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Thread: If you're from an EU member state, would you say the institution benefits or hinders your country?

  1. #1 If you're from an EU member state, would you say the institution benefits or hinders your country? 
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    I'm British, and I think we should leave the EU. I'm prepared for flames, but I can take it lol..

    I don't think membership has truly benefitted us. Our economy has performed in spite of it, and not because of it as the original reason for joining has not been fulfilled. We were concerned that the then EEC countries were growing at higher rates than us, however it needed Thatcherism and North Sea oil to revive the UK economy.

    Also, the major reason British people are traditionally Euro-sceptic is IMO historical. The founding members of the now EU had all either lost WWII, or had been invaded by Germany during the conflict. So with much of the industry destroyed, they needed to co-operate to sustain economic recovery and of course forestall any potential war between them. Despite being a victor in the war, the UK had traditionally held greater interests overseas (in "the Empire") so it didn't feel the need to integrate as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. did.


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    im not even gonna answer on this


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    From the US perspective, after spending trillions defending Europe as well as blood in two major continental wars where countries the size of Texas counties just can't help kicking the crap out of each other every couple generations....well the EU looks pretty darn good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    I'm British, and I think we should leave the EU. I'm prepared for flames, but I can take it lol..

    I don't think membership has truly benefitted us. Our economy has performed in spite of it, and not because of it as the original reason for joining has not been fulfilled. We were concerned that the then EEC countries were growing at higher rates than us, however it needed Thatcherism and North Sea oil to revive the UK economy.

    Also, the major reason British people are traditionally Euro-sceptic is IMO historical. The founding members of the now EU had all either lost WWII, or had been invaded by Germany during the conflict. So with much of the industry destroyed, they needed to co-operate to sustain economic recovery and of course forestall any potential war between them. Despite being a victor in the war, the UK had traditionally held greater interests overseas (in "the Empire") so it didn't feel the need to integrate as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. did.

    Alot of British people are eurosceptic, there is certainly nothing wrong with holding that viewpoint, at least nothing that should see you being flamed. I would however ask you to look very closely at just how intertwined the UK actually is within the European Union and everything that accompanies said entanglement.

    This is really quite important because it helps explain why we are in the EU, and why the UK's three main political parties have ensured we stay in the EU for this long. By this I mean they have believed for a very long time that the benefits outway the disadvantages. We have a voice in world politics that would be considerably diminished if we leave the EU, or permanent UN Security Council Seat may well be at risk. We would be shut out of the decision making process for the whole of the European trading block, yet still subject to it's rules and regulations for all aspects of trade.

    Also there are millions of expatriates living across Europe who's automatic right to live there will be put in serious jeopardy. Isolationist type policies have traditionally been very damaging to nations throughout history, as they often fall behind more cooperative competitor nations. The potential for our economy to fall off a serious cliff is huge and at a time when our borrowing is rapidly heading towards the £1 trillion pound mark it is a massive risk to take.

    The people who could possibly benefit from a withdrawral from the EU are only the very few wealthiest of our society that will be able to expand the widening gap between rich and poor into a gaping chasm with no European regulations to enforce workers rights, human rights, rights to housing ect..., and given the number of clashes the government seems to have with the EU over basic freedoms it seems highly likely they will seek to remove them without such oversight from the European Court.

    Now stack everything we face to lose against the dribble being peddled by far right political parties such as the BNP or UKIP and it doesn't bear looking at. In return for all our risks and losses we might save a few quid from our contribution to the EU budget, alot of this money we get back anyway and not just from the rebate but from money payed out in inititives across the UK to help with poverty, employment, farming, technological advancement and transport (you don't hear so much of this being explained by Nigel Farage).

    Then of course there is the loss of access to areas such as the European banking sector, investors wanting access to the EU market arn't going to be looking at Britain anymore that's for sure. Also many of the businesses already here might decide to jump ship, I for one will be heading North of the border if we ever do withdraw from the EU, because there is no way in hell the Scots will put up with an EU exit.

    Most of the media stories about foreigners in Britain are blantantly propaganda to sway public opinion, and whipped by politians using the European issue to further their own political carreers and feed into people's fears.

    So I would ask anyone who thinks leaving the EU is a good idea to really look into all the facts, not just believe the propagada and I'll leave you with this one last thought, if leaving the EU is such a good idea then how come there are so many countries lining up just desperate to be allowed in?
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post

    This is really quite important because it helps explain why we are in the EU, and why the UK's three main political parties have ensured we stay in the EU for this long. By this I mean they have believed for a very long time that the benefits outway the disadvantages. We have a voice in world politics that would be considerably diminished if we leave the EU, or permanent UN Security Council Seat may well be at risk. We would be shut out of the decision making process for the whole of the European trading block, yet still subject to it's rules and regulations for all aspects of trade.
    That's true. America keeps treating the UK like its little sister. At least in the EU they will get respect.

    It's going to be very interesting watching the EU and the USA emerge as the world's two superpowers. And not even hate each other.

    Instead of a "Cold War", it will be more like a series of friendly squabbles. There are still conflicting economic interests, so it won't always be a smooth ride. But at least it won't be a matter of fundamentally opposed ideologies, or anything like that.

    Also there are millions of expatriates living across Europe who's automatic right to live there will be put in serious jeopardy. Isolationist type policies have traditionally been very damaging to nations throughout history, as they often fall behind more cooperative competitor nations. The potential for our economy to fall off a serious cliff is huge and at a time when our borrowing is rapidly heading towards the £1 trillion pound mark it is a massive risk to take.
    Compared with the USA's 17 trillion, you guys are practically misers.


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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    That's true. America keeps treating the UK like its little sister. At least in the EU they will get respect.
    Don't be silly. We don't do respect in the EU. We do pragmatic cooperation. Respect is for nations who lack confidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It's going to be very interesting watching the EU and the USA emerge as the world's two superpowers. And not even hate each other.
    Don't be silly. China and India will be the superpowers.

    Study after study shows that we are better of in than out. Most people who are against the EU aren't too sure about the folks in Wales, or those damned northeners, or the stick up home counties bunch.

    That said, the EU is sorry need of a complete overhaul. Democracy is being systematically eroded and power handed to unelected officials. That is where we should focus our outrage and our concerns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    That said, the EU is sorry need of a complete overhaul. Democracy is being systematically eroded and power handed to unelected officials..
    Of course, last time they tried to reverse that trend a certain Mrs Thatcher vetoed it.

    It is ironic that nutters like UKIP complain about the lack of democracy in the EU when they can easily get a few seats there compared to Parliament where they have ... how many was it again? Oh yes, zero.
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    Im not from the EU, and it appears very undemocratic to me. Im generally more favourable to local democracies that cooperate (bottom up) and against federations that eventually shift power to the top and impose decisions in a top-down one way street that can easily be opposed by the people affected (imposition of policies that the people dont want, which is not democratic).
    If you can understand French, theres a politician in France named Asselineau (not sure of spelling) that has a very interesting presentation about the EU, who is very much against it and shows a number of aspects about its bureaucracy, conflicts of interest, shift-of-power away from the people, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Im not from the EU, and it appears very undemocratic to me. Im generally more favourable to local democracies that cooperate (bottom up) and against federations that eventually shift power to the top and impose decisions in a top-down one way street that can easily be opposed by the people affected (imposition of policies that the people dont want, which is not democratic).
    If you can understand French, theres a politician in France named Asselineau (not sure of spelling) that has a very interesting presentation about the EU, who is very much against it and shows a number of aspects about its bureaucracy, conflicts of interest, shift-of-power away from the people, etc.
    Unfortunately there do seem to be a disturbingly large amount of conspiracy theories been perpetuated about the EU, very few are have any actual basis in fact and even when they do it seems the facts are being used in a highly dubious manner. Suprisingly, despite the propaganda, the way the electoral system works for EU far more people's wishes are actually represented at European level than in most electoral systems around the world. This is because political parties are awarded seats on the number of votes they recieve, rather than only the votes of a particular winning party actually having any meaning, the votes for parties that come in 2nd/3rd or 4th ect... still count to ensure that those parties recieve seats in the European Parliment. This helps to ensure the wishes of far more people have the chance to be represented.
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    England joining eu means... England Is not longer self proclaimed boss... but just like other states just a vote
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    [Suprisingly, despite the propaganda, the way the electoral system works for EU far more people's wishes are actually represented at European level than in most electoral systems around the world.
    Unfortunately the power in the EU resides with the unelected bureaucrats, not with the parliament.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp
    England joining eu means... England Is not longer self proclaimed boss... but just like other states just a vote
    England is not in the EU. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther Ireland is. (This space reserved for the next pedantic bastard who wants to raise the issues of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man......................)
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    England joining eu means... England Is not longer self proclaimed boss... but just like other states just a vote
    Ok there seems to be a little misunderstanding here about the EU & England, and indeed it's place within the European Union. So let's see if we can bring forth some clarity.

    To start with England for the most part, possibly with the exception of sporting competitions, doesn't act as a seperate country, it is part of the 4 country union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that we call the United Kingdom, the name comes from the act of union of the kingdoms of both Scotland & England. So again here just to clarify, at international political level England can be thought of as a constituent of the UK.

    Now for a little background on the history of the EU & the UK's place within it.

    In March 1957 6 countries signed a treaty that as January 1958 led to the founding of the EEC (European Economic Community). The original 6 signatory countries to this treaty were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany. The Treaty itself is commonly known as The Treaty of Rome, but it's actual title at the was the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community.

    Unofficially the EEC became known as 'The Common Market', this was because these 6 founding countries shared common aims and goals at making trading with each both easier and more productive, with restrictions and barriers removed towards in the common interest.

    In January of 1973 Denmark and both the United Kingdom & Ireland all joined the EEC, which had by this time already begun to grow in influence has now already amalgamated both European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community 6 years earlier with the
    Merger Treaty of 1967.

    Further countries to sign up were Greece in 1981 followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986, leading to what was know as the 'Council of 12'.

    By 1987 the Single European Act had been passed, this set out aims and objectives to change the EEC towards a single market for the whole of Europe, it gave new scope,powers & authority but also layed the ground work for further expansion.

    1992 would see a treaty signed that would transform what started off as trading alliance some 35 years earlier into the recognisable form of the European Union we see today. This was the Treaty on European Union, better known as the Maastricht Treaty.

    Enlargement of this now new European Union took place in 1995 with the joining of Austria, Finland and Sweden.

    1999 is the year of the Euro, Europes first single currency.

    It would be 2004 before the next real phase of expansion took place, but it also be an expansion perhaps like no other with before with a total of 10 new countries joining simultaneously, they were Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia & Slovenia. The EU now had 25 members and was still growing.

    Next to join were Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.

    Also in December of 2007 was the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, or to give it' rather long winded official titile 'Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community'. This was the last of the major EU treaties and was intended as a reforming treaty to make the EU and all its institution work more efficiently for the benefit of all its member states.

    The last of the EU's accession countries was Croatia which became a member in 2013.

    Ok so that's some brief history and background to the EU, now let's have a look at what it actually for and what is required to be a member state.

    Firsly for any country that is or wishes to become a member of the European Union they must as the first requirement uphold Article 2:

    The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.

    Article 3 summarises the aims of the EU and expectations to work towards by member states:

    1. The Union's aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples.

    2. The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime.

    3. The Union shall establish an internal market. It shall work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. It shall promote scientific and technological advance.

    It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child.

    It shall promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States.

    It shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.

    4. The Union shall establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro.

    5. In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens. It shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.

    6. The Union shall pursue its objectives by appropriate means commensurate with the competences which are conferred upon it in the Treaties.
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    European Union Expansion:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    I'm British, and I think we should leave the EU. I'm prepared for flames, but I can take it lol..

    I don't think membership has truly benefitted us. Our economy has performed in spite of it, and not because of it as the original reason for joining has not been fulfilled. We were concerned that the then EEC countries were growing at higher rates than us, however it needed Thatcherism and North Sea oil to revive the UK economy.

    Also, the major reason British people are traditionally Euro-sceptic is IMO historical. The founding members of the now EU had all either lost WWII, or had been invaded by Germany during the conflict. So with much of the industry destroyed, they needed to co-operate to sustain economic recovery and of course forestall any potential war between them. Despite being a victor in the war, the UK had traditionally held greater interests overseas (in "the Empire") so it didn't feel the need to integrate as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. did.

    Alot of British people are eurosceptic, there is certainly nothing wrong with holding that viewpoint, at least nothing that should see you being flamed. I would however ask you to look very closely at just how intertwined the UK actually is within the European Union and everything that accompanies said entanglement.

    This is really quite important because it helps explain why we are in the EU, and why the UK's three main political parties have ensured we stay in the EU for this long. By this I mean they have believed for a very long time that the benefits outway the disadvantages. We have a voice in world politics that would be considerably diminished if we leave the EU, or permanent UN Security Council Seat may well be at risk. We would be shut out of the decision making process for the whole of the European trading block, yet still subject to it's rules and regulations for all aspects of trade.

    Also there are millions of expatriates living across Europe who's automatic right to live there will be put in serious jeopardy. Isolationist type policies have traditionally been very damaging to nations throughout history, as they often fall behind more cooperative competitor nations. The potential for our economy to fall off a serious cliff is huge and at a time when our borrowing is rapidly heading towards the £1 trillion pound mark it is a massive risk to take.

    The people who could possibly benefit from a withdrawral from the EU are only the very few wealthiest of our society that will be able to expand the widening gap between rich and poor into a gaping chasm with no European regulations to enforce workers rights, human rights, rights to housing ect..., and given the number of clashes the government seems to have with the EU over basic freedoms it seems highly likely they will seek to remove them without such oversight from the European Court.

    Now stack everything we face to lose against the dribble being peddled by far right political parties such as the BNP or UKIP and it doesn't bear looking at. In return for all our risks and losses we might save a few quid from our contribution to the EU budget, alot of this money we get back anyway and not just from the rebate but from money payed out in inititives across the UK to help with poverty, employment, farming, technological advancement and transport (you don't hear so much of this being explained by Nigel Farage).

    Then of course there is the loss of access to areas such as the European banking sector, investors wanting access to the EU market arn't going to be looking at Britain anymore that's for sure. Also many of the businesses already here might decide to jump ship, I for one will be heading North of the border if we ever do withdraw from the EU, because there is no way in hell the Scots will put up with an EU exit.

    Most of the media stories about foreigners in Britain are blantantly propaganda to sway public opinion, and whipped by politians using the European issue to further their own political carreers and feed into people's fears.

    So I would ask anyone who thinks leaving the EU is a good idea to really look into all the facts, not just believe the propagada and I'll leave you with this one last thought, if leaving the EU is such a good idea then how come there are so many countries lining up just desperate to be allowed in?
    You've only cited the reasons for not leaving. This is distinct from the reasons how membership since 1973 has actually benefitted us.

    We gained our UN Permanent Seat as we one of the Allies of the WWII, no other reason. Reform has been on the agenda for some time, and it's likely that permanent membership will be expanded. So us leaving will not affect that. As for "voice in world politics", who cares? Global power is overrated, and only valued for narcissistic purposes. Provided we have a healthy/strong economy, as well as the means to defend ourselves (yes, leaving the EU would affect the strength of our armed forces, which still are rated amongst the world's finest....) I couldn't care about "global power".

    There is little to prevent the UK and EU signing a treaty determining free trade rights, movement of persons between the two entities, etc. once the UK leaves. If anything, this may be the best solution as many of the EU's big companies such as Siemens, BMW, BNP Paribas, etc. would welcome simplified dealings.

    As for income inequality, well this has remained amongst the worst anyhow in the EU for many years despite being a member. This more has to do with other member states holding different philosophies concerning welfare provision, as well as our general living standards being lower. Our UN HDI rating has slipped for several years compared to other EU countries, so what is to be expected?

    The economies of ALL EU member states are in trouble. Our levels of public debt are falling, as 1 trillion pounds is probably about half of our GDP anyhow.

    So there are no clear benefits to being in the EU. It has NOT improved our economy, and shows no sign of doing as such. Also, much of the canon of employment law was formed long before EU regulations. This includes the Race Relations, health and safety, etc. Acts. Even the Clean Air Act did not need EU approval as we were not a member then. Show me current benefits of EU membership, which translate to economic, social and cultural betterment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    [Suprisingly, despite the propaganda, the way the electoral system works for EU far more people's wishes are actually represented at European level than in most electoral systems around the world.
    Unfortunately the power in the EU resides with the unelected bureaucrats, not with the parliament.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp
    England joining eu means... England Is not longer self proclaimed boss... but just like other states just a vote
    England is not in the EU. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther Ireland is. (This space reserved for the next pedantic bastard who wants to raise the issues of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man......................)
    for 10% now things gonna be real a real europian body with full connections and rules its crying like baby I want only to be part of it to take but when I need to give in i don't want to to give anything in return )cry cry cry
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    Alot of British people are eurosceptic, there is certainly nothing wrong with holding that viewpoint, at least nothing that should see you being flamed. I would however ask you to look very closely at just how intertwined the UK actually is within the European Union and everything that accompanies said entanglement.

    This is really quite important because it helps explain why we are in the EU, and why the UK's three main political parties have ensured we stay in the EU for this long. By this I mean they have believed for a very long time that the benefits outway the disadvantages. We have a voice in world politics that would be considerably diminished if we leave the EU, or permanent UN Security Council Seat may well be at risk. We would be shut out of the decision making process for the whole of the European trading block, yet still subject to it's rules and regulations for all aspects of trade. <br>

    Also there are millions of expatriates living across Europe who's automatic right to live there will be put in serious jeopardy. Isolationist type policies have traditionally been very damaging to nations throughout history, as they often fall behind more cooperative competitor nations. The potential for our economy to fall off a serious cliff is huge and at a time when our borrowing is rapidly heading towards the £1 trillion pound mark it is a massive risk to take.

    The people who could possibly benefit from a withdrawral from the EU are only the very few wealthiest of our society that will be able to expand the widening gap between rich and poor into a gaping chasm with no European regulations to enforce workers rights, human rights, rights to housing ect..., and given the number of clashes the government seems to have with the EU over basic freedoms it seems highly likely they will seek to remove them without such oversight from the European Court.

    Now stack everything we face to lose against the dribble being peddled by far right political parties such as the BNP or UKIP and it doesn't bear looking at. In return for all our risks and losses we might save a few quid from our contribution to the EU budget, alot of this money we get back anyway and not just from the rebate but from money payed out in inititives across the UK to help with poverty, employment, farming, technological advancement and transport (you don't hear so much of this being explained by Nigel Farage).

