The United Kingdom, 1707-2016. RIP

Dated monarchy commits suicide in public. Older Britons have screwed the rising generation -- one reason Trump, the angry codgers candidate, is applauding so vigorously. - promoted by Bob_Neer

In the history of Europe few things have been as transparently good as the day the Berlin Wall came down: freedom — personal, cultural and economic — was to be had and a bright new world was created… a world in which walls came down.

“Brexit” is the opposite of that… Walls are going back up. Whatever hope one might have had after the fall of the Berlin Wall is now on life-support.

In a campaign that was breathlessly naive (“everything will be fine once we leave, don’t worry about it”, “the British people are tired of hearing from experts”) and egregiously mendacious (“money for NHS”, “Scary immigrants”, “nobody will regulate your pillows!”) the “Leave” campaign, spanning the entire spectrum from passive-agressively racist to nakedly racist, convinced the English people (not the Scots or the Northern Irish, mind you) to walk blindly into a caustic uncertainty, thereby signing the UK’s suicide note with a flourish.

This is likely the end of the United Kingdom. Scotland will exit and will flourish for it. In a decade they will have a larger economy than England. Englands military will suffer, as integrated into Scotland as they are… Irish reaction is yet to be gauged but if I were a betting man, I’d say the tipping point of Northern Ireland wanting full integration with the Republic of Ireland has been reached and breached. And if they don’t, what are they going to do, put armed Irish guards to the south looking across a border at armed Northern Ireland guards??? Are Northern Irishman again going to stand off against other Irishman, and again on behalf of the British? That always ended well in the past, dinnit?

The English people have traded their security, their status and their stature for a blind alleyway that will leave them smaller and more isolated then they have ever been. That they believe a pot of gold is hidden in that blind alleyway doesn’t excuse them from the coming pain, and the worst pain when they realize that there never was no pot of gold. I predict about two decades of shrinking ego before they re-apply for entry in the EU… if the EU is still around.

Although I believe the worst of it will be visited upon the English, the chaos attending disintegration of the UK will not be confined to the British Isles. Over the next few years the European Union will face another wave of exit attempts… Greece almost certainly… and France will try, and maybe even some others, but as the scope of the disaster in England slowly unfolds the taste for exit will, one hopes, gradually turn to ash on the tongue… that is to say, unless and until the resulting chaos enables some demagogue or another to stir up national hatreds. At that point, all bets are off. A de-stabilized EU is a scary thing.

Enter Vladimir Putin and his fever dreams of a Russia re-emergent. We might as well either consign the Ukraine to him right now or mobilize NATO. Help from the EU, and the hope of maybe someday even EU membership, was the thinnest threads of Ukraine’s hope against Russia and was Putins biggest fear. In the resulting chaos of the next decade or so… Goodby to all that. And if the Ukraine falls, well… Poland is going to have to do something about that. Will it militarize? Will it call on NATO? What about all the states that were once part of the former Soviet Bloc? You have no idea. You think the Tsarnaev brothers and their once-remove Chechen nationalism-cum-Islam was dangerous? Childs play. The further along Putin gets the more some Croat or Serb or Slovak vows never to serve a Soviet master again… and prepares for war. These are countries that are now NATO members… and there’s a reason for that. A de-stabilized EU only emboldens Putin.

Will all this come to pass? I don’t really know. I hope not. But I do know that this is an epic, world changing event, on the order of the Berlin Wall coming down, but in the other direction. That it was based on lies and transparent stupidity is the scariest thing of it all…


75 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Recommended for the righteous rant...

    …though probably (hopefully) a bit hyperbolic. After all, the UK did predate the EU so certainly the former can exist without the latter.

    • hm..

      After all, the UK did predate the EU so certainly the former can exist without the latter.

      Whether or no the UK predates the EU is irrelevant to the manner the former takes of leaving the latter: inviting economic chaos and indeed pissing all over one of your main economic engines (Scotland) and driving a wedge between a present colony (No. Ireland) and a former colony (Ireland, Republic of) who have more in common with each other than they do with England is not a very good guarantor of unity… And, as I predict above, I suggest that in about two decades, all of the members of the former UK will again be members of the EU, only not as the UK…

      • Northern Ireland is not a colony.

