Cameron fires EU referendum starting gun

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UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the much-anticipated referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU will take place on 23 June this year.

Following protracted negotiations in Brussels involving senior leaders from all 28 EU member states, a draft reform deal was agreed by all parties and has been hailed by Cameron as securing ‘special status’ within the EU for Britain.

Announcing the referendum outside Downing Street on Saturday, the Prime Minister said he will be campaigning for Britain to stay in, stating that he believes Britain will be “safer, stronger and better off by remaining in a reformed European Union.”

The main points of the negotiated reform agreement centre around the UK’s ability to: opt out of further political ties with the EU; reduce red tape; ensure economic competitiveness; and cap migration and migrant benefits.

However, the deal has been criticised by ‘leave’ campaigners, including six of Cameron’s own Conservative party cabinet ministers, for not going far enough to protect the UK’s interests.

Following the announcement, Commons leader Chris Grayling immediately placed himself in the ‘leave’ camp, declaring that he believes the EU to be holding the UK back: “We cannot control our borders, [or] limit the number of people who come here do trade deals” he told reporters on Saturday.

Mixed reaction from business

While individuals, rather than businesses, will ultimately decide the UK’s fate, the business lobby has had plenty to say on how membership of the EU affects their balance sheets.

Multinationals have broadly come out in favour of the ‘remain’ campaign, with many companies giving the ability to move money, people and products more freely as a determining factor in the argument.

The CBI announced it will campaign to stay in, with former president and BT chairman Mike Rake commenting that there are "no credible alternatives" to staying in the EU.

Although the British Chambers of Commerce has stated that it will remain neutral, a recent survey of members found that 55% support the UK staying in a reformed EU.

However Anthony Bamford, chairman of high profile British manufacturer JCB disagrees, stating that leaving the EU would allow the UK to “negotiate enhanced trade deals”.

Uncertainty and upheaval

One argument consistently used by ‘leave’ campaigners in business is that many small and medium-sized businesses may stand to benefit from the removal of EU red tape.

But with the uncertainty and upheaval that has dominated the UK business landscape over the past 18 months, what also may appeal to SME owners is the chance to take a step back and look at how the raft of new legislative changes the government has announced will affect their businesses and wider industry.

With businesses large and small crying out for stability, the prospect of more upheaval, uncertainty, new regulations and possible introduction to new barriers to trade could influence many UK business owners to vote to stay in.

What remains clear is that although we’ve now reached the end of the beginning of the great EU referendum debate, we’re far from the beginning of the end, and whether we like it or not we are in for four months of intensive EU debate. 

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60/40 to leave

This is a one person one vote decision, unlike most things which are decided by our elected representatives who supposedly (but rarely) reflect our views.

What business leaders say or want will, in reality, have no influence over the result. Indeed, in my humble opinion there is only one issue that will decide this referendum, that issue is immigration.

There will be a lot of talk about sovereignty, benefit caps, and the so called “emergency brake”, but the simple fact remains that a vote to remain in the EU means continued immigration both by asylum seekers and by East Europeans. A leave vote means that Britain can make whatever laws and rules it wants and can ban all benefits to immigrants for 20 years and close our borders completely should we so wish.

In Scotland the SNP are hoping and praying that we vote to leave the EU, but that Scotland votes to stay in, as that will give them an excuse to try to rerun the failed Scottish independence campaign. In other words there are politicians out there who care nothing for what’s best for Britain, and only, what’s best for themselves. Every senior politician at Westminster has one eye on the Brussels gravy train as a “retirement plan”.

We will now see 4 months of “project fear” as the “stay” campaign try to scare people into voting to stay by what can only be described as lying to them. Already there are scare stories about fictitious threats of trade barriers, and about Britain being blackmailed into allowing free movement in exchange for being allowed to trade with the EU.

The only answer is for people to ignore the politicians, ignore fat-cat business leaders, decide on the issue that concern you, and vote accordingly. I believe the result will be 60/40 in favour of leaving the EU. 

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21st Feb 2016 17:11

it's a judgement call ...

... as they used to say in NYPD Blue.

What I've noticed though, is that America wants us to stay in [the EU]. Putin would like us to leave [the EU].

EDITED: text in brackets.

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24th Feb 2016 12:37

EU

I live in mainland Europe and am the coordinator for construction professional groups for 22 countries and have been for 7 years.  In terms of business there is more and more cooperation and commonality in all we do and in or out I cannot see anything changing. I have to say this unbridled immigration is destroying our neighbours and the cover up and denial is worrying. I have no doubts that Putin is pushing this tidal wave as there s no better way to disrupt Europe and cause irrevocably change than encourage this alien invasion. Immigration itself is not a problem, indeed we need immigrants and I am one but selection is important. My kids are real Eurobrats travelling, working being educated seamlessly throughout Europe, i or out that will not change. I have been involved with a new EU building in Luxembourg which is going to cost somewhere north of €650m which I estimate is over priced by easily 1/3rd . Probably increase again by the time they have added in a transgender counselling  suite. I love Europe but it is not working, I would like it to but the Euro is an abject failure and will wreck the EU. I think I will reluctantly vote out. 

