Home > General > To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.

To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.

The deed’s been done. At 12:30 BST, Sir Tim Barrow personally delivered the Prime Minister’s letter invoking Article 50 to Donald Tusk. Nine months have come and gone since Britain voted to disentangle itself from the increasingly moribund EU project. There is no going back, there is no stopping Brexit.

Tellingly, Brussels and London have acknowledged that neither side will be entirely happy with the outcome of negotiations. The chancellor stated that there is no way to have one’s cake and eat it, too. Even Paul Nuttal acknowledged that certain aims would not be quite so easy to realise. Despite this, life goes on. The UK will not suffer unduly and the EU has found a way to muddle on. Those countries that wish to practise “ever closer union” will do so, those that do not wish to will have a formally recognised prerogative to maintain the status quo. One forgets that Rome did not fall in a day, to mangle a cliché. Life will continue to carry on on this, our beloved continent.

As a final note… The local birdcage liner, the Trieriescher Volksfreund, was even more pitiful and hysterical than it usually is. I rarely actually read the rag as it has the impartiality of the Grauniad and the journalistic integrity of the Daily Express. Unless, of course, I wish to elevate my blood pressure. They managed to find two shrill remoaners to confirm their bias. I fear that with this sort of mindless propagandising many Continentals shan’t ever understand Britain. As David Cameron said today, “We’ve never liked the EU flag. We always preferred our own”.

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Categories: General
  1. christinaosborne
    March 29, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    We are then definitely re-entitled to make loud dramatic utterances of
    “Wogs begin at Calais” Once again.

    One of my most cherished memories of the old man, who, when incensed by whatever behaviour of our continental cousins would literally rant, rave, throw his arms and tear his hair screaming the same.
    Quite splendid theatrics.
    Fortunately he died before we joined the Common Market as it was purported to be and well before the Chunnel was built.
    Probably a fortuitous saving grace for all of us!

  2. March 29, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Indeed, CT, and the enemy are already leaking their plans. Running scared, I’d say.

  3. March 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Food for thought: how much leverage do you think Continental investors and exporters have with their gubmints? They will certainly not want a slow, dirty divorce based on the oldest motives in the world, envy and revenge.

  4. March 29, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    CO:Wogs begin at Calais, Huns begin at Westerland. A greater degree of cheek, spleen and spine are to be welcomed. The stifling political correctness we’ve endured has simply been too much. Last week I read an article about the most recent Dutch election. A failed “asylum seeker” said that he preferred Wilders over Rutte and Jesse Klaver because Wilders is at least honest in his dislike.

    Janus: It seems as if reality is dawning ever so slowly in Brussels. Theresa May’s work permit offer allows the British government to clamp-down on gimmegrants and puts off some low-grade individuals, but it still gives Poland and Slovakia much of what they’d like. Likewise, an offer to make modest contributions to the EU’s coffers is seen as preferable to losing all funding — especially in countries like Germany, France, Italy and Ireland. Even a fraction of what is currently paid in will reduce what they have to pay.

  5. March 29, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Janus: They have already made their views known. So long as the UK grants the EU a few face saving concessions there aren’t actually too many impediments to reaching an understanding of sorts. British laws will remain relatively compatible with EU laws. So long as Merkel remains Chancellor a coalition of Germanic and Nordic countries, along with Ireland, can dampen the flames of vengeance.

  6. christinaosborne
    March 29, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    If they let them!

  7. March 29, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    CO: One of Britain’s greatest weaknesses as an EEC/EC/EU member was that it didn’t so much fail to understand the game as it failed to understand that there was a game at all. European politics are very much consensus-driven, hence the fact that it takes years to hammer out an uninspiring compromise that is rarely fully enforced in any member state. Take, for example, the much-vaunted EU military. It’s a joint task-force more than it is a full-fledged military. Unanimity is required for any joint operation which makes it virtually impossible to use as a combined military force. It is the same with the EU’s foreign service. If there is broad consensus, they’re allowed to speak but national foreign services routinely undermine it by pursuing different courses and goals. Once the countries that count reach a consensus and enough allies are found, a tolerable deal will be hammered out.

