Belkar Bitterleaf

Smarnil le couard's page

939 posts. Alias of Francois BOURRIAUD.


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Hi there. The current kerfuffle (what a delicious word!) in France :

1) is probably much bigger seen on TV from across the Atlantic that on site. They did tag a known monument and burnt exactly 55 cars two weeks ago. Big deal but not civil war, really.
2) is not specifically tied to ecology, but about taxes in general, buying power and distribution of wealth. The issue is being adressed. Among other things, price increases on gas prices have been postponed for one year (see u in 2020) to quiet things down.

Though, it's somehow to the conspiracy themed OP : you should see the BS-storm floating around on the social networks !


For fun : french government plan to ban internal combustion engine cars by 2040.

Cant't say if that particular goal will be met, but setting it is a first step.


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No offence taken. Being called an "imperialist stooge" by crypto-trotskysts goblinoid is part of the perk of being a social-democrat.

And, yes, invading Syria in summer 2013 would have been a good idea, when there was still pro-democratic opponents to Al-Assad and still no ISIS (so I guess I still deserve your ravings).

Farewell.


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Macron is elected, with...

65,9 % !

Edit: 75% is the worse turnout ever for a presidential élection. We are used to more than 80%.


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Captain Battletoad wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Captain Battletoad wrote:
Being that I'm an American with a typical American public education, I don't know much about elections in European countries except for in the UK due to having friends living on that side of the pond. Is the French presidential election based on the national popular vote, or is it regionally based?
Direct popular vote. No weird shenanigans (other than the multi-round thing.)
Interesting. So not knowing the general attitude of the average French voter, how much support does a Frexit move have, particularly given Macron's recent statements on the matter? Sorry if these are basic questions. I'm starting to learn French again to stem a tide of boredom and figured it would make it easier if I also learned more about modern France, in addition to generally being concerned about the current state of Europe.

On a recent poll, 70 % of french voters were against going back to the old french money.

Frexit is worse than that, as it implies more than a change of currency. So, barring misunderstanding of the question, dubious logic or sheer ignorance, Frexit supporters must be even less numerous than 30 %.


Sissyl wrote:
Okay... you REALLY think the US is going to be pleased with getting their energy from El Salvador? I KNOW Europe isn't going to go for getting all theirs from Tunisia. But maybe a compromise could be reached? Tunisia could agree to become a colony for the EU, so the EU can legally fortify its energy supply, move in a s+#@load of military, and make every important decision for the Tunisian people...

Well, that was precisely the purpose of the Desertec project (backed among others by the Mediterranean union, that is EU + most of the Maghreb countries) : turning a big chunk of the Sahara into a solar farm, for energy exportations purposes. Went nowhere as far as I can tell, but that was the idea.

Also, Maroc has already working solar farms devoted to export (toward Spain).

So, I guess it isn't as far-fetched as it sounds.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
CrusaderWolf wrote:
Also the term "rare earth minerals" isn't actually a reference to their scarcity.
It's more about the state they are in before being properly cooked. After all, you never find "well done earth minerals" in the ground.

Funny one, but no cigar ! In fact, they were called "rare earths" because unrefined they look like dirt at the time of their discovery (that is, between the end of the eighteenth century and the start of the nineteenth) they were indeed quite scarce (as nobody had any use for them and so didn't bother to look).

It's a group of 17 elements with common properties, some being as common as copper.


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Greyhawk had two republics, complete with elections, representatives, etc.:
1) Perrenland (loosely based on switzerland, including export of mercenaries) ;
2) and the Yeomanry, with a government of the warrior people by the warrior people.

Not en expert on FR or Eberron, but it seems that "never any republic" in classic D&D settings isn't factually correct.


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Lemmy wrote:

Ah, yes... I keep forgetting the US and France still use electoral colleges...

Isn't it ironic how the two nations most associated with Freedom and Democracy and the only two democracies in the world to use such an obsolete election model?

Not really relevant, but France don't use an electoral college to elect its president. It used to, before 1958, but the president was basically a figurehead devoid of any executive power (think the british queen, but elected).

Just to put things right, you may go on.

Edit : FYI, we had ten candidates at the last presidential elections (in 2012), and in the previous one (2007) a third-party candidate managed to break through to the second round (surprise protest vote, brexit style. Oops !).


Irontruth wrote:

Think about it this way, if you're the French minister who's negotiating this deal, how much of it do you want to give to London? Wouldn't you rather take a big bite out of this pie for Paris? What would you force the UK to give up in exchange for being allowed to still participate in these markets?

Germany, France, Belgium and Sweden all stand to divide roughly 500,000 high paying jobs between them if they shut the UK out of the financial markets, plus increasing the activity in their financial markets, giving them more clout on the world stage.

Worse than that : how could EU give away to UK all of the advantages of being in (read, Financial passport) now that it has none of the drawbacks ?

It would sink all the Financial industry that other EU countries still have (think about letting a no-regulation country like Bermuda or Panama into your financial system, toll free).

It was already a good deal, that UK could do trade in euros while keeping the pound.


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Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:

Far from me...

I'm not trying to say the EU should give a UK that leaves the EU any kind of special deal; I'm saying that, on paper, with so much that should have been lined up in favour of a 'remain' vote, I hope that someone in the EU is thinking 'what the heck just happened?' possibly followed up by 'was that a one-off bizarro situation, or are we going to have to make changes so it doesn't happen elsewhere?'

Sorry, I misunderstood you then.

Alas, what the EU does has little or no bearing on what happened in the UK, as the leave vote campaign had precious little ties with reality.

UK had the best deal of all EU, hands down, but it didn't matter in the end because ordinary people voted according to what they had been fed for years by their local elite and newspapers, that is : 1) nothing good ever comes from Brussels ; 2) we (UK) are freedom fighters pitted against the evil EU empire. Look at our blue sabers! ; 3) all your women are belong to EU.

