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  1. Britain lives with the image of winning WW2 and has not really felt to need to make peace with other European countries. Thus, Europe is not an overriding thing like it has been for France and Germany;

  2. Plus, several centuries of divide-and-conquer are hard to forget. The EU evokes a visceral threat of continent unification;

  3. the UK media is dominated by virulently anti-EU Murdoch papers and TV channels;

  4. 25 years of deregulatory drive and dominance of finance, money and self-regulation don't mix well with a technocratic bureaucracy bent on imposing explicit rules and trying to build the political legitimacy for it.

Fighting the political nature of the EU remains a fundamental goal for London in every way - against isolation, against regulation, against uppity foreigners.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 04:25:19 PM EST
Well that sounds a little bitter - even to these old ex-pat ears ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 04:29:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"We are quite the best country in Europe," she declared. "In my lifetime all the problems have come from mainland Europe, and all the solutions have come from the English-speaking nations across the world."

 (October 1999



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 04:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anecdotal...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:04:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I no longer represent any Anglo-Saxon point of view. That was 40 years ago. I DO represent (in my own mind) the Nordic point of view. The Nordic point of view is imperfect, but, I believe, it represents the best of empathic Europe at the moment. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland: the best models imho for the future of Europe as a continent of PEOPLE...

...at peace.

I will never see that - but I am prepared to work toward it.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:20:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
I no longer represent any Anglo-Saxon point of view. That was 40 years ago. I DO represent (in my own mind) the Nordic point of view. The Nordic point of view is imperfect, but, I believe, it represents the best of empathic Europe at the moment. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland: the best models imho for the future of Europe as a continent of PEOPLE...

nice one sven, still looking for a sense of 'psychic home' myself. sure wish i could feel prouder of italy right now.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 05:33:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Finland didn't seem that good a decision in 1974 - but the deeper I've got the more I like it. There's a psychological element, I'm sure - so much of Finland today reminds me of childhood in the Leicestershire countryside.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 10th, 2009 at 02:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a psychological element? nah...

:)

funny you say that about childhood, the woods here in italy remind me of the idealised woods i grew up with in england, robin hood, maid marian, and sir lancelot kind.

user-friendly

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 02:09:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which reminds me of a new tagline for the Anglo Disease - 'Usury-Friendly'

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 02:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think number 1 is the most important thing, and it explains a lot of the EU-scepticism in Sweden too. People 'round here always, always, always ignore that no matter how stupid, inefficient etc the EU is, it's so much better than the natural European state of afairs: war.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 04:35:34 PM EST
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Starvid: it's so much better than the natural European state of afairs: war.

While I agree with you that the peace dividend of the EU is a huge if not the hugest benefit that the EU provides, I wonder how much weight it bears as a selling point to the UK.  For if the UK left the EU, how significantly would that increase the probability that war would break out in Europe?  I'm guessing not by very much.  But even if it did make European peace significantly more precarious, realistically how credible would that be as a disincentive to those seeking UK "independence" from the EU?

Other more vivid and compelling upsides to embracing the EU -- and downsides to rejecting it -- must be identified and communicated.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:12:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are two different scenarios to consider:

  1. The UK leaves the EU, but the EU remains.

  2. The EU disintegrates.

In the first scenario, the UK is basically a glorified version of Iceland, except that they've managed to piss off everybody nearby, except the Americans (who treat them like a disposable landing strip today...), whereas Iceland can still draw on Nordic solidarity.

The second scenario would seriously destabilise Europe, probably to the point of igniting at least a couple of minor wars, and quite possibly a major one.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS: In the first scenario, the UK is basically a glorified version of Iceland, except that they've managed to piss off everybody nearby, except the Americans (who treat them like a disposable landing strip today...), whereas Iceland can still draw on Nordic solidarity.

Well then too bad for the UK, with sympathies to Euro-philes who live there.

JakeS: The second scenario would seriously destabilise Europe, probably to the point of igniting at least a couple of minor wars, and quite possibly a major one.

I supposed that this scenario was so unlikely as to be not worth worrying about.  Are you saying that UK withdrawal could encourage other countries to withdraw as well?  Or that the EU without the UK would not be able to sustain itself (administratively, financially, economically, whatever)?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:47:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I supposed that this scenario was so unlikely as to be not worth worrying about.

Well, that's true. So the selling point for the UK would not so much be "Europe will disintegrate into bloody, messy wars without the UK in the EU" as "Iceland is not in the EU. Ireland is in the EU. Which one would you guys prefer to be?"

But of course that argument cannot hope to be effective if the British still labour under the delusion that the UK is a serious world power.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 07:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
except the Americans (who treat them like a disposable landing strip today...)

Now that's not fair.  We use them for moral cover, too.

And, anyway, it's not like we treat them as a disposable landing strip for the same reason anymore.  It's just that the President knows the PM is Dead Man Walking, so we reckon we might as well cosy up to Merkel and Sarko.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 07:11:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
In the first scenario, the UK is basically a glorified version of Iceland, except that they've managed to piss off everybody nearby
And a lot of people within (only the English nationalist would be happy).

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 03:50:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But turkeys don't vote for thanksgiving. One of the kinda crucial points about the British strategic picture is that nobody would take them seriously if they weren't in the Union.

But I just thought of an exceedingly nasty scenario: What if a couple of the kingdoms secede and petition the EU for membership. Now that would be a nasty flash point. Imagine the reaction of a Tory government that had just pulled out of the EU to Wales and Scotland seceding and sending a polite "can we join, pretty please?" letter to Bruxelles.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:56:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We discussed these kinds of scenarios in 2006/7.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 05:01:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In all likelihood, if the UK tries to leave, this is exactly what will happen.

Which would be perfectly ironic - the UK breaking up completely because it refuses to give up some of its sovereignty by joining the EU.

It would also put Northern Ireland in an interesting position.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 08:50:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must work out whether Sinn Fein are anti-EU or what. They opposed Lisbon and so on, but I forget on what basis.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 09:11:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they're not too bad: http://www.sinnfein.ie/eu-affairs
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See:


The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 09:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scenario 1 (The UK leaves the EU, but the EU remains) should probably be split in at least 2 sub-scenarios:

  • the EU remains, and the UK is a quasi-member à la Switzerland/Norway/EEA (ie, most of the regulations and ease of access remain); or

  • the EU remains, and starts treating the UK like a foreign country, like the US is treated, for instance(ie no access to EU passport lines, to intra-EU trade rules, etc...).


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris: the EU remains, and the UK is a quasi-member à la Switzerland/Norway/EEA (ie, most of the regulations and ease of access remain)

at a cost:

What if we Left the European Union? | BERR

If we wished to continue trading with the EU - for example as a member of European Free Trade Area (EFTA ) (like Switzerland) or the European Economic Area (EEA) (like Norway) - we would still have to comply with EU laws, while having no say in negotiating them.  We might even have to keep up contributions to the EU budget as the price of continued access to the Single Market, but get nothing in return.


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fact id swiss is joining the EU just because of this... And the rest will follow. Even the UKIP fanatic on TV the other day said he would keep the good sides of the EU, before driving off in his white BMW Z4 roadster... It was hilarious.

Patrice Ayme Patriceayme.com Patriceayme.wordpress.com http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com/
by Patrice Ayme on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:36:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus there is the fact London operates as the even less regulated in some ways annex of wall Street, and a Trojan Horse made in USA (which is not much to say these days)

Patrice Ayme Patriceayme.com Patriceayme.wordpress.com http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com/
by Patrice Ayme on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:33:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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