back to article So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

Now that the election's over (result unknown as I write) it's possible to perform for a reader request: what would the economic effect of Britain leaving the European Union be? Given that I'm a known 'kipster I didn't want to do this pre-election: I'm here at El Reg despite my 'kipness, not because of it and thus wanted to …

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  1. Harry the Bastard

    as usual, a reasoned piece - though the bit where we somehow become richer is pure fantasy, nice theory but the world has changed, now we get screwed and squeezed, tha's reality even in the usa where these pesky eu rules have no power - but there's more to life than economics

    i do like not gettng messed around over travel, import/export, customs, and access to services in my travels, and do really rather enjoy meeting johnny foreigner wherever i encounter him be it bloomsbury or bruge, it'd sadden me to no longer be part of that, maybe enough to upsticks before an exit

    the uk does not have the greatest employment/human rights in europe, but judging by the venom heaped on the eu 'interference' in this area by various robber barons i have the distinct impression that exit would be followed by an even greater loss of protection for the average person

    i think it's also clear to any reasonable person that a big factor for many, not all, 'kippers is immigration, (and for some, not all by any means, that seems to boil down to simple racism), but what's the impact if we ban/deport immigrants? the average age in the uk is rising, surely we'll need people to keep things running, change our bedpans and wheel us about in our dotage

    the eu has major issues, but i'd rather see an *honest* and sustained go a fixing it, which the uk has never tried, than a sulky retreat into what i'm sure would be a poorer and nastier island

    1. Youngdog

      Re: Harry

      I am so pleased this was the first post to go up so it will be seen and not buried under a pile of replies. Every reason why I would rather stay in Europe is in there. Not such a Bastard after all!

      1. fredsmith999

        Re: Harry

        Missing an even bigger reason. How could we trade freely with Europe if our stuff doesn't meet their (safety) standards? We would still have to follow their standards even outside: that's what Switzerland, etc. do.

        Regardless of whether you realise the sense of coordinating these things so that each eu member doesn't need their own re-invented-wheel standards: its 99% of what the eu actually does: uk civil servants would be doing it otherwise but that would be stupid.

        1. Ilmarinen
          Stop

          Re: Harry

          Europe is not the EU & the EU is not the Common Market.

          People often get this wrong - in the case of Europhiles often I think to spread misinformation to prevent sensible debate about Brexit.

          Europe is a continent, with long history and mostly shared values. The UK landmass is part of that continent, pending a split in tectonic plates.

          The EU is (and always has been) a political construct and is about supranational government, with all the bureaucracy and regulation that big government loves. If we want to get back to being our own masters, a good way to start would to leave the EU. Fortunately, the EU constitution aka the Lisbon Treaty provides a mechanism for this under Article 50.

          The "Common Market" which Brits were sold last time we had a referendum is actually the EEA, of which the EU and EFTA are members. The sometimes quoted point about having to abide by rules and standards without having input to their generation is misleading because most standards are set outside of the EU - e.g. safety standards are ISO, the EN (and BS) versions are subsidiary.

          Leaving the EU, while remaining within the EEA (via the EFTA route) would leave us economically neutral while allowing us to start to regain sovereignty. For instance, we would be able to have our own national representation on international standards organisations, instead of having to rely on the EU to negotiate for us.

          What we are likely to get from the man in No 10 is a fake "renegotiation" plus huge FUD campaign followed by a referendum in which the Europhiles hope the population is fooled into agreeing. We need to inform ourselves better, whether we end up believing In or Out is best, let's make an informed choice and not just accept the propaganda (e.g. "leaving Europe").

          Several commentards below have mentioned Richard North's work, which I would recommend as informed and well thought out. I'd also point people to a speech by Owen Paterson last year "An optimistic vision of a post-EU United Kingdom". Worth a read.

          1. fredsmith999

            Re: Harry

            My point was that 'supranational' standards are good. Why aren't you against the iso?

            1. Ilmarinen

              Re: Harry

              @ fredsmith999

              Your point as I read it was that we would still have to "meet their (safety) standards" - meaning the EU's standards.

              I don't think that anyone (sensible) is against supranational standards. They promote free trade by preventing local barriers. They mean that e.g. you can buy a battery that fits your camera wherever you are in the world - AA size is international.

