The No campaign’s grim blueprint for a Britain out of Europe

European FlagLeaving the European Union would be a big deal. It would mean slamming on the brakes, crunching the gears and setting out on a new course, and, in the run-up to the EU referendum, the No campaign will argue that we should do just that. They want us to break with the past and follow a new path. So, what would a No victory mean for the future direction of Britain?

For the answer we need only look as far as Change, or go, Business for Britain’s 1,000-page blueprint for a Britain outside of the EU. The shiny bit that they hope will catch your eye (and which certainly caught the eye of the Daily Telegraph) is their claim that every household will be £933 better off.

Convert that figure from per-household to per-individual, punch the numbers into a calculator and it works out at a rather less impressive £1.06 per person per day. But before you start daydreaming about what you might do with such a windfall, beware. It doesn’t take much scrutiny before it all starts to fall apart.

The Economist calls the figure “dubious”, and a Business for New Europe analysis finds the calculations, err, less than robust.

Take, for example, the Landfill Tax, which has helped cut the amount of rubbish we dump in the ground. The No campaign wants to scrap it, and they claim doing so would leave each household £70 per year better off (page 55 of the report). But while it was an EU Directive that led to the creation of the Landfill Tax, the money it raises goes to the Treasury, not Brussels. Abolishing it would not therefore save Britain any money at all, rather it would create a new billion-pound hole in our public finances. How would the difference be made up? Would my income tax go up? Would the NHS budget be cut? Or would we just throw it on the National Debt and let future generations worry about it?

Even if the savings were real, the No campaign’s plan would not share them out equally or fairly. In fact the authors’ working assumptions tell us much about their vision for the future. For example, the report attacks the EU for rules that give people on temporary contracts “the same entitlement to holidays, pensions and sick pay” as permanent staff, once they have been working for 12 weeks (page 824). They’re particularly keen for councils to strip temporary workers of these rights. If you’re on one of these contracts your life in a Britain outside the EU would be grim.

If you work in the public sector, the outlook isn’t much better. Business for Britain imagines cash savings from abolition of the Working Time Directive, the set of European rules that guarantees things like how many days of paid leave you get each year and how many breaks you must have during a long shift. What this would mean is simple: fewer jobs, longer hours and less leave. Welcome to post-EU Britain.

On benefits? Sorry, you can kiss goodbye to that extra £1.06 too. Page 457 of the report highlights what the No campaign sees as the additional cost to the social security budget of higher food prices caused by EU policies. The report explicitly links the Common Agricultural Policy’s “impact on food prices” with “the associated social welfare costs” (page 819). In other words they are arguing that leaving the EU would open the door to cheaper food imports, which they would use as a pretext to cut benefits.

Next on their target list is what they call “unduly burdensome regulations”. They want to abolish, for example, the requirement for bus operators to fit tachographs on long-distance routes (page 823). These are devices that record the speed vehicles travel at and the hours that drivers work. Really? Oh, to be out of Europe so we can finally be free to use buses driven by shattered, overworked drivers falling asleep at the wheel!

And the list goes on. From fossil fuels to hazardous waste, all sorts of regulations that protect the environment would be thrown on the bonfire once the safeguard of EU membership has been removed.

The vision of Britain conjured up by the No campaign is a un-green, unpleasant land of long working hours, lower employment rights, fewer protections, and bargain-basement standards. The vast majority of British people would reject this future; it is our job to make sure they hear about it.

* Stuart Bonar was the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in Plymouth Moor View.

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56 Comments

  • Richard Stallard 18th Aug '15 - 1:46pm

    What hasn’t been mentioned, of course, is that any of the points you mention that are worth keeping can easily be transferred into British law once Britain regains its freedom. All that needs to happen is a debate regarding which bits to retain and which to throw out.

  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 18th Aug '15 - 2:03pm

    Really good article Stuart.

  • So to sum: leaving the EU would allow parliament, (rather than the EU) to set laws in a number of areas. This group are right of center so they point at the areas where leftish laws could be scrapped. And so we see that the future of Britain outside the EU would be a horrible right-wing nightmare.

