► Update 14th May 2019
Brexit and EU parliamentary electionsSince
Brexit is postponed, and the UK is still in the European Union,
elections to the European parliament will take place on 23rd May in
Britain. While pro-Brexit voters seem to be uniting behind a
single pro-Brexit party, the new Brexit Party founded by arch-Brexiteer
Nigel Farage, anti-Brexit voters remain divided between the clearly
anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat party, the Greens and a new party called
ChangeUK.... not to mention those who are loyal Conservative or Labour voters.
Both the Conservatives and Labour are divided over Brexit. The
Conservatives are officially in support of Brexit, though many of their
MPs and voters are against it. The Labour Party is officially neither
for Brexit nor against it, even though most polls show that a large
majority of party members are against Brexit.
party is expected to "win" the EU elections, as the anti-Brexit vote
will be critically divided unless there is a last-minute move towards
tactical voting in favour of the largest anti-Brexit party, the Lib
As for the arguments for or against Brexit, they have not changed.
Update 24th March
► Update 13th March 2019
The people fight back
The people's march against Brexit, 23 March 2019
Saturday 23rd March a Million people took to the streets of London to
demand a second referendum on Brexit. All the signs are now that a new
referendum, giving people the choice between some kind of Brexit and
the option to remain in the EU, would lead to a clear majority in
favour of "remain".
Close to 5 million people have now signed
a petition to Parliament, calling for Brexit to be stopped, and the
signatures are still coming in thick and fast. The petition may well
reach seven or eight million signatures in the days to come, and even
if Theresa May continues to insist that Brexit is "the will of the
people", less and less Members of Parliament now agree with her.
It is very clear - and opinion polls have demonstrated this for
some time - that the mood in Britain has now swung clearly against
Brexit. A government that now goes ahead and goes through with Brexit
will clearly be taking the UK out of the EU against
the will of the people, and most decision-makers now recognise this.
Of course, Brexit still has its vocal supporters, but they are
now largely limited to the remnants of the right-wing UKIP (UK
Independence) party, the sovereignist and neo-conservative wing of the
Conservative party, and a part of the far left; and of those who are
still seduced by their populist arguments.
others, even within the Conservative Party, are now fighting to get
Brexit stopped. Former Attorney General (chief government legal
adviser) Dominic Grieve, a Conservative MP, recently stood
up in the House of Commons and said he was ashamed to be a
Conservative. And Max Hastings, former editor of the pro-Brexit and
very conservative paper the Daily Telegraph, has just written a major
opinion piece for the Times newspaper - the paper of the Establishment
- condemning the "siren songs" of the "snake-oil salesmen " politicians
who have duped a part of the population into imagining that Brexit
could be a good thing.
The Brexit saga will soon
reach its climax. Nothing can yet be ruled out, but the feeling is
growing in the media and in Britain that Brexit may, in the end, not
end of Brexit ?
the British Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the renewed "Deal" that
had been agreed between the UK and the EU concerning Britain's
departure from the Union.
With less than three weeks left
before the planned date of the UK's departure from the EU, three
realistic scenarios remain possible. Today the House of commons will
vote on one of them - whether to allow the UK to leave the EU without
any deal, the much-feared "no deal scenario" that is likely to cause
immense damage to the British economy. Parliament is likely to vote to
stop the Government taking the UK out of Europe without a deal.
With Theresa May's deal rejected, and no-deal rejected, that leaves two
remaining options. One is for the UK to ask the EU for an extension of
the Article 50 deadline of 29th March.
The other is for the government to simply revoke
Article 50, effectively cancelling Brexit at the last minute.
Both options are likely to lead to Brexit being
Revoking Article 50 - the only option remaining if
is an impasse between the EU and the UK over extending the Article 50
deadline - can be done unilaterally by the UK.
Extending the Brexit deadline "for further discussions" can only lead
to more of the same confusion that has characterised the Brexit
processs for the past two years. Besides, the EU has said that the
discussions are now over.
Extending the Brexit
deadline in order to call a second referendum, the much demanded
"People's vote" is a more likely scenario. It is also very
to lead to Brexit being cancelled, as opinion polls now show that a
clear manority of British voters want the UK to remain in the EU.
It is increasingly clear that Brexit is not the favoured
of the British population at this moment in time. The argument that
Brexit must be enacted to respect the "democratic vote" of the people
(some two and a half years ago) no longer holds much water. The
question is will Theresa May have the courage to admit this and revoke
Article 50 "in the name of democracy and the national interest", or
will she put the decision back to the people ?
the coming three weeks see so much confusion that on 29th March Britain
falls out of the EU by accident, and against the will of Parliament and
of the people ? This remains a possibility, but given the risks that
that would involve, for the UK and for the EU, this outcome has to be
considered as very unlikely.
► Update 25th January 2019
unimaginable development - the Queen speaks out.
