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Monday, June 08, 2015

That was fast

I don't know that I've ever seen a faster government U-turn:
Breaking: David Cameron climbs down on 'back me or resign' Downing Street has forced into a climb-down over whether Government ministers will have to resign if they want to campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, reports our Political Editor Peter Dominiczak.

Number 10 insisted that David Cameron "has not set out" whether "collective responsibility" will apply at the in-out referendum, which could be held next year.

Mr Cameron's spokeswoman insisted that the Prime Minister had only said that members of the Government would have to resign during the renegotiation phase leading up to the announcement of a referendum if they wish to campaign for Britain to leave the EU.

Mr Cameron has not made a decision about whether ministers would have to quit if they campaign for a British exit, Downing Street claimed. It appears to leave open the possibility of ministers being able to campaign for Britain to leave the EU.
It sounds rather like the Prime Minister learned that he was about to lose most of his ministers and find himself facing a vote of no confidence only weeks after his big electoral victory.

I don't think the usual kabuki is fooling anyone this time around. The EU isn't going to cut Britain any slack, and even if they did, it wouldn't matter because they could take it back anytime in the future. Sovereign or slave-state, that is the only relevant question.

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25 Comments:

Blogger Tommy Hass June 08, 2015 4:06 PM  

Is there any country that benefits/would benefit from being in the EU?

If Turkey had a chance to join, I think it would do well to decline I'd say. However, Germany would actually gain from being in the EU, at least it looks like that superficially.

Blogger Jourdan June 08, 2015 4:09 PM  

I agree with your take, and believe that neither Cameron nor the Conservative Party wants out of the EU. However, on this particular issue, I think the PM is correct: he was misunderstood. Here is the actual transcript that Fleet Street interpreted as "no free vote":

QUESTION: Can I just check, on the EU referendum, have you absolutely closed your mind to allowing ministers a free vote? That’s a no-no [inaudible]?

PRIME MINISTER I’ve been very clear, which is I’ve said that if you want to be part of the government, you have to take the view that we are engaged in an exercise of renegotiation to have a referendum, and that will lead to a successful outcome.

QUESTION: So anyone in government who opposes that will have to resign?

PRIME MINISTER: Everyone in government has signed up to the programme set out in the Conservative manifesto.

The two men are talking past one another. The questions are clear, but the PM is ignoring the question and saying in effect "not relevant because we're going to be successful in the task before us right now which is re-negotiation."

There is no way the PM could deny MPs, including ministers, a free vote on this issue; given British tradition, this is prime free vote territory.

Anonymous Steve June 08, 2015 4:17 PM  

Tommy - France, maybe? They know how to game the agricultural subsidies system.

EE countries benefit from structural funding and getting unemployed youngers off their hands by sending them West.

Turkey joining the sinking EU ship would be a disaster for both them and Europe, but their political elites seem mad keen on the idea.

Blogger Tommy Hass June 08, 2015 4:40 PM  

How would it be a disaster for Turkey? Is it because superior European companies would outcompete their domestic companies?

And assuming that free movement of persons wouldn't be granted, is there any other reason why a EU involving Turkey would fail?

Blogger Alexander June 08, 2015 4:50 PM  

If only there was a song, to a tune the bureaucrats have declared their European anthem, that fully captured my sentiments towards the EU... ah hell, this will have to do:

Fuck the filthy Euro Union!
Fuck their courts and MEPs!
Fuck their rules and regulations;
Their whole vile bureaucracy!

Asshats, Bastards, Cowards, Dimwits,
Excrement-feeding Gallows-bait.
Hang the swine Higher than Haman,
Ignorant Jackasses, Knaves!

What them purge the bent banana.
See your taxes rise and rise.
See your nations fall to ruin.
Watch as every freedom dies.

Lick-ass Morons, Nincompoops, oh
Pity the Quagmire these Reds made.
Syocphants and Thieves, the whole crew,
Underworked and overpaid.

Friday mornings they will sign in
To ensure their holidays
Are paid for by lesser people.
Free men call those people, 'Slaves'.

Green on the outside, red on the inside,
Watermelons, black of soul,
Xerox copies of each other
Yahoos, Zeroes, one and all.

