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The White Knight

European Union - In Or Out?

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I heard David Cameron speaking on the radio and what he said was that what we want is the benefits of the Common Market without ever closer political European Union.

Leaving aside the question of whether the Prime Minister can ever achieve this aim, the thing I don't understand is why we need to go beyond the benefits of the Common Market and work towards closer political union with Europe.

So, serious question: can anyone whe supports the idea of staying in explain in simple laguage why we need closer political union with Europe in addition to the benefits of merely having a common market for trading purposes ?

It seems to me from what I have read on this thread and elsewhere that nobody really wants closer union, but some reluctantly think it's a price worth paying for the trading benefits. Is that a fair assessment ? Anybody want to comment ?

I think this supposed desire for political union is actually exaggerated and where it is advocated, is advocated by the smaller countries. I don't think there's any serious desire for a United States of Europe from the large and medium sized countries.

 

What it comes down to though, is that a straightforward common market where everyone sets their own policies, will inevitably end up with accusations that some country has an unfair trading advantage for whatever reason - whether lower taxes, lower social insurance costs, lower or no minimum wage, few or no employee rights and so on... Therefore there's pressure to 'level the playing field' by setting standard policies.

 

Then you get countries with different attitudes to fiscal prudence which de-facto forces compliance to certain standards. Euro or not, Greece would still need to have been bailed out regardless, and is it unreasonable the likes of Germany insist on financial reform as a condition?

Humph it is hard to justify MEPs expenses as long as the farce of flitting between Strasbourg and Brussels continues - a piece of squalid back room wheeler dealing that EU citizens have to pay for because our 'Euromasters' are incapable of behaving like grown-ups.

Well I agree, but blame the French for that. I think every other member state would like to put an end to that particular farce.

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I find it ironic, the SNP want out of the UK union, but want to be integrated into a European Union. What on earth is the difference..... Do they really prefer to be run by a German/french alliance than Brits?

Edited by Deano

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What it comes down to though, is that a straightforward common market where everyone sets their own policies, will inevitably end up with accusations that some country has an unfair trading advantage for whatever reason - whether lower taxes, lower social insurance costs, lower or no minimum wage, few or no employee rights and so on... Therefore there's pressure to 'level the playing field' by setting standard policies.

 

Then you get countries with different attitudes to fiscal prudence which de-facto forces compliance to certain standards. Euro or not, Greece would still need to have been bailed out regardless, and is it unreasonable the likes of Germany insist on financial reform as a condition?

 

 

I see the point being made but does this mean then that the original plan for a straightforward free trade area or Common Market as originally voted for always was going to evolve into the closer political union that was never mentioned at the time of the original vote (so in effect people were mislead as to what they were voting for ) and when Cameron says he wants a common market without closer political union he is at best playing with words and at worst talking about something that is impossible to achieve ?

 

It is beginning to seem to me that like most other referendums and important election issues people are being asked to vote on something they don't understand , or have been misled on or at best has never been clearly explained .

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I see the point being made but does this mean then that the original plan for a straightforward free trade area or Common Market as originally voted for always was going to evolve into the closer political union that was never mentioned at the time of the original vote

"There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified."

Prime Minister Edward Heath, television broadcast on Britain's entry into the Common Market, January 1973.

 

A europhile politician telling blatant lies, and it goes on to this day.

This is a pretty good read of events during those times. http://www.brugesgroup.com/mediacentre/index.live?article=91

Edited by phlipphlop

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"There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified."

Prime Minister Edward Heath, television broadcast on Britain's entry into the Common Market, January 1973.

A europhile politician telling blatant lies, and it goes on to this day.

This is a pretty good read of events during those times. http://www.brugesgroup.com/mediacentre/index.live?article=91

Thanks for that. I find that post very thought provoking, as is HA's post . I not really into conspiracy theories, but having done some research I have discovered that the European Court of Justice was established in 1952 and the European Court of Human Rights was established in 1959, so from the earliest days there must have been some intentention of some sort of political compatibility. I doubt whether the vast majority of voters realised that when they voted to join the EU in 1974.