    I mean, I’ll disagree with you about how horrible right-of-center policies are. But even granting that, I don’t see why this is such a strong objection to leaving the EU. You say at the end:

    “The vast majority of British people would reject this future”

    And so, outside the EU, they would no doubt elect left-of-center parties that would not give us this future. They would give us a different future where our laws were to the left of what the EU allows, where we could invest more in public services that EU budget rules permit, where we could have stronger protection on workers rights than the EU free movement laws permit, etc etc.

    If your claim is “parliament cannot be trusted to make these decisions, only the EU can” then you have to explain why the EU is likely to be better than parliament, not just note that at the moment it’s more left wing.

  • The vast majority of British people would reject this future

    Then why did they just elect a Conservative government?

  • Malcolm Todd 18th Aug '15 - 2:39pm

    The point, Richard and Adam, is that this No-campaigning group is making a pitch for “Out” that is based on the premises that (i) all the laws it mentions will be abolished in a non-EU Britain; (ii) said abolition will result in the claimed saving — but then, of course, highlights the alleged saving rather than the “workings”, to imply that this is simply money currently being handed over to the EU which it will not be. Stuart’s article shows why the calculations are dubious and clarifies what they depend upon. He does not make the mirror argument that you accuse him of, “We need to be in the EU so that these policies will remain.” He points out, in a rather well-argued piece, that the claimed saving from leaving the EU is bogus.

  • Malcolm Todd 18th Aug '15 - 2:40pm

    Dav
    The vast majority of British people would reject this future

    Then why did they just elect a Conservative government?”

    Do I really need to point out to you that they didn’t?

  • Dav – the vast majority of British people did not just elect a Conservative government. 24% of them turned out to vote Tory.

  • Richard Underhill 18th Aug '15 - 2:59pm

    A leak from a former cabinet minister moves the date of the referendum from June to September, taking it away from the elections for Scotland, Wales, Northern ireland and London.

  • Very negative comments from a party which was thrashed in the last election under a system which 67+% of the voters approved in 2011 sounds very much like sour grapes. Rather than destroying low-hanging fruit of the opposition(s) it would show a little more integrity to persuade electors that the eu is not a hegemony which very successfully applies the Stockholm Syndrome to the less perceptive among us explaining how beneficial it is for us to bear the yoke of 65% of our laws and regulations being approved by a Commission which is self-appointing.
    At what point does the UK elector get to vote and to be able to remove those who legislate over them?
    What makes you think that the eu’s own ECA’s refusal to give an unqualified audit report for the last 19 years is acceptable financial management?
    Try reading the tuaeu.co.uk workers’ opinion of eu machinations.

  • Do I really need to point out to you that they didn’t?

    Right, well, I can’t wait to see the look on your face when you make sure that the British people hear exactly what you think leaving the EU would mean — and then say, ‘Yup, that sounds like what we want’ and vote for it.

    I suspect it will be something similar to the look on Ed Miliband’s face the morning after the election.

  • Malcolm Todd 18th Aug '15 - 3:42pm

    Dav
    Sadly, those LDV cens*rs must have been at it again, and chopped off the part of your comment where you admitted that you had made a completely untrue statement before going on to make one of those “I know what the people really think before they think it” predictions about the future that are going to make the coming campaign such a fine example of reasoned debate.

  • You forgot a couple of points. We want to make our own laws again and not have them imposed un us by unelected bureaucrats. We do not want to be a region of an EU federation.

  • Matt (Bristol) 18th Aug '15 - 4:05pm

    RIchard Stallard: “All that needs to happen is a debate regarding which bits to retain and which to throw out.”
    Bits of the current political system I (personally speaking and in a very biased fashion) would like to throw out:
    – Nigel Farage
    – IDS
    – Jacob Rees-Mogg

    I could go on…

  • You also forgot to mention the £33 million a day net contribution.

    The EU is a political project designed to create a massive country whilst bypassing public opinion and democratic accountability. The currency is fatally flawed and as the permanently unbalanced economies create increasing political tensions, we shall see the emergence of extreme nationalism in Europe once again. It will end badly.

    We would be much better off free from this slow motion train wreck. It would be refreshing to be a sovereign country again, free to create our own trade agreements with growing economies such as India. The voters will welcome a return to democracy. The current sham is responsible for the loss of faith in politics in which we vote for politicians in Westminster and get our laws from Brussels.

