General Question

Stinley's avatar

Should the UK leave the EU?

Asked by Stinley (11486points) March 9th, 2016

You may be aware that the UK is holding a referendum to vote on whether to stay or leave the European Union. Should we stay or should we go?

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27 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

yes, get out. no more extrawurst for you

JLeslie's avatar

I think stay, but I’m a fairly uniformed American. I usually think strength in numbers, and being part of the union likely gives you more power and protection than being separate. Maybe I’m wrong.

What do you think?

jca's avatar

@Stinley: Can you give a summary of the advantages and disadvantages, and your opinion?

flutherother's avatar

I would prefer to stay in.

Stinley's avatar

The EU is essentially a trade agreement set up on the understanding that countries that trade together are less likely to go to war. The EU has changed since we joined in 1970s and that’s why the referendum has been called.

The British public are divided fairly evenly. Those who wish to leave say that the EU is too bureaucratic, costs too much, gives too little back, allows too many migrant workers in which costs the UK in job losses for natives and for benefits paid out as well as use of the NHS and other stretched services like education and social work. Leaving the EU would mean making new trade agreements perhaps along the lines of Switzerland’s

Those who want to stay believe it is better for the UK economically to be part of a larger trade body, the migrant workers actually bring more economic growth than they are a drain on services, businesses that operate in the UK but are EU based would move and cause job losses, the money the UK gets from EU funded projects would cease and cause hardship and lack of progress and the amount the UK pays into the EU is outweighed by the economic benefits.

I believe that we are better to stay within a larger group, economically and politically. I think people have forgotten how difficult trade was back in the 1970s and how much the EU has changed the UK for the better. I want to be in an alliance with my neighbours. Now that I have decalred my position, here is slightly(!) biased infographic

ucme's avatar

Why we should leave…

We’d make a large membership fee saving:

Like most clubs, the EU charges a membership fee, it has been claimed that the cost is around £55m per day.

Institutions are seen as lacking democracy:

The European Parliament is directly elected, but the powerful Commission which proposes legislation is not. Because many of these laws supersede legislation made by individual states’ parliaments, some see the system as undemocratic.

Other countries successfully go it alone:

Eurosceptics look to rich Norway as a country which trades with the EU without being in it. It also controls its own agriculture and keeps its fish, rather than being bound by EU quotas.

Get rid of any threat to Britain’s military freedom:

There is a push within the ranks of the EU’s leaders for it to have its own army. The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said earlier this year that it would help show Russia the EU was serious about defending member values.

I’m not going to go into border control because that’s an issue easily misrepresented on both sides, but it’s one which we’ll have shoved down our throats by the campaigners in the coming weeks. I think the referendum will see us stay because voters will be scared off by the Cameron led media, but the Boris Johnson influence means it will be a lot closer than it would have been otherwise.

ibstubro's avatar

I can see where it would be a popular idea for Britain to separate from the UK given Britain’s geographic distance from the worst of the European problems (in Eastern Europe), and it’s physical isolation, border-wise.

Selfishly, I hope Britain sticks with the EU, at least for now. Their leaving at this time would only cause more insecurity and instability in an already really troubled world.

War, terrorism and mass migration in the Middle East. Korea saber rattling in far East (and China pushing the sea boundaries). Putin pulled off a land grab. The potential for the US to be governed by a mad man.

I think Britain do well to stick with the devil she knows for now. Wrest concessions, temporize as much as possible, but stay in the union.

Kropotkin's avatar

I’m largely undecided. Maybe tentatively leaning toward remain, but I’ll probably stay at home and play video games instead.

There’s a problem with the referendum at this time in history. Those wanting to exit are comprised of kooks, climate change deniers, demagogues, xenophobes—mostly from the far right, but also from the left. They think British democracy is being undermined and tainted by EU membership—because no one kicks our peasants down as well as the Briish elites, and they hate those busy Brussels beaurocrats stopping them from kicking them as well as they could.

Those wanting to remain are some of the worst parasites of capitalism. The finance sector, business elites—they want to remain because it means the continuation of the neoliberal model from which they have enriched themselves so obscenely at the expense of the working classes.

I’m tentatively leaning toward remain because some of the reasons given for exiting just aren’t going to happen. There won’t be a return to “greater sovereignty” because to have access to the EU market means implementing all those “Brussels diktats” anyway. It’s not bad for rich exporting nations like Switzerland and Norway, who have the economic leverage to negotiate reasonable trade agreements.

