Britain now closer to being part of European superstate?

So…Farage has won?

Yesterday I watched Nigel Farage facing off against Jean-Claude Juncker in the European parliament. Today the news commented on how they both seemed happy, and indeed embraced.

Indeed why would they not. Nigel Farage explained in his speech why he was having a good day, because he had fought for years to get Britain out of the EU, and finally he had succeeded.

So why was Juncker happy? Perhaps because at least there was a silver lining, he would no longer have to contend with British obstructions to his goal of an ever closer union. Maybe there were troubles ahead in reforming the EU, and more because of the instability caused by Britain leaving, but at least the goal would now be clear. No British veto to worry about. Just so long as those pesky Brits get on with it.

But there is much, much more. Britain has always turned the EU to its own advantage by skilled diplomacy across forty years. Thatcher’s celebrated rebate. Wider rather than deeper. Twin track Europe with Britain outside the Euro. A special place in the EU tailored to our needs and vetoes restricting attempts to change the EU against our will.

So how could it be possible to create a European superstate when Britain blocks it at every turn? Why…get them to leave! Juncker believes in the EU, he must. He believes Britain is richer in than out. Virtually the whole world believes Britain is richer in than out. How much wealthier? Cameron pulled his punches, he feared being disbelieved. Now we hear about the banking passport, essential for UK banks to trade in Europe. No passport, no trade. No trade….no city of London. Exiting the EU without a new deal will destroy the city, which will slowly melt away into Europe.  Many other industries will do the same, so much depends on access to the EU market.

We will not be granted trade without free movement. We must have trade. If we leave with no deal, the UK economy will start to die because it is all dependent on Europe. Who knows, maybe the UK car industry is already eyeing up Greece. Their work force might be in the same desperate state ours was when the car companies first came here.

After a few years of shrinkage the UK will understand it must belong to the EU. It must accept movement. It must accept the rules. We will ask to rejoin because we have no choice. We will accept an ordinary membership with no twin track. No rebate. No special concessions, agreement to accept the Euro. And that is why Juncker is happy. Because Farage has engineered the destruction of the British veto and delivered GB as a compliant member of the EU. Junker was so very eager to see article 50 triggered and then this inevitable course of events. Victory so very very near he could taste it.

* David Pearce is a Liberal Democrat member

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  • Calm down. The City is still predicted to grow by 2020, even if we lose “passporting”:

    Euro-clearing will be gone, taking as many as 100,000 jobs with it. But most sectors will hardly be affected, some may even gain. We’ll still keep most M&A, insurance, Forex, advisory, hedge funds, legal — impact will be contained.

  • jedibeeftrix 30th Jun '16 - 5:49pm

    “We will not be granted trade without free movement.”

    Politely; this is simply not true.

  • Leekliberal 30th Jun '16 - 7:19pm

    Your thesis that the Euro-states will move closer more quickly in the absence of the UK must be right but I don’t think Thatchers’s counter-productive hand-bagging of EU leaders in pursuit of ‘getting our money back’ which lost us a huge amount of goodwill can be described as ‘skilled diplomacy’!

  • David Pearce 1st Jul '16 - 1:32am

    JH, just caught half a news report of an article dicussing which city will now replace London as the finance capital. London’s finance industry exists as an accident of History because this used to be the centre of an empire. That reason no longer applies. The city has been reformed so it no longer consists of traditional firms with a loyalty to the UK. All the companies are capable of moving elsewhere. Simple Inertia is one of the biggest factors keeping them in place. Now there is a positive reason for them to start moving elsewhere. If the UK gets a deal maintaining all the access they need, fair enough, they may stay. It will knock confidence in London even so. I have no idea if such a deal will be forthcoming, but if the leave campaign are to be believed, it is not possible.