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21st Feb 2016 17:07

EU / NATO

We will be voting on membership of the EU - not membership of NATO.

RM

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21st Feb 2016 22:03

Nope

Any campaign that features the unholy trinity of Farage, Galloway and Boris Johnson won't be getting my vote.

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As opposed to

thegreatgrumbleduke wrote:

Any campaign that features the unholy trinity of Farage, Galloway and Boris Johnson won't be getting my vote.

Is that as opposed to the unholy trinity of Corbyn, Cameron & Sturgeon.

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22nd Feb 2016 09:01

.

T Reece-Evans wrote:

thegreatgrumbleduke wrote:

Any campaign that features the unholy trinity of Farage, Galloway and Boris Johnson won't be getting my vote.

Is that as opposed to the unholy trinity of Corbyn, Cameron & Sturgeon.

 

Yep

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By cfield
27th Feb 2016 15:00

Ignore Galloway

thegreatgrumbleduke wrote:

Any campaign that features the unholy trinity of Farage, Galloway and Boris Johnson won't be getting my vote.

A shame Galloway had to get involved. I think we should ignore his views and just focus on what the sensible people have to say. It's not like the 75 referendum when you could see all the nutters were in the No camp. Look at Corbyn. He's in the Stay camp this time despite voting No in 75 (about the only thing he's ever changed his mind on). Should their arguments be ignored just for that reason?

Farage isn't my cup of tea but at least he talks some sense on immigration and the EU. As for Boris, we should take his views with a pinch of salt as clearly he's just trying to position himself as next Tory leader, but at least he's had some experience of the EU from his time as a Telegraph journalist.

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Thanks T Reece-Evans

I have many doubts & uncertainties over the pros & cons of in/out but with so much of the "out" campaign being fuelled by an undercurrent of xenophobia, my decision has never been in doubt.

It speaks volumes that you can't see the irony in warning of "project fear" from the "stay" campaign, when playing on the basest of fears with stuff like "continued immigration both by asylum seekers and by East Europeans".

We are divided from Europe by a stretch of water that has only been there for a few thousand years, where do you think we all came from?  Using the pope's analogy your views are unchristian.

 

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Is blackmail by the EU acceptable to some?

Paul Scholes wrote:

I have many doubts & uncertainties over the pros & cons of in/out but with so much of the "out" campaign being fuelled by an undercurrent of xenophobia, my decision has never been in doubt.

It speaks volumes that you can't see the irony in warning of "project fear" from the "stay" campaign, when playing on the basest of fears with stuff like "continued immigration both by asylum seekers and by East Europeans".

 

I don't see anything xenophobic about stating a simple fact that whilst in Europe we have no (or very little) control over our borders. We cannot even deport convicted rapists and murderers who arrive here illegally. Also Europe is being used as a "back door" by asylum seekers as once they are given asylum in any country in Europe, they then have an automatic right to come to Britain and we have no say in it.  

My reference to "project fear" refers to the attempts by the "stay" campaign to spread scaremongering stories about trade barriers and so on. These stories are complete rubbish with no basis in fact at all. The "stay" campaign are attempting to say that we will still have to agree to the free movement of people between Britain and the EU if we are to obtain trade agreements with the EU. So, they are saying that the EU will resort to blatant blackmail to get it's own way. Well that alone tells me that the EU is not the sort of organisation any decent nation should want to be associated with. 

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By NDH
22nd Feb 2016 10:42

So it starts

T Reece-Evans wrote:

Paul Scholes wrote:

I have many doubts & uncertainties over the pros & cons of in/out but with so much of the "out" campaign being fuelled by an undercurrent of xenophobia, my decision has never been in doubt.

It speaks volumes that you can't see the irony in warning of "project fear" from the "stay" campaign, when playing on the basest of fears with stuff like "continued immigration both by asylum seekers and by East Europeans".

 

I don't see anything xenophobic about stating a simple fact that whilst in Europe we have no (or very little) control over our borders. We cannot even deport convicted rapists and murderers who arrive here illegally. Also Europe is being used as a "back door" by asylum seekers as once they are given asylum in any country in Europe, they then have an automatic right to come to Britain and we have no say in it.  

My reference to "project fear" refers to the attempts by the "stay" campaign to spread scaremongering stories about trade barriers and so on. These stories are complete rubbish with no basis in fact at all. The "stay" campaign are attempting to say that we will still have to agree to the free movement of people between Britain and the EU if we are to obtain trade agreements with the EU. So, they are saying that the EU will resort to blatant blackmail to get it's own way. Well that alone tells me that the EU is not the sort of organisation any decent nation should want to be associated with. 

