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Thread: The battle of Brexit!

  1. #166
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    I know. FPTP isn't that big a deal, I've voted through several elections with it.
    Labour only needs a minor swing to take govt, a re-energised anti-brexit vote will do that for them.
    FPTP biases against small parties, not large ones.
    It'll be 1983 all over again. Probably worse

  2. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    There are tens of millions of people still living lives in these towns and cities in the US, that never came back economically. Alternating between marginal employment, underemployment, unemployment, and welfare. I'm sure there are regions of Europe where it is the same.
    We do have that, but for the most part that's not tied to a decline of industry per se. The rust belts in Europe have unemployment rates in the 10-15% region (i.e. not that high), with some structural societal decline, but in comparison to the US these are all somewhat differentiated in how, when and to what extent they decline; tied to being in different countries that have handled that differently. These rust belt areas are for the most part evident that way in Britain and Germany, to some lesser extent in Belgium and northern France and very marginally in northern Spain.
    Britain in particular in this regard has the problem of real centralization; every build-up, every investment pretty much goes to Greater London, while the smaller towns around e.g. Birmingham and such tend to slowly die off. Germany effectively has two rust belts that it supports highly differently - the Ruhr area and East Germany; the East is in structural decline with ongoing emigration for the past 25 years, while the Ruhr doesn't see that but remains stable.

    Structurally really economically challenged areas in the European Union are different. South Spain with its 10 million people - Andalucia has 35%+ unemployment rates! - for example never had industry, and while some recent developments (property bubble bursting) pushed them further down they've been in that state since WW2 pretty much. South Italy is much the same.

  3. #168
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May
    Yanis Varoufakis

    “It’s yours against mine.” That’s how Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, put it to me during our first encounter in early 2015 – referring to our respective democratic mandates.
    A little more than two years later, Theresa May is trying to arm herself with a clear democratic mandate ostensibly to bolster her negotiating position with European powerbrokers – including Schäuble – and to deliver the optimal Brexit deal.
    Already, the Brussels-based commentariat are drawing parallels: “Brits fallen for Greek fallacy that domestic vote gives you stronger position in Brussels. Other countries have voters too,” tweeted Duncan Robinson, Brussels correspondent of the Financial Times. “Yep,” tweeted back Miguel Roig, the Brussels correspondent of Spanish financial daily Expansión. “Varoufakis’ big miscalculation was to think that he was the only one in the Eurogroup with a democratic mandate.”
    In truth, Brussels is a democracy-free zone. From the EU’s inception in 1950, Brussels became the seat of a bureaucracy administering a heavy industry cartel, vested with unprecedented law-making capacities. Even though the EU has evolved a great deal since, and acquired many of the trappings of a confederacy, it remains in the nature of the beast to treat the will of electorates as a nuisance that must be, somehow, negated. The whole point of the EU’s inter-governmental organisation was to ensure that only by a rare historical accident would democratic mandates converge and, when they did, never restrain the exercise of power in Brussels.
    In June 2016, Britain voted, for better or for worse, for Brexit. May suddenly metamorphosed from a soft remainer to a hard Brexiteer. In so doing she is about to fall prey to an EU that will frustrate and defeat her, pushing her into either a humiliating climb-down or a universally disadvantageous outcome. When the Brussels-based group-thinking commentariat accuse Britain’s prime minister, without a shred of evidence, of overestimating the importance of a strong mandate, we need to take notice, for it reveals the determination of the EU establishment to get its way, as it did when I arrived on its doorstep, equipped with my mandate.
    When I first went to Brussels and Berlin, as Greece’s freshly elected finance minister, I brought with me a deep appreciation of the clash of mandates. I said as much in a joint press conference with Schäuble in 2015, pledging that my proposals for an agreement between Greece and the EU would be “aimed not at the interest of the average Greek but at the interest of the average European”. A few days later, in my maiden speech at the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, I argued: “We must respect established treaties and processes without crushing the fragile flower of democracy with the sledgehammer that takes the form of statements such as ‘Elections do not change anything’.” May will, I presume, go to Brussels with a similar appreciation.
    When Schäuble welcomed me with his “it is my mandate against yours” doctrine, he was honouring a long EU tradition of neglecting democratic mandates in the name of respecting them. Like all dangerous hypotheses, it is founded on an obvious truth: the voters of one country cannot give their representative a mandate to impose upon other governments conditions that the latter have no mandate, from their own electorate, to accept. But, while this is a truism, its incessant repetition by Brussels functionaries and political powerbrokers, such as Angela Merkel and Schäuble himself, is intended to convert it surreptitiously into a very different notion: no voters in any country can empower their government to oppose Brussels.
    There is a long EU tradition of neglecting democratic mandates in the name of respecting them
    For all their concerns with rules, treaties, processes, competitiveness, freedom of movement, terrorism etc, only one prospect truly terrifies the EU’s deep establishment: democracy. They speak in its name to exorcise it, and suppress it by six innovative tactics, as May is about to discover.

