Ex pat views of Britain leaving EU

Hi Everyone,

I noticed some of you have started discussions on this already, but I am writing an article on the reaction in France to Cameron's EU referendum plan for the.local.fr

What is your reaction to his speech?

Are you worried about the knock on effects?

Feel free to reply or email me at ben.mcpartland@thelocal.fr



One thing is, you clearly want honest answers.

Fair questions in what you say. I understand economics well enough to not have wool pulled over my eyes. Indeed I have far more education in that discipline than George Osborne who sometimes says thing off the cuff that those who brief him must wish to strangle him for. The public are lead a merry dance about the UK's contribution to the EU. It is so often put in a £s figure that is a breathtaking amount of money but very rarely in real terms as a proportion of the UK economy, there it becomes small change. Little is said in terms of what comes back in agricultural subsidies, etc. That is pure politicking and that is where people need exact and honest information.

I too am very critical of France and Germany pulling far too many strings. I sincerely hope Merkel loses the election in September and that an incoming one will drop the austerity approach which is the string being used to manipulate other countries. France is showing signs of turning but Hollande is vague and without the apparent dander to stand up and say what he has so far whispered out loud. His government are no better than the one before though, so the less said the better. The UK has had two referenda. I was there to vote in one, working abroad for the other, but they brought the UK to the table to sign treaties and from then on in 'our' politicians could have taken a more central role. However, the treaties are binding agreements. Thatcher and Blair between them blocked that, even though the latter is playing the great European right now, it cost the UK a lot of influence. If the UK somehow gets to the referendum and leaves the EU it is, as many people are telling Westminster, a one way ticket. I doubt my 'countrymen and women' will choose independence next year but leaving the EU would almost certainly bring that about as Scotland seeks to retain oil and gas revenues and make its own trading agreements to begin with. It is one of the core arguments of Scottish Nationalists and the one issue that would have Labour and Lib Dems in Scotland joining forces and demanding a new referendum. Again, not out of my head but already foreseen by people in the know both sides of the border. The point there is that, alone England and Wales would be isolated in Europe and what China, the USA and other powerful influences are saying is do not go there. I hope common sense prevails and consigns this issue to history.

Were the Irish people not given a referendum to decide? I just do not want the UK paying a huge amount into the 'pot', so any deal David Cameron can obtain for the better of the UK is ok with me. The UK, and particularly England, is not the rich country all these countries with begging bowls seem to think. I am not just talking Europe here. So why is it that we pay a fairly hefty percentage into the EU but seem to have very little in return? Are we paying for the poorer countries of Europe that are all now piling onto the gravy train? Why is it that it appears to me that France and Germany run the show? If we stay in the EU will we finally go over to the Euro, as exchange rates are playing hell with our personal finances? These are questions that I want my government to answer. If we do have a referendum (which always seem to be in one of the party's manifestos prior to an election but mysteriously disappears once elected) will we be given the complete picture or propaganda? However, 2017 is a little way off so I shall continue to watch this space so to speak. These are the ramblings of a citizen of the UK who would love to retire with her husband to France, to their house in Sarthe, where they can watch the world go by.

I don't think you are thick. It was a swipe at Westminster compared to Dublin, not to the English people and said very flippantly.

I am of a very different view and position though. At the time of the French and Germans shaking hands, had de Gaulle not blocked the UK then it would have been a key player from the word go. The Treaty of Rome proposed rapid economic and monetary union rather than what happened and certainly not the EEC that those who only want trade are calling for the relationship to be. I make no illusions about the 60s and 70s, it is just that all of Europe was becoming stable, the Cold War was slowly thawing and change was clearly on the cards. I prefer internationalism to even federalism but if it is a step on the way, in my lifetime I very much hope to see a Europe that is far closer. The obsession with that being some kind of communist type superstate is ridiculous, so I don't even want to think about it. As for the former commonwealth, well by the late 1960s the rifts between the UK and the bigger ones was so great that what has been recovered since might not be believed by people from that period. When many countries gained independence the resentment was enormous, that is too often ironed over conveniently. Right now the rifts are reopening, Australia and New Zealand are quite hostile although I am not sure exactly why. Personally, my ideal is a world that grows together and is far more peaceful and equitable than today. If the EU is a step down that road then it is great by me, it is still young in real terms and needs far more time to consolidate. I hope the Euro recovers and grows, right now the indicators for that are more positive than negative but more so I would like to live to see the deep misery many European people, including those on the British isles, have been driven into brought to an end by politicians who engage with those issues and not simply appear to be pouring money into bottomless pits like debt creation.

Of course I am worried for England. My children and grandchildren are there. I sometimes wish we had never joined the EU and the times you thought were better during the 60s and 70s were when we were not in the EU and our trading partners were the Commonwealth. I preferred them days too but sometimes wonder if I am looking at them woth rose tinted glasses. By the way I am English and not thick.

Why not? I have spent enough of my nigh on 65 years there, have my sister and her family there, friends too and I also believe the entire population deserves better. I have seen when things were getting better during the late 1960s and early 1970s and often wonder what went wrong since. I am not at all worried for myself, so call it a social conscience if you like. Are you not worried then?

I think a few of us here have completely turned our backs on the UK, it's more the hassle of going through the naturalisation process here that is a pain. I have everything printed off and ready to fill in but the documentation required - parents birth certificates etc - is a real pain. No problems, I fit all the requirements and don't even have to sit the new language test but the admin...!

