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Commonwealth v. European Union

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Typhus
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#31

Posted 10 December 2011 - 05:06 PM Edited by Typhus, 10 December 2011 - 07:24 PM.

My hope is that this move will perhaps cause enough uncertainty that we will be able to negotiate a better deal for ourselves down the line. That's assuming that Germany and France see us as a valuable part of the European Union.
If not, well, we have left ourselves out in the cold.

But I believe that the rights and wrongs of this decision ultimately lie with the bigger question of 'Will the Euro survive?'
If it does survive this crisis and regains its strength, our reputation will be in tatters and Britain will be remembered as the nation which turned its back on its allies during their greatest need. If not, and numerous nations leave the EU, we can employ a Divide and Rule tactic in which we re-establish good relations with former member states and slowly rebuild Franco-German trust in Britain.

But ultimately, this has caused a lot of problems. I would like to be jingoistic and jubilant about Cameron's 'great victory' but I feel this was a move designed to reaffirm confidence in his leadership. He has traded important, CRUCIAL foreign relations for a short burst of domestic popularity.

God only knows what will happen if we're kicked out of the EU. I feel that the European Union is a doomed enterprise because it will eventually become way too federalist and only spawn nationalistic movements throughout the continent. But I value our place in it and want the whole structure reformed.
So, whilst I was happy with Cameron's actions I see them as politically suicidal should the Euro recover.

sivispacem
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#32

Posted 10 December 2011 - 06:25 PM Edited by sivispacem, 10 December 2011 - 06:31 PM.

QUOTE (Der_Don @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 17:30)
It think his behaviour is ridicoulous, Britain will be isolated, they won't have anything to say in Europe in the future. And I don't quite understand what his problems are... as far as I know he's concerned about the financial transaction taxes, but before his election, Cameron wanted more regulation for the City, and now he doesnt think they need anymore regulation?

Is this maybe even the end of the British EU-membership?

I understand Cameron's sentiments with regards to city regulation. The unilateral transactions tax is an utterly absurd and potentially seriously damaging idea, especially for Britain as about 15% of our economy is made up from financial services. The issue wouldn't be so great if we had global agreement on it, but taxing financial transactions unilaterally could make the British financial service industry uncompetitive at a time when already many firms are looking elsewhere because of our tax legislation. It's no such a problem for countries like France and Germany that still have strong secondary manufacturing industry, but it's potentially very dangerous for the UK. I think some of the other fears were around Euro-zone regulation impacting on the profitability and operability of the British financial institutions, which is completely understandable, but whether or not we had agreed to the EU proposals is basically irrelevant- as long as we continue to trade with the EU, any alliance inside it, be it bilateral or involving every other member state besides the UK is going to have some impact on us, regardless of whether we opt out or not.

That said, I stand completely at odds with the decision that he made. The UK has already created a massive chasm between ourselves and Europe- who, after all, are our biggest source of export income and our greatest power multiplier in diplomatic terms. If the UK had been less partisan and had sought greater European integration at a time when the public were less opposed to it (think 5 or so years ago) then our bargaining position would have remained much better. Personally, I think that we'd have been better off to join the sodding Euro in the first place- after all, the Sterling has lost 25% of its value compared to it in the last 36 months alone- showing that the UK's fiscal house is in a much worse state than that of Europe as a whole. But there's not a lot we can do about that now- a divisively euro-sceptic government are in power, and public opinion has turned against the EU in general- thanks in part to the absolutely absurd coverage of the "crisis" in the Euro zone by even the most impartial elements of the press, and by the constant accusations of a "European super-state" conspiracy theory by the extreme right and left wings in this country.

I don't think Britain are going to pull out of the EU- it would be financial and political suicide to do so. If we loose our seat at the table, the 0.5% transaction tax will seem like a rounding error compared to the costs of ~4% import duties from EU member states. My view is that the best we can do is to try and forge a different kind of relationship with Europe, and to find our way back in to the inner circle not by economic or political appeasement, but by demonstrating a strong commitment to multi-lateral European defence pacts and other vital security issues. Simple fact of the matter is that what's done is done, and we can't renege on our veto- if Europe leaves us behind economically, then we must find other ways of integrating in order maintain any semblance of influence in the union.

QUOTE (Typhus @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 18:06)
My hope is that this move will perhaps cause enough uncertainty that we will be able to negotiate a better deal for ourselves down the line. That's assuming that Germany and France see us as a valuable part of the European Union.