  8. March 29, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    The motor industry, finance sectors, tourism – nobody wants to rock the boat. They want business as usual – they pay the piper – and I think they’ll get it.

  9. christinaosborne
    March 29, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Christopher, I think that the UK had quite enough of shifting continental alliances and their resulting wars (into which we were dragged, sometimes very reluctantly,) from 1699 onwards. Particularly bad in the 18th and 19th centuries.
    400 years of aggro with the bastards is more than enough for most.
    Not that the average UK denizen would know a from a bulls foot about wars such as ‘The Spanish succession’ etc!
    We always knew there was a game just mainly didn’t want to play it post Marlborough.

  10. March 29, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Janus: Whether they want to admit it or not, parts of France and Spain rely on the money that British pensioners spend. Spain has a vested interest in continuing the flow of British pensioners. What, with Spain having a declining population — especially working-age — they need to make up the money somehow. Some French municipalities would be insolvent were it not for taxes collected from Britons. Those are areas of otherwise declining populations with high liabilities for resident Frog pensioners.

    CO: I’m well aware of Britain’s historical relations with Europe. One could argue that England started to hold itself at arm’s length from the continent, whenever possible, starting after Henry VIII’s unreliable involvement in Charles V’s ambitions for France. Necessity required a degree of engagement, but England increasingly looked elsewhere.It’s telling that the English Church became a sui generis institution in an overwhelmingly Catholic and Lutheran sea. (I am aware that the Dutch were very often Calvinists) The British “thought” it was a matter of shifting alliances, etc, and to an extent were correct — but they never understood “how things are done” on the Continent. I didn’t come up with this argument, rather, this is what British MEPs and diplomats have frequently written. The Continent for me is much like the metric system. With some effort I can grasp it, but I’m far more comfortable with imperial measures.

  11. March 30, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Each country will have a different amount to gain or lose from their balance of payments resulting from their income from “trade” with the UK. If they try to penalize us, then they’ll expect that we’ll reciprocate on our trade with them. Those who stand to lose most will obviously want a more amicable, freer approach while those who stand to lose least, (like the commission itself), will want to try to use the opportunity to scare other countries who may be feeling tempted to to leave. Can anyone seriously think that EDF (who supply well over 5 million domestic UK customers) is going to readily accept that their power will be be way more expensive in the UK than anyone else’s? BMW and Audi enjoy a share of more than 13% of the all the sales in the UK’s new car market between them. In 2016 alone, that amounted to more than 2.6 million new vehicle registrations. Of course they’ll be happy just to hold their hands up and kiss goodbye to a large proportion of that market aren’t they? Eighteen months to two years down the road, the Italians, the French and the Greeks may also have voted to rebel to a greater or lesser degree. Then add in the fact that the Commission doesn’t actually gain anything from representing anyone’s business interests and It is not beyond imagination that individual commissioners might start receiving some less than welcome phone calls from acquaintances back at home, regarding some “potential alterations” to donation arrangements to their national political parties from some of their “major contributors”, particularly if the commissioners behaviour looks likely to threaten big corp profits.

  12. March 30, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I presume that the convention that no parliament can bind its successors still holds. If so it means that any agreement reached during the Brexit negotiations can in future be overturned which is of course the whole point of sovereignty.
    The Eurocrats are going to find that negotiating with a sovereign state is a whole different ball game.

  13. March 30, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I thought that I posted a comment to the effect that Eurocrats will find that negotiating with a sovereign state somewhat different. Maybe I pushed the wrong button.

