The British Elections

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Dave Saxton
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The British Elections

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat May 09, 2015 1:51 pm

So what do you think?
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Re: The British Elections

Postby Byron Angel » Sun May 10, 2015 12:54 am

Too soon to tell. I've learned to ignore what politicians SAY and wait to see what they actually DO.

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Re: The British Elections

Postby northcape » Sun May 10, 2015 3:55 pm

Interesting and more challenging times for the European Union. As a supporter of the idea of a political union, I would not be surprised if very painful and fruitless re-negotiations between the continent and the UK on its role within the EU are awaiting us.
The impression here is, that the UK are spearheading a group of countries who want the economical benefit of the EU without contributing too much. That is of course fine, but on the long run I don't see how this can work. Simply for the reason, that an union can never be strong (in this case, in comparison to the US or China) when its individual members start cherrypicking. And the whole motivation of the EU is to be a strong, global player. Wasn't it Kissinger who said "he will start to believe in Europe when there is a phone number where he can call".
It is perfectly fine when the british people decide that they want to leave the EU at some point. I see the danger that Cameron will use this as a threat to gain more benefits from / less payment to the EU, and that the rest of the EU politicians will act accordingly.
One of the many major problems with the EU still is, that its political leaders are de-coupled from their people, and because of that the people don't really see what the benefits of a political union could be.

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Re: The British Elections

Postby RF » Sun May 10, 2015 5:07 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:So what do you think?


To put it midly, for myself the result is totally unsatisfactory.

I voted for the UK Independence Party, which received 12.6% of the total vote, the number of votes cast for it being some 3,880,000. Out of a parliament of 650 MP's UKIP will return just one.
That is at least better than zero, but I still call that taxation without representation.

And some of the other parties? Well in Northern Ireland Sinn Fein had four MP's elected for 178,000 votes. They won't of course be taking their seats in a British parliament.
In Scotland the Scottish National Party did poll 50% of the Scottish vote - but does that really deserve 56 MP's out of a Scottish total of 59? Note that the SNP polled 474,000 votes for its 56 MP's, just over one eighth of the UKIP vote for its sole MP.

The Conservatives are elected on just 36% of the total UK vote. At least the voting system has restored one party government but it is a government on a minority vote. Some commentators say we are in a similar situation to 1992; personally I would say 1987 may be a more appropriate allergy.

The ''fun'' will start after the end of the ''honeymoon'' when this government starts to get really unpopular. We shall see.
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Re: The British Elections

Postby RF » Sun May 10, 2015 5:20 pm

northcape wrote:.
The impression here is, that the UK are spearheading a group of countries who want the economical benefit of the EU without contributing too much.


Maybe that is the case, the fact is that the UK is a major net contributor to the EU budget.

Personally I think the UK needs to have an outward, global perspective, and that means looking beyond the EU, which acts as a protectionist bloc. That is why I believe the UK should leave the EU. I also believe that the future of Europe as a continent would be better if the European Union was scrapped.

As for Prime Minister Cameron, he is completely pro-EU even though he may publicly give a different impression. He aims to use any referendum on his watch as a vehicle for keeping Britain in the EU and to (he hopes) get rid of UKIP and those in the Conservative Party who do want out. For him it would a repeating of the trick performed in 1975 by the then Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, who used a referendum to get the result he wanted to settle the argument in what at the time was a very divided Labour Party.
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Re: The British Elections

Postby Byron Angel » Sun May 10, 2015 6:16 pm

Short memory, Northcape. The EEC (European Economic Community) ran just fine for 36 years as an efficient, effective cooperative economic common market. Suddenly in 1993, it became paramount in the minds of certain influential parties with certain important agendas that Europe desperately needed to be consolidated into a single political entity (the shiny new European Union) along with a stupendous increase in bureaucracy and budget.

Why?

