Yeah, yeah, yeah

Party leaders must respond to the rise of the UK Independence Party by setting out detailed plans to renegotiate the relationship with the European Union, business figures say today.

When will people sodding get it?

The relationship with the EU is not up for negotiation. The EU doesn’t wish to do so. They have us where they want us, by the short and curlies. Why should they negotiate anything?

The only way is out. And the sooner the better.

59 comments on “Yeah, yeah, yeah

  1. Not sure I agree. I actually don’t think UKIP’s recent successes will filter through at the general election, but in any event assuming they do, or that the EU hierarchy are concerned that they might. What do the EU do? Watch the UK and France and others walk away, or give some ground and regroup? If history shows us anything it’s that these guys play a long game.

  2. They can’t feasibly give enough ground to pacify the anti-EU vote. Any sufficient renegotiation would basically bust the EU down to the Common Market again, and they’ll never tolerate that.

  3. Except, Interested, it’s different guys every generation. I’m not sure, even as the resident federast, that the direction Europe should be going in isn’t the direction UKIP and the like think – I just don’t think going all the way there is a good idea. And that’s a problem for the septics. For all the crowing of this great euroseptic “victory” (actually not one even by the standards of 1984), go look at the parties in that. Where is the coherence? Which of those on the right are not fascists first and septics second (doubt UKIP will want to consort with Le Pen), on the left are they actually septics or do they actually want more of other Europeans’ money to run out of?

    How will Syriza make common cause with AfD? The first, notionally septic party thinks the problem was that the Germans didn’t give them enough money, the latter notionally septic party thinks the problem was the Germans gave Greece too much money.

    A “grand coalition” in Strasbourg could go either way, entrench or change.

  4. According to my son Labour have been saying we didn’t vote UKIP because we’re anti EU, it was just a protest vote against the Coalition’s.

    Thanks, Labour I was always wondering what my motive was.

    Unless UKIP start making the case seriously and saying what Out really looks like eg EFTA membership etc and stops focusing on immigration they will continue to make Labour’s case.

    They also need to get away from being a one man band, Farage is great but some of the slips have been because the guy looks absolutely knackered. He needs to follow through with the promise of appointing spokesmen for different policy areas and let them get on with the job if they are to seem credible at the GE.

  5. @BiG. Septics or skeptics? On reading, I thought, yes, okay the Americans are keen on the USE, but then I realised the typo.

    Watch the UK and France and others walk away, or give some ground and regroup?

    I think some would tolerate the UK walking away. We’re just not enough like them. Come of having never been conquered by Napoleon, I suppose. Or maybe it is something to do with playing cricket. Anyway … But the land of Monnet and Schuman, walking away from their great achievement?

    Nah. Couple of murders, maybe racist ones. Bits of France are sufficiently violent you wouldn’t even have to get the DGSE to stage them. Frame a couple of Le Pen’s closest bench-thugs and slobber them with Golden Dawn linked materiel. Maybe you need to up one on the ordinal number of the Republic. And Bernardette is your uncle …

  6. Brexit is the only solution. We don’t want a supranational power overriding our parliament or our democracy. The British people were sold a bill of goods by Heath as a Common Market not a stepping stone to a European Empire. And lets call a spade a spade its behavior is that of a colonial empire with a rubber stamping show parliament to give the illusion of some sort of democratic mandate to keep the prols happy.

  7. If they’ve got any sense they’ll propose a general renegotiation. Then Cameron can say he’s got the negotiation he promised.

    But they won’t.

    Look on the bright side. Clegg will be a commissioner in 2015. And with a bit of luck will have to take out Spanish citizenship in 2017.

  8. Well, anecdata, but I have a French mate who is desperate to get out of the EU and his reasons seem indistinguishable from Kippers. He votes for Le Pen but wishes he could vote for Farage.

    But that’s only a sample of one so statistically useless of course.

