Opportunities? Brexiteers, please specify

The motives and backgrounds of leave-voters are by now sufficiently understood to conclude that many of them cannot afford to and would not have voted for becoming substantially and permanently poorer. Some may, but had it been widely understood that Brexit comes at a high economic price for everybody, the result would have been a different one.

Apparently, most leavers dismissed the economic arguments of remain, and instead of asking for better arguments from leave bought the “scaremongering”-claim (admittedly, leave was much better at creating slogans). And this continues: leave already claims victory on the economy after 6 months in which nothing (apart from a 15% devaluation of the country) has happened. Luckily, consumers so far remain complacent and keep spending.

I know the typical response I can expect from Brexiteers: unsubstantiated claims (“see the opportunities”, “champions of free trade”…), denial (“Q3 was good”), fluffy sovereignty-talk (“Brussels”), and pressure (“how dare you not respecting the will of the people?”). Is that all you have got?

May I challenge you to think a little harder? Specify trading opportunities the UK currently misses because of EU membership, which outweigh the losses from leaving the single market. In other words: How and when will you have replaced the benefits of preferential access to 27 EU member states and the EUs’ 53 third-country agreements with higher yielding UK-deals? How and when will you recover the transitional losses? Will the current generation of young people recover from the damage within their professionally active lifetime? No leave-campaigner has ever presented any such case. Can you?

Here is my take:

Financial services: London is the global financial capital despite its 2nd tier currency (5% of global currency reserves). The city trades more EURO-based transactions than all continental European exchanges combined. It also is the world’s number 2 place for $-transactions. It is hard to imagine how Brexit would enhance this formidable position. The opposite is much more likely.

Automotive: UK plants are owned and managed by global companies (none of which is British). These companies (GM, VW, BMW, Tata, Nissan, Honda, Geely) already have a global footprint in terms of research, manufacturing and sales. They have no need for their UK assembly plants to conquer the world, because they are already there. They also have no need for expensive European facilities outside the single market.

Aerospace: The European consortium Airbus with its UK facilities is already a global leader supplying all the world’s airlines. The wings made in Broughton will not fly without the other components from the continent. The rest of the British aerospace industry is mainly defense. Non-EU governments do not need trade deals to buy the weaponry they want.

Pharmaceuticals: development of new drugs and their certification in various markets is the name of the game, not tariffs or customs. Global drugs-exports are patent-protected and limited by affordability, not a lack of free-trade-deals. EU-research cooperation is a key factor of success.

Advertising: already dominated by global networks, which serve their global clients where they are.

No need to speak about the major sectors construction, healthcare, or energy here. They usually deliver locally, and will have their hands full with British demand outstripping public and private budgets. What they will sorely miss are motivated, skilled, and productive people to do the work.

Yes, I know that India and China are growing faster than the EU and Antarctica (and have to continue to do so for many years to match the EU’s size as trading partner), but they do not want free trade; neither with the US nor with the EU, so why with the UK? This is an unfortunate overall trend: can anybody be sure that trade agreements terminated today will still be available tomorrow? India has just made it clear what it wants: export its students and experts. The former home secretary May did not really help here.

Just to be clear: I fully respect the will of the British people to live in prosperity. Consequently, I do not respect the result of a deceitful campaign that will lead them into more poverty.

Do not think that having “won” (to use a fairness-implying sports-term for this cynical exercise) the referendum is all the legitimacy a vote to trigger Article 50 needs. Vote leave has not presented a single specific economic argument. It is bad enough 52% followed them nevertheless, but no MP with the best interests of his/her constituents in mind can settle for just being a follower.

* Arnold Kiel is a self-employed Management Consultant, father of two sons in British education, and very concerned about their future in this Europe

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98 Comments

  • jedibeeftrix 23rd Nov '16 - 1:26pm

    if we cared about maximising economic growth we would have followed an american model of minimal regulation and low taxation.

    we might have spent that last forty years growing at an average of ~3.0%/year instead of ~2.5%.

    we didn’t, instead we opted to regulate more and raise taxes to do nice things for people that we valued over and above more money.

    now we have made a different choice again…

  • Martin Roche 23rd Nov '16 - 1:57pm

    I cannot disagree with anything in this piece. Having just heard the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement outline the dire state of our economy, I can only commend the LD’s drive to try and bring sense to madness by giving the public the chance to think again. But we may not get that chance. What will the LD’s articulate as the party’s vision of of our relations with the EU if Brexit is as hard as the Tory Right wants? Do we have compelling economic development, trade and regional policies to help mitigate the economic and social horrors that may be heading our way?

  • The government has refused to reveal if it has made any promises to Japanese carmaker Nissan over Brexit, the Office for Budget Responsibility reveals. Instead of providing the OBR with useful information, the Treasury directed the OBR to one of Theresa May’s speeches, which basically said “we’d make a success of Brexit”.

    Another Opportunity?

  • Martin Land 23rd Nov '16 - 3:51pm

    Arnold, you are repeating the mistake made in June. Trying to have an intelligent discussion with those whose opinions are based upon nothing more than prejudice and ignorance. The irony is that they remain the most likely to suffer the consequences of their folly.

  • William Ross 23rd Nov '16 - 3:56pm

    Arnold

    The Brexiteer economic analysis is as follows. The great majority of our GDP is not dependent on foreign trade at all. Secondly most of existing trade is not with the EU and our proportion of EU trade is steadily falling. So 55% of our trade is NOW non-EU before a single FTA is even sniffed at. Outside the EU we will be able to negotiate FTAs on an expedited basis but we do not even need FTAs. There are other decided advantages to being outside the EU. For instance the 85% of our economy that does no trade with the EU at all will not have to comply with the unelected Brussels bureaucracy. Secondly, outside the protectionist Customs Union we can reduce tarrifs on important items like food from the Third World so helping the poor and ourselves.

    Then lets look at future trade with the EU. The worst possible situation is that the Brussels protectionists insist on WTO rules. But WTO rules ( which would hurt the EU much more than us) are relatively low with some exceptions such as food, cars and whisky.. I think the average tariff is below 3.5% In my industry, the oil and gas business, the oil service sector suffered a 60% fall in revenue in two years. This is serious but still not fatal.

    Nonetheless, the likelihood is that we will sign an FTA with the EU even if perhaps after 2019. So it will be even easier.

    On immigration, after we leave we can use special immigration quotas and even tailor these for specific countries. I wouldn’t worry I was a young person at all. You should reassure your family that there is no chance that they will have to move.

    If some free movement opportunities are lost that is the price we pay for being an independent sovereign country again.

    Far from Leavers being clueless and irresponsible it is the Remainers who are economically weak. Where is the economic catastrophe coming from? By the way, Nissan are staying… Strange.

  • Nice to hear from you again Arnold. Preaching to the converted here.
    Hard to see what can derail this thing at the moment. Unless some sort of deal can be made with descenting conservatives. In which case I think the government would have to go to the country and that would raise a whole new set of questions not least of which would be what would happen to the Labour party. LibLab pact? I just can’t see a way forward at the moment. Maybe the supreme court will rule the government has to get a decision from the ECJ on withdrawal of Article 50. Think I really am clutching at straws now.