[As a side note, I like to think at this point the orchestra shoots cannons, ala Overture 1812]

To the lampposts, Europeans
Tie the knots and toss the ropes.
Fit the nooses. Haul the free ends.
Stand back; watch your masters choke.

Anonymous Steve June 08, 2015 5:19 PM  

Tommy - it would be a disaster for Turkey because the EU would hollow it out from the inside like a maggot in an apple, subverting its native institutions and burying its economy under foolish red tape.

The Commission, the ECB and the ECJ are profoundly anti-democratic institutions, and they would be the new bosses of Turkey.

While I'm not uncritical of modern democracy, EU-style technocracy is demonstrably worse. Turkey is better off being run by Turks than by failed Belgian politicians and German bankers and French thieves. Turkey is better off being open to cut any trade deals it wants with the world, rather than being stuck behind a customs union and thirled to the shrinking economy of the EU. Turkey is better off with the lira than following the example of their impoverished Greek neighbours into the unworkable Euro.

And assuming that free movement of persons wouldn't be granted, is there any other reason why a EU involving Turkey would fail?

The EU will fail - has failed - with or without Turkey. Vast multicultural empires don't last without a tyrannical central government to hold the provinces together. And the EU can't accept Turkey as a member without granting its citizens free movement to the rest of the EU - it's one of the fundamental four freedoms hard-coded into the EU's DNA.

It would be wrong on the EU's part to insist Turks be second-class citizens of the EU, and no honourable Turk would accept or forgive such an insult. So it's a non-starter of an idea. And yet, adding 80 million Turks to the Union would be a demographic disaster for Western Europe, which is already deeply troubled by mass immigration and all the unemployment, overcrowding, and ethnic strife that entails. So Turkey joining the EU would hasten the Balkanisation of Western Europe.

Not because Turks are a bad people - they're a fine people, even if their grandfathers did bugger Lawrence of Arabia. But they're not Europeans.

Anonymous BGS June 08, 2015 5:25 PM  

I hope the lamp posts don't break under the weight of all the traitors.

Blogger YIH June 08, 2015 6:26 PM  

Tommy Hass:
If Turkey had a chance to join, I think it would do well to decline I'd say.
Up until '10 they were seeking to - then they saw the trainwreck that was Greece and started to back away slowly... Laughing nervously.

Anonymous ticticboom June 08, 2015 6:29 PM  

This is one of those situations where I hope everyone loses. Happily, looks like I'll get my wish. Sadly, looks like the Irish are way ahead of them.

Blogger Azimus June 08, 2015 6:32 PM  

This just means David Cameron can be bought. Given the alternative between corrupt politician who can be bought for a price (i.e. his own political survival) and a true believer, I feel far more comfortable with someone who names his price. His price was continuing to be the Prime Minister. On this humble factoid empires can be toppled!

Blogger Azimus June 08, 2015 6:35 PM  

1. Blogger Tommy Hass June 08, 2015 4:06 PM
Is there any country that benefits/would benefit from being in the EU?


Isn't it true that any citizen of the Eurozone can retire to any other country of the Eurozone and enjoy that nation's benefits as if it were their own? So in that sense, pretty much any of the poorer Eurozone nations would benefit by unloading their retirees? Wouldn't Greece happily send two million old folks to Norway and eliminate their obligations?

Anonymous Steve June 08, 2015 7:06 PM  

Azimus - Isn't it true that any citizen of the Eurozone can retire to any other country of the Eurozone and enjoy that nation's benefits as if it were their own?

Basically yes. A member state can't discriminate against EU citizens. But if you have a contributions-based state pension scheme, or some other test based on length of residency, people from other member states may not qualify.

Norway isn't a member of the EU.

Blogger VFM 188* June 08, 2015 7:25 PM  

Oh yeah, the old con game: Stay in, get out, or get "reform" (and stay in). There are always enough suckers who fall for the "reform" ploy when they should be voting to get out. That's usually enough to split the opposition and let the minority position (stay in) triumph. We'll see.

