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The unspeakable truth

Montage of Daily Express covers

British people don't like to talk about racism, much less admit that their fellow Brits—much less they, themselves—are racists. It's far too easy to point to other bad examples in foreign lands, from Jim Crow and segregation in the Deep South to men with Hugo Boss uniforms and gas chambers in the Nazi Reich. But racism is a thing in the UK, with deep-running currents that occasionally bubble to the surface. And right now we're getting a most unwelcome but richly deserved reminder of what it's about.

(Text below the cut contains strong language)

British racism is subtly different from American racism, because there is no long-standing internal sub-population who are visually distinctive and the target for racist hatred. One can point to the traditional English hatred and contempt for the Irish—it's still within living memory that boarding houses proudly displayed signs saying "no dogs or Irishmen"—but people of Irish descent aren't visually identifiable at a distance, unlike African-Americans. So the most visible expression of racism wears a different name: the primary epithet isn't "nigger" but "immigrant".

And our newspapers know that talking about "immigrants" is a legal way to push racist xenophobia (see the montage of Daily Express covers that I updated this essay with, above: source, twitter, @kwr66).

(Discursive point: this isn't to say that anti-immigrant racism isn't a thing in the United States. But it's not the primus inter pares expression of racism. That dishonourable status belongs to the generationally-installed white phobia of the descendants of the slaves they systematically raped and kidnapped over centuries, and whose bloody uprising the slaveowning caste were deathly afraid of.)

The UK is different because the black community established here mostly immigrated voluntarily in the 1950s to 1970s: for many years, British racists used the word "immigrant" as a synonym for "black", and kept with it because it was so useful for describing other groups.

Which brings me rapidly back to the current ongoing campaign over the BRexit referendum: a ballot asking the public if Britain should leave the EU. The vote is due to be held next Thursday, and I already blogged about it back in April. What I didn't say back then, because I didn't fully anticipate it, was that the "Leave" campaign (with the knowing connivance of most of the UK's media, owned for the most part by right-wing billionaires) was going to play power chords in the key of racism, not even resorting to dog-whistle rhetoric. Britons overestimate the proportion of Muslims in the UK by a factor of four and think there are more than twice as many immigrants in the UK as is actually the case—and the Leave campaign's rhetoric, when challenged on how leaving the EU would improve things for the UK, has focussed unerringly on reducing immigration, because that's what the voters respond to—not abstractions about trade deals or tax rises or interest rates, but the folks they see on the street who talk the wrong talk or follow the wrong dress code or look different.

And the Leave campaign have been pushing that lever so hard that UKIP have been rolling out material indistinguishable from Nazi propaganda posters of the 1940s.

Now, if your election campaigning material is only distinguishable from films emitted by Josef Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda by your use of Photoshop and color separation technology, then you might want to ask yourself why you are peddling warmed-over Nazi propaganda. (Also: the white faces in the foreground of the UKIP "immigrant" poster have been conveniently obscured. Fun, huh?) But that's not the most important point.

The unspeakable truth is that right now British politics is in a Naked Lunch situation: the "frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork", as William Burroughs put it:

Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, has been assassinated by a man who allegedly shouted Britain First as he stabbed and shot her.

Points you need to know, for the full context of this vile murder:

  • Jo Cox was an activist for the Remain campaign

  • Jo Cox was the former head of policy for Oxfam and an anti-slavery campaigner

  • Britain First is a far-right movement founded by former members of the (defunct) British National Party, a fascist movement. It takes inspiration from Ulster loyalist terrorist groups and has a vigilante wing that engages in direct action campaigns. Their policies include a total ban on Islam.

  • Britain First is strongly opposed to EU membership and supports the Leave campaign. Their primary campaign focus is against immigration, multiculturalism, and "the islamisation of the United Kingdom".

  • Britain First activists engage in knife combat training

  • Britain First has threatened to target elected politicians for direct action earlier this year (specifically: Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London): "Britain First now considers all Muslim elected officials as 'occupiers' and will start to oppose their strategy of entryism and take-over of our political system."

The Leave campaign are recycling Nazi propaganda and directing it at "immigrants", pouring gasoline on the flames of British racism. They are doing so in a politically charged climate where mainstream conservative politicians have legitimized talk of "cutting immigration" as they run to the right to reduce the risk of losing their voters to UKIP, who are merely one dog-whistle away from being an explicitly racist party. They do so with the connivance of The Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and the other right-wing newspapers that peddle racism (because outrage captures eyeballs and eyeballs sell advertising)—whose every front page loaded with a hate-filled message about "immigrant scroungers". Britain First are an explicitly racist fringe party, and it now looks as if one of their followers may have conducted the first politically motivated murder of a sitting MP (other than in the context of Ireland) since Spencer Perceval in 1812.

I've been saying a while that when fascism comes to Britain it will be wearing a tweed jacket and a cheeky grin, holding a pint of beer in one hand and a noose in the other.

I wasn't expecting to be proven right so soon.

832 Comments

1:

NOTE TO AMERICAN READERS:

Yes, I am aware that Donald Trump talks about immigration a lot and wants to build a wall.

Nevertheless, this is not about you, and if you try to talk about American racism here then I will unpublish your comments and quite possibly ban you. (This also goes for any gloating comments along the lines of "how's that gun control working for y'all?" -- which I've already had on Twitter. Show some respect for the bereaved.)

2:

logging in to say 'thanks for writing this'. Thoughts along these lines have been going through my head recently, and crystallised by today's assassination - but you phrase it better than I ever would.

3:

Do the anti-immigrant fringe focus mostly in Islam now, or is there still scare mongering about Eastern European plumbers?

And my condolences to the people of the UK for their loss today.

4:

I finally created an account here just to say thank you for writing this. As a PoC these past few months have been terrifying and it's only getting worse. My partner and I are temporarily in one of the Leave heartland territories. The place we're staying has Vote Leave posters at their entrance. I definitely won't feel or be safe if we leave Europe and I'm not in a position to move somewhere safer. Illness and lack of money and privilege make that impossible.

Outright racism is definitely on the rise. I'm experiencing more and more of it.

My heart goes out to Jo Cox's family. I hope they're safe and won't be harrassed by the media or the more vile aspects of the Leave campaign.

5:

Muslims get it in the neck but it's also Polish plumbers and German doctors. Generalized xenophobia, basically.

6:

I'm still in shock.

As well as being a national tragedy, it is, of course, a deeply personal one for her young family. And her constituents, and those who she championed outside of that.

I guess this is like ignoring the symptoms of the abscess so long that you lose a finger.

As a stealth-immigrant (white, commonwealth), I knew very early on that the "immigrant" rhetoric wasn't aimed at people like me at all ...

7:

My paternal grandfather was an immigrant to the UK in 1906 or thereabouts. Didn't speak English until he entered school aged 8.

He and his siblings and their descendants gave the UK doctors, business leaders, a cabinet minister, and more than one wartime serviceman, including an officer who died during the first world war.

I've been born and bred in the UK, and English is my only language; nevertheless, I don't feel comfortable here and I am eyeing up opportunities for a second passport in event that "Leave" wins, or that there's a subsequent vote of no confidence/snap election/right wing coalition (conservative/UKIP).

The time to leave is before they start handing out the yellow star or equivalent at gunpoint.

8:

Not just Islam. Not just plumbers. Romanians, esp. "gypsies". Refugees from sub-Saharan Africa.

These are people who get assigned crap housing in crap parts of town out of a central government budget, and the people who no longer live in those crap parts of town because they moved to the suburbs a generation ago complain that the town no longer looks and sounds like they remember, even though they'd never live there, and that the immigrants get priority for council services. Oh, and they clog up doctors' offices even though they're also working in the NHS.

The age-demographic split for the referendum is significant. OAPs have largely been spared austerity by the Tories, because they're a reliable voting bloc, and they're massively for Leave; young people have been hit hardest, yet are massively for Remain. (Lots of young people also dropped off the register this year in the shift to individual voter registration.)

This referendum needn't have happened. It was an expedient cop-out by Cameron to shore up right wing Conservatives who might otherwise have defected to UKIP in the 2015 general election. It is an abdication of parliamentary democracy, and these are its consequences.

Rank-and-file Remain supporters have mostly been quiet, because rank-and-file Leave supporters are loud and frankly scary at times. They've been hoping to ride it out, squeak a victory, and hope the toxic cloud dissipates. That has to change in the week ahead.

9:

There's a class thing at work in what we might call mainstream racism. Living here in the constituency that Farage stood for in the last election most people would grudgingly respect a German doctor. And of course no one has a problem with the Indian restaurant or the Cypriot kebab shop because that's people being in their place.

This is not quite the same as a hardcore xenophobe who might go for a curry and then vandalise their waiter's front door, but it feeds into the mindset.

10:

I can't read it from here -- how loud is the whisper of "JEWS" when they say "immigrants"? Is it entirely lost in the clamor of "Muslims"/"Blacks"/"Turks"? Is conditional whiteness holding, or are we the next, predictable, target on the UKIP/Tory hitlist?

11:

There is a general problem that there are a lot of people who are doing well out of immigration (those that are educated and have money). However, there are an awful lot of people who have done badly from it. Quoting a post from another forum posted earlier today:-

....They just needed plenty of 16 hour service jobs to do the trick.
Of course they also forgot we had open borders,so they ended up importing all the workers to do the 16 hour jobs and the locals just kept on out of work benefits/tax credits. Thats why the likes of my local Aldi has 8 Polish/Eastern European staff 50 yards from a council estate with 289 unemployed single parents and 248 ESA/disability claims.

Now if you are one of those people or know one of those you can see why people are getting annoyed. They can see a problem and can physically identify by accent and language a reason and someone to blame for their predicament.

The only problem the referendum has created is that no party knew the actual size and scale of the actual problem (the feedback I've heard from some canvassing supposedly shocked the canvassers) and are now panicking because its too late to ensure the result they expected...

As for the murder of Jo Cox, I really don't want to comment. Until we have any confirmation regarding what may or may not have been said we seem to have one mentally ill person attacking a person of perceived responsibility and power.

The one thing I hate about today is the number of people who have taken a report and taken it as gospel. Quoting the Daily Mail (and I know how much you dislike it) but look at how what you quote moves from fact to rumour within three sentences...

Aamir Tahir, of The Dry Clean Centre, said the gunman was heard shouting 'Britain first'.
He said: 'The lady I work with heard two loud bangs. I wish I was there because I would have tried to stop him.
'Apparently the guy who did it shouted 'Britain first' and if I had been there I would have tackled him.

Already the attack seems to have had more witnesses than the Sex Pistols first Manchester gig...

12:

Not very, or at least not with much in the way of bloke-in-the-pub support. Get 'em going on the Poles, or the Pakistanis, though, and you've to stand back away from the spray of spittle.

13:

I think the Haredim are already a target. Anti-semitic attacks are on the rise, and it isn't just angry muslim kids doing it.

Folks like me (non-religious, assimilated) aren't at direct risk at this point. By the time we are, it'll be too late.

14:

... (with the knowing connivance of most of the UK's media, owned for the most part by right-wing billionaires) ...

Why, actually, do these right-wing billionaires care? I'm a terrible person to try and understand this, because if I had their money, I'd forsake work entirely: see fascinating things around the world, indulge my sense of wonder, do bits of art and science when bored. Obviously they don't think like that, but want to continue working. But why do they want to promote hate while so doing? Are there general principles from psychology or sociology that explain this, or perhaps specifics from their personal history?

15:

Thanks for writing this.

The most frightening thing about this is that the UK is not alone with the rhetoric. There hasn't been that much talk about quitting the EU here in Finland, but the right-wing mode of speech has been quite much about violence, against, well, anybody not in that racist fringe, but mostly against women who speak up, and immigrants.

I just wish the government will step in and try to curb this here - which kind of difficult, as one of the three parties in the cabinet is pretty openly connected to the right wing fringe groups. They have been quite reluctant to limit the open racism, left hate and misogyny here.

16:

My basic problem is that the Leave campaign has hinted that it might at least have started to understand the fundamental problem that nation states are having across the world, which is that economic policy fails if it cannot be adapted to far more local conditions than we currently tend to consider. But they have painted over it so completely with a blatant xenophobic veneer and have not offered any solutions beyond strongly implying that everything would be fine if we just threw the immigrants out, that I may be imagining it.
Meanwhile the Remain campaign appears to be built entirely on the foundations of "everything is fine, and we can opt-out of stuff we don't like anyway", which is possibly worse because it doesn't want to recognise the problems at all.
I know I'm stereotyping both sides, but that feels like all I can do. Whatever happens next Friday, I suspect I'm either going to be depressed by the result or very depressed by the result. (A number of my US friends are feeling the same way right now about November...)

@Ben Thompson: yes, it's true that no party knew the size and scale of the actual problem. It's just that the "problem" isn't really immigration, it's perception and misunderstanding, as it always has been. And that definitely can't be fixed with a few weeks of frenzied soundbite campaigning or promises of easy solutions. (No, I'm not saying that there isn't plenty of anecdotal evidence that upsets people for good reason, it's that people are very bad at understanding the context of that evidence.)

17:

They don't care.

What they want is a comfortable offshore tax haven with a decent standard of living and a pliant, controlled, captive labour force to mow their lawns and do as they're told. Like the Barclay Brothers with Sark (hint: the owners of the Daily Telegraph), only on a much larger scale.

They're effectively invulnerable and they will push any button that promises to give them what they want.

News media are a depressant and bad news -- the stuff that generates outrage -- sells newspapers, which in turn sells advertising, which generates revenue. Dog-whistle racism is a source of cheap outrage and gradually normalizes itself with the readership by becoming ever more pervasive. And the angry older readers who vote are the ones who can be persuaded to give the oligarchs politicians who will do what they want.

18:

They can see a problem and can physically identify by accent and language a reason and someone to blame for their predicament.

How do we make them realise, and act on, the notion that, rather than blaming immigrants, they should improve their education? Greater education → greater versatility → greater chance of finding a job one can do.

19:

Deepest condolences to you and all Britons over this. It's really scary when they start murdering legislators, and anyone who is snide about that for any reason is an asshole.

I must say that this whole string of events puts some of the things my host family said while I was staying in Oxford for a term in a far more sinister light. Things about how too many Poles were moving into the neighborhood, and how they wanted to move to Australia because "they're still a proper country." At the time, I wasn't versed enough in UK conservative shibboleths to understand what they were saying.

20:

The hot new thing these days seems to be contemplating how to flee the country in the event of a fascist takeover.

Meetup in Berlin after things go sour, anyone?

21:

Ugh. Thanks for the info at least. Do you have a destination picked in case it becomes Too Late (as it almost inevitably seems to)?

22:

Greater education → greater versatility → greater chance of finding a job one can do.

I find this a bit simplistic. Sometimes higher education makes it more difficult to get jobs, because the employers consider people over-educated. More education is a somewhat different thing - I know various people with doctorate degrees who have gone on to get a lower level education to get a job.

This, though, means more resources put towards education, and I think in many countries it's nowadays frowned upon to get many different degrees. At least that's the case in Finland.

Of course, what we *should* be thinking about is what happens when most of the people just don't have jobs, because much stuff is automated.

23:

That tracks with some of the undercurrents of discussions I heard in Oxford back in '06. I can only imagine how the crash in '08 accelerated that. Bad times all around.

24:

"Are there general principles from psychology or sociology that explain this, or perhaps specifics from their personal history?"

Pathological out-group phobia seems to me an underlying feature of right-wing orientations -- and if you want to become a billionaire, I suspect it helps to suffer from some sort of antisocial personality disorder.

25:

I am so sorry for your loss, all of you. Maybe this will wake up the stay campaigners.

And Charlie, yeah, I'm an American, but my reaction on seeing this was the same as when that friggin' gun nut shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, she with the astronaut husband.

God *damn* it, this isn't the friggin 21st Century, this is late 1930's. And of course the damn ultrawealthy push hate, the same as they did in, say, Northern Ireland: here, let's you and him fight, and I'll just hold both your wallets....

mark

26:

But one person, one media oligarch, doesn't need to manipulate the entire UK labour force in order to acquire pliant lawn-mowing serfs and the other servants needed to ensure a decent standard of living. He (rarely she, I suspect) will already be sufficiently insulated by his billions that no matter what happened to the UK economy, he'd find a cosy spot to live out his days. There must be more to it than that. What's the compulsion that drives him? Anyone here read any (honest) autobiographies of such types?

27:

The problem is that its not education. You don't need a degree to stack supermarket shelves in Aldi... I think that's half the point of the anecdote. The jobs described could be done by any who had finished secondary education - there is no reason why they could not and should have been filled by people nearby...

Yes education gives you more options. Personally my eldest doesn't want to be £40,000 in debt (which will never disappear even if she went bankrupt) to end up with a job paying £20,000 that when I left school would have required little more than a reasonable A level or 2...

28:

I've got nothing. I always assumed that I'd move back to the UK one of these days, but as I watch this stuff unfurl I don't recognize the country I grew up in or the values I was brought up with. The Leave campaign has destroyed in a fit of pique things I thought the British did better.

I can console myself that I have access to an EU passport, that we will be able to naturalize here at some point. But it's just depressing.

29:

I may have misled with the word "greater". I wasn't implying that it has to be university education. Even stuff like knowing how to work a till without getting flustered by queues of customers, how to lift and carry heavy boxes without rupturing oneself, how to write down the important points from a phone message. I speak from experience in independent shops — there are a surprising number of people who can't do these things, and who I've seen lose jobs as a result.

(Point about the results of automation noted: I don't want to have to work for a living either. But that's for the longer term, not next Thursday.)

30:

I think some of the social currents were already there--that is, if you take Jo Walton's FARTHING universe to heart. In Victorian days, it seems to me that port cities like London and Liverpool were cosmopolitan, and so nobody was terribly surprised by the Other types of faces in the streets (as long as they kept out of the good neighborhoods, anyway). But, and please correct me if I'm wrong, other parts of Britain were relatively insulated from the Other most of the time for quite a long time. (Note: Peter Grant in the RIVERS universe doesn't seem to have much trouble when he leaves London for his work, but then he's not settling down away from London, either).

And the anti-Semitism just seems to crop up every once in a while anyway, when times get tough. At least this is how I am sensing things.

But now it's deliberately being used to fire up people for political reasons, which hasn't really been seen that much since pre-WWII, and if I recall correctly, just post-WWII.

31:

Unfortunately the only place I could go is a place where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison with the prospect of hard labour. And gay activists are murdered far too often. I'm stuck here and terrified.

32:

At the time, I wasn't versed enough in UK conservative shibboleths to understand what they were saying.

That goes both ways: for example, it took me ages to realize that "urban" was US code-speak for "black".

33:

You don't need a degree to stack supermarket shelves in Aldi...

No, but if you have a degree then you also (unless you're part of the 0.1%) have student loans larger than my first mortgage, which acts as a reinforcement for workplace discipline because you can't afford to be fired.

The UK student loan interest rate (charged by the government-owned Student Loan Company) is, as I understand it, now higher than the typical mortgage rate.

34:

Peter Grant in the RIVERS universe doesn't seem to have much trouble when he leaves London

(a) Work of fiction, and

(b) Peter Grant is a cop, i.e. has Police privilege up the wazoo.

35:

The one other (non-UK) passport I can obtain by right of birth is one I don't want (Israeli).


I can in principle take advantage of the Anglo-Irish treaty and move to Ireland, then naturalize after five years. Betcha nobody else has thought of that one. (And that treaty is so going to get revised if Brexit happens ...)

There's a third possibility, but it's still at the research stage (my wife may accidentally be Canadian) and research needs to be done and paperwork dealt with, and emigrating to another continent when you're over 50 is harsh.

36:

I have the accident of birth privilege of a father born in Limerick and I now have the copy of his Birth Certificate that can be sent off and not the highly fragile 1925 original.

Moving to any other country is tricky over 40, especially if you're used to certain things being taken for granted (like having a credit rating) - building up things like that are problematic. But if it is something you'd consider needing to do, I recommend, if you don't have one, getting an AmEx card as American Express will move your entire credit history with them and put it into the credit ratings agencies in your new country... which sounds odd and esoteric until you try to get a mobile phone or car insurance and find that those actually involve soft credit checks and all the money in the world doesn't solve that maths.

The reality is, that now we've been in the US for 5 years, baring accident of Trump (which is becoming increasingly less likely) we'll probably accept we're never going back to the UK and get naturalized.

37:

Yep and far harder to extract yourself from (both here and in the States its explicitly excluded from Bankruptcy protection so will stay with you forever. This is of course utterly off-topic but its worth discussion at another time...

Going back on topic - one irony that has been pointed out to me is that a remain vote is not going to solve any of the NIMBY, racism, anti-migrant complaints as migration will just continue unabated..

The simply fact is that the UK is for most eastern Europeans a country pathed in gold. Hardly surprising I know Romanians and Albanians who were happy to drop their teaching, legal and medical careers when they earnt £2-400 a month there yet can earn 5-10 times that here in a manual job...

As an aside my dentist earns 15 times more a year than she did in Romania and only works 4 days a week.

The simple fact is that while income disparities within europe are so huge and labour can freely move around its unavoidable that those who are directly impacted by it react badly...

38:

How quickly could another Scottish referendum follow Brexit? I would expect that to zip right to the top of the agenda in Holyrood.

Given that Scotland would have accepted all of the acquis, I also think that EU accession could proceed smoothly. Scotland would not be receiving any legacy UK rebate (sorry), and would probably be required to enter ERM with a view to introducing the euro, but that is probably a good idea anyway in the event.

That would be one solution to your passport problem.

39:

Well should you ever decide to flee the UK, there is always down under Australia or New Zealand, which will get you nice and far away from what ever becomes of the UK. And as a successful and self employed author from the UK your'd probably have no problems getting a residency probably on one of the talent visa schemes. Heck in NZ you could even find the odd Edinburgh inspired city with slightly better weather...


On a more serious note I do hope the remain win, from an outside perspective it looks like a huge mess and a lot of long term trouble should the brexit succeed. Not to mention the possible "influence/success" a successful leave campaign would give to the worst parts of the UK political spectrum. Would hate to think of what the next UK election would look like with UKIP and other leave groups running rampant, flush on the back of leaving or being about to leave the EU. While being able to claim that every problem and difficulty would soon be fixed now that they'll be able to or have just broken the grip of the EU...

40:

The bitter thing is that a right-shifting of the political discourse seems to happen all over Europe - true Fins and Swedendemocrats, anti-immigration policy in Denmark, AfD in parliaments in German states, with up to 25% of the vote (and Pegida etc. on streets), FPÖ, the desaster in Poland and Hungary, FN etc etc

Seems like some of the lessons of the 1930-1940s have been forgotten, and the golden times of growing (left-liberal) freedom amd openness across Europe are replaced by politics-by-hate. I really don't know what to do.

41:

whitroth, I had that exact thought when NPR here in the states first reported anything more than that there had been a shooting, that it seemed to have been politically motivated. It sounded like the Gabby Giffords shooting.

I'm so sorry that folks over there have to deal with this crap too.

I had the same question as DougMerrill; how quickly do you reckon the Scots would act? And would you need the UK Parliaments' acquiescence? (Not to allow the vote would be the height of hypocrisy, but I have no illusions that, given a chance, that's what they'd do.)

42:

My worry would be a Remain win of say 5-10%. You only have to look at the result of the Scottish Referendum as the catalyst for the SNP's 2015 results in Westminster and the destruction of the Scottish Labour party...

The problem for the UK is that Labour has the same problem south of the border as it had in Scotland - it has always been the default option come the appearance of a ballot box but is now perceived as no longer caring for, representing or speaking for the working class people that always voted for it...

If that's the case when Remain wins, UKIP won't simply disappear. Instead it will become the protest party of choice for many of Labour's unloved voters - to the extent that it will start winning seats....


43:

Charlie - Would suggest you also look at NZ (given your aversion to Australia temps). Nicely out of the way should SHTF.

When you stand back, you have to hand it to the bankers and financiers. Despite being obviously and totally responsible for nearly bringing the world to its knees, they have successfully transferred blame for living standards going backward to 'immigrants'. You don't see them being gunned down in the streets - they kept their lives/freedom/jobs/bonuses. Nothing has really hit them, no serious change to the status quo. If the UK votes to leave, they will already have their money in an offshore account and their tickets (1st class) booked for the next location with lax regulation.

What really worries me about all this is not human nature playing out in the blame game - it's that the shitstorm of automation has only just begun to hit.

Now, automation holds out the hope of a much better 'Jetsons' world. It makes EVs credible, with solar giving people the hope of dodging the oil decline. It also gives the possibility of that 'life of leisure' world we were all promised by Tomorrow's World. In short it gives the opportunity to remake society in a form that's better, and more sustainable.

However, I don't think we are going to be allowed to take that path. Everything I see says jobs will be summarily cut, profits syphoned off to make those bank balances have a few more zeros, and blame will be made to flow to the 'lazy' who 'won't work'. I see no sign that even a guaranteed 'mincome' will happen. Ladders are being pulled up.

The EU referendum is largely a red herring. It's dumb in the same way that the scottish referendum was dumb - no plan for going forward, no plan for consequences. In Sir Humphrey terms, its a 'brave' decision. Also the EU is holed beneath the water line anyway - it will collapse with the next GFC (which will happen since that finance community hasn't been fixed).

Racism is a symptom, not a cause. A symptom of curtailed living standards, no prospects, and 'multiculturalism' over 'assimilation'. Easy divisions make for an easy blamegame - and its been exploited (tell me again why we were allowing cheap labour to flood the country in the first place...)

I'm not sure what the other two are, but religion and economics are certainly going to be two horsemen of the apocalypse.

44:

"I've been saying a while that when fascism comes to Britain it will be wearing a tweed jacket and a cheeky grin, holding a pint of beer in one hand and a noose in the other."

This, i think, is nightmare fuel and sums up UKIP quite succinctly. I don't blame you for wanting to leave the cesspit that the UK could potentially become but with fundamentalism on the rise globally it's difficult to know where to escape to. Didn't Cory emigrate because he saw the torys using 1984 as a training manual? But right now it seems like he's gone from the frying pan into the fire...

Thanks for writing this anyway, it's something we need to seriously address. Very much a case of "rub the human face in its own vomit and force it to look in the mirror".

Anyone taking bets on the first party to use this for EU referendum point scoring? The ONLY positive i can take from all this is the universally condemnation from all parties, even britain first have condemned it. It would be heart breaking if this awful tragedy tips the vote over to remain but there it is.

45:

I am so, so sorry that this has happened to you. :(
I'll be completely honest, I didn't think the Leave campaign had the slightest hope in hell of winning, and am genuinely shocked that the polls are as close as they are.

Still, it seems unlikely that the British right will commit Britain to an act of basic economic suicide....but I'm not sure anymore.

46:

Thinking about it, I guess I'm glad that I don't have anything to say. If I did that might mean that this sort of thing has become too common. Also if I went on I'd likely exhaust my expletives, and wouldn't be able to not make some comparisons to the US to put it into an understandable context for myself.

Just too fucking depressing to think about everything that's going on here and there. I'll just leave it at that.

47:

So Brexit wins pulls out of the EU and then shuts down immigration. Say no visa's unless you've a few £1m sitting in your pocket, jail (creates jobs!) or instant deportation to anyone who turns up illegally.

According to their view this should result in an improved life for the 'true' English. Now undoubtedly that wouldn't happen and the economy is likely to worsen, but you've no new immigrants to blame it on, so who's fault is it?

Seems likely that their next assumption is the immigrants who had already arrived (they're unlikely to abandon a drum that appears to have worked for them once already), so time to cut back the rights of existing immigrants or deport them (while keeping there stuff)? Also as non-true English they probably shouldn't be voting right? I suspect your current police force is a little busy dealing with the results of a rapidly deteriorating economy, so maybe it's time for a special force dedicated to finding them, tracking them and enforcing what ever new solutions you've come up with for them.

So a few years later your economy hasn't improved, you've disfranchised and restricted, ghettoed or deported all the obvious targets and you have a lovely force of ideologically aligned specialists who are practised and used to tracking, watching and controlling large groups of desperate people. So when the question comes up were you wrong, and it's time to bring back the immigrants, rejoin the EU or loose an election to the evil liberals who've been trying to sabotage everything you've tried to do for the last 8-12 years and keep screaming fascism well what do you do ...?

48:

They are less invulnerable than they think they are.
Whatever happens we have got
The Guillotine and they have not.

49:

If you can show Sephardic ancestry, Spain is also an option.

50:

Delurking to say hi and thanks to OGH.
I live in Poland and also have the right to a .il passport, but that country is entirely too hot and sunny for me. Things are going to shit out here, as you prolly know; our plumbers etc are worried about their livelihood in .uk in case of Leave. The commentariat on the site of our biggest daily loudly clamored for more info about the shooter [because bloody muzzies strike again, that's what must've happened] and suddenly fell silent. these same usual suspects were recently torn between praising the Orlando shooter for his choice of targets and scaremongering about horribul eeslamists. I share and think I understand your concerns about the current situation.
The continent seems to be going downhill fast. I'm planning to be out of here within a year, moving to a saneish state of a crazy country to live on a huge swathe of remote land among like-minded people. If, that is, the authorities let me marry my fiance now that same-sex marriage is officially legit grounds for immigration.

51:

I think that remaining winning by 5-10% is probably the best case at this point in time. If leave wins even just by scrapping through it gives the UKIP and the other parts of the UK political scene who currently standing along side them a bunch of kudo's and a big success story to push until the next election (which could be fairly soon if Cameron and friends get the boot).

It also give the UKIP and other parties room to promise the moon about how everything will be better now they can run things with out the influence of the EU and once they've had a chance to remove any EU sympathisers which may interfere with the 'will of the people'. With a major 'success' like leave behind them they'll seem much more like a real political force that has momentum and can try to exchange that for seats in parliament.

52:

"Anti-semitic attacks are on the rise, and it isn't just angry muslim kids doing it."

While that's true, the VERY few hints of actual data I have seen don't seem to indicate a rise in anti-semitism, specifically. I.e. as you said, generalized xenophobia, because it's at much the same rate as that of other identifiable outgroups. Those outgroups also include the disabled, and I saw a couple of reports that the rise in attacks on them was larger than those on racial outgroups. However, I have seen no decent statistics, and believe that they are not even being collected.

53:

I'd say the horsemen for the 21st century are probably Religion, Neoliberal Economics, Antibiotic Resistance, and Climate Change. There might be a side-order of energy crisis thrown in, depending on how determined the AGW deniers are about things.

I'd love to be able to think seriously about fleeing the country (although I'm not quite sure where to; NZ is the best-looking choice, but is not without its own problems), but since my partner and I are both too disabled to work and we're not rich, nowhere would actually want us... And by the time things get bad enough to qualify for asylum, it's far too late.

54:

Thank-you for writing this Charlie.

The last few weeks have been a slow motion nightmare in which the poisonous streak of xenophobia metastasising in British politics has erupted. With the connivance, if not the active encouragement of (mostly foreign or tax dodging) media barons and unscrupulous Tory MPs, it has now ended in tragedy. Cameron's original jolly wheeze that a referendum would show his mastery of the Tory party and settle the European question once and for all has shown that the steady trickle of racism and xenophobia spilled by a Murdochian press has turned into an abscess which is spilling its poison everywhere.