  • Two points William

    1. The North Sea is toast so your industry is in terminal decline. Sad but true.
    2. We are a service economy and banking is a big part of it. Unfortunately the EU have plans

    Brussels has proposed an array of changes to EU banking rules in an effort to end the era of taxpayer bailouts while also sweeping away red tape that officials fear could be holding back lending.

    The measures range from adjustments to banker bonus rules to plans for forcing US and other non-EU banks to set up holding companies within Europe.

    Which being outside the single market rather puts us at a disadvantage.

    Ah cries William we will be signing free trade deals through out the world, unfortunately William with the arrival of Trump it looks like free trade is dead.

  • @Arnold: “but no MP with the best interests of his/her constituents in mind can settle for just being a follower.” – MPs will learn their place. The public decide who gets to represent, end of. If MPs decide to ignore a clear instruction to leave the EU they’ll get replaced by UKIP ones at the next election. Anyway it won’t happen. A democratic decision to leave was made and leave we will, and MPs are not stupid enough to ignore a referendum result.

    @ Martin Land “Arnold, you are repeating the mistake made in June. Trying to have an intelligent discussion with those whose opinions are based upon nothing more than prejudice and ignorance”

    52% of the voters did not make this decision based on nothing more that prejudice and ignorant. If that is what you really think, that every single leave voter is just Prejudiced and ignorant I would suggest that you are being intolerant and bigoted and that you might want to try and see things from the other sides point of view.

    Anyway, an article 50 notice will be given in the next four months…

  • @William Ross
    Would take issue on a whole host of things in you comment but just on the WTO tariff thing. The figures quoted are on finished goods (think on cars it is 10%). What is more onerous is the ‘certificate of origin’ compliance which can amount to an additional effective tariff of up to 20%.

  • William Ross 23rd Nov '16 - 4:53pm

    PJ

    ” certificate of origin” doesn’t seem to hurt us in the rest of the World. I doubt that it is at 20% and if it is the EU will hurt much more than us. This would be covered in an FTA.

    Question: will thee even be an EU in 2019? What’s going to happen on 4 December?

    William

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Nov '16 - 5:09pm

    “descenting conservatives”. Are they wearing their brown trousers?

  • The bottom line is many British people just don’t want to be – in anyway – ruled from Brussels. We can talk about trade, immigration, employment rights and how the economy may tank after Brexit, but they want to be in charge of their own destiny. I’m not saying it’s right – I voted remain – but where I live on the Lincolnshire/S Yorkshire border most would rather go back to war time rationing than stay in. The feeling is stronger than ever and Arnold maybe wrong when he says “had it been widely understood that Brexit comes at a high economic price for everybody, the result would have been a different one”. I can’t speak for other areas, but you could repeat the referendum 100 times around here and you would lose 100 times. It may not be logical, but the people want out and who knows in the long-term they might be right.

  • William Ross
    There are a number of things you haven’t grasped.
    a) 85% of our trade is with the EU or under an agreement brokered by the EU.
    b) 25 EU countries don’t have a trade surplus with the UK and therefore by your logic have no incentive to have an FTA
    c) We are not a member of the WTO in our own right and it will likely take years to regularise our membership.
    d) Countries don’t trade solely under WTO rules because issues around regulatory conformity and conformity assessment are far more important than tariffs (esp for a country like the UK which exports services). WTO rules are just a starting point. For instance in addition to WTO rules there are dozens of agreements covering trade between the US and the EU.

    The truth is we are in a transparently weak position. We need agreements far more than any of the countries of the EU or the WTO. Far from taking back control we are now horribly reliant on the kindness of strangers.

  • malc
    Genuinely curious. If leavers are so alienated from the establishment why do they trust them to meet the enormous challenges of Brexit?

  • David Evershed 23rd Nov '16 - 5:44pm

    A specific opportunity was announced by a smoothie company.

    It is going to reduce imports of foreign fruit (from EU and non-EU countries) and introduce a hedgerow smoothie.

    Thus improving the balance of trade.

  • John Peters 23rd Nov '16 - 5:55pm

    “Genuinely curious. If leavers are so alienated from the establishment why do they trust them to meet the enormous challenges of Brexit?”

    I can only speak for myself but my alienation is with the EU. Mind you you are quite right, I have very low expectations of the EU.

  • Perhaps we should all bang our heads against a wall. That would provide an opportunity to British bandage manufacturers.

  • Christopher Haigh 23rd Nov '16 - 6:12pm

    @malc, people on our Lincolnshire border never seem to be happy wherever they are. Even when they were more or less allowed to become part of Yorkshire via Humberside they objected !

  • Arnold; you make many valid points, and if I may gently point out project the tone and views of Brussels and some other remainers almost perfectly.
    For my part I have never voted on anything for direct personal gain, on fact on two occasions I voted for governments. I thought would be best for the country ss a whole, knowing that it might cost me in terms of income and job, and it did on both occasions, I now earn 9k less than I did 5 years ago and I’m cool with that, my sector of work must do more with less funding and br more productive.
    I voted out because I believe long term it is the best for this country…i may be wrong but I think that is all anyone can reasonably do. I am fine with parliamentary scrutiny and influence and if the democratic process ultimately leads to a reversal I can accept the decision.
    I am somewhat disappointed with some of the tone and comments coming from our friends and allies in Europe.

  • AndrewR

    “If leavers are so alienated from the establishment why do they trust them to meet the enormous challenges of Brexit?”

    I don’t think they really do, but if they want out what choice do they have? I think it’s the best of a bad bunch as far as most are concerned. However, if Farage or Boris gave a talk on Brexit at the Doncaster Town Hall it would be sold out with many locked outside. I doubt there is one remain politician who could fill a park bench! Perhaps it’s like America where people prefer mavericks to the so called serious politicians who have let them down so many times before.

    Christopher Haigh

    “@malc, people on our Lincolnshire border never seem to be happy wherever they are. Even when they were more or less allowed to become part of Yorkshire via Humberside they objected !”

    I must admit I can’t find any fault with that statement. Lincolnshire and S Yorkshire has it’s fair share of miserable buggers.

  • Has anyone else seen the statement by the president of the European Court of Justice? The trigger for Brexit ‘can be interpreted by out court like any other provision of union law’ he went on to speculate that ‘ many aspects of British withdrawal could end up in his Luxemburg court room ‘….this is going to run and run. Nichols, can we have another Scottish referendum….please?

  • William Ross 23rd Nov '16 - 6:38pm

    Andrew R
    1. Unless the non EU countries want to stop trading with the UK these agreements will simply be rolled over;
    2. The EU countries are in trade surplus with us and they will therefore be the losers ( but we would all be losers off course) if there is no FTA;
    3. The head of the WTO recently specifically refuted your point re our membership;
    4. There are issues re regulatory conformity buit these can be solved over the two year period or any transitional extension. A bit of minor bother is worth it to have our country back.

