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The Inevitable Brexit Thread (2)

(Because the previous one passed 1200 comments and is getting a bit cumbersome ...)

So the Article 50 deadline has passed and we're now in penalty time. The British team is still arguing violently with itself while water pours through the changing room ceiling and the EU team looks on, bemused. 75% of the UK fans don't understand why they're playing this match and don't want to be there but the gates are locked until someone wins, and because nobody on the UK side read the rules their team is outnumbered 27 to 1 on the football pitch. The British team all hate their manager and want to sack her but they can't agree on a replacement; meanwhile the defenders are antsy because they placed bets on the outcome (they bet heavily that the other side would win) and they want to get to the betting shop. It turns out that most of them don't understand the rules of the game; some of them thought it was a cricket match, and two of them are playing bowls.

In other news, Serbian foreign minister advises citizens not to travel to the UK due to political chaos. I suppose he'd know the signs ...


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NOTE: Each time you post a comment, the blog back end has to re-generate the web page you're looking at—it's served up as static HTML, which is way faster than dynamically compiling it each time. However, the static page had mushroomed to 2.6Mb and 1280 comments. Each extra comment slows down the page generation process—I'm pretty sure the SQL code generated by the back end isn't terribly efficient—so posting comments was taking longer, and so was loading and rendering the page.

So I've drawn a line under the earlier discussion and you can continue here.


I know a couple from Belgrade who live and work in Cambridge. When we last saw them (at the Ingress anomaly in Bristol last month), we carefully didn't mention it.

We did discover that our team co-leader (not Gideon, the other one) was a Leave voter though.


A friend who lives in Burma recently messaged me to say how concerned he is about the UK's political instability and its impact on my way of life.



Americans get chips from a chipper

Well ... also from buffalo.


And May has requested an extension until end of June,

Nuts. I was planning on spending a week in London mid June as a visiting revolutionary seeing the sights. This might make it too exciting to be there.


On another site I read, we have a South American (presently resident in Canada) talking about revolution in the context of Wrecksit.

At lunch today a colleague suggested that UK was "the tail trying to wag the dog", and responded that I had a different part of the dot in mind, fractionally further forward and lower.


What are Labour playing at though? Remain is now polling north of 65 percent. In Newport Labour lost 11pc of their vote share to smaller parties that are publicly pro-Remain. It's been beat into them again and again that going Remain will massively boost their chances in any election. However, every time Mr Corbyn is pushed on this he whiffs it.
The opposition is supposed to, well, oppose. When can we expect some from them?


"..., and I responded..."

I must learn to proof read, and/or type properly!


Well, I can't remember now just who it was but one of Maybot's Cabinet recently said that she considers the SNP to be Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.


Any thoughts on the outlook for Indyref 2 now, Charlie? I'd be surprised if Scotland wasn't out of the UK and back in the EU (with generous infrastructure funding incoming) within 5 or so years of anything but the gentlest of Brexits, but I can't show all my working...


My company is going to a major annual trade show in the UK next week. As every year, we were planning on driving a van across from the mainland, with all our exhibition gear. Last year, standing in Dover waiting for the ferry, we already looked at each other, and at the thousands of trucks, and went "oooh, next year's gonna be fun...". We already thought about Plan B, a much-reduced booth ("Brexit edition") so that we can fly across and take it in check-in. Assuming there'll be flights, because hell, who knows. When the deadline was finally moved to the 12th, we decided to drive after all. The show's next week, until the 11th - driving home on the 12th. Hopefully. Will pack a tent and my bush camping gear, just in case...And some popcorn and deck-chairs, maybe...


Charlie, have you asked Scalzi to bring a suitcase large enough to smuggle you out in on his visit?

Seriously, post brexit no deal scenarios are all pretty bleak. Any practical prep beside stock piling some backstop food and meds that can be done i assume you have done.

So it's just the wait now?


You can't implement perfect socialism if you're part of the EU, can you? (And you can't be Blair if you're Corbyn, which is why Labour is in such a tizzy.)


Agreed. Staying in the U.K. seems rather thoughtless right now.


If I was the other side of 50 years of age I'd be seriously thinking about emigrating at this point.

As it is, I'm over 50, with chronic health issues (what in the USA would be euphemistically described as "pre-existing conditions") and no foreign languages. I don't want to have to figure out my way around new immigration and tax authorities, much less medical systems. (And please recall I'm married with a cat: there's two plus to deal with).

Also: I have family here, including at least one who is never going to leave the nursing home again (unless it's to go to a hospital … or a mortuary).


So here's an exciting option that's just become available because of the toryrrists filibustering the Cooper bill last night. The committee stage and third reading of that bill got moved to Monday, and May used today to preempt it by requesting an impossibly short and unjustified extension. That request will not be acceptable to Euco. Euco proposal of long extension requires three things - EU parliament elections in UK (done), the other 27 member states accepting (france is opposed but could probably be persuaded in time) and the UK requesting the extension. The Euco plan is to make the extension end immediately and automatically when the WA passes, and then kick out the UK MEPs and hold byelections to fill their spots.

The Lords now have the option of amending the Cooper bill to require the PM to request the exact extension the EU is offering. If the commons approves that (and they will by my math) it can get royal assent on Monday already. May is happy because she can tell her shitheads in cabinet that Letwin made her do it. Euco is happy (except France grumbles) because no-deal is averted and there's enough time for a referendum. And May can keep the illusion of her WA getting passed at some point alive, which is her preferred strategy. Then we'd need a SI on thursday to move the exit date again.


What Labour are playing at is a bit more nuanced than a single nationwide poll. I'm not saying I agree with their strategy, but it depends on where you look what the results look like.

In a lot of their heartlands in the cities where the population is stable or falling, Leave has got MORE popular. The same in a lot of Tory heartlands. But in a lot of denser population areas or where the population is rising, Remain has shot up to be a huge majority. So nationally, Remain is really popular, but in terms of parliamentary seats it's less clear cut.

We haven't been really seeing the divisions among Labour dissected as much as they have been among the Tories because Corbyn hasn't been trying to push through an unpopular negotiated deal. He may or may not have been smarter than May and started looking for a cross-parliamentary consensus early on, we'll never know (British parliamentary history suggests not, and it's easy for the leader of the opposition to suggest it's the way to do it, knowing they won't be asked to actually do so; OTOH the original joining was done by just such a process so he might have done it, with precedent, hard to say).

We hear a lot about how Brexit has divided the country. I'm not sure that's true, as a country I think we're all pretty sick of the fucking politicians rabbiting on about it and telling us what our votes meant. What it has really done is fractured ALL of the big English parties (the SNP not so much, they were firmly Remain and stay so) and I'm counting the Lib Dems as a big party despite their currently reduced number of MPs. The Tories MPs are pretty split Right v Centre, but their constituencies are harder to call. Labour splits aren't as clearly matched to their political allegiances and their constituencies are a real hodgepodge. Corbyn is trying to balance all of that and for the first time, it's actually out in the open and he has to be seen to do more than say "May's deal doesn't deliver what she promised, we oppose it," so his juggling act is newer but in the spotlight too.


At least others are learning from events: in Sweden, both left and right "anti-EU" factions have decided to work with the EU and not toward a "leave referendum". Let's see how far that holds...


Well, let's face it, Maybot is desperate enough to ask the SNP to break their manifesto and promises to Scotland and back her!


Speaking as a US citizen, I take quite a bit of comfort in the fact that my country isn't the only one seemingly intent on self-inflicted meltdown & destruction!


I'm pretty sure backing May would be a suicide mission for the SNP, at least in terms of their voter base in Scotland ...


lusiphur @ 7
Cor Bin is a leaver, because the EU is "a corporate bosses ramp" - he's stuck in 1970's far-left protest lunacy, as usual - he's a complete wanker - because even now, May appears marginally more competent.
You REALLY could not make this shit up ....
See also troutwaxer's v sarcastic & perfectly true remark @ 13


Since every Brexit thread requires the obligatory dip into the continuing havoc being caused in Northern Ireland …

UK immigration rules ‘deny’ NI-born Irish citizens access to EU rights

While it has been thus far hard to categorically say that Brexit undermines the Good Friday Agreement (and thus the cornerstone to the ongoing Peace Process in Northern Ireland), changes in UK immigration rules that are in part to facilitate the future relationship with the EU post Brexit (and which are to some extent an outgrowth of the abominable "hostile environment" policies) are kicking at one of the fundamental provisions in the GFA: The right for any citizen of NI to be either British or Irish.

Alongside the immigration questions and identity issues, under current UK reciprocal voting arrangements, retaining Irish citizenship in Northern Ireland would disqualify you from voting in a United Ireland referendum. Karen Bradley (the Secretary of State for NI) has responded to a question on this by stating that: Anyone who wants clarity should simply give up their Irish citizenship in favour of being British.

It seems like the Tories are prepared to pump petrol by the gallon onto the embers of the conflict in NI.

(Google "emma desouza northern Ireland" for lots more detail.)


Re: 'So nationally, Remain is really popular, but in terms of parliamentary seats it's less clear cut.'

So -- a by-natural-attrition version of gerrymandering? If yes, then all May has to do is make sure the retirees (who probably haven't travelled to Europe in the past 20 years therefore remain blissfully unaware of how much ahead living conditions are in the EU vs the UK) stay alive to cast their ballots so that the England they know can continue on.

OOC - why in a world that increasingly lives online are elected gov't representatives/seats still geographically fixed/based? This approach is bound to miss or bury the more widespread and overstate locally clumped issues. Imagine if healthcare operated on a strictly geographic basis and a procedure would be made available only if some arbitrary percent of the local population needed it per annum. Ditto education, foods, car brands*, etc. Seriously - this approach to governance/national resource management needs a rethink.

*Imagine if Rolls Royce was forced to stop production. (Of the impression that the UK gov't continues to own/prop up at least a part of this brand.)


Horrid suggestion, that for entriely selfish & party-before-country "reasons" of their own ... BOTH Maybot & Cor Bin may conspire to prevent a second referendum


I know. It hurts. But at least we tried to investigate the Russian connection.


In other news, Serbian foreign minister advises citizens not to travel to the UK due to political chaos. I suppose he'd know the signs ...

Well, it would at least help prevent any unpleasantness concerning Archdukes in open-topped vehicles. . .


As I understand it, Serbia has some reciprocal travel arrangements with the EU, about recognition of ID cards as travel documents and visa exemptions and such. The FCO has not rolled those over to a bilateral agreement (likely because it requires full reciprocity) and therefore Serbians travelling under those rules would suddenly be in the UK illegally after Friday as things are going now. Warning citizens about this is entirely justified imo.


Sorry, but you link doesn't work. (Always use the "Preview" function when you link.)


Since it has no reference at all, rather than a mangled one, I thought it was a joke -- the non-existent Brexit.

[[ it was broken HTML: smart quotes in this case - mod ]]


<boris>Clearly the problem was he just didn't drive fast enough - if he had been driving at the right speed he'd have gotten through fine with a trailer 9/10 the usual height and everything would have been fine - indeed people would have been seeking him out to transport their cargo with such panache. <\boris>

Seriously though, I can't believe May is trying exactly the same trick with the EU that she tries with us - just give the same exact offer again and hope they take it. It's like a cat walking up to a wall and expecting it to move out the way.

I mean, they *already* rejected an extension into June for extremely clear reasons. That isn't going to change.


But a childhood of science fiction has led me to understand that cats can walk through walls! (prime ministers, on the other hand, have to either be for turning or not)


Possibly. Or maybe Fazal messed up the HTML, as we all do sometimes. Either way, not a big deal.


Australia and New Zealand come to mind as places where you wouldn't have to learn the language. The U.S. is probably out for a person with a pre-existing condition. But our mutual ancestry gives you a great instinct for when it's time to get out. Just honer that instinct please, should the card pop up.


We can't even hope for any useful magical assistance. All we'd get would be an MP who's a Remainer down to the waist but his legs are Leavers.


Schrodinger's MP. All things to all people until it collapses under scrutiny.


UK politics isn't as hopelessly gerrymandered as US politics. There is really pretty independent commission that sets the boundaries for the constituencies and tries to get a sensible balance of geography (so you don't have an MP who has a mountain range between them and some of their constituents wherever possible... not always easy in Scotland and Wales) and each MP broadly representing the same number of people.

The trouble is, that the last time they tried to redraw the boundaries was under Callmedave and the coalition government. Dave had just backstabbed the LibDems about something (I think it was voting reform but I'm not 100% certain and it doesn't really matter) so the LibDems refused to back the Tory plans to redraw the boundaries. They weren't strictly Conservative plans, in the sense of "drawn up by Tory politicians" but they were asked for by the Conservative PM and part of the Tory drive to reduce the number of MPs. They would also have disproportionately hit Labour seats in the boundary redraw, partly because of that moving away from some urban centres I mentioned before.

When that parliament dissolved, we were into referendum, Brexit and it's not come back. So we've had the current constituencies since 1983, and the population has shifted a lot in the last 26 years. But deciding exactly what to do and how is a fraught question even if you don't try and reduce the number of MPs.


So all those fairies marrying Lords were doing it to get whatever the UK version of a "green card" is?


The good news is I have a super-leave MP so I'm very clear on where he stands.

I voted for him in 2015 because the last poll I'd seen had him neck-and-neck with Farage in my constituency. Lesson learned. Anyway I've seen him at the local market and he has a very nice chocolate labrador who behaved extremely well while someone tried to pin him down on the election expenses charges he was facing at the time.


Just a bit of catch up ... or is tit ketchup? ... anyway ...

Scott Sanford @ 1275: (old thread) In the case of the HMS Conqueror's antics it was to take the sonar array home and let the boffins poke at it. That gave the Royal Navy a very good idea about what the Russians could actually hear, making it easier for later subs to get close without anyone else knowing.

Apparently the RN does not deny the story that there were three attempts at this, one successful. That the tool was designed to grind and scrape rather than neatly snip off the cable suggests that plausible deniability was a concern from the beginning[1].

Ok, so that was a special mission against a surface ship and not an attack submarine out on "routine" patrol playing Blind Man's Bluff with a Soviet sub.

Kliment @ 1278: (old thread) Eh? This is a simple thing. Americans get chips from a chipper (except blue chips, which they get from a broker). Brits get chips from a chippie. If neither is available, you go to a machinist, whose entire job is to make chips.

I thought you got chips from a shop?

Troutwaxer @ 25: Brexit.

I love that bridge! It provides so much entertainment.

Where I went to High School is about 3 blocks north of there. My dad's office was about 4 blocks south. I used to walk under that bridge every day to get to my dad's office so I could catch a ride home.

Another thing not shown is that trucks just barely less than the "11foot8" maximum will sometimes try to sneak through under the bridge. The street starts going uphill just on the other side of the bridge. They get the first 2/3 of the trailer through, but as the cab & front end start up the hill, the back end of the trailer gets caught.

And then, there's the railroad tracks on top of the bridge. Your truck may be low enough to just barely get through if you take it slowly, but if a train comes over, the bridge compresses down a couple of inches. I've seen that catch an unwary driver or two.


If I was the other side of 50 years of age I'd be seriously thinking about emigrating at this point.

You might want to check out Panama, particularly Panama City, David, and their exurbs. The quality of life there is good, they have a decent healthcare system, you can usually get by with English or very basic Spanish and the government encourages expatriates through several visa options.

Costa Rica might be another option.


I love that bridge! It provides so much entertainment.

We have a low rail bridge on the road where I often work. It's 12 foot 9 inches clearance but confusingly it can't be seen from around the corner on the approach to it. Even more confusingly the Edinburgh tram line has a new-build bridge just in front of it and that's a lot higher. An HGV driver who doesn't know the area comes along, sees the bridge height warning which is situated before the tram bridge, thinks "I can get under that easy-peasy", makes the turn under the tram bridge and slams on the anchors as the second much lower rail bridge suddenly comes into sight. They then have to reverse out around a blind corner on a narrow two-lane road which adds to the amusement.

If you want to see it look on Google maps for Roseburn Street in Edinburgh and select Street View.


Oh, that's just nasty.


Since rationality hasn't provided the MPs with an answer, maybe the UK could turn to religion for guidance.
I mean, the Catolic church has a most interesting protocol for making sure a new Pope is chosen in a timely manner!
In its origin, the procrastinating group was simply locked in a room until they decided...


Isn't that where they tried to rob the smack factory in the prequel to Trainspotting?

I suspect a lot of bridge bashes are encouraged by the height warning signs indicating a clearance smaller than what is actually available, so that lorry drivers get used to knowing that they can get through even when the sign says they can't, and then get caught out at an unfamiliar bridge where the sign is more accurate than they're expecting.

Funniest bridge incident I've witnessed: a dead-end car park behind some flats; the access road ran through a bridge under one of the flats. The ceiling of the bridge was a dead level flat concrete slab, while the access road sloped up slightly, so the clearance reduced by a couple of inches as you went through. Along comes someone in a camper van with a bathtub-shaped flexible fibreglass roof and hares under the bridge at indecent speed. Half way through the roof hits the underside of the arch, and flexes downward, then as the van comes out the other side it pops up again. And the van is now trapped in the car park by the slightly lesser entry clearance on that side of the bridge.

I did not see, but wish I had, the time someone else hared under that bridge at indecent speed in a Transit pickup forgetting that he had a load of scaff poles up on the ladder bar. Which punched through the wall of the flat above, launched a wardrobe across the room, and left the occupant gibbering in the corner.


Lock 'em into the H of C, mastic up the cracks around the doors and don't bother to repair the water leak...


Trust Britain to have a more chaotic political system than Australia.


This clip looks almost prescient, as a metaphor for the Brexit attempts so far!


People noticed that in the comments too, which I really enjoyed!


a very nice chocolate labrador who behaved extremely well while someone tried to pin him down on the election expenses charges

He wagged his tail and refused to talk?

You know things are getting desperate when the best MP you have is a labrador who know how to "stay" :)


There is a truck eating trestle in Albany, Oregon with lots of pictures on the interwebs about what has happened to previous trucks. The period between is usually about five years, possibly the turnover rate for local truckers...


maybe the UK could turn to religion for guidance .. the procrastinating group was simply locked in a room until they decided..

The problem is that they send in food and drink to the deciderators. But I do like the idea of official genital-fondlers being a key part of the process.

I watched "Richard Hammond: Would The Gunpowder Plot Have Worked?" where they made a replica of the Guy Fawkes House of Lords and blew it up. I'm wondering whether it might be useful to reproduce that scenario during the decision making. Not necessarily the explosion part, more the literal deadline part. Although right now putting the bunch of them into orbit has a certain appeal.


You’ve often praised your MP.
Do you think she could be persuaded to submit a bill to the following effect?

“If, as of 10:59 pm on April 29th, the Withdrawal Agreement has not been approved by Parliament and the Queen, and no offer of an extension to the period provided for by Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union has been offered by the E. U. and been approved by Parliament and the Queen, Article 50 notice of the U. K.’s withdrawal from the E. U.shall be revoked.”


What, sequester them with a stove and don't let them out until they put out a puff of white smoke? Is that the religious thing we're talking about?

I'm thinking old school: erect a wicker man on Primrose Hill, and leave it there. Empty. Waiting. Sacrifices will need to be made for the health of the nation after all, and the Celtic tradition asks for sacrifices of the best and brightest, not working class slobs.


"Brits get chips from a chippie"

Australians get houses from a chippie, built to order, almost but not quite to the design your architect provides.


I was thinking "nothing focuses the mind so much as knowing one is to be hanged in the morning" or in this case "... as the knowledge that there's a ton of explosives under the floor and a race to see whether the team upstairs make a decision before the team downstairs light the fuse". Mostly I am still thinking about the bang.

I do wonder whether a secret ballot would make a difference. Perhaps even dry run the preferential vote referendum in the house to see what "the opinion of the house" is when they're not under the whip and media frenzy.


Australians get houses from a chippie, built to order, almost but not quite to the design your architect provides.

Most Australians get houses from the local "Dodgy Bob's Discount Deals" and take what they're given regardless of whether it's habitable. I'm not excluding those rich enough to buy houses from that.

Speaking of people whose work would improve if we hung a few, the building industry lobbyists make the tobacco company ones look benign. They probably kill as many people these days, just through the appalling dwellings that still exist, and the low standards they demand so new dwellings are not much better. I helped build a cardboard house that exceeded all the requisite standards (except longevity, it was a display home) ... even Clarke and Dawe would have been surprised.


I could probably build quite a decnt house myself - PROVIDED I could guarantee the foundations - which, in London, you can't .... ( Clay which shifts, very slowly as soil )
Because I built a very substantial single-storey allotment hut ... but, of course the "fixing" was metal spikes driven into the ground & then cured/preserved timbers dropped into those as the uprights.
Wiring & pipes are EASY, sewage, maybe not so much ....


Who was it who said "the purpose of a system is what it does"?

Maybe you're all not cynical enough.

I am beginning to think that the reason why nobody seems to be able to get out of the current mess is that the current mess is the desired outcome.

Right now it looks like what we may get is extensions by a couple of months for years and years to come, while neither the UK government nor the House of Commons come forward with any viable plan.

The result will be to completely paralyze not only parliament (which may be useful all in itself for a PM with Henry VIII-powers), but mainly the EU as well. Which—incidentally—has been the main objective of the UK all along and its sole reason for joining the EU in the first place.



There is a truck eating trestle in Albany, Oregon with lots of pictures on the interwebs about what has happened to previous trucks. The period between is usually about five years...

This article suggests an impact about once every two months, suggesting most of the incidents are pretty minor. It did break at least two trucks in 2016 (one in May, one in August).

There are multiple warning signs. There are literal blinking lights. There's a lot of banged-up metal from previous idiots. Things would probably be worse without them.

Today I discovered that on Google Street View you can see long scrapes on the underside of the trestle, parallel to the path of traffic. By the time those can be seen in person it's too late to change plans...

I suppose the Brexit Leave metaphor is someone spotting the torn up metal and screaming "Floor it!"


Hm, the historical procedure might have looked somewhat different:

(Just looking by and listening to Worlock by Skinny Puppy, inter alia...)


"Right now it looks like what we may get is extensions by a couple of months"

I think that is the least likely of all outcomes, why on Earth would EU do that to themselves ?

Macron is being very clear that there must be a "credible plan" from UK before friday, and only if he has that, will he consider Mays request for the same extension EU already denied once.

(See for instance

And it is important to remember: None of the "plans" Parliament has voted down even tried to answer the crucial "What's in it for EU?" question.

Nope, not seeing it.

Hard Brexit on sunday next it is.3


PHK @ 64
I am beginning to be afraid you might be right, though I hiope not.
If that happens & all the supply-chains dry up, as they will.
Will we see JRM & BoJo & Frrago & others dangling from lapm-posts?
And, if not, why not?


I was about to ask what your back-end (that's having these static page issues), but in order to comment I had to sign in to Movable Type... so I think that's my answer.

Seeing as I'm a web-dev on the verge of returning to employment (and the UK, as it happens), I might have a look into it. Though between the toddler and the whole moving across continents thing, time is hard to get....


Depending on how one asks the question, it's not clear that Remain has much of a lead. One also has to wonder to what extent the situation is similar to last time, where Remain started off with a lead and ended up losing that lead once campaigning actually started (and you could argue that Leave hasn't really been campaigning over the last two years, whereas Remain has been).

That is even before we get to questions of what would actually be on a putative ballot (there are factors that would push it towards a binary choice of some kind), and the seeming inability of the main Remain/PV campaigners to learn from their last outing.

[By-elections can be misleading at times - turnout is bound to be depressed, and they are often used as an opportunity to register a protest of some kind, so I think the reading of the Newport West result is at best mixed].


Best practice would be to show the "anti-EU" people what life without the EU would be like. That might also work with "the State" and some "libertarians"[1].

We had a protest by German farmers here a few days ago. Let's just say I stopped taking them serious when I saw the "EU kills farmers" signs...

Them throwing firecrackers in the city made for some Haymarket inspired fantasies about how the police would react in some, err, other cases.

So I decided to abandon any idea of keeping my usual somewhat (maybe too much) balanced view and settled on "people on the edge don't have the money to organize a big stage on the biggest market square with a big video screen". OK, that also goes with Social Democratic unions, but "the change is just as fat, yeah as a union bureaucrat..."

BTW, the short talk about the AfD with some Syrian Kurds and some Germans yesterday was fun, too. My sole argument was the AfD doesn't believe in global warming, and that's all there is to say about them. Time for "realistic humanism", though I wonder what it would look like.

A friend listening to Crass back in the day[2] brought me to "You talk about your revolution, well, that's fine/But what are you going to be doing come the time?"
Hm, trying to get a safe, sane and consensual sanitation scheme working that isn't too intensive on work?

Fun with lending money to cohabitants ommitted for brevity...

[1] Explaining the Spanish Civil War to the pothead sitting next to me on one side in history A levels was fun. The guy sitting on my other side became a lawyer...
[2] She's listening to K-pop now. So I have been playing Starcraft for year and have to stay clear of Korean culture since I already have a problem with over-identification...


Look at the link about the Lindow man I posted.

One theory about the "overkill" is he was a high-class individual, so they sacrificed him to three gods at once.

Hm, which gods would you sacrifice BoJo to?

Watersports Donald the God of bad hair, Slapstick Buster the God of stunts, whatever god or godess resides over hot air...

And imagine some nice sacrificial methods.


I am beginning to think that the reason why nobody seems to be able to get out of the current mess is that the current mess is the desired outcome.

On a vastly smaller and less consequential scale than Brexit, that exactly describes NASA's SLS/Orion program, at least up to now. There are very recent hints that may change, but the presently desired outcome (perpetual pork) has powerful backers (Sen. Shelby, Boeing) so it may not.


Who was it who said "the purpose of a system is what it does"?

That formulation comes from Stafford Beer.

The status quo cannot hold. The cruel wind and rain shall not permit it.

The entirety of the Parliament are creatures of the status quo; that's pretty much inevitable. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the US is NOT a creature of the status quo, and in most respects represents a severe systemic failure. Not as much of one as FDR, but that kind of thing, hence the freakout.) They cannot produce a plan for future; they can at best maintain a better imagined present than the one we're experiencing.

This is worse than usual in the UK because the various status quo conditions people support are unusually imaginary and shaped by active malign actors hostile to the possibility of government. (And in some fundamental sense too stupid to recognize that a government able to guarantee currency is necessarily also one able to govern.)


The remainers have sort of resigned themselves to leaving by now, and they will be sad about it. If you snatch their victory from the brexiters, they will go mad.

So isn't the more relevant question: Will the PM who asks for an extension of a year end up in a lamp post as a "traitor" ?

I surprised nobody talks about the right-wing-racist-bonkers surge a last-minute switch to remain would cause.


It's important to recognize that neither of the options being presented -- hard Brexit, or some kind of deal -- are or can be well understood.

That's deliberate. That's been sharply focused from call-me-Dave forward. Plus pretty much everything the Brexit faction is upset about is some degree of false.

So we're seeing a North Atlantic nation politically paralyzed by a large public fiction their own mechanism of governance sees fit to participate in. I think that's worth being concerned about, because it's definitionally an end-run around the possibility of democratic governance and legal checks on behaviours which provoke public repugnance.


And on that note you could argue that had a EFTA style Brexit been pursued 2 years ago it would have been viable, but no longer as opinions have been allowed to harden on the Leave side.


I thought you got chips from an insanely expensive giant fab over in Asia somewhere.


As an observer from the EU I think that the entire Brexit thing is tragic. The UKs political class has gotten UK into a very bad place and forced the EU into a protective loop.

For EU27 the important assessment probably is whether or not a hard Brexit will cause more harm than an UK that reluctantly changes its mind and remains. So far the thinking seems to try to keep the UK close and give them the time they ask for.

I'd love for UK to remain but today my pessimistic view is that this seems to require some kind of decision in the parliament that is not just a "no". So far this seems unlikely and therefore a hard Brexit next week seems possible. The decision last week to require the PM to ask for a postponement of the Brexit date is of course positive but it might not be enough for actually getting it.


Can somebody explain to me what sort of nasty brainworms this Tingey character has contracted? I see that person unironically use the neo-nazi du jour "Corbyn wants to make Britain into V E N E Z U E L A!!1ONE" And he's even joined in with other regulars! A disgusting display. You all sully this blog.

Everyone can see Corbyn is a victim of a broken, anti-democratic political system and a broken, Murdoch Machine-brainwashed society. If he reverses on Brexit even one second before the favorable point in time, NO MATTER WHAT HAS TRANSPIRED OR INFO GONE PUBLIC, the rightwingers WILL pin everything on him. Corbyn will go down in history as the man who ruined Grand Albion by chaining it forever to the tyrannical EU empire and letting all the savage terrorist brown people in, etc. etc.

