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What do you think of BREXIT?

 
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This is probably more for the Brits here, but all-comers are welcome.

For those of you who don't know, "BREXIT" is the acronym adopted by the little-Englanders who want us to become a mid-Atlantic country again - free of Brussels and it's oppressive weight of Eurocrats whose sole purpose in life is to do Britain down and undermine her laws, and charge us as much as possible for the privilege. And we have a referendum (a very unusual thing in the UK) coming up on it in 72 days on the subject.

Unless my laboured sarcasm passed you by, I should add that I'm not a member of the above group, and have been out leafleting locally for the opposition (who STILL don't have an acronym of their own - my suggestion is "UKSTAY").

But I'm not a happy camper.

I've been a Liberal (capital 'L') ever since I knew politics existed - and long before "we" became the "Liberal-Democrats" (a name I despise) - and MY party has supported "being in Europe" since the idea was first thought of, and officially since 1949. I campaigned for it back in 1975, when it was still called the EEC, even though the vote was 5 days before my 18th birthday, so I didn't actually get to have my say.

And back then, we were fairly sure of victory; but this time is completely different.

The opposition are focused, well-financed, and bolstered by election results that indicate that polemic and "euroscepticism" is IN; while we're the old farts who are arguing that "if it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary NOT to make a decision".

This is a vote brought about by a ruling Conservative party who are more worried about divisions in their own ranks - and electoral pressure from their more militant brethren in UKIP - than they are about the fate of the country; and the debate is being guided by high-profile mavericks like Boris Johnson (an ex-Eurocrat), rather than high profile government ministers, who are currently fighting PR wars on several fronts in the wake of 'TaxGate'.

And this for a vote that will decide the future of our country for decades.

The pound is down 2% (maybe more this week) against the dollar, and at a 2-year low against the Euro, and it doesn't look like getting any better until the vote's in. And just to confuse things further, we have a large number of local elections coming up in May, which makes it very difficult for people like me to get our message out because people think we're touting for a political party.

On a different tack, the "interesting" thing from my point of view is that I now live in Scotland. And if our leafleting is anything to go by, I reckon that Scotland is going to vote UKSTAY by a fairly large margin. So if we DO vote to leave, it will be because England decided to.
And if that happens, what price Scottish independence? The SNP have already indicated that if it happens, they will campaign for another vote on independence; and it was only 55-45 against last time around.

Maybe it's the solution. No more Scottish MPs (or PMs) in Westminster. No more worrying about whether Berwick Rangers should play in the Scottish League or not.
I wonder what they'll do about the Coldstream Guards on the Queen's Official Birthday though?

Tell me what you think about it all.

Winston
 
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On a smaller scale, the United States has internal arguments over states rights vs the federal government. Older than the country itself, some see the government as the body that grants rights, allowing states to have their own way in matters that do not affect the entire country, while others see the government as merely a way for the states to convene, work together, and agree on issues of their own choosing. This argument goes by many names and has many variants and forms, but the core ideology is the same.

I see the EU as this magnified ten-fold. Whereas the US states are different, it pales in comparison to the much older, entrenched attitudes of the European countries. They can and do get along, with the EU being their crowning achievement. Nonetheless, the cultures are very different.

If the EU would focus only on European goals, it would be much more palatable an idea. But the EU also does foreign policy, where views vary wildly within the individual countries, and now together, so much more so. Certainly there are pros and cons to the group, and that is what they need to weigh.
 
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Winston, I suppose it doesn't help your cause that the Netherlands voted against the association agreement with Ukraine. I think that's a big blow for Europe, what with the Netherlands holding the presidency of the council of the EU. Even though the referendum was only advisory, it certainly builds up more tension within Europe.

I've always been Euro-skeptical (I don't believe a European government does much for the common man), but I don't think it's good for any of the nations if it falls apart quickly. A BREXIT surely would be bad news for everyone.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Brian Tkatch wrote:I see the EU as this magnified ten-fold. Whereas the US states are different, it pales in comparison to the much older, entrenched attitudes of the European countries.


Spot on, and very true; not the least problem being language.

They can and do get along...


??? Your European history must be fairly different to mine.

with the EU being their crowning achievement


And is it any wonder that it came about after the second European war that became a "world" war"?

If the EU would focus only on European goals, it would be much more palatable an idea.


I don't think so; any more than the US could exist as 50 separate states with an SoS.