The EU can work wonders, it won't matter at all if local politicians keep scapegoating it for everything that goes wrong as a convenient way to sweep under the rug their own shortcomings.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Hopefully someone in Brussels is asking themself 'what the heck happened here?' over the referendum result. As far as I can see, on paper at least, the 'remain' side should have had the deck stacked in their favour in the run up:

  • Most of the main UK political parties (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP - I'm not sure if Plaid Cymru or the Green Party were pro-remain or not) were behind the 'remain' campaign
  • Nicola Sturgeon delivered Scotland as a solidly 'remain' vote
  • Northern Ireland was in favour of 'remain'
  • The UK's biggest city (London) was solidly 'remain'
  • the Government and civil service bigwigs were behind the 'remain' campaign, with massive leafletting and online adverts
  • the 'leave' campaign was split into factions, with the faction leaders at times bickering with one another
  • Nigel Farage, one of the 'leave' campaign leaders, managed to stab himself and the 'leave' campaign in the foot on several occasions during the runup to the vote by reeling off figures about finance and/or migration that were being questioned and exposed as inaccurate/outright wrong within hours, if not minutes

And yet, with all those things nominally in its favour, and on top of that years of those little 'blue flag with five pointed stars' plaques going up in projects all over the UK to announce that 'this was funded by the EU' (and on the Thursday night that the polls closed, Nigel Farage himself said he thought 'remain' had the result in the bag, before he went to bed), the 'remain' side still lost.
Despite all those things, there was still a majority (almost 52% against 48%) of voters who took part who felt sufficiently disenchanted (or at least disconnected) from the EU to give the day to the 'leave' campaign.
I really hope that someone in Brussels is trying to honestly understand what happened, because somehow the EU (as an institution) appears to have become alienated from a lot of at least UK voters...

Far from me the idea of raining on your parade, but it seems that the ball is in UK side of the terrain : it's up to HMG to say if they leave or not (as soon as posible to minimize damage, thanks) and EU can't do a thing about it.

If your thought is that EU should lavish on UK an even better deal that it had in the beginning as an incentive, the answer is "hell, no!". Such a train of thought is uncomfortably close to blackmail : gimme more, or else...


Kazuka wrote:

This Brexit situation is

seeming incredibly familiar. Not quite the same order of events, but...

Well, if this ends up in war, I have my "I told you so" gifs already bookmarked.

I don't see EU fighting to retain UK anymore than UK fighting to get out, don't get too anxious to use your gifs.

And if (very big if) a new majority in EU parliament does get us a new Commission president with more federalist feelings, it will be by the will of the people who elected said parliament. You can't get more democratic than this (pro-Leave people like to ignore the fact than the EU parliament get more and more power, and is indeed elected).

European Commission is another story, as its members are designated by the (elected) national governments. Parliament has got to approve some of them since a quite recent treaty(can't remember which one, and too lazy to look for it at the moment).


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ericthecleric wrote:

Interesting article.

Merkel wants Juncker to go. Of course, she nominated him in the first place!

Funny thought : without UK, the majority at the european parliament would pass from the PPE (right) to the PSE (left), leaning more toward political integration and less toward pure business and finance.

The next European Commission president will have to be designated according to this new majority... Unintended and interesting consequence.


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ericthecleric wrote:
On that topic, which EU countries have [general] elections coming up in the next two years, and how are such events likely to change attitudes to the negotiations?

France and Germany both.

See comments above, about why EU can't offer to UK a better deal that it had in the first place, and how Leave voters and newpsapers will spin to sound like the continent is out for british blood.

Soory, but it's not about punishment. You just can't leave and keep all advantages, without any hindrance.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
* Similarly, if the UK and the RoI can come to a suitable customs agreement, there will be no need even for customs inspection. This, however, is highly unlikely, because goods can be freely shipped from the RoI to the rest of the EU and vice versa, which means that transshipment through the RoI would be an easy way to evade both EU and UK customs. This is called "smuggling" and it's generally frowned upon in polite society.

Can't ! Ireland wouldn't be able to pass an separate agreement about import/export of goods with Brexit-UK. As member of EU, Ireland will apply the global UK-EU treaty (or lack thereof). That mean mandatory border control, if there is no free trade (not likely).

Different thing with people, Ireland being the only other EU country (with UK) being outside the Schengen borders.


Bluenose wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
The Daily Mail front page is about how Europe is beginning to crack, since a French minister (Sapin, Finance) and the Finnish Deputy PM has said there could be a trade deal and we could have control of it's borders. Of course what that trade deal might be in that case isn't mentioned.

It's mostly wishful thinking, alas.

Michel Sapin's speech was only about the Touquet agreement (the one by which the UK border was put on the french side of the Channel, at Calais instead of Dover) which is not tied to UK membership in EU. It would be uncouth and ungentlemanly of us to unleash now the "migratory hordes" on UK (but some major right-wing players and candidates to the coming presidential elections are known to favor its revocation ; so, not now, but maybe next year).

It is not about future relationships at all, and in particular not about free passage of people in general.

And of course, UK can have a trade agreement ! the question is, which one and what would be the economical and/or political price to pay. Nothing is free.

It's not that its EU partners are mad at UK or can't feel the pain, but giving away all the nice bits of membership without any price tag would simply lead to the disintegration of EU for everybody (what the point of being in, if you get a better deal out ?). UK chose to leave the party early, so be it ; it doesn't mean that all other people have to cut the music.

Oh, I know. But the Daily Mail is feeding this to it's readers who are lapping it up. You should see the comments on that page (actually, I advise reading any comments page with caution). It's largely to the effect that the EU is about to bow down before Britain and ask how it can serve us, when we'll deign to allow you to continue to trade with us (on our terms, of course).

What worries me is how when it doesn't happen that way the message that it's all the EU being vindictive and absolutely not a reasonable response to our decisions is going to...

Scapegoating it all on EU is a way to cope, I guess. And people able to believe in the steamy stream of BS fed them by BoJo/Gove/Farage during the campaign could very well gobble it up too, without batting an eye.

But a newspaper printing hogwash is of no real consequence (look at The Sun ; it had done so for years). It would only be bad if UK leadership began to believe in that sort of vindicative rhetoric. It would certainly dispel all the goodwill it has left on the continent, real quick.


JonGarrett wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
JonGarrett wrote:


I know I'd vote for any leader that promised to exile those three to somewhere cold, harsh and full of angry predators.