The problem is, there's no grounds for us to negotiate a better deal. If we couldn't negotiate a in our favour before the veto (which we couldn't) there's no way we're going to be able to do so afterwards. As you rightly imply, a European Union without the UK will be slightly weaker economically and politically, but a UK without the European Union would be utterly devastated, both economically and politically.

QUOTE (Typhus @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 18:06)
But I believe that the rights and wrongs of this decision ultimately lie with the bigger question of 'Will the Euro survive?'
If it does survive this crisis and regains its strength, our reputation will be in tatters and Britain will be remembered as the nation which turned its back on its allies during their greatest need. If not, and numerous nations leave the EU, we can employ a Divide and Rule tactic in which we re-establish good relations with former member states and slowly rebuild Franco-German trust in Britain.

The Euro, in one form or another, will survive. Whether that's as the economic powerhouse it once was, or a shared currency between the wealthiest European states, our choice to exclude ourselves from it will, eventually be the wrong one. I don't buy any of the Euro-zone scaremongering at all- if they Euro is so weak, then why has the pound- and dollar- dropped so significantly in comparison to it? If the EU sovereign debt crisis is really so much of a crisis, why do both the US and UK have higher levels of sovereign debt as a proportion of GDP? It's all irrational fear-mongering by Euro-sceptics.

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#33

Posted 10 December 2011 - 08:42 PM

EU's military is certainly going to suck without Britain.

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#34

Posted 10 December 2011 - 09:17 PM Edited by Der_Don, 10 December 2011 - 09:25 PM.

Thanks for your replies.
In a way I can understand those problems concerning the transaction tax. And I didn't expect Cameron to say "Yes" and "Amen" to everything coming from Merkel and Sarkozy, but sometimes I get the impression that the UK and its citizens are still thinking they're the dominant force on planet earth, although their Empire is not existent anymore. It seems as if this country never got over WW2. All this talk of the "British bulldog against Johnny foreigner" and the Sun's headline "Up Eurs, Churchill-style", seriously wtf??
Where does this aggressive "anti-Europe, Britain all the way"- attitude come from? Continental Europe is fuming, anyway.
A german EU-Member of Parliament already said that he wouldn't be surprised if Britain pulls out of the EU and that the EU could easily deal with it.

Btw, I'm not saying that only the British are against the EU/Euro, there are MANY people over here who think it'd be better to have the D-Mark back. But the more intelligent ones know that the EU's benefits outweigh its weaknesses.

EDIT:
QUOTE
EU's military is certainly going to suck without Britain.

Spain, Italy, France and Germany are the leaders in total military personal in the EU. The UK is in 5th, so I guess we could somehow handle this.

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#35

Posted 10 December 2011 - 09:34 PM Edited by sivispacem, 10 December 2011 - 09:38 PM.

QUOTE (Der_Don @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 22:17)
Btw, I'm not saying that only the British are against the EU/Euro, there are MANY people over here who think it'd be better to have the D-Mark back. But the more intelligent ones know that the EU's benefits outweigh its weaknesses.

This is the problem here- the intelligent, cautious Europhiles are shouted down by the screaming, poorly-educated Europhobes. Problem is, the anti-European bias and delusions of British grandeur extent well into the political hierarchy of this country. Intelligent pro-European voices are usually drowned out by rhetorical and vitriolic spewing from self-deluding idiots with very little understanding of the actual issues at hand.

As an aside, the personnel argument is pretty weak these days. Standing military manpower is irrelevant- the UK has the largest defence budget, probably the most technologically-advanced armed force, and a relatively large nuclear arsenal. We're also much more willing to involve ourselves in foreign security issues than France, who in "raw" terms are probably the most militarily powerful nation in Europe.

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#36

Posted 10 December 2011 - 09:38 PM

QUOTE (Der_Don @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 21:17)
Thanks for your replies.
In a way I can understand those problems concerning the transaction tax. And I didn't expect Cameron to say "Yes" and "Amen" to everything coming from Merkel and Sarkozy, but sometimes I get the impression that the UK and its citizens are still thinking they're the dominant force on planet earth, although their Empire is not existent anymore. It seems as if this country never got over WW2. All this talk of the "British bulldog against Johnny foreigner" and the Sun's headline "Up Eurs, Churchill-style", seriously wtf??
Where does this aggressive "anti-Europe, Britain all the way"- attitude come from?

