March 4, 2016 at 9:54 pm #189872
Whatever the economic fallout, the idea that we will all be marched back to the UK is completely preposterous
By Theodore Dalrymple
March 5, 2016 at 3:36 pm #189877
Interesting article – thanks for posting.
It’s of interest because after trying to sell our property for the past 3 years, we’d manage to attract a prospective buyer, and even got to the point of exchanging solicitors! Then Cameron set the date for the EU Referendum, and what with Boris and his ‘dramatic statement’ causing currency rates to wobble, our prospective buyer pulled out!
So I’m watching how the leadup, and the result of the Referendum pan out.
We need a crystal ball! Don’t suppose you have such a thing Mark?
March 6, 2016 at 12:23 pm #189884
Crystal ball? Sadly not 😉
It was interesting to read of your experience trying to sell and how the referendum is throwing a spanner in the works. I can’t say I’m surprised and I bet you are not the only ones in this situation. The latest figures on foreign demand for Spanish property from the registrars for 2015 show British buyers up 81pc last year. Though I don’t have a crystal ball I predict we will see a significant slowdown in British demand when the figures come out for Q1 and Q2. We need to get the referendum behind us before things pick up again. In the meantime, the fears of a Brexit will weigh on the Pound and people’s confidence of what it means to be British in Europe. Britons will be less confident about making a big investment in Spanish property if they end up outside the EU. After all, who knows where that might lead: tavell restrictions, capital controls, reduced rights to health care, and so on.
For what it’s worth, I expect the In-camp will win, though the margin might be narrow, just like the Scottish referendum. Dave Cameron has form when it comes to holding referendums that he expects to win easily and then scrapes by by the skin of his teeth.
Another interesting article on the question of the Brexit and Brits in Spain (in The Guardian):
March 7, 2016 at 8:47 pm #189902
I think you are not necessarily right Mark about BREXIT. Because of the bullying by Cameron and other EU leaders I think the odds are British people will be intimidated into voting to stay in. Indeed this referendum comes at a bad time when we can least be concentrated on the real issues of how much it costs UK and how much better off we could be out and how much better the £ would be in the long run. Most of the fiscal legislation in Spain affecting non residents apply to EU and EAA residents and we would remain in the latter so scares about increased taxes would not arise in Spain unless part of a general nastiness instigated by the Brussels Commission socialist Presidents and motherly German chancellors taking in the worlds unwanted giving them EU passports and dumping them on the UK refugee camp for taxpayers and council taxpayers to pick up even pay them benefits to their children who don’t even live in the UK. Small wonder the largest number of buyers of Spanish property recently are British !!
March 12, 2016 at 12:15 pm #189981
Well, this is game for all the family – anyone can play. I’ve rolled a 6 so here I go.
There has been a question for many years, swishing about below the surface of British political perceptions, “This EU thing – what’s it for?” I think that the perception that it is a Franco-German club and that we, the British, don’t want to be members of a club that would have us as members [a la Groucho Marx] is growing.
It’s not just Boris, though his influence on the ‘out’ vote will be considerable. There are the silky tones of David Owen – nobody is more persuasive than someone who is a convert.
I expect to be dealing with the renovation of my flat in VLC by the time of the vote, but I’m in UK for now. I can tell you that the ‘stay in’ arguments so far delivered by Cameron – and nobody else of any consequence seems to be backing him up – are deeply underwhelming.
The ‘outers’ are coming up with all sorts of models – Canada, Norway, Singapore – and all sorts of practical ways they reckon things would be better. The ‘in’ campaign has not got past, “It’ll be awful/disastrous”.
The ‘out’ campaign has serious people and hi-viz personalities. The ‘in’ campaign has Cameron and, coming very much in the rear because he has other serious business to deal with, Osborne. There must be others but, as an engaged and reasonably clued-up observer, I can’t recall any names!
I started out as believing that Cameron had brought this on to shut his right wing up and the voters would oblige him by not doing anything crazy, like vote ‘out’. Now I think the ‘out’ vote is gaining traction by the week and may very well win.