        It is a fully integrated part of the UK with it’s own government and appropriate representation in Westminster. I’m pretty sure those 6 counties are the ones that voted to stay in the UK when the question was put some decades ago. Otherwise, I agree with your sentiment.

        • if not a colony

          then “occupied territory.”

          What else can one call it when one country is invaded and annexed by a foreign power? I’m not sure to what degree the passage of time changes that reality.

          One could as easily claim that the Massachusetts Bay Colony wasn’t a colony, because it was integrated into the Westminster government. I doubt the Pequot would agree, if any survived to have an opinion. I suppose one should give credit where credit is due; unlike their counterparts in Massachusetts and elsewhere in North America, the invaders into Ireland did not murder every last man, woman, and child who dared inhabit the place they were colonizing. In Northern Ireland, they suffered the existing population to live; how decent of them.

          • West Bank and Gaza are occupied territories.

            Massachusetts Bay and the other American colonies were never integrated into the Westminster government – remember the famous complaint about taxation WITHOUT representation. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are the constituent parts of the UK, just like the 50 states are the constituent parts of the US. They have places like Gibralter, Man, and the Channel Islands which are like our American Samoa and Guam. Yes, there’s an ugly history regarding Ireland, but I’m discussing the CURRENT political situation.

            • I see no meaningful difference

              Foreign military invades–quite unwelcome and univited– and either exterminates or subjugates existing population; civilians supported by the foreign military power then “volunteer” to be “integrated” into the government of the foreign power; pre-existing population is subjugated, and as and when they object to this state of affairs, gets the bayonet.

              The Westminster government in Northern Ireland is not different in any meaningful way from the German government in France from 1939-1945, other than that it achieved a patina of legitimacy through the passage of time. But, they way it got where it is was (i) by foreign invasion; (ii) eviction of the existing population; and then (iii) by “popular vote” in which anyone that might not vote the right way was forcefully excluded from the ballot.

              It is an illegitimate fraud, and the ONLY reason it should remain is to prevent useless bloodshed.

              • There's still the matter of representation.

                Do you propose the United States withdraw from all the Native land we took too – oh wait, that would be our entire territory, wouldn’t it? I must say your emotional memory of Irish history seems to be awfully long! My read of world history is that such never causes anything but lots of bloodshed.

                • awfully long?

                  The last pretend vote that you’re talking about happened within the lifetime of my own parents, less than 100 years ago. I think it is rather the case that your glasses are awfully rose tinted. The unfortunate truth is that that government was rather brutal and, frankly, evil, when governing anyone that was not ethnically English.

                  • OK...

                    …so maybe not QUITE as far back as the American South has to reach when it tries to refight the Civil War, but still. Like I say, nothing good ever comes when peoples hold grudges against each other, whether it’s the “Troubles”, the former Yugoslavia, the Holy Land, Kasimir/Punjab, etc. I know the history, but I don’t like to be stuck in it. I have Scottish lineage. The English haven’t always been nice to “my people” either, yet I’m not complaining and in fact favor continued union between them.

                    • Fair enough

                      You seem to have a bit of a crush on the monarchy and the Westminster government, and describe the various “voluntary” acts. Part of not holding grudges is acknowledging that one is lionizing, a state that existed to defend human chattel slavery, if one has a fondness for the Confederate States of America. No difference here.

                    • OK, but I still never said...

                      …that the way Ireland came to be united with Great Britain was in any way voluntary. I know my history better than that.

                  • Shite

                    Go up to Stormont and reassess. Of the 108 democratically elected MLAs in the Northern Ireland Assembly, 55 are members of Unionist parties and only 40 are members of Republican parties (13 don’t take a position). To suggest that the last vote was a long time ago is nonsense.

