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Discussion > EU must be joking

Alan Kendall

We would by the first country to leave the EU. Whether we would be the exception which strengthens their Union or the first rat off the sinking ship is an interesting question.

The amount of economic damage our departure caused might well tip the balance either way.

Apr 27, 2016 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I'm not with you EM.

I think you have just said that you can't curently get into Eire from anywhere, including EU countries, without a passport. [Not sure why you mentioned visas - for travellers from China, for example, perhaps?]

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. Well, isn't it the only place like that currently?

So I don't think you have explained why that should change if UK were no longer in the EU.

Apr 27, 2016 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Alan Kendall on Apr 27, 2016 at 7:55 PM
"My fear is that Brexit would quickly be followed by Scotxit and the reoccupation of Hadrian's Wall."
On the 'not so serious' point, those in 'Northern Britain' realise that Salmond's plans were economically very suspect, and that was before the oil price plummeted. Blair and Brown caused great damage to our constitutions, without any intelligent planning involved - in fact, no planning at all. I expect there will be 'adjustments' that would put each country on a more equal footing and should occupy the leading protagonists, being a safer option. I think a Brexit will bring down at least some of the hidden establishment and bring in new blood. Across the UK, Europe and the US, many are fed up with the establishment and are making the views known - even entering the political arena!

"On a more serious point, no one I think has so far discussed the economic problems that will be caused to the remaining EU ... Could those is favour of Brexit please explain why this scenario wouldn't happen?"
They will miss our contribution, but they cannot be too worried about it because they were so 'impolite' when David Cameron travelled across Europe in his search for a renegotiated settlement.
Most of the economic problems in Europe have been caused by the Euro-elites: the Eurozone is a financial disaster area, Schengen with Merkel's migrants are another, Germany has an excessive trade gap while the rest have unsustainable deficits. Greece is a disaster unto itself. Most have a too large state sector with too much red tape. News of the migrant atrocities were suppressed by the media. Windmill Mania is destroying industry and youth unemployment is destroying communities. New political parties are increasing in strength, so there is a lot to occupy Continental politicians, but with Britain gone, all will be well! Everyone will be able to accomplish 'Ever Closer Union', and 'Even More Closer Closer Union' without Britain hindering the process. What could go wrong? :)

I can't see how Britain leaving the EU will directly affect any of these problems- they will be able to travel towards their destination at an even greater velocity. If Britain becomes more prosperous, that WILL be a problem for the Elites, but then, I can't see that it will be a problem for those who are filled with hope that they can escape as well! They are already biting at bit, and we haven't even had the referendum!

Apr 27, 2016 at 11:17 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Reading items on this thread only increases my indecision.

The Brexit crowd appear to believe in a unproven bright shiny future with a strong and independent UK and upon jingoistic nationalism. Remainers are little better, ignoring major failings in the EU that really can only be solved by an ever closer union, weakening national boundaries (as the individual states did when forming the USA.* ). Yet any mention of this would be political suicide.

* Those arguing that Obama should not have spoken because the USA would never accept loss of its own sovereignty don't know history. The USA has already been through the process and "didn't they do well".

Apr 28, 2016 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Martin A

If you are a non-EU citizen flying into Eire and intending to stay, enter the UK or enter other EU countries you need a visa. Eire cooperates with the UK on immigration Eire can act as a port of entry for non-EU citizens entering the UK viia Dublin. The UK authorities can act as a port of entry for non-EU citizens entering Eire via Belfast.

It is not clear to what extent this would change with Brexit. In John Le Carre novels spies come and go easily via the "soft route through Dublin" With the extreme attitudes to migrants likely to prevail in a post-Brexit government a closable border looks much more likely.

What would you do post-Brexit? IIRC you live in France. As a UK citizen you could enter the UK easily. Would you have difficulty getting back into France? What about financial, tax and pension arrangements?

Apr 28, 2016 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM to start with, let's forget about non EU citizens and whether or not they need visas. It's not relevant.