Wouldn't that risk exiling them to your country?
I'm British. But no, I was thinking of a small, unmanned island near a polar bear colony.

I was afraid you had Scotland in mind ! It certainly fit the "angry" and "cold" part.

Just pulling your leg...


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Bluenose wrote:
The Daily Mail front page is about how Europe is beginning to crack, since a French minister (Sapin, Finance) and the Finnish Deputy PM has said there could be a trade deal and we could have control of it's borders. Of course what that trade deal might be in that case isn't mentioned.

It's mostly wishful thinking, alas.

Michel Sapin's speech was only about the Touquet agreement (the one by which the UK border was put on the french side of the Channel, at Calais instead of Dover) which is not tied to UK membership in EU. It would be uncouth and ungentlemanly of us to unleash now the "migratory hordes" on UK (but some major right-wing players and candidates to the coming presidential elections are known to favor its revocation ; so, not now, but maybe next year).

It is not about future relationships at all, and in particular not about free passage of people in general.

And of course, UK can have a trade agreement ! the question is, which one and what would be the economical and/or political price to pay. Nothing is free.

It's not that its EU partners are mad at UK or can't feel the pain, but giving away all the nice bits of membership without any price tag would simply lead to the disintegration of EU for everybody (what the point of being in, if you get a better deal out ?). UK chose to leave the party early, so be it ; it doesn't mean that all other people have to cut the music.

EDIT : another Michel Sapin declaration, yesterday : "La perte du passeport bancaire qui permet aux banques implantées à Londres d'intervenir dans l'Union est la conséquence obligée et obligatoire du Brexit" ("the loss of the Financial passport is a mandatory consequence of brexit"). It seems that the price tag of this particular offer is the City.


Sharoth wrote:
It is a shame that nobody has the guts to say "NO!!! This is a terrible idea! It cause more problems than it fixes! We will not do it!" and "veto" the referendum.

They did, before the vote, and nobody (or not as many people as needed) listened.

Such a proposition isn't confirmed, but would be in line with the EU stance (not only the french one) :

1) either UK accept the standard package of EEA already held by Norway, Iceland, etc. and get full access to the common market in exchange for full acceptance of its rules, including Financial services (in short, EEA is a club of the countries that held a referendum before entry in EU, got "no" as a result, and picked the next best thing).
Silver lining : good for economy, UK would pay 9 % less than today to EU.
Bitter pill : in effect, UK would be MORE bound to european rules than it is today, and would have no say on the making of new ones, which it would have to swallow whole. Also, the package include the Schengen common borders thingie, which means MORE foreigners and less border control than UK has got today. Politically difficult, as it is going against what the Brexit vote is all about.

2) either it doesn't want or can't take the whole package, and it can't get full and urestricted access to the common market, which means lots and lots of specific agreements related to such and such type of goods or services.
There is a common thing in the déclarations of all european leaders, and it is that there will be no cherry-picking.

In effect, UK can't be out and get all the advantages of EU membership without getting the related constraints. It's no trolling, just a plain old truth : there is no free lunch, you can't get both a cake and the money to buy it... even if it is precisely what was promised by BoJo and Farage.


thejeff wrote:

Well, that's certainly stronger than I'd found, but it's still not quite: "The referendum requires me to activate Article 50".

Based strictly on that, I would expect him to begin the process of pushing it through Parliament and dealing with any potential hurdles, like the Scottish veto.
If you read a little more of the context around it, it's more aimed at...

I don't see how to read "shouldn't ignore the vote" in "no governement can ignore (such a democratic decision)", without a huge dose of spin doctoring...

Anyway, everyone and his dog, in EU and in UK, had been said and understood before the vote that a Leave vote would lead HMG to launch the process at once/right away (doom and gloom, my hands would be tied, etc.). As far as I know, talk about a preliminary vote by Parliament only appeared afterwards (I can't prove a negative, though).

I'm happy with that, it's probably better that way. I'm just pointing out the fact that HMG/Cameron refused at the last moment to burn that bridge and left to the next PM the burden of the activation of article 50.


thejeff wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:

Because, in absence of written rules, he (Cameron) laid them off himself while calling for the whole bloody referendum.

Before the vote, it was supposed to be binding. After, not so. I'm not complaining, but if it's not moving the posts, what is ?

All the doom and gloom campaign of the PM was all about the fact that a Leave vote would lead ineluctably to UK exiting EU, and that he would himself activate article 50, immediately. I'm willing to forget that, but I guess some people are bound to remember ! Including the ones who voted for Brexit and still want to get it, even if their voices are currently drowned by the Stay uproar.

Do you have a source for him saying that beforehand? I poked around some, but it's now hard to find anything from before the vote.

He did apparently say a Leave vote would be "irrevocable", but that's a little different.

Here it is. House of commons, 22 februry 2016 : "If the British people vote to leave, there is only one way to bring that about, namely to trigger article 50 of the treaties and begin the process of exit, and the British people would rightly expect that to start straight away."

Complete text here (column 24). It also went into a nice, manual setting the process for UK withdrawal. Directly from the horse's mouth.

It can't get more official than that...

EDIT : I'm not complaining, but it really seems that Cameron saw fit to tweak the rules and forget some of his previous statements. I don't know why (getting back at BoJo, lack of stomach, ploy to put some pressure on EU or damage control), your guess is as good as mine.


thejeff wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
We are all aware that UK has no written constitution, no clear rules regarding to referendums and few precedents. It's why it's widely assumed that PM Cameron would do what he had said he would do before the vote, that is consider the referendum as binding and activate article 50 ASAP.

I'm still not at all sure why you or anyone else assumed that the lack of written constitution meant that Cameron could activate Article 50 on his own.

I saw nothing that indicated the referendum was actually binding and never imagined that with or without a nonbinding referendum the PM could unilaterally withdraw the UK from the EU. Do you think he could do so without the referendum?

Now I could understand if you expected him to start the process at once. To call for an immediate vote in Parliament.

Because, in absence of written rules, he (Cameron) laid them off himself while calling for the whole bloody referendum.

Before the vote, it was supposed to be binding. After, not so. I'm not complaining, but if it's not moving the posts, what is ?

