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A reformed EU

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Flere-Imsaho, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Cameron says we have to decide if we want to stay in this reformed EU. What exactly has been reformed? A few changes to who gets benefits and some language saying we're not committing to ever closer ties isn't reform of the main criticisms people have made of the EU. Is there actually any change to the democratic processes, unelected commissioners or to the massive bureaucracy people complain about?
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Imagine a giant colossus, 200m high... huge and bronze, if a bit tarnished from the Russian neighbours flinging manure... glinting majestic in the sun.

    Search over it, it's 60 odd years old... do you see anything reformed? Wait, what's that... a small sticker on the little toe... peer close... indeed it says...

    'Dave woz ere 2016'
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Game, set & match, I'd say...


    A new battle of Britain has begun. On its outcome will depend the fate of two unions: the United Kingdom and the European Union. If the English vote to leave the EU, the Scots will vote to leave the UK. There will then be no Britain. Meanwhile, the shock of Brexit to a continent already staggering under many crises could spell the beginning of the end of the European Union.

    So if you care about Britain or Europe, and even more if you care about Britain and Europe, please join this good fight. The final negotiation in Brussels was bruising, and certainly not the kick-off anyone would want, but there is still everything to play for. Continental Europeans often assume that England is, in its heart of oak, incorrigibly hostile to Europe. This is not true. For decades now, the best pollsters have found that on the EU there is a large undecided middle which can go either way. That was the case in the run-up to the 1975 referendum, which saw a large swing from out to in, and it’s true today: 42% of those who tell ComRes they will vote in or out also say they could still change their minds.

    I know, from many hostile online comments, that the Guardian has some fiercely Eurosceptic followers, but I’m now mainly addressing the majority of our readers, whether British or not, who want Britain to stay in the EU. It’s a peculiarity of this referendum that Commonwealth citizens may vote in it, whereas French, Italians and Germans who have lived here for many years, and are much more directly affected, may not. But whether or not you have a vote, you still have a voice. Raise it, please, in the pub, in the office or in the friend’s living room.

    Here are just a few of the arguments you could make. First of all, the details of the deal are not the crucial issue. Months ago, when David Cameron revealed his renegotiation agenda, it was already clear that this was not going to be a fundamental redefinition of Britain’s relationship with the EU. Nor would we suddenly find ourselves in “a reformed Europe”. On this, Eurosceptics are right: Cameron’s demands were less than he pumped them up to be, and inevitably, given that 27 other European countries had to be satisfied, what he achieved is even more modest. But it would be madness to let a decision about the economic and political future of Britain for decades ahead hinge on the detail of an“emergency brake” on in-work benefits for migrants.

    Brexit is riskier than Bremain. This is incontestable. We know what it’s like being a member of the EU. We don’t know what it would be like outside.

    The negotiation of Brexit would be long and bloody. Nigel Lawson blithely suggests that it would be easy: we just repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and with one bound John Bull is free. Our continental partners would give us generous access to the single market through a free trade agreement “that they need far more than we do”. In your dreams. Read the careful analysis by the longtime legal chief of the EU, Jean-Claude Piris, to see what a nightmare of legal unravelling it would be. Talk to continental politicians. What we just saw in Brussels was the most that they are prepared to do to keep us in. They would do us no favours if we were leaving.

    Many of our European partners privately envy us the position of being outside theSchengen area and the ill-designed eurozone, but in all the parts that we want to be in. The Brussels deal shows that our European partners have accepted that for the foreseeable future Britain wishes to stop at roughly its current stage of integration. If there is a “best of both worlds”, it is this – and not Brexit.

    It is cold outside. The more you look at Norway or Switzerland, the less attractive their position appears, and a clear majority of business and union leaders don’t want to take this gamble. The EU has used the attraction of its single market of 500 million consumers to secure favourable free-trade deals with much of the world. It defies logic to think that Britain would get better deals on its own. Michael B Froman, the United States trade representative, said last year that no free trade agreement would exist with Britain if it left the EU, and the US would have no interest in negotiating one.

    Being in the EU helps keep us safe from terrorism and international crime. Don’t listen to me, listen to the Conservative home secretary, Theresa May. This is why she has kept Britain in the most important European networks for police and judicial cooperation, and will argue for Britain to stay in the EU.

    It’s also vital to national security. Our highest-ranking soldier, Field Marshal Lord Bramall – no starry-eyed Europhile – warns that if we left, “a broken and demoralised Europe just across the Channel” would imperil our security. If we stay, we can be one of the leaders of a European foreign policy that addresses the root causes of problems such as Middle East refugee flows. Vladimir Putin and Marine Le Pen want us to leave. Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and all our traditional friends, in Europe, North America and the Commonwealth, want us to stay. Need I say more?

    Brexit would be disastrous for Ireland. The former Irish prime minister John Bruton says it would “undo much of the work of the peace process and create huge questions over borders and labour market access”. There are more than 380,000 Irish citizens living in Britain, who do have a vote in this referendum, and millions of Brits (including me) with Irish ancestry. If you care about Ireland, vote to remain.

    Scotland would leave the UK. If you care about that, vote to remain.

    The EU can be changed. While the reforms Cameron has secured are modest, there’s a swelling chorus of voices in countries like Germany saying not just “We must do this, reluctantly, to keep Britain in”, but “We really do need to reform the EU”. If Britain remains, the reform lobby is strong; if it leaves, much weaker.