                    I’m not advocating for what NI should do, unification, Brexit, EU, or otherwise. I’m not defending the action of any individual or group anywhere near Belfast in the past century. I am pointing out that it sure looks like the majority of the Northern Irish are in favor of remaining in the UK, at least as recently as May 5, 2016.

                    • unionist shite...

                      Go up to Stormont and reassess. Of the 108 democratically elected MLAs in the Northern Ireland Assembly, 55 are members of Unionist parties and only 40 are members of Republican parties (13 don’t take a position). To suggest that the last vote was a long time ago is nonsense.

                      … since now they really can’t have it both ways. Since about a generation after the “Flight of the Earls” Unionists have always been sensitive to the charge that they were Irish fanatics holding a secret doubt that they’re not really Irish. Now the question is really put to them, and they will have to chose. Maybe they well chose to stay with the English. Then they will be the Englishmen some of us thought they were all along. Maybe they will chose to unify with the Republic.

                      What they don’t get now, is a mushy sorta-maybe-muddled choice. Whatever the outcome, you can’t say the choice isn’t before them, and on much more stark and — frankly — realistic terms now.

                    • Which them?

                      The hard line Ian Paisley Unionists in NI? The softer want-peace-and-UK Unionists in NI? The Nationalists in NI? Those who don’t feel strongly about UK or ROI but just want peace and economic opportunity citizens of Northern Ireland? How about those living in Coshquin, Omagh, and Cloghoge?

                      What if a mushy sorta-maybe-muddled choice is the path to peace? Hard-liners on both side called the Good Friday Agreement just that. Maybe a mushy sorta-maybe-muddled peace is what’s needed. Hold it for a generation or two, and before you know it the younger folks don’t have nearly as many terrible, shameful, awful memories of horrors. Maybe the mushy sorta-maybe-muddled peace grows firm with time.

                      It seems to me that’s what’s happened so far. Things seem better in Belfast now than they did on December 2 1999 or on April 10 1998, that’s for sure.

            • The Seven Years' War

              wasn’t cheap.

        • Nomenclature aside...

          I’m pretty sure those 6 counties are the ones that voted to stay in the UK when the question was put some decades ago.

          … the ‘Good Friday Agreements’ were a PEACE TREATY whereby one side agreed to stop the bombing of occupying troops if the other sides troops would stop occupying and provide for a road map to a unified Ireland. The choice wasn’t one made under peaceful terms and it wasn’t the simple ‘leave’ or ‘stay’ kind: it was ‘more bloodshed’ or ‘less bloodshed’. And, as centralmassdad pointed out in another diary, this was all made possible by the EU.

          Maybe ‘colony’ isn’t the precise word for that, but I have very few other words that fit.

          • it must be emphasized

            That a key provision–maybe THE key provision– of the Good Friday accords is that there is to be freedom of movement between the Republic and Northern Ireland. The secondary agreement is that the UK would permit unification, if there were a political consensus in Northern Ireland to seek it.

            But the first provision is everything. If you have visited Ireland in the last 20 years and crossed the border from the Republic to the North, it is a little like crossing from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. In the mid-90s, it was rather different. There were walls, and armored checkpoints. When you approached the border, several men in army fatigues (RIC) would point machine guns at your face while other men in army fatigues searched your vehicle, your luggage, and your person. If they were feeling skittish, you would be prevented from crossing–even as an American!

            For decades, this couldn’t be changed because (i) anything other than an armed border would be an insulting surrender of sovereignty; and (ii) there was significant terrorist violence which required a secure perimeter. Republicans agreed to give up arms and violence in return for an open border, which left the sovereignty issue, which was solved by the EU. Borders could be opened, not because of a surrender of sovereignty to the RoI, but because both UK and the RoI were members of the EU.

            Now the UK has withdrawn, in part because they do not want open borders with the EU. Any person in the EU can enter the RoI legally, because the EU has open borders. So does the UK close the border with the RoI? If they do, that would be a fairly explicit abrogation of the Good Friday Accords. Do they instead keep the border between the North and the RoI open, but them impose border controls between the North and whatever is then left of the UK? That would be awkward indeed.