The population has been fed a seductive lie that none of Britain's problems are self-inflicted; instead we have been victims of the EU. So, the UK's failure to pay its way in the world, its crushing inequalities, lousy education system, abysmal productivity and corruption are nothing to do with government policies over the last thirty years; it's those beastly foreigners that have tricked and outwitted us at every turn.

The Brexiters have played by a strategy straight out of Goebbels - and it has worked every bit as well as it did eighty years ago in Germany. Half the population now believes that the hard right of the Tory party, that revels in inequality, is on the side of the poor working class and the unemployed. They have been convinced that a simple vote to exit will bring about a new elysium. Next week, there's a good chance the economy will be in turmoil, that the future of the Union will be in question - AGAIN and that the hard won peace in Northern Ireland will have been unpicked. Just because a weak Prime Minister was unwilling to stand up to the saloon bore of Nigel Farage and the Dacre press.

But in a thousand years, I didn't think we would have an MP murdered on the streets because of this 'debate'. A pox on all of them who have brought us to this place. All those 'journalists' who have whipped up peoples' fears of others who look different or speak other languages. All those journalists who refused to hold liars and demagogues to account. All those politicians too weak to confront prejudice. All those who have ridden bigotry into power. Damn you all.

55:

I get the impression that racism/immigration fear is on the rise across Europe-look at the various neofascists getting huge gains everywhere.

Tied into this, but a seperate issue, is the EU referendum. I'd say it's fairly obvious that racists won't be mad keen on being ruled from abroad in any form, so the fact that they'll be pro brexit is hardly earth shattering. But not all pro-Brexiteers are foaming racists. Suggesting Britain First represents all who doubt the EU is like saying ISIS represents the nice muslim couple down the street from me.

I'm pretty angry that Labour and the left have abandoned Brexit to UKIP-when the EU proves unreformable in any good way, and the big business/capitalist types have got Brussels in their pocket, we'll be proper fucked. That fight is coming, and fighting a big, united government will be pretty much impossible.

Back to racism/immigration. Having followed current affairs since a schoolkid, I've noticed that any attempt to talk about immigration is shut down by accusations of foreigner hating. There are many, many things wrong with our entire immigration system-I have personally seen it fail many immigrants appallingly. As far as I can see, many comparatively minor tensions have been allowed to fester, without being addressed, resulting in both our home grown contribution to ISIS and Britain First.

56:

No fish is ever spawned out of water. It only suffers when it leaves the water, or when the water leaves it. Change always causes pain. Change is also inevitable, so sometimes intentional change is necessary to prepare for the future. Nevertheless, it will make people uncomfortable, and they will pass that discomfort along. Horrible as one murder--or 49--may be, they are in the scheme of things simply a price we decide to pay for progress.

57:

(If this post is too American, my apologies.)

I think today marks the decisive end of the Washington Consensus as anything more than a Beltway aspiration. These whole few months, really, but with the re-emergence of serious political violence, this really is a turning point. Clinton herself is probably the last bastion of that ideology, having been in the room when it was forged. Other than her, I think we can expect to see a turn away from the various parts of this policy in the coming years.

In short the consensus was that free trade (corporate-flavored) was good, bigotry was bad, political violence was bad, and that money should talk. The UK's enthusiastic endorsement of these policies under both major parties is probably what made it more substantive than just another American aspiration.

But the conditions under which the Consensus were forged haven't been operative for a while, and in both the United States and the UK, major politicians have campaigned directly against some of its conceits. Meanwhile, the billionaires who benefited from some parts of the consensus have decided that other parts (anti-discrimination, pluralism in general) are in fact secondary concerns to their main concern--helping the rich against the poor.

We're no longer in the post-Cold War era where the sudden absence of the Soviet Union is the main distinguishing feature of the international stage. It turns out that many of the conflicts and objections that were stifled due to the pressures of the Cold War were not resolved satisfactorily after all. So now we get to have these arguments again.

58:

What progress is heralded by the violence we've seen this week, pray tell?

59:

Horrible as one murder--or 49--may be, they are in the scheme of things simply a price we decide to pay for progress.

With no approval at all of the murders, I will suggest that is incorrect. We have been killing each other as long as we've been humans. What progress brings us is hearing about murders that happen thousands of kilometers away from us.

The per capita murder rate is falling...but still not fast enough.

60:

Since I am an American, living in the Bible Belt, I have to ask if Fundamentalist Christianity plays a role in the Anti-whatever reaction ? I know from the "Apocalypse Codex" Fundamentalist Christianity is a mostly foreign ideology to Modern Brits (ignoring Charles losing his head back a few centuries). I don't expect COE ministers to denounce Obama as the AntiChrist, and Britain is more secular than the US.

61:

What a mess. Stochastic terrorism is the hardest kind to defend against.

Can you at least hope that Jo Cox's assassination will backfire rather badly on the Brexit crew?

62:

Apologies, but
Oh My Gawd, What is this? I don't even....

"Japanese Trump Commercial"

Link sent by my brother.

63:

Not so much for you, Gracious Host, who's probably well on top of this, but for anyone else considering a possible, forced, move:

Well before it's time to leave, get or keep your assets away from wherever you'll have to leave—generally, the State will first be able to attack them before your person, possible countries of refuge will likely refuse the poor first, and (especially for older people) the prospect of penury can make you stick around until it's well past time leaving.

64:

Charlie, I have a question, but it would require a preface and might fall afoul of the note to American readers.

If you have a moment, take a look at the following link and comment thread and tell me if the obvious converse counterfactual is too Americocentric: http://noelmaurer.typepad.com/aab/2016/03/what-if-the-united-states-bordered-russia-to-the-south.html

If you think it's okay, I'll post the question. If not, zero problem.

65:

Can you at least hope that Jo Cox's assassination will backfire rather badly on the Brexit crew?

I can't imagine the campaigning will pick up from where it left off when the shitshow starts up again, both sides owe it to her to tone down the rhetoric and scare-mongering. Why does it take horribly violent murders and dead children washed up on beaches for us to say that's enough...

66:

material indistinguishable from Nazi propaganda posters of the 1940s.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were a Nazi poster or cartoon or whatever with similar visuals, but the source shown is a couple of stills from a movie reportedly reproduced in the BBC documentary "Auschwitz: The Nazis and 'The Final Solution".

67:

Fundamentalist Christianity has a genetic legacy in Britain First in particular, as its founder Jim Dowson is a fundamentalist Christian and former Calvinist preacher. Britain First also claim to be a Christian organization, although they've been disavowed by pretty much every mainstream Christian denomination in Britain.

Jim Dowson himself is steeped in the fractious intersection of religion and politics in Northern Ireland (and Britain First have a NI offshoot to boot), but to say that that their politics are elementally linked to Christian fundamentalism is probably overstating the case. Just as in Northern Ireland, while religion can be an important motivation for political violence, it should be seen more as an ethnic and social signifier rather than a raison d'être. For example, when Britain First talk about "keeping Britain Christian", it should really be read as "keeping Britain white".

Interestingly, Britain First are quite adept at using religious lines to promote themselves. They've done "Christian patrols" in areas of London with large Muslim populations, ostensibly to prevent the promotion of Sharia law, but they're naked acts of provocation and intimidation. They've also done weird stuff (for an extreme right-wing organization) like "guarding" historically Jewish areas of London from (imaginary) Muslim threats under the guise of "solidarity patrols" in order to present themselves as religious pluralists and soften their fascist stormtrooper aesthetic, while simultaneously engaging in fascistic street displays of strength.

68:

As someone who considers themselves cuturally British, even though I am coming up to nearly two decades in New Jersey now, and all four of my grandparents were foreign nationals at one point. Consequently, I have to say the massive swing to a Brexit really shocked me. These are not good times, either in the US or the U.K.
Horrible day and a terrible tragedy.

69:

Quite true--bathed in Magical Cop Powers, someone who is black or rather blatantly Different probably won't have that much trouble for the span of a few days. I suspect, however, that the British countryside is not ready for prime time for anyone else who is that Different without Speshul Powers. And this is a problem, clearly, now that people who *are* Different are spreading out from the Standard Port Cities where you can expect them. This is just my evaluation, of course, and thanks for the prior correction.

70:

"This, i think, is nightmare fuel and sums up UKIP quite succinctly. I don't blame you for wanting to leave the cesspit that the UK could potentially become but with fundamentalism on the rise globally it's difficult to know where to escape to. Didn't Cory emigrate because he saw the torys using 1984 as a training manual? But right now it seems like he's gone from the frying pan into the fire..."

Every time I hear about UKIP, I keep seeing this picture of Dolores Umbridge captioned "Evil. Now Available in pink." (I can even do the cheery voice that's required to do it out loud, I used to do telephone solicitation in my sordid past).

71:

I'm sorry to hear that the U.K. is turning to shit, and I don't doubt that Pink Floyd's "The Wall" will start to seem more like prophecy and less like a bad acid trip any day now.

I noted this particular post with some interest. It seems like really good advice:

Well before it's time to leave, get or keep your assets away from wherever you'll have to leave—generally, the State will first be able to attack them before your person, possible countries of refuge will likely refuse the poor first...

You should probably take your next holiday in Panama or Switzerland or someplace similar. You don't have to hide your income or anything, just make sure a Fascist government - coming to the U.K. soon - can't get your savings.

If you move to Southern California I'll do what I can to help you guys out. Might be too warm here, but I have people in Portland and Seattle who might be able to help you get settled if it comes to that.

72:

Pathological out-group phobia seems to me an underlying feature of right-wing orientations

Seriously? You really think "out-group phobia" only haunts right wing groups?

73:

What happens next depends on West Yorkshire Police; they and other police forces have tolerated the activities of the EDF and their predecessors for decades, and it is likely that the 'Lone madman' narrative will be used as an excuse for this to continue.

This isn't the EDF's first act of violence; it isn't their first murder. Individual members have been arrested and some have gone to prison, but the organisation continues with far, far less official interference than (say) environmental campaigners or a mosque.

We have no way of knowing what unofficial interference goes on - surveillance, informers, infiltrators and 'dirty tricks' campaigns - but a fair guess would be: none.

I say that because visible figures in the EDF, the BNF, and their predecessors all the way back to the National Front are all on the record for incitement to violence and collusion in recorded crimes - not just conspiracy or the loose common cause that's used in anti-terror laws - and they could all have been shut down in a week if they faced the same use of the legal powers that we see imposed on the far left and on religious minorities.

I doubt that this will happen: someone regards the EDF as the 'right' kind of extremist and they won't be closed down.

In one sense, that's a good thing: I do not want this event to be an inflection point in our descent into a police state, and whatever powers are brought to bear upon the EDF, it will be all headlines for a fortnight and the movement chastened but fully-functional a year later; and the new powers and the new resources will become an unending deluge on the 'wrong' sort of 'extremist', directed against the same targets as ever: anti-fascist campaigners, environmentalists, and British Islam.


74:

it's stochastic, but from a very well-defined pool of extremists rather than a large population of maladjusted males with unlimited access to firearms.

So yes, there's a stochastic effect in that the 'long tail' of individuals with a tendency to violence and a susceptibility to hate speech is emitting violent criminals at random intervals - and neither the time nor the name can be deterministically predicted.

But the population pool for right-wing extremism in the UK is *tiny* - the enablers and inciters and 'radicalising imams' are identifiable and it turns out that the perpetrators of the violence are, in fact, known within those organisations.

This isn't a meteor strike, it's a jackpot in a penny arcade that's set the machines to 50, 60, then 70% payout and discovered that they're getting lots of trade and a hardcore base of dedicated regulars instead of bored kids and losers.

You can't say when the jackpot happens, nor to whom (or at least, you shouldn't: some arcades are very dodgy) but you know that it will, you know where and why it will, and you can have a word with the proprietors about problem gamblers and lowering the payouts and the stakes.


And, to push your stochastic analogy back towards chemistry, it is clear that there is a 'kinetic barrier' to murder, especially of a prominent white politician: it's a rare event. If official interference made it clear that this is not tolerated, and that the will authorities is to be respected, it would require much more incitement and effort, and rarer individuals, for such events to occur.

75:

I'm sorry, I agree with you, but I think you are missing the point. The fascism is a symptom of broken politics.

All the decent politicians (and frankly, all the non-insane in-decent ones) know that the EU is a force for good, and that it improves the lives of people. It does its good precisely because it is not just a free trading zone, but an area were people can move freely too, and an area where Human Rights reign supreme.

However, we just went through a Great Transition in the world (past, because the China Labour Shock has reach its peak last year). And nothing could have protected the more vulnerable, less mobile, less educated, from being in relative (sometimes even absolute) terms worse off: it was always going to be possible, nay easy, to earn money through arbitrage in such circumstances. These racist, xenophobic people have legitimate grievances, and their grievances have to do with "foreigners taking their jobs". Just not the foreigners they think about. And on balance, as I don't think a Britishperson's life is worth more than that of a Chinese, this great transition did more good than bad.

So what is a good politician to do? He has to be a favour of the Single Market, with its free movement of labour, because it helps the disfavoured (economic studies show it's in fact the upper-middle class who are the most negatively affected by immigration). But at the same time this is exactly what the disfavoured hate! There is no way a decent person can win: do the right thing, you lose the next election. So they muddle through, aka lie to their constituent, who now trust no-one: 25 years of transition is a long time to muddle through.

As a member of the civil society, I think it is necessary to talk to people, even, and especially, those we think are racists, bigoted, xenophobic. We have to accept their grievances are real, even if the causes are mistaken. And we have to help them see a way out. It is not useful, it is not respectful, it is simply not the mark of a good human being to hate someone because of their ideas, even if these ideas are vomit-inducing. We need to fight the ideas where they live, and you fight ideas by talking to those holding them. The ideas are hateful, not the people.

[as a complete aside, I discovered I was blocked by you on twitter, I assume because you use a bot who auto-blocks anyone who engages with figures you think are beyond the pale. I am sure you have your reasons, but I have not given up on convincing people of the virtues of openness and tolerance, so I'll keep trying.]

76:

Well, I think that you (and I) see money as a completely different tool from what they do. We see "having enough money" as an end in itself, and would consider it achieved when we have enough to have "drop dead money" (when you can tell a disliked boss to do exactly that, and have enough to live comfortably where you want and pursue hobbies and "education of personal interest" for the rest of your life).

OTOH they see money as a representation of power and can never have enough of either.

77:

I thought NZ was the informal post-apocalyptic meetup (at least according to commanders of US nuclear subs)??

Rather lacking in amenities compared to a functioning europe, though.

78:

Indeed. Great example of that in the recent appearance of Sir Philip Green in front of the Parliamentary Committee investigating the evisceration of BHS. Particular favourite is at 9.53 when he tells a Conservative MP to stop 'staring' at him in a manner he obviously finds not obsequious enough. Nice account on the FT blog (no paywall for once, which is nice.) Power does funny things to everyones' brains (Stanford Prison Experiment), for those already somewhere on the Dark Triad personality spectrum I'd guess it's even more pronounced. As Rupert Murdoch supposedly said, he wants Brexit because Downing St listen to him but EU doesn't, and this is probably a common feeling in the plutocratic depths.

And the xenophobia works best with the biggest core voting bloc - old folks. Was highlighted very well on a recent visit home. Interesting discussion with my 82 year old aunt, trying to explain her intended No vote would have literally no effect on the transition of her neighbourhood in South Glasgow to one of primarily Pakistani ethnicity, with minimal success.

79:

[W]hen we have enough to have "drop dead money"

Having even enough for some months or a year or two makes a difference. I have been extremly lucky in that for most of my childhood and all of my adult life I've known that even if I'd lose my job today or have some other calamity, I can depend on my savings and people close to me to help me for a long time. For example, I don't really worry about our loan for our apartment - it's big but not unsurmountable.

However, I have difficulties understanding that not many people have that. I have friends who have to (or who have had to) live month to month without having any real chance of saving anything, and it's difficult for me to really grok this. I did live with smaller amounts of income when I was studying, but even then I mostly could've depended on my parents or on the fact that I could've ditched the studies and gone to "real work" on a short notice, so it's not really the same.

I try to understand, but what makes me sad is the amount of people who think the easy way to get out of poverty is just hard work - they don't even try to understand.

80:

You've been over here to the states before I'm sure, you know how absurdly huge it is, there's lots of room between the crazy folk on either coast... and I'm rather fond of your writing and such... so, if it comes to it.

Charles Stross, will you marry me so you can move to America and we can make a sitcom or something, you me, and our wives?

81:

So I moved to the UK in 2008, just before the GFC kicked in and left me more or less stuck here for a fair few years.

What I noticed was that the undercurrent of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment is often very hypocritical. I worked with a Sicilian woman who was married to an English bloke, and she was a fervent daily mail supporter ranting about foreigners coming over to steal our jobs. And pointing out that she herself was an immigrant from 10 years earlier was irrelevant - she wasn't a foreigner, the new lot were.

The standard of critical thinking across the board in the UK is relatively poor - over the years I've met a broad spectrum of people from young to old, educated and non and most are quite happy to accept the surface readings of anything in the papers as gospel, rely on establishment sources as reliable and don't like having their illusions challenged. I've had some wonderful discussions with those people that DO think, but most of them have had regular exposure to foreign thought and people.
The number of English people I have met, even in London, who have never left the UK I still find shocking. France is literally next door, and flights can be had for pennies on the dollar but they don't want to travel and put up with that weird foreign muck.

82:

I rather think that out-group phobia may well be hard-wired into humans; similarly distrusting large, dark-coloured hominids may also be somewhat hardwired. We (H. sapiens) were not always the biggest, nastiest hominid around on the planet.

As far as tolerance for immigrants goes, I would hypothesise that communities tolerate low levels of immigration when the members of said communities still see enough of their own group around to feel secure. Try to push too many non-group people in, and the ancient atavistic "Get off my land" instinct starts kicking in.

As to the EU, I am surprised at the unspoken assumption that it is a force for good and a force that will remain. The Euro has only been around for under twenty years, and in this time several members of the Eurozone have shown strong signs of being unable to cope with being in a single currency. Even apart from the initial credit booms of new member states joining the Euro, I still find the astronomical rates of youth unemployment in many countries a great cause for concern.

I also think that Germany's policy of first welcoming refugees, then trying to share these out amongst the core EU states is one which will come back to haunt it badly. Refugees generally end up in the bottom of the pile jobs in a new country; these are the jobs the unemployed youth are chasing. If you take a bad situation and make it worse, the people you are hurting will get upset, and young people are generally the most likely to riot.

In short, any country can cope with some immigration, but too much causes problems.

83:

Pardon me, but EDF are a French-owned electricity company.

I think you may be referring to the English Defence League (EDL), formed out of a racist group in Luton back in 2009. There isn't a formal membership system, rather the group seems to mimic informal football hooligan firms.

The other main far-right group to be aware of here is the latest incarnation of the British National Party (BNP); there seem to have been at least three other identically-named groupings historically. This latest one was formed in 1982, had an electoral breakthrough in 2008-9, and has since declined drastically.

Finally, the National Front (UK, to distinguish it from dozens of similarly-named organisations) was formed in 1967 and is still around like the ghost of last night's curry. It is fascist, racist, authoritarian and thoroughly unpleasant and directly competes with the BNP for members.

So there you have it, a quick summary of the right-wind cesspit of the UK. There's also a left-wing cesspit, and a general one, but I'll leave such expositions to others.

84:

Let me know what your twitter handle is. (On twitter's context-free back and forth it's often hard to tell whether someone is a racist dipshit or just snarking, and there are so many of the former that I tend to assume it in unclear cases.)

85:

Re "communities tolerate low levels of immigration when the members of said communities still see enough of their own group around to feel secure", think this might actually be the reverse. High levels of tolerance are more likely, in the long run, from high levels of culturally mixed immigration - 1920s New York, for example, was 25% foreign immigrant population. Modern London, at smaller level, is similar. And UKIP vote is highest in the most homogenous parts of England with low levels of immigration (they run your local Chinese or Indian restaurant, but that's the limit).

The 'mixed' part is important though, outgroup thinking happens (of course) in all groups. Segregation as an imposed or adopted cultural defence mechanism is pretty universal in the human condition. The EU as a concept is actually a useful challenge to this, but lacks the unified and aspirational elements of the 'land of opportunity for all' myth that the USA traditionally held out...

86:

However, I have difficulties understanding that not many people have that.

The last headline I saw on that subject said that 60% of self-identified middle class Americans are one pay check away from financial crisis. Not merely unable to save, but actually leveraged to full capacity on the basis of their future work: the situation for which the term "wage slavery" was invented.

People in that sort of financial trap are desperately vulnerable and they know it, and their insecurity breeds xenophobia and small-c conservativism (insofar as their main coping strategy is to become extremely change-averse and alert to threats to stability).

This is a side-effect of the financialization of the economy and the transfer into private ownership of state assets, which are then rented back to their former owner as a "service".

87:

What I noticed was that the undercurrent of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment is often very hypocritical.

I haven't been to the UK that much, but last time I visited, it was (in a completely unplanned manner) for the four days during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Our host subscribed only to Daily Mail, and most of the time the telly was showing the celebrations. Our host did comment on the immigrants destroying the country many times - and after a couple of days I found out that they were originally Dutch, being in Wales because of marriage. (They were a former partner of a friend of my parents-in-law, and I didn't know them that well.)

On the third day I just had to go to town and buy Guardian, to see if there still were sensible people in the world. Back at the residence, the host asked who bought that and then asked if I knew it was a "...very left newspaper". I answered that yes, I did, and we ended the conversation.

88:

That goes both ways: for example, it took me ages to realize that "urban" was US code-speak for "black".

Bad example. This is a self assigned label.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Urban_League

89:

My point is that up race relations in the US are way more complicated than they seem at first glance.

And I'm sure there's much of what goes on the UK/EU that is lost on those who didn't grow up or live there for decades.

90:

Thinking about this a bit more, we may both be right.

If you have an established community, then immigration into it above a certain level usually causes friction. On the other hand, if the community isn't really all that integrated and established, then the opposite occurs: the more diverse and mixed the community, the less opportunity there is for any group of quite similar people to form a racially/culturally similar group as a basis for discrimination against others.

91:

[[ ID now DMed to Charlie if he didn't already see it - mod ]]

92:

Actually, in my experience the coasts are where the sane people live; the interior of the USA is just plain weird. Also, am already married. And my pre-existing medical conditions would make moving to the USA very foolish. (Now, if y'all would just put in place a sensible fully socialized healthcare system and get rid of all those nasty guns, I might reconsider ...)

93:

People in that sort of financial trap are desperately vulnerable and they know it

Yes. I understand that intellectually, but it's hard for me to get into that mindset, which is the not-grokking part.

This was to say that the financial security, or lack of it, really changes your thinking, and it's not easy to overcome.

94:

What I noticed was that the undercurrent of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment is often very hypocritical.

This is something that I've seen in my own Irish family, very often followed by a condescending pat on the arm to my white, American wife and words to effect of "but not you dear, you're one of the good ones."

In simple terms, once you've fought to get on the bottom rung of the ladder of cultural respectability (as the Irish were doing as late as the '70s, easily within living memory for the elder generation of my immediate family) you'll fight tooth and nail to stay there. And what's the best way of securing your position and signalling your respectability to those on the rungs above you? To kick hardest at the bastards who haven't even made it onto the ladder yet.

This leads to hilarious circular arguments that they feel sympathy for people escaping oppressive regimes but they can't stand the ones who come here to steal jobs, whereas on the other hand they came here to earn money and pay into the state, and by the way they can't stand those asylum seekers who leech off the state.

95:

Indeed, and I should for my own part point out that the integration generally works better when everyone is superficially similar in appearance - my example holds well for immigrants from Europe, demonstrably far less so when applied to those with dissimilar skin tones.

Back to topic. It's too early to say exactly what was motivating this individual, hopefully that will become clearer, but if the Britain First link is established it will be interesting to see if there is a 'wake-up' moment for at least some Brexit voters who suddenly begin to ponder who their fellow travellers are. Farage, after all, is the acceptable face of talk about 'our kind of people', the golf-clubhouse bore who may, for some, emit the occasional grain of 'sense'. Drawing an explicit link to the likes of Britain First is rather more uncomfortable to contemplate, and suddenly rather more difficult to ignore.

96:

similarly distrusting large, dark-coloured hominids may also be somewhat hardwired

You are aware that until incredibly recently (in evolutionary terms) our ancestors were all -- in today's racial terms -- black?

The loss of melanism in northern-dwelling hominids that allowed them to produce more Vitamin D while subsisting on a diet low in that subustance had to follow the great exodus from Africa; loss of melanin prior to departing Africa would have been maladaptive.

And the complexity of de-melanization, in biological terms, is far less than the complexity of low-level neural re-wiring.

So I'm calling bullshit on your proposition about distrusting dark-coloured hominids. Total, utter, implausible, bullshit rolled out as an unthinking post-hoc rationalization of the unutterable.

97:

I despair at how thin the veneer of civilisation has been proven to be by this campaign. I was going to say debate, but there's precious little of that going on. It's very much making statements based on a particularly warped few of the facts and denigrating the statements of the other side.

There is a distasteful atmosphere off xenophobia, though don't call anyone a xenophobe as they will dispute this. Question their beliefs on immigration, foreigners, and the like and you get pretty good match to the dictionary definition but the word isn't to be mentioned.

Talking to the husband of a Labour Peer on the train yesterday evening and he said that he'd been out talking to people in the north east. They had heard people complaining about how the NHS was being overrun by immigrants. He, and his wife, then visited a hospital. He said that pretty much to a man the patients were all Geordies. The staff however were around 50% immigrants. So the belief was true, just not in the way it had been intended.

98:

It seems like this is causing the same sort of loss of faith in humanity that I experienced when Bush was re-elected. I'd like to tell you that it gets better with time. I can't.

99:

I sort of get the impression that Portland, OR might be your preferred US city, were you to migrate to the US.

(My sister lives in Orlando. I'm not sure whether FL counts as a coastal state though - it seems particularly insane.)

100:

<snark>Actually, if I had to emigrate, my preferred US city would be ... Toronto.</snark>

Yes, I like Portland. (And Boston. And even New York.) But I prefer Edinburgh enough that since I moved here, more than 20 years ago, I haven't felt any urge to move away.

101:

Yes. I have been despairing for three decades over the way that there has been a systematic process of dumbing down and disempowering the British public, and making the country dependent on (often USA-based) multinationals and expatriate UK financiers. The campaign of xenophobia didn't make all that much headway until fairly recently, when the combination of those started to bite. What I am afraid of (and I think that OGH is, too) is NOT Farage et al., who are mainly blow-hards, but the prospect of a real crash (I am talking 1950 UK or worse here, not the 30% joke being weebled about in the press), leading to some real shits getting into power on a campaign of hatred. And we know from history that it is the combination of a dumbed-down population and a collapsing economy that often leads to that happening.

I don't think that it's too late to reverse direction, because I don't think that extreme xenophobia is yet deeply ingrained in most of the population, but to do that needs radical changes, and NOT ones of the sort being promoted by any of the main political camps. However, that's not the topic this thread is about.

102:

The whole campaign by both sides is really really weird.

I kind of understand the Leave side - "it will be better because of magic pixie dust and cause we know better" is a hard sell so playing on xenophobia is the much easier strategy.

But Remain is failing terribly, because nobody in the public eye seems to be putting forward anything positive that the EU does. It's all about the negatives that will happen if we leave, and lets face it, a vague it will be bad campaign will normally lose to sunshine and rainbows.

I get the feeling the government is all like "this worked with Scotland, scaring them into remaining, so lets try again with England".

I guess it is hard to promise better things by sticking with the status quo compared to making a change, but god I hate both official camps.

(the common sense idea which a lot of individuals are trying to express on the other hand is fairly obvious, but I'm talking about the official efforts)

103:

Yes, that was a pretty dumb assumption there. Hopefully unthinking. Humans, being primates, have instinctive wiring that makes some wary of the 'other', be they a different skin tone or different through the visible effects of disability (for example). Culture then mediates our basic primate-level reactions, for good or bad. All cultures, and unfortunately often bad.

104:

My impressions as an irish national living in the UK:

The irish used to get it in the neck a great deal but now anti-irish racism is weaksauce. In comparison irish culture is far more racist/xenophobic. (It's the land of a thousand welcomes only on the condition that you have a return ticket)

My parents experienced the "no blacks, no dogs, no irish" thing when living in london ~50 years ago but for comparison today even the racist anti-immigrant parties tend to include an "except the irish" section in their manifestos because the irish are such a huge voting block in the UK.

I've never felt any doors to be particularly closed to me based on being Irish, some have been closed for other reasons but not for being Irish.

There's some subtle stuff, some Irish-associated habits like speeding up when talking are viewed as slightly low-status but that's pretty manageable.

London may not be representative of the rest of the UK but most of the places I've worked have been organizations/departments that hire heavily from abroad and of people who've I've worked with who've lived in multiple different countries and experienced the different brands of hostility before experiencing the UK, the most common sentiment I've heard is that the UK is pretty good, as in less racist/unpleasant/hostile than most and I'd tend to agree from my own experiences.

The Roma/Travelers/gypsies would be who'd I'd probably categorize as the most fucked-over resident group in the UK and they're almost as fucked over pretty much everywhere.

105:

Particularly depressing is that much of the media has a perception that the now open civil war in the Tory Party is at least as important as the EU referendum itself. It's like speculating whether Nero or Caligula are better fiddlers while the flames rise in the background.

106:

My sister lives in Orlando. I'm not sure whether FL counts as a coastal state though - it seems particularly insane.

Florida is not exactly sane. Way too many snow birds which creates strange politics.

And Orlando is just nuts. An entire metro plex of over 2,000,000 residents designed around entertainment designed around faux movie characters. 3rd most visited area of the US by foreign tourists.

107:

@Khedron

Even if you select a homogenous group of humans from a very similar background with the same skin tones and then randomize them into 2 groups you'll still get the same ingroup-outgroup stuff.

You might find the robbers cove experiement interesting.

It had been set up in the bewildered aftermath of World War II, with the intent of investigating the causes and remedies of conflicts between groups. The scientists had set up a summer camp for 22 boys from 22 different schools, selecting them to all be from stable middle-class families. The first phase of the experiment had been intended to investigate what it took to start a conflict between groups. The 22 boys had been divided into two groups of 11 -

- and this had been quite sufficient.

The hostility had started from the moment the two groups had become aware of each others' existences in the state park, insults being hurled on the first meeting. They'd named themselves the Eagles and the Rattlers (they hadn't needed names for themselves when they thought they were the only ones in the park) and had proceeded to develop contrasting group stereotypes, the Rattlers thinking of themselves as rough-and-tough and swearing heavily, the Eagles correspondingly deciding to think of themselves as upright-and-proper.

The other part of the experiment had been testing how to resolve group conflicts. Bringing the boys together to watch fireworks hadn't worked at all. They'd just shouted at each other and stayed apart. What had worked was warning them that there might be vandals in the park, and the two groups needing to work together to solve a failure of the park's water system. A common task, a common enemy.

108:
I suspect your current police force is a little busy dealing with the results of a rapidly deteriorating economy, so maybe it's time for a special force dedicated to finding them, tracking them and enforcing what ever new solutions you've come up with for them.
Congratulations on your ability to see into 8 years ago.

The word you can't fully read in this picture is "immigration." The people sitting on the bonnet are attempting to prevent them from leaving with someone they grabbed.

109:

Without reading any of the intervening comments:
And as someone who usually wears a Tweed jacket & my liking for Beer is well-known ... err ... bollocks.