All the doom and gloom campaign of the PM was all about the fact that a Leave vote would lead ineluctably to UK exiting EU, and that he would himself activate article 50, immediately. I'm willing to forget that, but I guess some people are bound to remember ! Including the ones who voted for Brexit and still want to get it, even if their voices are currently drowned by the Stay uproar.

@Raven black : not sure about Hollande as a "war president", but one can hope.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Well, even without a plan, pushing through the formal invocation of Article 50 would reduce uncertainty.

Actually, it wouldn't. No one would be sure if it "took," or whether anyone right now actually has the authority to do so.

Cameron is the Prime Minister, but he doesn't speak for Parliament-as-a-whole; right now, Parliament is controlled (by a substantial majority) by MPs who have gone on record as favoring Stay. If Cameron tried to invoke Article 50 and then was overruled by Parliament, what's the legal status of the declaration? Uncertainty.

Even if Parliament voted to support an invocation of Article 50, legal experts in the UK are unclear about whether it requires the consent of the devolved regional assemblies. In other words, Scotland may have veto power [Uncertainty] until and unless [Uncertainty] Westminster overrides. (If I were a Welsh MP, I'd certainly not vote for an override, because that essentially neuters the Welsh assembly as well.)

And, while I have tremendous respect for the collected wisdom of this forum, the legal question of what would happen if the UK tried to walk back an Article 50 declaration is not at all clear-cut, especially if it appears that the declaration itself was not made with proper authority. (I mean, yes, I personally could write a declaration to the EU that the UK is withdrawing, but no one would blink if the PM told the appropriate European authorities to disregard that letter. But what happens if the PM makes that statement, and then a later Parliament tells the authorities to disregard the now ex-PM?) Uncertainty.

We are all aware that UK has no written constitution, no clear rules regarding to referendums and few precedents. It's why it's widely assumed that PM Cameron would do what he had said he would do before the vote, that is consider the referendum as binding and activate article 50 ASAP.

Surprise, he didn't and moved the posts ! A maybe wise, and certainly sneaky decision from the point of view of the Leave crowd.

The "scottish veto" is based on a very specific interpretation, but hey, who cares if it can be used as a lifeboat ? ("no, put away the forks and torches, we really wanted to quit EU, it's the bad scottish who wouldn't let us"). Putting the blame on somebody else about european matters for one's own decisions is a deeply ingrained habit...

It's that, or BoJo drinking hemlock (figuratively) by declaring that he didn't really meant all the bad things he said about EU and think that after all, leaving wouldn't be bright. If a Sun editorialist can do it, why not him ?


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Orfamay Quest wrote:

Not really. Do you really think that anyone would believe a statement from the Foreign Office would settle it? Bear in mind, first, that both major parties are in the middle of leadership disputes. Cameron, in particular, is a dead man walking and will be out before Hallowe'en, and the favorite to replace him (thank you Ladbrookes) is Boris Johnson. Bear in mind as well that the Foreign Office has no decision-making authority whatsoever; it merely represents the view and decisions of HMG to the world at large.

Do you really think that Boris Johnson would consider himself to be bound by a statement issued by Cameron's Foreign Secretary, or even Cameron himself? Of course not! He could, and probably would, repudiate it almost immediately, especially if he had just won the Tory leadership by campaigning on an immediate Brexit. Poof! The not-a-bad-dream was all a bad dream! Like that Doctor Who Christmas special with all the dreams within dreams within dreams! Funny joke, eh?

Turning it around, let's say that Cameron actually invoked Article 50, and then a Stay leader (like Theresa May) won the leadership and whipped Boris back to his kennel. The first thing she would try to do is to revoke...

First, let me state that I'm not here to pick a fight with anyone, or to win the Internet. I'm just appalled by such a waste of a cosmic scope, and if I used too strong language and offended you in some way, I apologize. Also, keep in mind that I'm not a native english speaker and could miss some nuances.

That said, you are right pointing out that BoJo wouldn't feel constrained by a simple statement made by Cameron ; he would have to take stronger action to derail Brexit (such as asking for a Parliament vote, maybe ?). For the rest, we seem to talk past each other. For the record, FO secretary seem to go BoJo and Brexit way.

If you want to know, I don't think it is very likely, but I know there is people in UK elsewhere that are toying with the idea of a "bad dream" scenario. My bet is on Brexit, but I don't think that stretching the wait is good for anybody.

An article 50 statement can't be taken back, period. It's written as such.

Yes, Marine Le Pen could win, but it's an endgame proposition. I think France would be better off with a one-mile asteroid impacting Paris. The fallout on EU at large would be more or less the same.

I will now take a step back and a deep breath. Maybe I'm taking all of this too seriously. Have a nice day, Orfamay quest.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
And if the markets are worried because the UK is now seriously discussing leaving the EU,... well, that serious discussion (and therefore the worry) won't go away simply because the Foreign Office makes a statement one way or another. Marine Le Pen, for example, is pushing for a similar referendum in France (she has a marvelously self-congratulatory op-ed in today's New York Times), and nothing that HMG says will shift that push...

There is a huge difference between Marine Le Pen (basically, our Nigel Forage, with a blonde wig) pushing for something and a Foreign Office statement, don't you think ?

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Basically, Smarnil seems to be arguing that if HMG would just make an appropriate statement one way or another, it will unring the bell and all the uncertainty that he objects to will magically vanish because we will suddenly know what will happen. It doesn't work that way, not at all. The genie is out of the bottle, the fuse is lit, the avalanche has started, and whatever happens, the EU will never be the same again.

Yes and no. A statement would dispel the uncertainty about the way the whole mess is moving, which would allow everybody to start coping with it and make contingency plans. All parties involved (governments and private interests) would be better off.

Also, if by chance HMG said it has no intent of following through the Brexit no matter what, or asked for a confirmation vote from Parliament to the same effect, the whole thing would be over. Poof ! It was all a bad dream ! Funny joke, eh ?


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
grab down and find a pair (an american expression that sounds so un-british and un-etonian, but nice image).
Did this idiom get lost in translation? "Buckle down and grow a pair" perhaps?

Oops, sorry, it was "reach down your pants and grab a pair". Didn't check it beforehand.