            This is going to be a very, very big problem.

            • The EU can be perfectly fine going forward, but it has to reform itself, and give more democratic voice to its peoples. Else, it will have members coming in and out every couple of years going forward.

              • This may be the wake up call.

                Given how quickly buyers remorse set in with a fair number of “Leave” voters shocked that they actually prevailed, the UK may be in a very good position right now to tell the EU they might be willing to return to the fold upon renegotiation of some of the concerns of their voters.

            • There's an easy solution

              The open border problem has an easy solution, if UK wants it. You put the border control at the seaports and airport. Going from NI to elsewhere in UK? Passports please. Going from ROI to NI? Fáilte.

              This would comply with the Good Friday Agreement, allow the Welsh and English who want closed borders to have them, and allow the Northern Irish who wanted to stay in the EU to keep their open borders.

              It’s imperfect, but it threads the needle pretty well, and policing a handful of ports for immigration is a heck of a lot easier than policing a 499 km border between ROI and NI (as well as policing the beaches of NI for those arriving by boat.

              • You act as though...

                The open border problem has an easy solution, if UK wants it. You put the border control at the seaports and airport. Going from NI to elsewhere in UK? Passports please. Going from ROI to NI? Fáilte.

                …you act as though the Brits are still in the drivers seat. It will only take one or two members of the European Union to object to an open border between the Republic of Ireland and North Ireland… a breach of EU protocols… to force the EU to force the Republic to put up borders. If you wanted to invent a hand wedge for the EU to use, you probably couldn’t have invented a handier one… And if the next British PM has the foresight to try to negotiate that part in whatever follow on treaty, they won’t get it without a whole lot of concessions.

                I don’t think you fully understand the complete absence of upside for the English people in this deal… There really isn’t a one. They have fucked themselves right squarely on this.

                • I'm focused on the Irish, not the English

                  I’m focused on the Irish, both in the Republic and the North.

                  It will only take one or two members of the European Union to object to an open border between the Republic of Ireland and North Ireland… a breach of EU protocols… to force the EU to force the Republic to put up borders.

                  That isn’t hard. It’s a bloody island. My bet is that there’ll be “borders” in both NI and ROI, but none between them. That is, if you’re in ROI and you want to go to EU? Great. EU Passports on the right, Non-EU Passports on the left. That’s what happens now. The only difference is that UKers will now get on the line on the left.

        • Actually, Northern Island was

          colonized in a very strict sense. The reason why large majorities of Northern Irish have opposed reunification before is because a large majority of its population come from colonizers from the rest of the UK. Huge swaths of Ireland was colonized in this way, but no where more successfully and proportionately in as large numbers as Northern Ireland.

          Northern Ireland isn’t a colony in the same way that America isn’t a colony. It was colonized so successfully that a large majority of the population no longer sees it as such.

          What do we call a place where the colonizers have colonized so successfully that a majority of its population, ancestors of the imports, no longer sees it as a colony?

          • Ireland was colonized at first to be sure...

            …but it has since been integrated, which we never were. America isn’t a colony in any sense, so I’m not sure what that was a reference to.

  2. Also if you want to get really technical...

    …it was Great Britain that was created in 1707 by the Act of Union. Ireland was considered a separate kingdom I think until about 1800, when George III not only officially united them (with Parliament’s help), but also finally dropped the pretense to being King of France. Given that heads were literally rolling in Paris I guess he decided maybe that last title no longer had the cache it once did!

    • That's certainly one view

      Another is that there was an existing Irish Parliament, already subject to English military force. At the time, membership in Parliament was restricted to members of the Church of Ireland, and Catholics were bound to the land in the feudal fashion. That Irish Parliament made noises about allowing Catholics to have some rights in the early 1790s, and there was a Catholic rebellion, inspired by the French Revolution, in 1798. The result was an English invasion of the island, a bloody suppression of the rebellion, and the re-establishment of a Parliament restricted to Anglicans.

