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Thread: Brexit

  1. #611
    Master Witton Park's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel View Post
    Some good points MR. I agree the CBI have made some poor recommendations. Let's see what small businesses think about Brexit. If your narrative were correct, they'd be clamouring for a no-deal Brexit to break the strangle-hold that big businesses have got on the UK economy. But in fact they're not:

    https://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/...no-deal-brexit
    Noel I've been in the FSB. I joined some years ago because a rep came around. I had moved in to a unit in a multi-tenure mill. My insurance had gone up from 400 to 2K and I had to book through a Lloyds scheme as no one would touch multi-tenure at the time.

    I asked the FSB rep what was in it for me. Well we do cheap insurance for members - my ears pricked up


    I think my membership was just under 200 a year. I got my insurance back down to under 1k, so it was a no brainer.


    Being a member of a trade body was never a case of me allowing them or asking them to advocate for me on my behalf.


    I think I'm safe in saying that is the case for most members of trade groups. They are in it for the member benefits and not for the lobbying.


    Then let's look at the CBI. At a Select Committee hearing Carolyn Fairburn was aksed how many members the CBI had.
    She claimed to "speak for" 170,000 members.


    The reality is that the CBI has 1500 direct members. They double count members of their members, and the best example is the NFU.

    The National Farmers Union is a member of the CBI and the CBI count the 50,000 NFU members not the 1.


    When I asked a couple of my local farmer friends, one who supplies me with lamb and beef, they were oblivious to their CBI membership and certainly as Brexiteers they were not aligned to the CBI position.



    The image the CBI gives is of big business, but it also has lots of state sector organisations and quangos. Whilst the full list of members is secret, this was shown to be the case when the CBI came out against Scottish Independence a few years back and some Scottish organisations resigned.


    Visit Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and 8 Universities were among those who publicly declared their position.

    So regardless of your position on Brexit, you should be aware of the web of lobby groups. Many of them are intertwined and it looks like there is a weight of many voices, voices we should pay high regard to, but in fact they are significantly over-egging their level of representation and the type of bodies that they represent.

    Finally I'll just touch on the surveys they often cite.

    My experience of these groups is that they fire out an email questionnaire using Survey Monkey type methods.
    If they fired out one "Are you concerned about the effects of Brexit on your business? Please take 5 minutes to answer a few questions".

    Those not concerned would not respond.

    Those most likely to respond would be those who might be negatively affected.

    So when they report their findings as "67% of 1350 companies surveyed" they should say "1350 companies responded from the 8700 invited to take part" but they never give you that.


    I've had first hand experience of such surveys, used to set policy positions for an organisation and used in my opinion unethically.

    In one instance a response rate of just over 1% resulted in the organisation taking that information and forming policy that they justified as a result of the survey.
    Richard Taylor
    "William Tell could take an apple off your head. Taylor could take out a processed pea."
    Sid Waddell

  2. #612
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    Very interesting, thanks WP. I wasn't aware of that - especially the bit about many state-funded institutions being in the CBI. I guess it makes sense that the CBI would want to talk up their importance.

    Farmers is an interesting point. I would have thought farmers would be all for EU, since it pays them a lot for not doing much. Anecdotally, one of the fiercest critics of the EU I know is a local farmer. I see the NFU are against a no-deal brexit, but I'm not sure what they think about Brexit in general.
    No longer "resting"

  3. #613
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel View Post
    Very interesting, thanks WP. I wasn't aware of that - especially the bit about many state-funded institutions being in the CBI. I guess it makes sense that the CBI would want to talk up their importance.

    Farmers is an interesting point. I would have thought farmers would be all for EU, since it pays them a lot for not doing much. Anecdotally, one of the fiercest critics of the EU I know is a local farmer. I see the NFU are against a no-deal brexit, but I'm not sure what they think about Brexit in general.
    I think farmers are a very diverse group. Pennine Hill Farmer and Fens arable farmer perhaps look differently at it.
    I imagine those with most influence in the NFU are those with the largest commercial interests.

    But go to my final point. How does the NFU find the views of it's 50,000 members and then take a position? A survey most probably
    Richard Taylor
    "William Tell could take an apple off your head. Taylor could take out a processed pea."
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  4. #614
    Master Wheeze's Avatar
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    Mindyou, what we read really has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Just read a news article on BBC about my area of professional expertise. Littered with major errors of fact!

  5. #615
    Quote Originally Posted by William Clough View Post
    I don't know what I think about Brexit any more Chris There is probably a clever and witty analogy comparing May to Poppins, I'm sure the erudite Mr Breeze is the man for the job.
    (The late) David Foster Wallace, whom I am reading at the moment, had a story about a farmer:

    It takes place in China where there was an old farmer in the hill country who worked his farm with only his son and his beloved horse. One day the horse, which was vital to the labor- intensive work on the farm, ran off into the hills. All the old farmer’s friends came around to exclaim what bad luck this was. The farmer only shrugged and said, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

    A couple of days later the beloved horse returned from the hills in the company of a priceless herd of wild horses, and the farmer’s friends all came around to congratulate him on what good luck the horse’s escape turned out to be. “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” is all the farmer says in reply.

