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Brexit barometer: Aweb readers want out!

1st Apr 2016
Technology editor AccountingWEB
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Those who predicted the death of the opinion poll following last year’s general election mistake may be disappointed, as with the EU referendum looming it’s looking likely that we will be treated to more polls than a high jump convention in Warsaw.

Last month AccountingWEB launched our very own Brexit barometer, and in March our survey of 171 accountants, finance professionals and other interested parties found that an overwhelming number in favour of leaving the EU, even with the reforms negotiated by David Cameron.

The poll found that 52% of respondents planned to vote ‘out’ in June, compared to 29% voting ‘in’ and 19% who remain undecided. One of the more damning statistics from the poll for the ‘remain’ camp is that even if every floating voter decided to vote ‘in’, the result would still come down on the ‘out’ side.

The accompanying Any Answers thread threw some light on the varied reasons why members chose their particular path. On the ‘leave’ side AWeb user cfield feels that the EU has “outlived its usefulness”, going on to state that “none of the concessions so painstakingly negotiated will be worth the paper they're written on until they are incorporated into a treaty.”

However, representing one of the 200 businesses who signed a letter to Times arguing in favour of the EU accountantccole cast doubt on the uncertainties created by leaving the EU, including the lack of trade agreements, freedom of movement and a lack of workforce flexibility.

In an eloquently argued post, site regular Locutus stated that although there are some positive with the EU, such as the ability to travel and work in different member states, having researched he is struggling to find any compelling reasons to remain.

April poll

We’ve now launched a fresh poll for April here and will be tracking the results until the big vote on 23 June to see if any trends emerge among the finance community.

Just to mark your card, due to technological issues the poll is not anonymised. We’re working on a solution to this, and hope to have it resolved when the site relaunches in early May

Replies (32)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
01st Apr 2016 16:15

.

The FT's poll tracker is probably the best thing to see what is happening nationally

https://ig.ft.com/sites/brexit-polling/

 

 

 

 

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By carnmores
01st Apr 2016 16:55

try the bookies a much better view

www.oddschecker.com

 

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
01st Apr 2016 17:01

Need to be careful

Hi 

I think you could have a silent majority case here.  We will have to wait and see.  But if I was putting a bet on I would put it on staying in.  I love watching polls but now you have to watch for things like in the general election where the public did not want to openly say they were voting conservative and did so when they got to polling box.   I think it is popular to give out about Europe. 

  I agree on accounting Web the no's are shouting the loudest.   

 My poll in my office is the other way around and the don,t knows are keeping quite as unfortunately the immigration discussion can go down quite a racist and anti country route.   I not suggesting anyone in Aweb has for a second but I have experienced it and it was very uncomfortable and just told the person I had not made my mind up. 

The problem with polls it both sides get aggressive and put the don,t know off are they tend to vote status qoe or not bother to vote.  

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Replying to Carole Baldwin:
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By T Jarvis
01st Apr 2016 18:16

One event could change the vote.

sarah douglas wrote:

 My poll in my office is the other way around and the don't knows are keeping quite as unfortunately the immigration discussion can go down quite a racist and anti country route.   

 

I have a different take on this. I do believe that immigration & terrorism are going to be the biggest single factor regardless of politicians attempts to steer the argument onto "safe" topics like trade.  I believe that there are a lot of people afraid to actually voice their opinions for fear of being immediately accused of racism by the politically correct. 

If, between now and the vote, there is a terrorist outrage, or another Rotherham sex scandal, then that will simply harden the views of the silent "leave" majority.

 

I actually have placed a bet on leaving.  (Of course, the last time I backed a horse in the National it tripped over the starting tape, so my record on betting is not that good.) 

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By carnmores
01st Apr 2016 17:09

@Sarah

Quite!