    The EU runaround

    Henry Kissinger famously quipped that when he wanted to consult Europe, he did not know whom to call. In my case it was worse. Any attempt to enter into a meaningful discussion with Schäuble was blocked by his insistence that I “go to Brussels” instead. Once in Brussels, I soon discovered that the commission was so divided as to make discussions futile. In private talks, Commissioner Moscovici would agree readily and with considerable enthusiasm with my proposals. But then his deputy in the so-called Eurogroup Working Group, Declan Costello, would reject all these ideas out of hand.

    The uninitiated may be excused for thinking that this EU runaround is the result of incompetence. While there is an element of truth in this, it would be the wrong diagnosis. The runaround is a systemic means of control over uppity governments. A prime minister, or a finance minister, who wants to table proposals that the deep establishment of the EU dislike is simply denied the name of the person to speak to or the definitive telephone number to call. As for its apparatchiks, the EU runaround is essential to their personal status and power.

    Picking opponents

    From my first Eurogroup, its president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, began an intensive campaign to bypass me altogether. He would phone Alexis Tsipras, my prime minister, directly – even visiting him in his hotel room in Brussels. By hinting at a softer stance if Tsipras agreed to spare him from having to deal with me, Dijsselbloem succeeded in weakening my position in the Eurogroup – to the detriment, primarily, of Tsipras.

    The Swedish national anthem routine

    On the assumption that good ideas encourage fruitful dialogue and can be the solvents of impasse, my team and I worked hard to put forward proposals based on serious econometric work and sound economic analysis. Once these had been tested on some of the highest authorities in their fields, from Wall Street and the City to top-notch academics, I would take them to Greece’s creditors in Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt. Then I would sit back and observe a symphony of blank stares. It was as if I had not spoken, as if there was no document in front of them. It would be evident from their body language that they denied the very existence of the pieces of paper I had placed before them. Their responses, when they came, would be perfectly independent of anything I had said. I might as well have been singing the Swedish national anthem. It would have made no difference.

    The Penelope ruse

    Delaying tactics are always used by the side that considers the ticking clock its ally. In Homer, Odysseus’ faithful wife, Penelope, fends off aggressive suitors in her husband’s absence by telling them that she will announce whom among them she will marry only after she has completed weaving a burial shroud for Laertes, Odysseus’ father. During the day she would weave incessantly but at night she would undo her work by pulling on a loose string.

    In my negotiations in Brussels, the EU’s Penelope ruse consisted, primarily, of endless requests for data, for fact-finding missions to Athens, for information about every bank account held by every public organisation or company. And when they got the data, like the good Penelope, they would spend all night undoing the spreadsheets that they had put together during the day.

    Truth reversal

    While practising the Swedish national anthem and Penelope ruse tactics, the Brussels establishment utilised tweets, leaks and a campaign of disinformation involving key nodes in the Brussels media network to spread the word that I was the one wasting time, arriving at meetings empty-handed; either with no proposals at all or with proposals that lacked quantification, consisting only of empty ideological rhetoric.

    Sequencing

    The prerequisite for Greece’s recovery was, and remains, meaningful debt relief. No debt relief meant no future for us. My mandate was to negotiate, therefore, a sensible debt restructure. If the EU was prepared to do this, so as to get as much of their money back as possible, I was also prepared for major compromises. But this would require a comprehensive deal. But, no, Brussels and Berlin insisted that, first, I commit to the compromises they wanted and then, much later, we could begin negotiations on debt relief. The point-blank refusal to negotiate on both at once is, I am sure, a colossal frustration awaiting May when she seeks to compromise on the terms of the divorce in exchange for longer-term free trade arrangements.

    So what can Theresa May do?