  14. March 30, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Maybe not

  15. March 30, 2017 at 8:52 am

    JL: The UK’s relationship with the EU has been inequitable in more ways than just economic. British Intelligence is superior to anything found on the Continent.DGSE, BND,SISMI, MIVD, etc. are more often than not adequate but Europe as a whole has relied heavily on Mi6 and its intelligence alliance with the other “Five Eyes” countries. The British Armed Forces are one of Europe’s two credible militaries, France’s being the other. Alienating the UK would be devastating for regional security. Theresa May didn’t say this explicitly, but one could infer from what she has said that it would behove the EU to find a mutually beneficial framework PDQ.

    Jazz: You are correct. One reason why I’ve argued for a tolerable muddle in the short-to-mid-term is that it allows for problematic portions to be renegotiated, if not scrapped, in time. This would allow for the most stability and predictability. The EU, much to its discredit, does have an established record of negotiating with sovereign states. It just happens to be a really, really bad record. Remember the fiasco that was the Canada-EU trade agreement?

  16. March 30, 2017 at 9:16 am

    James, I agree. The big hitters sur le continent will apply enormous pressure to avoid tariffs either way.

  17. March 30, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Christopher, I think the Frau’s rather childish expression of intransigence may lead to her find out that there may be others on her own bench who will not for stand her risking the loss of their markets in the UK. She is well aware of the fact that everyone in the EU nations will have to agree to the basis of terms for the exit and is trying to kybosh negotiations from the outset. This does sound a bit like an “….some animals are more equal than others” attitude to me. On the other hand she could just trying to copy the Trumps attempts to insinuate that Germany owes NATO vast amounts by claiming that the UK is in the same position with regard to the EU. 🙂

  18. March 30, 2017 at 10:45 am

    James: If you think Merkel is taking a stance based on principle I must, my good man, regretfully inform you that your assertion lacks exactitude. Merkel lacks principles of any sort. She’s a calculating survivor who’s terribly good at waffling until the last possible minute. Once the path of least resistance and greatest political expedience is made obvious, she will fall firmly in favour of that. Germany’s mindless establishment media have doubled-down on their mildly Anglophobic rhetoric.The UK is senseless, the British are astonishingly daft, Britain’s disentanglement will be one great, running leap into the abyss, etc. After 24 September, when the next Bundestag is elected, we can expect more clarity. Off the record Merkel has been quietly supportive of a “good deal” for the UK. With the SPD posing a serious challenge for the first time in a decade, however, Merkel can’t give Schulz another issue with which to hit her over the head. Even if there are signs that the “Schulz Bounce” is overstated, it’s best for her not to take any chances.

  19. March 30, 2017 at 11:22 am

    The smartest thing Merkel could do is to announce that Germany will do all in its power to maintain the smooth flow of trade between the UK and EU. This would be the sensible (practical) option. However as we all know the sense and practicality writ doesn’t run in the EU, or indeed in politics. The danger, from their point of view, would be that a sensible arrangement might encourage other nations to jump ship.

    This doesn’t mean that sense won’t prevail, however if it does it will have been a torturous process.

    Christopher most of the British are not daft, in fact a long way from it, however most of our establishment certainly is. I was today down at the old folks coffee morning, as a pending ‘old folk’ I feel bound to support it. We were discussing traffic problems and driver licensing. The calm sense was refreshing to listen to but tempered by the sure and certain knowledge that no one was listening and the chances of anything being done was next to nothing.

  20. March 30, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Jazz, your generalisation is nonsense. Have you read Ms May’s letter to the EU? It is clear, pragmatic and carefully crafted to achieve a good result for all.

    Do you mean torturous or tortuous?

    James, M Hollande today told Ms May that he wants the priorities sorted first – especially as it affects citizens. That is a perfect trigger for the UK to protect its citizens abroad in return for EU citizen’s being protected in the UK.

  21. March 30, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I agree Janus, but does it need a serious negotiation? A simple “we will if you will” regarding existing resident expats throughout the EU is all that’s needed isn’t it? The longest bit is going to be to get all the others to confirm that they agree.

