Britain might leave the EU. Here's why Americans should care.
April 16, 2016 5:27 AM   Subscribe

With all the focus today on the problems in the Middle East, it's easy to forget that for most of the 20th century, Europe was the central US foreign policy problem and the source of massive wars that cost millions of lives. The solution to this problem was European integration — a heavily American project, in large part because it served US interests so well.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (141 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
OK, so the thesis of the article is basically this: If the UK leaves the EU, that might lead to further disintegration of the EU, once other countries see how "easy" it is to get out.

Here are two alternative scenarios:
1) Brexit, followed by a disintegration of the British economy, with the financial sector moving to Frankfurt/NY/HK and what little is left of the manufacturing sector fleeing to EU countries. This scares other exit candidates so much that no other EU country tries the same for another 20 years or so.

2) Brexit, followed by further disintegration of the EU, as the economic consequences are not as harsh as in scenario 1). A core group of the EU remains with various degrees of integration toward the periphery - in essence an EU of several speeds, leaving the entire continent as a whole weaker, but leaving some countries stronger and wealthier.

Both scenarios don't sound so bad to me. (Well, the first one is bad if you're British...)

In any case, the EU seems to be a bit tired of Britain always trying to cherrypick only the good stuff and failing to see that the sum is bigger than the parts. If all Britain does is ask for the profits without any wilingness to contribute, then maybe the EU is indeed not the right place for them...
posted by sour cream at 5:53 AM on April 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Whoa, you mean jamming together a bunch of people that have been fighting and killing each other for centuries wasn't a stellar idea?
posted by dozo at 5:57 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


In the United States, we don’t really have debates about whether New York should help Michigan

isn't that a problem in itself? america is a single country thanks partly to american nationalism. which is designed, cultivated and necessary to hold such a large, diverse country together, but also gives rise to american exceptionalism, interventionism, and donald trump. maybe the world would be a better place if you had some european "problems" of your own?
posted by andrewcooke at 5:58 AM on April 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


What do you mean, dozo? No major wars in 70 years and counting as opposed to a major war every 10 or 20 years is not so bad, is it? That point is also made in the article: As a war-preventing organization (and that was it's main purpose in the beginning), the EU is hugely successful.
posted by sour cream at 6:01 AM on April 16, 2016 [40 favorites]


I am weary of the Brexit stuff on the news, but especially weary of the "Out" campaigners* (who I can't totally avoid by turning off the TV as they unwisely turn up on my doorstep) claiming that leaving the EU will "relieve pressure" on the NHS. While conveniently forgetting that a significant proportion of 1.2 million ex-pats, overwhelmingly seniors with their health problems and needs, would come back to the UK either voluntarily or not. Yeah; really really sure that'll "relieve pressure" {eyeroll}.

* Led by Farage, Galloway, Gove, Johnson ... the list starts and goes on of unpleasant older white men with a history of unpleasant views.
posted by Wordshore at 6:06 AM on April 16, 2016 [15 favorites]


One of the goals of EU integration was to function as a counterweight to Russian aggression, particularly toward the eastern countries. That aggression still exists, so if the EU falls apart, we'll see more Crimea type grabs. The US is willing to stand behind all of EU. But is it going to risk war just to save little old Estonia?
posted by xigxag at 6:12 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


This article is deeply wrong. It's as though the writer has read a history book back to front and upside down. The current status of Europe as a foreign policy concern for the US was rooted in the post 1945 need to bulwark against the USSR, and it was achieved by NATO not the EU. The US was otherwise quite happy for Europe to destroy each other so long as they were rivals to the US. When the only rival left was the USSR, that changed everything.

its "special relationship" with the United States,

Oh lord, how seriously can we take anybody writing on UK and US foreign policy who repeats the phrase "special relationship" earnestly? It's the biggest joke going. There was even an official report not too long ago which basically dismissed it as complete nonsense.
posted by Emma May Smith at 6:12 AM on April 16, 2016 [27 favorites]


Their surreal plants masquerading as news media articles are increasingly out of touch with the rest of the planet's reality. Its the downside of owning all your media sources. They begin to echo chamber reality.
posted by infini at 6:23 AM on April 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Just another point on the graph: I recently met a guy in his twenties, continental European, eminently talented, who just got his Ph.D. in physics and about to return to continental Europe to look for a job after 10 years or so in the UK. When I asked him why not stay in the UK, he said that the Brexit creates so much insecurity that people like him (young, talented, but no UK passport) are leaving in droves.
posted by sour cream at 6:25 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


There is a special relationship between the US and the UK, but it's pretty much exclusively intelligence rather than economic or military. Not for nothing are the Snowden papers full of GCHQ.

Post-war Europe had three concerns - to avoid more intra-European war (basically - stop the Germans from doing it again), rebuild the economy, and avoid Soviet expansionism (whether this last risk was as perceived at the time in the West, I'm not really able to decide). These were necessarily related but separate. The European Project cpncemtrated on the first two, NATO on the latter. Both have succeeded in their aims, and both are now having issues deciding what they should be now.

The risks to the EU that may end up in further intra-European conflict are the rise of the far-right and the economic disparity between member states. Russian expansionism - well, even now I can't read that, but it certainly exists and the co-dependency of the Russian military and NATO continues.

So, the question is - what should the EU be to counter the problems its best equipped to deal with? Of all the scenarios I can think of, which definitely do include tiers of nations with degrees of fiscal independence and interdependence, Brexit leads to none of them but could be very destabilising.

It's the abdication of responsibility that most worries me about Brexit. We'd be resigning what infliuence we have within the EU in return for a nominal independence that in practice lacks the power to operate effectively. We as a nation will deserve what happens to us, and since my fellow Brits seem hell-bent on electing bloody Tories then let karma be karma. But the dangers to everyone else - well, that seems unfair and unbefitting the better part of our culture and history, and I do not want to go down in history as being part of a generation that threw something marvellous away through amnesiac cupidity.
posted by Devonian at 6:33 AM on April 16, 2016 [22 favorites]


Scaremongering nonsense. Yet another one of the "it's either the EU or war in Europe" crowd. Utter rubbish. The only good thing was to see someone finally admit that the EU was initially as much an American project as a European one (weren't the CIA involved in setting it up? I'm sure I read about it in a book once.)

Another thing is the idea, which was spouted on here of "the haves giving to the have nots." Haves? Maybe they need to look at child poverty in the UK (In Leicester 1 in 5 children lives in poverty) and wage stagnation leading to people having to choose whether to heat-or-eat, before describing us as the "haves." And those same people are paying £300 million a week to the EU! Imagine how good our health service and schools could be for an extra £15 billion a year, year after year after year.

The main problem I see with leaving is that I think the corporations and rich and powerful will punish the British people if we vote to leave, as they mainly seem to want to stay, and if they don't get what they want after being used to getting what they want for so long, they will throw a hissy fit and put millions of British people on the dole just to spite us.

The Governments propaganda leaflets arrived the other day. Utter fearmongering bullshit.
posted by marienbad at 6:35 AM on April 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


Would the US give up sovereignty to NAFTA? If not....
posted by Drogue at 6:38 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Governments propaganda leaflets arrived the other day.

Hey, I thought for a moment Metafilter had decided that Conservative propaganda was a good thing. I'm half expecting someone to post telling us Britain doesn't need to leave Europe because that wonderful man David Cameron has secured all the concessions we're ever likely to need.

I'm back off to sleep now, but you can wake me up if the USA starts subjecting it's war criminals to the International Criminal Courts for trial and decides to start giving some pan-American institution a veto over their government policy.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:43 AM on April 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


Maybe they need to look at child poverty in the UK (In Leicester 1 in 5 children lives in poverty) and wage stagnation leading to people having to choose whether to heat-or-eat, before describing us as the "haves."

Blaming UK child poverty on the EU when you and Ireland are the only "rich" northern European countries that are way above the EU average is so fucking confused that I don't even know where to begin. You're barely better than the average for the last and poorest countries to join the union (and several of them are way better than you). Everyone knows that you guys hate children.
posted by effbot at 6:53 AM on April 16, 2016 [14 favorites]


Imagine how good our health service and schools could be for an extra £15 billion a year, year after year after year.

Because that's exactly what would happen as opposed to, say, more 'austerity' driven tax cuts? The only thing holding the Tories back from massive investment in social and health matters is the EU?

I fear the history of the last few years does not really bear your rosy optimism out.
posted by Devonian at 6:59 AM on April 16, 2016 [33 favorites]


I am weary of the Brexit stuff on the news, but especially weary of the "Out" campaigners* (who I can't totally avoid by turning off the TV as they unwisely turn up on my doorstep) claiming that leaving the EU will "relieve pressure" on the NHS. While conveniently forgetting that a significant proportion of 1.2 million ex-pats, overwhelmingly seniors with their health problems and needs, would come back to the UK either voluntarily or not . Yeah; really really sure that'll "relieve pressure" {eyeroll}.

I would like to be better informed--I'm aware of not knowing enough on this issue--but I'm almost certain that, at least until recently, some of the healthcare costs for UK citizens abroad in Europe was paid for by the UK treasury. It was recently removed for those under the retirement age, but I believe that retired folk still get some of their costs paid by the UK. Again, I would like to know more.

There is a special relationship between the US and the UK, but it's pretty much exclusively intelligence rather than economic or military. Not for nothing are the Snowden papers full of GCHQ.

Only because the US can't spy on its own citizens. The US pays the UK for GCHQ to spy on US citizens and hand them back the intelligence.

