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Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

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Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by skwalker1964 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:55 pm

First topic message reminder :

I think this fits equally well in UK politics and here, but I know the moderators like us to spread things around a bit Smile. As usual, please see the original post at http://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/should-labour-take-britain-out-of-europe/ for the links to sources etc.

Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

A couple of weeks ago, Labour voted with Tory rebels to pass a motion demanding a cut in Britain’s contribution to the EU budget, after David Cameron had indicated that he’d love to achieve a cut but would accept a freeze. The move drew criticism from some commentators (and naturally from ministers of the defeated government) that instinctively Europhile Labour had acted cynically and tactically in order to inflict a defeat on Cameron.

Well, it’s Labour’s job to do everything it can to oppose, impede, weaken and hasten the end of what is the most radically right-wing and ideologically ambitious government in my lifetime, outstripping even Thatcher in her zeal to dismantle the state and impose an ‘everyone for himself’ regime on this country. It’s also worth noting that, in signalling in advance what he was prepared to accept, Cameron showed himself to be a very poor negotiator – but then, he still applauds himself for his December 2011 ‘veto‘ of an EU treaty intended to shore up the Euro, which went ahead anyway. So it’s fairly obvious that, for all his posturing and tough talk, Cameron isn’t really fit for a seat at the table with the big-hitters anyway.

It’s also right when, for all its futility, British people are under the cosh of a massive austerity drive, that the level of Britain’s spending on EU funding should be cut as well. So while Labour will certainly have rubbed its collective hands at the prospect of defeating this lamentable government, it could enjoy it in the knowledge that it was also doing the right thing.

However, I believe that the whole matter has flushed out another question that is far more important, in the long term – one which I’ve heard little or no comment on in the couple of weeks since the defeat. And it’s one that might surprise many, and shock some:

Should Labour bring Britain out of the EU?

Before I probe further into that question, let me clarify that I’m an instinctive Europhile. I’ve spent most of my working life travelling to most of Europe, and I speak several European languages. I’m at home pretty much anywhere, love the variety of scenery, architecture, language, culture and outlook, and enjoy – for the most part – the various differences that typify the people of each nation. So it’s fairly momentous for me to even seriously pose the question, let alone consider that the answer might be a positive one.

A bit of history

It may seem hard to imagine now, but until the era of Kinnock as leader, Labour’s left was fairly unanimously anti-EU – or anti-EEC (European Economic Community) as it was then, because Left-wingers considered the EEC a dangerous opportunity for capitalism to take a group of nations in a vice-grip. From Kinnock onwards, the prevailing view shifted to one in which a strong Europe could act as a bulwark against the worst excesses of Thatcherism/Reaganism, and the Left became generally pro-European. But things change, and there’s nothing intrinsically left-wing or Labour about being in favour of EU-membership – it’s just the usual Labour position now.

If you want more information on this, you could do worse than to listen this episode of BBC Radio 4′s ‘Analysis’ programme, ‘Labour, the Left and Europe’.

The whys and wherefores

As well as being instinctively pro-European out of experience, I also recognise the various pros of EU-membership: tariff-free access to a wide geographical market, the right of free movement, closer co-operation among nations that have historically fought each other on a regular basis, and so on. Certainly not insubstantial positives, and recognised by the recent decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU (although this kind of involved forgetting the horrors of the Balkan conflict).

Valuable factors, and not to be given up lightly. But recent developments within the EU, surrounding but not entirely because of, the ‘Euro crisis’, have me very concerned. I’ve written on several occasions about how neo-liberals will exploit crisis in order to push through economic ‘structural’ measures that are designed to enrich the ‘elite’ while inflicting ‘planned misery’ on the many.

And not merely exploit – governments and even supposedly neutral and benevolent agencies such as the World Bank and the IMF have pretended crises and even deliberately engineered them, in order to achieve political and ideological aims that were unattainable when the populace perceived economies as being essentially stable.

Crisis as an excuse

So, be wary of assuming what you hear is true when the news channels and IMF/EU/World Bank officials describe the ‘crises’ in Greece and other nations. The crisis has primarily been in the banking system and its greed, rather than in the conduct by governments of their economies, and yet the ordinary people of Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy (and, so far to a lesser extent, the UK) have been hammered by austerity measures while the bankers still get fat on bonuses.