    William

  • Denis Mollison 23rd Nov '16 - 6:56pm

    @Malc – “The bottom line is many British people just don’t want to be – in anyway – ruled from Brussels.”

    I think you’re right, that is a popular attitude, despite the fact that (a) almost all Brussels rules had been agreed to by our own government, (b) most of us would be hard pressed to think of a “Brussels rule” that has affected us personally adversely to a significant extent. It’s the result of 30 years of a blame game by press barons for their own (elitist!) motives and politicians for whom the EU was too often a convenient scapegoat.

  • Denis Mollison 23rd Nov '16 - 6:59pm

    @William Ross – “to have our country back”

    What planet do you live on? You write as if we can just put walls round our country and pretend all those foreigners aren’t there – perhaps Donald Trump will build us one if Nigel asks him nicely?

  • Lots of job openings for baliffs, border guards and job centre plus advisors thanks to Brexit.

  • @William Ross – “The EU countries are in trade surplus with us and they will therefore be the losers”

    This is incorrect. SOME EU countries are in trade surplus with us and SOME are in trade deficit with us.

    For most EU countries – roughly 20 out of the 27 – they are running either a fairly mild surplus or deficit with us, so they don’t need a trade deal with us, and each of them has the same veto that the other (7) countries do.

  • @ Denis Mollison. Completely agree Denis.

    I wish it was possible to have a hypothecated tax on the Brexiteers to compensate the more sensible members of society for the increase in the deficit, inflation etc. An added benefit would be a bit of silence from the usual suspects.

  • I love William Ross, “the 85% of our economy that does no trade with the EU at all will not have to comply with the unelected Brussels bureaucracy” – so William, what bureaucracy is elected ? or did you throw the word unelected in for it’s negative connotations, i.e. the Queen or The House of Lords. No one has had to comply with the decisions made by unelected bureaucrats but EU decisions made by elected MEPs, Ministers, and National Governments.

  • “Secondly, outside the protectionist Customs Union we can reduce tarrifs on important items like food from the Third World so helping the poor and ourselves”

    But hang on, we voted for protection for our British Farmers, in fact leave pledged that subsidies to them would not be reduced even though the Government will, have less money to pay for them. Why do we want British Framers undercut by foreigners ?

  • John Peters 23rd Nov '16 - 7:53pm

    There seem to be a lot of fearful comments here. It seems that Project Fear resonates strongly with some Lib Dems.

  • The resilience of the economy has puzzled me, but reading the following article I think I’ve puzzled out the reason, the return of Hope

    The Trump Effect on Americans’ Perception of the Economy
    “Hope” returns. But we’ve been through this before.

    http://wolfstreet.com/2016/11/22/the-trump-effect-on-americans-perception-of-the-economy/

    The only problem I have (as with Trump) is after hope dies and reality sets in there will be one hell of a hangover.

  • “Nonetheless, the likelihood is that we will sign an FTA with the EU even if perhaps after 2019. So it will be even easier.”

    Hang on, didn’t we want the EU to fall to bits, hasn’t Farage’s fan – M le Pen made it clear she want France to leave ? hasn’t Trump just torn up a trade agreement that took years to put together. Doesn’t Trump want a 45% tariff on Mexican goods, is that free trade ?

  • Malc
    You’re taking a bit of stick here. However you raise an extremely important point that hasn’t really being dealt with on other threads this week.
    I don’t think there is any real understanding of the passion with which millions (probably) of quite intelligent voters want us to take back control of their own lawmaking.
    I have a friend who works in the prison service (very intelligent). The inability to deport violent foreign criminals & sex offenders fills him with rage.
    I have another close friend who is a consultant in the NHS – health tourism fills her with rage – “at our expense when we’ve paid in all our lives and the system is already on its knees” – yes only 2 intelligent people but visceral reactions! Both these people are Liberal in most other ways.
    I’ve had many conversations with older people who take the attitude ” we built the country from scratch after the war, all those people who gave their lives so we could be free (interesting word) – this is our chance to rid it of the faceless beurocrats telling us what to do”.
    Still another acquaintance who did a straw poll in his clinic over 3 months before 23rd June. He said around 90% were going to vote leave – main reason when they openly got into conversation – English Patriotism & Sovereignty no matter what – we built the country before and we will do again.
    And this my friend is why the economic argument (Arnold, best set of arguments I’ve heard yet, very well articulated) doesn’t work.
    I’ve had other conversations with leavers who believe the EU is incapable of change and if we stay, we’ll be dragged into a federal Europe and the Euro. William Hague’s “burning house with no exit” analogy
    These people are all very intelligent. They are just fed up with what they see as all the daft/damaging rules and took the opportunity to say so.

  • Andrew McCaig 23rd Nov '16 - 8:27pm

    Denis Mollinson,

    How about the Brussels Rule that means my phone calls in France cost a tiny fraction of what they cost in the USA?
    Or the one that says that British beaches and rivers have to meet certain environmental standards?
    Or that sausages should contain something , more than fat, gristle and oatmeal (I remember the Sun was very upset about that one…)

    I am sure we could supply the Brexit trolls on here with a good few hundred more Brussels rules that do us no good whatsoever….

  • Andrew McCaig 23rd Nov '16 - 8:28pm

    John Peters,

    It is Project Realism we are picking up from St Theresa’s Chancellor! That is the vibe!

  • Christopher Haigh 23rd Nov '16 - 8:42pm

    @JohnPeters, this is project Armageddon rather than just project fear. .

  • Caracatus,
    I didn’t want the to fall to bits. I just didn’t want Britain to be in it. If other countries decide to leave that’s fine too. What Farage says is neither here nor there. After all I’m not convinced Remain voters hang on to every word spoken by David Cameron or Peter Mandelson or George Osborn or Tony Blair.

  • the EU to fall to bits, Britain not be in it. Curse you wayward cursor!

  • John Peters 23rd Nov '16 - 8:58pm

    Armageddon is a bit over the top.

    wikipedia says “in which the great looming mountain of God’s just and holy wrath is poured out against unrepentant sinners, led by Satan, in a literal end-of-the-world final confrontation.”

    I don’t really see Remainers as unrepentant sinners and for the life of me can’t fit the likes of Merkel, Tusk, or Juncker in the role of Satan. I’m not sure I can put Farage in the place of God either.

  • William Ross 24th Nov '16 - 6:50am

    Caratacus

    It is good to know that I am loved by at least one Remainer! It is true that in principle bureaucracies are unelected, but the bureaucracy that is the EU Commission is also the EU “Government.” Despite the most forceful efforts of the UK Government, Jean Claude Juncker is the Head of the Commission and was confirmed by a Parliament which is merely a collection of national political delegations and represents no-one as an institution. This is an ” unelected bureaucracy”.

    I have no interest in building walls but I want to control our borders as any normal country would. Free trade is good whether or not a country is in surplus with another.
    I am in favour of immigration and my wife and son are immigrants. I was also an immigrant for over 15 years. I had no problem at all with being a “foreigner” in the USA and Canada. There is nothing pejorative about the term.

