First the EU has, in my opinion, delivered union where there was once conflict. I do not take that lightly. And I think the risk of conflict has not gone away, but is reduced by the continuing existence of the EU. I think that absolutely fundamental in the debate to come.
Second, I am a member of an extended family that is only in the UK because of economic migrancy. I think my extended family has added value to this country. I think many other economically migrant families do.
Irish migration to the UK has been affected by the EU in what manner?
If this is who I think it is, that is a stunning argument against immigration from Ireland.
Even ignoring its logical incoherence – if Goethe was a great German liberal does it follow that all Germans are great or liberal?
Some migrants are good, therefore all migrants are good. An oft-heard rhetoric in the current climate.
So, France not fighting wars against Germany any more is because they are both EU members, but Germany not fighting wars against Russia any more is because they are both…oh, hang on.
It’s a bit hard to prove as it would require going back in time and changing history, but a Europe with no EU would not have fought wars amongst themselves in the past 70 years.
It isn’t that which has reduced conflict. It’s agricultural improvements (like tractors) and economies adding lots of value that led to the falling price of food. It just isn’t worth expending a load of blood and treasure to get agricultural land any longer, which was the whole basis of expansionist policies of Germany from the late 19th century until the fall of the Nazis.
“It’s a bit hard to prove as it would require going back in time and changing history, but a Europe with no EU would not have fought wars amongst themselves in the past 70 years.”
How would France have viewed a German reunification? Having twice experienced the delights of a strong Germany? And France would certainly had the military capability to occupy the FGR..
Much of European history has been a prolonged border dispute between France and what is now Germany. So I can understand the people of Belgium, Strasbourg,etc being quite keen on Franco/German links. But I don’t see how the UK being involved helps.
“And France would certainly had the military capability to occupy the FGR..”
Even with BAOR there?
Also worth remembering, without the Common Market/EEC/EU you’d have had an entirely different class of politicians running things in all the relevant states. Including the UK.
BAOR would be neutered. It’s supply lines would be compromised. Unless, of course, the UK occupied Holland to protect them. And the Yanks…
This is how wars go.,
We haven’t had a war because the Western allies bombed Germany flat, killing 600,000 civilians and, after, executed their political leaders thus changing their minds about the attractions of military aggression.
Same with Japan.
Peace. Thanks EU. Never heard of NATO, the Cold War, trade, post-war attitudes, long memory or anything like that.
Ritchie is a child. He literally is a child.
His extended family might have added value, but Ritchie as sure as shit hasn’t.
Most of the Irish in Britain presumably arrived when what is now the Republic was part of the UK, so they were migrants only in the same sense as someone who moved from Gloucestershire to Cardiff.
If UK Brexited, would it be in the interests of Ireland to follow suit? Just asking…
“Most of the Irish in Britain presumably arrived when what is now the Republic was part of the UK..”
Wonder how true that is?
I can remember being in Camden in the mid 80s & there were quite startling claims for the number of RoI folk moving there. Of course one can never be too sure who’s claiming what, why. That was also the period Newham was claiming to have 250% of the UK’s Somali population on its books. But there do seem to have been a lot of Irish left the Republic because of the Republic. Or, at least, because the Republic wasn’t particularly good for the Irish.
“If UK Brexited, would it be in the interests of Ireland to follow suit? Just asking…”
Fascinating question. UK’s always treated the Republic as if it didn’t exist. That the Irish weren’t furriners. If Brexit, treating the Frogs any different to the Micks is going to run slap up against UK anti-discrimination legislation.
The future is radically unpredictable. The fallout from Brexit we cannot know. Here is my prediction, therefore.
The UK leaves the EU. Scotland immediately declare independence and request admission to the EU. The EU refuses them (they don’t need another small “consumer” state). Emboldened by Brexit, other European populations start demanding to leave. The EU falls apart.
Wales and the West Country declare independence from the UK. Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall form a Celtic Confederacy, united by ancient hatreds of the Anglo-Saxon. Borders become rigorously policed. Scotland cuts off the oil and gas supply to England.
