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May's Brexit Plan

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The endless, intense stupidity and apparent inability to grasp reality by people who really should be able manage better, has been causing me utter disbelief for over two years.  Senior political figures of both stripes, though mainly Tory putting their own interests first, the party second and their constituents/country a distant third.

It is a shameful clusterfuck.

Nick

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It wont get past the HoC. May was attacked from all sides. She was svaged twice, over several hours, by back benchers of all colours. Veryfew spoke in support. Fascinating viewing !! But she has so far surived attempts to oust her .So no deal looks very likely, to me. What happens then is anybody's guess.

Peter

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No deal would be a shameful dereliction of duty by our ruling classes as it cannot help but cause massive damage in the short and medium term at least. It looks to me that those in in government in favour of “crashing out” are stinking rich and intending to capitalise on the mayhem.

The Brexiteers have had two years to present a coherent case with real facts demonstrating the benefits of their plan and they haven’t. Could it be that it’s not possible.....?

Nick

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A sad thing about this whole mess is that it highlights the massive cultural divide between Scotland and the rest of Britain.
It is almost as if we have gone back to pre-Britain times, when Scotland had strong trading relations with Europe.

(Especially since devolution) Scotland has sought to reap benefits from EU membership,
therefore we are going to be hard or very hard by whatever we Brexit we get.

Independence has a certain inevitability. If the choice is between Britain and the EU I know how I will vote.
Remember, in 2014 we were told that the only way we could stay in the EU was if we voted no to independence.

 

 

Ian.

 

 

 

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I could not be more disappointed that my country has ceded from the most ambitious and significant alliance since the formation of the United States of America.   In doing so, it has threatened that alliance as much as did the Southern States in the American Civil War, and will, I fear, cause itself as much damage as did those Southern States.  That damage will be economic but more importantly cultural.     Instead of belonging to  great continental society, the South languished for more than a hundred years in insular isolation and the UK, a truly insular society, will do the same.     We have a great history of social involvement with Europe, that has in particular given us this extraordinary language, English, the melding of more influences and with more influence today than any other.    We have learnt from and contributed to European culture, but now we risk losing every future means to do so, from science to the arts.

One of my great regrets is my lack of any language other than English, except at schoolboy level.      If I was more multiligual, I would count myself a European before British, but I do not deserve it.    

John

 

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I may go against popular opinion here, but I hope we are in a place where we can discuss , not shout. I am in the freight forwarding game. My business is tied in every way to logisitcs , trade and movement through Europe. 

But here is the rub. The EU is undemocratic, autocratic and unaccountable in its current form. I am all for staying in a European project with democratic principles, whereby the populations of  each country can actually vote off commissioners , can question laws, where laws are written in public not given as a fait accompli to the MEPS, where they balance the budget, where the French dont get to veto a patently ridiculous CAP , where the Germans arent getting very rich trading in an artificially weak Euro whilst keeping countries (ala Greece) in the system , when the entire known universe knows it should get out .

Europe needs a top down overhaul so it is truly democratic, fair, and genuinely represents the people.  You could say the UK government doesnt represent theirs, but WE get to vote them out if we dont like them. EU commissioners, the ones with real power, are jobs for life in my understanding. 

I would much rather be in Europe, but democracy is more important than all else. Yes democracy can suck, but its the best bad option. I paraphrase Churchill , but you get the drift.

 

I genuinely hope by expressing how I see it I wont get flamed or trolled. I want to be in Europe. I do , I will make lots more money staying, apart from the other benefits... I just dont want to be in the current undemocratic joke Europe. The rise of populism worldwide is a direct result of populations feeling un represented. And god forbid it is allowed to continue. Stifling debate creates populist policies. and allows the far right/left nutjobs to get a toehold. And we all need to beware.

As it stands the deal is dead. She wont get it through. I will be surprised if they do. The Spanish are kicking off about Gibraltar again , whilst, irony of ironies not even being willing to discuss Ceuta with Morocco ... 

What happens next I dont know, but I feel someone has to make a stand against a truly undemocratic Europe, and it turns out it is us. Lets not pretend there are not several other countries watching from the sidelines ... Denmark for one. waiting to see what happens next.