And the power-brokers are not finished yet. Europe’s political and financial leaders - supposedly – need to address the currency and banking crisis in the Euro-zone, yet the measures that they are planning to impose mainly touch on the general populace. The OECD report ‘Going for Growth 2012‘ recommends two structural reforms for the banking sector (increasing the capital reserve requirement and enhancing regulation – alongside at least 26 reforms that target the general population, including:

- Making it easier and less expensive to sack workers
- Increasing retirement ages and pension contributions
- Reducing wages and protections for part-time workers
- Removing energy price-controls
- Removing tax exemptions for lower earners to ‘broaden the tax base’
- Reducing overtime pay rates
- Reducing unemployment benefits
- Increasing direct taxation such as VAT
- Accelerated privatisation of public assets

and many more. The report aims these measures at Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy for now, but as Europe moves closer toward banking and fiscal union, these will become standard measures across the EU. Any right-thinking person already knows that ordinary people are paying the price for the excesses and misdeeds of bankers who continue to get richer while the rest struggle to stay afloat – but the plan is for more, not less, of the same.

Club Rules

Membership of the EU creates another long-term problem. The solution for to a shortfall in tax revenue is not to cut spending, which sucks money out of the economy, prolonging and intensifying recession and taking cash out of everyone’s pocket – including the small businesses that the Tories claim to love. No, the solution is to increase revenue – changing tax rates where necessary but primarily by improving enforcement of taxes on the big companies that can afford all the clever ways of avoiding paying their proper contribution to the societies in which they operate.

Earlier this week, senior executives of Google, Amazon and Starbucks were torn to shreds by a Parliamentary select committee over their failure to pay taxes on business transacted in the UK. Their justifications for doing so ranged from thin to pathetic – yet EU trade law does not allow one country to tax income declared for taxation in another EU country or to prevent a company from setting up its affairs to incur a lower tax rate in a different country. So, as long as these and other companies are careful to set up their tax affairs according to the relevant laws, a UK government is effectively powerless to force companies to pay tax on their earnings on business even when it involves UK goods, stored in a UK warehouse, shipped by UK staff and paid for by a UK resident.

Put together the tax situation and the prevailing acceptance that austerity is the only medicine, and it’s clear that Britain faces a situation in which, once again, the EU is transforming into a huge playground for companies to make huge profits while the ordinary populace is squeezed dry and has little freedom to elect governments that will not bow to the transnational, IMF- and World Bank-inspired consensus that ‘restructuring’ (the removal of protections and safety nets for ordinary citizens) is the only imaginable route to travel.

The Tories agree with these measures and attitudes for the most part, while perversely wishing the UK out of Europe out of jingoistic nationalism and small-mindedness. But ordinary people, without necessarily realising it, sense that the EU is becoming a vehicle for potential and actual oppression in many ways. UKIP are a joke of bombast and small-mindedness, but their relative rise in the polls can be attributed to their tapping into this sense of unease, even though the rest of their politics yearns for the kind of measures that are the reason for it. So the risk is that the Tories and UKIP win favour and credibility for holding a position for all the wrong reasons, while Labour, with better motives and a far better narrative to tell if it chooses, loses the votes of ordinary, oppressed people.

I’m now starting to believe – reluctantly – that the time has come for Labour to take a lead and seize the initiative on continued membership of the EU, and to put forward the real and justified reasons why Britain should exit: to own that position in the eyes of the electorate and to take a stance in which its recent vote for a cut in contribution makes perfect, consistent sense.

Creating a consensus for a new way of perceiving and acting in a single state is going to be tough enough – even though most UK people are desperately longing for leaders with the vision and courage to propose one. By remaining in the European Union, Britain faces being shackled to a tall, deep wall of neoliberal agreement on misguided austerity policies that will impoverish many and enrich a few, and to tax policies and rules that will impede any attempts by this country to implement creative ways to redress the injustice of corporate tax avoidance..

Outside the EU, a Labour government would have the freedom to create whatever tax laws it wishes, and to construct them so that tax on UK-transacted sales must be paid into the UK treasury, no matter which tax haven companies choose to report the income in. This would reduce or even remove any need for austerity – and would be massively popular politically as a bonus.

Europe is no longer a bulwark against the US-inspired neo-liberal policies of low taxation, no-regulation free-for-all, but is rapidly becoming a stronghold of them. Because of this, Labour needs to be bold and declare its desire – and a perfectly-justified one – to take the UK out of Europe, so that it can be held at arms-length while we construct something better. If we succeed, then we can be the example that countries behind the austerity-curtain rally around and follow, bringing an end at last to the economic oppression that is being forced on us.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Red Rackham on Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:48 pm

tlttf wrote:Be careful Red Rackham, the powers don't always like reality being written on this board and the censorship wand starts to be waved. Though if you finish off with "It's all Thatchers fault", they may leave you alone. Very Happy

...and btw, it's all Thatchers fault.