English armed forces mass on the border with Scotland…
“English armed forces mass on the border with Scotland…”
And due to a bizarre gardening accident, Harry becomes King and leads his army to victory over the traitorous porridge-wogs. After which he renounces the throne and asks President Trump to become King of a re-United Kingdom of Great Britain and America.
Winter is Trumping:
I think we can safely say that without the EU there probably wouldn’t have been a major war in Western Europe until at least the early 90s. The threat of Soviet style communism was too great to have risked another Germany vs France showdown.
The last 20 years is when the risk of a war would have appeared. As someone that hasn’t been to either country and doesn’t speak either language I need some opinions.
How strong is the old Franco/German rivalry today?
How much have the agreements like open borders and freer trade provided by the EU reduced the old rivalries?
What about other long term rivalries like Austria vs Hungary?
“President Trump to become King of a re-United Kingdom of Great Britain and America.”
Why stop there? If we go that route Canada, Australia, and New Zealand would fit nicely. Let’s stay out of the countries that don’t have a common linguistic heritage unless their citizens overwhelmingly favor joining.
NATO & nukes (for starters)?
Another simple truth is that liberal democracies have virtually no track record of declaring war on each other.
I don’t know how serious the rivalry is between France and Germany, but you don’t have to travel far in Alsace before encountering Elsass Frei graffiti. The Alsatian language is fairly ruthlessly suppressed – this is the case for all minority languages in France, Breton is the most significant (Welsh with extra shrugging), but you’ll struggle to find road signs, school lessons or official documents in Breton.
“How strong is the old Franco/German rivalry today?”
“Another simple truth is that liberal democracies have virtually no track record of declaring war on each other.
Answer to the question is: No more than there was in 1939. Or 1914. Or 1870. Or….
Because people very rarely go to war with their neighbours. And never with people, not their neighbours.
Leaders & politicians however…
‘What about other long term rivalries like Austria vs Hungary?’
Not a rivalry as such but we shouldn’t overlook the Greeks and Turks who could’ve quite well gone to war in the last 50 odd years, over Cyprus or something else.
Greece only joined the EU in 1981; the Turks aren’t members. What’s kept the peace between them is membership of NATO, not the EU.
Not sure if that’s in the context of liberal democracies? If it was – I don’t believe Germany was a properly functioning liberal democracy at any of those points in time?
I think Germany, first by the creation of the eurozone and later in dealing with their debts, has been an agressor against the southern European countries, enabled by the EU. They have created a generation with limited prospects in these countries and indebtedness without end. I hardly think this is peaceloving unity but a cause of future conflict.
I seem to recall significant arrivals of Irish folk into Luton and Kilburn in the 1990s. I haven’t gone back to check if they are still there, however.
LY there are still significant US military presences in the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. I believe that most US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were flown to Heidelberg, for example. I suspect those forces have had a greater effect for peace than the EU.
BIS there are still strange, arcane parts of UK tax law where it is not entirely clear how they apply to people of Itish descent. Some tax barristers are probably waiting for their chance to appear in court….but probably not soapy Jo.
diogenes I agree that our military being stationed in Europe has had a lot to do with the current peace. What I want to know is whether the US could pull most of our forces out without another world war starting?
Interestingly, Boris Johnson has just declared as an Outie. Which presumably is a high risk strategy to get the PM job after an Out vote.
“What I want to know is whether the US could pull most of our forces out without another world war starting?”
Is this serious? Why would “another world war” start?
And to repeat: NATO & nukes. In that context, I’m also interested to understand “how”?
Sorry, but the question just seems slightly bizarre? Perhaps you know something I don’t?
Technically, the cretin has made one point and two claims in his “secondly” and implies a fourth.
1) His family is in the UK due to economic migration (nothing about the EU here)
2) He claims his family has made an economic contribution
3) He makes the claim that other economic migrants do
4) He implies economic migrants from the EU are a good thing on this basis.