  • Malcolm Todd: Oh I quite agree with you. Sorry for not pointing out originally that the key claim “these are not pure savings” is totally correct. I was jumping over that point to address the wider argument about who should decide these things.

    Stuart’s core point is, of course, correct and important.

  • Richard Stallard 18th Aug '15 - 5:20pm

    @Peter.
    You sum it up rather well – I feel personally offended every time I see the EU star-spangled sphincter and think of the millions we waste propping up its failing bureaucracy. It will, indeed, be a slow but inevitable train-wreck that can only end badly.

  • Richard Underhill 18th Aug '15 - 5:42pm

    The EU is about war, lack of. A generation of politicians have grown up who do not have personal experience of war. There are wars elesewhere and plenty of information about them.

  • Richard Underhill 18th Aug '15 - 5:46pm

    Sphincter? Are you a supporter of Spiro Agnew? The Oxford dictionary says this is a muscle.

  • The EU will probably be the cause of war if they carry on as they are. I refer to their incredibly stupid expansionary foreign policy of signing up all the former Soviet satellite countries whist talking about creating an EU military force. Then they spent over 450 million Euros on the Ukraine to tempt that country to join the EU. Putin understandably did not welcome the prospect of the EU having the potential to station missiles and military forces on his border. Remember that when Russia did the same to the USA in Cuba, it almost started WWIII.

    As for peace over the decades, this had absolutely nothing to do with the EU. It was a combination of factors, including NATO, improved communications such as radio, television and the internet, the breaking down of ignorance and suspicions through tourism and travel, the close monitoring of Germany and the simple fact that any threat to peace in Europe would be big news instantly through all these communication channels.

    Internal civil unrest is much more likely. We have seen this already in Greece and other countries as the public protest about endless austerity and soaring unemployment and a literally hopeless future. Just wait until the Commission starts to push for federalism and the ditching of all sovereignty. When you consider how far the political project has progressed with only trivial consultation with the people, it is amazing that we have not seen mass protests before now.

  • Eddie Sammon 18th Aug '15 - 7:19pm

    Adam Casey makes a good point that outside of the EU the public can just vote back in similar rules and regulations.

    I find another campaign of Lib Dems championing the EU is going to send journalists and others to sleep. Lib Dems should pick a fight in Europe just to show that they aren’t afraid to criticise it.

    I know they make some criticisms, but I would ramp it up over a specific area, perhaps the migrant crisis or the treatment of Greece. The ECB’s latest QE program could be a good target.

  • The European Union has many good points but the terrible brutal way it has rubbed the Greek peoples nose in it will probably register with a lot more voters here than the rantings of Farage etc..

  • I’m becoming quite sanguine about the In/Out referendum, because I’m convinced that even if the referendum goes Yes, there are encouraging signs that this disastrous and deeply undemocratic project will collapse anyway, under its own unsustainable debt. Everything south of Germany is running on crazed Keynesian fumes, and as Greece shows, Germany is getting thoroughly fed up writing cheques for loans that everyone knows can never be paid back.
    So the EU project is a dead man walking, as we’ll see when the financial spat moves on from Greece, and the France v Germany fight begins in earnest. So, with a bit of luck, flat-line EU growth, and a debt fuelled headwind, the EU may turn to rubble sooner rather than later, and the UK may get fortunate and we may save ourselves the cost of an unnecessary referendum?
    Let’s hope so.

  • Declan Wilson 18th Aug '15 - 8:14pm

    Leaving the EU would destroy what is left of the peace process in Northern Ireland. One half of Ireland would be in the EU and the other half out and border controls would have to be re-established. It would be an absolute disaster. This on its own should cause people to think very carefully before taking the Brexit road.

  • ‘The EU is about war, lack of’

    Nonsense,the lack of war is due to NATO and an independent nuclear deterrent.

  • Richard Underhill 18th Aug '15 - 8:57pm

    Peter Avoidance of war between member states is THE prime reason for the existence of the EU.
    It started by integrating the coal and steel resources of France and West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries.
    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:xy0022
    Any European country can apply to join. The decision of the UK and France to invade Egypt was not entirely successful, leading to the resignation of the UK Prime Minister Antony Eden, the closure of the Suez canal and the withdrawal of US support for the pound sterling. The UK government’s failure to take seriously the Messina conference is one of the biggest What If? questions in history, because we could, at that time, have been the leader of the countries present.

