. If he stood alone in a howling wilderness he was more than a man; he was a church.”

  • Kevin Breslin

    The WTO arrangements are a fail safe for countries that cannot agree trade deals. They are the One Size Fits All to End All One Size Fits All, and the Leave side make no bones about sharing that.

    The U.K. would be unwise to try to manipulate these rules for their own ends even if it could get 70-80 nations on its side it would need to do so, when it’s clear that they may trigger dangerous races to the bottom or to the top trying to move the pitch around to get something more comfortable for the demagogues at home.

    At the end of the day, being a FIFA committee member doesn’t make you a good footballer. The U.K. Not making things and not building networks and being over-reliant on English are a bit more of a group of a handicaps than a few rules and regulations.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Burden of proof is yours.

  • Chingford Man

    Only Dave Cameron’s uncle could talk of the millions we pay the EU as “a piffling contribution from national revenue”. The rest of his analysis is elegantly written rubbish. Oh and invoking Burke in support of a corrupt supranational behometh is just pathetic. Remainiacs are panicking that they can no longer pull the wool over the eyes of ordinary people who each have the same vote as establishment stooges like Mount and his idiotic nephew.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    I’m glad you admit that we don’t need trade deals to do international trade. That alone should show people that we don’t need to be in the EU.

    “Lorries going in and out of Calais may have to file a work visa and other paperwork because the UK and French are free from obligations to make life easier for the other one.”

    Naaa, British goods will be like all the other goods from around the world that come into the EU everyday with no problems whatsoever. But feel free to think up another crazy scenario that *may* happen 🙂

    “Westminster is 70% pro-Remain, so if there’s a Brexit, how can we say it reflects UK democracy?”

    Since its a referendum, its the public’s wishes that are the democratic will.

    “The European Union would have no obligations to provide special status to the British people”
    Ah yes, yee olde straw man argument 🙂 Since no one is claiming any need for special status to trade with the EU, why exactly are you saying this?
    What did you think of the documentary?

  • Chingford Man

    There are many good reasons for Brexit and there is the odd truly pathetic one. Yours at the end is the latter. If Enda Kenny believed that then he would not be calling for a Remain vote.

  • Chingford Man

    I think the UK should do what is in its own best interests. If you believe the UK should serve the US’s interests, that is up to you. Besides, President Trump may construe US national interests quite differently. I suspect he is no friend of the EU.

  • Chingford Man

    Perhaps you could outline the successes of the UK in regard to “reforming” the EU. I’ve heard the same line since Maastricht and yet the only change is all deeper integration towards political union. That’s what the EU is all about, right back to the Treaty of Rome.

  • Chingford Man

    Don’t forget the possibility of more bailouts in the Club Med countries.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The UK introduced the Red Card System, very recently. I also think the whole deeper integration paranoia stems from a desire to have a deeper integrated United Kingdom simply from not interacting or cooperating with other cultures. Being inside the EU or being inside the UK outside the EU isn’t going to stop entropy.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The words do fail you.

    There is a difference between Farage’s opinions and the truth.

    Farage blames everything on the EU, when the issues in fact Syria and Ukraine and to some extent Greece too come from the sort of narrow minded narcissistic nationalism he himself worships.

    Flag waving, Anthem singing and Authoritarian monoculturism cause a lot more problems than they solve.

  • Anglo-Irish

    No, I don’t think that the UK should serve US interests, I never have.

    Our ‘leaders’ on the other hand have thought that, and have behaved in an obsequious and embarrassing fashion as a result.

    In a pathetic attempt to rub shoulders with the ‘Big Guy’ our politicians have behaved like Americas poodle and it has cost British lives and treasure for American gain.

    My point was simply that if we vote Leave we will need all the friends we can muster, and we shouldn’t necessarily count on the good old USA as one of them if we have gone against their interest on the matter.

    My feeling has always been that we should stop kowtowing to the Americans and commit ourselves fully to Europe and make every effort to reform what is by no means a perfect organization.

    Nothing created by man especially anything which includes bureaucracy will ever be perfect. The idea that if we leave we will be able to engineer some perfect Nirvana for everyone is nonsense.

    Rejecting an organization, and then reapplying to negotiate another type of membership which all individual states have to agree to doesn’t seem to me to be such a brilliant idea.

