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Discussion > EU must be joking

Robert Christopher
I think that's what Brexiteers call fear mongering.

The fact that I don't think freedom and democracy will improve after Brexit doesn't mean I don't value both, just that I look it.at it dispassionately and unemotionally.

Apr 25, 2016 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Alan Kendall
DeGaulle on one part of the anglophone world:


When I say "Franco-Scottish Alliance," I am thinking, firstly, of course, of that close political and military entente which, in the Middle Ages, was established between our ancient monarchy and yours.

I am thinking of the Scottish blood which flowed in the veins of our kings and of the French blood which flowed in the veins of your kings, of glory shared on past battlefields, from the siege of Orleans, raised by Joan of Arc, to Valmy, where Goethe recognised that a new age was dawning for the world.

In every combat where for five centuries the destiny of France was at stake, there were always men of Scotland to fight side by side with men of France, and what Frenchmen feel is that no people has ever been more generous than yours with its friendship.

Yet in our old alliance there was more than a common policy, more than marriages and fighting deeds. There were not only the Stuarts, the Queens of France and Scotland, Kennedy, Berwick, Macdonald, and the glorious Garde écossaise. There were also a thousand ties of spirit and soul. How could we forget the mutual inspiration of French and Scottish poets, or the influence of men like Locke and Hume on our philosophy? How could we fail to recognise what is common to the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the doctrines of Calvin? How could we hide the influence which the great Walter Scott has exercised over the receptive mind of French youth? How could we ignore all the exchanges of ideas, feelings, customs, and even words so frequent between two peoples joined by a natural friendship, a friendship of which a visit to Edinburgh affords such ample proof?

This friendship and understanding which Frenchmen have found in Scotland throughout history are to-day more precious than ever. Undoubtedly, they are mingled at the present time with the joint aims, efforts, and ideals which go to make up the alliance between France and Great Britain. But I think I can say, without giving cause for offence, that although mingled, they are not lost in the mingling, and they retain their special character, just as in a bouquet a single flower still keeps its own perfume and colour.


General de Gaulle at Edinburgh, 23rd June 1942

Apr 25, 2016 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Robert Christopher
I think you;ll find that a number politicians and military leaders thought the Dunkirk evacuation was indeed risky and wouldn't bring more that a few tens of thousands of troops back, these voices held sway when part of the BEF was left at StValery-eb-Caux to surrender to Rommel . The Royal Navy deserves a lot of credit for the success just as they did with evacuation Crete, another grave error by Churchill, later in the war. The evacuation of Crete prompted Admiral Cunningham to say

it takes the Navy three years to build a new ship … it will take 300 years to build a new tradition.

Apr 25, 2016 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Steve Richards
The UK (discounting part of if not all of Ireland) runs counter to that argument. Wales incorporated into the Kingdom of England 1283. Scotland joined 1707 forced by a financial disaster and economic sanctions, continued member despite what might be called a lack of enthusiasm by a large part of the population at the time and ever since. Both are cultural different from England and each other.

Apr 25, 2016 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Dung
sorry about the rant earlier.
With regard to sustainability as this is beloved of the UN then Brexit won't make a jot of difference.

Anyway I'm off to the little boats again so won't be back until tomorrow, possibly you'll be pleased to hear that.

Apr 25, 2016 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS.
Wasn't aware of this speech.

However, I note the date - 1942, when he was desperately seeking British and American help to keep his Free French forces solvent. deGaulle's anglophobia was only apparent after the war was over and after his countrymen (and women), desperate to solve the Algerian problem, called on him to lead them. Of course, after he pragmatically sided with Algerian independence, he lost the support of many Frenchmen. He promoted a very pro french cultural programme and supported the creation of a francophone grouping of countries ( explaining the Quebec fracas).

Would have been more impressed if the speech was given in the 1960s or 1970s.

Parts of this cultural support continued well after deGaulle's departure. I had a New Zealander colleague who taught in one of the many Paris universities. He told me he could always get full state funding to attend international meetings, where everything was conducted in English, but only if he gave his talk in French.

Apr 25, 2016 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

SandyS on Apr 25, 2016 at 5:49 PM
"I think that's what Brexiteers call fear mongering."

I think you mean the Remainians do.

I am drawing attention to the problems with Remaining in the EU and if that generates fear, rather than concern, it would be because the consequences are grave, and likely. Knowledge of the History of the area is useful, no matter how uncomfortable and embarrassing it might be and the current situation in all the EU countries need to be assessed.

I am only reviewing the 'cons' column on Remaining as I cannot see anything in the 'pros' column; is there anything that we need the EU for, that cannot be done otherwise, that would be better for Britain?

Currently, are there any EU countries that are happy with what has been happening.

After all, it used to be called the European Community.


SandyS on Apr 25, 2016 at 6:12 PM
Fortunately it worked.