    Then of course there is the loss of access to areas such as the European banking sector, investors wanting access to the EU market arn't going to be looking at Britain anymore that's for sure. Also many of the businesses already here might decide to jump ship, I for one will be heading North of the border if we ever do withdraw from the EU, because there is no way in hell the Scots will put up with an EU exit.

    Most of the media stories about foreigners in Britain are blantantly propaganda to sway public opinion, and whipped by politians using the European issue to further their own political carreers and feed into people's fears.

    So I would ask anyone who thinks leaving the EU is a good idea to really look into all the facts, not just believe the propagada and I'll leave you with this one last thought, if leaving the EU is such a good idea then how come there are so many countries lining up just desperate to be allowed in?[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    You've only cited the reasons for not leaving. This is distinct from the reasons how membership since 1973 has actually benefitted us.

    We gained our UN Permanent Seat as we one of the Allies of the WWII, no other reason. Reform has been on the agenda for some time, and it's likely that permanent membership will be expanded. So us leaving will not affect that. As for "voice in world politics", who cares? Global power is overrated, and only valued for narcissistic purposes. Provided we have a healthy/strong economy, as well as the means to defend ourselves (yes, leaving the EU would affect the strength of our armed forces, which still are rated amongst the world's finest....) I couldn't care about "global power".
    Yes you are indeed correct about how we obtained our Permanent UN Security Council Seat, however I believe you are under estimating its value. Being a permanent member comes with added advantage of having a Veto, this means that the United Nations cannot take any actions that would threaten UK national interests if we have decided to use our veto. It gives us the same power to protect our interests as the United States, France, Russia and China. We still have interests right around the world and responsibilities to our various dependant territories and the people who live there.

    With regard to our military yes we certainly spend alot of money and there are very brave men & women who do an excellent job to protect our freedoms and keep us safe. However we must remember here that our population makes up less than 1 percent of the worlds total population, we have limited resources and our military capacity is a fraction of that of pre WW2 times. We are also going though a period of transition whilst awaiting the all the new type 45 destroyers to come on line and the completion of the new aircraft carriers, not to even mention the new type 26 global combat ships (frigates). Also we are still awaiting the new F35's to replace the aging Tornados for the RAF whilst the army is battle weary after long campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. As such we are hardly in the best shape in terms of military capability. Now on top of all this we have to face the news that Portsmouth the home of British ship building for centuries will no longer build British warships with the loss of hundreds of jobs and even though production will continue on the Clyde in Scotland, they too are set to experience hundreds of job losses.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    There is little to prevent the UK and EU signing a treaty determining free trade rights, movement of persons between the two entities, etc. once the UK leaves. If anything, this may be the best solution as many of the EU's big companies such as Siemens, BMW, BNP Paribas, etc. would welcome simplified dealings.
    Well that is one option that may or may not actually be possible, what is for sure though is that we couldn't possibly know at what price such agreements will come with or the damage done to our economy whilst such negotiations are on going. Also big companies such as Nissan which provides over 6,000 jobs at its Sunderland plant alone have already publically admitted they would have reconsider their position in the UK if were to withdraw from the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    As for income inequality, well this has remained amongst the worst anyhow in the EU for many years despite being a member. This more has to do with other member states holding different philosophies concerning welfare provision, as well as our general living standards being lower. Our UN HDI rating has slipped for several years compared to other EU countries, so what is to be expected?
    The problem here though is that in any areas under which the government has direct control over they seem to be pushing in directions which make societal inequalities worse rather than better, at least the EU provides a framework that is designed to help irradicate poverty. Which it has to be said is much needed at a time when social and welfare spending, money spent on the poorest in society, is being slashed across in the UK and across Europe. Already under the UK governments welfare sactioning campaign over 400,000 people have been left with absolutely no money to live on, certainly something the EU would never advocate, and a potential recipe for a crime wave the likes of which have as yet never been seen before.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    The economies of ALL EU member states are in trouble. Our levels of public debt are falling, as 1 trillion pounds is probably about half of our GDP anyhow.
    Sorry but that is simply not true, whilst the government claims the structural deficit is coming down, a reduction of a third is the offical government claim, even they admit that our overall borrowing requirement, and actual debt, is still increasing.&nbsp; Until the structural deficit is completely closed our borrowing will continue to be greater than income, meaning debt will increase.&nbsp; Once we no longer have a deficit we can start to pay down the national debt.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    So there are no clear benefits to being in the EU. It has NOT improved our economy, and shows no sign of doing as such. Also, much of the canon of employment law was formed long before EU regulations. This includes the Race Relations, health and safety, etc. Acts. Even the Clean Air Act did not need EU approval as we were not a member then. Show me <strong><em>current </em></strong>benefits of EU membership, which translate to economic, social and cultural betterment.
    Again here I'm going to have to disagree with you, certainly no one has ever said the EU is perfect, it's an ongoing project and has along way to go before we get it right, but this being said it is taking us in the right direction and helping to cooperate better with our European neighbours. In terms of actual benefits I think we have benefitted hugely in terms of jobs, trade and infrastructure also employment, human rights &amp; equality laws have helped the protect the most vunerable in our society.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It's going to be very interesting watching the EU and the USA emerge as the world's two superpowers. And not even hate each other.
    Don't be silly. China and India will be the superpowers.
    Might be interesting to start a thread on who will be the next superpower.

    China won't. They can't organize their society to be self sufficient. Too dependent on others to buy their goods. When the Yuan starts to appreciate in value, everything they've built will collapse. Three Gorges Dam will probably fail in a few decades. Their heavy investment in solar power, while very progressive, may end up becoming obsolete technology if a better solar tech comes along.

    To survive, they would need to make a transition to internal demand, where workers are actually able to buy the things they're making. But if that happened, those same workers would also demand political rights (a process which is already starting). And then if the government started to concede, the military would get its diaper wet with rage at not being given the importance it thinks it richly deserves.

    They can't do what other countries have done at this stage, and start an external war, because most of the men in their military are only sons, and then they'd be dealing with angry families when their sole heir gets killed in action.



    India..... doesn't have hardly even a chance. Too many separate ethnic/cultural groups who can too easily be turned on one another. The CIA would have a field day.


    Europe and the USA are the only places with enough political and cultural unity, combined with education and raw economic productive power, to stay ahead of the game. They're where new technology almost always springs from, and initiatives are acted on most quickly. They're also the most achieved at solving their own internal crime problems (which may be the most important achievement of all in the coming century.)
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    China won't. They can't organize their society to be self sufficient
    Huh? There hasn't been a self-sufficient nation in half a century. Much like the US, they have spread their political and economic influence all over the world, an absolute requirement for modern nations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post

    This is really quite important because it helps explain why we are in the EU, and why the UK's three main political parties have ensured we stay in the EU for this long. By this I mean they have believed for a very long time that the benefits outway the disadvantages. We have a voice in world politics that would be considerably diminished if we leave the EU, or permanent UN Security Council Seat may well be at risk. We would be shut out of the decision making process for the whole of the European trading block, yet still subject to it's rules and regulations for all aspects of trade.
    That's true. America keeps treating the UK like its little sister. At least in the EU they will get respect.

    It's going to be very interesting watching the EU and the USA emerge as the world's two superpowers. And not even hate each other.

    Instead of a "Cold War", it will be more like a series of friendly squabbles. There are still conflicting economic interests, so it won't always be a smooth ride. But at least it won't be a matter of fundamentally opposed ideologies, or anything like that.

    Also there are millions of expatriates living across Europe who's automatic right to live there will be put in serious jeopardy. Isolationist type policies have traditionally been very damaging to nations throughout history, as they often fall behind more cooperative competitor nations. The potential for our economy to fall off a serious cliff is huge and at a time when our borrowing is rapidly heading towards the £1 trillion pound mark it is a massive risk to take.
    Compared with the USA's 17 trillion, you guys are practically misers.


    U.S. National Debt Clock
    I don't always think that America treats the UK like 'its little sister', I think here both the UK and US share a very similar world view. What was forged during the second world war and strengthened during the cold war was a strong working relationship that saw America take on the mantle of defenders of the Western world, or free world whatever you wish to call it. They were growing in economic, political and military influence, they were, well still are, a nation that shares the same ideals towards freedom and capitalism so really it's only natural for them to take the lead and that nations such as Australia, France & the UK ect... that share the these same values should support the US. People might suggest that it's always the US dictating policy, but the truth is when the US takes the lead then the world sits up and listens, we don't really know what discussions really go on behind closed doors and even if we did it's likely there would be a concensus of nations anyway.

    Politically and militarily the UK and US are usually of the same mind so this why they cooperate so well, economically we a more alligned with Europe this why we cooperate with them.

    It's going to be interesting to see what does emerge in the future, I would certainly agree with others though that India and China are set to become global super powers, they have huge populations and the potential for massive economies. But that doesn't also make it certain that the EU or US will just cease to be global powers either. Also we don't know what other alliances may emerge in an effort to compete on the world stage.

    Well I think, and certainly hope, you could be right about the squabbles being more economic than ideologically political or military. Certainly it would be nice to think of a future free of international conflicts.

    As for the US debt I don't think it's the end of the world, especially when the global economy picks up. America has the biggest economy of any country in world, approx 7 times that of the UK so you guys got plenty of scope to deal with it, plus the US has plenty of assets to generate revenue from. Hopefully the UK will also be ok, it's just a question of getting the economy moving by increasing trade then we can close the structural deficit and start paying off our debt. At present this shouldn't present a problem, may take longer than initially expected but still managable provided we don't do anything to choke off growth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    for 10% now things gonna be real a real europian body with full connections and rules its crying like baby I want only to be part of it to take but when I need to give in i don't want to to give anything in return )cry cry cry
    I have absolutely no idea what that means. Would you clarify it please. I would especially like to know how, if at all, it relates to my post to which you appeared to be responding. But I see no connection.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    for 10% now things gonna be real a real europian body with full connections and rules its crying like baby I want only to be part of it to take but when I need to give in i don't want to to give anything in return )cry cry cry
    I have absolutely no idea what that means. Would you clarify it please. I would especially like to know how, if at all, it relates to my post to which you appeared to be responding. But I see no connection.
    well than forget it... stil England uk whatever you like to call it is a crybaby
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    well than forget it... stil England uk whatever you like to call it is a crybaby
    And the French with their gains from the agricultural subsidies, which they have defended with everything at their disposal, to the detriment of the continent, are not? Really?

    However, I still do not see how that has anything to do with what I posted. But, whatever.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    well than forget it... stil England uk whatever you like to call it is a crybaby
    And the French with their gains from the agricultural subsidies, which they have defended with everything at their disposal, to the detriment of the continent, are not? Really?

    However, I still do not see how that has anything to do with what I posted. But, whatever.....
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    we where talking about uk not france... there is probably also something to blame them to but not as much as uk people are most ignorant in the world in my view afcourse... even more ignorant than americans
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    May I ask which country you are from? And, since it has some relevance to the OP, what would be the major areas of ignorance you feel afflict the UK population?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    May I ask which country you are from? And, since it has some relevance to the OP, what would be the major areas of ignorance you feel afflict the UK population?
    it doesn't matter from which country I am im not sure what do you mean with areas?(some examples?)
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    Are they ignorant about
    Other languages
    Other cultures
    Sexual equality
    Racial equality
    Proper moral behaviour
    General education
    Scientific knowledge
    Cooking

    All of these are areas.

    And where you are from is relevant when you choose to express opinions about people based on where they are from. You are of course free to remain anonymous in that regard, but it does raise questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Are they ignorant about
    Other languages
    Other cultures
    Sexual equality
    Racial equality
    Proper moral behaviour
    General education
    Scientific knowledge
    Cooking

    All of these are areas.

    And where you are from is relevant when you choose to express opinions about people based on where they are from. You are of course free to remain anonymous in that regard, but it does raise questions.
    they are ignorant as in they are in everything better than others so they should play for the boss that's what they think afcourse... you can call me a europian but yes it raises questions...
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    I continue to have difficulty interpreting your meaning. I think you said their ignorance consists of thinking they are better than everyone else. I don't see how that relates to "playing for the boss". Perhaps you meant they think they should be the boss.
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    Anyway to go back to sarnamlu's point "We were concerned that the then EEC countries were growing at higher rates than us, however it needed Thatcherism and North Sea oil to revive the UK economy.", I'm curious here do you feel that the British Economy would still have improved under the Thatcher government of the 1980's if the UK wasn't part of EEC at the time?
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    If I ever get the chance to vote in an "In/Out" referendum, I will vote "Out". The reason for that is not so much that I detest Europe or even the EU, but it is because I do not trust them to give me another chance to vote. When we (I say 'we', I wasn't even born yet) voted to stay in in 1975, it was a very different kettle of fish to the entity we have now. It's changed quite a bit since then, and despite what I would consider to be very broad support for having another say (even the pro-EU LibDems wanted a referendum!) it's been 40 years and we are no closer a referendum. In the next decade, I believe the EU will have to undergo even more change, and despite the pledges of the Tory leader, I am simply not confident we will be properly consulted on the issue.

    I believe that many of the so-called negative aspects from a withdrawal are either overplayed, or relatively easily overcome. The "seat-at-the-table" argument is especially weak from my PoV, as I think all we would be giving up is the illusion of influence. Have we really achieved much in the way of genuine reform? We’ve tinkered around the edges for sure, and won the odd battle, but the war over the direction of the EU is well and truly lost. They want ever further integration, and we (generally speaking) want a looser-network of connected trading states. Everything we do to achieve that aim leaves us more and more disliked in Europe.

    At the end of the day we are one of 27 countries, and are outnumbered by countries who naturally share a common viewpoint.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    It is ironic that nutters like UKIP complain about the lack of democracy in the EU when they can easily get a few seats there compared to Parliament where they have ... how many was it again? Oh yes, zero.
    But isn't that only ironic if UKIP support the current FPTP system used to elect MPs? AFAIK, they oppose FPTP and want a form of PR or AV
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    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    If I ever get the chance to vote in an "In/Out" referendum, I will vote "Out". The reason for that is not so much that I detest Europe or even the EU, but it is because I do not trust them to give me another chance to vote. When we (I say 'we', I wasn't even born yet) voted to stay in in 1975, it was a very different kettle of fish to the entity we have now. It's changed quite a bit since then, and despite what I would consider to be very broad support for having another say (even the pro-EU LibDems wanted a referendum!) it's been 40 years and we are no closer a referendum. In the next decade, I believe the EU will have to undergo even more change, and despite the pledges of the Tory leader, I am simply not confident we will be properly consulted on the issue.

    I believe that many of the so-called negative aspects from a withdrawal are either overplayed, or relatively easily overcome. The "seat-at-the-table" argument is especially weak from my PoV, as I think all we would be giving up is the illusion of influence. Have we really achieved much in the way of genuine reform? We’ve tinkered around the edges for sure, and won the odd battle, but the war over the direction of the EU is well and truly lost. They want ever further integration, and we (generally speaking) want a looser-network of connected trading states. Everything we do to achieve that aim leaves us more and more disliked in Europe.

    At the end of the day we are one of 27 countries, and are outnumbered by countries who naturally share a common viewpoint.

    Hey it's one of 28 now but that's just me being pedantic and no need to argue over trivialities. I actually agree with you over the issue of the vote, yes we are supposed to live in a democracy so we certainly should be given a vote on our EU membership, I would however like to see everyone aquaints properly with the facts before such a vote does take place. In this way everyone can make up their minds on the evidence not this campaign of anti EU propaganda the right wing press has subjected us to for years.

    Also again I agree that once we've had a vote on the membership issue we're very unlikely to get another one for at least a generation, but again here I think it's so important that we get it right and decide upon the facts.

    What I find difficult to accept though is how easily people seem to believe that all our problems at home are being caused by foreigners abroad instead of holding our own politicians to account for their actions. Being a member of the Union hasn't caused the problems in our economy, it hasn't made our government give tax cuts to the rich whilst taking money away from the poorest in our society, it hasn't created a housing shortage or made our unemployment figures up.

    Being in the EU has meant we have had to ensure that the standard of food we sell will not put people's health at risk, that we arn't allowed to torture terrorist suspects or send them to places where this could happen, that workers shouldn't be forced to work more than 48 hours in a week, that our pensioners can retire to Spain, Italy or France, that small scale farmers struggling to survive get subsidised so we have good fresh local produce, that start up tech companies get grants, assistance & advice.

    What being in the EU is also doing is helping to fund projects in former Eastern Bloc countries so that the poorest of their people are seeing their living standards improve, also joint infrastructure projects are opening up the continent and making it more accessible to everyone.

    Yeah sure we can all find something about the EU to moan about, but when or if the actual campaigning starts on retaining our membership then we will actually start to truth emerging and we will be begin hearing some of the more possitive ways in which the EU affects our everyday lives, not just the usual trash stories in the newspapers outraged that European Court has told the government they're not allowed to deport a terrorist suspect to a middle eastern country notorious for use of torture, not that papers ever care about the torture aspect, no they're just busy being enraged that the court had the audacity to tell the government it couldn't do something!

    As for the seat at the table argument, well again we are supposed to live in a democracy where the will of the people should prevail. It seems this is perfectly acceptable when the politicians are telling us to go out and vote, so why isn't acceptable for them to be part of the EU and use democracy to help decide international issues. Whether we are in the EU or not many eurosceptics will bemoan its direction and what it represents, we will still be subject to most of its directives and have none of the advantages.

    What would an EU exit mean in practice? That workers can be forced to accept whatever is offered to them no matter how odious, that the government can ride roughshod over any individual rights or freedoms that we have now. That people could continue being given indefinite prison sentence for whatever new criminal offence the government chooses to come up with. That surveillance of ordinary members of the public by petty bureaucrats and local councils, ordered to stop by the EU, goes on and expands unchecked.

    We live in a country that cooperates and works together with many of our neighbouring countries for the common good and benefit of all, we do this with a social conscience and upholding the ideals of the EU Charter because it helps our job situation and economy but also because it's the right thing to do and a big step forward in our social evolution. Recognising that we arn't the centre of the world but part of a much greater whole where everybody must work together, rather than continue the same old petty squabbles of pure self interest.
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    Some good posts in there.I don't have much to add, beside I think EU needs reform at its core, but so manb different cultures tend to slow or halt its missions. Not sure about solutions (a good king of europe would be nice).No idea why UK wants to leave, nor France, it seems to be the illusion of @"grass is greener elsewhere"

    Edit: excuse format and typos. Writing on iphone is bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Hey it's one of 28 now but that's just me being pedantic and no need to argue over trivialities.
    Doh! Yes, you are quite right it's now 28 - Croatia joined in July this year.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I actually agree with you over the issue of the vote, yes we are supposed to live in a democracy so we certainly should be given a vote on our EU membership, I would however like to see everyone aquaints properly with the facts before such a vote does take place. In this way everyone can make up their minds on the evidence not this campaign of anti EU propaganda the right wing press has subjected us to for years.

