The EU – Remain or Leave?

I must admit I am not as starry-eyed as many appear to be about staying in the European Union, and at this point in time remain undecided as to how I may vote.

There are many areas of the EU that concern me a lot. I can’t forget EC President Jose Manuel Barroso saying it was unlikely that other member states would admit Scotland into the EU after a Yes vote in the referendum in September 2014, even though no one had actually put that to the test and the UK Government would not ask the question, or if they did they were certainly not giving out the answer. That intervention was wrong in my opinion and was all about supporting rUK in an internal matter.

TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) remains a major concern for me. The idea that Governments can be sued by multi national companies in secret courts is beyond belief, the idea that services must be opened up to the highest bidder puts the very idea of public services at risk, TTIP will also effect our privacy, jobs, food and environmental safety. The list goes on and we are not actually getting a say on it as it will not be put to EU voters in a referendum.

The treatment of Greece during their financial crisis left a lot to be desired. Greece were bullied, and irrespective of their internal policies that added to their crisis, the people of Greece were made to and continue to suffer cuts that the Tories would be proud of even today.

There appears to be a lot of corruption in the EU, the estimate from the EU itself is 120 billion Euros a year with little sign of this being addressed anytime soon. We have seen jobs for the boys and girls; esp. the Kinnocks (Labour Party) who have become millionaires on the back of the EU and continue to milk it even today. Just have a wee look below:

Their generous package of salary and perks included:
A total of £775,000 in wages for Lady Kinnock and £1.85 million for her husband, adding up to £2,625,000.
Allowances for Lady Kinnock’s staff and office costs of £2.9million.
A £64,564 ‘entertainment allowance’ for Lord Kinnock.
A total of five publicly-funded pensions, worth £4.4million, allowing them to retire on £183,000 a year.
A housing allowance that allowed them both to claim accommodation costs although, as a married couple, they lived in the same house in the Belgian capital between 1995 and 2004.

One rule for us and another for those failed politicians who can take as much as they can and there is little we can do about it. Just because they may have been elected or appointed doesn’t mean we have to make politicians rich.

EU accounts continue to remain unsigned. Farming subsidies are huge and make up 59 Billion Euros and mostly favour the French with farmers paid huge amounts of money to not grow things.

The refugee crisis has been handled very badly by all Governments and was in part caused by those Governments in the first place; all of this makes me think I could go for a NO vote.

The things that keep me open-minded are the economic benefits of trade with other EU members, free movement of people (just because we underfund our services doesn’t make this a bad thing) , environmental protections and the human rights act which offers some small amount of protection from the ravishs of our right-wing unionist parties are also a plus.

I also don’t agree that Scotland being forced out by an English vote would bring about a successful second referendum, I don’t think Scots are that enamoured by the EU either, but I do think that Scots understand that the EU does offer a tiny bit of protection. The SNP, and like minded YES voters, need to be very careful with this one, I don’t think that a NO vote in Europe will mean a YES vote for independence. I also think that the argument that you can only reform the EU from within is rubbish as it shows no sign of wanting to reform and will push ahead with greater integration in future.

David Cameron has made a huge mistake in calling this referendum and he knows it. This is all about the right-wing little Englanders in his party and the general shift to the right in England. I know the polls are saying it will be a vote to remain but I don’t think it is as cut and dried as that, even if the NO side looks like a membership list of right wing extremists. IDS, Patel, Farage, Johnstone, Gove, Grayling, Redwood and lets not forget the leading Tory himself Galloway. Could you find a more disgusting bunch of politicians anywhere, even North Korea?

So at this point I remain undecided, I am tempted to vote YES to spite the nutters in the Conservative Party and their right-wing friends, I am tempted to vote YES in the hope that it is a close call and that Scottish votes keep England in against it’s will, now that would be interesting (independence for England anybody).

No doubt it will be a long four months to the vote, no doubt the media will distort and lie as they did during the Scottish Referendum, no doubt we will have to find the truth for ourselves but as I said, right now, I am undecided. What about you?

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10 comments

  1. squidgybidge

    I always thought I was a stuck on EU “remain” advocate. That was an ideal I thought I would never waver on.