Though she carefully avoided mentioning Brexit or taking sides, the
Queen has done something that the British monarch is not supposed to
do, and stepped into the Brexit debate.
In a message clearly addressed to the people and to
parliament, the Queen asked Britons to come together and find "common
ground" – a thinly veiled critique of the current national meltdown
For the past ten days, the national mood over Brexit has
swung from argumentative to overtly hostile, as Theresa May pushes
forward relentlessly with a determination to get her "deal" accepted –
even though Parliament rejected it by a massive majority last week.
There is growing hostility from the British public
against Theresa May, for her intransigence, but also against Labour
leader Jeremy Corbyn for his refusal to come off the fence and swing
the Labour opposition clearly behind calls for a new referendum, if not
calls to abandon Brexit.
Latest opinion polls all show that in the event of
a new Referendum, British voters would now clearly reject Brexit and
demand to stay in the European Union. Some polls put the lead for
remaining in the EU as high as 12%. A majority of Members of Parliament
would also seem to be in favour of remaining in the EU.
Meanwhile the government shows no sign of taking
account of the current public mood. Instead Theresa May adamantly
refuses to rule out the "no deal" scenario, which would see the UK
crashing out of the European Union with no new arrangements in place.
"No deal" - i.e. a total rupture with the EU
- is the solution long dreamed of by the sovereignist and
populist neo-liberal wing of the Conservative party, the ERG, whose
nuisance-value within the wider Conservative party was the main reason
that David Cameron called the fatal 2016 referendum in the first place.
Today, the ERG and supporters, aided and abetted by a small number on
the far left, continue to push for the hard Brexit that - according to
latest opinion polls - 80% of the British population are against.
However unpopular it is, and however damaging it
will be for the British economy, Theresa May has so far refused to rule
out "no deal", and it is this refusal that is fuelling the incredulity
and alarm in the UK right now.
As of this week, it seems possible that the
British Government will drag the country into a Brexit No-deal that
neither the British people nor British business leaders, nor the
British Parliament want. Under such circumstances, it is hardly
surprising that tensions are mounting.
For several months, as the reality of Brexit has
slowly become clearer, hard-line Brexiteers and their supporters have
been using words like "violence" and "civil disorder" to describe what
might happen if Brexit were delayed or cancelled. Even MPs have used
the terms. Yet now the roles are reversed, and the risk of civil
disorder from some of those hostile to Brexit, notably the young,
cannot be ruled out if the Government, while talking of the "democratic
vote" of the 2016 referendum, goes ahead with a No-deal Brexit that a
large majority of the population do not want.
For the time being, no scenarios can be ruled out,
including serious civil strife once a solution to the Brexit problem is
agreed on; and that is true whatever the outcome, No deal,
weak Brexit, or no Brexit at all – since there is no outcome
to this very sad story that will not be hotly contested by some of
those who do not like it.
The United Kingdom stands at one of the gravest
moments in its history since the 1930s.
Under these circumstances, the Queen was right to
► Update 15th January 2019
Brexit or not to Brexit? That is the question.
Ever since the result of Britain's 2016 Brexit referendum was
announced, About-Britain.com has insisted that Brexit would quite
possibly - even probably - not take place.
Nothing that has happened since then has changed
our point of view.
Today Britain's MPs will vote whether or not to
accept the "Deal" that Mrs. May has negotiated with Brussels,
concerning the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union.
All observers agree that the House of Commons will reject
So what next ?
There are a number of possible options, among
which one has seen massively growing support in public opinion in the
UK in recent weeks. There must be a second referedum, a "people's vote"
to confirm or reject Britain's departure from the EU, now that the
terms have been established and the implications have been extensively
argued throughout the country.
Mrs. May has persistently said that she will not
call a second referendum. But she said firmly that she would
not call a general election in 2017, and then did just that.
The one big question that remains is : if there is
a second referendum, what will the question be ?
It now seems inconceivable that the option to
remain in the EU could not be one of the options. A YouGov
opinion poll carried out in December showed that 59% of
British voters now want to remain in the EU, compared to just 41% who
want to leave the EU.... a huge margin of 18%.
So the options are : either a choice between "stay
in the EU" and "Accept Mrs. May's Deal"
or: "Stay in the EU" and "Leave the EU
with no deal".
All recent opinion polls have shown that "Stay in the EU" would win
easily in either scenario.
Calling a second referendum is not the only
possibly way forwards out of the current mess. It is however the only
one that would give power back to the people. If the Government or
Parliament decided to abandon Brexit without calling a second
referendum, there would be vociferous and maybe violent reaction from
pro-Brexit hard-liners, claiming that the Government or Parliament is
going against the"will of the people" as expressed in 2016.
There could be another General Election, after
which anything could happen. The Conservatives do not want another
General Election, as they could well lose power; but in spite of their
unpopularity, even that is by no means certain.