But "Europe" (in it's present form) has evolved, not from any lofty ideals of "federalism" (which I still believe is the logical conclusion), but from a free market - something I would have thought Americans would be all in favour of.
The problem - as I suspect it was for the early states - is that free trade isn't enough. I'm quite sure you've heard about the "butter mountains" and "wine lakes" - still, unfortunately, touted as "failures of Europe" when, in fact, they had far more to do with co-ordinatation (and delineation) OF a market over which EFTA didn't have enough control.
And there you have it. If you want proper control over a market that involves more than one country, you need supra-national laws that are enforceable at the national level. Enter ECJ.

Next problem: Borders (the current buagaboo, AFAIKS - at least in the UK). If you want free business, then businessmen and workers need to be able to travel freely, and work without barriers. Enter the Schengen Agreement - of which the UK is STILL not a signatory.

Why not? Because the UK still doesn't like the idea of "identity" cards. Damned if I can understand why, because we've never been subjected to their abuses - but Schengen works specifically because - even in countries where they were abused the most - people understand that they're useful.
So now I pay 65 quid for my British passport (last time) which I have to show everywhere I go; whereas when I lived in Belgium, I paid 10 Euros for a biometric credit card with me photo on it (good for 5 years), which got me anywhere from Amsterdam to Grenada to Warsaw.

But the EU also does foreign policy


Actually, it doesn't. Or if it does, not very well, for all the reasons you mention. From what I understand, all countries fund a European fighting force, but have an "opt-out" from any concerted act, like sanctions or direct action (as France did in '91, and pretty much the whole of Europe except the UK and Poland did in 2001).

But at the end of the day, that's not why I'm voting for Europe. I'm voting for it because it's a fact:
Reluctant or not, we ARE part of Europe, and we should fight for change from the inside.

Winston
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:Winston, I suppose it doesn't help your cause that the Netherlands voted against the association agreement with Ukraine. I think that's a big blow for Europe, what with the Netherlands holding the presidency of the council of the EU. Even though the referendum was only advisory, it certainly builds up more tension within Europe.


Very true; and all ill omens for the forthcoming vote, I think.

I'd be interested in knowing why you're Eurosceptic - the Netherlands being a country that was savaged by the last European war, and a pretty eager participant in the early stages of the current conglomerate.

I'll state right now, for the record: I'm in favour of federalism - eventually - but I understand that my views are probably extreme, and that they won't happen quickly. I think that "Brussels" has gone too far, too fast, and perhaps needs reining in a bit. A bit more power to elected officials would help, but throwing your toys out of the pram (BREXIT) is not the answer.

Winston
 
Brian Tkatch
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:

They can and do get along...


??? Your European history must be fairly different to mine.


Nah, just comparing it to the US Republican fireworks. :P

Winston Gutkowski wrote:And is it any wonder that it came about after the second European war that became a "world" war"?


Because, The War to End All Wars 2.0 wouldn't have been a thing back then?

Winston Gutkowski wrote:And there you have it. If you want proper control over a market that involves more than one country, you need supra-national laws that are enforceable at the national level. Enter ECJ.


Laws are meant to be broken. Bi-lateral understanding, enforced with tariffs and delays are much more effective.

Winston Gutkowski wrote:AFAIKS - at least in the UK). If you want free business, then businessmen and workers need to be able to travel freely, and work without barriers.


That's debatable. In the US, both Bernie Sanders and Trump would likely argue with you.

But the EU also does foreign policy

Winston Gutkowski wrote:Actually, it doesn't. Or if it does, not very well, for all the reasons you mention. From what I understand, all countries fund a European fighting force, but have an "opt-out" from any concerted act, like sanctions or direct action (as France did in '91, and pretty much the whole of Europe except the UK and Poland did in 2001).


Them weren't fightin' words. (Stupid pun...) The EU has a Foreign Policy Department, and comments and funds non-European-centric goals.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Brian Tkatch wrote:Them weren't fightin' words...The EU has a Foreign Policy Department, and comments and funds non-European-centric goals.


Sure. Much like the UN, which is all about foreign policy. All I'm saying is that the Euro FP department doesn't have any more mandate (or strength) to act than it's members give it.

However, this is all chat about Europe. What do you think about the UK voting to leave Europe?

Winston
 
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As you were already discussing above, if you compare the EU to the US, there are very big differences. Europe really consists of separate countries that speak their own languages and that have very different cultures.

