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What the fuck!? The thread formally known as "I haven't heard a single compelling reason for Britain to leave the EU." - Page 2

post #51 of 1423
So if the good people of UK vote for Brexit, what are the odds that that results in Wales and Scotland voting "yes" for independence, and then joining the European Union?
post #52 of 1423
Close to zero. Mikepants will correct me if I'm wrong but Wales hasn't shown much interest in independence.

Another Scottish independence referendum is completely off the table with the oil price this low.
post #53 of 1423
For now, that is true.

I was against independence last time around, but if Britain leaves, my view on Scottiah independence will completely change. For entirely selfish reasons. If it declares independence, it will be the closest place in Europe I can move to without learning a new language. Ireland is also a possibility, and I hold an Irish passport, but my wife hates the place.
post #54 of 1423
Thread Starter 
There hasn't been much call for Independence from Wales but in the last few weeks people are becoming much more aware of the aid and funds that Wales gets from the EU. Something like £500 million a year, so who knows?

I sadly dont have much to contribute to the thread as I'm certainly among the unwashed masses struggling to keep up with all the facts (and I use the term loosely) being paraded about.

Anyone I talk to who will vote leave is doing so because of "immigration" they can't elaborate on that, it's just "immigration". I genuinely think alot of people think they are simply voting to stop "immigration". Any side effects or consequences just don't matter, it's terrifying.
post #55 of 1423
Thread Starter 
Jhp I didn't realise you were Irish. I was born in Dublin, my wife also hates it.
post #56 of 1423

The Scottish Independence movement will also depend on how many Scots vote for Brexit. There's a current movement in Scotland to vote Brexit just to get rid of Cameron - if Brexit happens, he's probably toast. Dumb though, as the government will essentially refuse to allow another referendum for the SNP because they'll claim the Scottish wanted Brexit as much as the English.

 

If anyone jumps back into the European fold though, the Scottish will be the first and if the economy tanks, everyone will corral the wagons around London, so the provinces will suffer, which could well motivate a resurgent Welsh independence movement.

post #57 of 1423

What the fuck? I thought a major issue between the Scottish and the English was the former were more pro-EU.

 

Talk about cutting the nose off to spite the face.

post #58 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike's Pants View Post

Jhp I didn't realise you were Irish. I was born in Dublin, my wife also hates it.

Half on my mum's side. I'm also French Swiss and German, hence the total lack of nationalism in me!

I like the craic but it ain't no way to run a country. Or to put it more insightfully, Ireland is so small and lacking in the four quadrants of a self-sustaining and pluralistic economy that it's horribly unequal: corrupt and materialistic on the one hand; earthy and fun, but dirt poor on the other. Living in neither condition appeals particularly. Which is a shame because there could be such warmth and cohesion if they could just be less reliant on services and find some other, sustainable but productive, exporting industries.
post #59 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

What the fuck? I thought a major issue between the Scottish and the English was the former were more pro-EU.

Talk about cutting the nose off to spite the face.

Yep. The strategy, such as it is, would be to then go indy and ask to become part of the EU. Such is the unlikely economic story of an independent Scotland at the moment that the chances of the EU agreeing to take on yet another poor relation is very unlikely. The nationalists answer to that is to keep the pound, but the lack of control over monetary policy was one of the knots they didn't manage to untangle well enough the last time,
post #60 of 1423

So, today we've had one of the leading lights of the Brexit campaign leading a flotilla of Scottish fishing boats up the Thames to advocate leaving the EU because of the long slow death of the fishing industry. Never mind that as a member of the European Parliament he hasn't been to more than 1 meeting in 42 on the subject and missed key votes on reform proposals to shift power back to the national governments. Also, let's only mention in passing that the primary cause of the decline of small fishing enterprises in the UK is the industry consolidation precipitated by domestic political decisions after they were handed back by Brussels.

 

Anyway, so the flotilla heads down to central London whereupon Sir Bob Geldof, late of the Boomtown Rats and Live Aid, like a scruffy Walter Raleigh leads a fleet of RIBs and other inflatable boats to intercept the Brexit armada. Cue the trading of insults over megaphones, the trolling press photos of the Brexit politican by raising huge "Remain" flags behind him as the pictures are taken, V-signs and water cannon fired from the fishing boats in defence.