It amused me a lot to employ such rude language about Her Majesty's Government Prime Minister.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:


Pun but no disregard intended. The issue will stay murky as long as HMG won't make a clear statement of its intent, between acting on the referendum (out) or ignoring it/asking for a Parliament vote/any other way of circumventing Brexit (in).

Well, yes, the UK --- and England before it -- has a long history of concealing its true intentions in matters diplomatic. So this should be no surprise.

But until and unless it does something, the situation today is no different than the situation from January -- and, for that matter, the situation today with anyone else. Poland or France could very well invoke Article 50 tomorrow,.... so what?

So, while Brexit is still floating around, it's bad for investment (political turmoil is a powerful repellent for money) and it's bad for internal politics of most other EU countries who have their own populist nutcases to shut up.

All of which would be resolved by HMG making up its collective mind. And be a team player, for once, instead of doing evrything to share the misery it called on its own head.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
But HMG should be wary if its bet is that they can stay forever in a stasis, between in and out (as a sort of undead country member). An exorcism would be bad, but could still be done if the alternative is worse.

Again, I'm not seeing this. Right now, the UK isn't "between in and out," but in. It still has all the rights and duties of any other EU member.

And while I suppose HMG could decide to expel all of the foreign workers, that's also a decision they could have taken in January. It would violate the same agreements today that it would have violated then, and the EU has exactly the same santioning authority now that it would have had then.

In what sense is the UK a zombie?

Pun but no disregard intended. The issue will stay murky as long as HMG won't make a clear statement of its intent, between acting on the referendum (out) or ignoring it/asking for a Parliament vote/any other way of circumventing Brexit (in).

Is it better if I compare UK to the Schrodinger cat ? All UE is waiting for someone to open the damned box. Can't be simpler than that !

So far, we have the Foreign Office secretery telling that Brexit is a fact, but on what authority ?


Werthead wrote:
Quote:
Never say never ! It will all dépends on how things turns out in a few months time... The EU is nothing but pragmatic, and the last economical crisis led it to construct on the fly new mechanisms ; even the ECB chose to ignore its own rules to do what was needed. If UK goes out of its collective way to wreck other economies for selfish reasons, nobody will object to its forced exclusion : all in the name of democracy and of the collective will of the british people.
Any such move would require the EU to change its fundamental rules to allow it to kick a member state out. Britain itself - which remember is still a member until the process is completed - will simply veto it. I suspect others - maybe Greece or Poland - would be starkly tempted to as well as the precedent would be alarming.

I agree that it would be a very bad thing, and would be only used as a very last resort. But HMG should be wary if its bet is that they can stay forever in a stasis, between in and out (as a sort of undead country member). An exorcism would be bad, but could still be done if the alternative is worse.


The Raven Black wrote:

The core of the problem is not the financial markets, though as always we should take care that they do not provoke another all too true recession, it is the companies waiting to know what will happen before spending their money in Britain or in the EU.

We are in a time of slow beginning recovery for European economies and a massive pause in spendings could be just what sends us back spiraling into an all too real economic crisis :-(

My thoughts exactly. Investors positively HATE uncertainty and will wait to see which way the coin is falling before moving, and it's precisely the worst timing possible (stocks markets are also scared silly, but hey, it happens all the time for much less than that and they are a buch of sheep anyway. Meh !).

I just wish that EU at large would not have to wait long months for UK to make up its mind. Either they go for brexit, either they renege on the vote and stay : both would be fine by me, but Cameron has to stop the drama, grab down and find a pair (an american expression that sounds so un-british and un-etonian, but nice image).


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thejeff wrote:

It's not clear to me that Cameron can personally issue a formal declaration. That he can personally invoke Article 50. That needs a vote in Parliament, I believe. Which he could call for, of course.

In one way pushing it off onto the next PM looks like revenge, but in another it seems reasonable. Handing over the implementation to those who actually wanted it to happen. It's certainly good politics. Taking responsibility for the thing your political opponents want to do is rarely a good idea, especially if you think it's going to be painful.

True enough. But it's not about asking him to implement Brexit, just to draw the conséquences of the referendum he himself asked for. As the current PM, he has authority to do so and had announced he would be done at once (before the vote).

UK has no constitution, and there is no written rule or precedent to handle such a referendum. So I guess he could do it by himself, solely on authority of the referendum itself, or ask for a Parliament vote, or whatever else he can think about.

It's just that the house is quite burning, and that he would be nice of him to do something other than waiting for the conservative party pow-wow in october. All that is asked of him is proclaiming the intent of the country he is supposed to lead, to enable negociations (which he could then let the next PM handle). It's a yes/no question, in a time of urgent need.


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Quote:
This won't happen. There is no legal mechanism in the EU for forcing a country out against its will, and introducing one quickly and in a knee-jerk reaction to Brexit would ring alarm bells across Europe, not to mention being tremendously out of character for an organisation that prefers a more measured, careful response to issues. They will instead enact pressure through other means (perhaps a hint of a moderately better deal if we invoke Article 50 sooner). This morning, in fact, they seemed to be saying that they'd be - relatively - happy as long as Article 50 is enacted by the end of this year, two months after when it is being proposed.

Never say never ! It will all dépends on how things turns out in a few months time... The EU is nothing but pragmatic, and the last economical crisis led it to construct on the fly new mechanisms ; even the ECB chose to ignore its own rules to do what was needed. If UK goes out of its collective way to wreck other economies for selfish reasons, nobody will object to its forced exclusion : all in the name of democracy and of the collective will of the british people.

And who said that EU was content to wait ?

As far as I know, Junkers asked for the exit declaration to come "at once", the European Parliament and its president wanted it "as soon as possible" (EDIT: and voted this morning a reolution asking for it "immediately"), and Merkel speaking for all 6 original members of EU saif they were agreed "that no formal or informal negociation about Brexit would take place" as long as HMG didn't declare its intent.

It's the exact opposite of HMG stance, who wanted to negociate first and declare itself later. Niet, said the continent.