Apr 25, 2016 at 7:29 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

SandyS: I would suggest that the cultural differences between the people of England, Scotland and Wales are negligible, except for accent, no fundamental difference.

Peoples of continental Europe have many varied differences, the length of time that they have been 'different' matters a great deal when external forces try to change relationships.

Apr 25, 2016 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

This to me is a result of the UK government 'taking it easy' and keeping in the EU shadow at all times. Can't blame them really: what else can they do when obeying the unelected elite is the first objective in any action?

Why keep abreast of current events? We can always say it's Brussels that has the last word, so why waste taxpayers money? We can always say we weren't sure of the legal position: it needs clarification.

Ministers accused of 'frightening complacency' over VW emissions scandal amid row over compensation
More than 1.2million Volkswagen and Audi cars in the UK are fitted with so-called "defeat devices" which lowered the levels of toxic emissions during laboratory tests.

Mr Goodwill told MPs on the transport select committee: "They haven't fixed any cars yet I'm disappointed to announce. They will need to have their fix approved by us before they do it to ensure it does fix the problem.

"Compensation is a matter for the courts. There a number of injured parties in this. My view is that I'm not a lawyer so I'm not able to comment in detail but you would have to demonstrate material loss. I am not legally qualified."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/ministers-accused-of-frightening-complacency-over-vw-emissions-s

In the meantime, the US, which isn't a member of the EU, is getting compensation from the EU company:
Exclusive: VW to offer to buy back nearly 500,000 U.S. diesel cars - sources
Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and U.S. officials have reached a framework deal under which the automaker would offer to buy back almost 500,000 diesel cars that used sophisticated software to evade U.S. emission rules, two people briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

The German automaker is expected to tell a federal judge in San Francisco Thursday that it has agreed to offer to buy back up to 500,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States that exceeded legally allowable emission levels, the people said.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-volkswagen-emissions-usa-idUSKCN0XH2CX

Apr 25, 2016 at 10:46 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Robert Christopher
I take that you're claiming that the UK outside the EU would have detected the defeat devices and that would have negotiated a compensation scheme by now, otherwise I don't see the point of that post? I'm not sure that a UK government would have set up a testing agency separate from a European one, on grounds of cost apart from anything else. Would the UK ban cars that didn't undergo UK testing?. That a market a 5th the size of the US, one fifth the size of China (only getting bigger), and an 8th the size of the remaining EU would come particularly high on the compensation negotiation list. The same applies to the list of countries to fix the problem, they are going to do biggest and German first. The UK although a decent market doesn't come high up the list in importance, large and growing markets do. So if I was VW management I look at USA, China, India, Germany, the rest of the EU, Brazil and then a Brexit UK amongst others (Mexico?).

The UK is a market which isn't expanding and in global terms is falling down the league tables, not quite Aston Villa yet, but companies like VW concentrate on where most profit can be made.


SandyS on Apr 25, 2016 at 6:12 PM
Fortunately it worked.

As much due to vacillation by Hitler as good planning by Churchill.

Apr 25, 2016 at 7:29 PM | Robert Christopher
I was referring to the content of your post which seemed more opinion than fact. We're all entitled to opinion but facts are better.

Apr 26, 2016 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Alan Kendall
A lot of water had passed under a lot of bridges in the intervening years, sadly a potential lifelong friendship had ended in bitterness and recrimination.

Apr 26, 2016 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Is the announcement by Australia that they will purchase 12 submarines from France (rather than Japan or Germany) and that India will almost certainly buy Rafales from France and that UAE and Malaysia my well follow suit evidence that the Commonwealth countries don't regard the UK as first port of call when buying anything?

Apr 26, 2016 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS. I'm going senile here. Posted reply to your 8.33 am over at the BBC discussion.

Apr 26, 2016 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall
I see what you mean, I'll be more careful in future!

Apr 26, 2016 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Sandy S. It wasn't really a complaint, I thought you might be amused.

Reminds me of a time when Amoco's chief geologist (my boss x3) and I argued vehemently over the interpretation of some rocks. Later he said something like "isn't it a pity that we can only communicate by using words". Even face to face we are able to misunderstand each other. When we quickly communicate using the written word confusion is even more likely.

Apr 26, 2016 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

SandyS

It seems that you are a true Francophile something I have never been and never will be ^.^ I made some comments earlier that I realise were wrong and so I need to correct them. I said that most EU countries were weak and I should have spoken about the governments of those countries, not the people.
You mentioned the submarine purchase by Australia and the sale of Dassault Rafale aircraft to India and Malaysia.You then questioned the loyalty of Commonwealth countries to GB based on those purchases.
However much I might wish Commonwealth countries to buy goods from us, I have to accept that they are free to buy anything that satifies their requirements. Australia got itself into a bit of a pickle over the submarine purchase because It had spent a great deal of money trying to develop its own capability, hence the order was dependent upon construction in OZ.
Looking at the deal with France it is quite obvious that this deal was in what you might call the bargain basement of submarine deals ^.^ The UK is not in that market.
In 1998 the French decided to build a new nuclear powered attack submarine with a new water-jet propulsion system. The first trials of the sub were due in 2010, the Australian purchase is for a conventionally powered version of this sub.
The original version has still not been launched so good luck Australia.
The Rafale deals.

