11 March 2016

Referendum

In Great Britain, the news is all about the forthcoming referendum on Europe. In or out? Out or in? That's what we have to decide on June 23rd. Why we need such a referendum now and why it all boils down to such a simple question, I have no idea. Personally, I would like to see more questions on the ballot paper - a string of questions connected with Britain's membership of The European Union. 

For example - Should the European Supreme Court have power to override judgments made within the established framework of Britain's legal systems? And here's another one - Should the enormously costly European Parliament be consolidated within one location - Brussels or Strasbourg? And there are plenty of other searching questions it would be worth asking.

Even the main question proposed  - "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"  would be better if one of the optional answers was "Not Sure" instead of just "Leave" or "Remain".

Looking ahead it is highly likely that millions of eligible voters will not vote for a variety of reasons on June 23rd. Many young people moving around in the rental sector seem to fall through the net of the electoral register and there are many intelligent, well-informed people whose decision not to vote should not be dismissed as pure apathy. In or Out may well be decided by a a few million voters when our country has a population of some sixty three million.

There are loud voices for staying and equally loud voices for going. None of them know what the future might hold. It's not about logic, it's about gut feeling. One of the things that I have always thought about the European Union is that it seems to be driven by big business and financial institutions. The well-being of the people can seem like a secondary consideration. You only have to look at the awful situation in Greece to see how much The Europe Union really cares about its citizens. Voting for big business does not come naturally to me.

In or out? Whatever happens on June 23rd, Great Britain will still be connected with Europe. If the vote is to leave, total disentanglement will be frankly impossible. Trade will continue and so will cultural exchange. The British people who now live on the European continent will not suddenly be coming home and our Polish builders will continue to lay bricks and plaster our walls. We will never have the ability to "go it alone".

The question on the ballot paper may at first appear straightforward but this is by no means a straightforward issue. That is why, for the time being at least, I shall continue to sit on the fence.

33 comments:

  1. I don't think you're alone there sitting on the fence, Yorkie. I hope you not only managed to get yourself a position next to a post, but have a very comfortable cushion of some sort with...so you can rest your hip.

    It's a difficult one, and one I feel I'm not in the position to comment upon - not from here where I am. It's a very much like...you're damned if you do...and you're damned if you don't.

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    1. Up here on the fence I can see both sides. Trouble is there are now so many of us up here that the fence is in danger of collapsing.

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    2. There is an excellent article in one of our newpapers today (well...I think it's pretty good); and I thought of your post. If or when I find it online, I'll send it to you, Yorkie.

      I'm sure you can multi-task...as in sit on the fence and read the article at the same time! I won't ask you to pat your head and rub your tum at the same time, though...that might be pushing things a little too far! :)

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  2. Not got the foggiest how to vote, so move up and make room please.

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    1. Okay I am moving along Tiddles.

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  3. I am glad I don't have to decide on the issue! It's going to be hard enough to decide where to make my little cross on Sunday, when Baden-Wuerttemberg is holding its regular election for the Landtag.

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  4. I'm for OUT.
    I see no need for an unaccountable bureaucracy.
    There is no chance of negotiating any meaningful improvement in the relationship.

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    1. In 1975 I voted NO. Back then people imagined they were voting for a union of free trade, not for the gravy trains of bureaucrats we see in Brussels and Strasbourg today. But have we come too far now? I don't know.

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    2. No we have Junker as boss, a man elected because he was preferable to Schultz.
      Dithery Dave said after the Lisbon Treaty that he didn't know how we had given away so much for so little. Yet now he thinks there may be euros flowing his way has decided that all is well.
      TTIP is another problem that is going to rear it's ugly head. It's being negotiated by Commissioners or is that commissionaires. They will be on commission without a doubt. What is the hidden agenda? Who benefits? Trade tariffs between Europe and the USA can't be the reason as they are only 3% now.
      I wish we could all get on and I'm sure we will when we leave or the EU collapses. There are too many conflicting interests for it to survive, too many disparate requirements and far too many politicians and hangers on with their noses in the trough.

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    3. PS. I do dislike the word BREXIT. It sounds like Esperanto for an item of surgical underwear.

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    4. I thought that BREXIT was a collection of children's plastic building blocks. A bit like "Lego".

