LibLink: Catherine Bearder says that any post-Brexit deal would be tough on the UK

 

Catherine Bearder, our only Lib Dem MEP, has been interviewed about the consequences of Brexit by the EU Observer.

She doesn’t think that an arrangement similar to Norway’s – being in the European Economic Area but not in the European Union – is achievable.

The deal will be very difficult, because they [other member states] don’t want any other country to join us, I’m convinced of it.

All those in favour of Britain staying in the EU, from small businesses to charities, must start speaking out now before it is too late.

If we lost the vote and we were to leave, from the fisherman to the farmers, their market would be gone, and all exports would face tariffs.

On the Referendum, she claims that it isn’t really about the UK and the EU, but is all  to do with the Conservative party. Lib Dems will start campaigning just as soon as they know the date, and will be focusing on the undecided voters.

We want to explain what the EU is and make sure they realise that it is in our long-term interest to be part of this Union.

You can read the whole interview here.

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42 Comments

  • nigel hunter 26th Nov '15 - 9:07am

    The campaign to stay in should start now. We should be informing the voter what we get out of the EU

  • Conor McGovern 26th Nov '15 - 9:22am

    Maybe telling us all the time “how hard things will be” for Britain or our neighbours if we left an illiberal, unprogressive and undemocratic EU that pushes austerity and uses economic blackmail to wreck countries like Cyprus and Greece, like some vindictive continental Wonga, might not be the best way to get people on board?

  • any post-Brexit deal would be tough on the UK

    Doing the right thing is often tough, but that doesn’t make it any less the right thing.

  • I also note:

    The deal will be very difficult, because they [other member states] don’t want any other country to join us, I’m convinced of it.

    This implies that, if the deal were not made artificially difficult, then other countries would wish to join us.

    This implies that it would be in the interests of those other countries to join us (but not in the interests of the EU).

    This implies that the EU intends to try to force countries not to do what is in their interests, but instead to do what it wants them to do, by means of, well, what can only be called a threat.

    There is a word for the kind of people who try to get people to do what they want by means of threats: it is, ‘bully’.

    Generally, what we do with bullies is not say, ‘look, they are threatening that if we leave their gang, they will beat us up, because they don’t want any other gang members getting ideas about leaving, so we better stay in their gang and like it!’

    No, generally what we want to do to bullies is to stand up to them.

    Right?

  • @Raddiy: Westminster MPs have a ” massive financial interest in remaining” in the UK. What is your point?
    The reason the public chucked out all other Lib Dem MEPs is they were generally voting on national, domestic issues, not European issues. Unfortunately the Lib Dems’ own EU election campaign encouraged this by putting our (toxic) Westminster leader in charge of the EU campaign and have him debate with Farage on the UK’s position in the EU (which is nothing to do with the election, which was about deciding who would shape laws for the EU as a whole). I think we would have saved some of our MEPs if we had run a campaign led by our MEPs, talking about what they had done and would do AS LIBERALS to make the EU work better for its citizens, and Clegg had been kept out of it.

  • You can’t have your argument both ways. If the EU is so wonderful, why is there paranoia about a rush for the exit by other countries?

  • The truth of your argument is that the EU is far from wonderful and the other states are worried. The EU is currently in rapid decline by every metric and the member states know it. Every speech made by Juncker and Tusk acknowledges the permanent state of crisis in the EU.

    The Commission always liked create the impression that leaving the EU was not possible. Well it is, and they had better get used to the idea.

    You may be right that they will try to give us a bad deal. They will back down. They have far more too lose than we do.

