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Europe Again!


Quillan

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Listening to "The Politics Show" on BBC2 and the old issue of Europe has come up yet again. The Tories are lining up to repatriate powers from the EU back to Britain and Andrew Neil asked "What happens if they (the EU) simply say NO, what will you do then?". Well I have to say I am gob smacked by the total arrogance of the MP's being asked this question. The EU would never ever, not in a month on Sundays allow the UK to leave the EU because it (the UK) is absolutely critical to the existence of the EU so the UK leaving the EU is not an issue. To my mind it is like having an employee asking you for a wage increase and saying if they don't it it then they will leave. Anytime somebody said that to me I asked them to close the door on the way out.
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''The Treaty of Lisbon introduced an exit clause for members who wish to withdraw from the Union. Under TEU Article 50, a Member State would notify the European Council of its intention to secede from the Union and a withdrawal agreement would be negotiated between the Union and that State. The Treaties would cease to be applicable to that State from the date of the agreement or, failing that, within two years of the notification unless the State and the Council both agree to extend this period. The agreement is concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council and shall set out the arrangements for withdrawal, including a framework for the State's future relationship with the Union. The agreement is to be approved by the Council, acting by qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament. A former Member State seeking to rejoin the European Union would be subject to the same conditions as any other applicant country.

This system gives a negotiated withdrawal, due to the complexities of leaving the EU (particularly concerning the euro). However it does include in it a strong implication of a unilateral right to withdraw. This is through the fact the state would decide "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements" and that the end of the treaties' application in said state is not dependent on any agreement being reached (it would occur after two years regardless).[1]''

from wikipedia
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My comment was not about should the UK leave or stay it was about the pure arrogance of the MP who made the comments. She and her contemporaries are saying that the EU cannot continue to exist if the UK left like the UK held the EU together so there is no chance that the EU would ever refuse the UK anything it wanted.

As for the UK actually leaving and continuing to trade with the EU like Norway, the most common country quoted, then really need to understand what agreement is negotiated to allow a country to continue under the EEA and EFTA agreements. Basically the country will have to agree to all EU regulations across the board just like an EU member state except they don't get a vote and are not represented.  So the UK would be no better off if it left and wanted to continue trading with the EU than if it stayed. I can already see a few jumping up and down and saying "not true" so I suggest they find a Norwegian and ask them.

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I have spent quite some time reading the various opinions in the UK press about the merits of leaving or staying in the EU.

The one aspect that I find strange is the apparent objection to giving the UK population a referendum vote on the subject, after all, if democracy is to be upheld then the people must be able to have their say, irrespective of what the elected leaders believe.

The Government supposedly work for the people and should do what the majority of voters want, if they are not prepared to do that then they should stand down. That's the theory anyway !!!!!!!!
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[quote user="Quillan"]

My comment was not about should the UK leave or stay it was about the pure arrogance of the MP who made the comments. She and her contemporaries are saying that the EU cannot continue to exist if the UK left like the UK held the EU together so there is no chance that the EU would ever refuse the UK anything it wanted.

As for the UK actually leaving and continuing to trade with the EU like Norway, the most common country quoted, then really need to understand what agreement is negotiated to allow a country to continue under the EEA and EFTA agreements. Basically the country will have to agree to all EU regulations across the board just like an EU member state except they don't get a vote and are not represented.  So the UK would be no better off if it left and wanted to continue trading with the EU than if it stayed. I can already see a few jumping up and down and saying "not true" so I suggest they find a Norwegian and ask them.