              The point is that it is not the EU that sets the standards, but the EU gets to interpose itself between the nation states which it governs and the various international bodies that set the standards.

              For example, despite its obvious direct interest, the UK does not get to sit at the negotiating table on the international committee that deals with Fish and Fisheries Products. The EU negotiates for us, as one of 28 member states. Norway by contrast, population 5 million, an EFTA member and in the "Common Market" with the EU, gets its own seat.

              Who is likely to get the better outcome when the standards are handed down?

          2. ThomH Silver badge

            Re: Harry

            Re: the population being "fooled" into agreeing; the latest YouGov polling shows 45% would vote to stay in the EH and only 35% would vote to exit, and this is with only UKIP having done any substantial campaigning on the topic. A Survation poll has results just the other way: 51% for exit, 49% against but found most to be generally ignorant on the EU.

            The UKIP fantasy that a majority wants exit doesn't seem to be evidenced by the polling; there's a lot of educating to do and shifts either way will probably be the result of that. Not of people who don't share your world view — or with mine — all being "fooled".

            UKIP is never going to get what it wants because Scotland is 2:1 in favour of the EU so the UK probably wouldn't survive an exit.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: Harry

              >>"A Survation poll"

              I'm not sure any polling company qualifies as reliable, but Survation bring a new low. I saw UKIP pamphlets backed up with Survation "figures" showing the huge numbers of people planning to vote for UKIP which turned out to be grossly exaggerated to how many actually turned out. Or if in some technical / wording sleight of hand that isn't what they were actually saying, it was certainly the impression that was deliberately created. I've also heard pretty bad things about their neutrality elsewhere.

              1. ThomH Silver badge

                Re: Harry @h4rm0ny

                I've no independent knowledge; is Survation believed to be ideologically biased or merely highly adaptable based on paymaster?

                Having reviewed my Survation source, it's actually heavily outdated. The story I found that linked to the poll was more recent than the YouGov figures but the poll itself is three years old. So I suggest it's not relevant on that factor alone.

                The YouGov poll I was thinking of is from February and besides the headline figures shows quite a bit of volatility. So I think it's far from a foregone conclusion but wanted to make the point that: it's far from a foregone conclusion.

                i.e. I think it's worth repeating that the idea that a majority of people definitely want out but that our national politicians are the obstacle has no compelling evidential basis.

                1. h4rm0ny

                  Re: Harry @h4rm0ny

                  >>"I've no independent knowledge; is Survation believed to be ideologically biased or merely highly adaptable based on paymaster?"

                  Well I have heard a couple of politicians (different parties) refer to Survation in much the same tones I would use to refer to Visual Basic so I'm partly drawing it from that. Note, this wasn't in an interview or public statement, it was just casual conversation. Politicians actually can be honest when the cameras aren't on them and they know their comments wont be used to attack them next week. It was just that "after hours" sort of chatting if you know what I mean. But the other aspect is their UKIP polling was definitely way off which I saw first-hand. And not in the way pretty much everyone's was off this election, but in a really suspiciously skewed way making it look like UKIP had chances of winning seats that they were never, ever going to come close to. I was suspicious when I saw it, but reserved judgement until after the results came in. It was, imo, definitely misrepresentative.

                  >>"i.e. I think it's worth repeating that the idea that a majority of people definitely want out but that our national politicians are the obstacle has no compelling evidential basis."

                  I get your point now. I may have misread your post. Yes, I don't know any compelling evidence that people would vote to leave in a referendum. However, something like this is notoriously hard to predict. It's actually harder to predict by polling, I have been told, than a General Election. And we saw how well that went. The Tories will do their best to stage manage any referendum and time it to get the result that they want as much as they are able. I am strongly against leaving, though on principle, I have to support there being a referendum, even though it would be nerve-wracking for me.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Harry

                I'm not sure any polling company qualifies as reliable, but Survation bring a new low.

                Wasn't Survation the company that admitted to having a poll which correctly predicted the election result, but didn't publish it because they couldn't believe it was right? If they filter their results via their own biases how can they claim any legitimacy?

            2. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: Harry

              UKIP is never going to get what it wants because Scotland is 2:1 in favour of the EU so the UK probably wouldn't survive an exit.

              Scotland is irrelevant to the debate. It's just a (very) noisy city.