  9. The problem with Cameron’s much vaunted EU renegotiation is we’ve been here before with Harold Wilson in 1975. It was bullshit then and it’s bullshit now. There can be no genuine renegotiation with the EU, it’s just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

    UK PM’s have tried time and again to keep the “good bits” of the EU package and opt out of the bad bits, but this is just not going to work, especially given the fundamental differences between us and the other members.

    1975 European Community Referendum Leaflet

  10. I don’t think UKIP is a problem for the main parties here or the EU bigwigs. The system here is stacked against them getting any MPs, the odd by-election apart.

    They might win a few seats if they did a deal with the Tories, but that sounds unlikely on a personal level. And if they did a deal with the Tories, they would presumably lose some-to-most of those ex-Labour votes up north.

    So I don’t think it will come to the pass of ‘renegotiate or get out’: I think it will be business as usual.

    But the EU might throw a bone or two our way to make the business as usual more palatable to more people, and to allow whoever is our next PM to wave a piece of paper at the bottom of the aircraft steps, and thus long grass it for a while.

    @BiG ‘it’s different guys every generation’

    That’s true, but I actually find it quite creepy how the people who set the whole thing up did so knowing that it would come to form long, long after they died. But then, the left has always played a long game, as I said. It’s admirable, really.

  11. Where UKIP has power is the harm it is doing to the Tories, they may not win seats in a GE, although it is not impossible if the LibDem appeal wains yet further (the ideologies of the parties is not too important, I know dyed in the wool Labour and Tory voters who switched to LibDems because going the whole hog was too much, they had little idea what they stood for), but they may well cost the Tories seats. Since abuse of UKIP voters is not paying dividends, Cameron might have to offer them something to come back to the fold, his resignation would be nice but as a professional politician he’ll cling to power whatever the cost to his integrity.

  12. SE,

    “I think some would tolerate the UK walking away. We’re just not enough like them. Come of having never been conquered by Napoleon, I suppose.”

    I think we have more in common than many people think. One problem with Europe is that our media (and especially the BBC) project certain views of what Europeans are like, generally people like them – the liberal, metropolitan elite. The reality is that the gourmet, sexually sophisticated French love McDonalds and Benny Hill. French cinema charts are full of the same superhero and disaster movies, albeit dubbed into French. And we’ve seen this week that rather than being the good Europeans that everyone says they are, they’re voting in large numbers for the Front National.

  13. “Why should they negotiate anything? … The only way is out.”

    Puzzling. Has Tim never heard of realpolitik? The EU will have to negotiate precisely because the only alternative is something even more unacceptable to them.

  14. Independence for Hampshire! We don’t want a supracounty, colonial empire-building largely undemocratic regime overriding our county council! We were sold a pup with the single currency (pound sterling) which has its interest rate dictated by an undemocratic unelected foreigner for the convenience of London to the detriment of everywhere else. And why should we have to live under the same laws as Dorset?

  15. And we should put the border controls back up to keep those Dorestians out. And re-erect the turnpikes to make those foreigners pay to use our roads.

  16. Biggest problem is as BiG says. There’s no coherence in anything past rejecting the EU.
    It’s a big problem UKIP’s going to have. Apart from leaving the EU, there don’t seem any actual policies Ukippers themselves have in common.
    Here’s a sample of Ukipper thinking re the he Astra-Z/Pfizer t/o.
    Ukipper “It’s globalisation (bad!. It shouldn’t be allowed. We need strong regulation against monopolies & cartels. Multinationals should be accountable!”
    “Accountable to who?”
    “Democratically accountable!”
    “But they’re a multinational company. Accountable to which electorate?”
    “Accountable to all electorates.We need to combine to fight them!”
    “So you’re in favour of the EU, then?”
    “No! I’m in favour of free international trade.”

  17. “…I actually find it quite creepy how the people who set the whole thing up did so knowing that it would come to form long, long after they died. But then, the left has always played a long game, as I said. It’s admirable, really.”

    “I admire [the alien’s] purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.”

    Ash – Alien

  18. >Puzzling. Has Tim never heard of realpolitik? The EU will have to negotiate precisely because the only alternative is something even more unacceptable to them.