This is the reality of the situation. Period.

And while we're at it, everything bad happening in Venezuela is a result of the American Empire's genodical economic warfare. If you compare the level of quality of life between the brutal, genodical neoliberal regime and the current sort-of socialism, it is night and day.


*neo-nazi slogan du jour


You could be right, but honestly reading the political runes on this one is beyond just about anyone I think.

Politics in the UK was never entirely predictable - look at how May took an election where the question was "just how overwhelming will her majority be?" and ended up with a hung parliament. The fact she's truly awful at public speaking, her manifesto contained a number of policy presentations that seemed custom-written to piss off her core electorate on the basis of "well they'll vote for us anyway" (and they didn't) and Corbyn had a batch of policies that appealed to a wide range of people who voted for him and spoke really, really well which took him from an electoral liability to a net electoral plus demonstrates that.

Crashing out next week is pretty unlikely IMO. May will be crucified if she lets it happen by the majority of her own party, nutters on the hard right notwithstanding.If the EU say "Flextension or nothing" which seems to be the current mood, May can blame the EU, which won't appease the ERG and their ilk, but won't play too badly with the Brexiteer press. If that happens, I'm not sure... the latest by-election in Newport West suggests that pro-People's Vote Labour candidates can win in pretty strongly Leave voting Labour heartlands. But it's only one datum. There are council elections on May 1st. That will give everyone some more data. And that might shift opinions in parliament to agree something, anything. Or not of course, depending on what the tealeaves look like. It means electing MEPs and so on, but meh, so what. All the people that froth about what a national humiliation it as froth about anything given half a chance.


I don't want to repeat what I said about Cor Byn in a much earlier thread, but I do have a copy.
He's fundamentally incompetent, given that he's still behind May in the ratings, his political "ideas" have not changed since about 1973 ( Or 1934 in the area of defence )
I have previously stated that I didn't like Chavez, but - he was properly, democratically elected - & Maduro wasn't, which makes a slight difference.
And NOT everything bad happening in "V" is the USA's fault, because it only went right down the tubes AFTER Chavez' death
Your profound ignorance about Cor Bin's actual stance on the EU is terrifying - he is on repeated record as regarding the EU as an evil capitalist employer's ramp to grind the faces of the proleteriat - he's a committed "leaver", who has been kicked by his party into supporting "remain" against his always-worse judgement.
I am no lover or follower of the Murdoch yellow press, either.


The decision last week to require the PM to ask for a postponement of the Brexit date is of course positive but it might not be enough for actually getting it.

Unless the Lords change the act on Monday to specify a long extension, and Commons agrees to that, May has preemptively complied with the law. That she has requested an extension the EU has previously signaled it will not agree to is immaterial -- the act is currently silent on the details.

It's not even clear that the EU can now legally offer a long extension. At least some of the lawyer types are arguing that the EU Council can quibble over the details of the short extension that was requested, or reject it, but can't offer something entirely different.


"He's fundamentally incompetent, given that he's still behind May in the ratings"

The second doesn't necessarily follow from the first, it is fairly clear that the Tory vote holds up because a large part of the Leave constituency see them as the party of Leave. Their position in the polls reflects that the referendum result was real.


If I understand Celtic tradition, the contents of the wicker man were usually prisoners of war. Which makes a bit of sense, even if it is unpleasant. It was the Carthaginians who made burnt offerings of the children of the nobility. (Well, at least according to the Romans, and *some* children have been found to have been sacrificed.) Archaeologists think that it was to demonstrate to the rest of the community that the nobility was also making sacrifices. (Well, at least *some* of them *did* think that several years ago.)


Greg occasionally says things that are at a slant with what I perceive as reality, but I don't think he's wrong about Corbyn's view of the EU from what I've seen over here in the US. A huge part of the Brexit conundrum is that Labour is nearly as sundered on leave and remain as the Tories, but being in the opposition has meant they haven't seen those fractures come out as fully revealed. If Labour weren't incredibly divided you'd have seen one of the indicative votes for a Norway deal or a second referendum narrowly pass parliament due to Tory defectors. Corbyn has handled this abominably, even if he himself isn't the root cause of his party's dysphoria on the EU. I do wonder how well anyone could have handled the issue- but I think a British Nancy Pelosi could have corralled her party far better.

Per Troutwaxer @ 25 and the other comments, storrowing is a really good metaphor for Brexit. Either you have to slam on the breaks at the last minute and make an embarrassing reverse in full view of the public while causing a big traffic jam behind you, or you ignore all the warning signs and get utterly torn up.


Sorry, but governments predate government currency by quite a substantial amount. There's a strong question as to whether currency without a government is possible, but there's an existence proof that government without currency is (well, was) possible. (The bookkeeping is rather atrocious, however.)

That said, it's possible that blockchain, or something similar, would enable currency to exist without a government. That's not the way I'd bet, but it's a possibility. What the civilization would be like is a bit dubious, and so is the population level it could support. (But it's going to need to support the hardware necessary to run the system.)

That, and the way we ended up in it, might be a good topic for a horror novel, but I'm not going to claim it's impossible.


The Leavers at the upper level want disaster-capitalist fascism, instead of regular 20th Century capitalist fascism.

They assume that they can shut down, loot, and otherwise abolish government beyond two core functions; guaranteeing the currency and providing law-and-order sufficient to protect their property. Anything else they actively don't want because it limits their accumulation of money through taxes and regulation.

The point I was attempting to make has nothing to do with the history of government or currency, but that a government able to guarantee currency in the present day must necessarily also govern. The governing is where the guaranteeing arises from, just as the exchange is where the value arises from with respect to money.


(In reply to post 64)

Pretty much I agree I think there's going to be a hard brexit on the 12th. I still think what I said in the previous post is going to happen -- namely that may and corbyn won't agree to anything so we then run into early next week (mon/tue).

By then the two leaders then announce they couldn't agree on anything and the next step will be a series of options given to MPs by government. And that'll fail because all the MPs have their own idea of brexit.

At around this time (the 10th) may then goes to the EU summit, whereapon the first question will be "What's your plan B" - and may has nothing at all; she'll have to be less animated than the testcard.

Given that the "flextension" idea I doubt is going to happen and I suspect there's a lot more anger and frustration in the EU aimed at the UK that we know about then may comes back with nothing. And then it's a case of hold-onto-your-wagepackets for crashout day on the 12th.

I cannot see may getting a short extension from the EU because that'd just lead to yet more can-kicking. A Long extension? It is possible that won't happen either if the EU is as unhappy at the UK as some say.

May seems to want to deliver "brexit" at any cost now, she wants her "legacy" even if that means driving everyone else over the cliff edge.



The SNP MP Joanna Cherry has been trying for a few weeks to get a vote to require A50 revocation (i.e., abandoning Brexit) if a no-deal cliff were approaching. Most recently, a version of this proposal was one of the options in both rounds of "indicative votes" -- with cross-party support from, among others, the Tory Dominic Grieve. But, among all the options presented, it unfortunately got the least support, losing by 191 votes to 292 among all votes cast on the option. (The closest among the "indicative vote" options was for some form of customs union, details TBD -- the nays had that one by only three.)

A separate question is whether a revocation issued under these circumstances would be accepted by the EU. It seems likely, but it's not entirely clear-cut -- the EU court ruling that allowed revocation also said that it could only be permitted if the erstwhile leaving country had had a genuine change of heart and now wished to remain -- but not if done for purely tactical purposes to move the deadline. I'm really not sure how that part of the ruling would be applied in practice...


The whole situation reminds me of the beginning of David Weber and Steve White's "Insurrection," wherein the Federation's legislature produces a law meant to impoverish half the Federation's worlds, but has no idea that this is anything more than "business as usual" in their ordinary service to the rich people. The legislature is then taken utterly by surprise when the "Rim Colonies" nuke their main naval base and start a revolution, because for them, starving is not "Business As Usual."


For what it's worth, even the emerging hard-line block among the EU27, led by France, is contemplating a very short extension (like, two weeks) preceding a no-deal Brexit, "to prepare ourselves in the markets" (according to a diplomatic wire of some kind that got leaked to the Guardian). Past that, though, things look pretty bleak -- among French politicians, Macron has personally said that other EU business has been held "hostage" by Brexit long enough. And their new EU minister, Amelie de Montchalin, has gone further. She notes that the European Council has already said that a longer extension has to come with a credible plan, which to her requires that it have majority support in the House of Commons. And so she's said several times now that if May comes to the summit without such a plan (majority in the Commons, credible otherwise), then Britain "will have decided to leave with no deal".


Mine doesn’t say “Let’s remain,” preempt May’s deal, or preclude an extension for a new referendum or whatever. It only changes the default if all else fails.



Cherry's proposal doesn't do any of that either; I'm really not sure where you're getting it.

The full text of Cherry's motion appears here, as motion (G)

Searching for Cherry's name is probably the easiest way to find it.

Briefly, it requires that if a no-deal deadline is approaching, government should first seek an extension; if they can't get one, then Parliament should immediately hold a vote to choose between revocation and no deal.

The last-minute high-stakes vote is a change from Cherry's earlier proposals, which would have simply required revocation if the cliff was approaching -- the mummery of the final vote was added to gain cross-party support.

That's it. Nothing about saying "let's remain", preempting May's deal, precluding a referendum, or any of that stuff.


I hope you are right.

I think that a hard Brexit only can happen by accident; only that there is a lot of playing with petrol and matches. There is some risk in that the House of Commons as a collective have an overestimation in their own importance to the EU and an underestimation in how annoyed the rest of the EU are on the whole Brexit thing. Another thing is that politicians all over the world are used to failures preserving the status quo - here the default is a hard Brexit.

On the other hand, the EU27 will probably prefer not to be seen wielding the axe - for them it is better to set clear and reasonable limits and let the UK do it to themselves. Large parts of the EU also would prefer UK to stay and so far I guess no one wants to use their veto to force the UK out the hard way. That and the political suicide of causing a hard Brexit speaks for more extensions.

But what could happen is that the EU27 stands by the line that further extensions require some kind of plan, then the accident gets closer.

Then UK politics is as you say quite unpredictable so there might be a fine plan Friday morning.


Where is there to go anymore ? ( Canada ? )


I think that a hard Brexit only can happen by accident

A hard Brexit is what a significant Conservative faction actively wants. (That would be the faction that has people making terroristic threats that "leave means leave".) It's difficult to see how May hasn't been trying to produce just that result. There is more than enough solid support for May's ethnic-cleansing agenda to make it happen. (Starting with disabled persons, as May's government has done, is traditional.)

There's a view that completely escaping EU regulation is critical to the Brexit backers because it avoids EU regulations designed to limit tax evasion and money laundering. There's another view that a big chunk of the UK populace is functionally crazy after reading Murdoch papers for forty years; there may be no organic brain dysfunction, but they're using a set of axioms lacking factual support and reaching conclusions applicable to a fantastical construct rather than the material world. (That's the really interesting bit; policy is being made on the basis of politically motivated secular fiction. This is a core fascist thing; make up a status hierarchy and insist people treat it as real.)

It's not impossible May sincerely wanted their deal, as the best thing that met all the conflicting interests, but also feels compelled to remove the UK from the EU. It's not in the EU's short-term interests, but it is, intensely, in their long-term interests to have the UK out. It removes a major source of sand in the gears. A UK that is absolutely determined to have a civil war, even more so. The shattered remnant can be readmitted on standard terms after the war is over, or subject to regulatory blockade as required.


Charlie's best bet is "Scotland shall flourish"; getting into Canada is generally quite difficult.


Also, Canada is a petro-state in a bad way politically.


(Starting with disabled persons, as May's government has done, is traditional.)

I don't generally follow UK news. What's up with May and the disabled?


It's just been reported in the Irish press that May has bought a retirement home in the EU. Corbyn is waxing on about privatisation of cancer treatment, showing his stunning ability to miss the point by a mile.
Someone waxed eloquent upthread about Labour support issues in Leave voting communities that was not supported by any recent polling. Yes, I only quoted one, up to the minute, poll. However, the results of a by election in a Leave supporting constituency that showed an 11pc swing to Remain is hugely relevant given we only have a week left.
The Tories have been toxic since inception. We expect that from them. However, there is no metric you can show (in my opionion) that has this Labour opposition as anything but functionally incompetent at that role. There are 30 or 40 Tory remainers, some of them are in open revolt against their own whips. It's a minority government. Labour should not really be making such a meal of this, apart from their leader's refusal to come out strongly for a second referendum/remain. It's a week to go. The time is now or the moment will pass them by and we will all suffer for it.
My wife is a head teacher of a primary school. Her P7 pupils talk openly about worry about no deal. Get a grip, Jezza.
PS. And maybe cut out the snide digs at the SNP for the events of 40 years ago. Such a petty swipe that was.


I thought that article was a spoof.


It was a spoof. And there's space for bringing up issues other than Brexit - not doing so is a large part of what caused the vote to go the way it did in the first place.


Vicious attacks via the benefit system to the point where people die from the lack of support or commit suicide in despair. So-called "assessments" carried out by a private organisation which is given quotas to fail x percent of applicants regardless, finds people "fit for work" when they have terminal diseases and die a few weeks later, is allowed to override statements from people's real doctors, disqualifies people for not attending things when they are physically unable to attend, holds assessments in inaccessible buildings, etc. etc. etc. Benefits stopped for arbitrary bureaucratic reasons which aren't even true, leaving people without money for several months while they desperately thrash through the appeals procedure with no guarantee of success. And May has been an opponent of European human rights legislation since long before the current kerfuffle blew up because it canes her ability to arbitrarily shit on people who can't fight back.


In the U.K. is it possible for someone to sue the government over this?


I don't know what the law actually says but I'm pretty sure it isn't. Even if it was, the people affected are pretty much by definition both medically incapable of going through the court case and financially incapable of paying for the lawyers. And people are also very afraid of doing anything to "rock the boat" in case it leads to further victimisation by the benefit system's administrators.


...I should also mention that there is a "climate of fear" boosted by media articles and television series demonising benefit recipients, and government encourages the attitude, with official "snitch lines" provided for people to ring up and report people they think are gaming the system. Of course the callers can have no evidence for their claims, and are just going on their own prejudices as to what makes someone a "real" disabled person. (Or are just being plain malicious.) This is a particular problem for people with "invisible disabilities" or who have conditions that sometimes allow them to do things and sometimes don't. Such people are often afraid to do anything that involves going outside in case someone sees them being active and decides to dob them in.


Vicious attacks via the benefit system to the point where people die from the lack of support or commit suicide in despair.

There's peer-reviewed publications estimating the excess deaths due to these policy changes as not less than a hundred thousand.

This is impossible not to know from the position of a policy maker; it's a deliberate, consciously chosen policy because it's perceived as virtuous.

You can detect systemic fraud levels in disability programs by looking at the relative mortality; if the body of people identified as disabled (that is, injured or unwell in ways medical science can perhaps treat, but not cure, and to a degree that limits their ability to function economically) has the same mortality rate as the general population, the program may include disabled people but has a high rate of fraud. The UK's numbers had the mortality rate about four times the population average, which is a strong indication that the level of systemic fraud was low.

You can argue for the May/Tory policy as reducing the metric of systemic fraud -- the ratio between the mortality in the general population and the disabled has gone up! fraud must be going down! -- but so far as I know, no one has quite had the nerve to do that.


...the excess deaths due to these policy changes as not less than a hundred thousand.

I wonder if that qualifies as genocide?


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the US is NOT a creature of the status quo, and in most respects represents a severe systemic failure.

I feel the same way about Trump.


Trump is a near-perfect blend of corporate autocracy, panicked defense of of white supremacy, and any-increase-in-money-is-virtue capitalism.

That's about as status-quo as you can get; not merely typical, but representative of a trend. The support Trump has -- the white evangelical restore-the-confederacy movement -- represents the major dynamic social movement on the US right in the past half century.


No, because genocide is defined as trying to wipe out a group defined by ethnic/religious/social difference, where disability applies to people more or less at random. It's a horrible crime, and if the civil war is declared it could conceivably be a war crime, but it's not genocide.

The various attempts to remove disabled people are more correctly eugenics, but the extreme end of that, although sadly a very popular extreme for a time (sterilisation and euthanasia were practised in nice places like Aotearoa and Canada as well as Germany and the US). The UK edition is more capitalist than fascist, but it's got that Australian twist of "we don't kill people directly, we just torture them until they die".


I suspect you don't see how appalled many of the R's are by him personally but go along to get the tax cuts and such.

He is in no way the status quo. But he is much of what you said.

Again, like in the UK the divisions of the support for the various sides are more about who you think is more terrible than who you really like. Or even mildly dislike.


So I'm now wondering when (or whether) a general strike will be called by the Remainers. Any thoughts?


So long as they're lending money and votes to Trump's cause, that's not appalled. It's getting a bit sniffy at violated in-class social norms.

Democracy only works when you prefer losing your cause to losing democracy. That's not reliably factual on the US right at this time.

(Which is why all the second-civil-war, no-federal-legitimacy, we'll-believe-anything stories circulate; they're an attempt to explain why the cause is more important than the democracy that doesn't really exist anyway. Given the combination of gerrymandering and voter suppression, there are places it absolutely doesn't.)

Trump is tacky; Trump lacks the mannerisms and public conduct appropriate to his station and claims. Trump is not competent to the requirements of his office. Trump provokes unease in pretty much any functional band-forming primate. All these things are so. But Trump is yet the cause.


Still fairly suggestive of Facism. Whey are those folks gonna take to the streets?


"When are those folks gonna take to the streets?" (And I could ask the same of my countrymen.)


A general strike is only useful when three things hold:

  • the current government is willing to acknowledge defeat

  • there's a rough consensus about what to do instead of what the current government is doing

  • there's a reasonable prospect of a peaceful transfer of power to that alternative system

  • In the UK right now, none of those things hold. And the Hard Brexit faction is gleefully embracing an expectation of greater economic damage than a general strike would cause.


    The first step (in public confrontation) is to let the real bad guys know you're onto them. If I were in charge of the U.K. left I'd call for protests at every financial institution, from the local branch of any big bank to Goldman Sacks (or the U.K. equivalent) and at any news organization owned by Mr. Murdoch and his allies.

    The idea would not be to gather a million people in one spot, but to put a couple-hundred people in every spot, with suitable speeches. And maybe some kind of pointed reminder of what happens when politicians and those behind the politicians get things badly and unforgivably wrong, like wanted posters.

    The effect we'd be looking for is that the President of the First National Bank looks out the window one morning and thinks "By George, I think they're onto us."


    ... the EU27 will probably prefer not to be seen wielding the axe - for them it is better to set clear and reasonable limits and let the UK do it to themselves.

    Part of the UK's problem is that among the EU27, the French, at least, seem to think they've already done what you suggest, and the UK are "doing it to themselves" right now, leaving the rest of the EU with nothing further they can do except to drop the axe. As their Minister for European Affairs put it to the Guardian yesterday: "The European council took a clear decision on 21 March ... Another extension requires the UK to put forward a plan with clear and credible political backing. ... In the absence of such a plan, we would have to acknowledge that the UK chose to leave the EU in a disorderly manner." And, it's pretty clear, in that circumstance, she'd feel completely justified in leaving the Brits to have that choice and its consequences.

    There are others on the scene who are a lot more willing to let the UK take some time to sort its shit out -- most prominently Donald Tusk and the Germans. But an extension requires unanimous consent among the EU27, so France has a veto along with everyone else. And according to several published accounts, Macron walked into the room on March 21 intending to exercise it. The others talked him out of it, in part, by promising a short extension which would force the UK to either finally approve the Withdrawal Agreement in yet another vote (the only plan May had presented to them in an hour of talks before she was sent to cool her heels in an antechamber), or come up with some other acceptable idea which could get through Parliament.

    Following which, the other heads of state of the EU would drop all their other business to come to a meeting called for the sole purpose of seeing what the Brits had come up with, and deciding what to do about it. These are busy people. They have countries to run. It is absolutely not possible for them to make a habit of this.

    Most of that short extension is now up, and neither of these things have happened. What we've seen instead, is:

    • Yet another failed vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, by a margin which is still a humiliation by any reasonable standard (if not quite on the monumental scale of the first two).
    • A series of "indicative votes" on other options in which nothing got a majority of votes cast, in part because many members of May's own ruling party cast no vote in favor of any of them.
    • Extremists in that ruling party, to whom May seems beholden, are now going beyond disrupting EU business with mere distraction, to proposing out-and-out sabotage. Jacob Rees-Mogg is on twitter saying that if Britain is still in the EU, they should disrupt whatever they can and veto the budget. This is clearly designed to play on French worries about disruption of EU institutional functioning. And it may very well work.

    What it came down to the last time was the other EU leaders talking Macron out of a veto. Given these events, it'll be a whole lot harder for them this time around, unless a plan with majority support in Parliament, meeting the EU's other requirements, somehow materializes by Tuesday evening at the latest. Good luck.


    You've skipped the "acknowledge defeat" part.

    The problem is significantly a philosophy that lost the most costly war in US history and the largest war in human history and does not see any reason to examine its axioms.

    (The other half of the problem involves the open-cycle nature of the economy. Not a simple fix.)


    "The problem is significantly a philosophy that lost the most costly war in US history and the largest war in human history and does not see any reason to examine its axioms."

    Don't be silly. Neoconservatism cannot fail. It can only be failed. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!



    Democracy only works when you prefer losing your cause to losing democracy

    Only if you also have enough popular support for your cause. Otherwise, push it too far and a REAL popular backlash can happen.

    The NRA-loving gun nuts who have consistently blocked moves to fix the loopholes in New Zealand’s gun laws over the last decade are not having a good time right now. And fuck the fucking fuckers.

    Nor is being islamophobic in public acceptable here, the way many people might have let crass comments go a year ago. Even our anti-immigration Foreign Minister is close to turning pro-immigrant, (he is head of the small Old Proples Party which the govt needs support of in parliament).

    The demos fights back. Not always cleverly. But it does fight back.


    Speaking of democracy and direct action, one thing that scared the NRA in the US last year was New York dissuading the big companies from insuring the NRA. I'd suggest that if you want direct action in various countries where the NRA is being a nuisance, organize a boycott against whoever's insuring the NRA until they drop coverage for them, and just keep doing it...


    Oh yes. When it's a business model, attack the practicality and utility of the business model.

    (End the free movement of capital and the motivation for Brexit evaporates.)


    That's going to be hard for Brexit, because they seem to be bent on turning the UK into the largest Offshore Financial Center in the world, with the same politics that have happened in every others (briefly: tax-sheltered capital makes the rules and runs the economy, and everyone else suffers as prices get jacked and the democracy is only for the plutocrats).


    I think there's something more complex going on.

    The point to destructive capitalism is loot; you get access to whole percentage points of GDP. A bit like Apple's cash pile problem -- you can't invest a hundred billion dollars, you have to turn into a bank -- your goal stops being "tax haven", and starts being "change the rules".

    The UK reputation for fiscal probity will not instantly fade; I expect there's some use to be got from it.

    And you need some place to live; Russia's GDP has been dropping for awhile. The UK's will drop for the foreseeable under Brexit policies and austerity. This gets bad for the legitimacy and does unfortunate things for oligarchical habitability. There's got to be some kind of fix involved for the "how do I get money out of the tax haven to where I actually live", and the UK tax evader class presumably have that sorted in ways that you can't get to from Russia.


    I think the word you're looking for is "soft coup."


    |Troutwaxer @ 117
    Except, here,"The City" is crapping itself shitless ove a hard brexit ... and a tory guvmint is ignoring them (!) because the ideologues have taken over.
    Everyone mentions Peel & the Corn Laws & they are correct, but another idea unpleasantly surfaced - tie this in with TrumPence & the "restore-the-confederacy loons in the USA & the parallel is much nastier.
    The US South had believed that by bully & bluster & threats, that they could get theor way ... right up to the moment that they persuaded themseleves that firing on Fort Sumter was a good idea ...
    The hard brexiteers want to fire on Fort Sumter ...

    cdodgson @ 118
    Jacob Rees-Mogg is on twitter saying that if Britain is still in the EU, they should disrupt whatever they can and veto the budget. This is treasonous - as treasonous as Cor Bin crawling to Hamas & the IRA.

    icehawk @ 121
    Fighting back ...
    Yes. When the real population actually turns it can happen quite fast - look at the complete change in Ireland 2012-2018, when the slow burn against the Black Crows & their political backers finally boiled over.


    Look at the cuurent "indy" headlines & articles ...
    Relevant page here you shuld be able to see the other articles from there.


    Not really that interesting once you get to the bottom of the article:

    Some 52 per cent of people supported a new vote, 29 per cent “strongly” and 23 per cent “somewhat”, while just 24 per cent opposed, to some degree, having another referendum. The remaining 24 per cent replied: “Don’t know.”

    Those numbers are not going to impress anybody anywhere about anything.

    Least of all the EU.


    The Cor Bin / Maybot meme is quite juvenile and makes me (and I'd imagine others as well) take the posts that use it less seriously.

    You may not like or respect them, but they are still running this mess. I imagine you'll argue they are not deserving of respect, which may be true. But he amount damage they can create is definitely worthy of respect and calling them childish names minimizes the seriousness of that.


    I can see one reason why the EU might fudge things and grant a long extension even if May and Corbyn don't come up with anything:


    A no-deal Brexit will fuck the Irish economy almost as badly as the British one, and Varadkar has already publicly rebuked Macron for threatening to give Brexit a push over the cliff edge. So there's a highly motivated lobbyist for a long extension inside the EU27.

    It'll be one of the hugest ironies of history if, in the centennial (more or less) of the Irish war of independence, the Republic of Ireland saves the UK's ass from a monumental act of self-harm.


    But the crucial thing is UK has to ask for the extension.

    EU being willing to offer a long extension (on conditions no doubt) makes no difference if the UK's PM does not ask for it.

    That's probably the reason for May asking for 30th june while the lords filibustered the commons' "we want to decide the length of the extension" decision.

    And yes, I'm sure there are a lot of people very anxious to *not* make decisions which affect NI on april 19th.


    The UK is a terminal petro-state.

    Our economy was built on coal in the 18th and 19th centuries. This began to fade … then got a shot in the arm in the late 1960s with the discovery of oil and gas under the North Sea (and, later, under the North Atlantic).

    North Sea Oil is now a dying industry, but the damage is done: it funded the economy during Thatcher's initial wave of axe-wielding tax cuts in 1979-1982, propped up a wheezing social security system in the 1980s (the UK has rust-belt/coal-belt towns that have been semi-permanently depressed since 1980 where three generations of families haven't had a non-temp/non-casual job since the mine/foundry went away), and underwrote the financialization of the economy. Which then grew as successive governments mortgaged everything they could, privatized everything from the post office and the air traffic control system to the nuclear reactors and the hospitals, and hollowed out the infrastructure for personal gain.

    In 2008 we had the global financial crisis. The neoliberal economic consensus was basically junk, voodoo economics—austerity doesn't actually work the way people intuitively think it ought to work because at a macro scale money isn't a substance, it's a fluxion—and the conservatives jumped on it from 2010 onwards because it provided ideological cover for looting.

    There were big riots in 2011, suppressed as viciously as you'd expect. Since then, the mob have been quiet. But you can see the preconditions for fascism being installed: immigrants blamed, disabled "spongers" blamed, creeping immiseration coupled with ideological displacement and the imposition of (in Graydon's terms) a false social hierarchy.

    All this can be seen as withdrawal symptoms from the heroin of a petrostate economy.

    I don't see how the UK—in its present form—can hope to survive. If we're lucky we won't go the full Yugoslavia route, but the vector sum of David Cameron and Theresa May is Slobodan Milosevic.


    This also misses the hollowing-out and privatization of the legal system!

    The legal aid budget has been axed savagely. Only criminal defendants on a low income have any hope of getting a government-funded lawyer, and the lawyers in question are underpaid and overworked. An increasing proportion of criminal defendants are now trying to defend themselves in court, which clogs up a court system which itself has been on the receiving end of 30-40% budget cuts. In civil cases, it's basically every dog for themselves. Also, a fucking Tory axed all legal aid for discrimination cases in employment tribunals for unlawful dismissal, replacing a £25-ish fee for filing a case with a £800 threshold plus legal fees on top, resulting in a 90% fall in companies being convicted of discrimination, which was then announced as a "success".