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
01st Apr 2016 20:30

I agree

Hi Jarvis

That is why I not sure if you can tell as the whole conversaton about immigration can go both ways.   One person does not want to say anything because  they fear been label a racist and the other not saying anything when someone is racist and I am not talking about rational conversations discussing the issue.    However I think the polls cannot be taken to be Gospel because I actually a lot of people are staying silent or saying they don,t know when they do so they do not get into a argument.  

  Some take it really personally and do not know how to handle a different view.   Hence why I think there is a huge amount of voters just staying silent on both sides.

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By T Jarvis
01st Apr 2016 22:49

I've been polled

I actually had a phone call tonight from one of the major public opinion firms asking my voting intentions, whether I had received any information from either side, and of course age and ethnicity (presumably if I'd been a 15 year old Polish migrant my opinion would have been ignored). 

I suspect that there is going to be a lot more scaremongering, lies and propaganda by the "remain" campaign before we get to the polls and that a lot of it will be coming from Europe.  The government wants us to vote "remain" and I would not be surprised if there was massive election fraud to ensure they get the result both they and Labour want.  

 

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By carnmores
02nd Apr 2016 18:00

what utter nonsense
Massive electoral fraud

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Replying to carnmores:
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By T Jarvis
02nd Apr 2016 22:26

Try opening your eyes.

carnmores wrote:
Massive electoral fraud

You think that is "utter nonsense" ?

There have been increasing instances of widespread electoral fraud, Police investigated 481 cases of electoral fraud in the UK in 2015 alone. 

 

http://www.aea-elections.co.uk/tag/electoral-fraud/

 

We now face an election where the state itself in the form of the government, the official opposition, and the civil service, ALL stand to lose financially and to lose influence should the nation vote to leave the EU.  The biggest fraud of all is the idea that a leave vote will in fact result in us leaving the EU - it won't.  The government is already talking about "10 years negotiations" and "still having to accept free movement of people in exchange for trade agreements", In other words we would be second class hostages of the EU.

 

Ten years negotiations actually means that the government will negotiate something that can be sold to the UK public then hold a second vote (since the terms of membership have "changed"), and will keep holding referenda until they get the result they want (just as happened in Ireland).  

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
04th Apr 2016 09:13

Tell the whole story

T Jarvis wrote:
carnmores wrote:
Massive electoral fraud

You think that is "utter nonsense" ?

There have been increasing instances of widespread electoral fraud, Police investigated 481 cases of electoral fraud in the UK in 2015 alone.

http://www.aea-elections.co.uk/tag/electoral-fraud/

If you are going to provide links to support your arguments, at least accurately report the information on those links.

481 cases of alleged electoral fraud. An allegation is very different to a crime. Allegations could be made maliciously or in error. The real test is how many cases of actual electoral fraud were taken to court. Fortunately that information is also on the link

linked information wrote:
leading to four court proceedings, three of which involved candidates submitting fraudulently completed nomination forms.

Four court proceedings do not constitute "massive" electoral fraud in my view. That sounds a lot more like a handful of individuals trying to boost their own position.

Then you bring out this old chestnut.

T Jarvis wrote:
One final point - how can you, as an accountant, even consider voting to remain in an organisation which has not had it's accounts signed off for about 20 years?

I must be imagining this then. It appears to be an EU audit report for 2014 that states the accounts show a true and fair view  In fact, this specifically says that the accounts have been signed off in this way since 2007.

http://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/auditinbrief-2014/auditinbri...

It is this sort of half-truths and outright misinformation (from both sides) that is doing such harm. How is anyone supposed to make an informed decision to vote when both sides deliberately mislead them?

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By ShirleyM
03rd Apr 2016 09:04

Don't worry

The EU won't be here in 10 years time (not if it continues on it's current path). The Germans will get fed up of bailing our all the failing Euro economies, and they will keep on failing as they are too reliant on the EU (which is probably what the EU intended to happen), although Germany and other EU countries are doing pretty well out of asset stripping Greece at rock bottom prices and as more countries sink into the mire they will be asset stripped too. There isn't much left of the UK, as most of it belongs to other countries now, which puts us at even greater risk. There just doesn't seem to be any good news on the horizon for the majority of EU countries, except for those who grab the opportunity to fleece the weaker economies.