Post-war Europe had three concerns - to avoid more intra-European war (basically - stop the Germans from doing it again), rebuild the economy, and avoid Soviet expansionism (whether this last risk was as perceived at the time in the West, I'm not really able to decide). These were necessarily related but separate. The European Project cpncemtrated on the first two, NATO on the latter. Both have succeeded in their aims, and both are now having issues deciding what they should be now.

The second and third points are linked. The US thought the USSR could be a partner initially and only slowly realized that they couldn't be trusted. The Marshall Plan and NATO don't date from 1945 for this very reason, but a couple of years later.
posted by Emma May Smith at 7:02 AM on April 16, 2016


Amusing to read Americans talk about the EU. It's like a blind man trying to describe an elephant.
posted by My Dad at 7:06 AM on April 16, 2016 [22 favorites]


if they don't get what they want after being used to getting what they want for so long, they will throw a hissy fit and put millions of British people on the dole just to spite us.

So what you're saying is that you accept that massive economic harm is likely, but you think it's because businesses will choose punishment over profits?

To me it sounds like you're trying to deal with the cognitive dissonance raised by your awareness that you're arguing for something that will probably hurt lots of poor people, by creating a narrative in which it is the result of someone else's irrationality.

Or maybe not. It actually isn't going to matter to the people who end up unemployed under a Tory government led by Boris fucking Johnson.
posted by howfar at 7:14 AM on April 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


One of the goals of EU integration was to function as a counterweight to Russian aggression, particularly toward the eastern countries. That aggression still exists, so if the EU falls apart, we'll see more Crimea type grabs. The US is willing to stand behind all of EU. But is it going to risk war just to save little old Estonia?

And Russia has been backing anti-EU fringe parties all over Europe (mostly on the xenophobic/nationalist right, though if the occasional bunch of confused old Communists shows up, they can be put to use as useful idiots as well), providing cheap loans (which may or may not need to be repaid) to groups like the Front National in France, as well as using the trashy end of their overseas propaganda empire (Sputnik News) to amplify the voices of conspiracy theorists. I'm guessing they're not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts but to sow discord and cultivate fault lines along which the EU (and presumably NATO) can fall, in the fullness of time, allowing them to regain their natural sphere of influence. Certainly the lack of a land corridor to Kaliningrad must be seen by Putin as an insufferable insult; also, were things left to Hobbesian geopolitics, the Baltic states would be in Moscow's sphere of influence; beyond that, there's Finland (a former part of the Russian empire, the prospect of retaking which may be the reason why Russian forces are so keen on shutting down Swedish air traffic control and flying heavy bombers over Denmark) and Poland (ditto).
posted by acb at 7:18 AM on April 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


To add some numbers to my previous comment (numbers from 2014):
  • children at risk of poverty or social exclusion: UK 31.3%, EU average 27.8%, EU15* average 26.2%, top performers (primarily nordic countries and the netherlands) ~15%
  • children suffering from severe material deprivation: UK 10.5%, EU average 10.4%, EU15 average 8.3%, top performers (nordic countries) ~1.5%
Basically, the UK is pulling all the EU averages down.

*) EU15 is EU before the Central/Eastern Europe expansion.
posted by effbot at 7:22 AM on April 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


I don't read enough British media to know if the Brexit is a real (like Trump and Tea-bag-Partiers) thing or a manufactured thing designed to unite an electorate around a contentious issue.
Unfortunately this article did little to nothing to help clear that up.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:27 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thankfully the current odds have progressive within at clear favorites of around 2/5, while the "I'm not a racist, but..."* crowd are at around 2/1.

* I have heard this sentence starter So. Many. Fucking. Times. by people in the street, in the pub, on public transport, trying to justify in a non-racist way (and failing) why they are voting out, it should seriously become the national phrase of England should the country leave.
posted by Wordshore at 7:35 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Brexit could work out quite well for the UK.

First, the UK can devise a visa scheme that assures the City and other key industries can retain their European talent. There is no lack of smart Frenchmen and Germans in New York or Houston, that's for sure, and without any EU rights to immigrate.

As far as deals for trades and services, it's laughable to suggest the EU can drive the hard bargain with the UK that they could with Norway.

Much of the "European" financial sector is actually in London (Deutsche Bank institutional businesses are basically all in London, for example), and the rest would dry up and blow away without access to London hedge funds and trading desks.

European industrial concerns need access to the UK and the British multi-nationals' global operations at least as much as UK companies need access to the continent. No way are Daimler, Siemens, SAP, or Airbus going to allow a bunch of politicians to put Toyota, GE, IBM or Boeing ahead of them on the list.

All of this, and the UK can shed the contributions (i.e. taxes) and regulations of the EU for even more enhanced competitive and local benefit.
posted by MattD at 7:36 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]




Is there any real argument here that Britain or Greece leaving the E.U. would lead to further collapse? Yeah, I thought not. Just a monster story to scare all the kiddies into line.

I suspect it'll benefit the E.U. if Britain leaves because London Citiy is likely to be heavier involved in he next big market crash than the continental financial institutions. Also, Britain has far more private debt, like student loan, which reacts badly to recession and hopefully creditors must write down, while continental countries lean more towards state debt, the reaction of which can theoretically be controlled.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:38 AM on April 16, 2016


I would like to be better informed--I'm aware of not knowing enough on this issue--but I'm almost certain that, at least until recently, some of the healthcare costs for UK citizens abroad in Europe was paid for by the UK treasury.

I think you're confusing temporary travel with people have some form of residency. Residents, whether Spanish nationals or not, pay tax (including social security), and social security pays healthcare. There may be some extra bureaucracy involved if you're a retiree (since you're then not paid by a local employer), but I don't think that affects the overall scheme.
posted by effbot at 7:39 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why voting 'in' is morally wrong.

At least that guy acknowledges that he's joining forces with the racists, but the rest was just the usual "it's undemocratic to have my democratically elected representatives vote for something I cannot vote for directly" nonsense, totally ignoring that you don't have direct democracy in the UK either.
posted by effbot at 7:43 AM on April 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Thankfully the current odds have progressive within at clear favorites of around 2/5, while the "I'm not a racist, but..."* crowd are at around 2/1.

So there we have it: super duper progressives like Cameron vote to stay in the EU, racists like Corbyn vote to leave..uh, I mean, stay. He's definitely stay nowadays right? I hear he had some pretty racist political beliefs in his younger years, and was specifically prejudiced against minorities such as EU commissioners, MEPs, and people who worked in the Berlaymont building.

(For the sake of those playing dumb, Corbyn's not a racist, and is likely much less racist than most people in the UK.)

I think you're confusing temporary travel with people have some form of residency. Residents, whether Spanish nationals or not, pay tax (including social security), and social security pays healthcare. There may be some extra bureaucracy (since you're then not paid by a local employer), but I don't think that affects the overall scheme.

Temporary travel is covered under E111, but I'm sure there is another scheme for retired people under E121. Again, I'm not clear on the details.
posted by Emma May Smith at 7:56 AM on April 16, 2016


On one side, you have a bunch of fringe lunatics who say that brexit will heal the sick, revive industries, make Great Britain great again, skip the light fandango, and there will be free sweets for everybody. On the other is the allied forces of Neoliberalism, who say that Brexit will cause the end of history and the decline of western civilisation, human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria, and no free sweets, not even liquorice.

This really is the most tedious political debate I've ever had the misfortune to be able to vote in.
posted by The River Ivel at 8:06 AM on April 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


The solution to this problem was European integration — a heavily American project, in large part because it served US interests so well.

Well, it depends on which Americans you ask. There's a not-insubstantial number of Americans who believe (or, did at the time) that the formation of the EU was fulfillment of a prophecy heralding the coming of the endtimes.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:08 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


...cats and dogs living together...

Steady on; we're into Rick Santorum liberal prophecy warning territory there.

This really is the most tedious political debate I've ever had the misfortune to be able to vote in.

{long sigh} Yeah, you're right. It's a blood pressure raising, impossible to win debate, and voting makes numerous assumptions (e.g. Putin does/does not invade a Baltic state, Trump does/does not become POTUS and say "What's that big red button and what happens if I push it?", the melt of Greenland does/does not continue and permanently floods low-lying part of Europe). I should stay off forums, just watch ScandiNoir and not TV news, and - especially - stay out of Wetherspoons.
posted by Wordshore at 8:17 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Much of the "European" financial sector is actually in London (Deutsche Bank institutional businesses are basically all in London, for example), and the rest would dry up and blow away without access to London hedge funds and trading desks.

But most of the sector is not British financial institutions. You're talking about either the European branches of U.S. banks, or British branches of European banks, or...Barclays. There's no reason London has to be London proper as opposed to Paris or Frankfurt. (It's not like they're servicing some uniquely massive domestic commercial sector.) If it became inconvenient and expensive enough, it wouldn't be. Of course, Brexit would probably allow the UK to get a further lead in the race to the bottom of corporate taxation, in which case, be careful what you wish for.
posted by praemunire at 8:54 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I love Obama and dislike Boris. But he is correct in calling Obama's support to remain hypocritical. Any American concession of sovereignty would probably result in another revolutionary war, would it not? The EU has the final say on such a wide range of British law, on top of being fundamentally un-democratic. I imagine a lot of Americans would be horrified if they knew.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36057947
posted by derbs at 9:00 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I will admit that it's probably not obvious unless you scrutinise the term very closely, but the United States of America is a union of states.
posted by howfar at 9:06 AM on April 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Of course, Brexit would probably allow the UK to get a further lead in the race to the bottom of corporate taxation, in which case, be careful what you wish for.

