Free movement in the EU and control of our borders

One or two very welcome guests below the line at Liberal Democrat Voice have challenged us to talk more about immigration in the context of the EU referendum. Because people want the UK to “take back control of our borders”. So here we are.

Of course we do have control of our borders. We are not part of Schengen, and there is nothing they could do to make us join. We have our own immigration policy, subject, as with all policy, to treaty obligations. The specific treaty obligation of interest here is the provision in the Treaty of Rome to allow the free movement of labour between members of the EU: a right exercised by 2.2m Brits living and working elsewhere, and by 2.3m other Europeans in the UK. Brexiters may also talk about the refugee crisis, but this is just an attempt to smear by association – the treaty obligations and benefits at stake in the referendum relate to the rights of EU citizens.

Now don’t forget that it is scaremongering to question whether we will have access to the single market post-Brexit but it is worth noting that the free movement of labour also applies to Switzerland (who has only partial access to the Single Market) and to Norway, and that these two countries are often held up as examples of the sort of happy trading relationship outside the EU that might be available to us. (A relationship that also involves following the single market rules and paying into the EU budget.)

I wrote a few days ago about the game theory of post-Brexit negotiations, and it is sober reading for anyone who thinks our negotiating position would be a strong one. All I need add here, is that, while, yes, Germany wants to sell us BMWs, the other 26 including Poland and Bulgaria will have a veto on the trade deal. They do not want to, and should not, sign up to the national humiliation of a deal providing for the free movement of British goods without the free movement of Polish and Bulgarian labour.

How did we get here? We joined the EEC because it was in our interests to do so, free movement being one of the benefits. And we supported the expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe because it was in our interests to do so – to comprehensively win the cold war, to advance and entrench democratic values in our former enemies with the offer of full membership of the Western European club of nations. Some of the resistance to expansion at the time was from European federalists who rightly feared that a wider Europe would not be a deeper one, but the British view prevailed. Had it not, the events in Ukraine might be happening in Poland today, with the rest of eastern Europe under Putin’s control.

So now some want Britain to turn round and argue that it is all very well having free movement with the richer countries of western Europe, but to extend it to the east represents an intolerable loss of sovereignty. This is to wish away a foreign policy triumph for which we’d have given our right arms in the 1980s. It is to say to the East, that yes we offered you full membership, we said you could be our equals, but we didn’t mean it. Thoroughly dishonourable.

Free movement of labour across the whole EU is something to support, not just because we should keep our promises, but because it is a mutual benefit to the people of all the member states. It is not a loss of sovereignty, it is something that a responsible sovereign government signs up to for the benefit of its electors, as ours did. Freedom to trade without freedom to travel is a one-sided freedom that elevates the commercial interest above the human.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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55 Comments

  • (Thank you Joe – will have a read later – is there anyone in the Lib Dems who will write a fully pro-Brexit article, as they most/all seem to be overall pro-EU – thank you, indeed.)

  • Barry Snelson 1st Mar '16 - 5:02pm

    I regard this as wishful thinking based on a very trusting view of “game theory”.
    The idea that BMW, Mercedes, Audi, VW, Porsche, Fiat, Citroen, Renault, Peugeot and countless suppliers of food and drink and all the engineering companies are going to forego the huge UK market because of a Maltese or Slovenian veto is laughable. You’ve seen the power of Germany. What’s the game theory for “you little people shut up and get back in your box”? Where there is an economic imperative there will be a way found. The desire of the Poles to live in the UK will cut no ice in the Bundestag. When the terms are agreed we should send someone like Trump and not someone clutching a book on game theory.

  • Richard Underhill 1st Mar '16 - 5:59pm

    Philip 1st Mar ’16 – 4:57pm BMW bought and improved Cowley, making MINIs and, after buying the Rolls Royce brand, built a new factory to make large luxury cars which sell well around the world, made in Britain. Have a look at The Economist magazine. Read what Christine Lagarde thinks.
    Joe Otten | Tue 1st March 2016 – 4:43 pm Central and Eastern Europe please, Prague is west of Vienna, as German Liberals repeatedly told us.
    “2.3m other Europeans in the UK” please replace ‘Europeans’ with ‘EU citizens’ if debating with opponents.
    The future of Poland is speculation. Alternative universes are also speculation. When Poland had a referendum on joining they were aware of their history, positioned between Germany and Russia and are now aware of Moscow’s attitudes, while living in peace with Germany.
    Six Liberal MPs were in favour of joining from the start, at Messina, as Nancy Seear and others told us at the Liberal Summer School. Tory and Labour MPs were united in their small c conservatism.