I don't think you answered my question. You have made it clear that, currently you need a passport to get from elsewhere in the EU into Eire or the UK. And currently there are no passport controls between Eire and the UK.

I don't think you have explained why that should be any different if the UK left the EU. If the UK govt were dissatisfied with the current arrangement, they could implement border controls at the Eire/Ulster border tomorrow. So why should that be different if the UK left the EU?

I'd prefer not to discuss my own personal arrangements.

But in general terms: British citizens currently have the automatic right of residence in France. They do not require but have the right to request "a permanent residence card" after five years of residence. They can request a card of imited duration (five years, I think) on arriving in France.

I see no reason why financial, tax and pension arrangements (and healthcare cover arrangements, for that matter), should change in any way whatever. These things are governed by treaties between France and the UK which are not conditional on Britain being an EU member.

British residents of France do not pay tax in the UK; they pay tax in France and are taxed just like French citizens. Somebody with a British pension (private/state) gets their pension paid into their UK bank account. Health cover is provided by the French govt which, by a treaty, is reimbursed by the UK govt. No reason for any of that to change.

Switzerland is not an EU member but so far as I can see from French govt forms, its citizens are treated no differently in their dealings with the French govt than EU citizens. I don't see why it should be different for a non-EU member UK.

Apr 28, 2016 at 12:35 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

As far as I can tell from the confused information, the Leavers want to change from open borders to controlled borders.

Articles like this, from the Belfast Telegraph , do not help either.

From the article.

"They claim, confidently, that there will be controls on immigration into the UK from the EU, but at the same time Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has claimed there will be no change to the open border between North and South. Meanwhile, Lord Lawson told Andrew Marr: 'There would have to be border controls'.

On balance, I would prefer to remain in the EU. It would appear to be the lesser evil as far as my own circumstances are concerned.

Apr 28, 2016 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Martin A
Minor correction.
The current agreements between eg France and the UK are EU dependent, or more precisely they are EEA dependent. They will need to be renegotiated if the UK chooses to leave the EU unless it becomes a member of the EEA which is likely but not guaranteed.
There is an exception to the taxation arrangements. State employees' pensions (civil servants, teachers, etc) are taxed in the country where they are paid. This is reciprocal. The figures need to be entered on the relevant tax return but there is a separate section (on the French return at least) to state tax has already been paid.
(This is actually a nice little earner for those lucky enough at the moment, because they effectively get both personal allowances!)

Apr 28, 2016 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

To be honest I do not think this discussion was started so people could discuss their presonal circumstances whether they be financial or travel related.
Alan Kendal
There are many people who have the same problems as you have with making a decision on the EU. It seems to me that some people feel English, British EU citizens or whatever, nobody can tell you how to feel..
You mentioned Scotland, I have stopped caring what Scotland will do even though I always thought we were one nation, it is their choice and so let them make it. However we should stop dolling out cash to keep them afloat or to bribe them into staying in the UK.

Apr 28, 2016 at 4:16 PM | Registered CommenterDung

They will need to be renegotiated if the UK chooses to leave the EU
Apr 28, 2016 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Just asking, but why? I imagine (but that's just a guess) that the various treaties (tax etc) don't have a clause saying "this treaty is null and void if either nation leaves the EU".

Yes, I knew about the local govt pensions anomoly - something to do with governments agreeing not to tax each other's expenditure or something similar.


I think that, in reality, if the UK were to leave the EU it would, in reality, amount to just a renegotiation of membership. All the things that currently benefit both the EU and the UK would be retained. Even some things that benefit one but not the other would be retained as a result of bartering.

