The Kebab & Calculator

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    Craig @craig

    At the request of @pedant, the next stop on our pub crawl is ‘The Kebab & Calculator’, a pub frequented by the characters in “The Young Ones”, a very zany British comedy from the early Eighties. It seemed appropriate as a drunken, late-night kebab was a feature of Thirteen’s first episode – “Eat my salad, Halloween!”

    This is somewhere for real life, non-Doctor chat including news, politics, sport etc. Basically a place of a more adult nature. Those who don’t want that, please avoid.

    The drunken ramblings from the last pub can be found here:

    The Maldovarium

    The Young Ones


    *Runs around waving shirt in the air*


    So, somewhat to my surprise, I made another video – in which biscuits are considered at some length, ( @mudlark, @arbutus @swordhale ) Morrissey and mushrooms are exposed for what they truly are and I get a bit sleep deprived. It goes a bit off-piste.


    lisa @lisa


    I take your point about the EU court and I’ll raise you a unelected by anyone in the UK EU commission.

    In California we send back tons of tax money to the feds for payoffs and pensions

    and subsidizing red states.  In the UK you get to do the same thing for Brussels.

    But! we have our own locally elected and not appointed legislators shaping the future.

    So we get to run our own state!  We even get to make our own trade treaties.

    The best part is we elect our own Governor.  That’s real democracy.  He’s the one

    that makes all our big local California decisions.  NOT the President.  Almost like a sovereign country.

    Decentralization.  Representation.

    Have you been following the big Kerfuffle between Italy and Brussels?

    We will miss Jerry Brown.  There’s a reason why he was Governor for 16 years !



    The Commission is made up of representatives appointed by the democratically elected governments of each member state. What you have said is the equivalent of “Hillary Clinton should never have been Secretary of State because nobody elected her”.

    The elected body of the EU is the European Parliament.

    The EU is a rules based membership organisation. One of the rules of membership is that budgets are sustainable and don’t put the finance of the continent at risk.

    Italy willingly signed up to that rule, tried to ignore that rule, and failed.

    The best part is we elect our own Governor.

    And we elect our own Prime Minister (as does every other member state). And their own Parliaments who are free to implement, or not, EU law (such as the UK not implementing EU migration law).

    So what’s your point? Oh, that’s right – there isn’t one that is in any way based of fact.

    You really should at least try researching things before you post.


    lisa @lisa


    Secretary of State is FEDERAL  advice and consent job to the President. What’s your point?

    So the people of the UK participated in electing commission civil servants.  NOPE

    Rules based? When some one tells me rules based I wonder  benefitting who?

    Italy is in recession.  You don’t do austerity rules under those conditions.   But Brussels doesn’t care

    as long as their  paychecks aren’t at risk.

    Actually you don’t elect your own Prime Minister .  They get appointed by the party that wins.

    Use some common sense and stop bugging me with your nonsense before you really embarrass yourself.

    You can not like my views but guess what- I don’t care.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Many thanks for the update. It looks as if you are coping extremely well so far, and all power to you. If you have a sweet tooth and biscuits are your default snack I can understand how hard it is to adjust, and our prolonged rabbiting on the subject elsewhere cannot have helped, so apologies on that score.

    Disturbance of sleep patterns is a bugger to deal with and I can  empathise. One way and another it seems to be an increasingly common problem.  As regards getting to sleep, I have found that working on the computer last thing at night is not a good idea, and reading something undemanding for 20 – 30 mins in bed sometimes works. Staying asleep is a different problem. In consequence of having drawn the short straw in the genetic lottery and inheriting two copies of an unhelpful recessive gene I am supposed to maintain  a high fluid intake including, ideally, around 1 litre before retiring. And I don’t thing I need to spell out the implications of that. All I can say is that, up to a point, one does adjust.

    Thank you for dealing so (relatively) patiently with ignorant comments on the EU. I was tempted to respond, but when someone so patently ill informed on the structure and workings of the EU presumes to accuse people who live here, are politically engaged, likely to be adversely affected by the consequences of Brexit and far more knowledgeable in all aspects of the matters in question of being ‘low information’, my response is well beyond the bounds of civil discourse. 😡


    lisa @lisa


    The problem with the remainers has always been and continues to be their own version of

    what they believe the facts to be.    So when you say ill informed I say  LOL !!!!!!!

    “Oh! She’s so incorrect!”

    Nice try  but arrogance and no facts to back up your perspective well ,

    thought you  had stronger skills coping with disagreements.

    You both obviously have vested interests in the EU.  Its transparent.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @lisa we don’t elect our own civil servants.

    When it comes to austerity, I’m much more concerned by the actions of the IMF than the EU…

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I found my sleep improved hugely when I used the parental access controls to set a timer on my OWN tablet and computer. Now, if only I could set a timer on my bladder…

    There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion about Brexit (however you voted or would have voted if you’d been living here) – but the entire UK has an opinion about Brexit. Really. We had an intensive debate about Brexit. We voted on Brexit. We continued having an intensive debate about Brexit. We had an election which was mainly about Brexit. Then we continued having an intensive debate … and now some people want yet another vote … and maybe another election … followed by more intensive debates, and …

    So be aware that if you want to talk about Brexit, it’s very quickly going to get angsty. 😈

    I’m kind of hoping that Chibbers avoids mentioning the B-word during this series, because – whatever opinion you express about Brexit – someone will disagree with it. Which is what tends to happen when there’s a 52/48 split over a major constitutional question.

    lisa @lisa


    Agreed! I can see the exhaustion over the Brexit and I think it would be hugely unfortunate

    for CC to bring up the topic now.  Best stick to the historical politics.



