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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need
This is a great example of taking something complicated and making it simple without losing content. Ever wanted to know more about Britain and Europe, but had no idea where to start? Hugo Dixon has spent time absorbing a very large amount of information and boiled it down to the essentials.

This is an unashamedly optimistic book - about both Britain and Europe...
Published 7 months ago by PE SOUTA

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unduly optimistic
I can see why this book appeals to those already committed to vote "IN" in any referendum. It is very readable and easy to understand. It makes clear the difficulties we would face in negotiating an exit and will be a useful guide on the doorsteps to those canvassing for "IN" votes. I am happy to recommend it to those people.

However, if you are genuinely...
Published 5 months ago by Marty42


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need, 11 April 2014
This review is from: The In/Out Question (Paperback)
This is a great example of taking something complicated and making it simple without losing content. Ever wanted to know more about Britain and Europe, but had no idea where to start? Hugo Dixon has spent time absorbing a very large amount of information and boiled it down to the essentials.

This is an unashamedly optimistic book - about both Britain and Europe - but it shines a strong light on some of the things that make the EU look so bad - the often wasteful spending and the symbolic but hugely inefficient decamping of the European Parliament form Brussels hundreds of miles to Strasbourg every month, to highlight two of the most egregious examples.

If there is to be an in/out referendum, the eventual 'yes campaign' will need thousands of campaigners to go out and make the argument. They will need a crib sheet. This book would be ideal - it's honest, funny and well informed.

And our mainstream party leaders could do a lot worse then cut and paste his proposals for reform of the EU (more trade, a smarter commission, less ideological baggage...) into their own party agendas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent argumentation with intriguing perspectives., 17 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better (Kindle Edition)
The In/Out Question, by Hugo Dixon, is an excellent treatise advocating the continuing active participation of the UK in EU institutional structures, as opposed to unilateral secession from this indubitably grandiose European "Super State" project. A cursory reading of the book will reveal that the cornerstone of Mr Dixon's argument for continuation in the EU is economic considerations, and that secession from the EU would usher in a new era of economic and fiscal instability for the UK. One contention is that the UK will be denied from accessing the putative "Single Market" or that the UK's access to same will be circumscribed by unreasonable tariffs on UK exports to Continental Europe, amongst other considerations. Admittedly, endeavouring to extricate the UK from the European project would be eminently difficult, considering the vast legislative and regulatory framework that has been incorporated into British law since accession in 1973. However, an inevitable temporary shrinkage in GDP is surely a worthy price to pay for a "negotiated withdrawal" from the EU as opposed to permitting the egregious, insidious erosion of UK political and economic sovereignty. Safeguarding the UK's cultural and legal heritage, relatively robust monetary regime, common traditions and conventions is a justifiable reason in my opinion for opting for an orderly extrication from the EU rather than permitting the subsumption of the UK into a potential EU Super State with its concomitant divestiture of political and economic sovereignty as well as an ineluctable diminution in global prestige and standing. It is my considered opinion that the European project does not serve the UK's interests in the long run, irrespective of the economic considerations which will undoubtedly be bleak upon secession. Ergo, I am intrigued by Mr Dixon's economic arguments for continuing to remain within the EU, but I also firmly believe that the UK can forge its own destiny, political and economic, without being an "integral member" of the EU power bloc. The UK survived during World War II in the face of Continental fascism, and I am confident that the UK will chart its own course once again under its own sovereign impetus. So, yes, an interesting book from Mr Dixon; well-worth reading for sure; but I remain unconvinced.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unduly optimistic, 1 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The In/Out Question (Paperback)
I can see why this book appeals to those already committed to vote "IN" in any referendum. It is very readable and easy to understand. It makes clear the difficulties we would face in negotiating an exit and will be a useful guide on the doorsteps to those canvassing for "IN" votes. I am happy to recommend it to those people.

However, if you are genuinely undecided I would read it with caution. My reservation is that Dixon is incredibly optimistic about the possibility of reforming the EU in the way he suggests.

Firstly if you follow the proceedings in the European Parliament you are left in no doubt that pro-EU people in the UK have a different view to many continental supporters. Here the emphasis is on practical benefits - the single market, Europol, the European Patent. To leaders in the EP it is a political project with a clear aim in mind - federal union. This different perception can lead to confusion as to what is meant by reform or by democracy.