    Also again I agree that once we've had a vote on the membership issue we're very unlikely to get another one for at least a generation, but again here I think it's so important that we get it right and decide upon the facts.

    What I find difficult to accept though is how easily people seem to believe that all our problems at home are being caused by foreigners abroad instead of holding our own politicians to account for their actions. Being a member of the Union hasn't caused the problems in our economy, it hasn't made our government give tax cuts to the rich whilst taking money away from the poorest in our society, it hasn't created a housing shortage or made our unemployment figures up.

    Being in the EU has meant we have had to ensure that the standard of food we sell will not put people's health at risk, that we arn't allowed to torture terrorist suspects or send them to places where this could happen, that workers shouldn't be forced to work more than 48 hours in a week, that our pensioners can retire to Spain, Italy or France, that small scale farmers struggling to survive get subsidised so we have good fresh local produce, that start up tech companies get grants, assistance & advice.

    What being in the EU is also doing is helping to fund projects in former Eastern Bloc countries so that the poorest of their people are seeing their living standards improve, also joint infrastructure projects are opening up the continent and making it more accessible to everyone.

    Yeah sure we can all find something about the EU to moan about, but when or if the actual campaigning starts on retaining our membership then we will actually start to truth emerging and we will be begin hearing some of the more possitive ways in which the EU affects our everyday lives, not just the usual trash stories in the newspapers outraged that European Court has told the government they're not allowed to deport a terrorist suspect to a middle eastern country notorious for use of torture, not that papers ever care about the torture aspect, no they're just busy being enraged that the court had the audacity to tell the government it couldn't do something!

    As for the seat at the table argument, well again we are supposed to live in a democracy where the will of the people should prevail. It seems this is perfectly acceptable when the politicians are telling us to go out and vote, so why isn't acceptable for them to be part of the EU and use democracy to help decide international issues. Whether we are in the EU or not many eurosceptics will bemoan its direction and what it represents, we will still be subject to most of its directives and have none of the advantages.

    What would an EU exit mean in practice? That workers can be forced to accept whatever is offered to them no matter how odious, that the government can ride roughshod over any individual rights or freedoms that we have now. That people could continue being given indefinite prison sentence for whatever new criminal offence the government chooses to come up with. That surveillance of ordinary members of the public by petty bureaucrats and local councils, ordered to stop by the EU, goes on and expands unchecked.

    We live in a country that cooperates and works together with many of our neighbouring countries for the common good and benefit of all, we do this with a social conscience and upholding the ideals of the EU Charter because it helps our job situation and economy but also because it's the right thing to do and a big step forward in our social evolution. Recognising that we arn't the centre of the world but part of a much greater whole where everybody must work together, rather than continue the same old petty squabbles of pure self interest.

    We are perfectly capable of replicating many of the benefits you tout, through the UK Parliament. I do not feel we need the EU to decide for us on healthy food, or the working week for example. We are perfectly capable of coming to our own conclusions on those kind of issues ourselves. Infact, it is better if we come to those conclusions ourselves, rather than have them foisted on us from afar.

    You seem to support the EU not because you agree with it as a concept, but because they offer you a chance to enact legislation which would be more difficult to enact through the UK Parliament. That, is fundamentally undemocratic.

    Let us switch the ideologies and see what you think. The UK is a left-leaning worker’s paradise and the EU is a right-wing corporate machine, stamping on the little people - I exaggerate, but you get the gist. Pretend the EU has the same political make up as the US if it helps you. Would you then allow the EU to have it’s way on worker’s rights? Would you be happy with 27 other countries outvoting us on the torture of detainees? Would you be happy with them forcing us to accept agribusiness’s and unlimited bonus’ for bankers?

    I don’t think you would. I think you would be demanding we leave the EU as it denies us a proper democratic say on issues we should have a say on.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not a rabid-right-winger. I am left-leaning on many (most) issues, but I am a democrat first and foremost, and I see no reason whatsoever for thinking the EU will forever enact legislation I happen agree with. When they do something we oppose, we are very limited in how we oppose it – even if every single Briton opposed them, they could still continue on certain matters. That’s the crux of the issue for me.

    I think we are just too different in our outlooks to co-operate on social issues. Trading issues, yes absolutely, but not social. And the EU seems only too happy to continue to integrate on social issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Hey it's one of 28 now but that's just me being pedantic and no need to argue over trivialities.
    Doh! Yes, you are quite right it's now 28 - Croatia joined in July this year.




    We are perfectly capable of replicating many of the benefits you tout, through the UK Parliament. I do not feel we need the EU to decide for us on healthy food, or the working week for example. We are perfectly capable of coming to our own conclusions on those kind of issues ourselves. Infact, it is better if we come to those conclusions ourselves, rather than have them foisted on us from afar.

    You seem to support the EU not because you agree with it as a concept, but because they offer you a chance to enact legislation which would be more difficult to enact through the UK Parliament. That, is fundamentally undemocratic.

    Let us switch the ideologies and see what you think. The UK is a left-leaning worker’s paradise and the EU is a right-wing corporate machine, stamping on the little people - I exaggerate, but you get the gist. Pretend the EU has the same political make up as the US if it helps you. Would you then allow the EU to have it’s way on worker’s rights? Would you be happy with 27 other countries outvoting us on the torture of detainees? Would you be happy with them forcing us to accept agribusiness’s and unlimited bonus’ for bankers?

    I don’t think you would. I think you would be demanding we leave the EU as it denies us a proper democratic say on issues we should have a say on.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not a rabid-right-winger. I am left-leaning on many (most) issues, but I am a democrat first and foremost, and I see no reason whatsoever for thinking the EU will forever enact legislation I happen agree with. When they do something we oppose, we are very limited in how we oppose it – even if every single Briton opposed them, they could still continue on certain matters. That’s the crux of the issue for me.

    I think we are just too different in our outlooks to co-operate on social issues. Trading issues, yes absolutely, but not social. And the EU seems only too happy to continue to integrate on social issues.
    Ok I don't agree with your perspective but I thought you made a very persuasive argument.

    We are perfectly capable of replicating many of the benefits you tout, through the UK Parliament. I do not feel we need the EU to decide for us on healthy food, or the working week for example. We are perfectly capable of coming to our own conclusions on those kind of issues ourselves. Infact, it is better if we come to those conclusions ourselves, rather than have them foisted on us from afar.
    Yes we are capable of replicating these things, but the fact is we haven't. It took the coming together of the member states of the EU to decide that these were right and virtuous things that would benefit us all, they were not so bogged down by national politics and could take a broader view about what was right and best for everybody. This was democracy working at international level.

    You seem to support the EU not because you agree with it as a concept, but because they offer you a chance to enact legislation which would be more difficult to enact through the UK Parliament. That, is fundamentally undemocratic.
    I think here I support the EU because I do think their social policies are fairer yes, but also because if we really believe democracy then I think this should also exist at an international level, why should we put ourselves above those of people living in Spain or France? To me this is no different than the people of say Liverpool or Manchester suddenly deciding to forget the rest of the UK that they are more important and only their voice should be heard. The point is we have spent the entirety of human history coming closer together, working in larger and larger groups at higher levels. The idea of now trying to break this up and where the interests of a few groups are given a greater priority than the whole seems like a real step backwards and ultimately a recipe for more conflicts as usually breaks up don't end well.

    Let us switch the ideologies and see what you think. The UK is a left-leaning worker’s paradise and the EU is a right-wing corporate machine, stamping on the little people - I exaggerate, but you get the gist. Pretend the EU has the same political make up as the US if it helps you. Would you then allow the EU to have it’s way on worker’s rights? Would you be happy with 27 other countries outvoting us on the torture of detainees? Would you be happy with them forcing us to accept agribusiness’s and unlimited bonus’ for bankers?
    This is a particularly persuasive argument, but again it goes to the heart of whether we should be willing to work together with our neightbours and sometimes accept the things we don't agree with because we ultimately believe in a common good, or whether we should always place our own interests first. The example I gave above about UK cites ispoignant here because many don't like our governments policies, but should they be allowed to just up sticks and go it alone? And if so what of the rest of us?

    I really do feel we have got to stop using this short sighted narrowed minded view and take stock of the whole picture, that ultimately all our fate's are tied in together and that when we work together for the benefit of each other then we can achieve great things, things we just can't do on our own and even if we could, would be right to live in prosperity whilst our neighbouring countries suffered, again I think not. This isn't just idealism we are actually part of something right now that has the potential to eventually be something truely worthwhile, but we have to work at it, shape it and make it into that, we can't just abandon everything because it's not perfect to start with.

    I don’t think you would. I think you would be demanding we leave the EU as it denies us a proper democratic say on issues we should have a say on.
    I would be demanding exactly that which I am now, that all of us work together to make the EU become that which it can be and really work to help all of us.

    I think we are just too different in our outlooks to co-operate on social issues. Trading issues, yes absolutely, but not social. And the EU seems only too happy to continue to integrate on social issues.
    But here I think the world is changing, becoming smaller with other countries starting to cooperate and work together more. Whilst we may not see ourselves as a perfect fit now we too are changing as a nation, we are benefitting from working as a part of the EU, for example look at the cost savings on the Eurofighter and the ability to share technology. We are capable of cooperating with our neighbours, perhaps all we really need is more time to learn how to intergrate, but in this changing world we shouldn't be distancing our selves and we shouldn't stand alone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ximlab View Post
    Some good posts in there.I don't have much to add, beside I think EU needs reform at its core, but so manb different cultures tend to slow or halt its missions. Not sure about solutions (a good king of europe would be nice).No idea why UK wants to leave, nor France, it seems to be the illusion of @"grass is greener elsewhere"

    Edit: excuse format and typos. Writing on iphone is bad.

    There are people in the UK that want us leave the EU, but also many that don't. Most people in the UK don't understand why it exists or why we're a part of it. It seems the press only ever report sensationalist stories about how the EU is terrible. Ask anyone though if they've read something good about the EU in a newspaper most will be hard pressed to think of something. Realistically we are unlikely to leave the EU though because the Labour Party are likely to win the next UK parlimentary elections and they're unwilling to give the public a vote on our EU membership.
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    I very much agree with what you say Ascended, couldn't say it better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Ok I don't agree with your perspective but I thought you made a very persuasive argument.
    Thank you - although

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    We are perfectly capable of replicating many of the benefits you tout, through the UK Parliament. I do not feel we need the EU to decide for us on healthy food, or the working week for example. We are perfectly capable of coming to our own conclusions on those kind of issues ourselves. Infact, it is better if we come to those conclusions ourselves, rather than have them foisted on us from afar.
    Yes we are capable of replicating these things, but the fact is we haven't. It took the coming together of the member states of the EU to decide that these were right and virtuous things that would benefit us all, they were not so bogged down by national politics and could take a broader view about what was right and best for everybody. This was democracy working at international level.
    I think it’s a stretch to say it was democracy at play there. The working week for example, was not what ‘we’ wanted. Not the people and not our elected representatives. It wasn’t (IIRC) even a subject we wanted the EU to have a say on, yet here we are. Regardless of whether that individual issue was good or bad, change has to come from within a country, from within it’s people, it can not be foisted onto them from afar. We need to “own” our changes, otherwise we will forever resent the change out of principle. It's akin to trying to install democracy and women's right in the Mid-East at the point of a gun - a very worthy cause but ultimately fruitless

    The WTD is a relatively minor issue, but I do fear that more issues like it will come up, and that more change will be forced onto countries that they do not necessarily want.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    You seem to support the EU not because you agree with it as a concept, but because they offer you a chance to enact legislation which would be more difficult to enact through the UK Parliament. That, is fundamentally undemocratic.
    I think here I support the EU because I do think their social policies are fairer yes, but also because if we really believe democracy then I think this should also exist at an international level, why should we put ourselves above those of people living in Spain or France? To me this is no different than the people of say Liverpool or Manchester suddenly deciding to forget the rest of the UK that they are more important and only their voice should be heard. The point is we have spent the entirety of human history coming closer together, working in larger and larger groups at higher levels. The idea of now trying to break this up and where the interests of a few groups are given a greater priority than the whole seems like a real step backwards and ultimately a recipe for more conflicts as usually breaks up don't end well.
    I don’t believe in “international democracy”. I believe democracy works best when it is between people who have a shared culture/history/identity. An intangible common-ness between them. Liverpool, Manchester have that common-ness with the rest of the UK, which allows them to want to remain in the UK despite their political differences with the south. And whilst Europe has welcomed many immigrants in recent years, from many different parts of the world, the individual countries still retain that common thread which ties them together. It’s unique customs, institutions, media, politics combine to create a certain common-ness that they share and therefore agree to be ruled by.

    I don’t think we have that common-ness with the rest of Europe. Or rather, our commonalities (like vague sense of being European and nominally Christian) are simply not strong enough to unite us agaisnt our differences

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The point is we have spent the entirety of human history coming closer together, working in larger and larger groups at higher levels. The idea of now trying to break this up and where the interests of a few groups are given a greater priority than the whole seems like a real step backwards and ultimately a recipe for more conflicts as usually breaks up don't end well.
    Forcing different groups together also invariably ends in conflict. But a breakup of a union needn’t be violent – I don’t believe a Scottish Yes vote would end in violence for eg. I assume you oppose Scottish independence? If not, how do you square that with your views sited here?

    I disagree with your point about coming together btw. I think more time has been fought trying to separate from an unwanted union (invasions, conquests, colonisation) than have been spent trying to come closer together. From the Roman/Ottoman/British Empires, USSR and it’s breakup, people have been trying to separate into their own groups who share that intangible common-ness.

    The future lies with smaller more coherent states (Scotland, Catalonia, Flanders, Wallonia) than it does large Unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Let us switch the ideologies and see what you think. The UK is a left-leaning worker’s paradise and the EU is a right-wing corporate machine, stamping on the little people - I exaggerate, but you get the gist. Pretend the EU has the same political make up as the US if it helps you. Would you then allow the EU to have it’s way on worker’s rights? Would you be happy with 27 other countries outvoting us on the torture of detainees? Would you be happy with them forcing us to accept agribusiness’s and unlimited bonus’ for bankers?
    This is a particularly persuasive argument, but again it goes to the heart of whether we should be willing to work together with our neightbours and sometimes accept the things we don't agree with because we ultimately believe in a common good, or whether we should always place our own interests first. The example I gave above about UK cites ispoignant here because many don't like our governments policies, but should they be allowed to just up sticks and go it alone? And if so what of the rest of us?
    So even when you disagree over what the common good is, we should accept it in order to maintain the sense of togetherness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I really do feel we have got to stop using this short sighted narrowed minded view and take stock of the whole picture, that ultimately all our fate's are tied in together and that when we work together for the benefit of each other then we can achieve great things, things we just can't do on our own and even if we could, would be right to live in prosperity whilst our neighbouring countries suffered, again I think not. This isn't just idealism we are actually part of something right now that has the potential to eventually be something truely worthwhile, but we have to work at it, shape it and make it into that, we can't just abandon everything because it's not perfect to start with.
    It’s not about prosperity and suffering. I want the people of Europe to prosper, but I also want them to live how they themselves want to live. I am all in favour of trading and prospering with the EU, I just think we should be allowed to decide on our own social issues.

    The reason I want to ‘abandon’ Europe is not because it is imperfect right now, but because it’s ultimate goal is (from my pov) not what I want. That goal is a federated state. That is where they seem to be heading. Good luck to them I say, I genuinely hope it works out, but it is not a state I (and many others in the UK and Europe) want to be a part of. So why must we drag this out? Why not abandon it now and leave them to get on with it, rather than continually acting as an anchor to their plans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I don’t think you would. I think you would be demanding we leave the EU as it denies us a proper democratic say on issues we should have a say on.
    I would be demanding exactly that which I am now, that all of us work together to make the EU become that which it can be and really work to help all of us.
    Even if that would be a losing battle? You can not hope to change the natural inclination of 27 other countries. Earlier, you suggested support for ever larger unions. Would this include admiting Turkey to the EU? North Africa? Israel and the rest of the mid-east? I ask because if you do accept in those kind of countries, you must expect that the theoretical switch in ideologies may one day become real when (if) you admit in millions upon millions of people who are naturally more ‘conservative’ than you yourself are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I think we are just too different in our outlooks to co-operate on social issues. Trading issues, yes absolutely, but not social. And the EU seems only too happy to continue to integrate on social issues.
    But here I think the world is changing, becoming smaller with other countries starting to cooperate and work together more. Whilst we may not see ourselves as a perfect fit now we too are changing as a nation, we are benefitting from working as a part of the EU, for example look at the cost savings on the Eurofighter and the ability to share technology. We are capable of cooperating with our neighbours, perhaps all we really need is more time to learn how to intergrate, but in this changing world we shouldn't be distancing our selves and we shouldn't stand alone.
    I am all for co-operation, but only when we are heading in the same general direction. Eurofighter, Airbus, the LHC are good examples of what we can achieve when we want the same outcomes. But when those outcomes clash, there is no point in cooperating for the sake of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ximlab View Post
    Some good posts in there.I don't have much to add, beside I think EU needs reform at its core, but so manb different cultures tend to slow or halt its missions. Not sure about solutions (a good king of europe would be nice).No idea why UK wants to leave, nor France, it seems to be the illusion of @"grass is greener elsewhere"

    Edit: excuse format and typos. Writing on iphone is bad.
    There are people in the UK that want us leave the EU, but also many that don't. Most people in the UK don't understand why it exists or why we're a part of it. It seems the press only ever report sensationalist stories about how the EU is terrible. Ask anyone though if they've read something good about the EU in a newspaper most will be hard pressed to think of something. Realistically we are unlikely to leave the EU though because the Labour Party are likely to win the next UK parlimentary elections and they're unwilling to give the public a vote on our EU membership.
    I agree mostly, but there are many anti-EU people who are generally knowledgable about the EU. They tend to be drowned out by the tabloids, who - as is the nature of their business - tend to exaggerate and spin the news in order to sell newspapers. I agree that Labour are likely to win the next election, and are unlikely to allow us a referendum, which is a shame as they've lost one potential voter in me. To oppose leaving the EU I can take, I could even see myself voting for them all things considered, but to oppose giving people say? Unforgiveable
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    Ok again good post SE15, it's enjoyable to have such an intelligent discussion about the issues. I won't quote you verbatim as we have a 10,000 character per post limit, but I will try and touch some the issues you are raising.