    I take your point about the IMF — so much global toxic debt!  Plus we are starting to raise

    interest rates and that does not bode well for defaults.  Too many countries are at serious risk.

    My point was about how the commissions civil servants get their jobs.

    I’m referring to the direct accountability aspect.

    You have a European union made up of countries that mostly don’t trust each other.




    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @lisa ‘You have a European union made up of countries that mostly don’t trust each other.’ well, yes, that’s rather the point. You realise how unusual it is for us, historically, not to be at war with France? One of the factors for the First World War was a network of alliances between European countries. Historically, attempts to maintain friendly relations hinged on marriages between royal houses (which didn’t really work, and has completely broken down now for obvious reasons) a political union did and does make sense. European countries have considerably more autonomy and sovereignty than USA states, it’s mostly a matter of how they chose to use it (for example, UK and EU migration law, which is ironic since migration was one of the battle cries of the pro leave group.)

    There are real problems with the EU. I just think that leaving it, and giving up our veto and our voice in the European Parliament is a crazy response to these problems.

    Re: Toxic debt, have you read David Graeber’s ‘Debt, the first 5,000 years’? It’s a fantastic anarchist anthropologist analysis of the history of debt.

    syzygy @thane16


    nice try but arrogance and no facts….stop bugging me with your nonsense….stronger coping skills with disagreements. That’s quite a bit of rough,  Lisa….So:

    I know this be Pub, but are you drunk already?   🙂

    I think you’re right, maybe Brexit is not the best discussion point with people who are invested in it & have children or nieces & nephews affected. They live there, after all. But I know you’re a good egg: as I said b4 you work for the Dems & that aint easy.

    Puro and Thane. I’m sort of typing for Mum: she’s on a pass-out. LOL.


    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by  syzygy. Reason: loads of random code appears


    You both obviously have vested interests in the EU.

    *points at lisa



    First: that it classic paranoid conspiracy thinking.

    Second: at least try to grasp the concept of tiers.

    there is ignorance, and there is the kind of wilful ignorance that you exhibit.

    thought you  had stronger skills coping with disagreements.


    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @lisa @pedant @miapatrick and everyone else

    I hope you don’t mind me chucking in my tuppence. I don’t pretend to be massively well-informed compared with others on this forum, and am happy to be schooled (preferably kindly.)

    Regarding the question of the Commission vs Parliament and democratic accountability.

    This article is from a few years back. I found it really interesting. I think “follow the money” is a good rule of thumb.

    Pre-2015, lobbyists were clearly focussing their resources and efforts on the Commission rather than Parliament. So regardless of how the institutions are supposed to work in theory, there’s a strong sense that the Commission, until fairly recently, was where the most power and influence lay. This lends some weight (historically at least) to the “bunch of unelected bureaucrats” argument. I certainly don’t think all those PR professionals were ill-informed or ignorant.

    However, the article also makes it clear that successive treaty changes have addressed this imbalance, shifting the “centre of gravity” to Parliament – to such an extent that corporate lobbyists have moved their offices and their schmooze money. This would indicate that nowadays the power lies largely with democratically elected representatives. And given that this shift predates the referendum, I don’t think the pro-Brexit argument about unelected Commissioners running the show was/is a very good one.

    By the way, I think all those unelected PR people, with their seemingly unfettered access to power, pose a far bigger threat to democracy in Europe than any Commissioner. But that’s another matter – and lobbying happens everywhere; it’s hardly a Brexit issue.


    toinfinityandbepond @toinfinityandbepond

    Is The Doctor still (unelected) President of The World?

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon


    Good point 🙂

    lisa @lisa


    How much influence did the UK have with its vote in the EU ?  Now cause of Brexit its influence

    will be even further diminished.   The whole world in under the influence of capitol markets,

    trade and corporations.  It was the only thing that kept the world together although now its coming

    really all apart.   To be clear I’m not an isolationist  but quite honestly I really don’t believe that

    good government can ever be based on trading blocks . All I see now is more expanding trade wars

    and yet so many countries are already under extreme pressure to  even pay their existing debt service.

    Plus we are falling into bearish times if you follow those Elliot wave chart geeks. Possibly as soon as

    next year.  Its all about how they’re seeing consolidation and meeting resistance and all that sort of stuff.


    Thanks for the book recommendation.  I always love to read anarchist history !


    swordwhale @swordwhale


    I would so hang out with you guys, Amaretto or no… but preference to dark beer like muddy pond water teeming with life (see: Chespeake Bay area’s “Flying Dog Pearl Necklace” or “Sweet Baby Java”)…

    sadly, it requires a very long sail…

    (Viking ship Sae Hrafn, Oakley MD, me firing (camera) shots over the bow of my kayak…)

    “Pearl Necklace” is a stout brewed with oysters… really…


    swordwhale @swordwhale

    Sorry everybody, kind of skipped the Brexit chatter there….