 

I can see why a European Court was deemed necessary in the years after WW2 because after Nazi atrocities it was obviously desirable to avoid a repeat of countries like Germany hiding behind there borders and commit genocide while not being touched by some outside form of justice but the world has moved on since then. I doubt whether in the early days anyone expected the EU to become the monolith that it now is with economically weak countries likePoland and Rumania being able to exercise control over Britsh borders and doubt whether the problems caused by mass immigration were ever foreseen 30 years ago.

 

Although I tend not to believe conspiracy theories because I don't think politicians are clever enough, the fact remains that either by conspiracy or incompetence the public have been duped and have basically sleep walked into

this EU mess which most people never saw coming. The whole thing is indeed a mess, and the current refugee crisis has made it even worse. People will be voting in or out on the basis of a gut reaction without understanding the implications of whatever way they vote.

 

So for this country I can't see things changing much whichever way the vote goes. The problems caused by mass net immigration will continue for the foreseeable future and I can't see life getting easier for those at the bottom of the pile whether we stay in or out.

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I see the point being made but does this mean then that the original plan for a straightforward free trade area or Common Market as originally voted for always was going to evolve into the closer political union that was never mentioned at the time of the original vote (so in effect people were mislead as to what they were voting for ) and when Cameron says he wants a common market without closer political union he is at best playing with words and at worst talking about something that is impossible to achieve ?

There's no single answer to the question, not least because the EU evolved from several distinct European communities such as the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Atomic Energy Community and the better known EEC, amongst others. The likes of Robert Schuman who were instrumental in setting up these bodies undoubtedly did believe in political union, and the French were likely enthusiastic as they saw it as an opportunity to dominate Europe, although as with so many international organisations they established, it never worked out that way.

 

That's not to say though, that countries joined for that reason, nor that political union was/is an inevitable process. And even if you assume political union was the goal, there are all sorts of models of confederation or federation that could/can be adopted. Clearly there's some form of political union now where member states pool sovereignty in specific areas, but they're doing so voluntarily and in a very loose form compared to even say the United States. The EU is much more akin to pre-19th Switzerland or the pre-1789 United States where the cantons and states were effectively independent countries that shared certain institutions, but the lesson there is those countries ended-up seeking closer political union because the common decision making structures proved ineffective. In that sense, the EU has achieved a lot despite a convoluted power sharing structure in which each member state has the power of veto.

 

A common market will inevitably lead to common policies because of the need to level the playing field, and Ted Heath likely knew that. However, the extent of the policy making was defined much later, and the UK played a full part in that process under a Tory government. I therefore think it's very difficult to turn around now and claim anything has been imposed on the UK.

 

It is beginning to seem to me that like most other referendums and important election issues people are being asked to vote on something they don't understand , or have been misled on or at best has never been clearly explained .

Well quite, but the average member of the public is more interested in reading inane stories about bent bananas than actually trying to educate themselves about what it actually does and whether or not it benefits the UK.

 

Thanks for that. I find that post very thought provoking, as is HA's post . I not really into conspiracy theories, but having done some research I have discovered that the European Court of Justice was established in 1952 and the European Court of Human Rights was established in 1959, so from the earliest days there must have been some intentention of some sort of political compatibility. I doubt whether the vast majority of voters realised that when they voted to join the EU in 1974.

The European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the EU, and was established to rule on whether signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights were fulfilling their obligations. As you point out, it was established in the aftermath of the atrocities committed in WW2 and predates the EU by many years. Indeed the UK was an advocate for its establishment and a founder signatory.

 

Yes, being a signatory to the ECHR is a requirement of EU membership, but rightly so because it's a good idea and provides some protection against arbitrary withdrawal of human rights by national governments. Yes, having countries like Russia and Belarus in membership, far less ruling on British issues also undermines it's credibility, but those are details that can be fixed.