Smile

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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Frances Fox on Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:33 pm

Skywalker If uncontrolled immigration is so good for our country why is it that councils are cutting back on services, closing Care Homes, making parents take their children to different schools because of the overcrowding of immigrant children. We have always had immigration into this country but it was controlled now, and surely you cannot deny it, that immigration into our country has become invasion on public services for the British people and those immigrants that came to our country before the EU, because Conservative/Labour/Liberal Democrats and the Green Party (which is supposed to be environmental) signed Britain up to OPEN BORDERS in 2004 resulting in the EU being in charge of immigration into our country.
So that is why I say these parties are "THE ENEMY WITHIN".
FRANCES FOX.



Last edited by Frances Fox on Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : put child instead of children. sorry)
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:45 pm

The old MSN Boards were rife with xenophobia, which is pathetic in itself, but serves to identify the Little Englanders who for some unaccountable reason think of themselves as the pure Briton.

Which regrettably disregards our ancestry of Celts, Danes, Saxons, Romans, Normans and the occasional wandering minstrel. DNA scientists can trace most of us back to African origins anyway so what's this problem we have with wogs?

The strength of our character has evolved through adopting the best aspects of our numerous visitors, and inbreeding can have unfortunate results.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Frances Fox on Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:30 pm

The old MSN BOARDS also had messages calling people against the EU "Little Englanders" whereas in fact UKIP want to trade with the WORLD without the control of the EU.



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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by boatlady on Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:38 pm

But the UKIP stance is racist at it's core, as far as I can see - just BNP lite
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Frances Fox on Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:54 pm

Boatlady, You obviously have not read the policies or manifesto of UKIP otherwise you would not insult UKIP by saying their stance is racist at it's core.

By the way if the Conservatives take Britain out of the EU it would be 'poetic' justice as they were the party that took Britain into the EEC, EC then the EU. Keeping the truth of these treaties away from the general public. How John Major could signed the Maastricht Treaty I do not know.

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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:47 pm

Right, let's have a re-run of History to achieve a better result.
World War One resulted in a peaceful Europe in which every Nation traded profitably with every other one. World War Two never happened, so American "intervention" never happened either. The Wall Street Depression gripped the USA so fiercely that it was forced into a Trade Alliance with Great Britain. The result of that was a greatly strengthened British Empire, which eventually embraced most European Countries too.

No need for Tory plots to hand Britain over to the Belgians. Sorted!
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by skwalker1964 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:56 pm

Frances Fox wrote:Skywalker If uncontrolled immigration is so good for our country why is it that councils are cutting back on services, closing Care Homes, making parents take their children to different schools because of the overcrowding of immigrant children. We have always had immigration into this country but it was controlled now, and surely you cannot deny it, that immigration into our country has become invasion on public services for the British people and those immigrants that came to our country before the EU, because Conservative/Labour/Liberal Democrats and the Green Party (which is supposed to be environmental) signed Britain up to OPEN BORDERS in 2004 resulting in the EU being in charge of immigration into our country.
So that is why I say these parties are "THE ENEMY WITHIN".
FRANCES FOX.

Try reading what I said, please, Frances. I was very clear in saying 'untrammelled immigration' is not a good idea.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by skwalker1964 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:00 pm

Red Rackham wrote:The head teacher I spoke of was not speaking fondly of having a school full of kids who speak thirty different languages, she was at her wits end. Because it was a junior school there was no extra funding for language teachers. Can you imagine what it must be like trying to teach 7 to 10 year olds who you cant communicate with? would you want your children to go to a school like that? and these days there are are a lot of them around.

The kids are here, and will learn the language very fast through absorption. That's what kids do. Would you rather we had segregated schools, so you can accuse them of not assimilating?

The British, as a whole, are not in a position to criticise anyone for failing to learn other languages. People come here, and then they learn. My next door neighbours are Pakistani. The wife spoke little English when she arrived, now she's fluent and has a stronger local accent than I do. They're very good neighbours, and good friends, and our little row of houses would be the poorer for their absence.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Red Rackham on Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:30 am

The bottom line is that the British stand to lose nothing by leaving the EU.