    The only way May could secure a good deal for the UK would be by diffusing the EU’s spoiling tactics, while still respecting the Burkean Brexiteers’ strongest argument, the imperative of restoring sovereignty to the House of Commons. And the only way of doing this would be to avoid all negotiations by requesting from Brussels a Norway-style, off-the-shelf arrangement for a period of, say, seven years.
    The benefits from such a request would be twofold: first, Eurocrats and Europhiles would have no basis for denying Britain such an arrangement. (Moreover, Schäuble, Merkel and sundry would be relieved that the ball is thrown into their successors’ court seven years down the track.) Second, it would make the House of Commons sovereign again by empowering it to debate and decide upon in the fullness of time, and without the stress of a ticking clock, Britain’s long-tem relationship with Europe.
    The fact that May has opted for a Brexit negotiation that will immediately activate the EU’s worst instincts and tactics, for petty party-political reasons that ultimately have everything to do with her own power and nothing to do with Britain’s optimal agreement with the EU, means only one thing: she does not deserve the mandate that Brussels is keen to neutralise.

  4. #169
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    As we have seen in the past week, Varoufakis is correct. The EU is a headless colossus that is the root of its own demise. Its all smiles one minute and then contradiction the next. Any fool can see the game being played. I for one feel it further enforces the need for the UK to leave and seek a separate political path. I can also see why some amongst us would like to see it gone.

  5. #170
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    The real fallacy is seeing the EU as some disembodied, separate thing. It's the sum of its parts, a union enveloping its parts. And if most of those parts move in one direction and only some in another the envelope's gonna snap somewhere. And like a rubber band snapping inertia and recoil will make the effect a whole lot more felt on the smaller side of the rip.

  6. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    The real fallacy is seeing the EU as some disembodied, separate thing. It's the sum of its parts, a union enveloping its parts. And if most of those parts move in one direction and only some in another the envelope's gonna snap somewhere. And like a rubber band snapping inertia and recoil will make the effect a whole lot more felt on the smaller side of the rip.
    On referendum day, I was like many ....a fence sitter forced to make a choice between two answers. I voted leave on the basis of a perception that the EU was undemocratic, authoritarian and removed from the people. The more I hear these EU representatives speak the more I realise I was right to vote leave. Now we're talking 100 billion that we owe, Keep going and the British WILL become more entrenched and fight whatever the cost. Some fights are worth fighting because you know you hold the moral high ground..
    Varoufakis I have to say I find a fascinating character, he's honest and that's praise worthy for a politician of any persuasion, certainly in short supply these days

  7. #172
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    Banksy at Dover

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  8. #173
    tankie Military Professional tankie's Avatar
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    Trust gets you killed, love gets you hurt, and being REAL gets you hated.

  9. #174
    Senior Contributor antimony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tankie View Post
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    So UK's involvement in the WW2 was solely to bring freedom to Europe, not at all about stopping the Nazi war machine from overrunning the isles. Hmmm, looks like my history knowledge was upside down.
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

  10. #175
    tankie Military Professional tankie's Avatar
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    Paint it anyway ya like , they were stopped , end of , ironic now that 100 billion is being asked for to leave the corrupt cnuts huh , still no doubt some libturd lefty in years to come will rewrite history to suit .
    Last edited by tankie; 13 May 17, at 17:34.


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  11. #176
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    Why didn't the Brexiteers warn us of this?

  12. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    So UK's involvement in the WW2 was solely to bring freedom to Europe, not at all about stopping the Nazi war machine from overrunning the isles. Hmmm, looks like my history knowledge was upside down.
    Indeed it is. I'd recommend you to reread when GB entered the war and why.
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  13. #178
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Why didn't the Brexiteers warn us of this?
    The remainers did it?
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  14. #179
    tankie Military Professional tankie's Avatar
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    Ahhhhh well never mind remainers if labour win ( he says sarcastically ) we will never be free of the EU as ira el al cor , bin will make sure of that and abott will keep on spending the 55 million a day , or is that 67 or was it a 100 as it was the last time she looked .


    Trust gets you killed, love gets you hurt, and being REAL gets you hated.

  15. #180
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    So UK's involvement in the WW2 was solely to bring freedom to Europe, not at all about stopping the Nazi war machine from overrunning the isles. Hmmm, looks like my history knowledge was upside down.
    The 2nd WW didn't exist in 39! We were playing our usual game
    Last edited by Toby; 14 May 17, at 17:48.

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