  • @raddiy. So we Liberal Democrats are not entitled to a view? Not entitled to tell the UK electorate the pros (and vital necessary changes to the EU, because we do want to make them) of stopping in the EU and the very real costs and problems that will arise if we leave? I don’t think you have thought out your ill tempered comments.
    As for a massive financial interest. Catherine Bearder is paid roughly the same as UK MPs, non of whom will be backward in putting their views about the EU forward now and during the referendum. What about the hypocrisy of Farage and the other UKIP MEPs who have made small fortunes out of being (non-attending largely) MEPs.
    The problem for those who want to leave the EU is that they stick their fingers in their ears and shriek ‘I can’t hear you’ when people point out the known costs and problems that Brexit will cause. They fondly imagine that an EU without the UK will be falling over them selves to do deals with the UK and that any such deals will be costless to the UK. As anyone with the slightest knowledge of EU treaties knows countries like Norway and Switzerland have to follow all the rules of the EU and pay almost the same costs as EU countries, with one vital difference. THEY HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO SAY AT ALL ON THE RULES AND COSTS.
    As to Connor McGovern both the Greeks and the Cypriots could have told the EU to get stuffed and left both the Eurozone and the EU. The fact that they didn’t (even under a broadly socialist government in the case of Greece) is possibly because their future outside the EU would have been as bankrupt states with no hope at all of rebuilding their shattered economies. Now I know that the shape of those countries is poor, but they are getting help to rebuild. Now perhaps if the Greeks(including the rich shipowners) had paid their taxes instead of indulging in a massive nationwide tax avoidance scheme Greece would have had sufficient resources to ride out the crisis. Who knows for sure.
    When Greece and Cyprus joined the EU and the Eurozone – which they didn’t have to do esp the eurozone – they knew what the rules were. If you don’t even pretend to follow the rules then you can hardly be surprised if they come back and bite you in the bum.

  • Dear oh me Peter. Do you really believe that the EU having been subject to a torrent of abuse in the referendum will want to treat with the UK at all? Should the UL vote to leave, then the EU will hold meetings – to which the UK will not be entitled to attend having left – to decide what to do about Brexit. Are you so naive as to believe that will give generous terms to a former partner who has divorced them? Let’s consider examples:

    MIGRATION. No doubt the victorious out campaign will be determined to stop EU residents from working in the UK. Have you thought what will happen to UK citizens living and working in the EU who will suddenly have no right to live or work there? The EU would have the absolute right to do (as the UK will almost certainly do for EU citizens) and send them back to the UK. Many millions of people – including all those pensioners of the Costa del Sol and other places- will arrive in the UK and have to be found jobs and homes and health care – in an NHS that has just been stripped of the EU workers that enable it to function.

    EXPORTS: Major UK industries, fishermen and service sector exporters would suddenly lose their right to trade in the single market without let or hindrance and would immediately face a common tariff on everything they export to the EU. Not only that, but they would have to comply with all EU regulations on products and standards that goes with the single market.

    Please stop pretending that Brexit will set the UK free. It won’t. Sure we’ll be outside the EU, but unable to trade with it unless we comply with all its rules and pay most of the costs we currently do.

  • Are you so naive as to believe that will give generous terms to a former partner who has divorced them?

    So, basically, yes, this is a threat. If we do this they will punish us out of spite.

    Please, continue making this argument: the British public does not normally respond to threats by giving in. I can’t think of a bigger boost to the ‘leave’ campaign than being able to show the EU as a bully which is trying to make us stay by threats.

  • It is ridiculous to suggest that the UK would seek to repatriate EU citizens already working here.

    Fishermen would lose their markets. That is rich. Our fishermen lost most of their fish years ago, thanks to the EU.

    The UK can readily negotiate a tariff free deal with the EU. Do you think the Germans would want to stop selling us cars?

    Scare mongering is a very negative argument and I doubt if it is going to impress the voters this time around. They can see for themselves that the EU is falling apart and there is no positive argument for remaining in it.

  • Most businessmen on both sides of the argument concede that the UK can cope with leaving the EU. They also agree that there are much larger, growing markets around the world that the bureaucratic EU is sluggish at exploiting. Even Iceland has negotiated its own trade agreement with China, ahead of the EU.

    The EU is not just about trading. The question to be decided is who rules the UK? The disconnect between voters and Government is partly due to us being ruled by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. Even the Commission accepts that the EU has a massive democratic deficit.

    Then there is the relentless move towards more integration and federalism. I don’t care how many guarantees Cameron can negotiate. We have heard them all before. The only way to avoid losing powers to Brussels is to leave.

  • Denis Loretto 26th Nov '15 - 2:21pm

    Whoever hides behind the pseudonym “raddiy” should consider whether it really helps his/her argument to indulge in disparaging personal comments about Catherine Bearder. I know from knowledge of Catherine the she is a person of integrity and judgement coupled with deep experience of things European.