              The UK hasn't survived the independence vote, its only the politicians that don't see it. Scotland stirred up so much ill will during the campaign that there's no going back; And that's before Sturgeons horrors begin their disruptive and devisive politicking at Westminster. The UK in anything like its current incarnation is already toast.

              So, the EU. I could vote either way.... In its current form it simply doesn't work well, but it could work better if reformed and significantly slimmed down.

              Free movement works great if English is your second language (most of Europe), less well if it's your only language (most of the UK). Free movement of criminals (including our homegrown ones) hasn't added value, so there's scope for considerable reform there. Free movement of goods..... not sure about that one yet. On one hand, cheaper stuff, on the other, it's cheaper because its effectively vat free (Amazon Sarl anyone?).

              State pensions... Britain has a full pension after 30 years residency, so economically it makes sense to accrue that then move abroad and contribute to another system. After 50 years working, you'd have pretty close to two full pensions. That seems silly - it'd be better integrated into an EU wide scheme.

              So yeah, EU... I could vote either way, and remain to be convinced. But Scotland... Scotland isn't even part of the debate - there's just too few Scots to matter. Sorry.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Harry

                @LucreLout

                "...move abroad and contribute to another system. After 50 years working, you'd have pretty close to two full pensions. "

                Or you could get yourself a Greek civil service final year pension at 50.

                Personally, when I started my first job I could not believe a mere 6% of my salary (my contribution) was supposed to deliver some high % of my final salary as a pension in 40 years. 30 years on I know it was bollocks - along with endowment mortgages.

          3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: Harry

            @ Ilmarinen

            You cannot be part of the EEA without subscribing to:

            1. Free movement of labour

            2. Most of EU environmental regulation and a lot of the economic ones.

            What Cameron and company wants is to restrict these which means _LEAVING_ the EEA period. The Swiss which already heading down that route as a result of a botched referendum and will learn the consequences the hard way next year. One of the reasons why Eu will play hardball on that one is exactly that - Britain. We will all see exactly where happens as a result of restricting labour flow when this happens because Switherland currently has the same problems as UK and will get the same painful awakening which awaits UK in case of Brexit:

            1. Their health system is run on more than 50% Eu labour. It will collapse overnight if this is withdrawn

            2. Various services and non-banking parts of the economy similarly heavily use Eu labour.

            It is all nice to have half of the banks in the world producing GDP (thought they usually hide it instead) when you are in an operating theater and the Romanian anaesthesiologist, German surgeon and Italian head nurse are not there to attend to you. While we can live without Bulgarian and Romanians washing our cars, that particular bit is a bit difficult to live without.

            By the way - I am not being flippant here, when both of my kids were born, I did not notice any British natives at consultant level, there was on trainee doctor and some of the midwives. It was exactly the case of German surgeon, Romanian anaesthesiologist and Italian head nurse. So the observation that NHS is in the same boat (or worse) than the Swiss health service is a first hand one.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Harry

              You cannot be part of the EEA without subscribing to:

              1. Free movement of labour

              2. Most of EU environmental regulation and a lot of the economic ones.

              Which are the good bits, worth keeping

              What Cameron and company wants is to restrict these

              No, those are the bits that Farage wants to get rid of, Cameron & co are happy to keep them, they want to get rid of the political interference, which seems to be pretty much the majority UK view.

            2. Ilmarinen

              Re: Harry

              @ Voland's right hand (Silver badge!)

              1. Yes, free movement of labour within EEA is fine - and part of the deal. Also fine is that movement of non-labour (benefit tourism, etc.) is not free.

              2. Mostly it's *not* EU regulation. It's imposed via the EU but is actually made by and then handed down from international bodies above the EU. Banking regulation derives from the FSB (Google it), not the EU.

              No problem at all with European neighbours - I speak a bit in 6 EU languages, have LT Godson. Several colleagues and neighbours are from EU countries. But EU itself is a bad thing, of which we would better be out.

              BTW: have you read the Patterson speech, or Richard North's stuff? I would be good to know about what you are disagreeing with.