I do wonder how bad it has to get before people understand that staying in the EU is far riskier than getting out. Is there anything that the EU has achieved, that other independent countries have not achieved alone? It guarantees peace? Really? We are at greater risk of civil war within EU countries than ever before. 

Good fences make good neighbours. We are no longer able to choose who visits, or lives in, our 'household' and who we can chuck out. We are no longer allowed to make our own trade deals with non-EU countries (equivalent of being told where we can do our shopping and who is allowed to buy from our shop). We have a semblance of self government, but not where it really counts

Many previously wealthy EU countries are in dire straits now, economically. Is that because of the EU, or would they be in a worse situation if they hadn't joined the EU? Does anyone know the answer? Unfortunately, we don't have a parallel universe where we can compare the outcomes. We aren't getting the truth from the EU or our government, on anything. Spin has become the government mantra. I have an unreasonable desire for facts, rather than rhetoric. 

Sorry about the rant. :(

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By T Jarvis
03rd Apr 2016 11:33

ShirlyM

ShirleyM, your "rant" is understandable. The EU has had over 50 years to work, we have been in it for 43 years.  The following link is a very useful timeline of the EU.   http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3583801.stm

 

The fact is that the EU has not and never will work, not in it's present state, nor in it's ultimate state as a United States of Europe. Whatever happens there will always be sections of the EU that put their own interests above the rest of the community (Germany & France), and there will always be poorer parasitic sections (Eastern Europe, Turkey etc).  Britain is the second largest net contributor to EU funds, yet receives very little from it. In other words we will be used to subsidise 90% of Europe.  

 

We also have no control over our borders, our laws are constantly changed by the European Courts, and our government's powers have been reduced to the level of a glorified parish council.  

 

The scaremongering by the "stay" campaign shows just how self centred our politicians of all colours are.  Indeed much of their rhetoric is very similar to the way smokers have been vilified by rabid anti-smokers, or the way that those who do not accept climate change are labelled "Climate Change Deniers" as if they are some sort of heretic. I wouldn't be surprised if all three groups are soon being burnt at the stake like the Salem witches.

 

As a smoking, climate change denying, leave voter, I take comfort in the fact that they can only burn me once :)  

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
03rd Apr 2016 16:50

Waste of time

As per my posts in the other threads, by far the most reliable political indicator is Betfair.  Hence in the main EU thread I am posting the true odds each Tuesday.  Rumours of a bandwagon for Bexit have been greatly exaggerated.

In my view this poll is as much a waste of time and money as the Scottish one.  In both cases the odds were heavily against changes being made.  In both cases it seemed to me very unlikely that the losers would in any sense give up.  Just as the SNP seem even more determined on indpeendence, I can't see the Brexit bunch being anything other than sore losers, crying foul and generally revisting their Project Grievance campaign.  The issue will by no means have been kicked into the long grass.

Most of the time referenda acheive nothing.

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Replying to DEan Merchant:
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By T Jarvis
03rd Apr 2016 18:05

Your EU bias is showing

mr. mischief wrote:

, I can't see the Brexit bunch being anything other than sore losers, crying foul and generally revisting their Project Grievance campaign.  The issue will by no means have been kicked into the long grass.

 

 

It isn't the Brexit campaigners corruptly using government resources to campaign.  

It isn't the Brexit campaigners who are using lies and scare tactics.  

It isn't the Brexit campaigners using foreign politicians to like Obama & the New Zealand PM to stick their noses into British affairs in a pathetic attempt to pervert the vote.    

