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Author Topic: EU Referendum / BREXIT  (Read 9321 times)

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Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

EU Referendum / BREXIT
« on: June 02, 2016, 02:00:30 AM »

So I've been following this a bit and have been trying to figure out what's going on. My understanding is that the argument for and against BREXIT goes something like this:

On the CON side:

* The UK has lost their sovereignty to the EU. ( EU laws trump country laws )
* Member countries have no representation in the EU
* Allowing visa-free travel would put the UK at risk. ( My understanding is that currently Ireland and UK have clauses that exempt them from allowing visa-free travel, but the EU wants to put an end to this?)
* EU currency is not controlled by member countries, and cannot be adjusted as needed to compensate for inflation or trade imbalances.

According to this link at least, there is a growing sense of discontent with the EU.
http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/nearly-half-of-european-union-countries-want-uk-like-referendum-2791172/


On the PRO side:

* The EU has more political and financial power than any individual country alone ( to the extent that they work together and support each other )
* The EU was originally set up to prevent the spread of Russian communism throughout Europe. It still serves as a barrier to some extent - though I don't think communism is currently the greatest cultural/political threat.

From a US perspective:

* The EU has great value to intelligence agencies in terms of information sharing and policing among three letter orgs. ( not to mention that they use each other to circumvent their own laws )
* Having the EU in place helps to bring stability to the region and thus reduce the threat of all out war. ( as in ww1, ww2 )
* To the extent that a breakup in the EU might destabilize the region and strengthen our enemies, I could see Brexit as a threat, but otherwise I don't really see much financial impact once you get past the initial adjustments. ( ie. the change in value of world currencies would trigger a lot of financial market activity as traders and institutions adjust  and rebalance their portfolios. This would probably last a few days at most. )

So what are your thoughts on this?

Offline Finny

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2016, 06:13:04 AM »
Not going to call myself fanatical or anything, but I am pro-EU myself. And thus, I think the UK should stay with us. One of us! One of us!

Quote
On the CON side:

* The UK has lost their sovereignty to the EU. ( EU laws trump country laws )
Not really, though. While EU laws are considered to be above member country laws to some extent, they work more like guidelines and directives to help organize a unified European law system. The Commission doesn't just say "petrol is now banned" or something and the members have to follow it - instead, the Commission works as a mediator and platform between countries for all of them to establish similar laws, in this case regarding petrol, or migrants, or GMO, or whatever. It's not some sort of heavenly institution - it is quite literally composed of representatives of all members.

Quote
* Member countries have no representation in the EU
False. Member countries all hold elections to elect their representatives to the European Parliament, and they each send a representative to the European Commission. All positions in the EU system are held by politicians from the member states - where else could they be from?

Quote
* Allowing visa-free travel would put the UK at risk. ( My understanding is that currently Ireland and UK have clauses that exempt them from allowing visa-free travel, but the EU wants to put an end to this?)
Never heard of the EU trying to impose the Schengen Zone (I assume you're talking about that, but it's far more than just visa-free travel, it's pretty much the erasure of border policy in itself between the countries) on the British Isles - they have their own separate agreements with the EU that allow them to not join the Eurozone or Schengen. Also, I don't really see the risk, to be honest.

Quote
* EU currency is not controlled by member countries, and cannot be adjusted as needed to compensate for inflation or trade imbalances.
Again, false. The Governing Board of the European Central Bank, which controls all Euro currency matters, is composed of representatives of all the members of the Eurozone. The UK does not send a delegate, though, because it doesn't have the Euro, nor is the pound pegged to it.

On the plus side of being in the EU, it is a hugely stable system (don't let the crisis in Greece fool you) that facilitates higher growth in all of it's member states, and it allows a group of otherwise rather meager nations to act as one superpower on the world stage and project it's power across the planet.

So those were my thoughts.

Offline Neroon

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2016, 10:14:35 AM »
As someone who will be voting in the referendum, I have to say that I have a definite axe to grind in this.  My main grumble is that the level of debate about the EU has been ill-informed, full of opinions masquerading as facts and personal attacks.  For the last thirty-odd years, we have been subjected to anti-EU propaganda on a massive scale, from the lies that the EU sought to ban bendy bananas (they just gave them a class II classification instead of class I) and that British sausages were to be called hydrogenated high fat offal-tubes (a gag from the comedy Yes Minister) to the more serious falsehoods that EU rules is massively distorting British values by imposing "foreign" sensibilities through the directives of the EU and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights which administers the Euopean Convention of Human Rights (EHCR).