    I don’t have much knowledge on the details of it, nor a schooled opinion. Best of luck with it tho…

    I’m trying to survive the trumpocalypse…

    bwaaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Is the Doctor still the President of the World????



    Never, ever look up pearl necklace on Urban Dictionary…

    *whistles innocently*

    janetteB @janetteb

    @swordwhale I do wish she would take her responsibility more seriously, step in, dismiss at least three governments as being purely destructive and save us all from ourselves. I have said it before, “Doctor where are you? We really need you now.”



    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @lisa Apologies, I’m a linear, point-by-point kind of person. The point I was addressing was the one about the Commission. I don’t know whether you have any response to anything I said on that particular point?

    – How much influence did the UK have with its vote in the EU?
    I’m not sure how I can answer that question. There has never been one single UK vote, nor one unanimous UK voice in the European Union. Different MEPs vote different ways, while our representatives on the Councils might well disagree with the majority of UK MEPs. It’s also not just about voting. I believe items go through various stages, committees, negotiations, etc. before voting – and these are all areas where representatives from different nations, including the UK, can have influence. So I’m not sure what to make of your question as it is phrased.

    By the way, we have a relatively large number of UKIP MEPs, who do not engage. Their seats may as well be empty. Then the very same party (UKIP) talks disparagingly about “lack of influence”, and complains loudly and often that “Europe isn’t listening.” Well, send your MEPs to meetings then!!

    I know you said a lot of things and I’ve only responded to one of them. I’ll come back later if I can.


    “…kind of skipped the Brexit chatter there…”

    Behold the wisdom of @swordwhale 🙂

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon


    OK. Back for Part Two!

    You make the point that UK influence will be diminished due to Brexit. I agree, and I believe that’s a very good reason not to leave.

    I agree with you that the world is “under the influence of capitol markets, trade and corporations.” I’m not sure I agree that this influence “was the only thing that kept the world together” partly because I’m not sure, in concrete terms, what you mean by that. Similarly I can’t say whether I agree that it’s coming apart.
    Was any of the above in response to anything that I said, or are you making new, separate points here?

    You say you don’t believe that good government can ever be based on trading blocs. I think I can sympathise with your view. However, I’m not sure whether I’ve correctly understood you. Let me give you my take and you can tell me whether I’m hot or cold…
    There is an argument that, because of the EU Stability and Growth Pact (which, not unreasonably, places limitations/conditions on government borrowing for member states) New Labour under Tony Blair were prevented from borrowing in the straightforward sense to fund their infrastructure programme. Instead they relied heavily on joint ventures with the private sector, and these were far more costly, and offered far fewer (if any) long-term returns to the Treasury, than traditional borrowing would have done.
    Is this a good example of what you mean by trading blocs being incompatible with good government? Do you maybe have better examples to illustrate what you mean? I have counterpoints, but unless I’ve understood you correctly there’s no point going into those as I’d just be arguing with myself! 🙂

    And as for “bearish times” etc. I’m ashamed to say I’m really, really not qualified to comment. Never even heard of an Elliott wave : -/


    janetteB @janetteb

    @idiotsavon I think “bearish times” refers to the stock market. A “bear market” means dividends are down and a “bull market” means they are up. I only learnt this when I worked on a stock market dinner, many many years ago in my radical student days. They were celebrating the 150th anniversary of the local Stock Exchange and, it being a bull market at the time did so with gold and silver filings in the soup. Much to my delight one week later there was a stock market crash. I have never heard of an Elliott wave either.

    Right now we are in the midst of local elections and enjoying politics under the microscope. It is all the same though, vested interests verses people with reformist passion. The reformers have to form voting blocs and make compromises in order to achieve anything and so they end up looking bad but that is how politics works. Those who represent business and self interest do exactly the same but either because they are better lairs or because nobody expects better of them, they seem to get away with it. On the local scale it is amusing, on the national scale tragic and internationally beyond catastrophic. I often think that Douglas Adams had the only viable solution to managing this world of ours.

    As for Brexit. to an outsider it looks like a huge, and unfortunate muddle. I want to see the EU prosper. Having lived in Europe briefly I admire the principles of the EU. True they don’t always abide by those principles and goals are difficult to reach but the E.U support for culture, human rights, heritage, environment and science surely proves that cooperation is more likely to produce a better outcome for all involved. Really I think that Patrick Stewart short covered it.



    (who is really far to tired to be venturing into such dangerous territory right now)


    lisa @lisa


    The 3 current challenges of the EU commission are in my view 1. toxic debt and fiscal discipline

    2.  Brexit  3. how to deal with refugees in a growing environment of increased acrimony and declining

    cooperation.  Huge issues.    The purpose  of trading blocs 1. taking economic advantage and 2. economic

    integration.   The 2 disadvantages are 1. political differences and 2. the effects on local industry particularly

    with the flow to cheap labor.   Basically I will put it this way,  Whenever you get supersized government

    whether its the EU, the Feds,  China, Russia, whatever, you also get the 3 P’s,  power addiction, pay offs,

    and outrageous pensions.   Plus you are deprived of real democracy.  In California we have done everything

    to block the Feds every time they attempt to overreach. We use a handy tool called voting propositions

    to change our rules/laws.   Why?  Cause smaller government means you can keep the politicians on a

    a shorter leash and they work more directly for the people. Just not  take your tax money and say

    thankyou and good bye.   Wait,  you did that too! Brexit.   Congratulations!