      The members of that Parliament were then “invited” to dissolve into the UK, after it was made known that former members of the Irish Parliament would receive peerages and pensions from the national government, and whose status would be preserved by an occupying English army.

      You would describe President Andrew Jackson as having cordially invited the Cherokee to have a pleasant afternoon stroll; or triangular traders in West Africa cheerfully offering some exciting employment opportunities in the West Indies.

      • I said nothing in my above comment...

        …about the degree to which the Irish consented vs. brought on by force. I was just commenting on the appropriate name for the polity.

  3. The Protestant Majority in Ulster is an artifice

    It was supposed to be an all-island vote for independence to settle the Irish Rebellion against Britain, Britain reneged on that commitment by enabling a sectarian parliament just for Ulster to keep itself out of the Republic of Ireland. This was done in abrogation of the original terms of the treaty and done without even the consent of the people of Ulster itself since it was a parliamentary vote, from an unrepresentative body, rather than a plebiscite even limited to Ulster.

    And we see today that if 56% of the Irish component of UK wants to remain, it has the same right to self determination to stay in the EU via reunification or independence that the Scots are asserting.

    I opposed the SNP vote last go around, but support it this time since it is not fair that a slim majority of largely English and Welsh voters overrule their trading relationships as a region. SNP will win and it will deserve to do so since the pro-union side failed to defend the EU, and many of them worked against it.

    I completely agree with Martin McGuinness that it is fair game to hold a reunification vote, and maybe this time the decision will be based on shared economic and political interests rather than sectarian ones and the same non-sectarian majority for Remain can vote to reunify.

    Petr is absolutely right that the UK will lose at least two members of this. The SNP argument is strengthened by this vote, as is the call for Irish reunification, which is no longer just a cultural and religious argument.

    • Might be fair game

      But is grossly irresponsible. It would have been nice if people like McGuinness– who hold people’s lives dirt cheap– had passed from the scene. As it stands, statements like that are just another way of longing for the good old days when being a murderous terrorist was cool.

    • "Supposed to be" is a strong way of putting it

      Yes it’s true that the Government of Ireland Act of 1914 did contain such a provision, but it was clear from before it was enacted that Ulster Protestants were going to bitterly resist it. The decision to include all 6 counties, rather than just the 4 with clear Protestant majorities, was more questionable. But it’s difficult to argue that that Irish deserved self determination but that the Ulster Protestants did not. Of course the Protestants, at the time, wanted all 9 Ulster counties, but in retrospect it was good for them that they lost that fight, since they would have lost their demographic advantage much quicker.

  4. Too soon to say

    If Scotland and Northern Ireland leave and join the EU and England is left with Wales and, what, Cornwall, plus the Falkland Islands, this vote may be an outlier. If Greece, and then perhaps Italy and Spain depart, it may indeed be a harbinger. Both are possible outcomes. America has a role to play, and if we stay close to the EU and lock out the UK — a natural outcome if Wall Street is really as powerful as everyone images … there is nothing they’d like better than to erase The City — the latter is quite possible.

    • What was your dated monarchy reference in the promotion for?

      I don’t think the monarchy had much to do with this, though this is a time the Queen’s input might have been nice. There’s nothing dated about an institution representing cultural heritage, which one could argue is more in line with an independent Britain. Viva la Reine!

    • Dated monarchy, Bob? What, this was the Queen deciding over the head of her people?

      • :-) I meant Britain is backward looking

        Their monarchy is symbolic, but symbols matter. Christopher is exactly right that royalty is characteristic of an independent England — moreso if Scotland and Northern Ireland leave. The heart of the EU — Germany, France and Italy — gave up that anachronism long ago. (For reference, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden are the only other monarchies in the group). The Brexit vote, including the age gap, is more direct evidence for this thesis. A pity for the youth of the country.

        • Germany's hand was forced...

