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Brexit

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by St Claire, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. St Claire

    St Claire Void Walker

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    So, I remember a while ago there was a thread asking people if they would vote to have Britain leave or remain i the EU. I can't find the thread, so either I wasn't looking hard enough, or it was lost in the reset, but I remember there were people on both sides.

    Now that #brexit has happened I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on these recent events. I, for one, am Very Upset and angry. Because of this I may be seeing a second global recession in my lifetime. Not to mention the impact this has on countries remaining in the EU. The extreme right in France and Italy have already begun calling for their own referendums. It may be unlikely to happen, but I also thought it was unlikely to happen to Britain.
     
  2. Mirath

    Mirath The Animus Master
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    That was mine, and it was moved to Defending Your Territory for a better use. Too late now, heh...

    I have heard of other EU countries thinking of leaving, and I think Scotland and Northern Ireland are also thinking of leaving the UK. There are also things going around on Facebook in the form of a petition, calling for a second EU referendum - to my current knowledge, it has over a million signatures
     
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  3. AshenFall

    AshenFall Danger Floof
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    I for one am extremely satisfied we have left the EU. Yes, things are most certainly going to be rough and it's not going to be an easy ride to get to a stable state where we shall finally be better off. But honestly, had we decided to remain our future, and the future of the EU would have been bleak.

    The EU as it is, it's heading on a slow road to destruction. At one point, the EU was a great thing, but now its goals have been skewed. It's all well people saying "oh we'd be safe in the EU, this was a horrendous mistake", but in all honesty I haven't seen anyone who has mentioned solid positives to staying in the EU that can't be done when we're independent. Every country there is out for themselves, naturally. And look how badly some countries have suffered by staying in the EU. My prime example being Greece.

    Yes, we may hit a recession and yes, our future is completely uncertain. But what if we had stayed, how can we not be sure we wouldn't end up like Greece? Either way we would hit a recession, that is pretty much certain. On the subject of the countries now also asking for referendums to possible leave the EU. Is that not telling of the state of the EU?

    If it really were a good idea to stay, then why on this Earth would countries want to jump ship and leave? Bearing in mind some of these countries were considering leaving even before the vote results were revealed.

    I have found most people kicking up a stink about the whole situation are middle class people who are used to getting their own way and/or outraged at the fact it makes things that tiny bit harder for them to travel abroad and a minority of people who are genuinely uncertain or concerned about the future. Concern is only natural, I too am worried about what the future holds, but it was between letting the EU run us to the ground along with the rest of Europe, or cutting ourselves out and attempting to find our own feet, albeit if it is a shaky start.

    As a working class individual this is the best news I have had in a long time, independence. People were terrified about the sudden drop in the GBP rate, however it has been grossly sensationalized by the media. Sudden drops in rates have been very common and although it has been one of the most significant drops in history, the Bank of England were prepared and the rate has since gone back up considerably.

    I apologize for the length of this post, but I have strong emotions towards this, especially fueled by the immaturity of a large amount of Remain voters who have been insulting and throwing temper tantrums at those of us who voted Leave.

    Concern about our economics and ability to stand on our own feet are sensible and natural. However, I am sick to death of these people over the web screaming and calling me and other Brexit backers racist, bigoted, uneducated, low working class scum, irresponsible, xenophobic and et cetera. The fact they have made a petition fuels my point of their immaturity. They wish to overrule a democratic decision made by the people of the UK to get their own way. Petition to redo the referendum so they can attempt to change the result? Talk about sore losers. They make me sick.

    To say I'm not worried about how our economy may suffer in the aftermath would be a blatant lie. But I have faith in us as a country. If we were to fail, it just proves that we've been relying on other countries for too long. We'll just wait and see, the chances and facts are that after a very rough patch we will become stronger and better off.

    Take the rough with the smooth, it would have happened either way from what I have researched and seen.
     
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  4. Laufey

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    Although I live in America, I have been somewhat following this peice of news. Although I have no idea if leaving the EU is a good move for y'all or not- it resonates with me due to our coming election in November.