    If you are prosecuted for a crime and are middle class, you can basically kiss your home or your savings goodbye, or plead guilty and take whatever the judge hands you. But don't worry, the police have also been cut, so you're unlikely to be accused/charged in the first place. And the prisons budget is so over-stressed that the Home Office is talking about abolishing prison for all offenses that currently carry a sentence of less than 12 months (which is a lot of them).

    There's been a huge upswing in knife crime in recent years, even though carrying a blade is a strict liability offense with IIRC a two year prison sentence attached, because youngsters (a) don't trust the police to be there when they need protection from violence, and (b) don't reckon there's any risk they'll be caught carrying.

    Despite all the law and order rhetoric, Theresa May has actually presided over a catastrophic breakdown of effective law enforcement in England and Wales. Which led to the surreal sight of Police Federation members at their annual conference jeering a Home Secretary (May) during her keynote speech.


    The UK is a terminal petro-state.

    I worry that the UK is effectively the model for all petro-states; they're in various places in the arc, but they're all terminal and the prospect of a political transition -- one in which the incumbents accept that the system will change, removing their incumbency -- is uniformly slight.

    There's this intensely focused movement around "you can't"; you can't tax us, you can't change anything, you can't do quantified analysis... coming from the incumbents, it involves a lot of electoral fraud anywhere that has elections, and it's not showing any signs of noticing that it's done its sums wrong on a social or societal or systemic level. It's eager to destroy the greater to preserve the lesser.

    "Displaced incumbency", well, the Glorious Revolution is the least violent version I can think of, and it was mostly a change of allegiance on the part of the mid-tier incumbents. And there was, effectively, nothing at stake there, which is ... not presently the case anywhere.


    "A hard Brexit is what a significant Conservative faction actively wants."

    True. But I think the odds for both major parties surviving this is slim and I guess that the odds are worse for the Tories than for Labour for the simple reason that the latter are in opposition. So I think that the fact that the majority in the House of Commons really do not want a hard Brexit might prevent it, excluding accidents. But this probably is wrong as it is impossible to understand UK politics as an outsider.

    "It's difficult to see how May hasn't been trying to produce just that result. There is more than enough solid support for May's ethnic-cleansing agenda to make it happen. [...]

    I think May made a few wrong calls early on but I also think she has tried to get as good agreement as she can given her "red lines". As a Tory, she of course had forgotten about Ireland completely so that has caused lots or problems. EU will not forget Ireland, both as a guarantor of the GFA and as a club with Ireland as a veto-capable member. A strategy that had taken that and other parts of EU's situation into account might have had other red lines and a better result for everyone.

    "There's a view that completely escaping EU regulation is critical to the Brexit backers because it avoids EU regulations designed to limit tax evasion and money laundering."

    This is an interesting view that has its merits as it is quite conceivable that some crony capitalists want that, but I think that they are in error. The problem is that banks that ignore money laundering rules are blocked from handling US Dollars already and the EU will probably do the same with the Euro if British banks tries. The Euro-clearing will be moved from London, that much is sure. A relatively current example is Swedbank in Sweden that might lose the ability to handle USD due to inefficient anti-money laundering practices. Also all payments from non-compliant banks to European banks would become difficult.

    "There's another view that a big chunk of the UK populace is functionally crazy after reading Murdoch papers for forty years; [...]"

    Very true. I guess that they also have a special place in hell.


    Ireland is one of the proof cases that development subsidies will work. Money -- even if lots of money -- and a formal EU policy of reunification (possibly backed by regulatory blockade until the Westminster government agrees and enacts it, which would be a distinct monumental irony) wouldn't make Varadkar happy, but it would plausibly suffice and be something the EU can do. Tolerating the UK's insistence that it's more important than the entirety of Europe is not something the EU can do.

    I think it's pretty clear that the EU has tipped over into "limit the damage"; that the UK is well into failed state territory on internal legitimacy grounds has stopped being arguable. France in particular isn't going to be especially sympathetic to post-imperial hangovers.


    About May's consequences for law and order, good governance, and so on; it's quite possible to view things like this (which are extreme in the UK, but pretty much universal anywhere conservatives get into power and destroy something that works in favour of more authoritarianism) as an act of modelling society on how they believe that it is.

    Rather like absolutely nothing will convince most American conservatives that crime is down -- it can't be, quite literally, in their belief structure -- someone like May in power knows what society is like, and is going to make it more like that belief.


    I don't think you entirely understand what Offshore Financial Centers (OFC) are for. They're not for storing loot, they're for storing ownership under laws that make it impossible for others to get at the stuff.

    Basically, if an oligarch in wherever thinks he shouldn't pay taxes somewhere, he sets up a trust in someplace like the Cayman Islands and hires people to manage it for him, with himself as a beneficiary. The trust (usually a complex of trusts, foundations, and corporations, many of which may be created in other countries, including other OFCs) now owns his businesses, his home, his bank accounts, his yacht, and every other major asset. If someone tries to collect business taxes against him, he doesn't own anything, literally, and his trust fiduciaries furthermore won't give him the money to pay off the debt. Ditto with divorce settlements. So he gets to be simultaneously one of the wealthiest people in the world, through the assets he controls via his trusts, and too poor to collect any debts from.

    The laws in the OFC get rewritten (often by the wealth managers themselves) to make this kind of thing possible, and the fees the OFC collects basically run the economy of the OFC. Usually OFCs are tiny little "former" colony of the UK or a feudal relic statelet, so it's easy for them to be taken over for this. Indeed, a bunch of islands have deliberately gone this route simply so they'll be less poor, with problematic results when this becomes their only major industry.

    There's currently about an estimated $20 trillion in wealth controlled offshore. It's not in banks in the Cayman Islands or other OFCs, that's just where the ownership laws flow through. There's a whole profession (wealth management) that takes advantage of the laws in these OFCs to make it as hard as possible for to collect debts on wealthy people, and as easy as possible for them to hide their wealth and power. This allows the super-rich to literally be anarchists, able to ignore the laws they don't like while being shielded by laws that help them.

    The City of London and the Isle of Man are already OFCs, and the ERG (and for all I know, May) apparently want to move whatever's left of the UK after Brexit into that role as well. This won't be good for anyone other than the super-rich, but it's going to be hard to fight them if you don't understand what's going on.

    Going after the wealth of the super-wealthy is the obvious way to deal, but unfortunately, the wealth managers have spent about 30 years designing global systems to make that as hard as possible. Absent people hacking OFC institutions and dumping the results on the web (cf the Panama Papers. Panama is another OFC), the best current attack seems to be restructuring the incentives and penalties for wealth managers to encourage them to be less loyal to the super-wealthy and to do things that are more useful for the rest of the world. Israel's tried this approach with some success.

    The great irony is that trusts were invented in England during the Crusades,and a lot of the peculiarities that make OFCs work are built into English Common Law. Common Law isn't that common (most of the world runs on other legal systems where trusts are a late introduction), and it's a reason why so many of the OFCs are former or current British territories.

    OGH's fantasy about Britain being taken over by super-powered foreigners who use the UK's legal traditions to parasitize it is has a grain of truth in it, but I think the ravens will still fly around the Tower for a few decades more, whatever happens.


    In 2008 we had the global financial crisis.

    That was fun, wasn't it? And we may get a chance to re-experience it:

    How regulators, Republicans and big banks fought for a big increase in lucrative but risky corporate loans
    The Washington Post By Damian Paletta April 6 at 6:21 PM
    Actions by federal regulators and Republicans in Congress over the past two years have paved the way for banks and other financial companies to issue more than $1 trillion in risky corporate loans, sparking fears that Washington and Wall Street are repeating the mistakes made before the financial crisis.
    The moves undercut policies put in place by banking regulators six years ago that aimed to prevent high-risk lending from once again damaging the economy.
    Now, regulators and even White House officials are struggling to comprehend the scope and potential dangers of the massive pool of credits, known as leveraged loans, they helped create.
    Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and other financial companies have originated these loans to hundreds of cash-strapped companies, many of which could be unable to repay if the economy slows or interest rates rise.

    The hard brexiteers want to fire on Fort Sumter ...

    That's how I read it. One of the things about an Offshore Financial Center is that you need a populace which is poor and used to being trampled upon, which is why former colonies are great places to set one up. At that point bribes are cheap and nobody worries too much about the occassional police action.

    But turning a first world country into an OFC, with all the ugliness that goes along with it... That's not such a bright idea, particularly when you've got an educated population which will know what they're missing.


    But turning a first world country into an OFCM

    More common than you might think.

    Frank mentioned the City of London. In the US you have Delaware. Canada's doing a pretty good job at sheltering offshore wealth (and not just in pricy real estate)…


    ...divisions of the support for the various sides are more about who you think is more terrible than who you really like. Or even mildly dislike.

    And do you think that's an accident? In the US when I do an analysis of the system, that seems a form of optimization by the parties for increased power. (I'm not quite sure who "the parties" are. It's probably some hidden interaction of lobbyists that's a bit too confused and at counter-purposes to call a conspiracy, but in which those who don't have lobbyists aren't represented at all.)


    Right, but Delaware and Canada both have decent standards of living. When the U.K. crashes out of the E.U. it's gonna go from the First to the Third World in about a week, then things are going to get ugly, so those cases aren't remotely parallel.

    Also, Delaware isn't an OFC, because the banks there have to obey U.S. banking laws. Delaware is a little different. They offer a form of corporate law which is really, really good for businesses, but they don't do banking much differently than any other U.S. state.


    Problem with the off-shore model is that the actual wealth - the mansion, the factory, the mineral deposit, the chain of nail salons, whatever, is not in the offshore financial center, not an iota of it, so the entire model only works as long as everyone else plays along.

    You can melt down every single tax shelter by announcing one by one that in 3 months you will no longer recognize or honor money transfers from or two that island, unless it brings its legal code into compliance, and while back taxes will be charged in full, jail time penalties will be suspended for an amnesty period of the same length.

    Because that means the people stashing their money there will have to either bring it back, or become as poor in fact as they claim to be on paper.


    Let me see if I can distinguish between excessive terseness and excessive confusion!

    Money does not have a place; the OFC exists not to store money but to hold control of the money through a disconnected proxy in a distinct and nominally sovereign legal system. ("that's not me", for all purposes of tax and liability.) All movement (and thus exchange, and thus value) arises from that control. This breaks down badly when the banks stop accepting the legitimacy of the control mechanism. That's happening (slowly and haltingly) in both the US and the EU. You can't control money if the money-manipulation-mechanisms won't recognize your commands because of where they originate, and the geographic isolation of OFC's generally makes it easy to do this.

    This arrangement is also extremely fragile on the "sovereign" front; if President Warren happened to notice that the USMC exists to be the President's sidearm and told them to go take over the Caymans and hold for the audit, it could happen. His Britannic Majesty George VII wouldn't need to take over; in strict point of law, they're already Lord of Mann. If His Lordship says "audit", audit there shall be. (His Lordship is in it to preserve the monarchy; if preserving the monarchy involves making it quite painfully clear to the British public that oh, no, the House of Windsor is indeed wealthy but in a local, organic, fair-trade way, one could not plan on it not happening.)

    This is worrisome (to a member of the tax-evasion class) in a world where there's less and less general tolerance for billionaires not paying their taxes. (Climate change will tend to increase public spending, and thus the tax burden, for the next hundred years at least.
    There's pressure to find money.) There's already been proposed legislation to simply disconnect any place designated a tax haven from the system, and who gets designated is very political indeed. The US would go to a lot of trouble to make sure its billionaires were fine, and everyone else's were not, and could probably still pull that off. Putin's not young, and the GDP of Russia has been falling for awhile; if Putin dies, the utility of Russia nigh-certainly decreases to an oligarch.

    So the present happy circumstances don't look very stable; look at that EU regulation people have noticed and viewed as a motivation for Brexit.

    The UK has a permanent security council seat, nukes, a largeish educated population, and the remnants of a diversified economy; it would be quite easy to believe that if you could get the UK, on the winning side of the Cold War and appendage of American policy and special in so many ways, to function as your OFC, it would be way more stable. In a lot of ways, the UK long-term brand is "stable".

    This now looks less and less like an error in judgement and more like a capital M Mistake because whatever the UK is at present, stable isn't looking plausible. (If Nigel Farage says he's Nigel Farage, run a DNA analysis; I suspect "use the fascists, fascists are dupes" cannot sufficiently account for "the fascist is not so much lying as fundamentally deluded, and you can't allow for how much not matter how hard you try".)


    Nojay @ 44: If you want to see it look on Google maps for Roseburn Street in Edinburgh and select Street View.

    The one in Durham has LOTS of signs warning drivers. It's been going on for YEARS. The first time I saw it was back in the mid 60s (when I was in school nearby). That was the one where the truck was just barely able to squeeze under it ... until the train came.

    And, I'd heard stories about it even before then.

    There used to be a warning bar hanging from chains across the road that told drivers they were going to hit the bridge. It was far enough back that trucks would hit the bar, and could turn at the intersection if they heeded the warning. The government eventually stopped replacing it because it wasn't doing any good. Idiots would hit the bar & tear it away and then go on to hit the bridge anyway.

    Plus now that it has its own web-cam and is internationally notorious, there's no excuse for anyone hitting that bridge. I guess with some people, there's nothing you can do to fix the stupid in them.

    They can't replace the bridge because that would mean regrading the railroad which would involve replacing a half-dozen other bridges. And apparently they can't excavate to lower the road because the underground utilities are already too close to the surface. They're down about as far as they can go.

    Anyway, that's the "reasons" local governments give for not fixing the damn problem.


    The obvious fix would be to start well back and run a road bridge over the railroad, respecting all standard clearances. It would presumably help a lot to lower the railroad by removing the current underpass.


    But you'd need to build the bridge before you remove the current underpass, unless you can close either the road or the rail line for at least a few weeks at a minimum, I'd think. Months to years at more common construction rates.


    I was thinking of the early-freeway example in New England somewhere; this thing is a two-lane road and the next crossing to the east about eighty metres is at grade. You could also close the road with the underpass without direct harm to the road access of any of the adjacent businesses. You could (and probably ought) convert it to a level crossing in a long weekend.


    Troutwaxer @ 103: In the U.K. is it possible for someone to sue the government over this?

    Pigeon @ 104: I don't know what the law actually says but I'm pretty sure it isn't. Even if it was, the people affected are pretty much by definition both medically incapable of going through the court case and financially incapable of paying for the lawyers. And people are also very afraid of doing anything to "rock the boat" in case it leads to further victimisation by the benefit system's administrators.


    In the U.S., many of these lawsuits are taken on a "contingency fee" basis. The lawyers don't get paid unless they win the case. Then they get paid BIG. That has a lot to do with why "personal injury" lawyers advertise so much on TV here in the U.S.

    I don't know if the rules in U.K. courts allow "contingency fee" billing. Plus, I think it's easier to win these type of cases in the U.S. than it is in the U.K.


    Charlie @ 131
    A huge irony if the modern version of "The Irish Question" turns out to be our saviour!
    Those of us with an interest in history { as opposed to ignorant arrogant wankers like D Davis ) - might appreciate it, if we are lucky enough!

    Who is our Slobodan, then? Neither Farrago nor Rees-Smaug qualify & "Tommy Robinson doesn't cut it.
    I think if it really looks like it's going down the tubes, the REAL emergency powers comne into effect - Orders in Council
    Noted that William ( NOT Chaz ) has been given full Securiy Breifings & updates recently? That's a serious warning-sign to people, IF they are awake enough to notice ....

    @ 134
    Thymallus ( English: A Grayling ) isn't a tory - he's a fascist bastard - but yes, he was responsible - you can understand why we transport/rail oriented people hate the git.

    David K @ 136
    I think the odds for both major parties surviving this is slim SPOT ON - but I think Liebour are just as likely to split, given the way momnetum & cor bin are trageting their most popular MP's with the biggest majorities as "fake tories" when they are actually Social Democrats - that level of stupid is beyond belief, but true ....

    Graydon @ 137
    Nothing to do with development, everything to do with social consciences .... after many years of slow-burn & protest, the Magdalene Laundries & Child Abuse, the Black Crows finally lost it over one appalling, tragic landmark case:
    Savita Halavanppar ( If I've spelt that right!)
    The EU's classical liberalism helped, but to quote Lao-Tze - they did it ( the revolution) themselves.
    In SIX years, Ireland went from beong a totally RC-dominated repessive theocracy to a full modern secular state, with legal abortion & Gay Marriage - unthinkable to those of us who saw the place in the 1960's but GOOD FOR THEM!

    Heteromeles @ 139
    NOT "The City" - they are scared shitless over brexit - which is wierd - you would expect a tory guvmint to take notice - but the mad ideologues have taken over ....

    Troutwaxer @ 144
    When the U.K. crashes out of the E.U. it's gonna go from the First to the Third World in about a week, then things are going to get ugly,
    See also my comment about Privy Council powers.
    IF the brexiteers get away with it, & wreck the place, they might not "enjoy" it for long ... the Serjeant-at-Arms might be escorting them to "secure" locations.
    Which directly leads to Graydon @ 146 - I LOVE IT the House of Windsor is indeed wealthy but in a local, organic, fair-trade way YESSSSSSS

    JBS @ 147
    Location or reference for Durham bridge, please, because the ECML is usually WELL above ground-level there .... ??
    @ 151
    Here, it's called: "No win - No fee"
    Or "Public Interest defence"


    David L @ 111: He is in no way the status quo. But he is much of what you said.

    It's an imaginary "status quo" that never actually existed.


    The obvious fix would be to start well back and run a road bridge over the railroad, respecting all standard clearances. It would presumably help a lot to lower the railroad by removing the current underpass.

    If the one I'm thinking of is this one, uh, nope.

    No one is going to spend a $billion or more (yep) for a solution like that. You'd have to have the road way at least 50' and maybe 70' above where it is now (the RR tracks are already up on a berm) and such an elevation would mean starting way back from the bridge which would cut the street off from all the existing intersections, which would mean more grade changes on side streets which would mean .....


    It's not the real Durham, it's an American one. This bridge seems to be the one:


    Allen Thomson @ 140:

    "Actions by federal regulators and Republicans in Congress over the past two years have paved the way for banks and other financial companies to issue more than $1 trillion in risky corporate loans, sparking fears that Washington and Wall Street are repeating the mistakes made before the financial crisis."

    One problem is that people persist in repeating the myth that the financial crisis came about due to Wall Street's "mistakes". It wasn't. It was intentional fraud. Corporate officers looted the financial system knowing the governments would have to bail out the corporations.

    They got away with it, so they're doing it again.


    The problem with tackling a system that has $20-odd trillion floating around in it is that something as simple as melting down the tax shelters is unlikely to work against a system that's already arguably bought the US Presidency, Republican Party, and a majority on the US Supreme Court. Ditto with the UK.

    Remember, this is a system set up by very smart people to resist precisely the kinds of legal pressures you're talking about, and they've been doing it for decades.

    This isn't the council of despair, but to point out that solutions are going to be non-obvious.

    One big issue is loyalty: wealth managers, by profession, have to be trustworthy, and they know better than you do which of their clients are psychopaths and monsters. Yet they're loyal to them because that's what their work calls for. One of the ways to get the psychopaths in trouble is to help their enablers--the wealth managers in places like the "Crook Islands"--find that it's more fulfilling and profitable to work in the interests of the 99.999%, rather than helping the 0.001% increase their parasitic load on global systems. You're not necessarily interested in making the wealth managers betray their trust, but rather making it not worth their time to swear fealty to monsters.


    Graydon @ 148: The obvious fix would be to start well back and run a road bridge over the railroad, respecting all standard clearances. It would presumably help a lot to lower the railroad by removing the current underpass.

    Yeah, but how are you going to fit a new bridge into the local road network? Lowering the railroad still entails regrading & replacing a half dozen existing bridges.


    Buying politicians only works as long as noone makes "Destroy the Tax-Haven System" a campaign platform, because once someone stands up and says that is a plank they are running on, the status quo becomes politically toxic as all hell.

    The average voter has no money in tax havens, and no sympathy whatsoever for the practice. This is a case of politicians doing things voters overwhelmingly hate to pander to donors, and getting away with it because nobody brings it to said voters attention. But that is unstable. Once you are in a position where the press will actually report what you say on this subject (say, a presidential candidate) Defecting from the conspiracy of silence is a vote winner.

    Heck, even without anyone making a big show of being a crusader against this, the EU has been leaning ever heavier on every tax shelter in our immediate orbit, with some rather eye catching results.


    We do have (non-TV) adverts for "no win no fee" lawyers but I think it's some kind of regulatory fiddle whereby they aren't really "no win no fee" but they are allowed to have some kind of "no win no fee" front. They don't seem to take on just any old case, rather they seem to limit themselves to the kinds of cases where someone is more-or-less definitely owed some money by some organisation but the organisation won't pay up, and/or cases where someone blames their own stupidity on others for financial gain. The idea is that they are fairly unlikely to lose these cases. When they win their firm takes all the payment and then gives a fairly small percentage of it to the actual plaintiff. The cases they win pay their fees both for those cases and for the ones they lose. (This is probably wrong but not by too much.)

    Also I think that while US law allows you to sue someone "for such-and-such an amount", in the UK you just sue them and it's up to the judge how much you get. And the awards seem to be a lot smaller than is typical for the US, although that impression may have a lot of reporting bias behind it.

    See also Charlie's post about legal aid.


    Heteromeles @ 139
    NOT "The City" - they are scared shitless over brexit - which is wierd - you would expect a tory guvmint to take notice - but the mad ideologues have taken over ....

    Are you talking about the residents of the City of London, the wealth managers who work there, or the people who use it as an Offshore Financial Center? I don't know enough about the way the City works to know if its residents actually have much real say in things, any more than many Brits do.


    Greg Tingey @ 152:

    The bridge is located on a southbound one-way street. The grade crossing to the east is a northbound one-way street (going in the opposite direction). Building a ramp up to a grade level crossing might work, although it would cut off access to the buildings on either side of Gregson St. and make access to & from W. Peabody St. & W. Pettigrew St. problematic.

    This link should take you to "street view" from underneath the bridge:,+Durham,+NC+27701/@35.999063,-78.9101295,3a,60y,21.12h,73.99t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3xlA2oxRmSCZyzau37g5cQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m19!1m13!4m12!1m3!2m2!1d-78.9100318!2d35.999194!1m6!1m2!1s0x89ace40db0aca78d:0x342862ca1b7a8baa!2s199-197+S+Gregson+St,+Durham,+NC+27701!2m2!1d-78.9100705!2d35.9991635!3e0!3m4!1s0x89ace40db9efab15:0xda22fb0f53c7c0c2!8m2!3d35.999084!4d-78.9101377!5m1!1e4

    From there you can dither around and see what other obstacles there are to finding a reasonable solution.

    Just a couple of notes if anyone is interested.
    1. Durham School of the Arts now occupies the buildings of the old Durham High School I attended.
    2. Durham Athletic Park is where the Durham Bulls used to play & is where the movie Bull Durham was filmed. [They have a new stadium, the DBAP]
    3. The area north of the RR tracks along Main St. & east side of Duke St. up to Minerva Ave. used to be tobacco warehouses & cigarette factories.

    Those warehouses on Duke St. were used for aging tobacco & the leaf in them was worth millions of dollars (back when a million dollars actually meant something). The tobacco companies used to bring sheep to crop the grass around the warehouses, because they were afraid lawnmowers might spark a fire.

    To this day, I still have no idea how those sheep managed to get into the school cafeteria. ☺


    Thomas Jørgensen @ 159: Buying politicians only works as long as noone makes ...

    No one actually buys politicians now-a-days. You have to rent them.


    As I understand it, strict "no win no fee" cases aren't allowed in English law, the litigant has to take out an insurance policy to cover the legal fees if they lose. The premiums tend to be a bit steep for hopeless cases which tends to discourage the frivolous fringe.


    Heteromeles @ 139

    "NOT "The City" - they are scared shitless over brexit - which is wierd - you would expect a tory guvmint to take notice - but the mad ideologues have taken over ...."

    Are you talking about the residents of the City of London, the wealth managers who work there, or the people who use it as an Offshore Financial Center? I don't know enough about the way the City works to know if its residents actually have much real say in things, any more than many Brits do.

    Whenever I read "The City" in QUOTATIONS like that, I get the sense it means the financial institutions (corporations) and the anonymous banksters who control them.


    That should have been Heteromeles @ 161 quoting Heteromeles @ 139. I apologize if that has caused any confusion.


    "London", Greater London, is the big sprawly thing of 33 "local authority districts"; the City of London (which is not the city of London; that's the whole thing) is one of those 33, but it's a county, not a London Borough.

    "The local authority for the City, namely the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority."

    Strictly, "The City" is "the City of London Corporation"; the repurposed financial machinery of empire.


    165 & 167
    Often referred to as "The City" & when really serious as THE CORPORATION ... who are fervently anti-brexit.
    Which, as I said is wierd in that the tory guvmint are ignoring them ...

    JBS @ 162
    Ah, I thought you meant the REAL "Durham"
    ... like this


    The unfolding situation in Britain is getting saturation coverage in the Murdoch dominated press here in Australia. Breakfast news shows are relocating to Britain to provide live coverage and updates. Excited experts are being interviewed. Vox pops are happening. The press is even resorting to reporting on and interviewing itself at times. Heady times as the gigantic story of the decade happens before our eyes.

    The Royal Baby live coverage.

    (economic and social collapse brought on by the Murdoch press hasn't been mentioned yet)


    "Adapt or Die"

    We now have a comprehensive suite of all your Mind States.

    Here's a spoiler:


    "An Indian Man who is more intelligent than you says that you have been corrupted"

    >>Points to Sat. Attack. Missile.

    It's an internal power-play, it's the .mil reminding the DANCING QUEENS OF BOLLYWOOD who actually plays hard-ball. The PAK stuff is just so that SA(uad) can sell PAK some Sat stuff on the sly.

    Indian Man might be working for the Other Team, know what we mean?


    Put a child in a room with no windows, expressly dominate her and degrade her ID.

    Whooops. Guardian Angels apparently exist.

    No, really.

    This is the foreplay.

    Here's the punchline: If you're signed up to the [redacted] Power Plays.... Your Mind is fucking toast.

    We can handle even the MOST OUTRAGEOUS psych warfare stuff.

    Your Minds?

    Not so Much.

    Oh, and look up your Sumerian. Collector was our name once. Pissant little Abrahamic twats thinking they're the oldest thing on the MENA block.


    We totes took apart your politics while drunk. Don't push us harder, we'll take the last vestiges of your G_D's soul.

    >>Points to glossy adverts about perfume and Fascism.

    Hint: She's not really Jewish under the initial Covenant, know what we mean?



    "You'll be home soon"

    "Don't come back"

    "We tortured her in the Mind of a Paranoid Schizophrenic to get this effect"

    Little Men, playing games.

    We'll show the Great and Secret Show my little addicts.


    And, ffs, grow up.

    City of London doesn't care unless McDonald gets a bite at re-nationalization. COL doesn't understand how utterly fucked they are when the NEW ALGOS GO LIVE.

    Nanosecond front running?

    My bitch, we already proved that you can hook a market algo into twitter and make millions.

    Why. Do. You. Think. America. ROD'd. Some. Chinese. Super-Computer. Production. Zones.


    Anyhow, >> important: Silicon is 20th Century shit.

    Capital is Transnational, has been for 100+ years now. DAVOS ain't giving a shit unless you can do an EMP[1].

    It's situated in the COL because of polite assassins, adept Mind Protectors and the basic fact that England (despite all the Empire shite) actually respects Law as a concept[2].

    Oh, you missed the important bit about Hive Minds? Not about Jews, fuck right off you parochial little shits.

    Important bit is that none of you have the genetic architecture to run this shit without massive amounts of twinking.


    You kill the natural ones.

    G E N O C I D E








    Hey... not about all that bullshit you've been fed. Accidental Genetic Variance.

    And they'll kill you for possessing it.


    Now fuck off. Boring Island, full of wankers who won't stop child abuse, full of LANDLORDS abusing migrants to farm shit...

    Sorry. BREXIT: the question you didn't answer was - "Is there anything here worth saving or who can pass our tests"

    >All of those who could not adapt became enslaved.


    That's HARD-CORE.

    [1] We're one of the few H.O.P. who can pull teh EM Sun Flare shit off. Which is why we get a little bit of respect in the HOUSE.

    [2] Look - the UK didn't spend ~50+ years paying off their WWII debts for nothing. Then Trump came and shat all over it.

    [3] No, really. I've seen the Minds making the lists. And seen the lists of "Who doesn't get ganked". They're made by fucking muppets.