    So the farmer and his son set about breaking the wild horses, and one of the horses bucks the son off his back with such wild force that the son breaks his leg. And then came the friends to commiserate with the farmer and curse the bad luck that had ever brought these accursed horses onto the farm. The old farmer just shrugs and says, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

    A few days later the Imperial Army arrive, conscripting every able-bodied male for cannon-fodder but when they see the son’s broken leg, they let him off and the son stays on the farm with the old farmer. Good luck? Bad luck?

    Now as for Brexit? Who knows?
    Last edited by Graham Breeze; 12-02-2019 at 12:25 AM.
    "...as dry as the Atacama desert".

  6. #616
    To be bored with Brexit is to be bored with life or, at least, realpolitik.

    I thought Tusk’s comments about “hell” were right on the money although I think Davis, Johnson etc should be first hanged, drawn and quartered and then burnt on College Green in front of IMAX cameras as a lesson for future generations about the hubris and vainglory of politicians.

    Since Flaherty’s Man of Aran (1934) one has known to be wise about “truth” in any documentary but the 3-hour BBC 2 series Inside Europe: 10 Years of Turmoil has been as revelatory as, what, Riefenstahl’s Power of the Will? (1935). It has all been there unfolding on the screen and in colour.

    Part 3 (shown last night) revealed the negotiating brutality of Tusk, Juncker, Merkel (+ the major players for Hungary, Poland, Italy,… + Turkey) dealing with the refugee/migrant crisis of a few years ago, when on opposite sides of the debate, in their different views on/ efforts to, save the European Union from breaking up.

    May and Cameron were there (and filmed talking to the cameras) so how any intelligent person could have ever believed that the EU countries (now all on the same side) would allow the UK to jump ship and threaten its foundations with a cheery wave and its best wishes beggars belief.

    I have written before (for CL) that a negotiation isn’t over until it is over, one never really knows what the parties really wanted/ would settle for, etc and 50 days, or whatever time is left to the “end”, is a long time in politics, but nobody can claim that they were unaware that the UK negotiations on withdrawal from the EU might not be all sweetness and light.

    Of course in film documentaries the camera sometimes lies - but not always.
    Last edited by Graham Breeze; 12-02-2019 at 09:28 AM.
    "...as dry as the Atacama desert".

  7. #617
    Master DrPatrickBarry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Breeze View Post
    but nobody can claim that they were unaware that the UK negotiations on withdrawal from the EU might not be all sweetness and light.
    Afraid many people did believe Fox's EU trade deal 'easiest in human history'. People only heard what they wanted to hear.

  8. #618
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    I watched the BBC documentary series too and last night's on the migrant crisis was particularly fascinating especially the different dynamics that informed the decisions of each country. The Germans inflamed an already fraught situation by a desire it seems to atone for their dark past. Members of the German Government were horrified at the thought of pictures of German policeman dealing with migrants at the border being flashed around the world. As a result Merkel opened the border (and the floodgates) for a while. Having eventually realised that this was unsustainable she then pushed for compulsory quotas to take in migrants. The eastern European countries in particular were less than happy.

    Back to Brexit and it was foolish of Fox to say it would be the "easiest deal in history". He made it on the basis that the UK and EU started from a position of regulatory equivalence. But it takes two to tango and clearly the EU desires to punish the UK and to try to ensure that Brexit is a failure. They obviously want to deter others from doing the same thing. But that doesn't mean that we are wrong to exit the EU. To me the fact that the only way they think they can keep their members is to administer punishment beatings shows that it can't be much of a club in the first place.

  9. #619
    Senior Member Dave_Mole's Avatar
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    clearly the EU desires to.......ensure that Brexit is a failure.
    May is doing a fine job of just that, with no help from the EU
    ....it's all downhill from here.

  10. #620
    Master Witton Park's Avatar
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    The hubris is on the UK politicians of the previous 25 years or so who have taken the UK in to an arrangement which is now (allegedly) difficult to leave and done so without any democratic mandate and with a growing discontent which has been clear, tangible, but ignored.

    Public Opinion could have been tested at Maastricht. Major chose not to and the largely (by then) Europhile Labour Party were complicit.

    It should have been tested at Lisbon. Even the Europhile Nick Clegg then urged for an in/out referendum.

    On major issues that are a done deal as far as the political classes are concerned (less than 150 MPs supported Leave) somehow they have to take the public with them and on the EU they have failed to do that.

    As far as the EU are concerned, it is clear there is a discontent in many countries, even in some of the original member states. In most that might not (yet) be enough to be a majority against, but it is clear in particular that Italy and France have a growing dislike and distrust.

    That the EU has failed to address these concerns, that they gave Cameron no ground at all when he sought some changes before the referendum, demonstrates their hubris.

    Davis in particular is a democratic liberal and I have a lot of time for him. I wish he had become Tory leader back in 2016. We might have dealt with the last 2 years in a more professional manner.
    Richard Taylor
    "William Tell could take an apple off your head. Taylor could take out a processed pea."
    Sid Waddell

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