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Should estate agents vote In or Out?

I pride myself as a logical person, so much so that it amazes me how most people seem to struggle to grasp the simplest of rational arguments. 

My general attitude when I know, through logic, that I'm right,  has led to me being accused of arrogance on more than one occasion and to be honest not entirely unfairly. 

As estate agents we are all used to having to apply a rational thought process to what can be and almost always is an emotional and sometimes traumatic time. 

Moving house is about much more than money, or even location or accommodation. Moving makes us confront change which, even if it's really necessary, is often uncomfortable and unwelcome.

Which brings me on to the upcoming referendum and the choice we all need to make, do we want to leave Europe and strike out on our own? Or do we want to stay in and accept the many interferences, compromises and imperfections that will entail? 

The first challenge we all face is to get the facts. For example, the leave campaign has made a big deal about immigration, they say that if we go out we will have less immigration because we will control our borders. 

The trouble is immigration is such an emotive subject, especially when you have terrified people running for their lives, trying to escape war torn madness. 

However, this kind of immigration is not going to be affected by our membership of the EU. The kind of immigration which – at least theoretically – will be affected is the type which potentially allows Bulgarians and Romanians the right go come here to live and work. 

This kind of economic immigration is far less emotive and there has been no real open or honest discussion of its pros and cons. 

All immigration has been placed in the same box and the implication is that if we leave Europe there will be less of it.

In my view, the problem with immigration is not and has never been the immigrants themselves. My family were immigrants at one time and that is also true of many people's families who will be voting to leave the EU, an irony which they may not see and certainly won't want to confront. 

No, the real problem with immigration has been caused by our own social policy which in the 1970s evolved from the theory of 'The Melting Pot' where we all mixed in and became 'Multiculturalism'. 

Multiculturalism was supposed to preserve cultural diversity and allow many different cultures to live in harmony alongside one another all contributing to the greater good of the wider society. 

Well that didn't work, did it! The trouble is that once set in motion, these grand social science experiments are very hard to unwind, even assuming there is the political will to do so. This problem is going to continue whether we stay in the EU or leave.

Dealing more directly with immigration, here is the uncomfortable truth. After the end of the post- war baby boom, our birth rate fell so fast it left us with a massive demographic black hole which, if left unattended, would lead to a small generation of younger workers enslaved to caring for a massive ageing population. 

The only way to fill that black hole was through immigration and successive governments have been compelled to do so, despite their protests to the contrary and cosmetic attempts at making it look otherwise. 

This fact has not been in the mainstream press because they would rather run a story with no end than publicise the truth and risk ending the debate.

Of course there is far more to the immigration issue but so far as the decision to stay in or leave Europe is concerned, it is a moot point and we just don't know what the future holds on this issue in either scenario. 

So let's move on because membership of Europe affects much more than immigration, it affects the whole basis on which our economy interacts with the world. 

There are only two drivers which have lead to the creation of the EU and both are very simple. The first is economic and rests on the idea of a free trade zone unencumbered by tariffs, quotas and taxes.

 Anyone who has bought anything from America will be used to paying the additional duty designed as a tit for tat because America charges duty on our exports. 

This protectionist policy was in large part responsible for the Great Depression and should not be repeated. Almost everyone believes in a free market within Europe and can understand the additional economic clout it gives us on the world stage. 

The second driver is politics, in the sense of political philosophy. The idea is that ultimately we are one human race and that in the end there should be a world government with one rule applied fairly to all people. 

The symbol of this, the one which was meant to bridge the economic and political divide in Europe, is the single currency, the one we have opted out of to our great and ongoing advantage.

When I was at Uni I studied political theory and I always remember a lecture which dealt with the concept of the authority of the state and where it came from. 

The question revolved around whether kings were given their authority by divine right or through other more pragmatic means. 

But the bit which really caught my attention was a logic game, a game which seems absolutely central to the choice we have to make and far more important than the emotional issues that are dominating the debate.

The logic game posed this question: would you keep a contract, a contract which if kept by everyone would lead to everyone being better off but if broken by everyone would lead to everyone being worse off? 

The answer is if you want to be even better off than everyone else you would sign up to the contract, then break the rules giving you an advantage over all those keeping them! 

