Barlow's Beef: Has the EU debate left you confused?


Like most people I've swung this way and that on my voting intentions in the forthcoming EU Referendum. Over the past few weeks the quality of debate from both sides has degenerated from calmly expressed opinion through wild speculation to all out fear-mongering.

Do I believe a billion immigrants will storm into the UK if we remain within the EU? Not really.

Do I think house prices will collapse or mass unemployment follow our exit? Absolutely not.

Will working conditions revert back to the Victorian era and all employment rights workers have gained over the past century cease to exist should we leave? Give over. Stuffing small children up chimneys disappeared with coal fires and chamber pots.

Will opting out give us billions of extra funds to improve public services? Given the proclivity of politicians for squeezing the least benefit from the maximum investment I doubt we would see any change.

So... what do I believe?

I believe that no one really knows what will happen should we vote to leave the EU. There's a myriad of claims and counter-claims but the only real certainties are:

We are heading towards a Federal Europe.
Given we have waited 41 years to for this referendum it's unlikely we will ever have another.

I shall dismiss all the speculation and make my mind based upon whether I prefer to be part of a Federal Europe or an independent United Kingdom.

This Referendum is my last chance to influence the outcome.

Considering the idiotic statements made by politicians of all persuasions and the monumental blunders made by them in the past (Weapons of Mass Destruction, bank bonuses, pledging to reduce net immigration below 100,00 etc) I don't have any faith in political forecasts.

I suggest you make your own mind up based on your own beliefs.

If a Federal Europe is for you that's the way to go if not... get out now while you have the chance. Everything else is pure speculation.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlows Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Alan R Davies
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 8:18 am
Vic Barlow criticises scaremongering and then resorts to scaremongering about a "Federal Europe". You just could not make it up. Isn't it about time you gave some coverage to the views of our local MP on this subject, rather than appearing partisan on behalf of the Leave campaign?
Jon Williams
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 9:26 am
Nothing confusing about it Vic, we MUST vote leave on or before (postal vote) the 23rd June.
Anne Hillier
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 11:19 am
Jon, I do think you should let people make up their own minds!
I am angry that we have been put in the position of having to vote at all on this issue. However, I will vote REMAIN in the spirit of security, collaboration, justice, equality, the environmentand a global outlook.
Google "The UK in a changing Europe" for facts, figures and informed debate.
Neil Rogers
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 11:48 am
I would have thought that people reading this site would welcome some facts:

1. The only thing of substance that David Cameron has negotiated is that Britain will NOT become a part of a "Federal Europe". So Vic Barlow's comment is totally wrong!!
2. Every major Financial Institution (IMF, Bank of England, etc) have calculated that it would be better for us to REMAIN in the EU. Jobs, Services and Pensions ARE at stake!
3. Every major Business and Employers organisations have stated we are better to REMAIN in the EU.
3. 450 MPs across all parties (out of 650 MPs) are in favour of us staying in. George Osbourne is in favour of us staying in.
4. The major issues that we will face are increasingly global and we have a much better chance of tackling those issues if we are part of a European block - Russia, Terrorism (ISIS), Immigration, Energy Supply, Security, Climate Change, and world resources generally (water in particular).
5. And lastly, on the immigration question - the UK needs immigrants who benefit this country enormously not only in a net contribution to tax (between 2000 and 2011 EU migrants gave £20 billion net contribution in tax) but support our services (NHS for example). Brexit would not necessarily reduce EU immigration because we will NOT be allowed to remain in the "free trade" area without accepting free movement of people. Brexit would do nothing for the non-EU immigration, which is greater.

For full details on above please see:
Jon Williams
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 1:08 pm
Robert Noble, Secretary-General of INTERPOL (2000-201): "Europe's open-border arrangement is effectively an international passport-free zone for terrorists to execute attacks on the Continent and make their escape."
Mark Russell
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 2:19 pm
@ Neil Rodgers

3. Every major Business and Employers organisations have stated we are better to REMAIN in the EU.

So does JCB not count as a major business?
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 3:29 pm
Or Dyson?
Duncan Herald
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 4:14 pm
As I understand Vic's writing above, he mostly neither supports nor opposes the stuff put out by both sides.
He simply says that he prefers not to be in a federated states of Europe.
So why all the antagonism against him?
How will I vote ? None of your business.
Anne Hillier
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 5:32 pm
What antagonism?
I thought we were sharing facts for an informed debate.
Andrew Muncaster
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 5:39 pm
After all the negatives and silly numbers put forward by both sides, l feel the best way to decide is to turn the table upside down and assume we are not at present an EU member and the vote is whether to join or not.
I believe several EU nations are virtually bankrupt, Greece, Spain, Italy; several are watching with interest what happens in our vote before considering their own referenda; it seems the Brussells politicians are working to admit Turkey into the club, even though Mr C says it will not be before 3000AD.
I realise there are forecasts that we will take a dip if we leave, so maybe we've all got to suffer a bit in the short term; the decision is for the long term, for our kids and grandkids. It is a very difficult one, but I know which way I'm going.
David Hadfield
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 6:30 pm
Hi Neil Rogers,

Thanks for the information ..... However, I dispute most of your "facts" ..... Here's why ;

1) Cameron says he's "negotiated" our position by NOT being part of a Federal Europe ?
This is incorrect ....... he may have "negotiated" this, but it has to be ratified by the European Council / Parliament ...... and they may just walk all over this provisional "negotiation"
(Incidentally, Cameron said he'd negotiated that we will never join the Euro ........ this is exactly the same scenario as above, whereby the EU Council have to RATIFY initial decisions ...... and believe me, if the EU make a ruling that we will join the Euro, then there is absolutely nothing this country can do as we have surrended ALL our rights on almost every issue when joining the EEC in 1973, unlike the Germans who put clauses in whereby many of their German laws cannot be overruled)

2) Every major Financial Institution (IMF / Bank of England) suggests we REMAIN in the EU ?
Yes, you are correct in the statement, but almost all these "institutions" are biased towards our Government, with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) being run by Christine Lagarde, a Frenchwoman who has been associated with the EU for many years and close personal friend of Osborne ..... The Bank of England is run by the Canadian guy, Mark Carney, who was personally appointed by this Government and, once again, a close friend of Osborne's.
So, The UK Government are calling in favours, IMHO ?
(It's worth noting a recent successful Governor of the Bank of England, Mervin King, who strongly suggests we LEAVE the EU ........... Nigel Lawson and Norman Lamont, also both successful ex.Chancellors are both recommending we LEAVE the EU)

3) Every major business and employers organisations want us to REMAIN in the EU ?
You are wrong here ..... Don't forget Sir James Dyson and Sir Anthony Bamford (JCB) as two examples, are strongly recommending we LEAVE the EU .........
Many CEO's want us to stay in, but these major companies have whole departments dedicated solely for augmenting the hundreds of new EU laws and regulations coming out of Brussels every week, whereas, the smaller businessman has to adhere to these new laws and regulations themselves, without any department to do it for them.
Furthermore, most of these large institutions and companies, such as BT, recommended we join the ERM (Exchange Rate Mechanism) some 15 years ago, and look where that got us ?
450 MP's are in favour of us REMAINING in the EU ?
Don't you think most Conservative MP's would vote to LEAVE the EU if Cameron had kept to his original plan and wanted us to LEAVE, instead of him suggesting we stay in ?
After all, he informed this nation what a great independent country we are just 8 months ago and we would be successful whether in or out of the EU.
He also said we may LEAVE the EU if he didn't get his way when going to Brussels 3 months ago ..... and, as we now know, he DIDN'T get anything like he'd wished for.
In fact, he got absolutely nothing !
So, if we are going to be so bad if we LEAVE, why did he suggest it in the first place ?