    As to the main argument I am really fed up with the attempt by europhobes to dismiss warnings about the great risks involved in the UK leaving the EU as “negativity” Do they think the electorate should ignore such risks in considering such a crucially important vote?

    Try this one for size –
    Does anyone seriously think that the foreign motor companies that have set up here with immense benefit to the British economy have done so in order just to serve the UK market? Look at a summary of conclusions in a report by KPMG commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (no political axe to grind!) in April 2014 –
    “The attractiveness of the UK as a place to invest and do automotive business is clearly underpinned by the UK’s
    influential membership of the EU.
    • Access to the Single Market is fundamental for securing investment into UK vehicle and engine manufacturing and
    across a highly integrated supply chain.
    • Access to the EU market is reflected in the fact that 49% of UK-produced vehicles are sold across the largest Single
    Market in the world, unhindered by any tariffs or costly regulatory barriers.
    • The EU’s bargaining power in trade negotiations around the world is immense; paving the way for the UK to export over 50% of locally-manufactured vehicles to growth markets across the rest of the world.
    • Defining technical regulations and product standards at a European level enables the UK to remove complexity and
    costs and influence the way vehicles are made around the globe.”

    There are many other industries which would to varying degrees echo these conclusions. And for heaven’ sake don’t try to tell us that all this can be negotiated on exactly the same basis from outside the EU. In any case Nissan et al would not hang around for the many years it would take for us first to untangle ourselves from and then retangle ourselves with our EU partners. They’ll be off to the continent!

  • Denis Loretto 26th Nov '15 - 2:26pm

    Sorry for the centre-justified text above – don’t know where that came from!

    Denis

  • Denis Loretto 26th Nov '15 - 2:27pm

    Sorry again – it’s been magically corrected.

  • We were told that millions would be thrown out of work, all inward investment would cease, the pound would collapse and the economy would be in ruins if we didn’t join the Euro.

    In fact, inward investment to the UK soared and investment into the Eurozone plummeted

  • @ Denis Loretto

    “In any case Nissan et al would not hang around for the many years”

    Back to scaremongering Denis, this chesnut is so old, it is verging on mummified..

    Nissan raised the possibility that they would leave if we didn’t join the Euro, as did other car manufacturers. Surprise , surprise they are still here, and have brought several new models to the plant. Are you interested in why?
    It is simple really, the Sunderland plant is one their most efficient plants in the world, and unlike politicians who know very little, corporate entities know where their interests are best served
    .
    I think you need to get up to speed on what the car industry is actually saying.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/engineering/11842649/Nissan-denies-scare-mongering-over-Brexit-as-it-invests-100m-in-Sunderland-plant.html.

    As for the EU protecting British vehicle manufacturing jobs, perhaps you might like to offer your opinion on the recent closure of the Ford Transit plant in Southampton. The plant was closed and the transferred to Turkey( not even in the EU) using EU money. Do you have any advice for the ex Ford workers there about how being in the EU will protect
    their jobs.
    http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/10020273.Ford_s___80m_EU_loan_to_boost_Turkey_factory___and_close_ours.

    ” I know from knowledge of Catherine the she is a person of integrity and judgement coupled with deep experience of things European.”

    The receptionist at my local health centre is a women of integrity and judgement, coupled with deep experience of things heath centre related, but I wouldn’t let her near my bunions. The question stands, what qualifications does Catherine Bearder have to offer anything but a personal opinion on the benefits of our relationship with the EU. Her text above is nothing more than if’s, but’s and maybe’s, with not a fact in sight.

    In fact considerable less facts than I have just provided to you.

  • Mick Taylor 26th Nov '15 - 4:12pm

    @peter. Ridiculous you think to imagine repatriating EU citizens, who would have lost their right to live and work here? Under current immigration laws they would have to leave as their right to be here would have ended and the border agency would have to obey the law. Ironically, the only people who could readily replace them would me immigrants from outside the EU or Brits returning from the EU (many of whom are retired and need care rather than providing it). Not quite what the anti EU (and anti immigrant) brigade had i mind I suspect.
    Take your fingers out of your ears. If UK motorists still want to purchase cars from anywhere they would be able to do so at a price the Germans were willing to sell for. Our exporters on the other hand would only be able to do if they complied with EU law and paid duties.
    And no, I don’t think we’d be able to negotiate a free trade deal. Why would the EU bother? They’re just concluding TTIP which will give EU businesses free trade with the USA, which the UK will not have access to if we leave the EU. Our markets are peanuts up to those opened up by TTIP.