Some people think that the EU should become one country, just like the US is one country. I don't agree with that and I don't think anything like that is going to happen.

On the other hand, it's very important that European countries work together. Unfortunately there are countless examples of how that fails. The biggest one currently is ofcourse the refugee crisis. It takes Europe far too long to come up with an effective plan that all member states agree on.

Here in the Netherlands some people think that the Netherlands should get out of the EU - the "NEXIT".

That be an absolute disaster for the Dutch economy, because as a small country (17 million people) we are very much dependent on our neighbours in Europe.

Likewise a BREXIT would be very bad for business in the UK, especially the financial markets in London.
 
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The elephant in the room is mass migration.

We have had about a million Poles come to the UK in the past 15 years (please correct me if my figures are wrong).

One thing I hear often amongst British-born Asians and blacks is that Poles are quite racist. Now I am sure Poles are probably more likely to be racist than the average white person born in London, for the simple reason that people who have been raised with no ethnic minority friends tend to be more racist than those who have been raised with ethnic minority people, and I doubt many Poles knew many Asians or blacks when they were growing up. However, stereotyping a whole group of people just because they're more likely to be racist than what we are used to is wrong, and I am sure the overwhelming majority of Poles are NOT racist.

I think what you will often find is that many people from generation n of immigrants dislike immigrants from generation n+1. I am totally not like this, I harbour no ill-feelings towards the huge number of Eastern Europeans who have come to the UK. I do however think that mass migration isn't a good thing when the majority of natives don't want it, and I think as we all knew the majority of Eastern Europeans would come to the UK than go to France or Spain or Holland or Belgium, there should have been a quota put in place.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:The elephant in the room is mass migration.


Which, to me, is a spurious and scare-mongering argument put forward by the same people who supported Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech in 1968 - which just happens to be topical due to the number of migrants seeking entry from Syria. And now, as then, it simply doesn't wash.

Economic migration has always been around, and has arguably been responsible for the economic miracles of the United States in the 19th and early 20th century, and Germany and Canada after WW2. Indeed, two of the richest countries in the EU by per capita GDP - Ireland and Austria - the first of which is undoubtedly an "EU success story", have immigrant levels far higher (15-16%) than the "big three" (UK, FR and DE - all around 11%); and in Australia, the figure is 26.7%, NZ 25.1%, and Canada 20%, so plainly immigration doesn't have much effect on a country's wealth.

Furthermore, those who want us to become "little England" again are likely to be disappointed, since the majority of immigration to the UK is still from outside the EU, and so won't be affected by a vote to leave. And if we decide to remain part of the common market (sometimes called the "Norway model"), we're likely to continue to allow free access to Europeans to work here unless we want to face visa restrictions on our citizens' ability to work abroad.

Winston
 
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:

Ahmed Bin S wrote:The elephant in the room is mass migration.


Which, to me, is a spurious and scare-mongering argument put forward by the same people who supported Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech in 1968 -



I don't think it is correct to dismiss all concerns of mass migration as scare-mongering. It is undeniable that migration is hugely changing the demography of the UK, esecially England, where most migrants come. England has the second most migrants per square kilometer in the world.

There is also doubt to exactly how much migration contributes to the economy.

You cite countries like USA, Australia, Canada all having lots of migrants, but these countries have a different history and culture - the majority of these people are the descendants from migrants from the past few hundred years. This isn't the case for most white British people.
If you project the 1 million Poles who have come to the UK in the last 15 years to America's population, it comes to 5 million people - I think if you said to Americans that 5 million Mexicans will enter the US in the next 15 years, they would be very agnry - despite the fact the US is MUCH, MUCH larger than the UK in terms of land mass.

So let me describe the suburb of West London where I was born and raised. My earliest memory is from the 80s - around that time, I would say the demographic of my estate could be described as about 50% white English (mainly working class), 34% Pakistanis and Indians, 15% Irish and West Indians, and 1% others. There had already been a huge reduction in white English, as most of the Pakistanis and Indians had moved in during the past few decades. If I was to describe what that estate is like now, based on what I see when I go home to see my parents, it is about 5% white English, 40% Pakistanis and Indians, 40% Somalis, 10% Polish (this area isn't particularly popular with Eastern Europeans), and 5% others. And this pattern is repeated all around London - you have whole areas where the native white English population have all left - in less than 50 years they have gone from being 90% of the population to 5%.