4) Major issues that we face globally ?

Russia ?
We are in NATO, and it is NATO that gives our security in Europe !
The EU made a huge mistake in suggesting the Ukraine could soon join NATO ?
Because of this, Russia decided to act against the Ukraine and now, even to this day, Russia and the Ukraine are fighting and are at loggerheads.

Terrorism / ISIS / Immigration ?
Is this the same EU that invited 1.m. migrants into Europe (actually 1.8.m. now) of which some 5,000 are ISIS Terrorists, according to reports from the Head of Europe's Security Services.
Security ?
Just mentioning Paris and Brussels sums up the lack of security in Europe and the disastrous Schengen agreement.

Finally, do you want to be governed by a bunch of foreign Presidents of Europe who rule us and make laws that we must adhere to ? Here are the Presidents who action our EU laws ;

THE NETHERLANDS currently hold the EU Presidency of the Council
JEAN CLAUDE JUNKERS (Luxembourg) = European Commission President
MARTIN SCHULZ (German) = European Parliament President
DONALD TUSK (Polish) = European Council President
MARIO DRAGHI (Italian) = President of the ECB

These people cannot be sacked, unlike our own Prime Ministers who can be voted OUT !
These are the people who have jumped on the EU Gravy Train, earning £200,000 + per year, with a similar amount in expenses, allowances, etc. (guess who pays for this) ?
These are the people who rule the European Court of Justice - the very EU Court that rules over our own UK Supreme (final) Court in the land !
These are the same people who are on a mission to build a United States of Europe, allegedly, with one overall EU Tax System, one EU Army, one EU Parliament, etc, etc.

Guess which way I'm going to vote ?

David Hadfield
Judy O'Brien
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 6:48 pm
GREAT article Vic, very well put together.
Mark Eden
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 7:46 pm
Dear Anne and Neil

Remain puts a price on everything but not a value on freedom and democracy. So lets dispel a few myths here:

The environment/Agriculture - what a laugh. EU subsidies has seen thousands of miles of hedgerows ripped up for ever bigger fields, thousands of tons of fish thrown back into the seas because of quotas. In fact the EU has paid corrupt West African dictators so the EU can plunder their fisheries and now the locals have found their nets increasingly empty - the wine lakes, the butter mountains and now we have the dried milk powder mountain - oh and yes the EU tariffs prevent African farmers from exporting to Europe competitively because of such keeps Africans poorer.

I have campaigned solidly for 4 months now and have spoken to enough people on the streets to know they have had enough. So sniffy Guardian reading elites in your middle class bubble.....go and campaign for Remain in areas of high immigration from the EU and sell the locals your dream..........because Cameron wont do it for you and nor will Junker...who is an alcolholic

I could go on but I think David has said it very eloquently

Even more eloquent than David ( if that is possible), listen to a man who knows his stuff because he works in this bankrupt corrupt undemocratic and invites you to make him redundant - just brilliant

PS: Andrew Neil is for Leave too!!

PSS: To the "Remainians"

Cadbury moved factory to Poland 2011 with EU grant.
Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with EU grant.
David Hughes
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 8:06 pm
I'd like to congratulate on keeping this weekly spoof feature going for so long. This time you've really outdone yourselves!

An article apparently criticising scaremongering which then finishes by raising the federalism spectre? One that says nobody knows what's going to happen, and then expresses some "real certainties"?

Hilarious! Looking forward to next week's instalment!
John Clegg
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 8:13 pm
I'm still undecided and it's only 9 days to go.
One of Dave's key reasons for the referendum is to hopefully keep the U.K. together: if we Remain, there is less of a chance of Scotland wanting to demerge and move closer to Europe.
Of course, one of the other reasons was purely self-serving: in an effort to stop defections to UKIP and other parties - by MPs and voters - he had to placate the more Eurosceptic parts of the party. This turned out to be less of a threat in reality.
He's picked a fight that wasn't really there.
He's done this really for him and his party to stay in power.

It's a tricky decision
Neil Rogers
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 8:16 pm

I respect your point of view - at least we ARE attempting to introduce some facts.

I, of course, disagree with ALL of your counter points but this post is not the place I guess.

I will vote REMAIN for the future of my children. We ARE better together.
Neil Rogers
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 8:30 pm
PS: What I should have added was that my points were based on independent analysis and I provided references...
Mark Eden
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 8:30 pm
Dear Neil

We are NOT together - we are 27 countries all pulling in different directions like 27 people in a pantomime horse. Different cultures, different languages and a Germany who calls the shots. It is a myth.

Anyway - If sadly we do remain I will have T-shirts printed with "I told you so" when the Euros folds. Once again my friends with their heads in the sand - The EU is BANKRUPT and hasn't even had it's accounts audited for over 15 years. What bit don't you get?

And as for the future of your children....well go to Spain and Portugal and Greece and Italy and ask the unemployed 50% of youth how their future is doing. ..........

Anyway - please take all my comments in a the friendly spirit they are meant.........even though you are SO WRONG
Mark Eden
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 9:03 pm
Dear Anne Hillier

Please don't be angry. If the EU is so brilliant why did "call me Dave" call a referendum? Answer because Nigel Farage frightened him at the last election into making this promise.

Don't be angry about the people having their say. It is what our people died for in two wars. It is called DEMOCRACY and my goodness I will exercise that hard fought freedom on 23rd June and hopefully on the 24th June Independence Day
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 9:25 pm
What did the Remanians ever do for us?
Jon Williams
Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 11:06 pm
The EU experiment has failed the UK - It’s time for to take back control.

Membership of the Rich-boy’s club costs the UK taxpayer 10 billion a year. £350 million pound a week - £50 million pound a day.

To the ordinary British worker, the EU is a Rich-boy’s club of political elites. There are fortunes to be made by banks and big business. Career politicians earn large salaries with fat pensions that the ordinary British worker can only dream about.