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
03rd Apr 2016 20:33

Au contraire

Nope I am not biased.  At the start of the campaign I was a 40% shot to vote to leave, that is now 30%.  Overall in my view the UK - for example HMRC - makes just as many daft laws as the EU, so the onus is on Brexit to paint a compelling picture of how they will conduct affairs if they win.  So far they have spent one-third of their time squabbling with and firing each other, one third on Project Grievance and only one third doing what I would like to hear from them.

True, the Yes campaign are not any better with Project Fear.  But they are the incumbents and the onus is on Brexit.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
03rd Apr 2016 21:02

 

 

The most interesting thing i read this weekend was the age related data which showed quite clearly that the sort of splits we get on here are indicative probably of average age of the posters on AWEB.  The younger generations are much more pro EU, although also much less likely to vote than older people.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/02/eu-referendum-young-vote...

 

 

@Mr Jarvis, you remind me of a few of the old men round my way who I hear in the local pub. No actual facts ever get in the way of their opinions, the barman and a few other regulars play regular games winding them up until they get in a real froth. It really doesn't take much! 

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Replying to 4b4:
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By T Jarvis
03rd Apr 2016 23:11

MLR

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

@Mr Jarvis, you remind me of a few of the old men round my way who I hear in the local pub. No actual facts ever get in the way of their opinions, the barman and a few other regulars play regular games winding them up until they get in a real froth. It really doesn't take much! 

 

What facts would you like?

This vote is not about finance and tax, it is not about trade. Those matters were catered for by the Common Market. 

This is about saving Britain as an independent country, or, allowing it to become part of a German led United States of Europe with a political elite and the rest mere slaves, just as the USSR was in the 50's & 60's. 

Twice in the last century Germany attempted to rule Europe, this time Merkel looks like she might succeed. Maybe you are too young to see WW2 as anything other than something in the history books.  Many of us however were affected by it. We may not have been alive in 1945 but we were raised by parents who fought in the war. My own father was in the airforce and flew on the Dresden raid. A raid which saved tens of thousands of British lives, yet for which politically correct fools subsequently tried to vilify the brave men who took part. I saw an uncle die 30 years after the end of the war as a result of injuries he received when being tortured.   

The problem is that, as usual, the corrupt politicians, both left & right, are lying to the people by not disclosing their true intention, to destroy Britain.

The people of many countries are watching Britain. If we vote to leave then Europe will disintegrate as other countries also demand the right to self determination. THAT is what terrifies the politicians throughout Europe.

One final point - how can you, as an accountant, even consider voting to remain in an organisation which has not had it's accounts signed off for about 20 years?  That fact alone should give you reason to suspect corruption & money laundering offences by the EU, so shouldn't you be reporting yourself for voting to sustain an organisation you know to be corrupt?    

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By carnmores
04th Apr 2016 09:04

@T Jarvis NO

where you have gone horribly wrong is your use of the word MASSIVE , very few people doubt that there are people who are trying to manipulate the system but not to the extent that you say , HYPERBOLE is not helpful

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By ShirleyM
04th Apr 2016 09:34

Wednesday/Thursday should be interesting

http://www.dutchnews.nl/features/2016/01/83847/

The Dutch are opposing the EU membership of the Ukraine. Will democracy win the day, or will it be ignored?

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By cheekychappy
04th Apr 2016 10:18

I don't want to be a member of an organisation that can be held to ransom by countries such as Turkey.

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Replying to S Gill:
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By Discountants
04th Apr 2016 13:24

Really,

cheekychappy wrote:

I don't want to be a member of an organisation that can be held to ransom by countries such as Turkey.

Really,

So you'd advocate leaving NATO then I suppose?

If Turkey annoyed Russia enough that Russia attacked we would then be treaty bound to join in.

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Replying to DJKL:
By cheekychappy
04th Apr 2016 13:27

NATO

Discountants wrote:

cheekychappy wrote:

I don't want to be a member of an organisation that can be held to ransom by countries such as Turkey.

Really,

So you'd advocate leaving NATO then I suppose?

If Turkey annoyed Russia enough that Russia attacked we would then be treaty bound to join in.