Now this might not bother me personally - I know some great Somali people, my parents have a lovely Polish neighbour - I couldn't care less which country someone was from. But it isn't about me - it's about what the population wants, and the majority of white English people do not seem to be happy with such high levels of migration on which they had no say.
 
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I re-read this thread. It was helpful as we get closer to June 23rd.
 
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Can someone explain to this confused American exactly what will happen if Britain leaves the EU? I need the Explain-Like-I'm-Five version.
 
Brian Tkatch
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:Can someone explain to this confused American exactly what will happen if Britain leaves the EU? I need the Explain-Like-I'm-Five version.


There are three consequences:

1) Britain itself
2) The EU itself
3) Other countries in the EU

Other countries in the EU will possibly also leave, after Britain breaks the taboo of leaving the EU: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36471989 This would likely cause the EU to fail completely, due to lack of interest.

The EU itself will lose funding from Britain, and lose the prestige it has by having the UK as one of its members. This would be a serious blow to the EU's credibility and weight.

For Britain itself, someone who knows would be better to comment on it. But, it would affect the Euro, foreign policy decisions, what is the top court, and border-related issues.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:Can someone explain to this confused American exactly what will happen if Britain leaves the EU?


Right away? Nothing. It'll probably take a couple of years to get through the exit negotiations anyway.

It also depends very much on how we (or the government) wants to proceed. There are a few scenarios: A free trade agreement (a bit like Norway), membership of the EEA ("single-market") zone, specific services agreements (like Switzerland), or complete divorce - and that will come into effect as soon as Article 50 is signed ... and it isn't reversible.
In any of those cases, we would no longer have any say in what happens inside the EU, or on any new rules (or presumably fees) they might impose on us for any "satellite" memberships.

The immediate effect, of course, is that UK passports may no longer be valid as work or residency permits in the EU; and if the "little Englanders" get their way probably won't, since no country is going to want to sign a one-way-only border control agreement. I suppose the immigration lawyers will be happy, because they'll have more work than they can handle for a while.
Since we're not part of the Schengen Zone (freedom of movement based on identity cards), or the Euro zone, I suspect there will be very little difference there; although we may have less access to European Central Bank facilities.

Another effect I foresee is that EU funding to some areas (especially in Scotland and Wales), may well be cut off before any replacement funds from UK Central (Westminster) are forthcoming.
And a few others (some depending on what agreement(s) we sign):
  • 1. Border control with Europe will be withdrawn to the UK - ie, it will be at Dover or Heathrow, not Calais or Brussels or Dusseldorf as it is now.
  • 2. Second language programmes in schools - particularly French and German - will suffer...BADLY.
  • 3. UKIP, having won their battle "'gainst curs├ęd Brussels" largely on the basis of xenophobia, and having noone to blame any more, will revert to form and turn their attentions to domestic scapegoats like Indians and Pakistanis and Jamaicans - or, of course, the ever-popular "Muslim". They are, after all, the BNP once-removed.
  • 4. We will, once again, have to police a 300-mile border with Ireland, only 20 years after we finally got peace. Nasty echoes of the 1970's to me.

  • And the final thing is that Scotland may well be independent within a few years.
    If we exit, it will be because England dragged the rest of the UK out - Scotland is expected to vote 65% "stay", and Northern Ireland may well be even higher - and there's a lot of ill-feeling about the last vote up here. The SNP have already said that if England does drag Scotland out, they will request a new vote on independence - and if that goes through, then there will, de facto, be no "UK" any more.

    I now live in Scotland, and I tell you now: if England takes us out, I'll be voting "yes" in the next independence vote, because Europe, as an institution, is (IMO) far more important than the UK. If the "leave" mob win, it'll be a triumph for small minds and navel-gazers, and I have no wish to be part of such a country.
    I've also handed out about a thousand leaflets for the cause, so I'm not just an "armchair quarterback" on this issue.

    Given the worst scenario for the 24th of June, I have thought about writing an article - maybe in diary form - called "West of Ireland".

    Winston
     
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    J. Kevin Robbins wrote:Can someone explain to this confused American exactly what will happen if Britain leaves the EU? I need the Explain-Like-I'm-Five version.

    There isn't an Explain‑Like‑I'm‑Five version. Whether we stay or leave, most of the answers are simply, “Don't know.”
     