    Then during the IndyRef I learned about TTIP and I became concerned, then I saw the corruption at the heart of the EU when its now former President abused his power for shallow political reasons, all so he could subvert the internal Spanish Indy movement through Catalonia and the Basque Country. Then I learned how the EU actually works. Finally I watched in horror the treatment of Greece and my wavering became a “leave” vote.

    I have since moved back to a remain vote and reckon that will not shift now. However, I am not voting to remain in the hope Scotland voting to remain and English votes dragging us out. I have spoken to a couple of No voters in the Indy Ref and even though they reckon they will vote to remain in they have not considered how this would effect their vote for IndyRef 2 should the above circumstances happen. Thus by my guess for No voters a leave vote would not shift their opinion on IndyRef.

    I am voting to remain, because a leave vote won’t protect us from TTIP, because a Westminster Tory govt is just as likely to sign such a trade deal (or worse) unilaterally with ehe US/Canada. A leave vote won’t stop the corruption at the heart of Westminster or allow EU to law reign them in when they stomp all over our civil liberties.

    The EU is a protection mechanism that has helped workers rights (40 hour working week), brought us the Human Rights Act and much more.

    It has many problems, but not as many as Westminster.

    I also cannot forget that it brought stability to a continent that kinda liked to have squabbles amongst itself, some larger than others.

    Freedom of movement in the EU is also something I cherish, plus lets not forget that more people have emigrated from the UK to the EU than the other direction (and claim more in welfare from the EU states). If they all had work/travel visas revoked it would be a major headache.

    So in conclusion it has many major aspects that I am extremely leery of, but on balance it just tips the balance for me as a force for good not evil.

    • Anonymous

      S

      I can see your logic on why you will be voting remain and I am leaning towards that more than no but want to gather more information to be honest. The thought of the Tories having unfettered control over Scotland is a frightening prospect to be honest, who knows what they would do, drag us back to the stone age.

      We will also not get any great detail, or honesty from the media so hopefully those that can do some research will before they make a decision. I also have a fear that the turn out will be very low as the EU just does not register for too many people even though it is very important to all of us which ever way people vote.

      It will be a long four months and as usual we will have to wait to see how England votes.

      Thanks for commenting, food for thought there.

      Bruce

  2. bjsalba

    I’ve answered each of your points in order.

    The EU is an association of member states. As such no current serving official should have made any statement on how difficult or not Scotland’s admission would be. Mr Barroso learned that the hard way – no third term as EC President, failed in his bid for the top NATO job (did DC promise support in exchange for those remarks?). Where is he now? I do know, but I’ll leave you to find out. If anyone is to blame, it is Andrew Marr and the rest of the Tory press, who did not mention that only the UK could ask the question. So much for BBC impartiality.

    I am surprised that you do not know that the Tory Government is WHOLE-HEARTEDLY in favour of TTIP. Not only are they one of its biggest supporters in the EU, but at the Brisbane G20 conference David Cameron said he wanted to put rockets under it. He still thinks so. Without the UK, the pro-TTIP lobby is weakened. SNP MEPs are active in the group that is holding the officials to account. There is still one Lib-Dem MEP isn’t there? Which group does she work with?

    The treatment of Greece was not well done, but the banks had the EU countries over a barrel Noticed the furore with Deutsche Bank recently? During the Greek crisis Merkel forced out some of the idiots that put that bank in a derivative hole. Didn’t get much press here but Germans, Austrians and most Europeans certainly knew. Belgium has been hauled over the coals by the EU about sweet deals for multi-nationals and they are investigating the UK Treasury’s Google deal. That hasn’t had much press here either.

    As far as I know, the ONLY government in the EU that has publicly balanced its books is Scotland. I have not trusted the UK figures since I was a teenager (and I am retired now). Any Government that counts Scottish Whisky as an English export because it left the UK from an English port is not to be trusted. That no longer applies, but do not assume, that the current system is any better. Creative accounting knows no bounds.

    How the farming subsidies are parcelled out is a matter for the individual governments – provide they comply with the overall EU policy. It should be noted that the UK skews towards the large landowners. Is that the way it works in most of the rest of Europe? For that matter, how aberrant is the landholding patterns in the UK/Scotland as compared with the rest of Europe? Please do a little homework on this subject before you put pen to paper.