[/quote] Q, I don't think it's quite so cut and dried as you say. Any country which wishes to trade (export to) with another has to meet the recipient countries regulations. It matters not whether the recipient country is an EU country or the USA, Brazil, Japan etc etc. Similarly any country wishing to export goods to the UK must ensure that such goods meet the UK regulations. Individual countries do not have a say in their markets rules, no one represents the UK in the decisions of any other country that the UK exports to. The buyer makes the rules that the seller has to follow if they want to sell. The EU countries sell more to the UK than they buy, would they cut their own noses off by refusing to sell to UK if the UK was not an EU country - I doubt their shareholders would be very impressed if it happened.
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[quote user="powerdesal"]I have spent quite some time reading the various opinions in the UK press about the merits of leaving or staying in the EU. The one aspect that I find strange is the apparent objection to giving the UK population a referendum vote on the subject, after all, if democracy is to be upheld then the people must be able to have their say, irrespective of what the elected leaders believe. The Government supposedly work for the people and should do what the majority of voters want, if they are not prepared to do that then they should stand down. That's the theory anyway !!!!!!!![/quote]

 

I have to disagree totally.

The Government should (and I stress should) work for the long term benefit of the country and should not pander to the knee jerk howling of the masses.

 

This is after all why we have increases in taxes from time to time, no death penalty and membership of the EU - all of which I suspect would be thrown out in a yes/no simple referendum.

 

A Government that simply panders to the immediate wishes of the electorate is one that...........................

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.......... is expecting to go to the polls.

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[quote user="powerdesal"]Any country which wishes to trade (export to) with another has to meet the recipient countries regulations. It matters not whether the recipient country is an EU country or the USA, Brazil, Japan etc etc. [/quote]

I typed a detailed response but pressed the delete key by accident. Basically not true, the EU sets the rules with local variances. If the UK was not in the EU then VAT would have to be paid before the goods left the UK and import duty would be charged when they entered the EU and VAT or the equivalent would be added in the individual member state. Problem is the manufacturer would have to reduce their prices to take this in to account else their goods would cost around 30% more than in the EU than they would in the UK. You need to look it up, it is very complicated and long. None EU goods arriving in any EU state have to have a CE mark. In the case of say a boiler made outside the EU it must first have a CE mark and THEN conform to the regulations unique to the individual member state. China can make clothes for next to nothing and their 'landed' price (that's after transport, tax etc is paid on import) is still half the price of locally manufactured clothing so they can still make a healthy profit inside the EU and undercut their competition. The UK labour costs are very, very high in comparison and under these conditions would simply not be able to complete.

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Andy,

UK parliamentary democracy is composed of Members of Parliament who are the representatives of the people in their constituencies. Hence they are supposed to take into account the views of those people, not only the ones who voted for them but also the ones who didn't.

Their own personal viewpoint should be subjugated to the wishes of their constituency.

As a group, the Members of Government are supposed to run the country in accordance with ( broad ) wishes of the people of the country. The Government theoretically represent all the voters, that's the idea anyway.

If the Government do not carry out the wishes of the people then they are, to all extents, a Dictatorship who are doing their own thing because they believe that they know better than the people they represent.

Both the case of the Death Penalty, and continued membership of the EU are major serious matters on which the people deserve the right to have a say. The fact that they have a say via a general election every 5 years is not enough.

I would suggest that your ''knee jerk howling of the masses.'' is an insult to the people of the UK and could be construed as you believing that you know better than they do.
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Unless I have read wrongly the UK is a net contributor to the EU - that might be missed.

As for a referendum because the people want it, the UK electorate elected a government to make decisions. Surely, the logical extension is that a government is not required just a committee and every decision required were made via a referendum.

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[quote user="Quillan"][quote user="powerdesal"]Any country which wishes to trade (export to) with another has to meet the recipient countries regulations. It matters not whether the recipient country is an EU country or the USA, Brazil, Japan etc etc. [/quote]

I typed a detailed response but pressed the delete key by accident. Basically not true, the EU sets the rules with local variances. If the UK was not in the EU then VAT would have to be paid before the goods left the UK and import duty would be charged when they entered the EU and VAT or the equivalent would be added in the individual member state. Problem is the manufacturer would have to reduce their prices to take this in to account else their goods would cost around 30% more than in the EU than they would in the UK. You need to look it up, it is very complicated and long. None EU goods arriving in any EU state have to have a CE mark. In the case of say a boiler made outside the EU it must first have a CE mark and THEN conform to the regulations unique to the individual member state. China can make clothes for next to nothing and their 'landed' price (that's after transport, tax etc is paid on import) is still half the price of locally manufactured clothing so they can still make a healthy profit inside the EU and undercut their competition. The UK labour costs are very, very high in comparison and under these conditions would simply not be able to complete.