Blogger Anthony June 08, 2015 7:40 PM  

Tommy - what causes the most immediate damage isn't joining the EU, it's joining the Euro. Turkey's economy is different enough from that of France and Germany that movements in the Euro, which in theory help French and German producers and consumers adjust to the relative competitiveness of their countries would at least as likely have negative effects on Turkish producers and consumers. Without the Euro, Turkey will see some benefits from better coordination with their larger trading partners and from Turks being able to seek jobs throughout the EU, and some costs from increased bureaucratization of the economy. Also, there will be significant pressure to change the "culture", which will benefit some Turks and cost others, and will increase political strife within the country.

Blogger Montrose June 08, 2015 8:01 PM  

I am betting on the slave state option. The stakes are too high for the paper-pushers to allow the UK more independence. If they do, it will come at the cost of less power. Same as with the independence vote earlier - not going to happen. Miracles happen, of course, they are just not likely.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream June 08, 2015 8:48 PM  

Since the Scots have made getting out of the EU a stealth referendum on kicking Scotland out, the prospects for getting out have never been better.

Anonymous zen0 June 08, 2015 9:57 PM  

@ BGS

> I hope the lamp posts don't break under the weight of all the traitors.

Maybe a successful campaign could be run on the slogan "Strengthen the Lamposts"

Blogger automatthew June 09, 2015 12:56 AM  

Maybe a successful campaign could be run on the slogan "Strengthen the Lamposts"

A chicken in every pot and a gallows on every corner?

Anonymous jdgalt June 09, 2015 12:58 AM  

I don't think Cameron faces just the threat of a no-confidence vote. I think he faces a grimmer outcome -- in which the ministers he ousts (and maybe a goodly percentage of other Tory MPs) will defect to UKIP, and then easily win the resulting by-elections to keep their seats, thus replacing the new Conservative-majority government to a plurality one in which UKIP would have the ongoing power to call the tune.

Blogger Tommy Hass June 09, 2015 1:12 AM  

"they're a fine people, even if their grandfathers did bugger Lawrence of Arabia."

Funny to see Westerners show resentment against Turks with regards to Lawrence. You have no idea how pissed people in Turkey are at him and more importantly, at the Arabs for betraying us. It's deeply ingrained. "Don't trust Arabs" is a maxim even believed by us.

Btw, how exactly does the Euro harm weaker economies? I thought that Greece suffered because they lived large and used the buying power created by superior economies. It was not inevitable.

The first thing that comes to mind is that it destroys exports, because you have a currency way too strong for your lower value products.

Anonymous Steve June 09, 2015 4:40 AM  

Tommy - Funny to see Westerners show resentment against Turks with regards to Lawrence

You're focusing on the wrong part of the sentence. The bit about buggering Lawrence wasn't meant in all seriousness.

You have no idea how pissed people in Turkey are at him and more importantly, at the Arabs for betraying us. It's deeply ingrained. "Don't trust Arabs" is a maxim even believed by us.

I can imagine.

Btw, how exactly does the Euro harm weaker economies? I thought that Greece suffered because they lived large and used the buying power created by superior economies. It was not inevitable.

The first thing that comes to mind is that it destroys exports, because you have a currency way too strong for your lower value products.


Yes, it's harmful for Greek exporters. Also, their tourist trade. Lots of folks would love to visit Greece and spend money there. But the Euro makes it too damn expensive. Greece's loss has been Turkey's gain.

The Greek tragedy shows you can't have a single currency without a fiscal union. Is Greece ultimately better off as a vassal state whose budgets are set in Frankfurt and Strasbourg and Brussels? Would Turkey be better off under such an arrangement?

No.

Blogger Derrick Bonsell June 09, 2015 5:31 AM  

The whole thing is pretty silly. The UK has a FPTP system. They don't elect parties, they elect MPs. David Cameron is an idiot (unfortunately, if he actually was, he would be nowhere.) That would be a good way to put the entire government in jeopardy.

Anonymous big bill June 11, 2015 5:29 PM  

NATO won't let Britain leave the EU, will it? Cameron needs to check with his handlers before he gets too far off the reservation.

Blogger Cuca Culpa June 13, 2015 2:06 AM  

This just means David Cameron can be bought.

Not really, it was simply pointed out to him what he demanded of them is illegal.

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