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#568762
I'll preface this one with all the usual caveats about having voted remain in 2016, former Labour voter, now a member of the Lib Dems but feeling conflicted as I live in a red/blue swing constituency. I'm married to an EU citizen who is in the process of attempting to naturalise in the UK.

I think in a second referendum, I would no longer be able to support remaining in the EU.

Here's why:
1) A vote to remain now would not return us to the Elysian fields of 2015. We've poisoned relations with the EU27 to such an extent that every ordinary objection or veto would be amplified to construct a new narrative of the reluctant member who won't play fair. We already had that reputation (undeservedly, really), but in future this would place our every interaction with the EU in an adversarial context, and be reported as such on both sides of the channel.

2) No matter what they say, the EU is federalising. My problem with this is how it is being done. If there was a huge collective constitutional convention where everybody agreed to pool debts, have a single tax pot, single fiscal policy, equalised benefit levels across the whole EU (making rich countries social entitlements much lower, and poor countries much higher), and a majority of the collective populations agree with that, then great. My problem is that it is being done a crisis at a time, by putting the cart light years ahead of the horse then requiring centralisation to address enduring issues identified by the Horse Behind Cart Committee. Building a federal constitutional framework this way avoids a proper conversation where you build in sensible protections in by looking at the whole picture, not just what is needed to solve that week's self-inflicted Horse Running into Back of Cart emergency. Whilst I'm not one of these "unelected quangocrats" golf club bores, I do think the potential federal government emerging from the way this is being done looks a lot more like China (technocratic, distant, layers of leadership appointed from the layers below) than the USA. I don't believe voters in the rich member states will ever be willing to accept the sacrifices required to federalise the good way.


3) Despite the constant desire to converge member state functions to address "Cart not moving despite great food expenditure on horse" situations, we still don't have a single market in services above what is already provided by the WTO. I'll grant you that the banking system has been an exception to this, but the WTO Trade in Services Agreement will eventually leapfrog this too. Many seem to want to jerk off in front of a blue flag and feel like they are competing with China, while staying protectionist domestically, not even at a European level.


4) I don't think there is neccesarily any advantage to negotiating as a bloc. It makes you unweidly, and means we have to take into account a lot of other people's interests when trying to advance our own. Monolothic inflexibility isn't necessarily strength.


5) A few hundred thousand middle-eastern refugees nearly got Le Pen elected in France, and we're still playing whack-a-mole with the far right all over the continent to this day. Climate change and food shortages are going to push literally tens of millions of very hungry Africans over the Med, and I have zero faith in the collective political will of the EU to be able to handle it humanely. I genuinely fear 1939 all over again.


I think the current situation should be defused as such:

- Give a referendum to Northern Ireland on staying in the Single Market with RoI and having a regulatory sea border while staying in the UK (or even becoming a crown dependency)

- Agree a transitional period of a few years with the EU (paying handsomely for the privilege) to allow us to negotiate trade policy independently and minimise disruption.

- Allow free movement unilaterally with the EU, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and see who reciprocates. Other rich countries with free healthcare welcome to join too.

So there you go. Have at me.
#568778
1) A vote to remain now would not return us to the Elysian fields of 2015. We've poisoned relations with the EU27 to such an extent that every ordinary objection or veto would be amplified to construct a new narrative of the reluctant member who won't play fair. We already had that reputation (undeservedly, really), but in future this would place our every interaction with the EU in an adversarial context, and be reported as such on both sides of the channel.

That's not a scenario I would worry about too much. Most EU countries have fallen to populist nationalism and/or authoritarianism in one form or other and was a darn sight messier than the clowns of Brexit. The UK could emerge as the country that fought back to see off a populist threat, is deeply sorry for its stupidity and is keeping its busy head down for the next few years.
(2) No matter what they say, the EU is federalising. My problem with this is how it is being done
(3) we still don't have a single market in services above what is already provided by the WTO. I'll grant you that the banking system has been an exception to this, but the WTO Trade in Services Agreement will eventually leapfrog this too.

Ask 10 politicians and you'll get ten different answers. For sound economic reasons the Eurozone should federalise futher but don't expect Finland and Germany's voters to share their credit card with Italy just yet. We all have our list as to what's bad and good to internationalise but that still a matter for democratic debate in member states. And no its not the US as there is no central executive with elected legiticamy (through a meaningless pan-European election) to take those powers away from the national level. As you point out the Single Market is not all one way and the defeat of pernicious labour market services directives shows that's no bad thing. The SM evolves through case law and even Cameron supported the federalising of patents which is a very sensisble move. The WTO offers mutual recognition but its not integration of rules and regulations. Wales is easier to trade with for England than France but less so over the decades and is certainly easier than doing business with Bangladesh or China. Large international services contracts between two emerging nations and/or their large commercial players are often drawn up in London or Geneva for a reason.
Timbo liked this
#568780
4) I don't think there is neccesarily any advantage to negotiating as a bloc. It makes you unweidly, and means we have to take into account a lot of other people's interests when trying to advance our own. Monolothic inflexibility isn't necessarily strength.


Reducing an 8% tariff on shoes as a sop to the Italians is the only example the Brexiters come up with to illustrate this point but that's about it. This leaving the CU idea is the ERG/Kipper jewel in the crown and their most pointless one. The reason Japan is refusing to cut and paste existing EU deals and going through it line by line is not to offer the UK a better deal.

