Will Britain vote for Brexit?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by James R, Jun 22, 2016.

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Brexit or Bremain?

Poll closed Jun 24, 2016.
  1. I would support Brexit and I think it will succeed.

    3 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. I would not support Brexit, but I think it will succeed.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. I would support Brexit, but I think Britain will Remain.

    2 vote(s)
    22.2%
  4. I would support Remain, and I think Britain will Remain.

    3 vote(s)
    33.3%
  5. I have no opinion / don't want to express my opinion on this.

    1 vote(s)
    11.1%
  6. Brexit? Bremain? What 'chu talkin' about, Willis?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Well, what do you think?
     
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    My initial thought is that "Bremain" is an horrendous-sounding word and is undoubtedly a major reason why it never caught on. We simply refer to the non-Brexit position as Remain.

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    The bookies currently have Remain at 1:4 and Brexit at 3:1, meaning they think it 25% chance of Brexit, 75% chance of Remain.

    Personally I can see both sides, and part of me simply wants to shed the weight of the European chains from around our ankles. But the other part recognises that the chains come with many benefits such as being able to trade more easily with other similarly shackled countries.

    I think I'll vote to remain, but then when faced with the single question on the ballot y well change my mind.
    I'm hoping the voting booth has a coin that you can toss... might be the best way to decide.

    But one thing is for sure: the campaigns run by both sides have been ridiculous and childish, both sides using scare tactics (the Remain side on the economy, the Brexit side on immigration) and the Remains even going as far as extortion: "vote Remain or we'll need to impose an emergency budget that will leave you all immediately poorer!"

    I, for one, will be glad when it's all over, and we can thank our German overlords.
    I vote for a Brexain, or Remexit. Or something else.
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, agree with much of this. I am for Remain. The funny thing is that a few years ago, when that preposterous constitutional treaty was being voted down by France and the Netherlands, I could find no good arguments in favour of the EU. Now however, my views have changed, as what seem to me to be the real issues have come into focus. I would list these as follows:

    - Cooperation rather than confrontation in Europe: The cemeteries all over Northern France and Belgium - the latter recently visited jointly by the German Chancellor and the King of Belgium - are the most recent testament to the long previous history of acrimony and fighting on the continent. Before the World Wars we had the Franco-Prussian War, the Napoleonic Wars, the War of the Spanish Succession etc etc. In most of these conflicts Britain got heavily involved. The notion that by leaving the EU we can avoid being seriously affected by the politics of the Continent is rubbish, it seems to me. Better to be part of the exercise to maintain cooperation (tedious and ridiculous though the process may sometimes seem) than to sit on the sidelines hoping it won't go wrong and suck us in, as it so often has.

    - Sovereignty vs. Transience of Great Britain: For all the talk of "sovereignty" and "getting our country back", Great Britain has only existed for 300 yrs. The modern nation state is not an immutable good thing. It served us well when we had an empire but that has long gone now. People feel allegiance at several different levels, of which the current nation state model is only one. We are also Europeans, by our common Christian-influenced culture, and we are English or Scots or Welsh or Irish. I suspect most of us do not in general feel that strong an allegiance to Great Britain, as distinct from the nations that comprise it. It is true that many of our national institutions of government remain good models but they are not in practice threatened. The EU has almost no effect on the authority of Parliament or our courts, on a day to day basis. Where the EU does have a practical effect is through common regulation -usually portrayed by the newspapers as absurd. (See below.) There was a lot of disquiet about the principle of "ever-closer union", it is true. But we have now got an opt-out for that, so that issue has gone away.

    - Budgets, the Single Market and what goes with it: The much-vaunted figure of £350m/week is lies. We get 2/3 of that back, so the net contribution is just over £100m. But do we get nothing in exchange for that? The newspapers like to play up silly stores about straight bananas and so on. But those of us old enough to remember life in the 1970s will recall that it used to be impossible to sell any manufactured goods to France, say, unless they were adapted to comply with French National Standards. Ditto for Germany. etc. There was massive waste in making different variants of things, to comply with the profusion of more or less arbitrary standards that had grown up in each country. These are what are called "non-tariff" barriers to trade. The EU has made huge efforts to harmonise all that, as a key enabler to trade across the region. For this reason, those countries, such as Norway and Switzerland, that have free trade arrangements with the EU have to pay for access. You can't enjoy the fruits of other people's labour without paying your share. So if Britain left the EU, we would still have to pay to get access to its market, (assuming we wanted access - over 50% of British exports go to the Continent, by the way.) If we left, the work of replacing all the EU-related agreements and regulations would tie up the machinery of government for years. Either we would have to pay for a larger Civil Service, or forgo other government initiatives due to lack of capacity.