Looking aside from the reports directives which have been proven false, though the fact they have gone unchallenged for so many years is undoubtedly a large factor in the fact that Nigel Farrage and Boris Johnson can routinely lie about how the EU is infringing their Britishness, the idea that the British values and sovereignty are eroded by the EU and ECHR are worth examining.

First, the EHCR is entirely separate from the EU and is administer by the European Court of Human Rights, an arm of the Council of Europe, a body founded in the London Treaty of 1949 and which operates in 47 states. not just the 28 of the EU. In particular, just like the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the EHCR was drafted predominantly by British Lawyers using British ideas of natural justice.  In many ways, it can be said that the EHCR has, rather than eroding British sovereignty, done much to extend British influence over the rest of Europe.  Of course, it is easy for grandstanding politicians to claim their ability to govern has been infringed by the EHCR, much as Theresa May did recently.  Of course, what she complained of was the fact that the EHCR prevented her from further eroding civil liberties in the UK.  The ridiculousness of that was satirised very well by Patrick Stewart in a piece for The Guardian.  That the EHCR is mistakenly linked to the EU by pro-Brexit campaigners is disingenuous at best and mendacious in its intent to lead public opinion towards a brexit vote.

Secondly, similar deceit can be seen in the oft-repeated assertions that Britain's voice is drowned out in the clamour of voices that is the EU.  In fact, when EU policy was studied by a team from the University of Stathclyde, the results suggested the opposite. The graphs below from that study show that in general, the aims of the UK government in Europe are surprisingly close to the actual outcomes of EU legislation.



It is possible that in the years since this study was conducted, that the UK's influence in Europe has waned but it is seems very unlikely, especially when you consider that the eurosceptical positions of Farrage et al date from the early nineties.

So looking at things, in making my choice in the referendum, will I listen to scare stories about the economy? No.  A friend who lectures on economics and advises the government told me that the margins of error on all of the economic forecasts recently publicised make them extremely unreliable.  Instead, what I will base my decision on is the issues at the heart of it, sovereignty and influence.

Has the Britain lost sovereignty to the EU? Yes.  Has it lost sovereignty over anything that matters a damn? No.

Has Britain gained influence through being part of the EU? Yes, Britain wields immense influence in the EU over everything that is not eurosceptic grandstanding.  In general, it would be fair to say that, without the language of psychiatry, one cannot describe the mentality that believes the idea of an isolated Britain holding the prestige and influence it currently has.

Should Britain remain in the EU? Hell yes.

Offline Azrael

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2016, 12:57:52 PM »
First of all, I am not allowed to vote, despite living in Britain, because I am not in the UK.  so it isn't a British referendum at all, which is very annoying.  I would vote remain though if I could, as the leave campaign just haven't offered anything beyond vague promises of things being better and more british and stuff like that.  80% more tea and crumpets for everyone.  whilst the remain campaign has unfortunately utilised just as many scare stories as leave, there are actual independent bodies saying it would be bad for the economy, for security, for trade, for jobs, for the environment.  and the leave campaign's reaction has essentially been 'Nuh-uh!' possibly with their fingers in their ears.

Offline Kythia

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2016, 03:22:04 PM »
First of all, I am not allowed to vote, despite living in Britain, because I am not in the UK.  so it isn't a British referendum at all, which is very annoying. 

I'm confused.  Are you in the Channel Islands?

I'll be voting to remain.  Frankly I haven't heard any non-racist arguments for leaving.

Offline Azrael

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2016, 03:25:25 PM »
Isle of Man, we aren't allowed a vote even though it will effect us

Offline Kythia

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2016, 03:31:16 PM »
Ah, same deal I think - Crown Dependency not part of the UK?  Too lazy to Google.

In fairness, Scottish Independence would have affected me and I couldn't vote in it.  Referenda are by their very nature going to leave out some interested parties.  Hell, who becomes US president will probably affect me somewhat.

Offline Azrael

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2016, 03:44:43 PM »
basically yes

I know, but still annoying, there is no real reason why we shouldn't vote.

Offline Kythia

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2016, 03:45:11 PM »
Well, you're not part of the EU.

Offline Azrael

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2016, 03:52:13 PM »
no, but we are part of Britain, and our relationship with the EU is determined by Britain.  so if their relationship changes, ours does too.