 

is completely different to the EU.

However, I also feel that NATO is a waste of space.

 

If Russia wanted to flatten Turkey (and they could), NATO would not get involved.

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By Discountants
05th Apr 2016 17:50

A true believer in sovereignty :)

cheekychappy wrote:

Discountants wrote:

cheekychappy wrote:

I don't want to be a member of an organisation that can be held to ransom by countries such as Turkey.

Really,

So you'd advocate leaving NATO then I suppose?

If Turkey annoyed Russia enough that Russia attacked we would then be treaty bound to join in.

 

is completely different to the EU.

However, I also feel that NATO is a waste of space.

 

If Russia wanted to flatten Turkey (and they could), NATO would not get involved.

 

I must commend you on having a far more internally-consistent view of sovereignty than most pro-Brexit people I have met. You are a true believer in not giving up any sovereignty and that is valid point and position.

I do not believe the costs justify this level of sovereignty but that is certainly a value judgement which can vary from person to person.

I have looked a great deal at history and economic history (yes not only am I in accounting but my 'hobbies' are even more boring for the mainstream :P ) and I feel that the main argument here is about 'protecting' our market, people and economy from foreign influences (either from regulation, immigration or free trade).

Two very good examples and warnings from history are Argentina and New Zealand which did this quite effectively from around a century ago until quite recently (20 years or so in NZ''s case, possibly not yet in Argentina's) both countries went from being very rich, relatively speaking (Per head Argentina was higher than France or Germany, New Zealand was ahead of Britian and the USA) to being significantly poorer (Argentina is a bit more than half the level of France and Germany and New Zealand is around 2/3rds of the USA and 5/6th of the UK).

In neither of these cases was the fall sharp and dramatic when they turned away from open markets but it was slow, significant and very large over the period concerned - in Argentina's case it used to be on a par with Sweden today and New Zealand used to be on a par with Switzerland today.

I feel that Britian outside of the EU is likely to turn inwards, just as we did when we lost our empire and just as we were before we aquired it. Indeed I feel that, outside of the EU the british isles may contain 4 independent nations by the time I retire in 25 years time (with me in the one, possibly called wessex which has borders from the Severn to the Wash). We may even face the fate of Spain after it lost it's empire and reason to engage in the outside world in the 19th century - it took a brutal civil war and dictatorship for that country to re-engage with the rest of the continent.

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By T Jarvis
04th Apr 2016 10:40

Tata Steel

This morning on TV the business secretary has admitted that thousands of steel jobs will be lost thanks to the EU. 

A potential buyer has been found for most of Tata Steel.  The buyer however will not take over the pension book, quite understandably.  The government could and would take over the pensions, but, the EU makes it illegal to do so, thus sabotaging any rescue plan. 

The EU is inflexible and cares nothing for UK citizens. 

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By Discountants
04th Apr 2016 13:25

I don't think bringing back

T Jarvis wrote:

This morning on TV the business secretary has admitted that thousands of steel jobs will be lost thanks to the EU. 

A potential buyer has been found for most of Tata Steel.  The buyer however will not take over the pension book, quite understandably.  The government could and would take over the pensions, but, the EU makes it illegal to do so, thus sabotaging any rescue plan. 

The EU is inflexible and cares nothing for UK citizens. 

I don't think bringing back state-aid would be a good thing at all.

Why the hell should our tax money go towards supporting a few thousand jobs in a dying industry?

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Replying to johngroganjga:
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By T Jarvis
04th Apr 2016 13:54

I'm no socialist, but ...........

Discountants wrote:

Why the hell should our tax money go towards supporting a few thousand jobs in a dying industry?

 

It's not a  "few thousand jobs" it's around 150,000 jobs in  total, and, without a steel industry we will be blackmailed by China and other remaining steel producers. 

Have you considered the cost of paying benefits to over 100,000 people?  Compared to that, offering state aid would be a bargain. 