    When I look at Trump rallies on tv I see all kinds of twisted folks in red hats screaming “lock her up” and

    they don’t care about democracy. They care about keeping power.   Rosa Parks fought against these sorts

    of folks.  For me 52% of the UK was Rosa Parks against the EU.   Because the bigger the government

    the more they turn into  a corruption racket trying to hold onto their power.  I’m fighting to take

    back democracy here.  I really feel that the Brexiteers have that same argument to make.  In the USA

    we have only 2 political parties but in the EU you have hundreds.  How on earth will the UK ever get a

    fair shake under those conditions?   We have a much better chance to take back our democracy cause we

    only switch back and forth between red and blue.  That’s my honest take.


    To all the Americans on the forum.  I went to an assembly of my political caucus last night.  One of the

    big topics was voter suppression and all the problems of the voting machines flipping ballots.    If you live

    in a red state and vote for the Dems please!  take a picture of your ballot before you submit it!  There are

    already many lawsuits pending in Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Wisconsin, etc. over this. The Trump

    criminal syndicate is very nervous about this election !!



    janetteB @janetteb

    @lisa I disagree with you that larger government = greater corruption. Yes it does but corruption happens at all levels of government. We had years of very corrupt local government. We have had good federal governments. True they made compramises and did not achieve all that they aspired to and there are a fair share of “bad eggs”, even within the best political parties. Our Labor Party is split between left and right just as the Democrats are and it is the more conservative factions which have the upper hand but there are plenty of good people who do get to higher positions. The Party leader in the upper house is a fine politician from the left. I have known her for years and highly respect her.

    Corporations will always seek to corrupt government. They are very good at persuading people that they are right. I have seen it happen at the local level in relation to land development. Good people made bad decisions because the company lawyer was so persuasive. I believe the E.U. has as good a chance of resisting the pull of corporations as our local council, if not better. I lived in a country that was part of the E.U. where government not business made the agenda. Unfortunately the voters opted for a centre right party because they were convinced that they were paying too much tax, forgetting just what those taxes were providing for them, free health, free education, brilliant public transport, well maintained roads, etc etc. It goes on. Democracy only works if the voters are well informed. Sadly that is increasingly not so in all Western democracies.

    I think that argument rather got away from me. Not enough coffee.




    lisa @lisa


    The EU is supposed to publish a corruption report at least every few years.  I think they stopped.

    Wonder why that might be ?  Do you really think they’re doing so great fixing corruption in eastern

    Europe  I don’t.   Do you think its easier to maintain oversight and accountability  over corruption

    within your regional governments?   I do.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @lisa the corruption in our local government was happening over a ten year period during which members of the government were aware of it but unable to act due to a lack of proof. In the end the individuals responsible were fired at great cost to the council because there were unable to get sufficient proof of corruption despite it being widely acknowledged in the local community. People are unsurprisingly reluctant to admit to offering bribes to council members, even when there is an amnesty in place. Corruption at any level of government is difficult to pin down.




    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @lisa I really admire the fact that you’re actively campaigning for what you believe in, and Trump genuinely scares me, so hats off to you.

    I agree with @janetteb that there are corrupt individuals at all levels of government, as well as some truly noble people who reach the upper echelons. However, I also agree with you in principle that the centralisation of power carries risks – not least of them the scope for corruption.

    That said, I have to take issue with your characterisation of the EU as “supersized government” lumped in with the Feds, Russia and China. I think you’re comparing apples with oranges.

    Similarly, I don’t think California’s resistance to federal interference is comparable with the UK’s exit from the EU.

    A more apt comparison might be as follows:

    Imagine for a moment a parallel universe in which California has its own sovereign currency, its own independent central bank, monarchy, army, navy, air force, welfare system, healthcare system, education system, transport system, police and other emergency services, etc. etc. all largely free from federal interference and paid for by a taxation system designed and administered exclusively by the State of California. Imagine California is recognised in international law as a sovereign state…

    Imagine California is a member of “the USA,” subject to certain rules of membership, including a so-called “membership fee” but also profiting from advantageous trade arrangements, collaboration on diverse global issues, and a number of federal schemes (funding programmes for academic research, cultural exchange and business start-ups, for example, and regeneration schemes in run-down areas of California.)

    Not everybody likes being a member of the USA. Certain newspapers regularly print stories about all the horrible things Washington is “making us do.” These generally turn out to be massively overblown if not simply untrue.
    The same newspapers have a big downer on Texans. They print headlines about how Texans are “swarming” to California, and blame society’s ills on “uncontrolled immigration” from other states, especially Texas. These claims don’t stand up under scrutiny, but they do a good job of creating ill feeling toward the Whitehouse (and Texans.)