Offline Kythia

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2016, 03:58:42 PM »
Surely that same logic applies to who is the Prime Minister, though, and you have no say over that.

I dunno, we may be radically off topic here.  Good talking with you.  I went to the festival a few years ago, lovely place.

Offline Azrael

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2016, 04:02:56 PM »
possibly we are, Vote Remain!

I echo your racism comment too, rather seems that way.

Offline Khoraz

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2016, 05:20:24 PM »
I'm vote leave, myself. I'd like to think I'm not racist.

I know a lot of people who have been turned onto voting Leave purely because of how biased all the coverage has been. You can't watch the news without it being slanted towards Remain, and as you've mentioned - any arguing against it and you're immediately labelled a UKIP-supporting racist, which makes it impossible to really talk about it.

Then there how the government spent taxpayers money sending around booklets about why we should Remain. That shouldn't be allowed - the government shouldn't tell people how to vote.

But honestly I'm sure we'll stay in because the scaremongering has worked, and people are terrified of change. I'll be glad when it's all over.

Offline Azrael

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2016, 06:01:13 PM »
it isn't about the voters being racist, it is about the message of the people at the top, they aren't really offering up anything other than 'yay Britain!  we are the best, we don't need anyone else!'

Offline Khoraz

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2016, 06:05:08 PM »
My main thought is that we're in a pretty bad way as it is - there's so many homeless people, so many people with jobs and so many people struggling to stay above the breadline. What's wrong with telling the rest of the world "Sorry, we aren't going to take in anyone until we've sorted ourselves out"?

If we were comfortable as a country and doing well then I'd be all for it. But we're not. We need to help people already here before adding to it.

That's not racist to say, and as much as I think that Farage is a moron, he does have some good points... but all anyone sees it a racist (which is his own stupid fault). I'm not a UKIPper, but I can understand his surge in popularity. People are fed up, and people want change.

Offline Azrael

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2016, 06:17:18 PM »
No I think that is a valid concern, and I can completely understand that a lot of people do want to leave, it is just the likes of Farage that taint the campaign.

personally I don't think being in the EU hurts our ability to look after the homeless and so on.  I think we have a government that gives money to the richest, whilst selling off British services on the cheap to their friends.  and that wont change with a referendum.  that is why I am anti-Trident for example, the thought of spending billions on a way of killing millions of people when that could be spent on helping people instead is abhorrent.

Offline Khoraz

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2016, 06:21:50 PM »
Ergh don't get me started on Trident.

The current government is utterly shit and has no idea what is going on with the 99% of people they're supposed to be looking after. Yeah, that won't change with a vote to Leave... but honestly I like the idea of being able to make our own rules and decide based on what's best for us what we do. I've lost all faith in Merkel, and it's wrong that Germany should hold the purse-strings for the whole of Europe - even her own people have started voting against her.

Plus there's all the money we spend simply to be part of the EU, and I don't like how they're hurrying to admit countries like Turkey, who have atrocious records on human rights - things that the EU should surely not be okay with.

I'm just disillusioned with the whole thing. The entire referendum campaign has been one big mess. Ergh.

Offline Kythia

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2016, 08:38:39 PM »
and I don't like how they're hurrying to admit countries like Turkey, who have atrocious records on human rights - things that the EU should surely not be okay with.

Turkey applied to join the EU in 1987.  By no sensible definition of the word is the EU "hurrying" to admit it. 

Both sides of the debate agree that Turkey will not be joining the EU any time soon, largely because of the human rights issues - Juncker is on the record, for example, as saying that Turkey will not join the EU while he is president, so that takes it to 2019 at the absolute earliest.

I really feel Turkey is a red herring being used as a scare tactic.

Did you see that farce of an interview btw?  Made me laugh. 

Offline Frost

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2016, 08:52:00 PM »
I am voting..... and I'm Voting OUT!!

They are striving for something that is just not going to work, some big European countries are struggling as it is, as a British citizen I want the country to be run by people who answer to the citizens of that country, not by unelected foreign bureaucrats.

So many Economists are spurting out various reports, even our own Prime Minister is acting like a dodgy car sales man to try and win people to vote to stay in, he was even saying a couple of years ago that we should leave, such a big U-Turn, he knows he is gone in 2020, I sense he is making big buddies now for something greater for when he steps down, leaving the UK in such a mess while he heads off to wherever he is securing now.