    And by the way, our fishermen – certainly those in the southern half of the country – sell much of their catch in France.

    I don’t want to be always negative, though I think telling people the down side is very important. I want the positives too.

    * Fighting criminals with the European arrest warrant
    * Fighting climate change across European borders, rather than pretending awe can manage in the UK
    * Working with our partners across the EU to maintain the peace that has persisted in the EU since 1945
    * Ensuring decent working conditions
    * Supporting the largest foreign aid programme in the world
    * Supporting democracy and the rule of law

    I could go on.

  • If UK motorists still want to purchase cars from anywhere they would be able to do so at a price the Germans were willing to sell for. Our exporters on the other hand would only be able to do if they complied with EU law and paid duties

    You… don’t seem to understand at all how tariffs work (for starters, duties aren’t paid by exporters, they’re paid by consumers / importers, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg of your miscomprehensions).

  • Dav, Peter, Raddiy.

    Its quite simple.

    If the EU gives the UK a deal where it gets all the goodies without having to do any of the solidarity stuff, then it will have all its member states wanting to have that deal and not have to contribute to any central funding or accept any central coordination of policy. In short, where the current goal is to have a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, there would be a race to the bottom.

    That is where the rush to the UK’s position would come from, and that is why the UK will not be offered a deal that preserves all its current goodies without any of its current responsibilities.

    So, we’re back to where we always were. Do we think that the baubles of sovereignty without the substance of it are the most important? If so we vote to leave the EU and accept whatever new deals we can get from an increasingly globalised world, at terms dictated to us in sixth place by the 21st Century’s main powers.

    Or do we agree that the substance of sovereignty can only be had if we cooperate with other likeminded partners? If so we vote to stay in the EU and accept that although what we get is only similar to our perfect idea, we will actually get it if we work in partnership with our neighbours.

  • I must admit, if reading some of the supposedly informed comments from LibDems in this thread is representative of the level of debate in the party, then the woeful scarmemongering performance of NIck Clegg against Nigel Farage is perfectly understandable. Do LIbDems actually do any research on the matter, or is churning out the party line of half truths and disinformation the sum total of the debating skills.

    Would somebody like to offer a comment on the benefits to British workers and this country of the EU paying to move the Ford Transit plant from a member state to a non member state, as I outlined above.S
    I know you don’t like hard questions that counter your EU sychophancy , but urely one of you wants to have a go agt justifying it as beneficial to the UK!!.

  • The fact is, that if we leave the EU, we’ve left the EU. We’d be out of the free trade zone, which would be an absolute disaster. The purported arguments for leaving are utterly nonsensical.

  • Or do we agree that the substance of sovereignty can only be had if we cooperate with other likeminded partners

    That’s not what’s on offer, though, ‘cooperat[ion] with outher likeminded partners’.

    What is on offer is sublimation into a federal EU state, with decisions about the UK’s future being taken by a parliament most of whose members are elected by foreigners.

    That is neither the semblance nor the substance of sovereignty; that is making Britain, once the Imperial capital of the world, nothing more than a province of a new country called ‘Europe’.

    That is what you’re voting for if you vote ‘remain’: a country called ‘Europe’ of which the UK is a mere territory, like Yorkshire or Cornwall or Wales. No sophistry will blind people to that fundamental fact.

    And one of the best ways to get people to keep that in mind, and to vote ‘leave’, is to keep reminding them that the EU is trying to bully us into staying by making threats about punitive measures to be imposed if we have the temerity not to want to end our history in the birthing of this supranational gestalt entity, but to hold our heads proud and independent in the world.

    One thing Britain does not to is give in to bullies.

  • Raddiy, it is, again, quite simple.

    There was a €100m investment made in 2010 by the European Investment Bank in Ford’s Koceali plant. At the same time, Ford was planning to consolidate its operations outside of the US in response to the global economic downturn. Ford did not tell the EIB that it was going to close the Southampton plant as a result of the Koceali plant’s expansion, although in 2010 Koceali was building about 10 times the number of vans that Southampton was and the writing was widely considered to be on the wall.