The UK though? No one needs the UK. The UK is a poor importing nation reliant on a massive parasitic finance sector to give it the appearance of wealth. We manufacture little. We import massively and sustain our affluence with a hugely over-valued Pound Sterling. The UK can never be free of the EU, because it needs the EU to maintain the illusion of prosperity and affluence. The exit scenario would be the UK joining the EEA and EFTA, still implementing TTIP, still allowing EU nationals to travel and work here freely, and still following all the EU rules and regulations—but without having any say in the matter or influence to change anything in their favour. They’d have to just bend over and take it.

I do hate the EU. It really is an undemocratic, neoliberal gravy-train full of overpaid officials and bureaucrats—and it is dominated by Germany for the interests of Germany.

The problem is is that the democratic argument for exiting doesn’t really work. British institutions are even more elitist, and even more geared toward the very rich. It is not a democracy, and in some ways, the EU tempers the worst instincts of the British elites. We’d possibly have the worst of both worlds—the neoliberalism of the EU, and the harsh anti-worker brutality of the British establishment.

If exiting or remain were framed in saner terms, by saner parties—I’d probably be more inclined to care. It just isn’t. It’s turned into a battle between the populist right and the neoliberal right—and I hate both of them. I probably hate the populists even more so, and it is only for that reason that I’m leaning toward remaining.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Tough question.

The EU has always struck me as an artificial construction, built on very shaky ground. I always saw it is a way to neutralize the German propensity to take over Europe.

Just how lousy the EU deals with things was seen in the Greek crisis a year or two ago, where Greece, a full member of the EU, was essentially threatened by Merkel and her cronies.

Another reason for Great Britain to leave: the EU and the Europe-wide laws that essentially remove soveriegnty from individual countries. Some drones in Brussels are making all sorts of rules that impinge on the national authority of each individual country.

So if I were in the UK, I would vote to leave.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Bravo Stinley! The rest of you, go back up there and give her the GQs and GAs she deserves.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As an American, even a fairly informed one, I don’t really feel qualified to say one way or the other. Nor do I feel it’s really my place to even if I did have an opinion on the matter.

chinchin31's avatar

It doesn’t matter either way.

I think what you need to do is control your immigration.

IT is really getting out of control.

Too many foreigners living on benefits.

I think the UK is not as secure as it think it is.

IT has huge debts. One day it will crash just like Greece.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

The UK should do what the UK wants.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

The UK has voted to leave the EU – so I guess that’s what it will do.

ucme's avatar

I voted leave & am proud of the 17.4 million that did likewise in a high turnout vote that must be respected

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
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JLeslie's avatar

Wow. I really didn’t think the vote would go this way. Does this mean now when going from other European countries into the UK people will have to deal with immigration and customs like someone coming from outside of Europe?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Stinley's avatar

I voted remain but will respect that the other slightly larger half of the country voted to go. David Cameron has said he will step down as Prime Minister, which I think is a bad move as I wanted someone who wanted to remain to lead the exit. I believe this would give more negotiating power and represent the Remain camp views.

ibstubro's avatar

Propose we move this to social now.

Was Cameron staying an option? @Stinley I thought he had to step down.

Stinley's avatar

@ibstubro there is no requirement. He could have offered to stay but called a leadership election. He’s not my favourite nor who I voted for but he’s better than that fool Boris Johnson who is the cause of all this

ibstubro's avatar

I knew that Cameron had said there would be a leadership election if Brexit won, but I didn’t know it was his option. I was listening to early results last night on BBC and one of the conservative commentators said they wished Cameron would stay on, and that was the first I’d heard of it.

At least I have a reason for being ignorant of the details. I’m a lifelong US citizen.
I hope you and I don’t have to commiserate after the US presidential election, @Stinley. I’m not on the “Trump-is-just-a-bad-joke” camp. He is one of two choices, the same as the EU referendum.

stanleybmanly's avatar

We in the United States pay dearly for our ignorance of the rest of the world. This thing has been brewing up for a long time while we’ve been distracted by Trump. Here’s hoping that British voters aren’t responsible for the lesson that there are things worse than Trump!

Stinley's avatar

@stanleybmanly if this is a silver lining then please people of America, learn from our mistake

stanleybmanly's avatar

Over here the tendency is to seek separation from common sense

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Stinley I think this debacle is just an attempt on the part of you Brits to outTrump America.

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