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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:04 pm 
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FEBRUARY 6, 2019

Brexit in the Context of British History

by PATRICK COCKBURN


How should Brexit be seen against the broad backdrop of British history? Analogies multiply, with the crudest coming from prominent Brexiteer MP Mark Francois who denounced the head of Airbus for writing a letter stressing the negative economic impact for Britain of leaving the EU.

Francois claimed that this was yet one more example of teutonic arrogance, adding pugnaciously, “My father, Reginald Francois, was a D-Day veteran. He never submitted to bullying by any German. Neither will his son.” With this, he tore up the letter in front of the television cameras.

The puerile bombast that accompanied this performance attracted great publicity, as no doubt Francois intended, and derisive commentary was abundant. But Francois has scarcely been alone in making ludicrously exaggerated analogies between Britain leaving the EU and other great crises in British history.

Jacob Rees-Mogg made a classier but equally absurd comparison between Theresa May’s Brexit deal and the Treaty of Le Goulet agreed between King John and Philip II of France in 1200 at time when John was vainly trying to hold on to his lands across the Channel.

Such xenophobic or far-fetched analogies tend to bring into disrepute anybody else trying to see Brexit in the context of British history. Yet there are comparisons to be made with our recent and distant past which illuminate the political terrain in which the battle over relations between Britain and the EU is being fought.

The trouble is, knowledge of events only recently past is depressingly scanty. People may very reasonably say that they have never heard of the Treaty of Le Goulet and are dubious about its relevance. Much more dangerous is the fact that so many Conservative MPs, going by what they say, have little idea what was in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 or why it ended a savage guerrilla war in which some 3,000 people were killed.

The conflict known as the Troubles was only the latest episode in the 400-year-old confrontation between the Catholic and Protestant communities in Ulster. Bringing it to an end was the greatest achievement of Tony Blair’s years in office. Yet today Theresa May is cavalierly putting this hard-won peace in jeopardy because she needs the votes of the DUP, seen by Catholics as a sectarian Protestant party, to maintain her parliamentary majority.

The British government has thoughtlessly abandoned the neutrality between nationalists and unionists which was declared by John Major’s government in 1993 and was a necessary precondition for peace talks.

Watching MPs being questioned about the backstop, it soon becomes clear that few of them have much idea of its significance.

The backstop is treated as if it was solely about border checks, or the absence of them, and about the stance of the EU, Irish and British governments on the issue. Conservative MPs and ministers state defiantly that Northern Ireland cannot be treated differently from the rest of the UK, as if the Good Friday Agreement and everything else to do with the country since 1920 has not treated it as a different political entity.

We have been here before. The crisis in British history which perhaps has the most in common with the turmoil over Brexit is that over the home rule, which convulsed British politics repeatedly between 1880 and 1922. The Conservative Party played the “Orange Card” successfully in order to win elections and thereby ensured that, when the Irish gained effective independence, it was through violence.

The English have the reputation abroad of being obsessed with their own history, but I doubt if this is really the case. Put another way, they consider history as a determining force to be something that happens to other people. The explanation for this is that the history of the British state over the last four centuries has been one of largely undiluted success, in sharp contrast to the rest of Europe, which looks back at a history of revolutions, wars and occupations.

The Suez crisis in 1956 is often cited as having similarities with Brexit, but it was a setback far more limited in scope than its subsequent reputation. The British and French miscalculated the strength of Egyptian nationalism and of US objections to their venture, but they suffered no military defeat and lost little they had not lost before. The British drew the lesson that they must become even closer allies of the US and the French, and that they needed to enhance their strength through deepening their engagement with Germany and the EEC.

The idea that the British have been blinded to their real interests by nostalgia for lost empire is a myth. If it had been true, then they would not have retreated from empire so easily (not so easy, of course, for people in India, Kenya, Cyprus and Malaya). Contrast this with France,which battled to keep Indo-China and then Algeria, only to suffer defeat and humiliation.

The British legacy from the 19th and 20th centuries is less a crippling desire to revisit imperial glories than an overwhelming sense of self-confidence which has only recently transformed into mindless hubris. The political class lost the ability to calculate the political odds for and against its projects. One could see this in the failures in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. One can see this again in the bafflement of the Theresa May government, the Brexiteers, and much of the public, as they struggle to understand why they failed to get their way in negotiations in Brussels, obvious though it was from the beginning that the 27 remaining members of the EU held the trump cards.

