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Discussion > EU must be joking

Of course those who hold different opinions to my own are entitled to those opinions but if their opinions include enslaving my countrymen, perhaps you will forgive me for opposing them? I am too tired right now to comment on the rest of the crap you wrote.

Apr 29, 2016 at 10:26 PM | Registered CommenterDung

How do you reconcile

I am saying that freedom and democracy are what brexit is about and I ask how anyone can argue against that.

If we could remove the politically correct and the bleeding heart do gooders from our ruling class we could all actually be happy!

Thinking about removing anyone should not enter the mind of anyone who claims to love democracy as you do.

Apr 29, 2016 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Mike Jackson

Many thanks for your thought provoking contributions to this thread. It is a subject I am very interested in and therefore I try to read more than comment.

I truly appreciate you making your case and doing as strongly as you do. A trait I appreciate provided I can comprehend the logic behind the case being made.

Democracy and its inherent enterprise has provided the world's citizens with a means to improve their well being and with regard to conflict, true democracy prevents more than it starts.

Hence my question why do you think timing is relevant to the UK's ability to reclaim its democracy?

".....If you want out of the EU that's fine but I'm afraid I still haven't heard an argument that comes anywhere close to convincing me that it is the right choice for the UK at the present time and in the present political and economic world climate......"

Are you actually proposing there are times (political and economic ) when democracy is not the best environment?

If that is the case, I ask you to truly think very hard about adopting such a short term policy.


"And the increasing possibility that Trump might become US president is only hardening my view."

Do you therefore foresee the EU as a politically unchanging security blanket?

Apr 30, 2016 at 12:46 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

It's good to have some (mostly) reasonably civilised discussion about this topic. Such is not too easy to come by.

I am impressed partly by the arguments, perhaps even more by the people who advance them. People who talk sense (or at least sensibly) on other matters influence me even if my instinct is to disagree with them.

And instinct is going to be an important, quite likely controlling, factor. Certainly it is in my case. I was an enthusiastic supporter of 'the Common Market' in the '70s, and went about telling people it was purely a commercial arrangement. I was not pleased to be told later I'd been totally naive. I don't intend to make the same mistake this time. Nevertheless, I am trying to keep my mind at least partly open, for a bit longer.
The level of debate elsewhere is not high. It is largely about immigration and economics. I don't regard immigration control as top priority (could be wrong about that as indeed about everything else). The economic forecasts on both sides seem to me fully as reliable as those of global climate in 2100. The vision is not a high one. I might be more responsive to a claim that we have a duty to stay in the EU and help make a success of it - if I could be persuaded that they'd take more notice of what we thought. But Cameron's efforts to get support for change failed miserably.
EU government is democratic - but not sufficiently so. Legislation is proposed only by Commissioners. They are not elected - even if those who pick them are. The EU parliament doesn't command respect (evidence - voting turnout figures - and don't get me started on the d'Hondt system). It has not enough power in some areas (introducing legislation) and too much in others (inserting silly ideological tweaks to make laws more impractical). And the common law system is not suited to civil law legislation - we tend to literal interpretation, even before we start gold-plating.
But my real problem is deeper than that. To illustrate - Corbyn says he supports the EU because it prevents the Tories passing stupid anti-union laws. But he thinks the EU needs reform (good luck with that). However, if the Tories pass stupid anti-union laws - in a year or so's time, we have a general election, and we can throw them out. Compare with the EU - if the EU passes a stupid law (it has been known) what can we (or anyone else) do? - nothing but argue it isn't really so bad.
The EU is a political ratchet mechanism (or lobster-pot). 'Ever closer union' - we've got an opt-out from that? For how long? Until a UK premier decides it's worth trading in for something else. As Blair did with the 'social chapter'. Ditto the euro, Schengen and anything else of the kind.
I'm tempted to argue that it would be a kindness to the EU for us to leave. It might make them think about fundamental reform. But is that even possible?

Apologies - this wasn't intended to be a rant. But I favour the view from the 'Spectator' columnist: "This is a decision for Kirk, not Spock".