    The working time directive is certainly not always fully implemented here but it is of benefit where it is used. You have to remember that people with families don't always appreciate being forced to work overtime, also that if you have people working 60 - 70 hours a week then there are less jobs available for other people and it creates excess unemployment. Maybe our government wasn't particularly interested in adopting such legislation, but then again they arn't being asked to work evenings and weekends and they have plenty of time to spend with their wives and children. Unfortunately our government doesn't always act in the best interests of our people and quite frankly 48 hours a week is plently for anybody.

    The idea of us coming together with our European neighbours just doesn't seem that much of a stretch, we are as you accept are having immigration from all over the world so we are now a much more tollerant and accepting society when it comes to differences and other cultures. If you actually go abroad to some of these other countries and speak with people you will find they really arn't at all that different than we are, they have the same hopes and dreams and the same issues, broadly speaking, are important to them. When you forget about nationalities you quickly discover that people are just people no matter where they come from.

    Yes you are correct about my views on Scottish independence, I really don't want Scotland to leave the union, but I do believe they are entitled to decide for themselves, just as I support your view that the British public should be entitled to a vote on our EU membership. I prefer the idea of cooperation and working together to build things than breaking them apart and or isolationism. I simply believe the whole is greater than sum of its parts.

    Yes even when we don't always agree with what is being done it doesn't, imho, mean we should simply take our ball and go home.

    I don't believe we would be losing the battle to keep supporting the EU, I think we will change our ideology to be more compatible with our neighbours so that we all benefit in the long run, I feel British governance for a purely self interest movitated basis is very short sighted and would put our long term future at risk.
    We are an important part of the EU and have a role to play, other countries want us to remain in, so us pulling out wouldn't help our fellow members.

    Lastly I'll say that I really can't see what we have to lose by cooperating with our neighbours and when we do cooperate we are able to make great strides forward.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Ok again good post SE15, it's enjoyable to have such an intelligent discussion about the issues. I won't quote you verbatim as we have a 10,000 character per post limit, but I will try and touch some the issues you are raising.
    Yes, it is nice to have an inteligent discussion. It feels strange we are being so nice to each other even though we disagree . . . feels wrong, lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The working time directive is certainly not always fully implemented here but it is of benefit where it is used. You have to remember that people with families don't always appreciate being forced to work overtime, also that if you have people working 60 - 70 hours a week then there are less jobs available for other people and it creates excess unemployment. Maybe our government wasn't particularly interested in adopting such legislation, but then again they arn't being asked to work evenings and weekends and they have plenty of time to spend with their wives and children. Unfortunately our government doesn't always act in the best interests of our people and quite frankly 48 hours a week is plently for anybody.
    The rights and wrongs of the WTD is rather irrelevent, it's the principle of having a policy (even one as minor as this) forced on us from afar that I find wrong and rather indefensible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The idea of us coming together with our European neighbours just doesn't seem that much of a stretch, we are as you accept are having immigration from all over the world so we are now a much more tollerant and accepting society when it comes to differences and other cultures. If you actually go abroad to some of these other countries and speak with people you will find they really arn't at all that different than we are, they have the same hopes and dreams and the same issues, broadly speaking, are important to them. When you forget about nationalities you quickly discover that people are just people no matter where they come from.
    Don't you see the irony in saying that at the same time as supporting the EU's efforts to even out our differences? It's as though you can accept different cultures/religions/attitudes (which is a good thing) but you can not accept different working policies? Different social aspects? Why is it you can accept an immigrant with "conservative" social attitudes yet you can not embrace my not wanting to be a part of the WTD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Yes you are correct about my views on Scottish independence, I really don't want Scotland to leave the union, but I do believe they are entitled to decide for themselves, just as I support your view that the British public should be entitled to a vote on our EU membership. I prefer the idea of cooperation and working together to build things than breaking them apart and or isolationism. I simply believe the whole is greater than sum of its parts.

    Yes even when we don't always agree with what is being done it doesn't, imho, mean we should simply take our ball and go home.
    So would you prefer that left leaning liberal Scotland be forever tethered to right-wing-corporate England than them go it alone? On the principle that they should work together, they should stay united dispite their obvious differences?

    From my perspective, I don't see the need to hang onto historic unions for the sake of it. We must not simply accept the 'mistakes' our ancestors may have made when they joined Scotland to England, or Catalonia to Castile/Aragon, Flanders to Waloonia, NI to the UK even. There are more important things than cooperation for the sake of it, and breaking apart doesn't mean hatred and hotility, we can still cooperate when we want to, it will just be on our terms rather than the terms laid down centuries before

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    We are an important part of the EU and have a role to play, other countries want us to remain in, so us pulling out wouldn't help our fellow members.
    What is our role exactly? From my PoV, our role of late seems to be an anchor. The nay-sayers always slowing down integration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Lastly I'll say that I really can't see what we have to lose by cooperating with our neighbours and when we do cooperate we are able to make great strides forward.
    Cooperation is not the issue. I actively support cooperation where we have shared goals - on trade, defence, the environment etc - it's integration I have an issue with. Can you tell me what level of integration you would want to see? How close to a "United States of Europe" you would be willing to have?

    I'd be interested to hear what you hope the EU will eventually become. What it's structure will be; federeted states? A proper EU president? Fully integrated fiscal union with tax raises powers, social costs (healthcare, education etc) paid from a central pot? A single military, police and laws? I am genuinely interested to know, as most pro-EU people I discuss this with are rather shy in saying exactly how far they want the EU to integrate. Where's your red line?
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    Membershipof the EU benefits the UK economically and it would be financial suicide toleave the union. With other nations grouping together more and more (surely only a matter of time before the African Union becomes economic as well) my tiny island would have no competitive edge if it stood alone.

    Politically it's a nightmare as we are ruled by unelected politicians in Brussels. Having said that, as a Marxist, I believe we are all ultimately ruled by unelected capitalist and therefore it makes little difference which one of their stooges you vote for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Ok again good post SE15, it's enjoyable to have such an intelligent discussion about the issues. I won't quote you verbatim as we have a 10,000 character per post limit, but I will try and touch some the issues you are raising.
    Yes, it is nice to have an inteligent discussion. It feels strange we are being so nice to each other even though we disagree . . . feels wrong, lol
    Hey why should we be hostile in our discussion, let's leave the squabbling to the politicians, the way I see it is that if you can manage to convince me to change my views then you have presented a very good case for doing so and I would be benefiting from adopting a stance that would ultimately be more beneficial for the long term future of our country, equally if I present a compelling case that changes your views then we would also both benefit from now both holding positions more advantageous to our nations interests.

    But I guess regardless of the outcome we can have an enjoyable and engaging dialogue whilst becoming more aware of differing viewpoints and learning more about the real issues of contention. So please don't feel strange, cordial is good!

    The rights and wrongs of the WTD is rather irrelevent, it's the principle of having a policy (even one as minor as this) forced on us from afar that I find wrong and rather indefensible.
    You see here I view this issue differently, I believe because we are part of the European Union we should be subject to it directives, directives that are designed to benefit all of its member states. Again here I would make the comparison with our local councils and how they have to still follow government directives designed to benefit all the people of our country equally.

    If our government could be trusted on the issue of employment & workers rights then we wouldn't even need to have to debate this issue as we would have already introduced suitable rights, perhaps rights even stronger than those mandated by the EU's Working Time Directive. Sadly our government can't be trusted on this issue and thus it has taken the EU to ensure that employees are allowed four weeks paid holiday a year, a maximum 48 hour working week, anti-discrimination laws, guaranteed rights for agency workers and guaranteed worker consultation. All of these protections are helping ordinary men & women the length and breadth of our country. Without being in the EU they just simply wouldn't exist today.

    Don't you see the irony in saying that at the same time as supporting the EU's efforts to even out our differences? It's as though you can accept different cultures/religions/attitudes (which is a good thing) but you can not accept different working policies? Different social aspects? Why is it you can accept an immigrant with "conservative" social attitudes yet you can not embrace my not wanting to be a part of the WTD?
    It's quite hard to see the real difference being made to people's lives on a daily basis and not think what a really possitive step forward the WTD has been. So yes I can of course accept that others might hold a different view on this issue, but it does feel like they are not really understanding how ensuring that employees get the chance to spend time with their families is so important.

    So would you prefer that left leaning liberal Scotland be forever tethered to right-wing-corporate England than them go it alone? On the principle that they should work together, they should stay united dispite their obvious differences?

    From my perspective, I don't see the need to hang onto historic unions for the sake of it. We must not simply accept the 'mistakes' our ancestors may have made when they joined Scotland to England, or Catalonia to Castile/Aragon, Flanders to Waloonia, NI to the UK even. There are more important things than cooperation for the sake of it, and breaking apart doesn't mean hatred and hotility, we can still cooperate when we want to, it will just be on our terms rather than the terms laid down centuries before
    Again here I think the way our country is being run is changing, so to me this idea as you put it "left leaning liberal Scotland" is pretty much irrelavant. I think they are more in step with a more socially orientated european ideal that given time and a change of government the rest of the UK can catch up with. Again the idea of breaking either the UK or the EU for the sake of some short term ideal is very short sighted and puts at risk our long term collective future that depends upon us all pulling in the same direction, which given time the whole of the EU will, I believe, be capable of doing.

    What is our role exactly? From my PoV, our role of late seems to be an anchor. The nay-sayers always slowing down integration.
    I would say our role within the EU is similar in some ways to both France & Germany as one of the biggest nations, but we are also there to promote free trade, work towards economic growth and push to combat climate change, we are uniquely placed to help achieve these goals given our historical links all around the world and our position within the commonwealth. But we also have a roll to play in helping the newer EU nations as we are a rich and technologically advance nation and have much to offer, this contributes towards the EU's goal to ensure a greater stardard of living across europe for its poorest nations.

    Cooperation is not the issue. I actively support cooperation where we have shared goals - on trade, defence, the environment etc - it's integration I have an issue with. Can you tell me what level of integration you would want to see? How close to a "United States of Europe" you would be willing to have?

    I'd be interested to hear what you hope the EU will eventually become. What it's structure will be; federeted states? A proper EU president? Fully integrated fiscal union with tax raises powers, social costs (healthcare, education etc) paid from a central pot? A single military, police and laws? I am genuinely interested to know, as most pro-EU people I discuss this with are rather shy in saying exactly how far they want the EU to integrate. Where's your red line?
    What a very good question, I guess the answer is somewhat complicated and very much depends on how the world changes and develops for the actual timescale of implementation. But yes eventually that is exactly what I would like to see, full standardisation across Europe a fully intergrated Europe where the very best and most successful policies are implement across the whole contintent. I would like to see the same standards of healthcare and education, equal salaries, living standards and costs. This would allow all europeans to live and work anywhere in the contintent and know what to expect. National governments would become pretty like large councils, concerned with national issues not covered by EU law, and they could help preserve local cultures and identities that benefit the EU.

    I think though realistically it will take many decades to really achieve that level of intergration.

    I would just like to put some facts into the discussion though at this stage to help make the case for our membership.

    Over £400,000,000,000 of our trade is with the EU every year.
    We will get back £6,000,000,000 from the EU, over the next 5 years for England alone, to help the poorest areas from the EU's Structural Fund.
    We have access and influence in a £13,000,000,000,000 market.
    We have over hundred's of thousands of people leaving the UK every to live in Europe, in 2011 alone over 350,000 left to live abroad. (source): UK Government - horr68-report, offical figures.
    Leaving the EU would effect the 5.5 million people living abroad.
    Leaving the EU could mean spending years waiting to get back in if things go wrong.
    We would not get an amicable divorce.
    Multinational companies with a choice between building a factory in an isolationist Britain or single market France wouldn't have much of a choice to make.
    If we leave the EU we give up the right to avoid trade quotas and import taxes.
    As a non EU member we would be subject to the EU's iron tariff.
    If we leave the EU we open the door to corruption as we are no longer part of the EU's tender system.
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    I'm Greek and I say it loud: EU and especially EMU led my country to bankruptcy and -25% reduction of GDP since 2009.

    Euro has been created to serve banks and large enterprises in the context of financialisation, functioning as an international reserve currency. Obviously, that's not the kind of currency Greece -and the majority of EU countries- needs, especially when they are in recession.
    IMO, the whole eurozone policy has been rather problematic: reducing wages, cutting public expenses, increasing indirect taxes, liberalising/deregulating markets and similar institutional changes have not benefited the vast majority of Greeks.
    Furthermore, since the eurozone crisis occurred, austerity has been disastrous. 30% unemployment, -25% (cumulative) GDP, -50% effective income and literally no hope for the future.
    EU has led to a great split between core and periphery and since my country belongs to periphery I have to be eurosceptic. IMO, EU preferred to protect large core banks by destroying the peripheral countries.
    Historically, there's not even 1 country which managed to recover with hard currency and all peripheral countries have the 2nd hardest currency in the world.

    I don't like misunderstandings. There are several positive facts about EU, I have traveled cheaply and easily throughout Europe, I buy from Amazon UK cheaply and thanks to EU environmental policy, I feel rather protected (even though at this moment in northern Greece there's a new gold mine-environmental bomb). But, if I had to choose, I'd choose to stay out of this union- especially the monetary union. It's undemocratic, elitist-like, inefficient and hostile towards me and my people.
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    Achilleas sadly the Euro has been a complete disaster and led countries such as Spain, Portugal & Ireland into massive debt, but obviously the effects in Greece have been truely devastating. As a concept the Euro is fine, but it was introduced about 3 or 4 decades to early, Europe needs true economic intergration to make the Euro work properly.
    Countries such as Germany have benefited massively from the Euro, they have managed to keep their currency at about half the actual value it should be by using other EU countries such as Greece to devalue it, this has meant their trade and exports have been pretty much incredible for well over a decade now and helped them pay for the entire rebuilding of the former East Germany.

    The flip side has been that Southern European economies such as Greece have gone through the floor wayed down by massive debts. The currency in Southern Europe has been pulled up by countries such as Germany meaning Spanish or Greek exports are far more expensive and this has seriously adversly effected their economies.
    Also the crippling stipulations placed on bailout deals has meant enormous cuts in government spending and huge job losses.
    Right now unemployment is also one of the single biggest issues across the whole of Europe with over 5.5 million under 25's out of work.
    So I can fully appreciate you are no lover of the EU, but I think Greece is better off in than out, that said if Greece were to withdraw from the Euro well then they could produce as much money as necessary to repay their debts, no more need for bailouts or austerity, this would also help to devalue their currency making their exports cheaper and hugely increasing demand for Greek goods, this could then kick start the labour market and put them well back on the road to recovery.
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    @achilleas, what do you think about the fact JPMorgan (or was it another bank) cooked greek's financial books to help it get into EU unlawfully? Perhaps greece would be better off had they not joined. There seems to be some responsibility at greeks governmental level doesn t it?Greece is certainly in very tough times, probably the toughest of EU right now, I just hope they find a way to get back on their feet overtime.

    P.S @ascended: devaluation like all the big players are doing is very tempting (even though forbidden by eu law), but i wonder if it would really benefit the working classses instead of just helping the rich abuse it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Achilleas sadly the Euro has been a complete disaster and led countries such as Spain, Portugal & Ireland into massive debt, but obviously the effects in Greece have been truely devastating. As a concept the Euro is fine, but it was introduced about 3 or 4 decades to early, Europe needs true economic intergration to make the Euro work properly.
    Countries such as Germany have benefited massively from the Euro, they have managed to keep their currency at about half the actual value it should be by using other EU countries such as Greece to devalue it, this has meant their trade and exports have been pretty much incredible for well over a decade now and helped them pay for the entire rebuilding of the former East Germany.

    The flip side has been that Southern European economies such as Greece have gone through the floor wayed down by massive debts. The currency in Southern Europe has been pulled up by countries such as Germany meaning Spanish or Greek exports are far more expensive and this has seriously adversly effected their economies.
    Also the crippling stipulations placed on bailout deals has meant enormous cuts in government spending and huge job losses.
    Right now unemployment is also one of the single biggest issues across the whole of Europe with over 5.5 million under 25's out of work.
    So I can fully appreciate you are no lover of the EU, but I think Greece is better off in than out, that said if Greece were to withdraw from the Euro well then they could produce as much money as necessary to repay their debts, no more need for bailouts or austerity, this would also help to devalue their currency making their exports cheaper and hugely increasing demand for Greek goods, this could then kick start the labour market and put them well back on the road to recovery.
    Greece should default and exit euro. It could be easier back in 2009 but even now I can't see any other solution. This should be he best long-term choice.
    As far as it concerns EU, lack of autonomus industrial, trade and fiscal policies may be a reason to exit EU as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ximlab View Post
    @achilleas, what do you think about the fact JPMorgan (or was it another bank) cooked greek's financial books to help it get into EU unlawfully? Perhaps greece would be better off had they not joined. There seems to be some responsibility at greeks governmental level doesn t it?Greece is certainly in very tough times, probably the toughest of EU right now, I just hope they find a way to get back on their feet overtime.

    P.S @ascended: devaluation like all the big players are doing is very tempting (even though forbidden by eu law), but i wonder if it would really benefit the working classses instead of just helping the rich abuse it.

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    I guess you mean EMU instead of EU. Do you believe that other EU members/Eurostat didn't know about Greek statistics (btw, I think it was Goldman Sachs)? I'm pretty sure they knew very well but for several geopolitical and economic reasons they let us. Also, even France cooked its books in order to get into EMU. I wonder if there's a single country that fulfilled the criteria. So, it doesn't surprise me. Yes, I do agree. We should never have joined eurozone.
    Yes, Greek governments are also responsible for these historical mistakes. No doubt.