I believe EU citizens are able to arrive here legally whether they have criminal records or not (I'm glad no UK citizens ever have criminal records), so it seems you're mixing up your arguments.

The problem we're going to have is this is an incredibly important decision yet it's likely to be decided on rhetoric and mistruths that will be rolled out with reckless abandon by both sides.

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By Albasas
22nd Feb 2016 12:29

The Universal

"We are divided from Europe by a stretch of water that has only been there for a few thousand years, where do you think we all came from?  Using the pope's analogy your views are unchristian."

Depends how you define your Christianity I suppose.......Gnostic, Coptic, Messianic, Roman, Orthodox, Baptist, Nicene Creed, Reformation, Quakers, Unitarianism, Evangelicalism, Mormon, and any I forgot. If only.

Everybody can't just up sticks, migrate, and come and live in the UK from the EU putting the country's public services under huge fiscal and demographic pressures. Quality not quantity of migrants. Like Australia. Genuine, refugees being the exception. It was the stretch of water that you refer to in the first place that ultimately saved all that you probably hold dear and judging by those camped out in Calais continues to function to this day. Using your "stretch of water" analogy it would seem that the Republic of Ireland has no right to control its borders either. Does that make them xenophobic and racist too in your book?

Which brings me round neatly to the SNP government and their own cop out of responsibility policy of wanting to control immigration by copying the 1990's discredited Tony Blair / Jack Straw policy of recruiting cheap labour from the EU so they can raise more taxes to balance the books, to pay for their incompetent, fantasy, pie in the the sky economics. People are seeing through it many of them SNP too.

In Europe, but not ran by it, thank you. The EU hasn't had a clean audit report for 22 years now or something. How accountable is that?

 

 

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By cfield
27th Feb 2016 15:09

Stretch of water

Albasas wrote:

"We are divided from Europe by a stretch of water that has only been there for a few thousand years...."

It was the stretch of water that you refer to in the first place that ultimately saved all that you probably hold dear and judging by those camped out in Calais continues to function to this day.

Didn't save us in 1066 though, did it? I reckon that was when all the trouble started.

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OUT
I am for leaving the EU.

It’s difficult to air my opinions, because should I do so, they may deemed xenophobic, or worse, racist. In fact, bugger it…

We currently live in a country that cannot make important decisions on UK matters without asking permission from our superior ( the EU). We are a member of an organisation that nobody voted to be in, and I think it is right that the population now has a vote to remain in an unelected union.

As an independent country, I think we will prosper and leaving the EU will not be a hindrance in our ability to thrash out trade deals that will be beneficial to the UK. We certainly managed before the EU.

Immigration is a problem. We have a system whereby criminals can freely enter the UK, commit a crime and leave the country again. We then have to pay vast sums of money to bring the culprit to justice. But it isn’t just criminals that are a problem, it is unskilled workers that have their wages topped up by tax credits. The counter argument is that the Brits don’t want these unskilled jobs. They bloody do!
The immigration that the UK has seen in recent years (mainly down to labour policy to buy votes) has seen schools unable to cope with the many different languages and cultural differences, and has made the NHS an organisation that is bursting at the seams.

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22nd Feb 2016 12:22

i am struggling to decide how to vote

maybe they should ban everyone over 60 voting as its not so much our future as the next generations , so yes to the vote for 16+

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By mwngiol
22nd Feb 2016 13:09

EU

It seems that the main (only?) reason people want to vote 'out' is immigration, or at least so it seems from what I've heard and read.

I have to say that I don't object to immigration per se, but the pressures being placed on infrastructure (schools, housing, NHS etc) is just undeniable. I'd rather find a way to solve that problem without stopping freedoms of movement, but I've yet to hear any ideas as to possible solutions.

I think Wales overall is better off with the UK being in the EU, so that's how I'll be voting.

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22nd Feb 2016 13:33

Not about immigration

mwngiol wrote:

It seems that the main (only?) reason people want to vote 'out' is immigration, or at least so it seems from what I've heard and read.

You may not have seen my post that started this

http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/group-thread/brexit

RM

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.

Im in, not because I have any great love of the EU or political union, but free trade is important to the UK, in particular with Ireland and if we are out of the club I would expect to see barriers being erected again, one 'special case' at a time. 

I also think the EU acts as a brake on the more stupid rules government of any flavour put in place,  That is to say protects us in terms of social care, bribing private business for profit (the 'state aid' rules) enviromental policies etc.  this is a good thing, especially when we have a virtual 5 year dictatorship.  The press make a great play of the EU 'barmy' rules, but very little of it has any basis in fact, they are often just 'press stories'. 

I don't buy into the media hysteria about "immigration" been the root cause of all Evil, the NHS is struggling due to overall funding and mismanagement (PFI etc), not just numbers.   I agree total population  numbers need to be addressed, but no-one wants to have that debate or work out how to do that.