UK can stand on it's own two feet, it has done before, when we joined the EU it was for the EU market, NOT to be governed by the EU!! it has already been proven that the Euro is a bad idea, many countries suffering from the effects of them adopting the Euro.

It will turn into the United States of Europe, which will be the worst thing ever, too many governments battling against each other under the EU, Greece was left to rot in the migrant crisis, Angela Merkel needs to be held accountable for her stupid handling of the migrants by saying "come to Germany.... you can all come" which caused a huge influx of Economic and war torn migrants to flood to Greece. There is something so dodgy about all of this, something is going on behind closed doors which is not good.

For way too long people have been shushed by an ideal that if you speak up against people coming into your country of residence and that you are concerned about the impact of this (this is aimed at non skilled and benefit seeking people flooding the country) for too long if you voiced these concerns you were deemed a racist. I am glad now that so many people are voicing their concerns as it is common sense not racism! Political Correctness was the worst thing ever, even migrants who have settled for 5-10+ years  in the UK and are hard working say the same thing, something needs to be done about migration to lower it, that is not a racist stance!

These are my opinions and reasons why I am voting out!

« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 09:02:33 PM by Frost »

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2016, 05:14:48 AM »
I don't think its racists to say you don't want to take in foreign refugees if they have a culture or cultural values that are in conflict with yours. According to a 2015 Pew report , most muslims  support Sharia law  which is something that does not align well with the values of many non-muslims. When people enter your country, fail to assimilate and try to replace your culture with theirs, they are not joining it - they are invading it. This is also what I was alluding to when I said that communism was not currently the EU's greatest threat. I just didn't want to derail the topic with controversy.

Thank you Finny, for your corrections to my original post. Yes, by visa-free travel, I was referring to the Schengen zone. With regard to currency, I had forgotten that Britain uses their own currency and from the video below, Cameron made it pretty clear that he was not in favor of the Euro and that the UK could veto admission of Turkey to the EU if it were to eventually happen. ( He did try to dodge the question initially )

David Cameron - 'EU: In Or Out?'  ( Sky News)


(Chick at 32:04 is kind of cute ^_^  .. just saying >.> )


Offline Khoraz

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2016, 05:25:35 AM »
God, the whole thing is just such a mess. Everyone is making an idiot of themselves.

Offline Neroon

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2016, 12:09:30 PM »
I know a lot of people who have been turned onto voting Leave purely because of how biased all the coverage has been.

Funny that, given how biased the commentary has been since the Maastricht treaty.  There has been endless scaremongering from the eurosceptic side, most of it with only the shakiest foundation in fact.  Yes, the scaremongering has worked, this is why we have this referendum in the first place.

According to a 2015 Pew report , most muslims  support Sharia law  which is something that does not align well with the values of many non-muslims. When people enter your country, fail to assimilate and try to replace your culture with theirs, they are not joining it - they are invading it.

And here is a classic piece of the pro-Brexit scaremongering.  The muslims in Britain are not from Europe, they are predominantly from Commonwealth countries.  Migration from the EU does not affect them.  If we are talking about muslims entering the EU from Syria and the other countries in the Levant, then that again is not going to be affected by the referendum.  What Britain decides will not prevent people crossing the seas of the Mediterranean to escape the atrocities going on in their homelands.

It's funny how the whole myth of the EU controlled by unelected bureaucrats supported by a sinister elite has grown up.  To get legislation through the EU, it has to pass through the three arms of the EU, only one part of which, the EU's civil service, the European Commission, being unelected. Otherwise the Council of Ministers is made up of ministers from the elected governments of the member states and the European Parliament is made up of directly elected MEPs. So through national elections and direct elections, two thirds of the triumvirate that make up the EU government are democratically elected. That is a better proportion than the triumvirate that makes up the British government: only the House of Commons is elected, neither the Civil Service nor the House of Lords is.

Of course, it is easy to say that the EU is supported by those elites who see something in it for themselves and that those striving to make Britain free of European interference are the common people, common people like that old Etonian and ex-Bullingdon club member Boris Johnson or the privately educated ex-commodities trader, Nigel Farrage.  Funny, how the highest levels of business and privilege can claim not to be part of the elite.  But hey, let's not let small matters of fact come in front of the story right?  Well, yes we should, because in the end, this is too damn important a decision to be based on misinformation and a good story.

