The EU

I admit I am pretty indifferent in many ways to the EU, more in than out personally and I do think, without knowing all the complications, that a no vote may well be a mistake, at least in the short term. If it where a no vote we just don’t know how the EU would react, unlike Cameron I don’t think the EU are that desperate to keep the UK as a member state, and our influence may not be as vital as they would have us believe. If it’s a no vote do you think that the USA will have a so-called special relationship with the UK, no, but that I must admit I don’t care about.

The in and out campaigns are going to ramp it up. The In Campaign includes (Lord ) Rose former boss of M&S, (Sir) John Major, Gordon (Vow) Brown, Tony (War) Blair, Chuka Umunna (LabourTory MP), Tory Dominic Green, Will Straw (entitled child of a former Labour Minister, there are lots of them, look at the Kinnocks) and Green MP Caroline Lucas. The No side have Nigel Farage MEP UKip, Matthew Elliot of the Taxpayers Alliance, (Lord) Nigel Lawson, Kate Howey MP (LabourTory) . They are also being funded by major Conservative donor and City millionaire Peter Cruddas, John Mills, Labour’s biggest private financial backer, and Stuart Wheeler Tory donor.

I suppose first things first, who appointed those people. Who gave them the right to lead any campaign and to tell us what is right or wrong. Neither side are inspiring, in many ways they are as awful as each other and both support the very vested interests that have made the UK such a thoroughly elitist and right-wing nightmare right now. I am surprised that Caroline Lucas is having anything to do with the stay in group and suspect that whatever happens she will be tarnished with any association to them, she has made a huge mistake there. Overall neither side are inspiring, all have self-interest at heart, well maybe not Caroline Lucas, and all have dictated to us for too long or are unelected.

Now I admit that I think that there are many things wrong with the EU. It is very top-heavy and appears to be a job for the boys set up, it is not as democratic as many would have us believe and it tries to keep everyone happy, well the elite happy, which results in a mish mash of regulation that looks more like a burden than a help. How the EU have handled the refugee crisis has not been good at all and the EU treatment of Greece was a disgrace that everyone should be ashamed of, the Greek people were bullied and threatened with ruin when we should have been bending over to support them. The Greece situation demonstrated to me that the EU is neither fair nor equal, would the EU have treated Germany in the same way, I think not.

There are things I like about the EU though, I am more for the free movement of people than against. The ECHR is a vital protection for all of us, one that the Tories want to take away. We do get access to structural funds that play a very important investment role in Scotland and something that Westminster would just never do, Scotland is not London after all. Although we do get a lot less than England and Wales for example who both get 6 Billion and 2 Billion respectively.

One of my big worries, and many will share this, is that the media will be shocking. While they may not be as pro one side or downright lie as much they did about the YES Campaign during the referendum, and we won’t have the all out war from the Unionist Parties that we all experienced during the referendum, we will be guaranteed lies and scare stories from the usual suspects, and we will have to rely on the good blogs out there for honest information.

As a political saddo I will follow the campaign closely, will no doubt blog off and on about it but right now I think it could go either way. As I said at the start of this grump, I am more a yes than a no but one thing could swing it for me, TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). This stupid agreement, if it goes ahead, and in my opinion, will put our public services and our democracy at risk. It will allow companies to sue our governments in secret (Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits. In effect it means unelected transnational corporations can dictate the policies of democratically elected governments, it will weaken our food and environmental laws bringing them more in line with the USA. If the EU votes for TTIP without a referendum of EU citizens then my vote may well be a no because we will be shafted either way.

Interesting times ahead.

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8 comments

  1. hektorsmum

    Indeed Bruce, we were just discussing this over breakfast this morning, my Husband has been swithering about whether to vote in or out. I have yet to make up my mind. We have both always seen ourselves as European first much more than British but we do agree there is much work to be done to ensure that Europe become what we all want and that is much more democratic than it is now. The trouble is would you agree with any of them on the Remain or Yes group, I would have to bathe even thinking about it. I understand that the SNP will run it’s own campaign and thankfully will not get under that banner. Well we at least understand how toxic is the Tories, all colours.
    My big decision is funnily enough the one which should concern everyone, specially those in work. I fear that should the UK leave Europe we will see even more draconian measures taken against workers. The little rights we have will vanish like snaw of a dyke. TTIP is another issue, but I do not think Westminster would turn a hair at imposing that even if we left Europe. Too hand in glove with the US for me.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Hektorsmum

      I must admit in many ways this one is more difficult to decide, the referendum last year I was YES from the start and nothing was going to change my mind, as I will be YES the next time also. As I said there are things I like about the EU, it protects us from the f’ing tories in a lot of ways but there is so much waste and it is a job for the boys. My blood boils when I think about the bloody Kinnock family and how the EU made them all millionaires and everyone a political failure. That makes me sick. The SNP are right to stay well away from either crowd and no doubt the Lib Dems will embrace them and roll out Clegg at every opportunity, they might go for the whole thing and roll out Alexander as well.