Most of the 'bad' immigration, you know those coloured folks - like my parents from India, or my brothers wife, also from India - don't come from the EU.  This basic fact seems to escape many. In basic terms, the black and brown people come from the Commonwealth, and you are stuck with us, we cant 'go home' when we have been born here, and indeed have children ourselves born here.  The whitish ones come from the EU. 

Anyhow worries on this front I think are very narrow, and set against the much wider context of EU membership.

 

 

 

 

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Immigration

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

I don't buy into the media hysteria about "immigration" been the root cause of all Evil, the NHS is struggling due to overall funding and mismanagement (PFI etc), not just numbers.   I agree total population  numbers need to be addressed, but no-one wants to have that debate or work out how to do that.

Most of the 'bad' immigration, you know those coloured folks - like my parents from India, or my brothers wife, also from India - don't come from the EU.  This basic fact seems to escape many. In basic terms, the black and brown people come from the Commonwealth, and you are stuck with us, we cant 'go home' when we have been born here, and indeed have children ourselves born here.  The whitish ones come from the EU. 

 

 

 

 

Immigration is bad when it is uncontrolled.

I don’t care if immigrants are black, white, green or blue, or whether they come from India, Poland, New Zealand or the moon. If we cannot control immigration, then in my view, it is not a good position for the UK to be in.

I firmly believe that we should have a points system in place to fill gaps within the labour market. Letting all and sundry into the country for their wage to be topped up by benefits is a drain on the country’s resources.

Oh, and the NHS has a lack of funds because it’s budget doesn’t stretch to demand. The demand is linked to population. Population is increasing due to uncontrolled immigration.

Accusatory comments does nothing for your argument.

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By Locutus
22nd Feb 2016 14:11

Democratic deficit
A big issue for me is the democratic deficit.

In the UK Parliament we each have an MP who is accountable to us. If we can be bothered to vote, we vote for a party or MP that in part shares our values. If we really feel strongly about something, we can even go and meet our MP. If we dislike a government, we can vote them out.

As for the EU, there are a number of MEPs allocated to our broad regions, but they are no way directly accountable to us in the same way as our MP is.

We seem to get a stream of laws from Brussels, which our own Parliament has no choice but to implement. We don't have a choice about implementing them. Look at the debacle following changes to VAT on digital services and VAT MOSS as a small example. At least if the proposed UK digital tax accounts proves unworkable then UK MPs will get an earful from their voters.

I think it is inevitable (as that is the direction of travel) that the EU will become more centralised and more controlling in our everyday lives, eventually resulting in unified VAT rates, corporation tax rates and even income tax rates.

Another really big issue that I have with the EU is the financial waste involved in everything connected with it, something which has prevented their accounts being signed off for umpteen years. Would you invest in a business or donate to a charity that could never get its accounts signed off?

Whilst the EU was set up with good intentions and has undoubtedly positively impacted our lives in some ways (but in many ways not), I'm struggling to find any compelling reasons to remain.

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RIP democracy

I’m afraid that accusations of racism will be made against anyone who dares to mention the subject of immigration. It’s an accusation that is routinely made by those wishing to stifle free speech and discussion.

Today I heard yet another devious tactic by the remain campaign, one which should make us all extremely angry.  Some Conservative politician (I didn’t get her name) was arguing for the stay campaign, and said that if we vote to leave the EU there should be a second referendum to be held after Cameron had gone back to the EU to carry out further negotiations armed with the initial out vote.

It sounds like the stay campaign have learned a lesson from the SNP – keep having a vote until they get the result they want. 

 

No one has ever had a vote on joining the EU.  Those over 58 years of age did have a vote on joining the Common Market, those under 58 have never even had that. Isn't it only right that the people should have a vote on what amounts to a choice between - 

a) Once again being a sovereign state.

b) Becoming a minor state in the United States of Europe (no doubt with a German or French President).

 

That is the choice we are making on behalf of our descendants.  

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By NDH
22nd Feb 2016 14:52

@ T Reece-Evans - It doesn't help your cause when you make sweeping statements inferring all the immigrants are either asylum seekers or East Europeans and then quite quickly afterwards mention about convicted rapists and murderers waltzing in and out of the country at will. 

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NDH

NDH wrote:

@ T Reece-Evans - It doesn't help your cause when you make sweeping statements inferring all the immigrants are either asylum seekers or East Europeans and then quite quickly afterwards mention about convicted rapists and murderers waltzing in and out of the country at will. 

 

I did not state that all immigrants are asylum seekers or East Europeans, not did I suggest that they are all rapists or murderers.

What I did say is that whilst in the EU we have zero control over immigration.

Britain has always had immigration, but, like Australia, we should be able to assess on an individual basis whether or not each individual wishing to make Britain their home is in fact someone we need and want.

If someone knocks on your door at home you decide whether or not to invite them into your home.  EU membership means that we leave the door unlocked, open, with a “enter and help yourself” sign above the door.  