 

What a farce. Like something out of an Ealing comedy, our democracy has been reduced to aquatic handbags between a be-blazered narcissist and a washed up rock star. The home of the mother of Parliaments, the split atom and Bobby Charlton.

 

Jesus wept.

 

At least we got this fine comparison between the Brexit douche and Alan Patridge. Which kind of almost made up for the nationally embarrassing shit show. 

 

post #61 of 1423
Lol yup that sums it up. A depressing couple of days, with this shit show, yesterday The Sun backing Brexit and the Leave campaign pulling ahead in some polls.
post #62 of 1423
post #63 of 1423

Rule Britannia.

 

Apparently Westminster gossip is that postal votes are heavily leaning towards Brexit. There is some sampling that happens prior to polling day, I understand, so there may be some basis for it. That or canvassing.

 

What a month to give up drinking.

post #64 of 1423
post #65 of 1423

Bears out the reports that the positive correlation between increasing age and likelihood of voting to leave is turned on its head when you get to the 75+ demographic.

post #66 of 1423

A female Member of Parliament for the Labour Party has just been shot in Yorkshire. Early reports possibly suggest attacker shouted out "Britain First" before shooting her, although that is unconfirmed. If true, it would be on the same day that the main party angling for Brexit unveiled this poster as part of a mainstream political debate.

 

 

post #67 of 1423

It's interesting that all the political players in Europe focus on the symptom of massive immigration while ignoring the causes (turmoil in the Middle East and Africa). 

 

If the US/UK/EU ( and let's throw in Russia and the Arab League because why not?) acted to definitively solve the Syria crisis (even if it meant Assad remained in power), the mass immigration's would be mitigated at least. 

 

It's like world leaders have finally decided to throw up their hands and pretend the Middle East doesn't exist even while they freak out about the consequences. 


Edited by Cylon Baby - 6/16/16 at 8:37am
post #68 of 1423

I'm not sure politicians are ignoring Syria so much as being distracted by more immediate issues and lacking any popular mandate to engage materially because of the electorates' hangover with the failed expeditionary missions of the last decade and a half. Aside from debt, the massive influx into Europe is the immediate problem that needs addressing. That political debate has focused on the issue to the detriment is perhaps not that surprising.

 

Now, you could well argue it is the responsibility of good leadership to lead on these issues and move the populus to where you want them to be, but as we're seeing in Britain at the moment, the current crop of politicians are either doing deals with the devil to advance their own agendas, or running scared from the forces so unleashed. They don't really understand and don't appear to have the political capital left to confront the electorate on these issues in any meaningful way.

post #69 of 1423
The Labour MP who was attacked has died.

Corbyn's statement:

"The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family - and indeed the whole country - will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today.

Jo Cox had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity. She worked both for Oxfam and the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund, before she was elected last year as MP for Batley and Spen – where she was born and grew up.

Jo was dedicated to getting us to live up to our promises to support the developing world and strengthen human rights – and she brought those values and principles with her when she became an MP.

Jo Cox died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for us all.

Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour colleagues, but across parliament.

In the coming days, there will be questions to answer about how and why she died. But for now all our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children. They will grow up without their Mum, but can be immensely proud of what she did, what she achieved and what she stood for.

We send them our deepest condolences. We have lost a much loved colleague, a real talent and a dedicated campaigner for social justice and peace. But they have lost a wife and a mother, and our hearts go out to them."
post #70 of 1423
post #71 of 1423
Thread Starter 
Absolutely awful. There were reports that the guy shouted 'Britain First' but that hasn't been confirmed.

Awful.
post #72 of 1423
in her maiden speech she passionately defended the EU and immigration, which had 'enhanced her community':

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jo-cox-passionately-defended-immigration-8209267
post #73 of 1423

Cox's assailant reportedly said "Britain First" (a reference to a political party with no representation in Parliament that has more in common with a paramilitary group), but that hasn't been confirmed by any credible sources yet. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if her passionate advocacy for the EU - and the rights of migrants in particular - played a role in this. Passions have been running high on both sides of the debate, but the Leave campaign - not just its more radical elements, mind you, but visible, mainstream members of the campaign across a variety of organizations - has engaged in demagoguery while barely offering a word of protest against the racist, nationalist, and in some cases violent forces that are receptive to its unchecked rhetoric. Ukip's poster of a horde of refugees that will supposedly "break" Britain is the latest example of campaigners legitimizing fears of the Others and their government enablers. Stop them before it's too late! Take back our country from the enemies! No, these campaigners didn't pull the trigger or draw out the knife used to kill Cox, but their actions have created a toxic environment that may provide people predisposed to violence with that extra push.