    As far as it concerns devaluation, it always depends on how and when it happens. You may find devaluation in each IMF program, as well as in each radical left program. It depends on how its done, what other policies you follow, at which stage of economic cycle you're in, etc. The truth is that, it's a tool that sometimes is necessary in order to 1) gain competitiveness without destroying labour costs, 2) control efficient demand and stabilize national income. Currency war is always a risk though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citadel View Post
    I believe we are all ultimately ruled by unelected capitalist and therefore it makes little difference which one of their stooges you vote for.
    Yes, but they are our unelected capitalists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The rights and wrongs of the WTD is rather irrelevent, it's the principle of having a policy (even one as minor as this) forced on us from afar that I find wrong and rather indefensible.
    You see here I view this issue differently, I believe because we are part of the European Union we should be subject to it directives, directives that are designed to benefit all of its member states. Again here I would make the comparison with our local councils and how they have to still follow government directives designed to benefit all the people of our country equally.
    Directives of our choosing, yes, not those forced onto us under the guise of something else. The WTD was fairly miner, and so were it's effects, yet here we are 20 years later discussing it. What does that tell you? It tells me that the people (the British in particular) instintctively oppose such an unfair way of changing the law, and see through the BS to see the undemocratic way it was imposed. Your support of it offers me no comfort whatsoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    If our government could be trusted on the issue of employment & workers rights then we wouldn't even need to have to debate this issue as we would have already introduced suitable rights, perhaps rights even stronger than those mandated by the EU's Working Time Directive. Sadly our government can't be trusted on this issue and thus it has taken the EU to ensure that employees are allowed four weeks paid holiday a year, a maximum 48 hour working week, anti-discrimination laws, guaranteed rights for agency workers and guaranteed worker consultation. All of these protections are helping ordinary men & women the length and breadth of our country. Without being in the EU they just simply wouldn't exist today.
    When you say “the government” you really mean “the people” for it is they who choose the government."The people could not be trusted on the issue of employment & workers rights". By taking it out of their hands, you effectively deny democracy. And no, for the "greater good" is not a valid reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Don't you see the irony in saying that at the same time as supporting the EU's efforts to even out our differences? It's as though you can accept different cultures/religions/attitudes (which is a good thing) but you can not accept different working policies? Different social aspects? Why is it you can accept an immigrant with "conservative" social attitudes yet you can not embrace my not wanting to be a part of the WTD?
    It's quite hard to see the real difference being made to people's lives on a daily basis and not think what a really possitive step forward the WTD has been. So yes I can of course accept that others might hold a different view on this issue, but it does feel like they are not really understanding how ensuring that employees get the chance to spend time with their families is so important.
    You didn’t really address my point there. Why can you be more tollerant and accepting of other cultures, yet insist that YOUR particular view on working practices is the only acceptable one to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    So would you prefer that left leaning liberal Scotland be forever tethered to right-wing-corporate England than them go it alone? On the principle that they should work together, they should stay united dispite their obvious differences?
    Again here I think the way our country is being run is changing, so to me this idea as you put it "left leaning liberal Scotland" is pretty much irrelavant. I think they are more in step with a more socially orientated european ideal that given time and a change of government the rest of the UK can catch up with. Again the idea of breaking either the UK or the EU for the sake of some short term ideal is very short sighted and puts at risk our long term collective future that depends upon us all pulling in the same direction, which given time the whole of the EU will, I believe, be capable of doing.
    This harks back to my earlier point about how you would see the EU if it didn't align with your politics. It is dangerous to assume that the future lies in more socially aware/orientated societies, that we will eventually 'catch-up' with the rest of Europe. In the last couple of decades we have (in the UK at least) become less 'left-wing' on issues like employment, benefits etc (economics). On sexuality, race, religion we have liberalised definately, but when it comes to economics, we have become more right wing, more conservative in our outlook. This is not just something that has happened in the UK either, but in many parts of Europe as well. There could well come a time when Europe catches up with us, and becomes more conservative on economics. When/if that time comes, you will be stuck with an overbearing Union you have little actual chance of changing. A dangerous thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I would say our role within the EU is similar in some ways to both France & Germany as one of the biggest nations, but we are also there to promote free trade, work towards economic growth and push to combat climate change, we are uniquely placed to help achieve these goals given our historical links all around the world and our position within the commonwealth. But we also have a roll to play in helping the newer EU nations as we are a rich and technologically advance nation and have much to offer, this contributes towards the EU's goal to ensure a greater stardard of living across europe for its poorest nations
    So our role is basically the same as Germany's? We could still effect our ideals through the Commonwealth (even though I think it's not an especially effective organisation)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Cooperation is not the issue. I actively support cooperation where we have shared goals - on trade, defence, the environment etc - it's integration I have an issue with. Can you tell me what level of integration you would want to see? How close to a "United States of Europe" you would be willing to have?

    I'd be interested to hear what you hope the EU will eventually become. What it's structure will be; federeted states? A proper EU president? Fully integrated fiscal union with tax raises powers, social costs (healthcare, education etc) paid from a central pot? A single military, police and laws? I am genuinely interested to know, as most pro-EU people I discuss this with are rather shy in saying exactly how far they want the EU to integrate. Where's your red line?
    What a very good question, I guess the answer is somewhat complicated and very much depends on how the world changes and develops for the actual timescale of implementation. But yes eventually that is exactly what I would like to see, full standardisation across Europe a fully intergrated Europe where the very best and most successful policies are implement across the whole contintent. I would like to see the same standards of healthcare and education, equal salaries, living standards and costs. This would allow all europeans to live and work anywhere in the contintent and know what to expect. National governments would become pretty like large councils, concerned with national issues not covered by EU law, and they could help preserve local cultures and identities that benefit the EU.

    I think though realistically it will take many decades to really achieve that level of intergration.
    It’s good to see such an honest answer from a pro-EU poster, most are very shy about admitting where want to see the EU heading. I’m in total disagreement btw, and what you’ve described is my worst nightmare - which is effectively a United States of Europe, a super-powerin the making. Personally, I think super-powers do more wrong than they do right, and I live for the day the world is made of smaller, less harmful nations working together, rather than against each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I would just like to put some facts into the discussion though at this stage to help make the case for our membership.

    Over £400,000,000,000 of our trade is with the EU every year.
    We will get back £6,000,000,000 from the EU, over the next 5 years for England alone, to help the poorest areas from the EU's Structural Fund.
    We have access and influence in a £13,000,000,000,000 market.
    We have over hundred's of thousands of people leaving the UK every to live in Europe, in 2011 alone over 350,000 left to live abroad. (source): UK Government - horr68-report, offical figures.
    Leaving the EU would effect the 5.5 million people living abroad.
    Leaving the EU could mean spending years waiting to get back in if things go wrong.
    We would not get an amicable divorce.
    Multinational companies with a choice between building a factory in an isolationist Britain or single market France wouldn't have much of a choice to make.
    If we leave the EU we give up the right to avoid trade quotas and import taxes.
    As a non EU member we would be subject to the EU's iron tariff.
    If we leave the EU we open the door to corruption as we are no longer part of the EU's tender system.
    Ah yes, I remember reading similar scare stories when we were thinking about joining the Euro. “If we don’t join the Euro we’ll lose 3 million jobs! We’ll have no influence! We’ll lose massive amounts of trade! We’ll lose the City!” Very dramatic stuff, and largely unfounded tosh. The fact is, leaving the EU will not be as dire as you like to suggest. We import far more from the EU than we export, so they would (the Germans and North Europeans especially) be very keen to organise some kind of trade agreement with us. To suggest they would not is rather naïve and suggests that the Europeans are a horribly spiteful bunch
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    Quote Originally Posted by Achilleas View Post
    I'm Greek and I say it loud: EU and especially EMU led my country to bankruptcy and -25% reduction of GDP since 2009.

    Euro has been created to serve banks and large enterprises in the context of financialisation, functioning as an international reserve currency. Obviously, that's not the kind of currency Greece -and the majority of EU countries- needs, especially when they are in recession.
    IMO, the whole eurozone policy has been rather problematic: reducing wages, cutting public expenses, increasing indirect taxes, liberalising/deregulating markets and similar institutional changes have not benefited the vast majority of Greeks.
    Furthermore, since the eurozone crisis occurred, austerity has been disastrous. 30% unemployment, -25% (cumulative) GDP, -50% effective income and literally no hope for the future.
    EU has led to a great split between core and periphery and since my country belongs to periphery I have to be eurosceptic. IMO, EU preferred to protect large core banks by destroying the peripheral countries.
    Historically, there's not even 1 country which managed to recover with hard currency and all peripheral countries have the 2nd hardest currency in the world.

    I don't like misunderstandings. There are several positive facts about EU, I have traveled cheaply and easily throughout Europe, I buy from Amazon UK cheaply and thanks to EU environmental policy, I feel rather protected (even though at this moment in northern Greece there's a new gold mine-environmental bomb). But, if I had to choose, I'd choose to stay out of this union- especially the monetary union. It's undemocratic, elitist-like, inefficient and hostile towards me and my people.
    What has happened to Greece has been nothing short of a nightmare, and I feel for you. It didn't help that your government cooked the books in order to get in, but I find it very difficult to believe no one in the Euro group was aware of them doing it, they just didn't care. The idea of the Euro was far more important to them than making sure it worked properly. Their thinking was that once we have it, we'll find a way of making it work.

    A Grexit is the only real solution for you, and you should be helped to leave as easily as possible. The Euro mob will make it as difficult as possible though, as they simply do not care about little old Greece.
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    Germany (German Banks and large corporations particularly) is also responsible for our entrance in eurozone (and the fixed exchange rate euro/drachma) as well as for the imposed austerity and moratoriums. EU managed to tie up Greece with its external debt. Default is much more difficult to be done and due to long term recession production sectors have been destroyed.
    Default and exit is the best solution for Greece, Portugal and other peripheral countries. There's no no-cost solutions but there's nothing worse than imposed austerity + hard currency. As a case study, it's the worst scenario I can think of.

    Btw, governments do not equal to people. Governments are elected by people (through a really strange procedure) but large political parties control public opinion since they control media, they are (illegally or legally) financed by large corporations, etc. As George Carlin used to say, "you have the illusion of choice".
    eg, in Greece, media do not highlight euroskepticism nor grexit/default. Instead, mass media promote alarmists who claim that austerity was the only realistic and optimum(!) solution for Greece and other countries. Various academic research claims that predicted inflation (in case of 50% devaluation) will be from 5% to 10% for the first year, 5% to 2% the second year and so on. Yet, "serious" (or Sirius) analysts rent their clothes, claiming that hyperinflation and -25% GDP reduction would be the results of default and exit. Ironically, -25% GDP growth was the actual result of austerity within eurozone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    From the US perspective, after spending trillions defending Europe as well as blood in two major continental wars where countries the size of Texas counties just can't help kicking the crap out of each other every couple generations....well the EU looks pretty darn good.
    Absolute bollock,s and you know it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    From the US perspective, after spending trillions defending Europe as well as blood in two major continental wars where countries the size of Texas counties just can't help kicking the crap out of each other every couple generations....well the EU looks pretty darn good.
    Absolute bollock,s and you know it.
    From the US perspective, EU looked darn good as long as USSR existed. Through Marshall plan US achieved tremendous control over European countries.
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    Again here I'm going to have to disagree with you, certainly no one has ever said the EU is perfect, it's an ongoing project and has along way to go before we get it right, but this being said it is taking us in the right direction and helping to cooperate better with our European neighbours. In terms of actual benefits I think we have benefitted hugely in terms of jobs, trade and infrastructure also employment, human rights &amp; equality laws have helped the protect the most vunerable in our society.
    Weak logic there. All sovereign states must look after their own interests, by definition. Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Latvia, Malta, Cyprus, etc. all joined as they have different economic development levels and frankly histories in the post-war period. To them perhaps, being part of a larger union is key. To us, given that we still have a large world economy, and thus experience in global trading, we can afford to make a decision to leave based on our own interests. I contend to say that I see little tangible benefit in EU membership.

    In terms of jobs, I would say it's our own government's economic policies that have created this, NOT the EU. Note that prior to the Great Recession, we had amongst the best performing economies in the EU for some time (as Blair and Brown used to say "16 years of continuous GDP growth" and some such). To assert this was caused directly by the EU is IMO nonsense. As for infrastructure, the major such projects have been roads, bridges, railways, etc. We don't need the EU to fund this. And human rights? The Human Rights Act is a fiction and most don't really care nor give a damn about it. It's far from a bona fide Bill of Rights, which IMO is what we need. Also, the principal equality laws were made in spite of the EU. There is no evidence IMO that the EU has directly aided our economy, at least no more than we have ourselves.

    Our social inequities have for a long time been worse than that of other EU states. And as there are newer member states who are poorer, why would the EU hand us welfare funds and not them? I would say social inequities exist due to poor public services and "Londoncentricity" which makes northern England, Wales, Ulster and to some extent Scotland poorer.

    As for Nissan, well is 6000 jobs really that much in the grand scheme? I would say also that our armed forces are stretched since we get involved in conflicts we have no business being in, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, etc. And protecting overseas territories, bar the Falklands perhaps, I doubt Jamaica anytime soon will invade Grand Cayman, or the Congo invade Ascension Island, do you? Though I did hear the PM of the Bahamas recently say he wants breathing room and wants to make Turks and Caisos as part of his Reich.... As UN Security Council membership will be expanded sooner or later, then the arrangements for vetoing may change too. Why would our veto be any more of consequence than India's, Brazil's, Japan's or Germany's?

    The purpose of joining the EU as I see it was for economic enhancement. This IMO has not and did not occur. There is no real data out there saying how the UK has been enhanced economically by means of EU membership, whether in GDP growth terms, unemployment, inflation (ERM anybody haha!), etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    From the US perspective, after spending trillions defending Europe as well as blood in two major continental wars where countries the size of Texas counties just can't help kicking the crap out of each other every couple generations....well the EU looks pretty darn good.
    Absolute bollock,s and you know it.
    I'm completely serious. Over half a million dead after being forced to join European conflicts during the 20th century, and another 15+ trillion dollars to maintain the peace bolstering NATO and deter the USSR from more European violence should make any American glad for any cooperative agreements Europe can manage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Ok again good post SE15, it's enjoyable to have such an intelligent discussion about the issues. I won't quote you verbatim as we have a 10,000 character per post limit, but I will try and touch some the issues you are raising.
    Yes, it is nice to have an inteligent discussion. It feels strange we are being so nice to each other even though we disagree . . . feels wrong, lol
    Hey why should we be hostile in our discussion, let's leave the squabbling to the politicians, the way I see it is that if you can manage to convince me to change my views then you have presented a very good case for doing so and I would be benefiting from adopting a stance that would ultimately be more beneficial for the long term future of our country, equally if I present a compelling case that changes your views then we would also both benefit from now both holding positions more advantageous to our nations interests.

    But I guess regardless of the outcome we can have an enjoyable and engaging dialogue whilst becoming more aware of differing viewpoints and learning more about the real issues of contention. So please don't feel strange, cordial is good!

    The rights and wrongs of the WTD is rather irrelevent, it's the principle of having a policy (even one as minor as this) forced on us from afar that I find wrong and rather indefensible.
    You see here I view this issue differently, I believe because we are part of the European Union we should be subject to it directives, directives that are designed to benefit all of its member states. Again here I would make the comparison with our local councils and how they have to still follow government directives designed to benefit all the people of our country equally.

    If our government could be trusted on the issue of employment & workers rights then we wouldn't even need to have to debate this issue as we would have already introduced suitable rights, perhaps rights even stronger than those mandated by the EU's Working Time Directive. Sadly our government can't be trusted on this issue and thus it has taken the EU to ensure that employees are allowed four weeks paid holiday a year, a maximum 48 hour working week, anti-discrimination laws, guaranteed rights for agency workers and guaranteed worker consultation. All of these protections are helping ordinary men & women the length and breadth of our country. Without being in the EU they just simply wouldn't exist today.

    Don't you see the irony in saying that at the same time as supporting the EU's efforts to even out our differences? It's as though you can accept different cultures/religions/attitudes (which is a good thing) but you can not accept different working policies? Different social aspects? Why is it you can accept an immigrant with "conservative" social attitudes yet you can not embrace my not wanting to be a part of the WTD?
    It's quite hard to see the real difference being made to people's lives on a daily basis and not think what a really possitive step forward the WTD has been. So yes I can of course accept that others might hold a different view on this issue, but it does feel like they are not really understanding how ensuring that employees get the chance to spend time with their families is so important.

    So would you prefer that left leaning liberal Scotland be forever tethered to right-wing-corporate England than them go it alone? On the principle that they should work together, they should stay united dispite their obvious differences?

    From my perspective, I don't see the need to hang onto historic unions for the sake of it. We must not simply accept the 'mistakes' our ancestors may have made when they joined Scotland to England, or Catalonia to Castile/Aragon, Flanders to Waloonia, NI to the UK even. There are more important things than cooperation for the sake of it, and breaking apart doesn't mean hatred and hotility, we can still cooperate when we want to, it will just be on our terms rather than the terms laid down centuries before
    Again here I think the way our country is being run is changing, so to me this idea as you put it "left leaning liberal Scotland" is pretty much irrelavant. I think they are more in step with a more socially orientated european ideal that given time and a change of government the rest of the UK can catch up with. Again the idea of breaking either the UK or the EU for the sake of some short term ideal is very short sighted and puts at risk our long term collective future that depends upon us all pulling in the same direction, which given time the whole of the EU will, I believe, be capable of doing.

    What is our role exactly? From my PoV, our role of late seems to be an anchor. The nay-sayers always slowing down integration.
    I would say our role within the EU is similar in some ways to both France & Germany as one of the biggest nations, but we are also there to promote free trade, work towards economic growth and push to combat climate change, we are uniquely placed to help achieve these goals given our historical links all around the world and our position within the commonwealth. But we also have a roll to play in helping the newer EU nations as we are a rich and technologically advance nation and have much to offer, this contributes towards the EU's goal to ensure a greater stardard of living across europe for its poorest nations.

    Cooperation is not the issue. I actively support cooperation where we have shared goals - on trade, defence, the environment etc - it's integration I have an issue with. Can you tell me what level of integration you would want to see? How close to a "United States of Europe" you would be willing to have?

    I'd be interested to hear what you hope the EU will eventually become. What it's structure will be; federeted states? A proper EU president? Fully integrated fiscal union with tax raises powers, social costs (healthcare, education etc) paid from a central pot? A single military, police and laws? I am genuinely interested to know, as most pro-EU people I discuss this with are rather shy in saying exactly how far they want the EU to integrate. Where's your red line?
    What a very good question, I guess the answer is somewhat complicated and very much depends on how the world changes and develops for the actual timescale of implementation. But yes eventually that is exactly what I would like to see, full standardisation across Europe a fully intergrated Europe where the very best and most successful policies are implement across the whole contintent. I would like to see the same standards of healthcare and education, equal salaries, living standards and costs. This would allow all europeans to live and work anywhere in the contintent and know what to expect. National governments would become pretty like large councils, concerned with national issues not covered by EU law, and they could help preserve local cultures and identities that benefit the EU.

    I think though realistically it will take many decades to really achieve that level of intergration.

    I would just like to put some facts into the discussion though at this stage to help make the case for our membership.

    Over £400,000,000,000 of our trade is with the EU every year.
    We will get back £6,000,000,000 from the EU, over the next 5 years for England alone, to help the poorest areas from the EU's Structural Fund.
    We have access and influence in a £13,000,000,000,000 market.
    We have over hundred's of thousands of people leaving the UK every to live in Europe, in 2011 alone over 350,000 left to live abroad. (source): UK Government - horr68-report, offical figures.
    Leaving the EU would effect the 5.5 million people living abroad.
    Leaving the EU could mean spending years waiting to get back in if things go wrong.
    We would not get an amicable divorce.
    Multinational companies with a choice between building a factory in an isolationist Britain or single market France wouldn't have much of a choice to make.
    If we leave the EU we give up the right to avoid trade quotas and import taxes.
    As a non EU member we would be subject to the EU's iron tariff.
    If we leave the EU we open the door to corruption as we are no longer part of the EU's tender system.