If Britain left the EU it would leave behind an incompetent and power hungry bureaucracy which has consistently failed. If we left the EU they would not be able to do anything in revenge. Remember we have a trade deficit with the EU. (For example, we have a trade deficit of over £3 billion a year with Germany alone.) The EU countries desperately need our trade.

British politicians have supported the EU, lied and deceived British voters and signed away rights and freedoms claiming they wanted Britain to have influence in Europe, this is nonsense.

Britain has far less influence in Europe than it had ten, twenty or thirty years ago.

Politicians have sold out the voters to gain personal political influence.

Britain, and the British, have gained nothing from membership of the EU. But membership has cost a great deal.

Britain would survive and survive well outside the EU.

The people of Norway and Switzerland have voted against joining the EU - and have thrived. Greenland, once in the EU, escaped and has prospered since getting out. If they can do it so can Britain.

Britain would survive and prosper outside the EU. It would be richer and more powerful. And its citizens would regain their lost independence.

Britain's trade is in surplus with every state in the world except the EU. If Britain left the EU it could regain power of its legal system, armed forces, and agricultural policies. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses would be saved from stifling bureaucracy. British is the worlds leading business language. British dominates the Internet. Our language means that we can trade with any other country in the world.

Politicians won't tell you this but Britain would be much richer if it left the EU. We would save a fortune. And be free of 30,000 rules.

The only people who would lose would be the politicians for whom the British stage is too small.

We could leave the EU in minutes. All we have to do is recall our ambassador to the EU.

(Did you know we had one? How, you might ask, can we have an ambassador to something we are supposed to be part of?) Withdrawing our ambassador would invalidate all treaties between Britain and the EU.

Or Parliament could simply repeal the Acts of Parliament which hold us to the EU.

Simple.

We could be out of the EU in minutes.




[Taken from `England Our England' by Vernon Coleman, published by Blue Books available from all good bookshops]


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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Red Rackham on Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:49 am

skwalker1964 wrote:
Red Rackham wrote:The head teacher I spoke of was not speaking fondly of having a school full of kids who speak thirty different languages, she was at her wits end. Because it was a junior school there was no extra funding for language teachers. Can you imagine what it must be like trying to teach 7 to 10 year olds who you cant communicate with? would you want your children to go to a school like that? and these days there are are a lot of them around.

The kids are here, and will learn the language very fast through absorption. That's what kids do. Would you rather we had segregated schools, so you can accuse them of not assimilating?

The British, as a whole, are not in a position to criticise anyone for failing to learn other languages. People come here, and then they learn. My next door neighbours are Pakistani. The wife spoke little English when she arrived, now she's fluent and has a stronger local accent than I do. They're very good neighbours, and good friends, and our little row of houses would be the poorer for their absence.

Are you naive or perhaps intentionally disingenuous? The school I spoke of was 'struggling' to cope under the influx of children who cant speak English, I have since discovered the situation is worse in many other schools. And no, I don't like the idea of segregated schools but I'm afraid state funded muslim faith schools are already here but perish the thought we should accuse any minority of being racist for refusing to integrate.

Have you lived in any other countries? I spent many years out of the UK and I know Britons in other countries are treated a damned sight worse than foreigners in Britain, particularly in Islamic countries where Christians are openly regarded as filth.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by skwalker1964 on Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:28 am

If we get into an 'international experience' war, it's unlikely to be a fair competition, mate. I've spent the last 20 years travelling to all kinds of countries and have seen the best and worst of places you've most likely never heard of. Some countries are more racist, some less - does that justify us lowering ourselves because there are some worse than us?

I wonder which Islamic countries you've been to, though. My experience is that many strict Islamic countries are bad in terms of religious freedoms for other faiths - and yet Britons are usually treated with something bordering on reverence, for a strange mix of historical and cultural reasons. Similarly, even in countries that we've exploited, British people are looked up to. There are exceptions, of course, but not many places would treat us with the distaste that some on the right here have for foreigners.

Of course schools struggle with large numbers of immigrant children who can't speak English. But the fact is that many of those schools would close if it wasn't for the demand the immigrant kids create, as they form the majority of the pupils and there wouldn't be enough non-immigrant kids to fill them. You might say there would be if it wasn't for the immigrants, because indigenous British people (which is pretty much a contradiction in terms, historically) wouldn't have left those areas - but those people would come from somewhere else, and then schools in other places would close.