    In this parallel world, Washington has its share of corruption, but then California’s own parliament is particularly rotten. And the things that Washington is “making us do” include rights for workers, protections for the environment, food standards, safety standards, caps on bankers’ bonuses, a crackdown on money laundering… It’s not clear that the current Californian government is especially keen on any of this.

    And then one day, the Prime Minister of California (let’s call him Dave) decides to have a referendum asking whether you want to “Leave the USA” without any clear idea of what “leaving the USA” would even mean in practice.

    Under those circumstances, how might you vote?

    Yes, big government carries the risk of big corruption. I have massive issues with the EU, believe me. But smaller government does not automatically mean better government. Perhaps you underestimate the level of self-interest in Westminster. Have you taken a look at some of the people who are actually driving the Brexit train?

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @janetteb The local council in my home town was (and I suspect still is) extremely corrupt, too. A big part of the problem was/is that there is a generations-old tradition of voting for the colour of the rosette, not the calibre of the candidate.

    And gold filings?? My jaw dropped when I read that!

    lisa @lisa


    False equivalency because the UK  is !! and always has been sovereign country and not California.

    The reality is that the people in favor of the Brexit despite of what you think about them, all have

    in common that they want to see the country start behaving like a sovereign country again and not

    as some subject state.

    You right not everyone likes being an American.  Yet it seems quite honestly everyone though out the world

    wants to be  in California and its not just cause of the weather. Anyway, the UK  will still profit from trade

    agreements, will still collaborate , will still find funding for academic research etc.  What you wont be doing

    is paying a membership fee on top of the regular costs of  your own government.  You’ll still have safety

    standards and food standards etc.  As far as joining a NAFTA style arrangement (the article you forwarded)

    you’ll still be insulated by your own political choices and decisions.  Even more so when you can make your

    own decisions.  Actually,  California has been far more keen on all sorts of regulation than all the rest of

    the states. As far as food goes we call ourselves the organic farm to fork state. We pay  high taxes here but

    then we also know that the money is going to support our way of living. Except for all the dollars that

    the Feds grab.  But the UK pays very high taxes and its not all going to support your way of living .

    So basically the UK pays local tax, UK tax, EU tax.  We pay local and Fed tax.

    The UK pays 3 taxes and we pay 2.

    I live in California for a reason which is this states  political philosophy.  If there is 1

    very positive thing that comes out of the Brexit it is that the British actually started this

    important debate.


    PS  edit  -I forgot to mention that under the instances you have given I would absolutely vote

    to leave.  In fact, there already is a version of Calexit movement.  It involves California, Oregon and

    Washington and Hawaii breaking ranks with the Feds.   Its still a baby movement.  But there ya go.




    Just wanted to say…

    Steve Pearce.

    Bargain. Of. The. Decade.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @idiotsavon Yes my jaw dropped too when I saw it. I think the words “obscene decadence” best describe it. Working in a 5 star hotel was educational. Saw a lot of politicians and heard things said because those on the right tended to forgot that staff have brains. (Most of the casual staff were uni students at the time but the Libs’ (conservatives in Oz) were probably not even aware that students had to work.) Once I overhead the leader of the opposition promising business men too look after them once his party got in. I also heard politicians threaten the national broadcaster. If I had not already been a “lefty” when I started I soon would have been after working there. Sadly there was no facebook or Twitter back then on which to “spill the beans”.



    Missy @missy

    Here’s a story for you.

    It seems that most of the green plastic baskets at our Woolworth’s super market, have been nicked!My OH couldn’t fine one yesterday until he found a supervisor.

    Handing one over she explained that some people refuse to bring proper bags for their shopping, so load it all into basket, and place it in a trolley. After their shopping has been checked out, they put all of it back in the basket, into the trolley and wheel it out to their cars. The baskets are never seen again!

    What a bunch of thieving morons!

    Rather than pay 15 cents or a couple of dollars for the latest bags,  they would rather steal from the store.

    The super market  has lost dozens recently.


    Arbutus @arbutus

    @pedant       Okay. I’ve stopped laughing now. Still smiling, though. 🙂 I was sad to see Steve go, although I don’t think anyone would have seen the MVP truck coming. But what a story. (And we all love a good story, don’t we?)

    And in other news, there was this headline yesterday: It isn’t just your imagination: sightings of spiders are on the rise in Metro Vancouver this fall, and, according to one pest controller, they’re bigger than ever. Uh oh.

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @lisa I think we’ve misunderstood each other. I invented Fictional California precisely in order to point out that it is, to borrow your term, a false equivalency. I did this because I thought you were the one equating California with the UK. So my apologies for that.

    Anyway, no matter. We can both agree that it’s truly great what you’re doing in California, but the situation in the UK is not comparable.

    I do have responses to your comments about future trade deals, quality standards, membership contributions, etc. But really I like to go point-by point, and the point that you made that’s really pivotal for me was about UK sovereignty. If I truly believed EU membership was threatening UK sovereignty – and thus undermining our democracy, I think I would absolutely support Brexit. But I just don’t recognise that picture.

    Like I’ve said before, I don’t pretend to be an expert. I really don’t understand why you say the UK is behaving like a subject state rather than a sovereign country. This was a prominent argument put forward by Leave campaigners, but I never felt they offered any evidence or examples that stood up to scrutiny – so it just felt like empty rhetoric, really. What precisely are you thinking of when you say the UK is not behaving like a sovereign country?