          …by the Treaty of Versailles, as were the others on that side of WWI that the victors decided to arrogantly punish thus in large measure bringing on WWII. (Much better idea was our allowing Japan to keep their emperor following the latter.) Italy blamed their king for Mussolini, maybe partly accurately, and partly Communist-rigged. Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria still have living monarchs ousted by “popular” referendum (again, likely Communist-rigged) and the Bulgarian king actually served as Prime Minister for a while). Spain is my favorite example because it shows a modern restoration is possible. Lest you think that monarchies are inherently antithetical to democracy keep in mind when Francoists attempted a coup in 1981 it was King Juan Carlos who got on national television and said don’t even think about it. Just for completeness Norway, Liechtenstein, and Monaco are also monarchies, but not EU members. Previous comments of mine notwithstanding I do think that the EU and constitutional monarchies are compatible.

    • Too soon for Scotland, but not for NI

      This isn’t going to lead to a NI no longer part of the UK. The fact remains that the majority of those in the six NI counties are in favor of Union (with UK). It’s true that NI voted to stay with the EU, but that doesn’t mean that they are willing to leave the UK over it. They’re two separate concepts, and there’s no reason to conflate them. Doing so demonstrates a pretty fundamental ignorance of the troubles.

      • I'm not conflating the two

        I understand all too well what the Troubles were fought over, but I do believe there is an interesting overlap in these votes that could indicate the Unionist sentiment is waning. There were more Protestants “ticket splitting” to Remain than there were Catholics voting to leave. And that could be an indicator that the generational affinity for unionism is on the wane. That the “Good Friday” generation coming of age considers itself more European than strictly Irish or English.

        • Indicate since May 2016?

          The last vote for the Northern Ireland Assembly was in May, 2016, and the citizens voted Unionists a majority of seats, with only 37 percent going to Nationalist parties. It might be that the Brexit vote is demonstrating that Unionists are suddenly losing substantial support, something that bombs and terror and a divided land mass and absolute cruelty then a tinderbox peace followed by a firmer peace could never accomplish.

          Or, there could be a simpler example: There are a sizable number of Unionists in Northern Ireland who, for any number of reasons, wanted to stay in the EU as well as stay with the UK. Losing one vote doesn’t mean they’ll want to lose the other too.

  5. What Mark Twain said applies very well to the UK. “News of my death has been highly exaggerated”.

    What did this vote in, and what caused enough centrists and liberals to vote for Brexit to tip the balance, is the fact the EU bureaucracy or technocracy (however you want to name it) is too removed from the life of a majority of its constituents in Britain. It’s a constitutional crisis that was not going to be solved if the vote was 52-48% the other way.

    But this constitutional problem cannot be ignored now. People need more direct democratic tools to effect policy in Brussels.

    Lucky for the EU, it should be easier to change their constitution and bring more direct votes than, say, in the US – where at tge federal level the system is so gridlocked that amending the Constitution is virtually impossible.

    • Thank you

      Appalling to see the Goldman Sachs interpretation so dominant online. The European Union exercises a degree of democratic remove that few Americans would stomach. The thing is impenetrable and unwieldy, an attempt at economic union with political decentralization. Yes, the markets didn’t like this vote, or any change of any sort — not least because the EU is good for Goldman Sachs & Co. But one of the largest, richest countries falling apart in the world over this due to an opportunistic Scottish nationalist and Sinn Fein leader? Just silly.

      sabutai   @   Fri 24 Jun 9:57 PM
      • What Goldman Sachs interpretation? You must beckidding. Big Wall St was very interested in UK staying in EU. Now tgey talk if moving their investment banks in EU from London to Frankfurt or Paris.

        It is far easiee to assign blame and impune motive than to really understand what happened. A good chunk if the Left voted fir Brexit, especially the segment hurt by globalization and the segment upset with lack of democratic governance in EU. In other words, the UK Sanders types.

        • I think you misinterpret me

          The Wall Street version is that Brexit will be the very end of the world, and the people of Britain are risking the future of their nation by demanding more democratic control over their lives. I don’t believe that will be true, and I’m not sure you do either. There will be insecurity due to questions about the future, but some people are hysterical over this vote. You are one of the few that isn’t.

          sabutai   @   Fri 24 Jun 10:17 PM
          • Apologies, I misunderstood. This is one issue that does not cut neatly across party lines, that’s why there’s much confusion.