    Oh for God’s sake. The EU won’t negotiate. They never give up powers, that’s one of their fundamentals. And there is no need for them to do so — they know, which you don’t, that the UK has no ‘alternative’. As long as Labour, the Cons and LibDems are in power, there is no serious prospect of the UK leaving. Cameron doesn’t want us to leave. There is no serious prospect of a referendum (even if one is held, which is doubtful) being won by the Outers, because the establishment would throw all its powers at the ‘In’ case to frighten the puiblic into staying. UKIP haven’t the slightest idea of how to prepare a serious case that would convince the majority that we should leave.

    The EU is no more rocked by these votes than they were rocked by any other of their supposed crises. It’s just another opportunity for them to plough on with what they’re doing. You don’t know much about politics or the EU if you don’t see how the EU turns these ‘beneficial crises’ to their advantage.

  19. Britain is run by unelected cronies of former prime ministers, faceless Whitehall bureaucrats, and we can’t even elect the figurehead. The PM got his job because his party got votes of 25% of the electorate. The pound is imposed on regions it isn’t suited for with an interest rate set by an unelected foreigner who we can’t vote for or fire.

    Laws and regulations are enacted and enforced by anonymous agencies and committees without parliamentary scrutiny.

    And |apparently| it’s the EU that’s the cause of all the bad.

  20. BiG

    Not sure how much was tongue in cheek (!) but:

    Sure, the UK has lots of problems, but at least there is a sense that Parliament is accountable to “the people”? The UK has some democratic process – we can evict our MPs if we really want to. The people of the EU cannot, partially as it is the European Commission which exercises real power, rather than the Parliament.

    In addition, at least there is a UK demos, there is no European demos. I’m not sure Hampshire has seriously argued for what you propose (Cornwall might half heartedly have done!). On the other hand, Scotland most certainly has, and in September they will democratically get to choose.

    We also have a common fiscal / tax system that deals with the issues relating to a common currency (£). For example, taxes collected in London are automatically distributed as benefits say to Liverpool, or vice versa through natural equilibrium were fortunes to change. The euro has no such naturally stabilising transfer mechanisms and which is partly why it is such a disaster.

    We have “reasonably” common living standards for our region of free movement of people that has comprised the UK and Ireland (and even western Europe at an earlier stage of this process). The current EU, with its continued expansion to the east, does not, hence the substantial downward pressure on wages for the poorest in this country over the last decade or more.

  21. That the EU is a problem is not a claim that the EU is the only problem. That’s a bit straw-manny.

  22. I am amazed at this “euro disaster” people seem to continue to believe in, particularly when I compare the value of the euro and pound pre and post financial crisis. It’s blatantly obvious who came off worse. It’s as incomprehensible to me as the oft-quoted notion that Merkel somehow imposed austerity on Greece, or the wild belief that 25%+ unemployment isn’t periodically normal for Spain, euro or not. Greece imposed austerity on itself by borrowing more than it could repay. As if then bailing out of the euro (which they had the opportunity to do) and printing their own currency again would have solved that (or as if not going into the euro in the first place would have meant they never racked up those debts in the first place).

    Also, you can evict your MEPs, and you can evict those who decide on the make-up of the commission (your MPs).

  23. @IanB, but given that the EU and UK have practically identical problems in terms of governance it is inconsistent to want to abolish one and not the other.

  24. “That the EU is a problem is not a claim that the EU is the only problem. That’s a bit straw-manny.”
    But past the EU being a problem, there’s little agreement what the problems are. There’s not even much agreement how the EU’s a problem. Like in the illustration I gave above. The problem being both too much regulation & too little, simultaneously.
    It’s the problem with a movement ‘s got almost no philosophical base. At least the left, at heart, have some idea of the things they believe in. The only agreement I can see in the anti-EU movement is what they’re against. And that extends little further than two letters. EU. Because most want to retain much of the EU junk.