    If they do not get the necessary agreements and access, they will leave. At present all EU legislation is framed so as not to disadvantage London, but in future other locations in Europe will get preferential treatment from the EU. The EU is a protectionist network designed to favour those inside, and this will obviously affect all future legislation. I do not see how it could be otherwise, the EU always favours home based industry.

    And aside from all this, bankers were already questioning being located within the UK. They can choose anywhere in the world, so why choose London? What positive is to be said for it?

  • David Pearce 1st Jul '16 - 1:44am

    how will we achieve a deal for free trade access without also acepting free movement? The EU has stated very firmly that not accepting free movement is a dealbreaker. I honestly do not understand how a concession on this could be granted to a country which is not even a member. The whole concept of a members club is that members get better terms than outsiders. Such a deal would be the reverse.

  • Freedom of movement is not the issue. There was freedom of movement in the 1970s. After Maastricht everyone in the EU became a European Citizen and was given the right to reside. To the extent of having citizenship, a parliament, a single currency, an anthem, a foreign policy with enhanced status at the UN since 2011 and the ability to make laws the EU already is a state.

  • Sorry I meant the Lisbon Treaty of signed in 2007 which only entered into force in 2009.
    Interesting that it came in so close to the Recession and happened less than 10 years ago.

  • David Pearce 2nd Jul '16 - 12:45am

    Glenn, freedom of movement is an issue because Leave have made it an issue. We are in an insane position because they failed to explain precisely what terms might be acceptable, but getting rid of freedom of movement was one of their most talked about demands. Today Gove is standing for tory leader because he insists this must be part of any settlement and does not trust anyone else to carry it out.

    That he does not trust others to do this might be considered an insight into the thinking of conservative MPs, of course, but it remains a very prominent part of the deal which simultaneously they are claiming is the settled will of the people.

  • David.
    You can have free movement without the right to reside. They’re not the same thing. IMO this is what the benefits argument was really about. The number of EU citizens claiming benefits in Britain was pretty low, but the right to claim benefits is connected to the right to reside and to EU citizenship. This is why the concessions Cameron gained from the EU were not as small as some would have you believe and why the EU was so quick to withdraw them one the Leave vote won, despite the reality that the referendum was advisory, not binding.
    I voted Leave, but free movement was not really part of my reasoning. I think you can keep the principle of free movement without having immigration levels that the electorate do not seem comfortable with.

  • David Pearce 3rd Jul '16 - 5:17pm

    JH, I had a look at the price Waterhouse report you quote. What it actually says is,
    “It is unlikely that the UK’s exit from the EU would result in the UK losing its status as the premier international financial centre in the short-term……However, the UK has an ‘outsized’ FS sector relative to the size of the economy, accounting for around 8% of total UK GVA. The difference, relative to what is ‘needed’ to support the domestic economy, is essentially an export sector owing to the UK’s status as a regional FS hub. As such, if banks, insurance companies, investment firms and market infrastructure service providers gradually relocate to other European financial hubs over the long-term, this could lead to a slow shift in the centre of gravity for FS activity from the UK to other European hubs, leading to an erosion of FS activity in the UK.

    In other words, precisely what I posted. The quoted headlineprojection of loss of industry/revenue takes little account of financial industry departing the Uk wholesale because it is no longer beneficial to be here. PWC discuss other posible reasons why banks might decided to depart the Uk, because of various regulation changes which the Uk would no longer be able to influence, and state they have not taken these into account.

    They also says,
    “These changes could also result in a gradual migration of support services that are deeply linked to the FS sector, including the legal, professional and business services sectors, in order to serve these clients in other emerging financial hubs. This loss of critical mass could have an impact on the UK’s dominance as an international financial centre. The loss of activity would also have knock-on impacts on the wider UK economy via supply chain linkages and employment”

    Basically, there would be no reason for these financial instututions or their support services to remain in London, and we can expect them to slowly move abroad over the next few decades. I dare say those more elderly making decisions in parliament can hope to have retired by the time serious questions get asked about whose fault this was.

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