Maybe the fact that people like you act as if we should abandon our past and embrace this pathetic, disgusting melting pot. Maybe it stems from being lectured to and dictated to by a bunch of people who hate our f*cking guts. Maybe, just maybe, it stems from having smaller, less important nations routinely try to humiliate us using your same logic.
"Oh, they don't have an Empire anymore - HA HA HA."
The Anglophobia in Europe is disgusting, they look for any opportunity to try and run us down, look down their nose at us and deny us our rightful place in history.
There is no such thing as shared prosperity, not really. Strong nations conquer the weak, the big dominate the small. That is the way of the world. But the EU wants to lump strong nations with former-Soviet pissing grounds and put on a happy face whilst they rape us.
They want to transform Europe from a beautiful, elegant place full of life and wonderful diversity into this autocratic Hellhole in which Germany and her French poodle babysit their inferiors.
You Germans should not HAVE to wetnurse these clowns. Do you realise that you and your amazing country are bearing the weight of others mistakes? And what is your response? To draw these fools and imbeciles closer to you in the spirit of European brotherhood.
Ha! What an absolute crock.

And you should bring the Deutschmark back. Or at least call the Euro the Deutschmark. Germans have so much to be proud of. Don't let this sickening need for 'unity' blind you to what your nation has achieved in the past.

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#37

Posted 10 December 2011 - 10:01 PM

Sivi, what are exactly the UK's major exports? Besides the English language, and tourists of course. I just can't get my head around the economies of France and the UK, where it seems that each has a strict reliance on the financial sector, immigrants, tourism and foreign investment. Both heavily depend on the EU for these industries to flourish, which brings me to confusion: why has France and the UK readily abandoned their respective empires, preferring a forever unstable market (with more languages spoken than there are countries) in Europe? It seems silly that having taking over the world, both countries are keen on going back to square one again (when kingdoms were coming and going). A unified Europe was never going to work, even so that the entirety of Europe has yet to succumb to EU membership, not even close.

As for military, being the strongest in Europe. Now yes, but I can hardly see the UK surviving its high cost. Germany has proven you can remain a strong voice in politics despite possessing a minimal military force. A speedy mobilisation is key, but you need a strong economy to do so.

Kind of loose predictions here, but I see the UK nose diving in a later date of this century, especially considering her former colonies are pursuing other interests (India, Australia, New Zealand. Not too sure about Canada? If I'm correct, the Queen is a popular figure there?).

As for the EU, who knows, too early for any predictions. Croatia's on its way to membership in 2013, and several other states are vying to adopt the Euro. But I don't see Hungary and the Czech Repubic doing so, not majorly supported by the populace anyhow.

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#38

Posted 10 December 2011 - 10:12 PM

QUOTE (Typhus @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 22:38)
Maybe the fact that people like you act as if we should abandon our past

Where did I say that you should? You can be proud of the Empire you once HAD, but we're in the year 2011 now!

QUOTE
Maybe it stems from being lectured to and dictated to by a bunch of people who hate our f*cking guts.

People all over the world hate the Germans although my generation has NOTHING to do with Nazism. So what? Life goes on.

QUOTE
The Anglophobia in Europe is disgusting

So is the Germanophobia. "Help, a German-dominated Europe. My great-grandfather fought to prevent this!" Typing this down makes me wanna barf.

QUOTE
But the EU wants to lump strong nations with former-Soviet pissing grounds and put on a happy face whilst they rape us.
They want to transform Europe from a beautiful, elegant place full of life and wonderful diversity into this autocratic Hellhole in which Germany and her French poodle babysit their inferiors.

I always thought that the EU could kind of become a counterbalance to the US. That's why I supported it the whole time, not because I wanted Germany to rule over it. And I certainly don't want it to transform it into an autocratic hellhole as you put it.

QUOTE
Do you realise that you and your amazing country are bearing the weight of others mistakes?

Yes we are, definitely. I already said that there are many Germans who are like "screw those southern-European people, I don't want to pay a single cent for those bastards" (I'm exaggerating here, but you know what I mean). Still, I think we take one for the team here. Europe isn't as powerful as it was years ago. We need to step up to face those other countries/continents. As much I love my country, I love this continent, especially "the old Europe" as Mr Rumsfeld put it.