On the subject of crime, according to an article in the Express on 17-Feb-2016 entitled “Immigrant crime soars with foreign prisoners rising” a horrendous 92% of all ATM crimes in Britain are committed by East Europeans.  Pick up any newspaper and there will be reports of foreign born criminals who are in Britain to avoid arrest in their home country.

Immigration is only one consideration in whether or not we leave the EU, but, I submit it will be the number one consideration in the minds of three quarters of those who cast a vote when the referendum takes place.  Whether you like it or not that is a fact. 

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By JimFerd
22nd Feb 2016 15:29

I have read the arguments for and against remaining in the EU....and I still don't have a bloody clue what would be best for us. 

Many people claim to know what's best but I don't think anyone actually does. It's far too complicated for that.

 

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.

@T-Reec, do you honestly think and article in a tabloid newspaper is a valid way to form an opinion about crime in the UK? 

That shows a startling credulity. 

I take it you also just lived through the coldest winter for 50 years?  Also an express headline. 

 

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Official figures

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

@T-Reec, do you honestly think and article in a tabloid newspaper is a valid way to form an opinion about crime in the UK? 

That shows a startling credulity. 

I take it you also just lived through the coldest winter for 50 years?  Also an express headline. 

 

 

So you think that official government figures release by the Ministry of Justice and others are invalid?  

There is no credulity involved, the official figures speak for themselves.   

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23rd Feb 2016 08:59

Link?

T Reece-Evans wrote:
So you think that official government figures release by the Ministry of Justice and others are invalid?  

There is no credulity involved, the official figures speak for themselves.

I take it you can link to these official figures so we can judge for ourselves if they have been accurately represented in the media.
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Try this

stepurhan wrote:

T Reece-Evans wrote:
So you think that official government figures release by the Ministry of Justice and others are invalid?  

There is no credulity involved, the official figures speak for themselves.

I take it you can link to these official figures so we can judge for ourselves if they have been accurately represented in the media.

 

http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/immigration-and-crime...

You will note that almost half of the prison population is foreign born despite foreign born people forming less than 10% of the population. And these are figures supplied by a left wing body that seeks to encourage immigration. 

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23rd Feb 2016 10:40

A step removed

T Reece-Evans wrote:
http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/immigration-and-crime...

You will note that almost half of the prison population is foreign born despite foreign born people forming less than 10% of the population. And these are figures supplied by a left wing body that seeks to encourage immigration. 

Well, I actually asked for the Ministry of Justice figures. This is an interpretation of those figures, so isn't "the official figures speaking for themselves", which is what you claim they do.

However, let's for the moment assume it is an accurate interpretation (it does include links to the official statistics they say they used at least). Figure 2 (Foreign born population in prison) would appear to directly contradict your assertion about the disparity between prison population and general population. That graph clearly shows that, unlike many other countries in the graph, the UK figures are pretty darn close to one another. (around 10%, though the prison population percentage is marginally higher). 

Have you misread your own source? Where on the page you linked to does it show foreign prison population in the UK is 50%? The disparity for many other countries, especially Switzerland, is quite shocking but we are not talking about them.

 

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22nd Feb 2016 17:29

What will happen next?
What would be the mechanism of the UK leaving EU and within what time scale that will happen?

Still remember a few people who truly believed and argued last September that they will go to sleep in the UK, but will wake up in the independent Scotland.

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By Locutus
22nd Feb 2016 19:35

What would happen next

free-rider wrote:
What would be the mechanism of the UK leaving EU and within what time scale that will happen?

Still remember a few people who truly believed and argued last September that they will go to sleep in the UK, but will wake up in the independent Scotland.

Apparently, the process of formally withdrawing from the EU starts when the Prime Minister of a country involkes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. When that starts, the leaving country has a period of up to 2 years to negotiate the terms of withdrawal. That 2 year deadline can only be extended with the agreement of all EU members. If no agreement is reached after 2 years, the country is simply ejected from the EU.

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By Albasas
22nd Feb 2016 19:55

You're right, unless we create a siege UK economy, in the real world it will be truly impossible to leave, but that is not what anybody is seriously proposing here. Its either in or out, with degrees of either more UK sovereignty over our affairs or less. Just like it was impossible for the idealistic SNP to take northern Britain out of the UK back in 2014 with its economic illiterate policies like wanting to use GBP Sterling in monetary union with the rest of the UK and pinning the economy to the price of one commodity- oil. In fact I happen to believe that economically or geopolitically Scotland can never independently leave Britain in the same way as the north of Ireland and the south can never leave each other, physically or commercially. Similarly Britain can never leave the European marketplace. Its just not socio-economically pragmatic to suggest otherwise and really not the real issue at stake here at all. Adam Smith Wealth Of Nations?  What you can do though with more sovereignty is create a better wealthier society, with rules that work better, within a block of free trading nations. You only have to look across the sea to the Republic of Ireland to see what monetary union means with the EU on the fringes of Europe when you can't even control your interest rates or currency.   