    But to resume, Arnold asked what are the economic upsides of Brexit.? I say the major upsides are these:
    1. For the 85% of our economy which does nothing with the EU we are free from rules of the EU Commission ( massive benefit);
    2. When we are out of the Customs Union we can reduce our tariffs to lower prices and help the poor ( agriculture) ;
    3. We can negotiate our own trade deals which the EU is such a signal failure at.

    These are just the three big things. If Arnold wants specifics on what particular industries might boom in 2026 when we have an FTA with Brazil I have to say I do not know. But the future is like that. However, our economy would be in our hands, unlike poor Ireland with its tax deals being ripped up by the EU Commission.

    Trump is likely to be favourable to collaboration with the UK. It is Obama, Clinton, Cameron and Osborne who are at the “back of the queue”.

    While we Brexiteers are confident about the Brexit economy the main reason for voting Leave was sovereignty. We voted to “take back control”.

  • Daniel Walker 24th Nov '16 - 7:44am

    @William Ross You keep saying the word “unelected”. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  • Denis Mollison 24th Nov '16 - 8:01am

    @ WIlliam Ross – “a Parliament which is merely a collection of national political delegations”

    Would you describe the MPs from (say) East Anglia as a “regional political delegation” to Westminster? The MEPs from the UK have been a particularly disparate bunch, ranging from Liberal Democrats who worked constructively with liberals across Europe to UKIP MEPs working to destroy the EU.

  • Tarranis 23rd Nov ’16 – 6:13pm……….I now earn 9k less than I did 5 years ago and I’m cool with that, my sector of work must do more with less funding and br more productive……..

    I just love such remarks….To my disabled daughter £90 is a problem…

  • ethicsgradient 24th Nov '16 - 8:53am

    (1/2)

    I thought it best to give a bit of time to consider the Autumn statement and not give a snap response.

    The idea of hitting 90% borrowing to GDP is eye-watering. I would draw a parallel of what Gordon Brown had to do when faced with the 2008 crisis. This time in the potential response to the brexit process.

    I think we must put in a caveat here with the OBR forecasts. I would say that the next 2 years are unprecedented and unknown so the OBR is working on at best informed guess work. I do accept their forecasts though as it seems they have taken a fairly middle-point in of the very broad-range of predicted outcomes. It really is up in the air as we just don’t know what the trading relations will be for for UK-EU and UK-rest of world.

    Stepping back a bit. It seems that we are not heading for a recession due to Brexit. That was stated to happen from the remain side (I am not point scoring – just the lay of the land when the vote happened) and so the economic forecasts for the net two years are better than what might have been expected when people entered the booths and choose to vote no (had the dismissed all warnings by then?) So in terms of not entering a recession this means the UK has been through worse in my lifetime (early 1990’s, recession).

    The underlying advantages of the UK economy remain. Flexible/fluid labour markets. Easy ability to raise money and start businesses. educated/ skilled work force, language, connections and low corporation tax.

    I think we will be ok in the longer term. although it will be interesting over the next 2 years.

    (cont’d in 2nd post)

  • The idea of hitting 90% borrowing to GDP is eye-watering. I would draw a parallel of what Gordon Brown had to do when faced with the 2008 crisis. This time in the potential response to the brexit process.

    Slight problem with that figure, it might be right but not if you knock off one of the “Purchases of Gilts” who hold £406,906mn as of the close Wednesday 2 November. Why would you disregard this cries ethicsgradiant, because its the Bank of England, rather blows the 90% figure out of the water doesn’t it, makes it less than 70%. Still calling for more cuts?

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/Pages/apf/results.aspx

  • ethicsgradient 24th Nov '16 - 9:21am

    (2/2)
    relating more back To Arnold’s article.

    I was willing to accept some medium term economic damage to return to being a fully sovereign self government state. I have posted previously that democracy, accountability and sovereignty were my prime reasons for voting to leave ( and i accept those who voted to remain will hold a different view on this). As I state above though, hitting 90% borrowing to GDP makes me consider how much potential damage I would be willing to trade off?

    It is a big thing to leave the benefits of the single market I get that. There are tangible benefits to be had by being free of the constraints of it though.

    An example would be in bio-tech; an area which Arnold mentions. The controls and restrictions which the EU is now working to place on molecular biology research is preventing some cutting edge research from taking place, simply because some sections of the EU 28 have large religious/conservative interests that have lobbied to restrict certain developmental area ( hybrid embryo research). While in other areas a mis-understandings have lead to restrictions that prevent drug trails and drug development.

    Bio-tech has much to gain from being outside the EU. Much of Science collaboration occurs the mutual progammes rather than through the EU itself.

    The is an example of one of the main benefits of being out of the EU. That ability to adjust the conditions so things are most beneficial to UK without having to balance it with the interests of 27 other counties.

    Beyond detailed area’s though I do worry about the Eurozone and its inability to ever function. It level of debt we might need over the next 2 years is deeply worrying. However Italy is at 132.7% http://www.tradingeconomics.com/italy/government-debt-to-gdp . Spain, France, Greece ar all in trouble.

    It is Scary what the situation of the EU is in at the moment. I want them to suceed but I do not want the UK to be responsible to pay for the damage that might happen within the Eurozone.

  • Alex Macfie 24th Nov '16 - 9:26am

    William Ross: “a [European] Parliament which is merely a collection of national political delegations” No it is not. MEPs organise by cross-national party groups based on ideology. They hardly ever vote en bloc by nationality.

  • ethicsgradient 24th Nov '16 - 9:28am

    (3/3) Extra…

    conclusions/Summary

    The level of borrowing was a shock. I expected some economic choppy waters over the next 2 years still it was a worry. UK economy has advantages of being flexible and it we are not entering a recession. Its a lot of guess work and we just don’t know how the next 2 years will play. Real concerns as to how the EU/Eurozone will be itself over the next two years due to problems of Euro/ elections coming. Longer term there are benefits of being independent.

  • ethicsgradient …Three posts to say you have no idea what will happen…

    I’m sure there’s enough such thinking at Chevening House…

  • @expats – I find it quite refreshing for people to say that they haven’t got a clue what’s happening. It seems to be something of a fad at the moment.

    The pollsters and party strategists in the USA have been falling over themselves to say that they completely misread the data before Trump’s win; the commentariat here did the same in the aftermath of the general election last year when all expectations were confounded; and of course now there’s the OBR borrowing figures which its authors caution are “broad-brush judgements consistent with a range of possible outcomes” – i.e. informed guesses.

    In relation to the borrowing figures, today’s Guardian print-edition leads with the headline “The £59 billion cost of Brexit decision”. This is a wonderful example of the use of pseudo-accuracy to advance a political objective. The figure sounds authoritative – it’s not quite a round number like £60 billion so it sounds like the result of pure mathematics. But as noted above, it isn’t.

    A recognition that complex and stochastic systems involve uncertainty is good science, but possibly bad politics.