    Most of these arguments are from prudence, not visionary optimism – and none the worse for that. Eurosceptics will decry them as “scaremongering”. Well, I suppose you might call it scaremongering if someone asks you not to jump off the deck of an ocean liner, without a lifebelt, in a force nine storm. Actually, it’s common sense.
    JL48 likes this.
  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Really? According to breitbart [I picked them because they'll be seen as impartial by the anti-EU team] the EU has 65,000 Eurocrats...

    While according to wiki the UK civil service has 412,000 bureaucrats. [2013 numbers]

    In education for example I don't see any damage done by EU bureaucracy... I see a ton done by DfE.

    NHS, similar... same with the Defence forces... same with the police. We have our own incompetent bureaucrats to damage our nation... [so no need for more from Brussels! boom boom]
    mseerie likes this.
  5. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I'll be voting to stay in. When the type of politicians who oppose it are the ones you've always idealogically despised then it's a no brainer really.
    JL48 likes this.
  6. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Thing is I despise the 'In' lot almost as much....

    But then Gove became an 'Out'... Game changer!
    aspensquiver_2 likes this.
  7. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    So the fact we have irrelevant bureaucrats makes it OK to avoid the total lack of democracy and accountability in the EU set up?

    I know when I was there as part of a lobby group in the late 90's the lowest wage - for a secretary - was 35,000GBP...tax free. A month. Most unelected bureacrats then hired their wives or children as the secretary ...and they never showed up but pocketed the money.

    They were taken en masse (hidden camera) signing in to a Friday meeting, which meant 140 quid for expenses....then hopping in a taxi and going to the airport. Here they get business class allowance paid but fly Easy Jet and pocket the difference.

    Neil Kinnock - failed poltician here but appointed by Blair as EU commisioner, was on 65,000....a month. Tax free.


    Not easy reading but part of the analysis then. Nothing has changed.

    This gives you an idea of the amazing benefits these unelected people vote fort themselves, without accountability;


    Yes, we have many irrelevant bureaucrats and some are no doubt on exaggerated wages - but most are not and you simply cannot liken them to the fat cat wages of the EU until you know what they have done there with taxpayers' money.
  8. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    *Checks post*... yup didn't say that.
  9. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Nothing in that argument in the Guardian gives me any logical reason to vote either way Frank but it does, by its presumptions, its use of the fear of the unknown and its obvious bias, make me wonder if those are all the arguments that can be mustered against a Brexit.
    If so then the result should be an Out vote
    wanet likes this.
  10. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Must admit I thought you were defending the number of EU bureaucrats by pointing out we had more in the public sector.

    Apologies I read it wrong, although you did give me the chance to have a nice rant anyhow about areas the EU elite do all they can to keep away from the public :)
  11. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    For the sake of comedy Cameron could at least have climbed off a plane waving a piece of paper
    minnie me likes this.
  12. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Hitler promised us peace as he started invading.......and what a mess he managed to the Europe into (didnt do us much favours either)
    I must admit if I was young I would be off to the EU to work and earn the nice 'little earner'. Pay is better than here and benefits.
    However, it still does not address the underlying issues of whether our sovereignty is more important to us than being increasingly controlled by a bigger bunch of faceless bureaucrats than our Civil Service
    wanet likes this.
  13. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    The date is meant to be announced today. I need lots of notice to start packing if I'm thrown out of the country!
    Not being British has never been an issue in all the years I've lived here (well over 30 years),I got jobs/got married/got divorced/got married again/bought a house and the rest and nobody has ever questioned my nationality or status. If the UK is out of the EU,I have no idea what it means for me. I used to joke about it but now, it could be reality.
    Flere-Imsaho likes this.
  14. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    i wold assume cat mother that those who have lived here would be fine.unless some officious civil servant decided to have a vendetta. Trouble with laws.they are general and there are always exceptions.
    The Uk could not afford to evict wholesale.we rely to much on the workers to sustain us as we have an aging population.Eventually if we do not maintain workers we would all suffer badly.
  15. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I'm no fan of bureaucrats... and indeed I'm sure if the EU covered more areas of life than it presently does [Health and Education for example, transport etc] it'd have more bureaucrats. And I agree about transparency and openness... the EU/Whitehall machines need to make public their salaries/perks more...

    I just disagree it's a 'massive bureaucracy'... not about the nature of the bureaucracy.

    And don't worry about the rant, didn't mind that part.
  16. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    This seems to be an assumption which hasn't been addressed by the 'Out' campaign... especially considering that it is immigration that has largely driven the Out-EU sentiment of recent years.

    How acceptable are people who vote out going to find it that all those foreigners will remain here if we vote 'Out'? As I said elsewhere, glad my wife is a UK citizen... otherwise I'd be very worried right now.
    JL48 likes this.
  17. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    I assume so but my point is, that it would put me in a different category of being proper foreign that I've never ever experienced in all my many years here.
    Nobody in authority has ever questioned my right to be here, nobody has ever asked me to show them any paperwork (at least, no more paperwork than a UK citizen),nobody has questioned if my relationship was genuine when I got married or why I got divorced less than 2 years after getting married.
    I've been on holiday and come back in with no problem whatsoever. In fact, the only people who have ever closely scrutinised my passport and asked questions were on the French side because before I got a biometric passport last year my passport was from the French consulate in Edinburgh and some of it was handwritten as if "home made".
    Can I still keep my job or does my LA has to prove that no UK citizen wants it?

    By the way, I'm sure that the same issues and questions apply to UK citizens settled in EU countries.
  18. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

  19. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    23rd June apparently.
  20. catmother

    catmother Star commenter


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