    - Eurozone and an Outer Group in EU: John Major very wisely kept Britain out of the Euro at Maastricht and that is not going to change, ever, in my opinion. The logic of the Euro is that Eurozone countries need "ever-closer union" to harmonise their banking and fiscal arrangements, and ultimately agree to a political fusion: without this, the Euro will collapse, as it already nearly did over the catastrophic imbalances between North and South (Greece, Portugal etc). But countries such as Britain, Denmark, Sweden and Poland are not members. Britain could, and I believe should, lead the way in forging an outer group of EU countries that will not join the Euro and will not be tied to ever-closer union, but will still support the original goals of the single market, free movement and cooperation. That role has yet to be defined and enshrined formally. I think this needs to be done.

    - Immigration: There is no doubt that the wisdom of keeping Britain out of the Eurozone has made our economy more buoyant than that on the continent. Our unemployment rate is 5%. Also, English is a very popular choice as a second language. So we get a lot of people coming from the rest of the EU to work. But these are only half the net immigration figure. The other half comes from countries such as Pakistan or Nigeria. The latter are people from a quite alien culture, who tend to co-locate in pockets where they can feel at home and create what to indigenous inhabitants feels like a complete take-over. Parts of London's East End now resemble Dubai, where I used to work: people in dish-dashes and salwar kameez, shop signs in Arabic/Urdu script, mosques and no trace of the Eastenders that used to live there 40 years ago. Their imams don't speak English and they preach weekly against the culture of the country they live in. And then a few develop ingrowing beards and decide to blow us all up. EU immigrants are culturally far closer to us. The Poles, the biggest group, eat more sausage than we do (their sausage is rather good) but they work hard and their culture is Catholic - they fit in without much difficulty. So what we've done is fail to manage the entry of people from alien cultures who cause problems, and now we blame it on the citizens of the EU who like and share our culture and pose little or no threat.

    I ought to mention that I have a French wife, my bilingual son has dual nationality and we lived in the Netherlands for several years. This sort of thing is quite common now. The future I hope for is one in which people like my son see the whole of Europe as their patrimony.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I'm a Californian and Brexit isn't really my business. But I'll treat that nicety like Mexicans treat US immigration law and barge right ahead and bloviate on it.

    I think that if I were a UK citizen and qualified to vote, I'd vote for Brexit.

    The EU vision is part of Europe's shocked (and in my opinion disfunctional) reaction to World War II, a disaster that ended Europe's political, military and intellectual leadership of the planet. The horrors were blamed on nationalism and the way to ensure that it never happened again was to get rid of European nations. So the EU project has always had the goal of homogenizing Europe, of getting rid of national differences and making all Europeans politically and culturally the same.

    Part of the early motivation was to bind Germany with ties to its neighbors so it would never get out of control again. And as West Germany grew economically stronger, they saw that it was in their interest too, a way of exerting soft-power over their neighbors without all that blitzkrieg stuff. So as Germany reunified and the Cold War ended, Germany became the heart of the EU, putting Angela Merkel in a position to almost dictate European policy as we saw recently in the Greek economic crisis and in the current immigration crisis. France liked the European vision as well, because Germany was taking a very low profile in the military and world affairs spheres as a result of its WWII guilt, leaving Paris at least potentially the leader in those areas. France still saw itself as glorious, a member of the UN Security Council, a nuclear weapons state, and having the whole EU alongside gave it more heft on the world stage.

    Which leaves Britain. France and Germany were always the heart and soul of the EU and that isn't going to change. When the UK was admitted, it was pretty clear that it would be kept on the periphery, far from the centers of power, a mere province in an increasingly homogenized Europe. Bremain rhetoric argues that being a part of the EU makes Britain stronger, but from way over here on the Pacific, I don't see it. Paris and Berlin don't want London to have that kind of influence in Europe. Evolution in the future is likely to be the other way. Eventually the British Parliament will only have historical interest. Britain will have become a Franco-German province.