And talking of good stories, the idea of Britain standing alone hasn't been true since the start of the twentieth century.  The myth of how we stood alone against the might of the axis powers in World War II is just that, a myth. Many of the pilots who flew for the RAF in the Battle of Britain were from Europe, having made their way to Britain as refugees.  Without initially covert support from the US, Britain would have fallen but we had that support, from the Commonwealth, from America and from those who came to Britain from Europe. Britain stands proud but we stand so because we are supported and we are part of something greater.

Don't base the decision on whether you like/dislike Cameron, Johnston, Farrage or any of the others.  Don't base your decision on the myths of Britain's past or the myths of an unelected EU Commission gone mad.  Don't decide on whether you fear to be seen as a racist or whether you fear that Britain will be flooded by immigrants. Don't decide on either side's propaganda and don't base your decision it on what my or anyone else's opinion is.  Do your own research using reputable sources (i.e. not The Sun, The Daily Mail or the ridiculous pronouncements of both sides); use your judgment and make the choice you choose one of reason not emotion.

If, after all of that, you decide for Brexit then you will have made the right decision for you much as if you decide to vote to say in.  That is, after all, how democracy is supposed to work.

Offline Cassandra LeMay

Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2016, 03:02:21 AM »
I don't think its racists to say you don't want to take in foreign refugees if they have a culture or cultural values that are in conflict with yours. According to a 2015 Pew report , most muslims  support Sharia law  which is something that does not align well with the values of many non-muslims. When people enter your country, fail to assimilate and try to replace your culture with theirs, they are not joining it - they are invading it.
The Pew report goes into a bit more detail then the basic number of people in favor of a sharia-based legal system: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-overview/

There are a lot of Muslims who favor "sharia law" but think it should only be applied to Muslims, not other segments of the population. Also, there are at least some of those in favor who said it should only apply to family and property disputes, but not all aspects of the law.

Those nuances aside, it sounds to me like you are implying that because many of the muslims surveyed favor sharia as a legal system they will (a) fail to assimilate, and (b) then go on to try and actively change the culture of their new country. Going from the Pew poll to "they won't assimilate" to "they will change our country" takes some pretty big jumps, as there seems to be nothing that makes one a necessary consequence of the other. Will it happen with some people? It might well. But will it happen with all, or at least a majority of muslims? I doubt it. To come to that conclusion one would have to assume all people of a certain faith or origin are the same - and that they will always remain true to that, no matter what. Painting people with such a broad brush does smell of racism to me.

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2016, 06:17:42 AM »
As one of those 'filthy colonists' who got out of the EU (before it even existed!), there isn't necessarily a whole bunch of information available on Brexit, not when you compare it to Europe itself, anyways.  (Probably has something to do with the Battle of the Titans - Godzilla vs Ghidora - over here.)  There's the information in this thread, as well as a couple of videos I've seen (one by Stefan Molyneaux, who is usually on-target with his analyses), and a couple of articles from the BBC.

That being said, even though as a filthy colonist, I can't vote in this, there are some things that I would like clarification on.

1: I get that it's the nature of insurgent movements (like Brexit) to sometimes make arguments that aren't on rock-solid ground, but sound good in order to motivate people.  That being said, what do the Leavers get right, and what is (to use your British terminology) dodgy?

2: One of the particular videos I watched featured a few clips from the former Greek financial minister, Varoufakis, in which he claimed - or at least, what I heard between the lines - was that when the Greek financial crisis happened, Greece itself was not allowed to implement the solutions that Varoufakis and his staff came up with, but were instead forced to take the German solution (no irony there, absolutely none) to the problem.  That's actually a frequent criticism I've heard of the EU - Germany runs everything, and Merkel is the worst German leader since...well, you know.  Again, how much is right, and what's not?

3: Where does this myth - if it is a myth, which is what I'm hearing in the thread - that the EU is basically staffed by unelectable, unaccountable, foreign officials come from?

Also, one last thing.

There are a lot of Muslims who favor "sharia law" but think it should only be applied to Muslims, not other segments of the population. Also, there are at least some of those in favor who said it should only apply to family and property disputes, but not all aspects of the law.

Which is all well and fine, but consider this.  (Be warned, I tend to go long on my explanations, and I might seem to go off on tangents, but stick with me, and it'll all make sense, I swear.)

One of the issues coming to light in developed countries in the last...I'll say within my generation, is the issue of population replacement.  Japan in particular is having problems with having to close down schools, support an aging, retiring population, and other such problems that occur.

