Off Topic UK / EU Future

Discussion in 'Watford' started by Leo, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    We appear to have been able to discuss very different views on society calmly and with nothing but respect.
    I wonder if starting afresh there is any chance with the most toxic of subjects. I am going to give it a try but suspect it is 90% likely to fail.

    My position is well known. I am a remainer - always have been and always will be. I consider the damage to our country by brexit so significant that I would overturn the Referendum in a heartbeat if I could. I do not consider that it was a valid democratic act. I believe our democratically elected parliament has a higher duty - to do what is right for Britain - and for me that would mean revoking brexit.

    BUT

    That is not going to happen. I believe we have to accept brexit because Labour have no wish to campaign with the SNP and LibDems to undo it.
    So what should the UK be doing?
    Here I am as confused as can be.
    The options appear to be to try to strike a deal that gives us as much of the EU as we can get; mostly free trade with the single market and customs union (even if not being in THE customs union). I am not sure anyone does not want that. It is the price that seems to divide people. Is it possible to have those without giving up the ability to strike trade deals with other countries? Would we have to pay so much that we end up worse of than we were? Would we be tied into deals on migration or ECJ?
    The other option seems to be to recognise that for the UK to be truly independent we cannot strike a tariff free deal or be part of the customs union. Instead we regard ourselves as just another independent country. We then strike trade deals exactly as we wish - including with the EU but on equal terms.
    I am genuinely unsure what is better.
    If we had never joined the EU:
    a) I am sure we would not consider the second option undesirable. We would simply be a country like any other but not part of a politico-financial block. Is that so bad? As it is I am aware that we HAVE been in the EU and undoing that relationship is tricky (not least the Irish border question). However I have confidence that as a large country we have the ability to look after ourselves.
    b) Would we consider now doing a deal with the EU whereby we gave up the right to form unrestricted trade deals with anyone else? How much would we agree to pay to have access to the single market /customs union? Would we accept rules on migration made by a "block" rather than choose our own policy? Would we submit to the ECJ on anything other than normal trade jurisdiction processes?

    I throw these questions out as I know most posters here are, like me, Remainers. So come on - persuade me that having chucked the dolly out of the pram it is beneficial to accept a broken dolly rather than to go and get a new one.

    I would ask - like on "Society" that we use our own thoughts and ideas (however and wherever they were derived) and not use articles composed by others. If we are free thinking people we should be able to discuss this by argument alone.
     
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  2. colognehornet

    colognehornet Well-Known Member

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    I wholeheartedly wish that Corbyn would get off the fence and indicate that he supports the idea of a second referendum, but I would not feel confident in the result. A 52-48% victory for remain would solve nothing, it would have to be very conclusive - so it is safe to say that Brexit is coming. Obviously I want it do be a Brexit with as little pain as possible. As for trade nobody really knows what will happen. Would remaining in the customs union mean that we are free to trade with the rest of the World as a sovereign power ? I very much doubt that. There is the further point that the EU. has favourable trading treaties with around 50 countries - Britain, as a member, already has better trading conditions with countries like South Korea and Japan - which it would lose when leaving the EU. So Britain would have to renegotiate a lot simply to get back to the point we are now, at least regarding non EU. trade. Regarding access to the EU. market the damage may already have been done - even if tariff free trade carried on as before there may be a customer backlash. If the same product or service is possible from another EU. country then they will look there instead. This is not to suggest that there will be a boycott - but European customers may just veer away if they themselves do not feel welcome in Britain. This whole thing comes over to normal people as saying 'we want your money, but we don't want you' - this can only cause a reaction - it is absolutely vital that Britain leaves the EU. as a friend, and that this friendship really comes over to common people on this side of the Channel. The biggest problem may be in convincing the 15 million, or so, EU tourists who visit London every year that they are still welcome. The English teaching industry may also take a drop, with language learning holidays relocating to Ireland or Malta, which is happening already - or there again the Germans might just learn French instead.
     