    Finally, it’s trivial, but I just want to pick up on that phrase “in spite of what you might think of them.” Initially I took that a bit personally, but on reflection I can understand why you might assume I have a low opinion of Brexiters as a blanket group. So I just want to clarify that “They” include my sister, my uncle, my close family friends and personal friends. They are highly intelligent, compassionate individuals whose intellect and values I respect and admire. I just happen not to agree with them.

    And thinking about it, largely my disagreements with them boil down to this notion of sovereignty, so maybe that’s why I’m particularly interested to know your reasons for thinking the UK is not acting like a sovereign state.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Well the first problem is that Leavers and Remainers generally mean different things when they talk about ‘sovereignty’.

    Continental Europe and the UK have very different histories when it comes to the formation of nations. Then there’s the legal systems, where England (specifically) has a system that’s based on different premises to most Continental European nations. Economics is on a rather different basis, as well.

    This isn’t just my opinion – it was what De Gaulle was saying when he refused the UK entry to the then Common Market. Smart guy – he spotted that the UK was very, very different to the then member nations and integrating it was going to be a nightmare. It’s the EU’s big fault – their instinct is to expand, and they often expand with nations they really, really shouldn’t have allowed to join and then don’t think how on earth they’re going to integrate that ‘problem’ nation. Like, say, Greece and the entire Euro debacle.

    So I would say that when most Leavers talk about ‘sovereignty’, they don’t mean a formal legal definition. Legally, the UK always had sovereignty, but often didn’t choose to disagree with things decided at a EU level They mean a sense that the UK-as-part-of-the-EU is heading in the direction of a more Continental European national, legal and economic system – and they don’t want to go there.

    syzygy @thane16

    @idiotsavon @lisa @pedant

    I have learned so much about Brexit and Leave (and Remain) since coming to this Forum for myself. I never was much into politics but I am glad I am becoming more interested by the day. As @bluesqueakpip suggested Politics and Brexit is very difficult -as an argument -to take and there is angst because of it (thank you ‘Pip I had to find the meaning of angst = a lot of my class mates!)

    @arbutus I don’t think I know much about Steve Pearce?

    @lisa The thing with smaller countries and accountability in politics (whether Member Nations or autonomous governments) is that some still have corruption -and a lot of it. I’m thinking of Greece, Slovakia and Hungary. Yes, they’re Eastern Europe but they still have their own individual ‘premiers’  (another word for P.M.)




    In the case of expansion, the UK was driving it. We were never, in any way, a passive actor “choosing not to agree” and going with the flow.

    Fun fact: Leavers were outraged by draconian EU regulations to limit the power of household appliances for carbon emission purposes.







    In fact the agreed regs were slightly less draconian than the UK initially proposed.


    A journeyman baseball player who has just been crucial to the Red Sox winning the World Series. Trade from the Blue Jays in mid-season.

    janetteB @janetteb

    Thought of this discussion when I saw this in the Guardian today. some lovely art work as well as interesting comments.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Okay, now tell me what advantages to remaining in the EU were expounded by the Remain campaign.

    Advantages, please. Not ‘disadvantages caused by leaving.’ Not ‘these facts aren’t quite the way they’ve been painted.’

    Actual advantages used by the Remain side in the Referendum campaign. What was the positive view of the EU that they presented?

    One of the reasons for Brexit is that the Remain side ran a bloody awful campaign – you’ve just given a classic example. The UK government wanted stronger regulation, the EU watered it down slightly. If you explain that to a Leave voter, their response is likely to be ‘why is the EU telling me which vacuum cleaner I can buy?’

    If you say, ‘ah, well it’s really the UK government’ – the answer will be, ‘Yes, but if I don’t like what the UK government does I can write to my MP, vote Labour/Conservative, if necessary protest … what do I do if I don’t like what the EU does?’ If they were a bit more knowledgeable, they might point out that they had 8 MEPs and which one of them were they supposed to talk to? Pick one out of a hat?

    It was at this point the Remain side activists, bless them, usually got a bit stuck and went back to explaining the actual facts, thus accidentally emphasising the very thing the Leavers were often genuinely unhappy about – that the EU has an awful lot of influence in our day-to-day lives, and it’s really, really unclear who the heck the average person in the street contacts or what they should do if they don’t like it.

    This is the downside of insulating the EU from direct contact with voters (yes, the directly elected EU Parliament is doing sterling work in increasing its powers, but I think it was too late for the UK).

    And it’s part of what I mean when I say we were trying to integrate a country with a very different system – and in the end, people didn’t want to go there. A large number really did just want a trading alliance, not something that impacts on stupid things like whether you can sell olive oil from a barrel.



    I’m sorry – why do you think I am interested in defending the Remain Campaign?

    You made a statement that was incorrect.

    I corrected it, with example.

    And to correct your next incorrect statement:

    The UK government wanted stronger regulation, the EU watered it down slightly.

    No. the UK member government made a proposal. All the members then debated and negotiated until there was a proposal all member states were happy with (which was still far more powerful than anything that had gone before).