But what has the EU done for the ordinary British worker?

UK workers have seen jobs lost and wages suppressed due to uncontrolled migration. The loss of our fishing industry and many jobs in manufacturing which have moved abroad. Recently, we have the threatened closure of steel plants in Wales.

The Schengen Agreement has failed. The free movement of people has seen rising unemployment throughout the Eurozone. Greece and Spain suffer from 50% youth unemployment. Many thousands face a lifetime on benefits.

Merkel’s migrant blunder has placed an intolerable strain on member states. They lack the core infrastructure of housing, transport and schools to cope with a huge influx of migrants. Forced migrant quotas will bankrupt their struggling economies.

The UK is penalised for having a successful economy. We are expected to help to bail out poorer member states who are struggling under the pressures associated with uncontrolled migration.

Why should the UK government face additional financial burdens imposed by the EU?

We already contribute 10 Billion a year and this figure will continue to rise in the future. Surely some of this money should be spent on getting the homeless off the streets and to prevent people from suffering the ignominy of going to food-banks.

What is the difference between using resources to help refugees, and using those same resources to help a homeless person in the UK?

Core Infrastructures are at breaking point.

Some of that 10 billion we save could be spent on the NHS, which is struggling to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population.

Parents with children of school age are dismayed at the lack of school places. In many cases, migrant children are given priority over UK children.

The ongoing UK housing crisis is also exacerbated by uncontrolled immigration.

Many British people will never be able to get on the housing ladder. Those that cannot afford to find a place to live are victims of an unfair social housing system. Migrants who have never contributed a penny in UK taxes are placed above them on housing lists.

In Britain we need to build a house every four minutes to keep pace with increasing demand made worse by migration - a year on year increase of under 400 000 migrants is unsustainable.

A town the size of Newcastle will need to be built on Green-belt land every year. That inevitably, will create environmental issues - the destruction of wildlife and stress on regional water-supplies.

It’s time to take back control.

Britain’s hard earned wealth should be spent on the British people.

Core infrastructure like housing, transport, the NHS, doctors, nurses and schools.

Vote Leave.
Howard Worsley
Wednesday 15th June 2016 at 7:09 am
Most of the politicians from all the major parties want to stay in as does big business....that should tell even the dumbest out there what is going on!

I am in agreement of staying in the lowest growth area in the world.

I am in agreement of continuing the longest period of low growth this country has had in 100 years, since joining the "Free Market"

I agree it was right for 100,000s of men to die in wars for democratic freedom, so that Remain campaigners have a stop anyone else ever voting again. (hypocrites)

The Commission of the EU is unelected. MEPs have no actual power or influence...Remain voters should be ashamed, all those guys that died in two world wars, tut tut!!

However I am in agreement of mass immigration as all humans are beautiful, wonderful, lovely creatures.
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 15th June 2016 at 7:18 am
I'm not suggestion a federal Europe will happen in this parliament or the next it may take 20 years but it will happen and this is probably our last chance to express our opinion.
David Hughes
Wednesday 15th June 2016 at 2:54 pm
Sounds like you're inventing your own referendum question there Vic. As well as talking a load of crystal balls.
Wednesday 15th June 2016 at 4:19 pm
I'm not confused. The issue is one of the rights of a sovereign country. As to the large number of organisations telling me what to do, you only have to look at how much funding these organisations get from the EU to know they are not to be believed in anything they say. Can't wait for the visit from Juncker to tell us to stay - that should really kill off the "remain" case.
Elizabeth Mooney
Wednesday 15th June 2016 at 11:03 pm
Mark Eden. You are absolutely right in your assertions. My own observation is that since Brexit have nipped ahead in the polls a few "remainers" seem to be upset by the potential for people to have their voices heard. Does democracy work only one way?
Fenton Simpson
Thursday 16th June 2016 at 2:07 pm
One way or another I will be glad stop hearing the remain camp leaders hysterical predictions of doom if we vote leave. The remain camp's message is positive and hopeful for Britain's future as a trading partner with the EU.

Why do we need ever growing political integration with an organisation that is not fit for purpose. This integration is too much too soon, southern Europe's economies aren't compatible with Northern Europe and now the Euro currency project looks like it could fall apart anyway.
Vic Barlow
Friday 17th June 2016 at 2:38 pm
I had this terrifying nightmare last night where we had opted to leave the EU.
House prices were in freefall, financial institutions teetering on bankruptcy, Knights of the realm topping up their pensions (with our pensions) and threatening to leave the country, interest rates were at 15 per cent, factories closing, unemployment rocketing.
The NHS was in crisis. War, terrorism and genocide were rampant.
Then I awoke in a pool of sweat and realised I’d mistaken what would happen after we left the EU for what actually happened when we were in it.
Panic over.
David Hughes
Friday 17th June 2016 at 8:56 pm
In other news, subscriptions to the Daily Express Archive of Unsupportable Jingoistic Nonsense have reached record highs this week.
David Hadfield
Saturday 18th June 2016 at 6:53 am
Just heard on the BBC News this morning that Lord Guthrie, ex.Chief of the Defence Staff has decided to vote LEAVE in the forthcoming Referendum.

Here's a guy who was originally for staying in, but recent news about the EU wanting to create their own EU Army finally persuaded him to vote LEAVE.

He is / was one of the true "Establishment" figures who was for "in" but this was the final straw that made him join the LEAVE camp. Well Done Sir, an ex.CDS with loads of sense !

As most on this site will acknowledge, many of the Big-Hitters in our Universities and other major "Establishment" institutions and businesses are wanting to stay in the EU ...... Why ?

Why ? ...... Because all these institutions and businesses have benefited enormously from massive EU Grants to support them and their way of life.

Where does the EU get this money from in the first place ? (Huh ... You know the answer)

Yes, from the few countries like the UK who pay more INTO the EU coffers than they get OUT.

So, in effect, the UK is paying for these EU Grants with our own money !

We can support these institutions when we vote LEAVE next week as we'll have all this "extra" money we currently pay into the EU coffers to support the many countries who get more out of the EU than they pay in ...... Simple !

........ and the IMF are saying once again that the UK will suffer if we
LEAVE the EU ?

Is this the same IMF who benefit greatly by contributions and grants from
the EU ?

Is this the same IMF with Christine Lagarde at the helm who is a great
friend of George "Hasbeen" Osborne and used to work for the EU ?

If her and her organisation had suggested we LEAVE the EU, it would be a bit
like turkeys voting for Christmas ?

Oh, there you go, I've mentioned Turkey again, with all it's implications
and its 75 + million citizens wanting to join the EU and have visas for
entry into the UK ........

