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TOPIC: (Actual) Facts About the EU

(Actual) Facts About the EU 09 Sep 2013 16:24 #1

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:chuckle:
It's estimated (although the source is murky) that 3.5m jobs are associated with EU membership. That's not to say those jobs are dependent on EU membership.

About half of UK exports are to other EU countries, although we are a net importer from the EU. [Correction: Originally we wrongly said the UK is a net exporter to the EU. That is true of services alone, but when you take into account goods and services, we are a net importer].

The UK is a net contributor to the EU budget, but governments have estimated that the financial benefits of membership in terms of trade and employment outweigh this cost, as the House of Common Library explains.

The EU has a significant impact on UK law. Attempts to put a number on this are probably best left alone. Estimates of the proportion of UK laws that originate in Brussels range anywhere from 7% to 75% depending on what you count and when. However, these estimates alone can’t quantify the importance of the laws involved.


Public Attitudes

According to its own polling…
The EU is not much loved by anyone. When asked what the EU means to you personally, the third most popular response is ‘waste of money’. Freedom to travel, study and work top the list, followed by the Euro, waste, peace and bureaucracy.

People in the UK know less about than EU than most. The UK has the lowest scores for answering some factual questions about the EU, like how many states are members and whether Switzerland is one. 53% of us got three questions right, compared to 80% of Greeks and 63% on average across Europe.

And we like it less than the majority. ‘Waste of money’ is the top response to what the EU means to you personally at 31%, with ‘bureaucracy’ in joint second along with freedom to travel, study and work, both at 27%.

People in the UK:

We're in two minds about staying in the EU. The same poll can show a majority for both staying in the EU and getting out (while maintaining close trading links).

At the moment a majority of Brits are in favour of us leaving the EU. In the past sometimes staying in has been in the lead, but the gap between the two has often been smallish. See the IPSOS MORI data graphed below.

We have an appetite for renegotiation. YouGov reports that we’d vote 3:2 to stay in the EU after a renegotiation.
We do not name the European Union as one of the biggest issues facing Britain today. Only 1% think it’s the biggest, and 7% think it’s one of the most important. The economy, immigration and unemployment lead the list.
fullfact.org/articles/the_european_union_and_all_who_sail_in_her-28928
A couple more:
"The EU has rigorously denied any involvement in the Roswell incident, despite various eye witness testimonies who place them at the heart of the cover up" -Vernon Coleman
"The EU won the nobel peace prize, but reports in the United Nations confirm suspicions that the EU was influential in the establishment of Joseph Kony's Lord's Rebel Army, and I heard a janitor there was using rat poison to take care of a cat infestation in the attic" -Vernon Coleman.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 12 Sep 2013 03:48 #2

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There is of course a flip side to the EU just like any sort of government body. Government is often flawed and those flaws are zoomed in on by detractors of that government. Food for thought. Thank you.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 15 Sep 2013 01:42 #3

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(Actual) Facts About the EU 17 Sep 2013 20:18 #4

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It’s not just the design flaws of the Euro, it’s the design flaws of the EU. If elections are a problem in each country, at least those leaders are accountable to someone. How much more problematic is the lack of elections for the EU commissioners.
We all thought we were joining a Europe where we trade together, cooperate together – they were the promises that were made. And now we find we have a European Commission, unelected by the people, unremovable, and they are the government of Europe.

Most of the laws that are made in your country every year come directly from those unelected European commissioners and what’s happening in every country in Europe is the politicians are moving in this direction, wanting more and more power, and the people are saying, ‘What’s going on? What’s happened to our democracy?’

It has gone, no-one in the EU lives in a democracy.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 17 Sep 2013 21:38 #5

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a.Principles

The founding Treaties stated that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) would initially be appointed by the national parliaments, but made provision for election by direct universal suffrage. The Council implemented this provision with the Act of 20 September 1976.

In 1992 the Maastricht Treaty provided that elections must be held in accordance with a uniform procedure and that Parliament should draw up a proposal to this effect, for unanimous adoption by the Council. However, since the Council was unable to agree on any of the proposals, the Treaty of Amsterdam introduced the possibility of adopting ‘common principles’ instead. Council Decision 2002/772/EC, Euratom modified the 1976 Act accordingly, introducing the principles of proportional representation and incompatibility between national and European mandates.