 

If anything good can possibly come from this tragedy, let it be a recognition that words from individuals in positions of power have consequences (even if the decision to target and murder Cox was ultimately her attacker's); and second, a more rational debate that doesn't bring out the worst instincts of a polarized country is desperately needed.  

 

There has to be a better way.

post #74 of 1423
I feel very despondent about the whole situation. It's too early to say much about the killer and his motivations, but on some level I can't help but see it as a physical manifestation of where the country has been driven, psychologically.

I don't think two referendums in as many years, both proposing we tear up alliances that have been around before most of us were born, has been good for the national mindset at all. My feeling is that instead of encouraging people to accept we all live on the same planet together and figure out how to muddle through, it's fostered a spiteful "fuck you we'll go our own way" attitude in the face of ideological disagreements.
post #75 of 1423
post #76 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco Senior View Post

Cox's assailant reportedly said "Britain First" (a reference to a political party with no representation in Parliament that has more in common with a paramilitary group), but that hasn't been confirmed by any credible sources yet. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if her passionate advocacy for the EU - and the rights of migrants in particular - played a role in this. Passions have been running high on both sides of the debate, but the Leave campaign - not just its more radical elements, mind you, but visible, mainstream members of the campaign across a variety of organizations - has engaged in demagoguery while barely offering a word of protest against the racist, nationalist, and in some cases violent forces that are receptive to its unchecked rhetoric. Ukip's poster of a horde of refugees that will supposedly "break" Britain is the latest example of campaigners legitimizing fears of the Others and their government enablers. Stop them before it's too late! Take back our country from the enemies! No, these campaigners didn't pull the trigger or draw out the knife used to kill Cox, but their actions have created a toxic environment that may provide people predisposed to violence with that extra push.

If anything good can possibly come from this tragedy, let it be a recognition that words from individuals in positions of power have consequences (even if the decision to target and murder Cox was ultimately her attacker's); and second, a more rational debate that doesn't bring out the worst instincts of a polarized country is desperately needed.  

There has to be a better way.

I think I would go further than this.

UKIP's surge in popularity since 2008 has been not simply because working class people felt left behind but specifically because the party has been prepared to campaign on the promise to reduce the number of foreigners in the country. It's recruits, councillors and candidates became quite openly drawn from the proper hard right parties that didn't used to be given the time of day in mainstream politics, but UKIP were prepared to put lipstick on those pigs because their intent was to campaign on a message those from the far right would align with and put energy into campaigning for. Farage after all was the guy who, amongst many other things, said that it was uncomfortable hearing foreign languages being spoken on the train and that you would be scared if Romanians moved in next door.

It hasn't stopped with him though. To press their narrow agendas, and personal quests for power, the mainstream mostly Tory politicians who have campaigned for Brexit have emphasised sovereignty and taking back control, concepts that have been barely defined, that have been presented as being solutions to ill defined threats to the electorate, and are also code words for regaining control of the borders because they want to appeal to those who think that it's the immigrants what are not to blame for nothing. They want to appeal to the racist, xenophobic and nationalist constituency that UKIP corralled. They've very deliberately put Farage up front and centre for the last two weeks as they've realised blaming immigrants and presenting exit as a simple way to reduce their numbers is an appealing message to more people than is comfortable. They are doing this because unless you convince people that they are under threat and that the ills of society are caused by, and solved by reducing, immigration, there isn't really any other reason to leave.

The more mainstream exit campaigners may officially distance themselves from the harder core, but they don't stray very far, and they very willingly campaign on moderated versions of the toxic arguments in order to leverage off the support of the nastier elements of the Brexit base to get what they want. In doing so they legitimise these toxic views. They blur the lines with talk of the trade deals we could do, or appealing to the long gone ancient bucolic paradise of ye olde England, but the key message and appeal for many (not all, of course, but a large majority) is loud and clear and appalling.