The Irish won that particular race when they slashed their corporation tax rates to a ridiculously low rate in order to attract American business. They had some initial success but eventually crippled themselves in the process. And don't even get me started on Luxembourg. Surely this is something an effective EU should have cracked down on, instead of just re-arranging the deckchairs.
posted by derbs at 9:07 AM on April 16, 2016


It is obvious, but then again I was under the impression that it was still a single sovereign country. Certainly learnt something new today!
posted by derbs at 9:10 AM on April 16, 2016


Tell that to a Texan!

The nation state is not an immutable reality set in stone. It's a relatively modern concept undergoing progressive historical change. Sovereignty being rather more complex than Boris Johnson pretends he believes it is, I struggle to understand what's "hypocritical" about Obama's view. The US and the UK are in very different historical and geopolitical situations.

There is a democratic deficit in the EU, but no more glaring or disturbing than that at Westminster. The amorphous and undefined executive power of our government, uncontrolled by any real constitutional safeguards, is just as worrying to me as my concerns about the structure of the EU. Accordingly, I favour constitutional and institutional reform, rather than breaking up the UK and the EU and hoping something good will happen.
posted by howfar at 9:18 AM on April 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Farage, Galloway, Gove, Johnson ... the list starts and goes on of unpleasant older white men with a history of unpleasant views.

Try Tariq Ali or Owen Jones for Brexit debate instead?

posted by colie at 10:26 AM on April 16, 2016


Can Scotland then separate from the UK and rejoin the EU?
posted by Apocryphon at 10:27 AM on April 16, 2016


isn't that a problem in itself? america is a single country thanks partly to american nationalism. which is designed, cultivated and necessary to hold such a large, diverse country together, but also gives rise to american exceptionalism, interventionism, and donald trump. maybe the world would be a better place if you had some european "problems" of your own?

It blew my mind when I went to the Southwest (New Mexico specifically) for the first time and it still felt recognizably like America. Something is really weird about a country which maintains a fairly consistent culture across 2000 miles.

I mean, America is going to break up at some point, but it'll happen slowly and then all at once, probably.
posted by Automocar at 10:31 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]




Can Scotland then separate from the UK and rejoin the EU?

If the UK votes to leave the EU and the vote in Scotland is majority stay-in (as it will be), you'll see another Scottish independence referendum within 5 years, and independence will win. It will be the starkest indication yet that England and Scotland are diverging culturally, socially, and politically too much to remain the same country.
posted by Automocar at 10:34 AM on April 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Ah, Owen Jones has done a Corbyn and changed his mind, I didn't realise.
posted by colie at 10:37 AM on April 16, 2016


Can Scotland then separate from the UK and rejoin the EU?

Yep (and there was even some speculation that they could in theory inherit the UK's membership), and IIRC they already have a standing invitation from the Nordic Council. I'm all for that :-)
posted by effbot at 10:45 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh wow the Vox piece, what a masterwork...
"Much of the commentary around Brexit focuses on fierce debates about abstruse issues such as budgetary contributions, government benefits for foreign workers, and the future of British trade relations. But from an American perspective, such minutiae are basically irrelevant."

Ok, I had to stop reading right there because I wanted to slap the writer in the face, repeatedly, and that called up an audiovisual image of a certain well-known fictional young psychotic despot and that made me lose track for a second. "For the King, such minutiae are irrelevant!". *slap slap slap*

Moving on, trying to fight the memory of a laughable Vox piece from last year on the Greek debt crisis, maybe they’ve improved their reporting and "analysis" of European affairs in the meantime...

..."If that happens, the United States will find itself much more alone in the world and having to bear a much larger share to manage global problems."

..."The collapse of European integration could potentially mean an end to the stability, order, and prosperity that the US worked very hard and spent a lot of money to help Europe achieve. "

..."The United States has long wanted Europe to step up as a geopolitical partner […] but has been consistently disappointed when it didn't happen."

..."That means the burden of managing all these issues will once again fall on the US."


...Ahhh. No, I give up. It’s like a dumbed down version of I don’t know Henry Kissinger, or even Donald Rumsfeld, without the wit and the nerve to be upfront about this kind of old-school imperialist bragging. It’s just casually dropped in between one sweeping cliché and another – the curvature of bananas, "technocratic boredom was always the goal for Europe", "nobody can stand the French", all in this oversimplified school book style, makes the Daily Mail sound like the London Review of Books by comparison. If you have to recycle the same old Cold War and neocon rhetoric, you could at least treat your readers with more respect.

It’s funny how everyone instantly recognizes and mocks Sputnik News or Russia Today as state propaganda, while this is supposedly free independent new media of the digital age.

Bonus points for this fantastic gem of classic neoconspeak: "Through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a transatlantic economic integration effort, the United States also hopes to leverage the combined weight of the US and European economies to shape the set the future rules for international trade and investment before the Chinese do."
posted by bitteschoen at 10:46 AM on April 16, 2016 [21 favorites]


MattD: Brexit could work out quite well for the UK...First, the UK can devise a visa scheme that assures the City and other key industries can retain their European talent...Much of the "European" financial sector is actually in London

This comment sums up the issue that many people have with the Leave campaign, by conflating what's good for the City of London and what's good for the UK as a whole. The Leavers are dominated by City cheerleaders, whose vision for the UK doesn't extend beyond Temple tube station. The UK is already being damaged by the unhealthy domination of London, which I believe would only get worse post-Brexit. The EU leaves a lot to be desired as an institution, but being left alone on a small island with the City crew and their cheerleaders is not a fate I relish.
posted by Jakey at 10:48 AM on April 16, 2016 [14 favorites]


technocratic boredom was always the goal for Europe, and it is an infinite improvement over bombing each others' cities. Europe became peaceful and prosperous, in effect a solved problem after centuries of conflict.

Did it solve wars like a better USA or did it solve it like a Czechoslovakia/Yugoslavia, tamping down cultural/ethnic/religious rivalries into a quiet, calm smoldering power keg?
posted by sammyo at 10:49 AM on April 16, 2016


It’s funny how everyone instantly recognizes and mocks Sputnik News or Russia Today as state propaganda, while this is supposedly free independent new media of the digital age.
posted by infini at 11:03 AM on April 16, 2016


Can we also get Free Scotland to take the UK's permanent seat on the UN Security Council while we're at it
posted by Apocryphon at 11:05 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Look- it's pretty simple:

If the UK stays in the EU, it will be faceless EU bureaucrats making you knock down the shed in your garden, a ban on the sale of pies, all signage in Esperanto, and everyone will be required to put up an asylum-seeker in their spare room.

If the UK leaves, it'll be potted meat on white bread for tea, power outages, car doors that won't shut properly, and grey Saturday afternoons spent with a bunch of men in raincoats and flat caps watching Wigan and Forest kick each other to a 1-1 draw.


I think the choice is obvious.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:04 PM on April 16, 2016 [29 favorites]


grey Saturday afternoons spent with a bunch of men in raincoats and flat caps watching Wigan and Forest kick each other to a 1-1 draw

Bring that shit!

In fact the Project Fear camp has already floated a nonsense story about how the world's top footballers won't be able to play in Britain any more after Brexit, because reasons.

In reality the English Premier League is now by far the world's most-watched football competition and will continue to be so either way.
posted by colie at 12:16 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


So if the UK exits the EU, can't they go further and have England leave London?
posted by happyroach at 12:18 PM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


In the United States, we don’t really have debates about whether New York should help Michigan

What?! Have you not been paying attention. We most definitely do. Think WWWAAAYYYY back to hurricane Sandy devastating NY. Remember the response from the hinterlands? NO HELP FOR THEM BASTARDS! Then when nature inevitably got around to screwing with Texas and the other REAL AMERICAN states, Ummm.... Can we have some help? I would actually enjoy A US that was less I GOT MINE, FUCK YOU! And more We're all in this together. So yeah, just like the EU I guess.
posted by evilDoug at 12:20 PM on April 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


Seconding evilDoug there. A whole lot of our tax-policy arguments, also what kind of amendments and riders can be attached to congressional bills, are in effect debates over which parts of the country have a claim on the national wealth.
posted by clew at 12:43 PM on April 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Stay in the EU: Always Winter, Never Christmas

Leave the EU: A Morrissey Song Stamping On A Human Face- Forever
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:33 PM on April 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


From Why voting 'in' is morally wrong.:

We will not suddenly evict every European person without a British passport. We will not suddenly create trade barriers.

These are the goals of most (if not all) of the Brexit supporters, so why wouldn't they?
posted by dhens at 1:39 PM on April 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


We will not suddenly evict every European person without a British passport.

No, just those of us who don't measure up in an Australian-style points system, eventually. And until then just force out those of us who are poor by making immigration and visas expensive.

Seriously, have you not heard how loudly the out campaign are shouting about being able to control immigration from Europe?
posted by Dysk at 1:44 PM on April 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


tamping down cultural/ethnic/religious rivalries into a quiet, calm smoldering power keg?

Isn't that the Eurovision Song Contest?
posted by haapsane at 1:47 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a pro-independence resident of Scotland, I'm just LOLing over how the anti-Brexit campaign is recycling all the arguments against Scottish Independence and the Brexit campaigners (who, on the conservative side, were almost unanimously opposed to Scottish independence) are like, "WTF? But that's not true! That can't happen! Na Na Na I can't hear you!"

Cognitive dissonance is a dish best eaten cold, with relish—preferably HP Sauce. (Private Eye reference.)
posted by cstross at 1:47 PM on April 16, 2016 [12 favorites]


These are the goals of most (if not all) of the Brexit supporters, so why wouldn't they?