Secondly it is important to recognise that there are still major unresolved problems with the single currency; economic stagnation may stretch into the future.

Lastly it is clear that the ability of the UK to influence events has declined. With enlargement our vote counts less. Power has shifted to the EP where we have less influence and we are outside the core of the EU - the eurozone. A particular problem is that France is likely to be even more protectionist.

Whether we go or stay we face problems.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in the future of the UK or Europe, 16 May 2014
This review is from: The In/Out Question (Paperback)
Finally, the pro-Europe movement in the UK has been given a strong voice!

Before the publication of “The In/Out Question”, the anti-Europe voice was far more prevalent in discussions and writing about the UK’s membership of the EU. In his book, Mr Dixon has provided the most comprehensive (and convincing) reasoning to date why the UK ought to vote to stay in the EU in the event of a referendum.

The timing of this book could not have been better, just prior to the May 25th European Parliament elections in which the far-right, anti-Europe UKIP party is slated to perform strongly. The European Parliament elections have brought the UK’s referendum on EU membership into focus, and this topic promises to only become more prevalent as the referendum (slated to be held by 2017 if Prime Minister Cameron gets his druthers) gets closer.

The content of this book is just as good as the timing. Mr Dixon writes in a style that speaks to experts on the topic of the UK’s EU membership and newcomers alike. He is not ideological about the issue, readily admitting that the EU is imperfect and that the UK probably would not dramatically collapse into rubble if it were to choose to leave.

Still, Mr Dixon believes the UK should choose to remain in the EU. His argument is reasonably simple:
1. The UK benefits from EU membership
2. The UK stands to benefit even more from EU membership given potential reforms
3. The alternatives to EU membership are all worse for the UK

Mr Dixon weaves in political, social, economic, cultural and financial analysis to make these points, all expressed in an easily digestible journalistic style. “The In/Out Question” is an absolute must-read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read before you vote, 16 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better (Kindle Edition)
I have to say that this book made me reconsider my opinions and look at the bigger picture. It's thought provoking and well written. It should be read before you vote.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Comprehensive, 12 May 2014
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This review is from: The In/Out Question (Paperback)
BritaIN or BritOUT: Should the UK stay in Europe?
The sharp pen of Hugo Dixon has given a persuasive and satisfactory answer to this hamlet-esque question.
Before deciding on a possible Brexit, read this brilliant book and you will not regret it
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A guide to 2017, 12 May 2014
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This review is from: The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better (Kindle Edition)
Hugo Dixon has written a well-researched and lucidly argued book. He presents the facts, good and bad, of Britain's membership of the EU, and weighs them up to reach the considered conclusion that Britain is 'better off in'. Moreover, he presents a realistic prospectus for reforming the EU in Britain's (and the rest of Europe's) interests.

The book is a superb pragmatic and forward-looking defence of Britain's EU membership. I hope Dave is listening!
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5.0 out of 5 stars MANIFESTO FOR AN ELECTION WIN, 9 Aug 2014
This review is from: The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better (Kindle Edition)
I read the book, not once , but twice.The first time I read it from cover to cover with just the occasional distraction of a cup of tea and biscuit, as I could not believe how harmonious and succinct the writer's views were to my own and how much more eloquently those thoughts were conveyed.

The second time I read it, I did so with a yellow marker, highlighting so many of the fundamentals that were intended when we joined the EEC , but where procrastination and intentional delays by other members have reigned .The weakness of the present system lays in the fact that each nation needs to approve any agreements in recognition of their own National interests and sovereignty. No one questions that right, but it must be exercised with a sense of fairness and a sense of give and take. It cannot become a manifesto of National interests by each member nation ,designed to satisfy solely the blinkered advantages of domestic political considerations .We have seen severe deviations by others from these intended agreements and these have been mostly to our detriment and to the detriment of others who are as observant as we are within a strategy of fair play in the implementation of the intended club rules. When we felt aggrieved , we have not flinched from addressing the issues vigorously and our late Iron Lady was a vivid example of demonstrating our displeasure when we felt abused by the system . But we did this as Club members instead of as ex members shouting from outside the club premises- The same situation faces us now.

