The meaning of Brexit

Financial-Times-29-December-2010“Dumping regulations in areas such as working hours, gender equality and climate change would boost business.” Source: Prof Miford of Economists for Brexit, summarised in Financial Times on June 15:

Vote Leave if you think that (a) Prof Minford is right in saying that these things will boost the economy enough to overcome the financial costs of leaving (most economists strongly disageee), and (b) the economy is more important than people or planet.

About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on June 17, 2016, in Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. The UK had legislated on all kinds of social and environmental issues before it joined the EEC in 1973. It is ridiculous to suggest that without the EU we would have no such legislation and would be unable to devise more. The UK invented the NHS, for a start!

    The financial arguments are not compelling because the future is unpredictable. Some financial institutions predicted economic disaster if we refused to join the euro. Well, we did stay out of the euro (thank Gord!) and there was no disaster. On the contrary, we have fared a lot better than other countries which did join. Greece, Ireland, Italy …. etc probably regret giving up their own currencies, but they are now trapped. We refused the euro and now we should take back our autonomy by leaving the EU completely.

    I like parliamentary democracy. I know who many of the leading politicians are, I know their policies and I know we can vote them out at the next election. Most people do not know who the members of the EU Commission are and do not understand its role in the EU. That is because the EU is too big and too remote. It is also too expensive and too laborious. A committee of 28, representing vastly different countries and cultures, is never going to work efficiently. The EU has ambitions to be a superstate, submerging all constituent national identities, but the failure of the euro demonstrates that it will not work and so we should leave now while we can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many points Les, some with real substance. Sticking just to the theme of my post, leaving the EU would lead to the lapsing of 40 years of social legislation, which would take years to replace. This the pro-Leave economists consider a good thing; you and I would not.


  2. Stock Market share values have I believe recently been FALLING because of the threat of Brexit. Not rising. Investors are not thrilled at the prospect.


    • Indeed, the pro-Leave economists are a small but noisy minority. There are those, however, who would benefit from loss of EU regulation, including fossil fuel companies and perhaps some banks. Certainly Leave is well-funded.


  3. One of life’s mysteries. If the aims of the EU are so similar to the Third Reich – as claimed by Boris Johnson recently – how come the nazi thug Mair is calling MPs campaigning to remain in the EU ‘traitors’?


  4. I doubt that. Much EU legislation has been incorporated into UK law. It would require an Act of Parliament to rescind those laws. Of course, some laws might be rescinded, but that would be our own democracy in action.
    The EU is a lumbering monster which can churn out laws but cannot reform itself. Consider, for example, the pointless farce of shunting the EU Parliament back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg every month. Lorry-loads of documents are boxed up and ferried across. 3,000 civil servants move house temporarily. Parliamentary business is disrupted. The whole farcical parade is a waste of time and resources. It costs about £120 million per year. Outrageous. Everyone knows it is pointless and wasteful, but it is beyond reform.
    What did you think of the appointment of Juncker as head of the Commission? Did you agree with Cameron in his attempts to block him? I did. When he was finance minister in Luxembourg Juncker struck secret deals with major UK companies to enable them to dodge our taxes. He stole funds from our public services, in other words. So naturally Cameron objected to his appointment, but Juncker’s cronies rallied round him and we were overruled. It seems that Beggar my Neighbour is an EU principle.
    I hope we vote to leave. I love Europe and I love visiting the various countries of Europe with so many different languages and cultures. But I dislike the political institution of the EU because it is too big, too remote, too expensive, too ambitious, but above all, it is not directly accountable like our own Parliament.


    • The UK, with its record of ignoring appeals from Nigeria (!) to stop corruption by shutting down the money laundering ndustries of our Crown Dependencies, is in no position to complain about Junker’s dealings. However, I take your point; the UK electorate is free to choose a Prime Minister who would deal with this. One for you.

      As for the claim that leaving would lead to the removal of the social protections that we have within the EU, it comes originally not from me, but from one of Leave’s most pintellectually prominent supporters, via the Financila Times.

      Which is where we came in.

      I think this subthread has reached circularity, so while you may reply once more if you wish, I shall add no more.

      Beyond pointing out to my fellow Remainers that dismissing Leave supporters as ill-intentioned or ill-informed is a mistake on every level, as you have eloquently demonstrated. Leave leaders are a different matter, but this should not be settled on an ad hominem basis anyway.


      • I am sorry that the discussion is over so soon. We had a Leave/Stay debate at an Edinburgh Humanists meeting back in May, but there was no follow-up discussion on our Facebook page. I found that very disappointing, given that the outcome of the referendum will have huge repercussions for all of us. I would have liked to exchange comments and questions with my fellow Humanists. But it seems that omerta rules – No politics, please, we’re Humanists!
        Anyway, as regards tax havens, I agree with you entirely. Companies that register off-shore do so in order to dodge paying their fair share of tax and the Crown Dependencies are facilitating the obnoxious practice. The UK Government should take strong action to deal with them because they are fraudulently draining our public services of funds. However, the EU record is no better. Its principle of the free movement of capital ensures that it will never do anything about tax dodging. We have a better chance of seeing strong action if we have an autonomous UK Government which does not have to wait for 27 other countries to agree.

        As I pointed out in our debate, the UK is suffering a double blow. First, the mass migration policy of the EU has helped to increase our population by about 5 million since 2001, causing massive pressure and overload in our public services – hospitals, schools, GP surgeries, prisons, welfare, the lot. At the same time those public services have been hit by a drop in revenue, thanks to tax-dodging on a grand scale, partly assisted by the EU principle of free movement of capital. More people, more demands on our public services, less money for those services – that is not a policy which can work for long. It is unsustainable. Something will have to go. Perhaps it should be the whole country, via the Exit door!


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