    NATO included USA and Canada and was about opposing the external threat, NATO did not insist on member states being democracies, although Portugal now is.

  • Richard Underhill 18th Aug '15 - 9:12pm

    kevin NATO was formed to counter the perceived military, political and economic threat from the USSR, whose ambition was to include the whole of Europe, up to and including Gibraltar, at a time when most of the countries in Europe were impoverished by World War 2. Therefore US resources were needed.
    Whether the UK’s nuclear weapons are truly independent is probably a military secret.
    NATO announced that it would deter an attack from Warsaw Pact countries by using tactical nuclear weapons in Poland. After 1989 it admitted that this deterrence was abluff.

  • Richard Stallard 18th Aug '15 - 10:28pm

    @Richard Underhill
    “Sphincter?….. The Oxford dictionary says this is a muscle.”
    Indeed it is – a ring of eu muscle that’s presently surrounding and choking the life out of us. As a proud Englishman and an unwilling subject of the european superstate I look forward to its inevitable demise.

  • It is true that the idea of the EU was to ensure that Germany never again dominated Europe by force. There is no evidence to suggest that this is the main reason for the continued peace. As discussed above there are many other more likely reasons. It is an academic question with no definitive answer.

    Germany, through her financial might, now dominates the Eurozone, so in a way, the EU has brought about the failure of its own purpose. The people of Greece have recently witnessed Germany flexing her muscles. The EU is certainly not a caring community for all of its citizens.

  • Richard Underhill

    An attack on one NATO member is an attack on all members and with the UK & France having independent nuclear deterrents the chances of a war are zero.

    This has nothing to do with the EU that has carpetbagged the no war narrative.

  • It is important to refute the inflated claims for the financial benefits from leaving the EU and Stuart Bonar has done a good job here.

    As a party member I should have a clear view of what a Liberal Democrat EU would be like, but I don’t. All I know is we are very keen supporters of it. The failure of German politicians to explain to their voters that for the single currency to work they must see Greece as they saw East Germany on unification is one massive problem for the “European Project”. There has to be huge investment in Greece, Spain, Portugal and many former Warsaw Pact countries and Germany will need to fund it.

    I remember Chris Huhme speaking at a regional conference and stating that the single currency will be great for the whole of Europe, not being in it would be like Yorkshire having its own currency, and thinking to myself, if Yorkshire had their own currency they could manage their own economy and not have to put up with their economy being managed to benefit London and the South-East England rather than the people of Yorkshire.

    @ Richard Underhill
    “NATO was formed to counter the perceived military, political and economic threat from the USSR, whose ambition was to include the whole of Europe, up to and including Gibraltar, at a time when most of the countries in Europe were impoverished by World War 2. Therefore US resources were needed.”

    You are correct to use the word “perceived” in the first part of this, but it was also a “perceived ambition” because the real ambition of the USSR after World War Two was security.

  • John Tilley 19th Aug '15 - 8:34am

    I am intrigued that some in this thread say that membership of NATO has been a guarantee of peace in Europe.

    They might like to check how long Turkey has been a member of NATO and then review the military adventures of various Turkish governments during that time.

    It does not add up.

  • NATO is our treaty for security and defence. The EU is our treaty for Economic prosperity. Let us keep it that way by staying in the EU and preventing them having an army. If we leave I predict they will unify further and faster than if we stay and we might like what we see even less, but have no chance of influencing it. This should be a debate about what sort of Europe we want in the future not IN or OUT. It was Thatcher who said “we are European, culturally and geographically, and we cannot, even if we would wish dissociate ourselves from it,”

  • Martin Land 19th Aug '15 - 9:47am

    Debt created as EU Membership; approx. £3bn per annum, 0.15% of GDP
    Debt created by World War 2: approx. 200% of GDP.

  • Richard Stallard 19th Aug '15 - 10:01am

    Sovereignty and the right to make our own laws retained as a result of World War 2: 100%.
    Sovereignty and the right to make our own laws thrown away as a result of eu membership: up to 70% and counting.