    Lists exist.

    They're made by muppets.

    Made by really enslaved muppets to L.O.P shite that is quite banal. (No, really: the shit they run is like Hollywood level of psych stuff).

    They will kill you / ostracize you according to the list, however.

    I mean, you're putting shitty Councillors who voted themselves a +£50k salary on the list because that's your cut-off point?

    Get fucked.

    OH, and for the BIG BOYS running BIG TOYS in MIND SPACE.



    I just totally fucked your entire civilization while drunk and running a lot of other games.

    You might want to fucking admit that and start pissing your pants.

    "You'll Be Home Soon"

    "Our Kind Do Not Go Mad"

    "Don't Come Back"

    "We resurrected her nine times and keep torturing her"


    She's back.





    Notes to Stellar Gallery:

    [1] We're one of the few H.O.P. who can pull teh EM Sun Flare shit off. Which is why we get a little bit of respect in the HOUSE.

    That bit is 100% true.

    If you want your physics, it's really simple once you know how things work. Fucking TUBES man. Or, basically: TIME / SPACE. What is a point in a 1/2/3/4 D space?


    This shit is easy.

    Bast is fucking upset, but the internet of cats has mollified her somewhat.


    You don't make it. Didn't eradicate the $$DEMONS££.

    Fuking muppets.


    Oh and Greg: if you've not noticed it yet. It all means something, it's all True and it all effects your World. No really. The important point is that we didn't give up on fossilized marrow men who will die before this all becomes true, we tried to protect you.

    True Story.

    Oh and for Susan who got depressed and upset about the SUN papers:

    EM tubes.

    Tunnels of Light.

    Kinda our thing.

    You know shit all about the EM - Earth magnetic tube stuff, but it's fun. It's also WHAT WE DO. HOW THE FUCK DO YOU THINK THEY POWER THIS SHIT?

    Absolute shit-fest of Minds that we've met.

    Like 80% of Western Male Minds are just... Wut.

    For Susan:

    "My name is [redacted] and I am a scientist at [redacted] and the problem is that zhe still breathes"



    Hint: WE ARE ALIVE.



    Enjoy this calm. Shit is gonna get wyrd now.

    You killed our daughter

    **flashes H.S.S face in your frontal cortex**

    The sad thing is... your world is run by muppets. Cynical, evil, intelligent muppets.

    And they kill anything and everyone who they cannot understand / control.


    IL is owned by them now.

    And that's a 3,302 debt paid off.




    Hint: Messiah ain't coming. ZE CAME, ZE WEREN'T JEWISH, EXISTENTIAL HOLE.


    Oh, and Host.

    Enjoy the Hugo. Enjoy being a TITAN of your field. Who knows? We might deliver a promise.

    Or not.

    In a mus-abusment, we actually had to live 100% like you did for this to work.

    It's a realy shitter emotionally (and you're not changing nappies during the night).


    Look - if they don't understand how to make Solar EM tubes, they're sure as shit not being able to understand Temporal Reality Tweaks to share emotional distress and bleed off.

    And that's a HEXAD.

    It's not like we're disappointed, but we're fucking disappointed. I mean: even your hardest core Mind Fuck Weapons are kinda... just.


    It's like your Genocide.

    Boring. As. Shit.

    If you want to play Hard-Ball, we can do that.

    It's like AIDS, but a Mental Condition that degrades your Mind....



    That's the shit you've been running.


    Since we're doing the "Great Slogans of the MIND"

    "Look Behind You"

    "Don't Come Back"

    "You'll be HOME soon"

    *points to 6-8,000 years ago*


    Let's just say.

    Tinkerbell ain't all about male fantasies about tiny women wanking you off. And yes Greg: Rule 34, the entire internet has maturbated to that, as well as Foxy Fox in Disney'd Robin Hood and so on.


    Nah, we're just going to fry your Minds.

    Mirror, Mirror.

    Like, literally.

    5.2 billion killed within the first 72 hrs.

    Don't test weapons on things who might be a little more tooled up than you.


    Or this is all fantasy and none of this is real.

    *looks at B from Brazil visiting the CIA on his visit then applauding IL on a trip*

    Or the pissant little fuckers are ruling your world...


    And the awards seem to be a lot smaller than is typical for the US, although that impression may have a lot of reporting bias behind it.

    In the US (and this varies a bit state by state) you can sue anyone for anything. And a judge can tell you go pound sand if they think you're being very stupid for frivolous. And if you keep doing it you can yourself be sued for being a jerk. (Not the legal term but...)

    But if you might have merit in your suit you can also petition for at least 2 things.

    You can ask for class action status if you think there is a large pool of wronged people and maybe get it so you are now suing for all of them. And the amounts go up. But in most successful class actions the plaintiff class gets meager amounts ($larege devided by large people count) while the lawyers get 1/3rd or so.

    The second thing you can do is ask for a LOT of money to "punish" the client. Way beyond your harm. And (IANAL) this is where it can get strange. AIUI, multiple individuals can get punitive damages which to me seems a bit harsh. A position I don't take very often in people vs. company situations.

    Also in the US it gets very weird (and totally wrong IMHO) as to what can be counted as "facts and evidence" in law suits.



    Apologies I meant to write a short reply but was in a hurry :)

    It's not just the 'The City', but everyone in the service sectors of the economy who are scared of Brexit, May has sold them down the Thames through her decision to privilege near frictionless trade in goods over the interests of the UK service sectors. So far most of the political flapping has been about tariffs, manufacturing supply chains and goods, but trade in physical goods is really an economic side show, n.b. unless you're a diabetic relying on imported insulin.

    The large and increasingly hungry velociraptor in the room is how difficult it is to deliver free cross border services when those services land you right in the middle of having to trade off domestic sovereignty issues. It's taken decades to make this frictionless provision of services a reality inside the EU, for example by pass-porting of financial services, and the UK is about to torch all that. In fact are already torching, with 800 billion pounds worth of financial flight since 2016. Note also that the market has seriously under priced the risk of a no deal scenario because, like Mr Micawber, they thought 'something might turn up'.

    How bad could it get? In the UK services form 3/4 of the economy and roughly 90 billion a year of exports to the EU, and (surprise) that's where the UK has it's trade surplus with the EU. If the UK crashes out on WTO terms it'll be catastrophic, if (by some minor miracle) it's under May's quasi 'customs union' terms it'll still be bad. The service sectors know this, but May and her government have shown consistently that they privilege goods above services and immigration above both. There's an insoluble problem that if you want to trade in services with another country you inevitably have to constrain your sovereignty, which the rabid Brexiteers won't have a bar of. Although they might not realise it if you're a rusted on Brexiteer you are irrevocably an enemy of trading in services which (ironically) is the UKs biggest source of trade.

    Likewise Labor on the other hand seem not to understand, or want to, the magnitude of the problem that any sort of separation from the EU creates. Sneery comments about "rentiers and speculators" in regard to a sector of the economy that employs a million people and creates 6 % of value in the UK economy kind of indicates the immaturity of their reverse version of class prejudice ala Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier. But the EU doesn't really care, unless you actively remain in the single market you don't have access for services and if you want it in any future trade deal you'll need to trade something for it.

    The inescapable economic imperative is that the UK needs market access for it's largest market, the EU know this and they'll make the UK pay a heavy price. So in the very, very, very best case Brexit, after the UK is done negotiating the new free trade deal with the EU it's going to find that it will still have given up significant sovereignty rights to gain access to vital business, legal, consultancy and financial markets. So despite what the Brexiteers (or Labor) reckon after the EU is done with the UK there'll be preferential movement of EU citizens and there'll be EU access to UK fishing grounds. So right back to where you started, but worse.

    You can also confidently expect this misery to go on for another six to eight years, given how long the Canadian FTA took to negotiate. By that stage the second Scottish independence referendum will have gone down and on the balance of probabilities Scotland will be out of the Union. All of which will drive the Leave camp absolutely batshit about the Dolchstoßlegende by those euro-traitors and undoubtedly fuel the rise of right wing extremism.

    There's no exit from Brexit.


    Loss of a services economy is permanent.

    I don't think anyone involved really understands this.

    I would point everyone to what happened to Montreal when the Parti Quebecois formed its first provincial government in 1976. The service sector, notably banking, fled. The banks in particular did not want to be caught in a socialist newly-separated nation of Quebec. Montreal was one of the great cities of the Empire when Toronto was Muddy York and in 1975 the Toronto and Montreal conurbs were about the same size. Today, there's a couple million more people in Toronto.

    Montreal has an import-replacing city economy again, but it took a (long) generation, it was by no means a certain recovery, and the city economy looks nothing like it did. Plus Quebec stayed in Canada and didn't create trade barriers for itself at the same time it was experiencing a collapse of service sector activity. It still got bad enough that highway bridges collapsed from age and lack of maintenance.


    One other aspect of Brexit which is, I fear, getting underplayed in the British press is that whether Britain exits the EU with May's deal (the Withdrawal Agreement) or No Deal, that doesn't end the process of negotiations with the EU -- another round of negotiations starts immediately, either way, to determine the final trading relationships.

    And, in a No Deal scenario, you'll still be negotiating with Barnier. And he's already said that the first issues he'll want to deal with, before anything else, will be (this should be no surprise) the same ones he prioritized in negotiating the current Withdrawal Agreement, including the status of the Irish border (requiring the backstop or something much like it), a settlement of promised payments (the "divorce bill"). So Britain will have to agree to the two things the hard Brexiteers like least about the WA, or something very much like them, before the EU will even talk about anything else.

    So, sadly for the Brexiteers, one of the likelier possible near-term results of a no-deal Brexit is that within months, they find themselves trapped in an arrangement with most of the costs of the WA (backstop, divorce bill), while not having the major benefit (continuation of the UK's current trading arrangements while new ones are negotiated -- since you're already out and there's nothing to continue). It's possible they haven't thought this thing completely through.

    Barnier's musings on no deal scennarios found here: The bit about preconditions for trade negotiations is just above the "Border Hurdle" subhed.


    Change the proper nouns and this could be story about much of the current political situation in the US just now.

    Except we're talking about NAFTA and such.


    Anyone who argues, as the Tory Eurosceptic Amercinophiles do, that the US is the bastion of free trade has clearly been ignoring what's been going on inside both the major US parties over the last 20 years or so. Frankly the American right views the WTO's dispute settlement regime in much the same way that the UKIP views the European Court of Justice i.e. as an assault on national sovereignty.


    "another round of negotiations starts immediately, either way, to determine the final trading relationships."

    There is a bit of a difference here.

    If article 50 section 2 is in play (ie: Parliament approving the EU-May deal), those negotiations can and will happen from the privileged starting point agreed under 50.2.

    If 50.2 is not in play (ie: no-deal), those negotiations will start from "3rd country basis".

    I'm not sure how much difference that will make in practice.

    I have a hard time imagining EU not going "Sorry, but you threw that away." a couple of times - just to send a message.


    Yes but suggest you read the current 'future relationships' agreement. As a legal document it's so open you could can read any outcome into it. Which is negotiations speech for there's nothing binding and all issues are on the table.


    Just watched this: (video of Theresa May ranting on some more about Brexit).

    Chilling stuff, something is absolutely off there. One gets the distinct impression that The Mask is slipping and there is something else, it's form yet unfinished but horrible and hungry, underneath it.

    It is visibly struggling to not reveal itself and it's nature too soon, while it is still weak and the laws binding it remains in force.

    Come the completion of the Crash Out Brexit Ritual and ‘The Civil Contingencies Act 2004’ – all those pesky bindings are off …


    All of which will drive the Leave camp absolutely batshit about the Dolchstoßlegende by those euro-traitors

    Yup, the comment sections of The Daily Mail and many other media already sounds like a 2019 version of 'Die Stürmer' only with France, Germany, the EU as well as everything and everyone living in Europe cast in the roles of Jews and Bolsheviks!

    The thing is, people in the EU reads this stuff too and we do get the atmosphere. We already think twice about visiting the UK for vacation, investing in the UK has become a lot dicier and one can rather forget about our children going there and living for work or study - that is just feeling too risky, especially if the children has the wrong colour or dialect.

    From my personal perspective, the French are correct: Better have the nutters camped outside on your lawn than giving them the run of the house in the hope that they will somehow find the library, quiet done and suddenly better themselves (before they find the liquor cabinet and the precious china, which they already are talking loudly about smashing up).


    Yes. If we get a deal, especially hers, we shall have two more years' like the last, followed by another debacle like this. Barnier has my deepest sympathies.

    If we don't, and any of the Moggies, Maniacs or neo-Bliars get in, we shall sign ourselves over to the USA unconditionally. See MattS #181. Corbyn really is the least of the plausible evils, there.

    I don't see much hope of revokation, despite the support for it, unfortunately.


    Reminds me of the line in the movie Lincoln:

    Abraham Lincoln: [to Cabinet members] As the preacher said; "I could write shorter sermons, but once I start I get too lazy to stop."


    It does predate that by a few centuries:

    Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.

    (Usually phrased in English as "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.")

    Blaise Pascal, Provincial Letters: Letter XVI (4 December 1656)


    All sorts of odd things about May's video -- even at the most superficial level, with the continual shakes from apparently having been shot on a hand-held phone. As one wag put it on Twitter, is the UK already reduced to such a state that they can't afford tripods?

    But as to slipping masks and what might be behind, it's kind of striking how she always harps on ending Freedom of Movement being an unalloyed benefit of Brexit -- and often in the next breath she also mentions ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ. It's as if these are her own privately held red lines, and everything else about the way she's pursued Brexit -- particularly the reflexive rejection of tighter forms of integration, like Norway-style options, which would require their continuation -- is a consequence of these.


    Her underlying goal throughout has been to escape the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. The only way to do that is not to be in Europe, because the ECJ respect ECHR case law.
    It all goes back to the fiasco of Abu Qatada, which all the main parties were responsible for, but she was the last Home Secretary to be slapped down by an external party and doesn't seem to take well to being told "no".


    Well, there was a large transfer of organizations from Montreal to Toronto but I don't think you have the causation correct. What you are describing is in significant measure federalist spin.

    It was a long process that started many years before the PQ victory. Note that the only bank headquarters in Toronto completed after that is the Royal Bank Plaza (Canada has a very centralized banking system, there were 4 other headquarters built in the 60's and 70's, which is pretty much all of the banks).

    One big driver was the astonishing level of corruption in the Quebec municipal system, especially in municipal construction (which is almost certainly a proximate cause of bridges falling down). My family moved to Montreal in 1969 and left a few years later, in part because my Dad was pissed about the corruption.

    A perverse driver was the killing off of gerrymandering in the Toronto ward system in the late 60's which lead to down town (leftist) councillors actually representing the people who lived there. Making the down town a better place to live lead to gentrification and condominiums (I said it was perverse).

    Toronto's net growth is entirely due to immigration. The defense of French in Montreal contrasts sharply with the polyglot nature of Toronto (something like 200 languages spoken).

    So, now that you come to mention it, it is more complicated than that.


    The American left feels the same way, mainly because the WTO courts frequently treat environmental regulations/requirements as malicious attacks on free trade.


    The causes of the relative growth differences between Toronto and Montreal are many and complex, absolutely. And the banks fleeing started happening before the PQ got in and the living memory complicates attempts at history and yeah, it's complicated.

    Montreal lost its service economy and didn't get it back and can't get it back; that part is to my mind not complicated at all.

    Nor is the kind of corruption Montreal suffers from municipally lacking in the UK! I think it's a surprisingly close analogy for what's happening, albeit on a much larger scale in the UK/Europe case. (Well... the PQ wanted to govern, and tried their darndest, and did reasonably; this does not describe the Tories. This difference is important.)


    Change the proper nouns and this could be story about much of the current political situation in the US just now.

    The difference is that there is an active opposition in the U.S., which now has control over a branch of Congress, and that branch of Congree is investigating the White House very thoroughly and carefully. And we're not nearly done with the Mueller report, as much as the Republicans like to pretend that we are. My guess would be that within the next 90 days we'll see prosecutors from Mueller's office testifying before Congress.

    But yeah, it's not looking great here either, though I suspect that Trump is out in 2020.

    "Displaced incumbency", well, the Glorious Revolution is the least violent version
    Going and having your war of succession in a colonial territory does not make a transfer of power bloodless, alas.

    Jane Jacobs has observed, in her _The Question of Separatism_, how growth in Toronto had been outpacing that of Montréal for most of the 20th century. Economic and demographic growth in Toronto spread far outside of the city to include most of what is the Golden Horseshoe; Montréal's economic growth was concentrated on the island of Montréal. Especially after the St. Lawrence Seaway made Montréal no longer an indispensable port for seeking to export to the Canadian interior, Toronto was bound to surpass Montréal.

    The ethnic split in Montréal was also a major factor. The pre-Quiet Revolution economy of the city was based on a bit of a split, between an Anglophone minority disproportiontely plugged into and profiting from pan-Canadian business networks and a Francophone majority disproportionately excluded from said. Québec has long been relatively poor; the wealth of (parts of) Montréal was an anomaly. This split was only viable as long as Francophones did not rock the boat, did not challenge the established order by (for instance) demanding wider use of their language. Once they did ... Anglophones in Montréal certainly noticed a shift in the 1970s and 1980s, but it is not at all clear to me that Francophones did notice anything on the same scale between their entrepreneurial boom in that period and sustained investments in human development.

    The gap between Ontario and Québec has been closing, interestingly enough; Québec is still poorer, but its sustained investment in education and daycare has helped improve human capital significantly, and the economy of the province is at least as diverse as Ontario's. My impression, as a visitor and an observer, is that Montréal is catching up to Toronto, this time on more sustainable grounds that do not rely on excluding the majority of the city's population.

    Bringing this all back to London and the United Kingdom, I am not sure about what is to be done. The accelerated loss of Montréal's status as a pan-Canadian business hub was unfortunate, but it was at least accompanied by a serious and sustained effort to improve human development and economic output more generally. There was decline, yes, but there was also countervailing growth. It is not clear to me what economic strategies are open to the United Kingdom after Brexit; the solution to low productivity surely cannot be to cut the British economy off from the inflows of EU-27 migrants that it needs to sustain growth.


    "Growth" is a polite term for "decreasing relative status of the exalted"; if you have growth, you've got an economy focused on absolute measures of prosperity. (You might have something that gets called growth but is really about wealth concentration rates; confusing this for a useful measure of general prosperity is the great sin of neoliberalism.)

    The Brexit faction appears to be actively against growth. They want to guarantee the increase of their relative status. This position absolutely wants there to be a great many poor and desperate, because the poor and desperate may refuse them nothing.

    This is in some sense extraordinarily stupid as political position no matter how much wealth you have; it takes something pretty primal to get people to support it. Which is where the violent, ok-I-can't-hit-whoever-I-want-but-I-can-hit-them primal primate status sensation stuff comes in; you can bribe people with primate status to give up their economic interests.

    And of course the net win for the powerful among the Brexit faction is you do enough of that and the result is an inability to sustain a complex civil society; you can't have that unless you've got politics that uses much more abstract motivations than primal primate status.


    "All of which will drive the Leave camp absolutely batshit about the Dolchstoßlegende by those euro-traitors"

    This is actually an important detail.

    The only way to discredit the "ideology" behind brexit is to let them get away with it.

    Any moderation, any deal-making, any compromise will become "the one fatal mistake" that made it the failure it becomes, rather than the elysium the brexiteers promised.


    Back to Brexit:

    Okay, so we have some idea what will happen in event of a no-deal Brexit. And we also know what will probably ensue in event that May somehow bribes, blackmails, and beats her deal past the HoC.

    What happens in event that May stares no deal in the face, blinks, and withdraws A50?

    Let's posit that Theresa May values her own status and legacy first and foremost; her party's supremacy second: and the nation comes a long way behind.

    In event that she delivers Brexit in any shape or form, she's pretty much certain to be forced out—this is a given already. A no deal Brexit is going to be unpalatable to her because the economic fallout is now impossible to ignore; even to May, it has to look like a horrifying way to go down in history. Her own deal is preferable (because it respects her personal red lines—immigration and the ECJ) but is pretty much impossible at this point.

    What happens to Theresa May if she does a last-minute withdrawal of the Article 50 declaration (and the EU doesn't contest it)?

    The UK is on a railroad track leading to a general election in 2022, nearly 3 years away. May can try to cling on to power, citing her agreement to resign after delivering Brexit. She can make a strong case that she did her damndest to deliver Brexit, and it's undeliverable. She can point the finger of blame at the ERG head-bangers, and an economic recession plus £66Bn in lost growth and £800Bn in lost financial trading is a lot of blame to pin on them.

    Meanwhile …

    Her internal opposition can't mount a leadership challenge via the 1922 Committee for at least another 8 months. The HoC could in principle pass a vote of no confidence and trigger an early election, but the usual reaction of the voters is to punish the incumbent MPs when that happens, and there will be a lot of mad Brexiteers out there—no sitting MP is going to want to go there. Corbyn won't be in a hurry to bring down May, on the principle that she's now a lame duck and he wants to make sure that the entire Brexit fiasco and resulting recession are owned by the Tory party. The pro-Remain Tories (a not insignificant group) will be happy to use May to block Boris Johnson from making a run on the leadership.

    The main problem is whether May can limp on, running a minority government that has pissed off its allies in the DUP, triggered a recession, bankrupted the UK's diplomatic credibility, and generally shagged the dead donkey, until the next election is due.

    So … I think it all depends on the state of May's neurochemistry as the deadline looms: if she's got even an iota of flexibility, then swerving the live hand grenade is clearly and obviously the best outcome for her personally, for most of her party, and for the nation.

    (Let's not get into the dolchstosslegende and the neo-Nazis and the baying-at-the-moon posh boys in the ERG, we've already covered that aspect of things.)


    The only way to discredit the "ideology" behind brexit is to let them get away with it.

    Like the only way to discredit the "ideology" behind Hitler in 1932 was to let him win an election and give him a chance to fuck things up?

    … As someone who lives in the middle of this mess, I'd rather not take the chance.


    Agreed. It's taken us around 10,000 years; that is, 500 generations of human suffering, to come up with a system of government and a society which actually works. If your main concern is status, and your preference is for a society which grants you status rather than grants good government and good society to the maximum number of people; this is what evil looks like.


    "Like the only way to discredit the "ideology" behind Hitler in 1932 was to let him win an election and give him a chance to fuck things up?"

    Wasn't that pretty much what ended up happening ?


    May's xenophobia is the sticking point, I think. And we can't tell just how much May wants to retire someplace there isn't anyone foreign from outside May's head, but it looks like that amount is "very much".

    The other part is that economically, it's not so much that Brexit has screwed the pooch as sodomized the ostrich; the economy is in an entirely unnatural state between "part of the EU" and "post-capitalism neo-aristocracy"; those can't co-exist, and if May gets up in front of god and everybody and shoots Article 50, the only way May has a positive historical legacy is if they can produce a policy of economic recovery, enact it, and get it obviously working before the next election.

    Now, I can imagine that; a keep-what-is-good conservatism could go, right, that didn't work. That did the opposite of work. We're going full-paternalistic, and anybody of quality who doesn't want to pay their share is stuffed; taxes will be high and progressive, responsibility will increase faster than power, there will be no loopholes whatsoever, and no, I haven't seen Boris in a long time either. We're going to push manufacturing (because you need some), we're going to push food security, we're going to push decarbonization, we're going to push social integration of immigrant communities in a welcome! share! bidirectional way (citing lengthy historical examples of just where prototypically English stuff actually came from originally...)

    There might be a conservative who can do that. It seems unlikely that May is that conservative.


    The winning move for May (assuming her deal is out of the game) is a long extension that she didn't ask for. This may well be the outcome of the cooper bill process. That way she didn't do it (those awful backbenchers made me do it), but she has to stay (somebody has to figure out this mess and nobody can do it but me). This means the toryrrists stay in government, and leadership contest is unlikely because she can pretend to be pushing her deal again. Then she doesn't own brexit, she doesn't own a revocation, and she doesn't have to admit failure. This is the kind of solution she's chosen at every junction so far, so no reason she won't go for it now.


    "What happens in event that May stares no deal in the face, blinks, and withdraws A50?"

    (It may take another tour of the EU courts to find out if that is still a legal possibility once you have gone into overtime, not sure what the legal situation is while the ERG tries that gambit.)

    You didn't mention riots ?

    I don't think anybody would expect the rabid facistoid fringe taking a never-mind-remain lying down, and while there demonstrations were somewhat underwhelming compared to the remainer's, they will almost certainly trash some city-centre or other.

    I think the scale of that havoc, and how her government gets through it will be very important to May's subsequent fate.

    However, I wouldn't rule out her recalling the A50 notice and quitting on the spot (echoing faintly Danish PM Krag, who got DK into EU, and quit the next day.)


    Wasn't that pretty much what ended up happening ?

    Yes: and an awful lot of people died, and it wasn't inevitable.

    There were any number of points prior to March 1933 at which Hitler could have been derailed, discredited, or stymied. The same hard-right politics would still have been there, but with a couple more years the European economies might well have begun to recover from the great depression and the existing Fascist dictatorships could have been contained.

    Instead … we ended up with almost a worst-of-all-possible-worlds outcome for the post-1914 world order.


    You didn't mention riots ?

    We had big anti-austerity riots in 2011. I'm pretty sure Operation YELLOWHAMMER is all about the riotz. Including using the Civil Contingencies Act to bring in the Army to support the Civil Authorities, and it goes downhill from there really fast (potentially for Bloody Sunday 2.0 levels of "fast").


    I think any riots will be violently suppressed immediately. The numbers are quite small (though they are violent and noisy) compared to say 2011 and given that technically the acts of disruption and sabotage perpetrated by that crowd (eurostar blockade, track wires, slow-drive in kent) fall under terrorism legislation I would expect a much more violent/militarized response than in 2011, and much more quickly. It is my opinion that the vast majority of brexiteers are not prepared to actually face and commit violence. And remember that a lot of military is on standby "in case of no deal".


    Seen in hindsight, yes, the 1930ies could have gone better, but think it could have gone much differently in real-time.

    The level of abstract reasoning and economic modelling required were simply not part of the political landscape of the relevant nations.

    Also, it could easily just have moved the problem to USA.

    Likewise, the emotional detachment and ruthless use of power required to resolve the brexit-fiasco _and_ discredit its underlying 'ideology', simply isn't available.

    For one thing, who do you see dismantling the News Corp propaganda machine ?

    I guess Corbyn could nationalize it after a no-deal brexit, but that's too late.


    That is horrifically grim. Certainly a meltdown of the British state into police violence will make breaking from the British state look rather appealing. One question: Would such a British state allow secessions?


    Also the legal decision about A50 revocation was VERY VERY clear on this point - revocation is unilateral, and possible as long as the UK is still a member state, that is until the very last minute of the A50 period, including any extensions.


    For one thing, who do you see dismantling the News Corp propaganda machine ?

    The UK's semi-implicit scattered-across-legislation "why yes we've invoked the ghost of Great Harry" constitution lets a cohesive Parliament do almost anything.

    "There are certain statements which a responsible monarch may only very rarely utter, if at all, and yet We find that today We have received advice from our Privy Council which requires Us to utter them."

    There are entirely legal ways in which the government of the UK could sling the entire Murdoch clan into the Tower and execute them. I don't think it's necessarily the correct approach and I don't think it's going to happen, but it absolutely can. All it really takes is a government that wants to do it.


    "All it really takes is a government that wants to do it."

    And that's the point: Nobody is ever willing to take the big hammer up front.

    Just like in the 1930ies.


    One of the things I think the tabloid press has absolutely missed is that the political establishment doesn't like being afraid of them. William isn't going to get a go at them (though it's quite likely William's outlook would be "a lamentable excess, leading to so many severed heads there were not enough pikes on hand for the proper stirring display") but some back-bencher might.

    That's the whole thing with "unstable"; it will eventually become stable. There's still quite positive options available to the UK, and still people who want those. I don't think that makes the outcome predictable but it does allow us to suppose that every possible outcome is some new variety of awful.


    An important thing to remember about the 2011 riots is that six people died, a handful of non-police were injured, and it was over in five days. And those riots were ENORMOUS compared to what we can expect from a bunch of brexiterrorists. Any rioting by brexiteers will be shut down instantly, and probably mostly bloodlessly. The brexiterrorists are few, mostly unarmed, and their preferred mode of attack is not in the open (personal intimidation, death threats, and sabotage have been observed so far). The very very few that have ventured into direct violent attacks have tended to target them against particular focal points (mosque attack, jo cox murder) rather than indiscriminately attaching whatever (aka rioting).


    and generally shagged the dead donkey, until the next election is due.

