Well, ..that's it then.....we're coming out ......?

You are a bunch of UK bashers aren't you! The foreign companies that purchased these British assets aren't going to dump them just because the UK leaves the EU. What was the government doing owning these companies anyway? Please, get with the reality of a global economy and global trading partners. The UK will not sink into the North Sea, the people are some of the most innovative in the world with along list of great ideas (the internet for one, whatever Anglo Info thinks!). What is with this UK bashing anyway? I'm proud to be English and enjoy living in France.

Precisely Howard. A lot of people have no idea what part of the new New Zealand flag without the union flag is about which is purely naive. Roughly 60% of my 'Scots' relatives are in Canada. The ones I am in touch with often mention anti-British sentiments felt there, including ones who are pro-UK personally.

A couple of years ago an Australian politician spoke out about how 11 generations earlier his ancestor was deported to the then penal colony for being one of the people in England who spoke out in support of the French revolution. The man's wife and children were left behind but appear to have perished in poverty in a workhouse, however the x times great grandfather took a fellow convict as his wife (not knowing about the family in England, which the politician found out about when he searched for people he would be loosely related to). The MP tried to demand compensation from the UK but was told his ancestor was a felon. There must be many similar stories that add to resentment as well s the then EEC 'betrayal'.

People who believe the 'commonwealth' is the alternative as trading partners to Europe simply have no idea what the situation really is.

Much more is made by the UK of the value of the Commonwealth than most of its developed members. Australians see Britain as sporting adversaries and that's about it. Australia still remembers being dumped as a trading partner, when UK entered the EEC. By all accounts, it happened suddenly. I was in Tasmania a few years ago. It was once known as the "Apple Isle", as all it grew apples for the British market, in bulk and cheap. UK entry to EEC killed that market stone dead. It took them a long time to develop alternative trading links, eg with Japan and now China. Britain let down its partners before and mutiple times. Why should they trust her again?

Agreed, I was referring t the big push that began with the Thatcher-Major transition after the evidence that the BT flotation worked, RR was fully floated after 1990 in fact. You bought in on the first stage of privatisation.

The point on the emigrations is exactly the point and is also part of the history that is gradually turning some former colonies in the direction of ending the commonwealth relationship.

You are right Brian but I'm afraid I will have to correct you on the dates. Privatisation started much earlier, in 1984 with BT, which I missed as I was overseas. I bought into Rolls Royce in 1987 but it was the tail end of the initial boom, so shares were not as much of a bargain as earlier offers.

For those who like to bleat on about rekindling the glories of the British Empire, I think it's fair to point out that this "glorious" institution was founded and built by people, who were forced or otherwise motivated to leave the British Isles. Indeed, as many on SFN, they found a much better life than they had before they left. Few returned and many, who did, regretted it.

Think we jumped in close to each other Howard, there is part of the long list of what has been sold off starting before the EU came about.

More seriously though, in 1989 the election cleared the way for British Steel, British Petroleum, Rolls Royce, British Airways, water and electricity to be among the major utilities for sale. British Steel merged with the Dutch company Koninklijke Hoogovens to form Corus Group in 1999. BP: 40% of the shares are held in the UK, 39% in the USA and 21% are held throughout Europe and the rest of the world. JPMorgan Chase own 28.34%. British Airways is now part of International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A. which is a British-Spanish multinational airline holding company based in London, England, UK and with its registered office in Madrid, so Spanish controlled.

Three of the four generating companies are 'foreign' owned E.ON UK is owned by the German company E.ON, RWE npower is owned by the German utility company RWE and an international business, 'International Power' owned by the French company GDF Suez and EDF has the biggest share. But then the latter is now the biggest power supplier in the world. Let us not forget British Aerospace, British Telecom and Royal Mail, all of which are also no longer 'ours'. Only Rolls Royce and the water companies are UK holdings but with powerful overseas shareholders.

No, not the EU but opening up the 'free market' by selling off the country's assets but not giving the actual owners (us) direct benefits from the proceeds. So much is worldwide owned that the Nigels of this world with their myths about the UK does not need the EU where many of the holding companies are in reality are talking out of... Well let's leave that.

Draw your own conclusions. How does a country that has no assets survive?

"If we hadn't been in the EU, would we have ended up selling off to, or allowing in, French companies to supply us with electricity or run the rail networks ?.....(I'm sure there are other examples....) "

That had nothing to do with the EU. The rot started even before we entered the EEC. There were lots of missed opportunities after WWII, which Britain had but threw away.

It's a matter of mentality. The British want a quick buck (sounds better than a pound), even if it is worth less and less, whereas the continentals like to invest for the long term. In 1966, a pound bought DM 11.88 but less than DM10, 4 years later and I remember a time, before the Euro, when you could get less than DM 2.50.

and joint French-Chinese nuclear power projects.

Not to mention Chinese power stations.

We don't have much in the way of industry now....

If we hadn't been in the EU, would we have ended up selling off to, or allowing in, French companies to supply us with electricity or run the rail networks ?.....(I'm sure there are other examples....)

That is a very familiar 'argument' and mostly appears to reflect a kind of journalist whose soul was sold to the highest bidder long ago. The economics swing so far the other way that any notion the EU needs the UK is grasping for straws rather than having any substance. Yep, its got to be Nigel...

Are you actually called Nigel, Michael? Nice views but I’m not sure of their provenance. The U.K. Could end up as a lonely small island with very big debts and no industry. I’m glad that whatever happens I will be able to remain in France.