This isn't even UKIP policy, never mind the motley of Leavers. The overall impression that I get is that they want a system similar to the US or Australia, based on maximizing the economic benefits of immigration to the country and existing citizens.
posted by Emma May Smith at 1:59 PM on April 16, 2016


existing citizens.

Which is going to screw over an awfully large number of the 5% of the UK population who are of other EEA nationalities. But I guess the idea is we are allowed to care a bit less about the welfare of our neighbours if they're not citizens?
posted by howfar at 2:06 PM on April 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


The overall impression that I get is that they want a system similar to the US or Australia, based on maximizing the economic benefits of immigration to the country and existing citizens.

So... no freedom of movement for Europeans? Boo.
posted by dhens at 2:06 PM on April 16, 2016


we are allowed to care a bit less about the welfare of our neighbours if they're not citizens?
Now THAT's the American Way. Except more than "a bit".
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:00 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Which is going to screw over an awfully large number of the 5% of the UK population who are of other EEA nationalities. But I guess the idea is we are allowed to care a bit less about the welfare of our neighbours if they're not citizens?

I'm pretty sure that neither I nor Leavers invented the distinction between citizen and non-citizen. It's okay if you don't like that distinction, but I can't fix it and I can't deny that most people see countries as vehicles for collective citizenship. Indeed, I think that popular sovereignty is an immensely positive development and something that we should be careful when we alter. Breaking the link between citizenship and sovereignty would be democratically disastrous. Citizens should take care that the people they invite into their country are well-treated, but ultimately, until they themselves become citizens, immigrants are not part of that sovereignty.

I guess it can be distressing to migrate to a country and be of a lower status than others around you, but I think most countries have some residency period and qualification criteria for citizenship and the deal is pretty explicit. I know that were I to move to Canada, for example, I would be there contingent to their laws not some essential human right to live in that country. The UK wouldn't be doing anything which most countries don't already do, or which the UK doesn't already do to non-EEA citizens. Indeed, I'm not sure that the UK would do anything than change the terms of entry, which wouldn't effect those already here.

The same moral problems would occur with any law which restricts migration in any way, as it removes the potential somebody previously had to migrate and giving them no recourse to answer. Immigration law is always problematic in that way: made by people it doesn't effect and imposed on those who have no say. But unless and until the concept or countries becomes obsolete, that's the way of the world. It simply isn't something that Leavers have to answer or apologize for.
posted by Emma May Smith at 3:22 PM on April 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


That seems a very abstruse and technical response to the reality of disrupting or damaging millions of real people's real lives. I didn't invent gravity, but if I push someone off a cliff I'm still going to feel pretty bad about the result.
posted by howfar at 3:36 PM on April 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


That seems a very abstruse and technical response to the reality of disrupting or damaging millions of real people's real lives. I didn't invent gravity, but if I push someone off a cliff I'm still going to feel pretty bad about the result.

I don't know how to respond then. I'm trying not to be sentimental. I'm sorry to disappoint you by being calm and thoughtful and put things into a broader outlook. I don't know how an emotional argument would help in what is a very complex debate. Every side in every debate can frame their argument in human cost, it is hardly exceptional.
posted by Emma May Smith at 4:00 PM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


If the UK votes to leave the EU and the vote in Scotland is majority stay-in (as it will be), you'll see another Scottish independence referendum within 5 years, and independence will win. It will be the starkest indication yet that England and Scotland are diverging culturally, socially, and politically too much to remain the same country.

Brexit is really, really messy for Northern Ireland and Scotland. If it happens, then the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would have to be controlled - which screws the treaty between Ireland and NI that, y'know, stopped people getting blown up (mostly).

Scotland has its own parliament with direct control over a lot of areas of lawmaking (health, social security, energy, some taxation, but excluding international relations and defence), and a lot of those laws are bound to EU law: what happens to those after Brexit, especially given Scotland does rather well out of the EU, is unknown. Scotland won't want to cede renegotiations to Westminster, but Westminster won't want a pro-EU set of deals north of the border and is under no obligation under EU law to include any Scots in the negotiations - and no real history of doing so, often bluntly refusing to tell the Scottish parliament what's going on.

Yet Westminster will lack the power to change the Scottish laws on which it is negotiating. Westminster can take back those powers, but it would mean breaking all the promises it's made about Scottish self-determination (and, hey, sovereignty) since the 1990s in its attempts to fend off full independence, which would provoke a very great deal of very great unhappiness. But if a post-Brexit Scotland does vote to leave the United Kingdom and rejoin/stay in the EU, then the border between Scotland and England would have to become a controlled international border - which it never has been, in any modern sense, and that would be extremely traumatic.

It is by no means certain that Brexit would lead to a second independence referendum in the short or medium term: the SNP has said that it will only call one if the polls show a stable majority in favour, and in the current climate of extreme uncertainty that's not happening. Also, there are a lot of grumpy old Scots who don't like the EU anyway, and a lot of English people living up in Scotland, so it's not one constituency by any means.

(Inter alia, arguments during the first Scottish Independence referendum strongly suggested it's by no means certain you can unilaterally remove EU citizenship from people - as opposed from a state - without their consent, which has all sorts of interesting fun joy in the bottle. It's an involved argument, but pretty cogent.)

Tl;dr - a mammoth clusterfuck awaits, whichever way you carve it, of the sort that absolutely ruins economic confidence and, thus, economies.

This isn't Project Fear scaremongering. These are real problems that will be triggered and to which there are no clear answers.

None of this is being talked about much, primarily because there are regional parliamentary elections coming up next month and everyone's concentrating on those and not campaigning hard on EU matters. (You might think having the referendum so close to parliamentary elections was a cynical and unhelpful move: I couldn't possibly comment. Oh yes, thinking about it, I can. It was.) But also because any way you slice it, Brexit would be a massive problem for the regional governments and they really don't know what course to set.

And all this is happening because of internal problems in the English Tory party. You really have to hand it to them: like all right-wing parties who claim to be the natural party of responsible government, they fuck things up on a truly epic scale. But this - this is something special.

Further reading, if you can stomach it: on the legal relationship between Scotland and Westminster and on the unknown unknowns about post-Brexit Scotland.
posted by Devonian at 4:24 PM on April 16, 2016 [26 favorites]


Could Northern Ireland join Scotland in a pro-EU political union. England can have Wales and Manx.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:34 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


England can have Wales and Manx

The Isle of Man (Manx is the adjective / name for the inhabitants) is not part of the UK, and not part of the EU. It is part of the Common Travel Area.
posted by dhens at 9:55 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


If it happens, then the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would have to be controlled

Why? The Common Travel Area predates the EU, and Ireland still maintains an opt-out that stops it from being compelled to join the Schengen area.
posted by the road and the damned at 10:48 PM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


That seems a very abstruse and technical response

Well it’s not even technical at all, it’s just very vague and generic and ultimately irrelevant to the debate on how actual EU nationals in the UK (and conversely UK nationals in the rest of the EU - there are more than 2 million of them) will be affected if the UK leaves the EU. That has nothing to do with rediscussing the whole principle of citizenship vs non-citizenship or the very notion of a country or borders, no matter how much rhetoric on that is used in any campaigns. It’s about which specific agreements would most likely be put in place or not, there are many overviews of the possible scenarios all over the place. It’s one of the unknowns but it’s not a vague abstract question of what defines nationality, there are specific scenarios based on existing situations and laws.
posted by bitteschoen at 11:23 PM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


. Indeed, I'm not sure that the UK would do anything than change the terms of entry, which wouldn't effect those already here.

I'm sorry but what nonsense. Those already here are here by the exact right that would have to be removed to change the terms of entry. The absolute minimal change required to the law in order to not create a class of people who were essentially illegal residents would be to create a new category of residency that grandfathered in anyone present at Brexit. And good luck not having that discussion descend into even more specific racism than Brexit itself. I mean if you think about this for a second - an EU citizen lives in the UK, has elderly parents in France and suddenly doesn't have the right to enter Britain. Well sir, if it's so important to you to see your parents again you can get out and stay out!
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:16 AM on April 17, 2016 [11 favorites]


Can Scotland then separate from the UK and rejoin the EU?

Of possible interest to those looking for the position in Scotland: The Wee Bleu Book (which stole the concept from here). It is interesting to see the document making the case for Scotland to be an EU member in its own right. The scenario of the rest of the UK backing an exit from the EU, Scotland remaining in favour, and this driving a yes victory at a second indy-ref is by no means unlikely.
posted by rongorongo at 12:41 AM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that neither I nor Leavers invented the distinction between citizen and non-citizen.

No, but the EU got rid of it within Europe, more or less. As an EU citizen I currently have largely the same rights here as a UK citizen (much as UK citizens, being EU citizens, are afforded that same right elsewhere in the EU). What you leavers absolutely are arguing for is taking a while category of people who are currently treated largely as citizens (non-UK EU citizens, such as myself) and removing that right from them.

So no, you didn't invent the citizen/non-citizen distinction - you just want to extend it, make it more exclusive, and strip more people of those rights. You don't have to have invented prisons or rule of law to be held responsible for an insane prison policy that locks up jaywalkers and throws away the key, either.
posted by Dysk at 1:09 AM on April 17, 2016 [11 favorites]


Could Northern Ireland join Scotland in a pro-EU political union.

Given both Northern Ireland and Scotland receive much more than they contribute to UK public spending, I rather think the English might be glad to get shut of the pair of them.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:23 AM on April 17, 2016


It's a bit worrying that Metafilter seems to be full of people arguing that the best thing we can do for the country is fulfill the wet dreams of the far-right.