My local MP, Stella Creasey, whom I personally admire greatly, has already had some of this shite - there's an awful lot of thoroughgoing misogyny, to the point of murderous hate around. To the point where a couple of trolls & stalkers have been fined & jailed for their actions & rightly so.
Don't underestimate that, either.
Racism was worst, probably in the 1950's, same as anti-women, was worst in the immediate post-War years (both wars, actually) when women were deliberately forced back into the kitchen.
And, yes, there's a fascist aspect of that [ Kinder, Kirche, Küche ] too.

Sorry Charlie, but you are generalising from a single nutter, with (apparently) some very unpleasant friends, to the whole nation. Not a valid argument, any more than "The only good German is a dead one", from 1942 or so ....

Now, I'm going back to read other people's comments.

110:

Sorry, that reads snarkier than it was meant.

111:

And here, you are correct - and it's shite, because the "immigration" issue is utterly fake& an irrelevance (mostly) - what really matters is the precedence of Common Law over code Napoleon. And the vile EAW.
I fully believe that we will take an economic hit, quite possibly a severe one if the vote on Thursday goes "Out" but I will very reluctantly vote out, nonetheless.
I do wish that the EU could be really reformed, but I've given up on the power of the Bureaurocrats being tied down, more's the pity.

112:

There's a very good German film called Die Welle (The Wave) in a similar vein. Terrifyingly, it's based on the story of a real-life experiment...

The Third Wave was an experimental social movement created by high school history teacher Ron Jones to explain how the German populace could accept the actions of the Nazi regime during the Second World War. While he taught his students about Nazi Germany during his "Contemporary World History" class, Jones found it difficult to explain how the German people could accept the actions of the Nazis, and decided to create a social movement as a demonstration of the appeal of fascism. Over the course of five days, Jones conducted a series of exercises in his classroom emphasizing discipline and community, intended to model certain characteristics of the Nazi movement. As the movement grew outside his class and began to number in the hundreds, Jones began to feel that the movement had spiraled out of control. He convinced the students to attend a rally where he claimed the announcement of a Third Wave presidential candidate would be televised. Upon their arrival, the students were presented with a blank channel. Jones told his students of the true nature of the movement as an experiment in fascism, and presented to them a short film discussing the actions of Nazi Germany.

The reason I find this so terrifying is that if students, explicitly learning about the history and actions of the nazis, can be primed into similar modes of behaviour so trivially, how the hell can we control for it in a general population that's largely ignorant or complacent about the rise of fascism?

113:

Rank-and-file Remain supporters have mostly been quiet...
Where are they?
Down on the plots, where the allotmenteers are almost all old-fashioned "labour" voters sre almost 100% for leave, including the non-pink ones, too ....
The Labour party have completely abandoned this fight - they assumed it was "merely" an internal tory fight & nothing to do with them & that their voters would do as they were finally told by the labour leadership.
Much too late, now.
Idiots.

Examples of the utter emptiness of the labour party's so-called "leadership" is their total collapse in Scotland & the way they are going the same way in parts of London, where the Greens are coming up fast.

114:

Originally read about that in the Whole Earth Catalog ....
Scary

115:

they should improve their education?
Can I collapse in hysterical laughter, right now?
LBWF nearly trashed their libraries, they tried to close the local museums, including the childhood home of William Morris (!)
Lambeth are now paying more for security guards for their closed libraries than keeping them open woud=ld cost ... and this is all in labour-controlled areas.
Pah.

116:
The UK student loan interest rate (charged by the government-owned Student Loan Company) is, as I understand it, now higher than the typical mortgage rate.

The current student loan APR is 0.9%, last year it was 1.5%

Source:

http://www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk/portal/page?_pageid=93,6678642&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

A mortgage with a 10% deposit cost 2.09% with good credit history the last time I checked a few months ago.

Even with a massive deposit of 70% (it tends to top out around 45%) of the value of the property the very very cheapest mortgage rate I could find was 1.14% from YBS

Mortgage rates are at historic lows.

So it appears to be untrue though may have been true at some points in time last year if you had a particularly small mortgage on a valuable property.

117:

I think much of this discussion can be summed up as in general people groups (and individuals) want simple solutions to problems. No matter how complicated the problem.

Economy bad? Ban immigration. Or blame those "others".

Been the preferred solution world wide for centuries. No matter that it rarely works. Especially in the long term.

118:

The current student loan APR is 0.9%, last year it was 1.5%

That's the rate for "Plan 1" loans, which is a very specific subset of loans and no longer issued in England and Wales.

"Plan 2" loans (current in England and Wales) on the other hand, have a sliding scale above that baserate, as summarised by BBC News here:

While studying, students in England and Wales are charged interest at inflation plus 3%, until the April after graduation Graduates earning under £21,000 are charged interest at the rate of inflation For those earning between £21,000 and £41,000 interest is inflation plus up to 3%, depending on income And for those on over £41,000 it is inflation plus 3% maximum

The figures are the same, but the BBC's example is clearer when quoted.

119:

Probably not.
FWIW & IMHO
Poor Ms Cox was murdered because she had spent her whole life helping others & was FEMALE.
She had worked for Oxfam & was anti-slavery (Charlie also mentions this)
Stalla Creasy, my MP has had all this excrement, as well - I fear for her. [ Hint - I'm no supporter of the labour party, but I vote for Stella, & so do lots of others. ] I suspect Ms Cox was exactly the same - it's obvious that her following was personal, not party-political, as is Stella's.

I must admit I was close to tears as the messages came through & my sight certainly went very wobbly as I heard the live Police press-conference over the radio that announced her death.

Yuck.

120:

For clarity, (and because I ballsed up the linebreaks), that means currently studying students are paying 3.9% interest.

121:

And the fundamentalist xtians really HATE independent women, too, don't they?
ALso, they quote the most virulently misogynistic bots of "saint" Paul a lot, don't they?

122:

Well to be fair, when the EU works best it's a grinding bureaucratic standardisation of regulations, which even someone who likes details (like me) can't get very excited about. A continuing forum for resolving problems and mistakes between twenty eight countires isn't very sexy.

(Grants for poverty struck areas and certain economic sectors might get people more interested but then everyone starts talking about who pays for it and can't we deal with our own poverty without a trans-national organisation getting involved)

123:

Yeah
The phobic anti-semitism shown by large swathes of "the left" towards jews/Israelis/Israel is a thing, is it not?

124:

Doesn't Farage have a German wife ?????

125:

Fair enough, I was incorrect in my earlier comment, I'm surprised how high some of those are. I've seen offers of unsecured personal loans at lower rates than some of those.

126:

Greg, you've voiced the thoughts I struggle to express clearly.

People forget that, initially, Labour was pretty anti EU, and it was the more unrestrained wing of the tories who forced things like the Maastricht treaty through. Such well known right wing fascists who have always disliked the EU include, er, Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner...hang on...?

But Labour especially, and a lot of left wingers, or at least vaguely sane centre rights, have utterly abandoned the Brexit case. Not even a contingency plan for what happens if we do leave. A lot of remainers reckon we can reform the EU, I think they will be proven wrong. I'd love them to be right, of course, but I just don't see it.
Into this void, all that is left is the noisey crap UKIP comes out with.

I actually reckon most UKIP voters are pretty reasonable people. They just don't have any better party to vote for.

127:

Conflating Jews, Israelis and Israel is a popular rhetorical trick. Criticism of Israel (the country) != antisemitism. It is not unusual for people to have wildly different opinions on all three, depending on their experiences and the news at the time. And I'm pretty sure you know that.

128:

Likewise. I hadn't heard the term 'stealth immigrant' before, but I'm married to one; the significance was brought home early in this campaign when a neighbour to whom we and some friends were chatting said that she thought immigrants should go home to wherever they were born. I gently pointed out that she was talking to three Canadians, an an Australian and only one Brit (me) and she blustered 'Oh, I didn't mean people like you.' Thank you - we knew exactly what you meant.

129:

Sigh: NZ - I wish I could: I am 51 and meet the key skills shortage creiteria. However, unfortunately I did something stupid just shy of 10 years ago, thich makes the visa process suddenly *much* more complicated and difficult. Shame, because it's the most stupidly beautiful places on earth, with good, sound people, on the whole.

130:

Consider me. I was born in a colony, and have never had ANY nationality rights except British, and that includes the country where I was born.

131:
You are aware that until incredibly recently (in evolutionary terms) our ancestors were all -- in today's racial terms -- black?
Well, some of them were rather lighter skinned and fair haired.

Alas, the dark-skinned ones outcompeted them and drove them to extinction, keeping only about 3% of their genes.

So, maybe, fear of the big dark hominid is still in our genes. Homo Neanderthalensis remembers!

(note for the reader: the current european skin genetic origins is recent; pure Neanderthals went extinct 40-50k years ago and the lighter skin is a 12-15ky adaptation, when farming spread across the continent)

132:

Doesn't Farage have a German wife ?????

UKIP are still in favour of importing labour when nobody can be found willing to do it in the UK.

133:

Greg, you know as well as I do that his German immigrant wife is white and Christian (at least by cultural background), that's an equivocation I'd not expect from you. The Brexit debate pulls in a number of strands on the Leave side, some of them intellectual and reasonable, others rather darker and instinctive (and these are the ones shamelessly tapped by many elements in UKIP, whether you like this or not). This is a very clear contrast with the Remain argument for the most part, unless you think there is a strong and visceral 'internationalist/globalist' instinct somehow at work. I think not...

Personally I am sympathetic to the Left's arguments for eventual Brexit, but not now, put best I think by Paul Mason here.

I'm not touching the whole antisemitism>antizionism livewire with an insulated bargepole, but it does seem to allow certain shriller leftists to indulge their own outgroup instincts with a cosy veneer of moral self-justification.

134:

Glad to see the word assassination used. Yesterday I was puzzled that the UK media seemed to be reluctant to use that verb.

135:

Charitable interpretation: Probably because it sort of vaguely suggests a plot or conspiracy beyond the individual.

Uncharitable: the word assassination tends to portray it as a party/policy event and invite more support for the attacked group. Many of the papers don't want that even if they can't avoid reporting on the murder.

I agree, the first word I thought of when I heard about it was "assassination" but they're referring to it with language more fitting for someone who got stabbed in a drunken bar fight.

136:

I think assassination is a word that is easier to use in a historical context. I have a lot of sympathy today for newsrooms trying to navigate an extremely complex unfolding story with lots of associated rumour and innuendo, I can understand why (for now) they're playing safe from a legal and linguistic point of view.

137:

Greg, genuine question (because I've seen you make this statement), can you expand on "what really matters is the precedence of Common Law over code Napoleon"?

I can find plenty of links to point out the difference, but I am struggling to find anything that explains what you mean, specifically in regard to "precedence", and why you imply that this is the single most important reason to vote "leave".

(A link or two to something substantial would be just as good as a typed up explanation, if the whole thing is too long winded to post here.)

138:

So, one thing I don't get about out-group relations and British culture:

When you think of people in the next political division over, how do you see them?

At what level does the other become the scary person with a radically different culture?

I've heard my father's family tell my mother "you're OK for an Englishwoman." They're Welsh. And this just didn't make any sense to me.

139:

One of the things that concerns me about the leave vote and voters is that I dont see much evidence they have thought through the consequences. Apart from enabling racists and pleasing Putin, the economic risks are massive. So how much is voting out a powerless persons desire to put two fingers up at the established politicians?

140:

Having seen a little more of Farage than I really wanted when he was campaigning here last year, he's pretty clearly an anti-regulation laissez faire Thatcherite who has no problem stirring up anti-immigration feeling to achieve his goals. He swerves between defensible positions (we let in semi-skilled East Europeans but not Commonwealth professionals - does that make sense?; taking a share of Syrian refugees for the duration of the civil war is acceptable) and dog-whistling (NHS at breaking point! Polish criminals!) depending on audience.

He wouldn't be the most racist person on my street if he moved here, so he's got that going for him.

141:

Oh, and I'd specifically like to know across the range of polities (city/county/UK subdivision/next country/distant country)

I'll give my opinion for contrast whenI'm not typing on a smartphone, sorry...

142:

Further thoughts prompted by your post @111:

Neither Charlie nor anyone else here is making a case the immigration really is the issue, the major thrust of the post is that the "leave" campaign have picked up and easy dog-whistle and are blowing it relentlessly, stirring up and uncovering parts of the British psyche that we thought long buried (and the ugly truth is that they weren't buried so much as tucked behind the garden shed, just in case).

So now having uncovered this simmering resentment of immigrants, and whipped it as hard as possible, what happens if the "leave" camp win? Yay! No more of those interfering Brussels bureaucrats! But wait, we're heading into economic stormy waters, hard times ahead for everyone and particularly for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. A poor, disenfranchised, angry, frustrated populace (particularly when the promised panacea fails to materialize with a click of the fingers). Ah! Look! Here are some funny sounding and funny looking people that we can blame for our troubles ...

There are a lot of people in the UK who will not weather further economic woes well at all -- if you think that a "severe economic hit" is a price worth paying to be rid of those interfering Brussels bureaucrats (which I'm still not convinced aren't an invention of certain sectors of the media), then I think your middle-class privilege might be showing.

143:

"Sorry Charlie, but you are generalising from a single nutter, with (apparently) some very unpleasant friends, to the whole nation."

Was he a nutter? Maybe, I've seen reports describing him as "obsessed." But given what we know about his support for white power groups here in the U.S. (thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Center), he was first and foremost an angry racist. Just about anyone from that group who gets it into their head that the right way to approach a problem is through violence will almost certainly have some nutter tendencies, obsessive paranoia chief among them.

However, I think it's a real mistake to dismiss them as "singular." The primary problem on both sides of the Atlantic is that the angry-racist-misogynist-"nutter" population is growing, and that growth is fueled by right-wing political parties that give them (at least self-perceived) legitimacy. The "nutters" _really like_ that it's now OK to openly discuss detaining "those people" without charge, deny them access to counsel and due process, and use torture on them. These are the fantasies they have been cultivating in their own minds for years, and to see them openly discussed on television and by government officials validates their views: "I'm not a crazy racist, I'm a citizen who has a valid viewpoint on one side of an important civic debate." I think it's going to be really hard to walk the Overton window back to a position where blatant human rights violations are considered absolutely unacceptable in modern democracies.

From my (admittedly distant) viewpoint here in America, that is what the Brexit debate has been about from Day One. "Immigration control" is a right-wing dog whistle for human rights violations that everyone knows the EU wouldn't approve of. So the people who really want to see people with brown skin locked up for no reason whatsoever now have an opportunity to vote away the top layer of governmental self-restraint, and it's very, very appealing to their authority-obsessed (there's that word again) lizard brains. I'm sure there are "out" voters with well-reasoned viewpoints on the issue. But I have no doubt that there is a contingent of hard-right voters (nutters and sane alike) who are voting "out" because they want to see their government do things to the "bad people" that satisfy their previously unspeakable desires. Mr. Mair is certainly a member of that contingent, and while he was willing to go much further than most, I don't consider him to be "singular."

Not too long ago our gracious host made a prediction, in the wake of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, that there would be more leakers who were angered by what they saw their governments doing in their names. That prediction has proven to be true, and I suspect that Charlie is now concerned that there will be more Mr. Mairs. I share that concern.

144:

He does indeed, and (according to ancestry research) is himself of German extraction.
Just like Boris, whose family tree contains English, Swiss, Russian and French roots.

I find it massively ironic that the people fighting to exclude immigrants are themselves of immigrant stock, as are a substantial proportion of British people, if you look far enough back.

Farage's and the leave campaign's behaviour and the sickening Nazi styles poster, particularly in the wake of the unbelievable murder of Jo Cox, leaves me seething with rage. I find it difficult to articulate anything reasonable, and can't really add anything more than Charlie has already said.

I'm hoping that all the reporting and poll results are as inaccurate as they were for the Scottish referendum and the last general election, and that the leave campaign loses. If it doesn't, I really don't know what I'll do. Denmark would be my first choice I think.

145:

One very odd thing in the Brexit debate has been the call for more Commonwealth immigration from the Leave campaign.

I didn't learn about this from the FT; My wife has a first cousin who is native-born British; he got one of these leaflets, only with West Indian countries named instead of South Asian ones.

My head is spinning. This seems like an example of technical bullshit ... from an American standpoint, it seems insane to think that it could work.

But my cousin offhandedly said the plea could be effective with Afro-Caribbeans. If he's right (and I have no idea if he is) that would be the American equivalent of Filipino-Americans flocking to Trump because he hasn't singled them out yet. There's no sign of that over here; in fact, Fil-Ams have shifted 30 points (!!) towards the Democrats.

So either the "leave" campaign is really stupid or there is something interestingly different about both anti-immigrant sentiment and second-generation assimilation in the U.K.

Which is it? Both? Neither? Somebody help out a confused American.

146:

The news cycle this week has been bizarre and overwhelming. It feels like we literally buried a better world of political discourse and ideals with Muhammad Ali.

147:

Not entirely weird, but in truth, it'd be difficult to throw a rock around here without hitting someone with a weird idea or three.

148:

Sorry. That was not meant to be addressed to JamesFace. I had another comment where I was going to applaud his joke, but then decided it was not relevant enough for this serious discussion.

149:

The whole thing seems to be a "lesser of two evils" situation. Or "how do you wish to be screwed over" for the pessimists viewpoint.

On the one side, I have witnessed first hand the callousness and inability to act morally that defined the Greek debt crisis. Simply put: people died, in pain and agony, preventably. That the EU allowed this to occur within its own boarders is a travesty of the greatest kind, and indicates that (in its current form) it is not acting for the good of its people.

On the other hand, I am a firm believer that the British Conservatives (and those who bank-roll them) would gladly bring back slavery if they thought they could get away with it. And the EU has definitely acted as a check on their power (see the Human Rights Act, Working Time Directives, etc). Anything that Murdoch approves of can't be good, by definition.

So, how do you want to be enslaved? By a group of fast-moving radical neo-liberals in England, or by a group of slow-moving radical neo-liberals across the whole of Europe? The first is more able to deal horrible short-term damage, but theoretically easier to oust. The second is much harder to get rid of and can set long term trends, but is currently providing a slight braking effect on the former.

This would be all so much easier if there was a co-ordinated international socialist movement across Europe, but if they exist I have never heard of them.

150:

I was being sarcastic ( & truthful ) & as mayhem points out, in common with you I am quite aware of the Israel != Jews equation-problem.
Just because I am going to vote "out" does not mean I support UKIP, either .....

BTW I saw a lovely snark early yesterday, before the murder story broke:
"Vote remain for the good of your ruling class"

No-one has openly discussed in detail the obvious comparison.
Norway / Breivik
Why not?

151:

Code Napolean law tends to favour guilty until proven innocent, once an accusation has been made.
There is the joke-assumption, all-too-often true, that anything not expressly permitted is forbidden.
Both of these are not the British tradition.
I know Scotland uses "Roman" law, but there has been a huge infusion of Common-Law practice over the years.
I don't trust the EU's bureaucrats, nor their policing & judicial systems.
Ours has got quite enough faults already, without importing their screw-ups as well ....

152:

So how much is voting out a powerless persons desire to put two fingers up at the established politicians?
Spot on.
HUGE ENORMOUS GIGANTIC

People are utterly fucked-off with all the main parties, with even the SNP now being perceived as establishment toadies ....

Classic Ealing Comedy said it all: "Passport to Pimlico"

153:

Anders Breivik
By the logic of Charlie's argument & yours, then Norway, which has consistently rejected EEC/EU membership is in imminent danger of a fascist takeover, too, with all the non-Scandinavian residents being drowned in the fjords ... err, maybe not.
( Yes / No ? )

I suspect that Charlie is now concerned that there will be more Mr. Mairs. I share that concern.
Read my earlier posts, where I state that my MP is almost-certainly on such a "hate list" - female, rightwing labour, concerned for civil liberties, all-round good egg ....

154:

I repeat that immigration is, to me at least, utterly irrelevant.
I'm an Huguenot, remember & one of my other names means "comes from Gascony" oh & I'm a Viking, too ....

155:

"Urban" is sometimes codespeak for black. It also frequently references the philosophical/religious divide between big cities and "fly over country." And sometimes it just means "urban." The key to how it is being used lies in context.

156:

One bullet would take out R Murdoch, how do you get rid of an entrenched bureaucracy?
Or, historical parallel - how does one destroy the Papacy?
Hint: killing a pope won't do the job.

157:

Firstly, because it is too early to draw conclusions from some dodgy eyewitness statements and press frenzied speculation.

Secondly, Breivik was a homegrown psycho, if anything similar to the Orlando shooter. He felt marginalised by society, his views ignored by the majority, so he wanted to make a big dramatic statement of intent and had the motive and opportunity to gain access to the weapons that enabled it.

Muir had an explicitly political target, a Labour MP, most likely targetted for her support of immigrants and refugees, possibly combined with her being successful and female. That combined with a public atmosphere of demonisation of the opposition, no respect for authority, and most likely the instigation from anonymous encouragers over the internet caused him to attack the most convenient target. She's an odd target outside of "she was there" because she's too new and not in government so doesn't have a lot of real power, meaning it has to be based on what she represented.

158:

The 1812 killing of Spencer Perceval is almost always referred to as an assassination even though there has never been any suggestion that anyone other than John Bellingham was involved, and his motive was entirely disgruntlement at the failure of HMG to assist or represent him when he was imprisoned in Russia.

If on that occasion it was one, it was on this.

(On the 200th anniversary of that event Sir Henry Bellingham MP apologised to the House, even though it's not entirely clear that JB was a member of the same family.)

My definition of assassination requires it to the murder of a politician or equivalent because of their position. (So not for theft, marital infidelity, &c.) I've seen nothing in this case to indicate that the killer killed her for any reason other than her position as an MP campaigning for fair treatment of refugees and other immigrants and against the stupidities (and lies) promoted by the Leave campaign.

159:

This ties into something I read earlier today. The article referenced the US, but I suspect the same issues apply in the UK. That is that the main barrier to employment for young people is the old people who are staying in their jobs for a longer period of time - sometimes a decade or more longer - because they don't have reliable pensions or good savings. If this isn't a UK problem which relates to anti-immigrant feelings, please feel free to delete this message.

160:

Is this wrapped up in your objection to the EAW then? Otherwise, can you give me some examples of the UK "importing" Roman/Napoleonic code practices in place of Common Law?

While I see where your objection is coming from about the EAW, which is indeed something that could be open to abuse (although debatable whether it can be more or less abused than existing extradition treaties), without actual instances of the Common Law practices in the UK being replaced by Code Napoleon, I don't get your objection as being something that tips the balance of a "leave" vote (especially when, by your own admission, the country as a whole will suffer for it).

I don't trust the EU's bureaucrats, nor their policing & judicial systems. I'm still not convinced that this isn't another form of the "our laws are being passed by un-elected and unaccountable bureaucrats" fallacy. I've dug into this in dicussion with folks in other places around the web -- because the laws and regulations passed by the EU may be drafted and proposed by the unelected Commission, but they have to be passed by the Council and Parliament, both made up of elected representatives -- the reasons presented by those I've argued with (politely, on both sides, I should add) tend to boil down to: We don't like other countries in the EU voting on laws we have to enact, because they aren't like us.

It's not a cheering thought that that opinion lies at the heart of a lot of rational peoples' thinking.

161:

The phobic anti-semitism shown by large swathes of "the left" towards jews/Israelis/Israel is a thing, is it not?

Not exactly. At least on this side of the pond. Again, such mostly under the radar issues are hard to see across the big pond.

162:

On the one hand, older people will normally be higher up the totem pole so prevent the general promotion of people upwards in a company.
On the other hand, they are not usually directly competing with younger people, and freeing up their jobs will not quickly open a vacancy down the line.

I think the larger problem is the intentional destruction of many of the traditional paths into work - the major manual trades were decimated by automation, the requirement to reward shareholders means that modern companies no longer believe in on-the-job training unless it is a McJob, widespread minimum education has reduced the requirement to invest in apprenticeships as following rote instructions supercedes knowledge.
Add in Outsourcing, Technology and the Knowledge Economy making inroads into the Middle Class professions, and there simply aren't the same opportunities there were 30 years ago. That is magnified by children being exposed to lifestyles that they want to aspire to immediately, and an unwillingness to submit to the poorly paid menial work that might be all that is available. Not unjustified, in many cases.

Where the immigrants come in is they frequently come from poorer backgrounds so have lower aspirations. They are willing to subsist on a lot less, and so are claiming the low status jobs. The formerly high earning trades have been hit hard by reasonable quality immigrants willing to work for much lower rates - which are still higher than where they came from - which means the standard of living for the working class is equalising at a lower rate. It's not a situation with many easy answers.

164:

I have a "regionality" question that has arisen while trying to wrap my head around all of this ickiness.

When I lived in the UK, I spent lots of time in two distinct regions separated by only 125km: the East Anglian coast north of Ipswich, and the area within 2km or so of the Court of St James. Even (gulp!) almost three decades ago, there was a substantial difference in not the presence of racism, but in its targets and expression, between those two areas. One of the two areas had, umm, problems with the Irish, and with those it considered non-Christians (which for some residents included Catholics); the other was much more concerned with melanin content and accents.

And that leads to my question:

Do those with a wider, more-current appreciation of this problem in the UK see the same sort of thing? And does that shed any light on anything, or just add to the chaos?

165:

I was shocked and stunned to find out about this death.

Britons overestimate the proportion of Muslims in the UK by a factor of four and think there are more than twice as many immigrants in the UK as is actually the case

The other item to be noted is that many of them are under the impression that immigrants are taking away their national health appointments or their other benefits when it's been the current government which has systematically ensured pain and hardship for the working and middle classes. People dying before they can get an interview to prove their disability? The interviews being held in non-accessible buildings in many jurisdictions? Even things like the Port Talbot steel works closing -- which, in my understanding, was predicated at least partially on the fact that the Indian owners were worried about what the Brexit would do to their business -- is all on the Tories.

I wish I could remember where I first read that Enoch Powell was relieved of his cabinet post as soon as he made the "rivers of blood" speech, but Michael Gove, etc. remain on the cabinet.

Whoever was responsible for the campaign against Sadiq Khan should have been summarily fired, too.

And then there's Jo Cox, who seems to have been working hard for her constituents and a genuinely compassionate politician (a phrase too rarely true), murdered for saying that cooperation is better than isolationism.

166:

By the logic of Charlie's argument & yours, then Norway, which has consistently rejected EEC/EU membership is in imminent danger of a fascist takeover, too, with all the non-Scandinavian residents being drowned in the fjords ... err, maybe not.

It seems to me you did not understand the argument. The problem here is not the leaving of the EU. The problem is the rhetoric used to justify the leaving the EU and the reception of this rhetoric.

167:

Do those with a wider, more-current appreciation of this problem in the UK see the same sort of thing? And does that shed any light on anything, or just add to the chaos?

Are you saying that any given area will have more animosity to the most visible local out-group? Yes, I think that's true for all the reasons you'd expect - for example, visible acts by a member of that out-group will count towards the perception of the whole out-group, whereas the same visible act by a member of the in-group will be rationalised away as a lone actor - cf today's Sun and Daily Mail headlines.

168:

To be brutally honest, and I really am not a fan of the US system (and with the broad caveat that the provisions in the ACA on pre-existing conditions aren't removed - or live in a state like WA that has State laws to that effect too) - you'd probably find no issues with getting a good Gold or Silver plan through an exchange that will cost circa 5-8% of income a year plus the 'excess' on the policy.

The out of pocket crap takes some getting used to and it's shocking to have to quibble medical bills for a Brit.

OTOH - seeing specialists is shockingly easy. Getting scheduled for non-emergency procedures is shockingly easy. You'd have a cardiologist and other specialists on hand probably the same day you registered with a GP - I certainly had a ECT and cardiac scan for potential blockages given a family history of heart disease...

So, it's not as bad as it used to be. Not proper medicine but much better for the self employed than when we moved here in '07.

169:

One of the things that's really shocked me about this is the number of people who are immigrants or the children of immigrants who've been complaining vocally on my Facebook wall about immigration...

I suppose I had a rosy view of Britain that we had actually moved beyond this nationalist xenophobic rubbish but the reality is we haven't and this referendum and the mind buggeringly stupid way it was set up and called for have laid bare that. All the positive stuff about staying in the EU has been ignored because people take it for granted and assume that it will always be like that - even though, as a person who did business in Europe in the early 1990s, or even pre-Lisbon it was SO much harder.

The Leave campaign had nothing, nothing but fantasy promises of endless summers, men who smoked pipes and whose dinner was always on the table when they got home from the office. Proper beer and proper chips and none of that foreign nonsense.

To hide the fact they had nothing Gove and Johnson have left Farage to chew up the airways with his drip drip drip of insinuation and bile and here we are. Is there a direct link? Maybe, maybe not. Is it toxic and going to be hard to walk back from? Yes, yes it will.

170:

Question from an American for the Brits in the house: could an underlying factor exacerbating the current xenophobia be that English ethnic identity is relatively weak? (Compared to, for example, Scottish, Irish, and French ethnic identity.)

To flesh out what I mean: over the last several years, thanks to the availability of online resources, I've been able to trace my genealogy back several centuries. In the process, I discovered I'm of predominantly English descent. But, in discovering that, I noticed that English ethnic identity doesn't seem to be very "sticky". Whereas Americans of Irish, Italian, and Chinese descent, for example, continue to identify with their ancestors' ethnicity decades or even centuries after those ancestors immigrated, we Anglos cease to be "English" as soon as we step off the boat. Instead, we adopt our nationality--i.e. our country of citizenship and residence--as our macro-level identity. We're just Americans with no prefix or hyphen. We don't celebrate English heritage or English holidays a la the Irish and St. Patrick's Day. From what I've observed, a similar dynamic is at work among those of primarily English descent in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, et al. (If I'm talking out of my ass on that last point, denizens of said countries, by all means please correct me.)

Here in the States, I wonder if this kind of deracination effect, further inflamed by economic problems, isn't an underlying driver of the nativist far right, the rise of Donald Trump, and the growing xenophobia. That is, Americans (and not just those of Anglo extraction) who've for generations had no other top-level, tribal identity than "American" perceive multiculturalism and immigration as existential socio-cultural threats because they have no preserved, distinct ethnic identity of their own to fall back on.

In the UK, could it be that, to some portion of the English, "British" has been synonymous with "English" for so long that the same sense of deep insecurity is at work? That their ethnic identity has been diluted and sublimated beneath their national, political identity and that's partly why they perceive Scottish independence, the EU, immigrants, etc. to be so threatening?

171:

I have three questions.

The first involves the editorials Orwell wrote on November 11, 1946 and August 11, 1944
(http://www.orwell.ru/library/articles/As_I_Please/english/eaip_03,
http://www.orwell.ru/library/articles/As_I_Please/english/eaip_04)
What does our host think of his observations? Were they true back then? Do they still apply today?

The second is a question for the people on this board mentioning that they have friends and acquaintance who are immigrants or of immigrant stock. Are any of those people from minority groups outside the Irish?

The final question is: is this period of immigration into the UK larger than at other times in history? If not, was there ever a British equivalent of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Act_of_1924?

172:

Charlie,

About your favorite American city to emigrate to being Toronto.... I mean, it *is* American.

And if Trump gets in, you'll have a lot of folks from down here moving up.