  • @ Richard Stallard

    “making our own laws?” You MUST be joking. A Tory party elected by just 37% of those who could be bothered to vote is currently making the laws not “us”. Previously we have Tony Blair doing the same with just 42% of the votes and before that Thatcher

    I don’t see this as any democratic advantage whatsoever over the European commission, personally.

    Briefly we did have a coalition government carrying the votes of >50% of the British people. Despite the considerable misjudgements by the Liberal Democrats it was in my opinion an improvement on what has happened before and since…

    If the EU referendum was “vote to leave the EU AND bring in a fair voting system in the UK” I might be tempted. As it is, mostly I trust Brussels more than Westminster

  • I can only assume that Stuart hasn’t talked to many small businesses. Landfill tax has had a huge impact on us and our customers. Skip hire is now four times the cost it was which has now become one of the largest proportions of the final bill. Fines are huge if you make an error in waste sorting. Just the other day my husband was disposing of some soil and had accidentally left a root in. It all had to be riddled again or he would have been fined. Everyone has to pay to dispose of any rubble now at the local tip. Fly tipping has increased massively costing the tax payer 40 million a year to sort and has the negative impact on wildlife.
    You say it protects workers by giving them a guarantee on their breaks,sounds great in principle, but I will give you one of the many examples where this is having a negative impact on one of our staff. Rod worked 8-5 in the shop and ate his lunch when it was quiet. As he was the only one in the shop and we can’t guarantee that it will be undisturbed someone has to now come off a job return to the shop so he can have his guaranteed break. We are not required to pay him for his break time and because it costs us both in fuel and lost time we can’t. As a consequence Rod is now £1138 a year worse off. Perhaps you would like to explain to him how much better it is for him to be a member of the EU.
    On one final point I find it totally disgusting that you think that we employers would treat our staff unfairly if it weren’t for the EU.

  • A few points:

    At the last election the Conservatives did achieve 36.9% of the vote – but UKIP also took 12.6%. That, to me anyway, indicates that there is a large proportion of voters in the UK who would like, at least, to have a referendum on the EU, and may well be eurosceptic.

    The second point to make is that it is almost impossible to assess how much belonging to the EU costs the individual – a lot of the supposed EU-imposed regulation is just recycled from a global level; belonging to a non-political European Economic Area could be just as acceptable to the average native of the UK and would make no difference to the amount of regulation that the UK would have to absorb. As stated in a comment above, the UK Parliament is well able, under an improved representative democracy, to come up with anything the EU can; to read some of the comments and the post itself, if it weren’t for the EU we would still be sending children up chimneys.

    Thirdly, I have mentioned on here before that it is very well coming up with worker’s’ rights stuff, as long as a person has a job; if you are excluded from the workplace because we can get cheaper, younger, and fitter – then tough luck. We have also seen that when the unions come up against the European Court of Justice, national collective action agreements usually comes up against EU Free Movement-type regulations
    ( http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201107/20110718ATT24274/20110718ATT24274EN.pdf )

    It is the final point that puts my nose out of joint. How can we claim to have a national representative democracy if industrial agreements between unions and employers can be undermined or overruled by a supra-national court. And what is the point of even trying to establish national democracy in any area; why don’t we just leave it all to the EU?

  • Sophie – it certainly isn’t Stuart who is suggesting that employers may treat their staff less fairly. Rather it is the No campaigners, whose calculations Stuart has highlighted, who claim that employers would make cash savings once the EU guarantees to things like paid holidays and sickness pay are lifted. If that does mean a worse deal for workers then what can it mean?

    Additionally, on the landfill tax. Yes, dumping rubbish in the ground is expensive – this reflects the costs to the environment and prompts people to act more responsibly by reusing and recycling where possible. Part of the revenue is channeled into environmental projects to alleviate the impact of rubbish disposal I local communities, the rest helps fund government. You’re free to argue against this tax, but how would you make up the lost revenue?

  • Richard Stallard 19th Aug '15 - 12:59pm

    No one would have believed, in the last years of the twentieth century
    That British affairs were being watched by powerful forces Europe.
    No one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinized
    As someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
    Few men even considered the possibility of their malevolent intent and yet,
    Across the English Channel, bureaucrats with views immeasurably opposed to ours
    Regarded Britain with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us.