    I guess that the bottom-line question for Britons is: Do you want to rule yourselves, or do you want to be ruled as a province from abroad?

    Most of the rhetoric from the Bremain side seems to me to be scare tactics, telling the British people that you may want to rule yourselves, but you will only hurt yourselves if you try. That's craven in my opinion. I don't see the rest of the EU getting into a spite-driven trade war with one of Europe's biggest economies, especially when the current trade balance runs in their favor. (The rest of the EU sells more in Britain than Britain sells in the rest of the EU.)

    The potential, if an independent UK plays its cards right, would be for Britain to become the innovation and entrepeneurship capital of Europe, the place that people with ideas go to create start-ups because of the more attractive regulatory environment and the visionary subculture that goes with it. The French unions and intellectuals hate it (as young French entrepeneurs move from Paris to London), but it would work in Britain's favor if they don't blow it, putting the UK into the same relationship with the rest of Europe that Silicon Valley has to the the rest of the US economy. Britain could escape the more burdensome European regulations, and it already has the best universities in Europe. If it could get together venture capital firms able to fund start-ups, I don't see any reason why Europeans with cool ideas would have to move to San Jose when they could be in London.

    That brings up immigration. Immigration isn't a bad thing, but British immigration policies should be designed in the UK's interest, not foreigners' interest. The UK should be trying to offer easy straight-forward visa procedures to ambitious individuals with cool ideas and university educations. It should be favoring people who will fit in culturally. It doesn't need to be allowing in uncontrolled numbers of poor, uneducated and culturally unassimilable people from Syria and God knows where (the more troubled and war-torn the better), without any vetting or background checks, people who will compete with struggling working-class locals for low end jobs that are disappearing anyway, just because Angela Merkel feels sorry for them. London needs to retain control over those things, not just bleat 'there's nothing we can do, we are bound by treaty...'
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  8. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    22,910
    That's very well written, and it makes a lot of sense. Additionally, if the UK withdraws, it could eventually lead to the further fracturing of the UK. Scotland could once again seek independence and perhaps Wales would follow.

    The EU has problems, but in many ways the EU reminds me of the United States during its formative years. The American government people see today is very different from the first American government. No government is perfect. But you don't walk away, you make it better.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,965
    Yes I wrote at length as we vote today and it seemed worth getting my views clear, to myself at least. I don't buy Yazata's view: if I have time I may have a shot at rebutting some of the misrepresentations in what he says. It seems to me most other EU countries realise it helps a lot to have Britain in, and not just to sideline us. Our values, institutions and practical contribution are respected, especially by Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark etc (i.e the Protestant North that believe in obeying the rules you make and balancing the books!).

    The EU needs to change and make room on a proper footing for countries that do not sign up to the full Euro/ever-closer-union deal. If Britain can achieve that, we may in fact have built a model for what the whole EU could look like one day, if the Eurozone experiment collapses - as I think it might if they carry on just fudging it.

    I'd rather face Putin's Russia and the populist forces now stirring in Europe as part of a large governing bloc than sit on the island hoping nothing nasty will happen over there. We won't be able to rely on the USA next time, I suspect.
     
  10. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    So why does the EU have so many rules preserving regional differences?
     
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  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,965
    There seem to be a number of rather facile and cartoonish representations of things here.

    First, while it is true that the impetus came from the 2nd WW, it was a considered reaction to both that war and older history.

    Second, the goal has never, so far as I am aware, been the "homogenisation" of Europe or the snuffing out of cultural difference. Do you have evidence for the assertion that it does?

    Third, while it is true that the Franco-German axis is the most important and powerful relationship in the EU, that makes it all the more important for a 3rd large economy with some world presence to break up the party. That has been the goal of British foreign policy in Europe for centuries. Time and again, we have gone to war to break up a Continental grouping that threatened to become too powerful.

