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politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Are Mandelson, Alexander and Clarke the best pro-Europeans

SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited May 2013 in General

imagepoliticalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Are Mandelson, Alexander and Clarke the best pro-Europeans can do?

This week we’ve seen growing numbers of politicians past and present suggest that they’d be prepared to vote for Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum. Public opinion is currently leaning towards exit.

Read the full story here


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Comments

  • TheWatcherTheWatcher Posts: 5,262
    edited May 2013
    'His recent remarks that the last Labour government ‘sent out search parties’ to increase immigration suggest a man that is out of touch with the public mood. '

    Really? Surely the opposite is the case.

    I'm puzzled as to why you're doing a smear job on Mandelson, the man who won elections for Labour.
  • MBoyMBoy Posts: 104
    Who else? Blair, Ming Campbell and Malcolm Rifkind maybe?
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    Peter Mandelson and Ken Clarke.

    Expense-abusing dinosaurs that may have been valued in past political eras but are now well past their usefulness.

    I'd say they're PERFECT to represent the EU.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 43,638
    Isn't there some guy callled Miliband, David, no that was the less incompetent one, Ed, that's it. We have not heard him about this (or indeed much else) for a while but I think he is pro-EU. Will he maybe one day have something to say on this (maybe even use a verb although that is pushing it)?

    The muppets who talk of nothing else are after all doing their damndest to make him PM. And then it won't matter what people think because they won't get a vote.
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    On a serious point, I don't see how anyone that said it was in Britain's economic interest to join the Euro can have any credibility at all on economic policy left.
  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    @Socrates: I responded to your point about free trade at the end of the last thread.
  • SlackbladderSlackbladder Posts: 9,124
    Don't worry Henry, there's always Eddie Izzard
  • samsam Posts: 727
    Roger produced a list of pro and anti EU peeps the other day...

    "For; Ken Clark David Cameron Ed Milliband Nick Clegg Paddy Ashdown Shirley Williams Michael Hesseltine Tony Blair Gordon Brown and Richard Branson

    Against; Jacob Rees Mogg Nigel Lawson Norman Lamont Peter Bone Nigel Farage John Redwood Rupert Murdoch Bill Cash Michael Gove and Stuart Wheeler

    I might have inadvertently missed the odd person but there really is no contest. Those against are for the most part seen as a bunch of freaks and oddballs.

    Cameron should have no fear of a referendum because It's a done deal"




    (he missed out Michael Portillo and Jamie Oliver for the out campaign, maybe he doesnt think theyre as popular or media friendly as Norman Lamont & Peter Bone)
  • SlackbladderSlackbladder Posts: 9,124
    tim said:

    The In campaign will be led by the leaders of The Conservative Party,The Labour Party and The Liberal Democrats.

    Yep, because they're all seen as popular trust worthy guys at the moment
  • FinancierFinancier Posts: 3,916
    FPT

    All Voters Will Remember Is That The Tories Are Giving Them A Referendum - And That Labour Isn't (LabourList)

    Three things are blindingly apparent this week.

    The first is that the Tories are still hopelessly divided on Europe. Plus ça change.

    The second is that Labour’s refusal to match the Tory referendum pledge leaves the party framed as the enemy of choice, refusing to give the public its say.

    The third is that a week is a long time in politics and people will forget the messy parliamentary to and fro of the past few days but remember that the Tories are pledged to hold that referendum. And that Labour isn’t.

    This is madness. Ed Miliband’s critique of managerial politics and its bureaucratic, top-down remoteness has always been spot on. Yet I can’t think of an issue where the governed and the governing are further apart than on Europe.

    And it’s not just our membership of the EU. In voters’ minds, the reason we have so much immigration is because of the EU’s free movement of people. And any number of other grievances, real, exaggerated and imagined – are also attributed to Europe. It is a lightning rod for the malaise at the heart of British political life.

    It’s no use railing against these misconceptions. The pro-European cause has failed mightily. It has always been an elite movement that has never managed to popularise – or even normalise – Britain’s membership of the EU. The referendum is a chance to draw that poison.

    ‘Ah’, goes the theory, ‘why invade on private grief? Keep well clear and let the Tories rip themselves to pieces’. Labour can sit back, look like a responsible party of government and toady up to all those business leaders who are horrified at the prospect of us inching towards the EU’s exit door. Ed will look like the statesman against Cameron’s desperate political hack.

    This is wishful thinking. What will happen is that the Tories’ referendum pledge will reclaim ground lost to UKIP. Rather than looking prime ministerial, Ed will be left looking belligerent and elitist – every inch the product of our managerial political class. Europe and immigration will dominate next year’s European elections and possibly the 2015 general election as well. Labour will be flummoxed as its candidates try to explain why giving the public a say is such a bad idea.

    And make no mistake, Cameron will get his renegotiation in due course. If EU leaders will bust a gut to save economically peripheral countries like Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, then they will not countenance the UK – the second largest economy in the EU – walking away. Cameron will get enough concessions to sell to the electorate.

    He can then plausibly head a ‘yes’ campaign on the terms of his successful renegotiation. All those business leaders who are today telling Ed Miliband what a dreadful mistake this referendum pledge is will in due course flock behind Cameron.

    Labour will have taken the hit for denying the public a say – for the best of intentions in trying to preserve our EU membership – only for Cameron to sweep in and steal our thunder. The party’s current position makes no strategic sense either viewed as high principle or as low politics.
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    edited May 2013
    @RichardNabavi

    Thanks for the answer. But isn't this just arbitrary semantics of what you assign the word "domestic" to? EU countries all have different taxation systems to us, different legal systems to us (particularly the civil versus common law split), and, hugely importantly, different languages for marketing products and services. If the UK joined NAFTA after leaving the EU, would the USA count as part of our "domestic" market? In many ways it would be more similar to the UK market than British firms find Romania to operate in.

    Ultimately this domestic versus foreign terminology is trying to paint a black and white line in what is a grey continuum. What we need to do is to just reduce as many trade barriers as possible. We have a market of $14trn in the EU, with which only tiny trade barriers would go up if we replaced membership with a free trade deal. But then we could reduce much larger trade barriers with a whole host of other countries, worth a lot more. NAFTA is $16trn, China $7trn, Japan another $6trn. If we signed FTAs with the EU and just those three we would triple the markets our companies have free access to.
  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    edited May 2013
    It's very interesting that Labour has turned so much against Mandelson, who single-handedly rescued Brown from an even more ignominious defeat. If Labour is in a position to win in 2015, it's entirely because of him.
  • Mick_PorkMick_Pork Posts: 6,530
    edited May 2013
    tim said:

    The In campaign will be led by the leaders of The Conservative Party,The Labour Party and The Liberal Democrats.

    Obviously, should it ever get to any kind of IN/OUT referendum.
    Which is one of the reasons it's so unlikely to.


  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    Socrates said:

    . But isn't this just arbitrary semantics of what you assign the word "domestic" to? EU countries all have different taxation systems to us, different legal systems to us (particularly the civil versus common law split), and, hugely importantly, different languages for marketing products and services.

    Up to a point that is true, but that is precisely why the EU wants to do away with as many of those soft barriers as is practical. And, to be fair, they have succeeded to a quite large extent (and even more so in the Eurozone than in the EU as a whole). I've run a small company which does business all over the world for thirty years, and there is no doubt that doing business anywhere in the EU is now virtually pain-free. It wasn't pain-free when we started, and the reasons were not tariffs but paperwork, dealing with Customs, etc.

    Now, it is also true that, in that period, it has become easier to do business with most non-EU countries as well. In part this is due to technology and the internet in particular, but also better cross-border payment facilities, a general lowering of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and the extension of pro-free-trade mindset to countries which thirty years ago were very protectionist or communist. Ironically, I think one of the main arguments for the EU has been undermined by its very success in negotiating in the WTO (Lord Mandelson, take a bow here!). Even so, it remains true that the EU, and even more the Eurozone, is a pretty good approximation of a large domestic market.
  • It's all pissing in the wind. In 2015 Redward will be PM. By default and from about 33% of te vote (UKIP havinf nicelt split the right).