With the Treaty of Lisbon, the right to vote and to stand as a candidate acquired the status of a fundamental right (Article 39 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union).

b.Application: common provisions in force
1.Right of non-nationals to vote and to stand as candidates

According to Article 22(2) TFEU, ‘every citizen of the Union residing in a Member State of which he is not a national shall have the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament in the Member State in which he resides’. The arrangements for implementing this right were adopted in Directive 93/109/EC.
2.Electoral system

The elections must be based on proportional representation and use either the list system or the single transferable vote system (Council Decision 2002/772/EC, Euratom).
3.Incompatibilities

The office of Member of the European Parliament is incompatible with that of member of the government of a Member State, member of the Commission, judge, advocate-general or registrar of the Court of Justice, member of the Court of Auditors, member of the European Economic and Social Committee, member of committees or other bodies set up pursuant to the Treaties for the purpose of managing the Union’s funds or carrying out a permanent direct administrative task, member of the Board of Directors, Management Committee or staff of the European Investment Bank, and active official or servant of the institutions of the European Union or of the specialised bodies attached to them. Further incompatibilities were added in 1997 (member of the Committee of the Regions) and in 2002 (member of the Court of First Instance – now General Court –, member of the Board of Directors of the European Central Bank, Ombudsman of the European Union and, most importantly, member of a national parliament).
www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/displayFtu.html?ftuId=FTU_1.3.4.html

Much more there, the reality is it's at least AS democratic as UK or other EU member states' parliaments.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 17 Sep 2013 21:56 #6

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For the 2014 EP election, Europarties decided to put forward a candidate for President of the European Commission; each candidate will lead the pan-European campaign of the Europarty. While no legal obligation exists to force the European Council to propose the candidate of the strongest party to the EP, it is assumed that the Council will have no other choice than to accept the voters decision.

The two major parties are the centre-right European People's Party and the Party of European Socialists. They form the two largest groups, (called EPP and S&D respectively) along with other smaller parties. There are numerous other groups, including communists, greens, regionalists, conservatives, Liberals and eurosceptics. Together they form the seven recognised groups in the parliament.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_the_European_Union
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 17:18 #7

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www.europarl.org.uk/en/your_MEPs.html
There are 73 UK MEPs. 72 were elected in the European Parliament elections on 4 June 2009. The UK gained an additional seat in the West Midlands region on 1 December 2011, As a result of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

The UK is divided into twelve electoral regions made up of the nations and regions of the UK. Each region has between three and ten MEPs and each MEP in a region represents each person living there: Eastern - 7, East Midlands - 5, London - 8, North East - 3, North West - 8, South East - 10, South West - 6, West Midlands - 7, Yorkshire and Humber - 6, Wales - 4, Scotland - 6, Northern Ireland - 3.

For example, if you live in Cambridge, all seven Eastern region MEPs represent you and you can contact any or all of them. If you are not sure, please telephone us on 020 7227 4300.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 17:20 #8

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www.europarl.org.uk/en/your_MEPs/EP_Political_Groups.html
The Members of the European Parliament sit in political groups - they are not organised by nationality, but by political affiliation. There are currently 7 political groups in the European Parliament and 30 Non-attached Members.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 17:29 #9

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Commission
The European Commission (EC) is the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and day-to-day running of the EU.[2]
The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as "commissioners"[3]). There is one member per member state, though members are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. One of the 28 is the Commission President (currently José Manuel Durão Barroso) proposed by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament. The Council then appoints the other 27 members of the Commission in agreement with the nominated President, and then the 28 members as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.

So who votes these lot in then....us? :roll: Nope....