On a realistic note: I've had the misfortune of having to relocate FIVE TIMES halfway across this continent, and each time is more of a nightmare than the last. One thing I've had in my favor is that, being an active fan, there's no way I'd move to a city that didn't have an active club. I've joined... and then had an instant support group, some few I might know, and others who become close friends, who you can turn to as native guides. But, still, you leave behind friend, family, everything you know and care about.

It ain't no fun.

And to respond to some comments about Israel... vehemently being against the Isreali government being anti-semitic? That's like saying not being pro-GOP makes you anti-American.

mark

173:

I've seen some discussion about a second Scottish referendum, but I don't know how serious it is. Would the EU consider Scotland (and/or Wales should it devolve) as separate potential entrants leaving the little Englanders with their little England?

My greater worry is that if "remain" wins, Johnson, Gove, et al. have said they'll push for a second referendum to be held as soon as possible. That's deeply disturbing.

174:

There's a good explanation of the phenomenon, backed by plausible psychological research, in The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer. He was able to identify two subgroups of people that are probably quite different from you or me: authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders. The leaders emit the bigoted messages because that's what the followers expect to hear.


He talks about Christian religious leaders in Canada and the US. The ideology might be slightly different in the UK, but that's just a cultural thing rather than an essential aspect of the phenomenon.

175:

I'm pretty strongly (to say the least) against Benny & his friends.
But, to some that's not good enough, I'm afraid, there are strong elements usually on "the left" who are cosying up to both Hamas & Hizbollah (Which amuses me in a bitter way, given the Sunni/Shia split ... ) who condemn me "because of the palestinians".

176:

I'm not sure if this is an allowed comment, but Charlie @ #1 quoted "how's that gun control working for y'all?"
To which the obvious answer is: As well as it did in Orlando & get lost idiots ...

The whole thing is very depressing

177:

I don't know much of anything about Norway due to the language barrier. But I will say that anytime "immigration control" begins to loom large in a political debate, I begin to suspect that the side that beats the drums loudest about it is trying to harness the political power of latent racism. This is especially true in places like Europe where one of the most obvious and immediate benefits of immigration is that it offsets the economic drag of a declining native population by increasing the number of working age residents.

178:

It's an inciteful comment. Please no more along those lines, 'kay?

179:

Charlie, did you (or anyone else) mention that, as far as I am aware, this referendum is advisory, not legally binding? We could vote for leaving the EU and still not do it, although my understanding is that this would be pretty problematic and not just in a social sense. I'm no expert on international law, to put it mildly. Can anyone clarify?

180:

I went from having savings, a mortgage on a condo, and a retirement fund (not a lot in the first or last, but they were there) to being unemployed long-term. I've now been working again for about seven years. But having used my savings and cashed out my retirement fund and sold the condo for food, I'm now at a point where my over 70 plan is to either win the lottery or drop dead at my desk.

The one paycheck away treadmill is hard and frightening.

181:

I moved to Nicaragua in 2010. Here isn't problem-free, and has its own color biases but is lower key in how things are managed than not. We Anglos do risk being the undesirable element. I don't think moving to another country in old age is easy, but it's certainly not impossible.

182:

I don't think there is anywhere to go; this is part of a global movement. If things get really bad, I think the US Pacific Northwest might be a good place to be, but there is even so much uncertainty.

The basic problem, of course, is that the majority in all high-income countries has been, by policy, impoverished. This quite naturally leads to radical movements, and the people who made these policies are only too happy to push the right-wing ones along.

As to the global nature of the movement, here's a quote from US historian and journalist Rick Perlstein:

But more than that, Reagan, and now Trump, reveal our own tendency to repress our fear of demagogues by dismissing them. And ultimately, it's all about us. Follow the bouncing beach ball. Take demagogues seriously. Voters love them. And they're only a joke until they win.

Substitute "Thatcher" for "Reagan" and "Farage" for "Trump" and it applies to the UK, no problem.

183:

And never forget: we can play all our little ape power games, but nature is not mocked. Climate change is real. Viruses and bacteria don't care about our politics, they only care that we taste good. A diversity-impoverished ecosystem will support less human life and do so with less reliability.

We must come together, somehow, or we will most of us die alone.

184:

I haven't mentioned it, but it is indeed the case.

The referendum is non-binding on parliament. Only parliament -- or rather, the government acting through parliament -- can take the UK out of the EU.

However ...

David Cameron said he'd resign if he loses the referendum and it's very hard to see how he'd be able to stay at this point if that happens. In which case, there will be an immediate power struggle within the conservative party, and whoever climbs to the top of the pile of corpses will be the presumptive prime minister. Probably Boris Johnson (on current showing) but not necessarily ...

... Because such a leadership crisis would take place against the backdrop of the immediate global reaction to the brexit vote going to "leave". "Remain" reinforces the status quo, but "leave" would take us into uncharted waters and I can't imagine there not being a run on Sterling the like of which hasn't been seen since 1992.

I can also see a lot of finance industry corporations expressing their displeasure with the result (which would implicitly cut them off from the Euro derivatives trading market that they dominate), in order to put their fingers on the scales with parliament

It's possible that Cameron would pull the trigger on Article 50 before resigning, to fuck with his successor by strapping them to a ticking time bomb with a 730 day fuse: "apres moi, la deluge". (Sorry if my French is a bit crap.)

Whatever the process, in the immediate wake of a "leave" vote I foresee the UK being adrift in a storm, with the crew of the drifting ship squabbling for control of the rudder as it drifts towards the rocks of a fiscal crisis. Nothing focusses the mind like the certainty that one is to be hanged in a fortnight, as Dr Johnson observed, and I suspect the actuality of Brexit will put a sudden reality check/damper on some of the machinations within the Conservative party. But backing away from the precipice will in turn trigger a massive back bench revolt by "the bastards" as John Major called them, and I can see a double-digit tranche of Tory MPs defecting to UKIP in event of such a "stab in the back".

At which point, vote of confidence, government fails, snap general election fought as a validation/repudiation of the brexit referendum, and who the fuck knows what happens next!

185:

Who knows? Maybe next year Corbyn will be PM. Or Farage. Um.

186:

A friend of mine takes some bitter amusement from imagining the first summit meeting, early in 2017, between Prime Minister Corbyn and President Trump.

187:

LOL, er, kraw-kraw-kraw!

188:

OK
I did ask the question.
Please, therefore delete that comment, your reply & this one, & we're back to square one?

189:

AFAIK, correct - one of the most "interesting" possible results is an overall majority for "Out" of less than 1%.
At which point, I suspect that the rest of the EU countries might actually wake up & do something about real reforms.
If that actually happened, I might very easily switch back to "remain".
I wonder how many others might?

Charlie @ 186
THAT is truly scary two almost-equally-batshit-insane "leaders".

190:

Bearing in mind that Scotland is substantially more pro-EU than England, and is likely to vote "remain" by a significant margin, we then get two other weird scenarios:

1) England votes "leave" by sufficient margin to drag an unwilling Scotland (where a majority voted "remain") out of the EU. The question now is when, rather than if, there will be another Scottish independence referendum -- and current polling suggests that in the wake of EUexit, Scotland would UKexit if applying for readmission to the EU was part of the plan.

2) England votes "leave" by a very narrow margin and the magnitude of the Scottish "remain" vote wins the referendum for "remain". At this point, the English brexit campaigners -- UKIP and the right wing of the conservatives -- will almost certainly turn rabidly anti-Scottish overnight. The question then is whether they campaign to roll back Scottish devolution (which would almost certainly push Scotland towards another Indyref, etc) or whether they get behind the SNP and actively push Scotland out of the UK, whether or not the Scottish electorate are ready to leave.

191:

What then happens to Wales? Have our own independence referendum and rejoin the EU with Scotland? I've been surprised by polls saying we're generally in favour of remaining despite the rise in popularity for UKIP: eating into the still strong but dwindling Labour strongholds.

http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/43ae05fc-2829-11e6-8ba3-cdd781d02d89.img

192:

Don't think so Greg, any useful reform of the EU requires someone to speak for Europe, member Governments don't do it. They speak for themselves and the Commission does not have enough clout. I am talking about an European government with its own budget and revenue raising powers. Directly elected by the people, either a PM from the EU parliament or a Prsident of Europe.

Anything else is tinkering at the marigins and any official appointed by the Council is just that, an official who will not upset any government.

The EU's biggest single problem is that no-one is really thinking about the whole thing, everyone is just thinking about their corner. The problem is that an EU government would massively diminish the power of individual EU states and their governments. I just do not see why individual EU governments would bind their power like that. It requires them to look a time horizons beyond the next electoral cycle.

193:
That is, Americans (and not just those of Anglo extraction) who've for generations had no other top-level, tribal identity than "American" perceive multiculturalism and immigration as existential socio-cultural threats because they have no preserved, distinct ethnic identity of their own to fall back on.
When have multiculturalism and immigration not been perceived as existential socio-cultural threats in the US? Marijuana was made illegal in the US over fears about Mexican immigrants. The Chinese Exclusion Act. The 1920s' KKK's opposition to Jewish and Italian immigration. The Know Nothings.

There's an interesting article on Englishness here. Other emigre identities have been shaped by the experience of being ethnic outgroups in their new nation; due to empire, no English group experienced that. If the lack of that ethnic identity is driving nativism now, it's a bitter historical joke.
194:

Picture Cameron, tiny Leave majority in hand, going to the European Council and demanding the immediate formation of a proper EU government as price for not walking. They'd assume someone had spiked the water jug!

195:

Seriously? You really think "out-group phobia" only haunts right wing groups?

Hardly 'only,' but the same predispositions that lead people to falling into out-group phobias also inclines them to adopt right-wing positions.

Under moral foundations theory, progressives as a group are relatively weak on the Loyalty and Authority axes while conservatives rank those factors as fully equal considerations to Justice or Liberty. So when an authority tells them that some other group is entirely made of bad guys, they're more likely to listen and believe. Liberals are prone to asking questions like “What, all of them?” or “Why are they bad?” or “Why should we listen to you anyway?” which might be better for finding justice but doesn't help build an efficient hierarchal social machine.

It's been suggested that understanding this should let conservatives be more effective cross-ideology debaters, but the necessary level of self-awareness and understanding of one's motivations isn't common among any group.

196:

Charlie,

I would be interested to hear your response to Kate Hoey's case for brexit, summarised here

https://heatst.com/uk/kate-hoey-the-left-wing-case-for-brexit/

197:

The word "pathological" fell out of the original commenter's sentence very early on, which I think is a shame. Whatever in-group/out-group fights there are on the left (and boy, are there) pathological phobia of out-group(s) is generally absent.

198:

Worthwhile considering that leaving takes two years minimum to negotiate. In the event of a leave vote I can see scotland, and probably wales, and northern ireland, doing a flash referendum (without Westminster agreeing) and voting to leave the UK and stay in the EU. At the same time I can see the EU agreeing to 'successor' status for them, meaning they wouldn't have to reapply and could continue to avoid the euro, etc. The EU would love to give England a bloody nose as it walked out the door.

At which point all hell breaks lose.

In contrast, if the vote is to 'remain', then it looks very like the English vote would be 'leave' - and that has it's own problems as many DEMAND a separate parliament for England, and separate rules as well. Practically you get a breaking apart of the UK, and distrustful looks across borders (up until now its only been the scots with chips on their shoulders.

At which point all hell breaks lose.

Although an overall remain vote is the best possible outcome, it's not without nasty consequences. Truly the only way to win is not to have played in the first place. Should have just 'done a france' and ignored the rules people didn't like (like introducing effective barriers to immigration from the EU against the whines).

And the bigger question remains. The EU's days are numbered because it's not robust to GFC II - so what's the plan for when, not if, it breaks apart?

199:

And the bigger question remains. The EU's days are numbered because it's not robust to GFC II - so what's the plan for when, not if, it breaks apart?

I hear you, but why must it break apart? The small countries will be under the thumb of the big ones under any circumstances so absent internal ideological reasons they have no compelling reason to leave. As long as Germany and France decide to stick together, why not keep the EU as a forum for their economic domination of Europe?

200:

The second is a question for the people on this board mentioning that they have friends and acquaintance who are immigrants or of immigrant stock. Are any of those people from minority groups outside the Irish?

The people doing the saying, or the people who are the friends? If it's the latter, then yes. Off the top of my head I can say that I have immigrant friends from every continent (barring, obviously, Antarctica). But then I work in London's tech industry so there's a lot of Tier 1 and 2 immigrants in most companies I work with.

201:

“When have multiculturalism and immigration not been perceived as existential socio-cultural threats in the US? Marijuana was made illegal in the US over fears about Mexican immigrants.”

Many apologies for stepping in here — the above turns out not to be true. Not the part about immigration being seen as an existential threat, of course; the part about marijuana prohibition being a reaction against Mexican immigrants.

TANGENT ALERT — THIS HAS NOTHING DIRECTLY TO DO WITH BREXIT

It turns out that marijuana prohibition originated in Mexico. Mexican discovered the effects from smoking cannabis in the 1840s. The habit spread rapidly over subsequent decades, particularly among the “wrong” sort of people. The result was a lot of upper-class hysteria over the drug during the Porfirian dictatorship (1876-1911). The federal government restricted sales to registered pharmacies in 1878 — but “restriction” meant “prohibition”; the drug was quickly put on a blacklist. Those laws applied only to the Federal District and the territories, but state governments followed; by 1891 most states banned sales. Possession and use, however, was still legal — banning that had to wait until the end of the Mexican Revolution. The new government prohibited cultivation, possession and sale in 1920.

Insane ideas about the drug passed into the United States, but it wasn’t a reaction against Mexican immigrants; rather, Americans (and Europeans!) seized upon the same anti-marijuana hysteria that had gripped Mexican politicians. Of course, it was also a useful way to beat up on Mexican immigrants, but that wasn’t the reason — remember, this was the era when states like Texas could simply declare Mexicans to be non-white and pass apartheid legislation. No need to use the criminal justice system for stealth discrimination when you could just, you know, discriminate!

Unlike anti-black codes, the anti-Mexican laws rapidly collapsed under their own weight in the late 1940s. They appear to have fallen into the American memory hole; even in South Texas, among long-standing Tejanos, the folk memory of Jim Crow is practically gone. By 1970, Mexican-Americans were well on the way to becoming “white” ... a process derailed by the advent of an unexpected mass immigration from Mexico. But that’s another story.

There’s a great book on the topic of marijuana prohibition in Mexico: Home Grown, by Isaac Campos. I can’t recommend it more highly. A similarly great book on the re-racialization of Mexican-American identity — prompted by white people freaking out over the post-1970 mass migration — is Replenished Ethnicity, by Tomás Jiménez.

202:

Problem is, the PIGS really need to float their currency and allow them to devalue to survive another kicking. But the euro doesn't allow them to do that. With Germany unwilling even in the good times to bail them out, the only solution is for the southern 'pasta' states to jump ship as a group - which is what I guess they will be forced into.

Will the rump survive? In the middle of a GFC II I'm kinda doubting it, since the euro would bounce up just when you want it to drop down.

The EU only ever made sense as a trading bloc - it's coming apart will not be pretty.

203:

I don't know from where I am sitting on the other side of the Atlantic, the UK bailing out of the EU is not entirely crazy (though of course the racist drivers are repugnant in the extreme)

My guess is the Smart Money in the City of London has read the tea leaves and decided those guys are on the continent with their huge land borders and weak member states on the frontiers are going to be in for a world of hurt once Climate Change really starts kicking in. Better to raise the drawbridge and batten down the hatches early before you get dragged down with the sinking ship

Then they harness the local racists/Facist types to get the job done.

As far as immigration in general goes, the world in general is going to become more and more isolationist as things get worse and worse

204:

The former actually

Let me rephrase the question. Are any of your nonwhite friends in favor of Brexit? Or Eastern European friends?

205:

Next, the Smart Money in the City of London will be working to reduce the population to something which can survive on the agricultural output of the British Isles, as worked without oil, chemicals, or motorized farm equipment. You guys have fun with that... I'll be over here (on the other side of the Atlantic!)

206:

"60% of self-identified middle class Americans are one pay check away from financial crisis."

The operative phrase here is 'self-identified'. A lot of people in the U.S. have only vague ideas where they rank in the financial order, and tend to think they are better off than they really are. This plays into people not wanting to vote for more of a social safety net since that would only be abused by 'those people'.

('those people' are also usually visible minorities, but low-class white people can fit in there as well.)

207:

Charlie @ 190
Yes, I know - difficult isn't it?

Stuart C @ 196
Precisely
So, it's NOT just about the tories or the right wing.

Which brings me back to the start.
The murder of Ms Yates looks more & more like rabid misogyny & nothing at all to do with racism. Or only peripherally so, at least. Several papers have picked up on "The threat to female MP's"
And of course my local female MP & near-neighbour has had loads of this .....
The nutter has now been formally charged

208:

Thanks for the clarification re the binding issue. Yes, overall I'd agree with you about the course of events. I think the only people who would benefit would be lawyers.

209:

Are any of your nonwhite friends in favor of Brexit? Or Eastern European friends?

I can't think of a single one of any of my friends who are pro-Brexit. But London as a whole is very Pro-remain, and my friends and I are in a very pro-Remain demographic.

210:

Greg - I think misogyny is part of it, but also something which can go hand in hand with racism, homophobia, 'bloody students'. Certainly Jo prettt much epitomised everything your neo-fascists hate - right down to the Cambride education.

(But point taken that there is certainly mysogyny against female MPs generally - the far left have been just as bad towards perceived 'Blairites').

And next week my wife will be phoning back the Met to say that actually, yes, they would like someone to review their security. (She's taken it quite hard as Jo very much a peer and colleague of her boss).

The nutter has been caught but Paul Dacre is still at large, and so long as he and his cronies keep feeding the racist beast, this country isn't going to face up to the real problems it faces.

(Although part of me will enjoy the Leave voters of the Welsh valleys being forced to move to live 8 to a house in London to do the care and cleaning work currently performed by immigrants - or are they under the delusion businesses will relocate)

211:

The operative phrase here is 'self-identified'.

Sorry, I wasn't clear enough; as 90% of Americans identify as middle class, what that means is that over 50% of the entire US population are financially insecure.

Doesn't matter what class they are: if more than half your population is permanently stressed-out about money because they're a month away from being out on the street, that can't be good.

212:

NOTE: I just updated the OP with an astonishing and informative montage image found on twitter that basically says it all about the way the tabloid press is approaching the Brexit referendum.

The Daily Express is a right-wing tabloid, something of an also-ran to the right of the Daily Mail, but generally on the same page of the anti-immigrant hymn book. They're just a bit more blatant about it, as this montage of their covers from the past year demonstrates.

If you're American, look at that photomontage and now imagine the word "immigrant" replaced with "nigger". That's what this codes for in British political discourse.

213:

I do wonder how many of the voters arguing for Leave on the basis that the EU is corrupt, unaccountable, bureaucratic etc etc will also argue for withdrawing from the World Cup because that's run by FIFA...

214:

Nope, the smart money in the City is already planning to move to Dublin, Paris, and Frankfurt.

Do you really think that if the UK departs from the EU, then the current exception to Euro trading rules that allows London to run a market in Euro derivatives will be allowed to continue? The UK gets away with it because we're part of the EU, and sterling is the unacknowledged/unofficial EU reserve trading currency. Which is why the largest Euro derivatives market in the EU -- London -- gets to do about €1Tn in trades a year. If we leave the EU then that market is going to be removed, and as we saw during the Scottish Independence Referendum it's relatively easy for a bank to move its registered head office to another European capital. That's what we were threatened with via the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank in event of Scottish exit, and I'm betting it's a point that would be being played by the Remain campaign in the coming week if bankers weren't so unpopular outside London (which is strong Remain territory anyway).

215:

Bearing in mind that Scotland is substantially more pro-EU than England

Interesting parallel with the lead up to Australian federation in the 1890s. North and Central Queensland both voted overwhelmingly for federation. Back then Townsville and Rockhampton were likely contenders for capitals of their own smaller states, and they saw the chance of this happening as rather greater under the proposed new Commonwealth (versus government from Brisbane, the situation they had then and as it happens they still have). The island consisting of Scotland, Wales and England is rather smaller than Queensland, and (eg) North Queensland is an awful lot bigger than Scotland, but I can see why Scotland would be generally better disposed to a federated European model.

Surely there's an alt-history where many states of the late 19th and early 20th Cs partake of a creeping federalism with an inexorable trajectory towards something that looks like a one world government. Utopian, distopian or just a sameold.

216:

The murder of Ms Yates looks more & more like rabid misogyny & nothing at all to do with racism. Or only peripherally so, at least.

The BBC's Daniel Sandford tweets from the court:

Asked his name the defendant in the dock says "My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain."

217:

Nobody sane lives in a state that tries to kill you as much as California does, or Florida where the most "ordinary" sort of risk you might face is finding an alligator on the porch, as opposed to finding some naked dude stoned on bath salts eating an alligator on your porch because they wanted first dibs on you...

I wish I was exaggerating.

I mean, there are pockets, Martha's Vineyard during the off-season is wonderful, and I've never seen anybody party like they do at Connexions in Louisville, an unexpected bastion of gay fabulousity to say the least.

I'm too "broke college student" anyways, and yeah, I hold out hope for more socialism myself.

Figured I'd offer though, a good chuckle in a time of awful events can't hurt.

218:

@Spidersthrash at 67:

For example, when Britain First talk about "keeping Britain Christian", it should really be read as "keeping Britain white".

A little data-point from the continued record-holder for one-man political murder, 50% bigger body-count than Orlando. The quote in 216 is very Anders Behring Breivik-ish, going after the "enablers". Hope they research possible links.

Spidersthrash's point reminds me of trying to convince an American cyberpal, in most things progressive but a rabid Muslimophobe, that Breivik's whole Gates-of-Vienna schtick was merely code for PoC. He didn't listen.

Not long afterwards I found that a cafe acquaintance really and honestly believed that all Africans were Muslims. As we walked across the square, he was cussing at the "Muslim women". They're Christians, actually, I said. How do you know that? Because this is my planet and it behooves me to know something about it, you this-that-and-another-thing. I finally had to tell him to eff off.

Given that most sub-Saharan Africans are catholic or pentie, a logical preserve-christendom-against-the-saracens crusader would want MORE of them, wouldn't he? Let's not hold our breath.

BTW on "immigrant" terminology, this is the word in Norway for all PoC, although born here and their parents born here, yeah verily until the tenth generation. Which we haven't reached yet, but it won't change.


219:

My inkling in the last week of the Scottish Referendum was that if the English had had a vote, Scotland would have got the independence it wanted. Sadly I don't think that has changed...

@202, that was the reason for me voting leave. It's not a racist vote, more the fact that Germany has gained everything from the Euro while the rest of the zone suffers.. You only have to look at the youth unemployment figures of Greece 50%, Spain 45%, Italy 40% to see the scale of the problem.

221:

@Mayhem 157:

I think you're wrong about Breivik. He was not just a can't-get-laid loser, though he was that as well, he was a political animal and at one time a paid-up member of the main pale-brown party (FrP, equivalent to AfD, FN, FPÖ etc.). There have been ructions over the extent he manages to recruit and lead, or at least figurehead/ symbolise, the more extreme browns from his prison. I would put it to you that ABB is more akin to Muir than the fame-seeking school shooters.

Fascist takeover? No. But the pale-browns are in government, and politics has shifted further rightwards than anyone would have believed possible a few years ago. No sign of a big anti-plutocrat movement or even awareness.

222:

"Going back on topic - one irony that has been pointed out to me is that a remain vote is not going to solve any of the NIMBY, racism, anti-migrant complaints as migration will just continue unabated.."

One of the many - deliberate untruths, shall we say - about the Leave campaign is that most of the economic stuff they are complaining about are the goals of the right.

The right doesn't want good jobs and good wages, or a properly functioning NHS, or affordable (for the masses) higher education.

They look at the USA and drool - WalMart jobs, $40-$60K for a bachelor's degrees, and (prior to Obamacare), employer-based health insurance which would frequently disappear just when it was needed most.

223:
He and his siblings and their descendants gave the UK doctors, business leaders, a cabinet minister, and more than one wartime serviceman, including an officer who died during the first world war.

The "business leaders" thing reminded me of conversations I had yesterday at a tech conference in London — with three different people who ran their own companies (one white, two UK born non-white).

All three had started thinking about how to move their businesses outside the UK if we get a "leave" vote next week.

The white guy was primarily for business reasons (UK border idiocy is already causing him problems). The other two talked about personal feelings of safety for themselves, family and loved ones first, business reasons second .

Well fuck :-(

224:

Population dynamics may have something to say about all of this. I remember reading about group behaviour years ago and basically the story was that when an established population of any species living in social groups was 'invaded' by another group there is a threshold, a percentage of the total population where acceptance of the newly arrived, turns into rejection, violence and attempts to expel the members of that group. As Europeans are 'civilized' people they usually don't go out with the trusty hand axe but dedicate the frontpage of the newspaper to the new neighbours and jobs will go to members of their own group. Might be part of an explanation for current trends in the EU but of course no justification for what that man did.

225:

If the London financiers and stock market traders are threatening to remove themselves if Britain exits the EU, isn't that a progressive reason to vote for leaving?

226:

Firstly I'm a remainer. I don't think Britain's problems will be solved by leaving Europe and too many think that Europe is the heart of all our problems.

That said immigration is a legitimate concern. The UK can not continue to absorb the numbers it is currently taking in without serious changes in how Britain looks, it's culture, it's built environment etc etc. Unless things change we are heading towards 80 million people by the 2030's/40's.

Brtain's low rate of house building and it's green belt restrictions were not big problems when then the net change in the 1980's was about 50,000 a year.

Since the 2000's it running at near to a net 300,000 a year. It's part of the process that has turned London in to a global mega city, a pre eminent trading centre. With all the advantages of job wealth and tax receipts that brings. The down sides are of course of massive property price increases, the feeling that London is sucking the country dry, that is no longer connected to the rest of the UK economy ( it barely noticed the 2008 crash.)

The thing people have noticed the rate of change, I have family that have highly skilled trades people,you bet they noticed their collapse in wages. How first fix work is now nearly all foreigners, the collapse of apprenticeships. Their children now finding it extremely difficult to get extra work over the summer holidays.They live in coastal resort Britain and not many jobs they used to do are done by British people.

Lots of low wage processing factories don't employ English people anymore. In fact they won't employ them because they don't speak the same language as the others on the line.

My sister wants there to be less immigration and hate people who dismiss her a racist because she wants less immigrants coming in.

There is no reason why we can't have less immigration. It will have costs of course. But it can be done. I'm not of the opinion it will be easy or that we will be able to do it easily being outside Europe, but plenty others are no longer accepting that it's tough they just have to accept it.

Surely the rise of UKIP and the destruction of Labour's link to it's working class base is a sign someone needs to do something before we end up with some demagogue.

227:

"My worry would be a Remain win of say 5-10%. "

I think that liberals need to adopt an attitude of 'F*ck you, you lying motherf*cking traitors'. We keep offering them respect and legitimacy. We keep going along with the (billionaire-owned) mass 'liberal' media's portrayal of the right as the only really legitimate party.

If our side wins, rub it in. If we can weasel something past their blockage, then ram it through and laugh.

228:

"I'd say the horsemen for the 21st century are probably Religion, Neoliberal Economics, Antibiotic Resistance, and Climate Change. There might be a side-order of energy crisis thrown in, depending on how determined the AGW deniers are about things."

I really like this. I would only add the Fifth horseman, Positive Feedback. Each one of the Four reinforces itself and the others.

229:

"If you move to Southern California I'll do what I can to help you guys out. Might be too warm here, but I have people in Portland and Seattle who might be able to help you get settled if it comes to that."

Come to Michigan!

Detroit has as many cloudy days as Seattle, and we're far colder. We've got lots of microbrews, and really old buildings. The (Ann Arbor) arcade in which I'm currently sitting was built in 1915, back before[1] WWI!

Canada is just an hour's drive away from me - head east to the Detroit river, and then go *south* to Canada :)

The native food is based on - actually, we don't have one, so we import everybody else's.

The Great Lakes fish are excellent[2],
and we have 3,000 miles[3] of freshwater coastline - even more if you're metric.

[1] For the US definition of 'before WWI', of course.

[2] Restrict consumption of Great Lakes fish if you are a pregnant woman or young child, due to elevated levels of mercury.

[3] It's like, I dunno - tens of thousands of kilometers, I guess.


230:

@Rational Plan 226:

My sister wants there to be less immigration and hate people who dismiss her a racist because she wants less immigrants coming in.

I was struck this spring by a piece in our hard-left newspaper, the only no-plutocrat voice: the guy said that we should not hate on people who made a purely economic argument for the welfare state being unsustainable together with massive immigration fleeing the Four Horsemen, but that the moment they say the words "our culture" we should withdraw their courteous hearing.

231:

@Barry 229:

really old buildings. The (Ann Arbor) arcade in which I'm currently sitting was built in 1915, back before WWI!

I once had a visitor from British Columbia to my then English village. He asked when the church dated from. I replied, vaguely (I'd never actually enquired), "dunno, probably twelfth century". He freaked massively at the way I implied that a 900-year-old building was no big deal. Well, it isn't, is it? :-)

232:

/s/migrant/nigger/g

Oh my god, that is so over the top as to be comical. I mean, I'm in Memphis, the cartoon King of the Hill had a great line about it.

'We're going to... what's the bad part of Memphis called?'

"Memphis!"

We had the distinction of being the crack capital of the US for a while, but man... just reading all the headlines like that is way into "this was a parody by [insert shock comedian here] right" territory.

I also just noticed that there are people who think of themselves as being specifically English, which I have literally never thought about even existing. I ain't got time to be distinguishing who is what, you're brits, or scots, or leprechauns dammit, and I only list scots because I've got some ties there.

I suppose it's probably the same way you may have heard of Texans (I'm one of those too), but what about Hoosiers or Okies or whatever the hell people from Vermont call themselves?

It's ok, I didn't really know about them either, I remember how weird it seemed that there were kids who didn't have a Texas history class. "What the hell did you learn about then? Kansas? Idaho? Wyoming?"

233:

Even using a more rigorous definition of middle class than "self-identified," they are generally in serious trouble. I'll drop some links at the bottom.

Looking anecdotally at my co-workers- government accountants at the professional & middle management level, so financially knowledgeable, well-paid, and with three major financial threats taken off the board: layoff, retirement, health care. With all of that, you'd expect them to be happy & secure. And, if they own a home with non-zero equity, they are. But if not, they are very concerned.

Without those 3 protections, it's really damn scary. Most USAians have nearly no savings, nearly no retirement savings, and depend on employers for health care. Now, add in that 35% of the USA are over 50, where it becomes very difficult to save up enough in time to retire. And, just as the boomers were getting to retirement age, we had the GFC to gut the primary store of household wealth.

So, the old have no way to afford retirement. The young have no way to save enough to buy a home because rents cost too damn much. And the middle is facing the choice between Junior & Dad getting to move back in.

And all of this trouble & uncertainty is bad enough without considering the increase in eldercare costs once the boomers are old enough to need part-time assistance. That gets insanely expensive.