    Just thought I'd share that.
     
  5. FaerieForged

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    I presently live in America, however in September I'll be moving to London for schooling, and my long term goal is to become a UK citizen. With the drop in difference between the GBP and the USD, my tuition and living expenses are a little over 10% cheaper now, which is a huge plus because I'll be the one paying back loans, not my parents like FAFSA seems to think happens.
    And I've on and off followed the happenings of the EU for a while now, and it's gone rather off course. They make plenty of decisions but don't really stop and think about the ramifications. Take the Lisbon Treaty for example. A lot of countries didn't want the ammendment, but it got voted in through the back door.
    Unfortunately it has bolstered the cowardly racists that have always been in the UK, only much quieter, and that's a big problem since the reports of racisim and xenophobia has gone up over 50%. And there will certainly be a period of unrest for a few years, especially since it will be two years until Britain officially leaves the EU, but the rocky start will smooth over and the world will get back on track. So the middle class has to holiday closer to home for a year or two, boohoo. It's a political movement that has the potential to be a much greater asset to their people than staying would have.
     
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  6. Shiro

    Shiro The foxy wolfeh ;p
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    I live in America, but I have many friends in the United Kingdom. I mention the fact that I live in America, because I am not within the United Kingdom and cannot see the less-obvious internal effects of Brexit, and I feel that's an important thing for everyone to be aware of before I make my opinion. However, my current belief of Brexit is that it's a good thing and a large number of people people who are against it are caught up in ideals rather than the actuality of the situation. Brexit is the UK's attempt to be independent.

    The European Union is not the United Nations, and essentially wants to create a "United States of Europe". The EU can pass directives that all of its member states must follow. The body that passes these directives is appointed by the governments of member states and is not democratically elected in any way. The EU also occasionally makes ridiculous directives that make absolutely no sense that citizens of the United Kingdom would have overwhelmingly voted to defeat were they able to have a referendum on specific EU directives. The EU imposes taxes and does many things that only a country should be able to do. If the United States were a member of such an organization, this would be a huge constitutional and ethical issue.

    The reason people are getting upset and calling the United Kingdom racist and xenophobic is because of the ideals of the EU and because it does have some very nice benefits. Citizens of member countries are able to access other EU member countries freely (and often work and live in these countries) and the EU is often seen by many people as a symbol of globalization and unification and other well-meaning concepts. However, the ideals of the EU and the realities of the EU are very separate things. Norway is not a member of the EU, but has an agreement with the EU allowing similar freedom of movement. It is likely the UK, upon exit negotiations, will work similar things out.

    TL;DR: Brexit is not racist or xenophobic, and it has its pros and its cons, but ultimately it is probably a good thing.
     
    #6 Shiro, Jul 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  7. sam

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    Personally I support leaving, though given the polls were still calling it for Remain the day before, the day of the result was certainly a surreal, through-the-looking-glass-like moment. It's a remarkable occasion.

    It's sometimes joked that there are two types of people who support the EU: people who are paid by it, and people who don't understand it. I won't claim that to be invariably true, but I do think a lot of people who support the EU come to support it not because they understand it, but because they get caught up in the (false) narrative and sentiment in which it is wrapped.

    The Narrative. The modern era is the era of globalization, of separate nations coming together to solve the world's problems, working together with other countries, etc. And so the European Union, which binds countries together in common causes, as a union of countries purportedly working together, looks, from a few miles away, to be a desirable vehicle for such efforts. The branding, the packaging, the narrative of the EU, as such, is easily appealing.