  • Richard Underhill 1st Mar '16 - 6:01pm

    Joe Otten 1st Mar ’16 – 5:33pm What percentage of the vote did the current government receive in May 2015?

  • Barry Snelson 1st Mar '16 - 6:28pm

    Joe,
    I’m still undecided but these bizarre gymnastics are seriously counter productive and I’m starting to see what Boris was saying (OMG! nurse! the screens!).
    All this bogeyman stuff such as Malta forbidding billions of German and French exports is naivety at a level I’ve never seen before.
    There are serious questions
    what will be Europe’s eastern border?
    what restraints exist on ‘rogue’ states to unilaterally grant mass citizenship to millions of migrants?
    why haven’t the accounts been audited?
    why is TTIP being kept so secret?
    etc
    If these can’t be answered, say so. We won’t be forced to accept free movement to trade with the EU any more than China has accepted it, we won’t be forced pay for access either and trade arrangements will end up the same as they are now.
    I’m still in the remain camp but only just.

  • Personally, I think the UK should join Schengen. Operationally, we’ve already done most of the work through the free movement agreements. We would still be able to have border controls at ports of entry into the EU (which, in the case of the UK, is any port or airport)

  • “a right exercised by 2.2m Brits living and working elsewhere, and by 2.3m other Europeans in the UK”

    Those figures are way off. You seem to have gone for the time-honoured method of choosing the best available numbers to support your case, regardless of how out of date, inaccurate and incomparable they are.

    The oft-quoted figure of 2.2m Brits “living” abroad comes from an old IPPR report which :-
    * is based on rough 2008 estimates
    * includes a lot of people who spend only a short period of the year relaxing at their holiday homes in Spain, France etc

    Your figure of 2.3m “Europeans” living in the UK is at least more up to date and reliable, based as it is on official EU-wide census data from 2011. If you’d wanted to be consistent, you could have used the same 2011 EUStat data to get a figure for the number of Brits living elsewhere in the EU. Trouble is, if you’d done that you’d have had to cut your figure by half.

    According to the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford: “Definitive data shows more than 1m UK-born migrants in other EU countries, but 2.6m EU migrants in the UK”. That’s a gap of around 1.5m, and this is based on 2011 census figures; since then we’ve had another four years worth of six-figure net annual immigration from the EU, so the gap now is likely to be getting on for 2 million.

    See :-

    http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/press-releases/definitive-data-shows-more-1m-uk-born-migrants-other-eu-countries-26m-eu-migrants-uk

  • Barry Snelson
    You’ve had it clearly and patiently explained to you why it’s rubbish and still you bounce back with the ‘they’ll want to sell BMWs so we can trade’ line. It’s simply not true. The EU is the trade deal. If we tear up the trade deal, there isn’t a trade deal. And a long list of countries (all of whom have a veto over any possible deal) are going to be very offended about how we’ve just told their hard working nationals to sod off. Please understand that. It’s not difficult and it’s vital to Britain’s survival.

  • @Chris
    ““We need to be in the Single Market for trade”. Not true. The largest sources of imports into the EU are Russia, China and the USA. They’re not members of the Single Market – they don’t even have preferential trade deals. Yet they sell huge quantities of goods into the Single Market. Dozens of countries around the world trade successfully with Europe – and so will Britain after Brexit.”
    http://www.ukip.org/busting_the_eu_myths
    Facts dear boy, facts?