    Corruption? And this doesn't occur already, both here and in other EU countries? I would say corruption is largely cultural, and the UK has always had a low perception of corruption.

    And 400 billion pounds? This is our entire exports globally. So we don't export to North America, Asia, Africa, etc?

    I don't get the presumption that the EU will not want to trade with us to "punish" us for leaving haha.. Who says that large German or French firms wouldn't lobby the EU to sign a trade treaty with us? As the UK is a large market for their goods, it's reasonable they wouldn't want a disruption in their markets.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    I'm British, and I think we should leave the EU. I'm prepared for flames, but I can take it lol..

    I don't think membership has truly benefitted us. Our economy has performed in spite of it, and not because of it as the original reason for joining has not been fulfilled. We were concerned that the then EEC countries were growing at higher rates than us, however it needed Thatcherism and North Sea oil to revive the UK economy.

    Also, the major reason British people are traditionally Euro-sceptic is IMO historical. The founding members of the now EU had all either lost WWII, or had been invaded by Germany during the conflict. So with much of the industry destroyed, they needed to co-operate to sustain economic recovery and of course forestall any potential war between them. Despite being a victor in the war, the UK had traditionally held greater interests overseas (in "the Empire") so it didn't feel the need to integrate as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. did.

    Alot of British people are eurosceptic, there is certainly nothing wrong with holding that viewpoint, at least nothing that should see you being flamed. I would however ask you to look very closely at just how intertwined the UK actually is within the European Union and everything that accompanies said entanglement.

    This is really quite important because it helps explain why we are in the EU, and why the UK's three main political parties have ensured we stay in the EU for this long. By this I mean they have believed for a very long time that the benefits outway the disadvantages. We have a voice in world politics that would be considerably diminished if we leave the EU, or permanent UN Security Council Seat may well be at risk. We would be shut out of the decision making process for the whole of the European trading block, yet still subject to it's rules and regulations for all aspects of trade.

    Also there are millions of expatriates living across Europe who's automatic right to live there will be put in serious jeopardy. Isolationist type policies have traditionally been very damaging to nations throughout history, as they often fall behind more cooperative competitor nations. The potential for our economy to fall off a serious cliff is huge and at a time when our borrowing is rapidly heading towards the £1 trillion pound mark it is a massive risk to take.

    The people who could possibly benefit from a withdrawral from the EU are only the very few wealthiest of our society that will be able to expand the widening gap between rich and poor into a gaping chasm with no European regulations to enforce workers rights, human rights, rights to housing ect..., and given the number of clashes the government seems to have with the EU over basic freedoms it seems highly likely they will seek to remove them without such oversight from the European Court.

    Now stack everything we face to lose against the dribble being peddled by far right political parties such as the BNP or UKIP and it doesn't bear looking at. In return for all our risks and losses we might save a few quid from our contribution to the EU budget, alot of this money we get back anyway and not just from the rebate but from money payed out in inititives across the UK to help with poverty, employment, farming, technological advancement and transport (you don't hear so much of this being explained by Nigel Farage).

    Then of course there is the loss of access to areas such as the European banking sector, investors wanting access to the EU market arn't going to be looking at Britain anymore that's for sure. Also many of the businesses already here might decide to jump ship, I for one will be heading North of the border if we ever do withdraw from the EU, because there is no way in hell the Scots will put up with an EU exit.

    Most of the media stories about foreigners in Britain are blantantly propaganda to sway public opinion, and whipped by politians using the European issue to further their own political carreers and feed into people's fears.

    So I would ask anyone who thinks leaving the EU is a good idea to really look into all the facts, not just believe the propagada and I'll leave you with this one last thought, if leaving the EU is such a good idea then how come there are so many countries lining up just desperate to be allowed in?
    In history? How did ancient Rome get "left behind" and compared to whom? What about the Mongols? Even the British Empire fell because the USA, Germany, etc. caught it up economically, and excesses of colonial rule led to its colonies gained independence.

    I also like your bandwagon fallacy sentiment. Yes, so nation-states like human beings don't have their own needs and interests, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    From the US perspective, after spending trillions defending Europe as well as blood in two major continental wars where countries the size of Texas counties just can't help kicking the crap out of each other every couple generations....well the EU looks pretty darn good.
    Absolute bollock,s and you know it.
    I'm completely serious. Over half a million dead after being forced to join European conflicts during the 20th century, and another 15+ trillion dollars to maintain the peace bolstering NATO and deter the USSR from more European violence should make any American glad for any cooperative agreements Europe can manage.
    But those cooperative agreements need not have been the "EU". I would argue that the creation of the EU played only a very small part in detering USSR-EU violence - the US military did far more.

    Plus, I think the world has moved on quite considerably since then. Today, the US probably sees the EU as more of a rival, and is stuck with the awkward fact that Europe acts separately on issues where the US would prefer them to act as one (like foreign policy for example), but it acts as one when the US would probably prefer to pick them off one by one (trade - especially on matters like agricultural imports and climate change).

    (Not a rival in a military sense but in the sense that it may one day build a truely United States of Europe as per Ascended's posts)
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    eh? lol..

    It's funny that an American doesn't even know his country entered both World Wars after being provoked.

    In 1914, and 1939, most Americans couldn't give a shit about the conflicts in Europe and actively wanted to stay out. Even if Hitler had won in Europe, whether he could have invaded both the US and Canada is moot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post


    Corruption? And this doesn't occur already, both here and in other EU countries? I would say corruption is largely cultural, and the UK has always had a low perception of corruption.

    And 400 billion pounds? This is our entire exports globally. So we don't export to North America, Asia, Africa, etc?

    I don't get the presumption that the EU will not want to trade with us to "punish" us for leaving haha.. Who says that large German or French firms wouldn't lobby the EU to sign a trade treaty with us? As the UK is a large market for their goods, it's reasonable they wouldn't want a disruption in their markets.
    The EU's tendering policy is designed to counter possible corruption by requiring that contracts are put up for tender in a transparent way, not just given out to companies with the best lobbiests or politians in their pockets.

    Sorry but you are indeed incorrect here, £400 Billion is a widely accepted figure for our trade with European Union, which actually represents approximately 52% of our total, making the EU by far our largest trading partner.

    I think you misunderstand here, I'm not suggesting punishment for leaving, what I am suggesting is that it seems unlikely we would be given the same favourable treatment as EU members contributing to the EU budget and cooperating on joint EU projects, why would we be given these advantages?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    [

    In history? How did ancient Rome get "left behind" and compared to whom? What about the Mongols? Even the British Empire fell because the USA, Germany, etc. caught it up economically, and excesses of colonial rule led to its colonies gained independence.

    I also like your bandwagon fallacy sentiment. Yes, so nation-states like human beings don't have their own needs and interests, right?
    Again here I don't think you are really understanding the concept of the EU, the idea is that countries work and cooperate togother to benefit each other and the EU as a whole rather than take a short sighted viewed of their own self interests. In this way as the EU develops it can help to generate both extra trade revenue for it members states and also create extra jobs.

    In general when people, groups or countries work together they can and do achieve much more than they ever could alone, they have the ability to help and learn from each other, they also have a greater influence with other groups in negotiating favourable agreements. If this wasn't the case nation states as they exist today would never have come about and everyone would still be living very small groups incapable of working together.
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    But then what is the benefit? yes, a lot of exports/imports are EU-based, but then how does this benefit our economy positively? I see way how the EU has had a positive impact on general UK society.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    Directives of our choosing, yes, not those forced onto us under the guise of something else. The WTD was fairly miner, and so were it's effects, yet here we are 20 years later discussing it. What does that tell you? It tells me that the people (the British in particular) instintctively oppose such an unfair way of changing the law, and see through the BS to see the undemocratic way it was imposed. Your support of it offers me no comfort whatsoever.
    I simply don't see belonging to an organisation that makes legislation that helps ordinary people in our country as bad thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    When you say “the government” you really mean “the people” for it is they who choose the government."The people could not be trusted on the issue of employment & workers rights". By taking it out of their hands, you effectively deny democracy. And no, for the "greater good" is not a valid reason.
    Well these are the same people that elected a government that keeps us in the EU, so it's also "the people" as you put it that are choosing to accept the legislation, so it is also not undemocratic. Certainly no less democratic than having a government chosen by less than half of those people who ever vote, a goverment that campaigns on a manifesto over which the public have no say whatso ever and a manifesto out which they then pick and choose what promises they will actually keep.

    No, make no mistake here, the government are supposed to represent the people and act in their name but they are not the people!

    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    You didn’t really address my point there. Why can you be more tollerant and accepting of other cultures, yet insist that YOUR particular view on working practices is the only acceptable one to you?
    Ok yes here I did have a little trouble understanding the question you raised. I am most definately tollerant and accepting to your view, just as I am tollerant and accepting of other cultures. This doesn't however mean I agree with either them or you, rather that I respect your opinion and your entitlement to have it. I however have a different opinion, my opinion is formed on the basis of what I believe is in the best interests of both our nations people and also the populations of all the EU members.

    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    This harks back to my earlier point about how you would see the EU if it didn't align with your politics. It is dangerous to assume that the future lies in more socially aware/orientated societies, that we will eventually 'catch-up' with the rest of Europe. In the last couple of decades we have (in the UK at least) become less 'left-wing' on issues like employment, benefits etc (economics). On sexuality, race, religion we have liberalised definately, but when it comes to economics, we have become more right wing, more conservative in our outlook. This is not just something that has happened in the UK either, but in many parts of Europe as well. There could well come a time when Europe catches up with us, and becomes more conservative on economics. When/if that time comes, you will be stuck with an overbearing Union you have little actual chance of changing. A dangerous thing.
    That seems like a fallacious argument as we can choose to leave if we don't feel the EU is in our best interests, that fact that we haven't rather shows the opposite.

    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    So our role is basically the same as Germany's? We could still effect our ideals through the Commonwealth (even though I think it's not an especially effective organisation)
    As one of the larger countries we have a key role to play within the EU, just like France and Germany also have key roles. But yes I think that we are uniquely placed to intercede within the Commonwealth to help align their ambitions towards working with the EU towards global goals. As for the Coomonwealth not being especially effective I would say that we have to would with what we have, we can use some of that good old British spirit to help us overcome any such adversity as we may encounter.

    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    It’s good to see such an honest answer from a pro-EU poster, most are very shy about admitting where want to see the EU heading. I’m in total disagreement btw, and what you’ve described is my worst nightmare - which is effectively a United States of Europe, a super-powerin the making. Personally, I think super-powers do more wrong than they do right, and I live for the day the world is made of smaller, less harmful nations working together, rather than against each other
    I do not see what there is to fear from a Europe where everyone is both free and equal, with a just and fair social policy, where keep can choose where they wish to live or work and that their children will have the same standards of education and medical care. To me this is a dream to be aspired to, one continent a land of freedom, peace, stability, opportunity and equality able to work towards making progress on solving some of the real issues in the world such as disease and poverty, protecting the eviroment, inventing new technologies to better use our resources and to lay down a blueprint for a bright future but not just our children but for generations to come.

    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    Ah yes, I remember reading similar scare stories when we were thinking about joining the Euro. “If we don’t join the Euro we’ll lose 3 million jobs! We’ll have no influence! We’ll lose massive amounts of trade! We’ll lose the City!” Very dramatic stuff, and largely unfounded tosh. The fact is, leaving the EU will not be as dire as you like to suggest. We import far more from the EU than we export, so they would (the Germans and North Europeans especially) be very keen to organise some kind of trade agreement with us. To suggest they would not is rather naïve and suggests that the Europeans are a horribly spiteful bunch
    The truth is people can make lots of predictions but nobody really knows for sure what the exact repercussions would be for leaving the EU, the one thing many do agree on though is it won't be pretty. As for the balance of trade we were running a trade surplus with the EU in 2007 before the financial crash and resultant recession. I suggest that claims of trade imbalances being down to our EU membership are misguided, rather than being the problem being in the EU is helping us to close our deficit by allowing us to increase our exports to EU countries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    But then what is the benefit? yes, a lot of exports/imports are EU-based, but then how does this benefit our economy positively? I see way how the EU has had a positive impact on general UK society.
    Ok let's see,

    More jobs, human & workers rights, greater food standards, better working practices, technology sharing saves money and medicines and equipment help save lives. Gives a voice of global issues, allows to collaberate joint EU projects. Allows us to go to live and work in EU countries, allows joint police operations across Europe. Gives us the chance to help rebuild and poorer former Iron curtain countries, enables greater living standards across Europe. Provides opportunities for new compainies with support and finance, supports local farmers, helps us work towards eviromental goals, protects us import/export taxes and tariffs.
    Holds governments to account over issues of torture & imprisonment, prevents the introduction of executions. Requires all products imported to the EU meet safety standards to prevent accidents & posioning ect...

    The EU effects us more than most realise in our everyday lives, but most of the time the EU is concerned with protecting people, the people of all it's member states and where they find problems getting countries to work together to solve them.
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    How? How has EU membership improved our economy? Are there statistics to cite/corroborate this?

    And didn't we have safeguards against prisoner mistreatment prior to EU membership? As for living standards, I think we enhanced our own relative to other EU countries without "help" from the EU.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    How? How has EU membership improved our economy? Are there statistics to cite/corroborate this?

    And didn't we have safeguards against prisoner mistreatment prior to EU membership? As for living standards, I think we enhanced our own relative to other EU countries without "help" from the EU.
    Ok so what the EU is about, what it stands for and how it is helping in our everyday lives not good enough? You want some facts and figures then here goes:

    EU portfolio investments in the UK amounted to US$1.3 trillion, whereas UK portfolio investments in the EU equalled US$ 1.15 trillion. This makes a positive contribution of US$ 150 billion to the UK capital account, helping to balance out the UK current account deficit.

    England will get £6 billion in EU structural funds with Wales getting £2 billion, Scotland £795 million, and Northern Ireland £457 million respectively.

    The UK makes over a billion pounds a year from our financial services trade surplus with the EU.

    We have many of our citizens living and working in other EU countries, official figures place the number at over 1.6 million, many of these people depend on us being a member of the EU for their livelihood and place to live.

    In the last year before the financial crash, (2007), the UK recieved over £7 billion from tourism by other EU citizens.(Direct sales only) With the figure set to be substantially higher when indirect revenue is taken into consideration.

    We have 3.5 million jobs dependant on our EU trade. (Source:- Oxford Economics Survey)

    EU countries are the main destination for UK travellers going abroad at 74% of their total foreign visits.

    Being in the EU has driven UK tourism to make the UK the 6th most visited country in the world after France, Spain, US, China, and Italy.

    The UK contributes around 14 billion Euros (£11.9 billion) to the EU budget every year, but receives 10 billion Euros (£8.5 billion) back – so in fact we contribute only £3.4 billion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    Plus, I think the world has moved on quite considerably since then. Today, the US probably sees the EU as more of a rival, and is stuck with the awkward fact that Europe acts separately on issues where the US would prefer them to act as one (like foreign policy for example), but it acts as one when the US would probably prefer to pick them off one by one (trade - especially on matters like agricultural imports and climate change).
    Considering we still send observers to maneuvers by the 20th Greek armored Division to avert an invasion by Turkey, and as recently as 1990s played the dominant role to clean up genocidal and ethnic cleansing in SE Europe (both of which I was deployed for), ..well you might excuse this old American Soldier for having a slightly different opinion of how far Europe has moved on. I'm all for NATO, EU and any other connectivity that keeps Europe beholden to its partners.

    Don't get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for much of European culture and general progression on many difficult subjects that seem intrinsically unsolvable by America politics, but don't think its nearly as progressed as European idealist would like to think.

    It's funny that an American doesn't even know his country entered both World Wars after being provoked.

    Ironically that I say forced...and you say provoked....which are rather similar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    China won't. They can't organize their society to be self sufficient
    Huh? There hasn't been a self-sufficient nation in half a century. Much like the US, they have spread their political and economic influence all over the world, an absolute requirement for modern nations.
    China self sufficient? I guess it depends what you mean. They can't keep their industries running unless someone else provides the demand. Their society is still too stratified for the workers in those factories to be able to afford the very goods they produce.

    From an economic perspective, the requirement for someone else to play such a crucial role in organizing their society would seem like a huge vulnerability. They need outside help to keep their social system in place. The moment that help stops, there would be lots of chaos. Their whole regime would likely collapse.

    However, whatever regime replaces it would have access to all the resources it needs. China is self sufficient in that sense.

    Europe, on the other hand, has its social system/culture/government institutions down to a fairly rock solid level, especially in the core nations like Germany, France, and now the UK. They would not be easy targets for destabilization. And that is the key to being a superpower. If you're not immune to destabilization (or very nearly so) you can forget it. India? Hella-easy to destabilize. Russia? Barely even controls its own territories. And China's worse than either of them. It's a powder keg sitting there just waiting to be set off.
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    Still don't know what you mean Kojax. Your views seem about four decades behind the times. Their middle class is now over 300 million people still one of the fast growing in the world--that's a remarkable rate of growing demand. They've had one of the fastest growing economies in the past decade and have businesses established all over the world to object resources they can't get from inside their nation (they haven't been resource self sufficient in decades either) to feed that growing economy--including more oil rigs than the US in Iraq and mines all over Africa and Indonesia.
    The powerful middle class in China - Apr. 25, 2012
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; November 19th, 2013 at 01:05 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SE15 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    From the US perspective, after spending trillions defending Europe as well as blood in two major continental wars where countries the size of Texas counties just can't help kicking the crap out of each other every couple generations....well the EU looks pretty darn good.
    Absolute bollock,s and you know it.
    I'm completely serious. Over half a million dead after being forced to join European conflicts during the 20th century, and another 15+ trillion dollars to maintain the peace bolstering NATO and deter the USSR from more European violence should make any American glad for any cooperative agreements Europe can manage.
    But those cooperative agreements need not have been the "EU". I would argue that the creation of the EU played only a very small part in detering USSR-EU violence - the US military did far more.

    Plus, I think the world has moved on quite considerably since then. Today, the US probably sees the EU as more of a rival, and is stuck with the awkward fact that Europe acts separately on issues where the US would prefer them to act as one (like foreign policy for example), but it acts as one when the US would probably prefer to pick them off one by one (trade - especially on matters like agricultural imports and climate change).

    (Not a rival in a military sense but in the sense that it may one day build a truely United States of Europe as per Ascended's posts)

    It's one of those "be careful what you wish for" type situations. I think a lot of Americans are tired of being roundly criticized for every intervention we do or do not vote to make. We never stop hearing about the genocide in Rwanda that we could have stopped, but then if we do intervene it becomes an even worse accusation of meddling in others' affairs.