    Over the ten years preceding Southampton’s closure, the Koceali plant received over a billion US$ of investment and had rendered two of Ford’s existing plants in Europe largely redundant already. So, what you have is a case where the markets work to maximise cost efficiency, and where a corporate entity maximised its own investment potential by setting up a part-owned subsidiary company and then exploiting the system the resulting two entities were operating within. Your solution, of course and as it ever is when you see a problem, is to pull out of the EU. But of course, that doesn’t even address the problem, it isn’t even relevant to it.

    As an aside, Catherine Bearder was actually one of the UK’s MEPs leading calls for the EIB to review the loan and to reveal whether it knew about Ford’s restructuring plans at the time of authorising it.

    And to answer your constant ‘how is this good for the UK’ question, in 2010 Ford’s other UK operations still enjoyed over £400m of EIB funding, offsetting this dud decision that, I would like to remind you, could have been vetoed at any point by the British Treasury if it considered it to be enough of a mistake.

  • The problem with the comments here is that a lot of people have come to believe their own scare stories.

  • Denis Loretto 26th Nov '15 - 6:13pm

    @Raddiy

    The Ford decision about their Southampton plant in 2012 demonstrates that major companies will act to suit what they see as the interests of their shareholders no matter what. No-one is saying that EU membership anchors any company to the UK but it is certainly a major factor in decision making.

    As to Nissan two quotes from the piece you have supplied.
    “Launching the Qashqai car in London two years ago, Mr Ghosn [Nissan Chief Executive] cited concerns about “costly tariffs” and regulation, and added: “If anything has to change we (would) need to reconsider our strategy and our investments for the future. It will have implications, obviously. “You cannot consider the UK independent of its environment. If the UK is part of Europe, it’s a completely different situation than if it is not part of Europe.”

    From Mr Willcox [Chairman of Nissan Europe] “The two things (investment decisions and the result of the referendum) are not COMPLETELY linked, as we manage and judge our business on events that we understand.”
    Mr Willcox said Nissan would not reverse the Juke investment, but added that decisions are made on the competitiveness delivered by factories.
    “Our position in terms of competitiveness is driven by NOT ONLY the situation in Europe in terms of whether we are in or out of the EU but more importantly the commitment of the people we have in the North East, the supply chain we have in the UK.”

    There is nothing inconsistent in these two statements. Mr Willcox made it clear that the £100M investment he was announcing was for a 2020 horizon. After that everything is up for grabs.

    Thee is

  • @ T-J

    Thank you for answering the questiion, so in effect there is no advantage in our membership if you work for a car manufacturer, not only are plants routinely shut despite our membership of the EU. the European Investment Bank is effectively using our money to disadvantage members states to the benefit of non member states.

    Whilst I have no doubt our government could and should have withdrawn the funding when the announcement of the Southampton plant closure was made, we should not forget who was chief secretary of the treasury at the time, why is the EIB actually lending money to businesses in non member states in the first place with what seems the sole purpose of disadvantaing domestic manufacturers.

    The reality is the jobs of British workers are no safer for our membership despite all the scare stories emanating from the europhiles, because when commercial organisations choose to leave for commercial reasons they will, and they will stay for the same reasons, not because we are a member of club..

  • I happen to favour the EEA option which is to retain access to the free market through EFTA. This allows us to have a direct input to the organisations that determine the rules and regulations. We get, in effect,a seat at the top table. Once clear of the political baggage of the EU with its obsession with ever closer union, we can concentrate on carving out a key role in the global market.

  • @ Denis Loretto

    “No-one is saying that EU membership anchors any company to the UK but it is certainly a major factor in decision making.”

    I refer you to your earlier comment, where I would suggest that is exactly what you are saying, and you are but one amongst many LibDems who keep on saying it repeatedly in the absence of any prima facie evidence to support your argument.

    ” And for heaven’ sake don’t try to tell us that all this can be negotiated on exactly the same basis from outside the EU. In any case Nissan et al would not hang around for the many years it would take for us first to untangle ourselves from and then retangle ourselves with our EU partners. They’ll be off to the continent!”