    The reality, however, is different. Globalisation does not end at the borders of the European Union. A few of the more minor arguments made by the Remain campaign were things like automatic health insurance for intra-EU travel, extradition within the EU via the European Arrest Warrant, and claims that airlines would have difficulty flying routes if we left(!). The bizarre implications are that nobody ever dares to travel beyond the EU, because if they get ill, they will be left to die; that fugitives need merely flee to a non-EU country to escape justice; and that, as we all know, airlines cannot fly between EU and non-EU countries, and the only way to get to the USA is by ship. :V

    Trade. There is an entire system of global trade which has been constructed, and the European Union is an increasing irrelevance in light of that system. In fact, the European Union obstructs us from full participation in that global system of trade. Because the European Union has designs on becoming a nation-state unto itself, it assumes a legal personality of its own and imposes a common external position; member states are precluded from making their own trade agreements with other countries. This means that any trade agreements the EU does make it does so only after obtaining the consent of its 28 member states, each with their own varied interests. This makes the EU a notoriously lethargic negotiator of trade agreements, to the point that Switzerland, a non-EU country dwarfed by the EU, has trade agreements worth many times those of the EU (in terms of the sum total GDP of the countries contracted with). Even if the United Kingdom wished to make a trade agreement with another country to their mutual benefit, it could not do so; only the EU could, and such a deal may be frustrated or shelved indefinitely by a concern raised by another member state, which may be wholly inapplicable to the UK's economy.

    As a member of the European Union, the UK's seat on the World Trade Organization is suspended. Moreover, though many complain of crazy EU directives for which no real mode of redress is available, if they end up damaging people or small businesses or so on, in reality a lot of these EU directives originate not from the EU itself, but from international bodies such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), International Labour Organization, International Maritime Organization, Codex, etc. The EU is thus sometimes described as in actuality more of a "rule taker" than a "rule maker". But as a member of the European Union, the UK cannot participate directly in these bodies, but must be represented by a common EU position. And whereas the UNECE makes rules voluntarily adopted, essentially mere suggestions for laws, the EU imposes them unaccountably.

    Thus, by leaving, not only does the UK regain the ability to make trade agreements, and according to the needs of its own economy specifically, it gains the ability to retake its seat on international bodies and actually influence the development of international regulations before they even get to the EU level. As such, claims that as a country outside of the EU, but in a trading relationship with it, we would have to comply with all of its laws anyway, but get no say in them, is misleading. Paradoxically, it may actually give us a greater say in much of these regulations. And whereas as an EU member the UK must apply EU regulations not only to trade to the EU, but to all trade, outside of the EU the UK need not apply these regulations to its domestic market, if it so wishes. Of course, one would still need to comply with EU regulations for trade to the EU, but this is the case for *any* country in the world one sells to, and should thus not be particularly troubling prospect. Besides, if the UK opts for the "Norway" settlement by opting to retain membership of the European Economic Area via EFTA (essentially the free trade area without the political union baggage), the EU is still obliged to consult EEA members as part of the legislative process, and the EEA "acquis" (regulations) are only a minority of EU law, meaning that there is still a substantial reduction in regulatory burden. The UK will lose the right to vote on EU regulations within the EU, but this is not necessarily all that important a right, and the UK as only one of 28 member states is not uncommonly outvoted. The ability to influence legislation before it even reaches the EU level may not be the obvious choice, but it is the shrewd one, and will actually influence policy beyond just the EU. For an example of how bizarre things can get, this is a story of how the UK had to find a non-EU member of an international body, the International Maritime Organisation, to submit a proposal to it on its behalf, because the UK itself was blocked from doing so by the EU.

    So this gives the lie to the claim by pro-Remain politicians that "Britain should be at the top table". The EU is not the top table anymore; in fact, our membership of it *prevents* us from being at the top tables. It's actually a damaging position to our global interests. Moreover, as a customs union the EU is if anything an obstructor to free trade. The UK's inability to make its own trade agreements is especially absurd when one considers that the economic growth of the EU is so miserable relative to other regions, yet the UK is prevented from making its own agreements with growing markets such as the BRIC countries.

    One of the most derisive things about the EU are the ways in which it actually now, despite purportedly being an organization to enable free trade, makes trading within it harder than trading internationally. The EU recently introduced new VAT (EU sales tax) laws for digital goods (ebooks and the like). These rules mean that digital goods sellers must determine the country in which the purchaser is located, obtain two forms of evidence for that (potentially difficult in some circumstances), and levy the VAT rate appropriate for that country. This means that a seller, no matter how small a business, has to track the varying VAT rates of dozens of different member states, and then remit the taxes to the appropriate authority. Supposedly, some very small businesses have chosen to shut down than comply with these rules. Others have chosen to sell only domestically and internationally, but not to other EU member states (which is probably not allowed, but demonstrates the absurdity of the situation).