    There'll be no referendum before 2020. But it doesn't matter becuae the Eurozone will have detroyed itself by then anyway.
  • samsam Posts: 727
    edited May 2013
    Portillo was quite interesting on This Week last night. He said he wanted to stay in the EU but would vote OUT if a referendum were offered.

    His reasoning being that we should renegotiate from within but if an IN vote won a referendum the government would feel it had a mandate to enter a single currency, join the Eurozone etc..

    any thoughts?
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881
    Should the time come it will be the party leaders, plus hoards of business people of a certain kind. You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be few if any spending caps placed on advertising and that In will out-spend Out by a country mile.

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.
  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.

    Good.

    That will focus the minds of our EU friends, who otherwise would drag it out for decades.
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    @RichardNabavi

    Looks like this negotiating stance is working a treat:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/16/berlin-opposition-policing-optout-britain

    "The British have always been like that. They've always asked for an extra sausage," said a senior German government official. "The mistake we made was we gave it to them … I find that not good. We will make that clear. You can depend on that."

    "We will make problems if there is no consistency in cherrypicking on trying to fight organised crime," said a senior official in Brussels."


    And this is on stuff we've ALREADY negotiated opt outs to!
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 65,826
    Clarke is there for the Tories as There Is No Alternative.

    Seeing this lot together (especially Mandelson and Clarke) is a real case of déjà vu. Could have been a Euro campaign in the nineties. They didn't convince the public then, why would they know?

    Unless the pro-EU teams can put forward some "in the EU but not the Euro" new faces there'll be more trouble than I expected.
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    @RichardNabavi

    I agree with a lot of that, but the vast majority of tariff and non-tariff barriers could remain down in an FTA. Why should we prioritise the handful that wouldn't for the opportunity to reduce much larger barriers with North America, Asia, etc?
  • RogerRoger Posts: 16,889
    edited May 2013
    @Financier
    "Labour will have taken the hit for denying the public a say"

    That assumes that the public cares less. What are the chances that an EU referendum will attract more voters than the referenda for Mayors?

    About 10% if I remember which means either that the other 90% don't care less or alternatively they're happy to let the 10% speak for them.
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.

    Good.

    That will focus the minds of our EU friends, who otherwise would drag it out for decades.

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?

  • GasmanGasman Posts: 126
    edited May 2013
    This is one of the easier PB questions to answer! 2 men of the past and one who doesn't seem to have much of a future.

    The problem for the pro-EU side is that most of the important people who would campaign for it, such as these three, have a nice long history of telling us that we'd all die of plague if we didn't join the Euro. They were wrong then (and aren't keen to admit it even now it's blatantly obvious to anyone with half a brain) and they're wrong now.

    I suspect there aren't many people available who were against the Euro and are now whole-heartedly in favour of staying in the EU as it is now. That leaves the pro-EU side with a selection of people who are wrong and some people saying, as Cameron will be, "well we've managed to make it slightly less bad, so we should stay in".

    That's even before we get on to why there's never been a proper cost-benefit analysis of EU membership.
  • samsam Posts: 727
    edited May 2013
    SeanT said:

    Completely agree with your article


    As an author Im sure you have read this but your article reminded me of Ursula Le Guins story "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas"

    http://harelbarzilai.org/words/omelas.txt

    Also, Peter Hitchens has similar views on the cognitive dissonance we have when it comes to executing guilty murderers and killing innocent civililans

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0wAA8RKzvc

  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881
    SeanT said:
    You are coming across as quite the bleeding heart in the Telegraph. Is there something we should know?

  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    @SouthamObserver

    He'd be sacked if he waited much longer than the end of 2017. If it was set in stone for the first six months of 2018 he might be able to wing it, but nothing beyond that.
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    @SeanT

    I think this is a bit of a silly argument. There's clearly a different between those that are beyond our control and at-large threats, and those that we have incapacitated in custody.

    The Iraqi children argument is even sillier. Clearly they're not the ones targeted.
  • TheWatcherTheWatcher Posts: 5,262
    edited May 2013

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.

    Good.

    That will focus the minds of our EU friends, who otherwise would drag it out for decades.

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?


    Aka 'The Salmond Option'.


    Talking of whom, I see he passed comment on Farage's Big Day Out in 'Edinburgh, City of Peace' yesterday.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22571722

  • AnorakAnorak Posts: 6,621
    edited May 2013
    Socrates said:

    @SeanT

    I think this is a bit of a silly argument. There's clearly a different between those that are beyond our control and at-large threats, and those that we have incapacitated in custody.

    The Iraqi children argument is even sillier. Clearly they're not the ones targeted.

    Maybe so, but your point of view does not generate thousands of page-views and hundreds of comments...
  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    edited May 2013

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?

    He tells our EU friends that the deadline is Dec 31st 2017, and they'd better get their fingers out. In the referendum, he either campaigns on the In side, or (if the terms aren't great) says so and leaves it to the voters to decide, agreeing to implement their decision.

    Clearly all of Cameron's instincts are to hope he can get enough of a good deal to recommend staying in. For various reasons, notably the fact that Germany will be horrified at the idea of us leaving, plus the inevitable changes in the Eurozone/EU relationship, I think most pundits are under-estimating the chances of him getting a good result.
  • @SeanT

    Is your new job Daily Telegraph shitstirrer in chief? Good job!
  • InMyHumOpInMyHumOp Posts: 16
    Socrates said:

    @RichardNabavi

    Looks like this negotiating stance is working a treat:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/16/berlin-opposition-policing-optout-britain

    "The British have always been like that. They've always asked for an extra sausage," said a senior German government official. "The mistake we made was we gave it to them … I find that not good. We will make that clear. You can depend on that."

    "We will make problems if there is no consistency in cherrypicking on trying to fight organised crime," said a senior official in Brussels."


    And this is on stuff we've ALREADY negotiated opt outs to!

    I love that the Germans think of it i terms of sausages. In response we should ask for an extra pork pie and if they insist on dealing in sausages demand half a pound of black pudding

  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881
    Socrates said:

    @SouthamObserver

    He'd be sacked if he waited much longer than the end of 2017. If it was set in stone for the first six months of 2018 he might be able to wing it, but nothing beyond that.

    A referendum in, say, October 2017 would need a campaign beforehand. Given that the next election is in May 2015 realitically Dave has got to hit the road running as soon as that happens in order to have a chance of delivering a referendum two years later. That coud be interesting as he will have spent months in the lead up to the GE avoiding setting out what his red lines are, only to have to reveal them almost immediately after the result has been declared. The potential for carnage - especially if the Tories win a narrow majority - is obvious. But in any case, two years is hugely ambitious: how long have they been trying to save the Euro for now?

    Do we know what happens to the referendum if Dave has to go into coalition with the LDs? Presumably the bill to hold it will require formal government time.

  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    @Southam - You are right the deadline is too tight. It should be Dec 2018.

    Too late to change now, though.
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    SeanT said:

    SeanT said:
    You are coming across as quite the bleeding heart in the Telegraph. Is there something we should know?

    Tut tut. The article is nuanced. I reluctantly support drone strikes. But then, if I do that, logic compels me to support the death penalty. Which I find very hard. That's my point, expressed in mildly provocative language to generate clicks.

    I also make a crucial point at the end. How would we feel if China dropped a few drones on us, killing some kids, as well as some villains, as it pursued "legitimate national security".

    We'd have no hesitation in calling it cold blooded murder. Yet that's what the West does, every day.
    If they had a legitimate national security, asked us to do something about it, we did nothing, and they then took measures into their own hands with a method that has very low civilian casualty ratios, I think that would be fair enough.

    It wouldn't happen because if there was a terrorist loose in Britain, we'd make sure we'd secure them. The Pakistani and Afghan governments don't do the same thing.
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?

    He tells our EU friends that the deadline is Dec 31st 2017, and they'd better get their fingers out. In the referendum, he either campaigns on the In side, or (if the terms aren't great) says so and leaves it to the voters to decide, agreeing to implement their decision.