            3. PJI

              Re: Harry

              Quite. I live in lovely Switzerland. But those not blindly following the SVP and even some of those are distinctly nervous that we will lose some rather useful labour. Just who will staff hospitals, many pharmaceutical, bank and industrial departments? Who will serve us in our rather good restaurants, clean the lavatories and generally wipe our noses and bottoms? Worse still, we shall be back to being trapped on our little patch of Europe, where just as immigrants can not get in, we can not get out. I recall clearly some anguished conversations with, for instance, hotel management staff, lamenting in the pre-treaty days that they could not move to London or Paris to broaden their experience. I recall Swiss waiting in long queues at Heathrow and at Dover, being quizzed about their finances, their return tickets, how long they intended to stay. No fun at all.

              My mother, in England, has got a Polish dentist (West of England) and I noticed, last time I was there, a lot of EU citizens making sure services I use are there.

              As for the daft claims about immigration: recent figures I saw (not to hand) showed that about half are not from the EU but from Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Were they serious about immigration, that could be stopped over night. But of course, UKIP and eccentric Tories are not intelligent, clear-eyed or serious.

              Then should GB pull out, will the return of many of the 2 million expats really be welcomed, replacing youngish, educated workers with ageing, often retired and not so well off, miserable people?

              Then again, it is irritating enough for Brits not being in Schengen and so having to show passports when the rest of us do not. Imagine when they are really outside and are trapped on their overcrowded, under-paid little islands. Why would anyone vote to surrender the freedom to live and work anywhere in the the vast area of Europe? Life is about more than business, trade or xenophobia. Business is here to serve us, not the other way around, just as governments and countries are. If we become subservient to them, democracy is dead.

            4. Jess

              Re: Cameron ... _LEAVING_ the EEA period.

              Cameron does not want this (at least publicly). He wants a rearrangement of the structure, and a referendum, to 1. apply pressure for restructure 2. Placate the kippers and 3. Settle the matter.

              The Green Party policy is similar (but for different reasons).

              The Tories basically don't want the EU protecting the little people from their rich mates. Whereas the greens favour decentralisation, (but like the freedom of movement) however, I think we should sort our own democracy out before we start whinging about the EU. (At least EU votes actually elect people).

              What no-one addresses is if the freedom of movement is lost, what happens to all the Brits using it to retire in the warm? I'm sure they won't actually simply be chucked out, but I suspect there would be progressively more expensive annual visas, plus requirements for fluency in the local language. Meaning most will come home in poverty (since their houses won't be worth much). I guess they could move in to the homes vacated by the Euro workers currently here. Who would actually do the work to replace them though, and where would they live?

            5. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Harry

              @Voland

              "... I did not notice any British natives at consultant level, there was on trainee doctor and some of the midwives. It was exactly the case of German surgeon, Romanian anaesthesiologist and Italian head nurse. So the observation that NHS is in the same boat (or worse) than the Swiss health service is a first hand one."...

              1. Yes but non-free flow of EU people will not (hopefully) stop skilled labour from being employed. They will just have to get work visas.

              2. The fact that there are so many foreign people in the NHS is a symptom of lack of investment in training local doctors and nurses - there are always more suitably qualified applicants than there are places for medical students in the UK.

              3. Supposedly it costs UKP250k & years to train a doctor. If we outsource this to Poland, Romainia, India or wherever, are we not leaving these other countries in short supply of staff?

              I don't really have an answer but if everyone that wants to come to the UK, were able to, the locals would be outnumbered...

            6. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Harry

              Indeed. There is more than meets the (casual) eye in this, but bottom line is that if Cameron wants to renegotiate terms to restrict immigration he will not succeed as freedom of movement is a basic principle of the EU and there is simply no way Member States will reopen this issue.

              So if Cameron makes this an absolute must, then the EU will simply say bye bye UK.

          4. Positive Luddite

            EEA is All taxation, No representation. Please don't!

            "Leaving the EU, while remaining within the EEA (via the EFTA route) would leave us economically neutral while allowing us to start to regain sovereignty."

            Norway is part of the EEA, not the EU. We are small. Our representation in the EU would have been minimal. Our chances as an "independent" economic nation outside EEA would be miniscule except for oil, gas, and fish.

            UK has an influence inside EU. (At least when you are willing to play the game). We pay a LOT for our EEA membership. You would have to as well. So the main points of the article stands: If you believe in free trade, you may accomplish as much outside as inside the EU.

            But politically, you are not an empire. You would not feel "sovereign" — just left out. And you would have to play a different game in the world market while STILL playing by EU rules if you wish to be part of the EEA.