  25. I give you another vociferous Ukipper. Who’s in favour of tighter UK borders but, when it comes to his second home, he’s no interest in learning the language & little in understanding how the country’s admin or laws work. It’s all “furreign & wrong” All I see is Brit, middle-class, sense of entitlement written in large capital letters. Read UKIP.

  26. @BiS

    “The only agreement I can see in the anti-EU movement is what they’re against.”

    How about “for” self determination / sovereignty?

  27. BiG- one thing at a time.

    BiS- the “problem” is not really anything to do with outcomes or policies. It’s a very basic human thing about sovereignty and what collective you belong to. If you don’t get that- and perhaps you don’t care much about it, being (so far as I can tell) an ex-pat (from your moniker)- then objection to the EU probably won’t make much sense. The “philosophy” is a matter of identity.

  28. @Roue le Jour “I admire [the alien’s] purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.” Ash – Alien

    “I say we take off and nuke the whole site [mainland Europe] from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure.” Ripley – Aliens

  29. @ Ian
    I’m entirely simpatico with the “identity” thing. It’s a great rallying cry. (Not saying I particularly want to be identified with the ever growing Brit tosser community – either inside or outside the UK. All the self reliance of an institutionalised hamster).
    But past that, for a party to win elections, there’s got to be some sort of framework of common ideals. I’d like to hope it was some form of libertarianism but I see little sign of it. What I see is the same affections for the big state, Just as long as it isn’t flying the Star Spangled Anus flag. Like my Ukipper above. Still wants to be painlessly Britaboad in the villa in the sun. Still wants those .hardworking, cheap Poles he employs in the UK. How do you reconcile him with an unemployed bloke off an estate, reckons he’s seen his job go to immigrant labour.or foreign competition?

  30. @Tredwell

    ‘And there is no need for them to do so — they know, which you don’t, that the UK has no ‘alternative’… The EU is no more rocked by these votes than they were rocked by any other of their supposed crises.’

    While agreeing with you, as above, I would add that history is an even longer game than that being played by the EUphiles. At some point, it will break apart, like the Roman Empire, the British Empire, the USSR and everything else. The only question for our purposes is will it be in our lifetimes. That I doubt.

  31. BiG,

    > the oft-quoted notion that Merkel somehow imposed austerity on Greece … As if then bailing out of the euro (which they had the opportunity to do)

    So you don’t remember the bit where Merkel stated that countries leaving the Eurozone could lead to war, then? Seemed insane to me at the time, I have to say, but yes, it did happen.

    > Also, you can evict your MEPs …

    Why? They have no legislative power.

    > … and you can evict those who decide on the make-up of the commission (your MPs).

    Oh, please. In a real democracy, we have wonderful moments where we get to watch Chris Patten or Peter Robinson unceromoniously chucked out. Please do explain how that can possibly happen to a Commissioner.

    bis,

    > It’s the problem with a movement ‘s got almost no philosophical base. At least the left, at heart, have some idea of the things they believe in. The only agreement I can see in the anti-EU movement is what they’re against.

    But that’s all they need — indeed, it is their philosophical base. The SNP have no real policy beyond independence for Scotland, but that’s the policy that matters. It doesn’t matter that the rest of their policies change with the wind and sometimes make no sense. Voting SNP has got the Scots first devolution and now a referendum and probably, shortly, independence. I know lots of Scots whose attitude is “I’m going to vote Yes, and, once we win, the SNP’s job is done and they can fuck off.” Discussion of their other policies misses the point. First decide what your country is; then elect someone to run it. Not the other way around.

    It is no coincidence that months of Yes campaigning by the SNP has led to to UKIP’s first ever Scottish win. The SNP may (utterly inconsistently) be pro-EU, but plenty of their electorate have enough common sense to listen to what they’re being told about remote unaccountable elites who never put Scotland first and think “Oo, good point.”

  32. PF said: “In addition, at least there is a UK demos, there is no European demos.”

    The latter is what the EU wants. There is a head of steam building up in the member states and in Brussels that the Lisbon treaty needs re-writing and the EU needs re-casting so that there is some kind of direct accountability to the public and to make the EU institutions work better. The trading of authorities between member states and Brussels hasn’t really got going yet but the opening shot was probably the Treaty of Bozar.