(Okay, it will be many years before Turkey will officially be allowed, as a
country, into the EU, but during the next few months, on the recommendation
of one Angela Merkel, they will be allowed 3 month visas to enter the EU
............ and then return to Turkey ? Yeah ! Right !
Saturday 18th June 2016 at 10:24 am
Seems to me that there has been a whole list of people and organisations, including our government, who are saying that it will be armageddon if we leave. If this is the case then surely the government has failed in its responsibilities in even having a referendum in the first place. Secondly, just take a look at who gets masses of funding from the EU - IMF, OECD, CBI, Institute for Fiscal Studies, London School of Economics, TUC, NUS, Unite, Unison, BBC - the list is endless and also includes a large number of charities.

The EU has federalism written through it like a stick of Blackpool rock, - the only difference is that the EU is less palatable.
David Hughes
Saturday 18th June 2016 at 1:02 pm
On the subject Jackie raises of taking a look at who gets funding from the EU, this is a post on the Mayor of London's website from March 2015:

"The Mayor of London has called on organisations to bid for shares of over £560m of new European funding that is now available to support innovation and businesses in the capital, with a particular focus on projects that can help Londoners into education, employment or training and create new jobs."

What on earth was he thinking of, advocating that millions of pounds of EU money be spent on British jobs? Outrageous! Just as well he's keeping such a low profile these days.
David Hadfield
Sunday 19th June 2016 at 3:28 pm
Only a few days left before the Referendum.

Here are 10 undisputed facts about the European Union ;

EU members MUST ALLOW all EU citizens to enter their country and work without restrictions.
This “right of free movement” has allowed hundreds of thousands of EU citizens to live and work in the UK.
(In the 12 months ending September 2015, an estimated 257,000 EU nationals arrived in the UK)
Depending what report you read, estimates between 2.m and 3.m EU citizens are living / working in the UK.

The right to free movement allows UK citizens to live and work in the EU.
Once again, depending what you read, estimates between 1.3.m and 2.m UK citizens live and work in the EU.
(In Spain, it’s estimated that 300,000 UK citizens live there, with most being retired)

Some British laws are passed and implemented because they are EU Laws, made by decisions at EU level that we in the UK have to adhere to.
With various estimates, it’s agreed approx between 50% / 65% of laws in the UK are made in the EU that we in the UK have to adhere to.

4) WHEN DID UK JOIN EEC ; (European Economic Community)
When Britain joined the EEC in 1973, the UK Parliament accepted that European law could have primacy over UK law. (WORST DECISION EVER, IMHO) !!!
That law is ultimately overseen by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ........
The EU Court’s powers has grown steadily over the years.
The EEC ratified the UK’s entry into the community and in 1975 Harold Wilson had a referendum for continuity of the UK staying in the EEC (67% voted to stay in / 33% voted out)
Over the years, the EEC changed its name to the European Community, the European Common Market, and, ultimately, the European Union.

5) MEP’s ;
There are 750 MEP’s in total working in the European Parliaments in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Britain has 73 MEP’s elected by this country, whose salaries and offices are paid for by the British taxpayer.
The North-West of England has 8 MEP’s = 2 Conservatives, 3 Labour and 3 Ukip MEP’s.
MEP’s salaries are roughly the same as our MP’s in Westminster (£76,000 per year)
However, estimates show that generous allowances and other perks mean each MEP costs the British Taxpayer almost £1.8.m per year (three times the cost of the UK MP)
There are also 28 EU Commissioners (one appointed by each Member State) ..... these Commissioners earn £250,000 per year, with another £200,000 in allowances for staff, etc.

Many EU decisions are taken under “Qualified Majority Voting” (QMV) rules, whereby countries can be outvoted and forced to accept decisions which they disagree.
Britain is outvoted more often than any other country in the European Union.

Every month, the European Parliament, consisting of hundreds of MEP’s, their staff, translators and other officials (between 5,000 / 10,000 in all) all move from Brussels to Strasbourg.
It sits in Strasbourg for just 4 days per month (???) then returns to Brussels for the remainder of the month ..... (It’s known as the “travelling circus” and costs £130.m per year)
The French protect this sitting in Strasbourg as sacrosanct and will not allow it to be abandoned ....... they have the ultimate vote on this subject written into EU Law.
Rumour has it that the French built this new Parliament Building in Strasbourg without EU permission and declared the EU had to use it for certain days per month ....
(and the EU agreed) !
(The old Parliament building in Strasbourg was adequate, but, oh no, the French got the EU
to pay all the building costs of the new one that was built without EU permission, allegedly)

The EU’s Common Fishing Policy attempts to manage and share EU fish stocks by giving each nation’s fishermen quotas for what they can catch.
This forces up prices for consumers and forces fishermen to dump millions of (dead) fish back into the sea ...... its also decimated the UK’s fishing fleet.

9) FOOD ;
The Institute for Economic Affairs estimates that EU Tariffs and Subsidies mean food prices in the EU are 17% higher than elsewhere in the world.

UK Universities get almost £800.m per year in Research Grants from the EU.
(Guess where it gets this money from in the first place) ?
The EU has its own Foreign Aid Programme. In 2013 it spent almost £12.billion on Foreign Aid (roughly the same as the UK spends on Foreign Aid every year anyway)
(Question ; Why is the UK spending £12.billion on Foreign Aid when the EU is ALSO spending another £12.billion on the same thing - the UK should cut its Foreign Aid drastically) ???

Ps ; I'm no expert on these matters, but these facts alone make me want to vote LEAVE !
Claire MacLeod
Sunday 19th June 2016 at 11:05 pm
I have followed this thread since the original article was posted. I was interested to see how the population of would respond. Frankly, I am dismayed to see that all the posts are in favour of 'Brexit' and that no one has commented in favour of Remain. Perhaps this is a true reflection of where our community sits on this issue. But I suspect not. The hyperbole with which the Leave campaign have become so well associated continues in the postings above. Rarely have I seen so many necessary '???' and '!' in a thread.

Those of you who may remember me from more than a year or so ago will know that I am not frightened of sticking my head above the parapet. And I feel now is the time to do so...

I am voting to Remain. Why? Because I I want to make the most simple, positive, case for the EU: working together for peace, security, common decency, and economic progress.

In particular, I am making the case for the UK Higher Education sector (which I am quite familiar with, as they are my primary market as a business owner).

Did you know, that UK universities are ranked 2nd in the world? Yes, that's right. Our tiny island ranks 2nd in the world for universities. And the HE market is becoming more and more competitive, globally. Governments around the world are investing far more than ours in their universities, recognising that students are willing to travel to invest the money they spend in their education. 25% of the UK's overseas students come from China currently. That's a massive investment into the UK economy. Why do they come? Because within the EU, British universities can attract and employ the academic talent that keeps them ahead of the game. Within the EU, British universities can collaborate, amongst one another and across Europe to win EU research funds to continue to lead academic advances. If we leave, watch the British Higher Education system flounder. This might seem trivial to you, as it may not affect you directly.