It's not just silence, or turning a blind eye. It's complicity pure and simple, and both ends of the Leave campaign should be ashamed of themselves.
Edited by jhp1608 - 6/16/16 at 1:42pm
post #77 of 1423
post #78 of 1423

I'm shocked that I missed this thread.  Thanks for the sound opinions, guys.  I feel like I know a bit now.

post #79 of 1423
This is what accused murderer Tommy Mair said in court today:


Take a look at @BBCDanielS's Tweet: https://twitter.com/BBCDanielS/status/744096403094409216?s=09
post #80 of 1423
Thread Starter 
I have to bite my tongue because I know Jo Cox didn't die because of the Leave campaign. I know that cunt is a psychopath who just latched onto something and no doubt would have killed someone for another reason.

But this culture of fear and mistrust is being cultivated by the countless lies and fudged figures. Farage and friends are so good at saying "foreigners are to blame for everything" without saying "foreigners are to blame for everything"
post #81 of 1423
I'm genuinely scared what this country will become next week. It feels like it's going to be the first major victory for the absolute worst members of our society, the small-minded xenophobic thugs without a shred of compassion, and I hate the idea of these people being 'proven right'. How the likes of Farage going from laughing stock to voice of the people, essentially using Nazi propaganda, has gone unchecked scares the piss out of me.

On another horrible subject, Britain First have apparently taken this pic down from their site in a hurry, allegedly showing Jo Cox's murderer 'campaigning' for them....
post #82 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mintadon View Post

I'm genuinely scared what this country will become next week. It feels like it's going to be the first major victory for the absolute worst members of our society, the small-minded xenophobic thugs without a shred of compassion, and I hate the idea of these people being 'proven right'. How the likes of Farage going from laughing stock to voice of the people, essentially using Nazi propaganda, has gone unchecked scares the piss out of me.

On another horrible subject, Britain First have apparently taken this pic down from their site in a hurry, allegedly showing Jo Cox's murderer 'campaigning' for them....

Hadn't seen the story about that photo. Is it in the mainstream media yet?

There are a few ways this could go. It could be shrugged off by enough people as a random loony attack and the leave crowd continue with the anti-immigrant rhetoric. It could affect Farage's visibility for the rest of the campaign, but I think he has pretty much done the damage he came to do. It could neutralise immigration as an issue in the debate. I doubt this, but you never know.

Boris and Gove and the rest will try to rise above it and diminish its relevance, but the interesting thing is that much of their rhetoric has focused on sovereignty and taking back control, and that is a much less focused message if you have to down play the borders as the main thing you want to take back control of.

Most likely, the average English voter will do the expected thing. Join in with vicarious concern, insist it has nothing really to do with how THEY think of the immigration issue (but it is all about the strain on our public services, honest) and vote as they were always going to.

Most annoying things of the day: the Daily Mail and the other Brexit papers going out of their way to avoid labelling the murder as having anything to do with the far right and anti-immigrant sentiment, and certain commentators victim shaming by not just putting this in context of the decline in trust in politicians but strongly implying that perhaps it wouldn't have happened if politicians didn't have such a justifiably bad rep. Maybe, but murdering someone has no equivalence with being a bit crafty with the price of a duck house.
post #83 of 1423

A reasoned and impassioned argument for Brexit:

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/12/brexit-vote-is-about-the-supremacy-of-parliament-and-nothing-els/

 

And a Pollster writes in Time that Brexit is not only likely, but is part of a larger trend across Europe.

 

http://time.com/4364697/brexit-frank-luntz-poll/

post #84 of 1423

Sovereignty arguments are so damn easy though.  But they'll always be easy.  While that's not all there is to that particular argument that is the core of it and there's been few times where you point to the relationship as anything but messy and compromising of a given nation's sovereign independence.  It's only really a big deal now because things are a mess in the wake of the GFC, especially, and foreign wars are causing a grand exodus.

 

I'm no expert.  The EU may be completely incapable of reform in its current incarnation and painted itself into an unforseen constitutional corner.  I don't know.  But crises come and go.  In terms of long global trends, so long as we intend to keep moving down the neo-liberal path of letting people pursue and agitate for (and pretend they live in, to some extent) a stateless world of virtually free movement of capital and labor  there will be an increasing need for supra-national entities with some actual teeth - assuming we don't plan on abandoning  human rights and democracy altogether (which seems like it could happen sometimes).  So it's important we try and get this stuff right at some stage, rather than throw up our hands every time things get a bit rough.