Apr 28, 2016 at 4:52 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Nobody knows the answer to this one — on either side.
To leave the EU the UK will need to advise of its intention to do so under Section 50 of whichever treaty currently applies.
There is then, supposedly a two-year period while the knots are unpicked and the future relationship is agreed to everyone's satisfaction.
This is the one area where the Leavers are scared out of their wits (oh yes, they are! however they try to put their fingers in their ears) because until we know what the arrangements are going to be and the government of the day is happy with them and approves them there is the constant threat of a second referendum NOT, as the conspiracy theorists suggest, because the EU will do anything to make sure the UK stays in but because there is every chance that, faced with the exit deal that is on offer the ever-pragmatic British public might decide not leaving is a better option.
In any event, the best information I can get from sources in both the UK government and from within the EU is that there is no guarantee that the reciprocal arrangements that apply to countries as a result of EEA membership will continue to apply though I agree with you that there is no reason (on the face of it) why they shouldn't.
One problem is that the scaremongering of the Leavers has centred on the question of free movement of labour which is something that the UK will largely have to accept if it wishes to continue its EEA membership. If that turns out to be a "red line" then the UK will have to start negotiating a whole new relationship with virtually the whole of the rest of Europe.
These negotiations may of course all go swimmingly but since the EU will have no incentive to do the UK any favours and every reason to kick us in the balls they may not.
And logic and common sense will not come into it. This is international diplomacy we are talking. There will be as much good will, logic and common sense as there is between two rutting stags! All this business of "they sell us more than we sell them and they won't want to lose our business" is whistling in the wind. What they will want very much is to teach us a lesson for daring to imply that the EU is not the greatest thing since sliced salami. We will emphatically not be flavour of the month and in that context who knows what the reaction across Europe might be!

Apr 28, 2016 at 5:27 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson on Apr 28, 2016 at 5:27 PM
"Nobody knows the answer to this one — on either side."

Brexit supporters have supported a referendum because that is all there has been on offer and it was expected that it would be run along similar lines to the 1975 version, with the understanding that the pro-Brussels bias could be counteracted by better investigation and questioning: once bitten, twice shy!
At the time, it was made out that it was a Common Market for trade, not an empire controlled by an unelected elite, not a loss of sovereignty that could not be regained inside the 'community'; British Industry was way behind Germany's; losing control of our fishing industry was kept secret; 'Ever Closer Union' was a transient continental idea very similar to loving your neighbour and the Entente Cordiale was a match for the French/German relationship and, anyway, the Germans thought more like the British than the French. We also had no idea just how many EU sleepers there were in Parliament. So what is happening now?

The Government's policy is to have a referendum, so it should have laid out, at least in broad terms, what each option entailed and what were indisputable facts, so voters would have an understanding before they voted. I would not consider projections to be facts. I would consider accurate current processes to be facts. For example, goods being sent to the rest of the world via Rotterdam should be classed as such and not EU imports; the fraction of businesses that do not engage in EU trade would be a fact, as would the revenue split. WTO decisions being handed down as mandatory actions to EU members occurs, so examples could be given where this is so and where it is not. If you think that is not possible, or if you think it is impossible for all voters to be informed of confidential negotiations between countries :) , then how can we have a credible referendum result? If you think it unlikely, how do you discuss it without being accused of not wanting the national vote? Don't blame either side for the confusion; blame the man in charge, who happens to head up the Remainians, our 'Prime' Minister!

It is Cameron's policy to Remain, so only the Remain option has been considered by the state machinery: Whitehall has been working for one side only, and foreign leaders have been cajoled into backing the Establishment position, though this looks to have backfired! The Brexit position was made even more difficult by Cameron stopping his party's MPs from speaking out until well after the Government Remain machinery had gained momentum.

No wonder the Brexit case is having to catching up!

This is just a post by Dacorum:
"This effective tariff rate of 7.7% that we pay for access to the Single Market needs to be compared with the EU’s average tariff applied to goods imported from countries outside the EU, including our fellow Anglophone countries in North America and Australasia, of 5.3 %. If the fears that the EU would impose harsh tariffs on British goods entering their markets were ever realised, then our payments to them would be more than compensated by the tariffs we would impose on their exports to us.

But it won’t happen. The Germans, especially, are not that daft as they currently have a £30 billion trade surplus with us."