  • Graham Evans 2nd Mar '16 - 8:04am

    Those who are argue that on Brexit countries such as Germany will offer us a good trade deal because they will need to in order to continue to export to the UK seem to have forgotten that Britain is highly dependent on importing manufactured goods. Despite all the rhetoric about wanting to build up our manufacturing base there is no evidence that this will, if ever, happen soon. When it comes to manufactured goods the UK is a sellers market, so our bargaining power on this score is very weak. In services, particularly financial services, we are strong, and it is in our interest to continue to fight to ease up restrictions, but this can only be done within the EU. Moreover, while not as strong as London, Frankfurt and Paris would be able to use Brexit to strengthen their positions both within the EU and globally. I have no doubt that in the long run the UK (less of course Scotland) could survive outside the EU, but of course in the long run we are all dead.

  • @Graham Evans

    “the UK (less of course Scotland) could survive outside the EU, but of course in the long run we are all dead” – morning Graham.

  • @Graham – I heard oil is about $30/barrel and their exit plan was at maybe $110/barrel – how would Scotland leave the UK under those circumstances?

  • Graham Evans 2nd Mar '16 - 8:14am

    @ Philip The only thing Russia exports to the EU of major significance is energy, so this has little relevance to the UK, and while China is seeking to move up the high tech manufacturing curve, it still remains essentially an exporter of low value added goods. It is only trade with the US which has major relevance but on this score too we are a dependent, not an equal partner.

  • I simply cannot understand the “they will still want to sell BMWs, etc., etc.” The only thing that would stop imports of goods would be if the UK imposed a trading barrier. I think there are some Brexiters who are in favour of trade barriers, but others who are completely opposed.

    The question is about the UK selling and offering services outside its borders. The EU rules are really quite straight forward, within which particular trading may be negotiated. The only particular agreement that could be easily and quickly adopted is membership of the EEA. The problem for the UK is that the export of goods is much less than the imports while for services it is the converse and it is the service sector, particularly financial services that is most at risk from a Brexit.

    In any case this is not to the point. The EU has its origins in a vision of a Europe in which the imperatives for resolution of conflict far outweigh the tendencies towards settling conflict by force. Unified markets and unified standards for working conditions, representation and standards are means towards this end. If as a nation we cannot share the basic precepts of the EU, we will remain a dead weight on the ability of EU ministers to hammer out common resolution to the difficulties faced by European states.

  • Graham Evans 2nd Mar '16 - 8:19am

    @ Philip Like the Brexiters, the SNP under plays the problems associated with break-up, but like the Brexiters they rely more on an emotional appeal than a rational one, and often emotion wins the day.

  • @Martin

    “The EU has its origins in a vision of a Europe in which the imperatives for resolution of conflict far outweigh the tendencies towards settling conflict by force.”

    Would you support the following scenario?

    “Such a political and economic union, possibly also including a common defence policy, would thus involve a massive loss of national sovereignty, which would ultimately leave member states with somewhat less power “than the autonomy enjoyed by the states of the USA”.”

    http://campaignforanindependentbritain.org.uk/britain-europe-bruges-group/

  • Graham Evans 2nd Mar ’16 – 8:19am
    @ Philip Like the Brexiters, the SNP under plays the problems associated with break-up, but like the Brexiters they rely more on an emotional appeal than a rational one, and often emotion wins the day.

    1 If I have ever claimed it will all be something like “a wonderful dream”, please quote where I have done that: of course, you or anybody else will not find that – I just have less hope in the EU, than what Brexit might perhaps entail.
    2 I have quoted numerous links stated facts and asked for rebuttals: mostly never given – if you think you are up to it, please rebut this link point-by-point: http://www.ukip.org/busting_the_eu_myths .

  • @Graham

    “like the Brexiters they rely more on an emotional appeal” – of course in the long run we are all dead” – your comments noted.

  • Denis Loretto 2nd Mar '16 - 8:47am

    About 45% of UK exports go to the rest of the EU. Under 7% of exports from the rest of the EU go to the UK. Also, think about the situation concerning services, upon which the UK enormously depends. Here is what distinguished economic journalist Anatole Kaletsky says –

    “The economic challenges of Brexit would be overwhelming. The Out campaign’s main economic argument – that Britain’s huge trade deficit is a secret weapon, because the EU would have more to lose than Britain from a breakdown in trade relations – is flatly wrong. Britain would need to negotiate access to the European single market for its service industries, whereas EU manufacturers would automatically enjoy virtually unlimited rights to sell whatever they wanted in Britain under global World Trade Organization rules.