    By 2017 proper treaty negotiations might on the horizon and my gut feeling is Dave will want us to vote to on the EU as it is now in order to later insist that we voted to stay in so don’t need to have a referendum on the next treaty.

  33. @BiG

    ‘@IanB, but given that the EU and UK have practically identical problems in terms of governance it is inconsistent to want to abolish one and not the other.’

    I can’t speak for IanB but I’ve got more in common with a Geordie than I have a German. Same language, same history, same cultural experiences etc etc.

    Doesn’t mean I hate the Germans, or even prefer Geordies, but I just do have some filial link to the latter that I don’t have for the former.

    I am happy to accept government by Geordies, but not by Germans. Human nature, however irrational.

    And there’s such a thing as, we are where we are. I would have preferred the English to retain their French lands: I love France, and the French. But we didn’t, so I’m not French, and that’s that. The UK is what it is (until and unless the Scots and Welsh leave, in which case I’m back to being English, which would be fine by me, though I’m not obsessed by the idea).

    Within that, yep, I’d actually prefer a more devolved government in the UK, even to include as I’ve said before different laws in different cities if people so wish.

    People in Liverpool can punish burglary by death and people in Leeds can legalise drugs, and let’s see who wins out. Competition in all things, even laws.

    But as a first step, I don’t want the EC telling me anything about how to live my life. Sure I can kick out the MPs, but that’s like saying I can sack my MP’s election agent. Not all that helpful.

  34. If it’s a good idea to let the Germans (especially), French and Dutch run most of our railways, on the grounds that they’re good at it, why is it such a bad idea to let them run part of our government? Is it the view of this blog that the UK government is outstandingly competent?

  35. No.

    ” Is it the view of this blog that the UK government is outstandingly competent?”

    It is the view of this blog that all politicians are irredeemably dim and incompetent. But by being governed in a smaller unit we at least have the opportunity to punch some sense into the stupid bastards. Or hang them when appropriate. This is easier than nuking Brussels.

  36. >While agreeing with you, as above, I would add that history is an even longer game than that being played by the EUphiles. At some point, it will break apart, like the Roman Empire, the British Empire, the USSR and everything else. The only question for our purposes is will it be in our lifetimes. That I doubt.

    Interested, I agree with all that. I had hope that it would break up by 2020-25, but I’m not so sure of that now.

  37. “So you don’t remember the bit where Merkel stated that countries leaving the Eurozone could lead to war, then? ”

    A politician spouting bollocks (surprise surprise) isn’t the same as a politician imposing austerity on another country’s government.

    “Please do explain how that can possibly happen to a Commissioner.”

    I’ll do that when you explain how it can possibly happen to a peer of the realm.

  38. @Tredwell, of course nothing is for ever but that isn’t a good enough excuse to never do anything. The only question we can hope to give a sensible individual answer to is whether, on balance, as a package deal, we think it’s a good thing for now and the future or not. Individually (or even nationally) we really have no hope of getting exactly what we want – so do we take the bits we don’t like with the bits we do, or do those bad bits mean the whole lot is worse than nothing? Are we eating a teaspoon of dogshit for a billion pounds or a kilo of dogshit for one pound?

  39. Well, I’m always saying I’m a subjectivist, and as such values are personal. Either you have what INterested describes as a “filial feeling” or you don’t, and if you don’t it can’t be arrived at by logic as such, any more than a preference for brunettes or blondes.

    I do feel I have some filial feeling. This in a sense is my Libertarianism; I feel like an Englishman “ethnically” and British nationally, and I am interested in attaining a more libertarian Britain in that regard. I don’t feel part of a European people or demos, and that is that.

    Me and my French mate on the internets were being a bit celebratory yesterday over respectively Farage and Le Pen. France is his thing, Britain is mine. We are friends but do not wish to share a demos. I don’t think there is actually anything wrong with that, and I think OTOH there are similar argumens against current transnationalist constructs like the EU.