  • Daniel suggests :
    “You keep saying the word “unelected”. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

    Now that Martin Schulz, the head of the European parliament, has announced he is leaving, when do voters get their poling cards, to *elect* his replacement as head of the EU parliament.?

    T. May might have not been directly voted as PM, but for sure there will be sweat on her brow in 2020, when voters get the opportunity to ‘hire or fire’ her and her party. Whilst, the new head of the EU, will never have sweat on the brow over what voters think, because voters have no say in their appointment. ?

    I think it is you that doesn’t understand the words *elected* and *democracy*. The good news is that 17.4 million British citizens do understand an unelected political entity when they see it.? And they [voters !!], rejected it on the 23rd June 2016, an frankly, our exit from that unelected circus of clowns, can’t come a moment too soon.

  • Daniel Walker 24th Nov '16 - 12:35pm

    @J Dunn “Now that Martin Schulz, the head of the European parliament, has announced he is leaving, when do voters get their poling cards, to *elect* his replacement as head of the EU parliament.?”

    His replacement will be elected by the European Parliament, in the same way that the UK Parliament elects the PM, i.e. he or she must command the support of a majority of the (democratically-elected) representatives. This is not complex stuff, it’s how most Prime Ministers are chosen, including ours.

  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Nov '16 - 1:14pm

    jedibeeftrix

    if we cared about maximising economic growth we would have followed an american model of minimal regulation and low taxation.

    So how come we have had governments since 1979 all committed to that, yet economic growth has not been as high as it was in previous decades when taxation was higher? I remember when I had my first job, income tax was much higher than it is now.

    What has happened is the reverse of what people like you claim happens. When people feel depressed and insecure due to lack of decent health and welfare support and job insecurity, productivity goes down, people are scared to do anything innovative. People adopt a heads-down keep-quiet attitude that damages economic growth. Poor quality education and training due to lack of government spending on it also damages productivity and economic growth. The huge damage that has been done has only been covered up by bringing in immigrants trained elsewhere.

    Then cuts after cuts cause deeper problems that cost more in the long-term. That is just what we are observing now. We are paying money out to solve things that wouldn’t have needed to be solved had it not been for people like you urging the cuts that caused the problems. But your only response to that is to claim no real cuts have been made, and so urge more cuts, so we are in a damaging downward spiral.

    You say that tax is bad because it takes people’s wealth and ability to invest away. So why don’t you say that about high house prices and rents? Our economy is dominated by wealth absorbers who in this way make money while not working at the expense of those who do. Property tax to make owning housing less profitable, and social housing to provide a secure background so that productive people can work better would be hugely helpful in re-establishing the economic growth we used to have when we had those things.

    It is people like you and your attitudes who have destroyed real productivity and economic growth by what you stand for.

  • @ethicsgradient
    ‘Bio-tech has much to gain from being outside the EU. Much of Science collaboration occurs the mutual progammes rather than through the EU itself.’
    I can’t see too many car assembly workers re-training as bio-chemists. In fact if you look at all the recent announcements on investment decisions it all seems to be centered around London and based on services.
    As someone who voted to remain, I am seriously concerned for the many unskilled and semi-skilled workers from the regions north of Watford Gap. I can get this sovereignty thing. I think the EU has gone too far and needs to be rowed back. We are not alone in Europe in feeling this way. I just think this ‘Taking Back Control’ is just passing it back to the public school educated aristocracy that has held it for the last thousand years. I think that one of the differences between the UK and European countries is that they threw off those chains. We still feel safe whilst we have our sovereign lords to lead us. This national psychology of ours is at the heart of this issue and I am sure that this comment will get me a lot of stick but it is an interesting aspect of this whole debate. In the USA there has been an anti-establishment reaction in the form of Trump. Our anti-establishment reaction has been usefully deflected at the EU and I think we will regret it.

  • @Matthew: “It is people like you and your attitudes who have destroyed real productivity and economic growth by what you stand for.”

    I think you misunderstood, I don’t think he or she does stand for that, rather, I think they were saying that the question of what will give us the most economic growth is not the only thing that drives voters. Nor should it be in my opinion.

    Me personally, I saw Brexit as exchanging short to medium term economic certainty and wellbeing for more national sovereignty, more democracy and, in the long term, a better future as we will then be free to make our own deals (which admittedly won’t come overnight). So I voted Brexit because I believed it was best. If everything had been about short to medium term economics i would have voted remain, but it’s not. Democracy matters, national sovereignty matters, the long term matters.

    I don’t object to people weighing it differently, but I do object to some of the bigotry and intolerance in some posts where people claim everyone who voted leave was just racist or prejudiced and that I’m to stupid to understand what I voted for and therefore my vote shouldn’t be counted and the result should just be overturned because I’m just a pleb anyway…

  • El Sid
    I wonder if you’ll be satisfied with the illusion of sovereignty and democracy you’re actually going to get. In reality post-brexit Britain will be run for the benefit of bankers and foreign corporate elites.

  • William Ross 24th Nov '16 - 4:03pm

    Andrew R

    Democracy in the UK is no illusion. If it is why are participating in it? You would think that you would be proud of this country`s great democratic tradition.

    Dennis Mollison: MPs from East Anglia sit in a house which represents the people of the UK (and off course especially England). This is a serious legitimate country which our electorate understands and supports. The MEPs sit in a Parliament which purports to represent the non-existent people of Europe. You can add on all the African nations to the EU and have parliamentary delegations from Cape Town but Euro-Africa, like the EU, would be likewise meaningless.

    Alex MacFie: Yes the MEPs do organise themselves in pan-European parties. There is only one big problem. The people don`t know who the parties are! They mean nothing to the UK electorate. This is a big pretendy parliament and a caricature of real democracy.

  • Alex Macfie 24th Nov '16 - 5:01pm

    William Ross: “The people don’t know who the parties are” in the European Parliament because the political establishment in this country chooses to ignore them.

  • William Ross 24th Nov '16 - 5:17pm

    Alex

    I don`t know how many decades you need to make your case, but the truth is that the people are simply not interested. Each European nation is represented by its own national leaders which leaves an unaccountable ( but very powerful) elite in the Brussels institutions.

  • William Ross> Democracy in the UK is no illusion.

    My vote is worthless, because round here, Labour votes are counted by the shovel-load and a decomposing duck would win if it wore a red rosette.
    So yeah, for the millions living in safe seats (of whichever hue), it’s an illusion.

    ‘Take back control’: never had any in the first place. And pesky EU rulings on things like the working time directive, and environmental protection are things I’d like to see stay in place.
    Ardent Brexiteers like that nice Mr Dyson – who cut 800+ UK jobs and moved production to Malaysia – don’t inspire confidence in the future, somehow.

  • William Ross 24th Nov '16 - 5:35pm

    CassieB

    I am sympathetic to you in your Labour heartland. But as an SNP Leaver, we used to have the same problem in Scotland but then things changed in 2015. I am against PR because it gives small centrist parties too much power. I am basically OK with FPTP.

    RE labour rights and environmental protection: we might disagree on details but it is surely up to us to enact our laws? It is so sad to me that you would rather rely on Brussels oligarchs and not our people.