    Margaret Thatcher was the first to realise that Britain’s specialisation in services – not only finance, but also law, accountancy, media, architecture, pharmaceutical research and so on – makes membership in the EU single market critical. It makes little economic difference to Germany, France, or Italy whether Britain is an EU member or simply in the World Trade Organisation.”

    And by the way can we please get rid of the allegation about failure of the EU to have its accounts approved by its auditors. Here’s the truth. Every year the EU budget is audited by the independent European Court of Auditors. Every year for the past seven years the Auditors have signed off the accounts as being reliable and accurate. And every year, British media have claimed that the EU accounts haven’t been passed by the auditors at all.
    For example the European Court of Auditors stated, when presenting their report for 2013, their conclusion that the 2013 accounts present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the EU and its results for the year. They made some recommendations for improvement but don’t auditors always do that?

  • The problem for the UK is that the export of goods is much less than the imports while for services it is the converse and it is the service sector, particularly financial services that is most at risk from a Brexit.

    No financial services isn’t the one at most risk, just the most visible. BREXIT would place the UK outside of the EU with respect to data protection, putting the UK in a similar position as the US – where the EU court has determined the “safe harbour” arrangements are incompatible with EU law. Hence we can expect any EU business to withdraw it’s data processing and storage operations from the UK and for UK companies with operations in the EU to be denied business in the EU (because they are controlled from outside of the EU). Given how the IT sector and data processing sector is a massive part of the future, BREXIT can only negatively impact our ability to operate in these markets.

  • a common defence policy, would thus involve a massive loss of national sovereignty, which would ultimately leave member states with somewhat less power “than the autonomy enjoyed by the states of the USA”.

    Philip:

    That looks so very much like a description of NATO. Is that your point?

  • @Denis Loretto – interesting post from the journalist – here is a video I watched, which has some interesting points pro-Brexit – did you also see it: “Professor Minford Should Britain Leave the EU?”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITRRBlrQVEY and this is a book he wrote: http://www.patrickminford.net/europe/book_index.html on the same topic (I have not read it yet)?

  • @ Martin

    The whole quote was:

    “Such a political and economic union, (AND) possibly also including a common defence policy, would thus involve a massive loss of national sovereignty, which would ultimately leave member states with somewhat less power “than the autonomy enjoyed by the states of the USA”.”

  • “How did we get here? We joined the EEC because it was in our interests to do so, free movement being one of the benefits.”

    Joe,

    That is the problem in a nutshell, who decided it was in our interests to do so?

    Certainly not the British people, and I’m not even going to give credence to the 1975 referendum, I think Philip has holed that argument below the waterline with his links on another thread.

    Who decided that we should integrate further handing over huge amounts of our governance in the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties, with a deliberate policy of denying the electorate a voice in the debate.

    Certainly not the British people.

    The British people have decided that they no longer want immigration on the level it currently is, and they no longer trust your side of the argument to act in their interests on the matter. That is the core of the matter, you are considered untrustworthy. The Remain camp are saying that the Brexit campaign has to define this or define that, sorry to have to burst your bubble but no we don’t, it is the Remain side that has a monumental and perhaps impossible task to mitigate to the British people their 40yrs of deceit in 4 months.

    All three parties have conspired at various times to bypass the views of the British public to enforce creeping integration including open borders. The records of all three parties are there for all to see, ( isn’t the Internet a wonderful tool of democratic accountability) claiming that mass immigration from the EU would not happen, claiming it would not impact on wages, doomesday scenarios if we didn’t join the ERM or Euro etc, etc. You have cried wolf on that many occasions that it barely registers with the public anymore

    Remain is stuffed because of one word TRUST, you are not trusted to tell the truth on any matters relating to the EU, perfectly exampled by the current risible scaremongering campaign, an own goal hat trick if ever there was one. Immigration will decide this referendum, and if you have nothing serious to offer to reduce it and control it other than wordy rhetoric, then the Europhiles might as well pack up their tents and go home.