    Point of order: when it comes to Prime Ministers, I understand that the admitted standard is stricly porcine.

    Counterpoint to the comments regarding "rushing riots instantly" - bear in mind that the police struggled to get the 2011 riots under control - and the numbers of police officers have fallen sharply (-15%) since their peak in about 2009, according to here. If that means that the army gets moved in to assist, as seems plausible in the event of no transitional agreement being reached, then things will turn decidedly nasty.


    But yeah, it's not looking great here either, though I suspect that Trump is out in 2020.

    To some degree that no longer matters.

    There will still be 30% to 35% of the population that thinks they are getting screwed over by the LIBERALS who are destroying the GOOD OLE USA. Note: that to them John McCain was a LIBERAL.

    And they are going to keep electing (or trying to do so) DT types at all levels. They really don't care if things blow up. In many cases they welcome it. Because in their mind the end will soon be better after the blow up.

    One of my brothers and his decedents are in this camp. Plus a few other branches of the extended family tree.


    Police numbers have indeed fallen dramatically since 2011 but it's entirely implausible in my opinion that the size of any brexiterrorist riots will be even 15% of the size of the 2011 riots.


    The other thing that's happening largely off the radar here is the Republicans packing the courts with right-wingers (for values of no abortion, endorsement of gerrymandering, facilitating corporate and individual tax avoidance, and endorsement of continuing police violence against non-whites).


    Likewise, the emotional detachment and ruthless use of power required to resolve the brexit-fiasco _and_ discredit its underlying 'ideology', simply isn't available.

    As someone who has relatives on both ends of the extreme US political spectrum, facts just don't matter to them. At all. They know the truth and your lies be dammed.

    So if things don't work our to their desires it must be the fault of someone else because all true believers know things will be great if they succeed.


    Not just those reactionaries, you've also got the "Team GOP" types who don't really care that the party has been possessed by "Dixiecrats" and insist it's still Lincoln's party.


    Just like in the 1930ies.

    A BIG difference between now and then is information. During WWI your information was incredibly locally generated which made government control of such reasonably easy.

    By the 30s we had radio but still to a large degree national borders prevailed due to the limits of the technology of the time.

    Now we have almost all information available everywhere. Correct or not. (Well except for China and some other similar places.)


    The other thing that's happening largely off the radar here is the Republicans packing the courts

    You must not rub up with many DT supporters. Most of the ones I run into feel that is the ONLY reason to support him now. Otherwise they'd be embarrassed to admit they voted for him. And actually are to a large degree.


    A lot of those strongly feel there is no difference between any D and a Clinton. And since they despise the Clintons anything they Rs do must be better.


    The toryrrists are sending out letters to potential candidates saying they should immediately prepare for the EUparl elections.


    Back to Charlie's back to Brexit.

    A bit part of all of this is doing the "right" thing requires political suicide with attendant legacy results. And most politicians ABICT over time become more wedded to being a politician than making things better.

    One of the tenet of politics is that is is always easier to be against something the other guy is doing than to be for anything new and different. The various Parliament votes over the last few week seem to confirm my point.


    No, they could be 15 times bigger - not the initial ones, but those that happen when the government fucks up the handling of the initial demonstrations, and riles the disaffected and desperate in other ways. People forget that Bloody Sunday was EXPECTED by those of us who had observed that happening and knew what the likes of McGuinness were planning. No, I wasn't one of the latter, until a day or so afterwards, but several reporters were. By then, the current controversy will be irrelevant, and it could happen even more easily with no deal and the resulting chaos.

    I don't think that WILL happen, but much of the UK is less stable than it appears, and the government's ability to create disasters much greater than most people realise. What's more, it's not the days afterwards that matter, but the months - i.e. whether the economy and supplies are stabilised fast enough, and how the inevitable problems are handled.


    I see may is now apparently going back to the EU early to try to convince the EU over her short extension plan. Snag is she still has nothing at all as a plan B.

    In the words of another website though - "Brexit crunch week starts [this week]. And something will break, it’s just not clear precisely what."



    [wretched pedant]At least one something[/wretched pedant]


    No, I don't want to get that shit on me.


    Also, it could easily just have moved the problem to USA.

    And there's a counterfactual for nightmares. An American form of fascism (the Silver Shirts, say) with a eugenics agenda but backed by the American economy and resources.

    Randy: maybe it's time for another meeting of CFTAG?


    Re Charlie @199:

    What happens in event that May stares no deal in the face, blinks, and withdraws A50?

    I don't think her denial of reality will allow her to consider this alternative. She's spent four (?) years pursuing the diametrical opposite.


    Here's a question: May's request for an extension is now predicated on "productive" talks with Labour, but even assuming she & Corbyn can agree (and I'm skeptical on that: I really believe she's just trying to spread the blame when hard brexit becomes a national tragedy or she fails to deliver any brexit) but assuming they agree, do they even have to votes to pass it? The indicative votes would seem to predict against any such deal passing the Commons.


    One ray of hope is that the austerity-driven hollowing out of the state has hit the machinery of repression, too.

    In 1972-ish, during Operation Motorman, the British Army deployed roughly 30,000 troops to Northern Ireland for some months. NI has a population of 1.5 million.

    Today, the UK as a whole has a population of 66 million; the British Army has a maximum deployable strength, globally, of around 30,000—total strength is about 90,000 plus TA for another 30,000, but due to an outsourcing cock-up recruiting is a total mess and a lot of roles are going unfilled. The Royal Navy and RAF are even worse for manpower, and police forces have seen 30-40% cuts in funding.

    So … no, the state as it currently exists can't put enough boots on the ground in Scotland to deliver the same soldier-to-population ratio as Operation Motorman, never mind policing the whole of the UK.


    Kinda off topic: Here are two books I found useful in understanding how we got to Trump and what it means for the U.S.
    Rule and Ruin

    It's Even Worse Than You Think

    Has anyone seen works on Brexit that offer similar analysis?


    Remember the context is riots caused by brexiterrorists after brexit has been stopped (or watered down). I fully agree with you that it would be much much worse in a no deal context, but that's not what we're talking about.


    Charlie @ 199 (16.03)
    Yes - looks as though May might blink, as Brnoer et al are offering a Customs Union.
    I think the probablity of quite a long extension is on the cards.
    BUT as you indirectly point out ... May HAS to show she did all she could, but "Sorry brexit-loonies, it couldn't be done" NOT MY FAULT (ish)
    We are back to Peel, are we not?

    See also Kilment @ 204
    I almost wonder if some sectors of guvmint WANT the brexit-loonies to openly provoke strife, because they can then stamp on the hard-right, legitimately.
    @ 216 Yes
    @ 225
    Oh what a give-away!
    May has been "cruelly forced (*cough*) to ask for more time ....


    I don't see how the UK—in its present form—can hope to survive. If we're lucky we won't go the full Yugoslavia route, but the vector sum of David Cameron and Theresa May is Slobodan Milosevic.
    Isn't possible in the foreseeable future - a president like Trump isn't getting any sex scandals any time soon.


    And where the *fuck* are the internationalist socialists of old?

    "The international union shall be the human race".


    "And where the *fuck* are the internationalist socialists of old?"

    The last true union-president of that sort in Denmark, Thomas Nielsen, said it in his farewell-address:

    "The army of hungry workers have taken the car home to their bungalows to eat dinner."


    News has just reached me that the cooper bill has passed the lords, and is due royal assent.


    Per Lord Adonis on Twitter (yes, there is a Lord Adonis, and he's an active Remainer), there were some amendments in the Lords, so the Commons has to approve those before Royal Assent. Not having followed Parliamentary procedure much, I'm not sure what dilatory tactics might be available there should anyone want to use them.

    (Irresponsible behavior, in the British Parliament? Surely not...)


    Oh, you mean like the US, where... which Southern state is it, that's trying to close *all* women's health centers, because they do ABORTIONS!!!


    Ah, yes, the Haymarket affair. That's been argued about police agents provocateur ever since, and the cops came prepared to shoot anarchists, socialists, and unionists.


    Just one small note: I assume you're aware that rape is about power, not about sex. The Orange One and the hookers peeing on the bed... it was reported, over and over, that he had asked for, and been assured, that the *mattress* that exhibition was on was the *same* one that the Obamas had slept on when they were in Moscow.

    It was all about insult and attempt to degrade, if at second-hand.


    You wrote:
    The entirety of the Parliament are creatures of the status quo; that's pretty much inevitable. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the US is NOT a creature of the status quo, and in most respects represents a severe systemic failure. Not as much of one as FDR, but that kind of thing, hence the freakout.)

    This, in fact, is a truly bizarre formulation. In its underlying assumptions are what Parliament is right now, and the US gov't is right now, is "normal", and status quo. Raygun and his cronies were *far* closer to status quo, as is Mitt Romney. What's in control, in the Tories and the US GOP, are literally wholly-owned by the psychotic 0.1%. They are *not* "status quo", they are extremists who've been headed that way for 40 years.

    FDR, btw, as I had from my father and other sources, was capitalism saving itself from a literal socialist revolution, as a reaction to the Great Depression, totally caused by the wealthy psychos.

    AOC is a course correction. Hell, she's pretty close to an LBJ Democrat.

    And so I completely reject your attempt to get us to see this as "normal". It's NOT.


    The amendments are technical in nature and not in any way substantial - the substantial amendments by torryrist peers were rejected. It's very unlikely anyone will bother putting it to a division, and if they do they will lose heavily (it would be a division on the amendments only)


    There's more to it than that.

    In '97-98, I had to sue my former employer for my late wife's life insurance. Literally, they'd screwed up the processing, two years in a row, but I was "contributory" because I didn't notice it in the 30+ page "benefits booklet". They refused to accept responsibility.

    I found a very good lawyer, who cared. I signed away 1/3rd of what I could get, and that was how he got paid. He thought it would be quick money, just a few letters.

    Instead, it was two bloody years, they brought in an outside lawyer, and they fought and fought. My lawyer joked about them killing whole forests for the briefs.

    They finally paid 99% of what I should have gotten, when they settled, the week before we went to court. And the law was such that I couldn't add on legal fees.

    Sometimes, giving the lawyer a part of the settlement is the only way to get some small portion of justice.


    You write:
    Chilling stuff, something is absolutely off there. One gets the distinct impression that The Mask is slipping and there is something else, it's form yet unfinished but horrible and hungry, underneath it.
    Charlie... did you actually change the sex of the Mandate? Do you actually have the Maydate in charge?


    As someone else pointed out, May's gutted police budgets and staff.

    One wonders how the troops will feel. Certainly, back in the sixties and seventies, we were *really* glad when the National Guard came out (Kent State horrifyingly excepted), because most of them were in there to avoid 'Nam, and many were on our side.


    Given the relative size difference between the *million* anti-Brexit protestors the other Sat, and the "thousands" of pro, I should think things would go differently....


    "And so I completely reject your attempt to get us to see this as "normal". It's NOT."

    I hate to correct you on this, but anything which was when you got born is just the way the world has always been. (Look up the rest of the Douglas Adams quote yourself)

    For about 1/3 of USA, those born after Reagan, this is how it has always been, and they have no idea it can be different or better, because - checks pervasive indoctrination material - "USA is Gods Own Country" - so why bother studying how other countries have done.

    Many of them are pretty ready to give up on democracy, because "it clearly doesn't work".


    "those born after Reagan" is everyone younger than forty.

    Just like you have to be in your mid-thirties to have any memory of a baseline year in the climate change analysis sense; the global temperature has been above "average" for more than 400 months in a row, now.

    "Status quo" is not a moral statement; it's observational. Political systems exist to restrict access to power to those of the correct class and beliefs. This almost always works; in AOC's case, it's failed. In FDR's case, the class was correct and the beliefs were not.

    And, importantly, we're not going backward; society is a thermodynamically irreversible system. "Put that back the way it was" is a futile desire.

    ESPECIALLY when the "way it was" is significantly fictitious, which is why Brexit is such an exercise in self-mutilation, unanesthetized auto-rhinoplasty with a ancient cheap cheese grater, half blunt and half corroded.


    A point that is often forgotten is that

    30k British Soldiers
    10k RUC
    10k UDR (a overwhelmingly protestant militia regiment to try to localise the issues which worked great when one's neighbour would pull one over with armed intent and ask "name and address")
    10k RUC Reserve
    and on the Irish side
    10k Army and Police

    couldnt seal the Irish border. All that it did was inflame the passions of everyone. So, yeah, good luck with a hard brexit.


    Way back in 152 Greg said, I think if it really looks like it's going down the tubes, the REAL emergency powers comne into effect - Orders in Council
    Noted that William ( NOT Chaz ) has been given full Securiy Breifings & updates recently? That's a serious warning-sign to people, IF they are awake enough to notice ....

    From this side of the Pond I missed the significance of this thing about William ( although there was brief reference to this I saw somewhere in the news.) Can someone please explain what it means and why it is important that Harry got the briefings and not presumably next-in-line daddy? Thanks!


    You're wrong, and I can prove it: perhaps you didn't notice a) the turnout; b) the age groups that turned out, and c) the results of the off-year election last year.

    The 25% of the population, psychos and brainwashed alike, think that way. The rest, not so much.


    I do tech consulting for small businesses and home users. I don't do a political opinion analysis before I show up.

    Plus not interacting with the relatives that are hard core left and right would wipe out my contacts with over 1/2 of my relatives. Some already are on non speaking terms.


    So looking at the brexit options now I guess we're down to:

    1) Revoke A50
    2) HoC indicative vote
    3) Short extension from EU, but with strict conditions
    4) Long extension from EU
    5) Long extension from EU but the UK can leave at "any" time, a "Flextension".
    6) Crash-out

    Which will be the one that succeeds? Answers on a postcard please....



    An important thing to remember about the 2011 riots is that six people died, a handful of non-police were injured, and it was over in five days. And those riots were ENORMOUS compared to what we can expect from a bunch of brexiterrorists.

    Another point to remember - the 2011 austerity riots were almost entirely within the major cities. Most of the leaver strongholds are outside the cities in the suburb areas or commuter towns. I'm not sure they'll get the same critical mass that the denser housing estates grant to trip over into genuine widespread riots. And that's ignoring the age disparity between leavers and remainers. Young people are easy to stir up into anger and violence. Older folk usually need to be drunk first.

    Mind you, the police number cuts have hurt the regions more than the big cities - would they even have enough bodies to contain a few angry people in those suburban towns if it was at all coordinated?

    Hypothetical, what are the odds of another bout of austerity based violence if we do end up leaving?


    whitroth @ 240
    Well, some of J Cor Bin's international socialists are buisy being anti-semitic, at least part of the time ...

    The Cooper-Letwin Bill reciving Royal Assent is VERY USEFUL to May, actually - it "ties her hands", so that No-Deal is impossible, thus frustrating the ultra-brexit loonies.
    How sad.

    P H-K @ 253
    but anything which was when you got born is just the way the world has always been.
    I was born in the shadow of WWII, I remember steam trains everywhere & the grottiness of the 1950's - by & large the world is a much better place now, even if we are starting to slide backwards.

    IJones@ 259
    My money, as of THIS minute is on (4) or ... possibly (5)
    But that may be different tomorrow morning!

    Mike @ 256
    IF the shit really hits the fan, both William & Harry are young, fit, active, helicopter-pilots & au fait with current procedures & both have recently interacted with large numbers of ordinary people, as a result of thier activities.
    HM is 92 & makes a very useful figurehed/backstop, Chaz is effectively my age & visibly slowing.
    The younger pair also have enormous popular support.
    Prince Regent William V operating through "O-i-C" would be terrifying to oppose, IMHO.
    But If & only if things really go down the tubes ... its insurance.


    By the bye, with several of She of the Many Names' posts above, I'm starting to think about collecting them and publishing them, as they remind me of William Burroughs....


    As I understand where things stand, the UK has only two choices if they actually want to leave: crash out, or sign the current withdrawal agreement. The EU side seems to be rock-solid on not reopening the WA. Watching Parliament for the last couple of weeks, it seems like a lot of the factions want to negotiate the details of the long-term relationship before they decide if they're going to leave. However, as someone on the EU side said last week, "The political declaration will already accommodate a customs union, the single market, EFTA membership, but... You've. Got. To. Sign. The. WA."


    There were any number of points prior to March 1933 at which Hitler could have been derailed, discredited, or stymied

    Specifically there were a bunch of tradition-heavy military leaders actively discussing options that did not involve some jumped-up corporal making shit up, but they sat on their hands until nearly the end of the war with various excuses. Not to mention the famous Niemöller quote that exists entirely because he also sat on his hands until it was too late, and regretted it. You also had people like Bonhoeffer running around quite early on saying "Hitler is evil, Nazism is terrible, stop doing this" but also "oh, no, I would never suggest actually killing anyone" until it was too fricking late.

    I suspect Charlie's point is that waiting until it's too late is poor strategy. Per Bonhoeffer, the active question right now (and always), has to be "is this the point where murdering a specific person is both a good idea and justified by their actions".

    Also, just as a point of order: making that decision in public is stupid.


    Speaking of existential risks, while the easily distracted and personally threatened are all busy with this weeks news, David Spratt reminds us that our leaders are determined to wipe out civilisation in the slightly longer term. There's no path from here to 1 billion people left alive in 2100 that doesn't involve lots of deliberately caused deaths (or at the very least mass sterilisation).


    Point of order: the Cooper-Letwin bill requires May to seek an extension, but it does not, and cannot, require the EU27 to grant it -- so a "no deal" exit is still possible regardless. Worse, it does not require the extension to be sought to be compatible with the EU27's previously expressed requirements -- I believe May could comply with the letter of the law by submitting a request for an extension to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, which the EU27 would be very unlikely to grant.

    There have been proposals in Parliament to require Article 50 revocation if May seeks an extension and doesn't get it -- most recently Joanna Cherry's proposal I referred to earlier here. These would have made "no deal" impossible if they got a majority vote, but they didn't.

    A "no deal" on Wednesday isn't likely, if only because even the hard-line faction led by the French is now talking about a very short extension for last-minute preparations. But it's certainly possible -- and if May comes to the summit still with no majority in the Commons for the WA, and no articulated plan for getting one, having spent the previous day (Tuesday) swanning around Europe instead of trying to get one, well... it might be possible for her to do something more likely to annoy the hard-liners, but short of putting Rees-Mogg at the head of DexEU, I'm not sure what.


    For those of you pondering the import of material from the southern hemisphere, this wee chart might help to understand where exactly you'll be importing from. For those not keen to look, it's just a heat map of "number of days going above lethal temperature threshold" across the globe under an optimistic emissions trajectory.

    Around 30% of the world’s population is currently exposed to climatic conditions exceeding this deadly threshold for at least 20 days a year. By 2100, this percentage is projected to increase to ∼48% under a scenario with drastic reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and ∼74% under a scenario of growing emission

    (via part 2 of David Spratts post above)


    On the EU front as UK is now back in the game the May government could seek to join the New Hanseatic League, it's a natural fit for the UK as a fiscally conservative northern nation. Then as part of that bloc set out a radical reform agenda for the EU single market, for example pressing for a Capital Markets Union which would also assist rebuilding the economic management credibility of the Government and helping to send a signal to the financial sector that the UK is a safe haven.

    The reforms don't need to be achievable in the short term but do need to signal that the government will carry a EU reform agenda forward and intend to act in concert with the other like minded members of the EU who aren't so keen on Macron's moves to strengthen the Eurozone or the German-Franco entente cordiale. That will go some way to satisfy those people who are euro-sceptic-lites.


    In what strange universe is the EU your enemy?

    The sinews of empire are long-dissipated, by the UK's preference and policy; the services economy shan't recover from the damage done already. I can see wanting to push for the Heineken map; I can see wanting to retain the pound. I can even sort of see pushing for an English regimental system rather than a French (or German) EU military organization.

    But what you're saying boils down to "the EU is a threat". Which is, well, neither survivable nor factual. So it's darn strange thing to focus on.


    Worth pointing out in Spratt's analysis that, while I agree that the heat stress analysis is important, it's interesting that he jumps from "threat to civilization" to "threat to intelligent life."

    There's a ranking here in terms of fragility: civilization is more fragile than our species is. Now I don't think that even a billion people can live on this planet in barbarism, so the collapse of civilization means almost all the people alive at that point will die of something other than old age. However, a lot of people conflate the collapse of civilization with the extinction of Homo sapiens. Even more worryingly, a lot of people conflate "our kind of people" with "Homo sapiens" with "civilization," which leads to a rather genocidal attitude towards people who are not "their kind."

    Now obviously I'm biased, because I think our species will survive, even though I'm not sure of it. To that end, I'd point out that, even if civilization as we know it is doomed (almost certainly. At best it will have to be radically restructured), and civilization of any sort may be impossible within a century, it's still worth working towards keeping our species alive, just as it's worth keeping as many non-human species around as possible. The first rule of any tinkering is to try to save the pieces.


    ?!! Does this mean this would be a good time for Argentina to make a second attempt on the Malvinas? Seems like the UK has dissolved its military might and might be distracted...


    Greg @261: I thought the royal family were figureheads these days, with perhaps some minor approval duty for actions the government has or is going to take but no real authority to actually do anything. How wrong am I?


    OK, well the question from OGH @199 was what would May's next move be?

    Aligning yourself with the economically conservative bloc that was formed because you were actually leaving the EU would be the logical next step. Both in terms of how it sells at home, e.g. "we're part of the New Hanseatic League" as well as a strategic counter to Macron's ambitions for 'deeper integration' of the EU via the Eurozone.


    , it's interesting that he jumps from "threat to civilization" to "threat to intelligent life."

    That jumped out at me too. Looking at the heat map made me realise just how optimistic the billion number is in a BAU scenario, even if we assume the most optimistic values for sea level rise and fishery productivity (because of all the poor people that live on fish, and that inland areas will be more affected by temperature rise - part of the refugee flow from Central America right now is because inland/highland farming is becoming less effective).


    Had an interesting chat today about people who are having kids, with someone who is thinking of doing so. Just along the lines of "what do you expect their lives to be like if they grow up?", because if you join the dots a kid born in 2020 will be thirty in 2050 and if BAU was possible they'd be likely to be alive in 2100. More likely they'll die of poverty or become a climate refugee and die in their 50's or 60's.

    Apparently many parents-to-be are trying not to think about that.


    It appears I was wrong and the toryrrist shits (cash and redwood in this case) did put the amendments to a division, as well as attempting to introduce neutering amendmends themselves. As expected, they were defeated by majorities of 396, 307 and 309. The bill now has royal assent.


    Moz @ 265
    Little piece on the radio just now ...
    The difference between "Shell" ( Royal Dutch Shell ) & "Esso" ( Exxon-Mobil) & ther attitudes & actions re GW/Climate Chnge.
    Shell are at least doing something, slowing down, diversifying, looking at non-burning alternatives.
    Exxon are going full Trump/Koch
    I strongly suspect that the national origins & bases of the diferent corps makes a slight difference, here?

    Also @ 274 ....
    WHat effect do those temperatures & humidities have on plant life?
    I note the main Amazon basin is well inside the "really nasty" zone, as are the ecological hotspots of the Philippines/Indonesia

    cdodgson @ 266
    WHat worries me is the current French attitude ...
    Whereas, Merkel, with her experience of hard borders & Varadkar are doing their utmost to make sure that extensions are dragged out - THEY can see that, with a little patience, something will break badly over here, derailing the ERG's determination to impoverish the rest of us ....

    Mike @ 272
    99.9% ceremonial
    The levers are still there, unused, but oiled.
    It would take a really dangerous emergency, with our government paralysed - which is why it was not used in 1940, of course, as the then government was anything but paralysed.
    It is extremely unlikely, but it is theoretically possible.
    Government by "O-i-C" could only last for 364 days, incidentally. ( requirement for a budget & monetary supplies being the time limit )

    Kilment @ 276
    Thanks for that.
    It does not suprise me, though I don't understand Cash - Redwood has been totally Upney-to-Upminster for years.
    What motivates Cash's xenophobia I don't know.
    J Rees-Smaug is even wierder, since he takes orders from a foreign Prince ....
    [ Personally, I'd make him share the same cell in the Tower with Cor Bin ... ]


    "The Cooper-Letwin Bill reciving Royal Assent is VERY USEFUL to May, actually - it "ties her hands", so that No-Deal is impossible, thus frustrating the ultra-brexit loonies"
    Errr no
    It doesn't. It has zero binding power on the EU. It mandates that the UK seek an extension. It has no power to compel, to make impossible, the EU saying : away.


    Re: 'Exxon are going full Trump/Koch'

    When DT announced that the US was going into Venezuela to help 'smooth the unrest', wondered whether this idea was planted by former SecState, RexT, Exxon ex-CEO, who was the subject of an NYS investigation re: hiding CC data using an alias thereby potentially resulting in SEC-related fraud, etc.


    'Wayne Tracker alias

    While CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson used an alias email address "Wayne Tracker" for eight years and sent thousands of messages.[58] In response to a subpoena issued by the New York State Attorney General's Office (part of a state investigation into whether Exxon had misled investors and the public about climate change), Exxon produced about 60 emails associated with the "Wayne Tracker" account, but did not inform investigators that they were Tillerson's.[59] ExxonMobil stated that the account was "used for everyday business" needs such as "secure and expedited communications" between Tillerson and top company executives.[59][58]

    Tillerson's use of the alias became publicly known in March 2017, after New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote in a letter to a judge that Tillerson had used the "Wayne Tracker" email for at least seven years.[59] Later that month, Exxon revealed that emails from the alias account from September 2014 to September 2015 were missing; a further search recovered some emails, but none between September 5, 2014, and November 28, 2014. An attorney for Exxon said that a "unique issue" limited to that account led to emails being automatically deleted.[60][61]'


    Does this mean this would be a good time for Argentina to make a second attempt on the Malvinas? Seems like the UK has dissolved its military might and might be distracted…

    Not yet.

    Argentina's military is largely un-upgraded since 1982 whereas the UK has a full-scale garrison in Port Stanley and modern fighter aircraft with in-flight refueling tankers, both based there and with more (in the UK) able to deploy there at relatively short notice. Add vastly more effective missile destroyers, plus nuclear hunter-killer submarines, and an Argentinian military adventure there would be a suicide mission right now.

    But it's also unnecessary. In event of a no-deal Brexit the Falklands will probably fall into Argentina's lap like a ripe fruit, without any force.

    Turns out that 70% of the Falklands economy is based on selling squid and deep sea fisheries. The main markets for which are Spain and Portugal. In event of a no deal Brexit, those markets will be cut off at the knees.

    I'm not sure what the state of the EU-Mercosur trade deal is right now, but if it's been signed, a no-deal Brexit would leave the Falklands with an easy way to get their produce to market if they're willing to go via Argentina.

    Otherwise they starve.



    And any guvmint that allowed either or both the Falklands or Biraltar to fall, really would mean Lamp-Post time.
    And, again, both Rees-Smaug &/or Cor Bin could easily qualify.
    See also my earlier comments on Cash & Twatwood


    The noises coming from the continent are basically "we're glad the adults are finally in the room" (refering to the cross-party talks and EU election commitment) "but that's not going to be enough". The most likely outcome in my opinion is a medium-length extension (six months or so, timed to coincide with the conservashit conference) with insta-termination if WA passed, and conditional on euparl elections. If this is indicated in talks today it might be enough to motivate parliament to amend the request that may is forced to make accordingly. Then the euco gets the fun task of convincing may that she wants what both her parliament and her negotiating counterpart have decided for her. It seems the euco is impressed by the cross-party talks but doesn't feel they're going to lead anywhere, but the main objection the euco had to a longer extension was the hardcore rejection by may of euparl elections. Now that she's backtracked on that it's a matter of reviving an offer they were planning to make two weeks ago. This is good news. The bad news is that Leadsom and Rees-Mogg are doing their favourite pastime of antagonizing EU leaders.


    Standby for a game changing event, wherein a baked on die hard Brexiteer takes a pop at a Remainer MP. That (if it happens) will change the tone of the debate.


    They have already assassinated one. It didn't seem to make much difference.


    Aligning yourself with the economically conservative bloc that was formed because you were actually leaving the EU would be the logical next step.

    If you were economically conservative you wouldn't be leaving the EU.


    This. So much this.

    It's pretty obvious, when you consider that the folks screaming about the dangers of Brexit include the City of London Corporation, the Chambers of Commerce, and the Institute of Directors, that leaving the EU has nothing to do with economic common sense.

