The EU and UK — Why stay in a club we either hate or want to change?
I’ve been following this referendum since it started and It’s been incredibly interesting. I’ve realised the EU has been horrifically romanticised by people who want to remain. ‘Remainers’ have applied the work of the UN, WFP, UNHCR, G7, G20, WTO, NATO, IAEA, MSF, OPCW to the EU, and in many instances confused the mandate of the EU as anything but a trading bloc. Celebrities have described anything but the EU in many cases, instead describing the best aspect of themselves. Remainers who argue the EU is international, many of these people are international themselves, and look to open-minded ‘ideals’ of the EU as a validation of their own views.
The Leave camp too has been dubious, describing the EU as something that controls every aspect of our daily lives. An EU that is wasteful and utterly authoritarian. Leavers see the EU as a monolithic structure that has tricked people, purposefully corrupting our society with the worst social and economic experiments, and then do nothing to solve them. Many people who are for Leave, sees the EU as reflection of the worst aspects of themselves, frightened, incompetent and paranoid.
This referendum has stoked the already enraged Left and Right electorate to judge the two opposing sides as the worst kind of opponents. Traitors or bigots. But they have both been misled by a UK system of party politics, MPs who do not experience any of the problems the average UK citizen experiences, and thus cannot problem solve as we would like them. This has been exacerbated by 24hr news and constant social media, the UK has become the politics of the expectations and frustrations.
Politicians are not evil, but have evolved in a climate of long term party politics, with short term party polices. Each politician is an humanitarian, and advocate for the crown and it’s subjects… but the party always comes first.
What is the European union?
The truth is the EU is a simply neither of these described organisations Leave and Remain claims. It’s a trading union with aspirations of closer ties for full fiscal unity’ The EU’s sole mandate is to create legislation for an equal competitive market across it’s bloc. It’s not really interested in anything else and has no power to solve problems outside it’s members boarders. The European court of justice for instance, only imposes EU laws regarding trade, tax and workers rights (which includes free movement of EU citizens)
The EU’s goal is to create a fair competitive economy across member states, equal work standards, a single point for other worldly trading partners to negotiate with. The free movement is not a shining ideal of freedom, but simply a mechanism for workers to find jobs in other member counties and to aid tourism. The EU is capitalist venture, it doesn’t have a ‘flag’ it has a corporate logo — it’s placed on every building or initiative the EU funds. It’s legislative commission, the European commission is the only institution empowered to initiate law in the EU; each commissioner is taken from a member country (our EU top table) but each member swears an oath that they have no other obligation than to further the ideals and best interests of the EU.
The EU does not reflect a political institution, no one is elected at the top — it is a board room with ‘CEO’ and ‘board members’ who decides the direction the EU takes. The EU commission then consults heads of governments (EU council) and representatives of EU citizens (MEPs, EU parliament) on how it might implement decisions the committee will legislate. The EU Parliament in some cases only needs to be consulted, not listened to. Whilst the EU council, can only suggest laws, amend treaties and veto.
The top table at the EU is unelected so it can hope to achieve things. The EU is expansionist, like a company, requisitioning member states and their companies to further its uniformed regulated market with new competitive trade. The EU purposefully confuses these details. People who advocate democracy purposefully confuse how the EU functions. It’s embarrassing that the worlds most powerful conglomerate of market economies is anti-democratic. But it is.
EU treaties have instigated the privatisation of the Royal mail and UK train services, to create an equal competitive EU (ECL) — all EU members must have a private Postal service and Train service, there are strict rules for monopolies and competition in the EU. However, the way it is implemented is decided at a national level, so nothing is actually equally rolled out across member states; each nation can find loopholes, and if consumers want it to be re-nationalised, it’s impossible.
This is perhaps the biggest sovereignty problem the EU has. It can make the laws and aspire for each nation to create the same outcome, but because each country is still sovereign, it can only observe and possibly take them to the EU court of Justice for not following the treaties correctly. The EU is looking for way to take away infrastructure rights from national parliaments. Especially after the Migrant crisis.
The schengen zone is the EU border. it’s controlled like any other national border but it’s strictly the responsibility of the member nations to enforce it. Under the Dublin treaty, refugees and migrants entering the EU must stay in the country it first landed and claim asylum. Again, this is controlled by the member nation. But after millions migrated from Africa and the middle east into Europe, it’s become a crisis. Chancellor Merkal broke the Dublin treaty and invited more migration, asking migrants to travel across other EU nations to enter Germany. Former soviet and Balkan states then decided to close their borders effectively breaking schengen zone.