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Re: The British Elections

Postby northcape » Sun May 10, 2015 9:33 pm

Well, after 1989 the worlds political situation drastically changed - so It is only natural that there is an reaction from countries and governments.
I don't agree about the budget. There is no EU budget, it is just the money of the constituting countries which basically is re-distributed (yes, the EU is a socialist vehicle as well!). One might argue that there is inefficient bureaucracy (but I think in many individual countries bureaucracy is much, much worse), although I don't see this is a major problem.

The idea of the political union has several reasons:

* After the crumbling of the Soviet empire, its satellite states were very eager to leave that part of their history behind and join the "western" way. More or less all of them wanted to make sure that they will never be again under the Russian umbrella, so they not only joined the NATO, but also wanted to integrate into Europe (which is a western Europe) as soon as possible. That goes beyond an economic community.

* The former ECC was happy about that new market, and also wanted to have strong ties. It ts quite likely that the big companies were happy about uniform regulations to facilitate trade, so it is possibly difficult to discriminate between the political union and the bureaucratic union. Both demand convergence.

* There still is the idealistic (not ideological) motif that, within a political union, the likelihood of war is significantly reduced. Europe with its 1000 years of violent history and smashing each others heads in has a good reason, in my opinion, to pursue a "peace project" called EU. Of course, without a running economy this thin layer of civilization is useless as well, but nonetheless it is one more firewall.

* Of course there is the wish to be a big player in the global game, and you can't do that without having a political union. Because if there is no unity in decisions, than it is very easy for other big players to divide Europe (as it is happening all the time) and as such, effectively weaken the political and economic status of the European realm.

I'm not a fanatic believer of the EU, but I'm pragmatic. Despite all its shortcomings, I think the EU - as a political union - is a rationally based and useful architecture for running the societies on the continent. Many things are going wrong, all the time, but such a project was never undertaken before. It is trial and error to find out the best way for convergence.
I also don't see the alternatives. As long as there are other big and dominant spheres of power (US, China, Russia, OPEC countries, upcoming Asian/Pacific realms), I think "everybody for himself" it would not be a good advice to the European countries and its people.

@RF:
Yes, this is a question of teh viewpoint. For us on the continent, Cameron is very much anti-EU, like Orban in Hungary. I guess for UKIP voters it is 180% around.
But I do have a question for you (not meant to be polemic!, but I really don't know and I'm interested): What is the economic/business model of the UK? Is it financial trading only, and services? From an economic point of view, what would change in UK if you leave the EU? Would you pursue bilateral contracts like Switzerland to facilitate trade with the continent?

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Re: The British Elections

Postby RF » Mon May 11, 2015 10:01 am

northcape wrote:I don't agree about the budget. There is no EU budget, it is just the money of the constituting countries which basically is re-distributed

There is indeed a budget for the EU Commission expenditure. Last year this budget was raised by 2.6% after initially proposing a 6% increase.

For us on the continent, Cameron is very much anti-EU, like Orban in Hungary.


That is the impression he gives - he is a pro-EU politician leading a broadly ''eurosceptic'' party, he has to sound hostile to the EU to keep his Conservative Party supporters on board.

Last year Cameron made a speech to the Confederation of British Industry setting out his approach - sounding ''eurosceptic'' but actually in favour of a ''reformed'' EU in which he would win a referendum on keeping Britain in. Merkel and Junckner are well aware of this strategy - Cameron will ''renegotiate'' the terms of membership, obtain entirely cosmetic concessions and present them as major changes upon which Britain should stay in.


I guess for UKIP voters it is 180% around.
But I do have a question for you (not meant to be polemic!, but I really don't know and I'm interested): What is the economic/business model of the UK? Is it financial trading only, and services? From an economic point of view, what would change in UK if you leave the EU? Would you pursue bilateral contracts like Switzerland to facilitate trade with the continent?