  40. PaulB-

    It’s not about competence. The difference between running a government and running a railway is that the former makes laws that apply to every soul in the land, whereas the latter doesn’t.

  41. @PaulB

    “If it’s a good idea to let the British run most of our railways, on the grounds that they’re good at it, why is it such a bad idea to let them run part of our government? Is it the view of this blog that the East India Company/Mughal Empire/princely states were/are outstandingly competent?”

    – MK Gandhi (attrib)

    (I thought you lot were against foreign rule, no matter the competency? Is that only if it’s white folks ruling black, yellow and brown folks?)

  42. BiG,

    > A politician spouting bollocks (surprise surprise) isn’t the same as a politician imposing austerity on another country’s government.

    So you won’t even consider that something the leader of one country says might influence what the leader of another country does. And yes, it was bollocks, but it was also, quite unequivocally, A THREAT OF EUROPEAN WAR BY THE GERMAN CHANCELLOR. But your position is that it was merely bollocks and therefore no-one in Europe felt pushed into anything by the Germans. Right.

    > I’ll do that when you explain how it can possibly happen to a peer of the realm.

    And do peers of the realm write and impose our laws? Oh, no, they don’t.

    EU membership is one of those interesting areas where its proponents have done far more than its opponents to turn me against it.

  43. Interested,

    > I thought you lot were against foreign rule, no matter the competency? Is that only if it’s white folks ruling black, yellow and brown folks?

    That reminds me of the SNP (again).

    We simply believe that the people of Scotland would be better served by a government of Scotland, linked culturally and geographically to Scotland, who will put the needs of the communities from which they come first — rather than a remote elite with too little democratic link to our country and with other priorities that trump our needs … sorry, what’s that you say? Oh, Brussels? Sorry, I thought you were talking about Westminster. OK, nae problem, then. Governed by laws passed by unelected Italians, Germans, French, and Spaniards based in Belgium? Aye, bring it on.

  44. A few years from now, people will be using that as an “official” Gandhi quote on the internet 🙂

  45. BIS,

    “It’s a big problem UKIP’s going to have. Apart from leaving the EU, there don’t seem any actual policies Ukippers themselves have in common.”

    You could say the same thing about any other party. Frank Field’s views are very different to Diane Abbott’s. Philip Davies has some rather different policies to the bansturbating Sarah Woollaston.

  46. Mr Stigler is of course correct. It’s the other parties losing their philosophical bases that’s bringing them low. A Labour Party can’t decide whether it’s socialist or not. Conservatives who prefer to be progressive & a Liberal Democratic Party that’s thoroughly illiberal & undemocratic. But at least they have some principles to fail to live up to. And no, UKIP can’t do an SNP. A Scottish national identity would exist irrespective of the SNP so it’s there to be highjacked. It’s England UKIP needs to mobilse & english is the nationality dare not speak its name.
    UKIP’s done marvelously in the locals. But now you have over 200 UKIP councillors out in the wild. Who should all be talking roughly the same talk if the party is going to win any credibility as a serious contender for government. Create a UKIP flavour. If you ask a Ukipper a question on a random topic, you should have a rough idea what the response will be. Otherwise you’ve a gaggle of independents who share a dislike of Brussels. There’s no voice to be heard.
    Maybe they’ll find one. But I’m not optimistic.

  47. >@Tredwell, of course nothing is for ever but that isn’t a good enough excuse to never do anything.

    I never said we should never do anything. But believing that the latest voting will shock the EU into renegotation is just wilful blindness.

  48. “Where is the coherence?”

    The same attitude voiced on the news channels today, how the various euro-skeptic parties will “work together”.

    The whole point is they don’t want to work together.

    The idea is for independence, not working in a superstate.

    The only thing the euro-skeptic parties can do is do nothing, don’t cooperate, don’t get anything done.

    Don’t bet on the the unelected eurocrats to do anything about it.