If you put it another way, 4 years ago, the UK HE sector contributed £73 Billion to the UK economy.

You may not personally care how the UK Higher Education system survives. I think our children might. And their children. The fact of the matter is, if we leave, our universities will lose their world position. And this Great Britain will lose one of the few aspects of our civilisation that made us so great.

(And please, lets not forget, regardless of the hysterical, misinformed rhetoric, immigrants still bring more to this economy, in terms of labour, skills and paid tax, then they have ever taken away.)

And not a single '!' or '?' needed. RIP Jo Cox MP

Oh, and for those of you who can be bothered to read this
David Hadfield
Monday 20th June 2016 at 9:06 am
Good morning Claire Macleod,
Well, if all you can say to refute my facts is that I have used too many "???"s and "!!!"s,
then obviously my facts still stand (!!!) ..... Yes, let's have a debate .... Bring it on, I say !!!

I'm sure you know far more about Higher Education in the UK than I will ever know, but the known fact of £800.m being given to UK Universities by the EU speaks for itself, surely ?
Are you telling me that if we LEAVE the EU, we will never fund our own UK Universities ?

You state that "Governments around the world are investing far more than ours in their universities" .......... So I ask you ; Who is responsible for this ?
If you feel so strongly about lack of funds being invested by this current UK Government,
this problem should be addressed to the UK Government ? This is a debate about the EU.

You mention that you're voting REMAIN because you want to work with the EU for peace, security, common decency (whatever that means) ? and economic progress ?

I'm not going to go over those facts again as I have already stated in previous posts I made
(read from beginning) on this very same "Barlow's Beef" subject exactly why we are
extremely vulnerable on each of these points.

From the 1700's this country has done extremely well, despite all the wars and problems.

We have been in the EU just a mere 43 years, so, are you now telling me we can't or won't have success once again if we throw off the shackles of this dreaded European Union ?

May I suggest you watch catch-up on BBC1 from last night's Question Time with Cameroon being lambasted and laughed at over the EU situation ...... Even Dimbleby challenged him.

David Hadfield
Monday 20th June 2016 at 10:35 am
Claire - just to add. Some uk universities have had an outstanding reputation for far longer than we have been in the EU. In fact there is now evidence that "our brightest and best" are choosing not to study in Britain but decamp to top universities in America, or Germany (where the sciences are taught in English).

You have also not factored into your analysis how many students from the EU leave and never pay off their student loan because they have vanished into the ether.

As to the money the EU gives Higher Education, - where do you think think this money comes from in the first place which the EU gives out like sweeties?
Jon Williams
Monday 20th June 2016 at 11:46 am
What does THAT tell you !

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Date: Friday, 24th June 2016
7.30 pm

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Claire MacLeod
Monday 20th June 2016 at 8:57 pm
Hello again,

David Hadfield, your nostalgic reminiscences of days gone by (I'm surprised you didn't recall the happy days of the great British Empire) are quaint but, sadly, have little relevance for our current world. I'm not even clear from your post whether you think £800M from the EU to British universities is too much or too little? Apparently, the figure 'speaks for itself'. Perhaps you could elucidate?

The fact that other countries' governments around the world are investing heavily in their own universities is not a criticism of our current government (although, you're right, it could be). It's simply a statement of fact. If you are suggesting that by leaving the EU the 'new' GB will suddenly find pots of gold that they are willing to invest in our own universities (given that in recent years they took it upon themselves - both Labour and Conservatives - to charge students with the cost of their own education), then I fear you may be erring on the side of optimistic. l haven't heard the Brexit contingency refer much to the Higher Education sector at all. Apparently all the money they are going to 'get back' from the EU is going to go to healthcare, 'education' (more generally), housing, jobs etc etc. Quite how remains to be seen. (I suspect, it's a variation of our friend, Donald Trump's favourite strap line - you are 'Going To Make Great Britain Great Again!'.) Add to that the challenge of attracting top academic talent from across the EU (with additional issues of visas/ rights to work in the UK), and the fact that even the best students from across the EU will have even greater challenges in order to be allowed to come to study in the UK.

I will try to take a moment to watch this week's QT. However, the mere fact that you are apparently revelling in someone being 'lambasted' and 'laughed at' suggests that the more subtle undertones, acknowledged by all parties as a result of Jo Cox's untimely demise last Thursday, may possibly have been lost on you.

Jackie, you are right. In fact my previous point about UK universities' (historic) world class status is confirmed by your comments. And then you go further to support my position, which is that they no longer hold a water-tight monopoly. The fact of the matter (as you helpfully illustrated) is that there are other world class universities, in other continents who are rising up the global rankings, and students are increasingly willing to travel to get a world class education.

How does GB maintain a position within such a competitive market? By collaborating with other top class universities across the EU. Unfortunately, we are not the only country to support and develop world class researchers (who, as you yet again correctly point out, not only teach, but work using the English language). But they, as experts in whatever field they happen to specialise in, recognise the value in working collaboratively, as that is the best way to do the best research. This is how we make extraordinary advances in the medical. scientific, social, environmental worlds. Whilst universities may not interest you, particularly, the work that they do will inevitably touch some part of your life. It is the nature of what they do.

The EU give the research grants to the projects that they deem (rightly or wrongly) deserve the funding. More often than not, they are projects that involve collaboration between the best minds in the subject specialism. More often than not, they are from a number of EU countries. How does an independent Britain compete with that?

In terms of the EU students not repaying the loans... are you suggesting that British students are more likely to repay the loans? Hmmm....

Hello, Jon Williams...

What does THAT tell you !"

Umm... Yet again, I'm afraid I am in need of clarification. Sorry. Given that the 'Leave' contingency are led by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, and the 'Remain' contingency are led by David Cameron and George Osborne, what DOES it tell me? I'm flummoxed! Please enlighten me.

Happy Monday everyone!
Mark Eden
Monday 20th June 2016 at 11:24 pm
Dear Claire,

This country achieved amazing things long before the EU and the reason you have democracy and peace is because of our history not because of the stifling bureaucrats of Europe. I went to a debate tonight and the Remain lot only offered doom and gloom if we left. Never once did they offer a sunny optimistic vision for the future. You just put our country down - you are the losers.

What is so telling about the Remainers is that having pinned up literally 100s of vote leave boards they have all been meticulously removed. Have I removed a Remain board? NO. I believe in democracy unlike you lot!! Go and live in basket case France or Spain if you think the EU is so wonderful.
David Hadfield
Monday 20th June 2016 at 11:59 pm
Claire MacLeod, why are you mentioning "nostalgic days" and "The British Empire" ? ,,,, please get up to speed as I want to discuss the EU and all its implications, which is what this particular section of the forum is about.