QUOTE
Germans have so much to be proud of

Every single European nation have so much to be proud of. But we need to think about Europe first atm (in my opinion). I don't want to have the united states of europe, but in this globalized world we need to have a stronger feeling towards Europe and not only look at our own country.

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#39

Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:03 PM Edited by sivispacem, 10 December 2011 - 11:08 PM.

QUOTE (Heisenberg @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 23:01)
Sivi, what are exactly the UK's major exports? Besides the English language, and tourists of course. I just can't get my head around the economies of France and the UK, where it seems that each has a strict reliance on the financial sector, immigrants, tourism and foreign investment. Both heavily depend on the EU for these industries to flourish,

Uk's major physical export is defence industry; don't let pure statistics fool you (the UK is the 5th largest defence exporter in the world in terms of revenue), the UK has the most financially successful cost-by-product-by-number defence industry in the world. Basically our entirely secondary economy is based on it. You mention a "strict reliance of the financial sector)- like it or loathe it, the City is the largest financial institution in the world and is the power behind much of the world's financial markets. Aerospace, both independent and as part of defence in the UK's economy, is the second largest in the world after the US. We've got a lot of exporting power when it comes to those two technology-led secondary sectors- that is, aerospace and defence. Plus there's the consultancy side of things, particularly management consultancy, which the UK pretty much leads the world on. You'd be astonished at the number of British general managers, CEO's and directors steering foreign companies all over the world. Plus there are the obvious ones- natural gas (Europe's largest producer), and more recently renewable energy technologies.

QUOTE (Heisenberg @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 23:01)
which brings me to confusion: why has France and the UK readily abandoned their respective empires, preferring a forever unstable market...in Europe?

The UK and France have abandoned the majority of their empires because the cost-to-revenue ratio is unsustainable. Put simply, they cost more than they can ever bring in. You think the European economic markets are unstable? Hark back to imperial days and look at the instability- political, economic and military- of the last two decades of British and French imperialism. Besides, why do you suggest that the EU in inherently unstable? It's about as stable in political and economic terms as the state and municipality-level governments of the United States- which serve as a useful benchmark in gauging the overall fate of the Euro zone, in my view. Sure enough, there's a far greater degree of political flexibility in the European Union than there is in local government in the US, but, like the US states, the EU states share a vague common purpose and enough combined history to function. If the EU was going to disintegrate, it would have done so by now- in the darker days of the fiscal crisis.

QUOTE (Heisenberg @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 23:01)
(with more languages spoken than there are countries)

There are, what, about 32 nationally-recognised primary languages spoken in the EU? At the height of the British empire alone, there were over 100. Language is hardly the barrier that it used to be last century, anyway.

QUOTE (Heisenberg @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 23:01)
It seems silly that having taking over the world, both countries are keen on going back to square one again (when kingdoms were coming and going).

Really? That's not the educated view. It might be the popular view, but popular view rightly doesn't hold that much sway in representative democracies. No party, save for UKIP and the BNP, actually want to see a full withdrawal from Europe, and large proportions of the Conservatives and Labour, plus the entirety of the Lib Dems, want to see greater integration. The threat of financial crisis- overblown, in my opinion- has served to re-awaken divisions in the UK, and that's been reinforced by our lack of commitment to the common market. If we'd joined from the outset, there wouldn't be any of this separatist, damaging rhetoric- and the Euro itself would likely be in a stronger position, too.

QUOTE (Heisenberg @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 23:01)
A unified Europe was never going to work, even so that the entirety of Europe has yet to succumb to EU membership, not even close.

I completely disagree. Europe can- and has- been united, in various forms. The problem is that, in order to unite different nations, you must accept the strengths and shortcomings of member states and form a union based on them. The EU has tried to treat every nation equally, rather than every nation fairly. That's been it's primary downfall thus-far, and almost solely the source of any strife between Euro-sceptic and Euro-centric communities in its member states.

QUOTE (Heisenberg @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 23:01)
As for military, being the strongest in Europe. Now yes, but I can hardly see the UK surviving its high cost. Germany has proven you can remain a strong voice in politics despite possessing a minimal military force. A speedy mobilisation is key, but you need a strong economy to do so.