The original requirement from India was for over 100 aircraft and amongst many others, the BAE Typhoon and the Rafale were in competition. The French deal is for about 35 aircraft with no talk of further aircraft.
In the Middle East Typhoons have been purchased by Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. The latest Rafale deal with Malaysia is for 18 aircraft and all the Typhoon deals were much bigger.

Apr 26, 2016 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung
You're correct I am a Francophile, mind you I quite liked most Europeans I've met through work or holidays.

The point about the submarines and planes was that many in the Brexit campaign seem to think the world is as it was when the UK joined the Common Market. Unfortunately it isn't anything like the same place, particularly in trade and finance.

Apr 26, 2016 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS

You said earlier "The fact that I don't think freedom and democracy will improve after Brexit doesn't mean I don't value both, just that I look it.at it dispassionately and unemotionally."
I do not think you can discuss freedom and democracy dispassionately ^.^
If you care then it will be passionate to the nth degree and so it should be hehe

Apr 26, 2016 at 9:47 PM | Registered CommenterDung

SandyS on Apr 26, 2016 at 8:31 AM
"I take that you're claiming that the UK outside the EU would have detected the defeat devices and that would have negotiated a compensation scheme by now, otherwise I don't see the point of that post?
Studies, funded by DEFRA, did detect a BIG, BIG problem, but were ignored, so delaying or obviating any need for a compensation scheme for Britain, unlike the USA, which is not subject to EU subjugation!

I'm not sure that a UK government would have set up a testing agency separate from a European one, on grounds of cost apart from anything else. Would the UK ban cars that didn't undergo UK testing?. That a market a 5th the size of the US, one fifth the size of China (only getting bigger), and an 8th the size of the remaining EU would come particularly high on the compensation negotiation list. The same applies to the list of countries to fix the problem, they are going to do biggest and German first.
Well, they DID set up an operation that DID detect a problem, to no avail! So, we spend taxpayers' money to ensure wealthy companies abide by the law and, when they don't, we ignore the problem? Why do we fund work that is ignored? Who is stopping them doing their job? Who is leaning on them?

The UK although a decent market doesn't come high up the list in importance, large and growing markets do.
To us in Britain, our car market is important, our H&S is important! The law that was broken is there to save lives. Part of our Government's job is to ensure that we are not ignored, including our H&S. It is NOT their job to cosy up to the Brussels' Elite: it is to protect us.

So if I was VW management I look at USA, China, India, Germany, the rest of the EU, Brazil and then a Brexit UK amongst others (Mexico?)."
Do VW have so few people, and such poor marketing skills, that they would want to ignore the important British market? Why do you want to demote us, below the rest of the world? You don't think we are good enough?

Here is a report from last September:
VW scandal: 'Cover-up’ of British tests that showed diesel fume cheating
"The Government knew diesel cars were emitting deadly pollutants at levels four times greater than the official safety limits - and yet ministers continue to offer tax incentives promoting diesel cars
...
A team of British scientists repeatedly warned the Government that emissions of a deadly pollutant from diesel cars far exceeded official safety levels. The scientists measured emissions from tens of thousands of diesel engine cars as they drove past sensors on roads in tests carried out since 2011.
...
Their findings appear to have been ignored by successive governments which have continued to offer generous tax subsidies to encourage people to buy diesel cars, which now account for half of new cars sold in the UK."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11893851/VW-scandal-Cover-up-of-British-tests-that-showed-diesel-fume-cheating.html


Repeating the most important question above:
"So, we spend taxpayers' money to ensure wealthy companies abide by the law and, when they don't, we ignore the problem?"

We return to the question I posed to Mike J, on Apr 24, 2016 at 12:31 PM, and no one has offered any alternative:
"Do we spend the next forty years trying to convince ourselves that what we have been told is true or do we do something about it?

We know that Whitehall, our QUANGOs and our more than a few very un-independent MPs are impervious to change, so what else can be done? Leaving the EU would at least force change. It won't magically create the instant perfect political solution, but it would the the first step.

Do you have any other suggestions?"

My response to Steve, on Apr 25, 2016 at 3:27 PM, offers a reason for the dysfunctionality:
"Steve Richards on Apr 25, 2016 at 2:39 PM
"It seems strange that some here suggest that the additional layer of government of the EU, is ok, and preferable. And it does not matter that is is not democratic because we already have quasi-appointed positions in the UK system!"