The economic/business model would be to operate as an independent trading nation, negotiating its own trade deals including with the EU. What would change? In the short term very little, over the longer term British trade with the rest of the world would increase while the EU would continue to stagnate. The crucial difference is regaining control of the UK borders and cutting out the EU membership fee.
Last edited by RF on Mon May 11, 2015 10:07 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The British Elections

Postby Dave Saxton » Mon May 11, 2015 1:37 pm

Although the UKIP only won one seat, it looks like it also emerged as a political force. In terms of actual votes cast the UKIP received more than the SNP and the LibDems combined. It finished 2nd in 110 constituencies. This voting power cannot be ignored in any future referendum. It looks like Cameron has a problem. On the other hand though, Cameron now can tact to the conservative side with out collapsing a fragile coalition if he only will. He has a mandate. Will he respond?

The LibDems were crushed in the south, and the Greens only held one constituency. Ed Davey is finished. All positives.
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Re: The British Elections

Postby RF » Mon May 11, 2015 5:35 pm

It depends how things pan out.

In an EU referendum scenario, the one big difference to the 1975 referendum is the existence of UKIP - a mainstream party promoting an ''out'' vote. In 1975 the ''out'' campaign was very fragmented and thus easily defeated.

What Cameron will go for is to combine the Labour vote, the majority of the Conservative vote, the Lib Dem and Green vote, plus the votes in Scotland, plus the votes of non-British EU nationals (for example about half a million in London alone) who can't vote in a British General Election but can in a European election in Britain. That comes to about 65% to 70% of the total vote.

The challenge for UKIP would be very similar to that facing the Scottish National Party in the run up to the Scottish Independence referendum last year. UKIP has the near monopoly of the ''out'' leadership; if it can repeat the approach used by the SNP and harness all the potential ''out' vote then even if the referendum is lost there is the prospect of what happened in Scotland being repeated in England at the next general election, due in 2020, just substitute UKIP for SNP. That is the risk facing Cameron. That is why he wanted UKIP to not only have no representation of any sort but to be erased out of existence altogether, so that his referendum would be totally one sided and get the result he wants.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: The British Elections

Postby northcape » Mon May 11, 2015 9:34 pm

RF wrote:

I guess for UKIP voters it is 180% around.
But I do have a question for you (not meant to be polemic!, but I really don't know and I'm interested): What is the economic/business model of the UK? Is it financial trading only, and services? From an economic point of view, what would change in UK if you leave the EU? Would you pursue bilateral contracts like Switzerland to facilitate trade with the continent?


The economic/business model would be to operate as an independent trading nation, negotiating its own trade deals including with the EU. What would change? In the short term very little, over the longer term British trade with the rest of the world would increase while the EU would continue to stagnate. The crucial difference is regaining control of the UK borders and cutting out the EU membership fee.


Thanks RF. My question was more general (or practical), and not so much related to the EU: What is UK's business model - e.g. what do you sell, and to whom? We always read about "financial city of London" and "service industry", but is there more? Again, I really don't know too much about that, and I am just curious.

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Re: The British Elections

Postby RF » Tue May 12, 2015 5:03 pm

northcape wrote:
[Thanks RF. My question was more general (or practical), and not so much related to the EU: What is UK's business model - e.g. what do you sell, and to whom? We always read about "financial city of London" and "service industry", but is there more? Again, I really don't know too much about that, and I am just curious.


As a generalised answer the UK is a first world industrialised country that exports finished goods and imports other manufactured goods and primary products, rather like France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA does.
There is a large financial services and banking sector, based on London and to a lessor extent Edinburgh.

There are issues of regulation and control, and over extra-territorial taxation, which relate principally to the UK membership of the EU, which I believe operates to the disadvantage of this country as it raises costs to producers and consumers in increased taxation..
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Re: The British Elections

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue May 12, 2015 7:48 pm

RF wrote:... extra-territorial taxation, .... increased taxation..


Any nation that allows such things and fails to protect its citizens from such, has ceded its sovereignty and is no longer a sovereign nation.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: The British Elections

Postby RF » Wed May 13, 2015 8:46 am

Exactly.
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