About this Brexit thing ...

As someone who doesn’t really care about the issue one way or the other, I’ve noticed few people explain the basic disagreement between the two sides. Do I have this right:

The pro-Brexit side doesn’t want to be governed by people they didn’t elect.

The anti-Brexit side thinks they are better off economically by remaining in the EU.

Is that the basic gist of the argument?

Usually, the sides are referred to as Leavers and Remainers.

The Leave side are comprised as a mix of people. Some are the wealthy who want to be free of EU regulations. Some are people who wish to reduce immigration from Eastern Europe. Some were upset about immigration into Europe, many of these immigrants head to the UK. There’s also those who seek to blame the EU for every problem, just how it’s common to blame Washington for everything that goes wrong in the USA. Plus, there’s also a group of nostalgic elderly who want their blue passports back and that silly metric back. I assume they want to bring back the shilling as well!

I’m American but I’m strongly pro-EU. Most remainers understand that the UK has the perfect relationship with the EU. The UK has retained the Pound, is not part of Schegen, and had the common travel area with Ireland. While the UK is a large economy, they’ve learned that they just can’t dictate terms to the EU for access to the common market.

Yeah, that’s the thing that I find the most infuriating about the whole mess.

Since the UK joined the EEC (now EU), it has basically acted at best as a very reluctant partner, at worst as tamper-throwing diva. I can think of no other member that has consistantly behaved in such a selfish way for, well, ever and got almost all of their demands granted (the infamous UK rebate, keep the Pound, no Schengen, etc). And now it feels that it’s been treated unfairly and wants out ? It makes absolutely no sense.

Edit :


Give the Poms fair due, not even a podium finish.
Recall the PIGS?
The whole thing has only ever been raw national interests played out under common rules without armaments,

Broadly, yes, although the pro-Brexiters are completely and totally wrong about EU officials being people they ‘don’t elect’.

The European Parliament is elected, and has extensive powers to debate, amend and block legislation. A convention has also arisen that the parties select ‘candidates’ at election time to head the European Council. The Parliament also hires and fires the Commission, and controls the Budget.

The Council of Ministers is comprised of elected governments, weighted by population, and a supermajority is needed to pass legislation, but generally the EU bends over backwards to find compromise and avoid that situation. So much so that Britain has, despite being a nation of feckless whingers, rarely lost a vote, and definitely not on something that mattered in the long run.

The national parliaments continue to have European legislation put before them to accept or reject, plus the new red/green card system, national governments have vetoes on treaty changes and large areas of European common affairs.

I have tried my hardest to find a germ of sense in the Brexit cause and the only thing in it I have found truthful and reality based is the statement ‘the EU exists and Britain is a member of it.’ Nothing else that Leave says is true.
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It makes more sense when you realize that “Nigel” Farage is some kind of Frog and Boris “Johnson” is some kind of Russkie. The whole project is an attempt by ersatz patriots to trick the English into tossing their enviable relationship to the EU into the bin. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, more sense than absolutely none, anyway. :wink:

I often wonder whether Farage wasn’t playing a role.

After all, he had a rather cushy job as a Member of the European Parliament, in other words right at the heart of the institution he wanted to destroy. It makes me think that all the anti-EU rethoric was really a simplistic ploy to get elected over and over again without having to face the consequences because the UK would never be stupid enough to actually… leave, you know :smack: .

I note that he’s been much quieter in the past two years. Surely, this should be his triumph, his moment of glory. Where is he ?

There’s a fairly expansive thread on Brexit over in Great Debates that covers many of these issues.


Short version: this is just impossibly dumb on the UK’s part.

He’s been trying to suck up to the US media, like a sort of Poundshop Piers Morgan (having found that trying to be Trump’s Best Friend is a pretty pointless exercise). That doesn’t appear to have offered him much, and now he’s made it known he disapproves of his party’s lurch towards the barmier sort of alt-right Islamophobia, so who knows, maybe it’s time for his Third (or is it Fourth?) Coming as its leader?

Or maybe he’s up for next year’s Strictly Come Dancing lineup

Oh believe me, the fucker is still everywhere over here. He has a spot on LBC Radio where he gets to spew his delusions, and seems to be invited on Question Time at least monthly. He may have left UKIP which has since revealed Its true nature as a xenophobic, homophobic BNP-with-a-combover, but he’s still constantly on the TV and radio.