    I'm all for Europe getting something together so they can meddle in their own affairs, and finally start taking responsibility for stuff so it's not all on our shoulders all the time.

    That's the problem with power. Once you can act, everyone expects you to act. And they judge you regardless of whether your intentions are right or wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Still don't know what you mean Kojax. Your views seem about four decades behind the times. Their middle class is not over 300 million people and one of the fast growing in the world--that's a remarkable rate of growing demand. They've had one of the fastest growing economies in the past decade and have businesses established all over the world to object resources they can't get from inside their nation (they haven't been resource self sufficient in decades either) to feed that growing economy--including more oil rigs than the US in Iraq and mines all over Africa and Indonesia.
    The powerful middle class in China - Apr. 25, 2012
    I think we've both been reading different news clips. I read about government abuses, and people starting to demand better treatment, and a regime that's stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not wanting to offend the people, but not wanting to offend its own oligarchy either. And then there's the military which is the source of a great deal of the corruption in that country. Who's going to make the arrests if they decide to start cracking down on it?


    But I do need to read more about the middle class. It seems an unlimited supply of rural farmers are making their way into the cities, and deciding to participate in the factory production so they can have real money. Mind you.... in their rural communities they didn't really need money very much. Lots of food and services trading hands without a paper trail or any actual yuan being passed around as such. They go from living hand-to-mouth off the grid but working reasonable hours, to having a small amount of spending money after they're done eating on the grid, but working less reasonable hours.


    What I'm seeing is not a real growth in GDP, but a growth in how much of the GDP already in existence is beginning to get documented.
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    I see is the populations making this Faustian deal to remain without basic human rights recognized in many other parts of the world in exchange for the huge growth in wealth and quality of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Anyway to go back to sarnamlu's point "We were concerned that the then EEC countries were growing at higher rates than us, however it needed Thatcherism and North Sea oil to revive the UK economy.", I'm curious here do you feel that the British Economy would still have improved under the Thatcher government of the 1980's if the UK wasn't part of EEC at the time?
    The UK was a member of the EEC under Heath, Wilson and Callaghan, when we were the "sick man of Europe". Again, to say the EU has directly or uniquely benefitted us economically is silly. Cite some evidence if you can..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    How? How has EU membership improved our economy? Are there statistics to cite/corroborate this?

    And didn't we have safeguards against prisoner mistreatment prior to EU membership? As for living standards, I think we enhanced our own relative to other EU countries without "help" from the EU.
    Ok so what the EU is about, what it stands for and how it is helping in our everyday lives not good enough? You want some facts and figures then here goes:

    EU portfolio investments in the UK amounted to US$1.3 trillion, whereas UK portfolio investments in the EU equalled US$ 1.15 trillion. This makes a positive contribution of US$ 150 billion to the UK capital account, helping to balance out the UK current account deficit.

    England will get £6 billion in EU structural funds with Wales getting £2 billion, Scotland £795 million, and Northern Ireland £457 million respectively.

    The UK makes over a billion pounds a year from our financial services trade surplus with the EU.

    We have many of our citizens living and working in other EU countries, official figures place the number at over 1.6 million, many of these people depend on us being a member of the EU for their livelihood and place to live.

    In the last year before the financial crash, (2007), the UK recieved over £7 billion from tourism by other EU citizens.(Direct sales only) With the figure set to be substantially higher when indirect revenue is taken into consideration.

    We have 3.5 million jobs dependant on our EU trade. (Source:- Oxford Economics Survey)

    EU countries are the main destination for UK travellers going abroad at 74% of their total foreign visits.

    Being in the EU has driven UK tourism to make the UK the 6th most visited country in the world after France, Spain, US, China, and Italy.

    The UK contributes around 14 billion Euros (£11.9 billion) to the EU budget every year, but receives 10 billion Euros (£8.5 billion) back – so in fact we contribute only £3.4 billion.
    Er... So we trade with them. Since they are countries of exact or similar economic development and proximity, doesn't it make sense?

    Also, you cite tourism. Well, you tell me what the demand factors for tourism are? Are they necessarily dependent on being a member of a supranational union?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Anyway to go back to sarnamlu's point "We were concerned that the then EEC countries were growing at higher rates than us, however it needed Thatcherism and North Sea oil to revive the UK economy.", I'm curious here do you feel that the British Economy would still have improved under the Thatcher government of the 1980's if the UK wasn't part of EEC at the time?
    The UK was a member of the EEC under Heath, Wilson and Callaghan, when we were the "sick man of Europe". Again, to say the EU has directly or uniquely benefitted us economically is silly. Cite some evidence if you can..
    My answer to that would be at the time we were being dubbed the 'sick man of Europe' we were indeed a member of the EEC and during the period of growth of the EEC and it's transformation into the EU the UK went from sick man of Europe to a rich and propersous European nation. Now I'm not suggesting that this was entirely down to our membership, this said however there is certainly no evidence to suggest our EEC/EU membership hasn't aided in our economic resurrection.

    So will ask the question again, do you feel do you feel that the British Economy would still have improved under the Thatcher government of the 1980's if the UK wasn't part of EEC at the time, and if so based on what evidence?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    How? How has EU membership improved our economy? Are there statistics to cite/corroborate this?

    And didn't we have safeguards against prisoner mistreatment prior to EU membership? As for living standards, I think we enhanced our own relative to other EU countries without "help" from the EU.
    Ok so what the EU is about, what it stands for and how it is helping in our everyday lives not good enough? You want some facts and figures then here goes:

    EU portfolio investments in the UK amounted to US$1.3 trillion, whereas UK portfolio investments in the EU equalled US$ 1.15 trillion. This makes a positive contribution of US$ 150 billion to the UK capital account, helping to balance out the UK current account deficit.

    England will get £6 billion in EU structural funds with Wales getting £2 billion, Scotland £795 million, and Northern Ireland £457 million respectively.

    The UK makes over a billion pounds a year from our financial services trade surplus with the EU.

    We have many of our citizens living and working in other EU countries, official figures place the number at over 1.6 million, many of these people depend on us being a member of the EU for their livelihood and place to live.

    In the last year before the financial crash, (2007), the UK recieved over £7 billion from tourism by other EU citizens.(Direct sales only) With the figure set to be substantially higher when indirect revenue is taken into consideration.

    We have 3.5 million jobs dependant on our EU trade. (Source:- Oxford Economics Survey)

    EU countries are the main destination for UK travellers going abroad at 74% of their total foreign visits.

    Being in the EU has driven UK tourism to make the UK the 6th most visited country in the world after France, Spain, US, China, and Italy.

    The UK contributes around 14 billion Euros (£11.9 billion) to the EU budget every year, but receives 10 billion Euros (£8.5 billion) back – so in fact we contribute only £3.4 billion.
    Er... So we trade with them. Since they are countries of exact or similar economic development and proximity, doesn't it make sense?
    Well I think what makes sense is that we work, as part of the EU, with our European neighbours to create mutually favourable trading conditions for everybody, in this way we then have an incentive to further increase our trade.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Also, you cite tourism. Well, you tell me what the demand factors for tourism are? Are they necessarily dependent on being a member of a supranational union?
    Yes being a part of the European Union has certainly helped to boost our tourism from other EU countries.

    The EU has been instrumental in projects such as quality improvement of accommodation by renovating hotel rooms, sewer systems and park facilities means happier customers, safer environment and better business. Investing in attractions raises tourist numbers and location popularity. More people mean greater turnover and better business.

    Marketing training for tourism entrepreneurs, marketing skills are essential in today’s commercial and tourist world. Training in the tourism sector means more effective business.

    Help in marketing tourist products and venues, especially in conjunction with others involved, means a more dynamic image and improved performance.

    Investing in the cultural heritage by refurbishing museums, visitors’ centres, and cultural heritage in general gives more for the tourist to see and raises their willingness to pay for it. Investing in upgrading nature trails, cycle paths, routing and signposting can make an area much more attractive for the visitor.

    By cleaning out blocked waterways, when refurbished, old canals, ponds and streams can look beautiful, be an asset to a neighbourhood, and contribute to an area’s cultural beauty. Networking and cooperation project development between enterprises, tourist offices and local authorities this can really help encourage business-to-business and public-private partnerships to improve the integration of the tourism chain.

    So as you can clearly see the EU is an active player helping to build the tourist industry in the UK, but this is just one example of the many ways in which the EU works within member states to help support and bring out the best in each of them.

    Ok now I have explained the many and varied benefits of being an EU member and given you numerous examples of why I believe the UK is better of as part of the Union than being outside. I have given you detailed expanations of the advantages, perhaps now it's reasonable and fair, since you don't seem to feel we are better off in than out, to ask you to explain why you feel we should leave the EU and to make your case on an evidential basis.
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    Tourism is only a small part of UK GDP. But then, as you didn't answer, I'll ask again. Why do we need the EU to reinforce tourism? And you didn't provide detailed explanations. Once we leave, will tourists stop coming here? Do you know what is required to have a sustainable tourism industry?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Tourism is only a small part of UK GDP. But then, as you didn't answer, I'll ask again. Why do we need the EU to reinforce tourism? And you didn't provide detailed explanations. Once we leave, will tourists stop coming here? Do you know what is required to have a sustainable tourism industry?
    It seems you didn't like the explanation I gave you, so I do this one again, the EU has, though investment and joint projects, supported the UK tourism industry, for further details I refer you to the answer I gave above to your original question. Now I will ask you again to make your case to as to why you feel the UK should not continue to be a member of the European Union, also again I would ask that you make your case on an evidential basis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Tourism is only a small part of UK GDP. But then, as you didn't answer, I'll ask again. Why do we need the EU to reinforce tourism? And you didn't provide detailed explanations. Once we leave, will tourists stop coming here? Do you know what is required to have a sustainable tourism industry?
    It seems you didn't like the explanation I gave you, so I do this one again, the EU has, though investment and joint projects, supported the UK tourism industry, for further details I refer you to the answer I gave above to your original question. Now I will ask you again to make your case to as to why you feel the UK should not continue to be a member of the European Union, also again I would ask that you make your case on an evidential basis.
    Yes you are correct, the EU has supported the tourism industry in the UK. The dregs of Eastern Europe are descending upon our shores for benefits tourism, and health tourism. That is a hard fact.
    Last edited by Dave Wilson; November 21st, 2013 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Spelling
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Tourism is only a small part of UK GDP. But then, as you didn't answer, I'll ask again. Why do we need the EU to reinforce tourism? And you didn't provide detailed explanations. Once we leave, will tourists stop coming here? Do you know what is required to have a sustainable tourism industry?
    It seems you didn't like the explanation I gave you, so I do this one again, the EU has, though investment and joint projects, supported the UK tourism industry, for further details I refer you to the answer I gave above to your original question. Now I will ask you again to make your case to as to why you feel the UK should not continue to be a member of the European Union, also again I would ask that you make your case on an evidential basis.
    Yes you are correct, the EU has supported the tourism industry in the UK. The dregs of Eastern Europe are descending upon our shores for benefits tourism, and health tourism. That is a hard fact.
    Really Dave? Quite frankly to me that sounds a lot like xenophobic right wing propaganda.

    First off current JSA rates are £56.80 a week, not many people could survive on that in the UK, certainly not something to attract a so called 'benefit tourist'.
    UK unemployment benefits are very low by European standands, for example:

    Whilst for example in Belgium, the unemployment benefit level for 2011 provided a minimum of €916.24 a month for single people, 4 times the UK figure for a country with comparable living standards and prices.

    Surely it's clear when faced with the facts not many people would choose to come to the UK to live on benefits.

    As for this health tourism idea, we have a national health service yes. What this means is we treat people when they are sick or injured, nationality shouldn't be an issue, if people are visiting or living in the UK and require medical treatment then they should get it, just like any UK citizen would get it. That is and should always be a basic principle of the NHS, everybody who needs treatment gets treated, no ifs, no buts!

    Also while we are at it I will say that in 2007 the then UK Labour Government made a serious error in not imposing the same restrictions on the right to live and work in the UK as the other EU member states for migrants from the newly joined EU countries. What this meant is many came to work in the UK that might have gone to work in other EU countries instead. Again here I stress that the majority of these people were very unlikely to be coming here to claim benefits as the then government placed tough restrictions on any migrants ability to claim such benefits without first having worked here.

    These for the most part were ordinary people that chose to move to another country to find work, in this case the UK, these people didn't do anything wrong. Yet just the like millions of UK citizens many lost their jobs during the financial collapse & subsequent recession.

    Yes the number of migrants in the UK has affected UK citizens abilities to find employment, but this was because of this 2007 error and is not likely to be repeated, it was not the fault of the EU nor the fault of the migrants that settled in the UK who came in search of a better life.

    Also with regard to the cost of the impact of migration in the UK I have yet to read a study that suggests that migrants haven't had a net financial benefit to the UK economy.

    So lastly if you are going to claim "The dregs of Eastern Europe are descending upon our shores for benefits tourism, and health tourism." as a hard fact then I ask you to provide evidence to support such a claim.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    [

    Really Dave? Quite frankly to me that sounds a lot like xenophobic right wing propaganda.





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    You missed out Little Englander, bigot and racist. Please remind me, which part of the UK you reside in.
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    " UK Taxpayer Picks up Annual £400 Million Bill for Unemployed EU Migrants
    17th October, 2013
    Research from the European Commission suggests that it is much easier for migrants to access benefits in the UK than in other EU countries. As a result British taxpayers are paying out £1 million a day to EU citizens who have never worked in Britain.
    The research from the European Commission showed that 37% of all EU job seekers have never worked in the UK – twice the proportion in France or Germany. Taking into account just the costs of unemployment benefit and housing benefit the UK taxpayer is picking up an annual bill of £400 million for these migrants. In reality, the costs will be even higher as this does not include the costs of child benefits, and free access to the National Health Service.
    Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:
    “Unlike our European partners the UK benefits system is wide open to those who have never contributed. A determined renegotiation is now essential to ensure those who have made no contribution should have no access benefits.”
    Read the Full Migration Watch UK’s Briefing Paper " MigrationWatchUK | An independent, voluntary, non-political body concerned about the scale of immigration into the UK.
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    er.. no, your explanation seemed silly.

    I doubt how EU membership can affect tourism demand. So yes, Windsor Castle and Straftford upon Avon would vanish should the UK leave the EU...

    I fail to see much tangible benefit as to how the EU has improved our economy, in terms of strict macroeconomic figures.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    " UK Taxpayer Picks up Annual £400 Million Bill for Unemployed EU Migrants
    17th October, 2013
    Research from the European Commission suggests that it is much easier for migrants to access benefits in the UK than in other EU countries. As a result British taxpayers are paying out £1 million a day to EU citizens who have never worked in Britain.
    The research from the European Commission showed that 37% of all EU job seekers have never worked in the UK – twice the proportion in France or Germany. Taking into account just the costs of unemployment benefit and housing benefit the UK taxpayer is picking up an annual bill of £400 million for these migrants. In reality, the costs will be even higher as this does not include the costs of child benefits, and free access to the National Health Service.
    Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:
    “Unlike our European partners the UK benefits system is wide open to those who have never contributed. A determined renegotiation is now essential to ensure those who have made no contribution should have no access benefits.”
    Read the Full Migration Watch UK’s Briefing Paper " MigrationWatchUK | An independent, voluntary, non-political body concerned about the scale of immigration into the UK.
    Describing a group of people, for whom of which you couldn't possibly know their exact circumstances or indeed what kind of people they actually are, as "The dregs of Eastern Europe" is indeed quite provocative.

    If you wish to raise the issue of immigration then a rational fact based debate would be welcomed, however using defamatory language is most unwelcome.

    Sorry but I do not believe the use of such perjorative terminology has any place in being used to describe ordinary people in sensible and civilized discussions.

    Though I fully accept that migration has been a problem in the UK at the levels we have seen in the years since the 2007 government error, things have changed now since the restrictions on the rights of citizens from newer EU member states to live and work in the rest of the EU have now been lifted meaning that people have a complete and free choice of which European country they choose to go and live in.

    Now the figure of a £400 million a year cost you are quoting is being published by Migration Watch, which I can only describe as a partisan organisation, even if the £400 million figure was accurate this would only represent about 6% of the direct income we get from tourism every year (over £7 billion), or 13% of the cost of the top rate UK tax cut (£3 billion). Now lets put this in perspective, Eurostat's latest figure puts the total number of EU migrants living in the UK at 2.245 million. So that represents an average of less than £200 a year per immigrant living here, this would hardly pay to keep them in luxury!

    But even this is a gross misrepresentation of the actual findings by the ICI GHK & Milieu Ltd report being published by the European Commission, what the study actually found was that:

    1.)The vast majority of EU nationals moving to another EU country do so to work.

    2.) Activity rates among such mobile EU citizens have increased over the last seven years.

    3.) On average EU mobile citizens are more likely to be in employment than nationals of the host country (partly because more EU mobile citizens than nationals fall in the 15-64 age bracket).

    4.) The majority of currently non-active EU citizens who move have previously worked in their current country of residence (64%)

    5.) Non-active EU mobile citizens represent a very small share of the total population in each Member State and between 0.7% and 1.0% of the overall EU population.

    6.) On average, the expenditures associated with healthcare provided to non-active EU mobile citizens are very small relative to the size of total health spending (0.2% on average) or the size of the economy of the host countries (0.01% of GDP on average).

    Now in the UK the 2011 unemployment figure for the general population in total was 7.9% whilst for EU migrants the figure was only 7.5% clearly less.

    If you wish to read up on the actual facts then below are the links for actually accurate and properly conducted economic & migration surveys, they present real findings not just figures plucked out of context for propaganda scare stories.

    http://ec.europa.eu/employment_socia...0migration.pdf

    http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/...k_27sept13.pdf

    http://www.cream-migration.org/publ_.../CDP_18_09.pdf
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    What even is the basis for euroskepticism anyway? Leave the EU and world peace and material prosperity are inevitable right? By the way Ireland want their pot of gold back.
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    I think we are getting sidelined by a number of details we can disagree about, going back and forth until we loose focus on the fundamentals...

    Should the people in a region, be allowed to decide how they organize themselves? Imo YES! THe greater the aggregate the less democratic imo because you are paralyzed by differences in situations priorities, urgencies, environment, etc. Cooperation should proceed from the bottom up, regions/states should be as democratic as possible, and decide how they want to live, not have people that are far away, with different languages, culture, priorities, problems, opportunities, environments, interfere with a people's ability to govern themselves according to their values, challenges, legacy, institutions, etc. If the EU is a federation, that has been steamrolled over population, even if better democratic mechanisms are used, its not more democratic because of aggregation and federal hierarchy.