    As to your claim that it is a ‘major factor in decision making’, do you have some evidence to support that particular nugget on the basis of our EU membership alone , rather than more tangible reasons like lower corporation tax in Ireland attracting company headquarters.

  • @ Chris

    ” The fact is, that if we leave the EU, we’ve left the EU. We’d be out of the free trade zone, which would be an absolute disaster. The purported arguments for leaving are utterly nonsensical.”

    Would you care to elucidate the argument based on a smidgin of evidence, rather than ill -informed rhetoric, perhaps you might advise us of how the other non EU major economies of the world trade with the EU successfully.

    If you seriously think that the EU leader in Berlin would allow the massive manufacturing surplus they have with the UK to be put at risk in a show of dummy spitting, then I would politely suggest you know nothing about business and trade.

    Contrary to what you might think, there was a real trading world before 1973.

  • Raddiy, don’t forget the £400m in investment that landed on Ford alone, along with however much the rest of the automotive and other industries secured. The fact is, though, that the EU is not this giant subsidy machine designed solely to prevent European industry from having to compete. That model of how state and public institutions should interact with the industrial base died off in the 80s and 90s. The European Institutions will invest in new industry, even fairly risky stuff if there’s a case for it, but they generally will not prop up dying industries in vain.

    And your two questions. First, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury is not a Governor of the European Investment Bank. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is. George’s job, not Danny’s. And second, why is the EIB making investments in Turkey? Because it’s an accession state? It does aspire to join the EU and although negotiations are now frozen, in 2010 there was a lot more optimism about them than there has been since. Although to be honest I didn’t then and do not now see them joining the Union any time soon.

    There is a narrow majority, perhaps, for letting Turkey into some arrangement with the rest of Europe along pre-Lisbon Treaty lines, but I don’t see the likes of France resisting the urge to veto them joining the full thing. Perhaps the Two-Tier Union that more and more figures are talking about will be more useful than just being a sop to English exceptionalism?

  • @ T-J

    And “Turkey is an accession state” … lunatics and asylum spring to mind.if that ever sees the light of day.

    I think we have beaten the doo doo out of this scaremongering that has defined this thread today, sadly tomorrow it will all be forgotten, and the scaremongering will be back in full force., it was ever thus.

    However times have changed, and people have a clearer understanding of the arguments and the impact of EU decision making on their lives, and if anything the scaremongering is now seriously counterproductive to the pro argument, as its use repeatedly exposes the lack of positive reasons for our continued membership, This was perfectly demonstrated when Nigel Farage politically disembowelled NIck Clegg for resorting to it, after supposedly wanting the debate to be on the issues.

    Scaremongering increasingly now equals loser.

    I think that is enough excitement for today

    Good Evening!

  • If only there were scaremongering on only one side. Unfortunately, if we stay in, the scaremongers say, we will lose our identity, be swamped by Muslims, be forced to pay out huge sums and get nothing back in return. And then there’s the euromyth phenomenon that the tabloid press won’t give up easily. And then there’s the way that you turn, for example, ‘£400m investment’ into ‘no advantage’… Not exactly engaging on the issues are we?

    Whatever understanding people might have gained about the impact of the EU on their lives, we still can’t get around the fact that they don’t appreciate how complete the control of the nation-states is over Europe. The failure of the Constitutional Treaty in 2005 ushered in an era of nations setting the agenda, leading directly to the failure of almost all of them to adhere to the agreed fiscal stability compacts and thus to the eurozone crisis. That failure led to the refusal of the border states to implement the necessary controls for Schengen to work, and led to the central authority being too weak to force the issue. The failure of intergovernmantal Europe is writ large for all to see, but because so many political leaders still hide behind the language of European federalism, blame ‘The EU’ for their own unpopular policy, and then blame ‘the EU’ for not doing the things they themselves refused to give it the power to do, the cure proposed is to push more intergovernmentalism.

    What a pity, what a pity.

  • jedibeeftrix 26th Nov '15 - 8:02pm

    delighted to see that my participation in these threads is no longer essential.

    here is a suggestion; that we adopt whatever relationship the eu is willing to have with turkey.

    how about it?