We need immigration - either that or a programme of mandatory reproduction to fill the 'Lebensraum' and make sure the country doesn't become so top-heavy with elderly, white, British people that it topples over. I've heard of such a programme before - wonder where that was...
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by skwalker1964 on Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:37 am

Red Rackham wrote:The bottom line is that the British stand to lose nothing by leaving the EU.

If Britain left the EU it would leave behind an incompetent and power hungry bureaucracy which has consistently failed. If we left the EU they would not be able to do anything in revenge. Remember we have a trade deficit with the EU. (For example, we have a trade deficit of over £3 billion a year with Germany alone.) The EU countries desperately need our trade.

Historically, the left disliked membership of the Common Market/EEC/EU - because it saw the danger of right-wing dominance across the region. That changed when Britain swung toward neoliberalism under Thatcher, and Europe started to be seen as a bulwark against the unrestricted predations of corporatists and their tame politicians. It has stayed that way since, for the most part, and with justification - human rights legislation and the ECHR are hated by right-wingers, supposedly because they are an encroachment on our 'sovereignty', but in reality because it impedes the state-stripping and wage-depression that they'd love to accelerate.

However, with the increasing influence of neoliberals in Europe via the World Bank, IMF etc and certain dominant European countries, and their push toward a European central bank and a more federal Europe (the 'crises' in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Europe might quite possibly have been allowed/fostered for just this purpose - deliberate crisis-creation is on the official record, as I can show you if you're interested), in my opinion the pendulum is swinging back the other way. Which is why I wrote the article that started this thread.

It might just be that we agree on something, but for completely opposite reasons.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:15 pm

The insuperable problem for UKIP is that it's obviously going to be ineffective as simply a carbon copy of the Cameron Tendency. Accordingly they have to be to the Left or to the Right in order to present a realistic alternative, and a leftward move would hemorrhage support.

All Hail to The Even Nastier Party.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Red Rackham on Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:53 pm

skwalker1964 wrote:If we get into an 'international experience' war, it's unlikely to be a fair competition, mate. I've spent the last 20 years travelling to all kinds of countries and have seen the best and worst of places you've most likely never heard of. Some countries are more racist, some less - does that justify us lowering ourselves because there are some worse than us?

I wonder which Islamic countries you've been to, though. My experience is that many strict Islamic countries are bad in terms of religious freedoms for other faiths - and yet Britons are usually treated with something bordering on reverence, for a strange mix of historical and cultural reasons. Similarly, even in countries that we've exploited, British people are looked up to. There are exceptions, of course, but not many places would treat us with the distaste that some on the right here have for foreigners.

Of course schools struggle with large numbers of immigrant children who can't speak English. But the fact is that many of those schools would close if it wasn't for the demand the immigrant kids create, as they form the majority of the pupils and there wouldn't be enough non-immigrant kids to fill them. You might say there would be if it wasn't for the immigrants, because indigenous British people (which is pretty much a contradiction in terms, historically) wouldn't have left those areas - but those people would come from somewhere else, and then schools in other places would close.

We need immigration - either that or a programme of mandatory reproduction to fill the 'Lebensraum' and make sure the country doesn't become so top-heavy with elderly, white, British people that it topples over. I've heard of such a programme before - wonder where that was...

It saddens me greatly to have the point of view I now have. I've seen poverty that haunts me to this day, people in this country have no idea what living in poverty means but until our government can address serious social issues in this country that mass immigration is exacerbating we must stop this madness. Is it fair that a pensioner who has paid tax and national insurance for fifty years is told that desperately needed treatement is to expensive and is faced with the choice of selling the house he has spent a lifetime paying for, or dying. This at a time when the NHS is spending £millions on leaflets in several languages explaining to immigrants what they are 'entitled' to. It's wrong.

I'm a charitable sort, but charity starts at home.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Red Rackham on Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:57 pm

oftenwrong wrote:The insuperable problem for UKIP is that it's obviously going to be ineffective as simply a carbon copy of the Cameron Tendency. Accordingly they have to be to the Left or to the Right in order to present a realistic alternative, and a leftward move would hemorrhage support.

All Hail to The Even Nastier Party.

UKIP survive and thrive because we are denied democracy. The government could kill off UKIP overnight by giving us the referendum we richly deserve.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:58 pm

Democracy is met by electing representatives to Parliament.

Referenda are the icing on the cake, but should not be necessary if MPs are doing what they were elected to do, which is to make decisions on behalf of their electors.




