Chris Croft's Personal Blog

February 28, 2016

Europe – in or out – summary of the arguments

Filed under: Uncategorized — chriscroft @ 12:30 pm

EU Croft


It’s a big important subject and everyone is biased.  So let’s look at all the arguments and try to decide based on facts…..

Arguments for staying in

  • The fear of the unknown – it’s a risk we don’t need to take
  • We are currently getting the best of both in and out – we have border control, we aren’t locked into the Euro, but we have easy trade agreements and some influence
  • Most of the business people think we are better off financially staying in (e.g. Richard Branson, whose views I respect immensely, he’s not in anyone’s pocket)
  • We would have to renegotiate all our trade deals with every country – a huge nightmare!
  • What other unpicking will there need to be??
  • We’ll have to pay more to everyone who we trade with – trade restrictions, levies, duty, etc
  • Risk of reduced inward investment (or maybe the reverse if we are different and freer??)
  • The Eu block has big negotiating clout with China etc
  • Maybe even military safety from being in the club
  • Once out we could never get back in again
  • We can always decide to leave in 5 or 10 years time if the Eu gets worse – that option is still open
  • What are the “terrible” laws that have been “forced up on us by the Eu”?  I haven’t seen a single convincing example of these…

Arguments for getting out

  • Everyone else in Europe is bankrupt so if we join with them it HAS to be bad
  • The Eu is more likely to get worse than better – more interference, and more poor
  • We are doing best and that’s because we’re half out, so let’s get ALL out
  • Supply and demand rules anyway – we sell because we’re good not because of the Eu, and that will always be the case
  • We don’t get any favours at the moment – the French don’t buy our beef, etc
  • We are the only mugs who follow the rules, so we lose out
  • the Germans and to an extent the French run the show, not us
  • The rules and financial settings of the group can’t be best for us, they will always be an average
  • It isn’t working at the moment – all they do is bicker and have failed on immigrants, Schengen etc
  • We are a net payer-in at the moment (9 billion)
  • We don’t want to share our fisheries, especially with people who overfish.
  • The MPs want us to stay in because it’s a gravy train for them personally – Cameron has only changed his tune (he used to be for exit) because he’s now PM and he’s look bad if he wanted to leave (imagine his position if he votes out but the vote keeps us in!)
  • We could be a freewheeling alternative to the Eu – as we have been in the past – great for inward investment, relations with the US, etc
  • Look at Switzerland – they seem fine
  • If Europe all collapses at some point in the future (France Italy Spain Greece) we don’t want to go down with it
  • We can’t make around trade deals with India and China, we have to do it via the EU with 28 other idiots all with their own agendas
  • Even though we are outside Schengen we are not allowed to turn away anybody from within Europe who wants to come into our country
  • We are the fifth largest economy in the world – big enough to stand on our own two feet
  • David Owen, Dyson want out – both people I would listen to
  • The Eu are at least partially controlling our destiny at the moment, and they don’t have our best interests at heart (and why should they?)
  • We import more than we export, so the Eu will want to keep agreements going with us.
  •  The Eu, big though it is at the moment, isn’t growing.  The future is about trade with areas beyond the Eu – places like India, Brazil and China are where the growth is, and we want to be free to arrange any deal we like with these.
  • The Eu is currently negotiating a trade deal with India (9 years and counting) and isn’t even talking to China – we the British could do these quicker on our own – maybe??


So many  good points either way!

In the end I think most people will decide either on “Do we like the French or not?” or on “Do we prefer risk or security”, or “Am I naturally gregarious or naturally a bit of a loner?” – all of which are pretty scary ways to decide.

Another way to look at it is that if a decision is close then it probably doesn’t matter which way it goes.  And this seems to be one of those.  Maybe all the pros and cons, big though they are, add up to the same for both sides….?

Here’s an example of this:

On the ‘out’ side The Economist says Britain would also be able to claim back its territorial fishing waters, scrap caps on limits to the number of hours people can work per week, free itself from the EU’s renewable energy drive and create a freer economic market. This would turn London into a “freewheeling hub for emerging-market finance – a sort of Singapore on steroids”, it says.
But it concludes that the most likely outcome is that Britain would find itself “as a scratchy outsider with somewhat limited access to the single market, almost no influence and few friends. And one certainty: that having once departed, it would be all but impossible to get back in again.”

I also found a good summary of the arguments here:

Also a thorough and well considered article here:


And what about me?

If the vote is to leave I’ll be anxious but excited
If the vote is to stay in I’ll just be depressed

so at the moment I’m edging towards Out – but don’t listen to me, make your own minds up!


Finally:  Things that are irrelevant:

– The fact that there are MEPs filling their pockets at the gravy train trough (allegedly!) should not affect our decision, annoying though it is. (though it does mean we can’t trust their opinions)
– What Boris says – I think he’s probably a political opportunist, so don’t waste time on what he says.

– What Cameron says:  because he is probably thinking about how he will look when he has his first meeting with Merkel and Co after the referendum:

  • If he has tried to get us out and we have indeed left – he will not be popular!
  • If he has tried to get us out and we have decided to stay in – he looks terrible
  • If he has tried to keep us in and we’ve left he will be ‘sorry’ but a hero who tried his best
  • If he tried to keep us in and we did stay in he will be a hero
    So it is obvious that he has to claim that he wants us in even though that is probably not what he believes (and it is not what he used to say!)

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