Agreed, but the problem with the UK's defence forces, as I've highlighted before, is legislative and bureaucratic bloat leading to fiscal incompetence. When the MoD spends nearly 5% of its entire budget on consultancy from a single firm then you know something is wrong. Your right in some aspects about Germany, but one only need look at their shambolic performance (yes, even compared to that of the UK) to provide a demonstration of their strategic and operational failings when involved in conflict. Germany has, by some margin, experienced the highest level of military casualties in comparison to deployed strength in Afghanistan- and that's with a (real) deployment time some three years shorter than both the US and the UK. Germany has fallen into the same rut as both the US and UK have in the conflict- that is, a lack of strategic foresight and ineffective "dual-role" counter-insurgency/local assistance policy. In fact, proportionally, Germany has suffered far more severely than either aforementioned nation- perhaps as a result of a total lack of experience waging limited counter-insurgency warfare? Germany's political strength comes almost entirely from their economic positioning- as a supplier of high-technology, high-cost luxury goods unrivalled anywhere else in the world. They've handily found their economic niche, and that's given them a significant geopolitical boost; in contrast, the UK is struggling to find a place in a world that's developed a mild phobia and sense of distrust towards the idea of finance-led, tertiary economies.

QUOTE (Heisenberg @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 23:01)
Kind of loose predictions here, but I see the UK nose diving in a later date of this century, especially considering her former colonies are pursuing other interests (India, Australia, New Zealand. Not too sure about Canada? If I'm correct, the Queen is a popular figure there?).

India, I'll give you- forging new links with the developing powers has isolated them from the UK- but I completely disagree in the cases of New Zealand, Canada and Australia- particularly in economic and military terms. The Commonwealth nations still represent a major export market for the UK, and one that's actually been growing- driven partly by the rise of India, and partly by the resurgence in British technology-led manufacturing and secondary industry. With regards to defence issues, the Five-Eyes agreement (that is, AUSCANNZUKUS) has expanded beyond it's original remit of C4 and C4ISTAR (that is, command, control, computing, computers, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) and become an ad-hoc military alliance operating almost as if it were a separate entity- especially in regards to global counter-terrorism operations. The geographic separation of the five member nations and strategic and operational integration (particularly in relation to ECHELON; that is, the shared Five-Eyes signals, imagery, telemetry, measurement and foreign instrumentation intelligence gathering apparatus) have given them a mutual security program and shared common interest to unite around.

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#40

Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:17 AM

QUOTE (Der_Don @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 22:12)
Every single European nation have so much to be proud of. But we need to think about Europe first atm (in my opinion). I don't want to have the united states of europe, but in this globalized world we need to have a stronger feeling towards Europe and not only look at our own country.

In terms of trade, yes. But not when it comes to national identity, culture or lawmaking. The EU can be both powerful and still respectful of the privacy and dignity of member states.
Just because I respect Germany it doesn't mean that I hold Germany on the same level as England. I look to my own country and my own people. Tying us all together turns my stomach, but, as you said, it's the way the winds blowing. And we must face this challenge head on. But to do so I believe the EU concept needs to be seriously downplayed. Tighter economic intergration can be tolerated as long as we don't give the Eurosceptics bait. And when we have leaders and papers at each others throat because of a veto, it makes us look like a bunch of amateurs playing grown-up games.
Cameron was shortsighted, but I believe the attitude of Merkel and Sarkozy was unduly confrontational. The sheer level of hostility we've been seeing indicates that a lot of strong feelings are finally being expressed.
And the answer is not to say 'Oh, the British are just xenophobic'.
Instead, the Germans and French should understand our grave concerns about our identity and try to sweeten the bitter pill.

I once said to a friend of mine that my whole objection to the EU was not based on ideology but a lot of very small things. But those small things add up to a big issue, namely that when there is eventually a European super state, so many amazing nations like Italy and Greece will become nothing. I see their involvement in a hypothetical EU super state as national suicide. That is how strongly I feel about it.
It would be an admission that they could no longer function, that they had lost all self respect and were looking for a sugar daddy. And that's what the EU would be. A sugar daddy.

Hey baby, let me have my way with you and you'll be set for life!

But that has not happened yet and it needn't ever reach that sorry state. As long as it completely butts out of issues of law, immigration and abolishes the name 'Euro' for the currency of Eurozone members. Keep the same system, but the nations involved would call the money the Franc, the Deutschmark or the Lira. And they would look as they once did, with NATIONAL, rather than European, iconography.

Like I said, the little things.