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  3. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all of those points Cologne - which is why I think brexit was a mistake. Oh bar one. I would not have a second referendum. If I were Labour I would campaign with other parties in a General Election on a ticket to withdraw brexit. I would encourage Tory MPs who want that to help bring down the current government. The referendum is not the single point of democracy as brexiters would pretend. A GE fought to cancel brexit would be a solid democratic process.
    How Britain does future deals assuming that does not happen though is a key to our future. Assuming brexit happens everything you say comes about. The question though is "what then"?
    Is our future better ignoring what we have given up and finding the best path to steer? Or is it trying to create as much as we have given up - but at a worse cost?
     
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  4. oldfrenchhorn

    oldfrenchhorn Well-Known Member
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    This is difficult to detach myself from what I believe is the current situation and attempt to put myself into one that doesn't exist.

    I don't actually accept that what we see in February will still look the same in December. Attempts are being made from within to get the Labour party to become more vocal as an opposition on the subject. It only needs some of their heartlands such as Sunderland to see what the government is heading towards, remember the Japanese were issuing warnings last week, lose faith in the process, and Corbyn will shuffle towards voting against a deal. His stated position is that people didn't vote for people to become worse off, so he doesn't have to move very far. We should not forget that the amendment made to the Brexit bill gives MPs a vote on the outcome of the talks and there are something like 170 pro-remain Tories against the 50 who wish to see a hard break. The numbers are against the government, which if it produced a vote against the terms of withdrawal, would leave May in a hole. She could call an election to try and get support, but after her last effort at that it seems unlikely. Her most likely course would be to try another referendum. She could try and sell it to the public as a fact based one, not that difficult to sell as she could ask do you agree with our best efforts or not.

    I noticed that you used capitals for THE customs union. There has been some talk of A customs union, but if it looks the same will the majority know the difference? I am not sure they will.

    If we had never joined the EU where would we be today? An impossible question to answer. So would we want to join? Would we have ditched so much of our manufacturing capability for services if we were outside the EU? Every study ever produced on trade says you deal with those nearest to you. This is why just in time supply chains exist throughout Europe, not possible if you want parts from the far east or America.

    How do two or more countries settle disputes as they will always come up? Countries will always have to refer their disputes somewhere, and if you form part of the judicial membership then it is quite democratic. Individuals have direct recourse to the ECJ. They only have similar access to UK courts if they have the funds. Not a point that gets stated often, it is easier to paint a different picture.

    Finally. When I manufactured goods that were sold within and outside the EU, I took care of both. Exporting to the EU was easier when it came to paperwork and customs, but would I have ditched the EU if someone told me that you might be able to do more outside? No chance unless you can prove that the EU is holding me back. That is what is missing. Proof. No amount of wishful thinking would have changed my method of working.
     
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  5. hornethologist a.k.a. theo

    hornethologist a.k.a. theo Well-Known Member

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    It's interesting and I suppose inevitable that almost all the brexit debate focuses on trade and economics. I don't suggest those aren't of prime importance but from the point at which we originally joined the EU (and before), I've always believed in being a part of a group of nations, many of whom I've visited and whose citizens I've felt an affinity with. The future of the world doesn't depend on a single global government but anything which brings us to a closer understanding and co-operation with our friends and neighbours always seemed desirable to me. I don't have much sympathy for the idea of a small, nationalistic, jingoistic entity professing superiority to all others. I'm not saying I don't love many things about Britain and I don't want to live anywhere else. It annoys me when outsiders make uninformed and sweeping judgements about the UK. There is clearly a large body of opinion which doesn't agree. If opinion moves in cycles we are clearly at the point in the circle furthest away from greater merging of interest and closest to the desire to go your own way. If I live long enough, I've no doubt I'll see it swing round towards the other extreme at some point in the future. So, I follow the economic details out of a selfish desire not to end up worse off but I can find little to celebrate in any of the options.
     