That's why the binary choice here scares me.  It's too easy to say no.  And it sounds like it scares him too, to an extent.

post #85 of 1423
Thread Starter 
post #86 of 1423
There is a lot of nonsense being peddled about sovereignty and the nature of our relationship with the EU.

1. The U.K. retains all the important aspects of sovereignty. It can remove EU law from its legal system through ordinary Act of Parliament. The PM himself can start the article 50 process without parliamentary approval. No meaningful change can occur to the EU - and this includes the accession of Turkey, the existential threat de jour - without triggering the obligation to hold a referendum on whether to accept it. We are currently excising our sovereignty. We won't lose the right to do if we remain. No one is threatening to take it away from us.

2. What we have voluntarily accepted through treaty is the contingent abrogation our sovereignty within certain areas. In order to achieve the purpose for which we have accepted these limitations, you need a court to regulate the behaviour within those limits. Its jurisdiction is entirely subject to continued voluntary acceptance. Unlike an individual in a state, the state can simply exercise its rights to leave, disapply the court's jurisdiction and there we go. There is nothing "imperial" about the relationship, no matter what weasel words sceptics like Pritchard throw about to colour their argument.

There is a clash, in some respects, between the English constitutional tradition and the European. We aren't a constitutional democracy, so we are not used to the idea of a court capable of overthrowing the legislative acts of a democratically elected body as they are on the continent. For sure you can debate that at an academic level, but if you are going to use it as a justification for placing the country at significant risk (which Pritchard acknowledges) you simply have to either have some pretty concrete examples of how the country has been adversely affected in the past by this or a damn good, and well founded, explanation as to why it will or is highly likely prejudice us in the future. Especially since we have the right to bail in the future if any such adverse action becomes more proximate.

3. Within the scope of those areas where the UK has agreed to be bound until it says otherwise, or within which it has agreed that rules made other than entirely by itself will be upheld by its courts and not legislated away by Parliament, the U.K. exercises very significant influence. Depending on the legislative act, the decision either requires unanimity (in which case the UK's sovereignty over the issue is absolute) or can be passed despite dissension from a minority of countries. Even within that, the U.K. is on the side of the majority many, many more times than it isn't, and where it isn't you will struggle to find anyone who has more than a grumbling irritation about it. In fact, shedloads of EU law stems from national sponsorship, and the U.K. is responsible for promoting as much new law historically as anyone else.

4. These decisions are accountable to the general electorate in each country through (a) the domestic political process and (b) a separate EU electoral process. That the electorate doesn't engage on these issues is partly because no one makes them engage. What happens at the Council of Ministers doesn't get much say in national elections. That isn't because there is a conspiracy to keep the electorates in the dark, it's because the topics covered by 99% of EU law are not that controversial. In fact, if you ask most people they don't even know what it does cover, and when you tell them they glaze over. Until someone starts winding them up about sovereignty of course, then suddenly they give a shit. There isn't an unrepresentative cabal at work. It's predominantly run as a technocracy because it is predominantly a technical endeavour. Where the rules need to change there is limited sovereignty for the least controversial issues, and absolute sovereignty for the more sensitive ones.

To take Pritchard as an example, many of those complaining about the "lack of sovereignty" or taking back control are wilfully misrepresenting the nature of the EU's constitutional relationship with Britain, and wilfully misrepresenting the extent to which the UK government, Parliament and electorate can have influence (and in the case of the government, do have significant influence, in many important cases actual negative control, and in the case of both the government and Parliament retain the permanent right to leave). Throwing around perjorarives and treating sovereignty as an indivisible end in itself doesn't help the debate. If you can't point to material examples where the continued voluntary acceptance of the contingent necessary primacy of certain rules has been or will be bad, or an actual threatened extension of that voluntary arrangement, you aren't making a good argument. Banging on about decision making in respect of a mechanism - the euro - we chose, note chose as a sovereign nation, not to belong to, as intimating some vague notion of future threat is just scaremongering and prejudicial.
Edited by jhp1608 - 6/19/16 at 3:59pm
post #87 of 1423

There appears to be a sizable contingent of left-wing supporters of Brexit who think Britain's exit from the EU would benefit their cause.  Their general argument goes something like this: the EU is a capitalist institution oriented towards capitalist values that affords certain privileges to rich Western countries while excluding poorer, non-Western ones.  It could also prevent a left-wing government from implementing its agenda, as occurred to some extent in Greece.  All of these things are true, but here's the issue:  Britain doesn't have a left-wing government and is unlikely to elect one unless there is a massive shift in the views of the electorate.  EU law may occasionally constrain governments on the left, but it also constrains governments on the right by protecting freedom of movement for a subset of migrants, ensuring minimum standards for workers' rights and environmental protections, etc.  Leaving the EU at this point would result in a post-exit government led by Boris Johnson and a great deal of suffering in the short term.