[/quote] Q, you have, in fact, confirmed what I said about exporters having to meet the regulations of the importing country. I believe (may be wrong), that UK goods for export do not attract UK VAT, or rather did not in pre-EU days. In any case it is not rocket engineering to make such exports VAT free in UK. Yes, the importing country can and does apply import duty, a figure of some 2 - 3 % I think, iaw WTO rules. VAT in the country of sale is of course a matter for that country alone. Should the EU countries apply tariffs to UK goods that affected their competitiveness then I would expect the UK to respond in kind. Such tariffs would have more effect on the EU exporters than on the UK exporters for the simple reason that more goods are sold to the UK than are bought from the UK. The UK has more trade with the rest of the World than with the EU and still manages to compete. No-one has claimed (as far as I know ) that life would be an immediate bed of roses if the UK seceded from the EU but I do not believe it would be all doom and gloom either. Personally I am not advocating secession but I think I can see the point of those who do. There is a lot wrong with the EU in it's present state but that does not mean the concept is wrong. I do maintain that it is the right of the British people to show their wishes via a referendum. They are the ones who will have to live with the result either way.
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[quote user="PaulT"]

Unless I have read wrongly the UK is a net contributor to the EU - that might be missed.

As for a referendum because the people want it, the UK electorate elected a government to make decisions. Surely, the logical extension is that a government is not required just a committee and every decision required were made via a referendum.

[/quote] No Paul, not every decision, that would be unworkable. The case of UK continued membership of the EU is IMO a MAJOR decision. That's the difference.
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Hanging, EU continued membership, immigration, Scottish or English independence, gay marriage and adoption are the most contentious issues around at the moment, followed perhaps by foreign aid. To my knowledge, only one of these is being put to a partial referendum. The problem is that they don't really work that well as the idea of a popular will is a bit unsafe.
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powerdesal - I think the import duty into the EU is a lot higher than 2 to 3% on many things. I have imported a couple of items from America and Hong Kong for my garden railway and before La Poste would hand them over I had to write out cheques for roughly half the value of the goods (I would say without getting the paperwork out about 45%) to the Duane for import duty and TVA. That would indicate that the import duty at the time was around 25%! I have no idea if this is just the EU import duty or the combined French and EU duty nor if you are allowed to combine the two or if two actually exist. All I know is what I paid as it hurt. I believe some imports like computers, mobile phones, cameras do not carry import duty yet luxury goods such as in my case 'toys' i.e. model trains, TV's and leisure equipment (golf clubs) do and the amount varies under the EU rules

Whilst around 60% of the UK imports is to outside the EU they are actually little amounts here and there that total 60% where as the EU is the other 40% in one lump so for the UK to loose such a big lump of its export market in one go would be very damaging. It's not the WTO that controls import/export tax it is something like the World Customs something or other, I can't remember the actual name. The EU uses that as a base then increases it depending on the 'impact' it the item would have on the EU economy. Apparently the items I bought from both none EU countries actually started life in Germany but that's not taken in to account. They make the assumption that the items came from outside the EU and therefore competed against the German manufacturer (I know its crazy but that's how it works) so you pay higher import duty to deter you from buying the goods outside the EU thus saving German workers jobs! I said it wasn't that simple. I went on a two day seminar about 15 years ago on this subject, it was so exciting that I slept through 50% of the seminar, forgot the other 49% within a few hours and never did understand the final 1% but needless to say it is extremely complicated which is why people use freight forwarders as they do all the calculations and hard work for you.

