This 23-minute interview provides a light introduction to Brexit. Additional reading material is linked lower down.
Recorded 4 September 2018. Posted 1 November 2018
My lifestyle means that I am always meeting new interesting people. Amir Anzur of AmirAnzur.com is a writer and video blogger. He is the author of "Internetism: The belief that the Internet will make the world a wealthier place."
After we had dinner recently, he asked if he could interview me regarding Brexit.
You can watch the 23-minute interview below. To assist you, I have also transcribed his questions but it was not practical to transcribe my answers.
The video below was recorded on 4 September 2018 on Amir’s mobile phone and live streamed to YouTube. I made the mistake of turning his phone around into landscape mode; the unfortunate consequence is that on YouTube the video is rotated 90° to the right.
As all that matters is the audio recording of the questions and answers, I suggest ignoring the picture!
What is Brexit?
How do you think the UK has benefited from EU membership over the last 40 years?
How has being in the EU over the last 40 years harmed us?
Imagine I am a computer programmer applying for a job paying £50,000 per year. If we leave the EU I will only be competing with other candidates who are British. At present, am I not worse off because somebody from Poland might also apply for this job. So am I not disadvantaged from the UK being inside the EU?
So what you are saying is that we get people coming into the UK without having to pay the costs of their education. At the other end, do we also benefit from people leaving the UK to retire overseas so the UK bears less of their costs?
You say there is no loss to the UK from being in the EU. So why did 52% of the population vote to leave?
Brexit is something that some people are quite passionate about, say 20% on one side and 20% on the other side with say 60% in the middle who might be persuaded. Do you think if there was another referendum there would be a different result?
Boris Johnson was Mayor of London [a very diverse, multicultural and pro-EU city] for eight years. Why do you think he chose to lead the leave campaign?
What can people do if they want to remain in the EU? Do they just sit back and wait to see what happens?
Discussing the EU is like discussing religion or politics. You tend to get lots of hate directed towards you. How should you deal with this?
How many of the MPs in Parliament before the referendum voted to remain and how many voted to leave?
Is it not very dangerous for the EU if the UK leaves and then becomes a great success story?
The other argument I have heard is that once we leave the EU we can start doing these trade deals with other countries such as New Zealand, the USA etc. What is your take on that?
And what are your thoughts on the UK joining the euro currency?
Where can people find out more information about you?
Below are some of the other articles on my website about this subject.
In May 2015 with a group of friends I visited the European Parliament building for the first time, hosted by Afzal Khan CBE MEP. He used the Parliament's facilities to record an eight minute video during which he asked four of us to share our thoughts on the European Union. I spoke three times in the video, very briefly, but was still able to state the key reasons why I strongly support the UK's membership of the EU.
I was asked to speak for 10 minutes to a primarily Muslim audience on why the UK should remain in the European Union. I focused on the importance of the EU to our economy. In particular I explained from first principles what the single market is about, and how it makes us richer, using the car industry and financial services as examples. I also pointed out how the most vociferous opponents of the EU are also often also anti-Muslim.
The EU Referendum is the most important decision the British people have faced for a generation. Whether the UK remains in or leaves the EU will affect many aspects of our national life. Like many, I have become frustrated by the poor quality of the discussion in the arguments about the referendum. Accordingly, I have created this page to discuss the key topics in detail. I am writing from my Remain perspective, but welcome contrary views from Leave supporters.
The Conservative Home website has relatively strict limits on the length of articles. Accordingly when I wrote a piece explaining my position on the EU Referendum, I concentrated on the three key issues. They are security, prosperity, and Britain's influence in the world. I also concentrated on being positive.
In the EU Referendum, voters chose for the UK to leave the EU. However the nature of the UK's future trade relationship with the EU needs to be determined. More trade restrictions are always worse than fewer restrictions. The article considers the most extreme restrictions possible and shows how the UK would suffer far more from these than would the rest of the EU.
Referendums have often been abused by dictators and demagogues. That may be why the USA constitution has no provision for them, and the UK never held one until 1975. Referendums often ask voters to vote for "a pig in a poke." Even when the alternatives are properly specified, people often cast their ballots for reasons nothing to do with the referendum question.
To leave the EU, the UK needs to give notice under Article 50 of the EU Treaty. The text of Article 50 contains no provision for unilateral revocation of the notice. Many experts on international law consider that under general international law principles an Article 50 notice can be revoked unilaterally but this cannot be relied upon. Given the significance of the issues, the Government should ask the ECJ as ultimate interpreter of the EU Treaty about revocability. Otherwise the UK faces serious risks. In my view this should take priority over the desire to serve an early notice.
After the 2017 general election the Conservative Party no longer has a majority in the House of Commons. I consider that the Government needs to come up with a UK negotiating strategy that is agreed with the key interested parties, namely the other political parties, the devolved administrations, and the Mayor of London. While this may seem difficult, the EU has managed to devise a negotiating strategy agreed by the other 27 members states. Finally, Parliament should ask whether the final negotiated EU departure agreement is better or worse than remaining within the EU. If it is worse, Parliament should instruct the Government to seek to keep the UK within the EU.
In the 2016 EU Referendum, the majority voted to leave the EU. Accordingly, the Government is presently negotiating an EU departure agreement. The final agreement must be assessed by Parliament and I explain the legal position. Parliament is free to accept the agreement, or to require the Government to negotiate further, or to instruct the Government to remain within the EU.
An explanation of my view that the euro was created to increase the cross-border integration of European business and an analysis of what has gone wrong and what needs to be done. In 2012, I forecast that all current members, even Greece, will remain within the eurozone. So far, by November 2018, my forecast has proved correct!
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