Why are you so worried Brian? Have you not already turned your back on the UK?

Mind you, Boris probably smells the pack out to hunt DC out of office and he is after the job himself, as he has made obvious for a couple of years. There again, his speech made London centre of the universe and Essex the next airport, let alone forget everywhere else.

Thanks Cate. For a moment I thought I was going a little crazy. You have restored my sanity. :-)

And now even his own party are turning on them. Me thinks the Tory Grandees can smell a crushing electoral defeat unless they get this mess sorted. Nothing loses you an election quicker than a very bad economic state.

Boris Johnson now turns on Osborne

Steve Bell 25.01.2013

© Steve Bell 2013

Plato's 'Republic' is a Socratic dialogue in which he described justice and the order and character of the just city-state in which free men were the Polis or citizens. All women, children, servants and slaves were considered property. The parallels with the contemporary are difficult to justify unless one means that bankers, industrialists and other entrepreneurs with the greatest wealth are the Polis and the politicians are the highest ranking servants and slaves. I am not sure it works well but perhaps. Davos was a small mountain village. It had expensive hotels, top chefs and so on. Now it has a maximum security area within which a luxury complex stands and all of the great and good (??) turn up to meet to decide how to move monopoly money around the world. It is a world in which history BA Osborne responsible for the economy and the descendant of King William IV, Mr ordinary 'call me Dave' feel totally at home. It does not fill me with confidence when I think about such people 'ruling' rather than governing the united kingdoms of Great Britain.

Nick digging this out from a source in UK is exactly the critical point: When not even people from UK trust, how then the rest of Europe? France and Germany alone can not lift the problems of a bureaucratic water-head alone, they need to make a sweet-sour face to DC's very indecisive promise for a plebiscite somewhere in a remote future. They want to gain time. It is as simple as this.
So perhaps it is nothing more than a thimble-rigger. Merkel, with her close ties to the three largest banks in Germany would be more than happy to waive the Transaction Tax and to sell this as a compromise to the Germans by saying it was for the survival of UK's membership in the EU. The current government in France is so self focused and is missing the needed experience which is, surprise, surprise, covered up with a conflict in the Magreb. Does this not look familiar to 2003?
Well, it would makes sense to remember how the Bush-administration managed to push the Tobin Tax into oblivion, but DC's Davos outing today to call for international co-operations to make sure that global companies pay their fair share of tax is for me a clear sign that quite other interests are crucial then the bureaucracy in Brussels.
The trick is not bad, it can produce a result in which all can emerge as alleged winners because the "post-negotiations" of course are not really hold in public but at cocktail parties in embassies. Thus are not observed by the media and then the facts can easily be created as needed.
To calm everybody down, it can be said that the "people" already in the country of origin of democracy in ancient Greece was a very restrictive term, since only a very limited group of citizens political participation was granted. Thus, in a Greek polis could be only free men who where allowed to participate in public meetings. The rest were slaves and serfs ... And today: Davos is just a small mountain village. If I'm correct here, then there will be the outcome a yes vote for EU and all was a bit smoke.

And the FT wades in with yet more scorn on the dynamic duos grip on Economic reality.

FT thoughts on the triple dip recession

Strange. I thought that David Cameron said he does not wish to leave the EU but if re-elected he would give the people a referendum to vote Yes or No to stay in. This would be after he had renegotiated terms for the UK. I, for one, would welcome a chance to vote on this. After all it is nearly 40 years since the first referendum when I was just a few months short of 18.

Here we go, a headline in the Guardian Business ection:

Britain heading for triple-dip recession as GDP shrinks 0.3% in fourth quarter

UK economy not expected to regain peak level for another two years – marking slowest recovery in a century

A century! Last year the double dip was the worst in two decades. Now look what a good, promising prosperous place they are building for post-EU survival.... They sabre rattle at Europe, do not listen to the IMF, make a lot of hypocritical wind in Davos and next day here is the news. It is so inspiring that I think I'd like to encourage them to leave the EU next week so that the rest of us can get our lives sorted out and leave this shower to get on with it. This must be about the grimmest week in politics since all the German press could say about Neville Chamberlain was how ridiculous his umbrella was when he went to see Mr H in Munich in September 1938. Nobody believed the paper they signed and soon the Sudetenland was occupied. This all has nothing to do with now, but it reminds us that when the UK has a totally useless PM disaster will usually follow. Forthcoming adventures will be so exciting I can almost bear not reading them!


Yes Nick, I knew what Gideon had studied, plus that Dave's background is PR. Great!

Both in Davos, telling the world what to do at G8 yet letting City pals and others do what the heck they like because clever accountants advise them on ways of avoiding taxes legitimately. What did call-me-Dave's father do to earn their family fortune? He advised people on ways of avoiding taxes legitimately for large fees... I have no confidence in the whatsoever. To ignore the IMF is to risk attention from ratings agencies who will look at the £ € exchange rate, do market risk assessments that will include the relationship with the EU just that much more, look very seriously at what Tata who own Jaguar and Landrover are saying about moving to the European mainland and crash, bang more cuts in everything and taxes, etc up for those who cannot afford either. History and PR really do teach people how to run economies...

Yet more evidence that Osborne and Cameron really don't know what they are doing with the economy. Did you know Osborne is not an Economist, and read History at University?

UK heading to triple dip Redession

First time in our history no less.

IMF Tell UK they need to stop current course

So, if we can't trust them on this crucial issue, why would we consider anything else they say or plan is worth listening too?