I am just a bloke who thinks democracy is THE MOST important thing. More important than borders, money, identity, all off that. The right to pick who leads you , really leads you, makes the laws , makes the decisions is the starting point of democracy.. Unelected decision makers is a joke.

Andy ( wearing tin hat!)

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Hello all,

 

I think there is some confusion here between Europe and the European Union, which is not a country at all but a ruling body over all member countries. Run by selected not elected people who wish to subvert all national aims of their members. The whole purpose of the European Union is control and not trade as we were told originally by Heath and endorsed with Wilson's referendum in 1975.

It is proving to be very difficult to extract ourselves from this dictatorial body and will, no doubt take many years before we can start to really make headway again. We need a better class of politician if we are to make the most of our opportunities, as they have been out of practice for forty years or so as rubber stamp weilders of legislature. To compound it they seem to not only have passed into law the directives but gold plated them making them even worse. A classic example is the Climate Change Act, a law that is so detructive to the U.K. and yet all but 5 M.P.s voted for it.

Alec

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Andy Bumblebee hits the nail. Unlike USA no voters get to elect Juncker, or Barnier etc yet they wield Presidential powers. EU lacks democratic governance, the Parliament cannt even set the agenda. But, to me . the worst aspect is the euro and the misery it brings to the weaker economies of nations such as Greeece, Spain, Portugal. And Germany wins. My amateur thoughts were bolstered by Stiglitz' book. He is Nobel Laureate in economics, and slaughters the euoro, describing it as an experiment.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Euro-its-Threat-Future-Europe/dp/0141983248/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543066936&sr=8-3&keywords=stiglitz

The EU ship is unstable economically, better UK does not sink with it.

Peter

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2 hours ago, Bumblebee said:

What happens next I dont know, but I feel someone has to make a stand against a truly undemocratic Europe, and it turns out it is us. Lets not pretend there are not several other countries watching from the sidelines ... Denmark for one. waiting to see what happens next

Hi Andy - Bumblebee

While I understand your analysis, and do follow it some of the way, I do not think Denmark for one is on the sideline thinking along the same lines. There are fractions of the right wing nationalists end extreme leftists that dreams of Denmark following Britain out of EU, but they are a minority.

Most of us are just saddened by seeing you leave EU, and hope that some kind of deal is being made to soften the blow for us all.

Cheers

Nick (from Denmark)

 

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HI Nick, 

Hopefully I am wrong and you are right, but I dont think there is any doubt that

A ....The EU is flawed institutionally. I mean if I said" theres this block, you cant vote the lawmakers in or out, parts of it are getting richer, lots of it are getting poorer, the do what they waant without consulting the people and what the boss says goes"  most people would guess say Russia?  Explain to me the difference?

B....Without debate we enter populist politics, see rise of right all over europe. Autocracies stifle debate. EU is an autocracy. Thus France, UK, Germany, Austria, Netherlnads, Poland all have populist right wing extreme politics on the up.

C... The Euro is an utter joke. Germany get richer , no one else does. They fudge the fiscal rules to get Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece etc in, then when it goes pop they tell them how to run their own country.... the cheek is unreal. Thank god we never joined that car crash. 

In summary I would love to be apart of a democratic EU. When there is one let me know, we can rejoin. Until they become a democracy Im not that interested. For me personally democracy is the overiding thing. First second and third. Everything else is less important than the will of the people.

 

Idealist. Me? Hell yeah.

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Mmmmmmmmm.  Define democracy.     "The greatest democracy in the world" is the USA, yes?    " By the people, for the people.. " Etc.

But what rules in the USA? Money.  Trump's campaign raised $340 million, while Clinton got $581 million.    That's nearly a BIllion dollars - a BILLION! - to elect someone who may be the people's darling, but is rather obviously would prefer to run the US on undemocratic lines.  

John

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The EU - flawed?  Of course it is.  Andy I understand your concerns and even share some of them.  And then there is the accounting side........ Certainly with you on the Euro.  But, on the grounds of democracy?  Our "democracy" isn't coming through this too well.  And as for the USA..... :pinch:.  It's not perfect by a long shot, but is it really worse than the alternative?  Do you really think you'll end up with any more say in how the country is run outside it?  The hard brexiteers have their own agenda and it sure as hell isn't for the benefit of the UK as a whole.  Whilst in the EU, UK has been part of the process of shaping the EU and perhaps curbing the worst excesses in some cases.  Outside it - mere passenger.