    Christopher, the only thing that appears to be in shorter supply than principles in the EU, is truth.

  22. March 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Janus: I meant torturous as in plenty of pain and suffering. As far as I’m concerned the jury is out on Mrs May. who’s letter may appear clear and pragmatic but let’s see what happens.

  23. March 30, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Jazz: You’re being sensible. Being sensible has no application to the EU. If it did, we’d be in the European Community and there wouldn’t a eurozone. The reality is that the Continent and the UK are so different that they could never mesh. What works on the Continent is anathema in the UK, etc.

    Janus: It seems as if Britons on the Continent and Continentals in the UK who move there before the UK leaves will be allowed to stay. The British government seems to have capitulated on this point in order to avoid needless lawsuits.

    JL: In Eurospeech, “truth” is relative to the aim and purpose.

  24. March 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Jazz, yes. The jury will be out for 2 years min.

  25. cogitationator
    March 30, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    It’s not my fight, I know. My only documentable connection is that I have partially British ancestry and happen to be married to a British person (even though she is a manic gardener). I haven’t even taken the time to fully read Leopard Shoes’ letter yet. Still, if I may be allowed to make a comment from this presumably safe distance:

    (Expletive deleted), FIFTY BILLION? For what? For burdening the UK with who knows how many “gimmegrants?” What an outrageous try-on! If I were running things over there, my response to the EU would be something along the lines of: “Sorry, guys, it’s been fun but we’re gone, with immediate effect. As in right now. If you want to “negotiate,” talk to this (rude gesture). If you want money or anything else from us, come and get it! (Note: possibly hazardous Channel crossing may be involved.) While you’re busy having meetings to appoint committees to make studies to create regulations, take time to figure out how you’re going to make room for all those undesirables we’ll be shipping back to you, the ones you let slide through all your borders. We may need the space for the hordes of MEPs and petty EU officials who, stripped of their sinecures, may want to return home (although we certainly wouldn’t force them to do so).

    For the record, I rather like Ms. May as Prime Minister. She has, erm, spheroids.

  26. March 30, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Cog: The £50 billion is a number pulled out of thin air and has absolutely no basis in reality. There is no real expectation that the UK will pay that much. EU spending is planned in advance based on established funding commitments. The UK will, as a result, most likely agree to pay for an itemised list of commitments it made prior to 23 June 2016. Incidentally, the UK is not party to the Schengen Treaty so any undesirables who managed to enter the UK did so due to the failures of the British government to secure the UK’s borders. The Dutch, Danes, etc. have a right to complain because countries such as Greece and Italy have been overburdened with securing Europe’s borders and Spain is simply too worthless to be arsed to do anything that resembles like a responsible country.

  27. Boadicea
    March 31, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Cog: Love your comment – it certainly sums up what I think. And since I have been long gone from the UK it is probably not my fight either! I also rather like Mrs May. I have read the letter – and am pretty impressed. It’s the sort of letter I would have liked to write under similar circumstances! Very polite, but very firm.

    As Bearsy has pointed out, the whole process has been quite unusual in that the British Government has published both the Act and the letter triggering Article 50. So often, these sort of things are kept secret and the public don’t know what has been agreed until years later. I am particularly angry that the 1972 Act, which we were told (on the oath of every pro-Common Market politician) only joined Britain to the Common Market included the provision for European laws to apply to the UK. No one can complain that the process of leaving is not ‘transparent’.

    Christopher: I have no doubt that the UK will pay what is actually due – that’s the British way. But, I also hope that it will insist on getting what is due to them – Britain seems to me to be a bit too generous in trying to ‘look good’. As I understand it, Britain did not have to pay benefits to long-term EU-citizens who did not find employment and could have sent them ‘home’. Time to enforce the rules.