Having now had quite a few years of practical application of these fundamental intentions and the enactment of some of these into legislation, , we find ourselves now having to face the differences of opinions on hard core issues where debate upon debate produces nothing but unnecessary frustrations and resultant domestic political instabilities and brinkmanship activities. These are not at all commensurate with a sense of intended partnership and communal interests.Furthermore, These differences only become more conciliatory by the offending party under duress ,when the EEC starts conditioning any offer of help to a legitimate intent of redressal of domestic financial behaviour irrespective of political domestic consequences. As soon as the financial strains start to show signs of relief, the initiative of a return to the previous bad habits start creeping in , such as we are seeing in several members'current financial programmes. It is for this reason that these hard core fundamentals need to be addressed satisfactorily ,with the implementations made to apply on a much longer basis than currently designed . We should be considering seriously our intention to continue to offer our support to this massive exercise of unison , especially in current climates which brings a danger of us being induced to unnecessarily throw the baby out with the bath water by an avoidable exit , purely motivated by our sheer frustration or through a feeling that we are being taken for a ride by the club as a whole.After all, this is no different to the final adjustments needed in a complicated industrial installation after completion of the process of hot testing.

I would advocate that the Conservative party mechanism read this book meticulously and recommend its adoption in the Conservative party manifesto , leading up to the next General election . It is not even worth considering the thought of what would happen if this were adopted by another party as part of its electoral campaign in part or in whole.

If I could add anything to the text of the book, I would have highlighted the difference in culture and attitude towards compliance between the Anglo Saxon members and the ones bordering the Mediterranean of this all embracing club where all the rules are meant to apply to all members. I for one would have no objection to a greater sense of integration of Europe if I had the satisfaction of knowing that there was total compliance by all members and that there was a sense of give and take by one and all , as a means of achieving this integration fairly and with a level playing field. Regrettably, this is not the case today, and until this issue is resolved , no one in their right senses would want to see a greater sense of integration of a club which has little control of its members'behaviour and where the rules of membership are evidently flawed.

In our Anglo Saxon environment , a draft law is debated on personal and party convictions of those elected by us - there is no further debate once the law is enacted and becomes part of the statute book unconditionally. This applies just as much to our own legislation as it does to our EEC commitments. Our Mediterranean co- members have the same systems, but lack the political resolve of applying the EEC agreements and allow easily the results of their ensuing debates to be housed"temporarily" in the freezer for an intended but indefinitely delayed implementation , by resorting to subterfuge and clever spin on interpretations .This is a ruse which allows the continuance of the benefits of membership of the club and attempts to avoid meanwhile , those club obligations which may be imposing a social or financial cost in terms of domestic political consequential discomfort.

If this book is read with this fundamental difference in mind, the recent financial crisis caused predominantly by the discarding of EEC recommendations, or even , in the case of some members ,by sheer lies at times during the process of application of EEC membership, were predominantly caused by domestic political considerations coinciding with widespread financial issues of uncontrolled credit and government spending.We are seeing today that some countries including our own, are attempting to resolve their problems , but not without the pain that this demands in the process. Other members of the EEC have a more volatile sense of political parliamentary stability and find that dragging their feet is a more expedient solution , in the hope that the club as a whole will find itself obliged to save itself and them in the process. No government in power can expect sympathy from a voting public that has to face the consequences of a tight belt policy for an indeterminate and prolonged length of time. It is politically more expedient for the voting public to have to accept an unwelcome but necessary pain causing dicta-men issued by the European Central Bank or the EEC than by a government in office. We in the UK would see this as an unacceptable interference in our financial affairs, and thank God this feeling translated itself into the survival and independent sanctity of the Pound and resolving our problems successfully "our way".