    In fact Baldrick would hesitate to come up with such a ‘ cunning plan ‘.

  • On the fence!

    Where did I ever mention Farage?????

    Some of us actually do have the wit to see through all the headline grabbing flim flam and make our own judgements you know.

  • On the fence!

    My disbelief was more centered around the arrogance, thoughtlessness and utter disregard for the misery that abounds in Europe at present by describing recent and continuing events as “mostly harmless”.

    I would like to have seen the posters view on past events over here to try to ascertain what has to happen to be judged as harmful but what do you know, it’s private.

    Odd that!

  • Kevin Breslin

    The only two senior politicians in British politics who blames the Ukrainian situation on the EU, Galloway who blames it on the EU AND NATO, and Farage who blames it entirely on the EU.

    Ukraine is a non-EU state that is suffering a major economic deficit and has the third or second lowest GDP per capita in Continental Europe, rather than being used as some great example of what a “Free Greece” could do, this independent nation has shown.

    Blaming the EU for Ukraine’s debt crisis (most of the money it owes is to the Russians) is as stupid as blaming Britain for Irish gangster feuds in Dublin, or Ireland for violent crime in Grimsby.

    The failure of the Arab Spring, Street protests in Brazil and Venezuela, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Kanye West’s money problems … plenty of rocks to throw in the air and blame the EU for.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The only things people need are food, water, shelter, heat and oxygen … the refugee crisis shows that even nations aren’t a requirement for survival.

  • On the fence!

    Your little pro-EU rant is all fine and dandy but you just totally avoided my question.

    Where did I ever mention Farage?????

    Maybe if the “remainers” started to give some real good genuine indisputable reasons for remaining rather than constantly mocking those who see it differently, they could be taken a bit more seriously.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I explained my stance with Farage, I stand corrected in that he may not be the only person to blame the Ukrainian situation on the European Union.

    And that’s all it is, Blame.

    You talk about Remain side, but with respect I don’t think many in the Leave camp actually share his position on this matter.

    NATO has imposed sanctions on Russia for its involvement in Ukraine. If people wish to attack the EU for inspiring a civil uprising, they should also be encouraging NATO to ignore the Russia-Ukraine spat too.

  • Chingford Man

    Baldrick’s plans were rubbish and didn’t save millions of pounds of membership fees every week, of course.

  • Anglo-Irish

    I think you’re being a bit harsh on poor old Baldrick, he did his best, and if you remember his innovative methods of finding a substitute for coffee saved mess funds a tidy sum.

    The problem as I see it is that whether we remain or leave we will still be required to pay a fee to the EU in order to have access to the European market.

    There is much debate as to how much we regularly pay and both sides are confusing the issue by making differing claims.

    However what isn’t in dispute is that our current fee gives us an input into the decision making, if we leave we still pay but with no voice.

  • Chingford Man

    “The problem as I see it is that whether we remain or leave we will still
    be required to pay a fee to the EU in order to have access to the
    European market.”


    If the UK wants to charge the UK a fee, that’s OK. Of course, the UK can then charge a slightly greater fee for the EU to have access to the UK market, so it’s already quids up even before the saving on the subscription fee. That’s the thing about running a scarily high trade deficit: we are well placed to get what suits us.

  • Anglo-Irish

    I’m not sure that you have quite got a grasp on how trade works.

    Why do you think Norway pays a fee to the EU?

    They pay it because they aren’t a member, but wish to trade with the largest trade block in the world.

    The EU has the power in trading terms, it is the largest economy in the world with 500 million consumers.

    If we leave then we will be in the same position as Norway, Switzerland and all other non EU nations which wish to do business with the EU.

    The UK is one entity the EU will consist of 27 individual countries any ‘trade war’ between us and the EU would only have one outcome, we’d lose.

    The UK attempting to impose ‘ a slightly greater fee ‘ would lead to disaster, or do you think that Norway wouldn’t have thought of it?

    As someone who spent a reasonable amount of time in sales and management it’s news to me that the selling organization is in a stronger position than the buyer.

    Unless we have a unique product which other countries have to purchase from us and us alone then the buyer can choose to go elsewhere.

    There is nothing to stop the EU looking for other suppliers for those items that it currently purchases from the UK a fellow member.

    Should it choose to adopt that attitude and gradually reduce its purchases from us then our economy will suffer a major downturn.