The UK didn’t join the Euro despite the advice of big institutions. The UK opted out, like we did with schengen zone along with the republic of Ireland. The EU couldn’t foresee the Greek financial crisis, it’s strict policies of unified fiscal monetization stopped the Greek government from devaluing it’s currency, when it’s national infrastructure went bankrupt. This instability has dealt a massive blow to the EU, imposing austerity on Greece, including the loss of pensions and public institutions. Germany with the EU and IMF, has continually bailed out Greece under strict rules, despite Lisbon treaty Article 125, which makes it illegal for one member to assume the debts of another.
There is a reason why the Bank of England, IMF, economists, big companies, big banks all favour the UK staying in the EU. It’s not because they are all lizard people, experts, greedy, right or wrong. They all work with the EU to advise banking and business legislation across all EU member states. ‘Experts’ wanted us to join the Euro because ‘single currency’ would create certainty, their job is to ‘see’ the future market, but they can’t without knowing what is going to be certain.
A unified market with strict treaties can create an easy playing field for predicting investment and growth. IF the UK is allowed to do something different, it will be problematic. Leaving the EU would create short term economic problems (this is a fact), not because our economy or consumers would change, but banking, manufacturing and exporters wouldn’t know what direction we could go in — we would be free. But, our long term economy cannot be guessed if we leave the EU, and most experts including (recently) the IMF, see’s the long term economic future of the UK as being no different then now, or better, or worse.
Those decisions would depend on our governments next steps, and what would be negotiated whilst Article 50 is in effect. Any guesses before article 50, would give the EU and other countries an upper hand in negotiation, and the markets a false idea of what the British economy might look like (which is why leave is sheepish on explain what future trade would be like)
What is the future of the EU, where do we fit in?
The five presidents report sets out the future of the EU, and it is not creating a United States of Europe (at least not explicitly). The report sets out the further integration and powers of trade and monetary union over that of national parliaments. This is incredibly important if your country is part of the Eurozone. The point of the report is to make sure another financial crash doesn’t plummet the Euro into another dark age, giving Eurogroup more control over national budgets, and implementation of currency, business and trade. Parliaments can no longer have deregulation at a national level, whilst the economics of the EU has it’s own strict regulations. National decisions regarding the Euro cannot happen any more, decisions must be made with other Euro currency members — It’s part of a wider stability of it’s mandate.
The EU goes to great lengths to stable it’s mandate, including replacing heads of state with EU bureaucrats in the case of Greece and Italy, which arguably was to protect the wider union. The EU also imposes treaties even against a ‘no’ referendum, as was the case of the Lisbon treaty, France and Ireland. But that was arguably to save the point of the EU, that everyone is treated the same, Treaties must apply to all members of the EU.
“There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties” — Jean-Claude Juncker, from a french newspaper Le Figaro (28 January 2015)
The EU even has a court that enforces the rule of EU law, The European Court of Justice. Which should not be confused with the European Court of Human Rights, which is a completely separate entity, part of the council of Europe, and any country can join, including Russia.
So then why am I voting leave?
In terms of current economic strength, the UK is a NET contributor of the EU. We pay in more to be a member, then receive back in contributions. Our excess goes into funding the EU bureaucracy and helping poorer members. This will change, if our economy losses strength. The fact we are ‘penalised’ for doing well says a lot about the priorities of the EU.
The EU is no longer a simple trading bloc like those around the world. It’s become a political economic union that borders on functional ‘communist’ ideals within a purely fiscal capitalist mandate. The EU is neo-liberal, an economic country that has no land and generates none of it’s own finances. The priority of the EU is to create a harmonious single market, a united economic country, with a shared monetary system and shared economic law; once this is complete the Eurozone will have a shared wage, shared living standards, equal competitive infrastructure; transport and indiscriminate worker migration across the whole of the EU. The only catch will be, it’s legislated by an un-elected chamber of commissioners, who listen to lobby groups and bankers more than citizens.
Without implementing everything the EU does, the treaties work against us, not with us. Now thanks to David Cameron, it’s written in stone.
Are we insane?
I was horrified that David Cameron's renegotiation ruled out further EU integration. But further integration is so unpopular in the UK, he had to do it. Now, even Labour, Lib Dems & Greens want reform, to convince us to stay in an EU which is obviously not working the same for us as it does for Europe. The EU commission has absolutely no interest in reforming the EU and why would it? The EU is functioning exactly the way the commission wants it to. If we did get reforms, every other EU member of the EU council would be against it, we are historically voted against in both the council and EU Parliament. We are at odds with the future and functionality of the EU.
Why are we continuing our membership of the EU? Why are we allowed to have a top seat in a club we are nationally at odds with?