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
04th Apr 2016 17:21

not a socialist ...

T Jarvis wrote:

Discountants wrote:

Why the hell should our tax money go towards supporting a few thousand jobs in a dying industry?

 

It's not a  "few thousand jobs" it's around 150,000 jobs in  total, and, without a steel industry we will be blackmailed by China and other remaining steel producers. 

Have you considered the cost of paying benefits to over 100,000 people?  Compared to that, offering state aid would be a bargain. 

Let me deconstruct your argument.

1) You're not a socialist.

2) If supporting a socialist idea is necessary to make an anti-EU point, then you would reconsider your non-socialist views.

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Replying to Andywho is fed up:
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By Discountants
05th Apr 2016 18:06

Not a Socialist, not a non-socialist - something else :)

Red Leader wrote:

T Jarvis wrote:

Discountants wrote:

Why the hell should our tax money go towards supporting a few thousand jobs in a dying industry?

 

It's not a  "few thousand jobs" it's around 150,000 jobs in  total, and, without a steel industry we will be blackmailed by China and other remaining steel producers. 

Have you considered the cost of paying benefits to over 100,000 people?  Compared to that, offering state aid would be a bargain. 

Let me deconstruct your argument.

1) You're not a socialist.

2) If supporting a socialist idea is necessary to make an anti-EU point, then you would reconsider your non-socialist views.

I think you'll find my political views are much more nuanced than that, but I would be the first to admit they are outside the mainstream - try the poltical compass test I scored 1.88 on left-right and -5.54 on libertarian/authoritarian. I think you could describe me as a 19th Century Liberal.

Please cite your source for 150,000 jobs which will 'go' is this actually the number or is it really the number which would be 'affected'

The cost of paying benefits to 100,000 people would not happen - you are assuming none of these people would find other jobs - you are also assuming that this benefit cost would be directly comparable to an open-ended commitment to provide aid to a shrinking industry.

I am old enough to remember British Steel, British Leyland and British Coal and the rest of them and how they wasted massive amounts of resources - most of which were not noticed as the people who paid for the cost were those paying higher prices for the outputs.

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By T Jarvis
04th Apr 2016 10:43

Stepurhan

Just because there is no successful prosecution that doesn't mean the crime was not committed, it merely means there was insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction. 

Electoral fraud is rife, and has been for decades. 

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Replying to DJKL:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
05th Apr 2016 08:44

Your point being?

T Jarvis wrote:
Just because there is no successful prosecution that doesn't mean the crime was not committed, it merely means there was insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction. 

Electoral fraud is rife, and has been for decades.

If no crime was committed there would, for fairly obvious readings, be "insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction". There generally is a lack of evidence when something hasn't happened. 

You have completely failed to prove electoral fraud is rife (provided evidence to the contrary in fact). Are you hoping that by repeatedly saying it happens anyway others will not notice you have no basis for that claim?

No comment on the signed off audit report I presented? The one which indicates you made a statement that was completely untrue about the accounts not having been signed off for 20 years?

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By T Jarvis
05th Apr 2016 09:53

EU Audit - or joke.

The "signed off audit report" you refer to was NOT independent, it is a con trick.  It was by an organisation calling itself the "European Court of Auditors", which was established for the sole purpose of auditing the EU's finances. It is paid for by the EU and is totally reliant on the EU for it's existence.  If you think for one moment that this constitutes an independent audit then yiou have a problem. 

 

http://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/ECAWork.aspx   

 

http://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/AuditMethodology.aspx

 

 

As regards prosecutions, the CPS will not take a prosecution unless they believe they have a better than 50% chance of success. So, according to your "logic" the hundreds of thousands of burglaries, assaults and so on every year that do NOT result in a court case because no culprit is traced or insufficient evidence exists did not happen according to you.  

 

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By Old Greying Accountant
08th Apr 2016 09:10

Saw this today ...

... seemed apt!

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