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  6. oldfrenchhorn

    oldfrenchhorn Well-Known Member
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    I owned two houses for seven years, one in the UK and the one here. Eventually I realised that I was flogging myself to death going from six weeks at one, to six weeks at the other. Just to keep on top of the gardens was a constant struggle. I knew that I would have to choose between them eventually, but put off the decision for a long time. My village in Northants had been a community where we all knew each other, but it expanded and became a dormitory of people only staying there overnight before going off to their jobs. There were sixteen houses in the road, yet by the time I left I didn't even know the names of half the people.
    People here have always been welcoming, and I know the names of everyone in the sixteen houses. If I had been tolerated rather than welcomed I might have had second thoughts. It is different because it is a farming community with all those who are not retired working locally. So although having lived in the same house for 35 years we sold up and took our chances with our locals.
    Of course it was not purely on social grounds, but economic ones as well. I have a quantity of land that I could never have afforded in the UK. My council taxes for the year are similar to the ones I was paying every month. This allows me to make decisions on how to live my life in a way that suits me, even if it would not appeal to others.
    No one I speak to who is a local can understand why the UK has taken the course it has. Everyone likes to have a moan about the government and the EU, but reject both left and right who wish to shake up how we all live. As I say this is a small farming village and doesn't represent the whole country. Go to the large housing areas on the outskirts of our biggest cities and you would find a different attitude just as you would in the areas of the UK that feel that they have been forgotten. It does depend I suspect on if you are able to live your life as you want, or feel trapped in a situation that you cannot get out of. To work alongside of your neighbours at either local or national level seems to me a far better way of life if you believe in everyone having a decent existence. I believe in a successful economy for a country, but how government spends the money it raises through taxation has to be fair to all, not a chosen few.
     
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  7. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    If Corbyn or rebel Tories ever got a backbone things could change but I strongly doubt it. We have handed in our resignation and it is only time that separates us from being outside the EU.
    That is the point I think we need to focus on. I understand all the arguments about how different Europeans may now and in the future view us but I am not sure it affects trade too much. People will always buy what they want if the price is right. I agree with Theo that being part of Europe is more than just a trade relationship but that will not necessarily change for an individual. Trade will.
    Like it or not the odds are we have left the EU in all but time. The clock ticks and our exit will happen.
    As we are no longer in the EU at that point we have to have a strategy for trade. My question was - should we try to get back as close as we could to what we lost or not? Cologne's 50+ trade deals with other countries will have to be addressed whatever route we follow because the deals we have will be gone. Will it be any easier to strike new ones if we have access to the Single Market or not? You could argue most countries will prefer to sign a deal that replicates the one we currently have - for Venezuela for example (picked at random) why would they care if we are part of the EU or not as we trade with them? If access to the single market though comes at a price of not doing independent trade deals, what then? If we have lost the 50+ "EU" deals we have to have something to put in their place. Would the EU accept the UK "rolling over" the deal we had within the EU with other countries or not?
    The trouble is that a lot of the discussion does not depend on what the UK alone wants but what the EU will want.
    I am still uncertain whether a deal that gives us access to the Single Market and access via a form of customs union will not come at too high a price. If our payments to the EU for access plus acceptance of the jurisdiction of the ECJ on trade but no longer having a voice in trade policy and some form of EU migration policy are what it takes - and we are unable to strike independent trade deals with other countries then I am sure the UK would never have considered such a deal if it had not previously benefitted from similar.
    I still find the arguments confusing and it does not surprise me that the government (and opposition) are equally befuddled. It is easy to criticise the government for not knowing what to do - but does anybody? (except perhaps the most ardent brexiters).
     
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  8. oldfrenchhorn

    oldfrenchhorn Well-Known Member
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    Just to point out that there are 170+ trade deals with 50 different countries, all of which will have to be redrawn no matter what. It is quite possible that any of those deals could be altered to suit one of the 50 countries, not just the EU. If you are a small economy striking a deal with a huge trade block you might well accept conditions to gain the access you want, but if you are dealing with a single country the dynamics of negotiating a deal are very different.
     
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  9. Bolton's Boots

    Bolton's Boots Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the folly will sink home when favourite tipples start disappearing off supermarket shelves?