  • @Denis – P.S. that is the top comment re: Professor Minford’s video: “Fine work by Professor Minford. His arguments are well based and well within the realms of being factual. ” –

    And this is his Wikipedia page:

    “Patrick Minford CBE (b. 1943) is a British macroeconomist who is Professor of Applied Economics at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, a position he has held since 1997. He was Edward Gonner Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Liverpool from 1976 to 1997.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Minford

  • Philip:

    And… ?

    I am referring to the bit about defence. If you are looking fro a possible lack of sovereignty look no further than a conflict between Russia and Turkey. As members of Nato the UK would be obliged to be involved, irrespective of considerations of sovereignty.

  • @Martin

    The EU “mission” is about “ever closer union” re: “political and economic union, (AND) possibly also including a common defence policy” – http://www.http://europesworld.org/2016/01/28/ever-closer-union-next-europe/#.VtaygX2LQkV

    Regardless of what David Cameron thought he achieved, Boris Johnson for example thinks otherwise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcEshuR4wk0

    Michael Gove wrote:

    “Even though we are outside the euro we are still subject to an unelected EU commission which is generating new laws every day and an unaccountable European Court in Luxembourg which is extending its reach every week, increasingly using the Charter of Fundamental Rights which in many ways gives the EU more power and reach than ever before. This growing EU bureaucracy holds us back in every area.”

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/michael-gove-why-im-backing-leave/

    The EU and NATO are not identical.

  • Stephen Way 2nd Mar '16 - 9:50am

    Regarding Defence, and speaking as a former serviceman, neither NATO nor any future EU shared capability would affect Sovereignty. Martin is quite right that we would be obliged through a joint NATO command to defend an attack on a fellow NATO member – it is that that helped secure the Sovereignty of member states during the Cold War, a War Putin seems intent of resuming.

    There are limits to NATO joint defence issues. Let’s not forget that when a UK protectorate was invaded in 1982 we were on our own…

    If anything between Trident and the new multi role aircraft our Defence systems are too reliant on the USA not the EU. To put that in some context there is a growing possibility that Donald Trump will decide whether our Nuclear Deterrent remains serviceable…

    On Trade I think both sides are wrong about trade with the EU. We will neither be shut out, nor will we suddenly become more attractive to outside investment. We will however lose the ability to negotiate trade deals further afield as such a significant block and that is one of my main reasons for wishing to remain.

  • @Raddiy – missed your comment – yeah, “nice one”.

  • @Stephen Way: “We will however lose the ability to negotiate trade deals further afield as such a significant block and that is one of my main reasons for wishing to remain.” – I maybe heard on the Daily Politics, that as part of the EU, the UK must leave its seat on the WTO and is represented by a Swedish psychologist representing the EU (I kid you not) – can do more research as required.

  • Graham Jones 2nd Mar '16 - 9:59am

    Among all the comments about exports v imports, could someone please shed some light on the proportion of our trade which involves the movement of parts, which is sort of neither one or the other. Every day there are trains each way between Ford Dagenham and Spain, for example. I suppose one could extend this to services, but let’s just stick to manufacturing for now.

  • Who decided that we should integrate further handing over huge amounts of our governance in the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties, with a deliberate policy of denying the electorate a voice in the debate.

    Certainly not the British people. Raddiy

    I’m surprised that you are unable to answer that question yourself: it was a ‘sovereign’ government, elected by the “British people” – just like the one that the Leave campaign want!

    As I’ve indicated on elsewhere, the Leave campaign doesn’t solve our fundamental problem, namely the Westminster crowd ignoring the UK electorate.

  • @Roland:

    ““There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.”” Edward Heath – http://campaignforanindependentbritain.org.uk/britain-europe-bruges-group/

    “As I’ve indicated on elsewhere, the Leave campaign doesn’t solve our fundamental problem, namely the Westminster crowd ignoring the UK electorate.” – nice point – new party / PR?