    It is true that the refugee crisis has been handled very badly by all Governments and yes it was in part caused by those Governments in the first place; but where exactly does the Cameron Tory Government fit? You need to think about that. They are by far and away the biggest demonizer of immigrants and, by the way, the biggest arms sales government. They bear a heavy responsibility for the immigrant crisis in the first place but they are not looking to share any of the responsibility.

    The Tories whine mightily about the legislation from Brussels that is holding them back from going the whole hog down the Neo-Con line. Think about that.

    Whether or not Scotland being forced out by an English vote would bring about a successful second referendum is, as you say, questionable However, such a vote would certainly put the UK in a very difficult position as regards the exit negotiations. That could be very much to our benefit.

    Has David Cameron made a huge mistake in calling this referendum? You can be sure of one thing. He will not be in the poorhouse, no matter what the result. So why should he care? Oh and hasn’t he lied about almost everything else? So why should this be any different?

    If you want to do well by Scotland vote to stay in. You know the press will be push, push, pushing to get us out, because that is in their interests. It is not in our interests.

    • Anonymous

      bjs

      Thanks for your extensive reply and I will do my best to try and respond.

      Looks like Barroso is in America now, interesting. I never bothered looking as I just found him to be another erocrat to be honest.

      I knew Cameron was all for TTIP but given that it is kept off the radar in the UK it’s actually difficult to find that much information on it other than some SNP info and UKip. I think it is a huge mistake, and I know from family and friends in the USA that there is a lot of opposition there, and in congress, so fingers crossed it will not get passed that hurdle and won’t be an issue. It seems like it’s 50/50 that it will happen or not.

      I am not up to date on all the banking issues in other countries, other than Iceland who appear to have had the right idea. I just thought from the outside looking in that Greece were treated very badly and it left a sour taste in the mouth and turned me off the EU to a degree.

      I am aware that only Scotland was able to deliver a balanced budget but only because it actually has no choice and this was a part of the first Scotland Act, a requirement to get the fiunding so to speak, but it would be good if all countries had to do it but then how would we fund various right wing wars and death.

      I did do some reading up of agriculture CAP funding, the last set of approved figures for CAP gave France 17%, Germany 12%, Spain 13% and the UK 7%. Now of course the UK funnels most of that 7% to large landowners and very wealthy individuals in their own right. For me the money means that the farming is not fair and probably works against the smaller farms to a large extent but I won’t pretend to be an expert on it.

      I think our record on the refugee crisis is shocking to be honest, but so is the EU’s and the UN as a whole. You can add in the whole middle east as well and see that it is a desperate situation that needs a world solution, and of course not intervening in foriegn internal conflicts with military action would help without a damn good reason for getting involved in the first place. Our foriegn policy seems to be a joke and as you say more about arms sales.

      I don’t see there being another referendum on the back of a leave vote. Westminster will never approve one so therefor one would only be avisory in the first palce, I am not sure YES would win so soon given the weakness of some of their arguments, and I am a yes voter. I suspect it will be a close remain vote.

      Your right, whatever happens Cameron and his will be alright and won’t be going near a foodbank. He will end up in some job or other somewhere pretending to be useful.

      Thanks for your briliant comments, I enjoyed reading your opinions very much.

      Bruce

  3. Sue Varley

    Bruce, while I agree with your assessment of the EU as a whole, I do not think any of those negatives are a reason for Scots voters to leave BECAUSE every one of them also applies to the UK, only more so.

    The EU treatment of Scotland in indyref was appalling, but I suspect they were trying to head off UK leaving EU by appeasing Cameron. Barroso was acting in Spain’s interest against Catalonia, rather than in the UK interest. It still sticks in my throat that not one single EU country would ask for clarification on Scotland’s status post independence, but that is no reason to cut our nose off to spite our face over Cameron’s referendum.

    Echoes of all the other charges you level at the EU can also be seen in the way UK treats Scotland and to some extent all its citizens.