    Clearly all of Cameron's instincts are to hope he can get enough of a good deal to recommend staying in. For various reasons, notably the fact that Germany will be horrified at the idea of us leaving, plus the inevitable changes in the Eurozone/EU relationship, I think most pundits are under-estimating the chances of him getting a good result.

    So even if he felt he was getting somewhere and that he would just need a few months more to get the deal he wants he would bring the talks to a halt and campaign for withdrawal. My guess is that our EU friends will call his bluff.

    In any case, what you seem to be saying is that really there are no significant benefits to us staying in the EU. We can afford to give an arbitrary deadline and leave if our EU friends are not prepared to play to our timetable. If that is the case, surely Cameron should just be saying now he wants to pull us out and will seek referendum approval to do so immediately after an election.

  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 16,147

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.

    Good.

    That will focus the minds of our EU friends, who otherwise would drag it out for decades.

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?

    Also, let's imagine for the sake of argument that the rengegotiation is meaningful and successful. Any substantial change needs a treaty of 28. Any legislature, senate, president or referendum could kill it. If Cameron could negotiate something in 2 years, it would have to be unratified, because ratification takes far too long.

    So they have the referendum, then the treaty dies, as it almost certainly will. Do we then have to have another referendum, or do the voters end up stuck with an option they weren't allowed to vote on?
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    "Clearly all of Cameron's instincts are to hope he can get enough of a good deal to recommend staying in. "

    Give me a break. Cameron's going to recommend staying in if all we get back is a Working Time Directive opt out and a Ferrero Rocher.
  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    Socrates said:

    "Clearly all of Cameron's instincts are to hope he can get enough of a good deal to recommend staying in. "

    Give me a break. Cameron's going to recommend staying in if all we get back is a Working Time Directive opt out and a Ferrero Rocher.

    Maybe, but the final decision is ours (collectively), not his.
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    @sam

    "Killing innocent civilians". This is a mad comparison, it's as if intent doesn't matter.
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881

    @Southam - You are right the deadline is too tight. It should be Dec 2018.

    Too late to change now, though.

    In which case, surely Cameron believes that there are very few if any benefits to our continued membership. Given the vast majority of his party agrees with him, why not just campaign for withdrawal now?


  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    edited May 2013

    In any case, what you seem to be saying is that really there are no significant benefits to us staying in the EU. We can afford to give an arbitrary deadline and leave if our EU friends are not prepared to play to our timetable. If that is the case, surely Cameron should just be saying now he wants to pull us out and will seek referendum approval to do so immediately after an election.

    I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying the best option is to follow Obama's advice and fix the EU and/or our relationship with it. If it can't be fixed, we then have to take a view as to where our best interests lie. That's a balance, but as I've said the balance is currently shifting towards leaving, given the attacks on the City.

    In addition, it would be good to close the issue down one way or the other (and not only for party-political reasons!)
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.

    Good.

    That will focus the minds of our EU friends, who otherwise would drag it out for decades.

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?

    Also, let's imagine for the sake of argument that the rengegotiation is meaningful and successful. Any substantial change needs a treaty of 28. Any legislature, senate, president or referendum could kill it. If Cameron could negotiate something in 2 years, it would have to be unratified, because ratification takes far too long.

    So they have the referendum, then the treaty dies, as it almost certainly will. Do we then have to have another referendum, or do the voters end up stuck with an option they weren't allowed to vote on?
    If we negotiate a deal, we vote to stay in with a small margin, the deal is then killed by someone like France, and then the British government doesn't allow us another vote, that would be almost perfect conditions for UKIP.
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.

    Good.

    That will focus the minds of our EU friends, who otherwise would drag it out for decades.

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?

    Also, let's imagine for the sake of argument that the rengegotiation is meaningful and successful. Any substantial change needs a treaty of 28. Any legislature, senate, president or referendum could kill it. If Cameron could negotiate something in 2 years, it would have to be unratified, because ratification takes far too long.

    So they have the referendum, then the treaty dies, as it almost certainly will. Do we then have to have another referendum, or do the voters end up stuck with an option they weren't allowed to vote on?

    Well indeed. All this says to me one of two things:

    1. Dave wants to withdraw but does not have the guts to say so.

    2. The whole referendum plan is a ploy to postpone a full Tory civil war until after 2015 (if they are re-elected) or until after he resigns should they be defeated.


  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881

    In any case, what you seem to be saying is that really there are no significant benefits to us staying in the EU. We can afford to give an arbitrary deadline and leave if our EU friends are not prepared to play to our timetable. If that is the case, surely Cameron should just be saying now he wants to pull us out and will seek referendum approval to do so immediately after an election.

    I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying the best option is to follow Obama's advice and fix the EU and/or our relationship with it. If it can't be fixed, we then have to take a view as to where our best interests lie. That's a balance, but as I've said the balance is currently shifting towards leaving, given the attacks on the City.

    In addition, it would be good to close the issue down one way or the other (and not only for party-political reasons!)

    I don't think Obama said fix it in two years or campaign to leave.

    If the City guarantees are not forthcoming you say we should leave. Again, what that says to me is that we may as well leave now. We do not have the guarantees now, clearly the Tories believe leaving will not affect the City's position in any dramatic way or they would not be threatening it, so what is the point of staying in? We could leave in save ourselves billions each year. Farage is 100% correct.

    Unless, of course, this is all a ploy.

  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 22,662

    In any case, what you seem to be saying is that really there are no significant benefits to us staying in the EU. We can afford to give an arbitrary deadline and leave if our EU friends are not prepared to play to our timetable. If that is the case, surely Cameron should just be saying now he wants to pull us out and will seek referendum approval to do so immediately after an election.

    I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying the best option is to follow Obama's advice and fix the EU and/or our relationship with it. If it can't be fixed, we then have to take a view as to where our best interests lie. That's a balance, but as I've said the balance is currently shifting towards leaving, given the attacks on the City.

    I think the rest of the EU assumes that if it's Out or Stay In (even on current terms) we will vote to stay in and therefore there's no incentive to renegotiate anything. They can also see that the chances of Cameron being in power after 2015 are low so, frankly, any renegotiations are a bit like the unicorn, a nice image in someone's head, but non-existent in reality.

    The reason they don't want to renegotiate is because, fundamentally, Britain has a different view of what the EU should be to most of what the rest of the EU thinks it should be and it is hard to see how to reconcile those positions, certainly in the time available.
  • Richard_TyndallRichard_Tyndall Posts: 26,337

    Socrates said:

    . But isn't this just arbitrary semantics of what you assign the word "domestic" to? EU countries all have different taxation systems to us, different legal systems to us (particularly the civil versus common law split), and, hugely importantly, different languages for marketing products and services.

    Up to a point that is true, but that is precisely why the EU wants to do away with as many of those soft barriers as is practical. And, to be fair, they have succeeded to a quite large extent (and even more so in the Eurozone than in the EU as a whole). I've run a small company which does business all over the world for thirty years, and there is no doubt that doing business anywhere in the EU is now virtually pain-free. It wasn't pain-free when we started, and the reasons were not tariffs but paperwork, dealing with Customs, etc.

    Now, it is also true that, in that period, it has become easier to do business with most non-EU countries as well. In part this is due to technology and the internet in particular, but also better cross-border payment facilities, a general lowering of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and the extension of pro-free-trade mindset to countries which thirty years ago were very protectionist or communist. Ironically, I think one of the main arguments for the EU has been undermined by its very success in negotiating in the WTO (Lord Mandelson, take a bow here!). Even so, it remains true that the EU, and even more the Eurozone, is a pretty good approximation of a large domestic market.
    Although the problem now is that the EU is seen as a barrier to free trade at a global level and it is their intransigence which is preventing further advances at the WTO.

    It is amusing for all those advocating the EU as the champion of free trade that EFTA has a free trade agreement with Canada whilst the EU do not.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758
    SeanT said:

    SeanT said:
    You are coming across as quite the bleeding heart in the Telegraph. Is there something we should know?

    Tut tut. The article is nuanced. I reluctantly support drone strikes. But then, if I do that, logic compels me to support the death penalty. Which I find very hard. That's my point, expressed in mildly provocative language to generate clicks.