OK, I've depressed myself. Someone cheer me up. Tell me that in sensible countries, it's better than this? Please? Lie to me.

savings:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/most-americans-have-less-than-1000-in-savings-2015-10-06

retirement:
http://www.nirsonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=768&Itemid=48

lifestyle:
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/destabilizing-truth-wealthy-can-afford-middle-class-lifestyle.html

234:

The "Leave" Brits I know pointed me to teh online "BRexit: The Movie". I didn't see any obvious racism there, just mostly sovereignty demands, which I can understand. Their economic argument was batshit crazy, but this seemed more like tacked on icing on their particular confection.

If the UK does leave, any economic loss may well not be shared equally and may even fall more heavily on the like of those in The City than elsewhere.

While racism is still a problem in the UK, and has clearly flared up with the recent immigration from Asia, I'm old enough to remember where it was directed in my youth, including Jews. Having said that, not everyone voting BRexit is racist, and there seems to be a valid argument for leaving is sovereignty is very important to you.

Since I now live in the US and cannot even vote on this issue, I really don't have a dog in this race. The outcome is just an event in history as far as I'm concerned, one which may have more extensive consequences in the future.

235:

The pro-Brexit working class (minimum-wage zero-hour) people I know are voting exit either because they are convinced (rightly or wrongly) that immigrants are depressing their wages and job opportunities or from outright hate-the-political-class nihilism.

I have no doubt there are also people voting for racist reasons and for political notions like "sovereignty" and probably other reasons as well.

Obviously it takes different arguments to influence these groups and some of them are not going to change their minds. In any case I think the remain side have left it too late to influence the outcome much now.

236:

That works too. The big, obvious thing is that the U.K. is going fascist/racist/barking right fucking now and you need to get out.

"That one looks Jewish
And that one's a coon,
Who let all this riffraff
Into the room?
There's one smoking a joint
And another with spots!
If I had my way,
I'd have all of them shot!"
- That Guy

P.S., you know that once they've solved "The Muslim Problem" they're coming for the Jews, right? That's always a fundamental part of the program, they're just not talking about it in public right now.

237:

"Nobody sane lives in a state that tries to kill you as much as California does, ..."

Well, I would be the first to agree that most Californians are completely bonkers, but I have lived there twice (south on San Jose) and visited a few other areas, and the only threats I encountered were from the crazy drivers. And, as far as those go, I will raise you Morocco, Egypt, and lots of other places.

238:

US here... I sent my brother (a connoisseur of Murdochiana) a copy of the Daily Express headline montage and he responded: "Is the Express a Pict paper?"

All gone to the bow-wows since they let the bloody Jutes and Angles in.

239:

The main way that California tries to kill people are earthquakes and there are sometimes bad heatwaves, and naturally the climate is not actually suited to the 37 million people who live here. Fortunately, we have a good building code which renders deaths or major destruction from anything other than a really gigantic earthquake highly unlikely.

240:

Speaking as someone who's spent about three-quarters of his life in California, I've got some things to say:

One is that you don't get a lot of mineral wealth in areas that aren't geologically active--that's how the modern state got started.

A second is that if you want to understand what terraforming really looks like, look at California. It's not nearly as glamorous as SFF writers think: it's mostly about huge farms, giant waterworks, and cities booming where they have no sane reason to be.

Yes, California is a relatively bad place to be in event of climate change (terraforming turns out to be metastable, not permanent), and I agree that Detroit is a better place to put down roots if you're looking seven generations ahead.

On the other hand, right now it's not a bad place to live. The threats are *different* than what you experience in a place like, say, Michigan, in that winter doesn't try to kill you with coldness, but with flooding that you'll experience a few times in your life, and earthquakes are a lot scarier than tornadoes because you only get two seconds' warning when they're coming.

On the other hand, as Elderly Cynic noted, the drivers really are the worst danger most people routinely face here.

241:

No. The problem is that 30 years of monetarism have destroyed the UK's (high-tech.) industries and left us with a largely unskilled workforce. Some 17% percent of our foreign exchange comes from the financial sector, and probably a similar amount from being an EU base for assembly and manufacturing (by foreign-owned multinationals). As I said, we would go broke to the standards of 1950.

And, to William T Goodall: they are, of course, right at a naive level. That was a deliberate policy. However, if they think that leaving will improve that, they are deluded. The skilled immigrants will leave, and so will the jobs that pay a living wage. Plus, of course, the NHS and lots of other essential services will collapse, because they depend on the skilled immigrants.

242:

Getting back to the original topic, I get the sense that the UK is having an Obama moment right now.

As a white guy about eight years ago, I had this notion that electing a black president meant that we had the whole racism thing under control. Eight years of watching one of the coolest presidents we've ever had get crapped on by a bunch of white guys made me realize, finally, just how much bigotry and prejudice was still around, and indeed, how bigoted I was, even though I thought I was better than that.

It's embarrassing to thank the Obamas for bringing this problem to the surface, but I have to do so. I'm quite sure they've known about it all along, and that's one reason why "No Drama Obama" is the way he is. Imagine what would happen if there was a truly angry black man in the White House.

When Clinton becomes president, I'm quite sure it will bring all our male chauvinism to the surface too. An angry woman in power is deeply scary for a lot of people. I'm sure she'll be declared an ice lady, no matter how often she laughs.

In any case, Britain has been bragging just a wee bit about how multicultural, accepting, even godless it is compared to us yanks. Now, under stress, it turns out that there's a foaming undercurrent of bigotry and extremism that's never really gone away, only been silenced until demagogues decided to dig it up and ride it for all its worth.

243:
If the UK does leave, any economic loss may well not be shared equally and may even fall more heavily on the like of those in The City than elsewhere.

Some economists (including a well-known fan of our host) tried to model the economic costs of the BRexit, and they concluded that there would be a loss of about 2-2.5% of GDP.

Before the City packs up and leaves.

Financial services are about 6% of british GDP, so the City leaving entirely would probably drop a further 4% of GDP.

244:

P.S., you know that once they've solved "The Muslim Problem" they're coming for the Jews, right? That's always a fundamental part of the program, they're just not talking about it in public right now.

Or if not the Jews, certainly another group of their choosing. That's the thing with scapegoating the out-group rather than dealing with the real, complex, causes of the problem. Once you've "dealt with" them and the problems haven't gone away, you need a new scapegoat to blame. And you have to be more vitriolic about this new group because they now have to shoulder the blame for your own failings too. Sadly I think in the event of UKIP-style government in the UK, it wouldn't be the Jews after the Muslims, I have a terrible feeling it would be anyone who's ever voted centre- or further left.

245:

"Round up the usual suspects." Regardless of whether they go after the Jews, the Irish, or the Commies first, the trajectory of the whole thing is boringly predictable. Once it becomes obvious that the economy will not recover, I'm guessing they'll invade Ireland first, then head for France, though this bunch is so amazingly stoopit they may try to "retake the colonies for Her Majesty's greater glory."

246:

Yes on the home-building.

We need:

Abolition of VAT on redevelopment of brown-field sites for housing. (Currently building on brown-field sites gets hit for 20% VAT; green-field sites are VAT-exempt. NB: This is last time I looked -- I might be out of date.)

Resumption of council house building on a massive scale, with social ownership and no automatic right-to-buy. Politically anathema to the conservatives and labour because it would kick the bottom rung out from the commercial market and cause entry-level house prices to fall, but it'd solve the problem at every level.

Some form of tax relief for first-time buyers and those caught out by the change of music (above) immediately after they bought a primary residence.

And finally, a switch-over to the German model: homes depreciate and nobody expects to make an investment killing off them.

247:

"Well, I would be the first to agree that most Californians are completely bonkers, but I have lived there twice (south on San Jose) and visited a few other areas, and the only threats I encountered were from the crazy drivers."

Wait, what?

I've never driven in the United Kingdom, but by American standards, Californians are among the best drivers in the country.

Although, to be honest, the only place where I've found genuine scary driving is Florida. (Boston has casual lawbreaking, New Yorkers get aggressive on entrance ramps, people in the DMV can't stop honking, Marylanders hate pedestrians, and Westerners in general drive too goddamned fast. But Florida south of Orlando ... whoa.)

Y'all must drive real well over there in the U.K. for California to look crazy! Elderly Cynic, you have dissipated some of my cynicism. Thank you!

(P.S. Egypt is much crazier on the road than Mexico, which is saying quite a lot.)

248:

Detroit has as many cloudy days as Seattle, and we're far colder. We've got lots of microbrews, and really old buildings. The (Ann Arbor) arcade in which I'm currently sitting was built in 1915, back before[1] WWI!

1. Been to Detroit in January. Nope nopetynope.

2. My apartment was built in the 1820s. It's a recent development in the New Town; the Old Town is mediaeval. Anything built less than 200 years ago? NewNewNew.

249:

''P.S., you know that once they've solved "The Muslim Problem" they're coming for the Jews, right? That's always a fundamental part of the program, they're just not talking about it in public right now.''

I try to stay out of these debates on this blog, for obvious reasons, but can't let that past. While the former is a legitimate concern, for the reasons Jamesface and you mention, the latter is just plain nonsense. Do a Web search for Murdoch and Israel, and Richard Desmond; I will accept Rothermere, though I doubt that he is that devious.

250:

English nationalism is a Thing. Mostly within the UK. Extremely obnoxious, and it's been on the rise since the 1970s when the National Front (the fascist party) tried to make the union flag for their own symbol.

251:

> the most virulently misogynistic bots of "saint" Paul

Not to defend Saul/Paul in particular (he wasn't a very nice guy), but the virulently misogynistic parts that are ascribed to him (Pastoral Epistles) or appear in the seven more or less undisputed Pauline letters (1 Corinthians) are widely believed to be forgeries and/or later scribal insertions by scribes who had a point to make. Paul himself, to the extent it can be determined, was not particularly anti-woman, at least as far as such things went in those days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_the_Apostle_and_women

252:

What's the political strategy for overcoming NIMBY? You'd need to toss a lot of historical protection, contextual zoning, and greenbelt protection;; certainly in the southeast.

253:

Oh, I agree there. My first experience of the USA was in Chicago in the 1970s, and I slept on the ground floor in a cheap hotel under the El in the near north side, and walked back from the centre in the near-dark quite happily. But lived in fear of being run down by the maniacs at the wheel, for good reasons!

254:

Sorry, Noel, but American drivers are mostly pretty poor -- although they're bad in different ways from state to state. Boston: using your indicators (turn signals) is Giving Intelligence To The Enemy. Florida: ... is Florida. California: everybody drives including people who really really shouldn't.

Actually, that last point goes everywhere in the USA. The minimum driving age is 16 and the standard for proficiency is sufficiently low that a US driving license isn't recognized as equivalent skill level in most of western Europe. The British test is a whole lot harder (and usually taken using a stick shift, because if you use an automatic gearbox you're only licensed to drive automatic, and until quite recently 80-90% of cars sold in the UK were stick shift).

I agree that most places outside the EU make American drivers look good. And don't start me on Japan. (Japan: where drivers aren't allowed on the roads until after they've passed their driving test, in a Toy Town setting. So you get drivers who can control their vehicle but are basically utterly clueless about interpreting other drivers' -- or pedestrians -- intentions.)

255:

I believe that we have more homes with granted planning permission than the shortfall; all a developer has to do is to turn one sod to keep the permission viable indefinitely. My proposal was full council tax on them from the date of the permission, and restoration of the powers to impose a time-limit. And a complete reversal of the unadmitted London and south-east first policy. There are other changes, of course.

256:

There's a story, possibly apochryphal about a support call to an American software house about a piece of property management software they had sold in Britain. The year of construction field in the database required four digits and no leading zero.

257:

Yeah, I think When Fascism Comes to Britain (in the 21st century) the Jews will be quite low down the list. It'll be Muslims first, and EU citizens (mustn't forget the Bulgarians!), then Roma/travellers/gypsies/anyone who doesn't want a mortgage on a des res in the suburbs, then lefties, QUILTBAGs, assorted Sikhs/Hindus/non-white, Irish, and finally the Jews when they've run out of everyone else to persecute. Because everyone knows you're not a real fascist until you persecute the Jews (and anyway, there aren't many identifiable Jews left in the UK: the Haredim are isolated in a small part of North London and in Manchester, the rest are pretty much assimilated).

258:

There is a pub in Salisbury called the New Inn - 12th century.

259:

A key problem is that infrastructure development is invariably driven by the needs of London. So the south-east overheats and the north-west is neglected.

A good start would be moving a chunk of the civil service out to somewhere like Bradford or Liverpool -- depressed city but part of a million-plus urban catchment area with good transport links to more prosperous cities (Bradford to Leeds; Liverpool to Manchester). Transplant the House of Commons to Harrogate or York, and watch the transport links get a hasty upgrade.

260:

@Nojay 256:

There was an Oxford joke. College gets a big legacy from an alumnus. The Bursar says, perhaps over the dried frog pills:

"We have to remember that for the last two thousand years, land has been the best investment."

Quoth the chair of history: "We have to remember that the last two thousand years have been quite exceptional".

261:

I'll see you Salisbury and raise you Newcastle. IIRC it was new when built by William Rufus.

262:

It's a longstanding joke of mine that in British English, "new" is a prefix meaning "old".

263:

Yes & no
Also, been done.
Huge numbers of civil servants in the NE, as evidenced by the numbers using the train between "the Cross" & Darlington/Durham/Newcastle

264:

@Jamesface, Troutwaxer and OGH:

Who will they go after when they've finished with the Muslims? I agree, not the Jews per se – he next target will be literates! Cleverclogs, can't be trusted, harrumph harrumph.

265:

The good news about modern American housing is that it is usually up to a good earthquake/tornado code, well-insulated, and network friendly, with all the modern conveniences. The only problem is that you can't withstand a siege in one of our houses.

266:

Can I re-order that?
NOT for laughs, I'm serious.

It'll be some Muslims first, probably the Sunni and EU citizens (mustn't forget the Bulgarians!), then Roma/travellers/gypsies/anyone who doesn't want a mortgage on a des res in the suburbs, then , QUILTBAGs, assorted Sikhs/Hindus/non-white [ Very unlikely - Sikhs are well-known as "honorary pinkies" & anyway do you really want to pick a fight with the Sikhs ???], lefties, Irish, and finally the Jews when they've run out of everyone else to persecute.

And quite possibly the Roma first, even before the Sunni muslims. [ Hint - my 2nd-generation born-in-Walthamstow neighbour, whose grandparents fled Kashmir is really anti-Roma ... errr .... ]

Fortunately, it ain't going to happen.
Mair is as representative of Britain as Breivik is of Norway.

267:

Again, yes & no.
Are the National Trust English nationalists?
Probably.
Chingford Morris got into trouble for flying the "St George" flag ... "Bcause it means you are NF/EDL"
Reply: "Fuckwits - we're an ENGLISH MORRIS SIDE!" ... grrr.

Nationalist != fascist loonie
See also the number of St Andrew's flags flying in Scotland.

268:

"Forgeries &/or later textual insertions, huh?
Well it would all have to have been done before Nicea, wouldn't it, when the "bible" was officially stitched-up.

And the Roman paterfamilias model of family life was made the ruling, from then until almost-now.

269:

No one will say she was assassinated. It's like some kind of new forbidden word. Killed, Murdered, Attacked, Slaughtered, anything but Assassinated.

270:

You probably have a point, but Murdoch is pretty vulnerable too - colonist, international business owner including properties in Asia, etc. And I must say it would be lovely to see him blown away by the very storm he'd stirred up!

It's also important to understand that dislike of a particular culture isn't the only factor involved. Once the economy crashes they'll forbid anyone from transferring wealth out of the country without government permission, then start classifying outgroups by their looting potential. The first enemies will obviously be Muslims and other immigrants. The next enemy after that will be the richest enemy. The new, new enemy will be the second richest enemy. Etc.

Unfortunately, they're right-leaning so they won't put the nobility up against the wall.

271:

Anders Behring Brexit?

272:

By American standards, Californians are among the best drivers in the country.

In this case, I recently finished a three-week road trip through the western US. It's more nuanced than that. Southern California drivers are freaking lunatics as a group, especially around San Diego. Most of the rest of western drivers are much better behaved, and there are a lot more cops on the road in places like Utah.

Now to clarify that, I'm near a bunch of military bases, so I think that some of the crazy driving comes from athletic young men with a lot of testosterone and varying levels of athletic talent. They leave traffic snarls in their wake. The crazy set also includes, in no particular order:
--Combat vets suffering PTSD who can't stop driving as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. They drive huge dark SUVs in a very dangerous manner, treating every small car as if it holds a terrorist or a suicide bomber. They were much more common in 2008, and thank god they're getting help.
--High tech and biotech executives who drive BMWs, Audis, and Teslas at high speeds and with utter arrogance. Even the guys with the lambos are more sedate.
--Millennials (with a smattering of Gen Xers) who are going to slime their way through any traffic jam no matter how much chaos they cause (these are the guys who drive on the shoulder to get ahead).
--Your usual collection of people on alcohol, drugs, driving stolen cars, and otherwise doing anti-social things (big problem late at night)
--Little old ladies and men who are so angry about what's happening around them that they're going to enforce the law by driving below the speed limit and trying to force everyone behind them to do the same.
--People trying to do the Christian Charity thing of letting everyone else cut in front of them. This makes for a lot of dangerous weaving around them and a lot of slammed breaks behind them, but because they feel so good about what they're doing, they never look back.
--Hypermilers, who act the same way as the Charity cases, because they've heard that it helps ease traffic jams (it doesn't, really, but they feel good about putting on their brakes when you don't expect them to).
--People driving work trucks who believe that, because the truck doesn't belong to them, it doesn't matter if they hit someone with it.
--Asian women (sorry for the racist thing) who are scared stiff of driving, drive slow, merge very, very, very slowly, never look anywhere but straight ahead, and sometimes don't signal when changing lanes. I stereotype this only because I so rarely see this behavior in people of other races or genders.
--People texting while driving, holding a cell phone to their ear with one hand while gesticulating with the other and driving with their knees, people trying to get Google maps to tell them where they are, and other such Darwin Award contestants.

Oh, and a majority of normal drivers who only occasionally belong to one of the above groups (say, on Friday nights or when trying to get out of a traffic jam). But throw millions of these people onto the roads every day, let them stew in huge traffic jams for hours, and you get a stew of drivers who, on average, are freaking lunatics on the road.

In contrast, most of the rest of the US is comparatively underpopulated, so the roads are more open, and the drivers are better on average. They may be less skilled, but they also aren't packed together into traffic jams that magnify their inadequacies.

Oh, did I mention that I spent five hours driving from LA to San Diego yesterday? That's 120 miles or so. I started off as a normal driver, but after four hours, I was a freaking lunatic along with everyone else.

How did we get onto this topic anyway?

273:

First person I've seen use the ' A ' word ( assassination )

274:

I live up the street from a New Inn which has documentary evidence from 1768 (as the site of an auction). Rather sadly it was damaged in the war and rebuilt in 1946.

275:

Whenever I mention it on social media [or Twitter as its more usually known] I always use the A-word.

Elected officials who are killed are always assassinated.

Ian Gow, Airey Neave, Rev Robert Bradford were all assassinated, Jo Cox was too

There was an attempted assassination of Steven Timms, Labour MP for East Ham, less than a week after the 2010 General Election

The ever-reliable Tim Fenton has shown that the European newspapers have called her assassination correctly

http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/jo-cox-what-euro-papers-say.html

With the right-wing UK press desperately bullying everyone into not politicizing a political murder.

For obvious reasons.

276:

My experience of driving in America is over 25 years out of date—I worked at SLAC, outside Palo Alto, for a couple of years in the late 80s—but my recollection is that, at least back then, northern Californian drivers were by and large good; definitely better than southern English. But the SLAC locals told me that Los Angeleno drivers were batshit crazy (I don't know; never went there). I entirely agree about the reluctance of Bostonians to tell you where they're about to go (suddenly and without prior warning).

I've never driven in—shudder!—Italy, but I've been a pedestrian there. I survived; I'm not sure how. I have driven in Greece: urban Greeks give Italians a run for their money, though they're much less lethal in the country.

I ride a bike in Tokai (small coastal town in Japan); the driving there seems to be perfectly OK. (Mind you, you mostly ride on the footpath, which is shielded from the road by a kerb that's more of a small wall, about 20 cm high: I've seen the effects of a car misjudging a driveway entrance and hitting the said kerb, and it was not pretty.)

277:

Reminds me painfully of my one-time American colleague (may already have given her dishonourable mention elsewhere in Charlie's blog comments). Although she was close enough to hear the initial bang, she refused to use the T Word about Breivik, on the grounds that only left-wing political murderers could be called "terrorists", right-wingers were merely "mass murderers".

I don't see why such critters should not be called "fellow-travellers", returning the compliment of what they used to call general unaffiliated progressives in the Cold War.

Not that I approve of expanding the T Word to single-victim murderers, mind, but "assassination" would be fine by me. Lots of lovely history behind the word.

278:

I've never driven in—shudder!—Italy, but I've been a pedestrian there. I survived; I'm not sure how.

Q. How do people park in Rome?

A. The same way you would park if you'd just spilt a bottle of sulphuric acid in your lap.

Japan: Never driven there, but my impression from two months of pedestrianism is of impeccable manners. They all drive as if on a driving test with the death penalty for failure. The only rudeness I ever saw was from a black limo alleged to be top Kobe yakuza inspecting a vassal fief.

279:

Terrorist who murdered Jo Cox shouts: "Death to traitors" in court

The more I hear about this guy, the more I'm reminded of Robert Dear, the murdered at our local Planned Parenthood clinic. Same sort of courtroom outbursts. The main difference is motivation, political rather than fundie religious.
I was going to make a similar comment a few hours ago, with reference to Dear being a literal "Swivel-eyed Loon" (have you seen pictures of him?), but don't want to give an impression of blaming their actions on Mental Illness. That may be a contributing factor, but certainly not the main one.

280:

D'oh, finger slip. Should be "the murderer", obviously.

281:

I read the PK estimate on his blog. It is a pity he doesn't explain his model and the assumptions that go into it. The economist has a nice round up of their articles pro and con which is refreshingly nuanced.

282:

--Combat vets suffering PTSD who can't stop driving as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. They drive huge dark SUVs in a very dangerous manner, treating every small car as if it holds a terrorist or a suicide bomber. They were much more common in 2008, and thank god they're getting help.

This might explain something I've been seeing the last couple years. Mostly in the last six months, I've seen several instances of drivers intentionally running red lights, sometimes a slight pause before going through and little or no oncoming traffic, but not always. (Then there's the people I've seen deciding to make a right turn from the left turn lane.) I was blaming it on the lack of Driver's Ed. in Colorado, or perhaps they're the same libertarian asshats who like "Rolling Coal". But I can see how they may be returned GIs who get itchy whenever their vehicle isn't moving.
I tend to think it's the second option. I just wonder why they're in such a hurry to get to the next red light.

283:

"Forgeries &/or later textual insertions, huh?
Well it would all have to have been done before Nicea, wouldn't it, when the "bible" was officially stitched-up.

Yes, pretty much so. From shortly after 30 CE until the CofN in 325, things were wild in Christian theology and didn't really get settled even then, c.f. the Council of Chalcedon. Even somewhat later, like the early 1500's, stuff was being re-inserted like the Johannine Comma that was used to provide Scriptural support for the Trinitarian mash-up.

But we digress from the Brexit.

(I, an USian, would vote Remain if I had a vote.)

284:

"Forgeries &/or later textual insertions, huh?
Well it would all have to have been done before Nicea, wouldn't it, when the "bible" was officially stitched-up.

Yes, pretty much so. From shortly after 30 CE until the CofN in 325, things were wild in Christian theology and didn't really get settled even then, c.f. the Council of Chalcedon. Even somewhat later, like the early 1500's, stuff was being re-inserted like the Johannine Comma that was used to provide Scriptural support for the Trinitarian mash-up.

But we digress from the Brexit.

(I, an USian, would vote Remain if I had a vote.)

285:

Yes
An insane murderer, who appears to have had (in each case) political/religious "motive".
This does not (probably) count as assasination,as that usually has an ordered group behind it.

286:

Its been tried Charlie ..note Civil Service Jobs moved up to Newcastle Upon Tyne ... here and now ..https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/recruitment and also ? ... http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/mar/04/internal-recruitment-civil-service-madness

The thing is that many of those comfy middle class jobs are going to be eliminated by Information Technology's " Intelligent .. artificial people who don't need to be paid either now, or in the future in the form of Pensions.But, Wait! Beyond that?

Way back in the 1980s in the UK and, elsewhere that there were, way back then, many Jobs that my school fellows of several generations beyond my own in the mid 1960s in West Southwick Secondary Modern School that Boys were deemed to be fit for.

The brighter boys, who had family connections - one of my families ancestors was listed as having 5 Riveters who were employed in the local shipyards and were resident for census in their palatial, disease ridden slum home - could expect to go to the many heavy industry jobs/apprenticeships that were available. The less lucky could/would find themselves at age 15 - school leaving age back in those idealized halcyon days of the 1960s in the UK - and a bit 'helping ' a Miner down the coal mine/pit that was 15 minutes walk away from my school school. This HELP involved shoveling coal, this after a token amount of classroom work learning about ..you have to laugh don't you? ..safety.

So? The point is that the present middle classes are catching up on their predecessors plight and even the well educated Lecturers in Universities are having their salaries cut and their expectation of comfortable early retirement destroyed: no more two holidays abroad and the nice home in the middle class suburb of choice guaranteed by Hard Work ..and 'WE deserve it and have earned it for WE are the brightest of the Bright !'..and so on and so forth. And who gets the blame for this situation? Well no-one expects too much of politicians and Globalization is just a word. So who to blame when the redistribution of Jobs from South to North East West or beyond fails? And how about their predecessors in this dance of employment death?

Ho Hum, well, the poor sods at the bottom of the pile, who thought that jobs in the Heavy Industries were good jobs, have been sorely disappointed. On a news program on UK TV just lately a former steel worker was interviewed and stated that He did have a job at a Steel Mill prior to its commercial collapse. He had managed to find a job as a Bus Driver that was paid £1000 per month less than his old job. Now his new job is probably in an environment that is good deal healthier than that of his old job ..but, £1000 per month less well paid. ... You are going to have a hard time convincing him that he Really Should listen to his betters in the Well meaning Middle Managerial and Political Classes that he should vote to stay in an EC that he blames for the plight that has given him and his family £1000 per month less than he was earning just a little while ago.

Way back at the end of the 1980s you could stand just outside of the city center of Sunderland and look upon a Vast Industrial Landscape. Beyond the city center itself you could look beyond the Shipyards and along the river banks to manufacturing of everything from Cranes to Beer ..inside a decade it had all vanished. All of it Gone and replaced by a University Campus and expensive housing and some light industrial estates. This was fairly dramatic in scope and sight in its immediacy, but all across the Industrial heartland of the UK similar situations came to be.

Up until now there has been very little that has replaced those Industries with jobs that carried a similar level of ..oh I dunno ..prestige? Pride? for the working man ..for it has mostly been working class men who have lost their traditional status as 'Bread Winners ' and 'Good Providers 'Not just men for there have been .. well,look here ..

" I have lived in working-class communities all my life, and now that I research and write about those communities as a working-class academic, my motivation has always been to make sure that an authentic working-class woman’s voice tells our stories."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/15/brexit-working-class-sick-racist-eu-referendum?CMP=share_btn_fb

The movement to eject the EU and go independent as UK isn't just rooted in xenophobia or racism ..."Its THEM they are to Blame!!" Certainly that exists, and I could give you some choice examples of the same, but it isn't as simple as that, and the middle class pro Brexiters seem to be mostly people who are just beginning to find that their comfortable In Doors Jobs With No Heavy Lifting are next in line for Globalization, as are those of their children and grandchildren, and they can't help but notice that the Pro IN movement people are likely to belong to those of those classes that do posses comfy well paid jobs that owe their existence to a movement that is beyond the level of Nation State. And that to an increasing extent the new ruling classes and their minions of the EUs service clients have little in common with those of the UKs left behind and dispossessed by the Future program of EU integration as Ever Closer Union.

People who see their future as being a happy retirement to a villa in Tuscany after well paid employment in the EU infrastructure have little or nothing in common with ex steel workers and bus drivers in Tees-side who never-the less aren't idiots and can see that the new world that favors the perfectly honorable political /philosophical position of redistribution of money from the poor and poorly employed of the UK to the even more desperately poor of,say, Romania isn't likely to do them,or their children, any good and certainly wont do them any good if the Poor of Romania are willing to come to the UK and work in, say a Distribution Center/Warehouse for half the pay that the people who were born in the UK - whatever their race and ethnicity might be - considers to be reasonable. Such monies should come from the Rich of the EU perhaps and maybe be a State Minimum Wage as paid as a Basic Income for citizens of the UK ? I wish you well of that one in any future that I can anticipate! The whole damn situation is complicated and just isn;t going to solved by ritual pronouncement of the Magic Words 'Racism' or 'Xenophobia'
I have no solutions to offer to resolve this shambolic mess but it does seem to me that it may well be that Democracy as we understand it in its modern form may well not be possible in a state that is larger than that, say, of Scotland, or at largest that of England ..or at least not possible until communication systems become much more sophisticated than they are now and some of the bile can be drawn from the US and Them conflict by a substantial state Basic Wage for the Citizon - not inclusive of housing costs!- can become the norm.

I think that at lest part of the basic problem is that we all expect Improvements of the Human Condition to happen NOW, NOW or I will stamp my foot and Scream and Scream until I'm Sick! The kind of Ever Closer Union that the EU s Technocrats long for just isn't possible in this kind of haste. If the first fifty years of integration had included Germany, France and UK with Others to join ever so cautiously over the next 50 years then maybe it would have been possible - though I do have my doubts about Democracy being possible across a State that large? At the recent past and presents rate of political and economic progress? Not a chance. Beyond even the reasonable folk of the UK this following linked is more likely as a response to ever closer union... 'We shall not take anyone in' HUNGARY tells EU it's FULL and it doesn't 'NEED' immigration " ..

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/680949/We-shall-not-take-anyone-in-Hungarian-ministers-hit-back-EU-migration-quotas

You may blame racism, xenophobia, class war or any other damn simplistic cause, but whatever the cause the basic problem is one of Impatience of Government and the conviction that the Ruling Class knows best and the rest of the 'umble folk had best do as they are told by the Wise ..or the beatings will continue until morale improves. What could possibly go wrong?

287:

At what level does the other become the scary person with a radically different culture?

At the point at which a particular political group is seeking power...

Want more power/money/votes as a Scottish politician in a minority party? It's Westminster's fault. Want it as a UK politician in a minority party? It's Brussels. Want it as a Yugoslav politician? Blame the Muslims, Croats, whatever (Milosevic got his big break that way - claiming support for those poor downtrodden Serbs in Kosovo).

A common claim is that "Fear works, is the lesson of the Scottish Referendum" - actually, I think that there was another, darker, lesson that was also learned. Namely, "Hate works, is the lesson of the Scottish Referendum".

I felt during the Scottish Independence referendum that there was a strong undercurrent of "blame/hate the English" being used, deliberately, to increase the vote for Yes. Lots of undercurrent epithets, lots of dog whistles, and lots of after-the-fact claims that they didn't support hatred in any way. Any comment against Indeyref was met by shrieking about how it was "Project Fear" (as if not having a coherent economic plan is a good thing). Shout down your opponents early and often.

Depressingly, it succeeded - the only two areas in Scotland that had a majority vote yes, were those with the most deprivation and the lowest average levels of educational attainment (Glasgow and Dundee). Voting went from the historical 30-35% support up to 45% support.