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#41

Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:26 AM Edited by Irviding, 13 December 2011 - 04:09 AM.

QUOTE (Der_Don @ Saturday, Dec 10 2011, 16:17)

Spain, Italy, France and Germany are the leaders in total military personal in the EU. The UK is in 5th, so I guess we could somehow handle this.

Probably not, considering my tax dollars defend your country (55k US troops are stationed in Germany, second largest troop deployment of our military aside from Afghanistan now that we left Iraq mostly, and a good 15k above our deployment in Japan) and without the UK in Europe, the US certainly will pull back also. Here's an image of our Empire of military bases.

user posted image

The US is already focusing on other nations with the Obama foreign policy, like India and Brazil... we need to get them into our SoI before China does and Europe isn't helping with that, other than using the British to help us.

Oh, and if you think the Spanish and Italian militaries (Spanish naval defense is also mostly managed by the US) are really above the UK in terms of strength, you're, well, very wrong.

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#42

Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:39 AM

QUOTE (Typhus @ Sunday, Dec 11 2011, 11:17)
Cameron was shortsighted, but I believe the attitude of Merkel and Sarkozy was unduly confrontational. The sheer level of hostility we've been seeing indicates that a lot of strong feelings are finally being expressed.
And the answer is not to say 'Oh, the British are just xenophobic'.
Instead, the Germans and French should understand our grave concerns about our identity and try to sweeten the bitter pill.

tbh, the British don't have a very good attitude towards people from the continent. Economic immigrants are treated like second class citizens and are bombarded with news stories about how they're crushing Britain's "national identity" and are a burden on the welfare state and aren't welcome. But when Brits take holidays to Spain and Greece, they don't speak a word of the local language, give the locals their best middle-class smiles in lieu of actually speaking to them, vomit all over the place and go home - if the German's treated London like a holiday resort you'd never hear the end of it. To the rest of Europe Britain's Euro-scepticism just seems like Britain thinks she's entitled to a favourable political position in the world order.

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#43

Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:11 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Oct 22 2011, 10:57)
Only an idiot would want to withdraw from the EU. The Euro-sceptic agenda pushed by closet racists and the neo-Right, and it's based on absurd fallacies and a complete misinterpretation of both how the EU operates and how it benefits us. I do support closer relations with out Commonwealth partners, but we would be truly idiotic to abandon the EU project. Personally, I'd like to see the UK taking a more active role in EU diplomacy as well as just sitting around enjoying the trade benefits- driving for in integrated European peace-keeping military force would be a wise idea in my view, as would re-negotiating our positing within the union.

This is exactly why Britain is still in the EU, we have politicians who think the same, IDIOTS!.
The majority of Britain want out of EU, Fact! no-one can deny this(rightly or wrongly).
For Britain to ignore the commonwealth is stupid, the commonwealth together make up 28% of world trade, they have some of what the world calls Asian tigers, India, malayia,singapore etc.
together they have the same economic power if not more than the USA( excluding debts).
A lot of the commonwealth is already tied to Britain money wise, but have good ties in place with most countries world wide, especially the bigger ones, ie EU, China and the USA.
Aside from Japan and china individually the commonwealth holds more of the American debt than these 2 together.
Historically all Europe have wanted to do to Britain is dismantle us whether by means of war or economically.

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#44

Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:48 AM

QUOTE (taffyska @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 11:11)
This is exactly why Britain is still in the EU, we have politicians who think the same, IDIOTS!.

No, Britain is in the EU because it's in our financial and national interest to remain so. There's no argument about this, regardless of how much the Euro-sceptics try and make one; the simple figures are there, and plain for all to see. The UK gets about twice what it puts in in raw monetary form back in increased trade due to the lack of tariffs, and in rebates, financial assistance for "struggling" sectors and international cost-sharing programs. Plus, it's a fantastic boost for our political strength- or, at least, it would be if we weren't so schizophrenic about the whole thing.

QUOTE (taffyska @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 11:11)
The majority of Britain want out of EU, Fact! no-one can deny this(rightly or wrongly).

Thing is, politics isn't about what the majority want- nor should it be. That's the beauty of representative democracy- it has little regard for the whims of the uneducated masses.

QUOTE (taffyska @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 11:11)
For Britain to ignore the commonwealth is stupid, the commonwealth together make up 28% of world trade, they have some of what the world calls Asian tigers, India, malayia,singapore etc. Together they have the same economic power if not more than the USA( excluding debts).