            The Wall St types will fall on their feet in any circumstance, they have armies of lawyers and lobbyists to figure things out.

      • opportunistic scottish nationalist?

        you say that as if you think it’s one person.

        It seems that the sentiment of that one person is widely felt and held among large swaths of the Scottish population. In the Brexit vote, they were very specifically betrayed — many who voted against independence voted that way specifically because London told them they’d be booted out of the EU, and now London went and booted them out of the EU.

        As much as I agree with you re: Sinn Fein and Northern Ireland, I think you’re way off base on Scotland.

        Watch for London to fight very hard against Scotland getting that vote anytime soon, because if they do… Scotland will be voting for independence, and it probably won’t even be close.

        • Uhm...

          Nicola Sturgeon seems to be one person. Let me double-check. Yep, she is. And it’s one person who said a new referendum was “highly likely”, not a press release co-signed by hundreds of thousands of people. I don’t really need a tutorial on sub-state nationalist activities.

          sabutai   @   Sun 26 Jun 9:09 PM
  6. And Trump?

    Taking advantage of the crisis to promote his golf course in Scotland. He says with GBP down, you’ll get it cheap for visiting.

    You can’t make this up… And the newspapers are covering it, matter of fact. Brilliant!

  7. The dominoes are falling

    It is being reported on the BBC that the Netherlands and Sweden are also looking at scheduling a vote.

    Germany may finally realize its dream of ruling France, Italy,Greece, Spain….

    • Hm

      Anyone who can’t get three sentences into discussing German foreign relations without making a Nazi reference probably shouldn’t be discussing European politics.

      sabutai   @   Fri 24 Jun 10:17 PM
      • Well, the guy on the BBC said it first

        I actually hadn’t seen it that way. And it seems more likely than the Putin scenario already outlined

      • If the EU moves quickly to acknowledge it has a problem, and it opens up discussions to reform itself – then this can still be quelled. But if European politicians continue to act as if nothing happened, and serve the same old bromides about how nice and fuzzy things will be if nothing changes, then … You fill the blanks.

      • I wouldnt credit that very much

        There was little of that chatter, but it was rather plainly of the format established by shitty American “news” television: We have nothing new to report at all, and we have air time to fill, so here are some dudes we can present split-screen. The first dude will speculate wildly, in a complete absence of information, in some dramatic way that we can present as a “question” in our news crawl, while the second dude makes a serious face and nods.

        TV like that subtracts from the aggregation of human knowledge.

        Porc is a Republican in 2016– which means porc has a seriously defective bullshit detector

        • Porc has a fine nose for bullshit – for detecting it, I mean, not for having it rubbed into it.

          The comment about the split screen dudes is very funny. The Brexit scare mongering on CNN International, especially by Christiane Amanpour – whom I respect greatly – was very dispiriting. Where is independent jouralism when you need it?

      • Lighten up a little, perhaps?

        I suggest The Guns of August. Germany’s desire to rule France pre-dates the Nazis by a good half-century.

        • Why not talk about the Napoleonic Wars?

          Does Europe want, with this Brexit war – I mean vote, of course – to recreate the conditions for Austerlitz, Wagram, Russian winter campaign, Leipzig, Waterloo?


          Seriously now. The war avoidance concern was real in 1950, but falls flat in 2016. Concern now is globalization, elites, and some measure of democratic control on the whole thing from the plebeians beneath.

          • If Dad is taking The Potato Famine into consideration..

            …for present day political analysis, why not the Napoleonic wars?

            I gave a Scots friend with half her family still over there who quite seriously mentioned the Auld Alliance as a factor in Scotland’s vote. Marguerite D’Anjou would be pleased to know she is still a political factor.

            Then again, the terrorists they are worried about are pissed off about 1125.

            Britain gained an empire by steering clear of Europe and playing them off against one another. It is a deeply ingrained, if romanticized, part of their political culture.