     
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  10. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    What a shame. Thought my hope that we would get intelligent posts thought out by individuals rather than tweets, videos, articles etc was too much to ask for. Shame some people cannot think for themselves but think we want to be fed info (false or not you never know) from elsewhere.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018

  11. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree with you OFH - but that is what is already done. Complaining about it will not change it and those who voted brexit will argue we could benefit. I suspect that as one of the top 5 - or is it 6 now economies in the world others will still want our trade so doubt many deals will change significantly - unless we look to change them
     
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  12. Bolton's Boots

    Bolton's Boots Well-Known Member

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    But when you're pushed for time, you don't necessarily have the time to precis the tweets, videos, articles etc - the sources that generally inform opinions. And if you've never heard of OFOC - the source of this, and representative of a sizeable percentage of the voting population - then quite possibly you're behind the times and out of touch - not to mention possibly in for an eye-opening experience in the not to distant future.

    But, so be it - I'll steer clear of your threads in future.
     
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  13. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    I thought you already did - and assumed you had me on ignore.
    I am only one person and the thread is not mine. I express my opinion. The reason I argued we should not post tweets etc is that in other threads they often replace argument. Instead they cause conflict when a person responds by simply rubbishing the source - Daily Mail, Sun, Guardian or whatever. If we do not have time to precis an article then why not wait till we have. It then comes across as the genuine contribution of the poster - something they can express and believe in. I chose to look at your video, despite my dislike and frankly it is by some nonentity whose opinion means nothing to me. I suspect someone else could find another person who claimed a law degree elsewhere and said the opposite. What relevance is there in that bloke?
     
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  14. Dan Starkey 2

    Dan Starkey 2 Well-Known Member

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    <applause> I am extremely fortunate that any economic downturn will be uncomfortable rather than disastrous - am single, have no kids and, after 30 years in the job should be looking at a decent pension. I don't own my own property but will always find somewhere to rent.
    But like you it's the other stuff that dismay me. I like a world where people sit down at a table and everyone leaves with part of what they wanted. I fear we're entering a winner takes all and hard cheese to the rest of you world. Not something I want to contemplate.
    I honestly know next to nothing about trade but assume the deal won't be as bad as some say because when the real talks start countries who know that a bad deal for UK could be bad for them will quickly forget their desire to stay united with the Commission and protect their own businesses. But it doesn't really matter as we have, in my opinion, lost so much more.
     
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  15. oldfrenchhorn

    oldfrenchhorn Well-Known Member
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    I honestly believe that there is a huge amount of confusion about trade deals. The government does not sell goods or services to foreign countries they purely try to make it as simple as possible for companies to sell to customers. An example. I used to sell fabricated steel work to the middle east for use in the oil industry. The government had a scheme that enabled me to claim back my costs if I didn't get paid for some reason. In fact it was an insurance policy that I had to pay up front for, and not worth the money. To send my goods to the middle east was a logistic nightmare sometimes, with the paperwork, packing, labelling and customs. I had my contract because I quoted a delivery time to suit the oil company, so it was vital to get it out of the country on time. Once I could prove it had left, I had completed my side of the carefully worded contract, and if it was held in customs their side it did not affect me except that I didn't get paid until it arrived on site often three months later. Compare that with selling similar structures to the oil companies in Lyon. Four sheets of paper to say where I had obtained my materials, what was in the cases, confirmation I had made them, a delivery note and two days later they were on site.
    This is what exporting is about some of the time, small, medium size companies doing some trade abroad, but then you come to the really large companies that will be making money that can be seen in official figures at the end of a month. The government now should really come into play. First they should offer the right trading conditions to attract a foreign company to the UK, labour availability at the right price, taxation that will be at an acceptable rate, and with our global markets easy transport to get the finished products from work in progress to a final sale. The classic example of this is our partnership with the EU. Goods, finished or parts crossing into and out with the minimum fuss, with an agreed set of standards to make customs delays a thing of the past.
    I am sure this is obvious to everyone on here, but I read so much where people seem to think that the government is buying and selling everything, whereas they are there to make life simple for the companies that earn the money, pay taxes, which in turn provided services.
     