Although Mrs. May's government is deeply
unpopular, and blamed for the current state of deep divisions in
British society, the Labour Party is not faring any better. Most Labour
supporters want to stop Brexit, but Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader,
thinks he can get a better Brexit deal ... which seems improbable. It
is by no means clear - in the present state of affairs - which party
would win an election if one were held in 2019.
Alternatively, the Government or Parliament could
vote to postpone Brexit, to rescind Article 50, and remain in the EU
"for the time being". That however would only prolong the arguments and
the divisions, as well as giving ammunition to Brexiteers who would
clamour endlessly about how "democracy" had been thwarted by
the Government or Parliament going against the "will of the people".
The Brexit saga may be nearing its ending. It is
not there yet.... not even if Britain does exit the EU on March 29th.
► Update 21st December 2018
British Prime minister Theresa May keeps repeating that there will be
no second referendum. A second referendum would be a "betrayal of
democracy", she says. The British people have voted for
Brexit, so it must now go ahead.
However democracy is not a static moment: it allows
people to change their minds, and Theresa May has in the past
been quite happy to ask people to change their minds when she thought
it would be to her advantage.
She did not say it was "undemocratic" to give British voters
the opportunity to change their minds when she called an unnecessary
general election in 2017, just two years after the previous general
election in 2015.
It is time now to let British voters or at least the Briish
Parliament vote again on Brexit, with the option to cancel it; becuse
when it comes to Brexit, a lot of British voters have changed their
minds. And a majority of British voters now want a
All the economic evidence shows that even a mild form of
Brexit will damage the UK's economy and its status in the
world. And a "no-deal" Brexit will be a seismic disaster.
At last public opinion in Britain has begun to
understand this. A YouGov
poll conducted in Mid December suggested that if there is a second
referendum, Britons will now vote by a large majority to remain in the
EU ( 59% remain, 41 % Leave, excluding undecided voters).
If the British government still takes the UK into Brexit
without giving Parliament or the people an opportunity to stop the
madness before it is too late, that
will be a betrayal of democracy, and will cause turmoil in
Britain for many years to come.
11th December 2018
Brexit vote postponed....
The House of
Commons should have voted today to accept or reject Theresa May's
. But yesterday, the Prime Minister announced
that the vote will not take place. Not yet, at least.
Mrs. May will now have even more conversations with the EU, to try and
get some changes to the deal that has taken over two years to
negotiate; but it is unlikely that she will get any significant
changes. The EU has said that the deal cannot be renegotiated.
So what happens now ?
It seems increasingly probable that the only way to end this
shambolic process will be through a second referendum, a "People's vote
It was a referendum that put Britain into this chaotic situation; so
logically it is only a second referendum that can logically overturn
the result - or confirm the result - of the first one.
all parties are now calling for a new referendum. Mrs. May is
still insisting that there will be no second referendum; but she also
insisted, until yesterday, that there would be a vote in Parliament
today. Just like she insisted that she would not call a General
Election in 2017.. until she called one.
referendum looks like being the only relatively safe solution for Mrs.
May and her government. She will have to do something fairly soon. She
cannot risk calling a new General Election, as all the signs are that
Labour would win.
Opinion polls show that in the
event of a new referendum, the British people will probably overturn
the result of the 2016 referendum, and do so by a clear margin.
As far back as September, a poll carried out by NatCen showed
that 59 per cent of British voters would now vote to remain
the EU, against 41 who still want to leave the EU.
deal agreed ??? Yes, BUT.....
A Brexit deal between Britain and the European Union has been
agreed.... At last.
That was the easiest
part of the Brexit process.
Now Theresa May has to get this deal approved by : a) her government,
b) her party, c) Parliament, d) the British public. And the
European Union has to get the deal approved by the 27 governments of
the 27 member states.
So a deal may have been reached, but it is certainly a very
long way from being ratified.
In fact, the likelihood of it being ratified and accepted in its
current state by all the parties concerned is zero
So today marks the beginning of the end of the Brexit process, and the
endgame could still take a very long time. And indeed, Brexit may still
be cancelled, as there are very few people in Britain who think that
Theresa May's deal is a good deal.
The deal that Theresa May has reach with Brussels
Brexit is seen as a betrayal by hard-line Brexiteers,
and seen as a futile result by those who voted against Brexit.
Opinion polls now suggest that if there were to be a new refendum now,
British voters would vote to remain in the EU. Theresa May is obviously
aware of this, so will she carry on regardless, and deliver a sort of
rather pointless "BRINO" (Brexit In Name Only) ? Or will she call the
whole thing off?
For more details and analysis see Brexit timeline
and Can Brexit
be cancelled ?