It seems all you want to discuss is Higher Education, your favourite subject.

I want to take issue with you on something you referred to earlier Claire MacLeod ,,,,,, How dare you insinuate that Jo Cox's untimely death has anything whatsoever to do with this debate, whether you're voting for Remain or Leave. ,,,,, it's people like you who bring debates into disrepute.

I know you've already admitted to being flummoxed and in need of clarification with some of the statements made by others earlier, but as far as I'm concerned I don't intend debating with you any longer after that disgraceful remark.

I suggest you stick to HE and leave Politics to others. Goodbye.
Christopher Horne
Tuesday 21st June 2016 at 2:48 pm
Many of us have worked very hard in this Referendum campaign - why should we not have a party?
After all we then have a party to get back together again..................
Graham Nicholson
Tuesday 21st June 2016 at 5:11 pm
Very telling that when the polls suggested a win for Leave, investors in Britain and the world rushed to sell sterling and the UK stock market slumped (meaning my little pension pot and thousands of others took a hit). But when the polls veered back towards Remain they bought the pound and the market shot back up. Seems those who actually stake hard cash in our economy know which way to vote...
Alan Brough
Tuesday 21st June 2016 at 11:42 pm
One thing is certain......whatever the outcome on Thursday, the matter is not over.

The Netherlands, France, Italy and Portugal are already gathering a head of steam toward their own vote.

The UK referendum has served to open a pan-European debate and it is pretty obvious that there is a significant feeling that there is much wrong with the current EC model.

My own view is that (in the longer term) it is pretty unlikely that the EC will retain any sort of valid mandate.
David Hughes
Wednesday 22nd June 2016 at 1:51 am
Hey David Hadfield, if you don't want to debate with Claire then debate with me? Although I don't think you've read Claire's comment very carefully.

May I respectfully and politely suggest that the arguments of the Leave campaign are a blend of misty-eyed fantasy of a past long gone, a confused and fear-stoked apparition of a future where the UK is somehow "invaded" by migrants, and some plain old xenophobia about how unfair the rest of Europe must be being to the UK, particularly with all those foreigners running it. Have I summarised your previous posts accurately? Did I forget the selective ignoring or belittling of any experts that have a view different to yours?

To your credit David, you didn't bring up the now-ridiculed "£350m a week" argument. Unfortunately, Jon did. Amusingly he also called the EU a rich-boys club, which is an ironic finger to point on Maybe he was thinking ahead to Friday night's party.

It's also fascinating how a few people have called Remain undemocratic. Is this based on someone taking down Mark's posters? I'm guessing that should at worst be described as vandalism, or maybe someone just having a good tidy up, rather than it being a threat to our democracy. One of the strangest comments was Howard suggesting that the Remain campaign wants to stop people from voting ever again. I think he might have made one or two inexplicable leaps of logic there.

What you and the rest of the Leave campaign sadly haven’t done is to set out your own positive proposals on what you would do if the vote goes in your favour. And this is the gaping chasm at the heart of the Leave campaign; whilst it derides the EU and criticises the Remain campaigners as doom-mongers, it has barely anything positive, progressive or substantial to point to as an alternative. The “Brexit Roadmap” is laughably scanty in its detail. Specifically the Leave campaign has absolutely no answer for the immediate economic impact that would hit on Friday, other than denying it despite the market evidence of the last few days.

So go on, tell me what's good to look forward to after a vote to Leave. Just to manage your expectations, I'm unlikely to be persuaded by emotive arguments about "taking back control" or "freedom and democracy". I am not experiencing any limitations on my freedom at the moment, and I'd be astounded if my vote at the next election has any more clout than it did last time. I don’t really mind the small share of my taxes that go to funding the UK’s net EU contribution. I don’t believe intra-EU migration is in any way harming our economy – quite the converse – or that we will be somehow safer outside the EU – again, quite the converse. So unless I am missing something fundamental, Leave isn’t really saying anything to me that’s actually meaningful?

That's all a bit negative though isn't it. Let's turn to the positives instead. Mark suggested he’d not heard the Remain camp set out any form of sunny, optimistic future. Obviously there’s quite a lot of immediate sunshine in the avoidance of the economic deluge of higher mortgage rates, higher taxes, higher import prices, pension fund erosion, etc etc which will happen if we vote Leave, but that’s not really what he means I suspect.

How about this then; imagine a world where we all benefit from a range of practical measures such as enhanced consumer protection, rights to individual privacy, clean beaches and rivers, an emphasis on recycling, funding for young people to study overseas, equal pay, counter-terrorism intelligence, food safety laws, better holiday entitlement, cheap air travel, ability to sell our goods and services without restriction, cheap mobile phone charges, cross-border policing, free overseas healthcare, and countless other benefits.

Oh go on, you saw right through me. This isn’t some future fantasy world, it’s just a small piece of what we already have today courtesy of the EU.

Europe isn't perfect by any means. There's a need for reform in aspects of its governance, a view shared by a number of member countries. But you get change made by maintaining a position of influence from which you can shape the argument, not by turning your back and taking your bat and ball home.

We need to stop fooling ourselves that we can stand alone in the 21st century. Prosperity, security and the development of society come from greater collaboration and connection, not from isolation. The world has moved on and we need to be with it on the journey, not standing on the sidelines. Vote Remain on Thursday.
Elizabeth Mooney
Wednesday 22nd June 2016 at 8:44 am
It is a shame that many on the Remain side have also resorted to divisive tactics. The latest (comments section in Guardian and also repeated this week by senior figures on that side) is a clear intention to pit the young against the old ( who are allegedly all rabid pro leavers). 1 commentator referrred to us as "miserable old Parkinsons heads on mobility scooters". My mother has Parkinsons and it is no laughing matter. The constant "ad hominem" attacks diminish their arguments . For me (a half Irish person the arguments are much more nuanced. I have had "little Englander" thrown in my direction a good few times and the perception that we who support Brexit are all hysterical "kippers" is often so wide of the mark. My feelings are driven largely by lack of faith in what the EU has morphed into. The EU bailouts (of which there will be more ) have been described by one financial expert in the FT as just a giant Ponzi scheme. Just as Bernie Madoff had his secret mid building floor in NY with the "real accounts" under lock and key, (hidden from the scrutiny of auditors) the EU may be possibly accused of the same. It has become too big, too unweildy and a sadly sclerotic organisation of late and this is a shame. The very laudable and well intentioned "grand projet" of Jean Monnet dating back to the 40's has changed it's identity and it's original fine message has been drowned out in the "noise" of the new EU. I feel in my heart that we will Remain on Thursday.But also feel that the whole lumbering edifice will carry on lurching from one disaster to another. ( We have the Greek default issue back on the cards in a couple of weeks, so those who commented on shares and currency falling, well watch this space). If there is no appetite for reform from those at "the
top table" we are in for turbulent times perhaps. There is one certainty though, empires eventually fall. I cannot help feeling ( to put it crudely) that if a million disaffected EU citizens marched on Brussels those running the show might just grab the takings and flee to the Bahamas.
David Hadfield
Wednesday 22nd June 2016 at 10:47 am
HI David Hughes, Many thanks for your thoughts and good detailed facts.
At least its something to debate upon and not just HE waffle.