  • Why is the 5th largest economy in the world be unable to negotiate its own trade deals because that power has been handed over to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels?

    Why has it handed over control of its borders?

    Why are most of its laws made by unelected foreigners?

    Why does it pay £33million (net) for such disadvantages?

    Why are we so stupid?

  • Richard Stallard 19th Aug '15 - 2:01pm

    Now, now Peter. You mustn’t question such things. Just roll over and submit, if you know what’s good for you, or the eu bully boys will make you vote again until you give the right answer!

  • Sophie – I invite you to re-read my point about the Landfill Tax. My point is that it raises just over £1 billion for the Exchequer each year. Abolishing it would lead to a worsening of the public finances, meaning the money would have to be made up elsewhere. That is not a saving, as suggested by the No campaign.

    And I’d suggest to Rod that he might want to consider finding another employer if his current one has cut his pay just to allow him to take the statutory minimum breaks to which he is entitled.

  • Tim
    The cost to our business from EU red tape is more than employing a school leaver.We are in no doubt which we would prefer. There is 5.2 million small businesses in the UK of which 95% do no trade with the EU but 100% have to comply with their legislation. If just 18% of small businesses think as we do there would be no youth unemployment. There is many ways in which the 1.3 billion landfill tax shortfall could be met. We would make more profit so pay more tax that way, our school leaver would be earning and paying in, Rod would be paying tax on his lost earnings, the customers who saved on their bill would purchase other services/items and increasing tax revenues on these etc, etc. We do large amounts of work for the local council savings for them to put back into local community. The UK have just paid an additional 1.7 billion to the EU what has that been taken from the NHS? Additionally we as a small firm would be able to sort our own waste on our own land if not bogged down with rules and regulation, it may seem radical to you to allow us to tip soil/rubble on soil for later use but it makes perfect sense to us. You need to trust more control less.
    It wasn’t just Stuart I was getting angry with it is the negative attitude of the pro EU team in general towards UK employers.You will not be persuading me to vote to remain in I’m afraid and when the EU wont’t even stop the monthly trip from Brussels to Strasbourg I can’t see reform ever being part of the EU’s agenda. Sorry if this comes across as a bit of a rant it is not meant to.

  • Stuart
    Rod is perfectly entitled to find employment elsewhere but after 20 happy years with us I am not sure he will be doing so. He always had a break and is allowed as many as he wishes to do so through the day when there is no customers but because it couldn’t be guaranteed we have had additional costs to ensure he gets these. Of course had he been unable to have breaks at any point during the day that would have been different but that was not the case, in fact as a smoker he has on average 10 mins every hour but has to put his fag down if a customer arrives. As an employer we pay over the living wage and our staff get a minimum 8% pay rise a year. Thank you for your concern of Rod’s welfare I will let him know the Yes side point of view next time I’m chatting with him.

  • Now now Peter and Richard. Just pull up the drawbridge, find that miracle where it’s more efficient to negotiate trade tariffs individually with each country, that’s go back to the days of the empire where our sovereignty made a difference to millions of people and we can sit listening to the World Service tut tutting at Johnny Foreigner whilst “mother” makes the evening meal. Let us know if you ever want to get into the real world of global trade and pooling sovereignty to improve our competitiveness and we might consider coming back to rescue dear old blighty……………

  • Eurosceptics always whine and moan about various countries having referendums until the EU gets the result it wants.
    Why don’t the Eurosceptics whine and moan about the cost of the promised UK referendum on the EU when we have already had one in 1975 ?
    Oh……….I know why. Because the 1975 referendum voted yes to the UK being in its rightful place at the heart of Europe.
    Many people say many things about the Eurosceptics. Hypocrites is not used often enough.

  • @ Tim Hill
    Most trade is now conducted at the global level facilitated by the UN and its agencies. We would have a seat at these negotiations as a sovereign nation if we left the EU.