Conversations amongst colleagues and from businesses at the time were similar - if Scotland votes Yes, we're leaving. Friends were starting to look at moving to rUK, because the anticipation was that once the promised "Oil and Whiskey will give us all rainbows and chocolate fountains" turned out to be economic naivete of the worst kind, that serious nastiness was only a decade away.

For the most part, IMHO, things have settled down since (no-one's called me a traitor recently, for wanting to stay in the UK) but the remnants of a more bipolar political opinion have remained...

288:

It's not 300 yet, but apropos of "The Bursar says, perhaps over the dried frog pills:"

Coincidentally, I heard my wife say "the recipe says pulv. viper - have you heard of it?" Actually pul biber :-)

289:

This does not (probably) count as assasination,as that usually has an ordered group behind it.

I would disagree. Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, was not associated with any group. In his mind he was slighted by not getting a political appointment in the Garfield administration, which he was in no way qualified.
I'd go with the usual definition of Assassination, as a murder for political/religious motives. So, yes, Jo Cox was assassinated.

290:

the basic problem is one of Impatience of Government and the conviction that the Ruling Class knows best and the rest of the 'umble folk had best do as they are told by the Wise ..or the beatings will continue until morale improves.

Simpler than that, perhaps. Where were you born and brought up? Where have you lived?

If these things are limited geographically, it's easy to believe that everything is the fault of "them" (immigrants, asylum seekers, foreigners, Catholics, Jews, Irish, Muslims, whatever).

If you've been out and seen the world, it's more likely that you realise we've got more similarities than differences. If you've lived abroad, or if you've been in an "out group", you're less likely to accept the claims of power-seeking bigots.

If all you've ever known is a hundred-mile circle around your birthplace, and a couple of trips abroad to foreign places where you didn't feel comfortable because your education didn't include much in the way of languages-other-than-English, and you got ripped off because it was a tourist trap, then might you be more vulnerable?

291:

Nope, Murdoch can live wherever he wants. Google on "investors visa". Hint: plonk down £5M in the right kind of investment account and £10,000 for the paperwork and the Home Office will assign you a personal concierge to help cut the red tape on your way to an investor's visa and, two years later, permanent residence status. (Footballers and artists need not apply; serious investors only.)

292:

On a happier note, I just noticed that Graydon has a third Commonweal book out. (Sorry if I'm rather behind the curve on this one)...

Woohoo... Something to tide me over until Friday!

293:

Ah, the terrifying ninja Japanese bike riders! On the pavement, no reflectors, lights, bell, protective gear, or awareness that pedestrians exist!

294:

The thing is that many of those comfy middle class jobs are going to be eliminated by Information Technology's " Intelligent .. artificial people who don't need to be paid either now, or in the future in the form of Pensions.But, Wait! Beyond that?

Would be true if the civil service didn't routine fuck-up IT implementation.

The arm of the civil service I work employs 56,000 people.

They are beta-testing Win10, and found it won't work on a "small percentage" of machines.

A small percentage?

Turns out its 13,000 machines.

It's also much more difficult to collect tax from people who earn so little they aren't paying any.

295:

Charlie, I've got to disagree. Put UKIP into office, dump the EU, watch the bankers move out, deport all the wogs and 5-10 years from now you have a completely different political situation, in which the next lootable person's "investor's visa" counts for absolutely nothing.

Cameron gave the nutters a foothold with the BREXIT vote and now they've got some legitimacy. How far they'll take it? Gawd only knows.

296:

I propose we designate this scenario CASE NIGHTMARE TWEED.

297:

Not sure it's an excuse. Certainly, I've seen defensive driving done by ex-Forces with "very interesting" backgrounds; but it was ever defensive, and compliant with the rules of the road.

"Always park facing outwards" doesn't count, everyone does that :) Mostly, it was "vary your routes and times", "never pull up close behind another car" (always leave space to pull out), and only occasionally "keep the car moving if possible" (because that 0-5 mph is the hard bit to do that's easy to aim at).

"Just leave it in second gear, you can do everything in second" and not doing up your seatbelt until you were safely away from your start point, were left to the more paranoid...

298:

Hello from Australia. I find the near-unanimity of these comments remarkable: the opinion is apparently that there is nothing really to be concerned about in mass immigration, and that anyone who does object is racist and therefore bad.

Meanwhile I read elsewhere that native English are now less than half the population of London... What amazes me, is that the segment of the ruling class and intelligentsia who are, for whatever reasons, pro-immigration, feel they have the *right* to give the country away.

299:

In the late 80s, when in college, my brother had a short stint as a bike messenger in Manhattan. Dealing with the traffic and pedestrians was a bit much for him. You'd have to be a ninja to not get yourself killed.

300:

I'm going to miss how funny he is, as in deliberately funny, not "oh god George, stop talking to that piece of corn, it is not a person, what are you doing?" funny.

Re: driving, I did a stint as a taxi driver in Louisville, really enjoyed it, big ex-police interceptor V-8 rumbling under the hood, lots of interesting folk to chat with, the people at Connexion's knew me and I got a lot of business from good sweet gay guys who were smart enough to get a cab instead of drive, and didn't mind tipping the cute young man driving them home very well.

I am so glad this was before the smartphone became a permanent attachment for everyone.

No ma'am, you're not even good at walking while looking at the damn thing, get off the damn phone, and look out for that damn hipster kid who almost ran into you because he was too busy deciding that the beard/haircut which I grow naturally is "the hip thing" and googling it while changing lanes, as I am left over here with an urge to hit myself due to trends overlapping me for the time being. Now if you excuse me, I need to tweet about the accident I'm about to get in, gotta stay updated right!

Speaking of cars and the actual topic... I just had an awful thought: what would Brexit do to Clarkson et al (jerkbag that he is, I miss the show dammit) and their new show? They're going through Amazon but I'm not sure how much is still based over there... maybe if things go bad they could toss Harris and Sabine a lifeline and fold them into their stuff.

@296: I suggested CASE NIGHTMARE PLAID for the case where Scottish sports fans accidentally form a nation wide summoning circle during an overly complex coordinated multi-stadium wave attempt, TWEED is far too terrifying to consider.

301:

Meanwhile I read elsewhere that native English are now less than half the population of London...

Then you are misinformed, and you should start to question the quality of the media bubble you're trapped in.

302:

"Sorry Charlie, but you are generalising from a single nutter, with (apparently) some very unpleasant friends, to the whole nation. "

At the risk of Americanizing things, the standard response to a right-wing killer is 'mentally disturbed individual'. To a black killer 'thug', to a foreign killer 'terrorist'.

A right-winger murdered a liberal MP. I wouldn't be surprised that he's whacko, since the non-whacko right-wingers generally don't toss their lives away. That's what whackos are for.

303:

"The thing is that many of those comfy middle class jobs are going to be eliminated by Information Technology's " Intelligent .. artificial people who don't need to be paid either now, or in the future in the form of Pensions.But, Wait! Beyond that?"

Jobs, jobs. There will be no jobs. Hell in the U.S. even the population of lawyers is declining , which certainly signals the End is Nigh. Once the self driving trucks arrive in mass, the end will have arrived.

If there are no jobs then the immigrant will be the enemy of the working native, simple as that.

Couple that with the fact that GW is going to set hundreds of millions of people in motion over the next fifty years and it is beyond inevitable that the walls are going to go up. Hell even the relatively small number of Syrian refugees got s royal smack down from the EU

This makes it very hard for loose economic federations like the EU to endure what is coming, at least unless they finish the job and politically unify.

304:

And finally, a switch-over to the German model: homes depreciate and nobody expects to make an investment killing off them.

Is this build into laws or as result of policies. I'd like to know more. Is there a reference or link?

305:

Boston has casual lawbreaking

I haven't driven their since the big dig but drivers in Boston treated it as a sport to be won back when I was there.

I traveled a lot in the 80s and drove in Boston area, NYC, Northern NJ, both ends of PA, Chicago, LA and SF. And since then a lot in the south, Texas, and the DC area.

I think most issues with drivers are somewhat the result of the road system. Boston before the big dig was just plain insane in terms of how the roads worked. Now with a more sane road system driver may act better.

Currently I'd rate the DC area as one of the worst to drive if you're not from the area. At times you feel like you're switching countries every few miles. (2 states and an admin area contribute to that but not all of it.) NYC is also a mess in man spots that can't easily be fixed. And the Dallas area, well, you just have to get used to everyone driving the speed limit aggressively even when there is only 1 car spacing at 70mph.

306:

1. Been to Detroit in January. Nope nopetynope.

Or Chicago, Cleveland, etc...

Pittsburgh turned me off being frozen every year for a lifetime or so.

When you step outside in February and the wind peels the skin off your face, well just forget it.

307:

There isn't rampant immigration.

The UK averages 350k migrants per year, of whom EU is around 180k. They have around 700k births per year, and 500k deaths.

Basic maths means the population is increasing by half a million per year. If they stopped all immigration across the board it would STILL go up by 200k per year.

UKIP never mentions those figures.

308:

Oh, and London is around 2/3 native born still, although only ~45% white british. And that's in one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the UK.

Perception != reality.

Also, a lot of white british live in the satellite commuter cities surrounding London, and that brings the ratio up a lot higher.

309:

"Since I now live in the US and cannot even vote on this issue, I really don't have a dog in this race. The outcome is just an event in history as far as I'm concerned, one which may have more extensive consequences in the future."

Actually, we in the USA do. If there's one thing which could bring about President Trump, it's the economy collapsing. It's not great now, and Brexit (combined with the stupidity and evil of both Germany and the Tories) might be enough to make a difference. And that, IMHO, would result in Great Depression II.

310:

Immigration isn't a pure good or bad. It depends on the nature of the immigrants, how many of them, and how all that coincides with what your country is trying to do. If you want your country to remain static and homogeneous forever, then immigration is clearly bad. If you want your country to evolve and maintain vigor, then immigration can help with that. If you want your country to be made unrecognizable overnight then huge amounts of immigration all from the same place will produce the desired effect. The optimum is probably to restrict immigration to a rate that allows immigrants to integrate and assimilate, while imparting some of their own character. And it should be a variety of types from a variety of places. But murder is always bad.

311:

"Financial services are about 6% of british GDP, so the City leaving entirely would probably drop a further 4% of GDP."

I skimmed the report from the UK Treasury. They had two scenarios, moderate (4%) and severe (6%).

And IIRC, they specifically disclaimed any currently unknown events from their forecast. For example, if this turned out to be a shock which caused a general financial collapse.

312:

"Been to Detroit in January. Nope nopetynope."

First you're too hot in Florida in the summer, now you don't like Michigan in the winter - I thought that Scots didn't like comfort?

"2. My apartment was built in the 1820s. It's a recent development in the New Town; the Old Town is mediaeval. Anything built less than 200 years ago? NewNewNew."

The latter was sarcasm, although many roads in Michigan will fool you into believing that they were built more than 200 years ago :)

313:

The US gives favorable tax treatment to home ownership. (mortgage interest deduction, exclusion on gain on sale of primary residence)

From a very quick googling, the UK appears to offer the deduction for sale of home, and interest deduction on investment property.

But so does Germany. (mortgage interest offsets rental income, gain excluded if you lived there for a number of years)

So, primarily not tax incentives then?

But from what I can see, German real estate prices did not go through the boom that US, UK & other EU did since 1993. http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/182022-international-market-comparisons/

Wonder how much of that was due to reunification. If there was suddenly the entire east open to revitalize the housing stock, that would keep housing costs from rising.

314:

"This does not (probably) count as assasination,as that usually has an ordered group behind it."

I will contact the Kennedy family to inform them that two of their members were *not* assassinated.


Bringing to back from the US - the whole point is that the Leave campaign has been using the sort of rhetoric one would use if one wanted to trigger whackjobs into murder.

315:

"Then you are misinformed, and you should start to question the quality of the media bubble you're trapped in."

Murdoch got his start in Australia; we should remember that his manure has had a longer time to fester.

316:

"And the Dallas area, well, you just have to get used to everyone driving the speed limit aggressively even when there is only 1 car spacing at 70mph."

70? Sod that, the speed limit in Michigan is 70, which means 80. I have driven with two-car spacing at well over 80, on a freeway which looks like that trench on the Death Star.

317:

"Hello from Australia. I find the near-unanimity of these comments remarkable: the opinion is apparently that there is nothing really to be concerned about in mass immigration, and that anyone who does object is racist and therefore bad."

I have no sympathy for anyone complaining about immigration who does not also complain even more vocally about reproduction. In Britain, that is a problem of about twice the size, and so should receive at least twice the attention - if not more, since it is harder to solve. As it is, it gets zilch.

"Meanwhile I read elsewhere that native English are now less than half the population of London..."

1) Bollocks.

2) Even if not bollocks, so what?

"What amazes me, is that the segment of the ruling class and intelligentsia who are, for whatever reasons, pro-immigration, feel they have the *right* to give the country away."

I don't understand what this means. What is "giving the country away"? Who to? Who is claiming a right to do it?

318:

As someone who's been observing the entire Brexit affair from the safe distance of Texas, I've got a question. What happens if the Leave vote wins, and whatever Parliament you all end up with afterwards refused to enact the results of the referendum, and says "no, we are staying after all"?

Does that end up being some sort of full-bore constitutional crisis for the UK? Do you have massive rioting by people who (reasonably) feel betrayed by their elected officials? Does the Queen have to go on TV and tell everyone to calm down and behave? Do you end up with a hung Parliament? Hang Parliament?

I ask because a vote to Leave and a Parliamentary refusal to implement it seems a very likely outcome, and I can't see any way that it ends well.

319:

Thing is, we've got all those types here too. (I haven't noticed the "combat vets with PTSD", but you could substitute "taxi drivers" without needing to change the description very much.) Even so, every Brit I've heard commenting on their experience of driving in the US denigrates US driving skills. Guess it's all a matter of degree.

One category you didn't list that we have here is the "driverless Micra". This is a Nissan Micra that appears to have no driver. Behaviour is much the same as your "Asian women" category (which in our context involves the British meaning of "Asian" and cars larger than a Micra). The apparent driverlessness is not evidence of advanced electronickery; the car is still under the control of a meat processor, but one whose support housing is so diminutive that its video sensors are barely above the window line.

320:

"Never pull up close behind another car" is sound advice in the general case. So that when the dimwit coming up behind doesn't realise in time that the cars in front are not moving, you have room to duck up onto the verge, or at the least scoot forward enough to give said dimwit's brakes a bit more space to work in. Particularly applicable when you are at the back of a motorway queue.

321:

"It'll be Muslims first, and EU citizens (mustn't forget the Bulgarians!), then Roma/travellers/gypsies/anyone who doesn't want a mortgage on a des res in the suburbs, then lefties, QUILTBAGs, assorted Sikhs/Hindus/non-white, Irish, and finally the Jews when they've run out of everyone else to persecute."

You've missed one out. Should probably be first on the list, since it is the only group which it is not only currently acceptable to persecute, but which does suffer official government persecution, and about which there exist national TV programmes designed to spread hatred and support for the persecution. That is, people on benefits.

322:

wikipedia has some figures rating traffic deaths, and US is about 2x the UK rate based on # of cars & miles driven, but 4x based on population. The UK is at the top of the list for all categories, meaning safest.

On the "I went there & people drive crazy there" topic, I feel that part of this is just not knowing how people are going to move. Drivers in an area are a sub-culture, just like any other community. They have expectations, and when you act differently, there's friction. The outsider interprets that friction as "people drive crazy there." Not saying there aren't objectively bad driving behaviors, but not every perceived bad driving behavior is one.

323:

Uh, city driving. Not open road.

As to the death star trench in the last year Dallas opened 635 to that on the north side. I've yet to go into the trench as I'm rarely on that side of town anymore and the trench is where you pay tolls. :)

Most of the 635 trench has regular non toll 635 as a roof.

324:

The apparent driverlessness is not evidence of advanced electronickery; the car is still under the control of a meat processor, but one whose support housing is so diminutive that its video sensors are barely above the window line.

In the US we talk about blue hair ladies (which implies an age of likely over 70) who are watching the road through their steering wheel. Typically driving a "land cruiser" such as a CADDY or similar.

Best thing to do is maximum spacing.

325:

I will note that my stereotype (which is generally, but not exclusively, populated by women around here) isn't about the size of the driver, it's about the death grip high on the steering wheel, the often hunched-forward position, the straight ahead stare, and the unwillingness to merge into the flow of traffic no matter what lane they're in.

Yes, elderly drivers do sometimes fit this profile, as do people who can't find their driving glasses and are suffering with whatever their next best option is. It's not defensive driving because good defensive driving goes with the flow of traffic as much as possible. These people can't seem to sense the flow and are afraid of the stream.

The difference with my other kind of elderly driver is that there are a few people (an uncle was one of them) who get in the 3rd lane and go the speed limit, with cars whizzing by on both sides of them. When you finally get a chance to pass them, they often turn and glare at you, and if they do not, their jaws are clenched. But they refuse to move over into the slower lanes. While I can understand that fury at all the scofflaws around them, along with the quixotic attempt to get us hooligans to follow the law, it is dangerous.

326:

Newscorp has a monopoly on local print newspapers in Queensland and a near monopoly for the rest of the country (it owns the only national daily for instance). New media is changing that, and several competitors have online-only local editions for Brisbane and elsewhere. Oz edition Guardian has a lot of good stuff, but annoyingly veers off into UK-specific things with no warning. There are some several interesting developments online, but the most noticeable seems to be the trend to people getting their news via Facebook, predigested and with a self-imposed bubble of its own (having used "see fewer articles like this" several times in the last week... but it is the middle of an election).

On the other hand the headline driven ignorance and anti-immigration sentiment expressed above is far from universal here. Australian cities and suburbs are relatively cosmopolitan places (especially compared with what apparently are the outside expectations. I spend most of my life basically unconcerned with what people outside of Australia think about it and I'm surprised to learn the daft things people apparently believe, but that's a whole other story). The commitment to multiculturalism (and its ongoing success) is so deeply rooted in Australian culture that even the mainstream conservative parties still talk about it in such terms. That doesn't mean there isn't a strong normative assimilation current, or that our domestic racists aren't online too and in contact with their own networks. Or that they lack influence, which I guess brings this paean full circle to the original point.

327:

Hello to Australia, Mitchell. Which aboriginal community are you from?

Less flippantly: last time I was in London, I went to a great cafe called Lantana, run by Aussies, and we got chatting about the history of coffee shops in Australia in relation to my own family members who emigrated, and the different immigrant influences that created a culture that is now being exported (lucratively) around the world.

And as our host said, you're misinformed.

328:

Back in the 90s and early 00s I used to go to international libertarian conferences (about half in Europe, half in North America.) The EU was still new and a number of people didn't approve of Yet Another Layer of Bureaucracy. But the old French and Germans considered that almost any amount of bureaucracy was better than ever having their countries go to war with each other again. If they're still around, they're probably opposed to Brexit as well.

329:

Oh, you must have seen my grandmother when she was still stuck with the Ford Thunderbird...fortunately, after his death she traded it in for a tiny car that she could see over the steering wheel in, was still driving around town (safely) till she had the stent put in when she was 95. I have a picture of her with her head up to my shoulder, and I am not a tall person by any means.

330:

Yes

The first time I went to Germany (1965) I was shown a US forces booklet called "Those strange German ways" to help the visitors to understand what was going on.
Except about 90% of the strange German ways were also entirely familiar British ways.
Educational, that was.

331:

Thank you.
Exactly, spot on ... etc.

I misquoted something a while back, btw: it should have been:

"Support your ruling elite, vote Remain, you know it makes sense".

[ Charlie ] I had not realised, though that the "Express" was so virulent again - as bad, if not worse than when the vile Beaverbrook ran it, euw.

But there is a very wide groundswell of discontent.

To take my usual measuring-stick ... there are approximately 60 plots on our allotment site, of whom at least 11 are non-caucasian & several more are not of "British" descent. Trad Labour voters, mostly, with a sprinkling of others.
The remarks about the EU are uniformly hostile, as interfering bureaucrats, who have been completely bought by big-business interests.
Remember that London is supposed to have a majority for "Remain". I wonder.

Three interesting outcomes:
1: A paper-tin majority for IN - the fighting continues ( Oh, do we have to? )
2: A paper-thin majority for OUT - at which point, I think those "in Brussels" will really panic & the negotiations get interesting & a second referendum.
3: The polls are all wrong & we gat a 55-60% majority for OUT.
At which point "Brussels" craps itself, as the penny finally drops as to how much they are loathed

332:

My favourite instance of 'New' in British geography is the New Forest. As I understand it, the area has been 'forest' in the sense of 'covered in trees' for about 12000 years, which is as long as anywhere in Great Britain (it's near the south coast of England, which would have been the first area to get colonised by trees when the current interglacial period started). The 'new' aspect is that it got 'afforested', in other words turned into a royal park, comparatively recently (circa 1079).

On the topic of Australia, since coming here 4 years ago I've been struck by how similar the newspaper ecosystem is to England, with a small club of press barons creating the illusion of choice. In some ways though it's even worse here as it's basically a duopoly - Murdoch and Fairfax between them own practically the entire press. The result is that Fairfax (about as left-wing in its editorials as the Financial Times, in my impression) gets attacked by the government as if it's some kind of Labor mouthpiece, and the ABC (similar to the BBC in its idea of balance) is portrayed as if it's at the leftward pole of acceptable political discourse.

333:

@Colin 332:

Pedantic niggle: medieval "forests" were not parks in the modern sense, but hunting preserves for the king and magnates. The forest laws had some neat sustainability stuff.

the ABC (similar to the BBC in its idea of balance) is portrayed as if it's at the leftward pole of acceptable political discourse.

The Retardican colleague I have mentioned conceptualised politics entirely in terms of "moderates" (right) versus "extremists" (left). There could be no such thing as a right extremist, therefore. And there could be no such thing as a moderate leftist.

Of interest may be the brilliant renaming of the Swedish right, which calls itself The Moderates. really nailing down that all-leftists-are-extremists meme, at the expense of logic. For – moderate between what and what? For a long time there was no one to their right except the neonazi skinheads and so forth. (Now there is, the Sweden Democrats.)

I am waiting for the Kippers to steal this particular shirt, making the UK spectrum Labour, Libdems, Tories and Moderates. Ugh. You read it here first.

334:

Recte to 333:

That I didn't put the SNP on the above spectrum is because I don't know enough about them to do so. Okay, should have said "English". Mea culpa.

335:

"If you're American, look at that photomontage and now imagine the word "immigrant" replaced with "nigger". That's what this codes for in British political discourse."

Oh dear.

I did it.

Then I tweeted it, along with an exhortation to show it to Brexiteers who bang on about immigration so they can see what they sound like.

Result: a rabid Brexiteer followed me.

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear... >dies

336:

The remarks about the EU are uniformly hostile, as interfering bureaucrats, who have been completely bought by big-business interests.

Greg, again genuinely curious: My understanding is that proposed EU laws must be passed by both the Council and Parliament (both consisting of democratically elected representatives). Where is this process broken, or how is it bypassed, such that un-elected bureaucrats pass EU laws without oversight?

This comes up so often that I feel like I am missing something. Or else there are a lot of angry misinformed folks out there.

337:

What that stuff is all about is that ever since the 70s people have been in the habit of blaming every new piece of red tape and bureaucratic fiddle-faddle on the Common Market/EEC/EC/EU (select as appropriate to period), regardless of whether or not this is actually justified.

Mostly it isn't. Most of the bullshit is home-grown bullshit, or it's stuff we'd have to deal with whether or not we were in the EU ourselves because we sell stuff to the EU, or we'd encounter it because we buy stuff from the EU or from people who include the UK in their Europe spec, or...

Or it just plain doesn't exist. Like the story that the EU was going to ban kettles over 2kW "to save energy" (British kettles are usually 3kW, and so boil a lot faster than 2kW ones would). This turned out to be the Daily Mail making shit up so that they could run a story about evil EU bureaucrats attacking the tea-drinking British, and everyone else copying them.

"Health and safety" is a particular source of jobsworthisms which also gets blamed on the EU; where it really comes from is partly British judges failing to tell people with pathetic claims to stop taking the piss and wasting the court's time, and partly from lowly manager types inventing nonexistent H&S reasons for not doing something as a convenient excuse for not being arsed to do it.

338:

As I think I said, I have seen claims that the most abused and assaulted segment of the population is the disabled, but there seems to be a policy not to collect reliable statistics and to play down the disgraceful treatment they get from the public services (including the police).

339:

Don't forget the cases when the lunacies are forced through by the UK's bureaucrats demanding them, against almost every other country's wishes, so that they can do their thing but evade the blame.

340:

Most of the bikes I saw when I lived in Japan did have bells, at least. The standard configuration "mama-chari" has a sturdy steel frame, integral lock, load-carrying facilities front and rear, a unisex design, two or perhaps three gears... and a bell, for warning pedestrians to get out of your way. They're very reasonably priced too, a new one was just under 10,000 Yen. But then again I was in a rural area, perhaps the big cities have a different model.

341:

The load-carrying capacity of the Japanese mama-chari is usually taken up by a couple of kids front and back (they're sometimes wearing helmets, the pilot never). Mama-chan is texting on her keitai (cellphone) while eating a burger and/or chatting to the pilot of her wingman mama-chari pilot.

Miraculously I have NEVER seen anyone actually being hit by one of these Juggernaughts. Either there's an innate sense of self-preservation in the Japanese genome selected in from generations of elimination of the weak or some kind of secret Japanese high-tech driverless anti-collision guidance system is in universal use.

342:

You impression is correct but I think the issue arises because, the operations of the Council are opaque and Governments tend to blame their EU colleagues for forcing them to do something that they would/should have done themselves, papers making stuff up, etc.
Some blame is attached to the EU due to the Lisbon treaty and the economic rules their in. As far as I know, both Germany and France and possibly Italy have ignored Lisbon and got away with it. Countries can pass EU regs and ignore them for insanely long periods. Ireland ignored the Nitrate Directive for about 30 years before they were pulled up by the commission about it.

343:

Several people have mentioned the conflation of racism with the desire to limit immigration, and I agree that there are valid reasons to want to have controls on immigration. I doubt you'd find anyone who genuinely wants an "open door" of the sort that Labour is always accused of having implemented - although as someone whose spouse was naturalised under a Labour government, ho ho ho to that notion - the ILR threshold was retroactively changed, the cost of citizenship went from free to over £1,000, the Life in the UK and language tests were introduced.

So the question is what sort of controls we should have on immigration, and the problem then is that the more you dig into the existing controls on immigration, you realise they're exactly the sort of limits people are in favour of. In fact a lot of times when I mention things like the minimum income rules in discussions like this, people who were hold the more-limits position find that a bit of a harsh requirement.

EU and Commonwealth dispensations aside, there are only relatively few legal immigration routes into the UK. There is of course heredity, then there's marriage and family, high net worth, desirable skills in shortage, inter-company transfer, paying student, asylum and a handful of other edge cases. Each of those cases is somewhere that we either need the skills or cash on offer, or we would be in breach of human rights to refuse. And you can of course repeal human rights to thwart those pesky immigrants, but that's a route that suffers from the mother of all unintended consequences.

But the narrative that is given to the public through the papers doesn't talk of these necessary routes, it talks of open doors and floods and hordes.

But ask yourself this, if the level of net migration we currently have in the UK isn't necessary, why hasn't the strongly anti-immigration Tory party been able to affect the rate in 6 years of power? Could it be that once you strip the requirements back to the point that any further would hurt the economy or mean state intervention in relationships, you get to about what we have now?

So to those who are in favour of further limits, who would you choose not to let in?

344:

As someone who's been observing the entire Brexit affair from the safe distance of Texas, I've got a question. What happens if the Leave vote wins, and whatever Parliament you all end up with afterwards refused to enact the results of the referendum, and says "no, we are staying after all"?

The referendum is non-binding; parliament can choose to ignore it.

This doesn't mean there wouldn't be a political earthquake -- but it wouldn't be a constitutional one.

Most likely consequence: David Cameron resigns. There is a run on the pound. A Tory party leadership contest takes place in the middle of the ensuing crisis. The new leader either announces a time scale for negotiations on departure, or says they'll ignore the referendum. If the latter, expect a bunch of Tory back-benchers to leave the party and join UKIP, possibly reducing the government to less than a working majority. There will be a motion of no confidence in the government, which the Conservatives can only win with support from Labour and/or the SNP, and at that point the crystal ball turns murky.

345:

"Never pull up close behind another car" is sound advice in the general case.

It's particularly sound advice on an uphill stretch in the UK, where most cars are still stick shift and a proportion of their drivers have forgotten how to do a hill start properly! Rolling back is always an option. (Big clue: if the brake lights stay on, then the car in front is probably an automatic with the driver standing on the brakes, and won't roll back. If the brake lights go off, then the driver of the stick-shift in front has either yanked the hand brake or is standing on the clutch, and if they're clueless and went for the handbrake they'll roll backwards or stall when they try to move off.)

346:

I missed out women and the disabled, but they're already taking a shoe-ing from the upper-class male children of privileged who're running the show this decade.

347:

I've noticed that Americans are generally terrible about lane discipline on interstates -- the rule seems to be "get in a lane and stay there at whatever speed you fancy", rather than "this is the slow lane, this is the lane you get into while passing stuff in the slow lane, this is the lane you use for whizzing past slow overtakers, pull back over as soon as you're done". Which is very much the law in the UK (and the cops can and will ticket you for hogging the middle or overtaking lanes).

On the other hand, the standard markings indicating a turn-off on interstates are dismal -- the right-hand line just disappears and the lane splits in two. UK motorways came along a bit later and benefited from lessons learned elsewhere; slip lanes are indicated by the continuous line on the left turning to a broken line, then a new lane appears before it peels off. So if you're in the slow lane you don't suddenly have to check whether you're driving too close to the side that's turning off the road; you just keep on going.

348:

The polls are all wrong & we gat a 55-60% majority for OUT.
At which point "Brussels" craps itself, as the penny finally drops as to how much they are loathed

Disagree with that outcome. Brussels won't "crap itself".

You know as well as I do that most people -- and organizations -- when confronted with facts that don't suit them, will double down on what they're already doing?

My prediction is that if Brexit goes through and parliament throws the lever, Brussels will decide to punish the UK in order to set an example, lest the PIIGS consider fleeing the pen. And the divorce negotiations will look like those with Greece when Syriza tried to renegotiate the terms of their flogging: it's going to get very ugly.

349:

This is pretty much exactly my thought on the "faceless EU bureaucrat" drum-banging that I have encountered (from certain quarters) here and elsewhere on the web. Every time I have asked for evidence that factually supports this position, the question is either side-stepped or completely ignored. It is an article of faith amongst "leave" supporters. I'm not surprised by this from most people, but am disappointed when Greg continues using the same evidence-less talking point again and again, especially given his loud and strident demands for supporting evidence when it comes to certain topics (not mentioning, don't want to derail).

350:

"But the old French and Germans considered that almost any amount of bureaucracy was better than ever having their countries go to war with each other again. If they're still around, they're probably opposed to Brexit as well."

A friend pointed out that Gorbachev was ~50 when he assumed highest office, and that he succeeded men who were in their 80's on up. He had a theory that the reason that reform could even be attempted in the USSR was that the men who had fought in WWII were now dead, and that a less insanely paranoid generation was coming into power.