    Mr Dyson has done a magnificent job for British industry and I am sorry to hear him being decried. Sometimes international optimisation makes sense and this kind of activity mean cheaper goods for British consumers.

    Now I must do some work!

  • @ AndrewR 24th Nov ’16 – 3:50pm
    “I wonder if you’ll be satisfied with the illusion of sovereignty and democracy you’re actually going to get. In reality post-brexit Britain will be run for the benefit of bankers and foreign corporate elites.”

    Democracy is no illusion. As Brexit proves it’s very real. The public forced the government to hold a referendum on the EU and despite the government and the establishments best attempts they voted for it. And it will happen too as despite the attempts of some the government aren’t stupid enough to try and stop it. That is what democracy looks like.

    Your vote always counts, even when you don’t get what you want. Not getting what you want doesn’t mean it’s not democratic.

    People used to say that their vote didn’t count in places like Glasgow because labour always won but that’s just not true, the votes count and people can easily change it and change it they did when they voted SNP.

    The EU however is an illusion of democracy, it’s got a parliament with no real power and unelected commissonares in charge.

    The country might well continue to be run for wealthy elites after Brexit as it is now, that will be up to the voters if they want to accept that or not. They might not allow that anymore. In the USA for example the voters in three neglected formally safe democratic northern states just decided they didn’t want the status quo anymore. Perhaps people will do that here too? I don’t know. But the people have the power to do that as we are a democracy. The people could even elect a lib dem majority government if they wanted to, if you don’t it’s because they don’t want to.

  • Expats; You quoted me completely out of context there, was that deliberate
    My point is not every one votes directly for personal gain, alot of people take a wider view. Actually £90.00 is a lot of money to me too, I earn far less than the average national wage and less than the maximum possible benefit package, granted not everyone gets that; I would have hoped that the idea that the best that anyone can do when voting is to vote for what they believe is best for the country and be willing to take the consequences of said vote.
    If you’re angry about your daughters situation then vote for the party you feel are most likely to make her situation better, but there is no need to be unpleasant.

  • Ok that bit on last post about being willing to accept the consequences of ones vote should have ended with ‘ is not particularly controversial’.

  • Richard Underhill 24th Nov '16 - 7:44pm

    There is a lot of political risk in the USA, consider BP for instance.
    Consider Volkswagen not being allowed to install air conditioners in cars, thereby making them unsaleable in many of the hotter states. Consider Chapter 11.
    We know what happened to Al Gore in court. These things also happen in business.

  • William: you may well be a Nationalist. But either a lot of people who voted No in 2014 changed their minds in a year, or they voted SNP in 2015 because it’s a left-wing party, whereas New Labour had moved away to the right and no longer represented them.

    I didn’t specify ‘PR’ as the fairer alternative. Personally, I quite like the French ‘two rounds’ system. Though I’m also fine with MMP, as you have in Scotland and we have in Wales.
    Why that’s good enough for devolved government but not for Westminster???

    As a Liberal, I am concerned about ‘the tyranny of the majority’. That’s why all this Will of The People stuff leaves me cold.

    (Dyson rejected Wales as a manufacturing base, in favour of Malaysia, according to Rhodri Morgan. That was his choice, but I think 800 jobs would have been more use than a few quid off the price of still-very-expensive vacuum cleaners).

  • J Dunn You know not what you say! You castigate Martin Schulz for being “unelected” in his leading role in the EP. Just the same as any other coalition / hung parliament / balanced administration in most places, certainly in this country. To describe a Parliament with leading members such as Martin, Guy Verhofstadt etc as a “circus of clowns” is extremely insulting, and untrue. MEPs are grouped in party groups, as they would be in a national Parliament. The fact that the Tories took the very unwise decision under Cameron’s direction to leave their major party group, the European People’s Party, and join a small group of nonentities does not invalidate the political and democratic nature of organisation within the EP.

  • Whenever we talk about Brexit we must recognise that many of those voting for it feel that they have been forgotten by those pushing for globalisation and we must try to identify how best to help those. I imagine these people as the ones who earn enough to struggle but not enough to be in receipt of focussed support and also have to watch by as those more privileged use the rules to make themselves better off while knowing the same rules don’t apply to them in the same way. Finding the action they took in their positing confusing shouldn’t mean avoiding rolling up sleeves to provide greater support and time for them.

  • @AndrewR 24th Nov ’16 – 3:50pm
    “In reality post-brexit Britain will be run for the benefit of bankers and foreign corporate elites.”
    Why is that not the same as has been happening in the EU?

  • @DJ
    Brexit has obviously caused a lot of consternation within Lib Dem ranks, the election of Trump in the USA has caused consternation amongst the left there.
    I don’t know if you’ve heard of him (I hadn’t until recently), but there is a professor called Mark Blythe who predicted Brexit and “Global Trumpism” (as he calls it). The link below if from a talk that took place post election, the whole thing is interesting but it is quite long, if you are short of time then jump straight to 13:09 to 18:55.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWMmBG3Z4DI

    So when the author writes “Just to be clear: I fully respect the will of the British people to live in prosperity. Consequently, I do not respect the result of a deceitful campaign that will lead them into more poverty.” many will give a very hollow laugh as they have no prosperity now and already live in poverty when in the EU.

    Now whilst I can respect what you’re saying as it displays quite a lot of compassion, will it actually do any good in the long run? What is needed is probably another reinvention of capatilism and a change of direction within the EU, but to do that you would probably need to wrestle control of the ECB away from Germany, which won’t happen.

  • Arnold Kiel 25th Nov '16 - 7:16am

    Dear P.J., your interpretation of “take back control” is an eyeopener for me. I had struggled a lot with the question how well-educated and -informed politicians could inflict Brexit on millions of their increasingly poor fellow-citizens based on such an empty and untrue slogan. Thank you. Viewed in this light, the decade-long anti-EU campaign by Tory and Murdoch suddenly makes “sense”: build a scapegoat. This, by the way, is the origin of the referendum, not a genuine popular will.

    Quite logically, HM’s Government has no intention to restore this cherished “control” to the UK’s elected legislative.

  • I fully agree with the post and I’m strongly against Brexit. That said, it’s worth trying to identify some opportunities, not least because the 2020 election will most likely be about making the best of it. Here are a few:
    – Clinical trials regulation. The 2001 Clinical Trials Directive is not the EU’s best work. It’s almost certainly possible to run more clinical trials in the NHS with better regulation. There are no doubt other rules that could be better.
    – Agriculture. Outside the CAP, it should be possible to design a policy that lowers food prices through imports, and better protects the British countryside by farming it less intensively. It will also be possible to revisit GM foods.
    – Carbon tax. Brexit is a chance to leave behind emissions trading and replace it with a carbon tax so polluters pay and renewables need less subsidy.
    It’s thin stuff compared with the lost trade and structural disruption but if we end up needing a positive agenda for Brexit then it is possible to think one up.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Nov '16 - 8:27am

    El Sid

    I think you misunderstood, I don’t think he or she does stand for that, rather, I think they were saying that the question of what will give us the most economic growth is not the only thing that drives voters.