It is sad that in post war years, the Labour party has acquired the reputation of being the party of gifting and spending what we cannot afford, and the Conservatives are left the task of putting our balance sheet right.The problem with this state of affairs is that the traditional conservative support has evaporated by voters who voted with their feet. The UK offers a very attractive Corporate tax environment but a very onerous tax system for those who are resident in the UK and whose
votes sustain the election of our Government.The world has become progressively more integrated by the free movement of capital and people across porous borders , both in the EEC and beyond .This distortion of tax approach in the UK has encouraged a number of UK nationals to leave the country, set themselves up abroad and continue their trade internationally the way they have always done .This has changed the demographic composition of the conservative party membership and is particularly valid in the South East which has traditionally housed the main core of our financial services activities .This drain, has been replaced by foreign investors'assets through investment companies. Whilst our financial drain is being replaced and exceeded in this way , the brain drain of our UK resident voting intelligence in finance who traditionally had mostly been supporters of the Conservative party, have become non voting residents abroad .

In consequence, the future does not augur well for UK nationals wishing to continue to reside in the UK , as the political rainbow is slowly but surely visibly turning red , and it will not be long before we shall be faced with an even more dire evidence of "soaking the rich"by the vengeful ambitions of a labour left and Liberals sitting on the fence trying to decide which way is their path facing .I would be interested to know how the definition of "rich" was reached when a two bed room flat in the south east would easily make its owner qualify for that ungracious and penalising description by our Treasury. On the own admittance of the Government currently in power, our financial sector is the evident carrier of the yellow jersey in our financial recovery. Why must we continue to be the world champions of an example of a nation that excels in shooting itself in the foot, especially when we are doing well.

Ensuring the existence of a more level playing field to safeguard our interests becomes an essential part of our assessment, as no membership of a club is worth considering unless the membership brings on balance certain benefits. Is it not funny that the worst prevarication seen in the EEC relates to such an important main stay of our well being – the financial sector.-

This issue of "in or out" of the EEC has been a live issue on every one of our last elections in the last 30 years. The same question rears its head again as we approach yet another round of electoral jockeying. In my view, the issue should be debated as a free vote by a referendum as soon as possible and not at a politically convenient time in the future.The issues are too urgent, important and sensitive to be made a crutch for political gain or stability in power. The EEC have good reason to claim that they cannot see how a club can work where each member paddles his own canoe and with no consideration given to club rules or common good. No head of the family would contemplate giving each member of his family a credit card with no limits of spending or respect to what the family can afford. Why should it be different for countries which are members of that club?
Equally , it is not easy to forego our hard earned independence through a millennium of wars.

On balance I would vote to stay in ,but impose on our negotiators the obligation of renegotiating at least some of the most important and evident injustices in intent mentioned by the writer in his book.

I share the comment that was made on the reviews stating that they would prefer to fix it rather than exit it-but not at any price!- After all ,we joined with the knowledge of certain defined intentions - which the club has failed to deliver through lack of anonymous support from some other members on issues which were intended all along. These recalcitrant members must be made to respect the intent of the club or leave it. A club is not only for the taking.We have seen the club use the same arguments on us in the past.

In case anyone wonders why someone with a foreign sounding name, residing outside the UK , has such an intense interest in this issue; I am the classical example of someone who has been brought up and lived astride both a Mediterranean and an Anglo Saxon culture and I am British by birth (the result of our nationality laws at the time of our colonies).I have lived and worked in the City for 60 years and was a staunch and active supporter of the conservative party for most of that period of my life.
My contribution with this analysis , is solely intended for the purpose of encouraging the Conservative party to follow its convictions and not to oscillate depending on the evident political advantages at the time.We are a democracy , and the oldest one at that.The conservatives currently have the mandate with the Liberals to lead a Government based upon its own political convictions and not to degenerate into an exponent of a consensus of opinions . The party should lead from the front. It is this strategy that brought us fame World wide again in middle 70's after the politically disastrous dark years of the party's performance in previous mandates.

The book is a must read for those who still believe in making up their own minds and who wish to influence the course of our future.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too one sided, 13 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better (Kindle Edition)
Well written and well developed arguments, but hardly representing both points of view as the title suggests. Very readable and a good volume for those who want to know the advantages of staying in, although a disappointment for those who want the opposing view. Has it changed my mind? No, but it has encouraged me to take into account issues other than those which are promoted in media headlines.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes sense but?, 15 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better (Kindle Edition)
Well argued piece and to be fair, gives some alternative points of view. Not really enough detail on 'how to effect changes' he suggests. I would now appreciate the 'other side of the coin' argument being put forward, i.e Why we should leave' Anyone know of such a [simply explained] book available?
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