Phew, where do I start ;

I'm certainly no expert in things political, but I know what I DON'T want to happen by staying IN this dreadful European Union, run by undemocratic and unelected "Presidents" of the EU.

Nigel Farage was correct when he made a statement about Herman Von Rompuy ....
(Rompuy being the recently "elected" President in the EU Parliament a couple of years ago)
"Who are you .... No ones heard of you .... Who voted for you .... I've never heard of you" ?
and, David, I think this clearly sums up the secretive actions of the European Union.

Farage, who has been an EU MEP for some years and, believe it or not, as you know, is highly respected in the EU Parliament whenever he speaks because he tells it how it is, didn't know who'd voted for Rompuy as it came as a surprise even to Farage, who is ahead of the game when it comes to the EU workings.
The EU is a secretive and divisive Union and certainly "jobs for the boys" .... just look at the many failed politicians such as the Kinnocks who ended up there, with Neil Kinnock becoming the UK's Commissioner for a number of years .... FFS, whatever next !

The UK is currently subsidising the EU to a huge extent. I want this money to be kept in the UK for expenditure in the UK, not to assist most of the other countries within the EU who are receiving millions of £.pounds from the UK every year to keep them afloat.
Without the UK paying in all this amount, the EU would, most likely, go bust ;

Here are the 8 countries who pay more INTO the EU than they receive ;

The Netherlands - 75% of their EU contributions go to propping up other EU members.
Sweden - 60% of their EU contributions go to propping up other EU members.
Germany - 60% of their EU contributions go to propping up other EU members.
United Kingdom - 50% of their EU contributions go to propping up other EU members.
Austria - 45% of their EU contributions go to propping up other EU members.
Finland - 44% of their EU contributions go to propping up other EU members.
Denmark - 39% of their EU contributions go to propping up other EU members.
France - 35% of their EU contributions go to propping up other EU members.

All the other 27 countries are net recipients who get more OUT than they put IN;

Italy, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Malta, Greece, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Hungary, Luxembourg.
(with Poland, for example, receiving the equivalent of £340 for every £1 they contribute) !

If we LEAVE, then the 7 remaining countries who pay more in than they receive out, will have to cover our exit and have to pay a damned sight more into the EU coffers, so ALL the EU members are united in wanting the UK to stay IN to receive our generous contributions.

I DON'T want the UK to be associated with the EU "club" where we're all being told that Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, etc, are all failing and have 50% youth unemployment. It is also a known fact that the EU accounts have not been certified for the last 20 years because it's impossible to control all the details and figures, or so we are being told.

If the UK has prospered so successfully and is outplaying all the other EU members, then how much BETTER would we have been if we'd NOT been in the EU ?

Question ; if we were currently OUT of the EU and had the chance to join this disfunctional, deceitful club, would we vote to JOIN them if we had the chance ? Nah ! Never !

I DON'T want the UK governed by unelected "Presidents" of the EU who have the right to dictate what we can and cannot do, with them overruling our own Supreme Court in London.

At least we have General Election votes every few years here in the UK to kick out any party in Government that is a disaster (allegedly, ha ha) unlike the EU where their leaders are voted in by a secret voting system that even the knowledgeable Nigel Farage doesn't know about ?

How dare Angela Merkel invite 1.m. migrants into the (now ex.Schlengen) European Union with an estimated 5,000 ISIS terrorists also coming in within this 1.m. .... (in fact, it's now 1.8.m according to statistic) ...... Does the EU feel safer than a couple of years ago ? NO NO NO as Mrs Thatcher would say.

Consumer Protection, Individual Privacy, Clean Beaches, Equal Pay, Counter-Terrorism Intelligence, Food Safety Laws and most of the other items you mention will all continue whether we're IN or OUT of the EU, with most of these Laws being operative well before we joined the dreaded EU ...... remember we've only been in the EU since the 1970's, but as a country the UK has been making laws and has been successful for hundreds of years.

The EU treats us like fools, they take our money but when it comes to negotiating a better deal, what did Cameroon achieve three months ago in Brussels ? Zilch ! Nothing !
(Cameroon put on a brave face but he achieved absolutely nothing) !

I'm putting my faith in people like Nigel Lawson and Norman Lamont (both successful ex.Chancellors) Mervyn King (ex.BOE Governor) Sir James Dyson, Sir Anthony Bamford (JCB) Lord Digby Jones, Luke Johnson, Roger Bolton, Tim Martin, Field Marshall Lord Guthrie (ex.CDS) Major General Julian Thompson (Commander 3rd Commando Brigade, Royal Marines, during the Falklands war) General Sir Michael Rose (former Commander SAS) and the vast amount of experienced UK citizens, and not the likes of David Beckham who wants us to stay in the EU because "he got on well with the foreign players when playing in Europe"

I'm NOT putting my faith in the Treasury, the CBI, BT, the IMF, the ECB, or all the other institutions who recommended that the UK join the ERM, or could not even forecast the recent 2008 Banking Crisis ?

Whatever will be, will be, and in two days time we will all know the result.

Either way, the political parties will be in turmoil, with maybe the exception of Ukip whose main objective is to LEAVE the dreaded European Union.

Finally, the EU project is doomed to failure and we should LEAVE before it comes tumbling down like a set of dominoes.

David Hadfield (who is still NO expert when it comes to the European Union) !
David Hughes
Wednesday 22nd June 2016 at 3:46 pm
Thanks David Hadfield.

My challenge to you was to come up with something positive about leaving the EU, not to add further to your list of things you don't like about it. I think everyone recognises you don't like it, but you've still not made a case for what the country could look forward to positively outside of the EU.

I can offer (and then of course rebut) some suggestions on your behalf, but would you like to have a go at answering this first? Please don't just list another set of negatives though - have a go at setting out some positives!