IMO, the EU for all it's faults has been, overall a great force for the good in Europe, making it a safer, more prosperous place.  In the UK there has long been a fashion, driven mainly by the Westminster lot to use the EU as a scapegoat for "bad" things and claim credit for the good things for themselves.  I was in Spain recently and noted that many local improvement projects and some larger ones too are fairly prominently signed and credit given to the EU funding that made it possible.  There are similar projects in the UK, fewer than Spain for sure, but there and you will never see credit given to the EU for them.

The EU is responsible for an enormous improvement in UK water/sewage treatment - we are no longer the worst sea polluter in Europe.  No, they didn't pay for it, but they caused it to happen and it really needed to.  Thanks to the EU, I and my children are (were :mad:) citizens of a whole multi-cultural block of the world.  We can get free healthcare as needed in many countries within the EU, though I doubt that will survive Brexit.  Much top level research science is made possible, or certainly much easier by open borders and collective budgeting. Many standards have been harmonised and created making European standards the world leaders.  Some we may consider unnecessary, over the top (quite often because they are gold plated by British officialdom) or whatever, but we'll have to carry on complying with them anyway, and once out will have no say in their creation or alteration.

Free movement of people.  That great bogeyman.  Or is it?  Schrodinger's immigrant..... yes, he's the one who steals your job while lying on the sofa claiming your benefits.....  Or in reality, the hardworking Romanian filletting chickens in an abattoir, the Pole who washes your car for a fiver, his brother the plumber who comes out on a Sunday and doesn't fleece you for the privilege, the Spanish nurse who changes empties your catheter bag in the middle of the night, the German heart surgeon who puts in your stent........  Or going the other way, the 100,000's Brits working around Europe.......

You don't know what you had 'till it's gone?  This is IT.

And I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist but...... I see the hand of Putin behind much of this.  Much of the wave of populism in Europe is driven by immigration pressures caused by refugees and many of those caused by wars supported, openly or more quietly, by the Kremlin.  He hates the EU and is more than happy to keep providing the little nudges to ratchet up tensions.  He finds allies in the far right for this - mostly just "useful idiots", though in the case of Steve Bannon, one really has to wonder......

For the EU, Brexit is a nuisance and a concern, but really a sideshow against real problems like the Italian economy/budget (encouraged by the Kremlin) and the rise of right wing populism in Hungary, Poland etc. Which are also encouraged by the Kremlin.

The Brexit movement have had more than two years to convince me that this won't be a total wreck, or even just a short-term pain to be weathered.  They've completely failed.  I'm more worried now than I was then.  Nothing in my life before  has pissed me off so much, for so long - and it ain't over yet.  

Nick

 

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Yes a very pertinent point John. I love discussions like this as long as they are kept in  a spirit of keen debate whilst allowing for opinions of other being equally valid.

I accept all that you say. But I would firstly disagree that USA has the greatest democracy in the world. Namely as it has a President as a head of state with real power. Countries where the accepted head of state has no real power are better democracies generally in my opinion. IE us. the head of state is generally powerless, the power is concentrated in the HOC and whilst we cant vote for the leader of the Government, more often than not we know who it will be. Furthermore after 5 years tops, if they've been pants, they are gone.  Any organisation where the bulk of the power is held not by concensus is a tad iffy. None the less USA is still way more democratic than the EU. The people of the USA can kick him out if they dont want him. Im am not for one moment holding the UK up as a shining light of democracy, we have first past the post, gerrymandering, politicians who have never worked in the real world, our own collection of shysters. But we do get to vote them out. 

Name the last time you voted for an EU commissioner? The power in the EU is held by a few unelected eurocrats. That can not be right?

I am not saying I am anti European, far from it. I care little for the clap trap used by many people . The "come over here stealing our jobs" mob. The xxx million to the NHS  twaddle. I would much rather stay in EU as I previously stated. But in a EU where the elite actually at least pretend they give a shit a bout the people they claim to be working for. 

Oh and balancing their budget and getting their house in order wouldn't go amiss either

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Cross post Nick. 