Agreed, but for any nation to ignore the commonwealth would be detrimental to their trade. The problem is, this "unique relationship" that people often talk about in relation to the Commonwealth just doesn't exist in my eyes. There are some large economic powers in the commonwealth- India, Singapore, Canada, Australia et cetera- but these countries are already out of Britain's sphere of economic and political influence, to a greater degree or a lesser one. I mean, India has absolutely no desire to improve trade relations with the UK- they're far too busy being quietly critical of Western policy whilst cosying up to China and Russia. Whilst I agree on the basic terms with your statistics regarding the economic of the commonwealth nations, I disagree with the notion that there's any kind of union amongst them.

QUOTE (taffyska @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 11:11)
A lot of the commonwealth is already tied to Britain money wise, but have good ties in place with most countries world wide, especially the bigger ones, ie EU, China and the USA.

This I would also disagree with fundamentally. Very little of the economic strength of the biggest hitters in the commonwealth is tied directly to the UK. Australia and New Zealand, there's certainly a degree of it. Canada- some too, though they maintain a closer trading relationship with the US than they do the UK. But the Far East and Southern Asia? Not a snowball's chance in hell. These are the emerging markets, and the "commonwealth" has very little meaning to them. Emerging economies look to other, recent emerging/emerged economies rather than historic trading partners. I mean, sure, there have been a few billion pounds worth of trade deals between India and the UK this year, but it's small change compared to the trillions invested in the country by the Chinese, for instance.

QUOTE (taffyska @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 11:11)
Aside from Japan and china individually the commonwealth holds more of the American debt than these 2 together.

Isn't that because the commonwealth comprises 55-odd nations, or 25% of all nations on the planet? I'm also not quite entirely sure what you're getting at- it appears that you are saying that China and Japan, whilst individually holding more US debt that the commonwealth, hold less when added together. Which is a statistical impossibility unless your factoring in negative equity, or twisting the figures.

QUOTE (taffyska @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 11:11)
Historically all Europe have wanted to do to Britain is dismantle us whether by means of war or economically.

Disagreed. What an oddly dated, suspicious statement. I'm pretty sure that this feeling is common in the UK- indeed, I've experienced it first-hand. Why? I mean, why on earth do people think that it's in Europe's interest to weaken the UK? It's utterly illogical and completely counter-intuitive, as doing so would severely weaken the EU; remember, the UK is, in economic and power projection terms, probably the second strongest state in the EU, and the one with the best working relationship with the Americas as a general region- important for current trade (North, Canada) as well as future (Latin and South). In fact, it's hugely in the EU's interest, both in terms of economic strength and force projection, to have the UK on board. Remember, we spent most of the later years of the 20th century stopping the Ruskies from rolling across the North German plains and taking Western Europe, whilst the European member states bickered amongst each other incessantly and made a general unhelpful slide in the directly of apathetic, mildly pacifist socialism. There's nothing in recent history- and nothing in current policy- which suggests that mainland European states want to dismantle Britain. It may be a prevalent view amongst some, but it's driven by insipid, lackadaisical paranoia seized upon by closet racists and illogical chauvinists, for the most part. One only need look at the posts of myhame earlier in this thread to see the kind of self-pleasuring, deluded bile that many of those with a poorly-informed and prejudicial anti-European sentiment will descend to if pushed.

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#45

Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:55 PM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Oct 30 2011, 17:34)
The entire other side of my family is Scottish and lives in Scotland (irviding comes from my last name Irving - pretty Scottish tounge.gif ) and has absolutely no interest in independence. Scotland would not survive without being a member of the UK

They're talking nonsense.

I'll reference this:

http://www.snp.org/m...-financial-feet

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#46

Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:15 PM Edited by sivispacem, 21 February 2012 - 06:18 PM.

QUOTE (John The Grudge @ Tuesday, Feb 21 2012, 16:55)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Oct 30 2011, 17:34)
The entire other side of my family is Scottish and lives in Scotland (irviding comes from my last name Irving - pretty Scottish tounge.gif ) and has absolutely no interest in independence. Scotland would not survive without being a member of the UK

They're talking nonsense.

I'll reference this:

http://www.snp.org/m...-financial-feet

Oh yes, because a publication by the Scottish National(ist) Party isn't going to be full of politically biased rhetoric.