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    I believe there are many thousands of people of British nationality who are now living permanently in Spain and the south of France and other places with similar climates. And they can do that because EU citizens have the right to migrate to any EU country. So if Britain leaves the EU, are those thousands of people now turned into foreigners who have to apply for permanent residence?
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    Paul Clapham wrote:I believe there are many thousands of people of British nationality who are now living permanently in Spain and the south of France and other places with similar climates. And they can do that because EU citizens have the right to migrate to any EU country. So if Britain leaves the EU, are those thousands of people now turned into foreigners who have to apply for permanent residence?


    Spain - probably not. A lot of 'em have been there since Franco. France is another matter...

    But, as Campbell said. Simple answer: dunno.

    Winston
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote:But, as Campbell said. Simple answer: dunno.


    One likely result though, in both places, is that they may lose state benefits they would have been entitled to.

    Winston
     
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    Campbell Ritchie wrote:

    J. Kevin Robbins wrote:Can someone explain to this confused American exactly what will happen if Britain leaves the EU? I need the Explain-Like-I'm-Five version.

    There isn't an Explain‑Like‑I'm‑Five version. Whether we stay or leave, most of the answers are simply, “Don't know.”


    What about an oversimplified version?

    Once upon a time, the EU was born. Britain was a member. Then one day Britain decided to leave. Some people were happy. Others was sad. And they either lived happily or unhappily ever after.

    (granted this is useless, but it is the five year old version)
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:What about an oversimplified version?


    What, you mean something like:

    Once upon a time, the EU was born - except it wasn't really, it kind of mushroomed from a Coal and Steel agreement. Winston, Britain's head honcho at the time, liked the idea; but he and a French chappie called Charlie didn't get on very well, so it took another twenty years before Britain was a member. Then another forty years passed, with a lot more mushrooming while another 19 countries joined, during which most of them decided it might be a smart idea to all use the same currency and allow free travel. But Britain didn't like this idea because they thought identity cards were evil and un-British, and they really loved their pound, even though it was worth half what it used to be. They also didn't like the fact that the other countries could outvote them. Then one day a bunch of Syrians decided they'd like to come to Europe, and Britain - or at least the English bit of Britain, which was all that mattered - decided it was time to leave. Some people (like the French) were happy. Others were sad. And they either lived happily or unhappily ever after ... we'll find out in twenty or thirty years.

    Winston
     
    J. Kevin Robbins
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:What about an oversimplified version?


    What, you mean something like:
    Once upon a time, the EU was born - except it wasn't really, it kind of mushroomed from a Coal and Steel agreement.


    As an American who admittedly doesn't closely follow European politics, this is what I hear. Let's take 20 or so different countries, with different cultures, currencies, economies, languages, customs, histories, and politics, stir them all together in one pot and pretend like we're all one big happy family with a ruling class that represents all of us but doesn't really represent any of us.

    It sounds to me like an impossible task that was doomed from day one.

    But what do I know? I'm watching my country disintegrate in a Clinton-Trump showdown that will leave the earth salted for generations to come.

    Where do I apply for that trip to Mars?
     
    Ahmed Bin S
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    What, you mean something like:

    Once upon a time, the EU was born - except it wasn't really,...



    Funny post!
     
    Ahmed Bin S
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    J. Kevin Robbins wrote:
    As an American who admittedly doesn't closely follow European politics, this is what I hear. Let's take 20 or so different countries, with different cultures, currencies, economies, languages, customs, histories, and politics, stir them all together in one pot and pretend like we're all one big happy family with a ruling class that represents all of us but doesn't really represent any of us.



    But they also have a lot of shared histories, cultures, customs etc.

    I think the single biggest problem with the EU was that people from the poorer countries would always travel to the richer countries, and the richer countries would end up supporting the poorer countries. Now I don't have anything against poor people, I come from a very poor background myself, I just think quotas should have been put on the number of people who can move from a country.
     
    Stephan van Hulst
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    I don't think it's necessarily that they tried to stir all the cultures together. It's more that it makes it easier for the ruling class to grow their economies (except when it falls on its ass of course), in spite of what the people want.

    The EU started out improving things for businesses. After a while regulating trade agreements somehow included regulating what people do in their daily lives.
     
    Ahmed Bin S
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    If you want to read about the possible economic effects of Brexit, I suggest the following article at FT.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/70d0bfd8-d1b3-11e5-831d-09f7778e7377.html#axzz4B5jOc0zD

    What I like about this article is that it is balanced and objective and considers the possible scenarios that might happen.