The EU project is sadly incapable of the economic basics and the real choice that the UK faces is either to reform it as an affiliated member with defined black balling status subject to a few Treaty conditions or simply just leave the club completely and pay on entry.

Therefore it is not just only about immigration, but that issue, was pushed onto the agenda by Turkey and their attitude towards Syrian refugees, Kurds etc. Their reward? Billions in EU aid and an undertaking that they will be part of the EU in 5 years for being a major architect in all of this. Job done.  

    

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By cfield
27th Feb 2016 15:39

Our geological past

Albasas wrote:

In fact I happen to believe that economically or geopolitically Scotland can never independently leave Britain in the same way as the north of Ireland and the south can never leave each other, physically or commercially.

Actually, Scotland was physically separate from England until 410 million years ago. We were forced together when an ancient ocean called the Iapetus began to close. That's how Ben Nevis was formed. It's what's left of what used to be an enormous mountain range as high as the Himalayas when the 2 land masses collided. Even today, there is a fault line called the Iapetus Suture running almost parallel to Hadrian's Wall.

A bit of a long shot perhaps, but I suppose one day tectonic activity will have the opposite effect and the SNP will finally have their way.

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By Albasas
28th Feb 2016 16:56

Gretna Border Control - Maybe 25 Years On?

Obviously, Scotland, as an aim of certain tribes etc, (not just very ancient rock), only came about here in what we all call Britain around 843 AD, and it was sometime after that, say another 500 years, before it was all settled give or take the odd Jacobite rising. The Edinburgh Treaty, recognised in international law, says the last independence referendum held is final for a generation / lifetime so perhaps 25 years. The Smith Commission tax raising powers, at last settled, gives hope for a future Federal Scotland within some sort of UK framework if it is allowed to work and not be undermined.

At an educated guess, I do not hold much with the view if the UK votes go/leave then Scotland will get another independence referendum due to the terms of the Edinburgh Treaty. A lot of Scots want out of the EU and are at a loss to understand the SNP's take on this. This will be all about peoples point of view and opinions, not politicians whipped into speaking toeing the party line. Its going to be close to call.    

  

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23rd Feb 2016 08:45

My method of sorting the wheat from the chaff

Politicians are the biggest liars on earth, but may tell the truth if it suits their personal agenda, so I look at the opposing claims, and try to find something in the past that supports either view rather than trusting or distrusting a particular politician..

Where are the supporting facts? Either way it will be a 'leap in the dark'. Who expected the things that have happened in the EU during the last year? Is the future of the EU written in stone? Of course not.The future is always uncertain and being a member of the EU is just as risky as getting out, if not more so, as a single country can always react more quickly than the monolithic EU which can take years and years to negotiate and make decisions. There are numerous examples of this.

I would like to have real democracy. The UK isn't perfect, far from it, but we get the opportunity to kick out self-serving politicians, unlike the self-serving EU politicians.

I am happy to take short term pain for long term gain. and I think that will be the view of the majority of self-employed people, and small business owners. That's the choice we made when we started our businesses in the first place.

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Poll?

I think accountingweb should set up a poll, say every month until the referendum.  It would be interesting to see whether or not this non representative samples voting intentions change as the arguments for and against develop.  

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EU Runnin Poll

Brilliant idea!! I must say I am firmly on the post at the moment. I am disinclined to vote for any party that has Nicola Sturgeon, George Galloway and Nigel Farage trumpeting their views, so I am really confused. Big Business and Miltitary Leaders will always be for the "gravy train" that is the EU.My concern is not the economy, because I believe the UK can make it anywhere, it's our soverignity and our ability to make our own rules and regulations, without hindrence or interference from another place. The UK has always stood for fairness and justice, it's people collected from all corners of the globe over hundreds of years have fought against tyrany and dictatorships (in general), why therefore would that change if we left the EU.

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23rd Feb 2016 14:15

Dirty tricks

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35642296

Is there any real hope of a fair (and honest) referendum?

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23rd Feb 2016 17:46

If the leader

of our country cannot deport what he called a national threat to our security because of the EU then there is only one course of action. What about "it'll be a leap into the dark" - pathetic. We didn't do too bad before we were in the EU.

The EU should have stuck with EFTA instead of trying to become a federal republic.

Come on you youngsters there's a whole world out there just waiting for you to unleash your abilities. Do you really want to be in a stagnant pond?  Or do you want to discover new unchartered waters and create something special?

The trouble is we've had a labour nanny state, then a coalition that pulled both ways. So a refreshing Boris to lead us into new horizons should give us the "feel good factor". Just the thought of him being involved gives me hope.