  28. March 31, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Boadicea: I fear that my fellow Charioteers are starting to misunderstand me. I remain fully committed to Britain and I feel more at home there than anywhere on the Continent. It seems as if I’m more committed to Britain than many remoaners, in fact. At times I try to clarify and explain Continental positions. It isn’t so much because I agree with them — when pressed, I’ll always side with the United Kingdom, but I understand the arguments and outlooks. The UK’s very membership in the EEC/EC/EU has always been based on lies, distortions and a careful avoidance of direct democratic input. For many the betrayal by their own politicians poisoned the relationship. For many others, as David Davis and Daniel Hannan have argued, the rapid change from the inter-governmental nature of the European Community to the supranational structure of the European Union made Britain’s termination of its membership not so much a question of if, but of when. For most of Europe, supranational entities are not entirely alien and are thus more palatable. Germany spent most of its history as part of supranational empires in its entirety or in part, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, the Baltic Trio, etc. are to varying extents similar. For the UK, especially England, this is not only alien, but anathema.

    The UK’s economy is far more open than most on the Continent, hence the UK attracting so many migrants from Europe. If one is willing to make sacrifices and be flexible, it is very possible to build a good life in the UK. However, the UK also has by far the most easily exploited social system in Europe and many Chavs from Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, etc. who were rarely the highest quality in their own countries settled in the UK to exploit that. They’d never have found a way to get away with that in Germany, the Netherlands or even Sweden. EU laws also allowed for the expulsion of those who could not support themselves. One hopes that the UK will remedy its past negligence in this regard PDQ.

  29. Boadicea
    April 1, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Christopher: I very much doubt that we misunderstand you! I, actually, do not think the Remoaners have a clue what being British (or in my case English) is about. I know we have one or two here who voted to Remain – but, as far as I can see, they have accepted the majority position and accepted the result of the referendum… And that is, or should be, the British way.

    I find your comments re Continental attitudes very useful, they remind me that the history shaping a country’s psyche is so different one from another. We all know it, but we all forget it! Too often we see others in our own image. And in the case of European countries – just how wrong can we be!

    I had a quiet chuckle at your comment at the end of para 1. I think I might be right in asserting that the last time England was part of a supranational empire was under Richard I – for those that don’t know he died in 1199. Thereafter, England was (or tried to be) the supranational power – and, too a large extent, we succeeded.

    I found your reminder that most of the countries in the EU do not have the problem that Britain has with accommodating supranational authorities. It’s not surprising that we don’t do well as a ‘team’ player, and expect our opinion to be treated with respect.

    I, too, hope that the UK uses the EU laws that allow Britain to send scroungers back to their homelands. I find it intolerable that some layabout family from France with eight children is given a council house in Milton Keynes, while my grandson who has worked from the day he left school pays over a thousand pounds a month in rent and cannot, therefore, save to buy his own home. Grrrr!

  30. April 1, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Boadicea: There is a common theme in the overwhelming majority interviews I’ve read with Bremoaners seeking other European nationalities and Europeans who have either left the United Kingdom or are in the process of doing so. What is best for Britain isn’t as important as their narrow perceptions and petty self-interest. Integrating into British society has not been the main concern for most Europeans who’ve moved to the UK. The cachet of living and working in one of the world’s greatest economies was. For example, the Polish man and Slovakian woman who lived in Britain for years because they wanted the bragging rights that came with a career in the City. For those remoaners, the faux sophistication and sleazy cachet of living on the Continent are of utmost concern. That many Brexiteers are only too happy to see the back of that lot is perfectly understandable. I, for one, would only be too happy to not have to live with them, either. What is becoming clear is that I will have to make a choice — Britain or Europe.

    The Netherlands is an excellent comparison to the UK. Both are open, dynamic economies that punch well above their weight and are supremely well-connected globally. If anything, their similarities have given rise to as many conflicts as periods of alliance. Of the “Original 6”, the Netherlands is the feistiest and most independent-minded. (Nota bene: Italy’s volatility has raised questions about just how dedicated to the EU it will remain) The primary difference is that the Netherlands is heavily reliant on stable relations with its far larger and more powerful neighbours, as well as Belgium. Europe relies on the Netherlands, but to a large extent Dutch prosperity is supported by being the Continent’s main trade hub and clearing house. It’s been this way since the 16th century.