 

I would be more sympathetic to the Lexit position if I knew that a post-exit future held more promise for left-wing governments.  Like supporters of the Bernie or Bust movement, Lexiters are political fantasists who are willing to risk massive short-term suffering - including the erosion of rights for workers and migrants - to advance an uncertain long-term goal.  The EU is an imperfect institution that must be reformed to address the legitimate concerns of its critics, but leaving now would be the greater of two evils, so to speak.

post #88 of 1423
I'm slightly drunk so apologies if this is a bit rambling.

The EU is a hybrid...thing...and it provokes hybrid reactions from a hybrid coalition of supporters.

On the one hand you have an ontological justification that markets, trade and transnationalism is normative and progressive. All very neo-liberal before anyone coined the term. On the other hand you have temporary shifts in the political substance; one moment a socialist consensus towards collective rights, the next a broadly conservative consensus towards private capital.

In a sense it is an amplifier running a few years behind the state of the art of political thought. What makes it valuable is that at its heart it is an expression of consensus. That contingent constitutional settlement I was talking about above is everything. It establishes a centre of gravity that can alter around the edges but the core, accreting over time, remains.

That again, prompts a hybrid reaction from those of us who value it. Preserving what has come before is inherently conservative, something that appeals to many who have enjoyed greater liberty and opportunity, both material and psychological, because the nations of Europe have not just found another, better, outlet for conflict but have moved closer together than ever before. In turn, it appeals from a progressive standpoint, an ideal of changing perceptions, removal of barriers and universal identity within an environment that prioritises (again ontologically) the individual.

That has brought together the most curious and yet strangely optimistic of coalitions; the young, the progressive, the grateful middle class, and those old enough to remember why the idea of nationalism was so toxic. Binding them all together is a belief in the intrinsic potential of individuals, that peace is better than war, and that voluntarily putting distance between the gains of the past and the vicissitudes of the present is more than just a compromise - it's a necessity to defend against the politics of fear and anger.

No doubt the management of the eurozone has challenged those perceptions. None of us on the outside have looked at Greece and thought this should be repeated. Is that a harbinger of doom, though? A return to the bad old days of German hegemony? I really don't think so, no matter how easy it is to drum up outrage by repeating the slogan.

The reason for such optimism? No-one at the heart of the European project wants to see war on the continent ever, ever again. If you can bank on anything, it is that. No matter how awkward the conversation may be there will always be limits on the true expression of purely national interest while there is an EU. For once that is a feature not a bug, and that is more than we have ever been able to say for a very long time. We cast it away, individually, nationally or, in time, continentally, at our peril.
post #89 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhp1608 View Post


The reason for such optimism? No-one at the heart of the European project wants to see war on the continent ever, ever again. If you can bank on anything, it is that. No matter how awkward the conversation may be there will always be limits on the true expression of purely national interest while there is an EU. For once that is a feature not a bug, and that is more than we have ever been able to say for a very long time. We cast it away, individually, nationally or, in time, continentally, at our peril.

 

 

I'm reading a book called the Death of Money and the author makes this point...the EU was created to eliminate the chance of a general European war. Also, that there have been attempts to unify Europe dating back to Charlemagne. 

 

Which makes me wonder if the current inability of the EU, NATO or single European powers to deal effectively with Middle East Turmoil, immigration or Russia a result of the EU project's success?


DISCUSS!

post #90 of 1423

I can't understand how anyone can think that "going it alone" can mean anything for the UK other than a slow slide into being a client state of the truly major world powers. The City and the housing bubble can't carry the whole country forever.

 

However, as a very committed European Federalist the possibilities of a European unification without the UK's constant sabotaging are not wholly unappealing to me.

post #91 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post
 

 

 

I'm reading a book called the Death of Money and the author makes this point...the EU was created to eliminate the chance of a general European war. Also, that there have been attempts to unify Europe dating back to Charlemagne. 