    Fourth, There is no serious suggestion of Britain being "ruled as a province from abroad". The EU does not in any practical way "rule" anything in Britain. (There was a letter in the FT last week in which a senior French banker commented -off the record - that everyone knows London is now the real capital of Europe, but they don't like to admit it. He of course was thinking mainly of his business, though and the cultural power of London). Britain has secured opt-outs from both the Euro and of the ever-closer union provision of the original treaties. Britain is in fact showing the way for an alternative, looser form of EU membership that other countries may come to find attractive.

    Fifth, on the trade question, one needs to consider not just rational economics but politics as well. If Britain leaves, other countries will be under popular pressure to punish Britain, or at least show that it loses something as a consequence. Otherwise what's the point in any country staying - they can all have the goodies without the hassle? It most certainly will not be a matter of pure economic interest.

    I do agree that a reasonable future for England (Scotland would secede and maybe Wales) can be mapped out, outside the EU, as a sort of free-wheeling Singapore. I don't think the sky will fall in if we leave. But what I suspect, actually, is England would end up carving out a sort of semi-EU membership, not that dissimilar to the sort of relationship inside the EU that I foresee for it above. But we will have to pay our green fees to play, that's for sure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
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  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,060
    exit polls?
    (edited--thanx)
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    You mean "polls".

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    It is against electoral law to publish any while polling is still open. After 10pm we will no doubt get some prognostications.
     
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  14. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    You mean for vaulting across the Channel if you needed to claim asylum in Europe?
     
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  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    No, that will be Farage's command, to the largest group of EU migrants working here, in the event of a win by Leave.

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  16. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    The simplest solution would be to allow Britain control over its own social policy. But ze Germans aren't particularly keen on that, because, you know: Germans.
     
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Reportedly the BBC has just called the election for Leave.
     
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  18. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    3,939
    Brexit won
     
  19. Bells Staff Member

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    23,499
    And here we go..

    Scotland:

    Scotland has made clear that it sees its future as part of the European Union, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday, after it voted to remain while most of the United Kingdom voted to leave.

    “The vote here makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union,” Sturgeon said in a statement.

    “We await the final UK-wide result, but Scotland has spoken - and spoken decisively.”


    Ireland:

    A British vote to leave the European Union intensifies the case for a vote on whether Northern Ireland should leave the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland’s largest Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein said on Friday.

    “This outcome tonight dramatically changes the political landscape here in the north of Ireland and we will be intensifying our case for the calling of a border poll” on a united Ireland, Sinn Fein chairman Declan Kearney said in a statement.

    “The British government as a direct result have forfeited any mandate to represent the interests of people here in the north of Ireland in circumstances where the north is dragged out of Europe as a result of a vote to leave,” he said.
     
  20. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Have to feel sorry for anyone [Cameron] who finds their career ending ("Off with his head!") from a blotch and resulting stigma of this historic magnitude.

    On the other side of the pond, an embattled Trump camp will feel elated from a sign of this being a crazy year where anything could happen. Since there were pop sources in the market already mulling over that: "In fact, a 'Leave' movement win today is a strong signal predictive of a Trump victory this November. Here's what we mean..." http://moneymorning.com/2016/06/23/a-brexit-today-could-mean-a-president-trump-tomorrow/

    But if the Brexit comeback is figuratively viewed as a "hail mary" pass rather than an omen of the gates of insanity opening up globally... Then there seems to be only two seasons (1999 & 2012) where there was more than one successful attempt of that in the NFL or other pro league. With odds like that, Trump should instead be hoping for the opportune madhouse analogy in the course of dancing his little jig...

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  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Results are in:

    Britain has voted 52 to 48% to exit the EU.

    Global markets are falling and the pound has suffered its largest one-day fall ever.

    Interestingly, the best predictor for a Remain vote in a given area was the percentage of residents with higher education degrees.
     
  22. Bells Staff Member

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    23,499
    Cameron just stood down.
     
  23. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,232
    Some random thoughts:
    1. By agreeing to and then holding the referendum, David Cameron has achieved in 24 hours, what Hitler was unable to achieve in five years: the destruction of the United Kingdom.
    2. As a smug, elite bastard I always thought at least 90% of the population were fools. I now have evidence that at least 51.9% of them are.
    3. Every voting region in Scotland voted to remain. Thus 62% of our population demonstrated that one can vote with ones heart and ones head at the same time.
    4. Ich bin ein European.
    5. Idiots!
    6. Self censored.
    7. Self censored
     
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