            EEA is a solution for small nations which should not be part of the Euro, for example. (Greece, anyone?) But for the UK, look to Norway: High membership fee; No representation; Play by EU-rules anyway.

    2. 9Rune5

      "the average age in the uk is rising, surely we'll need people to keep things running, change our bedpans and wheel us about in our dotage"

      I hear the same argument in Norway, but I fail to see the wisdom. "And then what?" is a question that springs to mind. You increase the population by immigration, and then... Ok, you have a bigger population, now who is going to keep things running, change bedpans, and so forth, for the next generation? You have not solved the problem, only postponed it (while increasing its size).

      I am not familiar with the situation in the UK, but in Norway we have long since passed the point where we can sustain ourselves. Our food industry is now a drop in the ocean and we are dependent on importing food in order to survive. Does it really make sense to move more people here and be even more reliant on shipping food from countries far away?

      Meanwhile the average older person is more capable than the previous generation of old folks. They are able to take care of themselves longer and there is more technology available to us to aid us in our golden years. The need for fresh immigrants to wipe our butts is just not there. (and we certainly have no need for illiterate immigrants – all jobs here require people with a certain level of education anything else provides our social systems with a huge burden that just won't pay off at any point)

      I don't actually mind a more open immigration policy, but I strongly believe it cannot co-exist with a liberal and generous social security system. It is one or the other, but not both. (and fwiw: I will happily sacrifice our liberal social security system)

      1. h4rm0ny

        >>"I hear the same argument in Norway, but I fail to see the wisdom. "And then what?" is a question that springs to mind. You increase the population by immigration, and then... Ok, you have a bigger population, now who is going to keep things running, change bedpans, and so forth, for the next generation? You have not solved the problem, only postponed it (while increasing its size)."

        Life is always a game of staying just ahead of the axe. Are you suggesting we don't deal with this generation's problems because the solution doesn't also deal with the next generations? Who knows what the answer is - maybe one more generation covered will buy us a bit more time to create robot servants and exosuits or improve health after forty for much longer. Who knows.

        >>"I am not familiar with the situation in the UK, but in Norway we have long since passed the point where we can sustain ourselves. Our food industry is now a drop in the ocean and we are dependent on importing food in order to survive"

        Norway has a very low population density. It could easily sustain itself in terms of food if it wishes. The reason it doesn't is because it has a highly educated population and is very modern due to fortuitous oil reserves and therefore it makes far more sense to simply buy in food from abroad. That's what trade is for - so that you can focus on producing the Opera web-browser or whatever it is you do over there, and via the wonder of modern money, exchange high-value exports for cheap imported food and have enough left over for one of the highest standards of living in the world. Do NOT make out that your importing of food is some sort of dire constraint that puts you on a knife edge. You import food for the same reason I buy it at the supermarket rather than grow my own. And if immigration adds to your country's GDP (which it has done by filling jobs the educated and affluent Norwegians done want to do), then that just gives you more money to import more food.

        >>"and fwiw: I will happily sacrifice our liberal social security system"

        I'm going to take a wild guess here and say that you personally don't need social security. So perhaps you should pick a word other than "sacrifice".

        1. joeldillon

          Norway has a low population density because most of it is uninhabited mountains up in the Arctic Circle. It doesn't exactly have a lot of prime farmland!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Life is always a game of staying just ahead of the axe. Are you suggesting we don't deal with this generation's problems because the solution doesn't also deal with the next generations?

          Quite, but I think the poster's point was that importation of yet more people is not a real answer at all. The solution (even temporary) to debt is never more debt.

      2. NerryTutkins

        The reasoning is that the UK faces a demographic timebomb through an ageing population.

        Immigration allows the UK to increase the working population immediately, without waiting 16+ years and having the cost to educate and provide healthcare to children, all the while they are economically not productive.

        Of course it does not solve the problem unless the long term balance is being addressed by raising the retirement age. That should have started decades ago, but the baby boomers didn't like the idea of working until 70. But it is starting now. Eventually the retirement age will rise to the point where you have a stable population, with few enough retirees that the working population can support them. The general shift in work from manual, physical work to desk and service jobs, plus improvements in health care should mean many people are perfectly able to work until 70 or beyond. Remember that the retirement age of 65 for men was set at a time when life expectancy was less than that. These days, the average person will spend 20 odd years retired.