Let's say Japan removed tariffs on EU car imports in exchange for removing tariffs on Japanese silk exports. If the main markets are in Milan and Paris rather than London then UK car exporters benefitted from someone else's leverage. The Japanese will now ask why the UK should have tariff-free car access when they don't buy silk. Just reading about the quota split dispute with NZ the complexities ahead are mind-boggling in order to sign a shittier deal as soon as possible. I can see how it works for Iceland but its easy to be a nimble niche nation with a population the size of Croydon and you only export fish and sweaters. Even if Iceland decided to join the EU CU they wouldn't be annulling 40 years worth of deals with no replacements.
Timbo, lord_kobel liked this
#568781
I voted to Remain with a Corbyn-like 70% of me wanting to stay. The EU has many faults. I agree with Timbo in that we have not only pissed in the EU Goodwill Well but chucked a diseased badger in it as well.

If there was a second referendum I would still vote to Remain because I want my grandchildren and their children to have the opportunity to study, work or stay in other EU countries. But the main reason would be because I loathe the Tories, especially the right wing rump, and want to see them squeal like a pig.

As for the federalisation of the EU I really don't care. Will it effect me or mine? Not really.
Timbo, Andy McDandy, lord_kobel and 4 others liked this
#568791
I'm thinking that, unlike the ERG, Timbo makes some very rational and reasonable points and has some possibly valid concerns.

However, I do not think that the answer to Timbo's concerns lies with relinquishing the UK's membership of the EU. Federalisation has always been an concern in the UK, and this concern has been assuaged to a considerable degree by, for example in response to Cameron's efforts before he called the referendum, the EU providing the UK with an explicit exemption from the doctrine of "ever closer union".

The UK's interests are in my view much better served by retaining its membership, and its (pre-eminent) influence in the future shape of the EU, than by becoming an off-shore observer of a union that may take a wrong turn - or alternatively, may well commence to motor away from the UK, leaving it floudering in the EU's wake.
Timbo, Watchman, lord_kobel liked this
#568806
Thanks for the responses so far. My thoughts are far from crystallised on this, that's a big reason I wanted to kick it around on here.

Weirdly, I'm still anti-Brexit. The best analogy to convey my feeling is one of a house. I've never been a great fan of the house, but it does it's job well enough and we had the best bedroom. Then my housemates burned it down. I'm pissed off that the house is gone, but do I think it's a good idea to rebuild it exactly as it was before? I'm not so sure. I guess the crux lies in whether you think the house is already burned beyond repair in that analogy.

Perhaps even more weirdly, I actually don't have a problem with European federalism, or even us being part of it. My problem is with how it is being implemented (creeping one crisis at a time) and that I don't believe any more that when it comes time to hand over the whole treasury to Brussels, our caring/sharing neighbours will really go through with it.

I'm also fucked-off in general about how the EU has handled the citizens rights issue. It takes some doing to be worse on this than Theresa May, but they've managed it in spades. After refusing point blank to do a UK-proffered mutual side deal on citizens rights the day A50 was issued, they've been forced by the Costa amendment to do so again publicly. Being at the front edge of that has alienated me a bit from this 'EU always good, UK always bad' narrative that seems to be building up amongst the remainer community. Maybe I'm just politically homeless and looking for someone to blame.
#568985
I'm also fucked-off in general about how the EU has handled the citizens rights issue.

This is an issue I don’t get as third party country immigration is a national competency. The Spanish for example appear to be happy to continue free movement and its health service perks with the UK. It’s hard to argue that the UK should not reciprocate. That could be a way of retaining free movement by stealth through 27 bilateral deals.
#569042
I'm afraid I'm too ignorant to debate your points with the quality they deserve but can I just say how refreshing it is to read criticism of the EU that doesn't find it's way back to bendy bananas, underpowered hairdryers or blue passports? Many thanks for the interesting read @Timbo , I look forward to bringing these points to my pub political pondering pals.
Timbo, The Red Arrow liked this
#569050
Big Arnold wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:25 am
I don't think anyone here wholehearted admires the EU. But we're better in than out.


Wouldn't it be great to return to discussing the real strengths and weaknesses of the EU like adults instead of having to do battle with fantasists and fuckwits every day?
#569085
Big Arnold wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:25 am
I don't think anyone here wholehearted admires the EU. But we're better in than out.
James O'Brien got a chuckle from me yesterday when he referred to Brexit as "the first time a country has imposed an economic sanction on itself" :lol:
Timbo liked this
#569121
O'Brien had a tortuous metaphor on the go this morning involving Brexit as a toaster that was really just an empty box with a picture of a toaster on it.

I think I got it.

One guy extended the metaphor to Leave voters as people that had bought the toaster/empty box despite having nowhere to plug it in.

:-o
#569133
This is a good thread. This is sensible discussion.

The reason I think many Leavers are fuckwits is they preach Leave on the back of demonstrably untrue propositions/buy the lies of absolute charlatans. There is a correlation there imo.

But the EU is hardly a pristine organisation. I also think Remainers who can only talk about FoM are missing a lot too.
Timbo, youngian, Oblomov liked this
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