    TL;DR version: Most economists think Brexit will be harmful, but it is possible that it might benefit the UK. Truth is, we simply do not know.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    J. Kevin Robbins wrote:It sounds to me like an impossible task that was doomed from day one.


    And if nationalism or immigration or "sovereignty" (whatever that is) is the only thing you worry about, then you're probably right; but oddly enough, it worked quite well until the Brits - never great lovers of Europe or "Europeans" - got involved. Have look at the six original members: all devastated by war, and yet "tiger" economies before 1975, while the UK - the largest beneficiary of the Marshall Plan - had labour disputes and power outages and 3-day-weeks. And yet our turnaround in the '80's was attributed solely to "Thatcherism"; not a word about being in the EEC (as it was known at the time).

    It's also, arguably, expanded too far, too fast, in the wake of 1990/91, when Eastern Europe needed a stable currency to base their economies on.

    Don't get me wrong, I think there's plenty to moan about in the EU; I just don't think that throwing your toys out of the pram is the way to get it fixed. But maybe it's what's needed to cull the organization back to those countries that really want to be in it.

    Winston
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    J. Kevin Robbins wrote:But what do I know? I'm watching my country disintegrate in a Clinton-Trump showdown that will leave the earth salted for generations to come.


    Really? It's a few years since I lived on that side of the pond, but it seems to me like a showdown between a hoary old "Hill" Democrat and the Federal equivalent of Jesse "the Body" Ventura.
    Except that Jesse won his (one and only) election, whereas I suspect the Dems must be licking there lips over this one - even if it will take a few people holding their noses before voting for Hillary.

    Every generation or so, the GOP seems to go through a mind-meltdown and throw up the most outlandish candidate they can think of (Goldwater in '64 springs to mind); but luckily Lincoln was right and the electorate seems to sort it out.

    Personally, I'd have like to see Bernie get the nod, because he seems like a good egg to me; but kudos to him for making a real fight of it. I hope he also has the good sense to hold out for something a lot better than Veep.

    My wonder is at the age of all the front-runners. Even before California, I'm pretty darn sure that whoever won the election was going to be the oldest inaugurated president ever.

    But showdown? Nah. You may not love Hillary, but if it's even close, then America deserves the full rectal exam your 1st amendment will surely give it.

    However, we (or I) seem to have drifted off-topic...

    Winston
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    Ahmed Bin S wrote:I think the single biggest problem with the EU was that people from the poorer countries would always travel to the richer countries, and the richer countries would end up supporting the poorer countries. Now I don't have anything against poor people, I come from a very poor background myself, I just think quotas should have been put on the number of people who can move from a country.


    But if you're a member country of the EU, then there's no such thing as a "quota"; you can move wherever you like. That was the whole point of it.

    The problem is (I think) that there's been a net migration from "poorer" countries to "richer" ones. Personally, I don't think it's a major problem, and is probably temporary ... I know a few disillusioned Poles who have already gone back to Poland because they weren't able to make (ie, save) any more money in Britain or Belgium than they did in Poland due to the high cost of living. However, I suspect it's something you have to actually do before you can understand.

    And if Poland keeps growing at it's current rate, it'll be Brits that want to work there in 30 years time.

    Winston
     
    Ahmed Bin S
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    But if you're a member country of the EU, then there's no such thing as a "quota"; you can move wherever you like. That was the whole point of it.



    What the point of the EU was then isn't applicable now because the EU has changed drastically. When the free-movement ideas were put forward, there were no poor Eastern European countries to think about, and therefore no one envisaged huge movement from the poorer countries to the richer ones.

    Treaties are also not set in stone and can always be ratified. And we did have quotas on people from Romania and Bulgaria for the first few years.

    When Poland joined the EU, the number of migrants who were predicted to move from Poland to the UK was something ridiculously small compared to what it ended up being - something like 700k. The treaties were not written on these models - they were written on models where there would not be mass migration. Once it became clear that the reality was different, the treaties should have been ratified.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    Ahmed Bin S wrote:What the point of the EU was then isn't applicable now because the EU has changed drastically. When the free-movement ideas were put forward, there were no poor Eastern European countries to think about, and therefore no one envisaged huge movement from the poorer countries to the richer ones.
    Treaties are also not set in stone and can always be ratified. And we did have quotas on people from Romania and Bulgaria for the first few years.
    When Poland joined the EU, the number of migrants who were predicted to move from Poland to the UK was something ridiculously small compared to what it ended up being - something like 700k. The treaties were not written on these models - they were written on models where there would not be mass migration. Once it became clear that the reality was different, the treaties should have been ratified.