England alone, out of Europe, with a perpetual Tory government and all power concentrated in the City? FUCK YEAH! IT'S GOING TO BE A PARADISE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE!
posted by howfar at 3:45 AM on April 17, 2016 [15 favorites]




Why? The Common Travel Area predates the EU, and Ireland still maintains an opt-out that stops it from being compelled to join the Schengen area.
A

It depends who you believe. Persoally, I can't see any way Brexxit will help the Irish oeace process and plenty of ways it could hurt it, and many more paths that lead to the border reistatement than leave it open.

Put it another way - a lot of the Brexit ropaganda is anti-immigration. A fully porous border in an area of security tension is sustainable because...?
posted by Devonian at 5:40 AM on April 17, 2016


And those same people are paying £300 million a week to the EU! Imagine how good our health service and schools could be for an extra £15 billion a year, year after year after year.

This perplexing suggestion is daft even by normal Brexit levels of discourse. On second thoughts, I'll have what you've been drinking.
posted by epo at 6:48 AM on April 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess it can be distressing to migrate to a country and be of a lower status than others around you

What made me fall in love with England the first time I visited was its welcoming vibe. Same when I lived there for a few years. London, the North: great places and great people. Lower status is not some historic inevitability, especially since that's not the current legal reality and the UK benefits from migration in total. If that money doesn't go into improving infrastructure or social aid, that's due to the priorities of the representatives of the voters. And thinking that leaving will improve equality, when it's not exactly high on the agenda of the parties pushing to leave, seems rather unlikely. It's worth noting that governments love putting the blame for unpopular decisions on the EU's door, especially for ones they've negotiated themselves.
posted by ersatz at 8:32 AM on April 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


England alone, out of Europe, with a perpetual Tory government and all power concentrated in the City?

God, you've got some low expectations of the British people, haven't you? Why do you hate democracy so much?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:42 AM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


God, you've got some low expectations of the British people, haven't you? Why do you hate democracy so much?

It's not democracy that's the problem - actually it's the lack of democracy. The structural biases built into the FPP system mean that, without Scotland, it would be almost impossible for England and Wales to displace a Tory majority at a general election, despite the majority of the country wanting something else.

I have long argued and even campaigned for electoral reform. But we haven't had it, and anyone who thinks that England minus Scotland outside of Europe is likely to be anything but dominated by the right isn't, in my view, making a realistic estimate of the probabilities.

We have to deal with the world we actually have, not the one we wish we had.
posted by howfar at 9:54 AM on April 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think that England's departure from the EU and the subsequent breakup of the U.K. will be a good thing. England can then resume its natural position as a backwater in the wider world. This whole experiment known as the British empire has honestly been a horrible failure.
posted by humanfont at 1:21 PM on April 17, 2016


Oh, hurrah. More people explaining why an event which would force my family to leave home and find new jobs, if we can, would be just the peachiest thing because it would abstractly teach someone or other a lesson.
posted by kyrademon at 1:33 PM on April 17, 2016 [10 favorites]


Yup. At least I can understand the right wing arguments for Brexit. If you hate labour protection, regulation of private business and foreign people, I get why you'd support leaving the EU. But I don't think that a single person in the leave camp on Metafilter is a bigot or pluto-libertarian. Can any Lexiters help me? Can you explain what good things will happen for Britain and the world as a result of leaving?
posted by howfar at 1:44 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that England's departure from the EU and the subsequent breakup of the U.K. will be a good thing. England can then resume its natural position as a backwater in the wider world.

So, as England enters the post-(second-)Elizabethan era, its place in the world reverts to what it was in the pre-(first-)Elizabethan era?
posted by acb at 3:42 PM on April 17, 2016


So, as England enters the post-(second-)Elizabethan era, its place in the world reverts to what it was in the pre-(first-)Elizabethan era?

Well, once England reestablishes the absolute monarchy, they can go about reacquiring their Angevin territories in France...
posted by happyroach at 10:38 PM on April 17, 2016


Well, once England reestablishes the absolute monarchy, they can go about reacquiring their Angevin territories in France...

Boris? Is that you?
posted by howfar at 12:40 AM on April 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


We can at least warm ourselves by burning catholics.
posted by vbfg at 1:21 AM on April 18, 2016


Yup. At least I can understand the right wing arguments for Brexit. If you hate labour protection, regulation of private business and foreign people, I get why you'd support leaving the EU. But I don't think that a single person in the leave camp on Metafilter is a bigot or pluto-libertarian. Can any Lexiters help me? Can you explain what good things will happen for Britain and the world as a result of leaving?

That Europe will stop being a political locus for action and excuses. You know rail renationalization, TTIP, metrication, even the damned death penalty and who knows what else, are presented with the EU being either the source or scourge, depending on your political opinion. It's pathetic how we interact with the EU and it's politically infantilizing. Lots of folk bemoan the loss of sovereignty inherent in the EU, but the greatest loss is one where we act like we're not political grownups because of it. European politics distracts us from where power should be exercised.

And I have to say, your comment is an example, though I doubt you mean to do it. You speak of labour protection and regulation of private business as something we get from Europe, and will lose if we leave the EU. Yet Attlee governed before the even EEC existed, and Thatcher while the UK was a full member. I know whose government you would prefer.
posted by Emma May Smith at 4:43 AM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think you can say that a political culture which is unable to focus properly is Europe's fault - after all, the other European nations are in the same position but manage their EU relationships without creating the same tensions. The Tory party - which is absolutely the centre of the reason there's a Brexit discussion anyway - is divided over Europe, sure, and is barely functional on that point, but I don't really see the entire country should leave just to heal that division. That's like saying the way to heal the GOP is to let the South secede.

(Which it wouldn't, anyway - the post-referendum Tories will be in one hell of a mess either way)

There's a 200 page Treasury report out today that posits a 6 percent decline in GDP on Brexit. The Leavers have been on the radio saying that it's all made up, that it's a conspiracy, that the Treasury is totally incompetent (they can't quite decide which it is) - their argument against every other major organisation that's come to the same conclusion.

One awaits with interest their worked predictions.
posted by Devonian at 6:43 AM on April 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Appeals to Thatcher and Attlee seem so far removed from relevance to the current political situation that it's laughable. We have neither Attlee's Labour party nor Thatcher's Tories today, nor the EU of the 70s. We have a much more centrist (read: right-leaning) Labour party, for one. A stronger Europe for another. And one of the reasons I keep banging on about workers' rights and consumer protections is that scrapping then is one of the stated aims of leaving the EU for the Tories. They have explicitly said that I've if the reasons they want it if the EU is to allow them to cut 'red tape' like the Working Time Directive and the European Charter of Human Rights. These are the people in charge now, and the people who will be in charge immediately post-brexit. There is no Clement Attlee in sight, nevermind government, and first past the post and Tory redistricting means that this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable.
posted by Dysk at 7:21 AM on April 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


More scaremongering, from a lousy Chancellor who can't meet his own targets and panders to the rich at the expense of the poor: George Osborne defends Treasury's gloomy EU exit forecast

(again, sort comment by highest rated and have a read)
posted by marienbad at 8:19 AM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


children at risk of poverty or social exclusion: UK 31.3%, EU average 27.8%
Basically, the UK is pulling all the EU averages down.
posted by effbot

Which would seem to back up my point about poverty in the UK, if we are above the average and somehow this is "pulling the EU averages down."

I am not blaming the EU for poverty, I am not sure where you are getting that from. I am saying there is a lot of poverty, and not just poverty, people struggling to get by, having to choose whether to heat-or-eat. It is one thing to say the UK is a rich country, but most of the people are not rich, they are struggling, and you think it is okay to tax them and give it to other EU countries that are worse off. Why should the poor of the UK pay? Please, explain how higher taxes for the poor to pay for this directly benefits the poor in the UK.

So what you're saying is that you accept that massive economic harm is likely, but you think it's because businesses will choose punishment over profits?

That is not what I said. I said I worry that this could happen, not that I accept it. It is not directly provable that this will happen, purely supposition on my part.

Much of the "European" financial sector is actually in London (Deutsche Bank institutional businesses are basically all in London, for example), and the rest would dry up and blow away without access to London hedge funds and trading desks.

But most of the sector is not British financial institutions. You're talking about either the European branches of U.S. banks, or British branches of European banks, or...Barclays. There's no reason London has to be London proper as opposed to Paris or Frankfurt.


So those city people in favour of Brexit will be out of a job if we leave as the city will close down? Be serious.

Stay out of Wetherspoons

Well, at least the beer in there is pretty cheap, in comparison, and they have real-ale festivals if you are into that sort of thing.

It's funny to see Americans saying we should be in the EU. When America is in an organisation with Canada and Mexico and Peru, and those countries get to decide some of your most important policies, and you are paying $75 Billion a year to fund it, call me.
posted by marienbad at 8:31 AM on April 18, 2016


Appeals to Thatcher and Attlee seem so far removed from relevance to the current political situation that it's laughable. We have neither Attlee's Labour party nor Thatcher's Tories today

We had Thatcher's project continued to the letter by Blair, and his stooges still pack the parliamentary party - what's laughable about that?