  • Alice Caswell 2nd Mar '16 - 11:16am

    I find a very troubling attitude comes from those wishing that the referendum wasn’t happening at all. Many of those same people have openly said that they want the referendum as quick and early as possible because they anticipate the EU getting in a worse shape over the course of this year. This looks a bit like saying lets get the vote over quickly before the voters realise that they’re being sold a pup. I wouldn’t buy a car from a salesman with that attitude and I’m not clear why I would trust the views and motives of someone selling a quick EU referendum on that basis either.

  • @ Roland

    Touche!

    Sovereign governments and coalitions in this country have had their cosy relationships ripped assunder by the rise of the SNP, UKIP, Greens etc. They can no longer act with impunity as their ability to control the agenda has been destroyed by the internet and social media, evidenced by the stuttering and daily discredited Remain campaign. I doubt the events of 1973/75 would succeed today.

    What sort of sovereignty would we have, well that will be the battle going forward, to ensure that we have one that reflects the will of the people.

  • @ Graham Jones
    “Among all the comments about exports v imports, could someone please shed some light on the proportion of our trade which involves the movement of parts, which is sort of neither one or the other. Every day there are trains each way between Ford Dagenham and Spain, for example. I suppose one could extend this to services, but let’s just stick to manufacturing for now.”

    Graham this from from the SMMT( Society of Motor Manufacturers), sorry I haven’t got a link.

    “Less than 40% of the total spend in the UK supply
    chain is currently sourced locally indicating a reliance on
    international suppliers, the majority of which are within
    the EU
    In the UK, 37% of the total value of spend in the supply chain
    (£33 billion in 2012) is currently sourced locally. Depending on
    the manufacturer, between 20-50% is imported from the EU
    and the rest from outside the EU.

  • Denis Loretto 2nd Mar '16 - 11:42am

    @Philip
    The link you have provided above gets us into a lengthy article (by whom?) which seems to date back to 2001. Buried in it is this interesting section –
    “In all this sorry fog of deception and falsehood, there is one last vitally important issue which still remains to be decided, and it is the one on which everything else will in the end be seen to rest. If Britain is finally to be absorbed into this new country we are allowed to call anything but a“superstate”, there is one crucial act of surrender we still have to make: that of our currency. Because the one thing without which a nation cannot be considered a nation is its money. So long as Britain fails to join the euro, it can never be fully part of this new nation with which in almost every other respect she is now so comprehensively enmeshed.”

    I need hardly point out that (a) we did not join the euro – thank you, Gordon Brown – and (b) Cameron has reaffirmed that and gained important assurances that non-eurozone countries will not suffer discrimination for maintaining that status. Indeed the best of both worlds.

  • @Phillip
    No, we are full members of the WTO, membership of the EU allows us to negotiate from a position of greater strength. We choose to negotiate this way because it suits us and achieves better deals…

  • “membership of the EU allows us to negotiate from a position of greater strength” – Steve, is it not the case that we have to give up our seat to an EU representative when dealing re: EU matters?

  • @Denis Loretto – yes, but who knows re: the euro down the way.

  • “EU referendum: Ex-Tory chancellor Lamont backs EU exit” – this is an intersting article from the BBC – he claims Brexit is better for immigration/democracy and that economically the UK is in a reasonable position by Brexiting.

    He claims that: the EU “repeatedly demonstrated contempt for democracy”. and that by staying in: “the EU will continue to integrate come what may”.

    Here is the link to the BBC to read more if anyone is interested: bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35702830.

  • Would Philip like to confirm or deny that he is a member of UKIP ?

    Cuckoos and nests comes to mind.

  • Norman Lamont also claimed that: “Britain had “lost control of its borders”, arguing that there was “no economic case” for “immigration in the hundreds of thousands”. Would be interested to hear comments regarding the article from either side of the EU debate.

    Also, like Boris Johnson, he writes that it is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity”.

  • @David Raw

    Never joined UKIP – am supporting http://www.grassrootsout.org a cross-party out campain – am not a member (or paid staff) of any other party, or indeed a paid member of any political group – nor am I following instructions from anyone to write here – perhaps yes, hard to believe, I debate because I actually believe what I am advocating (am self-employed online = flexible schedule).

    “Would Philip like to confirm or deny that he is a member of UKIP ?

    Cuckoos and nests comes to mind.” – please feel welcome to withdraw your comment at your leisure.