    But the fact that Farage and company are there is going to be a big elephant that eventually cannot be ignored, and if there is ever a parliamentarian that grows a set of balls then they’ll know what they need to do.

  49. Interested is quite right, I would have no objection on principle to a common government for India and Britain, to be elected according to the wishes of the majority. But, looking at the map, it would seem not to be a great idea in practice.

  50. PaulB -“I would have no objection on principle to a common government for India and Britain, to be elected according to the wishes of the majority. But, looking at the map, it would seem not to be a great idea in practice.”

    It is hard to tell whether someone who can say this is stupid or just evil.

    India’s Muslims knew the INC well. They thought, on the whole, they were better off out. You think they were foolish?

    I will be generous and go with stupid. After all, Britain’s post-1945 economic performance has been so poor, it is plausible that the massive cost of Indian corruption and utter incompetence would have made little difference. Not likely, but I can see how someone could believe it.

  51. French cinema charts are full of the same superhero and disaster movies, albeit dubbed into French.

    And then not always: most cinemas also show the films with the VO label, Version Originale, with French subtitles. The French seem quite happy to go to either.

  52. A little vitriolic, SMFS, we’re just talking here.

    Anyway, my tuppence, leave the EU and reboot the commonwealth. A common legal system, (ours) language, (ours) Head of State, (ours again). At least you can talk to the f*ckers and they aren’t all “former” communists.

    @Brave Fart
    Well played, sir.

  53. @Squander Two,

    If you genuinely believe that Merkel threatened to wage war on anybody you are seriously deluded. If not, you’re just full of shit.

  54. I was listening to various apparatchiks on the radio on the way to the airport this morning. It all seems to be “the peasants are revolting – more of the same, then”.

    As has been previously noted, if they actually think a vote is important, we will be required to continue voting until we get it right. Clearly, then, the actual powers in the EU don’t see this Parliament vote as of any real importance.

  55. @PaulB we know you wouldn’t – your sort want a world government, and if a hundred million die to achieve it that’s a detail.

    Asking the people is fine – but ask the people who live here, not people who live elsewhere. That’s sort of the whole point.

  56. BiG,

    > If you genuinely believe that Merkel threatened to wage war on anybody you are seriously deluded. If not, you’re just full of shit.

    But that is not in fact what I said. What I said was that Merkel raised the threat of war — not that she threatened to send Germany to war against anyone, but that she claimed that countries leaving the Eurozone would lead to European war. Which she did:

    “Nobody should take for granted another 50 years of peace and prosperity in Europe. They are not for granted. That’s why I say: If the euro fails, Europe fails.”

    This was reported throughout Europe as being a clear reference to war, and at no point did Merkel give a hasty press conference to say “No, no, that’s not what I meant at all.”

    And, obviously, no matter how she may have meant it, it was not lost on anyone in Europe that this was coming from the German Chancellor.

    This strikes me as plenty to refute your position that Germany exerted no pressure whatsoever on Greece to stay in the Euro.

    As for your position that Greece’s austerity measures are simply a result of borrowing and either leaving the Euro or not having joined it in the first place wouldn’t have made any difference, you are forgetting that most countries’ exchange rates operate as a pressure valve for precisely these sorts of problems. The reason the prospect of Greek default came up was that they have no exchange rate.

  57. Yawn. In the absence of devaluation as pressure-valve you have to default. Why does this matter?

    Default only: “Here Mr. Creditor – here are half the number of euros we owe you. Now fuck off”.

    Default and exit: “Here Mr. Creditor, here are the number of euros we owe you, only they are now called New Drachmas and worth half a euro each. Now fuck off”.

    Never had euro: “Here Mr. Creditor, here are the number of Drachmas we owe you. Only they are worth half what they were when you lent them to us. Now fuck off.”

    All have exactly the same effect on the country’s creditworthiness.

  58. @ BiG

    “Never had euro”: In terms of return profile, those Drachma loans were paying a much higher interest rate, usually calculated to discount the anticipated devaluing effect. Not the same as the first two.

    And re “creditworthiness” itself, just no! “Default” is not the same!

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