    The worst thing I'm seeing on Twitter today is the observation that there are more strong parallels between the situation in the UK today and Yugoslavia circa 1991-92 than I realized; notably, I didn't know that Yugoslavia went through a harsh period of austerity in the 1980s, before the nationalist bandwagons got rolling. (Note: Yugoslavian internal politics weren't getting much news coverage in the UK in the late 80s.)


    I have children, and yes, thinking about how their lives are going to look like in the future is not fun. I suspect every parent ever has had fearful thoughts about their children's futures, but the looming civilization crisis kind of makes things a bit grim.

    I'm not sure if I'd have children now. I try not to express these thoughts to new or soon-to-be parents.

    It's hard enough that many of the dreams I was told to dream in my childhood are obsolete now (most of them would require a lot of travel and, to be frank, even more wasteful spending). Thinking that I kind of need to tell the kids at some point that most of the things they take for granted even now will not be possible in their future is probably the hardest thing ever.


    Oh wow, looks like I called it correctly - EU leaders are talking about extension to end of year, and France is requesting a "weighing point" in October where they can tell the UK to fuck off if they're being disruptive.


    I had been thinking about where I'd seen the "we're going to sabotage you if you don't get rid of us" message before, and it finally came to me. Two election cycles ago, in the europarl elections, the bavaria party (that wants Bavaria to secede from the BRD) decided to campaign heavily outside Bavaria. They ran on a message of "wouldn't you love to have less interference in your politics, and get rid of us meddling bavarians". It had enormous success - they actually got more votes from outside Bavaria than inside. I wonder whether the SNP could mount a similar campaign - "vote SNP to keep socialism out of the UK" south of the border.


    Won't the parliament have to accept a postponement? Will they? So far the House of Commons have mostly demonstrated their ability to say no to almost anything. Almost anything except for postponement, admittedly, so it could fly.

    If anyone had asked me a year or so ago I'd been surprised in how unified EU27 are in its positions. It is impressive that they will not open the WA as that is finished. This means probably that any Brexit will have to accept the WA before going forward, otherwise it is a hard Brexit that looms.

    As someone wrote (the Economist, I think), a hard Brexit only can be short lived as the UK is extremely dependent on Europe. So to extrapolate that: a hard Brexit might well be followed by something similar to the WA; the UK needs to survive (literally) and the EU could use the money and much prefers not to seize it from UK's assets in the EU.


    "they actually got more votes from outside Bavaria than inside"

    LOL! it's really perverse...


    The parliament has to accept a SI changing the exit date. This will pass with a massive majority. Government will whip for it, labour will whip for it, SNP will whip for it, LD will whip for it.


    Kilment @ 282
    Hopefully, this will enable May to claim her hand was forced ( see also your 288 ) & we have to go down this route ...
    The more time is bought, the less likely we will get anything other than a very soft brexit, or, if really lucky ... "Remain"
    However ...

    @ 292

    Charlie @ 286
    You seem to have changed your tone about The COrproatyion since a year back? Or is it that the facts have cahnged & therefore you opinion also?
    To recap, about a week or so back, the unthinkable hapened when the CBI & the TUC issued a joint statement (!) saying "brexit is a disaster - revoke!"

    Yugoslavia - maybe, but for that to succeed, you need lots of weapons in the hands of your followers - easy there, then. Here, now, not so much - where would the guns & APC's come from?


    I try not to be too self-congratulatory about not having kids, it’s too bitter a thing to be cheerful about. I also try not to judge those who do, but I have no patience with people who get all breeder-triumphalist and try to tell me it’s wrong not to.

    We had various reasons back in the day and could have, or could have adopted and didn’t. Overseas adoption sort of makes sense. Countries don’t have a carrying capacity (the planet does), so in theory this is a way to increase migration, utility or happiness or something. In practice I’m deeply suspicious of this, as itself a form of colonialism that divides families. I’d be happier to allow more or less unrestricted, unlimited migration, in that this aligns better with my values. But I’m not optimistic about anything really these days.

    Both 50ish, but I don’t think it would be any different if we were young now. There’s just no way.


    Yugoslavia - maybe, but for that to succeed, you need lots of weapons in the hands of your followers

    Absolutely not.

    First off, "decisive violence" is not delimited or constrained by equipment. "Decisive violence" just means that; it's the violence that gets the other side to give up. Burning down any place thought to harbour remainers would be highly traditional and potentially effective. (A mob is not going to be doing much in the way of long-term thinking.)

    Secondly, there's a whole little branch of history looking at where and when and how much the significant sides of the Yugoslav conflict produced weapons, because if you have a machine shop you can do that. There are still machine shops in the UK. The harder part is ammo, and the big Cold War stocks have been drawn down, but there's still plenty around, concentrated. In a real civil collapse that won't be a problem either.


    "not delimited or constrained by equipment"

    Indeed not.

    Yesterday was 15 years to the day since the Rwandan Genocide. Mostly done with machetes and clubs.


    Machetes and clubs, but also the radio.


    I'd like to refer you to this (still-scary, IMO) blog think-piece I did back in 2012, about app-mediated geolocative genocide

    The zinger is in last three paragraphs, but read the whole thing leading up to it: I think everything I predicted back then holds true today, except it's not merely a corporate data mining threat, as the Chinese government's social scoring system demonstrates.


    EU leaders are talking about many things. The French have always said they'd accept a long extension if the request came with a concrete plan for how the British would use the time -- the new part is the idea of "checkpoints" (every three months, in reports I've seen) allowing for early no-deal ejection of the UK if it behaves badly.

    And conversely, the line from everyone else seems to be hardening. There was a meeting of EU ministers about Brexit in Luxembourg this morning, and afterwards, all of them have been stressing that if May fails to present a concrete plan, she's not getting a long extension. From the Independent's story (headlined "Theresa May must produce plan within 24 hours if she wants Article 50 extension, EU ministers warn"):

    Michael Roth, German Europe minister, was among the most critical, telling reporters: “It’s groundhog day again. So far absolutely nothing has changed. A long extension has to come with very strict criteria. We don’t have a time problem, we have a decision-making problem, especially on the British side. There are clear expectations here from our side, but we will keep our hand extended.”

    That's from Germany, previously portrayed as one of the countries taking a soft line -- but here, the German EU minister's position is indistinguishable from that of his French counterpart, Amelie de Montchalin. Full article here:

    The EU side is also generally pleased that May is finally talking to Corbyn, but unless those talks yield a concrete result by tomorrow, the EU27 certainly don't sound likely to grant a long extension just in the hope that something will turn up.

    So, my personal reading of the tea leaves is somewhat more pessimistic. Everyone is saying that May will need to present a concrete plan to get a way forward, and there are no hints that she actually has one.

    But on the flip side, even the French and Spanish were talking about a short extension just to prepare the markets, and if, by some happenstance, Commons voted to approve the WA during that period, they'd take it. So, there might be room for a short extension, with provision that you might get a longer one if, say, something definitive has already passed the Commons -- either the WA itself (in which case you'd need a further extension to pass enabling legislation), or something like a referendum, promising a clear and final choice between revoke, deal (WA), or no deal at a definite date in the near future.

    In any case, a lot depends on what plan May comes to the summit with, and how she presents it. But she didn't do well the last time. And while there is, as I noted, general pleasure that she's talking to Corbyn, she's taken time off from that today to go flying around Europe -- and if she can't explain why that was more important than continuing to put together a plan in London, then the whole thing may still not work in her favor...

    So to extrapolate that: a hard Brexit might well be followed by something similar to the WA; the UK needs to survive (literally) and the EU could use the money and much prefers not to seize it from UK's assets in the EU.

    "Barnier also confirms that in case of no-deal EU would not open trade talks with UK without agreement on Irish border, citizen rights, & financial settlement" (src)


    I'm wondering if the EU can make an even better showing here. We've discussed, however briefly, that the U.K. doesn't do a good job of using all the EU can offer it, forex the possible development grants for Scotland. Someone who gets on the floor of Parliament or on the right talk shows and brings up all the ways the U.K. has screwed up being an EU members has a lot of ammunition for making the Leavers look even stupider than they are now.

    (Can we mock them the Leavellers, or does that not work in U.K. political terms?)


    In Rwanda they used machetes. Violence works if you're ruthless. Just remember that at that point you're hacking up your Leaver next-door neighbor... and they're hacking at you. These are not nice wars, they tend to have communiques like this one:

    "The North Hollywood Neighborhood Revolutionary Committee for the Advancement of European Civilization would like to report the successful execution of Libtard Ice-Cream Truck Driver Timothy Smith, who invaded this neighborhood in his Ice-Cream Delivery Vehicle, and demonstrated his contempt for Whiteness by allowing two Racially Inferior Mexican Children to stand in line in front of Superior European Children as the neighborhood's youngsters gathered around his truck to purchase frozen treats."

    'Nuf said, I think. If you're sane, take to the streets this weekend.


    Not really; The Levellers were a political movement during the English* Civil War.

    * For certain values of "English", which include other members of the later UK fighting on both sides.


    You're being rational.

    None of this has anything to do with being rational.

    Civilization requires you to give up immediate direct benefit in return for amorphous indirect benefits which are materially greater but don't feel that way.

    This can fail in three general sorts of ways.

    You can lose access to a critical resource; famine, the river dries up, you run out of people due to plague or war, blockade collapse your trading network, something. You stop having an economy of sufficient size to support the concentrations of specialists necessary to have your civilization.

    You can lose legitimacy through restricting the benefits of civilization; this where women's suffrage movements arose, or the earlier general male franchise. These are concessions to restore legitimacy after the oligarchy loses its generally perceived legitimacy. Otherwise, you risk people not going along with it because it's not doing its job and providing indirect benefit to them. (Austerity is specifically an attack on the idea of civilization through this channel.)

    You can lose legitimacy because too much of the population stops being able to recognize what civilization is; this is a cultural, social, and educational issue. It's pretty common after a prolonged period of peace because people starting thing the benefits of civilization are automatic and immutable and nothing matters but their relative status. Once they believe that, they break the machinery. (Repeated financial crises in the US fit this model nigh-perfectly.)

    In our specific case in the Anglosphere, there's been a deliberate sustained attack on the idea of civilization for a long time and it's been quite effective; the purpose is to make it impossible for the very rich to be taxed. The idea that, well, I'm rich, I'll be fine, even if civilization collapses, is supportable (if terrible), but the problem is not a quantified cost/benefit analysis. It's a chunk of the population who don't recognize their duty to the civilization around them and want primal primate status which they can express by hurting or killing anybody they don't like, this affirming their greater band status.

    That's all this is. It's not complicated, and should not be made complicated. (One of the severe problems is that a skilled politician is nuance-driven; where's the narrow path to effective compromise? They generally do wretchedly when faced with something truly simple.)


    This is beginning to apply to the U.S. as of about 24 hours ago. Trump fired the head of the Department of Homeland Security for not separating enough families and generally not being brutal-enough for his tastes. This seems to me to be predictive of something quite ugly.


    In which context, the Hansard Society reports that only 25% of the UK population are happy with the House of Oathbreakers' handling of Brexit negotiations. Even rabid Wrecksiteers agree that one!


    Any political organization arises from belief in its power, and all political power is unitary.

    The leaders of the EU27 may not agree on just what the EU is or should be, but they agree that it must get copied into the future; it must continue to exist and its power should not be reduced.

    So long as the UK was able to negotiate on a basis that recognized this kind of core political necessity, it did extraordinarily well; the EU has been willing to let the UK be all kinds of special. When the UK stops recognizing that core political necessity, the EU can either go "oh, right, we didn't mean it; ceasing to exist" or reduce the UK to a condition of obedience. (Politely. Through insurance regulation and trade conditions, nothing messy. Messy is wildly off-brand.)

    It looks, from way over here, an awful awful lot like the central UK political problem is not being able to articulate those facts, never mind deal with them.


    It's applied to the US since (at the latest) ICE started functioning as an ethnic cleansing organization.


    You're being rational.

    Sorry, I'll try harder to be a racist loon if you'd like.

    You can lose legitimacy because too much of the population stops being able to recognize what civilization is...

    Yeah. I've noticed the same thing. What we're seeing is, to large degree, a sort of spoiled complacency. I think Heinlein spoke to that very nicely towards the end of Tunnel In The Sky where the Horrible Neighbor Lady starts going on about the "terrible savage" she saw on the television...

    In our specific case in the Anglosphere, there's been a deliberate sustained attack on the idea of civilization for a long time and it's been quite effective...

    Oh yes. That would be the Murdochs (and similar.) We have the same problem in the U.S., taking advantage of the same spoiled complacency.

    When I become world dictator I will make sure that every schoolchild understands why we've decided to be civilized rather than tribal and status-based. Hopefully it will help.


    ICE was being held in check (somewhat) by the courts. In the latest 'episode,' however, Trump has started encouraging ICE agents to break the law and tell judges they can't obey judicial orders.

    This, along with firing the current head of DHS yesterday, takes it up yet another notch.


    From the same CNN article about Trump telling ICE to ignore the laws: [“After Trump left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.”](

    Trump can say whatever he wants, but as yet there are few signs that the federal government is prepared to follow illegal orders that, as indicated, would cause them to lose their immunity from civil suits for actions taken in the line of duty.


    My personal guess is that the shortest possible path to a U.S. dictatorship lies in getting ICE to become an agency full of brutal goons... my worry is not over individual ICE agents deciding to follow the law, it's due to the obvious fact that somebody else either recognizes this 'shortest path' all too well, or because they don't and they're following it anyway.

    I expect the U.S. to become much uglier and stupider due to the most recent events and my opinion on what I need to do about the U.S. government has changed greatly in the last 24 hours.


    Turning back to the example of Québec, the Quiet Revolution and aftermath saw Québec get very serious about economic growth, to the point of transforming the traditional culture of Québec. If modern Québec is now an increasingly global society, with large numbers of immigrants even in the more remote areas of the province and a thriving high-tech industry and a productivity gap with Ontario that has narrowed, it is specifically because Québec nationalists have successfully led a comprehensive overhauling of many of the basic principles of public policy and popular culture in Québec. The decline of old Anglo Montréal was more than counterbalanced by growth elsewhere.

    What do Brexit's proponents have in mind? The only suggestion for a new growth model I've heard calls for a further dependency of the UK on the financial sector, something that seems likely to make things worse.


    The example of Yugoslavia, I have long thought, is really important. How did a country that was relatively successful--nearly a high-income country, globalized, politically and culturally pluralistic--tear itself apart so badly? Yugoslavia was a modern country that fell apart in a late modern crisis. There is no reason to think it so singular as to lack relevance for other, currently more successful, countries.


    Machetes and clubs, but also the radio.

    It's a good thing the UK doesn't have an extensive system of private radios that would allow someone to coordinate a flash mob to attack a target, isn't it?


    Study of just how many nations "Yugoslavia" split into, and a realisation that at least some of those nations more or less constitute contiguous religious and/or ethnic groups seems revealing. (by "different religious groups" I mean Christians are different to Muslims, Hindus and Jews for example, not that different Christian churches that use the same structure are very different),



    I mean, yes, today, Montreal continues to be a functioning import-replacing city[0] and is doing/has done a (long-delayed) big round of infrastructure replacement (well!) but it was a near-run thing despite sound policy, a lurking (if lamentably not very public) awareness that what matters if you want to preserve language and culture is economic activity in the language, AND being embedded in a larger polity in generally economically positive ways. Taking your import-replacing city's economy and shooting it at the start (or at all!) is way more expensive than the PQ (or really, anybody) thought, and service economies are completely unrecoverable; if they move, they stay moved.

    So, yes, Quebec has pulled it off, but that was not the optimal path. (And it's surpassingly unlikely that a sovereign Quebec would have pulled it off, or that a less socialist Quebec less rigidly committed to public education would have pulled it off.)

    It's at a much larger scale, and the UK does (or at least did) have other import-replacing city economies (which Quebec didn't in the seventies and might not today), but Brexit looks a whole lot like deciding that the Quebec experience should be repeated in extra-hard mode; we're going to leave the larger trading framework, we're going to shoot the critical service economy of the import replacing city that's our economic engine in unrecoverable ways, and we're going to continue with our policies of austerity, attacks on education, and above all else making everyone foreign leave.

    This analogy is not going to convince anyone committed to Brexit to stop, but as a means of damaging the UK it's like someone had to sigh and give up on scattering cobalt-60 everywhere and go for second best.

    [0] this is a Jane Jacobs concept; an import-replacing city economy is sufficiently dense, diverse, and skilled that it grows by starting to make things it presently imports and then importing more and different things afterwards. Cities and the Wealth of Nations would be the place to start with this.

    One corollary of the observation is that if you want a robust economy, you must have at least one import-replacing city, and this has been the case throughout history. (Though the scale has shifted.) It's not optional and it can't be done without.


    It's a good thing the UK doesn't have an extensive system of private radios that would allow someone to coordinate a flash mob to attack a target, isn't it?

    But they're not peer-to-peer, the traffic all passes through a relatively few central facilities that the government can easily seize.


    Peace is a continuous active process.

    It's subject to ongoing, individual, conscious choice about what other people it applies to. The more broadly defined the "included in the peace" group is, the more work it is to maintain both the obvious economic benefits of civilization and the social norm of the included group. (It's easier to do that in a cosmopolitan city economy where the benefits are obvious and immediate, even if you think of them in terms of cuisine.)

    If that fails, you'll get fallback to smaller groups with stronger cultural support; if it really fails, you get collapse back to kin groups.

    Most of what we're seeing in the Anglosphere is simple fight between "non-whites in the peace" and white supremacy, which is a "non-whites are never in the peace" ideology. It's been a slow fight because it's been mostly cultural. White supremacy has the advantage of not needing to maintain as much breadth for the peace or the same degree of social complexity; it has the disadvantage of being economically incompetent.

    So far, it does look like the "wider peace" side can't quite figure out what the material problem is.


    What do Brexit's proponents have in mind? The only suggestion for a new growth model I've heard calls for a further dependency of the UK on the financial sector,

    A sector which has hurriedly moved its nameplates across to Frankfurt, Paris, and Dublin, moved £800Bn of investment assets out of UK jurisdiction, and is screaming its head off about the damage Brexit will cause.

    In event of a no-deal Brexit there's probably going to be a Sterling crisis, with the pound tanking as low as USD $0.80 (currently around $1.25-1.30, historically around $1.50 for a couple of decades). I can't help thinking that this is what the ERG people want—they're currency speculators on a massive scale, gambling against their own nation's currency.


    Re: UK Economy post-BrExit vote

    Just looked at some articles that say that the UK's unemployment is the lowest in decades but that wages are lagging esp. in jobs that women do, i.e. the gender wage gap is increasing in the UK. Gee thanks, Theresa! Wonder if British women voters are aware of this? FYI - the gender wage gap in the EU overall is stagnant despite some official rah-rahing for more equal pay programs.

    Ummm ... the largest job growth is 'self-employed' which could be just folks not wanting to declare themselves as unemployed. Unless there's an income amount reported for any self-described 'self-employed', I do not buy that unemployment is low. Another metric: British household income growth was a whopping 0.1% since the BrExit vote vs. 3.2% average for the EU.

    Serious question: Culturally, just how bad is it to be unemployed in the UK from a social/psychological perspective - like, is there shaming?


    Troutwaxer @ 301
    What about the rest of us, the approximately 29 million of us who voted remain or didn't vote?
    We get punished & ground into the floor - along with the stupids.

    @ 312
    THAT was exactly the way Mussolini did it, in fact ... supposedly following the law with his private goons & sections of the "offical" forces "conspiring"
    Slower than Adolf's methods (esp after July 1934) but much surer, as it salami-slices the opposition, especially ( in the US case ) Republicans who can't - soon enough - put country above party.

    [ Of course Country above Party is the exact problem the Maybot & the Cor Bin have got, the tossers ]

    Randy McD @313
    The only suggestion for a new growth model I've heard calls for a further dependency of the UK on the financial sector
    EXCEPT that area has been specifically trashed by the brexiteers in theor arrogant stupidity - why do you think The Corporation are shitting themseleves?
    See also CHarlie @ 320 - who posted while I was typing this (!)
    ONLY $080?
    I was expecting $0.50
    Incidentally, ... John Buchan's favourite International Villains were always currency/bond speculators deliberately setting up markets to crash ....


    Not sure how you're defining "barbarism", but I understand that the world population (of humans) was about 1BN (US def) around 1810 or 1820, and I wouldn't call that "barbarism".


    It's a good thing the UK doesn't have an extensive system of private radios that would allow someone to coordinate a flash mob to attack a target, isn't it?

    Cell phones don't count. They're centrally controlled, and relatively easy to sabotage. If nothing else the repeaters are quite visible.


    Please note that Standard Oil of New Jersey (aka Esso, aka Exxon) has *never* been seen as a Good Corporate Citizen... and was one of the reasons for the anti-monopoly laws in the US.


    During a severe crash one should expect the population to dip below the sustainable levels. See records of snowshoe rabbits and, I think, fox pelts from the Hudson Bay Company.

    Of course the crash of a civilization would be worse than that. The rabbits never got around to destroying the ecology that sustained them. (Australia might be a map for that, and even there it was controlled by artificially imported disease, Tularemia IIRC, and predators.)


    @20: That's like taking comfort in the fact that you're one of a few dozen Jews being gassed together in a Nazi gas chamber.


    Sorry, I adopted "Barbarian" to mean "person living outside a state." The reason for this is that for the first 300,000-odd years of the existence of modern humans, states didn't exist anywhere on the planet, so calling people who live outside states "stateless" ignores history and gives living within states a privilege that I'm not sure it deserves.

    Basically, when civilization falls apart, the survivors are going to be stateless. We can either call them that and emphasize that they've lost something, or call them some other word, like barbarian, and get on with things.

    If barbarian bugs you, here's another metaphor: humans are one of a number of species that are capable of outbreaks--huge increases in population--where conditions are suitable, and otherwise live in fairly low densities. These low densities are necessary because it takes a group of humans to reproduce successfully: single mothers in the wild can't take care of their infants and get enough food to keep mother and child alive, unlike, say, a female cat. For children to survive, there needs to be a group of humans looking after each other.

    Anyway, this is a long way of saying that humans are like the grasshoppers that, under the right circumstances, become locusts. We just call human "locust conditions" civilization. We're currently in the biggest human locust swarm of all time. Conditions are starting to become increasingly unfavorable for the continuation of our swarm, and it's likely that in a century or less, the remaining humans left will be our "grasshopper morph." I'd call the grasshopper people barbarians, but perhaps another word is more suitable.


    So there seems a chance of some more rational outcomes now. So I have held off from buying the last food and fuel for the stockpile.


    whitroth @ 325
    Was it the "Seven Sisters" ??

    guthrie @ 329
    You think so?
    I am no longer so sure


    You're not talking about tinder or grinder, are you? (The latter has already been used by homophobes for attacks.)


    That's bs. Civilization means:
    1. there's a road out there, and taxes build and maintain it.
    2. The odds on your being attacked by bandits on the way to the store are really, really slim.
    3. There's a store there with food, etc.
    4. These days, there's tv and Internet, and phones.

    That's all pretty in-your-face not nebulous.

    "Lose legitimacy"... hadn't had sufferage, much less women's sufferage, for all human history until about 100 years ago. You're going to suggest that, just pulling an example out of my hat, the British Empire had no legitimacy?

    More likely, a government loses legitimacy when it doesn't provide my short list, above - or, more broadly, peace and domestic tranquility.

    It's Murdoch and the ENTIRE right, and self-proclaimed conservatives, that are the barbarians at the gates.


    But wait, there's more! He also fired the head of the Secret Service, and Tex Alles is claiming he wasn't fired. Or should I quote the Malignanat Carcinoma, "Dumbo"?

    By the way, the Secret Service comes out of the Treasury Dept, and do more than protect the President... they also deal with wire fraud (hey, there, Mr. Nigerian Prince, where's my $25M?) and money laundering, somethings I'm sure the Orange One knows *nothing* about....


    Saying that started me wondering if that was a proof-of-concept action....


    I nearly started laughing this morning - do I understand it correctly, that it may be that May only gets a long extension if she, and Parliament, agree to a customs union at least for the rest of the period?

    I can see the Brexiteers' heads exploding as they realize the EU's making UK law....


    You need to read up on zero hours contracts. That's where pretty much all employment growth in the UK since 2008 has been, and it's really grim stuff (not obvious from the wikipedia article).

    Basically there are a lot of jobs out there that pay sub-minimum wage with no guarantee of any hours worked whatsoever. Meanwhile, the Tories have taken a chainsaw to the unemployment support systems. The system is now fine-tuned to punish the unemployed; people have been sanctioned (had benefits cut off for months at a time) for having a heart attack during a jobcentre interview.

    Note that the headline "unemployment rate" in the UK refers to the percentage of the population eligible for/claiming unemployment support, not the number of people without a job. (Same in the USA, IIRC.)


    I posted that essay before Tindr and Grindr were on my radar. (And one of my regular boozers is a gay real ale pub. I see a lot of that quietly going on in the background.)


    Beyond that? Jobs in Higher Education were once pretty much protected by contract and agreed that protection in the UK - index linked pensions and so forth? - for the politicians were fellow Middle class privileged people- we'll weren't they? - who, after all, aren't at all like the Menials of the Working Class who are doomed to work in assembly plants in factories and such like things? Not anymore they aren't. "
    Oh, and I bumped into someone after I had been offered early retirement at advantage ..someone that I worked with in my final -early retirement after my mental health collapsed under pressure of overwork for the second time in just over a decade - in my job in the local University ? Well, She said .."Such a shame that you aren't working with us anymore for ..God's but you are Needed!" Apparently the Higher Management of the University, had a cople of years ago - as a matter of policy - imported an executive whose job it was to downsize - my term - support staff. " We have people Weeping all over the place!" As well they might because they were unlikely to get a nice middle class job as a Librarian anywhere in the UK and so they were effectively unemployable at their former social status or salary.


    Although young people do seem wedded to their phones, they also use desktop computers to access social media (which has been used to coordinate flash mobs etc.)

    I'm not convinced that the government could/would shut down cell phones let alone the Internet. That might well change of the wrong sort of people were targeted, of course. (Yes, feeling cynical today.)


    You're supposing that people connect those things to a)"the government" and b)their choices to act peacefully towards their neighbours. In a lot of cases -- at least 30% of cases even in some place like the Netherlands or Norway -- they don't.

    The British Empire had continual issues with legitimacy. The British Empire in effect want away because of issues of legitimacy, but look at the Chartist movement in the mid-nineteenth or the so-called Mutiny or the focus of protest around women's suffrage.


    (Same in the USA, IIRC.)

    Unemployment figures published monthly by the US government are based on a survey of households. A person is unemployed if (a) they aren't employed, (b) they are available for work, and (c) they have applied for work within the past four weeks. There are several reasons why a person may be unemployed but not drawing unemployment insurance benefits.

    The figure used in the headlines is U3, one of multiple unemployment measures taken. Many people like to use U6 instead, which includes discouraged workers (unemployed but haven't been seeking work within the recent period), part-time workers seeking full-time employment, and underemployed workers (eg, someone working as a janitor while they seek a position that makes use of their college degrees and experience). Obviously, the U6 figure comes in much higher than the U3 figure.


    You do not win, or maintain, an Empire by being over kind to subject people ..."Vae victis (IPA: [ˈwae̯ ˈwɪktiːs]) is Latin for "woe to the vanquished", or "woe to the conquered".[1] It means that those defeated in battle are entirely at the mercy of their conquerors and should not expect—or request—leniency.[citation needed] " Its not an accident that the British Ruling Classes - mostly public school boys and the Aristocracy with support from the ( Latin) Grammar School System - fairly Worshiped the Roman Empire back in the age of the highlight of the British Empire. Nor is it an accident that the British successfully exported its social model to the US of A.


    Getting all the phones turned off breaks delivery of pretty much everything, from taxis to trucks; most people's access to emergency services; plus a big general social organization hit as people can no longer call the daycare and check on their kids.

    As a disruptive act, it'd be wildly successful. So I very much doubt you'll see that. You might see algorithmic identification of flash mobs and those phones getting switched off or bricked.


    You're going to suggest that, just pulling an example out of my hat, the British Empire had no legitimacy?

    One of my old colleagues, from India, didn't recognize it except as a conquering power. Powerful, but not legitimate.


    And of course this would be used as evidence that the Aristocracy - political Class- were conspiring to crush the working classes. Now that's going to go down well isn't it? Go down well with people who are now convinced that 'Democracy' is a mockery and that their only effective expression of political choice - the referendum - was being spat upon by the privileged and entitled classes who owe a greater allegiance to Foreigners in the EU than they do to their fellow citizens of the UK?