  • Angry Mob

    Sweden is not an “unfounded assumption”, it is based upon a poll in which more Swedes said that they would vote to leave than remain following a Brexit.

    Yes, did you read the treaty? I’ve often heard ‘bremainers’ bemoan the fact that brexiters don’t deal in facts but when I’ve posted a fact that directly contradicts what you’re saying it’s suddenly alright to revert to crude assumptions?

  • Chingford Man

    On the contrary, I think you are the one thrashing about in the dark. The UK economy is far bigger than that of Switzerland or Norway so the eventual trading relationship will be unique.

    Do you really not understand how trade works? Due to our massive trade deficit with Europe, WTO rules would protect Brexit Britain from the worst effects of any trade war, but in any event, it would be in the EU’s interests to avoid a trade war altogether because we buy more from EU countries than EU countries buy from us.

    Also, why are you talking about the “EU looking for other suppliers”? The buying and selling is done by companies. Do you think that a German company that exports products into the UK wants to face a tariff for doing so due to some petulant EU bureaucrats keen on a trade war?

    If you can’t grasp the obvious, you don’t have anything to contribute here.

  • Angry Mob

    Burden of proof is yours.

    Indeed, the onus of the burden of proof is on those who make the claim however:

    You claimed:
    “Your case is rather thin on evidence and full of crude assumptions.”

    You made that claim without attempting to discuss any of the arguments I put forward, instead you started to ramble on about the UN. If you would of asked me in a candid manner I may of been inclined to discuss it, however I suggest you start with “common position”.

  • Anglo-Irish

    ‘ We buy more from EU countries than they buy from us’

    Not in total export percentage terms we don’t. There are 27 other countries in the EU and we purchase approximately 10% of the total exports.

    The EU on the other hand buys over 50% of all our exports.

    So if we decide to go elsewhere the EU lose 10% but if they decide to boycott our goods and services we lose 50%.

    Do you now understand how it works?

    Scroll down to the section headed ‘ Background & Summary ‘ and read the third paragraph down.

  • Chingford Man

    What a load of red herrings. It’s amazing how a message can be sent round the world in seconds but you can’t grasp a simple concept. We are the EU’s biggest export market. The EU will do nothing to endanger that market post-Brexit, because its own interests dictate against it. That’s my final word. I’m not wasting any more time with your nonsense. Stupidity is one thing, dogmatic stupidity is even worse.

  • eamoncorbett

    The standard of living of the average Norwegian or Swiss person is far higher than that of the UK , that is how I judge an economy . That’s what makes me mad when I hear Cameron rabbit on about the UK being the fourth largest in the world when the statistic he should be quoting is the one concerning the living standard of the average person . GDP and GNP are all fine indicators of wealth but these mean nothing if the average citizen is struggling with austerity . Wealth in the UK is largely in the hands of a few , concentrated mainly in the London area with quite a lot being channelled abroad to Russia and S Arabia , that is not to say that wealth does not exist in the North of England , Scotland or Wales , it does but not to the same extent . If the living standards of Mr and Mrs. Average were increased dramatically there would be no need for referendums , there wouldn’t even be a discussion .

  • Anglo-Irish

    No, we are not the EU’s biggest export market you are apparently having difficulty in understanding that we export nearly half of all our exports to other EU countries and import just over fifty percent of our imports from EU countries.

    You don’t appear to be grasping the fact that we are one country and the EU consists of twenty eight countries.

    Our exports are divide between the 28 but all count as EU exports a single market counted together as a single entity.

    Our imports however are divided by 27 countries so no particular country is overly dependent on our market.

    Did you ever stop for one moment and consider how the combined produce of 27 countries with a population of over 450 million could have one country with a population of 60 million purchase the majority of it’s goods?

    The UK imports 16% of all EU exports, the USA imports 15% and various countries throughout the world purchase 45%. China, Switzerland, Russia and Turkey make up the remainder.

    Uk imports from the EU are significant but not as much as our exports to the EU are to us.

    Like they say there are statistics, statistics and damn lies.

    Before you start insulting people you should be certain of your facts, there is definitely one stupid person in this debate, got a mirror handy?

  • terence patrick hewett

    Another perceptive article by John Harris of the Graun:

    Whatever happens in this referendum, England’s disquiet is set to get a whole lot worse