    One can argue that there have been some forays into multinational and supranational governance since 1199. For example, the Dual Monarchy of England and France in those places that recognised it, Dutch William and even the Hanoverian kings from George I to William IV. However, constitutional settlements prevented there being meaningful efforts to united those realms, especially after the demise of the Dual Monarchy. Of course, this was a far cry from the Holy Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Frankish empires. Since Henry VIII, it seems as if England’s supranational ambitions have to a large extent been based on keeping Continentals out!

    If anyone is interested, I’d like to write about Germany and its relationship with the EU.

  31. April 2, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Keep writing, CT. It’s a masterclass.

  32. April 2, 2017 at 9:07 am

    “No plan survives contact with the enemy”. ( paraphrasing of von Moltke the Elder.

    No doubt this will apply to the Brexit negotiations.

    The Brexit negotiations in themselves could result in the break up of the EU.

    Where I an EU negotiator I would want them over as quickly and amicably as possible, but then I’m just a practical sort of person.
    What will probably happen is that they will be acrimonious, torturous, tortuous, long winded and in the end, inconclusive. Leaving each side to pick up the pieces where they may.
    Like the aftermath of some terrible battle leaving the combatants to wander dazed and dissoriented amidst the chaos.
    After all it isn’t as if Europe hasn’t gone into self destruct mode before.

    ps I would like to be wrong.

  33. April 2, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Jazz: The EU has a long record of pantomime. After shrill antics and kabuki-like theatrics which go to the last second, some sort of muddle is usually agreed to with many practical details only settled by time and practice. What hasn’t changed is that the EU continues to avoid dealing with some of its most pressing issues, taking quarter and half-measures to try to relieve pressure.

    The EU has far more pressing concerns than the UK at the moment. It is inherently dysfunctional. However many sweet words fall forth from the lips of officials, supranational contradictions are being worsened by hardening national positions. The Dutch would rather see Greece and Italy leave the eurozone than underwrite their debts. The Danes will simply not cede another tomme to Brussels, nor will Sweden or Finland allow the EU to dictate key policies. Even the Italian people are making it clear that they will not and cannot accept the course the EU has dictated. Greece has suffered enough and there’s no more that it can be forced to do. The French have had enough. Even if Little Manny Macaroon slimes his way into the presidency, he’ll be extremely weak. He’s a frog Justin Trudeau — all hype, no substance and unlikely to be able to hold up under pressure. Hun voters are growing increasingly feisty and very short as they see the value of their pensions and assets decline because of dysfunctional European policies.

  34. April 2, 2017 at 9:49 am

    The acid test will be that we take back control of our territorial waters.

  35. April 2, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Iceland and Norway have never ceded control over their territorial waters and they are in the EEA. That’s precedent enough. Should the British government insist on that point, and there is every sign that it will, the Tories will come out far stronger for it and that political advantage outweighs any of the EU’s desires. After all, the Copeland by-election has shown that Labour can no longer rely on their Northern heartlands. Should May deliver, many coastal constituencies in the North might well become Tory.

  36. April 2, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Whilst it may be possible to muddle through internal EU issues. Brexit is something entirely different and could destabilise the whole edifice. Which is why they’d be well advised to get it over as quickly as possible. I don’t expect that to happen.