    • I've actually heard France and Italy...

      …among those that are restless. I know Sabutai knocked you for the implied Nazi reference, but I for one am thinking gee, a bunch of right-wing nationalists coming to the fore in Europe – what could possibly go wrong?!

      • There isn’t support for right wing nationalists to win elections outright. Even in Britain, talk is of Boris Johnson to become PM. He’s a Churchillian blusterer, but no right winger.

      • and Texas! And Cape Cod!

        Why are people giving credence to every idiot who can write a press release? The only group in Europe, the ONLY group, that can demonstrate about 50% support from the population and favor an in/out referendum, are the Scottish Nationalists. The French FN has a 40% ceiling, and the Italian 5SM aren’t at that level. People who want to believe that this apocalypse are rushing to anyone who will make their dreams come true, I guess.

        sabutai   @   Sat 25 Jun 1:32 PM
  8. The system did not pay for the laborers

    Here is an illustration of wealth disparity in Europe, where the UK ranks at the top of nations with high wealth disparity.

    People are pissed off and want to tear it down. Can we blame them?

    Wealth in Great Britain is even more unequally divided than income. The richest 10% of households hold 45% of all wealth. The poorest 50%, by contrast, own just 8.7%.6 Still better than the USA where the top 10 percent of US households control nearly 75 percent of all wealth but then, we’ve got Donald Trump banging the drum on that one. On our side Bernie Sanders was the one arguing for higher wages but he lost and $12 per hour Hillary Clinton won. Hillary wants Sanders supporters, eh? The Democrats want to help themselves to a populist theme, right? Wrong?
    So what are Democrats doing? Well, the DNC platform committee has just rejected one of Sanders’ most pertinent goals – the $15 minimum wage.

    When will the Democrats become the party of the working family?

    • > When will the Democrats become the party of the working family?

      The Dems are too busy raising moneys from the moneyed class to be the party of the working family anymore. Sanders tried a hostile takeover of the party – it was a valiant attempt, but came too short.

  9. Enter Putin?

    I think you are right to be concerned about Putin’s ambitions, but I don’t agree that the Brexit raises much concern in this regard. Great Britain did not withdraw from NATO. The U.S. has been engaged in a series of exercises with Eastern European nations called “Operation Atlantic Resolve” which includes moving A-10 “tank killer” aircraft into positions in Europe.

    • Ha ha ha! The right to fair trial, to privacy – all those things are on the line, without the EU to oversee the hapless Brits?

      No wonder people voted the way they did when seeing things like this.

      I did not follow the campaign at all, and this video is from April – but it sure sounds like the Bremain campaign was quite ponderous.

      • don't be silly

        They are not “on the line” as you wrote, just a recognition that Britain was not close to the pantheon of democracy that some British blowhards claim as a half-millenial legacy of the Magna Carta. UK citizens gained enormous political rights from EU participation. But the reason I posted the too too funny piece is that there would have been no peace In Ireland without the EU. Now it must all be renegotiated. Get a grip on it.

        • The peace in Ireland has to be renegotiated? Come on. You said get a grip, not get a gripe.

          • As you noted

            As you noted in your previous post

            I did not follow the campaign at all

            and it is obvious from your comment.

            Here is one part of a good and thoughtful article from the Guardian

            Recklessly, casually, with barely a thought, English nationalists have planted a bomb under the settlement that brought peace to Northern Ireland and close cordiality to relations between Britain and Ireland. To do this seriously and soberly would have been bad. To do it so carelessly, with nothing more than a pat on the head and a reassurance that everything will be all right, is frankly insulting.

            You might want to read the large body of literature on this subject. Or even just this single article.


          • You're kidding, right?

            The Good Friday Agreement is an agreement of the whole. All parts are critical — you can’t just remove one part and expect the parties to hold fast to the rest.

            The border between ROI and NI is an open border, as part of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Closing that border risks tearing up the whole of the Agreement. It’s a big deal, and loads of folks in ROI, NI, and even in England are now growing skittish about this reality.

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