 

Again , I agree with much of what you say. I have no time for people claiming their jobs have been stolen whilst sitting on their arses. Putin has been on the march for some years, and been getting away with murder, literally in some instances. Think Syria, Ukraine, fake news, loaning money ( he doesnt have) to countries so they are in hock to him

I am a firm believer however in pragmatism. The forces of industry will not let things fall too far before they force the issue. (he prayed)

I need to be clear. I am not a hard line brexiteer. I am not anti EU, my life would certainly be considerably easier and more financially productive remaining within the EU. I certainly think call me Dave has call to be embarrassed. He went to the EU to negotiate with them for a deal to keep the right quiet. Right there and then the EU had a chance to begin reorganising itself, making it more transparent. Dave got zip, couldnt sell what he didnt get, fought a totally negative remain campaign (my tip is say how good staying will be , instead of banging on about how bad the other side are), lost and ran away.

The right never thought they would win, nor did Dave, so nothing was planned, it was all a big cockup from there on in. 

I agree wholeheartedly with you Nick , that the EEC was indeed a great force for good across Europe including the UK,  but as the union has moved from trading block to political union the institutions within it have failed to keep up. When you go from trading block to casting a shadow much more in peoples lives you need to allow them the right to choose who will make those decisions

I also agree the hard line brexiteers are looking out for themselves. They care little for the electorate. 

Whatever happened to conviction politicians? The Tony Benns, The Tebbits. Left or right, you knew 100 percent they believed what they said. 

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1 hour ago, Bumblebee said:

Name the last time you voted for an EU commissioner? The power in the EU is held by a few unelected eurocrats. That can not be right?

 

Name the last time you voted for a Prime Minister, the last time you voted for any minister, the last time you got a say who sat on a select committee, the last time you voted for the head of the civil service or the permanent secretary to the Treasury, the head of a Quango, apart from the appointed minister the team that actually led the UK Brexit negotiations.

You didn't, you voted in politicians who then decided who was going to be prime minister, who was going to be a minister, who would sit on committees, etc etc.

The EU is the same its all once/twice/three times removed democracy. All the EU Commissioners were appointed by people you elected, just as occurs in our system of government. So for once and for all can we stop fantasising about unelected  people having more power in the EU than they do here!  To put it politely Its Bollocks!

Alan 

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7 hours ago, Bumblebee said:

I genuinely hope by expressing how I see it I wont get flamed or trolled.

Andy

I sincerely hope you won't be either.  Unlike the outpouring of echo-chamber vitriol that occurred on a forum familiar to one or two people here before the referendum was held, it is good to see the airing of considered arguments on both sides.  To be honest, I am always glad to read about the case for Leave, because there seems to be so little of substance voiced about it that I cannot grasp the benefits.

I should say that I have no vested interest - I'm a dual national living in Poland, but I am deeply saddened to see the country of my birth edging closer to implosion.  I travel around central Europe a fair deal and the general impression people here share is one of disbelief.  There is a certain mindset amongst what might be called the populists here, that Poland should also cede from the Union, but the irony of doing so after receiving so much one-way capital injection is sort of lost on the minds of those who promote it.

You raised the question of democracy in the EU and it has always struck me as somewhat odd that Britain rails against the iniquities of the European model, whilst thriving on a form of democracy in which neither the PM nor his/her Cabinet are directly elected, the Civil Service and the upper House are completely unelected and law is signed into being by a hereditary monarch.

But the EU is not 'undemocratic'.  Laws are passed by two bodies - the Council of Ministers, comprising one (elected) Minister from each of the 28 member states, and the European Parliament, comprising (elected) MEPs.  The (unelected) European Commission is not able to pass laws, but it can interfere in matters that are perceived to be detrimental to the wellbeing of EU citizens, like monopolies and mergers.  Thanks to the European Commission, both Microsoft and Facebook have been censured and fined for their competition-killing behaviour.  Fundamentally, the European Commission does exactly the same job of applying and enacting the European Parliament's decisions as the UK's Civil Service.  But nobody seems keen to change what British civil servants can and cannot do.  Why?