This is precisely what we have been doing since we left the exchange rate mechanism and it is a strategy that has served us well and will continue to do so if we stay.

What it boils down to is that there is no point leaving the club voluntarily, we should stay, continue to break the rules and gain an unfair advantage until we either get thrown out or Europe sees sense and stops telling us what shape our bananas should be. 

Every other country is trying their best to cheat as well, it's just they are less sensitive about it than us. 

We should never have been offered this referendum, it's a sign of weak government – democracy has its limitations. Strong governments make these decisions for us, they act pragmatically and logically thereby protecting us from ourselves. 

However, it is what it is and if you believe in logic over emotion you will like me, vote to stay.

*Simon Shinerock is Chairman of Choices Estate Agents. For more information on Simon, see his blog or his LinkedIn profile.

  • Terence Dicks

    I completely agree with you Simon.

  • Simon Shinerock

    Thank you Terence

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    I disagree with you Simon

  • Simon Shinerock

    Who cares Paul!

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    I completely agree with what you have said Simon especially where you say that strong governments make the decisions for us, that is why we voted them into power.

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    I couldnt agree more Simon, especially when it comes to the significant impact to trade in and out of the UK. The press have focused more on the subject of immigration, rather than focusing on the importance the EU has on our economy.

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    There are arguments for and against. One thing I agree with being, this referendum should never have been an option if a leave result is so apocalyptic. I guess only Mother time will provide the answer if we leave. If we remain, we shall of course never know.

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    The property market has already stagnated because there is uncertainty over Brexit. Leaving will create uncertainty for years to come. The property market relies on supply and demand, some may say that if we cut the demand then prices will fall allowing more people on the ladder. Unfortunately nobody wants to buy in a falling market because they want to wait until the market hits bottom. Secondly, banks dont want to lend in a falling market or at least want lower LTV's and a greater margin. Lastly, building stops, developers are unable to obtain finance and we destroy what started the property boom that started only a few years ago. Are people's memories really that short, do you not remember where confidence in the property market was only 5 years ago? Vote out if you want commercial suicide...

  • Nick Small

    There are bigger things going on here than the property market. This is about democracy, independence, national identity, being shackled to a failing system with no accountability run by a ruling class that has no idea how to halt the decline it has engendered and really doesn't care because they will still be paid their exorbitant salaries and expenses because they cannot be voted out. The auditors have refused to sign off the accounts every year since this club was formed due to the theft and misappropriation of the money we, the working people of Britain, have been paying in to support their failure. Ask the young, unemployed of Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain if they think we would be better off voting remain. Even France, who have never forgiven us for rescuing them from Hitler, would vote leave if they were given the chance. Wait until the next five peasant economies (including Turkey, well named,) Join. See how you feel then There won't be a property market as no one will have enough money to buy a house. That is apart from the Eurocrats.

  • Nick Small

    You could be right Simon. You may well be arrogant. To spend all the time required to impart your views to us less intelligent minions probably does require a certain arrogance. In my opinion The EU is a failed experiment run by a self serving elite who despise democracy, only want what is best for themselves, are corrupt and are in love with power. Just about all the entities which are pushing for Britain to stay in are also corrupt or in some way benefit from our remaining shackled to this failed system. They are all so arrogant they will not admit the experiment has failed but if you doubt it ask the citizens of Greece, Portugal, Italy or Spain. Given a referendum they would all vote leave as would France. When the next five countries enter, Including Turkey, which are all basically bankrupt the cost to the British would be even more massive than it currently is. The British people are not against immigration, we are a nation of immigrants. We are not even racist as is evident by the millions of immigrants from all over the world living here successfully. No we are concerned that the terms for people coming to live here are not controlled by us. The numbers are not controlled by us. The requirements for integration are not controlled by us and their behaviour, cultural or moral, may be imposed on us against our wishes. We are in danger of being swamped and marginalised. I vote for bent bananas and powerful vacuum cleaners. I want my window cleaner to be able to work off a ladder. I want my doctor to have a least a grasp of English and have qualifications I can at least check. If he kills me I would like him to be struck off. If any public official is found to be corrupt I would like him to be locked up. My dad was an Irish navy but he was a great singer so he was accepted in to our community. Some of us didn't go to university and have more fundamental reasons for wanting to cut the shackles of servitude and vote for independence. Vote British emancipation.


