Mudcat Café message #3794653 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #160019   Message #3794653
Posted By: Richard Bridge
09-Jun-16 - 06:27 PM
Thread Name: BS: To Br/Exit Or Not To Br/Exit
Subject: RE: BS: To Br/Exit Or Not To Br/Exit
And with apologies for the long cut and paste, here is a view from Tobias Kliem, a law lecturer I used to work with, who is German and has worked here for many years: -

"The Remain campaign so far has been an even bigger disappointment than the Leave campaign. So, in a sleepless moment of arguing over the internet I put some reasons for staying in the EU together. Feel free to copy / share / modify / disregard as evil Brussels propaganda.

1. Peace. Europe is the most violent continent on the planet. For many a century, we have been bashing each others' heads in over one stupid conflict after the other. Britain and France can't agree on dynastic questions? War. Austria, France, Sweden and a bunch of German states can't agree on a religion? War. Germany and France can't agree on the next king of Spain? War. An Austrian prince is shot in Serbia? War. Now, for the first time in history, we are looking back at 70 years of sometimes bitter political arguments without any of us ever reaching for a gun. Instead we have Parliamentary debates, heated discussions amongst governments and, in the very worst case, proceedings at the Court of Justice of the EU. Britain leaving the EU doesn't mean we start killing each other again tomorrow, but it means the very basis of this wonderful (albeit boring) stability is getting eroded. We have had periods of time in Europe where we believed the killing is over and a system of alliances not unlike NATO would protect that peace. Then the first world war happened.

2. Democracy. The EU can be improved, sure. I am quite critical of a lot of things in the EU, particularly about the influence and backroom deals of national governments, particularly of larger member states like Germany, France and the UK. National governments determine too much, and it would be good to give more powers to the European Parliament. But this would mean a more federal Union, and the last time I checked that's the last thing Brexiters want. And even the current system is very far from a being as undemocratic as Brexiters describe it, especially considering any alternatives. A non-EU UK will need to conclude many a trade agreement, which will almost certainly include EU like regulation of a large variety of things. UK consumers won't be too excited about genetically modified food from the US or carcigenic plastic from China, and these markets will have their own rules that could be problematic for the UK's business. All these rules will be negotiated behind closed doors by governments. And given the size of the respective markets, it is highly unlikely that the UK will have the upper hand in these negotiations. In the EU, these rules come from the Commission (which is appointed by 28 democratically elected governments and then approved and overseen by the democratically elected Parliament), the Council (the 28 democratically elected governments with a very strong UK voice) and the Parliament. No other international organisation that the Brexiters love so dearly - the WHO, NATO or whatever else they dream of - has anywhere near that standard of democracy.

3. Immigration. The UK gets a fantastic deal out of EU immigration. There is not a single statistic that doesn't show that immigrants don't contribute far more to the social system than they take out, and there is not a single statistic that doesn't show that immigrants don't steal, but create jobs. The NHS is one of the best examples - because of various reasons connected to the stupidity of running education like a private business, the UK does not have enough trained doctors and nurses. So instead of investing millions into decent medical schools, the UK gets these people for free. Spanish doctors, Romanian bankers or German University lecturers (cough) work their butts off and help contribute to this country. Plus, hundreds of thousands of English senior citizens get to enjoy warm temperatures living in the south of Spain.

4. Solidarity. After centuries of killing each other at the first possible opportunity, we now live in a Europe in which the taxes of German car industry workers are used to build bridges in Greece, and the taxes of Italian bankers are used to preserve nature reserves in Wales. I really struggle to understand why this is a bad thing. Sure, people tend to be egoistic, and right wing campaigners are on the rise everywhere in the world at the moment, but does that mean the UK should be on the forefront of this wave of ignorance and short-sightedness? No, it should be proud of its EU contributions. Helping to improve the infrastructure in Sicily is a far better long term use of UK tax money than buying another failed bank (and it really is a tiny, tiny part of the UK's budget). And the thought that any of these Brexiters would use the current EU contribution for protecting steel workers or helping the NHS should really have a look what Michael Gove, Chris Grayling, Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage think about the NHS.

5. Economic Stability. This seems to be the only point David and Gideon can make in the Remain camp, so I don't need to explore this too deeply. But to talk about "Project Fear" when people point out that turning ones back on a Union responsible for more than 50% of the UK's trade brings a few uncertainties is a strange position. The nose dive the Pound is making every time the Brexit camp gains another percentage point is a bit of an indication of the markets' opinion (not that I give much on those, but I'm not a market loving conservative as most Brexiters are).

6. Law. For any left leaning person, this is difficult to write. Hasn't the CJEU decided (in Laval and Viking) that Unions are not allowed to enforce better working conditions over foreign companies? Hasn't the CJEU decided (in Dano) that states are allowed to withhold benefits for what the UK press would describe as bad immigrants? Yes. But for the UK's almost completely market friendly traditions, EU Law has been a breath of fresh air. Women's right to equal treatment in the job? EU Law. Consumer Protection rights? EU Law. Environmental protection? EU Law. A large proportion of workers' rights? EU Law. Hell, the EU even managed to tell our mobile phone companies that maybe they can't charge insanely high and completely unjustified roaming charges any more within the EU, something UK politics would usually let the market deal with (see the mess you call a train system). In the UK, most of this is regarded as "red tape", but I believe that laws are necessary to protect the weak.

7. Influence. The UK is a strong player because of its friends and allies. And no, no normal person in the US has ever heard of the phrase "special relationship". And definitely not Donald Trump.

8. Pro Brexit Folks. The right wing press and significant parts of the leave campaign are playing with really dangerous stuff here. They are not only waking the sleeping dragon, they are feeding it with babies so it gets the taste of human flesh. The anti-immigrant headlines of the Daily Mail or the Daily Express, the "part-Kenyan" remarks of Boris Johnson and the constant hints at the inherent criminal minds of Romanians from UKIP are pretty shocking. From a personal perspective, I moved to the UK almost 10 years ago and was amazed at how open minded and wonderfully multicultural this country is. Now, after paying taxes for 9 years and not claiming a penny in benefits, I feel more and more as if I am not wanted and as if I have to justify my presence here. If the Brexiters win, this will get much, much worse. The campaign rides on the back of a pretty xenophobic vibe, and the people voting for this will demand harsh immigration laws. Anybody believing that leaving the EU will lead to a more open immigration policy towards the Commonwealth nations should read Goethe's Sorcerors Apprentice. Plus the right wingers will need a new scapegoat.

9. Diversity. Isn't it great to live together, to travel visa free, to have the chance to move to France or Hungary or Sweden or Portugal or Poland or whatever? Isn't it wonderful to learn different languages, to experience different cultures, to eat different foods, to hear different viewpoints? This openness used to be the strength of Britain. All of a sudden it is all about "defending Britishness". What a load of rubbish.

10. Peace. Not just in Europe, but in the whole world: A lot of people see what went on here, and if you ever go to International Law conferences like I do, you will hear Africans, Asians and even US Americans talk about the EU with dreamy eyes. With all its flaws, this is a project that broke the cycle of eternal wars and turned bitter enemies into long lasting allies whose only disputes are about milk prices and fishing quotas. Why, oh why, should we destroy that and show the world that ultimately we're also too egoistic to get along?"