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    5. Indeed it sounds like that! I can see the advert in my head: "Want a castle for your little plastic knights? BREXIT! - A station for your model railway? BREXIT! - Whatever you have in mind to build, you can now BREXIT! Get the starter set for just 59,99!"

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    6. Kids could even build their own little libraries with BREXIT complete with little plastic librarians made entirely from BREXIT.

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  5. I think the press has somewhat failed us so far in explaining the full ramifications of either vote -- and that may be partly because no one knows. The NYT had an editorial several days ago that outlined the ways leaving could hurt Britain's economy:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/07/opinion/leaving-the-eu-would-hurt-britains-economy.html

    And The Guardian (if I remember right) had an article about the costs of creating a whole new layer of regulatory power on a national level, to replace what we would lose by leaving Europe. I can't find it now, but I did find this one, from a few years ago, exploring the issues:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/14/brexit-what-would-happen-if-britain-left-eu-european-union-referendum-uk

    Anyway, yes, it is complicated as hell. I would be hard-pressed to know for sure how to vote. (If I could vote!) I can see why "not sure" isn't an option, though -- what would they do with a "not sure" result?!

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    1. Thank you Steve. I will check out those links later. Do you want my vote? I'll sell it to you for twenty five quid if you are interested.

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    2. Steve we are already paying for two houses of regulators over a thousand of them and that without their advisers and the Civil Service. If they can't manage between them they should resign and let in someone who can govern. That is what they are there for. They aren't even there for anything like a full working year so they could always pop in a bit of overtime.

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  6. Seems from the above thatyour name may well be Steve. If so then I would prefer to call you that rather than Yorkshire Pudding, which conjures up an image of something which (if it is like my Yorkshire Puddings) can be either fantastic, almost lifting the top of the oven off, mediocre(not much better than Aunt Bessie's) of downright squidgy.
    So Steve - I have made up my mind about the EU question, I shall not change it, so refuse to listen to all the boring stuff on TV about it at present.

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    1. No Mrs Weaver, I am not Steve - he is the American fellow behind "Shadows & Light". You may call me Marmaduke if you like but that's not my name... it's Neil if you must know.

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  7. Well, for heavens sake, Mr. Pudding. Don't ask us from over the pond what our opinion is. We keep doing things, it seems, wrong and then wronger and then wrongest! Plus, all our wonderful congressmen and women worked a total of 78 days in Washington last year. But they did get some things done, you know. In the last few years, they have voted and approved legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) a total of 53 times. Not much else has gotten done, but it is not that they were doing nothing, you know.

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    1. I believe I detect a morsel of sarcasm in your observation of what has been happening in Washington. Obamacare? Well who would want to live in a society where people's healthcare requirements are not entirely connected with how much money they have in the bank?

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  8. I live in the USA so can only watch the upcoming vote. Someone mentioned Obamacare, well, that was an outright lie when we were told we could keep our insurance if we like it, and keep our choice of doctor too.

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    1. What if an American citizen couldn't afford health insurance? What about them and their children?

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  9. Big business runs things over here too. When it comes to ballot questions, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

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    1. Democracy! It's a wonderful thing isn't it Red? ...Isn't it?

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  10. I'm with the marmalade cat....he appears bored by all the political mumbo-jumbo and is actually debating whether to bother trying to catch a bird, or just settling for cat food.

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    1. Have you got whiskers and a tail Pammy?

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    2. Pass the clotted cream, we'll have pudding now.

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    3. As I am a gentleman, I shall not resist Beverley.

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  11. Neil/Mr Pudding, I can't really comment meaningfully on this since I'm in the US (but I am very interested to see what happens as I'm in the UK in my mind!). Is that beautiful cat at the top of the post yours? I must have him!

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  12. Hello Jean,
    Thanks for dropping by. No it is not my cat or my photo. I just searched Google Images for a cat sitting on a fence. And that was the picture I liked best.
    Best wishes,
    Neil (YP)

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  13. I really favored that part, but hehe Midas Touch I am not that harsh like my dad with these things. He at all times tells me crazy stories back within the day and calls me a loser. I suppose its time.For more ==== >>>>>> http://brainammoadvice.com/midas-touch-scam-or-not/

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  14. It's a difficult question indeed. I was a firm 'yes' the first time round and my gut reaction is still to vote for unity. However I'm not sure that staying in is necessarily that.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.