First off: China stats
My apologies, I should have explicitly linked it in the first place.
A side issue - it was Thatcher
who negotiated the CAP rebate, not Blair. I think that's what you're saying there? Honestly not sure precisely how that clause was intended.
It's far from clear the EU is a sinking ship - at the moment EU economic growth is considerably higher
than the UK's or the US's at the moment. Making economic predictions is a notoriously black art and I'd hesitate to commit to that in either direction though. With a similar caveat for the UK economy in the case of Brexit.
Our economy would certainly "survive" leaving the EU. I don't think anyone is claiming we would be plunged back in to tribal hunter gatherer status. That's not the question though - as you indicate the question is whether we would be better served by leaving or staying.
I believe the Commonwealth is a bit of a red herring. First, look at the countries we're talking about. I'm culturally Pakistani but even I admit there's frankly very little of theirs that we want. You say (earlier) that we can get the stuff we need from "anywhere" but that's not true - to take an over-blown example, we won't be buying bulk condoms from the Vatican any time soon and our attempts to source Saudi bacon are doomed to failure. We can only buy what they're selling and I'm not clear that the Commonwealth can provide to our needs as well as the EU can. More importantly, though, do we actually want
closer links? Like, some of those guys are just awful. We're a first-world liberal democracy - how well do our interests overlap with some of the disreputable fringe? There's an interesting analysis here
. There are other potential trading blocks, etc, out there - BRIC countries for example, that I think we should look at long before the Commonwealth.
I'm not precisely clear what you refer to in the "EU's soaring budget". Administration costs are about 6%
which is comparable to our 4.6% (calculated from here
). As to non-admin costs the important point to note is that we get something back. We are, in essence, purchasing a wide array of services from the EU. Sure, there is sensible debate about whether what we're getting is worth what we're paying but an increase in the EU budget means an increase in EU investment in the UK because investing in member countries is literally the only thing the EU does other than administrate itself (and I'm casting the term "investment" quite broadly, including legal issues through Strasbourg for example).
I dunno. To me, a lot of your argument seems to depend on a...well, as I say a "hope" that the UK will weather the storm of a potential loss and emerge from the other side stronger. And sure, per above economic predictions are roughly on a par with chicken entrails in their accuracy. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't. To me, the economic arguments aren't the main ones in forming my decision for exactly this reason. We do definitely know it will get worse, though, and I'm not sure we should be trading a hoped for future gain for a certain present loss. It's the equivalent of making our savings plan "the National Lottery".
As to your parenthetical comment - I don't terribly want to get in to this as its off topic but I will quickly say that you've fallen what a friend of mine calls a "has-a is-a" trap. I didn't say that those people were childish and irresponsible, I said that particular action of theirs was childish and irresponsible. In other aspects of their life they may be the very embodiment of sensible maturity. If you brain-farted and said the capital of the UK was Birmingham I would say that was a stupid thing to say, that's in no way the same as saying you're stupid. You (and Khoraz for that matter but I don't particularly want to drag back in someone who has left the conversation) seem to be trying to apply personality traits here when in fact we all do stupid, intelligent, childish, mature, irresponsible, responsible things at different times in our life with no lasting effects on our worth as people. You with me? Not sure how well I've explained that. I do, for the record, feel "superior" is an appropriate way to feel about our respective ways of making that decision. That is, again, not the same as saying I feel superior to them.