While it is only from an anonymous poster, why couldn't we have had a similar statement from a known, credible source? I would say that Cameron is too frightened that the truth will out! He pretended to be a Euro-sceptic to get the Tory leadership, he pretended to renegotiate and he is pretending to give voters a balanced referendum. Remain is not the Status Quo, it will be a headlong dash to 'Ever Closer Union'. It is what the Continentals believe will allow them to escape from their past. However, their dream is fracturing: the Euro is now continually in crisis, Schengen is in tatters and I have listed others Euro-crises already!

As these Continentals Euro-dreams fracture, the future will become more unpredictable: as Macmillan is supposed to have said when asked what was most likely to blow governments off course, "Events, dear boy, events". I don't think many in Britain really understand just how people 'on the Continent' have been inspired by the 'Ever Closer Union' and are now confused because of its failures. Just look at how Merkel has taken over the migrant crisis and how the other 'leaders' have done the opposite, and then protested!

A label of scaremongering doesn't mean it isn't true and a Remain vote won't fix the EU, though it will push Britain into the Euro-dysfunctionality even more than it is now.

The Establishment want Remain to win, and they haven't even pretended to have a level playing field for the referendum. As the post quoted above suggests, treating Britain as 'just another country', but very close geographically to the Continent, should be an acceptable starting point. Our leaders have made no effort, they don't care and they don't think we can do it even though we drove the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.

Apr 28, 2016 at 11:19 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Has somebody been talking out of school?

Surely not!

Apr 29, 2016 at 1:09 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Robert, please!
There are 28 countries in the EU who will or will not proceed towards some sort of (unspecified because nobody knows what it will be) "ever closer union" AT THEIR OWN PACE.
I'm not sure how many times the EU itself needs to make that clear before people listen. Either Cameron has won an opt-out on ever closer union or the ever closer union that is the Leavers' bogeyman does not exist in the first place. So come clean and admit either that this is not your real reason for these lengthy diatribes against the EU or that you are firmly grasping the wrong end of the stick.
Yes, there are reasons for leaving the EU. This "headlong dash for ever closer union", "United States of Europe" guff is not one of them.

It is what the Continentals believe will allow them to escape from their past.
I'm sorry to say this, Robert, but what arrogant, (racist even) drivel! It might just have had a grain of truth 50 years ago but no-one on mainland Europe believes that and precious few in the UK outside the Little England Tendency (I hope) believe it either!

Apr 29, 2016 at 9:53 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson
Emotion and feelings always trump logic and facts. We know this from environmentalist arguments. It's why I've ceased commenting on this thread.

Apr 29, 2016 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Mike Jackson on Apr 20, 2016 at 7:57 PM

"RC: It is what the Continentals believe will allow them to escape from their past."
They have given up their currency.
They have given up their borders.
They have given up their security.
They have given up protecting women, girls and boys from sexual predators.
They have given up their parliamentary democracy.
They have given up their sovereignty.
They are giving up their culture.

Many have given up hope and aspire to live in Britain, thinking it will be an improvement. :)

"I'm sorry to say this, Robert, but what arrogant, (racist even) drivel!"
This accusation has become meaningless. Anyone who encourages good grammar and accurate spelling is already a racist, so your comment is comical.

"There are 28 countries in the EU who will or will not proceed towards some sort of (unspecified because nobody knows what it will be) "ever closer union" AT THEIR OWN PACE.
As for the "United States of Europe" it will never happen because that is not what "ever closer union of the peoples of Europe" means."


David Cameron wanted to make fundamental changes to Britain's relationship with the EU, and if it was true then, why is it not true now? Did something, or someone, change his mind:
PM's reforms driven by lies and hate, blasts EU chief: President insists it's 'not possible' for Britain to change its relationship
Martin Schulz says there is 'no chance' of changing central idea of the EU
"Mr Schulz said Britain 'belongs' to the EU and said there was no prospect of treaty change to rule out 'ever closer union' because of near-unanimous opposition in European capitals.

And he reiterated that fundamental changes to the free movement of labour were off the table."