I don't normally use it for a discussion on population, but my high school history teacher, when he taught us about Social Security, used this illustration - when it was first implemented in the 1930s, Social Security paid out for one person for every thirty-plus people paying in.  When he gave us this illustration, in 2001, that ratio had fallen to one person paying out for every three people paying in.  (He did note that a large reason for the change was the vast improvement of medical care in the near-seventy years since Social Security was first implemented.)

He rounded out the illustration by telling us that when the Baby Boomer generation retired, the pyramid would become inverted - multiple people paying out for every person that paid in.  In fairness to him, he was not one of those 'your generation is never going to see a dollar of the money you pay into Social Security' guys - but he did want us thinking about what would happen to the system if it was forced to undergo a flip like that.

So, you have aging populations, a sub-replacement fertility rate (recognized as 2.1 children born per woman) in a lot of the West.  (The latest figure I could find stated that in the US, in 2015, 1.87 children were born per US woman.)  Now, contrast that with the higher fertility rates in countries like Syria, which is 2.6 children/woman.

Let's say a law gets passed in Britain, saying that sharia law exists, but only applies to Muslims.  Would it not be possible for, over generations, in the long-term, more and more of the population in the UK to be raised as Muslims (owing to their higher fertility rate), and thus the law applies to more and more people, until the majority of the country were Muslims, and thus sharia supplants actual British law?  In fairness, this would be an exceedingly long-term plan - generations upon generations, as opposed to what the scaremongers claim about it happening in the next 20 years or some BS like that.

Now, I want to clarify.  In having read the publicly available data, there is a lot, lot less worry about a scenario like that happened than the anti-Islamic scaremongers would have you believe - Saudi Arabia is 2.12 (barely above replacement); Turkey is 2.05 (barely under it); Egypt is 2.83 (over, but Egypt is also a bit more developed than most Mideast nations).

For all the trouble we hear over Iran, Iranians aren't doing much better than us - their rates are actually lower than here - 1.83 children per woman.

Sorry, I lied, one last technical thing.

Painting people with such a broad brush does smell of racism to me.

I know this is nitpicking, and language policing of the highest technical order, but it is not racist to criticize Islam or Muslims.  Muslims are not a race - Malcom X was Muslim, but everyone identifies him as African-American.  It is bigoted, but it is not racist.

Now, criticizing people because they are Arabic, or Kurdish, that is racist.  It's a question of what are you criticizing people for - their ideology, or their genetics?

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Re: EU Referendum / BREXIT
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2016, 07:22:11 AM »
A lot to address there.

Clarifications:

1 - Well, there objectively is a diminishing of British sovereignty as a result of the EU.  The very fact that somewhere/thing/one can make rules that affect Britain without being British means that this sceptred isle is no longer entirely self-governing.  So I guess that argument's correct, so far as it goes.

Everything else?  Shrug.  Very little of it.  The argument is one of nationalism from the leave campaign, very hard to have a "true" or "false" argument when that's your focus.

2 - No idea.  Included for completeness.

3 - People don't understand how the EU works, never have.  There's a protective shield of boredom around it, any time someone tries to learn something then it's just so mind-numbingly tedious that their brain shuts down.  Easier to assume that its populated by grey bureaucrats than that the EU elections that regularly pull a massive thirty per cent turnout (talking about the UK here, no idea about other countries) might somehow require some thought.

Sharia Law discussions:
An awful lot wrong here, but we're off topic and I don't want to perpetuate it too much.  New thread or PM if you want it, but all I'll say is your basic premise is wrong.  There is no need for a law allowing Sharia law (frankly, I don't even think that that's possible).  Anyone can agree to resolve their differences through any mutually agreeable method.  If you and I have a dispute we can settle it through the courts, sure, but we could also settle it through a dance off so long as we both agree.  Look at number four in this article for example.

Racism discussion:
No, you're mistaken here.  Or, rather, you're trying to be overprecise and missing some stuff out.  Immigrants aren't a race, but imagine I said "immigrants are inferior to true British white people".  Racist, no?  It's entirely possible to criticise a group that isn't a race for racist reasons "man, sod those London City bus drivers, always letting pakis on their bus"  Cassandra's point, and one that is entirely correct, is that the bulk of people complaining about Islam are doing so for racist reasons and quite frankly doing it in a racist way a lot of the time.