    I also make a crucial point at the end. How would we feel if China dropped a few drones on us, killing some kids, as well as some villains, as it pursued "legitimate national security".

    We'd have no hesitation in calling it cold blooded murder. Yet that's what the West does, every day.
    The taking of life by the state is always unpleasant and should only be used as a last resort.

    A just war, duly approved by the appropriate body, is one such situation where the state can take life (and ask its citizens to volunteer to put themselves in harm's way). Clearly all reasonable steps to minimse innocent casulties should be taken, but it is inevitable that there will be some.

    This is not morally equivalent to the state taking the life of someone who they already have in custody and who therefore poses no further threat to our society. We have the right to exclude them from society - through exile (impractical) or imprisonment if they are not prepared to abide by the rules and restrictions that society sets out. We do not have the right to decide that their life is forfeit because that implies that the state has authority over the individual in a way that I am not comfortable with. All of the state's authority is delegated from the support of the body politic: tamper with that principle with great care
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758
    Socrates said:

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.

    Good.

    That will focus the minds of our EU friends, who otherwise would drag it out for decades.

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?

    Also, let's imagine for the sake of argument that the rengegotiation is meaningful and successful. Any substantial change needs a treaty of 28. Any legislature, senate, president or referendum could kill it. If Cameron could negotiate something in 2 years, it would have to be unratified, because ratification takes far too long.

    So they have the referendum, then the treaty dies, as it almost certainly will. Do we then have to have another referendum, or do the voters end up stuck with an option they weren't allowed to vote on?
    If we negotiate a deal, we vote to stay in with a small margin, the deal is then killed by someone like France, and then the British government doesn't allow us another vote, that would be almost perfect conditions for UKIP.
    Even someone like me would be tempted to vote UKIP in those circumstances!
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 19,375
    A bit of cross-party love in Broxtowe. The author of this piece embodies the left of Broxtowe Labour. She's writing something nice about Anna Soubry, in the local independent blog - and I agree with her.

    http://beestonia.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/same-sex-marriage-debate-a-report-by-jane-marshall/#comment-1958
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 43,638
    edited May 2013
    Sorry to keep repeating the point but it does seem key to me. Either the eurozone bloc hold together and get ever more integrated or it breaks up over the next couple of years. If it is the former then leaving seems inevitable. This will no longer be a club in which we are or ever will be a full member and of which we will not have a real say on its operation.

    If the latter were to occur there would have to be a fairly radical change in the shape of the EU which would need to become more flexible, multilateral and optional to cope with the implications. That is an EU that Cameron would find it very easy to negotiate a suitable package and in which we could be comfortable.

    So euro or no euro? From an economic point of view the EZ going deeper into meltdown as the UK acquires some sort of lift off is a serious pain in the neck. It will reduce our rate of recovery and it will increase the number of economic migrants. From a political view the tories must be thinking how much more can Spain/Portugal/Italy/France take? Surely something has to break somewhere.
  • Richard_TyndallRichard_Tyndall Posts: 26,337
    Charles said:

    SeanT said:

    SeanT said:
    You are coming across as quite the bleeding heart in the Telegraph. Is there something we should know?

    Tut tut. The article is nuanced. I reluctantly support drone strikes. But then, if I do that, logic compels me to support the death penalty. Which I find very hard. That's my point, expressed in mildly provocative language to generate clicks.

    I also make a crucial point at the end. How would we feel if China dropped a few drones on us, killing some kids, as well as some villains, as it pursued "legitimate national security".

    We'd have no hesitation in calling it cold blooded murder. Yet that's what the West does, every day.
    The taking of life by the state is always unpleasant and should only be used as a last resort.

    A just war, duly approved by the appropriate body, is one such situation where the state can take life (and ask its citizens to volunteer to put themselves in harm's way). Clearly all reasonable steps to minimse innocent casulties should be taken, but it is inevitable that there will be some.

    This is not morally equivalent to the state taking the life of someone who they already have in custody and who therefore poses no further threat to our society. We have the right to exclude them from society - through exile (impractical) or imprisonment if they are not prepared to abide by the rules and restrictions that society sets out. We do not have the right to decide that their life is forfeit because that implies that the state has authority over the individual in a way that I am not comfortable with. All of the state's authority is delegated from the support of the body politic: tamper with that principle with great care
    I am in 100% agreement with you there Charles.

  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    Regarding drones, it's worth considering that for 2013, the civilian casualty ratio is between 0% and 8%

    http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones

    The Second World War was about 65%. Korea was about 200%. Vietnam 40%. NATO's campaign in Yugoslavia was about 10%.

    If you oppose drones because of civilian casualties, you basically have to oppose all wars.
  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    edited May 2013
    Cyclefree said:


    I think the rest of the EU assumes that if it's Out or Stay In (even on current terms) we will vote to stay in and therefore there's no incentive to renegotiate anything. They can also see that the chances of Cameron being in power after 2015 are low so, frankly, any renegotiations are a bit like the unicorn, a nice image in someone's head, but non-existent in reality.

    Of course, but if on May 8th 2015 Cameron has a majority, that will all change.

    I agree that if we are lumbered with PM Miliband then we're stuffed. A toxic combination of ever-closer union and an EU which is increasingly inimical to Britain's interests will be the inevitable result. Thanks, Mr Farage.
    The reason they don't want to renegotiate is because, fundamentally, Britain has a different view of what the EU should be to most of what the rest of the EU thinks it should be and it is hard to see how to reconcile those positions, certainly in the time available.
    True, but that remains the case whatever happens, and indeed there is already a fundamental problem in that the EU is not the same as the Eurozone. The project of the EU elite all along was to make them the same. That may have seemed a good idea once upon a time but it doesn't look so smart now and it ain't gonna happen. So we do need to have this discussion with our EU friends, rather than bury our heads in the sands as Miliband and Clegg advocate.
  • samonipadsamonipad Posts: 182
    edited May 2013
    Socrates said:

    @sam

    "Killing innocent civilians". This is a mad comparison, it's as if intent doesn't matter.

    Actually I have misrepresented Hitchens a bit. His argument is that if you oppose the death penalty "in case one innocent person is mistakenly killed" then you must be against any form of war that includes killing innocent civilians.

    If you oppose it for other reasons then that argument doesn't fit
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322

    Charles said:

    SeanT said:

    SeanT said:
    You are coming across as quite the bleeding heart in the Telegraph. Is there something we should know?

    Tut tut. The article is nuanced. I reluctantly support drone strikes. But then, if I do that, logic compels me to support the death penalty. Which I find very hard. That's my point, expressed in mildly provocative language to generate clicks.

    I also make a crucial point at the end. How would we feel if China dropped a few drones on us, killing some kids, as well as some villains, as it pursued "legitimate national security".

    We'd have no hesitation in calling it cold blooded murder. Yet that's what the West does, every day.
    The taking of life by the state is always unpleasant and should only be used as a last resort.

    A just war, duly approved by the appropriate body, is one such situation where the state can take life (and ask its citizens to volunteer to put themselves in harm's way). Clearly all reasonable steps to minimse innocent casulties should be taken, but it is inevitable that there will be some.

    This is not morally equivalent to the state taking the life of someone who they already have in custody and who therefore poses no further threat to our society. We have the right to exclude them from society - through exile (impractical) or imprisonment if they are not prepared to abide by the rules and restrictions that society sets out. We do not have the right to decide that their life is forfeit because that implies that the state has authority over the individual in a way that I am not comfortable with. All of the state's authority is delegated from the support of the body politic: tamper with that principle with great care
    I am in 100% agreement with you there Charles.

    Me too. Eloquently stated, Charles.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 43,638
    edited May 2013
    The Taliban and Al Quaeda are quite clear that they are at war with us. In wars people get killed. The only reason that we get ourselves in a fankle about this is that we pretend these are not wars but police actions. That was absurd enough in NI. In Afghanistan we are at war and our soldiers' job is to kill the enemy.

    It really is that simple and has nothing to do with the death penalty in our domestic situation.
  • samonipadsamonipad Posts: 182
    Socrates said:

    @sam

    "Killing innocent civilians". This is a mad comparison, it's as if intent doesn't matter.