You have said that the 'Stayers In' in 1975 should have investigated further and read the treaty documents at the time, and yet now you want to ignore what is out in the open! They want more, not less, EU!

Here is my post on 8:53 on April 24th:
"Plans have been drawn up for a full-blown 'United States of Europe' and Britain will have little say, warns top Tory minister
* Commons leader Chris Grayling said EU figures were already signed up
* The documents speaks of 'concrete' plans to 'deepen integration'
* It talks about 'more, not less Europe' was needed to meet challenges

Plans have been drawn up for a full-blown United States of Europe over which Britain will have 'very little say', a Cabinet minister warned today.

The Prime Minister has promised that, as a result of his referendum reforms, Britain will not be sucked into an EU superstate.

But Chris Grayling, the leader of the Commons, pointed to a document signed last September in Rome by the speakers of the national parliaments in Germany, France, Italy and Luxembourg.

It says that 'concrete proposals' to deepen EU integration towards a 'federal union of states' will be drawn up at a meeting in Luxembourg next month.

The joint declaration states: 'We are convinced that new impetus must be given to European integration. We believe that more, not less, Europe is needed to respond to the challenges we face.'"

"Either Cameron has won an opt-out on ever closer union or the ever closer union that is the Leavers' bogeyman does not exist in the first place."
My post, quoted above, hardly confirms either of your beliefs!

And the problems continue to mount! Turkey is lining up to join; the EU is being very accomodating, yet France and Germany are realising there are problems:
France and Germany call for an 'emergency brake' to be added to Turkey's visa-free travel deal so it can be suspended if too many Turks use it

And Austria:
Austria passes tough new law allowing it to shut border to ALL refugees

What could be a problem? It is so hard to think of anything:
Turkey's parliament speaker seeks religious constitution
"Turkey should have a religious constitution, parliament speaker Ismail Kahraman said on Monday, in comments that will likely add to concerns of creeping Islamisation under the ruling AKP party.

"As a Muslim country, why should we be in a situation where we are in retreat from religion?" state-run news agency Anatolia quoted him as saying.

"We are a Muslim country. As a consequence, we must have a religious constitution," the AKP lawmaker told a conference in Istanbul.

"Secularism cannot feature in the new constitution."

I can't see the EU Political Elites wanting to give up their positions to the 'Islamic Fundamentalist' Elite. :)

Apr 29, 2016 at 11:32 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Mike Jackson

Either you are confused or you are twisting the facts :(
Why would Cameron claim to have won an opt out from ever closer union if closer union was not an EU objective?
It is what the Continentals believe will allow them to escape from their past.

"I'm sorry to say this, Robert, but what arrogant, (racist even) drivel!"
The past of EU countries is ravaged by war and the formation of the EU was specifically targeted at ending conflict in Europe?
I really do not recognise your opinions mate, it just does not fit with who I thought you were.

Apr 29, 2016 at 12:12 PM | Registered CommenterDung


Read history.

One of the founding principles of the six country grouping (that now is the 28-nation EU) was a firm resolve to band together to prevent to scourge of war. This was to be done by removing the economic and political causes of war. This is the greatest triumph that the union has won. It is a triumph that some europhyles would build upon with their ever closer union. The ambition is laudable, in practice a failure because of individual countries seeking advantage or wishing to retain their individualism.

Apr 29, 2016 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I knew the history Alan which is why I said:
"The past of EU countries is ravaged by war and the formation of the EU was specifically targeted at ending conflict in Europe?"
Reading the history also makes me wonder how on earth anyone can want to be in the EU? When Jean Monnet starts it off by saying that the people of Europe would never accept his plans and so the ultimate goal must be concealed from them. He was as good as his word but only on that one statement.

Apr 29, 2016 at 1:31 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Yes, it's just that the Germans wanted to move to ever closer union at a pace different from the Poles in 1939?