As for MP's representing the people well they don't, not once they are an MP. Technically, according to the Parliament website, they state what they are about, you choose the one you feel has your personal interests at heart and vote for him/her. Therefore they are said to represent your interests. The UK was promised a referendum on the EU but only if the Lisbon Treaty (I think that was the one, there are so many it seems) was fundamentally changed. It hasn't been, or has been, depending on your viewpoint so no vote is required. Personally I agree with Norman (Christ that must be the third time in two years) who said "The problem is that the popular media have for a long time waged a propaganda war against the EU, so it would be impossible for it to have the equivalent of a 'fair trial' in a referendum." and that's the problem.

 

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[quote user="powerdesal"] I would suggest that your ''knee jerk howling of the masses.'' is an insult to the people of the UK and could be construed as you believing that you know better than they do.[/quote]

 

It is a commentary on the manipulation of populations across the world - whether by the media, dictators or religious leaders.

 

Someone much more errudite than I, said (paraphrasing) that democracy is far to precious a thing to leave in the hands of the people.

 

Also:  The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.  ~Winston Churchill

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Regardless of peoples' personal views on here can I just point out one important fact about a Referendum on the EU.

Prior to the last General Election ALL three main parties promised a Referendum;   the voters believed the promises made.  Then the LibDems walked out when there was a debate in Parliament and refused to vote.     The UK voters have been lied to time and time again;  is it any wionder they are feeling totally disenfranchised.   No-one asked them about mass immigration - which never appeared in any manifesto anyway but was done to spite the white Tory voting people... 

The Political parties broke their promises.    Is it any wonder the UK voter no longer trusts anything said by any politician of any of the three main parties.

This is why UKIP is being supported more and more;  not necessarily because the UK voters want out;   no-one knows what the voters because THEY HAVE NOT BEEN ASKED.  

The only time there was any Referendum on the EU was when Wilson did so - but that was referring to a Common Market;   a Common Market, free trade and movement of goods is a vastly different set-up to what is now going on.    No democratic government in Greece, Italy or Spain - the Euro bean-counters have moved in.    There is talk of a European wide police force;  a European wide Army - ready to be moved into a European country to face down the local population in case of civil disobedience.    The European wide data-base;  the banning of certain vitamins, etc etc etc etc.

What we are seeing is NOT what we were told by Heath - 'no lose of sovereignity' - oh really.    He admitted he'd lied 30 years later.

The UK voter has had NO SAY about a Federal Central Control EU.    It is only fair that the citizens of a democracy should be given the freedom of choice.   I cannot imagine that anyone here would take the line of one Guardian commentator I read - that only he and he class should vote because the 'ordinarys' didn't have a clue - but he should have a vote because  he did !!!!!    Sheer b---y arrogance.....

Sorry - but I think the people of the UK should be given a chance to decide on the future of THEIR country - the one their parents and grand-parents and families fought in Two World Wars to keep free - and to return freedom to the Continent.    

Chessie

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[quote user="chessie"]The Political parties broke their promises.    Is it any wonder the UK voter no longer trusts anything said by any politician of any of the three main parties.

This is why UKIP is being supported more and more;  not necessarily because the UK voters want out;   no-one knows what the voters because THEY HAVE NOT BEEN ASKED.  

Chessie
[/quote]

Now Chessie why should UKIP be any different to the other political parties?

No doubt when political parties put their manifestoes together it is what they intend to do but of course their is not just one voice but a number of people with differing views who put it together. After and election there are only the views of those elected.

I would also imagine that when the government is the opposition from the previous election it is only then that they find out what the real situation is and then have to deal with it.

the impression that I get is that most people merely equate UKIP with out of the EU - beware it is more than that so do not jump on to their bandwagon unless you accept the other aspects of the party.

In addition, I really wonder if what many voters think they want is what the same as the situation it would lead to. I personally do not feel that I have access to unbiased facts to make a decision. No doubt I could do a lot of research to try to get in that position without 'salesmen' giving me their reasons for in or out.