As for Attlee's relevance and influence, the Labour Party's re-energised membership elected Corbyn on a landslide against the Blairite goons, and he has a programme of basically Keynesian economics (assisted by people like Stiglitz and Piketty), nationalisation of industries (try that on the EU) and foundational support for the welfare state.
posted by colie at 8:32 AM on April 18, 2016


It's telling that Corbyn considers staying in the EU the lesser of two evils in the current situation. And indeed, it's precisely because even the Labour party cannot be trusted not to be a hive of Thatcherite wingnuttery that we need the checks and balances in just fire far right the UK can go in the form of the EU. Ask the conflict between the EU and leftwing politics in the UK is purely theoretical - we're never actually left enough to bump into those limits at all. Meanwhile, there are actual policies that the current sitting government have stated they would dismantle if the EU wasn't stopping them, and talking about that is "scaremongering". Right.
posted by Dysk at 8:56 AM on April 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


(And no, of course it isn't the British poor who should pay toward other EU member states - it's the British rich. UK tax policy is a UK issue even when in the EU though, so that it's the poor bearing the burden and not the rich is something you can blame Westminster for - all of the three, now two, major parties - and not the EU. The poor currently bear the brunt of financing Northern Ireland and dozens of PPI schemes under that and many other names. The problem here is how the UK distributes tax burden.)
posted by Dysk at 9:00 AM on April 18, 2016 [4 favorites]




That is not what I said. I said I worry that this could happen, not that I accept it. It is not directly provable that this will happen, purely supposition on my part.


Well, it's not purely supposition. Or at least, if it is, it's supposition that happens to be in line with the overwhelming majority of professional and academic forecasts.

I still don't see the strong concrete arguments for Lexit. I've got:

1) Something philosophical about the focus of British politics which I guess I don't appreciate in full. I mean, it's not necessarily wrong, but what are the policies to change normal people's lives that we'd be more likely to implement after Brexit? I'm prepared to accept this argument as a premise, but it doesn't compel me, personally, towards the conclusion that we need to leave for the good of the British people.

2) The net £10 billion or so contribution. Much more concrete, but not particularly compelling. The overwhelming majority of forecasts do, after all, indicate that annual tax incomes have been boosted by hugely more than this amount, and that they will continue to be increased. I think that the evidence is strongly in favour of the EU being a good deal, financially, but even if you don't, it's very hard to make the case that there is good evidence that it's worse than neutral.

3) Some people in the City favour it. But, of course, lots don't.

Otherwise, it just seems to be "well, it wouldn't do any harm". Except there are lots of reasons to think that it really would do lots of harm to our economy, and lots of reasons to think that it would further liberate the Tories to destroy the postwar consensus. And there is very good reason to think that lots of members of British society would be massively and unfairly penalised for their place of birth.

It's not scaremongering to note the huge risks one perceives. It's being scared. I think there are good reasons to be scared.
posted by howfar at 9:57 AM on April 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


And there is very good reason to think that lots of members of British society would be massively and unfairly penalised for their place of birth.

A good friend of mine is Spanish/French, and married to an English citizen. They have a new child, and family scattered across Europe. She is very worried about Brexit (but, alas, despite living in the UK since the 1980s and running a small business - precisely the sort of citizen the Tories applaud - cannot vote). The prospect of losing significant rights of residency and travel, to say nothing of the unknown regulatory and trade environment, is doing nothing for her.

For myself, I simply do not want to lose rights I hold as an EU citizen in exchange for... what, exactly? This is my continent. These are my nations. I cannot give that up without a fight.
posted by Devonian at 10:30 AM on April 18, 2016 [10 favorites]


George Osborne has published a ludicrous 'dossier' about how each household is going to be 4k worse off after Brexit. This is the kind of thing that leads to a leave vote, thank God.
posted by colie at 12:43 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that a lot of people who will vote leave will do so on the basis of ludicrous falsehoods they've been told about bent banana bans, swan guzzling Romanians and universal congestion charging. I wouldn't trust Osborne to tell me the time, but the actual figures used by the Treasury, while fairly drastic, are in line with some other projections, although more pessimistic than others.

Note that the only way anyone argues that leaving the EU will enhance growth is through cutting red tapefucking ordinary workers and consumers until we bleed.
posted by howfar at 1:30 PM on April 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm going to bring this up again, because I feel like it needs stating again.

When you argue for Britain to leave the EU, you are arguing for people like me, and me personally, to have our lives made untenable. This may not be why you're doing it, but you are proposing something that absolutely will have that effect.

Let me tell you my sob story.

I'm Danish, but my parents moved to Hong Kong when I was about five. I went to school, had a miserable childhood and adolescence, finished school and moved to the UK to go to university at 18. I'm trans and autistic, and have a... complicated relationship to my parents. "Home" is not somewhere I can go. Finding work is difficult, though I have had long periods of employment. I've been here over 11 years now. I'm able to survive largely due to having some limited access to benefits in the UK, the country where I have lived my entire working life. Anti immigrant legislation in Denmark means I have no access to anything there, not having lived there for at least so and so many years out if the last ten.

As someone basically dependent on benefits to survive (including the periods where I can find work that I can both do and where people will hire me - minimum wage jobs rarely give you enough hours that you won't need housing benefit) I am absolutely looking at my life becoming untenable. I am also top of the list of many groups.of EU citizens who might lose their right to reside here - remember, control of EU immigration is a stated aim for the brexit campaign - given that employment based rights are unlikely to help me.

And when that happens, where do I go? I have few to no rights in Hong Kong, not being a citizen, and not having retained my residency rights by visiting regularly (way out of my budget to even consider). I have few to no rights in Denmark, not having been resident for many many years, and am fundamentally unfamiliar with how it works on a practical and civic level, and have a very hard time navigating that sort of thing generally. I am also disqualified from almost all available assistance on that front due to my mix of being Danish but not having been resident there.

So when my access to benefits stops completely (as opposed to merely being relegated to a much constrained access as a very much second class EU, not British, citizen) I will be entirely dependent on my partner and friends (people of little to no means themselves - queer, trans, and autistic means I don't generally move in monied circles), I'll lose access to transition related medical care in the NHS, and my mental health will undoubtedly get worse. When I'm no longer eligible to live here, where do I go? Denmark, where I haven't lived since I was five? Where do I go when I get off the plane? I'm having a very hard time seeing any real options other than trying to find a sheltered doorway, or maybe a bridge to sleep under while my health deteriorates from lack of access to the drugs I rely on to keep my hormones at a safe level.

This is not academic, this is not about politics, democracy, the economy... it's about being able to have a life, any life (I was forced to give up on having a dignified or worthy one long ago), about being able to survive.

But please, tell me again about sovereignty. I'm sure it'll all make sense this time.
posted by Dysk at 1:30 PM on April 18, 2016 [11 favorites]


Appeals to Thatcher and Attlee seem so far removed from relevance to the current political situation that it's laughable. We have neither Attlee's Labour party nor Thatcher's Tories today, nor the EU of the 70s. We have a much more centrist (read: right-leaning) Labour party, for one. A stronger Europe for another. And one of the reasons I keep banging on about workers' rights and consumer protections is that scrapping then is one of the stated aims of leaving the EU for the Tories. They have explicitly said that I've if the reasons they want it if the EU is to allow them to cut 'red tape' like the Working Time Directive and the European Charter of Human Rights. These are the people in charge now, and the people who will be in charge immediately post-brexit. There is no Clement Attlee in sight, nevermind government, and first past the post and Tory redistricting means that this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable.

Again, this kind of attitude is part of the problem. It is akin to saying, "thank god we don't govern ourselves". I hear a lot of Remainers talk about the UK's global influence through the EU, but it seems to me that many are actually seeking UK influence through the EU. It's less about making trade deals with China and more about passing/protecting policy which can't be passed/protected domestically. I don't see how this can be democratically squared--not because the institutions of the UK are more democratic than those of the EU (the UK has a rotten constitution), but because the state and the people involved have different identities.

There's a 200 page Treasury report out today that posits a 6 percent decline in GDP on Brexit. The Leavers have been on the radio saying that it's all made up, that it's a conspiracy, that the Treasury is totally incompetent (they can't quite decide which it is) - their argument against every other major organisation that's come to the same conclusion.

It's a 6% of GDP gap after 15 years, compared with staying, not an immediate loss of 6% of GDP. I'm not sure what to make of the forecast yet, but I certainly find it entertaining just how many people have suddenly found faith in Osborne and the Treasury, and how many supporters of austerity suddenly think that Osborne and the Treasury are idiots. I'm vaguely happy that I don't have to be conflicted over this.
posted by Emma May Smith at 2:06 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Speaking as someone who does not think that GDP is a particularly great measurement of the health of your nation, I would still say that 6% change in GDP is a BFD. I agree with you that I don't think the impact is likely to be that much, but even 3% is big. That nevertheless pales against the real reason to stay in.
At the risk of reiterating earlier comments, the dominant Leavers have been explicit in saying that they want to reduce 3 things: workers rights, financial transaction rules and free movement. While 2 of these may not have originated at the EU level, EU rules prevent the removal of all of them. That is a good situation for all but a vanishingly small number of people.
If you are below director level, worker's rights are unambiguously good for you. They may be good for you even if you're above, if you take the long term view.
If you are not one of a few thousand bank employees across all of Europe, increased financial regulation is good for you.
Free movement has never been denied to the rich. All of us Europeans have benefited from it in the last 20 years.
posted by Jakey at 2:22 PM on April 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't see how this can be democratically squared--not because the institutions of the UK are more democratic than those of the EU (the UK has a rotten constitution), but because the state and the people involved have different identities.

I don't really get what you're saying here. Can you clarify? You seem to accept that, if we lose (e.g.) the labour protections that the EU is currently protecting, that this will be on the basis of the undemocratic FPP system currently in place. But...it will still be more democratic because at least the undemocratic system is a British one? I don't get the importance of the distinction.