    I understood perfectly. jedibeeftrix was saying that having low taxes and so low government spending and little in the way of legislation to protect people is the way to increased economic growth and productivity.

    Interestingly, I see that Anthony Hilton wrote something that said almost exactly what I was saying in the London Evening Standard here yesterday.

    In my view, the Brexit campaign was funded and pushed by people who wanted to distract attention to what was really happening and why it was happening: the failure of everything that Thatcherism and all the governments we have had since 1979 who have all followed that ideology, to achieve what they said it would achieve. So they blamed the EU for it instead.

    The shrill voices we are getting from the Brexiteers now “The people voted for it, how dare you say they were wrong?” are very much like what fraudsters say when they are challenged. Following your line, shouldn’t we never have had things like PPI compensation on the ground that when people agreed to pay PPI they knew what they were doing and it is an insult to suggest otherwise?

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Nov '16 - 8:35am

    RBH

    Outside the CAP, it should be possible to design a policy that lowers food prices through imports, and better protects the British countryside by farming it less intensively.

    And so makes us more dependent on other countries, who can control us because we are dependent on them for food? Plus loses jobs in agriculture.

    Brexit is a chance to leave behind emissions trading and replace it with a carbon tax so polluters pay and renewables need less subsidy.

    And a chance to scrap environmental protection, with unscrupulous big business putting out the line “You’d better do that, because we’ll base ourselves in whatever country lets us do what we like without stopping us”, so we and every other country feels forced to agree with them: our real rulers unless we challenge their power by international co-operation.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Nov '16 - 8:45am

    El Sid

    I do object to some of the bigotry and intolerance in some posts where people claim everyone who voted leave was just racist or prejudiced and that I’m to stupid to understand what I voted for and therefore my vote shouldn’t be counted.

    And I object to the way that those in favour of Brexit refuse to acknowledge why I and other who oppose it feel that way, and make false suggestions about our position. It became impossible to argue about it rationally because of that. As soon as you tried to argue against Brexit, you got shouted down and accused of being some elitist who despised the British people, and this was pushed again and again and again and again and again and again and again again by the right-wing press, and we see it still now: a closing down of real discussion by insistence that there are only two possible positions, either you agree with their line (because you accept what they say about the EU) or you agree with their line (because you must be one of those who is what they say all people who accept EU membership must be).

  • RBH, agriculture.
    Echo what Matthew says about dependancy. And I’d hope Leave voters actually back British farming, rather than wanting to undermine it.
    And as for GM… 20 years of ‘magic beans’ promises and how they are going to feed the world and save the day, and what have they got to show for it?
    Herbicide-resistant weeds and super-pests.

  • DJ.
    Sorry, but your appeal for sympathy with Leave voters comes over as patronising, and adds fuel to those who accuse Remainers of being being ‘elitist’.
    This Remainer has been a Jam pretty much my entire working life. And Brexit’s impact on the pound is already making things more precarious, job-wise.
    Feel free to roll up your sleeves and provide me with your support and time, though.

  • William Ross 25th Nov '16 - 10:20am

    Arnold

    You seem to have difficulty understanding that Brexit is not being “inflicted” on the British people. They voted for it, in a free referendum which Lib Dems spent their political lives trying to prevent. ” Democrats”?

    But I think I did provide you with a short statement of the economic case for Leave. This argument was made by our campaign incessantly for the whole campaign but you still don`t seem to grasp it.

  • William Ross 25th Nov '16 - 11:03am

    Simon

    I am astonished that you can ask whether it was a good idea to trust the British people with such a momentous decision. I fought and lost the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum but I would never question whether it was a good idea or not? Perhaps the SNP should just have declared UDI in 2011?

    I am lost for words… Trusting our people? An idiotic idea??????

  • William Ross 25th Nov '16 - 1:11pm

    Simon

    Ted Heath may have dragged the UK into the EEC through the European Communities Act but Wilson had the sense to see that a major constitutional change had to be ratified by the people. This happened in 1975.

    We could not vote for a Leave party because none such exists. A major constitutional change should be referred to the people. An in out referendum on Europe was actually Lib Dem policy!

    There is no difference in principle between EU and Scottish referendums. The election of
    a huge majority of SNP MPs would not justify a UDI. The SNP are clever enough to realise this.

    Martin raises the well-worn Remain refrain ( nearly poetry!) which is that the people were conned. They were not.

    There is no difference in principle between

  • William Ross 25th Nov '16 - 1:13pm

    A mistaken slip of the mouse for two ” differences in principle”!

  • @Matthew Huntbach @CassieB

    I don’t particular see the problem with depending on other countries for food. We already do. Does importing 40% of your food cause meaningfully greater problems than 30%?

    Re supporting farmers, I don’t see how any UK system can be as generous as CAP + EU trade protection. The Tory answer will be to slash regulation and have American style agribusiness. If there’s a way to keep farmers farming without that I’m all for it.

    GM might be part of the answer. I think the evidence points to higher farm productivity and significantly lower pesticide use. It’s a good debate to have.

  • Katharine Pindar 25th Nov '16 - 11:20pm

    I have much enjoyed reading the splendid arguments advanced above. which the Remainers appear to be winning, though I have to admire William Ross’s tenacity in continuing to advance his (at least here) hopeless case! But this week I have read about a new campaign group with high-level support, professional PR backing and huge funding, apparently aiming to prepare the ground for another referendum on the negotiated exit terms. Just like Liberal Democrat policy, welcome aboard! This leads me, however, to the dark suspicion that maybe there is a secret Establishment plan, endorsed under terms of absolute confidentiality by the lady herself, to force Teresa May eventually to concede the overturn of Brexit via a new referendum. Much what you would expect, actually, from our rulers – appear to go along with the people’s majority decision, but secretly plot to derail it. Tactics we honest and sincere Lib Dems wouldn’t countenance, but hey! it might give us the result we want in the end. A very good night to you all!

  • Dear William, I did not intend to ignore your arguments, but as they seem so counterintuitive to me, I am still struggling to understand them and formulate a response. Please accept, therefore, my current state of thinking:

    The UK is probably the most open economy in the world; I cannot imagine a single tangible product available here with 100% local content. The UK simply does not have the raw materials. Here, please do not only think about finished products, but the entire supplychain: your fish is caught in British waters by a trawler powered by Volvo Penta or Yanmar engines, your milk comes from British cows treated with antibiotics of global provenance, and I would doubt the milking machine was made in the UK. Everything tangible you buy has been on a truck with EU-components…

    In high value added services (e.g. banking, insurance, advertising, consulting, music…) I don’t think we have an argument: The dominant players here are global networks enjoying single-market advantages without incurring any global disadvantages from EU-membership.

    In low value services (hairdressers, retail, restaurants, nursing, cleaning, delivery etc.), if you disregard the material content, your 85% claim could be plausible, but look at the nationalities you meet in these places. None of these could function without immigration.