  • Sorry, that is the wrong link of the group I support re: Brexit – this is the correct one: http://www.grassrootsout.co.uk .

  • @Phillip
    No, we choose to negotiate as a group for the collective benefit. It allows our niche businesses to benefit from trade deals that would not have otherwise happened.
    It just makes sense to join together where there is a common benefit.

    Where there is no common benefit we are free to negotiate bilateral arrangements.

  • Peter Hayes 2nd Mar '16 - 3:58pm

    ISTM that the sovereignty argument is flawed. If powers should be taken back from Brussels then Scotland could make the same argument about Westminster. In fact Westminster is less democratic that Brussels with first past the post where a government can be formed with 1/3 of the vote and hundreds of appointed members of the upper house compared with a proportional voting system.

  • ISTM that the sovereignty argument is flawed. If powers should be taken back from Brussels then Scotland could make the same argument about Westminster

    No, because the UK is one country and Westminster is is sovereign parliament. People from Glasgow and Gloucester, Belfast or Brecon, all are British and all have equal say over the laws and future of the country.

    Europe is not one country. Its people are not one people. A German having a vote over laws which affect Britain is in no way the same as a Welshman having a vote over laws which affect London.

    It simply is not the same thing. The UK is a country. Europe is not.

  • Sorry, mistyped: ‘is its sovereign parliament’.

  • I’m sad to say it but I think we need to come out because the EU has failed the British working class. The political establishment despise the British working class so they never took their needs into account when they choose to allow uncontrolled migration from Eastern Europe. The lib dems are no different to the other two as the coalition proved. Nevertheless, what goes around comes around so it’s time to give a resounding leave vote.

  • @Rsf7 – The cause of the problem (unconstrained immigration) you are referring to, is at Westminster – Remain or Leave, neither will solve the problem – In fact leave and the EU might simply develop rather slippy shoulders and fast track the millions of economic migrants who are expected to arrive in Europe in the next two years, on to cross channel ferries…

  • @Roland

    The parties at west minister want large scale economic migration because it makes the economy bigger though rising house prices, increased demand and cheap labour for businesses.

    It also makes those at the bottom of the economic ladder worse of but no party could care less about them.

    The EU has provided them with the perfect cover to do this. Let’s take that excuss away from them. I think we need to leave.

  • @Rsf7 – he parties at west minister want large scale economic migration because it makes the economy bigger

    Well new Labour wanted large scale immigration for reasons that verge on ethnic genocide against the native population of these isles. The current government needs large scale economic immigration to perpetuate our bubble economy!

    Yes, it is there in the Chancellors 2015 autumn statement, he is banking on on-going largescale immigration to create ‘growth’ so that the government can balance the books. As any one knows a bubble economy will ultimately fail because it cannot pull in enough new money to maintain its growth. Hence the questions are when will our econmy crash and burn and will it be sooner rather than later and what are we able to do to mitigate the worst excesses… In my opinion, Leave is inviting us to take a walk off Beachy Head…

  • Ronnie Shakespeare 13th May '16 - 9:28pm

    It seems to me uncontrolled free movement of people in the EU can not work properly for the UK because of infrastructure problems. It’s got to be controlled free movement of people in the EU for it to work in the UK. If the EU leaders don’t change this policy quickly they will eventually screw up the EU.

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Recent Comments

  • Russell
    Just listened to Friday's the newsagents pc on Rochdale election. All parties got a mention except Liberal Democrats...
  • Nonconformistradical
    "Henfield is outside the Horsham constituency." Indeed - it's in Arundel & South Downs - a no-hoper. We're usually 2nd but a very long way behind the tory....
  • Katharine Pindar
    @ Simon R. I don't know what party you can support, Simon, but I do observe that the Conservatives have made a poor shot of growing the economy, for all their y...
  • Nonconformistradical
    @Graham Jeffs The local authority / constituency boundary problem will be around until there is wholesale reform of our fossilised political system. In some ...
  • Mary Fulton
    I'm not sure it is wise to compare funding levels to the year just before the liberal Democrat's backed the Conservatives to impose austerity budgets. We should...