Stability within the UK and the skilful creation of alliances abroad were the key to past British successes while the Royal Navy prevented temporary reverses turning into permanent defeats. British power sprang from victory over France – as Britain’s historic European rival – in the Napoleonic wars and against Germany in the First and Second World Wars.

There has not really been a peacetime British crisis that matches up to Brexit since the 17th century and those most often mentioned, such the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 and the Great Reform Bill of 1832, do not measure up. The English Civil War between 1642 and 1651 had complex ingredients that are not yet replicated by Brexit (despite claims by those who are privately persuaded their cause would benefit from saying that we are all on the road to armageddon).

They may be right in the long term but one should not prematurely adopt the apocalyptic tone of many of the journalists and politicians gathered on College Green outside the Houses of Parliament. Brexit remains the strangest of crises because, as many have pointed out, the whole country is being invited to board the Brexit train without knowing its destination. That may be in some far distant land or, perhaps more likely, could simply be on another platform in the same railway station.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:57 pm 
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The European Council President has issued some helpful comments designed to smooth the negotiation process

Quote:
European Council President Donald Tusk has spoken of a "special place in hell" for "those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it safely".


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47143135

Gammons are apoplectic.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:40 pm 
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May is on her way to Brussels today to discuss reopening negotiations which the EU have said repeatedly over the last few months they wouldn't do.

At the very least she has to come out of this with an extension to the March 29th leave date (which would also require Parliamentary approval) because there is now not enough time to pass legislation for any form of Brexit. Not that she says that of course as she's trying to use the fear of a no deal to force people into accepting her deal.

It's all a bit of a mess.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:41 pm 
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UPDATE: To nobody's surprise the EU said no.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:43 pm 
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No?

No!

:-O

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:38 pm 
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Just hard Brexit and be done with it ya cunts! It's not like having to work with tariffs or border controls would be anything new and uncharted for ya.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:38 pm 
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SomeGuy wrote:
Just hard Brexit and be done with it ya cunts! It's not like having to work with tariffs or border controls would be anything new and uncharted for ya.


Ummmm ....

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:41 pm 
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Slacks wrote:
SomeGuy wrote:
Just hard Brexit and be done with it ya cunts! It's not like having to work with tariffs or border controls would be anything new and uncharted for ya.


Ummmm ....


Okay so for you it might be uncharted territory just like changing a tire is uncharted.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:46 pm 
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So, we are due to leave at the end of March, but there's a very good chance there will be an extension so negotiations can maybe be concluded. Maybe. Possibly.

The European elections, where we all get to vote in who we want our European representatives (MEPs) to be in the EU Parliament, are in May.

In short, we will get to vote in our MEPs into the EU we will soon be leaving (maybe).

To keep the Brexit momentum going, Nigel Farage has set up a new political party called - uninspiringly - The Brexit Party. He will then field anti-EU candidates to probably get elected into the EU Parliament.

This could get amusing.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:33 am 
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Do you realise that you are currently my sole source of information on Brexit Slacks?

That's quite a responsibilty.

:|

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:02 am 
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Holyman wrote:
Do you realise that you are currently my sole source of information on Brexit Slacks?

That's quite a responsibilty.

:|



Clearly you need to diversify:

phpBB [video]



phpBB [video]



phpBB [video]



Oops, that second one IS Slacks. III/O


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:18 am 
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Holyman wrote:
Do you realise that you are currently my sole source of information on Brexit Slacks?

That's quite a responsibilty.

:|


I am aware that this thread is mostly me talking to myself, so I'm glad someone is finding it useful!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:59 am 
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In related news, the company without ferries that the government awarded an emergency ferry service contract to, has withdrawn due to the fact that they wouldn't be able to deliver a ferry service in time.