It would make more sense just to say economic migration is a good thing. Obviously, the world would be a far better place without the cretin – who subtracts value by existing, but the point itself has merit. As for the EU bringing peace, anyone who says this is a moron.
“Not sure if that’s in the context of liberal democracies? ”
That was rather my point. Go live alongside a frontier & you won’t often hear much beef from the people living either side of it. How could there be? I’ve lived on French/Belgian border. The frontier’s across Mont Noir high street. This side you’re drinking in France, t’other Belgium, where you can smoke. That’s the only way you can tell the difference.
However, that border’s very important in Paris & Bruxelles. Worth going to war over, get the crazier sort of politician.
LY remember that the French have a nuclear deterrent and, until German reunification, West Germany was circumscribed in its ability to recruit for the military. The reason I say this is that after reunification, there would have been a lot of East Germans who had done military training.
“Is this serious? Why would “another world war” start?”
Yes it is serious. What is the justification for thousands of US soldiers to be stationed in Europe if not to prevent Great War part 3? If a war wouldn’t happen then the bases could be turned over to Germany. Assuming that there is no chance of a repeat then Germany should have no problem sharing bases with an ally should we need the presence for short term strategic needs.
In short is Europe stable enough that I don’t have to pay extra taxes?
BiS – I think it depends on the frontiers. The old Franco-Spanish, Dutch-Belgium, Franco-Belgian frontiers were quite tolerant, as well as being totally porous.
However, my experiences of crossing from Estonia to Latvia and then into Lithuania at the start of the 2000s were fraught affairs. Signposts reminded us of the war that had been waged in 1919 to establish the border between Estonia and Latvia at one town – and there were still houses split in half. I’m not saying that the locals didn’t find it a pain (officially) but I think they more enjoyed the chance to profit from tourist exasperation. I am sure that plenty of food and drink passed hands surreptitiously over garden fences and maybe “broken” families found ways and means of socialising unofficially. However, there were signs of genuine anti-the other side focres at work – Latvians cussing out Estonians and vice versa. Bit like Spurs v Chelsea. I didn’t hang around to see how deep it all was.
If US soldiers left Europe, there are still British and French nukes in place, complemented by NATO’s Article 5.
I would suggest that – provided that we really do mean Article 5, no matter what, combined additionally with the US holding all the big nukes – then that should comfortably prevent any “skirmish type conflicts” (?) in Europe turning into anything more significant, never mind a “world” war?
Ie, I just can’t see a world war being started between existing European countries? Or perhaps to put it a different way, I don’t really see the US as politically being any more “stable” (as you put it) than the major European democracies (Britain, France and Germany)?
“Boris Johnson has just declared as an Outie. Which presumably is a high risk strategy to get the PM job after an Out vote.”
Nope, its a low risk strategy to be leader of the Tory Party whatever the result of the IN/OUT vote.
UK votes IN, Tory party faithful pissed off, as they are outers, won’t vote for anyone who voted IN as the new leader. Boris wins vs Gove 2nd.
UK votes OUT, Boris is shoo-in for Tory leader as he’s backed the winning horse.
Either way its Boris for PM in 2020.
Scotland’s enthusiasm for the Celtic brotherhood ended the minute it was suggested they forego a portion of the Barnet formula in favour of their Welsh and Irish cousins. Scotland favours EU membership purely as a means of recycling English money via Brussels – they don’t mind taking a handout from Junker but baulk at seen accepting English gelt.
LY…world war is one thing but, the fact that so much US materiel is stationed in Europe stops the power-hungry leaders such as Putin from stepping too far out of line. If there were people on this site in the Baltic States or Poland, they might add an additional dimension. Admittedly, under the Obama presidency, the USA has started to morph into an appeasing rather than a policing superpower. Is that part of the plan for the US 21st century? I am reasonably sure that if Putin felt he could get away with it, the Baltics and Poland would be snapped up again, plus half of Finland. I am not sure how the EU would react.
Most every family I know that originated in the republic came here following the war – primarily in the 60s.