► General Election 2017
and its consequences
2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May called an un-necessary general
election, with the aim of increasing her majority in the British
Parliament. Once again, just as in the Brexit referendum in 2016,
British voters did not do as they were expected to do. Instead of
getting an increased majority in Parliament, Theresa May lost
the small absolute majority she had until then, and is now governing in
a partnership (not a coalition) with the right-wing Northern-Irish
Protestant party, the Democratic Unionist Party.
and analysis ►
As she now leads Britain towards Brexit, Mrs. May
longer rely on Parliament to approve every move. Indeed, in December,
with the help of anti-Brexit members of Theresa May's own party, the
House of Commons voted in favour of a new measure to prevent the
government signing off a final Brexit deal with the EU unless the deal
has already been scrutinised and approved by Parliament.
is now on the road to Brexit. Theresa May enacted Article 50 of the
Lisbon Treaty on 29 March 2017, taking Britain down a perillous path
towards a "global Britain" outside the EU. If all goes according to
schedule, the UK will cease to be a mamber of the European Union on
29th March 2019. But that is a very big IF ...
is a small chance that all will turn out well in the end for Britain;
chances are that it will not... which is one of the reasons that
Theresa May called a General Election before the start of
negotiations, before the true consequences of Brexit begin to become
clear. Britain could well be on the way to
the most devastating act of national self-harm in the last thousand
Or maybe Brexit will not happen after all... It remains a
The short synthesis of who's who, and the main pros and
staying or leaving, was written before the referendum. The arguments
are still valid.
Why is the
British NHS (National Health Service) under pressure?
has featured prominently in the Brexit debate; sadly, the facts and
figures quoted have often been misleading. A reality check shows that
the problems with the NHS are British
, and nothing to do
with the EU. Other major EU countries have better funded and staffed
heath services than the UK does. Most recent figures available from the
share of GDP
|Number of GPs for
per 1000 population
The NHS is overstretched NOT because of pressure from EU migrants, but
because our sovereign
governments choose to spend less on it
than others ; we have less
hospital beds, and less
nurses and midwives per population than other major EU countries. Even
Italy and Portugal pay a higher share of their GDP on their health
services than the UK does. No wonder the NHS is overstretched. And this
is a 100% sovereign situation.
For several years now, the UK media have highlighted the
problem of the lack of hospital beds in the UK, with the sick and the
injured waiting for hours on stretchers in hospital corridors until a
bed becomes available. Noone who takes the trouble to check out the
figures will be surprised that people have to wait in hospital
corridors until a bed is available. Relative to its population, the UK
the number of hospital beds of
France, Germany or Belgium.
not part of the problem
of the NHS; by helping provide the
health professionals we do not have enough of, it is part of the solution
And on a lighter tone, here's a video
on YouTube that says it all.... Hilarious and serious. Pity a few more
people in Britain didn't watch it !!
- Britain should remain in the EU
- Britain should
leave the EU
parties (official or majority position before
The Conservative Party,
the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrat Party, the Scottish Nationalist
Party, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party
UKIP (UK independence party), the BNP (British National Party), the EDL
(English Defence League), the DUP (Democratic Unionists, Ulster),
A few people and personalities... Who are you with?
Jo Cox MP, Jeremy Corbyn, George Osborne, all living former
Bob Geldof, Benedict Cumberbatch, J.K.Rowling, Elton John, Jeremy
Clarkson, David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Simon Cowell, Bear Grylls,
Carré, Daniel Craig, Jamie Oliver
and businessmen: Stephen Hawking ,thirteen UK
Branson, Alan Sugar, Mark Carney,
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merckel
Kelvin MacKenzie - columnist and former editor of the Sun newspaper,
regrets having encouraged people to vote Leave.
Boris Johnson, Nigel Lawson, George Galloway, Michael
Gove, John Redwood, Lord Owen,
Ian Botham, Joey Essex, Katie Hopkins, Elizabeth
Hurley, Joan Collins, Michael Caine
and Businessmen: Richard Desmond, James Dyson
Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, French National Front's Marine Le Pen1
the autumn, most Conservative MPs and many Labour MPs, starting with
Prime Minister Theresa May, have suffered from chronic amnesia, and
voted in favour of triggering Article 50... forgetting that they
campaigned against Brexit in the referendum campaign nine months
groups according to opinion poll surveys : majority voting
Young voters (under 30): 63%
Voters aged 30-39 : 58%
Voters aged 40-49 : 52%
University graduates: 62%
Those with A levels or equivalent: 53%
University students: over 75%
Older voters (over 60): 56%
Voters 50-59: 52%
Voters with no qualification higher than GCSE: 57%
How other nations will see Britain if we leave
do you want other nations of Europe to consider Britain after June
23rd? As a reliable partner, or as the one that walked away?
If Britain leaves the EU, we will lose a massive
amount of goodwill from people elsewhere in Europe. As well as damaging
the UK's own economy, a vote for Brexit is likely to set off
domino effect that damages economies throughout Europe. When
happens, angry fingers will be pointed at Britain, as the nation that
deliberately wrecked the EU. And we'll have to live with it for at
least two generations to come.