    You also assume that all EU-regulation is an unnecessary drag and should be abolished. That is clearly wrong: most of it is sensible consumer-, worker- or environment protection. If the so-called great repeal bill comes, all of this will become UK law. I am convinced, 95% of these regulations will stand future scrutiny (if victorious Brexiteers even bother to review them; so far, they have shown no attention to detail).

  • My final remark on unelected Brussels bureaucrats: the setup of the EU institutions was decided by all memberstates, and a democratically elected UK government decided to join. UK governments have ever since had their say in their evolvement. It is logical that a common market has common rules. I am glad that non-political specialists draft (for European Parliament approval) those rules and execute them. You enjoy calling these people bureaucrats, but let me point out to you that the professionalism, competence, and impartiality of public servants are decisive for our economic prospects and quality of life in general. Just compare the UK, Germany or France with Italy or Greece.

    In a world increasingly dominated by Trumps, Putins, Erdogans, Le Pens, Farages, Johnsons and the like, we should cherish any qualified professional who does his best to uphold rule-based governance without ever having to look at polls, work the press, campaign, in sum, trying be popular.

  • Arnold Keil

    “In a world increasingly dominated by Trumps, Putins, Erdogans, Le Pens, Farages, Johnsons”

    Do you seriously believe Boris Johnson belongs in a group with Putin and Erdogans? Or is it just the case that you think any politician who dislikes the EU must be an extremist. It’s little different from some people saying the EU is the new Soviet Union – it’s just plain wrong.

  • Arnold Kiel 26th Nov '16 - 3:58pm

    There is a difference: Erdogan, Le Pen and Farage believe what they say, Trump, Putin and Johnson don’t. What they have in common is disdain for anything but their own ambitions

  • William Ross 26th Nov '16 - 6:13pm

    Now I have had the time to read Arnold`s responses to my arguments.

    Arnold argues that the UK is a very open economy and that many if not most of our products have EU components. I agree with point 1 and partially agree with point 2.
    The 85% figure is made up of our internal trade ( the large majority) and our trade with the rest of the World. The latter is increasing all the time and the EU segment is decreasing. The EU is in a bad economic state. I am not sure if Arnold thinks that I want a less open economy? Nothing could be further from the truth. I want low to zero tariffs with the EU and low to zero tariffs with the rest of the World.

    Yes Arnold I accept that not all the Brussels regulations will disappear because quite a large percentage of these in any event derive from the WTO, on which we will soon have a voice again. Nonetheless according to Jeremy Paxman ( not a candidate for the UKIP leadership) some 60% of all our laws come from the EU meaning that they originate from the will of Jean Claude Juncker. Much of that law ( if far from all) is not in our interests and burdens our economy.

    I have no desire to shut up the drawbridge on immigration. My wife and son, like your family, are immigrants. My aged Mother is looked after by wonderful people from Colombia, Germany, Ghana and so on. I just want us to be able to admit whom we wish and need.

    On the democratic nature of EU evolution, your Euro-federal Head Guy Verhofstadt laments that the current EU is merely a ” weak confederation” which he wishes to replace with an all out federal United States of Europe. My guiding principle is that the people must approve constitutional change by referendum. No one in the UK ever voted for a “weak confederation” and if Remain had argued on that basis it would have been crushed. This is why Remain relentlessly focused on the economy without ever explaining Remain`s economic case. It was Project Fear ” stupid”.

  • Alex Macfie 27th Nov '16 - 9:30am

    @William Ross: IF people are “simply not interested” in what happens in the European Parliament, then they cannot complain if it passes law and policy for the EU that they don’t like. It’s the same as in any other election: if people don’t participate, that is their funeral. This does mean we should not look into WHY people are apathetic about European elections, which is that the political classes in this country have routinely ignored them. I think my own party is almost as bad as the rest in this matter. In the last European election, we said NOTHING about what our MEPs had done or would do AS LIBERALS to influence EU law and policy. Instead we had Clegg debating with Farage, in which Clegg essentially rolled over and accepted Farage’s terms of reference, i.e. that MEPs don’t matter and that the only two positions anyone can ever take on the EU are uncritical support or withdrawal. The UK political establishment’s policy of ignoring the European Parliament, which Clegg did not try to challenge, is the root cause of public apathy in European elections, and it is what allows people like you to crow that no-one’s interested and we should just abolish the institution.

  • jedibeeftrix 27th Nov '16 - 9:44am

    @ Alex – “IF people are “simply not interested” in what happens in the European Parliament, then they cannot complain if it passes law and policy for the EU that they don’t like.”

    I agree absolutely…. provided those people were short-sighted enough not to vote to leave an institution they did not care for. That, however, is not what happened.

  • jedibeeftrix 27th Nov '16 - 12:13pm

    @ El-Sid – “I think you misunderstood, I don’t think he or she does stand for that, rather, I think they were saying that the question of what will give us the most economic growth is not the only thing that drives voters. Nor should it be in my opinion.”

    You understand my position perfectly. Thank you.

    @ Matthew – growth in the post-fifties period was a point at which britain had excellent demographic and technological advantages comparative to the rest of the world.

    i.e. a a high ratio of (educated) workers to dependents, and working higher up the value chain bringing a greater profit in return.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th Nov '16 - 4:24pm

    Well, the original question still has not been answered.

    Brexiteers go on and on talking about “taking back control of our country” and similar language, as if everything that happens in this country is decided by the EU and we are like some colony of an EU empire, yet when asked for details, they can’t give any.

    Just give us some examples of things that Britain could do and the British people would like Britain to do that are being stopped be EU membership. If it was as the Brexiteers put it, that would be easy. So why can’t they do it? Why is it that all we get is vague hand-waving, and now shrill denunciations of any of us who question them “How dare you go against what the people want?”.

    The reason is clear: they made these grossly exaggerated claims, and got support because many people who are not clued up on the details believed them, believe that somehow many of the things that are happening in this country that make them unhappy are because the EU forces those things on us.

    If I am wrong, I can be shown to be wrong very simply: just give me a few examples. Name, for example, some of those British companies just waiting to give jobs to British workers in those former industrial areas of Britain where people voted Leave heavily, who are being stopped from doing so by EU membership. If what the Brexiteers say is true, there must be many of the, so that should be easy to do.

  • @ Matthew Huntbach. Agreed. Taking back control of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg would have been an interesting concept, but it would have made a fat lot of difference.

  • Katharine Pindar 27th Nov '16 - 10:38pm

    Matthew Huntbach and Alex MacFie – entirely agree with both of you, thanks!

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  • Chris Moore
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  • Tom Harney
    I find this article alarming. As a democrat I believe that a conference is a means of the members of a party having a say in the running of the party. I note al...
  • Jeff
    ‘Is there a quasi-60 years' oscillation of the Arctic sea ice extent’ [2015]: https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/38582/ The Arctic sea ice expe...
  • Jeff
    Russia’s dependence on Chinese markets, sanctions busting finance and political support is turning it into a vassal of Beijing. Maybe they should ho...