    Democracy. I don't think I even remember hearing anything about democracy from Remain campaigners. Essentially it's no contest: the EU is undemocratic, no question. The EU parliament is a sham, and its members lack even the ability to introduce or repeal legislation; only the unelected Commission has the right of initiative. This peculiarity is remarkable in itself, but it has further consequences. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) cannot campaign for election on the basis of any particular policy objective, since they would have no way of pursuing such objectives; so there is no Opposition, either. MEPs themselves are encouraged to form "groups". A group must have MEPs from at least seven different countries, seemingly an attempt to dilute the ability of MEPs to represent the interests of their respective countries.

    Left-wing support: policy bribes. One argument commonly made by Remain campaigners on "the left" (crude though that system of classification is) is that the EU guarantees things like workers rights and environmental legislation. The premise seems to be that without the EU to dictate policy for the UK, the UK would be incapable of conceiving of regulating things like pollution or employment. This makes little sense as the UK has often led in such legislation. The UK's Clean Air Act was passed in 1956, well before EEC accession, for example. Alternately, those making these arguments like to conjure the spectre of an incompassionate Conservative government itching to throw employment legislation on the bonfire, restrained only by the EU. This makes little sense; the UK's employment law often goes beyond EU-required minimums. Paid leave and maternity pay, for example, well exceed the EU mandated minimums. If the UK adopted these measures only grudgingly, or had desires to do away with them completely, one would expect them to be set to the minimums. Moreover, the idea of a UK government campaigning for election on a manifesto of abolishing or weakening these rights is not especially plausible.

    But beyond the plausibility of the spectre raised specifically, this whole argument strikes me as profoundly anti-democratic. The premise is that the electorate cannot be trusted to elect a government, because they might elect a government which axes rights from which the electorate benefits, and that it is a boon that the enlightened EU exists to undemocratically impose these rights. This is really a symptom of a British left-wing which is increasingly disillusioned by an electorate which keeps not electing it. Moreover, one wonders whether the EU's motivation in imposing these rights is not so much noble as a desire to win trade unions to support the EU. It is striking that in the British 1975 referendum on membership of what ultimately became the EU, trade unions stood opposed; in the 2016 referendum, most supported the EU. I don't think it's unreasonable to characterise this change as the result of what was essentially a bribe, albeit with policy, not money. The pivotal point appears to have been Jacques Delors's address to the 1988 TUC conference, in which the "social chapter" was promised, and the support of trade unions secured.

    Free Movement. Much has been remarked about the Leave campaign's incorporation of arguments against the free migration of workers from across the EU. This easily becomes generalized to racism or xenophobia. However, polling suggests that immigration, in fact, is not the predominant concern of Leave voters; rather it is the issues of sovereignty and democracy. Thus the crude characterisation of leave voters as xenophobes is misconceived, although of course it could hardly be said to be accurate even if immigration was the predominant concern driving a desire for exit.

    The real issue with the EU's imposition of freedom of movement is, as I see it, that it is now done on ideological grounds, and not for reasons of economic rationality. Where freedom of movement is agreed between nations of roughly equal quality of life, such that net migration is roughly zero, this is surely to everyone's benefit. I understand, for example, that there have been discussions about a free movement area between the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. These being countries of similar quality of life, this is an uncontrovertial idea. Similarly, public concern over the EU's freedom of movement rules in the UK would probably be negligible if were talking only of the UK, France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, etc. But the EU has subsequently expanded to include other countries with substantial variation in quality of life, leading to imbalances in net migration.

    This leads me to the issue of the EU's ideological pursuit of statehood, its attempt to become a United States of Europe. The EU is very peculiar in this regard because it is a perhaps unique attempt to create an artificial nation-state.