It is pure fantasy to
suggest that other countries of Europe will continue to look up to the
UK as, in many respects, they do now. They will not. Britain
be isolated, shunned, as the country that turned its back on the rest
governments of Europe will not be happy with Brexit; but a British
Brexit will actually be a salutary event for Europe, and even if it
does cause an initial recession in Europe, it will not take long for
other countries to appreciate that Britain was actually the first
country to "liberate" itself from the burden of the European Union.
Britain will once again be seen as the country that saves
as we did by our action in two world wars.
parties in other countries of Europe will follow Britain and reclaim
their sovereignty; eventually there will be no more European Union.
|Leaving the European Union
would allow us to choose our own immigration policy; that is true; but
it is not
going to stop immigration. Asked by the BBC if the Leave campaign's
"chosen immigration" policy would actually guarantee to cut the number
of immigrants, Boris Johnson carefully avoided answering the question.
Then on 19th June, he said; " I am pro-immigration, my
am the proud descendent of Turkish immigrants. And let me stun you,
perhaps, by saying I would go further. I am not only pro-immigration,
I’m pro-immigrants". And these words from the
leader of the
"Leave" campaign that has suggesting that it would drastically reduce
immigration to the UK.
The fact is that if the British economy is to prosper, it cannot do so
without recruiting large numbers of skilled and unskilled workers from
other countries. If they don't come from our own continent, Europe,
they will have to come from other continents.
way will leaving the EU stop immigration to the UK.
EU immigration is a great asset to the UK economy, and
from EU countries pay a lot more in taxes than they receive as benefits.
Immigration is always an emotive issue that appeals to
sense of nationalism. It is easy, and sometimes satisfying,
blame others for our perceived ills. Of course, in the event of a
Brexit, the economic downturn that will follow will make Britain a far
less attractive country compared to other parts of Europe, we'll all be
poorer, and immigration from the EU will fall of its own accord. But
that would really be an own goal.
|We need to reclaim our borders,
and to have the right to determine our own immigration policies for
people from the European Union, just as we control immigration from
other parts of the world.
Immigration from other countries in
Europe accounts for just under half of all the immigration to the UK;
and at present we cannot control it.
continue to let in an unlimited number of immigrants from other parts
of Europe. If we leave the European Union, we will be able to
a "points system" to restrict immigration from the European Union to
people for whom there are jobs available in the UK, and people who
speak proper English.
Today, for instance, there is a
shortage of cooks to work in Bangla-Deshi restaurants in the UK; but
restaurant owners cannot recruit from Bangla-Desh. By choosing our own
immigration policy, we will be able to cap the number of migrants from
other European countries, and bring in more people from Commonwealth
countries, such as cooks from Bangla Desh.
from other parts of the EU, notably from southeast Europe, has driven
down wages in the UK. Reducing immigration from the EU will thus lead
to higher wages for many unskilled jobs as employers recruit British
employees to replace migrant workers who accept lower pay.
We will also keep more of the young people that we educate
the UK, as there will be less opportunity for them to go and work
abroad, if there is no longer free movement of people between Britain
and the countries of continental Europe.
prominent Leavers now admit that leaving the EU will not actually
reduce immigration more than a fraction, if Britain wants to continue
to benefit from Access to the European single market.
In addition, the "Leave" victory has unleashed a wave of xenophobic and
racist incidents in the UK, with police reporting a 57% increase in
such acts compared to before the referendum.
Britain in the
world : a question of reputation and influence
stronger in Europe than out.
We have everything to gain from remaining as a constructive member of
the European Union.
Europe is (as long as it
remains united) one of the four major players on the world
Britain is one of the three major nations in Europe. Alone we
will lose this influential position.
can have more influence as a sovereign nation than just as a part of
the EU. Britain can be an equal partner with the USA, with China, with
Russia and the EU.
Trade and economy: can Britain perform better
in the EU or outside it ?
|The vast majority of
economists in Britain and other countries warn that Britain leaving the
EU would be an economic disaster.
The EU is
the world's largest economic area. Britain will be more successful
economically as part of the EU, than outside it. If we leave, we will
still have to take account of EU rules and regulations if we want to
trade with the EU; but we will no longer be able to influence them and
help to shape them.
A Brexit would mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of
jobs, as international firms that need a base in the EU relocate
offices and plants to Ireland or to the continent.
The "Remain" campaign don't have the monopoly of "believing
Britain". We all "believe in Britain"; but believing in Britain is not
some magic trick that will let us defy the economic odds.
57% of the UK's car production is
exported to the EU countries, according to the
A vote for Brexit is certain to have a negative impact on this.... if
only from EU consumers who are furious about the UK leaving the EU.