Apr 30, 2016 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

Green Sand / Osseo
I'm afraid that it would take most of the weekend to do justice to the subject of democracy vis-a-vis the EU and even then my comments would be howled down because the Leavers do not want to hear any suggestion that the EU is anything other than a dictatorial monster.
Kirk rather than Spock sums it up quite neatly.
I said a few days ago that I was tempted to use the line "information cannot communicate with a closed mind" but perhaps it would be better to say "you cannot reason a man out of something he wasn't reasoned into in the first place".
In a nutshell, I do not believe that the British system of democracy is the only version that there is, which appears to be the stance of those who insist that the EU is "undemocratic".
Every nation in the EU is a democracy. Every national government in the EU was elected by whatever democratic system suits them. Every Commisisioner is appointed by a democratically elected national government. The Council of Ministers is composed entirely of ministers from democratically elected governments. The EU parliament is elected by the people of Europe and the Commissioners are questioned by the parliament before they are confirmed in office. The parliament cannot, admittedly, refuse approval to individual Commissioners but it can refuse to approve the Commission as a whole.
Agreed that only the Commission can initiate legislation but the idea that some little Portuguese (sorry, Portugal) bureaucrat in the Commission wakes up one morning and thinks "I know, let's ban double-decker buses; that'll f*** the Brits!" is as ludicrous as I've made it sound.
And even if he did, the Commission would have to approve the idea and turn it into a Directive which needs approval by the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, and all the while the UK is busy working away behind the scenes (except that all too often I suspect she isn't!) to ensure that the final wording means that the ban will not apply on vehicles solely operating within the UK or if that isn't practicable she will seek a derogation on whatever grounds can be found to ensure that the Directive is not implemented in the UK.
The idea for legislation comes from individual countries or from the Parliament or from within departments or more often from supranational bodies (which I have referred to before and don't propose to list again) to which the UK would be signatories and by whose decisions we would be bound even if we were not members of the EU. The fact that a decision was made that the Commission should lead in implementing legislation really is quite irrelevant and to quote that as meaning that the EU is undemocratic is an abuse of the English language.
If you really want an objective view (or as close to one as you are likely to get) look here.

Apr 30, 2016 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I am saying that freedom and democracy are what brexit is about and I ask how anyone can argue against that.

If we could remove the politically correct and the bleeding heart do gooders from our ruling class we could all actually be

YES these two statements are easily reconciled ^.^
If I did not make it clear then I apologise but the phrase "if we could remove" etc etc was meant to imply that indeed we could not; hence the use of the word "if".
Democracy is a two edged sword; it does not stop countries electing idiots but it does allow you to remove them after you realise your error :)

Apr 30, 2016 at 11:23 AM | Registered CommenterDung

I do not believe the referendum can be decided on facts alone or even at all. The words loyalty, patriotism, courage and freedom are all either partly or totally about feelings and emotion and not facts. I believe that Cameron's tactics in throwing out a huge quantity of erroneus facts was a deliberate attempt to move the debate into an area that he feels he can dominate rather than one he can not possible dominate.Cameron is an inveterate liar and cheat and he is willing to sink as low as is necessary to keep us in the EU. If we move the debate into the area of patriotism then he is lost.

Apr 30, 2016 at 11:40 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Mike Jackson

Many thanks for the link, interesting reading but it does not address the point about 'democracy' that I am trying to make.

Maybe I am using the wrong word and I should really be using 'responsibility'?

Surely the democratic principal is based on the politicians we vote for being responsible for the well being of their citizens?

Responsibility is the ability to respond. I take your point that the British system of democracy is not the only model. However it is the model that has served the British people well. Why does it now need to change? Changing world? The world has always been changing, always will change, just like our climate. In a changing world one could see a logical reason for keeping the ability to respond as close to home as possible. I do not claim the EU is undemocratic but I do claim its structure makes it inherently very difficult to respond to the needs of individual member states. North - South Europe issues etc.

Are there any democratic models out there that are so inspirational we should aspire to adopt? I haven't seen any have you? Mixing several different democratic systems together to then appoint a Commission is rather like taking the average of climate model ensembles as being meaningful .

You are quite right it is a fact that the UK will always be signatories to world treaties whether or not we are full, part or not members of the EU. The only difference will be is that our politicos and their officers will be directly responsible for negotiating said treaties/agreements with the interests of UK citizens at the fore.

