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Ripley last won the day on June 29 2016

Ripley had the most liked content!

About Ripley

  • Birthday 01/24/1974

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    Bristol, UK
  • Interests
    Modern architecture, swimming and politics.

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  1. I think a Swiss or Norwegian would agree with that realistic assessment of the situation the UK / EU faces.
  2. Manchester is the only other viable UK Olympic city. Can't swing a hand bag there without hitting a bid stadium or arena. The uk won't see another olypics for at least 50 years unless one drops in to our laps like Paris / LA. 2030s surely a good time for next Aussie games - Melbourne 2032 is a mouthwatering prospect.
  3. A joint bid between Edinburgh and Iceland for skiing? They're looking for ways to make the winter games more popular with hosts.
  4. I agree that the UK government approach to future relations is probably not thought through as with everything else brexit related. However I think your perspective is very black and white. The reality is that the UK is not North Amaerican Canada or neutral Switzerland or a small state like Norway. There are things that the UK needs from the EU and vice versa. For example, any trade agreement will need to deal with fishing rights in U.K. Waters which are vital for danish, Dutch, Belgian, French, Spanish and Portuguese fisherman. Most eu counties borrow money using the London markets and the EU investment bank owes the UK Billions. 62% of Irish exports use the UK as a land bridge to the EU. There are a million Poles living in the U.K. and 2.5 million other EU citizens. There are of course limits on what the EU can do due to WTO rules and existing trade agreements but a compromise will surely need to be found that respects the reality of both sides. There are 3rd countries and there is an ex member and I don't think they are the same thing. If the EU is belligerent about that then I'm not sure the EU 27 will stay united for long given their divergent economic interests in relation to the UK and varying levels of appetite for The EU. Don't get me wrong, as a Brit I'm ashamed it's come to this but it's also fascinating to see the EU's ugly "tough love" side in all of this. It's sobering, patronising and divisive - everything the Brexiteers hoped it would be.
  5. I think the have your cake and eat it sound bite has been thoroughly proved wrong as the negotiations have moved on. The government (such that it is) is clearly pursuing a trade deal. There's no way the British people would tolerate being in the single market but outside the decion making structures. Norway is small country where there's tacit acceptance that they will have to "bend in the EU wind". THe UK has different options and is far too self important to accept that kind of relationship. Essentially what is being sought is CETA+. Less than single market membership but more than the Canadian free trade deal. I think there is a reasonable chance we will get that kind of relationship. Ireland was discussed at length in the referendum campaign- many English and Welsh people have Irish ancestry and family ties. I think people voted to leave for a variety of reasons but the consequences were not presented to them or were unknown. I don,t think the approach to Ireland since by the EU has been that intelligent either. They're insisting on sorting out border arrangements with Ireland before any discussion about the future trade relations with the EU. It's a bit bonkers if you ask me.
  6. It's not a contradiction to rely on democratically elected governments to cooperate with each other (EU Council) - which people understand and can rationalise as their representatives, rather than a remote commmission and parliament that has no discernible role or recognition in the everyday life of people. Junker didn't even come to the UK when he was campaigning to be "nominated" as the next president of the commission. Can you imagine a US presidential candidate not turning out in the second or third biggest US state? I don't think a Brit has ever been a president of the EU Commission. Maybe MEPs were never given a chance in the UK and perhaps in other countries they are more representative and better recognised? As things stand virtually no British person would be able to tell you who their MEP was and take no interest in the EU Parliament. It's viewed as something foreign and a threat to democracy in the UK by many. It's also thought of as anti British. That has a lot to do with the media but also because there is a fundamental disconnect between the people and the institution. FPTP is an imperfect system which should be improved as they are rationalising the size of MP constituencies to make then more equal in terms of population size. PR is also an imperfect system - which always leads to coalition government and power sharing. Look what's happening in Germany as the coalition building is under way. It's all happening behind closed doors. CDU supporters are largely unaware of which policies the party will negotiate away in pursuit of power. Personally I would prefer a PR or alternative vote system in the UK but it has been rejected in a referendum because it goes against the democratic tradition in the UK where people generally prefer strong governments that are able to implement their programmes / policies. Obviously that hasnt happened recently though because the country is very divided.
  7. These are uncharted waters for the EU - no member state has ever left. If its response to this is to just treat an ex member as a 3rd country then of course it is a liberty to do so. The reality is that due to geography, social and economic ties the UK is not just another 3rd country. We're in a situation where both sides are having to artificially create a reduced kind of relationship. When Ireland left the UK in the early 1900's there was a lot of pain and anger felt between the two sides - however a lot of practical measures were put in place to maintain freedom of movement (Common Travel Area) and Irish residents still had rights to participate economically and socially in the UK that went well beyond what other sovereign states were allowed. Paradoxically many of those historic agreements are at risk now we are leaving the EU. You talk like the British or other members have not been raising the democratic deficit in the EU - we / they have done for years. The problem is that some (Germany included) want greater democracy at the EU level - whereas others (Britain included) don't believe there is a demos at the European level. Two opposing views and the response is just "drift". It will be interesting (from an outsiders perspective) to see how that issue resolves itself as France and Germany push for greater integration (although different versions of it). No reasonable person thinks that the EU institutions are totalitarian (although some Greeks may choose to differ) but they are dangerously deficient and theoretically capable of instigating fundamental change in nation states without the democratic consent of the populations. Of course the EU has a role to promote its values through proactive stances such as towards the Polish constitutional changes - but it just not clear how those values are defined and where they are enshrined. The Lisbon Treat is the closest thing we have but the public cannot be expected to understand it and French and Dutch voters rejected the EU constitution - which ironically the British would have probably signed because we weren't going to hold a referendum on it... I guess "fair" means being reasonable and the EU not going out of its way to deny history and realities just to prove a political point. It remains to be seen if the EU can do that or if the UK would even notice it if it did, given the madness that exists in the minds of the Bexiteers.