March 13, 2016 at 5:49 pm #189984
So, no Spanish Government, Catalonian independence, Brexit, high Estate agent commissions, the low exchange rate….I am beginning to wonder if the risk and aggravation of trying to purchase is all worth it? Maybe a tent in the garden with a sun lamp and a tin of San Miguel is the stress free option? 😯
March 15, 2016 at 9:33 pm #190012
It is a great pity this is being done by referendum with the suggestion that it is final. There should be nothing final about this one because it’s been forced by one section of the Conservative Party when there are a lot of issues. It is the job in a representative democracy of MP’ s in Parliament not a referendum with head counts irrespective of what’s in them .At present great frustration that they are not functioning to represent constituents instead constrained by party whips at the bequest of the Elected Dictatorship. Last months there was a boom in Spanish property buying because sterling rose. Maybe some will be paying the 3 per cent and dumping on lower sterling to take profit. Not what property purchasing should be about but may create opportunities.
March 19, 2016 at 12:52 pm #190056
Nothing is politics is ‘final’. And as far as how things are done, politicians will always do things in the manner they judge will get them the result they want. This is why having a Constitution, like the USA, is A Very Good Thing.
For example, will you bet me a slap-up dinner that there will not be another vote of some sort on Scottish independence? Short term, the SNP will try to use the result of the EU vote to assert that it now makes it essential to run the ‘forever’ vote all over again – most particularly if the result is Brexit.
The supreme example of things not being ‘final’ was WW1. The ‘war to end all wars’ turned out to be just episode 1 of a 2-parter. One of the few people to see this was General Pershing, C in C US Expeditionary Forces. He said, in 1918, “If we do not go on to Berlin now, we will have to return and do this all over again.”
From the econo-political point of view, John Meynard Keynes, in his book, “The Cost of The Peace” was scathing in the extreme about the vapourings of The League of Nations and Conference of Versaille in supposedly ‘finalising’ the shape of Europe.
Pershing and Keynes could see quite clearly that what was purported to be ‘final’ were in fact the very conditions required to make renewed conflict inevitable.
And, remember, Income Tax was supposed to be a temporary measure to pay for the war against Napoleon – money well spent. In fact I’m inclined to blame this whole Euro-project on the subsequent attempts of Europe in the early 19th C to ‘finalise’ the shape of Europe. But after a couple of short-term repeals Income Tax became thoroughly non-temporary: maybe the nearest thing to something ‘final’ that we have, along with death, as Mark Twain reminded us.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Chris Nation.
April 27, 2016 at 10:20 am #190617
The famous author Frederick Forsyth has this to say about the UK’s referendum on EU membership.
A long time ago a very wise old man advised me thus: “If ever you are confronted by a highly complex situation and a decision cannot be avoided, never rush to an early emotional judgment. Subject the subject to the four-pronged ARID. It stands for Analyse, Research, Identify and then Decide.
We all now face the decision: should we continue as obedient members of the EU or should we sever the link? Let me try to apply the old man’s advice.
Any country other than a shambolic anarchy must have a government.
That said, most governmental systems end with the five-letter “cracy” derived from the Greek for “rule”. There are about 10.
We know about autocracy, rule by a single tyrant. There is theocracy, rule by the priestly caste, such as Iran.
Add stratocracy, rule by the army (Egypt) and plutocracy (by the very rich). We have seen gerontocracy, with the reins of power in the hands of the extremely old – the Soviet politburo in its last days. And aristocracy, rule by the nobles, long gone.
But two are with us and visible.
One is bureaucracy, government by the officials, the constant competitor for power with rule by the “demos”: the people. Democracy. It is by far the hardest to establish. It is the most fragile, the easiest to fake with rigged elections, meaningless ceremonies and elaborate charades.
I estimate about 100 phoney democracies worldwide.
But ours is parliamentary democracy so let’s give it a glance. Of course it is indirect. We cannot expect the electorate to go to the polls for every tiny decision. So we divide the country into 650 constituencies with one MP for each. The party with the most MPs in Westminster governs for five years. At the pinnacle is the Cabinet and, with encircling junior ministers, forms the Government, which I will call the power. But there is more.
The power is held to account, not five-yearly, not annually or monthly but every day. Doing this is the official Opposition but also the backbench MPs even of the government party. This “holding to account” is vital.
Assisting these critics is hopefully a free and unafraid press. I have travelled very widely, seen the good, the bad and the very ugly and have come firmly to the view that with all its flaws the British parliamentary form of democracy is the best in the world. Not for those in power but for the people who between elections still have a voice. It is against this template that we can judge the system of the EU.
After the war a group of men, politicians, thinkers, intellectuals and theorists, formed around Frenchman Jean Monnet, became convinced that what they had witnessed at close quarters – the utter destruction of their continent in a vicious war – must never, ever, happen again.