“The UK leaves the EU. Scotland immediately declare independence”
With oil at $30/barrel that ain’t happening any time soon, the Scots wishing to leave the UK bit I mean. The moment Scotland voted to leave or unilaterally seceded would be the moment the Scottish economy went into meltdown, as anyone with any money shifted it south of the border, knowing that the Scottish budget would be massively in deficit on day 1 of independence, and the only source of funds to plug that hole would be higher taxes. All the financials would leave as they wouldn’t want to be left in a newly formed bankrupt country that couldn’t stand behind them if required. There might not even be enough electric to keep them going if the wind didn’t blow and the rUK refused to sell them evil fossil fuel generated power.
The Scots had a lucky escape in Sept 2014, they won’t come that near to leaving the UK ever again.
I understand the deterrence against countries like Russia but why is it necessary for the US to permanently station troops in Europe?
Why can’t Europe provide for it’s own basic defense?
I am not suggestion that he US should abandon our allies. What I want to know is why we are spending billions when there is no active war. In 2000 we had a surplus and were paying down the debt. Fast forward 16 years and we have a deficit and a debt that has skyrocketed thanks to a larger military, unfunded social programs, and tax cuts that don’t provide the promised growth. If Europe can take over basic defenses that spending can be cut with the savings used on something better for Americans. We wouldn’t cut the nuclear deterrent or leave NATO.
“Why can’t Europe provide for it’s own basic defense?”
It can, but it refuses to.
“Why can’t Europe provide for its own basic defence?”
It can. As long we all mean Article 5, no matter what, then it’s no problem?
A weak point in that argument though might be Mr Prez? Would NATO really be prepared (if push finally came to shove) to commit to nukes, say to defend Latvia from a Russian advance. Because, if not, then it’s all just a facade and NATO doesn’t actually mean anything.
The SNP are not economically rational. Sturgeon and Salmond know zero about how the economy actually works.
“The SNP are not economically rational”
I think a) they know enough that they would be fucked if they left with oil at $30/barrel (even if they won’t admit it in public) and b) the Scottish public know it (now) too, so they won’t be demanding to jump off the independence cliff any time soon.
There will continue to be posturing, and political manoeuvring to try and get the most out of Westminster, but if there was another vote it would be 65/35 to stay, regardless of whether the UK has left the EU in the meantime.
(b) might be true but I don’t agree that (a) is. La Sturgeon has a terrifyingly primitive concept of socialist economics.
And I’ve migrated to the US from the UK, despite the US and UK being in a complete lack of any kind of political or economic union. The people’s fearless tax hero is making about as much sense as he usually does.
I think Rocco might be treading on thin ice on the Murph thread. I wonder how long it will stay up.
Germany didn’t want the Euro, it was the price they paid to be allowed to reunify Germany. However they knew what was coming, hence the rules.
The other members of the Euro were/are all willing volunteers and if they don’t like they should leave or better still the electorate should rise up and hang a few politicians, pour …. etc.
The whole point of British and US forces being stationed in Germany wasn’t to stop Germany and France going to war, again, iota was to try to slow down any attack by the Warsaw Pact during the cold war. Whenever we did any exercises in Germany it was all about starting at the border and doing a fighting retreat to give the politicians and diplomats more time to find a solution before it went nuke. Most estimates reckoned 5 to 10 days at most.
So yes, they could be withdrawn now if you think the threat of a Soviet tank invasion to occupy German and France is very low and you’re happy for escalation to nuke, if it happens at all, to happen faster.
I think that the USA should withdraw most of its troops, and from Japan, and insist that the rest of the world starts taking more responsibility for their own defence instead of free riding on the USA’s massive defence budget.
As for the EU keeping the peace in Europe, I’ve never seen an argument for that claim other than one Tim used to make quite often: if good don’t cross borders Armies will, and we don’t need the EU to be able to trade with each other.