  8. Your quite right. Most intelligent people fully realise that paradise is not waiting post brexit. I'm thinking of what could happen if the EU remains as inflexible as it is now. The regional geopolitics will be very uncomfortable for the EU in the longer term. Britain will be forced to reposition itself and the new arrangements are likely to be a lot less comfortable for the EU than a close trade deal would have been. Imagine the UK sitting in glorious isolation while the EU squabbles amongst itself, lurching for one crisis to the next trying to negotiate budget cuts and increased contributions with countries like Denmark, Poland and Sweden. While at the same time they're being cajoled in to deeper and deeper integration. It's unlikely to end well and the UK will be a permanent reminder of an alternative. That's what the EU needs to place at the forefront of its mind. As soon as the the U.K. walks away there will be an economic hit - the arguments in the EU will just begin and will go on for years.
  9. I think if the EU is reasonable and accommodating now then the prospect of the UK returning in some guise in future cannot be ruled out. If there's a bitter split, then the prospect of changing public opinion will disappear. No deal will push the U.K. to consider membership of NAFTA which would flood the U.K. market with American cars and products that the European companies would not be able to compete with. Trade between the EU and UK would deminish drastically in the medium term and the UK would have less and less invested in maintaining good EU relations and security, beyond NATO. It would be a deep and permanent split. Of course the U.K. would be very deminished too in the medium term, but it's inevitable that things would rebalance and in the longer term the UK would recover and that is the real problem for the EU. Medium term punishment and effect will cause real damage in the longer term. I can feel the hostility building in the UK towards the EU. People are starting to view the EU as something threatening and unreasonable. Even those who voted remain like myself.
  10. It always amazes me that an efficient engineering solution, that is affordable to build, has not been found to have a genuinely multi purpose stadium. I think London was ok but the Olympic stadium wasn't exactly impressive. I guess if you want to downsize you have to compromise on aesthetics. I remember London's bid design was a silvery space age structure but that was soon forgotten when the construction contractor got involved and it was costed.
  11. Wouldn't Spain have a veto about Catalonia joining the single market?
  12. Spain has a written constitution that presumably Catalonia signed up to? Rajoy has maybe been a bit heavy handed - he should have let the referendum go ahead unopposed - he didn't need to send in state police when constitutionally the vote was illegitimate before it started. There was some rough treatment of protesters but it wasn't exactly Tienanmen Square and no-one died. My point is that if you you want to remain in the list of civilized nations then Catalonia's only option is to do this legally and Spain should hold its breath and let it get on with it. Surely there is a role for the King here, he's the head of State...I don't see anything wrong in the King choosing the side of Spain - the country he represents. I don't think there was any ambiguity on the part of the Queen that Scotland should remain in the UK although she wasn't involved in any campaigning of any sort. Isn't it the case that an independent Catalonia will be waiting decades to get into the EU because Spain would block any attempt by it to become an EU member - there was a similar discussion around Scotland - the Nationalists there said various different versions of Scotland being able to leap into the arms of the EU post independence, while the point was made that it would be a 3rd country and would need to apply and join the queue. Surely Catalonia's economy would be utterly destroyed outside the single market - Barcelona would become a ghetto.
  13. I can't envisage a situation where the UK government would deport 3 million EU immigrants. They are needed and it would utterly destroy relations with indivual EU members never mind the EU itself. Even UKIP don't want that. There's little evidence to suggest all EU nationals would leave anyway. On current projectsions the UK is set to become the largest country in The EU 28 by 2040 with a population of 77 million. I think that rate of population growth is part of the problem for many Brits when it comes to immigration.
  14. Its all very depressing and I think it was inevitable it would be acrimonious. Barnier is just doing his job trying to deal with a line up of deluded idiots on the British side. Junker on the other hand took the vote personally - his legacy as commission president is permanently ruined. He is bitter and out for revenge. If he was a bigger man he would try to be magnanimous and offer a grander vision that maybe the brits could live with - some kind of looser relationship. The trouble for the brits is that as much as we don't have a clear idea of what our future relationship should be, the EU doesn't know what it's future is. Macron and junker may make big speeches but the fact is there,s not a consistent view from the EU members about the future direction. On that big question successive UK governments have been fairly consistent - we want a trading relationship with limited cooperation in other areas such as immigration. Note sure what the future holds but as a country of 66 million and with the largest security apparatus in Europe we can't be ignored. The UK will be a thorn in the side of the EU for decades to come. Even if we are economically weak our existence outside the EU we will be a constant reminder of the EUs short comings. If we recover economically we will be a constant alternative pole for other disgrnuntled EU members to run towards. If I was the EU I would be trying a lot harder to forge a better relationship and offer some way for the UK to stay in the fold. The current appearance of unity in the EU is based mainly around extracting money from the UK. If the UK walks away from the negotiations and the money stops in 2019, the budget adjustment process will erupt into a massive fight and that unity will be shown for what it is. The UK has more to lose by walking away but I think people are underestimating the impact that will have on EU unity.
  15. Surely there must be some notice period to end NAFTA - even the Uk and EU have 2 years before the axe falls. NAFTA seems to offer the Brexiteers everything they wanted from the EU but can't have. A free trade agreement with relatively minor political / sovereignty baggage compared to where the EU is headed. No currency union issues and mass immigration. Sounds like Brexit nirvana.
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