VW made much in their advertising of how Skoda cars had changed for the better since they took over - prior to that did Skoda salespeople say 'do not buy a Skoda because they are not that good'? No and beware of the political salespeople telling you how wonderful in / out would be.

 

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The issue of a vote on staying in or leaving the EU will always be a emotional one. The biggest problem I see is the media, each with its own political bias which as far as I can see is mainly aimed against the EU and riddled with false statements. There are many plus sides to being in the EU which never gets mentioned and are often distorted. A good example is two of the points raised by Chessie show this.

European Police Force and army - "There is talk of a European wide police force; a European wide Army - ready to be moved into a European country to face down the local population in case of civil disobedience."

Firstly we have a European wide police force, ratified under the Maastrich Treaty in 1992 and called Europol it started limited operations in 1994 and became fully operational in July 1999. It's man objective is information gathering and supplying intelligence (oh look an oxymoron) to individual EU member states. It does not have and never will have a uniformed branch. There is also a European Army which was created as part of the Lisbon Treaty and 21 of the 27 EU states are members, the UK is currently not a member. The UK has it's military strings pulled by the US who don't want to see an EU army because that would mean that NATO would become redundant. The US basically control NATO whose main objective was to stop Russia from invading other European countries during the Cold War. It would also mean that they would have to withdraw US military personnel from Europe. The idea of an EU army is do defend Europe should it ever be threatened by a none EU country. Both Europol and the EU army is not there to "face down the local population in case of civil disobedience".

EU immigrants - So there are no jobs in the UK is what we are told. The newspapers say the immigrants come and take the jobs. This is a chicken and egg situation surely. If there were no jobs then many of the immigrants wouldn't come and take them. Logic says therefore that there must have been jobs so why are there unemployed, why have they not taken the jobs. Seems to me there are two sides to this story and you will never get to the bottom of it. The other bit I don't understand is people saying that the UK integrates every EU law and abides by then while other countries like France etc cherry pick. We all remember when France absorbed the EU legislation on "inactives" and the effect that did and still does have on immigrants coming to France from other EU countries. I have always wondered why the UK never signed up to it, that would have stopped EU immigrants coming to the UK, using the UK health system and social services. So there is a tool available to the UK but for some reason they don't want to use it, that's not the fault of the EU and it also shows the UK cherry pick just like the best of them.

When it comes to the UK payments to the EU which is constantly mentioned by UKIP. There used to be an article on the Internet about this but I can't find it now. The figure that UKIP uses is the Gross figure and not the Nett figure, the latter is minuscule once things like subsidies, European Regional Grants etc are subtracted then moves in to a negative amount once you add in the benefit to companies of not paying VAT and import duties in EU country. UKIP also fail to mention what will happen to the 400,000+ odd people employed in the UK who's job exists only because the UK is a member of the EU. Another thing that frightens me about UKIP and the UK public is that we are more likely to see the UK public, because of the UKIP propaganda, vote for UKIP in EU elections which means that you will have people representing the UK in Europe yet they don't have any MP's in the UK parliament which in my mind is a waste of time. Even Farrage has said it is unlikely to have MP's the UK parliament in at least the next two elections and when asked if he thought he would ever become a PM he just laughed. He believes that his parties best chances are in EU and local elections.

I would like to see a referendum on the EU BUT before that I would like to see truth printed in the papers about costs, advantages and disadvantages etc, etc. because as things stand with all the bigotry printed in newspapers like The Sun, Express, Daily Mail etc I can't see how people can make an informed decision. I also believe the Pro Europeans need to stand up and be counted. My opinion is they believe that there won't be a vote, if there is a vote it won't be a simple in or out and anyway the public will vote to stay in which is really totally stupid on their behalf.

 

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Exactly Paul which is why in a general election a vote for UKIP is a wasted vote because they won't get in to power as long as your bottom points downwards and they can't get the UK out of Europe by winning in local elections. Mind you it would be rather good fun to watch how they would run a council, somewhere like Bradford or Leicester could be interesting. [;-)]
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