 

Which makes me wonder if the current inability of the EU, NATO or single European powers to deal effectively with Middle East Turmoil, immigration or Russia a result of the EU project's success?


DISCUSS!

 

There have been a few examples in history where individuals or nation states have sought to create imperial control over all or much of mainland Europe since the Romans and the rise of nation states. Napoleon is the first and obvious one that springs to mind, as well as Hitler, both through force of arms. The Catholic Church tried to do it through doctrine and . 

 

There have been other attempts to create a voluntary, transactional, arrangements; when they have been forged they, not unsurprisingly, coincided with prolonged periods of peace (longer in fact than was achieved through war, but not as long as was achieved through metaphysics. One precursor to the various European communities established after the end of the Second World War was during the hundred year period from 1815 to 1914 where a concept called the Concert of Europe was promulgated among government leaders and through a series of separate ad hoc congresses among the individual nations created something of an expectation and framework within which international issues were discussed and consensus achieved. Unfortunately, it relied on the perceived balance of powers between the participating nations and fell apart under the stress caused by various nationalist movements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if the lessons from the breakdown of that informed the thinking around the EU; focusing on one standing aspect of international relations - economic activity - as the focus for co-operation. as opposed to dealing across the whole range of interaction and looking at things as they come up, and the actual delegation of decision making powers in respect of that aspect to a consensus driven process at a supranational level. There is an essential logic to that of course. If you want to take competition for resources off the table as a reason for war, increase the sense of common interest and neutralise conflict through institutional means, and your solution is a common and later single market, then you logically need to establish a non-national rule making process and make those rules binding. 

 

The ontological basis for the EU as a peace project is very much up front and centre if you do even the most basic of 20th century European history. Thing is people do have a habit of forgetting. World War 1 and 2 were absolutely devastating for the continent in ways that no conflict before had really come close. Whole populations were sucked in and made party to the conflict; there was death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. Nationalism was at the heart of it all. From an informed European perspective the idea of resurgent popular nationalism and states seeking to re-emphasise their primacy at the cost of the project can't just be seen as a phase in the continual ebb and flow of international engagement. It has all the historical characteristics of an existential threat.

post #92 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post
 

I can't understand how anyone can think that "going it alone" can mean anything for the UK other than a slow slide into being a client state of the truly major world powers. The City and the housing bubble can't carry the whole country forever.

 

However, as a very committed European Federalist the possibilities of a European unification without the UK's constant sabotaging are not wholly unappealing to me.

 

I have a similar view on federalism. There are moments when dark thoughts give way to bargaining optimism when I wonder if the removal of recalcitrant Britain would be better for the EU and its continued evolution. Alas, I suspect that this will not be the immediate and possibly long term political consequence.

post #93 of 1423

But is it Sabotage or the UK being the "Loyal Opposition"? 

 

These concerns aren't wholly without basis in reality. If I were Stelios I'd be looking at the Greek economy and how it's fared in the EU compared to, say Germany, and I'd be pissed. 

post #94 of 1423

Our economy is not the EU's fault. Their early panic and stubbornness have contributed to an extension of the crisis but the EU wasn't the cause of the initial failure or of our current state.  

post #95 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post
 

But is it Sabotage or the UK being the "Loyal Opposition"? 

 

These concerns aren't wholly without basis in reality. If I were Stelios I'd be looking at the Greek economy and how it's fared in the EU compared to, say Germany, and I'd be pissed. 

 

Recognising the pejorative nature of the word "sabotage", I think there is a big difference between arguing minority views around a table, but accepting the legitimacy of the majority view, and peddling nonsense and fear to stick a spanner very deliberately into the project as a whole. On the whole, the UK is a constructive and committed part of the EU decision making process. On big, existential issues though, the UK is quite out of step with the majority of the other member states, consistently placing a more inward looking conception of national interest ahead of developing a European political and diplomatic identity. Now, you can of course argue that thing like staying out to the euro was a good decision, but on the other hand you could also argue that it fit within a pattern of refusal to make certain steps forward that in turn could well have made the overall project more secure and convincing. 

 

Not only that, but that approach is broadly accepted among the electorate because of the constant narrative that the EU is run by faceless bureaucrats determined to strip the British people of their hard worn freedom for the benefit of weaker and less virtuous countries. That is a narrative, subjective and pejorative in nature, and is generated by people who do not wish the European project unqualified success, or are prepared to weaken the prospects for that project in order to maintain their own political standing or other even less worthy interests.