There also seems to be an easy win amongst Leavers by conflating the EU with the Euro.  Britain won a concession not to join the Euro and whether it swims or sinks is therefore not in the gift of the UK.  As an aside, I agree that it is an experiment and a flawed one at that.  It set out as such and a great deal was - and is - at stake.  But it created a currency which has offset the power of the USD and it has given stability and strength to those countries in comparable fiscal condition.  The obligation for EU members to join the Euro is predicated on financial performance criteria and the trouble with the currency is largely down to the inventiveness of aspiring countries to join the club early on.  With the benefit of hindsight, we can all deduce that none of the PIIGS was resilient enough to meet the criteria.  On the other hand, when their 'inventiveness' became common knowledge in the wake of the 2008 crisis, each had the means and opportunity to leave, go through short-term pain (of the type that Iceland went through, successfully) and re-emerge with their old currency restored and a re-focused economy.  Tough, but predictable.  none chose to take that route.

But one institution - Goldman Sachs - was well aware of the shortcomings before the submissions were made.  If there is one truly deserving candidate for receiving criticism, it is GS.  Take a look at their list of directors over the the last twenty-odd years and see how many of them have slipped into and out of key govt posts in the US and other countries around the world.  If ever there was a case for believing in the conspiracy of bankers to rule the world, look no further than the supreme power that GS has over numerous 'democracies' around the world, and in Europe especially.

I'm sorry... I'm soap-boxing.  One last comment on Nick's conspiracy theory, which I think is largely on the money.  Russian influence doesn't have much currency in 'new' member states in Central Europe, for historical reasons.  As a result, the slippage towards the right in Poland and Hungary and maybe, in the not-too-distant future, Slovakia and Austria, places this bloc at odds with its western and eastern neighbours.  Echoes of the 1930s, I'm afraid, which doesn't bode well for a firm, unified voice and action against Russian hegemony.  Here in Poland, we are too worried about the hegemony of the Catholic Church...

Cheers

Paul

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Democracy is what you make of it.

Turn out, the proportion of people with a vote who actually voted, in UK general elections, has diminished frorm the post war high of 83% to as low as 60% (2001) but at the last was 68%.

The same sttistic for EU elections has never been higher than 40%, when the EU average has never been lower than 42%

(In case I'm accused of cherry-picking, see http://www.ukpolitical.info  The figures for Belgium should be ignored - it's compulsory there!)

If three-fifths of the population cannot be arsed to vote for the European Parliament, it's bit much to complain that it is undemocratic.

John

 

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On 11/24/2018 at 4:19 PM, Nick B. said:

Most of us are just saddened by seeing you leave EU, and hope that some kind of deal is being made to soften the blow for us all.

Second that.

Jens - from Denmark too.

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To leave, you have two choices. 

You can leave properly and doom generations to come to suffer the well known and awful economic consequences.

Or, you can "soft leave", and avoid the economic consequences.  But this means binding yourselves to the decisions made by the E.U., with no say.  Yep, it requires moving from having a limited but equal say in the E.U. rules, to having no say at all, but still having to abide by them.

Awesome choices.

I haven't seen it said any better than this.

I struggle to understand how as a nation and as individuals you could totally ignore and laugh off a non binding vote to name a boat, but you're completely locked into an equally laughable decision on a non binding vote to leave the E.U.

I reckon the Professor should on loop on the BBC for a week.

I'd be protesting in the streets, and banging down the door of my local MP.  Luckily, I live a long long way away.

C.

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I'll be clear, I voted to remain. Sadly, more people voted to leave. 

However, that vote was, as far as I know, binding. So I think we have no real choice, and despite all the arguments, leave. Of course, it is troublesome that it really is a once-in-a-lifetime vote (even I don't really remember the vote to join the common market, whenever that was) but that is the way it is. Nobody really knew what leave would be like, and to be honest, we still don't.

I don't expect predictions to be any more accurate that something Mystic Meg would come up with. I do think there will be some initial turmoil, but as the world is run by money/business, things will likely to return to a new status quo. How that will look, nobody knows. And that is the biggest issue. But I am not too gloomy at all about our long term prospects. And if house prices take a big hit, it means my kids may just be in with a shout of buying their own homes....

And on top of that, I think the EU itself is terrified about how it will pan out for them....  maybe we will see some inspired leadership emerge from all this. But I won't be holding my breath.

 

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