BiND, good points and I tend to agree with most of them. However, how would Germany’s neighbours react if Merkel started to rebuild a military? She has not worried about throwing economic muscle around. Maybe Danzig could become German again. The main worry is, however, the threat of collapse once the policeman leaves town. It symbolises USA deciding to forget about Europe. Who knows what might come of that
‘the SNP are not economically rational’
One argument given for retaining the Union is that of the potential security impact of having a Belarus/ North Korea style state on our border. When I hear Salmond or Sturgeon speak I have to say I find them even less rational than a North Koran state press release….
Gop back to 1960. The British were British. women were women.
Racism was ok- Based on years of experiece.
Procreation was a good idea.
Fish and chips were ok.
We didn’t want or need to save the world. Gays were a minority and knew it. Etc Etc.
Turning the question round, how would US troops based in Germany be able to stop them becoming beligerent again? One of the first moves would be to tear up the treaties that allow US troops to be based there and I don’t think any US President could argue. They could hardly invoke NATO as a reason for staying as Germany’s move would effectively end NATO.
BiND, again a very good point. However, if I recall my schooldays, we tended to behave better when a teacher was in the room. As soon as he/ she stepped out, mayhem ensued. My worry is what happens when N Korea or China start to repossess little Pacific islets….. Or Putin carves a strip out of Estonia. Will a rebuke from the UN be enough? Have things already gone as far as this? Arguably they have already,and we should be preparing for WW3. If we survive, should we blame Obama for being more concerned with climate change than geo politics? My guess is yes.
Considering there isn’t a Soviet Union anymore I think the risk of Soviet tanks rolling across Europe is zero. If you are talking about Putin’s Russia they are not in the position for a war of that scale. Vilnius and Riga are definitely at risk currently. I would hope that Europe would be able to field an army that could reverse an invasion but I’m not sure if that is possible currently.
From where I sit the EU is much like our failed Articles of Confederation. If you want to have a US style federal system then the half ass EU does not have the necessary checks and balances to be an effective government. If all you want is a small group that arbitrates trade disputes than the EU is too bloated. Either way what you have now needs major changes that are not dictated by the US.
LY, I think many people here would agree with you. But what do I know?
I’ll admit that as a Germanophile I don’t see a risk, but its a fair point about teachers in the room. Given modern warfare and the speed at which armies can be deployed it doesn’t really matter if the troops are based there or not. Anyway, a call from a US president long before it got to the point of war would probably suffice.
I’m also reminded of something Tim used to use almost as a shibboleth: if goods don’t cross borders, armies will. I think Germany has learned it doesn’t need war to grow its economy, it just needs trade. And before anyone responds, I accept they have become mercantile and the response to that is more trade agreements, not sanctions or war.
I was using the historical context.
Of course the threat is Russia and its liking of strong nationalist leaders. You are right, since they lost control of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine* and Hungry they no longer have an easy launch pad to take on western Europe and that threat ->0, which makes stirring up the Baltic states** their most likely pretext for war. US troops in Germany won’t be able to help with that one any faster that troops based in the USA.
* Why the EU ever thought it was a good idea to get involved in Ukraine is yet another reason for being out of it.
** Similarly, allowing the Baltic states to join Nato has effectively killed Nato as nobody with more than half a brain cell can seriously believe that we will risk full scale nuclear war to protect them, especially the Russian speaking enclaves.
Murphy starts his post:
“It is time to make my position on the EU clear.”
My God, the man is pompous. The world has been awaiting his statement with bated breath? The people are crying out for his leadership?
Richard Murphy says:
“The EU is like a marriage. There never has, I suspect, been a perfect marriage and in most there has been a time of temptation and a thought that the grass may be greener.”
Well, at least for once he’s talking from experience.
“the grass may be greener” – so has he got his eye on Mrs Murphy mk3?
Richard, you almost made me puke, but you are probably closer to the mind of our least favourite Quaker than Murph is. Was it down to Rocco on his site?
I would hope that anyone would prefer to take out Putin than lose the Baltic states.
How would you take Putin out without someone going nuclear?
The best case is that our current economic warfare strategy works.