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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Red Rackham on Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:23 pm

You are wrong, the job of our elected representatives is to represent the views of their constituents in parliament. A job they are eager to do pre election and quick to forget post election.

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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Red Rackham on Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:45 pm

oftenwrong wrote:Democracy is met by electing representatives to Parliament...

You are correct. You will be aware that a lot of the laws we in the UK live by come from Brussels. Are you aware those laws are made behind closed doors by unelected officials? Most people think the EU parliament make the laws we are forced to accept, but that is not the case. The EU parliament is not a law making body, EU law is made by the EU Commssion, a totally unelected body. EU commissioners are appointed for a minimum of five years often longer and there is no instrument in EU law for any electorate to remove any of them. The last time so few unelected people held so much power over so many people they were called the politburo.

And you talk of democracy.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Ivan on Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:19 am

No doubt the Tories will claim they've given us more democracy by allowing us to vote for police commissioners, but our entire system is a sham. Our head of state is unelected, the House of Lords is unelected and extreme right-wing Tories are implementing policies for which they have no mandate, after sneaking into power with just 36% of the votes cast (24% of the total electorate).

Democracy didn’t bother Ted Heath, a previous Tory Prime Minister. He promised in the 1970 general election not to take the UK into what was then the EEC “without the wholehearted consent of Parliament and the people”. Those last three words were taken to mean that there would be a referendum first, otherwise they were superfluous. As it turned out, Heath settled for a majority of eight votes in Parliament as his justification for joining the EEC.

The only referendum we’ve ever had on our membership of what became the EU was held by Labour in 1975, just over two years after we joined. That means you have to be at least 56 years old now to have had a vote on the matter. So does that mean it’s time we had another vote, as 38 years have elapsed, and what was the EEC has changed into something different?

That question poses other questions. How often should we have a vote on our continuing membership of the EU – every 10, 20 or 30 years? If the vote should be to leave, should we have another vote in a few years to see if people wish to re-apply? Should all the component countries of the United Kingdom have regular votes on whether they wish to stay together? Which matters should be put to a referendum and which left to Parliament? Would you really want a referendum on capital punishment, which would probably lead to a restoration of the death penalty, with the state taking lives on our behalf and sometimes making mistakes?

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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:41 am

You don't keep a dog and bark yourself

(If you pay someone to do a job, it makes no sense to do the job yourself.)

MPs are elected to make decisions on behalf of everyone, not just special interest groups.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Frances Fox on Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:47 pm

oftenwrong, well they are not making decisions but being subservient to the EU to make decisions for our county at our expense.

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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by blueturando on Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:28 pm

You don't keep a dog and bark yourself

(If you pay someone to do a job, it makes no sense to do the job yourself.)

MPs are elected to make decisions on behalf of everyone, not just special interest groups

OW.....Special interest group? You mean a fair sized majority of the British electorate who WOULD like to have a referendum on our EU membership. Seems like the people who want to stay in are the special interest group as they are in the minority.

I always thought we voted for a government to govern our nation. I never asked or voted to be governed from and by faceless EU bureaucrats. The 3 main parties are stead fast in their view that we should stay in the EU club and refuse to listen to the majority...this is why we have now seen UKIP rise to the 3rd most popular party. When will the Tories and Labour finally get the message????

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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:41 pm

Ah yes. The three main political parties, and the forty million separate political parties who incidentally have a vote.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Ivan on Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:32 am

Seems like the people who want to stay in are the special interest group as they are in the minority.
blueturando. You might be jumping to conclusions there. A YouGov poll on 20 January suggested 40% of people would vote for staying in the EU, with 34% wanting to leave:-

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/01/21/is-opposition-to-eu-membership-collapsing-or-is-it-just-bad-polling/

I never asked or voted to be governed from and by faceless EU bureaucrats.
I have some sympathy with that point of view. As I’ve said just a few posts back, you have to be at least 56 to have had a vote on our membership of what was then the EEC. However, I’ve never been asked if I accept the Act of Union of 1707 with Scotland, and I’ve never been asked whether I want our head of state to be provided by one family of mostly out-of-touch oddballs; isn't it time that I was? So how far do you take that argument?

If there is to be an ‘in or out’ referendum on the EU, it should be as soon as possible. For Cameron to talk of one in four or five years from now could create too much uncertainty for businesses thinking of opening up in the UK.