Steve, in addition, it is the 'additional layer of government of the EU' that makes the 'quasi-appointed positions in the UK system' even more resistant to change than they might have been.

Please offer another reason, solution, or excuse that explains why we need not leave this dysfunctional club and complete tasks through to the end, be in charge of our own actions and be masters of our own destiny.

Apr 27, 2016 at 10:43 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Dung

If you really want to see democracy in action come to Northern Ireland.

The main division is between Nationalists, who favour joining the Republic of Ireland, and Unionists who favour staying in the UK. The religious divide between Catholics and Protestants follows a similar pattern. Wiithin these two groups are factions varying from "let's work together" moderates to "kill the other lot" extremists.

Single transferrable vote proportional representation gives parties of every complexion a few members in the Assembly and the de Hont system spreads the Ministries around too. Nobody has a majority. The First Minister and Deputy come from the largest parties on each side and are supposed to be equal.

This excess of democracy achieves very little The politicians spend all their time bickering and point scoring. They refight the Troubles in court cases, inquiries and inquests. Very little productive government takes place.

We have seen budgets shrink by 5% per year since 2010 and political infighting over welfare cost us 10.7% last year.

Too many of us are free to live in ghettos where paramilitaries carry out punishment shootings, and be blown up in random bombings twenty years after the Troubles were supposed to end. Nobody has yet been brought to book for the friends and pupils I lost in the 1998 Omagh bombing.

Leave the EU and our position gets even worse. Our marginal geographical position, economic and political difficulties qualify us for considerable EU Structural Fund assistance, which would be lost on Brexit. Our open border with the Republic of Ireland would become an economic barrier, with full customs and immigration controls.

Unlikely as it may seen, the largest Unionist party would welcome Brexit.They want the biggest wall between Nothern Ireland and the Republic that they can contrive, and never mind the cost.

Now remind me. Why should I welcome Brexit?

Apr 27, 2016 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Entropic man on Apr 27, 2016 at 2:08 PM
"Our open border with the Republic of Ireland would become an economic barrier, with full customs and immigration controls."

Isn't that what happens between two countries?

Apr 27, 2016 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Robert Christopher

At present the Irish border is the UKs only land frontier. It is treated in the same way as any other internal border in the EU. It is entirely open. You can cross it or trade across it as though it separated two counties, not two countries.

Brexit would close that border. The many Irish people who shop in Northern Ireland would then need to show passports, be searched by Customs and pay duty on their purchases. Many would stop coming.

I live about ten miles from the border and cross that border about once a week for various purposes. If nothing else, Brexit would significantly limit my own freedom of movement. It would also limit the freedom of movement of those crossing the border to shop in my town or visit the museum in which I now work.

What abstract benefits for the limited freedoms and the surfeit of democracy I currently enjoy will outweigh the economic damage Brexit would cause for Northern Ireland? Are you in the three mainland countries willing to massively increase our block grant to compensate us for Brexit losses?

Apr 27, 2016 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM - I think that Ireland and the UK, unlike most European countries, are not members of the Schengen zone, between members of which there are no border controls. So passing from France to Eire (which I did recently but don't remember for sure) I think there are border controls just like passing from France to Britain.

I think that Switzerland is a member of the Schengen zone and there are no border controls between France and Switzerland, despite Switzerland not being an EU member.

Presumably the open border between Eire and UK is the result of an agreement between the two nations and nothing to do with the EU or the Schengen Agreement. If my presumption is correct, then I see no reason for that to change if the UK exited the EU.

Any comment on that?

Apr 27, 2016 at 7:24 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

My fear is that Brexit would quickly be followed by Scotxit and the reoccupation of Hadrian's Wall.

On a more serious point, no one I think has so far discussed the economic problems that will be caused to the remaining EU. I would expect the economies of both the UK and the EU would be adversely affected, if only for the first 3-4 years. A question then arises as to whether any resultant instability in the EU would destroy economic stability and our markets. Everyone could be harmed.

Could those is favour of Brexit please explain why this scenario wouldn't happen?

Apr 27, 2016 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Martin A

There is indeed a Common Travel Area(CTA) which gives travel acros th Irish border special status, along with the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Since the border is effectively at Dublin Airport, this creates its own oddities. Travellers entering the EU and the UK via Ireland need visas.

I travelled to Germany via Dublin recently and had to show my passport at Frankfurt as I entered the Schengen zone.

Returning to Dublin I had to show my passport to prove that I was a resident of the CTA and therefore did not need to show my passport.🙂

Brexit would leave the Irish border as the only place where migrants would be able to enter the UK from the EU ( or vica versa) unchecker. I doubt that the UK or Irish governments would allow that to continue.for long.

Apr 27, 2016 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man