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The UK was one of the main drivers behind the establishment of the Single Market, so I think your characterisation is slightly unfair. Not so keen on further political union, of course.

Well, seen from the continent, and especially from one of the founding members, the UK’s attitude has always seemed “one foot in, one foot out”, to a maddening extent. For as long as I can remember, there were talks of the UK being the US’s Trojan Horse in the EU, the sole purpose of its membership being to derail any possible political union. Conspiracy theory-type stuff for sure, but even to the casual observer, it always felt as if the UK’s heart was not in it, that it didn’t adhere to the vision, or only to the extent that it suited its immediate, selfish interests.

I read the British press almost daily and I thought he’d been keeping a low profile recently, which I found… interesting. I admit I don’t watch British tv much anymore and don’t listen to British radio at all.

I mentioned this in the other thread and obviously I don’t know much about the issue, but why cannot there be a trade union without these types of regulations? Just say that we like these handful of countries and we will have free trade and free movement of people. Why the need for the regulations? Why is keeping such a thing like your own currency seen as such a concession by the EU?

The main driving force behind regulations is to stop assholes from doing assholish things to other people.

I understand that. However, if say, the U.S. and Canada decide that we are buds and want to establish a free trade zone and a free movement zone, haven’t we ex ante decided that we don’t need to worry about them doing assholish things to us? If we thought otherwise, we wouldn’t want to have such a thing with them.

I mean, if I go to Niagara Falls, ON, I don’t take an FDA inspector with me when I eat breakfast. I trust that Canada is a quality first world nation such that my breakfast is good enough that those bacon and eggs won’t kill me.

If we want to expand that idea, why then do I then think that they are a bunch of maple syrup eating sneaky bastards that will kill me when they export pork and poultry? And then make my widow carry $1 coins? Can’t we trust our experience and open things up?

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Because there’s free trade and then there’s free trade.

Brexiter free trade is very nineteenth century in conception: just abolish tariffs and let the market run riot. That might be fine for some situations, but the world has moved on.

For example, countries can bend the rules and ‘unfree’ the trade with special regulations that help their own industries but keep the, uncompetitive. It might not even be that cynical, but simple differences in the way things are done causing headaches for businesses trying to sell a product in 28 countries,.

The EU does that but also works to abolish these non-tariff barriers by ensuring that anything sold in Britain can be sold in Greece, and irons out differences between countries whereby France may have local laws to prevent foreign competition. Similarly, by establishing common rules it reduces red tape for business. For example, the notorious story about the EU ‘banning’ straight bananas came out of a deliberate misunderstanding of an EU attempt to help a dozen European countries agree on the common storage capacity of a crate of bananas.

And you need a regulatory structure to enforce this. You absolutely do. By resolving regulatory divergence into one set of regulations rather than 28squared, trade is made more profit and Europe more competitive.

Really, the ironing out of regulatory differences is essential to modern free trade. And smaller countries generally get stomped by larger ones. That’s what Brexiters don’t appreciate.
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Because a central bank can decide to make their currency stronger or weaker, perhaps gaining an advantage in trade.

Personally, I think it’s good that there are three strong currencies in Europe: the Euro, the Pound, and the Swiss Franc.

Regulations exist to ensure two things: 1) the wants of the people are met, and 2) all producers are on an even playing field.

Let’s say there’s a want of the people that the free market is unlikely to provide for due to externalities – e.g., the people want Lake Erie to be clean, but consumers in California are unlikely to care a whole lot about that vs. cost. A producer who’s allowed to pollute Lake Erie is going to be able to sell their product cheaper than a producer in another state who has to responsibly process their waste. The responsible producer will therefore get run out of business and Lake Erie and its residents will suffer. This is why federal regulations are a good idea, they ensure businesses in all the states all operate on a level playing field, and one state isn’t allowed to undercut the market by slashing regulations.

Same thing with international trade. Canada shares a border on Lake Erie, so if we agree that we’re going to drop tariffs on goods made with Lake Erie water in the name of free trade, we need some way to ensure that they’re not just going to undercut the goods made on the American side by allowing their businesses to pollute that common waterway. Or any other waterway for that matter.

Same thing with currency – if one country is allowed to mess with their currency in order to undercut the competition in a different country, that’s no good. Regulations ensure that all producers in all countries are playing by the same rules.