On another thread, you posted this:-
it was good see Labour's lead over the Tories has been slashed to just five points, according to an ICM poll released today
http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t329p570-is-david-cameron-a-moron-from-the-outer-reaches-of-the-universe#33039

Anthony Wells said of that poll: “None of the changes are outside the normal margin of error, so are nothing to get particularly excited about. ICM tend to show some of the lower Labour leads because of their reallocation of don’t knows, which tends to help the Liberal Democrats and hinder Labour.”

Apparently, before the don’t knows were re-allocated, the Labour lead was 8%.

http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/6886

You quoted that ICM poll, whose figures were LAB 38%, CON 33%, LIB DEMS 15%, UKIP 6%, to announce that apparent Labour lead of only 5%, yet you’ve also described UKIP as “the 3rd most popular party”, when it clearly isn’t according to your chosen source.

Those of us who take some interest in polls know that both the YouGov one on the EU and the ICM one on the state of the parties will be classified as ‘outliers’. In most polls, there is a majority (but not an unassailable one) for leaving the EU, a Labour lead of 10-13% and the Lib Dems and UKIP are neck-and-neck.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Ivan on Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:40 pm

Allow me to correct one common misunderstanding. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) was established by the European Convention on Human Rights, which in turn was adopted by the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. The ECHR is not part of the European Union.

Barack Obama said last week that the USA wants the UK to remain in the EU. As someone who often speculates that the UK has effectively been the 51st state since Dwight Eisenhower imposed sanctions on us and ordered us out of Africa in 1956, I suspect that means we will definitely be staying in the EU. (Only once has a British PM stood up to the Americans since the Suez crisis, and that was when Harold Wilson turned down Lyndon Johnson’s request that we send troops to Vietnam.)

However, for now let’s at least pretend that we have a say in the matter. Until the last couple of weeks, I’ve been an agnostic on the EU, and I outlined what I consider to be some of its good and bad points here:-
http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t472-is-it-possible-to-have-a-rational-and-enlightened-discussion-about-the-european-union

There are some really annoying aspects to the EU, and there are few things more absurd than the profligacy of paying MEPs about three times as much as Westminster MPs and moving them back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg at regular intervals. The EU is rightly criticised for being overly bureaucratic, and yet it’s also reduced paperwork; about 60 million customs clearance documents per year no longer need to be completed, reducing costs and delivery times.

In the opening post of this thread, Steve Walker mentioned how the left used to see a strong EU as “a bulwark against the worst excesses of Thatcherism/Reaganism”, but now it seems to have universally adopted the blind alley economics of austerity, a policy which has never worked anywhere. So why are so many Tories, who love austerity because it’s putting the ‘plebs’ back in their place, so opposed to the EU? I would suggest that it’s partly because they’d rather be the big fishes in a small pond than have to compromise with Johnny Foreigner, and partly because they want to able to destroy workers’ rights more easily than if there are EU directives standing in their way.

Just as under the last incompetent Tory PM, John Major, the Tories are once again showing they are wholly unfit to be anywhere near government. However, they have at least made me realise that I’d rather take my chance with the EU, warts and all, than with them; if the in/out referendum ever happens, I will be voting to stay in. And if leaving the EU is identified by others as a definitive policy of these toxic Tories, I predict there will be a majority vote for staying in (as one recent opinion poll has suggested) - and which is just what the Americans expect from us.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by boatlady on Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:46 pm

Just as a general, and intuitive principle, I'm tending to the belief that anything everybody reviles should be seriously looked at as a possibly good thing.
This seems to include the EU, and I'm aware it also includes some things I might want to oppose, like Nazism and pederasty, but I'm pondering here.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:54 pm

The European Question is as universal as the Servant Problem. Like "The Poor" it's always with us. Two World Wars have convinced most people of the need for Unity but EU members persist in maintaining their own political-geographical borders. Britain even wants to retain a separate Currency, and seems to think you can get married but still live with Mummy.

It's plain that many of the people who are perfectly entitled to vote in a Referendum will have little or no idea of all of the things which may flow from their decision.

e.g. Question 1: Do MEP's create European Law?
Answer: No they don't. That task falls to the unelected European Commissioners.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Commissioner

Question 2: Is the ECHR, European Court of Human Rights anything to do with Brussels?
Answer: No, That Court is not part of the European Union. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Court_of_Human_Rights

But when ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Ivan on Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:54 pm

An extract from the recent speech on the EU by Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary:-

“British jobs, exports and influence all benefit from Britain's continued membership of the EU. To contemplate shrinking our home market from 500 million consumers to just 60 million doesn't make sense.