        Immigration is not the solution, but it is a part of the the solution, in combination with raising the retirement age.

    3. streaky Silver badge

      what's the impact if we ban/deport immigrants

      Very few people are suggesting that immigration stops. The key here is rather than having to support low-hanging-fruit (and it does exist) we can import more stuff from the top of the tree. Immigration might be the same as it is now, but you'd hope to go out and attract more talent.

      Not for nothing the idea that all sorts of generic movement/trade barriers would go up is absurd - at the same time we can do things like go for easier to negotiate free trade agreements with the US/China et al that are less comprehensive and not have the trade barriers to - for example - buying cheap solar panels from China instead of having to overpay for them from Germany.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Do the same as any other country. Enact immigration rules for roles. Whilst Switzerland relies of foreign labour, foreign labourers rely on Switzerland. Do you think a sudden exodus of labourers and a dearth of jobs will be fixed overnight? Of course not, a policy will be put in place and business will resume as normal.

        But immigration will be hosted controlled rather than mandated.

    4. Paul Hampson 1

      Immigration cuts both ways

      There's also the little fact that immigration cuts both ways. When the UK closes its borders and sends all the immigrants home, what happens to the many 1000s of Brits working abroad?

      If these, on the whole, well-educated and internationally experience workers, comfortable retirees have to relocate back to blighty it might be shock to find that the increased pressure in the middle of the jobs market means that those who couldn't compete for jobs with foreign workers (who didn't speak the language and did not have the advantage of a western European education) still can't compete. Plus there same will happen with the housing market.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Immigration cuts both ways

        @ Paul Hampson 1

        "There's also the little fact that immigration cuts both ways. When the UK closes its borders and sends all the immigrants home, what happens to the many 1000s of Brits working abroad?"

        I am amused at the assumption that if the UK escapes the EU that all foreigners will be frogmarched to the shore and pushed off (hopefully onto a boat). Will we also start eating babies and join ISIL? It is more amusing to hear the idea of closing our borders, while it would be potentially opening them up (outside of the white supremacists of Europe if we are exaggerating).

        "If these, on the whole, well-educated and internationally experience workers, comfortable retirees have to relocate back to blighty it might be shock to find that the increased pressure in the middle of the jobs market means that those who couldn't compete for jobs with foreign workers (who didn't speak the language and did not have the advantage of a western European education) still can't compete. Plus there same will happen with the housing market."

        Wait wait wait. Are you claiming there will be more competition because instead of low skilled import we will suddenly import skills? You assume retirees will be kicked out and forced back here (with their retirement pot) I assume because you think the EU countries are evil scumbags who would do that but also the pensioners are too stupid to go to a friendly country? And in your crazy scenario of course the maths issue of massively ramped up immigration (without infrastructure to support it) vs throwing them out to get back the smaller number of brits.

        The picture you paint is an evil and unfriendly EU, stupid brit pensioners, intelligent brit workers you dont want back and immigrants who cant speak the language and have a huge disadvantage but somehow get the job anyway (pay?). YOUR RIGHT! Lets get out of this evil EU while we still can.

  2. slightly-pedantic

    impact of uncertainty

    Whilst in the EU everyone can know with some confidence that the 'bad' things we can do are more limited, particularly with regard to trading with the EU. Anyone choosing where to base their operations then has a choice between a known status inside the EU and one that could take a radical and unexpected stance in an independent uk. Pity the poor middle manager of global co. who suggests they are based in an independent uk ahead of Eire.

    1. ZeroSum

      Re: impact of uncertainty

      Call it Ireland please.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: impact of uncertainty

      What is it with the 'Éire' usage? Do you call Spain 'España'. Best stick to the english unless you are either a native speaker writing in irish or making a point about nation names in 'native' languages.

      (It's bad enough having to lisiten to SF in Ireland occassionally try to speak it (with 'agus' blah blah 'agus' blah 'agus' blah 'agus') they're not doing the language any favours)

      1. Mike Banahan

        Ireland / Éire

        And if you do still choose to use the Irish name Éire for pity's sake use the síneadh fada (the accent above the É). With the fada the word means Ireland, without, it means 'burden' and that's a particular cause of agrravation that takes us far off topic.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Ireland / Éire

          Fisheries would blossom without the EU quots.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Ireland / Éire

            >>"Fisheries would blossom without the EU quots"

            Well yes, they would. For about a year. After which catastrophic collapse from over-fishing.