  • @Sophie
    The landfill tax was introduced by Germany because they were running out of sites. It was imposed on the rest of us regardless of whether or not it was appropriate. This is typical of EU practice. The working time directive, like the landfill tax is a matter that should be decided nationally. One can argue that working time is a matter for agreement between employee and employer provided there are adequate safeguards.

    Small companies would be more willing to live with these regulations if they were made closer to home with some element of democracy and consultation.

  • I am not sure why people assume that if we leave the EU Landfill Tax will disappear… Yes, it was a response to an EU directive back in 1996, but the tax itself is a British policy, not an EU one, and largely a response to the shortage of landfill sites and the environmental problems associated with landfill.

    You can read about landfill taxes in Europe here: http://scp.eionet.europa.eu/publications/WP2012_1 Not all EU countries have a landfill tax and the rates and policies vary widely. Many places that are not in the EU have landfill taxes including many US States…

  • It is very typical of anti-EU campaigners to take everything they don’t like and blame it on the EU even when it has been enthusiastically introduced by the British government and has not been “imposed” on us by foreigners at all!

  • Richard Stallard 19th Aug '15 - 6:31pm

    “Why don’t the Eurosceptics whine and moan about the cost of the promised UK referendum on the EU when we have already had one in 1975 ?”
    We’ve never had a vote on the political eu. The organisation we signed up to then was vastly different to the nightmare it’s morphed into now.
    At the heart of Europe? No – we have a handful of seats in a Mickey Mouse “parliament” that is merely there to rubber stamp decisions made by the unelected and give a facade democracy to keep the gullible public quiet.
    The whole thing is corrupt and wholly evil, intent on destroying cultures (not just our own).

  • 1975, my mum votes yes to a common market for trading. That’s all she voted for. At last we see a chance to be ASKED, and not be dictated to about how much interaction we want with Europe.
    As a small business I have to produce accounts, every quarter for VAT or face penalties. Yet with all of there overpaid and underworked employees in Brussels the EU never produce accounts, so how can you trust them.
    Mum was asked if she want Great Britain to be in the United States of Europe, if she was then we would not be having this debate as we would have voted No back then.
    Unelected leaders of Europe is disgusting, not only that but ask just about anybody in America or Europe to name the American and European Presidents most would definitely struggle to name the one that has not been elected

  • My main concern with the UK leaving the EU is that there is absolutely no certainty about what will happen if we leave.

    If we leave, we will lose our free trade agreement with the EU. Could we negotiate to retain it? Maybe. Could we retain it without signing up to the free movement of people? Probably not, neither Norway nor Switzerland could.

    Will any statutory instruments created to assimilate EU law into UK law still be valid? Probably. Would there be a mechanism to resolve disputes regarding interpretation of these laws? Would EU articles still reign supreme when deciding on matters of leftover EU law? Will a commission be setup to decide which laws to keep for will the UK legal system be rolled back to 1972? Nobody knows.

    By no means do I think the EU is perfect, I think it’s an expensive, undemocratic, bureaucratic behemoth that needs serious reform. However, until we have a cross-party discussion of how Brexit would actually be handled, nobody will be able to make an informed decision in this referendum. Both the “no” and “yes” campaigns are pulling the wool over the public’s eyes, the Liberal Democrats need to be the voice of objective reason, not the voice of “yes at all costs”, otherwise we are just the UKIP of the centre.

  • Micheal O'Brien 23rd Aug '15 - 2:54pm

    I think this is a simple vote. Why? ……..do you believe you are the best person to run your own affairs and know what money needed to help run your Island nation of YOU. Or would you like me to run your affairs and tell you what you can spend who you can buy good off and what people you should be giving your money to . And all this ermmm advice I give you, will not come cheap. You will have to pay but once you’ve sign the agreement its bidding legally forever. I can on your behalf do what I feel fit is good for you and your Island nation of YOU. and you with different needs cannot get to have a say on what is good for your Island nation of YOU. That is what the EU have become. What is stopping Your Island nation of YOU from trading with the EU once. You don’t have any restrictions, your your own individual Island nation of YOU . They send 90% of their goods here we only 3% of our there. We have the population who are willing to work but NO industries that will stay in Europe because of their ridicules rules and regulations on how to trade how to run their own BUSINESSES . own business no the EU business their own. We have the population of consumers here that will buy the goods.

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