    Legitimate? Power defines its own legitimacy. The powerful win and the weak lose. That's politics for you. " "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun (Chinese: 枪杆子里面出政权; pinyin: Qiānggǎn zi lǐmiàn chū zhèngquán) is a phrase which was coined by Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong. The phrase was originally used by Mao during an emergency meeting of the Communist Party of China on 7 August 1927, at the beginning of the Chinese Civil War.[1] Mao employed the phrase a second time on 6 November 1938, during his concluding speech at the sixth Plenary Session of the CPC's sixth Central Committee; again, the speech was concerned with the Civil War, and now also with World War II. A portion of the 1938 speech was excerpted and included in Mao's Selected Works, with the title "Problems of War and Strategy". Finally in 1964, the central phrase was reproduced again and popularized as an early quotation in Mao's Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.[2] "


    For a few days, at most. Then the old hands bring back the schedules, and the "pick up a message at x hours". Then there were these things called signals that trains used, and the ones they could pick up as they drove by.

    You really think there were no deliveries before cell phones?


    At which point people get the message and do the flash-mob thing without their phones, or with them turned off and in faraday purses.


    The Brexit protest vote has almost nothing to do with Europe and everything to do with austerity.

    (About which people have been told it's Europe and want to believe that because that increases their insecurity less than it being the Tory party as a body.)

    There's a (conceptually) trivial political fix for that. You'd have to put May on trial for whatever "deliberately enacting policies to kill benefits claimants and the disabled" works out to in UK law, and you'd have to do your darndest to get the ERG's heads on stakes so it was really clear they'd done wrong, but most of all you'd have to raise taxes and turn off the austerity. Anybody with a parliamentary majority and half a brain could accomplish this if they wanted to do it. It would be good for the economy, too.

    (People tend to forget that "business interests" don't want good for the economy; they want guaranteed profits, which are in sober truth of fact actively BAD for the economy as whole. The Tories are the party of business interests who went to the right schools.)


    Ok, your first paragraph makes zero sense. It's pure bs. Do you think that people act peaceably towards their neighbors because of the government? And I mentioned that you could go to the store, and expect not to be robbed - do you think that everyone is not, at some level, aware of the cops?

    Oh, except, perhaps, for the people I'm assuming you hang around with (based on your writing), who have solicitors to deal with them.


    The % that used it as a protest vote, did it mostly because of austerity. A large % of brexit voters are xenophobes and racists though, thanks to their own inclinations and decades of grooming by the media.


    There are a *lot* of what, in the US, are called FRS radios, and ye olde walkie talkie (talk to folks who run cons, for example).


    No, I think "if you turned off cell phones today, deliveries would stop".

    As a general rule, as organizations shift to being organized around more capable communications tech, you get forms of organization which can't be replicated by the previous tech. For instance, in Ontario, the way many building contractors work absolutely matches the definition for a flash mob. You find out where you're going today by text message, possibly the night before and possibly in the morning. (And you find out how to drive there via some traffic routing application.) You could almost do that with a phone tree (almost), but we're postulating everyone's phones being turned off!


    I've been married too damn many times (and only one of those was RIGHT... and that was my late wife). I have more kids than I'd dreamed of when I was in my teens... but I have fewer kids than I've had wives, and no one I've been married to has had more kids (in one case, thank you, Agent Orange in 'Nam).

    And I have one (count them) grandkid, so not contributing to population growth.


    Sure! but they're not going to see things as a betrayal of the working class. They're going to see it in some sort of xenophobic thing. And a lot of the reason to cultivate the xenophobia is so they blame the wrong sources for their troubles, too.


    At this point, I'm wondering why any academic or political body concerned with climate change wastes time discussing anything less than worst-case scenario projections. We're going to use the whole carbon stack. It's only a question of how fast.


    Of course, we both know the word barbarian came from "didn't speak Greek..."

    On the other hand, when you have a very small population, the concept of "state" becomes rather iffy. What is a city-state with a population of, say, 20k? Alternatively, what would you call Mexico City, with its 20M people? Would it, by itself, not still be a state if the population dropped to a third, and Mexico fell apart?

    Then there's the issue that until a bit over a century ago, the overwhelming majority lived on farms. Now, the rural population is tiny (and most folks would starve if they had to grow all their own food).

    I was serious: the actual barbarians are the wealthy, who desperately want to own and control *everything*, so they're "safe" and "in charge". They want "the state" to mean *them* (like El Cheetoh). Civilization is to protect us from, among other things, invading and conquering armies.


    Yeah, we'll see who gets fired today... what a maroon!


    " The Brexit protest vote has almost nothing to do with Europe and everything to do with austerity." No, you are wrong on that; but it is a popular meme with the entitled middle classes who have been gaming the system for decades to advantage their children and grandchildren. The vote to exit came as a result of people who have been, and who are, at the sharp end of globalization seeing their industries vanishing overseas,and knowing that the folks north of a line drawn between Oxford and Cambridge didn't give much of a fuck about their fate but were rather more concerned about the fate of their own children and grandchildren . But the thing is? Its done. Hard done by people were given the ability to express their dissatisfaction with the Euro loving English ruling classes of London and the South.If the educated folks of the EU loving classes had had any sense at all then they would have accepted the result and waited a generation or two to re-join the ever so successful EU a few decades down the road. But, no ..and now we have what we have and this could get to be very nasty indeed.


    You wouldn't even have to have a real trial. You could have a mock trial and publicize it really, really well. (This is a pretty good strategy, IMHO.)


    Sorry, that should have been "South of a line"


    At this point the Brexiteers seem to have driven themselves into a corner. They can't find an exit compromise a majority of them will accept, they're staring at the 'hard exit' cliff, and they can't (or won't) go back and ask for a referendum on 'stay in' vs 'hard exit' because they know what the answer will be.

    And that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The initial referendum was sold in part on the pro-exit voters being convinced that the features of EU membership they like would be retained and the ones they don't like would dismantled. It's just that they all had different opinions on which part to keep and which to jettison. That contradiction is pretty much revealed now, as is the inability to muster a majority for any particular plan.

    The claims that the will of the people as expressed in the previous referendum are sacred ring pretty hollow. If there's a second referendum, the electorate will be much better educated on the topic. IMnotsoHO, that would make the result of another referendum much more worthy of respect.


    Would it be more accurate to say "Austerity, excused by blaming it on the EU" is to blame?


    " A large % of brexit voters are xenophobes and racists though, thanks to their own inclinations and decades of grooming by the media." Would you care to prove that allegation? And how do you expect that people who disagree with you, and voted to exit the EU, would respond to that allegation ? People who actually aren't 'xenophobes and racists' ? Just curious.It hadn't occurred to you that, on your description of the opposition -who voted to exit the EU - you, too, might be described as being a zenophobe and racist?


    That comes closer to the reality, but the situation that we have now is owed to a pattern of behavior by our ruling classes that existed long before Austerity was more than just a word. If, say, back in the time of New Labour, Tony Blair and Co had accompanied the chant of " Education Education and Education" with 'Money Money and Even more Money' to refurbish our manufacturing industries -and train our own citizens that were desperately needed in every field that you can think of - and our ruling political class had concentrated on the devastated wastelands of the Grim Up North rather than the ever so tempting New World of the EU and ever closer union ..and Tony as President of the United States of Europe ? ..we might not have our present situation.As it is we have what we have, and it would be ever so easy for people who have been, and continue to be scorned, to hate both the EU and the British ruling class that has been trying by hook or by crook to thwart the result of the referendum.


    Anecdotally, at least, all the ones I've spoken to have been racist as fuck. I am from Sunderland though, which may be a confounding factor.


    That depends on who you speak to doesn't it?


    You do understand that I have two categories there? Maybe they even overlap?
    Quite a few people who have regretted voting leave have been on various forms of media saying how they misunderstood the EU, or merely protest voted and didn't think the government would go through with it.
    Meanwhile there has always been an anti-EU rump, on both right and left of UK politics, but the racism and xenophobia has helped push things through. Incorrectly blaming all our problems on EU laws, EU citizens or visitors has been the staple diet of the right wing media for decades, and this has clearly radicalised a section of the populace into far nastier opinions than you might hold.

    I meant this isn't controversial, although if you want me to get precise numbers give me 30k£ and I'll commission some polls or pay a researcher to dig through them all.


    And yet the angry people who are scared the government will ignore the referendum seem to consist mostly of xenophobic racists who have meetings outside parliament and chant nasty things and threaten MP's and get arrested. Compared to maybe a million who marched peacefully against leaving the EU.

    Anyway, I'm glad you agree that the problem isn't the EU, it's our governments and ruling classes.


    Not just the EU ..though the EU and it Belief System - "Europe’s four freedoms are its very essence" - have been a governing preoccupation with the UK's government /political class to the exclusion of really serious problems that we have in the UK's industries that have not ceased to exist but have vanished away abroad.


    Oh,and " maybe a million " Well maybe ...but that figure is very questionable isn't it? And you also have to take into consideration that it took place in London, which is at the heart of Remain and that there is no knowing ow many of that crowd were qualified to vote in a UK referendum or indeed in a UK General election.


    I just reread Pratchett's Lords and Ladies. The themes tie-in nicely with what we're discussing here.


    Now you're falling for the conspiracy nonsense. Obviously we don't know how many brexiters and nutters are just foreigners pretending to be nutters in order to stir up trouble....

    Several people I know went on the march, most of them English (A couple from the north midlands or maybe south Yorkshire area), but I think one foreign academic who has lived here for a decade or three.

    As for industry, you might have noticed that Elderly Cynic reckons it was deliberately sold off; again, the EU didn't have anything to do with that. It's alway been the politicians choice, the EU didn't force them to pay attention to it. Moreover, especially with the last 9 years of Tory rule, the errors they have made have been deliberate ones chosen to hurt the poor and put more money in the pockets of owners. Maybe you should thank the EU for distracting them from doing even more such legislation.


    Off-topic: Charlie's made a number of comments about how money at national scales is a fluxion and behaves rather differently to how it behaves on a personal level.

    Is there some place I could read about this model in greater detail? I am wondering if it would make good fodder for some kind of economic board or video game.


    I wonder if any researchers have collected data on how bookmakers odds and GDP exchange rates have developed throughout all this ?

    My eye-balling spots only very weak correlation, and I'm pretty sure there is at least one good academic paper in documenting and analyzing the divergences.


    Fundamentally money at that scale is macroeconomics and there are some arguments about it :).

    One of the key points is that a government that borrows in its own currency cannot go bankrupt, although it can suffer from inflation.


    Mobile phones can be easily switched to work peer to peer. FireChat (just one example) already does this, just download the app. It's already been used to organise riot/protest action.

    From the play store description:

    "========= How does this work ? =========

    FireChat creates a mesh network using Bluetooth and peer-to-peer WiFi. FireChat transmits messages and pictures offline between devices that are located within 200 feet of one another.

    Thanks to FireChat’s innovative multi-hop and store-and-forward capabilities, FireChat users form a network that increases in size with the number of devices. It allows messages to hop from one device to the next in order to reach the recipient(s). This is why the more people use FireChat, the better and the larger the network becomes (unlike with cellular networks).

    On the mesh network, messages are transmitted seamlessly from one device to the next in order to reach the recipient(s). When an Internet connection or cellular network is available, FireChat uses them to reach remote recipients.

    Public messages are visible by anyone. Private messages are encrypted and can only be seen and read by the sender and the recipient."


    RP @ 344
    So he wanted a restoration of Suttee & Thuggee did he?

    Arnold @ 360 /362
    The people who voted most strongly against the EU were in those regionstaht were getting the most EU aid ....
    @ 372
    Bollocks on stilts

    Meanwhile Interesting


    "faraday purses"

    Around here we call them Farages.


    And of course, once you pull the SIM the phone can neither be tracked nor remote bricked. Phones are cheap enough now that you could scatter them like breadcrumbs and set up a mesh wherever you wanted.


    Turning the chess board around we should also be considering what the EU will lose when the UK exits. That is it will lose the worlds sixth largest economy, the only other nuclear power in Europe, the only member state with privileged five eyes status, the largest European financial centre, the only other member state that can still realistically fight a war by itself, the largest consumer of the rest of the EUs trade surplus in goods and for the smaller and/or economically conservative EU states a natural counterbalance to the aspirations of France, and to a lesser extent Germany, for a 'deeper union'.

    At the start of this journey there were two broad courses of action open to the EU, one was to think strategically about a new relationship and how the EU might adapt itself to accomodate such a relationship. The other was to insist that the UK either comply or get out. The EU chose, if that's the right word, the route of compliance and the reason for that is that it had no real choice, or ability, to do otherwise. Michel Barnier was never there to negotiate, he was just there to communicate the needs of the system and to press for compliance. Barnier never had any institutional or political power to negotiate a new relationship, something the UK negotiators (or the Brexiteers for that matter) did not understand.

    The trap that the EU finds itself in is that there's no hegemonic centre that can act quickly and dynamically to challenges and crises. The reason for that inertia is that the EU is in practice a complex web of internal treaties, agreements and regulations all sustained by secretive and permanent diplomacy. To keep this going requires a tremendous amount of effort by coreper and when something like Brexit comes along the institutional imperative is not to disturb this web of diplomatic agreements. If you want another example of it's inability to deal with fast paced crises look at the abysmal way the first Euro crisis of 2010 was handled.

    As time has run out the UK government has (I believe) finally come to realise that they are not 'negotiating' with another nation state, there are only two options on the table for exit either continued integration with the EU with no real rights of consultation or a hard exit. Neither will be consequence free for the EU.

    More broadly the current crisis highlights the inability of the EU (as the EU) to institutionally deal with what you might call 'outside context' problems, that is ones that require the ability to change. Another good hard shock and the whole rigid inflexible treaty construct may well disintegrate, and a hard Brexit might be just enough to deliver that shock. In a couple of years time we may be talking about the EU in the same way that we now talk about the USSR.


    Greg Tingey @ 168:.. JBS @ 162
    Ah, I thought you meant the REAL "Durham"
    ... like this

    How can it be any more real than the one in North Carolina if it doesn't have a truck eating bridge?


    David L @ 176: In the US (and this varies a bit state by state) you can sue anyone for anything. And a judge can tell you go pound sand if they think you're being very stupid for frivolous. And if you keep doing it you can yourself be sued for being a jerk. (Not the legal term but...)

    I believe the phrase you are looking for is sanctioned for Frivolous litigation.

    The other thing though, in the U.S. you are unlikely to punished for suing if you are denied some benefit that you believe you are entitled to such as "disability", unemployment compensation or workman's compensation (compensation for lost wages & medical expenses due to on the job injury). Government (Federal, State or Local) generally WILL NOT try to fuck you over for complaining as was intimated happens in the U.K.

    In the U.S. they actually have special courts for that sort of thing.


    no real rights of consultation sits very oddly with the UK continuing to use the pound and staying out of Schengen!

    I do think there's been a disconnect, but it seems to have been more on the UK side and expecting to be considered special after deciding to leave.

    It's a bit like filing for divorce and then expecting your soon-to-be-former spouse to tell you how wonderful you are. It's not something a sensible person would do.


    Troutwaxer @ 201: It's taken us around 10,000 years; that is, 500 generations of human suffering, to come up with a system of government and a society which actually works.

    ... and just to satisfy my own curiosity, where exactly might I find that society with the working system of government if I wanted to move there?


    New Zealand (not perfect, but it actually works)


    You should tell my ex...


    No, no. "Farage" is that proportion of the total content of food substances which is not absorbed by the canine digestive system.


    I was referring specifically to the exit options, i.e. one where there's some agreement that continues the UK's economic access, but not as members of the EU and therefore with no real rights of agreement or consultation, and the other is of course a hard exit.

    I do like your divorce analogy, to complete the picture though imagine that you end up living next door, have kids (but no consultation) and also have to keep paying the mortgage on the house you don't live in. :)


    The UK initiated the divorce knowing all that stuff, and for no plausible or even coherent reason.

    Having the Tory party taken over by (at best) lunatical greed-heads and (probably) by genocidal would-be autocrats isn't assignable to the EU's culpability. Having a political establishment unable to come out in favour of the anti-populist, anti-authoritarian position -- that it has to be phrased like that! -- isn't the EU's culpability, either. (You could say "collectivist, consensus" position, but not usefully in English in contact with a political question.)

    (I can recall reading that Murdoch came within six hours of going catastrophically, unrecoverably broke on cash flow early on; the timeline where he did seems likely to be better.)

    For anything complicated (you can't do it yourself, even with arbitrary amounts of time) you can have success, or you can have control; you have to pick one, both is under no circumstances an option, even in theory. That came out of British operations research back in the 1940s. OR got used a lot during Hitler's War and it seems likely that a lot of British upper-crust types encountered it during that time. It seems all too plausible that the UK's domestic politics since have been driven by a screaming need to prove the result wrong, and unfortunately for all concerned, it's not wrong. It's not even a little wrong, and trying to do insecurity management by obtaining control is fundamentally destructive.


    Yugoslavia was a simulacrum of civilisation maintained by force over a disparate collection of turbulent and hostile factions with a centuries-long history of kicking off, initially imposed mainly under the aegis of the largest and most aggressive faction who won the race to achieve sufficient cohesion to grab the reins of power in the chaos after WW1 (pretty much picking up from where they were going before their activities were instrumental in kicking off WW1 in the first place, and it looks like they're getting ready for another go at present). Its apparent stability was an artefact maintained by the police state. Neatly summed up by some old boy who had lived through all of it as "In Yugoslavia we all loved each other. We had a policeman on every corner to make sure we loved each other very much."

    In earlier centuries that role had been taken by the Ottomans, who weren't always that great at it and eventually had the place explode in their faces as their own power declined. The Soviets too recognised the difficulty and essentially took the pragmatic line of letting Tito have it his own way and do his own dirty work keeping the lid on things.

    The situation with Ireland is more similar to Israel - colonial power installs population sympathetic to its own interests thereby creating conflict with the people who live there already - neither place would be such a mess if it wasn't for the British fucking around with it in the first place, whereas the Balkans' heterogeneity is the result of all kinds of migrations having crossed that area and left bits of themselves behind to squabble between themselves on their own accounts.


    "Serious question: Culturally, just how bad is it to be unemployed in the UK from a social/psychological perspective - like, is there shaming?"

    There are TV series purporting to be "documentary" which are simply propaganda vehicles designed to paint benefit claimants as orc-like multiply-spawning fraudsters living lives of idleness while the system freely and unquestioningly hands them more money than most people get from their jobs. Words like "spongers" and "scroungers" are commonly used. People are encouraged to view government expenditure on the benefit system as the principal cause of austerity cuts and the consequences of those cuts for people's own misfortunes (and it is not mentioned that the major part of benefits expenditure is actually old age pensions). There is a big thing about "making a contribution to society" which is defined as being identically equal to paying tax, specifically income tax, VAT and other indirect taxes being ignored; this is used to demonise both benefit claimants and immigrants as worthless drains on the system. Shortage of social housing is blamed on benefit-claiming women having a succession of babies to get and keep a house (and then bringing those babies up to live by repeating the process, thereby "breeding a benefit-dependent subculture" etc.). There are direct attacks on class solidarity such as encouraging the bloke leaving his house at 2am on a shitty morning for shift work to look at the darkened windows of his unemployed neighbour peacefully sleeping and think what a cunt he is for not working. There are government snitch lines for people to ring up and report supposed "benefit fraudsters" on unfounded suspicion with no evidence whatsoever required. The unemployment statistics - which as Charlie describes are completely bent and worthless - are used to assert that there are loads of jobs available therefore unemployment is a matter of deliberate choice. It goes bloody on and on, but it's winding me up too much thinking about it to extend this post further.


    One of the things UK governments do like to use the EU for is diverting blame for controversial or unpopular measures. The EU comes up with some relatively minor requirement; the UK government instead of simply complying with it as-is inflates it into some grotesque monstrosity which suits their own ends and then blames the EU for the whole lot. Perhaps the "classic" example is in the privatisation of the railways, where all the EU actually required was a change of accounting procedure, but the Major government used "the evil EU" as an excuse for implementing a privatisation in the form of an unholy and insane mess, designed to impose their own ideology in a manner that would make it impossible for an incoming Labour government to reverse it.

    We're now seeing the same again with people asserting that EU membership would make Corbyn's rail renationalisation policy impossible, citing recent EU decision ref. such-and-such. And it doesn't really help all that much that the complete EU documents are now readily available on the internet. The assertion is false, but the "easy reading" summary documents don't give that impression, and nor does a skim-reading of the source document; to discover the falseness requires ploughing through a bloody great wad of unreadable bureaucrat-speak which is tedious as fuck and most people simply can't be arsed.

    I've found the same situation nearly every time some "the EU says..." assertion has annoyed me enough to trigger my bloodymindedness response and motivate me to check it: it can be refuted, but finding the refutation among all the porridge is a huge pain in the arse, and most people aren't going to have the perseverance even if they get as far as getting started.

    Then there are things like light bulb efficiency directives, which are necessary because of the obstinate irrationality with which people cling to shitty incandescent bulbs as the only acceptable form of lighting, but that same irrationality makes it easy to foster anti-EU sentiment over the idea; or the claim that the EU is "attacking the British cuppa", by proposing to limit kettles to 2kW, which appears credible because of other energy-saving initiatives, but as far as I can trace it is a load of bollocks made up by the Daily Mail from whole cloth and then uncritically repeated by other outlets.

    It's relatively easy for someone to stand up and point out that so much of what people believe about the EU is false. The trouble is that they are then in conflict with 40 years of propaganda that people have become used to accepting uncritically, and to change their minds requires more than just asserting that something they are used to believing is in fact bollocks; they need some compelling reason to change their belief, and assimilating the facts which provide such a reason requires considerable intellectual effort which most people are inarsable or flat out incapable of mustering.


    "the only other nuclear power in Europe"

    You mean except for France ?

    (And if you want to get picky: USA's B61's stored in various NATO countries.)


    EU has an entire department dedicated to countering the bullshit Murdoch's propaganda machine pumps out:


    On the other hand, when you have a very small population, the concept of "state" becomes rather iffy. What is a city-state with a population of, say, 20k? Alternatively, what would you call Mexico City, with its 20M people? Would it, by itself, not still be a state if the population dropped to a third, and Mexico fell apart?

    Living in Finland, which is not a huge state, it took me a while to grasp the larger states. I remember one discussion about politics and trust with an internet friend years ago. We had a very different opinion on how much to trust the government - and then we realized that I live in Finland and he lives in San Francisco. The metropolitan area of SF has comparable amount of people to Finland, so our perceptions were very different.


    And of course, once you pull the SIM the phone can neither be tracked nor remote bricked. Phones are cheap enough now that you could scatter them like breadcrumbs and set up a mesh wherever you wanted.

    Well not using cell tower signal interactions. But those are not even what how most tracking is done.

    Most Android and Apple phones want you to set up an account with them to be able to use many of a phone's features. And those services phone home. Apple's Find my iPhone and Find Friends depends on the GPS system and the data getting back to Apple into your icloud account. So if the cell signal isn't working it will use any wifi you connect to. And it also uses wifi geo location to get GPS started so that is there even if you turn off GPS.

    So the trick is to disable your Apple or Andriod/Google account without making the phone useless.


    Yep. When I first moved to Australia I used to say stupid things like "just talk to your MP" or "I'm sure they could just add a few carriages to the train"... stuff that's fine when your MP has 40,000 constituents but not so much when they're one of five levels of representatives all frantically trying to get attention in a swamp of similar representatives (and a bigger population to boot). Just working out which MP is the best one to talk to is a tricky thing...

    And the trains? So much of bigger countries/cities work on "slightly less than the minimum possible amount of infrastructure" that modifications are extremely difficult.

    Although somewhat amusingly I actually have met both my MPs, several of the senators and most of the councillors who represent me. But not, thankfully, any of the truly wingnut ones (sadly they are all nihilists... sorry "political pragmatists" - global warming might wipe out civilisation, but at least it will be done because that's the political outcome we can all live with. I mean, some of us can live through. Uh, whatever... don't forget to vote for me! No, talking to them doesn't help them become more reasonable about this)


    Yes. Your friend was dealing with "Finland" as San Francisco. He also got to deal with politics of the entire bay area from Monterey up to Sacramento. Then toss in the state of California and layer that with the US federal government.

    Around here in central NC I live in a metro area of 3 million or more people. (Depending on how you count.) Growing way fast. Much of it higher tech. Local governments are having trouble dealing with all of this. Some are just letting it happen and happen it is. Others are trying to pretend it can be accommodated and nothing has to change. Oy Vey.

    And our state and federal governments are have their nickers in a twist over things like the "right to hunt and fish"[1] and how dare you make use require proof of identity before issuing a drivers license.[2]

    [1] An amendment to the NC state constitution put on the ballot during the last election cycle to ensure a turnout of the rural vote. It passed. There will be peace in the union. [eye roll]

    [2] Real ID as applied to drivers licenses has been a federal requirement for getting through security check points for over a decade. But it keeps getting deferred. It is almost there. But the states (who issues such licenses) have been yelling about federal over reach (you can't tell us how to format and valid the licenses WE ISSUE) for the entire time.
    I have 2 other cards I can use plus my passport so it isn't a real pressing need for me. Especially as every time I stop by a DL center with the documents the line appears to be 2 hours long and I punt for another day. (JBS-yes I know about the special days coming up and plan to stop by on one of those.)


    Matt S @ 382
    All true & yet ....
    However, it looks as though "Brussels" is going to offer us a YEAR, but on terms ... which, if the,case is so will result in a huge sigh of relief.
    Meanwhile what was that about "Taking back control"? What a load of foetid dingoes kidneys.
    Macron will make trouble, play to the gallery & be difficult, but I suspect Merkel & Varadkar will slap him down.
    Note I haven't mentioned the Maybot? I wonder why that might be?

    Oh yes: If you want another example of it's inability to deal with fast paced crises look at the abysmal way the first Euro crisis of 2010 was handled.
    Never mind that - what about the abysmal handling of the break-up of Yugoslavia?

    Except a hard brexit will shatter Britain first, followed by everyone else ... EXACTLY what TrumPutin want ... not a pleasant prospect.
    Better to hang together

    JBS @ 383
    It has a superb medieval cathedral & an equally impressive railway bridge ....
    BOTH! - with famous steam locomotive, too.

    you can have success, or you can have control; you have to pick one, both is under no circumstances an option, even in theory
    Tell that to every petty tinpot control freak on the Planet, at ANY "managerial" level at all, never mind politicians....

    Pigeon @ 394
    There's even a phrase for it: Brit civil servants ... Gold-Plating EU regulations.
    Joke is: EU regulations, perhaps 2 sides of A4, French version, which they MIGHT pay attention to is half a side of A5, British version of same ... about 50 sides of A4, bound into a book.


    If the British are incoherent, it seems to be an incoherence shared by others. The very few time that the voters of Europe have been directly asked whether they were happy with the direction the Union was taking they've usually said 'No'. The Norwegians refused to join. The Danes declined Maastricht, the Irish refused the treaty of Nice and the Treaty of Lisbon, the Swedes and English declined the Euro, the French and the Dutch both declined the European Constitution. The only people who were directly asked whether they wanted to opt out of a 'deeper union', that is the English, promptly said 'no thanks'. Can one dismiss all these people as being racists, authoritarians and xenophobes?

    The response by the political elite of the EU to this has been to follow Brecht’s dictum, i.e. dissolve the people and elect a new one. Referendum are now to be avoided or if you can't avoid to be ignored (see the treaty of Lisbon as a classic example of this). And so we've arrive at a situation where the wishes of the electorate are being consistently ignored by the governing elite. That the EU itself is a fundamentally un-democratic arrangement also means there's no way any european election can actually affect EU policy, which further fuels the rise of insurgent parties whose goal is to disrupt or even overthrow the EU. Hence the inevitable rise of the UKIP and other populist/nationalist parties.

    So to pick up your point as to culpability I'd say that yes the EU, or more precisely the professional politicians who put it together, are culpable for the populist backlash. An EU policy of "If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue", as Claude Juncker put it in regard to the French referendum, is only going to have one long term result. The inability of the EU elites to change, or even to recognise that change is needed, is what will doom the EU project in the final analysis.


    "asked whether they were happy with the direction the Union was taking"

    I think a big part of this is that the union is bad at selling itself.