            1. Why Not?

              Re: Ireland / Éire

              wouldn't we throw the French & Spanish out of our waters? UK fishermen actually record their catches.

              The problem with the EU is it has lots of rules and only the UK seems to obey them.

              A points based Visa waiver system would be fine allowing us to steal pre trained Doctors & nurses whist keeping out European Criminals that seem to like it here (we could keep our native ones to save embarrassment).

              Such a system would slow the dragging down of wages that is happening because accession nation nationals are willing to earn much less, not because they are special , I'm pretty sure if someone paid you the equivalent of £125k to clean tables you would be very willing.

              As mentioned above we are just stacking up problems for the future having bottled it as far as reducing pension demand by raising the retirement age, old age provision etc something we could have done back in the 70s when we first realised the population was changing.

              The argument seems to be if we vote to leave a club that we pay significant membersip fees and buy lots of goods from they will stop selling things to us or buying things from us to spite us. If we try to change the rules then we will be sorry

      2. Uffish

        Re: Eire

        I call it Eire (using the English spelling and pronunciation) and/or Southern Ireland because that was what was marked on the maps when I was at school. The island is called Ireland and has two 'countries' Eire (or Southern Ireland) and Northern Ireland. (FWIW I look forward to there being only 'Ireland' but, at present at least, that is not possible).

        1. mike2R

          Re: Eire

          Sounds like a very old map, was a quarter of the world shaded pink on it as well?

          The state is called 'Ireland' in English. I don't see any benefit in continuing a 1930s era refusal to use that name on the part of the UK government. There's been a lot of water under that particular bridge since then, and it has implications of denying the legitimacy of the Irish state that I doubt you mean to make, given your comment about looking forward to a united Ireland.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Eire

            But the island of ireland which the state of Ireland inhabits is also called ireland which can be a bit confusing.

    3. ZanzibarRastapopulous Silver badge

      Re: impact of uncertainty

      Does the world actually work like that though? We have two major banks (Standard Chartered and HSBC) who's fundamental business is in China yet they are based in London, Boots is based in Switzerland (outside the EU of course) and Ford recently moved it's transit production from the UK to Turkey and of course there are all those tax dodging firms based in the channel islands.

      The argument that businesses would prefer some EU location to the UK because of the EU presumes that the EU would have some kind of substantial trade barrier with the UK, but they don't with Switzerland or Norway and Turkey doesn't get rough treatment either.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: impact of uncertainty

        The companies would move to the Eu, ie move their HQ to a brass plaque in Ireland or Luxemburg.

        But the workers of banks and software companies would stay - after all they speak English and the wives of visiting US VPs need to visit Harrods - and employment law would become more US friendly.

        Manufacturing where you need to ship real stuff to europe would be fscked. Even if you do manage to lower workers pay and conditions in the UK to compete with Ukraine and the Eu don't stick 100% duty on everything and don't demand that your salesman and lorry driver get a visa for each visit. It isn't going to make sense for a Japanese car company to build cars for the Eu, outside the Eu, at UK wages when they can make them outside the Eu in Mexico.

        1. PhilBuk

          Re: impact of uncertainty

          The majority of trade between the UK and the rest of the EU is inwards to the UK. Europe would be shooting itself in the foot by erecting trade barriers against itself. In short, the Germans would lose sales and that is not on!

          Phil.

          1. Burb

            Re: impact of uncertainty

            "The majority of trade between the UK and the rest of the EU is inwards to the UK. Europe would be shooting itself in the foot by erecting trade barriers against itself. In short, the Germans would lose sales and that is not on!"

            You are right about the balance of trade being more inward than outward but our outward trade is nevertheless substantial and we won't improve the situation by cutting it off. The EU is the biggest trading bloc in the world and it's on our doorstep so I'm not sure what is supposed to take up the slack. Europe will be pretty pissed off if we leave the EU so I can't see them being too sympathetic about negotiating favourable trading arrangements for a while. We would not be in a very strong position; we still need to import stuff and, if we choose not to import it from Europe, we are at least going to have to deal with much higher shipping costs.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The thought of an unbridled government that does what ever it wants frightens me. With nobody to knock them back we'll have all human rights stripped away from us in record time. They already have the snooper's charter for the police moving nicely forward, If I could I would leave the UK before the stormtroopers land.