  • Simon Shinerock

    Nick, you are clearly very passionate about this issue, I don't know your age but what I can tell you is that left to our own devices we ain't so great, honest or competent. I cite British Leyland and the three day week as but two examples of our independent ineptitude. I don't disagree with your criticisms of the EU but read my article again, what I'm saying is stay in, break the rules and when they threaten to chuck us out, call their bluff, they won't throw us out, believe me. What you have to understand is the very points you make about the other countries wanting to leave is the very reason we should stay because the old EU is falling apart, no one wants it anymore, it's past its sell by date, it's a dead parrot. It will reform with or without us and it's better for us to be part of the process.

  • David Bennett

    SS (no pun intended). Lengthy piece expressing your views. You like those that agree with you, but 'who cares' when not. We all have our opinion. Try respecting it. Mine is to leave. Stick that in your vape! The EU is not what I and the vast majority signed up to mid 70's. A Common Market was a no brainer then ,with just 7 strong countries at it's core. It is far too big and bureaucratic and after 40 years huge cracks have appeared. I want the Great back in Britain and will be voting to Leave. I will have to accept what the Nation decides.


  • Simon Shinerock

    Well David, firstly I don't vape or smoke, second, Paul is my best friend from school when we were 12, it was a private joke. Finally, my view takes into account your view and still leads to a remain vote but I respect your right to be wrong :)

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    I agree with your view Nick - thank you.
    Quite right that there is a lot more at stake here than the property market .
    There was no problem with the Common Market and we were not informed that this would lead to the loss of our sovereignty.

    Fingers crossed for the morning!

  • Simon Shinerock

    We have not lost our sovereignty, at least not to the EU. The historical concept of sovereignty no longer applies in the same way anymore. The world is moving faster than we can imagine, there is a new paradigm coming that will render this debate meaningless.

    In the meantime we need to remain

  • Simon Shinerock

    Oh well, life's not what you make it it's how you take it that counts!

  • Nick Small

    Well here we are in post apocalyptic Britain and, guess what? The sun came up this morning.
    It has already been proved that staying in and complaining just annoys the other members, particularly France, and it changes nothing. Most of the other member countries bend the rules to suit themselves but unfortunately we are British and we play by the rules so the only option, if you don't like the rules, leave. We have and now we can move on. Even George Osborne now admits we will do very well outside. The EU had plenty of opportunities to change to a more reasonable and democratic organisation but the self serving and arrogant rulers, like Junker, were more interested in rubbing our collective nose in it. I bet "The Queen" sends "Saint Nigel" a Christmas card this year.

  • Simon Shinerock

    Well Nick, we agree the sun has risen! I have pulled out of several millions of pounds worth of transactions and others have done worse, we will see how happy the BREXIT bunch are feeling in a few months. There will be opportunities though, there always are when there's blood on the streets.

    Over 70% of the under 35s wanted to remain, 90% of the over 90s wanted to leave, someone should tell them they are leaving soon anyway, hold on a mo, they already know and that's why they bequeathed this legacy, a legacy they won't have to deal with

    Beware what you wish for

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    Deja vu? Just heard on radio today that some years ago Denmark held an equally close referendum on whether to join EEC or not and to the surprise of their government it was a tight decision not to join. They investigated as to what had swung the vote .... it was down to widely broadcast lies from a journalist called Boris Johnson ... yes the very same man who lied to us this time too. So, they held a second referendum and then Denmark did join the EEC. So it would seem that there is solid precedent for holding a second EU referendum where Boris' lies have been instrumental in misleading voters. I can almost understand David Cameron resigning as he failed to get his way and was instrumental in this particular English fiasco, but I am both delighted and disgusted at 'winners' Boris & Farage not having the balls to stay around to see through this disaster they have caused. A run on commercial real estate investments now, wonderful. And so far, all so very predictable. Trouble with democracy is that both mindless selfish morons and those capable of logical thought are equally entitled to just the one vote .... and this is why we plebs should not be allowed to vote on matters as important as this one, as a mass we do not have the skill to make this type of decision.

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