It was not a bad view-point, indeed it was a noble one.
They then analysed the problem and came up with two solutions.
The first was that the various and disparate nations of Europe west of the Iron Curtain must somehow be unified into one under a single government. They accepted that this might take two, even three generations but must be done. This was not an ignoble vision.
It was their second conclusion to which I take exception.
The whole group was mesmerised by one fact. In 1933 the Germans, seized by rabid nationalism, voted Adolf Hitler into power.
Their conclusion: the people, any people, were too obtuse, too gullible, and too dim ever to be safely entrusted with the power to elect their government. People’s democracy was flawed and should never be permitted to decide government again if war was to be avoided. Real power would have to be confined to a non-elective body of enlightened minds like theirs.
In the 70 years since, the theory has never changed. It remains exactly the same today.
The British Cabinet has power and may delegate that power to a wide range of civil servants: police chiefs, generals, bureaucrats. But it itself remains elective. The people can change it via the polling booth.
Not so in the EU. The difference is absolutely fundamental.
They realised, those founders, that there would have to be façades erected to persuade the gullible that democracy had not been abolished in the new utopia.
There is indeed a European Parliament – but with a difference. In London it is the Commons that is the law-giver; the Upper House is the vetting and endorsing chamber.
In Brussels the EU Parliament has no lower house, it is the endorsing chamber. It ratifies what the real power, the non-elective European Commission, has decided.
The broad masses would also have to be convinced that the purpose of the Monnet utopia was economic and thus about prosperity. This untruth has prevailed to this day and is the main plank of the establishment propaganda in our present British decision-making.
In fact the final destination of the EU is entirely political. It is the complete political, legal and constitutional unification of the continent of Europe into a single entity: the State of Europe.
This clearly cannot make war against itself, thus guaranteeing peace. Albeit without democracy.
It is amazing how many intelligent people have fallen for this fiction. Thus David Cameron can tell us with a straight face that he repudiates the three pillars of the EU – the doctrine of even closer union, a single external border but no internal ones (Schengen) and a single currency (Eurozone) – but still thinks we will sit at the top table.
He believes the EU is about trade and tariffs. No, that’s what we thought we joined.
Back in the 1960s one British premier (Macmillan) after another (Heath) came to the view that with the empire departing into independence and the USA becoming more protectionist our economic days were numbered. If the world beyond the oceans was not Communist it was Third World, meaning impoverished. Both premiers became convinced the future lay east across the Channel.
Back then the union was six countries: Germany, France, Italy, plus minnows Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Wealthy, especially Germany, booming. Just the trading partners we needed.
So under Heath we joined the Common Market. As a trading nation for centuries we were delighted to do so.
Then the lies began. It would never go further, we were told. The Six became the Nine but all in Western Europe.
Heath lied to us. He said there would never be any question of “transfer of significant sovereignty”. He had read the whole Treaty of Rome. No one else had. He knew this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Then in 1992 came the Maastricht Treaty. We were told it was just tidying up loose ends. More lies. It was transformational. It created the European Union. Slowly, decree by decree, rule by rule, law by law, our ancient right to govern ourselves the way we wanted to be governed and by whom was transferred from London to Brussels. Today 60% of all laws are framed in Brussels, not London.
The lies multiplied. The entire establishment, much espoused of power without accountability, has become hugely enamoured of the new governmental system. Less and less need to consult those wretched people, the voters.
It is no coincidence that the five professions that worship power – politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, quangocrats and lawyers, plus the two that lust for money, bankers/financiers and tycoons – today constitute almost the whole of the stay-in campaign. Almost to a man.
And the lies proliferate. “There is no intention to proceed to a superstate.” Really? Read the Treaty of Rome.
That is the whole point of the EU. What is not said is that in a unified continent there can be no place for the independent, autonomous, self-governing sovereign nation/state. The two are a contradiction in terms. Only here in the UK is that denied. In Brussels it is accepted as wholly obvious. “The end of nation” is regarded as a work in progress. Endgame is foreseen as a decade, maybe two.
The referendum decision of June 23 will be the last ever, the decision permanent.
So this is your choice.
This is about the country in which we will spend the rest of our lives, the land we will pass on to our children and grandchildren.
What kind of a country, what kind of governmental system?
People’s democracy or officialdom’s empire?
Our right to hold power to account or just two duties: to pay and obey?
For me it is simple and takes just five words.
I want my country back.
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