      I think it will be a lot closer than people think and I suspect the right wing nutter papers will really go for it as Cameron will fail miserably, he might actually have to go when he fails with any meaningful re-negotiation. Interesting times and I think my vote will rest TTIP and how much more loathing I get for the scumbag red and blue tories.

      Thanks for commenting as always, good to know that someone still reads this blog lol.

      Bruce

      • hektorsmum

        Well I believe Danny Alexander is holding hands with Lord Rose. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown et al, so I think you are quite correct. I noticed right now Remain is ahead, it will be interesting to see how long it survives the scaremongering.
        I hate to vote according to those above but I may yet have to. I am old enough to have voted in the last one in 1975 and I voted NO, needless to say I have changed a lot in those intervening years about Europe. If the UK had participated fully in the project when it joined in the 70’s Europe could maybe have been a better place, I doubt it, they like rule by placemen in England, hence it was easy for the Kinnocks. I have Welsh relations by the marriage of an Uncle during the war hence I have a cousin, but I will never understand their cleaving to Labour. They have been used as cruelly as we have by them.

        • grumpyscottishman

          hektorsmum

          I can see my decision going to the day of the vote, I do hope that we get some decent information and not the standards set by the referendum last year as we all deserve better than that.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Bruce

  2. Sue Varley

    Hi Bruce, glad you chose to blog on this, and interesting comments from Hectorsmum.

    For me the decision is simple, I am not so much deciding my vote based on the merits or demerits of being in the EU, but more on which is more likely to help us to independence quickest. For me the best scenario is England votes leave, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland vote stay.

    This will give the UK govt the most headaches, and also should to some extent clarify what the EU feels about part of a Member State wanting to be in the EU whilst another part wants out. We already have Greenland out while Denmark is in, so there is a precedent there. I just cannot see the EU being willing to lose Scotland from membership if it wants to stay in.

    I would prefer Scotland while governed by Westminster to be in the EU, as at least some protection from the worst excesses of the UK govts of all shades of Tory. For me the debate on whether Scotland herself is better in or out of EU should be left until we are an independent country. I would certainly support another EU referendum post independence. I have no idea which way I would vote in this case.

    I agree the TTIP thing is potentially a huge problem, I am definitely against it, but will it be decided before or after the UK referendum? Either way, it would not swing my vote.
    The only problem I would have is if opinion polls start showing England clear majority for remain while Scotland is showing for leave.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Sue

      I think Cameron is taking a lot of risks to be honest. The EU ref may well swing on how many voters perceive his re-negotiation to be a success which it won’t be. Any changes he achieves will only be because Germany/France want them also and they will not allow any changes to freedom of movement, the whole EU hinges on it. Any failure here will be hammered by Tory MPs and some voters. I suspect that TTIP , which I am very concerned about, will play a role too.

      It is pretty much guaranteed that Scotland will be very unhappy after 5 years of Tory Government, the Scotland Act will not meet aspirations and I suspect another referendum will be very close so I suspect that you are spot on, esp if the Tories do win in 2020. Holyrood may well decide not to pass the Scotland Act next year and call Cameron’s bluff in many ways, esp if the SNP win a majority which is looking increasingly likely, they may just play high stakes poker as they may feel they have little to lose given the state of the opposition in Scotland.

      Interesting times.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  3. antmcg

    Hi Bruce,

    I am also in a quandary here. I work with interpreters and translators as the main thrust of my job. Therefore I am aware of a very large amount of European Union member state workers, working here in Scotland. They are all worried what would happen if the UK were to leave the EU. My quandary is i so do not want to vote the same way as Cameron, and equally not for IDS…

    My ideal is for S, W and NI to vote stay, and E to vote go, thus causing a indivisible divide between the 3 and the 1, that would only be rectified with complete independence.

    Drastic, I know, but as it is; we seem to be sprinting to but stay still right now 😦

    Thanks,

    Tony

    • grumpyscottishman

      Tony

      I don’t think a leave vote in England would bring that about. I have spoken to some people who would still vote no to independence either way. I think it will be a vote to remain but closer than many think.

      I am on the fence to be honest , I am not a huge fan of the EU and see it as the bigger version of Westminster around expenses etc. I am sick of the whole lot of them to be honest. We are ill served everywhere apart from local government mostly, bad as local government is, I just don’t see the same level of uselessness as I do at the higher level.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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