A third way of explaining Mr Cameron refusal to issue a formal declaration (despite having said before the vote that he would do so at once) could be that he refuses to personnally assume the responsability of the referendum he asked. Letting the next PM handle the matter could be a way of getting back at his Iago, BoJo. Of course, it can be argued that a continent-wide economical crisis is a harsh price to pay for personal revenge, but hey, politicians can be as insane, immature and mean as any other guy.

The truth is probably a mix between this (a little sweet revenge) and a attempt to put pressure on EU to get a better deal. The bad thing is, the current uncertainty is as devastating to UK that it is to any other EU country.

NEWS Flash : Foreign office has declared that Brexit is a fact and that no second referendum will take place. So long for that hope...

All of this is like a train wreck, all in slow motion.


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Mortis Incognito wrote:
I do think, though, that there is possibly a different interpretation for Cameron's delay. It's possible that he isn't trying to manipulate the EU, but instead the electorate of the UK. Maybe he thinks that if things go badly for the next few months, the government can say "Look, you were lied to in the run up to the last referendum, you've seen what could happen if we leave. How about we have another vote to check you still want it?" and get a different result...

Your guess is as good as mine. But can we (UK+EU) wait months for him to pull this trick ?

And how will the brexit crowd would react if the PM tries to bury their vote, after having already admitted their victory ? What if the political backlash and general anger leads to another Leave vote ? Economical turmoil is not a fertile ground for well-thought décisions, and the "Elite" denying the people its say on important matters plays exactly in the hands of populists such as UKIP.

In short : if he (PM Cameron) plans to do that, he should and could do it now. Waiting for october will only add to the bill (both in terms of economical damge and loss of goodwill from his EU partners). Of course, to do this he will need some courage and quite a bit of selflessness, but hey, as a politico his goose is already cooked : he will forever be branded as the guy who outdid the Luftwaffe in terms of damage to the City of London !


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:

las for him and UK, I don't think it would be the sensible thing to do for EU, as it would encourage any and all populists on the continent to go the same way (that is, throw a tantrum and get candies) which would quickly lead to a complete disintegration of the union. There is already talk of ignoring the letter of the article 50 if HMG try to do a slow-motion.

This story has a moral philosophy : be content of what thou have.

If you are saying what I think you are saying...are you talking about stating that Article 50 would be void?

Basically stating that the Overall EU can enforce itself upon the other nations/states of the EU?

That sounds like a dangerous precedent? When that occurred in the US it ended in the bloodiest war the US had ever seen.

Or am I misunderstanding what you are saying?

Oh, the drama ! The angst ! Do you seriously consider that UK would first brexit THEN militarily attack all the rest of EU if it doesn't get its way? No kidding ?

I fail to see any relation between this and anything that happened in the USA. You know, you have your specifities and we have ours, and all that happen in Europe doesn't always translate into something that already happened across the Atlantic.

All I'm saying is that if UK aims to use the letter of article 50 to hold hostage all EU, it's not completely impossible that other countries agree to go for the spirit of the text and cut it short. Certainly not tomorrow, but maybe in some months time, especially if the Financial crisis goes deeper and drags all of the continent down.

Getting a clear answer from HMG should not be that long : either they intend to go for brexit according to the referendum, and we can start together on the damage control ; or they plan to ignore it, take some serious political damage at home but cease to rock the european boat for everybody else, which is quite selfish of them.


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Nuff' said. The saddest thing is that UK had the best deal of any UE country, and threw it away for bad reasons.

Why the best deal ? Because historically it was hard to get HMG to say yes to anything without a little incentive (between states it's not called a bribe). Along the years, UK hoarded a lot of rebates, preferential conditions and special statuses. The last one allowed it to withdraw british welfare from EU citizens working in UK, while UK citizens working elsewhere in the EU would still get it, for reasons (mostly to satisfy a xenophobic fringe of its electorate).

Even if Brexit-UK got the same favorized partnership as Norway and Iceland (that is, membership in the EEA), it would be worse off than it is now. It's not a punishment, just the normal thing, but it will probably be felt like one.

It seems that Cameron is willing to let all of EU wait for the conservative party congress in october, and the hell with economic conséquences. I guess he hopes to "push" all of us into giving him an even better deal, which would justify a second referendum (or let him just ignore the first one). Alas for him and UK, I don't think it would be the sensible thing to do for EU, as it would encourage any and all populists on the continent to go the same way (that is, throw a tantrum and get candies) which would quickly lead to a complete disintegration of the union. There is already talk of ignoring the letter of the article 50 if HMG try to do a slow-motion.

This story has a moral philosophy : be content of what thou have.


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Norman Osborne wrote:
DM Wellard wrote:
Europe is NOT a country and it was the habit of treating it as such adopted by so many EU lawmakers that actually started this sad sorry mess in the first place.
Exactly. The EU was never meant to be an actual nation. But it's been moving further and further towards that, and I sympathize with those that do not want their national identities watered down to the point of non-existence.

Huh, historically, quite the contrary. From the start, the common market was meant by Schumann and its other founders as a way to United Nations of Europe.

One of the big stumbling blocks is that UK and other countries had other ideas when they joined the club, and wished for a purely economic union. It's why EU got stuck in stasis between a trade union and a federation : Euro was meant as a way of pushing toward greater political integration, as a common currency would create the need for an economic common policy... which we still wait for.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Rednal wrote:
They might forgive the leadership if they manage to negotiate more-favorable trade agreements that make up for the loss.

Er.... more favorable than what?

Right now, there are no trade barriers between the UK and the rest of the EU. The UK already has special dispensations from much of the EU's general regulations, enough to make the them the least-regulated market in Europe. Short of the EU agreeing actively to subsidize British exports to the rest of the EU, I'm not sure what kind of trade agreement could even be suggested.

The issue has never been trade agreements, as numerous political commentators have pointed out. The issue should never have been balance of payments, either, as both BoJo and Farage admitted within hours of winning -- the UK already strongly underpays for the privilege of EU membership.

The one semi-legitimate issue is immigration and the free movement of labor. The British enjoy a high standard of living and the high wages that go along with it, which means that every Pole and Greek who can drive a lorry or pull a pint -- excuse me, half-liter -- would love to move to the UK and get paid in real money. I can see where the English drivers would object to that. But I also think that free movement of labor is one of the hills that the EU is willing to die on.