There have already been calls in Europe for consumers to boycott
British products if Britain damages the European union economy by
voting to Brexit. But it is likely to be much more negative than this,
leading to plant closures and job losses in the UK motor industry and is subcontractors,
many of them small firms.
In addition, in spite of the claims by Leavers that Britain can't
target export markets outside the EU because of EU rules, the UK car
industry's biggest export market is the USA... followed by China. Not only can
we export outside the EU; we can do so with great success.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. - 2016
|A handful of neo-liberal
British economists believe that Britain could do better by leaving the
hampered by bureaucratic red-tape from Brussels. Even the 80% of
British companies that do not export have to follow EU rules on
standards, employee rights, union representation, health and safety,
paternity leave and other bureaucratic red tape;
this is a burden on small businesses.
If we leave the European Union, we can bring down the cost of
labour in the UK, so that firms can hve manufacturing plants here in
the UK, rather than exporting their production facilities to countries
with low labour costs.
Besides, big companies will want to keep their
operations in the UK and will only relocate as little as possible, as
Britain without EU red-tape will be a more attractive place to do
We need to believe in Britain.
EU intervention and interference, and the concept
of the EU
the last 40 years, membership of the EU has actually been very
beneficial to the UK. When we joined back in 1976, Britain was "the
sick man of Europe". Becoming part of the world's largest union of
independent states has helped our economy, our wealth, our science and
development, and our status on the world stage.
Much of the "interference" that the "out" campaign so dislikes is
actually legislation to protect the rights of ordinary people, to
protect the environment, to protect consumers, to force phone companies
to reduce roaming charges, or to require greater
transparency from financial operators to combat money-laundering and
In addition, the biggest burdens on business in the UK today have
nothing to do with the EU. For instance", the new "living wage", a
major cost to business, is intervention by the UK government,
by the EU.
The EU is a force for peace and stability in a continent that
long been fractured by wars and national rivalries. It was set up, and
still functions, to defend and promote peace, democracy and democratic
institutions throughout Europe.
The last thing Europe wants is to return to being a continent
divided by rival nationisms, as it was in 1914 or 1939, with the
consequences that we all know. Many Brexiteers seem to imagine that a
Brexit will turn the clock back to some golden past, when Britannia
ruled the waves and the Empire.But no amount of imagining will bring
back the past.
intervention, and even more so EU intervention, interferes with natural
market forces, therefore is bad for the economy. By leaving
EU, Britain will take
and be able to get rid of a lot of unwanted Brussels legislation in
fields such as consumer protection or employee rights.
Freed from unnecessary bureaucratic
intervention, British firms
will become more efficient and profitable.
The European Union is an attempt to deprive the nations of
of their independence and sovereignty, by the creation of a massive
European superstate run by unelected bureaucrats. Boris Johnson likens
the European Union to Adolf Hitler, in the way that it is trying to
unite Europe under a single authority.
Brexit and business
businessmen, and in particular the leaders of exporting companies and
large companies, agree that leaving the EU would seriously damage their
business and employment opportunities in the UK.
There are some who feel "Big business wants the UK to remain
the EU for its own interests, for its big profits." Well maybe it
does... But profitable businesses create jobs; and their profits mostly
go to big investors, notably our pension funds.
Brexit will hit our big companies and our small ones; and while it may
mean some people don't get fat-cat bonuses, a far bigger impact will be
that a lot of ordinary people lose their jobs, or can't get
jobs that have been moved to the Continent or to Ireland. And pensions
will be smaller if business are less profitable.
minority of business leaders and company owners dislike the EU because
it imposes an extra cost, and extra rules on their freedom to act.
These include EU workplace legislation, social legislation, employee
standards. Some business leaders also complain that EU
legislation restricts Britain's freedom to set up bilateral free-trade
agreements with non-Eu countries.
James Dyson (whose
company has moved all its manufacturing from the UK to southeast Asia)
wants to leave the EU on account of European vacuum cleaner
energy regulations, and because the EU requires vacuum cleaners to be
equipped with different types of plug for different countries.
Jobs, mobility and employment
|The free movement of people
within the EU has been of massive benefit to Britain. Many of our firms
and public services could not survive without recruiting
workers from other parts of Europe. Actually, EU citizens working in
Britain pay more in taxes than they take back in benefits. And millions
of Britons live and work in other countries of Europe, where they enjoy
the same services and benefits as other EU citizens. If we leave the
EU, all this will change.
Many firms depend on labour from the EU to do jobs that
British workers cannot or do not want to do.
There are some 65,000 EU nationals claiming
jobseeker’s allowance in the UK : but that is only half the
picture. 2.5% of Britons who live in other EU countries are also
claiming unemployment benefits in those countries, notably in Ireland,
Germany and France.. which is a similar rate.
|The free movement of people
within the EU has led to millions of people from Europe coming to
Britain to benefit from our welfare system. They put pressure on our
hospitals, our schools, our housing, our roads; and ordinary British
people are having to bear the cost of this .