We have top seats at the UN, Nato, the G8 group, the G20 group, the OECD, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organisation and the commonwealth. Even our head of state is rumoured to be against it. This referendum has created a constitutional crisis in the EU, giving rise to possible other EU referendums on membership. We are now more problematic then beneficial politically, then we have ever been. Without adopting the Euro, we are counter intuitive to the closer fiscal and monetary union. We are the awkward one, the crazy EU island that just doesn’t do what the mainland does, but wants to be involved.
Leaving the EU would solve one EU’s biggest problems, the fact we want something very different to the Germans and French. It’s obvious that we don’t fully want to be in the EU project, even opposing the ascension of Juncker himself. By remaining we are saying, “we want what you have, but on our terms.”
On top of that, with EU workers coming to the UK under free movement, we are pitting the strength of two currencies against each other, do you want to live and work in a country that has the pound, or euro? The acceleration of migration from EU countries will only halt to stable levels (1 in 1 out) if the pound is weaker than the Euro, as to make it not worth working here. To purposefully damage the pound to stem EU worker migration would be counter to our economy.
Migrants are using a system freely open to them. The problem with migration is we cannot control it. Whilst we fundamentally function differently to the Eurozone, we cannot benefit from the ultimate purpose of it — to be one economic nation with a free moving work force. But because free movement is a major part of a treaty, (we cannot change treaties whilst in the EU) If we don’t like it, we have to leave.
If we leave we can actually create a real competitive market between the Pound and Euro.
The EU is indifferent to nationalism, it is only against anti-EU sentiment. The idea that the EU is about ‘internationalism’, is no different then advertising convincing us to go on an adventure, without the inconvenience of leaving our homes. The EU’s purpose is to be ‘European’, the EU expresses it’s own European nationalism. The EU has proven it will go to extreme depths to preserve it’s identity, and is bias towards funding, supporting groups and charities that support the EU’s image, aims and policies.
Remain has used it’s voice to champion the uncertainty of a leave vote, and the inertia of a status quo. As the EU creates further unity and we are not part of it, then we are paying into a club we are not using properly. However any political party that would suggest further EU integration would not win an election, and any party that adopted further integration would do so without a mandate from the electorate, and would be against the ‘special status’ David Cameron has created, the weak backbone of this referendum.
What if the ballot read:
Do you want to leave the European Union?
Do you want to fully integrate into the European union?
I support leaving the EU, because I believe although our politicians find it difficult to problem solve like an average citizen would, it’s better then allowing a undemocratic multi-national conglomerate to problem solve a continent. You only have to look at the way the EU is sending vulnerable refugees back to inhumane camps in Turkey, against the UN and IMF, to know the EU is not a force for people, but a force of economics.
But that’s us. Other EU nations have adopted it much greater then we have, and will benefit from it’s structure greater than we will. By leaving the EU, we can let the EU project fully integrate and we can choose to trade with it on the terms that we both want. We can choose a fair migration policy that includes the world and suits or maritime heritage. The Remain camp argues that we need to be in the EU to be multicultural, but the UK has always been multicultural. People fear the rise of the right wing, but we have always been a hugely tolerant country. We can re-nationalise the rail service and create infrastructure that suits the make-up of our country, not that of other EU land mass. We can trade with the world, creating Trade Deals that suits our infrastructure, business make-up and consumers better then making a one size fits all EU model. The UK is fundamentally different to other EU members, the way we innovate, what we choose to prioritise, our rule of law and our sovereignty.
We despise our own MPs who claim more then they are worth, and choose to listen to big business over their constituency. So why are we actively engaging in a union which encourages the engagement of big business and bankers, over the electorate?
The EU has a lot of problems facing it, and so does the United Kingdom separately, problems we don’t and can’t solve together. As the EU legislates the consumer and workforce market (eg, people) it will face struggle to legitimise it’s consent to govern aspects of our laws over sovereign parliaments. That is more of a difficult issue here in the UK then in many other EU countries.
The EU didn’t create the financial crash of 2008, or the migration crisis of recent years. What caused these where greedy bankers and failed states. But ask yourself, if the EU didn’t exist how would events have been different? How would have each nation without the EU problem solve each crisis? Then ask, what if the EU dream of full fiscal unity been in place whilst these events happened? Would a stronger united EU, have been better prepared to brace it collectively? Either options would have worked, but the failure of reality was Europe having neither at the time.
The current living status of EU residence in the UK is protected under UN law, and the ECtHR. All EU laws currently legislated is part of our laws and would need a parliamentary vote to repel them. We are the fifth largest economy in the world, and our European neighbours are not vindictive enough to penalise us for leaving, or spiteful enough to hurt their own economy.
We won’t solve every problem leaving, but we can’t solve any problems remaining.
But today we can solve our broken relationship. This vote is not just about setting us free, but the EU free as well.