    Dresden?
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758

    A bit of cross-party love in Broxtowe. The author of this piece embodies the left of Broxtowe Labour. She's writing something nice about Anna Soubry, in the local independent blog - and I agree with her.

    http://beestonia.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/same-sex-marriage-debate-a-report-by-jane-marshall/#comment-1958

    There are some very nasty comments included in her text. A shame you support it so whole-heartedly.

    For example:

    More toxic comments on how AIDs would be stopped if we got rid of gays, how gay marriage was the slippery slope to incest and how marriage should be between a man & woman solely for the procreation of children.

    Points 1 (AIDS) and 2 (incest) are very unpleasant comments and could justify the term "toxic". Point 3 (purpose of marriage) is a matter of opinion - I disagree this being the sole purpose [RN posted the 3 purposes of marriage earlier, and procreation is only 1] - but it is clearly not "toxic" to hold that belief.

    each stated their own brand of Christianity, bible-believing, fundamental, evangelistic, catholic priest, vicars all trying to prove that they were more righteous than the last speaker, top religious trumps

    I'm guessing she doesn't rate freedom of conscience very highly in her list of things to be preserved. That is one of the most bile-filled rants I've heard for a while.

  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881
    edited May 2013
    Having thought about it, this is what I do not get:

    The Tories tell us we need to renegotiate the terms of our membership in order for being in the EU to make sense. In other words, what they are saying is that right now being in the EU is detrimental to our national interest. Richard Nabavi tells us that we will need to safeguard the City if we are to stay in. If we can't we should withdraw. But the implication of this is that leaving will not hurt the City.

    Given all of that, what is the point of wasting the next four years obsessing about the whole thing? Why not just get back the powers we need now by withdrawing, while also saving ourselves a great deal of money every year?

    The whole Tory position is surely a tacit admission that everything Farage says about us leaving the EU is correct. And if that is the case, advocating that we should waste time (and more money we cannot afford to spend) trying for a renegotiation that will not actually make much difference to us is absurd.

    Of course, the alternative is that Cameron and co actually believe it would be disastrous for us to leave the EU, do not have the guts to say so and are using the referendum as a ploy to make the argument go away until after the next GE.
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 59,112
    Good afternoon, everyone.

    It's not a stellar lineup. I wonder, though, where Boris would stand if we had an In/Out vote on the present conditions of membership.
  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 16,147
    Socrates said:

    That said, given the completely arbitrary date chosen, Dave could well find himself having to bring to an end painstaking negotiations and then having to make a big call on whether to campaign for In or Out.

    Good.

    That will focus the minds of our EU friends, who otherwise would drag it out for decades.

    So if Dave feels he is getting somewher but has not quite got there yet does he postpone the referendum or hold it as promised and campaign to withdraw?

    Also, let's imagine for the sake of argument that the rengegotiation is meaningful and successful. Any substantial change needs a treaty of 28. Any legislature, senate, president or referendum could kill it. If Cameron could negotiate something in 2 years, it would have to be unratified, because ratification takes far too long.

    So they have the referendum, then the treaty dies, as it almost certainly will. Do we then have to have another referendum, or do the voters end up stuck with an option they weren't allowed to vote on?
    If we negotiate a deal, we vote to stay in with a small margin, the deal is then killed by someone like France, and then the British government doesn't allow us another vote, that would be almost perfect conditions for UKIP.
    This seems plausible. It also sounds exceedingly unlikely that every one of 100+ veto points, many of which represent very angry voters, will ratify a deal with nothing in particular in it for them.

    So in practice, it sounds like Cameron's plan must be for two referendums...
  • JamesKellyJamesKelly Posts: 1,348
    O/T. The International Business Times asked me to put together a quick piece about the Farage incident -

    'Farage's Edinburgh Disaster Shows Scotland is a Different Country'

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/468579/20130517/nigel-farage-ukip-edinburgh-protest.htm
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758

    Having thought about it, this is what I do not get:

    The Tories tell us we need to renegotiate the terms of our membership in order for being in the EU to make sense. In other words, what they are saying is that right now being in the EU is detrimental to our national interest. Richard Nabavi tells us that we will need to safeguard the City if we are to stay in. If we can't we should withdraw. But the implication of this is that leaving will not hurt the City.

    Given all of that, what is the point of wasting the next four years obsessing about the whole thing? Why not just get back the powers we need now by withdrawing, while also saving ourselves a great deal of money every year?

    The whole Tory position is surely a tacit admission that everything Farage says about us leaving the EU is correct. And if that is the case, advocating that we should waste time (and more money we cannot afford to spend) trying for a renegotiation that will not actually make much difference to us is absurd.

    Of course, the alternative is that Cameron and co actually believe it would be disastrous for us to leave the EU, do not havew the guts to say so and are using the referendum as a ploy to make the argument go away unti after the next GE.

    Nah, what you are missing is the following:

    1. There are benefits to staying in the EU
    2. Currently the benefits are outweighed by the costs/risks
    3. If you believe that you can renegotiate the terms of our membership so that the benefits are increased or the costs/risks reduced then there potential could be a case for staying in
    4. If this is the situation, then the net cost of membership on sub-optimal terms for the next 4 years could be more than offset by the improved benefits in future years
    5. However, if you believe that there are no circumstances in which a meaningful renegotiation is possible then it becomes rational to leave now
    6. We will be fine either way. Life is rarely as dramatic as people like to believe.
  • glassfetglassfet Posts: 220

    The whole Tory position is surely a tacit admission that everything Farage says about us leaving the EU is correct.

    No.

    The UKIP position is that Europe is all bad.
    The Tory position is that some Europe is good, some bad. Make the bad bits better, and it would be worth staying in.
  • samonipadsamonipad Posts: 182

    A bit of cross-party love in Broxtowe. The author of this piece embodies the left of Broxtowe Labour. She's writing something nice about Anna Soubry, in the local independent blog - and I agree with her.

    http://beestonia.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/same-sex-marriage-debate-a-report-by-jane-marshall/#comment-1958


    Blimey I don't this girl would take to me! Marriage being for men and women who want to procreate = toxic? How times change
  • NeilNeil Posts: 7,983
    samonipad said:

    His argument is that if you oppose the death penalty "in case one innocent person is mistakenly killed" then you must be against any form of war that includes killing innocent civilians.

    It's not an entirely convincing argument.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 43,638
    @Southam_Observer

    The key is that the euro has changed our relationship with the EU for good. Before the euro we had largely been successful in ensuring that real power in the EU was vested in the Council of Ministers and controlled on an intergovernmental basis that we were broadly happy with.

    Now we have a group of nations who are in a single bloc. They are in the process of integrating their banking systems, their fiscal systems, their debt. If they don't do this the euro will fail. If they start to vote as a bloc they will rule through QMV. After Lisbon the scope of that is very wide. We will not have a say.

    So we need to have more opt outs and ability to protect our national interests such as the City. We need to be protected from the tyranny of that bloc. If we can't we leave. Cameron thinks he can get this. If he is right there are arguments for staying in and the question will be finely balanced. If he is not it will be pretty simple.
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881

    O/T. The International Business Times asked me to put together a quick piece about the Farage incident -

    'Farage's Edinburgh Disaster Shows Scotland is a Different Country'

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/468579/20130517/nigel-farage-ukip-edinburgh-protest.htm

    Very good piece until you get to the second last paragraph. Any Scot who seriously believes - as opposed to says - that UKIP could form a coalition with the Tories any time soon is certifiable.

  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 16,147
    DavidL said:

    Sorry to keep repeating the point but it does seem key to me. Either the eurozone bloc hold together and get ever more integrated or it breaks up over the next couple of years. If it is the former then leaving seems inevitable. This will no longer be a club in which we are or ever will be a full member and of which we will not have a real say on its operation.

    Alternatively the UK may join the Euro...

    But assuming that doesn't happen for a while, it's not necessarily true that the UK wouldn't be able to have a constructive relationship on things it's inside while outside the Euro. The key to it is that as the Eurozone gets more integrated, its politics will become more aligned on left-right lines and less on national lines.