    In what way? To say that Poles are "poor", therefore they can't come to the UK unless they jump through all sorts of immigrations hoops? Whereas someone from Germany - oh no, that's just fine: come on in and do whatever you need to...

    Personally, I have no problem with immigrants at all - and if I was compere of a "The UK is Right" game-show, I'd be saying "Come on doown".

    What I do have a problem with - and which nobody (even UKIP) seems willing to talk about - are migrants: people who treat the UK as a place to make money to save or send back home, and who will move on to greener pastures (or back home) as soon as they think they can. Now if they're EU citizens, there's not too much we can do about it without negotiation; but if I was God.uk, and I really wanted to tackle "immigration", the first thing I'd do is prevent immigrants from sending any money out of the country without permission of the Treasury for their first 2 years of residency.
    I'd also look at anyone who wanted to come back to the UK for a second or third time in quick succession with suspicion.

    Come to the UK, and welcome, if you intend to stay here, and make your life here. Otherwise, you're a tourist.

    Winston
     
    Ahmed Bin S
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    There will always be a considerable net migration from the poorer countries to the richer countries if there are no limits on free travel. It isn't about Poland or Germany, it's about controlling the net migration from the poorer countries to the richer countries. If the UK was poor and Poland was rich, I would say Poland should put a quota on the number of Brits that can go there.

    Again, just to clarify, it isn't anything against Polish people, I abhor people who look down on people from poorer countries, I have nothing against Poles, I just think a quota should have been set to stop this mass migration.

    I don't agree with you that people should not be able to go to a country with the purpose of sending money back home. Why should a very poor person, say from India, whose parents and wife and children and younger siblings all depend on him, not be able to come to the UK and send money back to sustain his family back in India?

    Personally, I believe a lot of people are actually happier in their own countries and will not move to another country if there were opportunities in their own countries, and the richer countries have a lot to answer for for their greed.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    Ahmed Bin S wrote:There will always be a considerable net migration from the poorer countries to the richer countries if there are no limits on free travel. It isn't about Poland or Germany, it's about controlling the net migration from the poorer countries to the richer countries.


    And the simplest way to do that, IMO, is with financial and welfare restrictions. Canada and Australia are at least honest about it: if you can bring a million bucks with you, you can enter the country. And AFAIK they stop them from sending it out again (or at least require permission for every transaction) until they've been a resident for some period.

    I don't agree with you that people should not be able to go to a country with the purpose of sending money back home. Why should a very poor person, say from India, whose parents and wife and children and younger siblings all depend on him, not be able to come to the UK and send money back to sustain his family back in India?


    Because that person
    (a) is exporting wealth.
    (b) has no loyalty to this country, other than its standard of living.

    Immigration policy is not a vehicle for social change, nor for "righting past wrongs"; it's a preventative measure - and in most cases a crude and divisive one. The times when it has caused social change are generally when it's either absent or "relaxed" on purpose - Germany's 'economic miracle', and the UK's policy toward Commonwealth citizens back in the 50's and 60's being two good cases in point. Whether the results were good or bad is the subject of another discussion.

    My ideal adult immigrant is anyone - Indian, Pole or Thai - who wants to work, become a British citizen (and understand what that means), and make a life for themselves here; and I see no particular problem with making them jump through a few stiff hoops to prove it.

    Winston
     
    Jesper de Jong
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    J. Kevin Robbins wrote:Where do I apply for that trip to Mars?


    Here: SpaceX - Careers

    SpaceX wrote:SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.


    Although I've heard that it's not fun to work for Elon Musk.
     
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    My ideal adult immigrant is anyone - Indian, Pole or Thai - who wants to work, become a British citizen (and understand what that means), and make a life for themselves here; and I see no particular problem with making them jump through a few stiff hoops to prove it.

    Winston


    Such an immigrant doesn't exit. People migrate either for economic or persecution related (religious, political) reasons. Once a person starts living a country, then they can certainly understand the culture and develop loyalty towards it. They may also start appreciating the adopted country more than their country of birth. Expecting the reverse would be like putting the cart before the horse.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Ahmed Bin S wrote:

    I don't agree with you that people should not be able to go to a country with the purpose of sending money back home. Why should a very poor person, say from India, whose parents and wife and children and younger siblings all depend on him, not be able to come to the UK and send money back to sustain his family back in India?