 

I think that is where I would look to justify a word like "sabotage". This is an interesting example of what I mean...a journalist who used to work in Brussels shortly after Boris Johnson (a leader of the exit campaign) was the Telegraph correspondent on the EU.

 

"Appalled as I am at the prospect of my country voting to leave the European Union next week, I am hardly surprised. 

For 25 years our press has fed the British public a diet of distorted, mendacious and relentlessly hostile stories about the EU - and the journalist who set the tone was Boris Johnson.

I know this because I was appointed Brussels correspondent of The Times in 1999, a few years after Johnson’s stint there for The Telegraph, and I had to live with the consequences.

Johnson, sacked by The Times in 1988 for fabricating a quote, made his mark in Brussels not through fair and balanced reporting, but through extreme euro-scepticism. He seized every chance to mock or denigrate the EU, filing stories that were undoubtedly colourful but also grotesquely exaggerated or completely untrue.

The Telegraph loved it. So did the Tory Right. Johnson later confessed: “Everything I wrote from Brussels, I found was sort of chucking these rocks over the garden wall and I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England as everything I wrote from Brussels was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party, and it really gave me this I suppose rather weird sense of power."

Johnson’s reports also had an amazing, explosive effect on the rest of Fleet Street. They were much more fun than the usual dry and rather complex Brussels fare. News editors on other papers, particularly but not exclusively the tabloids, started pressing their own correspondents to match them. By the time I arrived in Brussels editors only wanted stories about faceless Brussels eurocrats imposing absurd rules on Britain, or scheming Europeans ganging up on us, or British prime ministers fighting plucky rearguard actions against a hostile continent. Much of Fleet Street seemed unable to view the EU through any other prism. It was the only narrative it was interested in.

Stories that did not bash Brussels, stories that acknowledged the EU’s many achievements, stories that recognised that Britain had many natural allies in Europe and often won important arguments, almost invariably ended up on the spike. 

Boris Johnson is now campaigning against the cartoon caricature of the EU that he himself created. He is campaigning against a largely fictional EU that bears no relation to reality. That is why he and his fellow Brexiteers could win next week. Johnson may be witty and amusing, just as Donald Rumsfeld was in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, but he is extremely dangerous. What began as a bit of a jape could inflict terrible damage on this country.

Fight back!!!!!!"

 

It's hard to argue a counter-factual like what if Britain was as enthusiastic a Member State as certain other European countries, so I'm not going to overstretch the point. That the EU could well improve if Britain was not part of it is not an unreasonable conclusion.

 

This is also a video well worth watching. 

 

https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2016/06/16/watch-dishonesty-industrial-scale-eu-law-expert-analyses-referendum-debate/


Edited by jhp1608 - 6/21/16 at 4:43am
post #96 of 1423

I'm not smart enough to have an informed opinion on this but I would never listen to a fucking thing that Nigel Farage says.  Like, ever.

Have you seen that smug prick's face? He looks like every snooty british villain in history. Only uglier. 

 

I thought John Oliver made the case for the UK to remain in typically great fashion.

 

post #97 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Codename View Post
 

I'm not smart enough to have an informed opinion on this but I would never listen to a fucking thing that Nigel Farage says.  Like, ever.

Have you seen that smug prick's face? He looks like every snooty british villain in history. Only uglier. 

 

I thought John Oliver made the case for the UK to remain in typically great fashion.

 


That is incredibly spot on. Well, apart from the bit about how we have sex over here. He forgot to mention the hole in the sheet and the bags over the head...

post #98 of 1423
Thread Starter 
Watching the debate. I think I love Sadiq Khan.
post #99 of 1423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike's Pants View Post

Watching the debate. I think I love Sadiq Khan.

The remain team, as ever, are struggling to compete with the vacuous yet superficially appealing soundbites the outies keep repeating. I've stopped watching. My blood pressure isn't doing well.

 

Who would you say is winning?

post #100 of 1423
Thread Starter 
Ruth Davidson. She's brilliant.

It's difficult to judge. The audience seems split down the middle. Everytime someone says "Australian style points system" or "take back control" the audience audibly groans (and I take a shot!). But at the same time there are rousing cheers when Andrea Leadsom gives some vague worry about "our children". It's a room full of people who made their mind up.

It's massively frustrating to watch.
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