The influx of workers from eastern Europe has been driving
wages in some sectors, and ordinary British workers have suffered from
this. Leaving the EU will allow wages to rise again.
Healthcare and Brexit
9 June. Tory MP
Sarah Wollaston, chairman of the House of Commons health select
committee, has quit the "Leave" campaign over its untrue
about the health service, and will vote to remain in Europe.
in the EU is vital for the National Health Service. The NHS benefits
from EU research grants, and from the free movement of specialists
within the European Union. Many of our leading specialists are from
other EU countries. The argument that EU immigrants are breaking the
NHS is a lie. Thanks to the EU health-care agreement, hundreds of
thousands of UK citizens have a free EHIC card, and thus get treatment
health services in other countries of the EU. Arrangments are
reciprocal. Everyone benefits, including holidaymakers. "Healthcare
tourism" is very marginal... and it works both ways.
|According to the Daily
immigration has put a huge strain on A&E waiting times."
Leaving the European Union will reduce
pressures on limited resources. A number of leading figures in the
"leave" campaign have misgivings about the way the health service is
Farage, there is plenty of room for cuts in the NHS; and according to
Boris Johnson, people should be made to pay for certain services so
that they "value them more". Tory MEP Daniel Hannan claimed
American television that the NHS has been a "60 year
mistake", and that a national healthcare system is
not a good way to run healthcare in any country.
The cost of belonging to the EU
|Belonging to the EU costs us
of our wealth: domestic taxation in Britain, by contrast, costs
us 35% of our wealth – 100 times more. The small cost of
belonging to the EU is actually is vastly outweighed by the benefits of
membership. Though leaving the EU might allow some of our
richest people to get even richer, it would make most ordinary people
The figure of "£360 million a week"
banded about by the Leave campaign is seriously wrong, as it
does not take account of what we get back. The real figure is less than
half.... and a good bit of that pays the salaries of the thousand or so
UK nationals employed by the EU civil service
|Belonging to the EU costs
Britain billions of pounds each year, money that could far better be
spent on reducing taxation, or spending more on our public services.
There is no point at all going on spending all this money to pay for
unnecessary bureaucrats in Brussels, or to pay the salaries
and expenses of MEPs.
senior Leave campaigners have now backtracked on the idea that
£360 million a week could be saved and spent on the NHS . The
figure had been widely condemned as wrong, before the vote, but the
Leave campaign continued to use it.
The consequences of leaving the EU
|For the last 70 years,
Britain has basked in an aura of goodwill from other nations in Europe,
as the nation that saved Europe. In 1939, inspired by great Europeans
like Churchill, we went to war for Europe and we didn't count
the cost. With the help of our allies, we won, and Europe has been
grateful to us ever since.
If Britain leaves the EU, Britain will change from being the
nation that saved
Europe to the nation that abandoned
it, or maybe that contributes to a major crisis in the EU, by
unleashing nationalisms all over the continent.
It is pure wishful thinking to imagine that in this new
Europe, the UK will benefit from any special favours. Europe will not
listen to us, and we will not
be in a position of force to make them do so. As a small island off the
coast of a disgruntled Europe, our future could be very bleak.
According to the IMF, a British exit from the EU
would be likely to have
serious consequences for both Sterling and the UK stock market,
damaging investment, pensions, and the UK's balance of trade.
Experts suggest that sterling could rapidly fall by 10 -20 % against
the dollar.... which will make everyone in Britain poorer, by
considerably increasing the cost of foreign holidays
and everything we import.
In addition, if Britain leaves the EU, the
remaining countries will certainly lay out the red carpet to attract
international investment away from
Britain and back into the EU.... and
to develop an international financial centre in the EU that will
eventually rival and maybe overtake London.
It would take a few years, but it is foolhardy to imagine
one minute that the EU would just acquiesce to having Europe's major
financial hub in a nation that is no longer part of the Union.
|Britain has everything to
gain from leaving the European Union, then negotiating lots of
bilateral trading deals, visa deals and citizen exchange deals with
Freed from EU rules and bureaucracy, the UK will
to negotiate deals that are in Britain's best interest, and this will
be far more
beneficial to British business than being obliged to set up
international deals in the framework of the European Union, as happens
Since Europe exports more to Britain than Britain
exports to Europe, European countries are going to do whatever we ask
them to do, to make sure that their firms can still compete in the UK
market. They are not going to erect trade barriers.
If Britons vote to leave the EU, there will quite likely be
short term consequences on the stock market and for the value of
sterling; but these will not last long.
A fall in the value of Sterling will make the cost
of holidays abroad more expensive, and will drive up the cost of
imported goods - cars, computers, electrical goods, but not by a lot.
