is there a point at which it becomes pragmatic to say 'bye' to Europe?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Shandy123, Jun 1, 2012.

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  1. I'm not looking for knee-jerk, blindly-nationalistic ['xenophobic' even better as its a Greek-rooted word, I believe] chorus of Sunheadlineesque responses here, but an informed opinion from someone who understands the economics, macroeconomics even.
    I've never been particularly europhobic, although i do worry a little about the transfer of aspects our national sovereignty to a badly executed and ill-designed system in brussels.
    I recognise that europhiles insist that there are trade benefits to be had by being 'in the club', but is it possible to have a real-time analysis of the cost/benefit of being in/out?
    Don't we have to conform to free trade principles worldwide anyway for fear of upsetting our septic friends?
    I am a bear of little brain and so I use analogy far too much, but here's how i see it:
    All the countries in the world are like kayaks on the lake.
    At the moment, we are 'rafted-up' with the other eu countries, riding out the squall.
    Roger so far?
    Some of the kayaks are looking a bit unsteady, top-heavy or too narrow, perhaps. If a few at the periphery are swamped and go down, won't the whole raft follow?
    At what point should we take an axe to our lashings and move away, lest we too are dragged under, or overloaded by survivors from the other boats? Can we remain afloat by ourselves anyway?
    Did I take it too far?
     
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  2. I liked you better when you asked easy questions.
     
  3. I'm probably going to get shot down in flames for this but the EU seemed to work quite well, the Euro currency maybe not, when everyone wasi n just the EU they still had they're own currency and could adjust as and when needed, possibly switching to the the Euro buggered a lot up, given that an awful lot of rules were bent a bit for integration. You have have to excuse me I think I have bronchitis and if you don't believe me come and have a look at what I cough up in the morning
     
  4. I could make you cough up worse judging by that avatar...

    And Shandy, that is a lucid, coherent and well thought out post. Good luck on getting a reasonable response!
     
  5. possibly mate but I'm a bloke so no favours from me
     
  6. The point at which it ceased to be a simple trade agreement was the point at which we should have been on the way out hailing a taxi. So early '90's or possibly even earlier.

    The boat has been missed somewhat.
     
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  7. no, that was just dull, now pull up a chair and let me tell you what I think of europe, I think the european governments are just like kayaks, but overloaded. and dependent on commerce at the expense of the societal needs of the common european plebeians.. just like most kayaks reallly. though one has less of a say, as to what one should 'do' with a feking kayak out of water.
     
  8. Fair one.
     
  9. In other words your foreign policy in regards to Europe can be summed up as "**** you Jack. I'm alright".?
     
  10. .

    True, true, you cant have your kayak and eat it.................Ah! my bus, must dash.
     
  11. That analysis might be a bit harsh.

    How about this analogy? Two scenarios for you.

    1) Although they are not your wife and kids you have pulled as many people as you can out of the burning building. If you go back in you know you are probably going to die and you know that anybody left inside is probably dead or going to die as well.

    2) They are your wife and kids you have pulled as many of them as you can out of the burning building. If you go back in you know you are probably going to die and you know that anybody left inside is probably dead or going to die as well.

    What are you going to do?

    I don't think the OP is saying I'm alright Jack. I think they are wondering if an I'm alright Jack attitude could ever be a wise and prudent one.
     
  12. 'I'm alright Jack' is fine, as long as you actually are alright, and not just sitting there enjoying the warm, but fleeting, feeling of having told a load of foreigners to **** off.

    The EU is huge and they take over half our exports so we would be very silly to disadvantage ourselves in regard to it.

    I'm no expert but the other thing that gives me pause for thought is that those who are most vocal in their desire to withdraw completely are also barking.

    The 'sensible' centre seem to think membership in one form or another is a good thing and I'm more inclined to take their advice than someone who can't sleep for worrying about the size of the top man's expense account.
     
  13. As a trading bloc, the EEC as was, it was fine. As a trading bloc with countries that traded amongst countries of similar standing, it was fine.
    The headlong rush to make it a United States of Europe and allowing membership to all and sundry just because they are eligible to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, is where it started to come apart at the seams. New countries joining purely for the grants and allowances made (Ireland as a prime example) and a bunch of commissioners who would like to be rulers of the new European Empire with its own banknotes, president and one-size-fits-all policies would never work because of the historical disparity between the member nations. It worked fine in the USA despite the mish mash of backgrounds but everyone learned to speak the same language, spread out throughout a brand new country with no history and joined together to make it work. Even they had a civil war almost a hundred years after starting out, though.
    Regardless of how good a European the leaders proclaim they are, they will still have a "What's best for my home country" mentality.
    Should we leave? If the countries who took loads of money (Spain, Italy, Ireland and others) start saying they can't carry on unless they are given more and more cash and resources then maybe it would be a good thing.
    We exported 86 billion quids worth of stuff to countries outside the EU in 2011 and 106 billion quids worth to countries within the EU. We imported 133 billion quids worth of stuff from the EU and 112 billion from outside the EU. Most of that trade is with the "old" EEC countries and very little to and from the newer Eastern bloc members.
    Fortunately, though we vilify them, our banking and insurance exports came to 40 billion or the balance of payments would make even worse reading.
     
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  14. Membership of the EU is a bit like being a man adrift on a raft at sea, facing the choice of drinking sea water or his own urine! Personally, I am eurosceptic and would never have voted for the current arrangement. That said, I am not stupid enough to think that we could just pick up our ball and go home, with no consequences. Whenever, and however, we disengage it isn't going to be pretty.
     
  15. Even as a trading bloc with the free movement of capital, people, goods etc, the EU/ECM is remarkably protectionist. Look at the CAP, and the quotas/tarrifs on agricultural goods (All of which benefits the French btw...).

    In the short run, ditching the EU and the ECM would be disastrous. Perhaps in the long run a move to create a commonwealth trading bloc (they are the growing economies after all...) would not be so bad.

    An alternative would be to ditch the idea of trade blocs, and just sign free trade agreements with whoever. But that would be sensible, and not provide jobs for professional bureaucrats, thus will never happen.
     
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