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About ml1dch

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  1. 2017 European general elections

    Astonishingly, people see preventing the return of fascism to Western Europe as something more important than indulging a bunch of infantile morons who think that diplomacy and international politics is some sort of jovial game.
  2. General Election 2017

    Without any real evidence to back it up, I'd wager there are probably more people who voted to remain without any real enthusiasm for it at the time, who are now fully on board the "what's done is done, let's all sail towards the iceberg together" train (to mix transport metaphors), than there are those who voted to leave who feel betrayed by what has happened since.
  3. General Election 2017

    If only there were a tall tree in a thunderstorm or a spot under some rickety masonry where he could stand. The tosser.
  4. General Election 2017

    I can't, but then I'm not going to be daft enough to claim that either of those things are likely or even plausible. What I'm more than happy to say though is that anybody claiming that any vote for the Lib Dems is a vote that helps the Conservatives is clearly talking out of their Farage. As you no doubt now realise.
  5. I'm not sure that anybody actually edits The Metro.
  6. General Election 2017

    My constituency has returned nothing but a Liberal or Tory MP since Sir Arthur Elton for the Whigs in 1855. It was taken by the Tories in 2015 with a small majority and had been Lib Dem since 1992 before that, each time with a comfortable, double-digit majority. So, run past me again how voting Lib Dem is just going to help the Tories get in?
  7. Paddy's "Things that cheer you up"