    Note the distinction between nation, state, and country: a country is an area of land, a nation is a set of people, and a state is a government to represent and defend both. In my view, states probably work best when they operate in reflection of the nation, not in prescription of it, or an attempt to dictate culture. Thus, states, for all their faults, are essentially holistic entities: nations and countries are not a consequence of states, but rather it is the opposite, and states are an inevitable consequence of nations. The EU, or more specifically its federalist ambitions, perhaps represents a fundamental confusion of this relationship, the confusion of correlation and causality. The EU appears to operate on the assumption, or hope, that by imitating the trappings, the decor of statehood, that statehood can be obtained; and, as a consequence of that, nationhood; as something people accept as an identity. For people, when asked, "What is your nationality?", to naturally and instinctively answer, not British, or French, or German, but European.

    But as stated, this hope is misconceived because it confuses correlation and causation. National identity does not emerge from the existence of a state, but rather it is the opposite. The European Union cannot create a sense of national identity from its imposition of a flag, anthem, a currency and a prohibition on countries making their own trade agreements. This attempt to create an artificial nationality is doomed to failure. It cannot work.

    Unfortunately this does not mean a lot of damage cannot be done in the process of pursuing this impossible dream. Here we see the terrible danger of ideologies pursued where they are perceived as justifying any means. Those desiring a 'United States of Europe' appear to believe just this, that any means justifies their utopian end. We see this most patently in the economic misery inflicted on Greece, in order to keep the Euro together. IIRC, in the first place, there were financial safety checks on countries desiring to join the Euro, when it was formed; but Greece did not meet these checks, so they were waived. In other words, when economic reality collided with ideology, economic reality was put to one side. Inevitably, disaster resulted. As such, I hope that British exit will not be a lone instance of EU exit, but will spark an epidemic of member states exiting the European Union.

    Peace. It is sometimes claimed that the EU has united a continent previously with tendencies towards conflict in an era of peace of unprecedented length. I find this dubious because it infers a correlation between the period of peace in Europe with the formation of the European union. And besides, the European Union as such was only formed in 1992, with the Maastricht treaty, although of course it simply represents the evolution of its predecessor, the European Economic Community.

    There are two patent forces which secure peace in Europe, neither of which are contingent on the EU: NATO, and globalization. NATO, being a mutual defence treaty incorporating the US, UK and Turkey, secures peace in Europe. And notwithstanding this, I find conflict such as that seen in the two World Wars implausible in the modern era, due to the global interdependency of trade. Take, for example, the flooding in Thailand which caused a global shortage of hard drives, because it turned out that basically all hard drives were manufactured in Thailand. This is the degree of fragility and interdependency we now see in a globalized world; so dependent is the world on this system that conflict on a scale that would threaten to disrupt it seems substantially implausible, even putting NATO aside.

    Brexit: Fallout. Will there be economic fallout from Brexit? Probably. Will it be as bad as Remain campaigners claimed in their scare tactics? I don't think so. Will the UK ultimately be better off for this decision? I definitely think so.

    The Remain campaign pounded the economy issue hard, because it was their only real strong point. But the economic argument cannot be total. I mean, World War 2 was surely disastrous for the British economy, but I don't see people arguing that it wasn't the right thing for Britain to do. I should stress that I'm not in any way trying to equate the magnitude of the moral imperatives present in the circumstance of the eve of World War 2 with the present Brexit situation. What I'm saying is that some considerations transcend short-term economic negatives. Democracy should surely be one of them.

    What remains now is to see how the exit will be executed. Execution will be everything, so it will be interesting to see what kind of negotiation team is put together. As a point to close on, I think one of the most potent demonstrations of just how diminished Britain has become as a global entity as a consequence of EU membership is that, because the making of trade agreements is an exclusively EU competency, Britain no longer has any trade negotiators(!). We're going to have to import them from other countries, in the wake of this exit, in order to conduct negotiations with the EU and with the rest of the world, to take advantage of our new ability to do so.

    I've neglected to mention here, of course, numerous specific EU policies which have proven problematic, such as the Common Fisheries Policy and Common Agricultural Policy. But this post is long enough...
     
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