    Leave voters didn’t even realise it was a UK proposal, so your scenario doesn’t arise. It really illustrates how sucked in your were by Leave lies.

    Which is why I am more interested in the wholesale corruption of democracy that the law-breaking Leave campaigns wrought through foreign financing and misuse of illegally acquired data.


    lisa @lisa


    What @bluesqueakpip said plus 2 things. It seems the leavers have big issues with the EU

    high court and its re-interpreting of UK laws.  They feel this means they are ‘subject’ to the EU.

    Also,  There seems to be this philosophical difference about where your freedoms come from.

    Are you born free?  In the UK you are and that’s where the USA gets that notion from and

    stuck it in the Constitution.  In Europe its a bit more like you are allowed freedoms.  That’s

    where the 4 freedoms thing comes from.  I don’t think that most Brits. whether they’re the

    leavers or the remainers like being told what they are ‘allowed”.


    Clearly,  small governments fail in good political oversight too. But they usually have fewer impediments

    to fix the problems.  Also,  my point about the new Doctor having issues with who she is has gone on

    too long  She’s our first ‘female’ Doctor.  So I’m wrestling with this notion of why ‘she’s’ still having

    to reflect on who ‘ she’ is and it  smells a bit off.    I just feel a brilliant  Doctor should already

    have been able to process all this.   CC makes the first ‘female’ Doctor actually keep questioning herself.

    Did Missy do that? Did the Galigreyan general?  Nope.  This is not a good look for me for the 1st Doctor

    that’s a women.

    Craig @craig

    @lisa @idiotsavon @bluesqueakpip @pedant @thane16 and others

    I might get myself in trouble now. As I’m having a quiet day I thought I would join in with my thoughts on Brexit – I will try to keep it brief (so possibly I might seem facile, but hopefully not).

    I am in an interesting position as I think the people of Scotland would be better off leaving the union that is the United Kingdom, but would be better off staying in the union that is the European Union. How do I reconcile the two?

    Scotland, despite having some devolved powers, still has most of the big decisions made in London and has basically no control over them whatsoever, and never will have because of the low number of Scottish MPs in London.

    The EU is made up of many countries and has, despite what some may think, a more democratic way of making decisions as countries cannot run roughshod over the will of other countries.

    In addition, most of the money that goes to Europe is returned in the form of grants for things like farming, fishing, urban renewal, help for deprived areas (I worked on an EU-funded building project while a student). If that ends, guess what, that money will be ear-marked for tax cuts for the rich. I don’t care what the politicians say.

    And as for taking back our freedoms – we’re actually GIVING THEM UP by leaving the EU. I’ll have to apply for a visa to go to Spain, I won’t be able to use the health service for free in Italy, won’t be able to pop over to France and bring back as much wine and cigarettes as I can fit in my car. UK citizens living in Europe may have to leave. My French doctor may have to leave the UK.

    Oh, and it’s maybe a minor thing but violence could break out in Northern Ireland again – so we could get bombs going off in London, Liverpool, Birmingham etc.

    The whole thing is a mess being overseen by incompetents.

    But, y’know, we get blue passports (made in France) and now a new 50p piece. So rejoice!

    Be kind in any responses.

    lisa @lisa


    I have 2 questions  but there  will probably be others

    I wonder if Scotland will still get free University if they leave the UK  and also how does the

    Scottish fishing industry feel about Brexit?

    As for the rest of what you say,   I  think you might be over thinking your loss.  Whether  you

    have to do some of those things or not I humbly suggest it doesn’t sound too dire.

    I do agree that May hasn’t handled Brexit with the greatest finesse on  how she’s managing the execution

    of all this.

    Both our leaders are responsible for  astounding anxiety.

    I want to help  take back Congress and see the orange idiot impeached.



    Craig @craig

    Hi @lisa

    The Scottish Government funds free University out of its own budget. So it will probably continue.

    There is a mixed reaction to Brexit within the Scottish fishing industry. At first they hated the fact that, for example, the Spanish could come and fish in Scottish waters. So they voted for Brexit. Now that it looks like, even after Brexit, other European countries will still have the right to fish in Scottish waters (because the UK Government can’t negotiate themselves out of a paper bag) there are many who are changing their point of view.

    And I’m really not over-thinking my loss of freedom of movement or European Rights. In fact, I under-played it. If we lose the European Court of Human Rights that’s like tearing up the American Constitution (I’m not joking). I had a friend at University – many years ago – who was gay and he and his boyfriend took a case all the way there after every British court found against them and they won (I can’t remember what it was about but I could look it up if you want).

    Plus, if I get killed by an IRA bomb in London, that’s gonna be pretty dire. When I first moved to London the IRA were still setting off bombs. It was a fact of life. It hasn’t been a fact of life for many years. But maybe it’s worth it for a blue passport?

    I hope you go vote next week. Is it next week? Go do some good, and, as you say, get the orange idiot impeached.

    lisa @lisa


    Isn’t the European Court of Human rights separate from the EU?

    If the EU continues to insist on a hard border then any issue with the IRA will be on them!

    Good solutions to this do exist and the EU is just using the issue to blackmail the UK.


    Thanks,  seems I have been doing a lot of arguing all over the place lately,  although we need I\

    these election wins even more than ever  in elections where I am not.