  • Denis Loretto 26th Nov '15 - 8:33pm

    @Raddiy

    At no time did I say that EU membership anchored any company to the UK. I said and still say that exit from the EU would be much more likely to lead to foreign-owned companies doing a bunk. Is this quote the day before yesterday from Reuters up to date enough? –

    The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders commissioned a report last year before it was certain a referendum would take place which showed that 92 percent of members believed their business was better off in a reformed EU.

    “Reform is needed, particularly when it comes to better regulation that supports global competitiveness. But we must have a seat at the table to ensure this happens,” SMMT President Gareth Jones will say in a speech according to pre-released quotes.

    “Be assured, SMMT will make sure the view of the automotive industry is heard.”

  • T-J – Spoken like a true federalist.

    The EU never ever took the people of Europe with it. The EU was designed to exclude democratic accountability. The Commissioners decided to exclude the grubby, tedious business of being elected. Today, as we see crisis after crisis, the EU is actually completely powerless. When terrorism strikes or their borders are over-run, the people of Europe look to their own governments to do something about it. The member state politicians feel the need to act. If they don’t, they will be booted out at the next election. It is called democratic accountability.

    The EU is exposed as an obsolete layer of bureaucrats.

  • T-J -Now consider an all powerful EU, further down the federal path with more accumulated powers. The people of Europe will still have the expectation that politicians will do whatever is necessary to solve the problem facing them. What if the EU is the problem? For example, it may wish to impose hundreds of thousands of migrants.

    The people will not pause to consider which layer of government is calling the shots. In France and other countries with a latin temperament, the people will impose their will by whatever means.

    I’m afraid that Europhilia is a weakness to which Lib Dems are particularly vulnerable. It is an optimistic, ideological ambition. Sadly, practical realism guarantees that practical politics always overrule ideology in the long run.

  • Anyone who uses the word Europhobe has lost their argument. It is a tactic to stifle debate as in Islamaphobe. Calling people names is not the way to win an argument, you may think you have but usually it results in the other party becoming more convinced they are right.

  • Katerina Porter 27th Nov '15 - 4:18pm

    Quotes from an article in the INYTimes 9 11 15 Hugo Dixon – Political Economy.
    …….the Norway arrangement” would not be an improvement on Britain’s current membership….the anti EU’… alternative relying on Britain’s membership ..WTO…..while cutting a series of bilateral deals – is worse. …20 years of existence . WTO…not secured a significant multilateral trade deal. ….almost nothing …..in services…..which account for .80% of the British economy. It would be negotiating deals with partners much larger…US…EU…China….would have. only two years to negotiate an exit deal.. ….time pressure..probably only get partial access…..obey rules on which it would not have a vote. US would not be eager…..if it quit the bloc…In time..that might turn attention to Britain ……but it could be a long wait……..America would drive a hard bargain pressing for concessions. which would be unpopular with British public…better prices for its pharmaceutical companies….might also insist …open up.. to American G..M..food. ….China. An imbalance of power….London has already …….bending over backwards….
    Finally, …..EU…has about 50 trade deals with other countries…….Britain…. would have to negotiate such market opening arrangements again…..risk some countries would use London’s desperation ……………….Prime Minister ………..spent the first months after the election….discouraging British businesses on speaking on …benefits…….that would .undermine his ability to secure good terms……..an error of judgement …..allowed the “leave” campaign.. a head start.”
    NB Do comments on making us more competitive mean losing the Social Chapter ? Surely it is something Liberal Democrats agree as being a good thing. And I have heard that EU is much better to deal with than Whitehall.

  • A few years ago I did an appraisal for a business plan for the importing of solar panels from China. I found that it was perfectly feasible to import and professionally install quality solar panels onto domestic UK homes for half the price of installations at that time.
    Except… until you factor in EU anti dumping regulations. The EU regulations mean that we are paying at least a third more, and probably double the cost of renewable energy on our domestic homes. The Liberal Democrat policy via Ed Davey was of course to put those crazy extortionate costs onto a Green Loan.
    Still think your EU is a good idea? I say let’s stop being tough on UK consumers, get out of the restrictive EU, and trade freely with the world.

  • Katerina Porter 27th Nov '15 - 8:27pm

    The point of the article I quoted was that we might consider ourselves free but be in a very weak negotiating position when trying for trading agreements.
    EU dumping regulations seem not have been invoked (by us?) to protect our steel manufacturing from Chinese steel.being dumped.

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