    Slightly better version of the picture which shows her contempt nicely
  8. ... incidentally, somebody (I forget who, but he sounded like he knew what he was talking about) being interviewed on a recent Spectator podcast predicted that the end result will likely be the UK agreeing to something pretty close to the big, up-front payment that the EU wants but insignificant or non-existent ongoing payments for any ongoing liabilities such as pensions. Everyone gets to walk away saying they've won and got what they wanted. Then the trade nonsense gets to start.
  9. This from Ian Dunt on politics.co.uk seems to put it all in an easy-to-read framework (with apologies for any formatting SNAFUs) So whether it's in a marriage or a continent, divorce is always the same - it all comes down to money. Exactly. Except that in this case they want about 60 billion euros. That's a lot of money. Did they just pluck that number out the air or what? They put it together from the seven-year financial framework liability and pensions. Well that sounds gripping. Let me just sort out this whisky and inject it directly into my bloodstream and I'll be right with you. The framework is basically how the EU organises its finances. They don't do an annual system, like we're used to in the UK. They use a seven year period. The current one was agreed in 2013 and lasts until 2020. The agreement meetings are famously bad tempered, but when they’re done shouting they decide what needs to be done and how much money they're allocating to it. It might include a bridge in Poland, nuclear power plant being decommissioned in France, budgets for academic research – the lot. Those are all called 'commitments'. Payments come later, when the work is actually carried out. But for now, Britain has commitments for, say, a road building project in Romania in November 2019, even though the payment hasn't happened yet. And how much does all this add up to? About 15 billion euros a year, although we get about six billion euros a year of it back in structural funds for the regions, research budgets for universities and farming subsidies. Everyone accepts we'd be paying that until March 2019, when we leave. But the EU is likely to argue that we are under contract to pay it until the end of the framework period – so that's another three quarters in 2019 and another four in 2020. This part gets us up to nearly half the expected 60 billion euro bill. OK I'm with you so far. The thing is, that seven-year period has a three-year add-on attached to it. Of course, because nothing can be simple. Imagine there's a British professor who gets an EU research grant lasting five years. It might be agreed in 2016, but the bill only arrives in 2021, a year after the funding period ends. So Britain might be liable for future payments for three years after 2020. At some point the Commission will present a gross figure and we'll be on the hook for our share, which is around 12% to 15%. So in reality the current funding period lasts until 2023 and we're on the hook throughout. That's pretty much the EU's opening position. But at least these demands go away relatively soon. The pensions aspect lasts forever. Or at least until a lot of EU employees pass away. Charming. This is our pensions liability for the people working in the European Commission and Council and all that I take it? Exactly. We have to contribute to the payments towards current and previous staff. The capitalised value of EU pensions commitments are currently around 62 billion euros, so we’d need to work out our share of it to establish our gross future liability. How do you do that? There'll probably be a disagreement there. Analysts estimate that about four per cent of current EU employees and eight per cent of its pensioners are Brits. The UK might argue that it should pay according to those figures. The EU argument is likely to be that once someone starts working for an EU institution they become a non-national and their precise citizenship is irrelevant. So Britain's liability should be the same as elsewhere: 12% to 15%. That gets us about another nine billion euros and into the ballpark area of the expected 60 billion euro figure. They're going to have a massive barney about this aren't they? They are. Both sides are already testing the legal waters to see if that gives them any leverage. But realistically, where would that end up? The ECJ? That doesn't sound tenable. Maybe the International Criminal Court? Ultimately, it doesn't really matter. By the time it came to that, Britain would have stormed out. The talks would have fallen apart before they even got to trade negotiations. Could it really come to that? It's possible. The Europeans are making some seriously hardline noises about the budget and it's not just posturing - there is real anger there. Britain is a net contributor to the EU budget. Brexit means there's a really quite significant chunk of missing funding to deal with. To put it in crude terms: either countries like Poland get less or countries like Germany pay more. Or probably a bit of both. Not good. It gets worse. The way European negotiations work is that everyone has a massive barney and then at the eleventh hour they kiss and make up and sign something. Well the first skirmishes for the next funding period usually start a couple of years before a new deal is signed. And that’s… Oh God. Next year. 2018. Just after the German elections. Right when we're getting into the meat of the negotiation. That's when the anger over the funding consequences of Brexit will be most acute. Whether you're a German paying more in or a Pole taking less out, you're going to blame the Brits. That means they may refuse to budge on the budget. And back home, May might find that the hardcore Brexit coalition of backbench Tory MPs, Ukip and the tabloids makes it politically impossible for her to accept the EU bill. It is a big number, to be fair. Sure, but look at it in context. In 2014, the government relieved Royal Mail of £38 billion of pensions liabilities plus a £10 billion deficit in preparation for privatisation and barely anyone even remembers that happened anymore. The difference here is that Brexit is an ideological battlefield which everyone feels personally invested in. But yes, there is an incentive for May to walk away here, say 'to hell with them', and present herself to the eurosceptic press like some sort of Boudica fighting valiantly against a foreign tyrant. It’s unlikely, but it is possible. There are many in her party, like John Redwood and other die-hard Brexiters, who would encourage her to do this. Or, more likely, it's possible that the budget issue is sorted, but that the anger over it goes on to poison the other parts of the negotiation. http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2017/02/15/everything-you-need-to-know-about-article-50-in-five-minutes
  10. On point one, I've repeatedly said that it's one of thousands of issues that will be negotiated. I'm not sure where I've deviated from that. On point two, I expect that we'll try, and I hope that we do. I also fully expect us to make a complete pig's ear out of it and blame everyone else for it. It's not the last nine months points in any other direction, is it?
  11. It is an issue. How taxation and free movement is treated in Gibraltar is going to have an impact that directly impacts the surrounding Spanish economy in a way that the main negotiation doesn't. So you can postulate about us walking away from negotiations all you like, but it is an issue that needs to be addressed, like thousands of others. So I'll just repeat back at yoy your dopey "if you're going to ignore the facts " nonsense. Frankly I'm surprised that you're getting so flappy about the EU trying to get the most out of this for the remaining members. Surely you didn't expect anything different to happen?
  12. The EU is those 27 countries. The thing that would stop the deal being ratified would be a veto from one of those 27. Spain being one of them. There is no scenario where "the EU ratifies it while Spain remains difficult". That scenario is one of the 27 members not ratifying it. In the next two years there will almost certainly be things that mean that others amongst the 27 want to kick up a fuss. It's what we signed up for. Edit - and obviously I say "we" in the loosest sense imaginable.
  13. All that does is make explicit something that would be implicit anyway. Let's say that a perfect, watertight arrangement is reached, with the UK government assuming (rightly, given that it's a British territory) that it applies to Gibraltar. If that deal isn't satisfactory for the Spanish government then they can veto the arrangement, just like any other country can. This hasn't given Spain any new powers or brought to light anything that wasn't previously known.
  14. Well, Spain (and every other EU member) has the right to veto the agreement that the negotiators bring back for whatever reason they want. That's been known from the start of all this. Hungary can veto it because they don't like the colour of David Davis's shoes if they want. In the event of one of the remaining members opting to veto the final deal, what alternatives to "rolling over and taking it" do you see the UK employing?
  15. Podcasts

    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned* Football Fives on this thread. An excellent look at football in general from a bunch of people who know huge amounts about it, rather than just reporting on what has happened in the last week like most of them do. Including a disproportionately high amount of Villa stuff due to one of the four hosts being a long-standing poster on here for many years (hence it being a surprise that it's not been brought up) *at least I don't think they have.