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By IANTO
29th Feb 2016 08:50

Before the EU

Showing my age now, I voted for a free trading market and not political union. We were deceived firstly by Edward Heath's Government and then Harold Wilson's re-ratification.
Just to illustrate some of the historical issues. I'm not sure about the exact dates, but the UK had applied to join the Common Market when De Gaulle was in charge in France. But he vetoed it. Why you ask? Well at the time, although the relative cost of living in France for French people was similar to the cost of living in the UK, in general prices were much higher and also wages were much higher in France. So De Gaulle was afraid that if the UK joined the Common Market and the same disparity continued, then the French would come over to the UK in droves to buy our goods that were much cheaper than in France, much as we can do now with alcohol and cigarettes.

Basic foods were less than half the price in the UK than they were in France. Staple foods such as butter, milk and bread etc., were considerably cheaper. However, in the early 60's, the UK was experiencing a boom in new car production, largely as a result of the introduction of the MOT test, which consigned substantially good vehicles to the scrap heap as the cost of repair often exceeded the value of the vehicle. So at this time, the car industry was booming, albeit with many strikes. What this meant was that our luxury cars were cheaper than the everyday French cars.

When I was at grammar school in the 60's, one pupil was regularly picked up by his mother in a Renault Caravelle. A nice little car, a bit tinny, as all Renaults were at that time, but quite desirable. This car was more expensive than a MK2 Jaguar saloon. This is what De Gaulle was afraid of. If we were let in, it would decimate their home car industry. In those days, 1 in 20 cars was foreign for just the precise reasons I'm relating. Now it's 1 in 20 cars are made in the UK. Even my Jaguar XF has a Peugeot engine and not a spiritual descendant of the wonderful XK engine.

So something had to happen to align our wages and prices to those in France. What happened you ask? - decimalisation! In one fell swoop the Government created the mechanism for rapid inflation, almost 30% at its peak. I was getting a pay rise ever month! What many observers failed to advise was that the minimum rise in price would be 2.4 times larger than previously. The new half penny was 2.4 times larger than the old.

Halfpenny rises in prices disappeared in a matter of months replaced quickly by 5p (one shilling) and 10p (two shillings) rises. To put it into perspective, the average pint of beer at the point of decimalisation was one shilling and perhaps three pence, about 6 and a half new pence. So at the point when wages and prices more or less equated with those in France, we were allowed to join the Common Market. The first decimal price of petrol was about 37.5p per gallon. It had taken almost 20 years to rise from about 4 shillings (20p) a gallon to 7 shillings and sixpence a gallon by the time of decimalisation, but in the next 20 years went from 37.5p per gallon to roughly £5 per gallon, much of the rise being attributed to decimalisation and the change to displaying prices in litres, so as to confuse the customers further.

The pro-EU economic arguments don't mention that after the USA, the largest market for BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz and VW cars is the UK. Many more products like the ubiquitous Solvol Autosol are made in Germany and imported. Even HP sauce is now made in the Netherlands. The Germans couldn't afford to introduce trading tariffs as they would lose more than they gained. I suspect the same is true of the French car industry and perhaps to a certain extent, the Italian industry too.

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By geoffr
24th Feb 2016 10:45

The question

If Britain wasn't in the EU and the referendum was to decide if we wanted to be a member of the current EU what would the decision be?

I've a feeling the result would be a landslide NO

My take on this is:

The centre of Europe and the EU is German. Britain is not at the centre and over time will become a poor region on the periphery if we stay in the EU. Our nationhood and the values of Great Britain matter more than the short term egos of EU politicians. This is a vote for the heart although if you look closely at the arguments the head should agree with the heart. Britain has always been best when alone with its real friends, other English speaking nations. German and French politicians may want to asset strip Britain but its in our interests not to let that happen. They need us more than we need them!

 

 

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24th Feb 2016 11:05

@geoffr

This is what NF said at the last election.However there are some that will always stay with the devil they know rather than go with the devil they don't know.

Had the vote been nowish I'm sure that we would stay in. However the in camp really haven't got anything more to say. They will never be able to sway the definate out voters. So they have only got the don't knows. Whereas the out camp have got time to persuade the in and don't know voters. I reckon a lot of don't knows won't vote because their thinking will be it won't matter to them which way it goes. What do we do if indeed it's a tie. Does DC and BJ do a dual?

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24th Feb 2016 12:06

@artofnumbers

I don't wish to sway you, however if our leader cannot deport a national security risk then something is very very wrong. We now elect a party and/or leader that is purley a puppet (as seen in the last few days of "a new deal"). We have lost so much of our identity over the last 40 years we probably don't realise what we could achieve without the shackles of the EU. They are defunct, a stagnant pond. This was evident in the refugee fiasco, which is continuing still. That fairness and justice you talk about has slowly been eradicated and before long our infrastructure will collapse as has the EU's. If we don't get out now we will lose all our decision making rights.

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By 7555775
24th Feb 2016 12:17

Dairy products
So why do we have to import 30% of our dairy products from France, so many dairy farmers have been put out of a job and all the associated support people, just so France can have a share of our market, does anyone really want milk and yogurts brought all the way from France? Just one example also why are we subsidising the growing of tobacco in Greece?