    1. Tim Worstal

      Human rights aren't EU

      The Human Rights Act, the European Court of Human Rights, this is nothing to do with the EU. Or at best, something only partially. They actually come from the Council of Europe (which is not the same thing as the European Council).

      You must be in the Council of Europe to be in the EU but everyone in Europe other than Belarus is in the Council of Europe. That's why there are judges from Russia, Azeribaijan and so on who rule at the ECHR on your human rights in Blighty.

      Leaving the EU doesn't change those rights one iota.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Human rights aren't EU

        >>"The Human Rights Act, the European Court of Human Rights, this is nothing to do with the EU. Or at best, something only partially. They actually come from the Council of Europe (which is not the same thing as the European Council)."

        This is sophistry. They are intimately tied together and either you have a very superficial understanding of this or you are deliberately misdirecting.

        The European Council and the European Union are separate bodies, which is as you have stated. But the EU court (part of the EU) is expected to accede to the Convention on Human Rights (what we're talking about) and the Treaty of Lisbon includes binding by the European Council's court. They are meant to work together and this is explicit in the treaty. Signing the European Convention on Human Rights is now a condition of membership to the EU, even though they are separate bodies. One can sign up to the act without being a member of the EU, but the reverse is not the case anymore and has not been for some time.

        All of the above is verifiable fact and your attempting to portray them as distinct is dishonest. They are not the same thing, but they are tied together very closely. And UKIP (your party) has a stated goal of withdrawing from the Convention on Human Rights as well. You're posting things that are factually true but grossly misleading and stripped of context. Which is an increasing occurrence with you.

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: Human rights aren't EU

          >This is sophistry.

          Does Timmy ever offer anything else? This is the man who believes economists keep governments honest, because economists never say stupid things.

          Anyway - as a digital trader, I'm thrilled by the idea of having to deal with a whole new set of tariffs and exclusions just to be able to sell stuff to a country less than twenty five miles away.

          Of course someone like Tim who specialises in buying and selling stuff that has be handled carefully to stop it poisoning people isn't going to be too happy about all those terrible safety requirements.

          But what about those of us who already sell to clients in Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, and the rest? Suddenly the shutters come down and we find that - against all reasonable expectation - the UK market on its own is a poor substitute, and the US market has miles of red tape to keep foreign nationals from setting up there. (Delaware LLC? Easy. US bank account? Ha ha ha forget it.)

          And then there are the implications for roaming charges. VPNs. The extra paperwork needed to ship physical stuff. Visa problems with travel. And so on.

          It's strange that someone like Tim, who's such a fan of markets (he says) would be so hostile to the benefits of a huge market on the doorstep.

          Anyway, I doubt it will be happen - not just because it would be incredibly stupid and financially suicidal (never been a problem for Tory economics, that) but because a lot of Tory grandees make a ton of free cash from Common Agricultural Policy handouts, and they're going to be really unhappy about losing those.

          1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

            Re: Human rights aren't EU

            I am an economist, and do say stupid things from time to time.

            For me, the Ukip is just another party blaming a minority for all the troubles. Not that diferent from NSM.

            Of course, most of the things UKIP says are at least partly true, but many are put out of context.

            As for the cost of being out of the EU.. it is not known. But not knowing IS A COST. Money is coward, and if you have to choose between places, not knowing is something that would be on the "cons" side.

            As for trade restrictions, at the beginning there would be none. But then someone would point out, for example, that tomatoes from Spain receive money from the EU, so it might be fair for the UK to put Duty on that product. And lettuce, etc etc.

            The EU might decide to put duty on car parts manufactured in UK, or a transaction fee on uk banks, and so in a few years the UK can't really export without problems to the EU. Both the EU and the UK would suffer.

            Also, the unfair London tax haven would not work anymore.

            I don't see a reason for this not to happen.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    Economist's predictions

    " Depending on the extent of trade policy isolation, the UK’s real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita would be between 0.6 and 3.0 percent lower in the year 2030 than if the country remained in the EU. "

    When was the last time that an economist's predictions for fifteen years in the future were correct?

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