Exactly : UK had the best deal of all EU countries, period. If it goes through the Brexit, it can only get a worse one. It's not that other countries will ge out of their way to punish UK, but they can't promote exit by giving away a too generous offer (what's the point of staying in if you can get a better treatment outside ?).

Our british friends will correct me if needed, but it seems that this mess came from plain old strife among the tories :
1) during last elections, Cameron promised a referendum to appear as even more british than his conservative opponents (seemed inocuous at the time, as he was the underdog) ;
2) he got elected and felt he had to uphold said promise;
3) Bojo saw an opportunity to undercut Cameron and joined the Leave crowd, as a way to claim control of the tories;
4) surprising even himself, he won ! He swiflty leave for cricket, and start to plan something, having no idea how to deliver.
5) Chaos ensues, tories and Labour both implode, leaving UK leaderless. Surfing on a xenophobic wave (attacks on polish people seems to be rising), Nigel Farage get elected emperor of the Republic of England and Wales (not sure about the last one, but heh ? Who knows ?)


To sum it all up, here is where UK stand, while all EU waits for the boat to stop rocking...


Smarnil le couard wrote:

The growing pro-remain petition is nice (3 million now), but is nothing compared to the 17 millions who voted to leave. All it has achieved is to ensure that the british Parliament will hold a debate about the Brexit, which would have happened anyway.

I'a afraid that to derail the Brexit now, your next pro-Leave PM (Boris Johnson ?) would have to renege, admitting that he didn't meant what he said during the campaign (that is, utterly wrecking his political career and taking the bullet for the greater good).

Aubrey, you got him as mayor for years, how likely does it sound ?

Replying to myself, sorry...

Read somewhere that the petition was launched a month ago by a pro-leave guy. How ironic that it is now hijacked by the pro-remain crowd ?

Also, it just asks for a tweaking of the rules governing referendums, not a new vote per se. Nice as said earlier, but too late and not enough.


The growing pro-remain petition is nice (3 million now), but is nothing compared to the 17 millions who voted to leave. All it has achieved is to ensure that the british Parliament will hold a debate about the Brexit, which would have happened anyway.

I'a afraid that to derail the Brexit now, your next pro-Leave PM (Boris Johnson ?) would have to renege, admitting that he didn't meant what he said during the campaign (that is, utterly wrecking his political career and taking the bullet for the greater good).

Aubrey, you got him as mayor for years, how likely does it sound ?


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ericthecleric wrote:
Werthead wrote:
In addition, Britain helps pay for a migrant camp in Calais to stop illegal migrants crossing the Channel to Britain. To make that work legally, the border between Britain and France is at the edge of the migrant camp (as a bit of legal busywork to ensure that Britain has to pay for it, not just the French government). France has said that this arrangement - which can be terminated by either side - is no longer in their interest post-Brexit and they could choose to terminate it, which would allow migrants to enter the Channel Tunnel or even legally hitch a lift in vans to the far side at Dover, where a new migrant camp would have to be set up, 100% at the British taxpayer's expense.
Werthead, the agreement (about the border) is the result of a bilateral agreement and won't change, even as a result of Brexit. Here's a link to the relevant story.

The french government has already said that this particular and very controversial treaty will go down the drain, along with UK membership in EU. Not now, but it won't survive brexit.

EDIT : of course, we could reconsider... it will only cost UK Jersey and Guernesey. Barter time ! :)


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EltonJ wrote:
Honestly, I like what has happened because I can have more time to prepare. Brexit does, indeed, lead to a Donald Trump (or Gary Johnson) win. However, that could last for four years. I know a lot of people disrespect Donald Trump now, but the UK breaking away from the EU is good. It may present some terrible consequences in the short run, but in the long run it will be good for the UK.

Maybe, maybe not : opinions and experts diverge wildly on that topic (with a gloom and dooom dominant theme, though).

@Gorbacz : whatever, it is now a soveriegn decision of the english and welsh people, and it is something to be respected. The comparison with 1933 Germany is somewhat excessive and insulting. If some people voted "leave" and didn't really want to, it was appallingly stupid of them.

Cameron is mainly to blame for the whole mess, as the matter was probably too important and complex to be summarized in a single question...


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

I get that, but the statements I quoted and asked about asserted that the EU kept peace "in Europe" not amongst EU members.

So it sounds like the statement makers, while probably aware of the Yugoslavian/Third Balkan Wars, used sloppy shorthand. Fair enough.

No problem, it's as common as saying "america" for "USA". EU is nowadays the bigger part of Europe, but not all of it : we have still countries to submerge/convert/absorb/blip (Norwway, Swiss, Iceland, etc.).

Also, as most of the neighbours are currently knocking at the door and that being a peaceful democracy is the most basic thing required to be part of the club, it can be said that EU contribute somehow to peace in Europe (ny encouraging good behaviour among neighbours). Maybe it is what your statement maker intended (lack of context, blip).


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

I don't know. First there was the Croatian War of Independence, in which the newly formed Croatian state fought the rump Yugoslavian state and then there was the involvement, as I recall, of the Albanian state in the Kosovo War.

But it sounds like the answer is that, for a variety of questionable reasons, many (all?) commentators have decided to ignore those wars, whatever name you want to call them, in order to say that the EU has guaranteed peace on the continent.

You are misreading, or people are making the same EU-Europe confusion as you did.

One of the original motivations of EU was to prevent a new war between its member states by sharing ressources and growing trade relations. It's not a magical gizmo generating peace-waves able to prevent war outside of its borders.

Some of the splinter states born from Yugoslavia are now EU members, but it happened AFTER the yugoslavian civil war.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
EU is supposed to be to the benefit of everybody, on an equal footing.

Yeah, there's a problem here. Basically, which is it? Is it for the benefit of everyone, or is it for everyone to be on an equal footing?

That particular question has been an issue for the EU literally since its foundation, when Germany got a fairly substantial waiver from some of the economic provisions of the Treaty of Maastricht since it was still in the process of digesting the DDR. There is a very good and convincing case that could be made -- that was made -- that the Germany economy at the time was something of a basket case. but also that the muddle wasn't really a long-term problem and that it made sense to overlook it for a few years.

