Sunday, 3 April 2016

Gut Reaction


Seeing some really dodgy arguments doing the rounds in support of Brexit.
  1. Regain control of our borders in the wake of the refugee crisis. A pure fallacy, as we already have as much control as we would if we left. How we treat refugees is subject to our signature of a UN declaration anyway. The fact the EU says a refugee must declare him or herself at the first EU country actually works in our favour. What part of being an island and not part of the Schengen area don't these people understand?
  2. All these EU regulations. The EU regulations on banking, working time, etc, etc, are actually designed to protect the consumer. Without them we'd have the robber barons back, especially with a Conservative government. As for the export regulations, we'd still have to adhere to them if we wanted any trade with the EU.
  3. 60% of our laws in the UK emanate from the EU. A bland statement with no context and Daily Mail Reader fodder. The vast  majority of these are regulations on EU trading and not Statutory Instruments, for which see 2 above.
  4. The Common Fisheries Policy has been a disaster. Plain wrong - most of the UK fish stock depletion in the last 118 years occurred before EU intervention, since when stocks have improved to the extent that most species are now sustainable.
  5. We should look to the Commonwealth. Have these people looked at the membership of the commonwealth - half of them are taking jobs from the UK (need I remind people of Indian call centres, Tata Steel or New Zealand lamb?).
  6. It will lead to the destruction of the NHS. What? Where on earth this came from is beyond me. The indigenous Conservatives are doing their level best to destroy the NHS with no assistance from the EU. Added to that, the NHS is held together by immigrants.
  7. The economy would do better. Pure speculation. In any case, we have the same level of personal debt as just before the last crash, meaning people are living well beyond their means again on a debt mountain. That debt mountain depends on inward investment to sustain it, and uncertainly over the result of Brexit will dry that investment will dry up. Not only that, but we have more flexible labour laws, which is why companies like to invest in the UK while it is part of the EU. Exit, and we become useless to these investing companies with consequent job losses.
  8. The Democratic Deficit. The EU is not a country or a single nation and its institutions are more akin to regulatory bodies (Ofcom, Ofwat, etc.). To argue that the EU suffers a Democratic Deficit is in fact to argue for closer political union. Perversely, the Democratic Deficit exists precisely because it's not a close political union. I recommend reading this academic analysis.
Seems to me that most Brexit supporters are basing their decision on a gut reaction or superficial statements lacking context, rather than any logical analysis of the facts. That and a massive hope and gamble that things (and they're at a total loss to enumerate exactly which things) will be better if we're out.

Was having an argument with a friend of a friend (in fact two of them) on Facebook about it earlier in the week and systematically demolished every one of the 'arguments' simply by doing some basic research on them when made. It ended with the comment; "Well, I have my opinion and you have yours." Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the analytical capabilities of the electorate. More like the thinking (or lack of it) of a Daily Mail Reader and a poor rationalisation of xenophobia.

I wouldn't give any credence to business leaders' opinions (whether for or against), as they are just interested in their shareholders and not their staff (ergo the working time directive). Large corporations have an annoying habit of acting like supranational psychopaths that are states within states (ergo the need for banking regulation).

I'm quite willing to be converted: there must be some valid arguments, but no-one is articulating them - my only reservation is allowing Turkey to join the EU, and that's based more on human rights issues than the fear of 75 million Turks streaming into Old Sodbury. However, that now seems unlikely in the near future.


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