The other thing I'd point out is that protecting the weak from the strong, the backbone of Rawlsian liberalism, is just as important a moral and political principle as is representative democracy. That's one reason why written constitutions exist. Democracy isn't just voting, it includes all those institutions and mechanisms which serve to distribute power more evenly across society.
posted by howfar at 2:55 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't really get what you're saying here. Can you clarify? You seem to accept that, if we lose (e.g.) the labour protections that the EU is currently protecting, that this will be on the basis of the undemocratic FPP system currently in place. But...it will still be more democratic because at least the undemocratic system is a British one? I don't get the importance of the distinction.

You have it, more or less. The distinction is important because of legitimacy. Maybe that is the word I wanted all along.
posted by Emma May Smith at 3:51 PM on April 18, 2016


That depends on whether you think violating human rights (in this case the stated aim of not having to comply with the European Charter of Human Rights by way of Brexit) can be legitimate if enough people want it. Tyranny of the majority and all that.
posted by ersatz at 10:33 AM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]




"free from EU regulation which costs us billions of pounds a year".

Yup, we know precisely the kind of pesky regulation he's talking about.
posted by howfar at 12:29 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


the idea Britain outside the EU would "instantly become some sort of hermit kingdom" was a "fantasy" and treated voters "like mere children, capable of being frightened into obedience by conjuring up new bogeymen every night".
Said a man whose campaign released a list of murderers and rapists with which to scare the UK populace into obedience.
posted by howfar at 12:33 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


There really is a dark hilarity to the debate. As Charles Stross said, there's the anti-Scots-independence crowd horrified to see the same arguments used against British independence. There's the Leave Tories shocked whining about the opposition resorting to scare stories. And the Remain Left explaining that we can never, never take an action that would upset the markets and Create Uncertainty. It seems like everyone in the debate is being forced to argue 180 degrees from their usual position.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:41 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


And, of course, Lexiters who have seemingly no interest in the fate of millions of workers.
posted by howfar at 2:05 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, the campaign director of the Leave campaign gives a remarkable performance under questioning by the Treasury select committee (a standing quasi-judicial panel of MPs whose job it is to establish facts on matters pertaining to Parliament).

I had to read it twice and still didn't quite believe it, but apparently it's an accurate sketch. Someone has been huffing the Trump gas a bit too enthusiastically.
posted by Devonian at 10:12 AM on April 21, 2016


Backlash after idiot Obama sticks his nose into our EU referendum.

What a complete cock, who the fuck does he think he is to tell other countries how to run their affairs? Oh wait, America interefering in other countries sovereignity is standard practice. (Same link, one for the US, one for the UK.) They have had 60 odd years of practice. When he is in an AU and Peru and Mexico decide US policy we'll take fucking notice; until then, fuck you, Obama.

Honestly, I have lost any respect I may have had for him, although there wasn't much what with his pushing of TTiP.
posted by marienbad at 8:21 AM on April 23, 2016


His job is to represent and serve the interests of his country, which clearly are best served by the UK staying in. And even if he is morally wrong to do so, what is really angering you and Boris is that it's yet another nail in the coffin for the fantasy that things will magically be OK for us if we leave, when an overwhelming majority of indicators point to the fact that we'd be fucking our economy every which way from Tuesday. It's your right to vote leave, but it seems best to do it in the knowledge that you're going to hurt a lot of people, particularly the poor, if your vote leads to Brexit.

Also, the US has an economy about 6 or 7 times larger than ours, a population 5 times ours and a land mass 40 times ours. And is in a completely different historical and geographical position. The idea that saying "well *they* wouldn't do it" is any kind of argument is transparently silly. I wish people would stop making it.
posted by howfar at 8:39 AM on April 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


What a complete cock, who the fuck does he think he is to tell other countries how to run their affairs?

Yeah! The US should adopt the kind of meek and nonintrusive foreign policy the UK has always had!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:49 AM on April 23, 2016 [11 favorites]


Honestly, I have lost any respect I may have had for him, although there wasn't much what with his pushing of TTiP.

But come on, he is only spelling out what has always been the US position, since the 1950 at least! What did anyone expect?

And it is true he is doing so after the Brexit camp has been pushing the angle that leaving the EU would result in stronger direct Anglo-American relations and a stronger focus on the anglosphere and all that.

Attack the content of the statement by all means, but not the very fact he had the nerve, as President, to make a statement... about international relations with partner countries! What he said is subject to all sorts of criticism by all means, but that he said it, that IS part of his job.

(Unlike, say, supposedly independent media disingenously sneaking in political clichés and propaganda and scaremongering in a supposedly impartial analysis of the issue)
posted by bitteschoen at 12:10 PM on April 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Regarding the TTiP. There are already numerous agreements governing trade between the EU and the US. Many of these agreements are overdue for an update because the economies of the participants have changed substantially since they were negotiated. Most of the people blasting the new agreement (which won't be finished until 2020), appear to be either ignoring or ignorant of the status quo. Of course Obama endorsed work on the TTiP during his administration. He appointed the negotiators. He doesn't have a real choice about negotiating the agreement. There is a growing need for an updated EU-US trade agreement eventually. We are two of the largest economic blocks in the world and we have lots of interdependencies. We have to maintain and update these agreements to keep up with the changing world. It seems ridiculous to castigate Obama for doing his job.
posted by humanfont at 8:13 PM on April 23, 2016


. What a complete cock, who the fuck does he think he is to tell other countries how to run their affairs?

Lol were you being deliberately hypocritical here to comment on how he should do his job, or was that accidentally hilarious?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:17 PM on April 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


humanfont: no, sorry, hang on a minute there, let’s keep separate things separate, ok?

Obama as President doing his job and endorsing the TTiP on the one hand, and on the other the specifics of what is being negotiated for the TTiP and how it is being negotiated and the fact there are people blasting it and why they are blasting it and what are the reasons for concern - those are two entirely separate matters.

That he would bring it up as An Unequivocally Good Thing in a speech about American-European relations and the place of the UK in all that grand project and why the US wants the UK to stay in the EU, that is all obvious and predictable and part of his role in representing the US official position.

But surely that alone is no basis to dismiss the people blasting it as ignorant, or to imply their criticism has no merit, right? that’s a trick you cannot play, not in a democratic system.

To put it another way, I sure don’t expect Obama as head of state to mention in his speech that the TTiP is hugely controversial and is opposed by politicians and parties inside the European Parliament and that there have been demonstrations against it all over with tens of thousands of people - most notably in Germany, but in other countries too over the last year at least.

But the Vox article that started this thread? It mentions the TTiP with the language of a marketing brochure, without even the tiniest acknowledgement of any of that controversy and demonstrations and political opposition. That is pravda-style reporting, it’s shameful, it’s dishonest, it’s one level lower than even today’s Russian state media.

The specific merits of criticism and opposition against the TTiP are for another separate discussion - but at least acknowledging the opposition, that’s the bare minimum I expect from any media, and from any honest mention of the issue that is not coming from the mouth of the head of state of the country pushing for that deal.
posted by bitteschoen at 3:17 AM on April 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


The specific merits of criticism and opposition against the TTiP are for another separate discussion - but at least acknowledging the opposition, that’s the bare minimum I expect from any media

You're looking at a UK where major news organisations regularly ignore large-scale anti-government protests, to mention just their most appallingly obvious failure. Your expectations are not in line with the current media landscape here
posted by Dysk at 3:25 AM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


TTiP would be a disaster for everyone. ISDSs need to be gutted.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:51 AM on April 24, 2016


No but really it’s ridiculous. At least 30,000 people protesting the TTIP in Hannover yesterday, and before that, the biggest protest was in Berlin last October, at least 150,000 people, there were reports and photos all over the place.

Now, for a laugh, put "TTIP" in the search box on vox.com and see what you come up with. Fancy card stack explainers, "why is Elizabeth Warren so upset about it", "Why Elizabeth Warren is declaring war on an obscure trade policy", "Hillary Clinton's real theory of change can work", "The Trans-Pacific Partnership is one of the only topics on which Obama and the GOP agreed last night", and "Whatever you think of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obama should get his fast-track authority" and, ooooh: "Sanders wants to reverse decades of US trade liberalization"

And then they have the nerve to rant about "smug liberalism" hahaha
posted by bitteschoen at 7:22 AM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wait... is it 1984 again?
posted by infini at 5:41 AM on April 25, 2016


Wait... is it 1984 again?

Depends. When did Moore write "V for Vendetta" again?
posted by happyroach at 9:53 AM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


it sounds like you're trying to deal with the cognitive dissonance raised by your awareness that you're arguing for something that will probably hurt lots of poor people, by creating a narrative in which it is the result of someone else's irrationality.

what is really angering you and Boris is that it's yet another nail in the coffin for the fantasy that things will magically be OK for us if we leave,

Okay, so that's twice now you have decided what I think for me. Please do not presume to speak for me, I able to do that myself, and what I wrote is what I meant. There is no cognitive dissonance, nor am I angered by what you are telling people I am angered by. I am angered by his sticking his fucking nose into something that isn't his business. You Stay in people are all shitting it because you know the outcome is going to be people will vote to leave, and they can all see through all the propaganda and bullshit. When our corporate overlords say "we must stay in" we just laugh. (see below)

I'm sure David Cameron is a staunch Democrat and will be flying over shortly to endorse Hilary Clinton. Some should ask him which Presidential candidate he supports at his next press conference, that would be a laugh, watching him try to weasel his way out of answering it.

You are all so sure Brexit is going to make things worse. I mean, big business has spoken and they are pro-EU, and no doubt these corporations that pay millions of people minimum wage and/or have people on zero-hours contracts only have the peoples best interests at heart, care so much about us.