But on the other hand, it will make British goods cheaper, so
our exporting companies will be more competitive in international
markets, which will generate more jobs.
As for the IMF, their predictions are not always
Besides, London is so well established as the world's
leading financial centre, that this will not change whether we remain
in the EU or leave it.
Collateral consequences - the future of the UK
|All opinion polls show that
Scots and Welsh voters will vote strongly in favour of remaining in the
Any victory of the "leave" campaign in the UK as a whole
would open the floodgates towards victory for Scottish nationalists in
a new Scottish Independence referendum, leading to a breakup of the
United Kingdom within maybe less than five years. Nicola Sturgeon has
already said that a new referendum could be organised.
This will leave England even more isolated – on
the outside of
Europe and no longer even a United Kingdom.
If Britain leaves the EU, the whole EU may rapidly
which will have catastrophic geopolitical and economic consequences for
Britain, Europe and the West in general
Britain leaves the EU, this will weaken the cohesion of the EU and
encourage Eurosceptics in other countries to demand referendums too.
The new EU that emerges from this will be much weaker and
attractive than the UK. which will benefit from being out. In
this new order, the Scots will prefer to remain with a stronger
independent UK, than with an increasingly uncertain European Union.
If Britain leaves the EU, other countries with strong
movements may follow, leading quite quickly to a collapse of the
European Union. This will allow all the nations of Europe to
regain their sovereignty and take back their authority –
will be a good outcome
Brexit has been widely welcomed by far right nationalist and xenophobic
parties across Europe
Still undecided ?
If you are still undecided, look at the arguments again, weigh up the
pros and cons and draw your
Which parties are in favour of remaining in the EU, which parties want
to leave? And which of these parties do you have most sympathy with?
Which of these parties have the competence to run the United Kingdom ?
And what solution do they or their leaders recommend?
Which of thepersonalities in either camp do you have confidence in?
Objectively, which arguments are most credible ?
And to conclude, three final points.
1. If you still don't really
issues, you are not alone. They are not all
easy to follow; they have
to do with economics, finance, politics, geopolitics, nationalisms and
lot more. Not everyone masters these.
2. Who will
be most affected by the
result of the Brexit referendum? Obviously, those who will
have to live
with it for longest. The young. And what future do they want ? 63% of
the under 30's want Britain to remain in the EU. Older
voters: don't jeopardize your childrens'
3 Why do
some business leaders and politicians want Britain to leave the EU?
it takes all sorts to make a world, and even clever and intelligent
do not always agree. And in business and politics, there are plenty of
intelligent clever and ambitious
people, who can disagree strongly on many things.
Some are motivated by deep-held ideology, others by loyalty to a cause,
others by personal ambition, others by a dislike of anything that
restricts their liberty.
In the world of
: there are businessmen, fund managers and financiers
who dislike anything that limits their ability to make money or take
EU has pioneered rules and regulations to bring more transparency into
banking or stop money-laundering. It has placed disclosure obligations
on investment funds, many of which operate out of secretive tax havens
such as the Cayman Islands or Bermuda. Unsurprisingly, many fund
managers and their friends in politics object out of principle to these
limits to their "freedom".
In the world of
politics: Most (but not all) of the
MPs and other influential people in Britain who want to leave
EU are politically on the far right - the right wing of the
Conservative party, or even further to the right. Their desire to leave
the EU is not motivated by rational argument, but by neo-conservative
political far right, is traditionally
nationalistic, sovereignist, and anti big-government. This is true in
the UK and the USA, just as it true in other countries. Throughout
far-right parties are anti-EU, and looking forward to a Brexit for
inspiration. Paradoxically, the same goes for a number of parties of
the far left, for whom the EU is a tool of capitalism and big business.
Moderate, middle-of-the-road politicians and
parties are generally in favour of remaining in the EU.
History shows us however that when
far-right nationalists take control, the results are not usually very
happy. Just think of two recent examples - Milosevic in
or Galtieri and the generals in Argentina. Their rhetoric
good to the people, they appealed to nationalistic emotions, and they
blamed outsiders for their country's woes (in Serbia's case the
Bosnians, in Argentina's case, the British); but their results were
calamitous for their
Being nationalistic is not at all the same as
being patriotic. Patriotism is a love for your country.
Nationalism is imagining that your country is better than others.
1. As reported in
many news media. The Kremlin is refusing to make any public
comments on Brexit, fearing (quite logically) that any announcement of
a Putin backing for Brexit would be counterproductive, in the way that
French National Front leader Marine Le Pen's planned UK Brexit support
visit was blocked by Brexiteers as being more likely to damage the
Brexit campaign than help it.See numerous articles
2. Percentages from YouGov poll as reported in the Daily Telegraph, 26
© Andrew Rossiter and About-Britain.com
2016 - 2018
Photo Marchagainst Brexit. By John Briody
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