President Obama has put a free trade agreement between the US and the EU at the top of his agenda. And already the chorus of criticism from British business is growing following Cameron's recent speech, with senior British business figures, including Sir Richard Branson and Sir Martin Sorrel warning that his approach risked creating 'damaging uncertainty for British business'.

It is not just exit that risks undermining economic stability and the prospects for growth. The uncertainty created by Cameron committing now to an in/out referendum half way through this parliament, to be held half way through the next, risks creating instability and undermining investment, precisely at the time that the priority surely should be stability, investment and growth.

The truth is, his approach raises more questions than answers. He can't tell the public how he will vote. He can't be clear on what it is people would be choosing between staying in or out of. And he can't tell investors whether the UK will be part of the world's largest single market in 4 years’ time. Uncertainty is the enemy of investment - and Cameron's approach has created a lot more uncertainty.”


The full text of the speech can be found here:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/staggers/2013/02/douglas-alexanders-speech-eu-full-text
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:15 pm

I may not be the only voter to suspect that David Cameron is more concerned about getting re-elected than he is about safeguarding the National interest. He is constantly having to look over his shoulder at the powerful Tory rump that has ALWAYS been opposed to union with Europe.

Labour has much less baggage to carry in that respect.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Ivan on Tue May 07, 2013 11:31 pm

FactCheck: Is Nigel Lawson right about quitting the EU?

It would seem that the jury is still out:-

“Increased trade in Europe since the early 1980s may have raised income per head by around 6% in this country. We would presumably continue to sell goods to our European neighbours even if we left the club. Other countries, like Switzerland, have managed to strike trade deals with the EU without joining, but no one has ever tried it after leaving. Would the snub be painful enough for the remaining members to make life difficult for Britain, even at the expense of their economic interests? Since no one has ever left the EU before, this is an unknown quantity.

How do you put a price on Britain’s ability to push for EU-wide sanctions against Iran, or work out the economic benefits of increased peace and stability?

The most credible estimates of what happens if we leave the EU tend to show only a very small plus or minus, which suggests people on both sides of the debate tend to exaggerate the significance of membership on the British economy.


For the full details:-
http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-is-nigel-lawson-right-about-quitting-the-eu/13388
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed May 08, 2013 11:46 am

Persons with the given-name of Nigel are as entitled to their opinions as anyone else, though Labour Party Policy is probably best left to the Labour Party to develop.

Membership of the EU has been compared both to taking a bath and to the institution of marriage: Not so hot once you get used to it. Nevertheless each is often better than the alternatives, in which case where is the advantage in forcing a change?
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Ivan on Thu May 09, 2013 10:49 pm

Polly Toynbee on why Labour should support British membership of the EU:-

“No one need support the EU's errors – the madness of the Strasbourg Parliament, paying the Common Agricultural Policy subsidy to the Queen, or the serious lack of a growth plan. But reasons to stay are blindingly clear. US banks and financiers only stay in the City as a gateway to the EU. Japanese car-makers are only here to trade in the EU. President Obama sent an envoy to warn Cameron that a 'bridge' to the US was useless if the UK were outside the EU. Cameron presides over the G8 soon, where a long needed EU-US trade deal will bring tariffs tumbling: the UK alone can never win such a deal.

Peace seems a feeble reason to stay in. If prosperity raises a hollow laugh now, it won't soon. Trading with the EU from outside means obeying every rule with no seat at the rule-making table. Europe's future looks unstable, with political indignation everywhere demanding radical institutional response: how could we not be there? If we left, the same isolationism would sweep us out of the European human rights convention too. Do we want to be Belarus?”


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/09/labour-fears-eu-referendum-britain-europe?commentpage=1
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu May 09, 2013 11:13 pm

So, the message could not be clearer: If you want chaos, vote Conservative (or UKIP, same difference).
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu May 16, 2013 7:34 am

http://news.uk.msn.com/socialvoices/eu-referendum-rebellion-is-nothing-to-do-with-the-eu-371222/


Adam Bienkov answers "NO" to the topic question.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by boatlady on Thu May 16, 2013 7:15 pm

I'm inclined to agree - not that I know much - just seems a bad time to be making that kind of change
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by Penderyn on Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:28 pm

The English parties should take England out of Europe, and join it to Puerto Rico in intense colonial happiness, leaving the rest of us where we belong.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:29 pm

Go with God.
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Re: Should Labour take Britain out of Europe?

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