IP, thanks for your kind words and thoughtful reply. As you'd expect I'm unconvinced by your arguments, as I will explain.
'I remember the "Cod Wars" over disputed fishing grounds - do you? A British 200 mile limit would overlap with Norway's limit, and possibly with Iceland's. The EU has reduced tensions in these waters, which is good.'
I remember those days too ;) so I guess we're a similar vintage. Obviously the '200 mile' limit is shorthand, and allows for that, e.g. Norway and Sweden. Reduced tensions? Not if you're African http://www.iuuwatch.eu/2017/09/fish-cash-batter-eu-robs-africa-seafood/
'Also, having come from an area in which two other industries (coal and steel) were decimated by purely UK government action, I don't see why fishermen should get special regard.'
I don't understand this, unless you're saying you approve the decimation of coal and steel, but even if you do then fishing is different and has not been decimated by market forces.
'The UK government were quick enough to bail out domestic banks, which I disagreed with, so why would this putative bailout be any different?'
I disagreed with that too, and the bailout of French and German banks which I think was the reason the ECB broke its own rules to 'help' Greece. Unlike your conclusion I don't want to be party to repeating a banker's bailout.
'I live in Scotland where immigrants are a) welcome and b) vital to the economy. Also, I have always been an advocate of weak border controls, so I'd rather that we allow more immigrants from anywhere in the world.'
I live in Edinburgh, and I agree on a) and b). However I value British cultural identity and cohesion and I think British voters should decide who and why people come here..
'Lastly, I'm married to a citizen of another EU country, which I probably wouldn't be except for EU funding of academic activities.'
Congratulations, but I think you'd still be married to someone without the EU :)
'Free to make trade deals:
I think I already addressed this
- we are a tiny country with very little regard in the rest of the world.'
We are a huge economic power, even if our leaders are inept. Australia, NZ, Canada, S Korea, Taiwan, Singapore all manage. The problem with the EU is we get signed up for deals which might protect a European interest, such as Italian rice growing (really) but don't help us. How well is the EU doing in its dealings with the US? What's the problem with GM soya?
'Free to have different standards eg better animal welfare, relaxed on GM:
This is a valid point. I am very unhappy with the eco-nuttery coming out of the EU, and the standards of farm animal welfare. However, I don't think any UK government is going to do anything different on these points, because the eco-loons are taking over all the parties, and they don't seem to have any concerns about animal welfare, except to tell us all to be vegetarian or vegan.'
Glad we agree. I would never want bull fighting to be legal in the UK, even if the EU don't object, but nor do I want the EU dictating to Spain. Let each country decide. I'm sure Spain is heading towards outlawing it.
'Drop punitive tariffs on developing countries' textiles:
To be honest, this does not impact on my consciousness at all. However, what makes you think that any future trade deals won't have similar restrictions - c.f. Trump and China?'
It seems to me Trump is the only politician prepared to stand up to the Chinese dictatorship and its outrageous trade practices.
'Review our participation in the European Arrest Warrant:
I don't know what you are referring to, specifically. I know that some academics have issues with the EAW, but I'm not knowledgeable about it. However, whatever the problems, look at the extradition treaty with the USA and tell me that you think that any renegotiation will be of advantage to the average person.'
Many, not me though, were pleased that McKinnon wasn't extradited to the US. If the Greeks for example wanted him we couldn't stop it. I rest my case.
'Avoid the militarisation of the EU:
I have no real concern about this, partly because it is unlikely to happen. Even if it did, do you have problems with the UK being part of NATO? If yes, then I applaud you consistency; if no, what are the relevant differences?'
Yes I have a problem, though less, with NATO. I want my peace dividend! Remember that eh?
'Encourage the democratic vote for independence of Catalonia ignored by the EU:
Independence for Scotland would do that much more effectively.'
Good luck with that! https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/scottish-independence-eu-bid-extremely-difficult-says-jose-manuel-barroso-9131925.html
'Save our huge and growing financial contribution:
Which is pointless given that the financial losses from crappy trade deals and erosion of standards will cost more for the foreseeable future. At least the country gets something back from paying in to the EU.'
I disagree and think we're financially much better off out the EU. But I don't believe anyone can predict the future. I do see the EU's relative decline comoared with the US and developing Asia continuing.
'Many of the problems you point to are down to the UK government. As a country, we could have dealt with this years ago by adopting Proportional Representation and developing a codified constitution so that ordinary people know the rules if the game. The EU has nothing to say about this, but consecutive governments have unfairly blamed the EU for their own failings. If you were to give that as reason for leaving the EU, I would not be able to argue with you :-)'
Dang, wish I'd remembered that one! You'll be pleased to know for the imminent election how much you accord with the Brexit Party policy on this :)