 

The European Court of Justice is a different institution and is there to rule on EU laws and whether they're being applied correctly. It mostly deals with trade issues in much the same why that many international trading agreements have a dispute resolution process, and in many cases I think it's made the right decision (e.g. that you can buy a Sky subscription in Greece and have the right to use it in the UK).

 

I doubt whether in the early days anyone expected the EU to become the monolith that it now is with economically weak countries likePoland and Rumania being able to exercise control over Britsh borders and doubt whether the problems caused by mass immigration were ever foreseen 30 years ago.

Poland is not really an economically weak country nowadays, and Romania is a somewhat minor player in the EU. The effects of EU migration have been greatly exaggerated by the likes of UKIP, when in fact migration from non-EU countries has been substantially higher and from where immigrants are less likely to have similar cultural and social values.

 

There's also the benefit that the UK gains from freedom of movement in the EU, which millions of Britons have taken advantage of.

 

The whole thing is indeed a mess, and the current refugee crisis has made it even worse.

There would be a refugee mess regardless of whether the EU existed or not, and in fact it would probably be even worse. Economic deprivation in Africa is not the fault of the EU, and neither is the Syrian Civil War even if several western countries helped create it.

 

In fact, it merely emphasises that the issues with immigration are primarily from outside the EU, and that's what really needs addressing.

Edited by Humphrey Appleby

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Yes, having countries like Russia and Belarus in membership, far less ruling on British issues also undermines it's credibility, but those are details that can be fixed.g.

Perhaps they are details that CAN be fixed but the question is WILL they. That question applies to a number of things across the EU , and leaving aside the straight bananas stories the ECHR and the EU do seem to present themselves as bloated organisations out of touch with ordinary people and with little desire to change. Nothing in there past record seems to suggest much care consideration or empathy for the man in the street. That is part of the problem.

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The effects of EU migration have been greatly exaggerated by the likes of UKIP, when in fact migration from non-EU countries has been substantially higher and from where immigrants are less likely to have similar cultural and social values..

That may be the case but the fact remains that, exagerrated or not, Farage and UKIP have articulated the concerns of many ordinary people on the issue of immigration that other politicians have been in bare-faced denial about, and have totally failed to grasp the nettle.

 

Farage, whether people like him or not has taken an issue that most politicians would like to sweep under the carpet and put it right at the top of the agenda. Few people believe anything most policians say about immigration and since it is now top of the agenda it is inextricably linked to the in/out campaign. In fact without the immigration issue I dare say the "in " campaign would walk it, but immigration is making it a finely balance vote at the moment. The public have been lied to far too often on this subject.

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Nothing in there past record seems to suggest much care consideration or empathy for the man in the street.

Courts, whether European or otherwise, are not there to do the bidding of the man on the street. They're there to ensure proper justice is served and to rule on points of law.

 

The average man in the street cares little for due process and largely forms his opinions based on sensationalist media reporting. God forbid the mob should be deciding on matters that effect peoples' lives, whether guilty or innocent.

 

It may stick in the craw that the UK was unable to deport the likes of Abu Qatada, but the fact was that Jordan was known to practice torture of suspects, and the UK has signed up not to extradite people if they faced torture or death. The dreadful Theresa May continually tried to circumvent the legal process, despite the fact that Abu Qatada had not been convicted of any crime in the UK and his original Jordanian conviction was argued to be based on evidence obtained through torture. Whilst most of us (including me) probably couldn't give two monkeys about what happens to a hate preacher, this could happen to anyone if they get on the wrong side of a government more interested in currying favour with the mob.