Basically, it was to the benefit of everyone (including, say, France) to treat Germany differently.

The problem is that is also the issue behind a lot of the troubles like the Greek situation, or the rest of the Eurozone PIIGS. The kind of economic policies that countries like Spain and Italy needed, and arguably still need, are not the kind of economic policies that northern Europe (read, Germany), needed. (And today what Finland needs isn't what Germany needs). What everyone needs is a strong EU, but that seems to require individual economic treatment that "equal footing" doesn't provide.

So it's all very well to say, in principle, that the EU is supposed to treat everyone on equal footing, but most economists laugh when you say that (look up "optimal currency zone" for a more formal treatment of the howls of derisive laughter). And that's the problem.

Mind you, I'm not saying that giving the UK all the special privileges it could ask for would necessarily be the right course of action, either. But saying "we won't bend any more; it's the principle of the thing" is different from saying "we don't think giving you any more would improve the situation." The second is sensible policy-making.

Not disagreeing with your second alternative : by "equal footing" I meant something "objectively equivalent".

Yes, the game is all about adaptation and compromise. But there is a huge gap between setting adaptative policies, answering to objective economic needs, and giving away bigger and bigger bribes just to get UK to say "Yes" to something.

I mean, the 2/3 rebate was probably justified back in 84, when UK industry was in shambles and european policies were all about agriculture (which K hasn't got). But now that UK is the second best economy in EU and agriculture policies are a tiny bit of the whole ?

I reacted this way because you seemed to assume that it was normal for other countries to come to the rescue, whatever the cost. I am afraid that no, it isn't a good assumption : 1) belonging to the club is a reward by itself and shouldn't always come with bribes to sweeten the deal ; and 2) your politicians wil have to get out themselves from the hole they have dug.

It would be better for everybody if Uk stayed, but dont't blame others for leaving : it's your collective responsibility.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:

I'm not sure we're really disagreeing. What you said above is pretty close to what I said about the EU not having the motivation, strength, or good will to offer the UK the kind of lifeline that would enable this crisis to be averted at this point.

There's nothing legally that prevents offering the UK even more advantageous "shinies"; as you point out, it would merely be "political suicide" for the politicians to do so. There's also nothing legally that prevents Cameron from saying "Oops, just kidding, wasn't that a good joke?" other than the fact that in the ensuing general election, the Tories would place somewhere behind the Whigs in terms of popular vote -- and, of course, Cameron himself wouldn't be able to get a job in a kebab shop.

So one of the questions is simply "is anyone, on either side, statesman enough to commit suicide for the Greater Good?" (To which the answer is probably, but not certainly, no.)

We are not disagreeing, but you are missing the point. EU is supposed to be to the benefit of everybody, on an equal footing. UK already got a lot in way of rebates, opt-outs, etc. because of previous crises during which it was felt a convenient way to get its agreement on something. Maybe, there is a point where it isn't worth it anymore, and giving away more privileges isn't the solution.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
Balgin wrote:
Treppa wrote:

I was shocked to hear that exiting the EU requires that any agreements between the exiting country and the EU be ratified by unanimous agreement of all the remaining EU members.

Yeah, this could take a couple of weeks.

Typical Eu bureaucracy there I'm afraid :(.

Oh no, not at all. A deliberate political decision, to make an exit as strenuous, hazardous and unpractical as possible.

Except it didn't work.

That's not clear yet. HMG is under no obligation actually to leave the EU as a result of the referendum. Cameron could stand up in the Commons tomorrow -- or whenever they next meet -- and say "Sorry, chaps, we finally got around to reading the treaties, and leaving is a REALLY BAD IDEA and I'm just not going to do it."

Of course, he'd almost instantly face a vote of no confidence, and I'm not sure God Himself knows what the outcome of a general election would be under these conditions, but it's no worse than some of the things that have happened in Spain and Italy recently.

There's a possibility that (someone thinks that) now that the UK has painted itself into a corner, the EU may suddenly decide to throw them a lifeline and offer a revised set of treaties that will enable HMG to save face and not demand an exit from the EU (because "conditions have changed since the referendum happened"). Again, this would probably involve the PM falling on his sword and a new general election, but it might preserve the EU.

As I read it, to some extent this has turned into a game of "chicken." The EU still has the power to save the UK from itself by offering the UK new terms for EU membership. And, of course, the UK has the power to save itself from itself by simply ignoring the referendum. I don't think, though, that any of the politicians (on either side) have the motivation (or the strength, or the good will) for it. Which means, as in far too many games of chicken, the result is likely...

I wish, but I really don't think so. EU had already given a lot of shinies to Cameron before the referendum, and it didn't suffice (including the right to withhold welfare for foreign workers in UK, wheras UK workers get it fully in all other countries).

Frankly, there is a time where enough is enough : bending over to offer even more advantageous terms to UK for its membership would be political suicide in most countries. UK has still the 2/3 rebate THatcher got in 84, which was meant to be a five-year thing... if contributing to the european budget only a third of what you should be with your GNP isn't doing the trick, nothing will.


Nutcase Entertainment wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
Nutcase Entertainment wrote:


Smarnil le couard wrote:
We will trade UK for Québec, any day ! Waffles for everyone !

Can I move out of Québec beforehand?

Can we magically make them geographically switch place?

Of course. Europe is nothing but magnanimous.

Especially if you make the effort to push Canada closer. Would be easier for the new tunnel under the Channel.

I meant Québec ending up where the UK are, and the UK ending up where Québec is. Hey, Québec would get its wishes, being out of Canada, and being closer to France and the rest of Europe.

UK getting Canada back is something else.

Oh, I see. You should get to work now, then. That will need a lot of mojo.

How will you cope with the scottish situation, as they seem to be inclined to stay ? Also, do you intend to cut northern Ireland out, or do we get to keep it ?


Nutcase Entertainment wrote:


Smarnil le couard wrote:
We will trade UK for Québec, any day ! Waffles for everyone !

Can I move out of Québec beforehand?

Can we magically make them geographically switch place?

Of course. Europe is nothing but magnanimous.

Especially if you make the effort to push Canada closer. Would be easier for the new tunnel under the Channel.

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