It's the USA that has kept the peace in Europe, more than twice in the last century. The Russian peoples also seem to have paid a very high price for Europe's peace. I too was once a believer in a 'United States of Europe', and I certainly believed that that was the unstated goal of the EU. I am now less persuaded unless the peoples involved are explicitly asked, and told the price.

Apr 29, 2016 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Michael Hart

Well said.
If we could remove the politically correct and the bleeding heart do gooders from our ruling class we could all actually be happy!
I do not mind if people have a different view on what should happen to this country but I do mind when they try to impose their view on everyone else. The EU has a view on what is best for the countries of Europe and that is all they are entitled to: a view.

Apr 29, 2016 at 2:51 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Exactly which bit of "at their own pace" are you having trouble with?
"Ever closer union of the peoples of Europe" has been in the preamble to all the treaties since 1957. Only a minority of Euro-fanatics, like Delors, have ever done anything serious about it. It remains a sort of vague aspiration that has been kicked into touch so many times that I doubt they could re-start the game even if they found it.
I thought I had made clear in my reply to Robert that any progress towards this ever closer union will be done by nation states at the speed that best suits them. Why do you insist on taking out of what I say — and what other people say as well — only those bits you fancy?
The EU is still in essence a union of nation states and that is not going to change in our lifetime. Why do you not believe that? It has been said a dozen times and more over the years including by the EU Commission itself.
And 60+ years on we cannot be responsible for what Monnet said in the context of immediate post-war Europe and the world has moved on just a little from the days of wind-up gramophones and hot metal printing presses. The man was a visionary — a dangerous breed — but at least he had the wit to realise that "let's all join hands with Germany" was going to go down like a lead balloon at the time. If any country wants to go down the route of political integration with any of their neighbours (have you a candidate for first in line, by any chance?) then they will be doing it with their eyes open and if any government in my lifetime even thinks about doing it without holding a binding referendum then I will be among the first to the barricades
If you want out of the EU that's fine but I'm afraid I still haven't heard an argument that comes anywhere close to convincing me that it is the right choice for the UK at the present time and in the present political and economic world climate.
And the increasing possibility that Trump might become US president is only hardening my view.

Sorry, mate, but that's where I'm at.

Apr 29, 2016 at 3:15 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson:

' "ever closer union" AT THEIR OWN PACE' not sure if you understand the concept of the eurozone, but it is weight around the neck of the core countries within the 28.

All agree that the 'euro' will not be solved until the euro zone member countries merge there financial and economic systems.

I can not see any other way of describing this 'super' state as 'one nation'.

It might be a bit of a strech for us to expect you to understand the effect this super block of power within the EU28 would have on the UK, but it has been thought about by Cameron, with an agreement that policies can not be voted on by the inner core that would negatively effect the UK, but do you really believe that the UK could stay in the EU once the eurozone merged into a superstate?

Apr 29, 2016 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards


I am under no illusions as to what "at their own pace" means ^.^. The point is that "ever closer union" is accepted and the EU will wait as long as needed for that to happen. I asked why Cameron would celebrate an opt out from this ever closer union if it was not a recognised threat.
For what it is worth; I am sure you are totally familiar with the concept of the Eurozon hehe.

Apr 29, 2016 at 6:42 PM | Registered CommenterDung


The more you describe your version of freedom and democracy, the worse it sounds.

If we could remove the politically correct and the bleeding heart do gooders from our ruling class we could all actually be happy!

Thoose you describe as politically correct and bleeding heart do gooders have as much right to their opinions, and votes of equal value to yours. I hope you are not suggesting that only those sharing your views may vote or hold office. That way lies tyranny.

In an earlier comment you asked for a patriot leader. Have you considered the full meaning of patriotism?

Patriotism is pride in your country and nostalgia for what it once was. It is also disagreement and discord . When you cheer on the English football team you are wishing for their opponents to fail.

When you oppose immigration you express hatred of outsiders, discrimination and racism. You also imply that your own people are too weak and incompetent to compete.

It is no wonder that Samual Johnson said "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel"

Apr 29, 2016 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man