Glad you have your life so organised!

I have a feeling that the true situation is being misrepresented by over complicating the issues involved.

After all UK was fine before we joined the EU and membership has been quite expensive with many of the so called benefits being somewhat illusory.

UK imports much more from EU than we export so a trade war seems very unlikely as it would cost EU much more than UK.

Europe's problems with the Euro and debtor states is just beginning and will certainly get much worse.

The governance of the EU is appalling. The accounts are a mess and fraud is rife. Accountability seems to be wholly missing. Pretty much like FIFA.

UK manufacturing already complies with EU regulations although that doesn't seem to stop French contractors from refusing to install products sourced in UK without the NF mark even though they are often made in EU and comply with all regs.

It is unlikely that EU countries would discriminate against resident UK citizens as they contribute quite a lot to the local economies and take little or nothing out - health costs are already met by UK NHS and would probably continue to be so.

It is unlikely that UK would discriminate against UK citizens living abroad especially after the unified electoral register was in place and the 15 year rule abolished. Why upset so many voters?

UK would save the present net contribution to EU and would be spared from the constantly increasing demands of the Brussels apparatchiks for more money. Regularly well above inflation and hard to justify by delivery of any extra benefits.

Whatever Hollande and Merkel may say the EU almost certainly needs UK more than the reverse. Given the looming problems caused by the imbalance in Euro economies the loss of UK's contribution will put a severe strain on Germany who presently pays most of the cost of the recent chaos in the Euro zone. German voters are getting increasingly unhappy about this it seems.

There may be a few downsides but I find it hard to pin them down. A lot of speculation about but until it happens no one actually will know what will happen. Like the infamous "Millennium Bug" probably very little.

All I can say is, here in France, we saw the writing on the wall several years ago for a possible/probable UK exit from EU, and started to make plans for that event...We've spent years taking steps, downsizing 5 years ago to enable us also to buy a UK property, and now (within a week of launch - what poor market?!) have just agreed an offer on our main home here. We managed, 6 months ago, to also buy somewhere much cheaper and a bit smaller in the same hamlet, to move into, and will then have the financial means to also buy a bigger/better place in UK for winters initially, and then to return to permanently. If we have to 'write off' the hamlet house in the future, so be it...

All this has taken 5 years, with many voices in our ears and in the media stating 'An exit will never happen', etc...but because, even living here, we would vote to Exit for what we strongly feel is best for UK in the long run (sorry Brian!) we felt there must also be a lot of others who felt the same, ex-pats and UK dwellers.....seems so. At the same time we know the mentality of our lovely French co-habitants and, if the UK were to leave, yes, there would be areas and folks that would be only too chuffed to make life difficult for 'Les Anglais' (the authorities that 'be' would ensure it), so again, we have tried to minimise the impact on us should that start to happen, giving ourselves options, at cost and slog to us initially.

When we hear of people stating how awful the UK is, etc, here and on Forums, we realise that for many they have no experience of the stunning area (Wye Valley) eg. we lived in, or Northumberland where we intend to relocate, which (wash my mouth out as a Welshman!) can be argued is even more stunning and lovely to live in... We don't all hail from drab inner-city living, nor all intend to return to that. I feel for folks that are concerned at the way the vote could go, but if OH and I can plan what we've taken 5-6 years to achieve, as relative oldies with no income, so can others if they genuinely feel trapped and at the mercy of a vote.

Blimey! Two articles in the Guardian in a week that don't blame Cameron and the Conservatives (latest hit "The Doctor Can't See You Now") for all ills in the world. Highly unlikely that we will get the whole truth from anybody. The only hope is that the EU implodes under the strain before the referendum and a sensible, new European trading club arises from the ashes. If not, the devil you know......

>>Staying in hotels is still very much a 'treat' for me..

If you do it rarely, it will remain a treat but if you do it frequently, you tire of it. Years ago, I worked for a multinational company, who insisted that their staff stayed in 4 or 5 star hotels when travelling. My job was international so I did travel quite a bit and I tired of the highlife to the extent that I used to seek out more basic accomodation and serviced apartments, because they offer more freedom.

I don't envy anyone who spends their life in a hotel

It all needs to be put in perspective. The game UK politicians are playing is a form of roulette with the wealth the UK has left without taking people fully into account. There is an article in the Grauniad this morning that is not politically biased left or right but just describes the world economic order. That is where the EU fits in. The obsession with closer integration is about economic survival and not the political merging the likes of Farage use to build arguments on. The many different constitutions, legal systems, political structures and other denominators stand against it ever happening. Closer economic integration as a continent is a survival strategy. Using migrants to rationalise arguments spites the real situation worldwide. This article simply describes the situation briefly, without too much detail and does not come down with any kind of politically biased judgement of the situation. Just read it and then juxtapose Europe into the picture: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/11/world-order-collapse-refugees-emerging-economies-china-slowdown-recession

Shirley, could you please let me know where you found that all those currently registered to vote in the UK will have to re-register for voting in any referendum as my information is that anyone who is registered to vote will be able to do so in any referendum.

The 15 year rule still stands but is the subject of a Liberal Democrat amendment in the House of Lords - to allow all UK nationals living abroad the right to vote in the referendum. The 15 year rule (or Votes for Life Bill as it is also called) is due to come before the House of Commons this session i.e. before the end of May. However whether this will give the Electoral Commission the time to arrange everything before any referendum is questionable.