(also take note of the bit of text I coloured red)
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 17:43 #10

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European citizens elect the European Parliament, the parliament elects the Commission, it's actually more democratic and representative than the House of Lords is:
Unlike the elected House of Commons, most new members of the House of Lords are appointed.[3] Membership of the House of Lords is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. There are currently 26 Lords Spiritual who sit in the Lords by virtue of their ecclesiastical role in the established Church of England.[4] The Lords Temporal make up the rest of the membership; of these, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_lords
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 17:51 #11

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_the_European_Union
Elections to the Parliament of the European Union take place every five years by universal adult suffrage. 766 MEPs[1] are elected to the European Parliament which has been directly elected since 1979. No other EU institution is directly elected, with the Council of the European Union and the European Council being only indirectly legitimated through national elections.[2]

Yes, really democratic.... :roll:
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 17:52 #12

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Barroso's scare tactics show an EU consumed with fear
The Europhiles are frightened and they're weak. And they're frightened because, at some level, even they know just how weak their arguments are

www.thecommentator.com/article/4131/barroso_s_scare_tactics_show_an_eu_consumed_with_fear
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 17:58 #13

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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 18:00 #14

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Fri, 13 Sep 2013 at 12:09Fri, 12:09

With the holiday season over the EU gravy train is fully fuelled (with your money, of course), ready to roll once again, so here at Get Britain Out we'll be keeping a close eye on things to see what damaging, expensive or downright silly ideas they'll be trying to push through over the coming months. First, there are a few stories from the last few weeks we wanted to highlight.

Another step forward for the EU Referendum Bill
Some positive news from Parliament as, just two days ago, James Wharton's EU Referendum Bill cleared another hurdle on its (still long and dangerous) path to becoming law. The Committee Stage, which saw some Labour and Lib Dem MPs putting down dozens of amendments in an attempt to frustrate and delay the Bill's progress, has concluded with the Bill surviving unamended.

The Bill now needs to complete its Report Stage and then a Third Reading in the Commons (Parliament's website offers an explanation of the process), after which it will pass to the Lords for consideration. No date has yet been set for the next stage, but we will continue to monitor the Bill's progress - and the MPs that might try to sabotage it!

Saga poll of over-50s
Back in August there was an interesting poll done by the Saga Group, which showed that three out of every four people over the age of 50 want an In/Out EU referendum. The Express noted in their coverage that this is the age group most likely to use their vote, including GBO's quote that this was "a wake-up call for Ed Miliband - he must instruct his party not to block the EU Referendum Bill currently before Parliament".

We were further quoted as saying: "It's no surprise that older people are more likely to want to leave the EU. They are the ones that have witnessed a radical transformation - from the simple trading relationship that the British people thought they were signing up to, to today's EU of regulations, uncontrolled migration and disastrous economic union."


The EU ‘State of The Union’ speech
By strange coincidence, around the same time that the EU Referendum Bill Committee was beginning its final day's deliberation of the process by which the UK could leave, José Manuel Barroso was just finishing his annual 'State of the European Union' address to the European Parliament.

In his speech he brandished the EU-fanatics' get-out-of-jail-free card: any opposition to the EU risks a return to the dark days of a Europe regularly ravaged by war. Utter nonsense, of course, and a claim that was demolished by both media commentators (including an excellent article by The Commentator on just how weak and 180 degrees wrong that argument is) and MEPs.

The Telegraph's Bruno Waterfield report quoted an excellent counter-blast by Martin Callanan MEP: "… patriotism is healthy. To be proudly German or French or Polish is not necessarily to be anti-European. The concepts are not antagonistic. The real anti-Europeans are those whose idea of change in the EU only means moving faster in the old failed direction. The real nationalists are those who force us to accept a European nation that actually in reality nobody wants."

We couldn't agree more. For the sake of both Britain and Europe this dangerous political experiment needs to be wound up. The European political elites are still in denial about the failure of their project, so the United Kingdom must take the lead. The first step towards abolishing the EU is to Get Britain Out.

Kind regards,
James Harvard
Campaign Manager
,www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/update/2013-09-11/stockton-mps-eu-referendum-bill-passes-next-stage/

www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/passage-bill/commons/coms-commons-comittee-stage/

services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/europeanunionreferendum.html

getbritainout.org/2013/07/labour-heroes-labour-zeros/

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/10301043/Rolling-back-the-EU-threatens-return-to-war-and-trenches-says-Jose-Manuel-Barroso.html
Last Edit: 18 Sep 2013 18:11 by pheony.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 18:33 #15

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diamondgeezer wrote:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_the_European_Union
Elections to the Parliament of the European Union take place every five years by universal adult suffrage. 766 MEPs[1] are elected to the European Parliament which has been directly elected since 1979. No other EU institution is directly elected, with the Council of the European Union and the European Council being only indirectly legitimated through national elections.[2]

Yes, really democratic.... :roll:
Universal adult suffrage is fairly democratic.
So as I said we elect MEP's then the MEP's which are elected to the EU elect the Council and executive.
That is more representative than having "Spiritual Lords" with the ability to obstruct and influence changes over legislation, just because they're in the official State Church, which is the situation in the UK.

