Why I Left The EU

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From our Swindon correspondent:

A personal post, but I think this sums up my pragmatic reasons for leaving. The EEC might have made sense at one time. No, not saying it was perfect. It was still a protective club. But, who did we trade with in the world? It was mostly Europe, buying Volkswagens from Munich and Nectarines from Provence. Shutting out the rest of the world didn’t make much difference, lowering barriers within did..Back in the 80s, Eastern Europe was communist, China was communist, Africa, South America, India and the much of Asia were also generally quite communist or run by corrupt, murderous dictators.

If we’d wanted radio equipment, we’d have probably naturally bought from a British company, or maybe Phillips or someone in Germany. China’s exports were mostly textiles and oil. Cutting edge technology? Not really.

The more the rest of the world has embraced free trade, the more we’ve traded with them, the less worthwhile being in that club looks. Protecting EU producers always made EU citizens poorer, but that’s a significant effect now. We’re out. Next thing is to scrap all tariffs so we can buy from whoever we like. The best 5G and cheaper wine from Chile and Georgia, hurrah!

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Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

It’s an interesting perspective. As with everything it’s the net cost that is key. For me, whilst the Single Market has benefits, those have been eclipsed by the costs of regulation. And whilst the benefits are not going to increase much in the future, the costs of regulation are going to keep on going up. And the Single market was created to lower trade barriers, at fist in Europe yes, but then across the world, as other countries got access to the Single Market by lowering their barriers. Instead, the Eu now uses the “integrity” of the Single Market as… Read more »

John B
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John B

‘ But, who did we trade with in the world?‘ Pre-1973: agricultural products from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina (particularly beef), Rhodesia, South Africa, Israel, West Indies, India, Pakistan – in exchange for which UK shipped RHD cars and a range of manufactured goods, also successfully bought and sold to the three Scandinavian Countries, Ireland, Switzerland, Portugal (those six plus UK = EFTA), electronics and/or cars from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea. ‘ It was mostly Europe, buying Volkswagens from Munich and Nectarines from Provence. Shutting out the rest of the world didn’t make much difference, lowering barriers within did.’‘ No… Read more »

TD
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TD

Interesting discussion. So, the article’s point was that being corralled wasn’t a big deal if there was nothing outside the corral. However, if there was then it was a big deal. I guess the lesson is to resist being corralled or learn to jump fences.

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

I think you’re overstating the value of things like selling cars to Rhodesia. Trade with the EEC grew, mostly because it was higher value and for the other things, that trade was so much closer in proximity, in a time when things like transportation were expensive.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

In my view, it was never about trade – the difference between single market and WTO being a rounding error. My concern was that the UK was a very bad fit with the continental model, because: 1. Geography – being an island has significant implications for trade, border control etc. 2. Law – common law vs Roman law. 3. Economy – service based not agriculture/manufacture based. So while it may be argued that being in a big (friendly?) club may give us greater international clout – that clout is useless if it’s directed towards goals that aren’t appropriate to the… Read more »

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

To some extent, I think services grew because of this. If you’re a company making things, there’s a cost in time and cash in getting goods to Europe. Even before everything else, you’re at a disadvantage. Services have a lot less gravity. The manufacturing we have isn’t what many people think of as manufacturing. All that “just in time” stuff is mostly nonsense. We aren’t doing much production line manufacturing. That’s the low value stuff which we shipped to Asia and Eastern Europe. And not just us but the French and Germans too. Those little Fiat 500s are all made… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Good points – I’d add that ‘gravity’ works differently for an island than for a continental state. Pretty much anything physical the UK exports goes by container these days. And a significant part of the shipping cost is getting it to the quay at Felixstowe (other ports are available), after which the additional cost of it getting to Sydney or New York isn’t much greater than getting it to Rotterdam (it might well be cheaper to send it to Shanghai than to Rotterdam). Whereas for a German manufacturer, it really is cheaper to deliver to Poland than to Portugal and… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

Quentin, the legal and cultural differences between Britain and the continent are surely problem statements meant to be “solved” by ever-tighter (compulsory) integration!

Clem Fandango
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Clem Fandango

All very good ideas, but does any of us really believe the UK aren’t simply going to replace farm subsidies here? Although, I suppose that if UK produce is on price parity with produce imports it won’t matter too much.