Also, nice one on suggesting that Nigel Farage is a respected politician and that Norman Lamont was a successful Chancellor. The former's conduct in the referendum campaign has been held in utter contempt by leaders of both Remain and Leave, and the latter will mostly be remembered for destroying the Tories' credibility on the economy, thereby ushering in 18 years of Labour government. So yes, in that regard he was pretty successful.
Richard Bullock
Wednesday 22nd June 2016 at 5:52 pm
DavidHadfied: "At least we have General Election votes every few years here in the UK to kick out any party in Government that is a disaster"

This one keeps getting repeated, but surely the reality is that an individual voter has the right to vote for 1 MP only and can do absolutely nothing about it if the entire rest of the country chooses to collectively vote for a Government not of their choosing? And quite frankly in this area you would be hard pressed to kick out the current incumbent MP without a major scandal like what happened to Neil Hamilton. And you have no say whatsoever in the make up of the House of Lords.
David Hadfield
Wednesday 22nd June 2016 at 11:50 pm
David Hughes, the positives are easy to discuss.
For everything I have mentioned that I DON'T want to see or do, just alter that to the opposite.

eg ; I DON'T want this country governed by Presidents of the EU.
(clue ; I want this country to be FREE from the EU and governed by our own elected MP's)

eg : I DON'T want this country to be sending £350.m (or whatever the amount is) to the EU
when we could be using this money for our own economic benefit within the UK.

I want this country to be secure by using our own security services (MI5, MI6, SIS, GCHQ, etc) who are far more successful and held in high regard around the world as being one of the best, if not THE best. Relying on the EU is not the way forward, just look at recent events to see how lax their security services are ?

I want our Military Forces to be under UK control and not having to be under an EU umbrella.
As you know, we are part of NATO and this organisation is successful in its own right and has been successful since 1947, with the UK being one of its founding members, without the EU wanting to form their own EU Army and diluting everything good about NATO.

We are a big enough country to trade with all the countries outside the EU if we LEAVE, plus we will still be trading with EU countries if we want to, or need to.
However, if we LEAVE, we will be unshackled and free from all the EU Regulations and restrictions this country has to comply with.
We could, and should, be hugely successful with countries outside the EU such as the US, Australia, Canada, Brasil, India, etc.
At the moment, we have our hands tied as we have to agree to the EU Trade Commissioners decisions and they're batting for 27 other countries, not just the UK, so why should we put up with this nonsense.

I promise you, the EU is a failed organisation and the sooner we LEAVE, the better.
David Hughes
Thursday 23rd June 2016 at 9:15 am
That's not really a very good effort David Hadfield. When I asked you to suggest a few positives, I didn't mean simply putting the word "not" or "don't" in front of everything you don't like! I meant highlighting a few actual, tangible benefits that the country would have if we vote Leave which we don't have today.

I can see you're struggling though so let me suggest a few:

- more secure borders? No. As I am sure you will have noticed, the UK isn't part of Schengen so there is no free movement of people into the country. Turning our backs on pan-European intelligence and policing is unlikely to make our borders more secure.

- greater economic prosperity? Again, that's a No. I recognise you would prefer to ignore people who disagree with your view and only quote those who agree, but you only have to look at how the markets have responded this week to the threat of a leave vote to see which set of economists are correct. Your assertion that the UK was outplaying the rest of the member countries is also unfortunately inaccurate - in 2015 the UK was 13th in the table of GDP growth rates for EU members. It's also worth noting that the historical UK growth rate prior to joining the EEC in the 1970s was the lowest of the G7 countries; since then it has been the highest. Could be a coincidence though, right?

- lower immigration? Well maybe, but you do need to question why this would be so important. 78% of the EU citizens living in the UK who are of working age are indeed working, which means contributing to our GDP. Reducing EU migration would therefore appear to be a case of cutting off our noses to spite our faces, so it sounds like a No to that argument too.

- not sending funding to the EU? That's undoubtedly something we would not have to do were we no longer members, so you get a Yes for that. The net "membership" fee is approximately £8.5bn per year. Unfortunately lower-end estimates of the impact of leaving on the UK taxpayer are a cost of £20bn per year. Sounds like that also turns out to be a No then, but of course you may want to dismiss that £20bn figure because you don't agree with it.

- greater safety in the world? You rightly mention the importance and success of NATO, so I am sure you also recognise that NATO supports Remain - you probably noticed that Jens Stoltenberg was on record yesterday as saying that the UK remaining in Europe is key to fighting terrorism. But what does he know, he's only the secretary-general. Another No.

- being able to make our own laws? Yes, and I think we do that quite a lot already, but this country has benefitted hugely from legislation initiated from Brussels. The set of laws I mentioned in my previous post have all stemmed from the EU; none were in place prior to the UK joining, contrary to what you claim.

- feeling better about not having people from other countries making decisions that affect you? Well, that’s up to you but I have to wonder how you feel it actually impacts your day to day life, and I’m not sure it’s a particularly tangible benefit.

Anyway, it's been fun arguing with you, and I hope you've enjoyed it too. It would be a bit disingenuous of me to wish you good luck with the result today but, whichever way it goes, I hope everyone quickly gets over any feelings of division or regret and moves forward in a pragmatic way.

Tam Byrne
Thursday 23rd June 2016 at 2:26 pm
I voted IN, not that anyone cares.

The bookies have it 1/8 on now that we will remain in the EU. Not even worth a bet in a 2 horse race.

At 11/2 though could be worth lumping on Brexit so at the very least if we are waking up to an apocalypse in the morning of leaving the EU then at least you can go to William Hill on the high street and get a wad of cash to cheer yourself up
David Hadfield
Thursday 23rd June 2016 at 5:08 pm
Dear David Hughes,
I could have gone on and on and on, just like you have done, but sometimes it's probably best not to waste too much time going into specific detail on this forum as most people just switch off after the first 10 or so comments and it becomes a slanging match between one or two contributors.
I said my piece towards the beginning of this article, so you know my views on the EU and why I'm voting LEAVE.
Just about everyone .... well, maybe the more enlightened readers .... can write down dozens of reasons why we want to leave the EU, and not just the biased points in your favour that you've just given. These last few weeks the newspapers have published so many facts and figures that one only has to read them and digest to gain an overall view of the subject, so, as it's Referendum Day today there is little point in pursuing this subject any longer.
Thanks for your interest. David Hadfield
David Hughes
Thursday 23rd June 2016 at 6:25 pm
Not at all, it's been a pleasure
Tam Byrne
Friday 24th June 2016 at 6:25 am
Well that escalated quickly. Wish I had bet now. The patients have taken over the asylum.
Alan R Davies
Friday 24th June 2016 at 8:41 am
Stock market and sterling down 7% this morning, good luck with your pension funds everybody. Why didn't the so-called experts warn us? Oh, wait!
Stewart Dyer
Friday 24th June 2016 at 4:12 pm
Hardly the financial Armageddon predicted by the scaremongering tactics of Project Fear. The FTSE 100 "plummeted" to a low of 6036, levels unseen since....hmmm lets see...... well actually March, and looks like finishing at above 6100. In February and March it was frequently below 6000.