The EU parliament and ECHR also attempted to extend Suffrage to include those in prison, they attempted to increase democracy while the UK government obstructs them. :chuckle:
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Last Edit: 18 Sep 2013 18:34 by Ultimate Seeker ™.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 18:41 #16

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pheony wrote:
How are you going to vote? :rofl:
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 19:06 #17

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pheony wrote:
^ Excellent content in that link phe....so good in fact that it deserves copy/pasting in its entirety. :cool:

Unless you've spent a decent amount of time living in continental Europe, it can be hard to appreciate the sheer poverty of the debate about the European Union. Bread and butter issues such as the structural flaws of the Euro, the gaping hole in the EU's democratic legitimacy or the manifest failure of the EU's much vaunted Common Foreign and Security Policy, go largely undiscussed.

And I'm not just talking about the narratives pushed by the pro-EU politicians. I've met professors at leading European universities who, when I raised the problem of a lack of a demos -- the core pre-requisite to a democratic polity -- looked at me as though I'd addressed them in the ancient Greek language from which that term ultimately derives. That utter inability to address the most important issues trickles down into the media. Hence the mess Europe is in.

But there's a reason for this, and in his State of the Union speech -- if you can bear the mental torture, see the pre-prepared version in full here -- to the European Parliament on Wednesday, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso laid it out for anyone who has eyes to see:

"Next year, it will be one century after the start of the First World War. A war that tore Europe apart, from Sarajevo to the Somme. We must never take peace for granted."

"Let me say this to all those who rejoice in Europe's difficulties and who want to roll back our integration and go back to isolation: the pre-integrated Europe of the divisions, the war, the trenches, is not what people desire and deserve. The European continent has never in its history known such a long period of peace as since the creation of the European Community. It is our duty to preserve it and deepen it."

What you have just read is what now passes for the underlying, legitimising narrative of the European Union: You either go with us towards a more deeply integrated and politically unified Europe, or it's back to war.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, said something similar a while back about what would happen if the Euro was allowed to fail. I cannot even count the number of times I have heard the same theme at conferences hosted by supposedly respectable think tanks around Europe.

It is a narrative of fear. It is designed to frighten people against asking all the serious and necessary questions. And it comes from the most fundamental of misunderstandings about why war consumed Europe in the first half of the 20th century. For it assumes that it was the presence of nationalism rather than the absence of democracy that caused Europe's problems.

In reality nationalism was not the problem, not when you really drill down to the bottom of it all. Churchill rallied the British people to play a decisive role in defeating the Nazis by appealing to Britain's sense of itself as a democratic nation that would not stand for the arrogance and brutality of tyranny. Leaders from America, Canada and beyond did the same. It is no exaggeration to say that democratic nationalism saved the free world.

It is a long and winding road to bring this all back to the current debate about the modern European project and its obvious failings. But it is a rich and fruitful debate, and one that will cast the British position over Europe in a powerfully positive light. There is no "European People". There is no demos.

And that means that as more and more power is taken away from the nation states -- the only place where democratic peoplehood has genuine resonance -- European democracy dies a death of a thousand cuts.

Barroso and company tore decades of growing democratic precedents to pieces with the shameful repeat referendums of the last decade. When Ireland said no, it was told to vote again until it said yes. When France and the Netherlands said no, they were trampled on, ignored.

The Lisbon Treaty for which the EU fought, regardless of conscience and procedure, is the legal basis of the European Union. If it had been a business transaction, people would have gone to jail for fraud.

Jose Manuel Barroso, and the whole motley crew, are the enemies of European democracy. Their actions threaten to destroy everything they so falsely and so weakly claim to uphold.