    Its for the people of Scotland, England, France, etc, to decide on their policy and then see how they can cooperate with other regions, regardless if these other regions are on the European area or elsewhere.

    " Leave the EU and world peace and material prosperity are inevitable right?"
    Imo its not about material prosperity, but about self-determination and greater autonomy on a local/regional level.
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    [QUOTE=Ascended;

    Describing a group of people, for whom of which you couldn't possibly know their exact circumstances or indeed what kind of people they actually are, as "The dregs of Eastern Europe" is indeed quite provocative.




    [/QUOTE] I think using the term dregs, to describe some of the criminal gangs, that are involved in people trafficking, prostitution of young women, and many more crimes committed by the influx of Eastern Europeans, to be very mild indeed. Just because you feel offended by the use of the term dregs, does not mean that the term is invalid.
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    [QUOTE=Dave Wilson;491752]
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended;

    Describing a group of people, for whom of which you couldn't possibly know their exact circumstances or indeed what kind of people they actually are, as "The dregs of Eastern Europe" is indeed quite provocative.




    [/QUOTE
    I think using the term dregs, to describe some of the criminal gangs, that are involved in people trafficking, prostitution of young women, and many more crimes committed by the influx of Eastern Europeans, to be very mild indeed. Just because you feel offended by the use of the term dregs, does not mean that the term is invalid.

    No I'm not buying it Dave. You didn't mention criminal gangs, you referred to the dregs of Easter Europe descending upon our shores for benefit and health tourism.
    Now if you were referring to such criminal gangs then benefit or health tourism would be the least things to be of concern.

    You made no attempt to distinguish between non criminally active or minded Eastern Europeans coming to the UK or those involved involved in criminal gangs or criminal activity.

    Also in what way precisely could even people involved in criminality actually be 'dregs' , given that you have claimed that this is a "hard fact" ?

    I suggest that you just decided to use this word "dregs" as a derogatory term for describing migrants from Eastern Europe who you have decided are coming to the the UK for benefit or Health tourism.

    Anyway this is proving to be a sideshow and distraction from the sensible and real debate about our membership of the European Union and how it benefits us.
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    [QUOTE=Ascended;491843]
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended;

    Describing a group of people, for whom of which you couldn't possibly know their exact circumstances or indeed what kind of people they actually are, as "The dregs of Eastern Europe" is indeed quite provocative.




    [/QUOTE
    I think using the term dregs, to describe some of the criminal gangs, that are involved in people trafficking, prostitution of young women, and many more crimes committed by the influx of Eastern Europeans, to be very mild indeed. Just because you feel offended by the use of the term dregs, does not mean that the term is invalid.

    No I'm not buying it Dave. You didn't mention criminal gangs, you referred to the dregs of Easter Europe descending upon our shores for benefit and health tourism.
    Now if you were referring to such criminal gangs then benefit or health tourism would be the least things to be of concern.

    You made no attempt to distinguish between non criminally active or minded Eastern Europeans coming to the UK or those involved involved in criminal gangs or criminal activity.

    Also in what way precisely could even people involved in criminality actually be 'dregs' , given that you have claimed that this is a "hard fact" ?

    I suggest that you just decided to use this word "dregs" as a derogatory term for describing migrants from Eastern Europe who you have decided are coming to the the UK for benefit or Health tourism.

    Anyway this is proving to be a sideshow and distraction from the sensible and real debate about our membership of the European Union and how it benefits us.
    Ascended, quite a lot of word salad , but there you go. Getting on, the only people that actually benefit from the EU, are the people who work for the EU. Here is a clip from the good old MailonLine. EU expenses: MEPs in Brussels earn up to 740% more than average citizen and enjoy free haircuts and gallons of petrol | Mail Online
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    Yes Dave I completely agree Euro MEPs are over paid, I would perhaps slightly caution about taking everything in the Daily Mail literally as they have got somewhat of a track record for ultra right wing politics and Nazi links going back to world war 2.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    " UK Taxpayer Picks up Annual £400 Million Bill for Unemployed EU Migrants
    17th October, 2013
    Research from the European Commission suggests that it is much easier for migrants to access benefits in the UK than in other EU countries. As a result British taxpayers are paying out £1 million a day to EU citizens who have never worked in Britain.
    The research from the European Commission showed that 37% of all EU job seekers have never worked in the UK – twice the proportion in France or Germany. Taking into account just the costs of unemployment benefit and housing benefit the UK taxpayer is picking up an annual bill of £400 million for these migrants. In reality, the costs will be even higher as this does not include the costs of child benefits, and free access to the National Health Service.
    Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:
    “Unlike our European partners the UK benefits system is wide open to those who have never contributed. A determined renegotiation is now essential to ensure those who have made no contribution should have no access benefits.”
    Read the Full Migration Watch UK’s Briefing Paper " MigrationWatchUK | An independent, voluntary, non-political body concerned about the scale of immigration into the UK.
    Describing a group of people, for whom of which you couldn't possibly know their exact circumstances or indeed what kind of people they actually are, as "The dregs of Eastern Europe" is indeed quite provocative.

    If you wish to raise the issue of immigration then a rational fact based debate would be welcomed, however using defamatory language is most unwelcome.

    Sorry but I do not believe the use of such perjorative terminology has any place in being used to describe ordinary people in sensible and civilized discussions.

    Though I fully accept that migration has been a problem in the UK at the levels we have seen in the years since the 2007 government error, things have changed now since the restrictions on the rights of citizens from newer EU member states to live and work in the rest of the EU have now been lifted meaning that people have a complete and free choice of which European country they choose to go and live in.

    Now the figure of a £400 million a year cost you are quoting is being published by Migration Watch, which I can only describe as a partisan organisation, even if the £400 million figure was accurate this would only represent about 6% of the direct income we get from tourism every year (over £7 billion), or 13% of the cost of the top rate UK tax cut (£3 billion). Now lets put this in perspective, Eurostat's latest figure puts the total number of EU migrants living in the UK at 2.245 million. So that represents an average of less than £200 a year per immigrant living here, this would hardly pay to keep them in luxury!

    But even this is a gross misrepresentation of the actual findings by the ICI GHK & Milieu Ltd report being published by the European Commission, what the study actually found was that:

    1.)The vast majority of EU nationals moving to another EU country do so to work.

    2.) Activity rates among such mobile EU citizens have increased over the last seven years.

    3.) On average EU mobile citizens are more likely to be in employment than nationals of the host country (partly because more EU mobile citizens than nationals fall in the 15-64 age bracket).

    4.) The majority of currently non-active EU citizens who move have previously worked in their current country of residence (64%)

    5.) Non-active EU mobile citizens represent a very small share of the total population in each Member State and between 0.7% and 1.0% of the overall EU population.

    6.) On average, the expenditures associated with healthcare provided to non-active EU mobile citizens are very small relative to the size of total health spending (0.2% on average) or the size of the economy of the host countries (0.01% of GDP on average).

    Now in the UK the 2011 unemployment figure for the general population in total was 7.9% whilst for EU migrants the figure was only 7.5% clearly less.

    If you wish to read up on the actual facts then below are the links for actually accurate and properly conducted economic & migration surveys, they present real findings not just figures plucked out of context for propaganda scare stories.

    http://ec.europa.eu/employment_socia...0migration.pdf

    http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/...k_27sept13.pdf

    http://www.cream-migration.org/publ_.../CDP_18_09.pdf

    Forgot to add that the first link of the 3 I posted, http://ec.europa.eu/employment_socia...0migration.pdf
    is the for the actual report from which Migration Watch selectively appropriated their usage of the £400 million figure, taken out of context I may add as anyone reading the report for themselves can clearly see.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Yes Dave I completely agree Euro MEPs are over paid, I would perhaps slightly caution about taking everything in the Daily Mail literally as they have got somewhat of a track record for ultra right wing politics and Nazi links going back to world war 2.
    I suspect that you have posters of the Miliband clan on your bed room walls.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Yes Dave I completely agree Euro MEPs are over paid, I would perhaps slightly caution about taking everything in the Daily Mail literally as they have got somewhat of a track record for ultra right wing politics and Nazi links going back to world war 2.
    I suspect that you have posters of the Miliband clan on your bed room walls.
    I'm afraid not, I don't go in for posters and I'm no particular fan of either Miliband also I don't mind reading the occasional story in newspapers like the Daily Mail, but I am acutely aware of the amount of political bias in the way these news stories are spun is enough to make them pretty useless as evidence. Certainly I would never rely on what was printed without first having reseached their sources.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    I think we are getting sidelined by a number of details we can disagree about, going back and forth until we loose focus on the fundamentals...

    Should the people in a region, be allowed to decide how they organize themselves? Imo YES! THe greater the aggregate the less democratic imo because you are paralyzed by differences in situations priorities, urgencies, environment, etc. Cooperation should proceed from the bottom up, regions/states should be as democratic as possible, and decide how they want to live, not have people that are far away, with different languages, culture, priorities, problems, opportunities, environments, interfere with a people's ability to govern themselves according to their values, challenges, legacy, institutions, etc. If the EU is a federation, that has been steamrolled over population, even if better democratic mechanisms are used, its not more democratic because of aggregation and federal hierarchy.

    Its for the people of Scotland, England, France, etc, to decide on their policy and then see how they can cooperate with other regions, regardless if these other regions are on the European area or elsewhere.

    " Leave the EU and world peace and material prosperity are inevitable right?"
    Imo its not about material prosperity, but about self-determination and greater autonomy on a local/regional level.

    We can't just assume the economy will take care of itself. Lots of people have done that in the past and it hasn't worked out for them very well.

    Autonomy is great if it doesn't hurt your economy (or at least doesn't hurt it very badly.) Collective organization tends to help the economy, if you don't take it too far, and if the parties who participate are already on a fairly equal level. Then you can trade away things you have too much of in order to get things you have too little of, and everybody is happy.

    If they're not on an equal level, it goes badly. The poor have their hands out, expecting free money, and the rich find ways to exploit their desperation without really paying them out very much money. Extreme poverty creates a rat race where you can make a few people rich by paying them to abuse all of their peers.

    So the question is: where are the benefits coming from with the EU? Is it the ability to exploit poor Eastern Europeans? Or is it the trade between wealthy nations? Or is it both? Or is more one and less the other?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    So the question is: where are the benefits coming from with the EU? Is it the ability to exploit poor Eastern Europeans? Or is it the trade between wealthy nations? Or is it both? Or is more one and less the other?
    Kojax perhaps you wouldn't mind me having a crack at this whilst you are waiting for icewendigo's reply.

    The EU benefits by investing in to bring up the living standards and wages within it's poorer newer member states, the long term stratergy is that by making these countries work better economically and become richer then the trading block as a whole benefits from increased internal demand and from being able to create internal industries within the EU that means we don't have import products from outside the EU. In practise it means the larger the EU becomes then the more different types of industries can be set up inside the EU to boost internal trade and create new products to sell to non EU countries. Generally the idea of poverty and cheap labour areas within the EU has been seen as something to be erradicated rather than exploited.

    The intentions of the EU, and indeed the new Eastern European Member States themselves is to achieve a harmonious economic level comparable to the existing member states. Obviously this has been somewhat affected by the state of the world economy over the last few years and the debt crisis & subsequent bailouts for countries struggling with debt repayments.

    Long term objectives include bringing in more joint enterprises from outside the EU in partnership with EU members to create more jobs and also to create free trade areas with other countries or group of countries, by doing this they can put pressure on employers in poorer EU states to pay higher wages, so as to benefit from new contracts, to create more wealth for such individual nations.

    One of the best examples of such cooperation can be seen from the attempts towards agreeing an EU-US Free Trade Agreement to create a new trade area.

    EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Speech - What's the Deal with the EU-US Free Trade Agreement?
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    I can see how that's possible. Germany has recent experience of absorbing a largely impoverished region (East Germany, after the USSR released it), and bringing it up to the level of the main group. Perhaps an extension of that achievement is their vision for the EU? But I'm skeptical. It can't all be altruism.

    Perhaps their angle is that they perceive that if they can clump enough states into a big superstate, they'll have political clout. Then they can compete with Russia, China, and the USA for control of the natural resources in small unstable countries like Nigeria, or Peru, or ... etc.... Maybe get Venezuela to consider trading oil on the Euro instead of the Dollar?

    There's always got to be an angle. Maybe they just plain like being important, and knowing the big powers aren't going to be able to divide and conquer them? Tired of getting kicked around and ready to do something about it?


    Then Britain's case becomes even more interesting. One foot in the USA's sphere of influence, and now more recently the other foot in Germany's sphere of influence. Knowing the USA and Germany don't always get along these days. It's quite a dance. They run the risk of getting caught in the crossfire and getting kicked around by both parties, if they're not careful. Germany and the USA might just decide to fight a proxy war, of sorts, on England's soil. Or maybe a proxy scuffle, using economics instead of guns. They'll be the first industrialized nation to get used like Afghanistan has been: as piece on two powerful nations' chess board.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I can see how that's possible. Germany has recent experience of absorbing a largely impoverished region (East Germany, after the USSR released it), and bringing it up to the level of the main group. Perhaps an extension of that achievement is their vision for the EU? But I'm skeptical. It can't all be altruism.
    No you are indeed quite correct, we arn't yet at a stage of human development where we can see nation states acting purely at an altruistic level. Certainly for all the lofty goals and ideals of the European Union the biggest draw to member states is still what it actually offers them individually in return.

    You mention Germany and this is a particularly good example to use, here we have the richest, biggest economy and most populous all the EU member states, so perhaps quite unsurprisingly Germany's voice carries the most weight. What is a little strange though and is, and somewhat a consequence of history, is that Germany, although having armed forces, are not the most powerful militarily. Both the British and the French are stronger militarily, but this strength isn't reflected inside the EU, economic strength and the ability to shape social policy translates to greater strength within the Union.

    Though from the German perspective they arn't required to get involved at the same level in Nato & UN military campaigns as say Britain or France would be expected to, a saving for them in both lives and cost. So less responsibility but also less influence outside the EU. But if we look at it from the perspective of them operating the EU's foreign policy in the wider world then they have significant influence as the world's largest and richest trading block and the benefits of 2 permanent members of the UN Security Council both with veto power to protect the EU's interests, and also the fact both Britain and France are nuclear armed states means far less long term military threat from Russia or China somewhere down the line if, in the event the world ever does descend into a scrap for resources.

    Certainly on the face of it it really does indeed look like Germany's having her cake and eating it.
    Perhaps though this is a little unfair without looking at the way the country is being run and the possitives it is also offering.

    First off it has to be said that for a nation to fund and rebuild an entire other nation, which is what West Germany did, as you correctly alluded to, with East Germany, through taxation is no small achievement and should be applauded. This was both altrustic in nature to a certain extent but also strategic forward thinking. Whilst we are praising them though we shouldn't forget how they have used the whole of Southern Europe to way down the value of the Euro to thus sell huge numbers of exports, perhaps not their finest hour from an altruistic sense.

    The second achievement we should commend Germany upon is their development blueprint, they have showed all of Europe how to run a high income economy very successfully without getting into debt and still achieving growth, now whilst we may aspire to concepts of democracy we must also surely aspire to success and if indeed the long term goal of EU is for complete financial intergration then it looks like Germany's is the correct path for the whole of the EU to work towards. So if it means our economic policy is coming out of Frankfurt then perhaps that is an acceptable trade off for stability and prosperity.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Perhaps their angle is that they perceive that if they can clump enough states into a big superstate, they'll have political clout. Then they can compete with Russia, China, and the USA for control of the natural resources in small unstable countries like Nigeria, or Peru, or ... etc.... Maybe get Venezuela to consider trading oil on the Euro instead of the Dollar?
    Yes before the banking crisis there were certainly plans being discussed for the possibility of trading oil in Euros, this seems to have gone well onto the backburner for now. The problem is the instability of the Euro as a currency, it has come perilously close to unravelling on several occasions, even to the point where we have seen democracy set aside and governments replaced to prevent countries trying to return to their original currencies. Also the fact that debt levels amongst European countries are still so high means economic uncertainty still pervades.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    There's always got to be an angle. Maybe they just plain like being important, and knowing the big powers aren't going to be able to divide and conquer them? Tired of getting kicked around and ready to do something about it?
    Perhaps it is better to look at from this perspective, that by helping their fellow members utimately they strengthen themselves, given how has fast countries such as India & China are rising and the unknown quantity that is Russia today. Germany has a particular strength and is very good at exploiting this ability. This can be seen right the way from individual factory workers right up to the international level.

    This is an ability to specialise and do particular tasks better than anybody else, the amount of effort that is expended in achieving this objective is a wonder to behold at times, but this is pretty much the standard operating model within Germany. They can take for example making a car, they will go all out and make a better car than anybody else, sell millions because they can replicate it and thus the success, and then move right on to the next one, they repeat this kind of perfectionist pattern constantly and are currently using it at an international level to drive development and expansion within the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Then Britain's case becomes even more interesting. One foot in the USA's sphere of influence, and now more recently the other foot in Germany's sphere of influence. Knowing the USA and Germany don't always get along these days. It's quite a dance. They run the risk of getting caught in the crossfire and getting kicked around by both parties, if they're not careful. Germany and the USA might just decide to fight a proxy war, of sorts, on England's soil. Or maybe a proxy scuffle, using economics instead of guns. They'll be the first industrialized nation to get used like Afghanistan has been: as piece on two powerful nations' chess board.
    Yes Britain has never really made it's mind up whether it wants to be part of the European project or not, possibly partially down to the switching back and forth between the more pro-European left learning Labour Governments and the more eurosceptic right wing Conservative Governments of the last few decades, but also the strong influence that the US plays within British politics. It's kind of looking across the Atlantic and seeing this wonderful place of freedom of opportunity and prosperity but at the same time being scared witless by the crime rates, massive prison populations and huge inequalities of wealth makes us want to leap back into bed with Europe. Traditionally Britain has been so characterised as being caught between Europe and America, but I kind of think what's wrong with wanting to have the benefits of capitalism where people can start up their own companies and become millionaires, but also having a strong social safety net to protect societies weakest and adopting socialist European values about fairness equality for everybody including the poor.

    But anyway I also think this kind of sitting on the fence relationship is changing and in fact potentially that of the whole European Union, potentially, with the United states. What I think we are going to see a lot more of in the future is collaboration on projects and trade, rather than quite so much direct outright competition, ok politically the EU is probably far left of the US, but in terms of global objectives and shared values they are extremely well alligned.

    So hopefully we will begin to see signs that this kind of allignment can be replicated in other areas such as trade, shared technology and nation building etc.....
    Last edited by Ascended; November 25th, 2013 at 08:39 PM.
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