    A decent parallel would be Scotland inside the UK. When the left has a majority in the UK, Scotland very well represented. When the right has a majority, it's not so well represented, but it's still a little bit unusual for the UK to do things that are deliberately mean to Scotland. (I guess testing the poll tax on them would be an example, but it's not that common.)
  • glassfetglassfet Posts: 220
    Genuinely frightening

    @kiranstacey: Ed Miliband goes for "sexy photoshoot". Fails. http://bit.ly/YJDKuH (Eric Pickles on the other hand...)
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322
    "So in practice, it sounds like Cameron's plan must be for two referendums.."

    Not really. In practice, Cameron isn't going to get a deal with major reforms in the first place. He'll be thrown a few bones by the EU that can get through backed with unanimous agreement in the original negotiation. He'll then get back to the UK and say he's won big for Britainis possible yadda, yadda, yadda, the Times, FT etc will back him saying reform is possible. This will probably cause a bump in the stay in side in the polls for a short period. It will wear off, but it depends on how quickly it does whether the vote is arranged in time.
  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    James Kelly on one side, George Galloway on the other:

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/468506/20130517/george-galloway-nigel-farage-ukip-edinburgh-bbc.htm

    Best for PB Tories to keep well out of it...
  • JamesKellyJamesKelly Posts: 1,348
    "Any Scot who seriously believes - as opposed to says - that UKIP could form a coalition with the Tories any time soon is certifiable."

    Well, it could go one of two ways. If Farage was to get a place in TV leaders' debates, then a UKIP breakthrough in terms of seats could be on the cards as soon as the next general election. But by the "not-too-distant future" what I really meant was within the next 15-20 years, which is really what's at stake at the referendum.
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881
    Charles said:

    Having thought about it, this is what I do not get:

    The Tories tell us we need to renegotiate the terms of our membership in order for being in the EU to make sense. In other words, what they are saying is that right now being in the EU is detrimental to our national interest. Richard Nabavi tells us that we will need to safeguard the City if we are to stay in. If we can't we should withdraw. But the implication of this is that leaving will not hurt the City.

    Given all of that, what is the point of wasting the next four years obsessing about the whole thing? Why not just get back the powers we need now by withdrawing, while also saving ourselves a great deal of money every year?

    The whole Tory position is surely a tacit admission that everything Farage says about us leaving the EU is correct. And if that is the case, advocating that we should waste time (and more money we cannot afford to spend) trying for a renegotiation that will not actually make much difference to us is absurd.

    Of course, the alternative is that Cameron and co actually believe it would be disastrous for us to leave the EU, do not havew the guts to say so and are using the referendum as a ploy to make the argument go away unti after the next GE.

    Nah, what you are missing is the following:

    1. There are benefits to staying in the EU
    2. Currently the benefits are outweighed by the costs/risks
    3. If you believe that you can renegotiate the terms of our membership so that the benefits are increased or the costs/risks reduced then there potential could be a case for staying in
    4. If this is the situation, then the net cost of membership on sub-optimal terms for the next 4 years could be more than offset by the improved benefits in future years
    5. However, if you believe that there are no circumstances in which a meaningful renegotiation is possible then it becomes rational to leave now
    6. We will be fine either way. Life is rarely as dramatic as people like to believe.

    If we will be fine either way, then we should leave.

    If the renegotiation is about things that will make only a very slight difference, then we should leave.

    The only reason to stay in is if it is overwhelmingly in our national interest. Otherwise, the sacrifices we make in terms of sovereignty and monetary contribution are just too great.

  • @IMHO

    I love that the Germans think of it i terms of sausages. In response we should ask for an extra pork pie and if they insist on dealing in sausages demand half a pound of black pudding

    The Germans have no sense of humour and their jokes about sausages are the wurst!
  • samonipadsamonipad Posts: 182
    It would be great to see the results of an opinion poll which posed the question

    Would you agree that "marriage should predominantly be between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation" was a toxic point of view?
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 43,638

    DavidL said:

    Sorry to keep repeating the point but it does seem key to me. Either the eurozone bloc hold together and get ever more integrated or it breaks up over the next couple of years. If it is the former then leaving seems inevitable. This will no longer be a club in which we are or ever will be a full member and of which we will not have a real say on its operation.

    Alternatively the UK may join the Euro...

    But assuming that doesn't happen for a while, it's not necessarily true that the UK wouldn't be able to have a constructive relationship on things it's inside while outside the Euro. The key to it is that as the Eurozone gets more integrated, its politics will become more aligned on left-right lines and less on national lines.

    A decent parallel would be Scotland inside the UK. When the left has a majority in the UK, Scotland very well represented. When the right has a majority, it's not so well represented, but it's still a little bit unusual for the UK to do things that are deliberately mean to Scotland. (I guess testing the poll tax on them would be an example, but it's not that common.)
    I agree that I was working on the assumption we would not join the euro. The UK is not going to accept a relationship in which we are reliant on others being "nice". Not least because the City regulations indicate that they will not. I will leave the implications of such a position to Scotland for James to pick up.

  • SquareRootSquareRoot Posts: 7,095
    @samonipad

    You need to remove the word predominantly. In any event, marriage is and always has been between a man and a woman. The law may change to say that it is no longer the case, but if so, the law is an ass.
  • samonipadsamonipad Posts: 182

    Charles said:

    Having thought about it, this is what I do not get:

    The Tories tell us we need to renegotiate the terms of our membership in order for being in the EU to make sense. In other words, what they are saying is that right now being in the EU is detrimental to our national interest. Richard Nabavi tells us that we will need to safeguard the City if we are to stay in. If we can't we should withdraw. But the implication of this is that leaving will not hurt the City.

    Given all of that, what is the point of wasting the next four years obsessing about the whole thing? Why not just get back the powers we need now by withdrawing, while also saving ourselves a great deal of money every year?

    The whole Tory position is surely a tacit admission that everything Farage says about us leaving the EU is correct. And if that is the case, advocating that we should waste time (and more money we cannot afford to spend) trying for a renegotiation that will not actually make much difference to us is absurd.

    Of course, the alternative is that Cameron and co actually believe it would be disastrous for us to leave the EU, do not havew the guts to say so and are using the referendum as a ploy to make the argument go away unti after the next GE.

    Nah, what you are missing is the following:

    1. There are benefits to staying in the EU
    2. Currently the benefits are outweighed by the costs/risks
    3. If you believe that you can renegotiate the terms of our membership so that the benefits are increased or the costs/risks reduced then there potential could be a case for staying in
    4. If this is the situation, then the net cost of membership on sub-optimal terms for the next 4 years could be more than offset by the improved benefits in future years
    5. However, if you believe that there are no circumstances in which a meaningful renegotiation is possible then it becomes rational to leave now
    6. We will be fine either way. Life is rarely as dramatic as people like to believe.

    If we will be fine either way, then we should leave.

    If the renegotiation is about things that will make only a very slight difference, then we should leave.

    The only reason to stay in is if it is overwhelmingly in our national interest. Otherwise, the sacrifices we make in terms of sovereignty and monetary contribution are just too great.

    Point six is probably the most correct and least followed bit of advice in life generally
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 36,881
    Socrates said:

    "So in practice, it sounds like Cameron's plan must be for two referendums.."

    Not really. In practice, Cameron isn't going to get a deal with major reforms in the first place. He'll be thrown a few bones by the EU that can get through backed with unanimous agreement in the original negotiation. He'll then get back to the UK and say he's won big for Britainis possible yadda, yadda, yadda, the Times, FT etc will back him saying reform is possible. This will probably cause a bump in the stay in side in the polls for a short period. It will wear off, but it depends on how quickly it does whether the vote is arranged in time.

    It's hard to disagree with that in terms of its analysis of Cameron's plans. In two years Cameron knows he is not going to get a complete renegotiation of the fundamentals of EU membership. Our EU friends know that he knows that too. The whole thing is a sham. If Cameron really believed the UK's national interest was suffering as the result of EU membership he would not be leaving it four years to do something about it.

  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 16,147
    Socrates said:

    "So in practice, it sounds like Cameron's plan must be for two referendums.."