I'll refer you to this handy article from The Guardian, who aren't exactly a bastion of unionist ideology. It's from 2007, but with the increasingly favourable formula used to calculate Scottish income from Westminster, it' basic principals are still accurate

QUOTE (The Guardian)
...In any case, whatever share of North Sea oil Scotland might finally grab, it would still struggle to be the new Ireland. Public spending is currently more than 50% of GDP and tax revenues about 40%, with the balance made up by other UK taxpayers. Ireland's public spending is only 35% of GDP (Britain's is 46%). Scotland currently enjoys Scandinavian levels of spending and American tax levels. Independence would necessitate action to tackle the deficit - either tax rises or spending cuts, or both. Copying Ireland would require a massive reduction in the scope of the state. Tough choices indeed.

How about a second opinion? Lets see what the BBC say on the issue. Selected extracts from here.

QUOTE (The Beeb)
The most recent figures, using Treasury and Scottish government data, show the deficit on Scottish spending over expenditure is a smaller share of gross domestic product than that of the UK as a whole.

According to Glasgow University economists projecting Treasury figures, it's on course to stay that way until 2015-16.

That requires a large share of oil and gas revenue.

Without oil and gas, the Scottish deficit looks very large.

QUOTE (The Beeb)
But an independent Scotland could expect to have more than 80% of the UK's oil and gas revenue, subject to negotiation with the Treasury.

With that, the public spending deficit looks more manageable.

But it's often a deficit, nonetheless.

The volatile price of oil means volatile income. The trend is clearly for the volume of oil and gas production to fall, though that is partly offset by higher average prices, higher tax rates, and so buoyant revenues.

So Scotland's public finances could break even some years, but there's little sign of large oil revenue surpluses to pay off debt and build up a national trust fund.

QUOTE (The Beeb)
Scotland would be expected to take on a share of the UK's national debt. Just how big a share is one of many negotiations that could be expected between administrations in Edinburgh and London.

Alex Salmond said this week it should be based on either share of UK GDP or share of population.

These proportions are not far apart, so with the way public sector net borrowing looks now, the Scottish portion of it would be around 80bn, and continuing to head north.

Scotland would have to service that debt by issuing bonds.

It would have its own credit rating, and with no credit history and political leaders who want to turn on the spending taps to get out of recession, the bond markets may not be impressed.

And what about its bank exposure?

Opponents of independence ask what might have happened if Scotland had faced the meltdown in 2008 of Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank of Scotland all on its own.

Pumping in more than 70bn in capital and hundreds of billions in guarantees looks impossible for a small country.

QUOTE (The Beeb)
Unless there are dramatic changes in taxation and currency, some parts of the Scottish economy might see little difference, such as retail, manufacturing, tourism, or the oil and gas sector.

Many companies already operate across many borders, and it would make little difference to deal with another, new country.

But there would surely be a bigger impact for firms in those sectors that look to regulators to shape their markets, such as the finance sector, energy suppliers and rail.

Scotland's corporate sector happens to be very big in those areas.

What about the finite supply of North Sea oil and gas? I mean, costs are increasing and returns reducing; it won't be that long until their producing will become unprofitable. And without these revenues, the Scottish finances are in a poor state. Take a look
user posted image

What about the question of popular support? Well, it's never exceeded 50%, and in fact according to YouGov a poll in April 2011, suggested 57% of Scots reject the idea of being independent

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#47

Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:52 PM

I've never liked the idea of Scottish independence. It's just a good drum for Salmond and his cronies to bang. They bang on about independence and it just sickens me because they act like some sort of oppressed country which wants to break free from the shackles of tyrrany and control. Salmond just spurts out BS after BS about how it will improve Scotland in every single way, and how it will make them a proud country. I can't help but feel that he's been watching too much braveheart and got a bit carried away. I've seen very little in the way of actual practical ways he plans to implement it, or how the finance side of it will work. He loves to go on about the oil and gas, like it's some kind magical independence potion which will save Scotland and make everyone rich beyond their wildest dreams. But as Sivis has shown it's not as simple as that.

Honestly I just see it as a desperate attempt to boost Scottish national pride. It's like the people who claim they're "ethnically Scottish" which is just absurd. Wear your kilts and play your bagpipes, is there really any need to separate the union which has stood strong for so many years and had such great success?
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