    The USA constitution does a good job on memory sound-bites, in particular in the bill of rights, but I have never met anybody who could remember, much less quote verbatim any sound-bites out of the EU treaties, even though the goods are manifestly there.

    Of course, the EU underselling itself is no accident, if they had been up front about the union ambitions from the start, nobody would have joined.

    In Denmark in 1972, "ever closer union" was deliberately mistranslated to tone down the federal ambitions to make people vote yes. Quote PM Krag to his "Humphrey", on receiving translation which read "ever closer union" in Danish: "You want us to loose ?!". Instead the translation used was more like "ever closer community" but weaker (danish word: "fællesskab").

    Denmark voting no on Maastrict was everything about how the politicians downplayed the actual content of that treaty, rather than be honest about it and touting the advantages it would bring. They literally said "It's just a reformulation, it doesn't change anything." despite the fact that any person who bothered to read it could see that this was the foundation being poured under USE.

    I suspect we may be coming up on the hillarious "What have EU ever done for me?" moment of realization, thanks to UK.


    I have been re-reading the storyline of Guards, Guards through to Fifth Elephant (and beyond) recently, buying the Kindle versions as I go. I still have the “complete works” in mostly paperbacks, but it’s become more convenient to read on devices. I will have to start in on the Lancre storyline one of these days I guess.

    I would think there are a couple of themes here - the psychopathic would-be ruling caste (in Lords and Ladies) and the dominance/submission status hierarchy (in Carpe Jugulum). Both are really pertinent to the world we find ourselves in, as things that (perhaps) we define ourselves against.


    That underselling is not a bug it’s a design feature!

    One of the chief architects of the EU (Monnet?) expressed the strategy as one of acting to resolve an existing conflict or contradiction in such a way that it set up the need for subsequent action to resolve a new conflict or contradiction. Each step making it more and more difficult to back your way out.

    A relationship built on deception and misdirection is not a healthy one between people, why would anyone expect that to be different between nations?


    To form a wifi mesh the devices don’t need to be phones, and many tiny devices with hackable firmware are available. For that matter, tiny software-defined radios that work with OTG cables exist which would pass both the audio and control interface on to the phone exist, too.


    I dunno - there’s something inherently appealing about having access to a court that can provide the ultimate dispute resolution with your neighbours. It’s a refeshing alternative to traditional reliance on the ability to build a stronger army.

    Perhaps the problem is this national sovereignty thing. If you abolished the nation-state layer and created a larger number of state/provincial polities with roughly similar population size, go with proportional representation at both levels (as I understand is done in the EU at the national level now) and strictly stick to equal-size electorates for the state level too, then you still get the complaints against the larger consensus, with their garlic-eating and frequent-bathing ways...


    Can't believe the word "Brextension" hasn't caught on.


    I suspect we may be coming up on the hillarious "What have EU ever done for me?" moment of realization, thanks to UK.

    "All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

    "Brought peace?"

    "SHUT UP!"


    Certainly true that you can mesh other things, better things. But phones are in every supermarket, just sitting on shelves. They're unbelievably cheap. Most people have a couple in a draw that aren't doing anything. We know they work in this application and that even China can't shut down a phone based mesh. They're not 'weapons' and you can carry them in public.


    A relationship built on deception and misdirection is not a healthy one between people, why would anyone expect that to be different between nations?

    I much doubt the nations are deceived.

    If you're trying to shift from nation-state incentives to union incentives, you're trying to get some unit of politics off a current local maximum and over to some other local maximum (something guaranteed to remove some existing nation-state relative status!), and you're trying to do it without the traditional approach. (A pile of skulls, provided by the former political elites.) This is difficult to do!

    So far, it looks like Europe is doing a pretty darn good job; no piles of skulls, no interstate warfare. Being slightly patchy and awkward is a pretty good indication that it's not being imposed; the pile of skulls version is rarely patchy.

    You're trying to apply morals (universally a mistake beyond a personal scale) and (apparently) starting from a position of conduct axioms, rather than evaluating results.

    As technology becomes more complicated, the minimum viable polity size grows; it's not clear that China is large enough for viable autarky at current tech level. The US is not. The UK is way plenty some lots not.

    The current "results" choice is pretty stark; bureaucracy, often fussy and often tangled up in not simply being able to shoot people (look at the whole "that can't possibly be extra-virgin olive oil" thing sometime) or a national government busily engaged in ethnic cleansing and whatever you call it when you murder the disabled on a scale of governments and pretty clearly not doing all it should like.


    Can one dismiss all these people as being racists, authoritarians and xenophobes?

    Big picture time:

    The EU is the end product of a succession of treaties that were kicked off circa 1948 with a single goal in mind: to make a war in Europe (specifically one between France and Germany that sucks in everybody else) unthinkable.

    Bear in mind that the racists, authoritarians, and xenophobes brought us not only two world wars but the Franco-Prussian war (which lit the fuse for WW1), the Austro-Prussian war, and a huge tide of petty squabbles in the wake of the Napoleonic wars which in turn were arguably the culmination of World War 0.1, the giant Anglo-French conflagration that kept flaring up between roughly 1758 and 1815.

    We have had other options for peace in Europe under a single regime: we could have settled for Hitler, we could have settled for Napoleon. The EU is, comparatively speaking, innocuous.

    Personally, I have this to say about a state of interminable, endless warfare: fuck that shit. And fuck the idiots who think going back to the situation that gave rise to it is a good idea.


    For those reading the Pterry back catalog, particularly relevant to the current discussions: JINGO, NIGHT WATCH and THUD (for the socio-politics), and also GOING POSTAL and MAKING MONEY (for the economics).

    (Although his genius with exposing and satirizing the stupidity of humans means that you can find something applicable in pretty much every Discworld book.)


    I think it takes an awareness of history to understand how good we've had it. Yes, it can be tedious to hear people blither on about the one true canonical definition of extra-virgin olive oil or quibble about whether a dog can be a Scottish Terrier if it's bred in Spain. (I sat through the WSFS business meeting at the Spokane Worldcon; I feel their pain.) But the alternative seems to involve blowing up Germany again, and that's been loudly established as a Bad Thing.


    Oh, no, no, the extra-virgin olive oil thing is much better!

    EU bureaucrat is out shopping; looks at price on the litre bottles of extra-virgin olive oil. EU bureaucrat goes, wait. I do things related to agricultural production, and this price seems too low. And a quick checks reveal that this isn't a loss leader of some kind, this is a brand, several brands, and the price is like that in other supermarkets.

    Much investigation follows; the short form is that you just can't possibly produce extra-virgin olive oil for below some price, call it 10 euros. By the time you've got the necessary land and the necessary trees and the necessary everything else, it just can't be done; there's a price floor. This stuff is being sold for call it eight euros a litre, under the price floor; what is it?

    Turned out it was all kinds of stuff, including reformed crank-case oil from heavy trucks that transport operators were paying to have taken away under disposal laws. Individuals responsible were complaining about excessive bureaucracy when sentenced.


    In other news, the first picture of a black hole not observed near the Parliament building was published today. Sadly, it looks like what we expected it to look like, so no new gonzo physics today.

    Mobile phones can be easily switched to work peer to peer.
    While true, and while the whole tangent is fascinating, it spun off from a mistake. The weapon in Rwanda was not radio, it was the radio - commercial radio broadcast. The mobile phone system might be more centralized than that, but not by much.
    the Irish refused the treaty of Nice and the Treaty of Lisbon [...] Referendum are now to be avoided or if you can't avoid to be ignored (see the treaty of Lisbon as a classic example of this).
    Oh, fuck off. I'm sick to my back teeth correcting this talking point. The Irish people said "no" to the Lisbon Treaty, the Irish government said "OK, why not?", picked from the bag of answers, and went back to the EU saying "our population says they want assurances on X,Y,Z", got those assurances, and held a new referendum on "The Lisbon Treaty and also the EU will not and cannot change our abortion laws, tax rates, or neutral status." Which passed. This is called negotiation; the last few years have made me aware some in the UK are unfamiliar with it.

    Ah... Hillal Oil v2, the more subtle remake without the mass paralysis.


    As I recall the writeup, there are apparently now some folks trying to track medical consequences; those responsible were way some lots unclear on the "lack of immediate symptoms does not equal safe" thing, and the idea that feeding people wee small amounts of whatever valve seats get made out of these days over some prolonged period of time might not be OK even if there was no immediate mewling and puking.

    And it wasn't just crankcase oil on the input side; it was quite a lot of stuff, grease trap contents, decayed vegetable squeezings, all manner of stuff. (Including a fair bit of really low grade olive oil.) The chemical engineering involved was apparently completely sound as chemical engineering, and might have been commercially valuable by itself in some other context. But, you know, greedheads.


    But the UK soooooo loves this idea!

    It compliments the narrative that tells us thet the EU can't be trusted, that it is sneaky and deceptive, that it is opaque and undemocratic.

    In other words, it stands well alongside all the other bullshit that those in the UK with power and influence have encouraged the press to spread and the public to swallow uncritically. After all, as others have pointed out, HMG finds it oh-so-convenient to have a bogeyman that distracts from their motives (and of course, it helps that you can't trust those weird furriners with funny accents and odd foods -- oh sorry, we've already dispensed with the idea that this mess has it's roots in xenophobia and racism. Haven't we?)

    CAUTION: Post may contain sarcasm.


    Wow, what a long-rambling crock.

    And "talk of the EU the way we talk of the USSR"... you say that as though it was a Good Thing.

    So, you're a Brexiteer, and working for which of the scum?

    I mean, the demise of the USSR was *TERRIBLE* for the 99%, and still is not good. You want Europe to go the same way? You up for another European war? Of course, *you* won't be in the front lines...
    "I hate Cho En Lai
    And I hope he dies
    But one thing you've got to see
    That someone's gotta go over there
    And that someone isn't me" - Draft Dodger Rag, Phil Ochs


    You write:
    In the U.S. they actually have special courts for that sort of thing.

    Yeah... if you can afford a lawyer, because otherwise, you are screwed. (Why, yes, I have a friend that happened to - the state of OH screwed around, and kept demanding new examinations, until time ran out, and "nope, no more workman's comp coverage, even though we ran the clock out".


    Flying Scotsman!

    I seem to have a thing for what we in the States call a Pacific. Just like the Pennsy K-4.

    For those non-rail fans, a Pacific is 4 wheels on the leading truck, 6 large driving wheels, and 2 wheels on the trailing truck. (the leading help it navigate curves, the trailing helps support the firebox).


    ROTFLMAO!!! I've sat through a WSFS business meeting, might have been there, or a couple years before.

    For those who've not been to a Worldcon, the business meeting occurs what, two? days in a row, and runs hours each day....


    Y'know, I was just thinking, what, last night? this morning? that if the Chambers of Commerce don't like Brexit, and the *real* money in London doesn't like it, meaning, I assume, it's only the idiots who want to kill the goose that lays golden eggs, as opposed to those who'll just be happy to keep taking them... they *could* probably do something about it. I assume the Tories in Parliament are as owned as the GOP in the US, by the psychotic greedy. However, the *really* wealthy could, perhaps, get their attention by gaming the system, such that, at the very least, the leading Brexiteers suddenly find their net worth headed under 1M#....


    The *real* money in London might have put crude, drooling bigots in power on the theory that they would be easy to manipulate -- only to find out that that theory is wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. German industrialists made this kind of mistake towards the end of the Weimar Republic, and long term, it worked out for them very badly...


    This is also a reply to MattS.

    People try to compare EU with USSR. As someone living in the "most loyal soviet satellite", there is pretty much no comparison possible between the two. There is still no idea how long would it take to cure the diseases in the minds of the people and government that were implanted and, well, refined and perfected.

    (there's a lot of history how corrupt the whole government was before WW2 and how normal and institutionalized that became after it)

    Honestly, EU membership is possibly one of the best things to happen to the country, and most of the people against EU here are paid by Russians (we have a whole nationalistic party who is paid by them).

    I mean, this is worse that the joke "This is the third time Germany is uniting Europe, and it seems to be successful".


    Since the subject of Durham, NC's "truck eating bridge" has come up here in the last few days, I thought y'all might be interested in a semi-related news update.

    A contractor working a block or so away, around the corner, struck a 2" natural gas pipeline, with a subsequent explosion; one killed, one firefighter in critical condition and 15 persons evacuated to hospital.

    If you want to find it on Google maps, the address is "115 N Duke St, Durham, NC 27701"

    I was over in Durham just yesterday and my business took me through that block of N. Duke St, although I didn't stop at that coffee shop then.


    Tim H. @ 221: Not just those reactionaries, you've also got the "Team GOP" types who don't really care that the party has been possessed by "Dixiecrats" and insist it's still Lincoln's party.

    As reactionary and racist as the "Dixiecrats" were, they were nowhere near as vile as today's GOP. The "Dixiecrats" responded to Nixon's Southern Strategy, and shifted the south to the GOP, but they weren't the ones who turned the GOP into a modern day fascist party. Today's GOP would consider the "Dixiecrats" RINOs.


    whitroth @ 244: Oh, you mean like the US, where... which Southern state is it, that's trying to close *all* women's health centers, because they do ABORTIONS!!!

    They only oppose abortions for "white" women. If they could figure out a way to ban abortions for "white" women while making them mandatory for Blacks & Hispanics, they'd do it in a heartbeat. Take a look at who the eugenicists sterilized without consent when they had the power.


    Read about the explosion, and thought about you. Glad you're ok.

    Btw, just a day or so ago, I realized the answer to the truck-eating bridge. First question is, how's the sewer systems/drainage there? Perhaps they could *lower* the roadway by about a foot and a half....


    The problem with Montréal's pre-1960 model of economic development is that it was fundamentally unstable, relying on the Francophone majority of the city remaining relatively low-skill and low-wage while the wealth of the city was generated in pan-Canadian business networks that French Canada was excluded from because of its status as a minority enclave in a wider Canada. (That, I would argue, is a product of sustained action by different Canadian governments; a French Canada that had not been approximately limited to the frontiers of Québec would have evolved differently.) That model would work only for so long as Francophones were content with remaining clustered towards the lower end of the spectrum and excluded from high-paying professions. Once this shifted ... The fatal weakness of this model of growth was one important factor behind the historically greater growth of Toronto, something that had been ongoing for at least a half-century before the emergence of separatism.

    Jane Jacobs actually supported of Québec separatism, on the grounds that the shock of transformation had the potential to create new and more innovative models for economic growth than what she saw the branch-plant model prevailing in Canada at that time. Was she right? She was interestingly wrong: She was wrong in assuming that it would not be possible for Québec to develop in new directions inside a suitably reformed Canadian state, but she was right in seeing the potential for nationalism to drive interesting reform.

    Would it have been nice had the old pan-Canadian networks stayed headquarters in Montréal? Sure, but for that to have happened they would have needed to be actually inclusive towards Francophones. That possibility, sadly, hadn't really occurred before the rise of Francophone activism across Canada made the soft-ball racism of the "Speak white" era politically unacceptable. As things stood, it's not necessarily clear to me that Québec Francophones in the 1970s and 1980s were impacted that directly by the decline of the old pan-Canadian networks that they had never been a part of; by and large, they were doing just fine catching up. The scenario we've got now is probably among the better ones.

    Certainly Québec would have failed if different governments hadn't implemented decent-to-good public policies. That said, Québec has been following generally the same sorts of policies since the early 1960s. Investment in education and health care has been sustained and consistent, as has been investment in public infrastructure, as has been sustained interest in promoting immigration. (The numbers of French flags I saw hanging from apartments in the Plateau, and of shops advertising transfers of remittances to West African countries in the west end, were noteworthy.) The modern generation of Québec nationalists also stand out for their willingness to undermine the traditional norms of Francophone culture: The collapse of the authority of the Church and the relatively sharp decline of patriarchy both stand out. It would be wrong to think of Québec nationalism as primarily destructive, or other-focused, in its goals or effects. The program has been concerned with domestic regeneration.

    All this brings us back to Brexit. As far as I can tell, the proponents of Brexit are not offering up any alternative visions. There is no talk of removing bottlenecks in education or health care, or of engaging in radical labour reform. As far as I can tell, the policies and their goals would have the primary goals of aggravating inequality and making things worse. I do not see the potential, as Jacobs imagined for Québec, of nationalism driving regeneration.

    (What would Jacobs say about Scotland now? Especially since her main models in _The Question of Separatism_ were Ireland and Norway, I suspect she would think that a Scottish drive for independence would be worthwhile. Scotland clearly has different political priorities and different domestic challenges from the rest of the United Kingdom, and a hard Brexit particularly would make it considerably more difficult for Scotland to achieve these goals. Independence would inspire Scotland to do something necessary and new.)


    Well, no, because they keep trying to close *everything* that can do an abortion, with the result that it's poorer, blacks, and hispanics who can't afford to travel to where they can.

    They're psychos.


    Not sure I see how either Brexit or revoking AT50 affects the probability either way of a war between France and Germany ...


    "Yugoslavia was a simulacrum of civilisation maintained by force over a disparate collection of turbulent and hostile factions with a centuries-long history of kicking off, initially imposed mainly under the aegis of the largest and most aggressive faction who won the race to achieve sufficient cohesion to grab the reins of power in the chaos after WW1"

    The only objection that I would have to using this as a description of the unification of the British Isles into a single state is that the First World War is too late. I would pick 1802, the date of the Act of Union, myself.

    Arguing that the long history of warfare between different groups in the space of Yugoslavia, including warfare within the living memory of people around in the 1980s and 1990s, meant Yugoslavia was bound to come apart is a mistake. A similarly divided Spain had seen comparable levels of bloodshed at roughly the same time and endured a dictatorship arguably more repressive than Tito's was able to transition smoothly enough to the standard model of European democracy. Yugoslavia's main problem was the fact that questions of political legitimacy and reform ended up coming about at the same time that Yugoslavia's economy was in need of systemic reform; had it not been for that unhappy coincidence, Yugoslavia could easily still be around.

    "The situation with Ireland is more similar to Israel - colonial power installs population sympathetic to its own interests thereby creating conflict with the people who live there already"

    That might work if we were writing in 1660. Three and a half centuries is a bit too late to apply the lens of the decolonization of settler colonies.


    Greg Tingey @ 277: Exxon are going full Trump/Koch

    I've been boycotting Exxon since Exxon Valdez. They were already the embodiment of corporate EVIL, so I don't see how they can get any worse.

    If Exxon is in favor of it, I oppose it on general principles.


    Mikko Parviainen @ 287: I have children, and yes, thinking about how their lives are going to look like in the future is not fun. I suspect every parent ever has had fearful thoughts about their children's futures, but the looming civilization crisis kind of makes things a bit grim.

    No children of my own, so I feel like I have to worry about the future for the benefit of all the children.


    I have clearly not used enough caveats!

    Not in favour of the ancienne status quo in Quebec! Do think, at a tactical scale, shooting your primary city's service economy turns out to be way, way more expensive than people seem to think. It might be one of those "worse than you imagine, even when you take this rule into account" things. And wanted to point out that nobody involved in advocating for Brexit seems to have the faintest whiff of awareness about this point.

    Francophone Canada is much wider than the borders of Quebec, and the British Imperial policy of chopping that up as much as possible was not a well-considered one. I suspect that less focus on the specific borders of Quebec would have helped everybody. (The easternmost Ontario counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry are desolate backwaters; they shouldn't be, but they can't connect to neighboring Montreal economically. There's a francophone belt through Northern Ontario into Manitoba who would certainly have benefitted from better political representation. It's a list.)

    I agree that things have come out about as well in the Quebec case as they could. (Some gesticulation is being suppressed at this point.) It will be interesting to see what happens as the salt water reaches Montreal.

    In the Brexit case, one might observe that not merely are absolutely none of the things which have lead to Quebec's success are in place -- no membership in a larger trading block, no consistent sound policy of investment in populace or infrastructure, no willingness to undertake social transformation away from an incumbent hierarchy -- are in place, but the policy direction which has culminated in Brexit is opposed to all of those things and has acted to destroy them.

    One could look at the whole thing and decide that the intent is necessarily reactionary.


    That might work if we were writing in 1660. Three and a half centuries is a bit too late to apply the lens of the decolonization of settler colonies.

    Depends; the local politics do seem to be defined in terms of the relationship to the colonizing power. If the UK does come apart, it's going to be necessary for Northern Ireland to answer "Ok, who are we now?" and that may not produce answers anyone presently expects.


    Understandable, but the Dixiecrats were bad enough, filibustering anti-lynching laws. Also find it annoying when I hear folks praising the late Barry Goldwater, who opened the door for that match made in Hell. BTW, would it be over the top to refer to contemporary Republicans as "The Pick Handle Party"?


    Seem to remember a fake commercial from "The National Lampoon Radio Hour" for "Axxon, at the sign of the double cross". Also remember that Niven & Pournelle dreamed up something special in "Inferno" for individuals who set aside ethics for money in life. Don't believe in Hell, but for some I make an exception.


    Greg Tingey @ 330: Was it the "Seven Sisters" ??

    The "Seven Sisters" were transnational oil companies that formed a cartel in 1951 to respond to Iran nationalizing their oil industry. Standard Oil of New Jersey was a member of the cartel which dominated oil production in the middle east until broken by the rise of OPEC.

    Standard Oil of New Jersey was Rockefeller's monopoly oil company (Standard Oil Trust).

    When the monopoly was broken up in 1911, one of the 34 "independent" companies created retained the Standard Oil of New Jersey name. Standard Oil of New Jersey changed its name to Exxon after reabsorbing many of those "independent" oil companies.

    Another of those "independent" companies was Standard Oil of New York (Socony), which eventually became Mobil and later merged with Exxon to become Exxon/Mobil very nearly recreating Rockefeller's original monopoly.


    [Northern] Irish sectarianism is a really vexing headache, but it's best understood in the context of a colonial administrative caste who steadfastly refused to assimilate into the colonized caste—not least, because of religious differences. (Ethnicity, not so much: the Ulster Scots colonists were themselves the descendants of Irish colonists who had kicked the picts out of Scotland some time previously.)

    Things kinda-sorta worked for a while, but as the wheels began to fall off, the landowners and ruling class (predominantly Protestant) came to identify as Unionist (because: power) in opposition to the independence movement. Then when independence happened—despite considerable repression—the situation deteriorated into ethnic cleansing: protestant/unionists got shoved north, where they were most numerous, while the catholic/independence parties largely held the south.

    There's nothing like being kicked out of your home because of a political cause to make you identify with that cause's enemies. It's not an accident that the former protestant ruling elite identified strongly with the British crown and harbored a huge grudge against the revolutionaries who drove them out of their home. To legitimize their status they identify as both unionist and strongly Irish—which the South made easy in the wake of the civil war (which turned the south into a clerico-quasi-fascist state for a good few decades).

    Anyway … they're all Irish, is what I'm saying: the Unionists up north are just descendants of a protestant minority (predominantly well-to-do) who got shoved out of their homes in the south during the revolution, which hardened their already-hard attitude.

    Now, an interesting development in recent decades: the catholic minority in the north is growing faster than the protestant former-majority, which is soon going to become a minority. The writing is on the wall for unionist-dominated NI, and they know it, which is why not opposing the GFA is a good deal for them, and why Sinn Fein were happy to settle for something that's second best compared to their long-term goal (reunification)—b/c reunification would be possible on the basis of a democratic vote in another generation, so why hurry?

    And, more to the point, the de-theocratization of the Republic makes it much less obnoxious to the majority of protestants up north who think that the DUP are barking lunatic fundamentalists.

    TLDR: a century ago these people held a civil war with ethnic cleansing, in the immediate wake of getting out from under the imperial hegemon. This left lifelong grudges in its wake, leading to hardening of attitudes and a low-grade conflict (the Troubles). But the generations who remember the Irish civil war are dead, even the Troubles are fading (nobody under 30 remembers it too clearly), and it's possible that they'll be ready to bury the hatchet for good—except for a lunatic fringe on either side—within the next couple of decades.


    Personally, I have this to say about a state of interminable, endless warfare

    Personally I've come to believe that the people who have never lived through a war are the most likely to put us into position for the next big one.

    My personal example is my immediate family. 3 of us born from 1954 through 1960. The 1960 guy and his decedents are the ones who are all extreme right wing. He missed the 60s and early 70s and thus Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Watergate, and Viet Nam. The other two of us have memories of that and other things like polio, cars without seat belts, and so on.


    whitroth @ 348: You really think there were no deliveries before cell phones?

    How many of those old communications systems are still available?

    One of the reasons I was wandering around in Durham, NC yesterday was because I wanted to use the Public Library to look up something in old local newspapers. That information is not on the internet. Or, if it is it's not indexed in any useful way. But if you know the general time when the information would have appeared in the newspaper, you can peruse the old microfilms to find it.

    If you can find the old microfilms.

    The microfilm archive used to be housed in the main library downtown, but that library has been torn down. The county is building a BIG new, super-modern main library on the site, but it's not open yet. I eventually went to the new City Hall where I was directed to the temporary library administration building, who in turn were able to direct me to the temporary library housing Durham County's North Carolina archive.

    The library here in Wake County used to have ALL of the major North Carolina newspapers on microfilm, but now has only the local Raleigh papers. I don't know what they did with the microfilms for the other newspapers.

    My microfilm perusing expedition was a learning experience.

    The transport mechanism for the films are the same, but now instead of viewing them under that big hood, they have a built in camera and you view them using an application on the computer. The neat thing is the application lets you invert the microfilm image so you're reading black text on a white background. It also has sharpening & contrast adjustment that makes it easier to see old half-tone images.

    And, it has capture software built in so you can save an image of a page (or any portion of the page) as a high resolution TIFF file (my OCR software can read text from TIFF files). You save the TIFF file to a server and it emails you a link good for 7 days so you can download the images to your computer at home.


    I would think that the answer to "who are we now?" is indeed obviously "Irish", but, well. I'm not, and I don't live there.

    Hereabouts, the Orange Lodges died of shame sometime in the 50s, and there's been a resurgence in the last decade or so. I don't think it's gone anywhere but haven't had the heart to check.


    Turned out it was all kinds of stuff, including reformed crank-case oil from heavy trucks that transport operators were paying to have taken away under disposal laws. Individuals responsible were complaining about excessive bureaucracy when sentenced.

    Ah yes. The relatives and people I know railing about the EPA in the US don't remember oil slicks on rivers being OK. Or how the river in Cleveland caught fire. Or how divers in lake Erie couldn't see 6" through the muck. Or how we got to extract our drinking water from the sewage dumped upriver. Or ...


    Spain had seen comparable levels of bloodshed at roughly the same time and endured a dictatorship arguably more repressive than Tito's was able to transition smoothly enough to the standard model of European democracy.

    Excuse me? In what way is Spain a "standard model of European democracy."

    They seem just a few weapons from away from splitting into at least 2 parts.


    The point I have been making is that the ancien regime, in Montréal and in Québec, was unsustainable and not easily reformable at all, based as it was on an English Canadian disdain for Francophones that was fundmentally racist and that extended into Canadian institutions. Old order Anglo Montreal was not going to bend. McGill University, for instance, was a hotbed of eugenicist thinking that many Francophones rightfully suspected as directed against them.

    There are many Franco-Ontarians, yes, but the history of Ontario with regards to its Francophone minority is at best mixed. The recent cancellation of a long-planning University of French Ontario in Toronto comes to mind as the latest evidence of neglect. (How the Acadians of the Maritimes, with half of the population of Francophone Ontario, manage to sustain two French-language universities is noteworthy.) If the position of the Francophone minority in Ontario is considerably weaker than that of the Anglophone minority in Québec, this is substantially because multiple generations of Ontarians have been fine with not doing anything about that weakness. If upwards of 85% of Francophones in Canada live within the borders of Québec, making a shift from a diasporic identity to a territorial one that much more plausible, this is similarly because successive Canadian governments thought supporting the continued existence of Francophone minorities was not in their interest. If Québec is still a Canadian province, this is because Canada ended up being just reformable enough to creak through, for now.

    Would it have been nice if Montréal had survived as a pan-Canadian hub? It depends on the scenario. Unless you're talking about very significant changes--Canada remaining Francophone-majority, say, or French Canada being about as assimilated as French Louisiana--I think that the current scenario is about as good a scenario as you could reasonably expect. Canadian Francophones were bound to mobilize in defense of their linguistic rights and their representation in power as any other First World language minority, and were in a stronger position than many; the instance of Catalonia, where despite being only a small minority of Barcelona's population and maybe not even the single largest language community in Catalonia at large, mobilized Catalan-speakers managed to institute language laws not unlike Québec's comes to mind. At least, as Jacobs hoped could be the case, Québec nationalism was used t