Vladimir Putin has no interest in conquering Europe. It is clear that there are some people who desperately want to be enemies with Russia, possibly because of teh gheys, or because everyone knew where they stood in the Good Old Days of the Cold War, but the reality is that we should be forging agreements with Russia at the moment to ensure territorial integrity, not saber rattling.
Putin is a nationatlist, not an imperialist. He will use his forces if he thinks Russia is threatened, as with the idiotic America-EU regime change plot in Ukraine. Push NATO forces up against his borders and try to take away Sevastopol, you’ll get a Russian military response. So don’t do that. It’s a fucking stupid thing to do.
And the same goes for waging “economic warfare”. Why would you do that? What is the purpose? American hegemony?
“And the same goes for waging “economic warfare”. Why would you do that? What is the purpose?”
I’m actually not sure why we are doing it. The moves in Georgia, Chechnya and Ukraine appear to me to be attempts to defend the borders. When I say works I mean that Putin sits down with our next President and works out a deal which the Baltic states don’t get trampled. If Putin were to attack Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, or Poland we will have a major mess that the US hawks will exploit.
The problem as I see it is that the US hawks seem to want to goad him into doing something they can exploit. I wonder why.
“Wonder how true that is”
Not remotely. The Easter Rising is 100 this year, the formal establishment of the Irish Free State followed that a few years later (1921?). There might conceivably be some people still alive who crossed the Irish Sea back then.. but we can safely say that the vast majority didn’t.
My mum made the trip around 1960.. long after Irish independence, but before the EU. She’s now retired. We have no idea what Ireland-UK migration patterns would have been without the EU because we have no idea what deals would have been struck had any been required.
Ian B – “Vladimir Putin has no interest in conquering Europe.”
Just the former Russian Empire. Does that include Poland?
“the reality is that we should be forging agreements with Russia at the moment to ensure territorial integrity, not saber rattling.”
Sure. We did. Unfortunately we agreed to ensure the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Which Putin is not inclined to respect. So what to do? Either Putin observes international law or he doesn’t. So far he doesn’t.
“He will use his forces if he thinks Russia is threatened, as with the idiotic America-EU regime change plot in Ukraine. Push NATO forces up against his borders and try to take away Sevastopol, you’ll get a Russian military response. So don’t do that. It’s a fucking stupid thing to do.”
Either Ukraine is an independent country or it is not. You may think it is not but a lot of people think it is. Either we ensure that borders cannot be changed by force, or we accept they can. That would lead to a much less safe world. You really want the rest of the world to invade their neighbours, hold fake votes and get away with it?
This is our Sudentenland moment. Which side would you have been on?
Putin is a nationatlist, not an imperialist.
Right, but he sees parts of other countries as being Russian. The loonier fringe of Russian nationalists genuinely believe Alaska rightly belongs to Russia. The less loony ones think the Baltics do.
The moves in Georgia, Chechnya and Ukraine appear to me to be attempts to defend the borders.
I am reminded of Stalin’s quip that a secure border is one with the Soviet Union on both sides of it.
Push NATO forces up against his borders and try to take away Sevastopol
Oh please. Russia rents Sevastopol from Ukraine because they would rather spend the money upgrading their own Black Sea ports on vanity projects like the Sochi winter olympics or looting it for their own personal use. If Sevastopol was vital to Russia’s strategic interests, why did they not move from there in the 25 years since independence? And not once, not once, did Ukraine or anyone else even hint at not allowing the Russian Black Sea fleet to use Sevastopol.
Incidentally, I’m surprised nobody on here has considered the next major war between states in Europe will come about from a civil war in one of them. I see a civil war as a far greater threat than say, France invading Germany, triggered by this insane immigration policy, one way or another. Once a civil war starts, other countries might pile in and off we go.
You don’t need to start a civil war – you can import one.
It’s already happening, see the Kurds blowing up the Turkish Cultural Centre in Stockholm.
You don’t need to start a civil war – you can import one.
True! I’m not sure if a civil war taking part on a third party’s turf will be a historical first, but it makes some sense.