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  16. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    My personal circumstance differ massively from yours but I am in the same boat. An economic downturn will be unfortunate not disastrous.
    Other than that I totally agree with you. Cologne and I have had a discussion on another thread about competition versus cooperation. ON somethings it seems competition wins too much. Your "winner takes all" comment is right - where did the days go when we tried to find compromise so that we did not laugh at "losers".
    Regarding trade, even as an economist, I find it hard to see what the future holds. That is the trouble - we knew where we were going in the EU but outside it all is uncertain and when almost all independent forecasts tell you things will be worse it is daft not to believe them. But the extent is not known and maybe some other benefits make up for it - in some people's minds anyway.
    As I liked the EU and being part of a larger entity I do not see having freedom from the ECJ or the ability to prevent EU citizens having a right to come here as good. I feel like a Texan who is proud to be a Texan but is also proud of being in the US. I liked being UK AND EU.
     
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  17. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that description - not having been involved in exports I do not have a clue about the actual process.
    You would certainly hope that the government, knowing we need massively to increase foreign trade will try to help - but I will not hold my breath. I am not known for trusting government ability to run the proverbial P*ss up in a brewery so expecting them to significantly help our foreign trade - other than headline trips to China etc does not fill me with confidence.
    The trouble is that increasing non EU trade is going to be essential whichever route we take from here
     
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  18. oldfrenchhorn

    oldfrenchhorn Well-Known Member
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    My first comment on this thread was that I didn't expect what we see now will look the same in December. I said that a week ago, and today we find out that what appeared obvious then looks very different today. While other countries having been preparing for the UKs departure, there has been nothing done to get the physical infrastructure in place to enable the changed trade controls ready. It seems to have finally dawned on the government that holding an Election, taking extended holidays and failing to agree what type of Brexit is wanted, leaves them insufficient time before they finally take the country on a different course. Now we also see that open warfare has broken out, something that has been simmering for donkeys years. Will it all look the same next week? My guess is that it will not.
     
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  19. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I follow this. Is that not what the transition / implementation period is for? Until we know the type of trade deal is it possible to change anything?
     
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  20. oldfrenchhorn

    oldfrenchhorn Well-Known Member
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    The current talks are about how we leave the EU, and the effects on things like our relationship to agencies such as the EMA, fisheries policies, open skies, Euratom, etc. Nothing very much about future trade deals, although they do have some bearing on them. The whatever we like to call it period after 2019 is being talked about because everyone knows the problems of just sorting these relationships, infrastructure, etc, and what it means for both sides. Trade deals do not come into play until after we leave, unless we get and change our hopes for where the the UK and EU are going.
    Today we have seen the Tories splitting with the 62 hard liners trying to impose their demands for a clean break. They are powerful because they exceed the 48 that are required to trigger a leadership election, but are a fairly small percentage of Tory MPs. It has been reported that BoJo has admitted that the whole thing is a total mess, and Davis is seemingly getting to realize that the simple leaving is far from that.
    The Labour party has taken the first steps sideways and is talking about staying in the customs union. I can understand why they are doing this slowly. They have sat on the fence long enough, and now are gauging the reaction of their supporters as they put one foot on the ground. Some within are suggesting that the next step will be to stay in the single market. I am not sure if the Labour Party is genuine in its call for alignment because of the very real problems that exist over Ireland and the border, or if they are hoping that it will bring the government down. I suspect that it is the later.
    Tomorrow the cabinet is meeting to try and come to an agreement about just what the UK hopes for. They will have to come to a decision as kicking the can down the road is no longer a real option. Take away Easter and Summer recesses, party conferences and there is little time left to agree something with the EU. Trade deals could be three or four years away, and the numbers in Westminster could yet prevent progress if the MPs do not agree to a deal that the government comes up with.
     
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