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One of the biggest problems with the EU is the membership. They have let countries in that should have never have been members. These are the poorer countries – and they have pissed away subsidies, grants and other money that the British taxpayer has contributed to.

The system has not been designed where these countries have to improve their living standards, and what has happened, and is continuing to do so, is that other countries with a better standard of living are seeing their standard of living decline.

It might be a selfish viewpoint, but I only care about the UK. It’s my kids that will reside here long after I am gone.

There are just too many different economies, cultures and corruption for the EU to work.

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24th Feb 2016 12:30

EU Legislation

I am writing this response to those who say there are no examples of how EU law makes life difficult for business.  Try looking at this link and it will give you an idea of the rubbish that comes out of Brussels.

http://www.reading.ac.uk/foodlaw/label/quantity-prescribed-guidance-2009...

At the time this was introduced I ran a herb and spice business.  Spices weigh more than herbs, so we had the whole range in the same size jars with different fill weights depending on the density of the particular item.  What this EU Directive meant was that we had to half-fill the jars of the heavier items, so the lighter items could be filled completely.  The alternative was selling the range in different sized jars, which would not have been acceptable to supermarkets or consumers.  Then after causing mayhem, the EU reversed the policy for us, but still kept it for a number of foodstuffs.

They shouldn't have bothered with this subject at all.  I have numerous other examples of how EU law affects businesses.

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24th Feb 2016 12:36

Trade

Those who suggest that revising trade deals are a leap in the dark should look no further than the fact that we import more from the EU than we export.

If we vote out are we going to stop buying BMWs, Mercedes, Audis, Volkswagens, Skodas, Fiats, Renaults, Citroens etc?

If we vote out, are we going to stop buying wine from France, Germany, Italy, Spain etc?

If we vote out, are we going to stop going on holiday to Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and all other desirable EU destinations?

The economies of EU nations are desperate to keep on trading with us, because it would have a catastrophic effect on them if we were prohibited.  We will sign those trade deals, because it is in the interests of every EU nation to do so.

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24th Feb 2016 12:39

i will hold my hand up and admit

that i have no idea how the accounting system of the EU works but with the level of data collection that goes on i cant see why benefits being paid to immigrants (sorry other humans born in other EU states) is a problem.

 

If they are entitled to benefits because it has been verified that they and their myriad hoardes of children, back home, are entitled  to benefits that then get sent back to their home country. Why cant that be recorded in the many server racks and then treated as part of our contribution to the EU.

We are in effect paying twice for the same thing Multi million pounds of contributions (to be re distributed for the benefit of the rest of the states) plus paying benefits to johnny foreigner to be spent in a totally different country.

 

Surely the simplest thing to do is allow them in, fingerprint them, retina scan them, frisk them (if you think you need to), DNA test them and their children. Then track the contributions they make to the UK (tax and NI etc) and also the benefits they take out.

That would mean that if they want benefits then they have to hold their hands up get admitted like normal people and we know who is supposed to be coming in the country and that we are only looking at accounting entries rather than bigger things like treaty changes etc...

 

As far as should i stay or should i go? If the decision is go then that is surely the next money making band wagon "Let us show you how to sort your systems out to deal with..." Please form an orderly queue...

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24th Feb 2016 12:46

As an Irishman looking in it strikes me as odd that people in Britain, a country with a long history of immigration, are so exercised by the subject. Ireland had no large scale immigration before the 1990s and yet despite the worst economic crash in a century there is little controversy on the subject. People should also remember that there are lots of Britons living in other EU countries. Apparently there are nearly 330,000 British born people living in the Irish Republic. As a percentage of our population that is probably higher than the percentage of Irish born in Britain. A few are probably claiming welfare here though I know that many are working in business and others are retired.

If I may be permitted a comment as an outsider - I think Brexit would be bad for Britain. In a very interdependent world Britain would lose status and options if it exited the EU.

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24th Feb 2016 12:49

Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies

Or how to destroy these industries.

What the common agricultural policy has done is artificially inflate the price of EU produce, use the money gained to subsidise inefficient farming in other EU countries and then make the EU consumers pay higher prices for their foodstuffs.  Anything that could be imported into the EU at lower prices has import tariffs put in place to protect the EU price.  Just take a look at commodity prices on the world markets against typical prices in the EU.

As for the Fisheries policy, we virtually have no industry left as the quotas have been unfairly allocated to the disadvantage of the UK.  It is ludicrous that it is at present illegal for someone with a fishing rod to catch a single sea bass on the beach, whereas trawlers can catch large quantities.  It is also stupid that trawlers have to throw back dead fish into the water, as it is illegal to land fish under a certain size.  This is a waste.  The sentiments behind it are to protect fish stocks, but the reality is that no trawler operator can classify the fish by size as they are trawling - they just catch everything.

The bureaucrats don't listen to sensible arguments from the actual farmers or fisherfolk.

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