I have a similar theory about the mishandling of the GFC among leaders in Europe (including the leaders of the UK):

The original leadership of post-II Western Europe was the people who'd fought in it, and had been lucky to survive it. Many of their families had not.

The second generation were those who experienced it as children, huddling in air raid shelters, being displaced as refugees, and losing fathers, uncles and older brothers/cousins.

The current generation is composed of people born in the late 50's and early 60's. The war is just something which their grandparents blather on about.

351:

UK motorways came along a bit later and benefited from lessons learned elsewhere; slip lanes are indicated by the continuous line on the left turning to a broken line, then a new lane appears before it peels off.

Ever driven the M8 in Glasgow? Lanes disappear down slip roads; slip roads occasionally go off or come in on the wrong side (the slip road from Great Western Road that I used to take going home—eastward, towards Falkirk—from the university came in on the right, and gave you a few hundred metres to force your way into the fast lane before disappearing off to Cowcaddens). My dad's instructions to unsuspecting Sassenachs who'd flown in to visit ICI via Glasgow Airport used to be "Stay in the middle lane, changing lanes as necessary to achieve this," which met with blank incomprehension until they'd experienced it, and a distinct reluctance to do it again once they had.

Japanese ninja bike riders

Nobody riding a J-PARC loaner bike is going to strike you as a ninja, I do assure you. The black covering their hands and smeared across their face isn't camouflage: it's the result of having had the chain fall off en route (it's never happened to me, but it did to one of my students).

352:

I apologise for going a little off topic, but with regards to brexit what *really* is the likelyhood of the UK leaving the EU?

Pretty much as far as I can tell - there's now way of telling on how this referendum will go. You can't really look at elections as it's not quite the same thing. The polls are probably more than likely not right either. Even the referendum back from the '70s dosen't really help that much.

Maybe the amount of people who will vote "out" are being over-magnified? A small minority but to coin a phrase, "a mountain out of a molehill". What if - for example the vote is 70/30 in favor of staying in? Or even 80/20?

And then there's the question - what if there is low turnout? Imagine if something really bizarre happened - we voted to leave the EU, but the voting turnout was really low, say 40% or less? How on earth could that even be considered fair?

It has been mentioned before that the referendum isn't binding and that cameron could - if the vote went the way of leaving - decide to ignore it and stay in. I don't think he would do this as I suspect that if cameron did this there'd be a *massive* uproar and cameron and his party would be out of power for at least a generation; absolute minimum I suspect they would loose the next election.

For me I don't know still which way I will vote - if at all. There's just so many issues connected with this vote that a binary "yes or no" vote; 1 or 0; in or out just seems to be too simplistic. Right now I'm thinking of not voting, though I have no idea......

ljones


353:

My prediction is that if Brexit goes through and parliament throws the lever, Brussels will decide to punish the UK in order to set an example, lest the PIIGS consider fleeing the pen. And the divorce negotiations will look like those with Greece when Syriza tried to renegotiate the terms of their flogging: it's going to get very ugly.

Yep, I think they will try that. The evidence from their not giving ground to Cameron suggests it.

However, you also have to factor in that if 'leave' wins then Cameron is out and a euroseptic is in. I somehow doubt that such a character would fold the way Greece did. Rather I think they would double down on trying to take the EU to pieces.

Very ugly is an understatement, I can see people forceably thrown out, NATO down the tubes, etc.

If they had been smarter they would have taken the opportunity to reform that Cameron presented them with - the EU needs it one way or the other.

354:

Just a thought, but are there any downsides to remaining in at all?

Let's say the vote went in favor of "in" but yet nothing spectacular. So - say 55/45 (55% in). Could that do as much damage to the EU as leaving?

I was thinking that if that situation occured (weak in vote) maybe the EU implodes as other countries see the UK's referendum and think - "Well, if they can do this why not us? There's policies and EU laws *we* don't like either, so why can't we have a referendum?". So the ball starts rolling, some EU countries hold their own referendums; enough vote out or close to and the whole EU falls apart because everyone wants to "cherry-pick". Is that a possibility of a weak "in" vote?

ljones

355:

I know the M8 intimately (shudder). There's also the A58(M) tunnel of doom in Leeds (slip lane merging on the wrong side just around a blind bend; exit lane after an on-ramp; that sort of thing). These are, however, both early examples, from the learning process.

Oh, and don't start me on the eldritch nightmare that is the Watford inner ring road/two mile gyratory, with the entrance to the multi-story car park in the town center positioned after the exit, so that at peak times there's a traffic jam of people trying to exit the car park being blocked by people trying to enter it ...

356:

The problem is, any real reform of an organization the size & complexity of the EU would take years, if not decades. And every nation probably has it's own ideas about what should change, with most of the demands of others being unacceptable.

All while the EU is busy trying to solve the Euro & refugee crises. If Dave had come forward with a proposal to create a reform commission when the EU didn't have major crises going on, and did it humbly, he might have gotten somewhere. But "reform or I leave" isn't good diplomacy at any time.

357:

I think one of the most misleading assumptions about the referendum is that any of the major players actually care whether the UK is in the EU or not -- closer examination shows pretty quickly that they're all plying political games, and the referendum is, if not a side show, little more than a stepping stone and/or smoke screen.

358:

Let's say the vote went in favor of "in" but yet nothing spectacular. So - say 55/45 (55% in). Could that do as much damage to the EU as leaving?

Yes, that would be bad (but less than a "leave" plurality).

Reason: as we saw with the Scottish independence referendum, being within 5% of winning wouldn't cause the losing side to shrivel up and blow away -- if anything, they'd be angry and embittered and double-down on the cause.

In Scotland, this led to Labour's share of the popular vote imploding as voters punished them for signing up for the "no" campaign and working with the Tories (who are, despite being the third party in the current Scottish parliament, still very unpopular in Post-Thatcher Scotland); a huge raft of alienated pro-independence Labour votes shrugged and switched to voting SNP (who are a center-left party).

In event of a 55% win for "stay", UKIP won't shrivel up and blow away. A lot of "leave" supporters who used to vote Labour will see Corbyn lining up with Cameron on behalf of "stay" and do what those ex-Labour-now-SNP voters did, and switch to UKIP. Meanwhile it's possible that if Cameron over-plays his hand and tries to clamp down on Euroskeptic resistance inside his own party, some of his own back bench MPs will defect to UKIP. Worst case, within another election cycle UKIP displaces Labour as the second main party in Westminster.

Why this would be bad: well, UKIP today is barely more liberal on policy issues than the BNP and the National Front used to be. We'd be left with a choice between a right-wing neoliberal party (the conservatives) and a right-wing authoritarian racist party (UKIP).

Happy fun times, huh?

359:

Worst case, within another election cycle UKIP displaces Labour as the second main party in Westminster.

I believe that sort of thing has happened to several Continental countries. Or the social equivalent of the Kippers are now the first main party. Look at Austria (shudder).

360:

Apologies if this is going too American, but can imagine it applying to BF/UKIP followers.

For months I've been expecting T. Rump rallies to hand out brown shirts.
Meet the shock troops of Trump’s America

Almost makes you miss the days when they were easy to spot skinheads.

361:

A thought regarding the "nationalism is not racism/xenophobia" statement that I've seen here in several forms.

There are, broadly speaking, two forms of nationalism: There is benign nationalism, which is pride in your nation's history and achievements, and in your national character; and there is toxic nationalism, where you believe that your country is inherently better.

The real problem is that it doesn't take much for the benign form to morph into into the toxic form. Only lack of effort -- it's easier to take pride in your nation and ignore its less honourable moments if you know that you're inherently better than everyone else. Once the toxic form takes hold, then the obvious conclusion is that if you're better, then others must be lesser. And bingo! You've just transitioned to racism.

I don't think I need to highlight which form of nationalism the "leave" campaign is pushing.

362:

...and there is toxic nationalism, where you believe that your country is inherently better.

Add, when National Identity is bound up with Ethnic Identity things get really nasty toward Others.

363:

I would note that Raw Story seems to be one of those websites that does not let you reverse out of it. When you press the back-button, it just reloads its URL. Of course I can get back to Charlie or anywhere else through my History, but I still find this design deceitful and abusive.

364:

It's all about undeserved self-esteem, which is what Maslow ought to have put at the top of his pyramid for when the basic needs have been satisfied. I may be stupid and useless, but I am nevertheless better than you because I belong to (insert category here) and you do not. Likewise, all bad things proceed from some category of which I myself am not a member. Racists are by no means alone in this pattern.

365:

In Scotland, this led to Labour's share of the popular vote imploding as voters punished them for signing up for the "no" campaign and working with the Tories (who are, despite being the third party in the current Scottish parliament...

Errrr..... did you miss that bit where Conservatives came second and are now the leading opposition party in Holyrood? 63 seats to SNP, 31 to Conservatives, 24 to Labour, 6 Green, 5 LibDem.

Anyway, here's another thought about how we got here...

It's a while before the 2015 General Election, and UKIP is gaining traction. There's a risk that the swivel-eyed-loony wing of the Conservative Party are going to head off to UKIP, fracture the centre-right vote, and result in a Labour or Lib/Lab government.

In an attempt to keep the nutters quiet, Cameron promises a referendum; after all, it's only the Blue vote that worries about this stuff. Labour and Liberal Democrats are firmly pro-Europe, and any vote will go 60-70% remain...

What he couldn't anticipate is that Labour would implode quite so spectacularly. Milliband was ineffectual, but Corbyn is an electoral suicide note. Suddenly, Labour's ability to deliver a block vote of Remain is out the window - and now, both major parties have a serious chunk of work to do.

366:

It's important to realize that Greece got so badly pragged because they don't have their own currency, they were running a deficit, and they were unable to undertake the multi-year project necessary to have their own currency.*

At this point the Pound is probably worth more than the Euro, and the British banking software is doubtless up-to-date, so there's a distinct limit to the damage the EU can do to the UK. Sure, there may be some anti-British tariffs passed, problems with British people getting visas, nasty issues with customs, ejections of British expats, etc., but that will probably be the end of things. There certainly won't be a military response, and the EU is not capable of imposing horrible loans on the UK with harsh terms attached (as happened with Greece.)

The UK, in its own turn, can do the same things to the EU - deport French people, pass tariffs against the Germans, etc. - I wouldn't look for that kind of ugliness to be anything more than a slap on the wrist, lest a serious trade war happen, and that would be bad for business. The worst-case scenario here is not good for the EU. If the UK decides to send everyone from the EU home the EU has a refugee crisis from both the east and the west.

* Hint: Having their own currency is not merely a matter of Greece merely printing Drachma; there's also the matter of creating the new banking software necessary to handle issues like exchange rates, credit cards, interest rates, or even ordinary accounting. This software would have to meet various complex standards in order for stuff like international bank transfers to work - we're talking about something that's REALLY, REALLY complicated and basically impossible for Greece at this point.

367:

Unfortunately, Maslow's whole schtick was that studied healthy people - he believed that without understanding what made someone healthy it was impossible to create a science of psychology which could actually "cure" someone's problems.

I use the word "unfortunately" because Maslow didn't follow up on his study of healthy people by figuring out what it meant to be "unhealthy," thus we have a paradigm that only works in one direction! Maslow's critique was intelligent and his work was good, but it only went half-way.

368:

Whoops, brain fart: yes, the Tories came second. (Although I've heard it attributed to a low turnout by labour voters, rather than due to their own voter base expanding.)

Your diagnosis of how we got here ... I'd quite like to see a Corbyn administration -- it'd reset the Overton window like nothing else -- and Ed Miliband was in my view unfairly pilloried by the right wing media barons' tame propaganda machine: but yeah, that's a matter of opinion, and on the facts, you nailed it.

369:

"The UK, in its own turn, can do the same things to the EU - deport French people, pass tariffs against the Germans, etc."

Oh? Have you any idea how long its public (and some private) services and economy would hold up if it tried even the mildest form of that?

370:

More a matter of why I believe it won't happen; the possible losses from tit-for-tat retaliation if the UK exits the EU are too high. I suspect that the EU will put a .01 EU tariff on Type 23A widgets coming from the UK and the UK will reply in kind and honor will be served.

All this assuming, of course, that CASE NIGHTMARE TWEED doesn't come to pass, with UKIP taking control of the British Parliament, at which point all bets are off. As I noted above, Cameron gave the crazies credibility, and they are going to use it. Idiot!

371:

This thought seems of a kind with the weird logic that runs through or underpins a lot of "leave" arguments: The EU needs the UK more than the the UK needs the EU, and if we leave it will hurt us but it'll hurt those smug EU bastards more! (The phrase "cutting your nose off to spite your face", floats across my mind at this point.)

372:

Interesting, I didn't know that.

But then I wonder whether we all count as unhealthy. Matter of degree, of course. But I think the mechanisms of self-exculpation are universal.

Once upon a time I knew a lady (a Sikh, though I simply don't know whether that influenced her take on things) who always swore in traffic: "You – human being, you!" To me it seemed like a deliberate negation of the way everyone else cusses when cut up on the roundabout, namely "Bloody woman/man/black/white/oik/toff/yuppie" and so on, seizing on some category of which we are not members and attributing the uncouth driving only to that. Whereas my Sikh affirmed that there but for the grace of ghod go I, we might ourselves have done the same and probably have before today. I find this admirable.

373:
"The UK, in its own turn, can do the same things to the EU - deport French people, pass tariffs against the Germans, etc."

Well, no, not in any meaningful way. The second you take a look at the numbers, it becomes obvious that the pain would be entirely one-sided. The continental EU accounts for nearly half of the UK's overseas trade, but the UK is only about 7-8% of the continental EU's foreign exchange. So the introduction of tariffs hurts the UK far more than anyone in the continental EU. It would certainly be the kiss of death to whatever international banking industry hadn't already left London.

Deporting people - ignoring the fact that a huge proportion of the EU citizens in the UK are doing things like teaching and working in hospitals, so expelling them would be utter madness - would probably just be very painful all round. The UK would eject about two million people almost all of whom are currently working and paying taxes (but many of whom might not be able to get jobs on the continent, given current economics). Sending them back is bad for the UK, and might be bad for their home countries. In return, the rest of the EU would return two million people of whom about two thirds are pensioners. They're currently effectively transferring money from the UK (where their pensions are drawn) to the poorer areas around the mediterranean. Send them back and (a) the regions they're currently living in suffer, but also (b) they cause chaos in the UK, both because they need more (and different) services, have different expectations about housing, than the workers they'd be replacing.

So, no. A post-brexit EU wanting to hurt the UK can really hurt the UK, but a post-brexit UK trying to hurt the EU mostly just hits itself in the face a lot. And nobody gains anything from any of it.

374:

I don't think the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU. I simply think that both sides are clueful enough about the consequences of a trade war that it either won't happen or will stay fairly small. (Assuming that UKIP doesn't seize the reins in the UK.)

375:

My point though is that "fairly small" doesn't mean the same thing to both sides. Fairly small to the EU could be massively damaging to the UK, and even if the UK try to escalate, they will still be able to do relatively little to hurt the EU. Asymmetric trade warfare, anyone?

376:

Mostly agreed. Assuming some kind of mutual retaliation, the UK deporting Europeans only causes major problems because the EU is currently suffering from a refugee crisis already. Absent that expelling Europeans from the UK doesn't have any negative effect on the EU.

The important thing here is that I don't think any kind of trade war or mutual expulsion will happen. The EU doesn't have the kind of overwhelming advantage over the UK that it had over Greece, so the EU can't control what the UK would do in response and the UK is unlikely to do anything if the EU doesn't do it first.

I'm not saying there will be a trade war or anything like it. I'm saying, "this is what a trade war looks like to me, and thus I don't think it will happen."

377:

Upon thinking about it a little more, I wonder whether the question is purely academic. Are the EU countries and the UK signatory to trade agreements other than those which create the EU? Do any such trade agreements regulate things like tariffs or make it impossible for a trade war to happen?

378:

There are huge numbers of such things, and trade 'wars' do happen. Tariffs and restrictions on great long lists of goods defined with absurd specificity: I saw two such lists during the ten years of my legal career, both while working in departments that served clients who were affected. The idea was that while negotiations went on regarding the underlying issue, each side would be doing everything it could within the framework of whichever constellation of trade agreements applied between the two parties to cause as much grief as possible to force their opponents to see reason on the issue.

The point of the trade agreements is to limit what could be done in that department so that the pressure tactics during negotations didn't become an issue in themselves.

Think of it as Queensberry rules for trade disputes. The disputes still happen, they just don't spill over into brawling in the street, or the international commerce equivalent thereof.

379:

What exactly is wrong with Corbyn? I get that the press does not like him but never seen a good reason for it.

380:

It depends on the state. Arizona, Utah, and Wisconsin have a "stay in the slow lane except to pass" rule that's posted as signs. Conversely, I've seen big-rigs in every lane but the fast lane in southern California, and that includes the HOV lane, nonsensically enough.

I think you'll also find that the slip lane markings are pretty well standard now, even in California.

Ultimately, I strongly suspect that the chaos in California, especially southern California, is due to the number of different driving styles clashing into each other on overfull roads. States that are more homogeneous (read more white, more rural, less impacted) seem to have less chaos. This isn't a racist rant at all, because white male driving diversity causes a lot of the mess right up front. It's just that not everybody drives the same or learned the same set of rules, and when you throw them all together and put them under stress, things get messy.

381:

there's also the matter of creating the new banking software necessary to handle issues like exchange rates, credit cards, interest rates, or even ordinary accounting

Actually any piece of commercial banking software today will happily cope with Drachmas, Lira, Pfennigs or whatever, because there are still loans denominated in them. Sure, the day to day transactions are done in Euro, but I remember our bank having to reconcile some ~30 currencies that effectively no longer exist but someone somewhere has an account that is registered as using them originally. And that's not even getting started on historical transactions.

You also seem to be giving banks far too much credit for updating their systems in a timely fashion. Our bank did a remarkable amount of business by fax back in 2011, they were contemplating implementing Internet Banking, and that came in last year...

382:

The continental EU accounts for nearly half of the UK's overseas trade, but the UK is only about 7-8% of the continental EU's foreign exchange.

And that 7-8% is split 24 ways between different EU members. So sanctions would hit no individual member state to the tune of more than 2-3% of its trade, while crippling the UK.

And yes, expelling EU nationals would invite tit-for-tat, and something like 1.8 million pensioners would descend on the UK -- needing accommodation with affordances that the healthy young EU workers they'd be replacing could live without, and with significantly higher healthcare requirements. It's a recipe for bringing the NHS, social security (state pension) and old age home sectors totheir knees while triggering a sudden labour crisis. (Skilled EU nurses and doctors aren't going to be replaced by random currently unemployed British citizens.)

383:

I'm not saying there will be a trade war or anything like it. I'm saying, "this is what a trade war looks like to me, and thus I don't think it will happen."

I disagree. By triggering a trade war the EU could send the message that if peripheral members try to leave, the EU will fuck them up. This may be a necessary message for them to send if BRexit isn't to result in the EU disintegrating.

The Brexit camp are asking for a no-fault divorce and it hasn't occurred to them that their ex is going to try to hang onto the house, the CD collection, and the cat -- and leave them sleeping in the car if they're lucky.

384:

What exactly is wrong with Corbyn? I get that the press does not like him but never seen a good reason for it.

Think Bernie Sanders. Now imagine if thanks to a grassroots wave of support Bernie got the Democratic party nomination and his followers were sweeping the party apparatchiks out at all levels. Fear and loathing -- by the New Labour establishment, and by enemies of the Old Labour project -- doesn't begin to describe it.

385:

The numerator is smaller, but the denominator is also smaller, so the UK is about 7-8% of each EU country's foreign exchange too. (Just over 7% for both Germany and France, for example.) Not trivial for any of them, but far less critical than the rest of Europe is for the UK.

386:

I don't think the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU.

One reason the UK needs the EU is our employment-law rights. The following are a consequence of our membership, according to this 2013 Guardian article by Philip Landau:

  • minimum paid annual leave;
  • additional rights for agency and temporary workers and part-time workers;
  • pregnancy and maternity leave rights;
  • parental leave;
  • maximum weekly working hours, including at most a 48-hour week unless otherwise agreed;
  • equal pay;
  • anti-discrimination rules on race, sex, disability, age and sexual orientation;
  • data protection rights.

Whenever I think of these, the name Digby Jones comes irresistibly to mind. He's the lovely man who was director of the Confederation of British Industry, and whose stance is indicated by http://www.digbylordjones.com/europe-the-facts.html . About half-way down, he complains about an EU that:

Criminalises you if you work more than 48 hours a week! Destroys incentives to employ people on flexible contracts at every turn. China must think it’s their birthday.

I fear for how long any government would keep these if we did leave.

387:

At the moment the 'Smart Money' in the City of London is desperately trying to convince itself that the population as a whole won't commit economic suicide by voting for Brexit, whilst eying up possible job opportunities in Frankfurt should the Heavens fall.

Our MP and the Lord Mayor of the City of London have been campaigning for Remain because they are not idiots; we take money very seriously here. As usual much of the City is being torn down, to be replaced by yet bigger buildings; if we vote to leave then most of those plans will go on hold because sterling will go into freefall, and no sane person puts capital into a country which has decided to commit economic suicide.

The City is the main player in the global financial markets, and it wants to stay the main player in the global financial markets; it can't do that outside the EU. The vast numbers of foreign financial institutions who have branches and/or subsidiaries in the City do so because of that dominance, though you can't blame them for preferring to live in London rather than Frankfurt.

They also like our legal system; even companies with little or no presence in England still enter into contracts bound by English law because our courts have been around for so long that just about contingency has been covered.

I am retired and economically privileged; from a purely selfish perspective Brexit will put up the prices of my Hermes bags and my cruises on the Med, but I can still afford them. If the value of my apartment in the City falls that's great because it cuts down the Inheritance Tax my daughter will have to pay. Smaller buildings in the City means I have less noise, more light and better views, improving my quality of life.

The people who will suffer from Brexit are the people who do not have my privileges, and I find it hard to view life from a purely selfish perspective; I've got used to the guys demolishing the building opposite waking me up in the mornings, and I would like them to keep their jobs.

I should declare an interest, though; I was born in a military hospital in the Egyptian desert, am therefore an immigrant, and spent Friday at the London Passport Office doing the ten year ritual interview for renewing my passport.

The short version is No, this is not a plot thought up by the 'Smart Money' in the City. It's a cluster fuck.

388:

though you can't blame them for preferring to live in London rather than Frankfurt.

Well, if Bill Gates died and left me his money, on condition I had to choose to live in either London or Frankfurt, I'd choose the latter like a shot.

389:

And what does your banking software do when someone tries to set up an account in Drachma on 2016? Or deal (in Greece) with an EU regulation after Greece leaves the EU. In short, you're half-right.

390:

It's true the EU can retaliate if they wish. On the other hand, the UK does not have Greece's vulnerabilities; high debt plus the inability to print their own currency, plus no software which needs to be rewritten/updated.

IMHO, the UK is ready to take a fall without being pushed. The smart move on the part of the EU might be to do nothing and watch the Brits end up sleeping in their car anyway. (Damn Cameron for a fool!) Later, the EU can openly mock the Brits while calling for a tow-truck.

If that doesn't work, the EU can always launch a trade war. Regardless, I suspect it gets very, very stupid very quickly if BREXIT passes.

391:

UK's Citizens need the EU. The UK as a whole, maybe not so much... still, it's a very legitimate concern.

392:

The smart move on the part of the EU might be to do nothing and watch the Brits end up sleeping in their car anyway. Later, the EU can openly mock the Brits while calling for a tow-truck.

Insofar as the Brits (the ruling class, that is) were wanting to convert Airstrip One into some cross between a sweatshop and a plantation, I think the EU should mock but hold the tow-truck. They don't need an offshore masterclass in face-grinding.

FWIW, as long ago as the Eighties I was saying that there were two countries should never have been let in: Greece and the UK. Can I haz cheeseburger for prescience?

393:

No one objects to Frankfurt, other than having to up sticks and move to another country (and training a few hundred people in the new regulatory regime). Foreign billionaires who want to do shopping and hanging out doing billionaire things might prefer Paris.

And if you have a problem with either of those Dublin and Milan are perfectly positioned to take up the slack. London outside the EU is on par with, I don't know, maybe Toronto? Nice place, strong financial sector, but not a global leader.

394:

I think the question here is how bad it gets for the EU. Very badly, I expect, for certain members, given that the 7-8% you mentioned is an average. In other words, possibly a much higher percentage for France than for Sweden. The question is, under the circumstances which currently exist, whether the UK can nuke the EU's economy. Assuming that the EU is feeling vengeful, the risk that the UK can nuke the EU's economy* = the risk of the EU launching a trade war.

* Or maybe just the economies of France and/or Germany.

395:

Virtually every law passed since 1973 [43 years of evolving legislation and regulatory frameworks] has been related in some way, however tangentially to our membership to the EEC/EC/EU - vast segments of English and Scottish law will have be re-written, probably without parliamentary oversight - i.e. it will be done by the executive statutory instruments.

You can assume that anything that our current neo-liberal government regards as an unnecessary burden on their business friends will be the first to go.

It will be an administrative clusterfuck of galactic proportions.

396:

"Skilled EU nurses and doctors aren't going to be replaced by random currently unemployed British citizens."

I am sure that G4S would be happy to accept a contract for providing the services, under their usual arrangements of de facto legal immunity.

397:

Possibly the worst thing the EU could do to the UK is simply say, "We're holding a place for Scotland under the same treaty we signed with the UK a few years back, and we'd happily do the same for Wales and Northern Ireland too!"

To continues with OGH's "divorce" analogy, this would be the equivalent to one parent telling the children that they've bought a nice house with big bedrooms and a swimming pool when the other parent lives in an ordinary apartment building without great facilities, and can't afford to move.

398:

Err (as Trottelreiner would say), if the UK's citizens need the EU, what is there apart from them not to need it? Aren't the needs of the UK as a whole just the aggregate of the needs of its citizens?

399:

I had an enjoyable few days in Frankfurt back in 2002, when I took a trip round Europe to watch the Euro come in. It's a place I'd be happy to live. And I got a lovely photo of the sun setting over the European Central Bank ...

400:

I would certainly think so. Digby Jones would probably disagree, which was my point on the previous post. I probably could have been more clear.

401:

Better and cheaper public transport, lower rents, less air pollution, beer at least as good quality. I'm guessing, but from what I know of Germany, these all seem likely.

402:

I really do not see what is in it for the EU to launch a trade war with the UK. You would have to get all the EU governments to agree on it and why would most of them go along. If the Germans want then the Greeks Italians and Spanish will probably be against. Ireland would be against it and would require a very hefty bribe to go along with it.
To obvious thing for the EU to do is nothing and assume unless the UK says otherwise that the UK would be seeking full EFTA membership. This would require the EU to do nothing and wait. When the UK breaks some rule in the EFTA membership then they can point fingers and get people behind some other position.

A lot of people on this forum seem to believe that the PIGS were anxious to leave Europe. I disagree, Greece pretty much had a gun put to its head as was told to jump and it decided it would rather be shot.

403:

Yeah well, having all Bill Gates' money wouldn't make me a billionaire, not in my own personal head. I'd still get around Frankfurt by S-bahn, U-bahn and foot. Nor do I shop. If anyone is interested I could do a paean but they probably aren't.

But my first choice, with BG's money (I'd need all of it) would be Bern. Second, another Swiss city or Vienna.

404:

Right, probably worse for some states, though I'm not sure which ones exactly. Definitely Ireland (15%), slightly for BeNeLux (9-10%), France and Germany were around average (probably because they have a significant effect on the average). So not Charlie's 2-3%, but also very much more bad for the UK with nearly half our trade being with the rest of the EU.

405:

I don't drink beer, but it's a small city with surprisingly little traffic, perhaps even the ECB folks take the bahn. Low air pollution as you say, though summers can be sticky. Cosmopolitan and seemingly amiable population. Great riverside promenade. You can take the bahn out to walk in the Taunus hills. Quick access by ICE to everywhere.

406:

A lot of the arguments around staying / leaving are pretty short term. If you want to make a longer term argument you need to start with "is the EU likely to survive the upcoming world disruptions" and if not, is a relatively wealthy and geographically isolated country like the UK better off sticking with the sinking ship or cutting ties early and avoiding bring bled dry during the collapse.

I don't know whether the EU will survive, however it seems to me to be a pretty unstable structure and there is a lot of shit coming down the pike so I'm not optimistic

Some kind of retaliation after leaving? Perhaps, perhaps not, EU nations may act in their short term economic interests which is probably to minimize the boat rocking .

With regards to interstates in California , we passed a law awhile back which limits trucks with more then 2 axles to 55mph. That tends to screw up the whole fast lane / slow lane dynamic pretty severely

407:

I wouldn't want BillG's money!

Once you get much over "fuck off" money -- read: about £5-10M -- keeping track of it turns into a full-time job. You can subcontract it to specialists in "wealth management" but then you have to keep a beady eye on them lest they start picking your pocket, or invest really badly and lose it all. By the time you're up to £50M you're a venture capital operation; at £500M you're a hedge fund: and at £5Bn you're an investment bank (or the likes of Goldman Sachs open an office just to look after you).

Money doesn't exist if you just leave it "lying around" in a vault; it has to keep moving, like a shark, or it fades away. A side-effect is that it indirectly generates employment for other people. If you ignore it, you end up actively harming other people -- lots of other people. That's a lot of responsibility to shoulder, and I don't like to even think about it.

408:

I think you're right that most EU states would be keen to sign a trade deal with the UK, it's just that some would insist that this included free movement of labour. That's very much not what about half of Team Brexit is signed up for (for which half, see Charlie's original post). The same applies to EFTA: the current EFTA states all have reciprocal working rights and are in Schengen.

409:

It was either 2010 or a recent European election when I read a UKIP leaflet that claimed they wanted "free trade and friendship" with Europe. Sounds good! If only there was an organisation we could join to hammer out the details...

410:

If you want to make a longer term argument

Are you suggesting that politicians plan and make policies beyond the next election cycle? What sort of mad man are you?

(Warning: This post may contain sarcasm!)

411:

I think you are being remarkably optimistic, almost to the point of naivity, about the likelihood of any country currently in the EU wishing to give an exiting UK preferential treatment in any size, shape or form. Why would they?

If the UK wants out then it will be out; those remaining will have no desire to subsidise the UK. Again, why should they?

If Brexit happens there will be very substantial capital flight from the UK; investors don't like uncertainty, and it is blindingly obvious that the Brexiters haven't a clue as to what to do if they win the referendum vote.

Where do you imagine the UK would get inward capital flow from in those circumstances? Both the City of London and the Bank of England would be delighted to know the answer...

412:

Think Bernie Sanders. Now imagine if thanks to a grassroots wave of support Bernie got the Democratic party nomination and his followers were sweeping the party apparatchiks out at all levels.

...which is perhaps a charitable interpretation.

Another might be that it's the Militant Tendency (the more left-wing side of the party), back twenty years after their last defeat, and ready to drive out those damn centrists who have forgotten the real roots of Labour.

Cue the chance for the "Protest!" wing of the party to suddenly discover that running things isn't as easy as it looks. It's not easy to demand party loyalty, when you've spent your entire career doing what you like and ignoring the Party Whip. It's not easy to claim that you're doing the right thing by Syria if you refuse to let actual Syrian Opposition types speak at meetings (there's a wing of the Labour Party that think that because Assad is opposed by the US, it puts him in the right). It's not easy to claim that you believe in democracy and oppose terrorism, when you spent the 1970s/80s making supportive comments about PIRA and the Armed Struggle, and appearing on platforms next to Gerry Adams.