Who could have seen that coming?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:04 pm 
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On a more serious note, my friend's mum is married to a German who is refusing to do the paperwork to confirm his residency here, saying it's none of the UK's business what his financial affairs are (he's loaded so it wouldn't be a problem). He's unlikely to be deported come brexit, but it's a kick in the teeth when you've lived, worked married and raised a family in a country you were once made to feel welcome in.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:37 pm 
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Slacks wrote:
On a more serious note, my friend's mum is married to a German who is refusing to do the paperwork to confirm his residency here, saying it's none of the UK's business what his financial affairs are (he's loaded so it wouldn't be a problem). He's unlikely to be deported come brexit, but it's a kick in the teeth when you've lived, worked married and raised a family in a country you were once made to feel welcome in.


Sounds like someone who has skeletons in his closet.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:00 pm 
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PBFMullethunter wrote:
Slacks wrote:
On a more serious note, my friend's mum is married to a German who is refusing to do the paperwork to confirm his residency here, saying it's none of the UK's business what his financial affairs are (he's loaded so it wouldn't be a problem). He's unlikely to be deported come brexit, but it's a kick in the teeth when you've lived, worked married and raised a family in a country you were once made to feel welcome in.


Sounds like someone who has skeletons in his closet.


Now you mention it we still aren't sure what he was up to in Germany between 1933-45

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:07 pm 
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Slacks wrote:
PBFMullethunter wrote:
Slacks wrote:
On a more serious note, my friend's mum is married to a German who is refusing to do the paperwork to confirm his residency here, saying it's none of the UK's business what his financial affairs are (he's loaded so it wouldn't be a problem). He's unlikely to be deported come brexit, but it's a kick in the teeth when you've lived, worked married and raised a family in a country you were once made to feel welcome in.


Sounds like someone who has skeletons in his closet.


Now you mention it we still aren't sure what he was up to in Germany between 1933-45


It's not unreasonable to surmise that he killed 10,000 Joos.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:00 pm 
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How London won the race for the renminbi

Quote:
Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
https://www.ft.com/content/3e47f0c6-2ac ... 8ef2b976c7

When trading volumes in the Chinese renminbi toppled those of the pound against the euro late last year in London, it was a moment for policymakers to savour. Orders came to a daily average of $73bn in October, according to the Bank of England, underscoring the UK’s status as the world’s biggest renminbi trading hub outside China.

Heavy trading in the renminbi is a reward for an effort begun several years ago, as China set out in earnest to “internationalise” its currency. Beijing’s aim was for the renminbi to eventually take its place alongside the dollar in central-bank reserves around the world, befitting China’s status as the world’s number two economy. George Osborne, then UK chancellor, saw an opportunity: a chance to dominate the offshore renminbi market, potentially yielding billions of pounds of tax revenues.

Rival centres in Asia and Europe have fallen away, as the UK pressed ahead with a charm offensive. According to Swift, the payments company, more than 36 per cent of renminbi transactions were carried out in the UK in December last year, compared with about 6 per cent each in France and Singapore.

One senior Chinese banker based in London says that the city has become the “only option” for Beijing to continue broadening ownership of its currency, even with the shadow cast by Britain’s exit from the EU.

“Three or four years ago London was viewed as an FX trading centre, but today . . . policymakers are moving towards a broader view and see London as a place for introducing Chinese capital markets to foreign investors,” says the banker.


:-"

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:00 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
Quote:
Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
https://www.ft.com/content/3e47f0c6-2ac ... 8ef2b976c7


I'm telling on you

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:56 pm 
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Slacks wrote:
Holyman wrote:
Quote:
Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
https://www.ft.com/content/3e47f0c6-2ac ... 8ef2b976c7


I'm telling on you


:))

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:31 pm 
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I figured it was worth the risk...

Think it'll be hard for the FT to prove that I denied them potential subscribers from here at the OP.

[-O<

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:40 pm 
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Not much to report on Brexit. May continuing to say she's working on getting the EU to reopen the agreement. EU saying they won't. This will carry on until it's do-or-die time and then parliament will have to choose between May's deal or no deal.

No sign of any extension or second referendum.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:52 pm 
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Slacks wrote:
Not much to report on Brexit. May continuing to say she's working on getting the EU to reopen the agreement. EU saying they won't. This will carry on until it's do-or-die time and then parliament will have to choose between May's deal or no deal.

No sign of any extension or second referendum.


(:|


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:57 pm 
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looooooooooooooooooool

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:36 pm 
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Slacks wrote:



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