And arguing that TTiP is a good thing? Really? You support TTiP? There was an FPP all about it, and the general consensus was that this is a disaster for everyone except the ruling elite in the USA! So I am frankly stunned that you would push this as a good thing Obama has done.
posted by marienbad at 8:05 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I mean, it has come to something when the Graiuniad, the BBC and the Labour party are all on the same side as David Cameron, George Osbourne, and Theresa May. And all the people in this thread are too! Imagine that, you are siding with Cameron and Osbourne! Are you certain staying in is best for us? I mean, look at Osbourne and Cameron's treatment of the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the disabled, and the mentally ill. They are just full of care and compassion.
posted by marienbad at 8:10 PM on April 25, 2016


Ironic TTiP link of the day.
posted by marienbad at 8:12 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


The popular consensus on the TTP does not appear to be driven by facts or an understanding of the complexities of regulating trade between countries.

The TPP establishes environmental and labor protections for the first time within a fairly large trading block. But apparently you'd rather have the status quo, because that's working out so well. Suppose we abandoned NAFTA, the WTO and our numerous FTA deals. You still have trade. And there would be trade disputes over market access like we have now. Absent some transnational arbitration panel which many of you hate we would see nation states revert to the old system of just having wars to sort this shit out.
posted by humanfont at 8:42 PM on April 25, 2016


And arguing that TTiP is a good thing? Really? You support TTiP? There was an FPP all about it,

That thread's about the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It has nothing to do with the EU or the UK.

And all the people in this thread are too! Imagine that, you are siding with Cameron and Osbourne!

And Boris Johnson and Farage are on the exit side. So given that I don't like any of those people, am I unable to choose either side?
posted by Pink Frost at 9:07 PM on April 25, 2016


We're fine with environmental and labor regulations. If that's all the TPP or TTIP contained, then only corporations would be objective. I'd suggest we start enabling environmental regulations by revoking all existing ISDSs so that states can pass environmental regulations. I'd favor reversing all past settlements awarded to investors under existing ISDSs too.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:24 AM on April 26, 2016


Imagine that, you are siding with Cameron and Osbourne! Are you certain staying in is best for us? I mean, look at Osbourne and Cameron's treatment of the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the disabled, and the mentally ill. They are just full of care and compassion.

This is equally true of the Tory politicians on the Leave side.
posted by Dysk at 7:13 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


And hey, if it's a matter of caring about people, I don't for a moment think big business does, but anyone enthusiastic about a leave vote clearly doesn't give a shit about people like me.
posted by Dysk at 7:15 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd suggest we start enabling environmental regulations by revoking all existing ISDSs so that states can pass environmental regulations.
Part of the reason that the UK wants to leave the EU is to be able to ignore these burdensome EU regulations on things like labor and the environment. See also various coal producing regions in the USA wanting to be able o ignore federal air quality rules. Local states are not necessarily the best when it comes to passing and upholding environmental regulations. This is especially true to developing nations.
A quick survey of various international trade disputes and the environment brings up a couple of examples. Ethyl vs. Canada where Canada wanted to ban the import of MMT. However this wasn't overturned by an ISDS ruling, in face it was overturned by local Canadian courts because the government improperly drafted the regulation. The court encouraged the country to rewrite the regulation to comply with Canadian law, but they never did (probably because Stephen Harper won the next election and then proceeded to gut Environment Canada). Another recent example has been the controversy over a WTO ruling against Indian solar power subsidies. Largely ignored in the discussion has been the plight of US Solar panel manufacturers who were unfairly blocked form competing in the Indian solar energy market. India is paying more for Solar energy because they have blocked US imports in the name of trade protection. The consequence of this is the the US is allowed to impose a retaliatory tariff against India to offset the loss of trade.

I'd favor reversing all past settlements awarded to investors under existing ISDSs too.

There were 61 decisions acted on by the ISDS in 2016. Of those 9 were decided in favor of the investor. 8 were settled by the parties mutual agreement. 17 were decided in favor of the state. 4 were discontinued and the remaining are in various states of limbo. I don't see why you think the 9 that were decided in favor of the investors are so horrible. In fact it seems that they arise out of legitimate claims.

1- Awdi vs Romania -- Romania took possession of a hotel from Awdi. The ISDS ruled that this was unlawful and awarded damages of 7.7 million euros.
2- AWG vs Argentina -- AWG operates various water treatment plants in Argentina. As part of their investment, Argentina agreed to change tariff calculations. They didn't. Award is $21 million.
3- Khan Resources vs. Mongolia -- a rather ugly Uranium mining dispute involving some corrupt officials. Sadly while there were claims of environmental breaches by the company, these appear to have been fabricated so as to elicit bribes. Award is $80 million.
4- Mobil vs Canada -- Newfoundland attempted to impose new R&D expenditure requirements on Mobil. Mobil fought it. The ISDS award about 1/3 of the damages sought by Mobil. The case is now before Canadian courts. Tentative award is 17.3 million.
5- OIEG vs. Venezuela -- Hugo Chavez' regime nationalized two glass factories and then refused to pay the original investors. -- Amount awarded was US$374.4 million of the US $929.5 million sought by investors.
6- Oxus Gold vs. Uzbekistan -- it is alleged that local officials tried to steal a gold mine. Total award is $10.3 million of the 1.25 billion sought by the investors. -- not really a win
7- Quiborax v. Bolivia -- a presidential decree was issued that stripped a mining company of its rights. -- The case is on appeal. $44 million awarded.
7- Tidewater vs Venezuela -- Venezuela stole some boats from a company that had been providing support services for offshore oil drilling. $46 million awarded for the $234 million claimed.
8- Vivendi vs Argentina -- another example of the messed up wastewater industry in Argentina -- $383 million awarded vs. the $834 million claimed.

The total amount awarded to investors 2015 was less than $1 billion.
posted by humanfont at 3:24 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Photographer Wolfgang Tillmans (previously) has released a series of posters to make up for the "lame" official Remain campaign.
"Please feel free to share these posters, they work as print your own PDFs, or on social media, or in any other way you can think of. I consider them open-source, you can take my name tag off if more appropriate."
posted by progosk at 12:13 AM on April 30, 2016


You are all so sure Brexit is going to make things worse. I mean, big business has spoken and they are pro-EU

The overwhelming consensus in academia, business and government is that Brexit would cause national and regional economic damage in the long term. I'm not sure it would make things worse, but I think it's unreasonable to argue that it's not very, very likely to hurt lots of poor people simply though its economic effects, never mind the harm to millions of migrants whose interests you clearly have no interest in addressing.

You're entitled to your opinion. I just think your arguments for it are derived entirely from wishful thinking.
posted by howfar at 3:00 AM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Patrick Stewart has spoken.
posted by humanfont at 5:52 PM on April 30, 2016


Worth noting that the Stewart/Guardian sketch only directly relates to the ECHR, which it is obligatory for Council of Europe members to ratify, but which is not an EU institution. The position is complicated, because the Convention does have a degree of recognition and effect within European Union jurisprudence, but it is not, in itself, an EU institution. Leaving the EU would not free us from Convention obligations, but it would be a necessary precondition for leaving the Convention.

European law is messy, confusing and unsatisfying, but it has brought real benefits to a lot of real people. If Britain remains, as I fervently hope it will, I hope that all of us who are concerned about the state of European politics can learn to work together to campaign vigorously for deep systemic reform in all our institutions.
posted by howfar at 11:10 PM on April 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


TTiP FPP - Greenpeace-Netherland leak

to campaign vigorously for deep systemic reform in all our institutions.

Hahahahahaha oh please, that sounds like the naievity of a child. There was an enquiry into EU corruption a few years ago (not sure exactly when, it was in Private Eye though) and that went exactly nowhere. Exactly how are you going to do anything about changing the EU?
posted by marienbad at 3:44 PM on May 4, 2016


There was an enquiry into EU corruption a few years ago (not sure exactly when, it was in Private Eye though) and that went exactly nowhere.

Meanwhile, parliament. But it's the EU that's corrupt, not the British politicians who coincidentally seem to keep privatising things into the hands of companies they own and charging for access to the prime minister and fiddling expenses and....
posted by Dysk at 1:30 AM on May 5, 2016


Hahahahahaha oh please, that sounds like the naievity of a child

And your argument for that is that "an enquiry" that you cannot name, date or describe, but which you vaguely remember reading about in Private Eye, didn't address one aspect of the difficulties with EU institutions? OK. I'm not sure you're going to have much success with that argument, if I'm honest.

Exactly how are you going to do anything about changing the EU?

Personally? By voting to remain in the EU and voting and campaigning for a party likely to negotiate reform. I don't know if you imagine me to have some greater responsibility than that.

I would also note that the idea that the major EU problem is corruption is one which you introduced. I'm not sure why you'd think my views on the ECJ and ECHR were related to corruption. The issues are actually more deep-seated and complex than "beastly and/or bonkers Brussels bureaucrats".

As an example of change I'd like to see, I would like the Parliament to have legislative initiative, which would be a significant but largely evolutionary step towards direct democracy in the EU. I would like to see the Parliament directly tasked with reporting on the activities of the Commission and Council. Again, this would increase accountability without revolutionary change. I would like to see radical reform of the CAP, in particular those aspects of it that function in a protectionist manner to safeguard the interests of wealthy states against poorer states. These ambitions may seem childishly naïve to you, I incline toward thinking them sensible and achievable medium term goals. You are aware that I regard the Lexit strategy as being "get out and hope for the best", and I've yet to read anything in this thread that convinces me that my hopes for reform are more optimistic than that approach.
posted by howfar at 12:18 PM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


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