Think back to the Hague / Duncan-Smith / Howard leadership of the Conservative Party. The initial reaction when a party spends over a decade in power, assumes that it has a Divine Right To Lead, then gets defeated in General Election Number One, maybe Two - is for a faction to assume that it's the electorate that has been misled, the party leadership that has forgotten its roots, and what is required is a more "true to principles" move away from the political centre. With the conviction that this is the Right Thing to Do.

The more pragmatic political operator realises that the centre ground is what gives you power - and that Being Politically True to Principle is pretty damn useless, if you're only in opposition. Cue the struggle to drag the party back to the centre, and to make it electable - driven by the realisation after the One True wing of the party gets humped at either General Election Number Two, maybe Three, that actually it's the Party that isn't electable. See also the sprint back to the centre by any US candidate after they've secured their party nomination.

Neil Kinnock, Alan Johnson, and John Smith fought these battles in the late 80s / early 90s (only to have the credit given to Blair and Brown in 1997); think back to the Scargill / Benn worldview. Davies was the Pragmatic Heir Apparent for the Conservatives (after Howard had made an utter arse of things), until he turned out to be rather less fluent on stage - a bit like Clinton / Obama in the 2008 primaries.

The outlier was Major winning the 1992 election - the ugly rumour was that he was put up as the sacrificial goat, doomed to lose a single election, ready for the party to return in triumph in 1997. Except he won... just. Thus stuffing up The Plan, and dooming the Conservatives to a decade out of power.

So; Ed Milliband had the William Hague / Michael Foot role (lose General Election Number One); Jeremy Corbyn certainly isn't Neil Kinnock, but more Iain Duncan-Smith / Michael Howard (it depends on whether he survives to General Election Number Two, in time to lose it); and Dan Jarvis or similar will play the Davies or Cameron role, to bring Labour back to lead the nation in 2020 or 2025, depending on how you count it.

413:

It really isn't as complicated as it sounds.
Option 1 is the IT boys untick the box that says "legacy currency" and makes it live again. Takes a day or so for everyone to talk it. All current EU laws in the computer system apply exactly as they would to any other currency for a nation in the block but not in the EU, eg Poland.
Option 2, the same thing happens, but they get treated as someone not in the EU.

In both cases, any special new rules will emerge over time and be incorporated as per usual business. Banks usually get an update every few weeks on what you are allowed to trade in and who with etc, generally based on AML requirements. Greece still exists in the systems as an independent country in terms of rules, they just don't have any that apply at the moment.

Option 3 is they declare the currency as Drachma v.2 and a new currency needs to be created which takes a few months for everyone to adapt to it, but the process will happen behind the scenes so they'll use Euros as well. Swift can add the currency and allow trade in it in a matter of days. Big banks who want to deal with Greece immediately will use one of the test currencies temporarily and rename it in due course. Big banks that don't want to deal with Greece don't care.

There will be a fair few issues locally when the currency switches over, but since half the locals remember the introduction of the Euro, this is basically the same thing in reverse. Hell, most of them probably use the same cash registers.

414:

No I am not, It any country rocks the boat and it all goes to shit the fingers point at them and everyone yells its their fault and does what ever they wanted to do under the cover of that crisis. If the Brexit crew are to be believed then they do not want EFTA in any shape or form. They want to cherry pick the bits they like. So for the rest of the EU, wait for the UK gov. to break some rule in the Aquis and then jump up and down on them. Then it is the UK governments fault.

415:

Thanks for some very pertinant information. What happens when management tells the IT people, "I don't care whether they just started the Drachma again, don't untick the box?" Can that even happen?

416:

The UK isn't geographically isolated (we have aeroplanes now), and our being relatively wealthy has quite a lot to do with international trade. But this reads like survivalist ranting, and has the same failing of believing that "upcoming world disruptions" are a given, rather than something we can work with our neighbours to prevent / ameliorate / influence.

417:

If the UK wants out then it will be out; those remaining will have no desire to subsidise the UK.
EXACTLY BACKWARDS

"We" are subsidising the EU to the tune of ( Nett ) somewhere between £30-35 million a day.
That is one of the principal arguments for "out" - : "How do we want to spend today's £25 million, then?"

418:

Also, J Corbyn is utterly bonkers, but not as totally Upney as his brother, Piers, whom I've had the "fortune" to meet a couple of times .....
Hard to believe, but true, unfortunately.

419:

Oh, they just put a leaflet through my door, that claims we could have all the deals we wanted within 48 hours. Yeah, right.

420:

Exactly.

The EU doesn't start a trade war, it doesn't have to. All that happens is that scotland does the independence two-step and the EU sees it as a perfectly justifiable way of punishing the UK ("of course you can be the successor state, if England wants to rejoin in future, they will need to re-apply").

Meanwhile in Westminster the newly minted euroseptic PM sees it as a fundamental attack on the UK, over something that was done and buried a few years back. The EU is trying to carve off parts of the UK.

That's what kicks off the fighting - that PM HAS to fight back in one way or another.

The interesting thing to consider, from the perspective of the rest of the world - people are talking about this itself kicking off GFC II - via the destabilisation of already shaky markets. If so then the above fundamental tensions in the mismanagement of the EU come into play - and with targeted prods the UK can probably make it pull itself apart. Are they any longer smart enough to do that 'divide and conquer'?

As I said, if they had been smarter the EU would have take the opportunity to reform that Cameron's 'negotiation' gave them.

This whole thing has a certain 'car crash' inevitability to it.

421:

You have written with great certainty about what various EU members would do, in the event of Brexit, but you have not provided any evidence to support what you say about them.

This is particularly important since you are claiming that certain EU countries would happily do sweetheart deals with the UK, which inevitably results in those countries subsidising the UK, since that's what a sweetheart deal is. Their taxpayers are unlikely to view subsidising the departing UK with the enthusiasm you envisage.

You haven't answered my questions either. Where is the money going to come from to replace the inevitable massive capital flight from the UK if Brexit wins? The global financial markets are not noted for their desire to pour money into hopelessly unstable and suicidally inclined economies.

Much as you may wish to ignore this inconvenient fact, the Bank of England can't because It has to deal with reality...

422:

Then that particular bank either doesn't trade with Greece, so doesn't care, or they create their own internal Drachma v.2, and trade with that. IT just does what the bosses want.

Whether you trade at all is a political matter, but the big banks will as a matter of course, so it isn't a significant issue. If Europe doesn't, America or Asia will.

423:

So there's no one person in charge of the entire system for the whole EU who can say "This platform will not support the Drachma?" It's purely a matter of what each individual bank wants to do?

424:

Which gets us back to that part of U.S. history which does apply: Why did the U.S. abandon the Articles of Confederation?

425:

"It is an article of faith amongst "leave" supporters."

I used to believe it myself. When it's been a constant part of the background for 40 years, and there's no more chance of having any influence to counter the red tape any more than there is of countering, say, the unquestionably home-grown red tape produced by HMRC, then it doesn't really matter if you're blaming the right target or not; all you need is some value to assign to char *wankers so that you can printf("Bloody %s making things awkward again\n", wankers); without segfaulting.

Thing is when all of a sudden there is what looks like an opportunity to influence it, then it does matter whether what you believe is true or not. And once actual evidence started to be presented then it was hard to escape the conclusion that most of the blaming of stuff on the EU that goes on cannot be justified. So I changed my mind. Whereas the Leave crowd seem to think that if they keep shouting loud enough the lack of evidence doesn't matter...

426:

Charlie Stross wrote: "The referendum is non-binding; parliament can choose to ignore it. This doesn't mean there wouldn't be a political earthquake -- but it wouldn't be a constitutional one."

In regards to the size of the potential political earthquake you spoke of—do you think most of the people voting in the referendum really understand that parliament can blow it off if they don't like how it turns out?

It sounds like a "Leave" vote followed by a Tory crack-up could be very good thing (short term, these are politicians, after all) for all non-Tory parties. I can only assume that the Tory leaders live in such a political vacuum that it never occurred to them that a "Leave" win was even a remote possibility.

427:

Corbyn is all right. He's there because the actual Labour voters want him there; Blair transformed the Labour party into essentially a Tory-lite party (the points for Blair's Labour and for the Tories on the Political Compass chart were almost coincident) and alienated a lot of Labour supporters who felt they no longer had anyone to vote for (as opposed to voting against, ie. to vote for Blair's Labour was no longer to vote for policies that you actually favoured, but simply a tactical action to keep out the Tories who would be even worse).

The right-wing press don't like him because he isn't right-wing and they don't want either a left-wing government or a significant left-wing counter to a right-wing government. The Blairite Labour party members don't like him because they got where they are by reason of being suited to a Tory-lite Labour and don't feel their position secure with a left-wing leader.

It suits the purposes of the press, the Tories, and the Blairite Labour faction to bang on about Corbyn being "unelectable" in the hope that they can get him kicked out before they have to face the risk that he actually does get elected...

428:

The problem with Corbyn? England used to have a Labour Party and a Conservative Party that disagreed on issues, back in those pre-Blair days before the Tories, Labour, and LibDems all got homogenized into pretty much the same thing, and Corbyn's an actual Labour Labour-Party leader, as well as a grumpy old man who isn't going to sit back and be quiet just because people tell him Labour isn't supposed to do that any more.

429:

Not really. The ECB has jurisdiction over the Euro and administers monetary policy, but it has no authority on countries outside the eurozone. Countries outside all have internal monetary policies - the EU can't tell the Bank of England what to mint for example.
At the end of the day it is up to an individual whether they accept a foreign currency as a valid mechanism of exchange, that isn't something countries can easily control much as they would like to - see Zimbabwe for example, which effectively trades in US Dollars at the moment, and it isn't the only place.

If Greece went onto the drachma, the Germans and French who own most of the loans may not want to accept it, but if anyone else did, that person would have a competitive advantage in trading or speculating with Greece, so in effect everyone will take it pretty soon after it is created. The wonders of rampant capitalism ;) If noone else, the Chinese would happily accept it, and the EU would struggle to tell them not to.

430:

So the ECB can't tell Euro-using countries that they are not allowed to trade in Drachma?

432:

The European Union looks like another failed dream, created by people from another era. Trying to unite vastly disparate groups of people across continents and impose a centralized culture, political system, economy, etc. is what empires do, and this is a bad time for empires. You'll probably see serious campaigns by states to exit the American empire before too long. It's the end of an age, imo. Esperanto, Soviet Union, EU, World Government, Islamic State, etc. -- RIP globalist man, we never knew you, and never will.

433:

It seems that globalism is producing a predictable blowback: increased nationalism and ethnocentrism. In a world where people are being uprooted and forced to compete with people around the world for the benefit of rootless capitalists, the desire for a secure homeland among one's own kind gets stronger. I think of globalism as a storm raging across the planet, throwing cultures and economies into chaos, and nationalism as an attempt to create shelters from the storm. Calling those who don't like this chaos "racists" has become a common trick the global capitalists used to atomize people and break down their resistance to their schemes. I would hope that leftists don't act as tools for these elites by waving this card around excessively at people who are, for the most part, just middle and working class people who are trying to stay above water.

434:

Well, I was never an Evangelion fan anyway.

Meh. Don't fret; the Trumpets aren't going to find deep meaning in anything, much less NGE's mishmash of mythology references. The author of your linked article has certainly done more research than any of them - possibly more than all of them combined.

435:

The European Union looks like another failed dream, created by people from another era.

Yeah, people from another era who had lived through WWII, who saw what kind of mess a would-be emperor made when he tried yet again to resurrect the western Roman Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire transmorgified into the Russian Empire, incidentally).

They decided to try to unify western Europe without an Imperator so that you wouldn't go through that mess again, and now people are sneering at a system run by peaceful bureaucrats.

Sheesh.

I'd point out that an empire is a state that contains multiple nations that are ruled under different rules. Under this definition, the US is definitely an Empire, as it contains Indian and Inupiat Reservations where the laws are differnet, as well as a mess of commonwealths and similar small territories.

Ironically, the American Empire seems to be a bit more just to all its subjects than a true American Republic would be. If you don't believe this, ask the Indians on the Rez what happened to them when the US got Republic Fever and forcibly mainstreamed Indian kids through boarding schools. Not that I'm saying that the Rez in general is a good place to live, or that there isn't a lot of discrimination against Indians. However, with their reservations and their separate rules, they've got a somewhat better chance at keeping their separate cultures alive than they did when our grandparents tried to Americanize them as second-class brown citizens, their language, culture, and families forcibly stripped from them.

It's worth remembering that when you think about how "bad" the EU is. Think about what its makers were trying to prevent before you declare it dead. We've seen how many millions died on the altar of nationalism before, and it ain't pretty.

436:

You'll probably see serious campaigns by states to exit the American empire before too long.

Not really. Texan cranks come out of the woodwork periodically and the rest of the country, and many Texans, point and laugh. While there are occasional jokes on the subject most people are aware both that very few states could make it as nations and that the attempt turned out badly the last time.

Texas might hobble along as another impoverished Caribbean nation; I doubt they'd like it much. California is large and diverse enough. I think any other state would collapse pretty much instantly.

437:

Sometimes I think the only subject we should teach is history. Just history. Keep teaching history until every kid knows all the mistakes humans can make, then keep teaching history some more, just in case.

438:

Interesting.
The tory Baroness Warsi, who was "Out" has switched sides.
She still says that the EU desperately needs reform & is a deadweight, but is scared by the xenophobes coming out of the woodwork all over the place.
With which I agree ... but then, no-one said this was going to be easy & the Corbyn-led labour party have 150% abdicated their responsibility over this whole issue, as I've said before

439:

"We" are subsidising the EU to the tune of ( Nett ) somewhere between £30-35 million a day.
That is one of the principal arguments for "out" - : "How do we want to spend today's £25 million, then?"

1. The net figure is actually £19.4 million per week.

2. The Leave campaign has currently committed to spend £111bn, which at the false £350m per week figure is 317 weeks of savings, and at the adjusted net rate of £136m is more than 800 weeks.

3. I suspect the 6% drop in GDP predicted by the Treasury would cause that £136m a week to evaporate quite fast.

Actually let's nut out point 3. According to the ONS, GDP for Q1 was £452,866m.
Divide by 13 to get the weekly GDP = £34,835,846,153
6% of that is = £2,090,150,769

Call it 2 billion loss to the overall economy each month. Now the tax take doesn't necessarily scale linearly with falling GDP, especially not when that includes loss of overseas investment and whatever other overseas trading instruments are affected, but let's use the Wikipedia figure of 39% as a rule of thumb.

39% of £2,090,150,769 is £815,158,799 lost to the state per week.

So the question is not, how would you like spend today's £25m, it's where can we save today's £116.5m?

440:

Correction: The £19.4m figure is the daily net contribution, not weekly as I typo'd. The £136m figure is later correctly referred to as the weekly one.

441:

Proposition: The EU is a mess and needs major reform.

If so then is reformable in the medium term?

If it reformable then on this issue we should remain to try for a better reform than would be obtainable without us.

But at the moment it looks very unlikely that any sensible reform can be achieved in the medium term.

442:

It's another article of faith amongst the "leave" supporters: We will have $X million pounds per day/week to spend on public services.

It doesn't matter what evidence you produce to the contrary, it doesn't matter how expertly you demolish the assumptions that underpin it, "leave" true believers will continue to bang this drum (it sits along side the "faceless EU bureaucrats" fallacy in the Book of Leave).

443:

it doesn't matter how expertly you demolish the assumptions that underpin it

Well yes, that's why Gove, Farage et al are trying to turn the word "expert" into something like the GOP's pronunciation of the word "liberal." That pesky bias to reality keeps monkeying with all their assertions.

444:

Genuine question: What are the "major reforms" needed in the EU?

I'm not denying that there are things that need reformed (same is true for all governments -- if they're not a work in progress, somethings gone horribly wrong), but I don't think I've ever seen anyone give a good list of these "major reforms", beyond the general "leave" campaign misrepresentations, exaggerations, and outright fabrications.

445:

I continue to enjoy the irony that the foremost "leave" supporter on this board routinely rolls these broad statements out, and utterly fails to produce evidence when countered with facts and figures; but then goes (in the words of Sergeant Colon) absolutely spare when other posters make unsupported assertions on certain topics.

It's as though ignorance and denial of facts has become a badge of honour for "leave" supporters.

It doesn't bode well for future political discourse should the "leave" campaign win. But I suppose this returns to the major thrust of Charlie's OP.

446:

First off Stevie, I am Irish and not pro Brexit, so I do not give a shit where the lost capital inflows to the UK come from should they choose to leave.
Second, Doing nothing is the default action of the EU on anything because doing something requires consensus among all the members.

Thirdly, I am not suggesting that they would do sweetheart deals but that unless and until the UK government says otherwise the would operate on the assumption that the UK accepted the Acquis Communautaire in full.

The EU will not proactively kick off a trade war with the UK because that is clearly not in the interests of all member states. Ireland especially, why would Ireland agree to it. And even if the matter could be decided on a majority vote it will not be pushed to that because everyone knows that the countries most affected could veto the next thing they can just to prove a point.

Fourthly, Taken at their word the Pro Brexit camp do not want to accept parts of the Aquis and will drop them. So why not wait and see what is dropped and then have the Commission throw out a white paper on what the EU's collective response should be, besides automatically re-locating the UK in the trade bracket to that of ordinary WTO member.
That give the various governments and the businesses of the EU plenty of time to re-orient to minimize the damage.

447:

The problem is the Euro, take away the Euro and the EU in its current form could exist pretty much for ever, a bit like the Holy Roman Empire.
If you want to keep the Euro they you really need Fiscal Transfers, Euro bonds and a Euro Finance ministry with Euro level taxation power, answerable to the Euro parliament (to satisfy the German Constitutional court). This naturally would be a huge loss in sovereignty for all concerned and so far no one is prepared to accept that.

448:

''Genuine question: What are the "major reforms" needed in the EU?''

Other than the mantra of "less bureaucracy", it depends entirely on who you speak to - essentially "It should do more of what I want and less of what they want."

However, compared with the UK's government (in the wider sense), the EU is a model of democracy, efficiency, far-sightedness and just plain sanity, and it's the UK that needs reforming. On the first, consider the proportion of our public services that are effectively unanswerable to Parliament (let alone the public that they claim to serve). On the second, ask yourself why one of the richest countries on earth has such poor services and so many people in debt. On the third, many of us predicted our current crises 25 years ago, and some of them 50 years ago! On the last, ask yourself why we have been a major player in so many foreign 'adventures' that were obviously going to harm our interests (e.g. the destabilisation of Iraq, Libya and Syria).

449:

Good answer, better than mine but you will never get less bureaucracy from the EU it is the lowest common denominator of 28 National bureaucracies and legal systems, arrived at by committee. It is never going to be less than the sum of its parts.

450:

"First off Stevie, I am Irish and not pro Brexit, so I do not give a shit where the lost capital inflows to the UK come from should they choose to leave."

You should. While the EU would be harmed only slightly by the UK's economy collapsing, the same cannot be said for Ireland, whether you mean Eire or the island. In the first case, we are your biggest trading partner, and there are half a million or so people who might return in a hurry. In the latter case, you can also expect the current house of cards in Northern Ireland to collapse, not least because it is being propped up by massive subsidies.

451:

No. The ECB controls financial policy related specifically to the Euro. It has no say whatsoever on what its member countries do regarding accepting foreign currency.

FX acceptance is still surprisingly variable between countries, and playing intermediary with the differences between who takes what is another way the banks make money.

Individual countries have signed up to common agreements on Anti-money laundering practices, though the EU and US are still not quite in sync. Mostly that consists of blacklisted individuals and companies, along with a few trade embargoes like Iran or Syria.

It is still quite possible to trade with those destinations though, you just have to move the money through a suitable intermediate market. The UK(plc) does it reasonably often since blacklisted individuals tend to want to buy arms and we like to sell them. So long as the transaction is properly abstracted from the FCA controlled territories, everyone turns a blind eye. On the other hand aid agencies often struggle to access funds, since they don't move enough money for the governments to be interested to assist on the quiet.

452:

Another might be that it's the Militant Tendency (the more left-wing side of the party), back twenty years after their last defeat, and ready to drive out those damn centrists who have forgotten the real roots of Labour.

Disagree.

Corbyn was around (and a young firebrand) during the Militant period: he was adamantly opposed to them, and seen as a right-wing sell-out. He's basically the 1980s Labour mainstream, as opposed to the post-Blair right-wing consensus. Your thinking of him in terms of Militant Tendency (a bunch of unashamed Trotskyites) shows just how far the Overton window has slid to the right.

(I will note that Gerry Adams is now a mainstream politician in NI; somewhere out there is a parallel universe where Bloody Sunday didn't happen, pIRA didn't gain traction, HMG listened to the Civil Rights movement in the early 70s, and the Troubles never happened.)

Agreed about the normal backlash/return to center pattern after a governing party is kicked out. The trouble is, since 2008 we haven't been living in normal times. The "center" has been defined by triangulation around the Washington Consensus, which is deeply unpopular with most folks who aren't earning two sigmas above the mean, or more, and they've been deprived of a voice for a generation. Pressure builds up: Corbyn is symptomatic of this pressure from one side of the spectrum, and Farage on the other.

453:

there are half a million or so people who might return [to Eire] in a hurry

Or claim on the citizenship they're entitled to and move to the continent under their Irish passport, drawing down from the Irish State in healthcare and (eventual) social care costs.

454:

I will note that Gerry Adams is now a mainstream politician in NI; somewhere out there is a parallel universe where Bloody Sunday didn't happen, pIRA didn't gain traction, HMG listened to the Civil Rights movement in the early 70s, and the Troubles never happened.

I almost wept reading this. How I wish, with more passion than its easy to express, that we lived in this reality.

455:

I do care in the sense your are saying but it is an event entirely outside my control and I think Stevie was mistaking me for a brexiter.
The people that I know that have a vote are all pro stay, at least the ones that I have regular contact with.
On the subject of immigration, How serious is Farage and the Troy brexites on the subject? Will they start mass deportations or are like the GOP in the US something they will use to rally votes but do nothing about because they are really just using it as an excuse while they screw the poor by other means.

456:

This is te answer I think I know.

The reason I'm asking the question (again), is that it's such a common theme of "leave" supporters, that the EU needs "massive reforms" that I am suspicious of my own bias and genuinely hoping that someone has an actual hard list of issues and reforms that are needed (over and above the petty: "I don't like this regulation because it makes my life a tiny bit more complicated").

@447: The Euro is a good example of something that probably does need massive overhaul, or scrapping (no economist I, so I can't comment on the particulars of its flaws and strengths). But does it matter to the current UK referendum? Inside or outside the EU, if the whole continent's economy tanks, then the UK surely is going to suffer? The level of suffering might be mitigated by having the pound as a separate currency, and since (as far as I know) there are no plans for the UK to join the Euro even if we remain, it doesn't strike me as a compelling reason to leave.

457:

Gerry Adams is now a mainstream politician in the Irish republic. TD for Louth, Leader of the 3rd largest party in the Dail

458:

Overton window

By the way Charlie, now the term "Overton window" is in the public consciousness please please find a way of using the term "Angleton window" in a future Laundry novel...

459:

Farage has form, when a late teen/student, for drunkenly and loudly singing Nazi marching songs on his way home from the pub, and being an unapologetic fascist.

Looking at his more recent effusions, I don't think he's changed his views significantly. He's probably more open to nuance -- as older people are -- and more circumspect about displaying his dirty laundry in public, but I think he's just basically a nuanced, more circumspect dipshit fascist.

460:

I think he's just basically a nuanced, more circumspect dipshit fascist.

I thought the whole subtext of "Leave EU = Less Immigration" was that if we withdraw from the EU and the ECHR (which are not the same thing, and the latter does not automatically follow the former) then we can draw up our own bill of rights which includes "no brown people get to immigrate." I don't think it's been explicitly said during the campaign but it's certainly been whistled, and the first part was certainly said as recently as the Conservative election manifesto in 2015.

461:

As someone who might have been guilty of loudly singing Billy Bragg songs in a crowded drunk cell as a late teen/student, this definition of "form" could be uncomfortably close. Not in a bad way, of course.

462:

He's basically the 1980s Labour mainstream, as opposed to the post-Blair right-wing consensus

And compared with Labour under Helen Clark in NZ, he's pretty middle of the road. Blair really dragged Labour to the right a *long* way.

Mind you, the UK in general has been fairly right wing for a long time, though how much of that is FPTP jiggering of electoral boundaries I'm not sure.

It really says something about the political compass here that the only true centrist party is the Greens ... who normally would be described as the environmental raving loony party.

463:

See the story @128 for a perfect example of the people that this is aimed at. Essentially, the "I'm not racist, but ..." crowd.

464:

Yes, I hear that all the time, often from white Irish immigrants to my white American spouse.

That's why I genuinely want someone who's in favour of further immigration limits to answer my question in 343. Choose a group, any group, that you think should be restricted from entry, and then we'll try to write the piece of legislation that closes that door to entry, abiding by a few simple rules:

- You can favour the EU and the Commonwealth, but no other individual country, unless
- Any country you favour or disfavour, assume you've had to negotiate a bilateral agreement (you want to put a quota on entry from country X? Then Country X gets to put a quota on something they import from us)
- You're not allowed to extend the Indefinite Leave to Remain threshold, nor are you allowed to deny people with ILR the right to apply for citizenship
- You can, however, make whatever changes you like to the Citizenship process (harder tests, longer waiting period within reason etc)
- You can't violate the human right to family life

If you can do all that AND find a way to make it not an overall loss to GDP, I'll sign a petition to enact it myself.

465:

I still think that he is just an arsehole and, as such, is likely to open the door for some real nasties. It's hard to tell, though, and you may be right.

466:

I once read a description of a senior Irish Republican politician (in a newspaper interview with a former IRA operative) as a 'plausible bigot'. Living over two decades in ROI has done little to shake my sense that this is a very useful term. It's also become a pithy means for describing Farage and his ilk...

467:

I had this very discussion with someone over a month ago, and (as you noted in your post @343, and Charlie in his OP) when you start to debate with someone about immigration two things become apparent really fast:
1) They have no idea what the actual level of immigration to the UK is.
2) They are completely clueless about the existing controls on immigration.

What is particularly disheartening is the response of most people when presented with the facts. It's usually a variation on "that's just your opinion", or "the government would say that", or the deeply scary "I don't need to know the facts to know the truth!".

As I said previously, it really is as though ignorance and denial of facts has become a badge of honour for "leave" supporters.

468:

Doing a quick search I'm guessing that claim is based on this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_London

Which is based on this census data from 2011:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/census/2011/QS201EW/view/2013265927?cols=measures

Assuming that "native English" is used to mean people who ticked "White-British" on the census then that's 44.89% which would qualify as less than half.

I don't find that particularly shocking but then I tend to work in places with a lot of people who are, like myself, not british nationals to the point that recently my head of department was looking for someone with a british passport to sign his passport application and had to go round most of the office to find one.

469:

Also on the same page of Wikipedia: "The 2011 census recorded that 2,998,264 people or 36.7% of London's population are foreign-born."

It is without question a racist position to state that only people of a "White-British" ethnicity are "Native English."

470:

Yes. There are a lot of people who are not 'white' but who are Nth generation British, and have never had any other nationality or right of residence, or option to either. And even foreign-born does not necessarily imply any other nationality; there are a lot of people like me who have never had any other nationality or right of residence, who are foreign-born. Not all are 'white', either.

471:

Irish Times headline spotted while shopping - Surge in Passport Applications - so yeah, I think that people have spotted that.

Charlie is, I think, already sitting in the lifeboat if the vote goes Leave on Thursday, as one high probability outcome would be a second Indepedence referendum in Scotland, but this time with EU membership and insulation from England-gone-bad as an incentive.

472:

In fact I don't qualify as White-British either, and fuck anyone who thinks they have a right to define on my behalf whether I'm English or not.

474:

Interesting: the "correct" daily figure you give of approx £20 million is 2/3 of mine at £30 m - where did that come from?
Lot of money either way.

475:

I linked to the source in the post you quoted, Greg.

476:

What are the "major reforms" needed in the EU?
DEMOCRACY
The reining-in of the Commission & a proper accountability to all parliaments, not just the one in Brussels.
Oh & an end to the corporate-corrupt lobbying, that makes Washington look a tea party, with rules that consistently favour big corporations ..... [ Note: I am NOT talking about employment law here, where actually the EU has done good things. ]
Oh & real free movement of people who are not planning to become residents ... it is, if anything, harder for me to get to/from Germany NOW than it was in 1965, pah.

477:

You & me both, mate!
I also wonder how much of all the Irish troubles was driven by the unbelievable corruption, of totally entrenched power-structures, on both sides of the border, leading up to 1969-71.

478:

OH YUCK - I didn't know that ... why isn't this given wider publicity, then?
... btw, your earlier: Corbyn is symptomatic of this pressure from one side of the spectrum, and Farage on the other.
Yes - 'orribly true.

479:

The census states that 5,175,677 of the total 8,173,900 London population were born in Britain, which is 63.3%. Just in case that's not absolutely clear.

Funnily enough, the last time London was this big was in 1951, right after the UK had taken in 200,000 Polish refugees but for some reason we were far less open to nationalist demagogues stirring up ethnic intolerance for political gain at the time...

480:

why isn't this given wider publicity

None so blind as those who do not wish to see, probably covers this adequately. (Although I suspect a side order of media collusion or just plain incompetence is also involved.)

481:

Ok, as far as I know, EU law is agreed to by the Council (essentially the governments of Europe) and can be amended by the EU parliament (in limited circumstances the Parliament has I believe a veto).
Anything passed at this level has to be enabled at national level by the respective national parliaments. Which are controlled by the government in power at the time and naturally never reject anything the government has agreed to.
So what exactly are you proposing to change and how do you expect it would make a difference?

482:

Not to mention that the population of the South East, the next most diverse area generally after London is ~90% British, - 85% white and 5% South Asian, with <2% everything else. England as a whole is 79% white, 11% everything else, meaning there is ~10% foreign born across the country. Hardly the cause of the downfall of civilisation.
Apparently when the white population drops below 85%, everyone here starts to panic.

483:

The utter cluster-fuck that characterizes most of English-Irish history is deeply depressing. I try to avoid thinking about it too much.

484:

Sorry, lost in translation .... not querying your figure, I'm wondering where mine came form - & both could be wrong, too ...

Note: It appears that Ms Cox was working on ultra-right groupings when she was murdered, which makes me start thinking "conspiracy" i.e. Mair was put/pushed up to it.

Even I am now wavering, incidentally, but/& the prospect of C Napoleon Law & the EAW scare me, but/& so do the people that Ms Warsi has spoken of ... I might spoil my paper ....

Question: If there is a majority for "Out" of less than 1% does Cameron go back to Brussels & ask for more concessions, rather than going straight out, I wonder ???

One thing is certain, this is the biggest decision in these islands since Henry VIII's break with Rome.

485:

I think he is suggesting it would work better if the government that proposes and agrees to things on our behalf was democratically accountable.

486:

That's probably truer than you think. I went to University in Bradford, and endured three years of being told (by white people from within, nearby and far outwith Bradford) I was "