    Not really. In practice, Cameron isn't going to get a deal with major reforms in the first place. He'll be thrown a few bones by the EU that can get through backed with unanimous agreement in the original negotiation. He'll then get back to the UK and say he's won big for Britainis possible yadda, yadda, yadda, the Times, FT etc will back him saying reform is possible. This will probably cause a bump in the stay in side in the polls for a short period. It will wear off, but it depends on how quickly it does whether the vote is arranged in time.

    I think you're too pessimistic: In the unlikely event that he manages to get reelected it's quite plausible that he'd be able to renegotiate the Working Time Directive plus two, perhaps even three, Ferrero Rochers. The hitch is that IIUC even opting back out of the Working Time Directive would require the consent of all 28 member states, and right now the people represented by the organizations that have to pass it would object to motherhood and apple pie if it was tabled as a proposal by the Council of Ministers.

    So it would have to be:
    1) Referendum on whether you want to be in the EU with longer working hours and three Ferrero Rochers, then if yes:
    2) Referendum on whether you want to be in the EU even with shorter working hours and no Ferrero Rochers.

    Alternatively I suppose you skip step (2), the skeptics can say the voters were conned and everybody gets to work themselves into a state of righteous indignation about it for another 40 years.
  • glassfetglassfet Posts: 220

    If Cameron really believed the UK's national interest was suffering as the result of EU membership he would not be leaving it four years to do something about it.

    He is not leaving it for four years.
  • OblitusSumMeOblitusSumMe Posts: 9,143

    ... and are using the referendum as a ploy to make the argument go away until after the next GE.

    A ploy? Perhaps.

    Suppose that Cameron wants Britain to remain in the EU. He can only achieve this if he can win public support for EU membership. If he simply advocates membership of the EU on the present terms he will not remain leader of the Conservative Party for very long, and in any case simply telling people who are currently opposed to the EU that they are wrong is rarely very persuasive.

    So he has to agree with them in the first instance, gain their trust, negotiate some concessions - personally I think that if he can't manage to get the EU Parliament to stay in Brussels then symbolically he will have failed - so that he can declare victory and bring some of these sceptics with him to vote for glorious continued membership of the EU.

    Suppose the opposite, that Cameron has concluded that Britain will have to leave the EU. How best to bring the British people with him? If he simply advocates leaving then he risks being painted as an extremist, and unreasonable. What simple explanation would he have for changing his mind on EU membership?

    So he has to declare that he is in favour of EU membership in principle, but that the practical details of that membership need to be improved. He will attempt to renegotiate, in good faith, but will reluctantly have to tell the British people that no such renegotiation could be successfully completed with the EU. Thus he will hope to bring reluctant waverers who are not ready to take the leap out of the EU to vote with him for glorious independence from the EU.

    In both these possibilities it is about trying to forge an emotional connection with moderate people just to one side of the debate, and to take them with him to support his policy (whatever it is).

    Or it could be that he genuinely does not know what to do at all, is convinced that he lacks the Parliamentary support for any policy that he might form anyway (and so what would be the point) and sees this as the best way to keep as many potential UKIP voters on board as possible, so that the damage of the 2015 defeat is limited.
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 19,375
    samonipad said:

    It would be great to see the results of an opinion poll which posed the question

    Would you agree that "marriage should predominantly be between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation" was a toxic point of view?

    You'd need a screen question:

    "Do you know what procreation means?"

    I bet you'd get some interesting answers.

  • glassfetglassfet Posts: 220
    @GregHands

    Is the UKIP-SNP spat being engineered by both parties, desperate to stay in the news? They do share a defect in each only having one policy.
  • RichardNabaviRichardNabavi Posts: 3,413
    On the EU, everyone seems to forget that it's not David Cameron's fault that we start from a bad position.

    There are no options which are both satisfactory and easy. That's hardly a recommendation for the Miliband position of doing nothing.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758

    Charles said:

    Having thought about it, this is what I do not get:

    The Tories tell us we need to renegotiate the terms of our membership in order for being in the EU to make sense. In other words, what they are saying is that right now being in the EU is detrimental to our national interest. Richard Nabavi tells us that we will need to safeguard the City if we are to stay in. If we can't we should withdraw. But the implication of this is that leaving will not hurt the City.

    Given all of that, what is the point of wasting the next four years obsessing about the whole thing? Why not just get back the powers we need now by withdrawing, while also saving ourselves a great deal of money every year?

    The whole Tory position is surely a tacit admission that everything Farage says about us leaving the EU is correct. And if that is the case, advocating that we should waste time (and more money we cannot afford to spend) trying for a renegotiation that will not actually make much difference to us is absurd.

    Of course, the alternative is that Cameron and co actually believe it would be disastrous for us to leave the EU, do not havew the guts to say so and are using the referendum as a ploy to make the argument go away unti after the next GE.

    Nah, what you are missing is the following:

    1. There are benefits to staying in the EU
    2. Currently the benefits are outweighed by the costs/risks
    3. If you believe that you can renegotiate the terms of our membership so that the benefits are increased or the costs/risks reduced then there potential could be a case for staying in
    4. If this is the situation, then the net cost of membership on sub-optimal terms for the next 4 years could be more than offset by the improved benefits in future years
    5. However, if you believe that there are no circumstances in which a meaningful renegotiation is possible then it becomes rational to leave now
    6. We will be fine either way. Life is rarely as dramatic as people like to believe.

    If we will be fine either way, then we should leave.

    If the renegotiation is about things that will make only a very slight difference, then we should leave.

    The only reason to stay in is if it is overwhelmingly in our national interest. Otherwise, the sacrifices we make in terms of sovereignty and monetary contribution are just too great.

    Indeed, and neither you nor I are in a position to judge what the outcome of the renegotiation will be. For it to be worth staying in it needs to be meaningful. But the PM is arguing that it will be meaningful (potentially) and so we should give him the benefit of the doubt.
  • Socrates said:

    "So in practice, it sounds like Cameron's plan must be for two referendums.."

    Not really. In practice, Cameron isn't going to get a deal with major reforms in the first place. He'll be thrown a few bones by the EU that can get through backed with unanimous agreement in the original negotiation. He'll then get back to the UK and say he's won big for Britainis possible yadda, yadda, yadda, the Times, FT etc will back him saying reform is possible. This will probably cause a bump in the stay in side in the polls for a short period. It will wear off, but it depends on how quickly it does whether the vote is arranged in time.

    It's hard to disagree with that in terms of its analysis of Cameron's plans. In two years Cameron knows he is not going to get a complete renegotiation of the fundamentals of EU membership. Our EU friends know that he knows that too. The whole thing is a sham. If Cameron really believed the UK's national interest was suffering as the result of EU membership he would not be leaving it four years to do something about it.

    I agree - the suggestion that a referendum on a hypothetical renegotiation can be agreed for a specific date is a nonsense. Once an agreement is reached (which would obviously need involvement of all member states, not just some pie in the sky unilateral special deal) then it can be put to a vote - but you cannot say exactly when that would be. Therefore to say that a renegotiated deal will be put to a vote once agree is fine, but obviously no time scale. That appears to be the Labour and LibDem positions.

    Alternatively an in/out referendum now is logical in principle, although I would argue deeply undesirable. That is the UKIP position (albeit they think it desirable).

    So the UKIP and also the Labour/LibDem positions actually make sense. The tory one is nonsense unless your promise is simply a sham or tokenism.

  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322

    Socrates said:

    "So in practice, it sounds like Cameron's plan must be for two referendums.."

    Not really. In practice, Cameron isn't going to get a deal with major reforms in the first place. He'll be thrown a few bones by the EU that can get through backed with unanimous agreement in the original negotiation. He'll then get back to the UK and say he's won big for Britainis possible yadda, yadda, yadda, the Times, FT etc will back him saying reform is possible. This will probably cause a bump in the stay in side in the polls for a short period. It will wear off, but it depends on how quickly it does whether the vote is arranged in time.

    I think you're too pessimistic: In the unlikely event that he manages to get reelected it's quite plausible that he'd be able to renegotiate the Working Time Directive plus two, perhaps even three, Ferrero Rochers. The hitch is that IIUC even opting back out of the Working Time Directive would require the consent of all 28 member states, and right now the people represented by the organizations that have to pass it would object to motherhood and apple pie if it was tabled as a proposal by the Council of Ministers.