    Greece was cruelly badly treated, but is it any different in principle to what the treasury are trying to do with the fiscal framework for the Scotland bill? They even boasted up front that they were setting a financial trap. We aren’t even in debt, the UK debt is largely run up on things Scotland does not want and does not benefit from. While I agree that we are nowhere near the situation of Greece, we don’t know how much closer they would try to drive us. I’m not willing to trust them, are you?

    TTIP itself has been well covered above – in addition I would just ask you to consider the Trades Union legislation going through, the Human Rights legislation being threatened, knock on effects of creeping NHS privatisation in England, idealogical austerity cuts from UK gov – they are doing these things now while we are in the EU – do you really want to find out what they might do if we were not?

    Corruption and jobs for the boys – Lord Darling, Lady Mone et al in HoL, Google tax, hereditary monarchy and civil list, more pay rises for MPs while junior doctors get pay cuts and more hours to work.

    CAP well covered above, add in CFP as well if you like, but remember it was the UK gov that negotiated away the fishing grounds, EU did not unilaterally “take” them.

    The refugee crisis that was “in part caused by those governments” – and was not UK the main ally in IRAQ and Afghanistan – I seem to remember the French had a very different response. UK is also at the forefront of destabilising Libya, well involved in Syria, selling arms to Saudi adding to the conflict etc.

    Everything that you say is bad about the EU is at least equally bad about the UK, and would almost certainly get worse if the UK as a whole votes Leave. If Scotland votes Remain, we can at least appeal to the EU to protect our rights as EU citizens, and may be able to drag out the leave negotiations. If Scotland votes Leave as well, we have signalled even more strongly than we did in 2014 that UK is OK and we are happy with the situation.

    While the chance of winning a second indyref are not certain, any chance even of holding another indyref if Scotland has voted Leave along with the UK are vanishingly small, shall we say.

    The EUref is in no way about Scotland. It is infighting in the Tory party, fuelled by anti-immigration and pro-BritNattery UKIP media hype that has been aimed squarely at the Daily Mail reading public over a number of years. If he is unlucky Cameron may get exactly what he deserves. The last thing Scotland needs is to be at their mercy afterwards.

    You are getting serious criticism today Bruce – sorry to add to it, but although this EUref is not about us the outcome is very important to us: if we are lucky we might just get we want out of it; I would be willing to go with “no change”; we could lose even the benefits and protections of the EU while also having all the worst bits multiplied n-fold.

    • bjsalba

      Barroso is Portuguese. Why would he support a Spanish cause?
      He did it for self interest – Cameron’s backing for the top Nato job. He didn’t get it – probably in part because of what he said on the Andrew Marr show.

    • Anonymous

      Sue

      I don’t disagree that Westminster is just as bad if not a hell of a lot worse than the EU. As I have replied to others one of the things that makes me lean more towards remain is the fear of what the Tories will do with unfettered control over Scotland.

      So many things are just messed up and it does feel like we are just pawns to the powerful and a very small elite no matter what country you live in. I know I am sick of it and it’s bad side of me that thinks I could vote no just to spite that bastard Cameron but then IDS supports no and he would not be out of place in the Nazi party.

      Just have to follow the debate but def leaning more towards remain than not and some of the arguments put forward on here have been very good, yours included, at least blogging is hell of lot more fun and informative than our so called media.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  4. lanark

    I am leaning towards voting to remain but it is one contest I feel I want both sides to lose. Your post has raised a lot of the problems with the EU. I also worry that it is taking democracy further away from the public. Part of the appeal of the Independence Referendum was bringing democracy closer to the people.
    The Leave side really are scary though and I can’t abide Galloway, the only thing he believes in is himself.
    Being interested in history, I find it fascinating how things have almost gone full circle. Before the Union Scotland looked out towards Europe and England seemed to defy Europe. This partly led to Union as many English monarchs especially the Tudors saw us as a threat.
    Too many in the establishment cannot contenance sharing this island with a peaceful northern neighbour. Imagine how they would feel if the rUK was out and Scotland was in the EU.

    • Anonymous

      Lanark

      I am leaning the same way and while I have many misgivings the thought of being left to the ravishes of the Tories doesn’t bear thinking about. I agree with you about Galloway, he is full of it and not worth the time. I guess it will be interesting to see how it plays out once the fear really starts, would be great if Scottish votes kept England in though, that would be so funny.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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