  37. April 2, 2017 at 10:19 am

    You’re right but there are other comforting thoughts to keep us going, like this:

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/britain-s-blue-passports-could-return-by-2019-in-500m-redesign-following-brexit-a3505046.html

  38. April 2, 2017 at 10:20 am

    There are risks posed by Brexit, but they’re still manageable. The UK was never really seen as being a full member of the club. Much like Denmark, it floated on the outer edges of the Euro solar system. If the UK was never entirely comfortable with “Europe”, “Europe” was likewise never entirely comfortable with the UK. It was too big to be either indulged as Denmark was, or crushed into submission as Ireland was. The view in Luxembourg, at least, is that there is a growing sense of relieve mixed in with the annoyance. After Brexit is formalised the UK will no longer have to be mollified or accommodated. The minor Nordic states can be left to their own devices as they’re too small to really count and are usually quiet enough.That, and the Visegrad Group are proving to be another growing challenge.

  39. April 2, 2017 at 11:16 am

    The Blue UK Passport would be a great PR stunt for Brexit. Everybody will want one and maybe it will encourage other EU states to recover this small but significant token of sovereignty.

  40. Boadicea
    April 2, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Christopher – there may well have been some “forays into multinational and supranational governance since 1199″ – but, as you rightly point out, none have ever been allowed to ignore the Sovereignty of England / Britain. Henry VIII had no problems with ‘furriners” going to England with their skills, providing they knew their place, payed the ‘alien’ tax, learnt the language and behaved themselves… Some of us think he had the right idea!

    Your comments regarding the Netherlands are interesting. It is a very ‘open and dynamic’ society – but I also find it quite significant that the Netherlands has the highest density of population (just ahead of the UK) of anywhere in the EU.

    I’d certainly be interested in reading you comments re the relationship between Germany and the EU since as far as I’m concerned Germany runs the EU.

    Jazz – Like you, I think the whole thing should be sorted as quickly as possible. As far as I’m concerned the whole ‘negotiation’ process will be nothing more than a futile exercise designed to show that the EU has done the ‘right thing’ – but, in reality, it is all about tarrying to screw as much as they can out of Britain as they can. How dare they bring Gibraltar and Northern Ireland into the negotiations… The composition of Britain has nothing to do with them.

    Janus – I find it quite amusing that my Ozzie passport is blue – but, nonetheless, I look forward to getting a blue UK passport again.

  41. April 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Boadicea: The Netherlands is a bit like Singapore and Hong Kong in that its population is unusually high because of the relative size of its trading and services economy. The Netherlands’ long history of tolerance has attracted many of the world’s persecuted, but still skilled, people seeking safety. Many Sephardim settled in the Netherlands after the daemonic spawns of Lilith and the Antichrist, I mean, the Spanish expelled their Sephardic population and forced Portugal to do the same. That the Sephardim were the middlemen and merchants with the best personal networks and most in-depth knowledge of the world’s most lucrative trade routes happened to benefit the Dutch tremendously — at the expense of Seville, Lisbon and Antwerp. The same applies to German nonconformists, French Huguenots, etc. So long as they paid their taxes, learnt Dutch and didn’t cause any trouble… A place could always be found. In the 1970s some Dutch know-it-alls thought that bringing in Moroccans and Turks would serve a similar purpose. They’ve learnt the hard way that there is a tremendous difference between skilled migrants and goat herders. The Netherlands, however, was never a self-reliant country. In the early part of the Dutch Golden Age, for example, Dutch industries were relatively primitive — except shipping. Dutch ships were by far the best and the Netherlands, a country run by merchants, provided the best business climate. Profits from shipping, trade, investments and banking — as well as skilled immigrants — helped build the Dutch industrial sector. After the English/British grew more adept at international trade, the Netherlands quickly fell down the chart.

    I’ll be exceptionally busy this week. Late starting classes began last week and I have to sort through 70 additional students’ work.Naturally, that their workload is double that found in a regular course means that my workload is also doubled. Another class’s essays are due today so I will have to go through those as well.As soon as that is done and I have a stiff drink, I’ll write that post. Germany is a strange country with a strange history — and to an extent that is why it has a strange relationship with the EU.

    Jazz: Germany has a new passport. It’s even more nauseatingly EU-friendly than the former version.

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