    Craig @craig


    The Conservatives don’t want the European Court of Human Rights to have any rule over the UK – because they want to “take back control”. So basically, they don’t want us to have any human rights. 🙂

    The EU is not insisting on a hard border – it is pointing out that you can’t have Northern Ireland and Ireland without a hard border, if one is not in the EU. You say “good solutions do exist” but I’ve yet to hear one and I listen to the news about 7 times a day. They keep going on about technology solutions but no one has a real clue.

    If violence erupts in Northern Ireland (and then bombs on the UK mainland) it will be very much on the UK Government for breaking the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. No one could blame the EU with a straight face.

    And no probs about you arguing – that’s what the pub’s for. We’re here to educate each other and have a bit of banter. Can I buy you a drink? 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    What I said was:

    It’s the EU’s big fault – their instinct is to expand

    What you replied was:

    In the case of expansion, the UK was driving it.

    To which my reply would be: ‘well, yes. That was kind of what we were doing from the start – even when we joined we were trying to expand the then EEC (by joining it).’

    You’re making a fairly massive assumption, which is that when I say ‘the EU’s big fault is their instinct to expand’ I am not referring to the UK. The UK is, in case you haven’t noticed, part of the EU. That is, after all, what the whole Brexit thing is about? Wanting to leave an organisation we’re part of?

    The EU’s big fault is its instinct to expand – and the UK is just as much a part of that blind optimism and papering over any obvious future problems as the other EU nations.

    Leave voters didn’t even realise it was a UK proposal, so your scenario doesn’t arise. It really illustrates how sucked in your were by Leave lies.

    No, it actually illustrates how you (and many on the Remain side) were and are still being sucked in. Sorry, but again, if you read what I said it included the wonderful phrase (about Remain)

    went back to explaining the actual facts

    So I actually said that the Leavers had got their facts wrong. The point I was making – and you keep making it for me – is that the Remain side, by and large, respond to people who are generalising madly (which was me, because at the point I posted I was at lunch and had to zip off that post fairly quickly) by correcting their facts.

    And in doing that, they simply make things worse, because the exact facts aren’t the problem.

    Let’s take that bloody bus. ‘We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead’.

    As far as facts go, that particular slogan was definitely post-modern. No, we don’t send the EU £350 million a week. I don’t think we’ve ever sent the EU £350 million a week. Possibly in a technical, legalistic sense, if you look at it cross-eyed on a Thursday, we might be able to say that without rebates and the grants we receive back and adding on interest, we might get up to £350 million.

    As a political trap though, I’m sorry, but Remain fell right smack into it. Because every time they explained on the doorstep or on TV that this figure was rubbish because the real figure is more like £250 million a week, or roughly £150 million if you count what the EU spends on and in the UK – guess what happened?

    Ye Average Voter heard ‘£250 million a week’ and thought ‘Bloody Hell, that’s a lot of money’ and when told that the EU spends slightly less than a third on us anyway thought ‘Can’t we just cut out the middleman and pocket the rest?’ Remain might have been better off just handing out the Leave leaflets.

    The exact facts were not the problem. The problem was a perceived, low-grade, continual irritation that a large number of people in the UK were being asked to make changes that they didn’t see the reason for, make adaptations that they didn’t want to make, paying taxes where they genuinely didn’t know what they were getting for the money – and generally were being taken in a direction they didn’t want to go in while being told that any complaints were stupid because they’d got their facts wrong.

    Which is why I am more interested in the wholesale corruption of democracy that the law-breaking Leave campaigns wrought through foreign financing and misuse of illegally acquired data.

    I’m not sure where the hilarity which is the Leave Campaign vs the Electoral Commission is up to this week, but last time I looked Leave were being informed that they’d broken the law because they’d followed the Electoral Commission’s written advice.

    [Disclaimer: This is an exaggeration for the purposes of comedic effect.]

    Personally, I am more concerned with the wholesale corruption of democracy that would follow when 17.4 million people were told that their votes were invalid because the losing side thought they were stupid. Yay, great we’ll have improved our economic standing and told those nasty foreign financiers (sorry, but which side is supposed to be the xenophobic one?) and evil data miners (aren’t we supposed to be full steam ahead on the Information Revolution?) where to go – but we’ll have completely stuffed up our Constitution. Because the voters will know their vote isn’t worth the ballot paper it’s written on – unless they make the ‘right’ vote. Still, I suppose it’s a small price to pay. Dunno what we’ll call the new thing. But it won’t be democracy.

    Democracy means that losing side always thinks the winning side is stupid – but that we all accept the stupid, what kind of idiot would vote for /Brexit/No/Trump/insert whatever daft decision the voters made this month/ thing. Democracy includes the right to make stupid decisions.

    Democracy includes the right to decide that what is working for approximately half the country – and the EU was working for what you might call the mobile professional class – is not working for the other half. And if half the country tells us that the status quo is not working for them, and vote for something they were told would be a disaster – we’re supposed to listen. Not tell them that they’re stupid, got their facts wrong, were sucked in by sinister foreign financiers with dodgy accents, and have generally been highly inconvenient to our wonderful selves.

    Told you this would get angsty. 😀

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