    Because that person
    (a) is exporting wealth.



    How is "exporting wealth" different form importing anything else? Are you against all international trade?
     
    Campbell Ritchie
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    Paul Anilprem wrote:. . . How is "exporting wealth" different form importing anything else? Are you against all international trade?

    It is very different; the idea of trade is to bring money into the country but exporting wealth takes money out of the country.
     
    Paul Anilprem
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    Campbell Ritchie wrote:

    Paul Anilprem wrote:. . . How is "exporting wealth" different form importing anything else? Are you against all international trade?

    It is very different; the idea of trade is to bring money into the country but exporting wealth takes money out of the country.


    That is why I asked how is exporting wealth different from importing anything. You have to take money out of your country to buy stuff from other countries.
    If you prevent that, other countries will not buy from you. Hence, no international trade.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    Paul Anilprem wrote:Such an immigrant doesn't exit.


    They most certainly do - or at least they did fifty years ago - and my father and his best friend (a Hungarian), were two of them. From neither of them speaking a word of English - or indeed each others' language - they were fluent in two years, almost accentless in ten, and ended up in many ways "more English than the English" (to the point where my father's friend used to sport a deerstalker hat, wear Harris tweed and smoke a Peterson pipe; presumably in homage to Sherlock Holmes).

    People migrate either for economic or persecution related (religious, political) reasons.


    Not necessarily true. They may also prefer the climate, or the culture, or be a criminal escaping justice ... or any combination of all the above.

    Once a person starts living a country, then they can certainly understand the culture and develop loyalty towards it.


    That I will grant you; but I see no problem with trying to weed out those who have absolutely no intention of staying, and are simply using the country as a labour exchange.

    How is "exporting wealth" different form importing anything else? Are you against all international trade?


    As Campbell said, trade is a two-way street; sending money out of the country is precisely what it says.

    Winston
     
    Ahmed Bin S
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote:And the simplest way to do that, IMO, is with financial and welfare restrictions. Canada and Australia are at least honest about it: if you can bring a million bucks with you, you can enter the country. And AFAIK they stop them from sending it out again (or at least require permission for every transaction) until they've been a resident for some period.



    But I am not interested in a policy that discriminates against the poor.

    What I am interested in is limiting the number of migrants that enter the UK each year, because I believe that if too many migrants come, it ends up causing problems. So, I want a quota allocated, and to stop Eastern Europeans taking up the whole of this quota there should be a further quota on them. Should we find that not enough people came from other countries, I'd be more than happy to allocate those places to Eastern Europeans.

    What you are calling for will effectively create a two-tier system, where the poor will be discriminated against, because it is the poor that most need to send money back home.

    Going back to our hypothetical friend in India, his parents are poor, they have spent everything they have earned to get their son an education so that he can end up being the breadwinner, he will be the one who will pay the rent for the home, the school fees for his siblings, after all, his parents are getting older now and can't spend all day doing manual work.
    He wants to come to the UK, because there is a lot of competition in India for jobs, and the salary he will earn there will never be enough to take his family out of poverty. Therefore, he has to send money back because there are people depending on him, but under your proposal it will mean that he won't be able to come here.

    In contrast, a middle-class Indian who is comfortable and whose family are not desperate for money will be able to come to the UK under your proposal, because he doesn't need to send money back. He will earn lots and lots of money, which he doesn't send back for 5 years, and then 5 years later, he goes back to India, takes all the money he earned back with him, gets married etc.

    So the poor, the ones who most need to go abroad to work, will remain poor because they will not be able to go abroad and earn higher salaries, and the ones who are not poor and do not need to go abroad to work as much as the poor, will be able to, and they will get richer.

    Now I know migrants sending back money might not be great for our economy, but we do not live in an ideal world, and if I have to pay a bit more in tax and have to wait a bit longer at the doctor's surgery because of this, so be it, at least some poor person from some poor country would be better off.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:(b) has no loyalty to this country, other than its standard of living.



    What exactly do you mean by loyalty to this country? I don't consider myself having loyalty to my country by any definition I can think of, I live my life by my principles, and I care a lot about social justice and helping others, but I don't have any special loyalty to the UK.
     
    Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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