 

I mention Abu Qatada because I'd guess most people haven't bothered to follow what happened to him since his deportation to Jordan. Well he was found not guilty by the Jordanian courts, so it'll be interesting to see what TWK thinks now, given that he felt due process should be ignored as the bloke was obviously guilty... http://www.speedway-forum.co.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=74066&hl=qatada

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Courts, whether European or otherwise, are not there to do the bidding of the man on the street. They're there to ensure proper justice is served and to rule on points of law.The average man in the street cares little for due process and largely forms his opinions based on sensationalist media reporting. God forbid the mob should be deciding on matters that effect peoples' lives, whether guilty or innocent.rl]

I disagree. Judges in the higher courts have a fair degree of latitude I the the way they interpret the law. It's not so long ago that Judges in this country were almost exclusively from a right wing public school background, whereas over the last two or three decades society has changed and there are now a much larger percentage of left leaning, pseudo,liberal judges and the change is reflected in the way the law is interpreted in the higher courts.

 

Anyway, I was not suggesting there should be mob rule but who are the courts there to serve the interests of, if not the man in the street? Of course they follow the authority of the legislators but the ECHR with its multiplicity of judges of rom here there and everywhere does appear to be the mouthpiece, or the tool of the academic elite that live in their own world, far removed from day to day life. That is the point I was making . Of course, perception has a lot to do with it, and tabloid reports don't give balanced information, but we still keep coming back to,the point that people are being asked to vote on something they do not fully understand because they have not been informed. The media, especially the tabloid press are partly to blame for this but it seems to me that the whole EU debate has been conducted all along by politicians, by EU Commisioners and by judges who think they know best and have no interest whatsoever in conveying their reasoning to the prolartariat. That is also why I asked the question WILL these details be fixed when you said they can be fixed.

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That may be the case but the fact remains that, exagerrated or not, Farage and UKIP have articulated the concerns of many ordinary people on the issue of immigration that other politicians have been in bare-faced denial about, and have totally failed to grasp the nettle.

 

Farage, whether people like him or not has taken an issue that most politicians would like to sweep under the carpet and put it right at the top of the agenda. Few people believe anything most policians say about immigration and since it is now top of the agenda it is inextricably linked to the in/out campaign. In fact without the immigration issue I dare say the "in " campaign would walk it, but immigration is making it a finely balance vote at the moment. The public have been lied to far too often on this subject.

been saying this for about 3 years. take immigration out of the way, the IN vote would sail home winners. and at the same time, take immigration out of ukip, you would end ukip. 4 million votes on

immigration makes it the most biggest issue in british politics..

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Farage, whether people like him or not has taken an issue that most politicians would like to sweep under the carpet and put it right at the top of the agenda. Few people believe anything most policians say about immigration and since it is now top of the agenda it is inextricably linked to the in/out campaign. In fact without the immigration issue I dare say the "in " campaign would walk it, but immigration is making it a finely balance vote at the moment. The public have been lied to far too often on this subject.

The ironic thing of course is that Farage has lied about immigration more than any other politician...And the main reason people will vote to stay in is because of him .

 

The out vote would have a much better chance if took a back seat .

Edited by orion

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The ironic thing of course is that Farage has lied about immigration more than any other politician...And the main reason people will vote to stay in is because of him .

 

The out vote would have a much better chance if took a back seat .

heard many say that...genuinely don't believe this vote would of happened without him, as this

subject would never of been arisen by mainstream politicians.

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heard many say that...genuinely don't believe this vote would of happened without him, as this

subject would never of been arisen by mainstream politicians.

I agree that the vote would have happened without him but his present is now a negative for the out vote .

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I agree that the vote would have happened without him but his present is now a negative for the out vote .

I see how he can be negative, I think his 4 million followers is a solid vote, so a good start.

theres half the tory party campaigning for the out vote, which should carry a good bit of weight, add to that a solid northern working class backing, its going to be very close.. I think win or lose, ukip"s job will be over afterwards, as its their whole purpose to gain independence. Farage is liked or hated, theres no inbetween. as I always said, if you beat farage on the immigration argument, you wipe out ukip, as yet, it hasn't happened, I don't think its the mail that people read, I believe its what everyday people sees around them, and estates changing, with communites changing, local people waiting longer on the housing list, hospital waiting lists, traffic bumper to bumper, there has to be a numbers limit, to have open door borders is a disaster

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