26th February 2016

The thing that most surprised me this week was that in the aftermath of the ‘out’ campaign arguing that the ‘gains’ negotiated by David Cameron were irrelevant, Michael Gove spent 2 days spamming the media with his claim that these useless gains were not legally binding. In chess, I think this is called a fork. He has logically forked his own sides’ claims. One or the other must be wrong. Again, not a team player.

21st February 2016

Nicola Sturgeon says that she wants be a leading light in the ‘In’ campaign but an ‘Out’ vote would cause Scots (overwhelmingly ‘In’) to demand another Scottish Independence referendum. Both of these are predictable because Scottish independence seems to rely on EU support when the oil runs out. This appears to put Nigel Farage in a bit of a spot too, where he must choose between his obviously incompatible beliefs in UK independence and continuation of the Union.

Boris Johnson has declared himself to be joining the ‘Out’ camp because becoming Conservative Leader depends on him winning the support of the Right of his party. Colleagues say he has never previously expressed anti-European sentiments. Also Michael Gove, which gave me a big push in the opposite direction.

The ‘Out’ campaign has also been joined by George Galloway. Obviously there are actually two ‘Out’ campaigns because they don’t like sharing power.

I thought Alan Johnson made the first decent ‘In’ arguments today. Sadly he was on after the Prime Minister who continued to pretend that the things he’d agreed were what people cared about.

12th February 2016

The European Union: In or Out. Apparently, there is no other option; like there wasn’t for Scotland. Not having a vote until we’re better informaed seems a good option to me.

Like most people, I think, I’m fairly clueless about the EU. Unlike most people, it would appear, I like my opinions to be based on evidence. I’ve had some training and a lot of practical professional experience of trying to be logical while people are telling me nonsense. I’m started this page to critically assess the information politicians are feeding me, to encourage me to make an emotional decision to do whatever they want.

First, I’ll declare my prejudices: I don’t want to leave the EU. I don’t want to get any closer. I don’t like nationhood and the nonsense it brings. I’d like there to be a one-world co-operation for the good of humanity and survival of us all but fear the EU is a barrier to that, rather than a stepping-stone in the right direction.

I get why France and Germany want European unity. They are land-locked countries that have been at war over border disputes for thousands of years. The EU has given them a long period of domestic peace. We live on an island that hasn’t been invaded since 1066 and we still haven’t forgiven them or decided that they can stay. The Germans call us ‘the islanders’ with good reason. I like the French and Germans but think they are culturally very different, to us and each other. They are odd cousins, not my brothers an sisters. The Germans are obsessed about blindly following rules, the French despise all authority and consider rules negotiable. We dislike new rules because we expect to follow them, undermining them as we go. Our role is both as referee and common enemy, to bring them together. Stereotypes are real.

The first propaganda I received came from (not .eu ?) They provided 6 key ‘facts’ I need to know.

  1. Over 3 million UK jobs are linked to our trade with the EU – that’s 1 in every 10 UK jobs.
  2. Being in the EU means lower prices in our shops because it’s cheaper to trade and there is more choice – saving you on average £450 a year.
  3. While being in the EU costs each household less than a pound a day, independent experts estimate the benefits are worth £3,000 a year to the average house, due to lower prices and more jobs, trade and investment
  4. We are safer thanks to the European Arrest Warrant, which means we can arrest criminals across the EU – we would lose this if we left.
  5. 200,ooo UK businesses trade with the EU – helping them create jobs here in the UK
  6. The UK gets £66 million of investment every day from EU countries – creating even more jobs and opportunities for UK families.

Let us look at those:

  1. Then 9/10 jobs in the UK are not linked to the EU. Where are they linked? Why has about the much-vaunted ‘50% of our trade with the EU’ not resulted in more UK jobs? Is that because we buy more than we sell? Is that why we have a balance of trade deficit?
  2. Lower than what? Lower than if we were locked out of the EU like the rest of the world, keeping them in relative poverty or lower than if we traded with the rest of the world, sharing some of our wealth about and taking advantage of lower staff costs? There is more choice in the EU than in the EU AND the rest of the world together?
  3. Who are these experts, so we can assess their independence? See 1 & 2. Hasn’t most recent, new investment come from China because EU countries are broke?
  4. If we left EU there is no reason to break links with EU. We seem to do fine with the US.
  5. Yet apparently they don’t create many, see 1. I wonder how many jobs they export to get lower staff costs, but not as low as they could outside EU.
  6. Putting it another way, we are selling UK assets to other countries in the EU and sending their profits overseas, for short term gain.

I look forward to attacking the nonsense the other side tells me too. If anyone has any real information then please share it with the class.