    So it would have to be:
    1) Referendum on whether you want to be in the EU with longer working hours and three Ferrero Rochers, then if yes:
    2) Referendum on whether you want to be in the EU even with shorter working hours and no Ferrero Rochers.

    Alternatively I suppose you skip step (2), the skeptics can say the voters were conned and everybody gets to work themselves into a state of righteous indignation about it for another 40 years.
    Perhaps, but the French would reject motherhood and apple pie anyway, as they are symbols of America and neo-imperialism. Which organizations would have to pass it that won't be signed up to the original negotiations? It will all be parliaments that have to pass it, and the PMs at negotiations will have majority in those parliaments. They might knock off one Ferrero Rocher, but we'll get to keep the other two, and that won't be enough of a difference for a second referendum.
  • david_kendrick1david_kendrick1 Posts: 325
    edited May 2013
    UKIP don't need to worry about closer scrutiny of their policies. Very few voters are interested in policy---they are grossly over-rated for all parties. Every time I meet Farage, I urge him not to succumb to the temptation to produce another policy.

    But BOO is different. My son asked me, 'How much better off?'. I told him about costs of membership...gold-plating...instituitional corruption...BRICS....Then I wheeled out my clincher: we wouldn't join now, would we?

    'I can accept that, on balance, we'd be BOO. However, it seems to me closer than you think it is. And I wouldn't vote to join now, if we weren't in. But that's a non-point, because that's not what we will be asked. You've given me nothing that I could use to persuade my peer group, most of whom are both undecided and disinterested, that the UK should give notice to quit the EU'.

    'Remember, most of them don't have the priviledge of a father who is a UKIP candidate'.
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 59,112
    F1: Joe Saward unimpressed by the mid-season tyre change:
    http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/the-rules-of-the-game/
  • glassfetglassfet Posts: 220


    I agree - the suggestion that a referendum on a hypothetical renegotiation can be agreed for a specific date is a nonsense. Once an agreement is reached (which would obviously need involvement of all member states, not just some pie in the sky unilateral special deal) then it can be put to a vote - but you cannot say exactly when that would be. Therefore to say that a renegotiated deal will be put to a vote once agree is fine, but obviously no time scale. That appears to be the Labour and LibDem positions.

    The Tory position is the sensible one.

    The Labour/LD position is tomorrow, and tomorrow. There would always be another excuse for not doing it.

    Setting a date is entirely sensible and consistent if you believe the current status quo is untenable. Negotiate what you can, vote on what you get. If you get nothing, vote out.

    The UKIP position is out regardless.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758

    samonipad said:

    It would be great to see the results of an opinion poll which posed the question

    Would you agree that "marriage should predominantly be between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation" was a toxic point of view?

    You'd need a screen question:

    "Do you know what procreation means?"

    I bet you'd get some interesting answers.

    I'm procreation. Nihilism is such a depressing philosophy ;-)
  • glassfet said:


    I agree - the suggestion that a referendum on a hypothetical renegotiation can be agreed for a specific date is a nonsense. Once an agreement is reached (which would obviously need involvement of all member states, not just some pie in the sky unilateral special deal) then it can be put to a vote - but you cannot say exactly when that would be. Therefore to say that a renegotiated deal will be put to a vote once agree is fine, but obviously no time scale. That appears to be the Labour and LibDem positions.

    The Tory position is the sensible one.

    The Labour/LD position is tomorrow, and tomorrow. There would always be another excuse for not doing it.

    Setting a date is entirely sensible and consistent if you believe the current status quo is untenable. Negotiate what you can, vote on what you get. If you get nothing, vote out.

    The UKIP position is out regardless.
    How can you set a date for a vote on a renegotiated position when the timescale of those negotiations is not under your control? You can't, it is nonsense.
  • AlanbrookeAlanbrooke Posts: 21,645

    UKIP don't need to worry about closer scrutiny of their policies. Very few voters are interested in policy---they are grossly over-rated for all parties. Every time I meet Farage, I urge him not to succumb to the temptation to produce another policy.

    But BOO is different. My son asked me, 'How much better off?'. I told him about costs of membership...gold-plating...instituitional corruption...BRICS....Then I wheeled out my clincher: we wouldn't join now, would we?

    'I can accept that, on balance, we'd be BOO. However, it seems to me closer than you think it is. And I wouldn't vote to join now, if we weren't in. But that's a non-point, because that's not what we'll asked. You've given me nothing that I could use to persuade my peer group, most of whom are both undecided and disinterested, that the UK should give notice to quit the EU'.

    'Remember, most of them don't have the priviledge of a father who is a UKIP candidate'.

    Smart boy. In essence Out has a lot of work to do since needs to convince the scpetics and the just not interested to vote. Currently the arguments tend to be both sides saying their argument is irrefutable. Out would gain more by conceding a few points and making a better balanced case.
  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 16,147
    edited May 2013
    Socrates said:

    Socrates said:

    "So in practice, it sounds like Cameron's plan must be for two referendums.."

    Not really. In practice, Cameron isn't going to get a deal with major reforms in the first place. He'll be thrown a few bones by the EU that can get through backed with unanimous agreement in the original negotiation. He'll then get back to the UK and say he's won big for Britainis possible yadda, yadda, yadda, the Times, FT etc will back him saying reform is possible. This will probably cause a bump in the stay in side in the polls for a short period. It will wear off, but it depends on how quickly it does whether the vote is arranged in time.

    I think you're too pessimistic: In the unlikely event that he manages to get reelected it's quite plausible that he'd be able to renegotiate the Working Time Directive plus two, perhaps even three, Ferrero Rochers. The hitch is that IIUC even opting back out of the Working Time Directive would require the consent of all 28 member states, and right now the people represented by the organizations that have to pass it would object to motherhood and apple pie if it was tabled as a proposal by the Council of Ministers.

    So it would have to be:
    1) Referendum on whether you want to be in the EU with longer working hours and three Ferrero Rochers, then if yes:
    2) Referendum on whether you want to be in the EU even with shorter working hours and no Ferrero Rochers.

    Alternatively I suppose you skip step (2), the skeptics can say the voters were conned and everybody gets to work themselves into a state of righteous indignation about it for another 40 years.
    Perhaps, but the French would reject motherhood and apple pie anyway, as they are symbols of America and neo-imperialism. Which organizations would have to pass it that won't be signed up to the original negotiations? It will all be parliaments that have to pass it, and the PMs at negotiations will have majority in those parliaments. They might knock off one Ferrero Rocher, but we'll get to keep the other two, and that won't be enough of a difference for a second referendum.
    Well, you need to pass parliamentary committees, legislatures, second chambers, presidents, constitutional courts and probably a couple of referendums. The PMs who signed the deal would presumably have majorities in the legislatures, and usually parliamentary committees, at the time they signed the deal. But it takes time between signing a deal and ratifying it, and there would be a fair few changes of government in between, where you'd switch from somebody who lost an election saying it was a good deal to somebody who won an election saying it was a sell-out. Meanwhile, second chambers are often in the hands of the opposition, and referendums are effectively random.

    You can't just knock off one Ferrero Rocher - you have to pass the whole thing or it all goes back to the drawing board.

    The skeptics should be aware of this, because they've been spending years trying to throw sand in the gears to stop the engine of integration moving forwards. One of the British tactics was enlargement, which makes unanimous decision-making very hard. They shouldn't be surprised if they try to put the engine into reverse, and discover it's completely seized up.
  • SocratesSocrates Posts: 10,322

    You've given me nothing that I could use to persuade my peer group, most of whom are both undecided and disinterested, that the UK should give notice to quit the EU'.

    Potential answers:

    "Your food bills could be cut by hundreds each year"
    "Our politicians would have to start listening more to your generation rather than aging bureaucrats in Brussels"
    "The billions we would save in membership fees could be spent on more teachers and nurses"
    "More trade with India and Brazil will help provide a lot more jobs for young people"
This discussion has been closed.