That is why you are being told that, if you think matters through, you're sending us back to the killing fields of the Somme. These people are frightened and they're weak. And they're frightened because, at some level, even they know just how weak they are.
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 20:21 #18

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Sadly in Europe today very many states are not secular, and even those that claim it often fail in practice. In one way or another they favour religion, usually one particular Christian church. Many states have an established church; many hand over public money to one or more churches or religions or else provide public facilities and legal backing for the collection of taxes from church members. Many give legal privileges to churches, including those that have ‘concordats’ with the Vatican – these are international treaties that are outside the control of national parliaments and typically give special privileges to the Roman Catholic church.

Neutrality or secularism usually means that the state does not provide any privileges to lifestance organisations, whether religious or not, but a few states seek to remain neutral while (in theory) giving a special position to all such organisations. Examples are Belgium and the Netherlands (where humanist or laique organisations are treated in the same way as religious organisations). In practice, however, this approach favours the traditional churches and helps maintain them even as they lose support while being slow to recognise changing patterns of belief.

Here are a few examples of states that fail to observe the principles of secularism:

- The United Kingdom – gives 26 seats in the upper house of its Parliament to bishops of the established church.

- Greece pays for the training, salaries and pensions of Greek Orthodox clergy and for their church buildings.

- Denmark has an established church that receives Government grants worth about €100mn. pa. In addition its members (80% of population) have to pay a church tax.

- Finland gives its Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland gets 1.63% of the proceeds of corporation tax. In addition the members of its two established churches have to pay a church tax with their income tax.

- In France, despite its boasted separation of church and state, churches built before 1905 are owned and maintained by the state at a cost of about €100 mn pa, and local authorities provide housing for priests at a cost of over €50 mn pa.

- In Germany, recognised churches levy a tax on their members which is collected with federal income tax; and individual Lander have similar arrangements – these taxes produce about 80% of church income.

- Iceland has a compulsory church tax that taxpayers can assign to any registered religion – but humanists are not allowed to register as a ‘religion or belief’ and their tax is assigned to the university.

- In Italy 0.8% of income tax goes to registered religions or to the state as nominated by each individual taxpayer – but 60% of taxpayers indicate no preference and their tax is divided up in the proportions indicated by the 40% who do – as a result the Roman Catholic Church gets 87% of that 8% of income tax.

- In many states, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, church schools committed to a particular religion are subsidised – often at a very high rate – from public funds.

- Some states pay for priests to teach religious instruction in public schools – for example, Austria, Italy, Poland and Spain.

- A large majority of states require religious education or instruction to be given in public schools, usually with a distinct bias towards Christianity (sometimes a particular church) or else towards religion as opposed to non-religious lifestances.

- States with concordats with the Vatican include Austria, France (for Alsace Lorraine), Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg (the 1801 concordat with France), Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. Some of these are important, some of less significance.

- Some states allow churches to conduct legally valid marriages – for example, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, United Kingdom.

All these practices are contrary to state neutrality and to secularism.
DG do you think it's democratic to have "Lords Spiritual" in the upper house of UK parliament?
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 18 Sep 2013 23:23 #19

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Ultimate Seeker ™ wrote:
pheony wrote:
How are you going to vote? :rofl:

I really don't know. :rofl:
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(Actual) Facts About the EU 19 Sep 2013 11:35 #20

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Historically most referendums apparently go in favour of the status quo which would imply a "stay in" result is likely.

What I want to know is if the UK eurosceptics value democracy so much will they accept the result if it goes against their wishes, it'll be interesting to see.

This is quite a good analysis of the cost to England of leaving the EU:
blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/matspersson/100025320/what-would-leaving-the-eu-mean-for-the-uks-services-sector/
and states the UK would be worse off leaving the EU.

It will be interesting to see how the Scottish independence vote pans out aswell, it would appear to me completely feasible that the entire English economy collapse if Scotland leaves the UK and England the EU, I may be wrong but Scots pay more tax contributions to the UK government than the English, Alex Salmond:
“In every single one of the last 30 years, the amount of tax revenues generated per person in Scotland was greater than for the UK as a whole.”
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( £ 185 GBP )
donation thermometer
70%
Updated
27th February 2020

No one is obliged to donate, please only donate what you can afford. Even the smallest amount helps. Being an active member is a positive contribution. Thank You.