Would we be 'at the back of the queue' (I wonder why he didn't use the normal American term 'line'?), maybe we would be seen as not having as much clout as the EU, but would the EU be negotiating with UK interests in mind? Can't expect that to be the case the deal the EU would cut would depend on the many varied political pressures being exerted by various members states. Being at the back of the queue doesn't necessarily mean you end up with a worse deal than one negotiated by somebody that cannot have your interest in mind? Might they not balance out?

I agree there is a lot of adverse spin foisted on the EU when the real issues reside with our own politicos and officers. I am concerned that our officers, at times appear to be quite happy to shrug and point to Brussels. Rather than realise it is their responsibility to get the best deal.

I have no doubt we will have to agree to disagree on our membership of the EU and I respect your stance. But 'closed minds'?

Apr 30, 2016 at 12:41 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Green Sand

Understanding how our politicians work, make decisions, understanding where their loyalties lie and what their motivations are is tough at the best of times but the EU makes it easier for them. You are right to say "the real issues lie with our own politicos and officers" and if we leave the EU that will be so much easier to see.
One of the biggest problems has been that the 'major' parties have all been pro EU and so changing your vote achieved nothing. I wonder how many parties will be pro EU after we vote to leave?

Apr 30, 2016 at 1:50 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Green Sand
I find it interesting and significant that Juncker himself admitted that there is a democratic deficit in Europe and that the EU has interfered too much in what ought to be matters that individual countries deal with. I am also immensely encouraged by that speech because it will not be something that Juncker thought up in his bath as a nice thing to say. That is the Commission talking.
I'm of the generation that ought to be concerned about the whole question of democracy and that much-abused and misunderstood weasel word 'sovereignty'. Perhaps it is because of much of a lifetime as a close observer of the political scene that I find myself out of kilter with my generation and closer to my children and grandchildren for whom the EU — warts and all — is better than a sort of splendid isolation which is where they see the Leavers taking the UK.
Britain has never accepted the EU as a fact of life. In some ways it is sad and in others hilarious to listen to people who were not old enough to vote in the mid-70s telling us how we were misled about what the Common Market was and where it was leading.
It is sad and frustrating now to listen to people pontificate on the failings of the EU — of which there are a few, several or many, depending on your standpoint — apparently of the belief that the UK is some sort of semi-detached victim of a Europe-wide plot. They are apparently incapable of believing that the UK has considerable influence in the deliberations of the EU, as you would expect of a country of Britain's standing.
There is an undercurrent in this, namely that these things are OK for 'Johnny Foreigner' but we in Britain are better than that. Some people come pretty close to saying that those Comtinentals are only in to assuage their consciences for their past misdeeds or alternatively for what they can get out of it — implication being "at our expense?"
Your point about responsibility is a valid one but I don't agree that it is relevant to what we are talking about. If you don't like the government you've got then vote for another one. if what is left of the Tory party goes into the next election on a manifesto that calls for the UK to leave the EU and gets a majority in parliament then presumably it will take the necessary steps.
As will Ms Le Pen in France in the event that the Front National gains a majority. Which it won't because, while conceivably she just might become president next year (though Hollande is enjoying something of a resurgence at the moment), the majority of French voters are not anti-EU to that extent, They don't see France as being "ruled from Brussels". They only occasionally see EU Directives as being an unnecessary burden. They do see a lot of Hollande's diktats as being an unnecessary burden and one of the problems in the UK is that a similar situation applies except that for some inexplicable reason the blame for those domestic burdens always seems to get shifted onto "Brussels".
I could go on for hours on this and similar themes. I could say how laughable I find Dung's arguments about 'freedom'. I have more freedom living in France than I had in the UK for many a year. I don't have a local authority hounding me with nine different rubbish bins and fines if I put the wrong stuff in the wrong bin. I don't have traffic wardens giving me parking tickets because the rear of the car is two inches (I measured it) over the limit of the parking bay. Yes, that did happen to me in Edinburgh, and on a Sunday morning! I also have a situation where if my local village chooses to do something it has virtually carte blanche to get on and do it. It doesn't take five years, six committees and a dozen backhanders to get the job done (not sure about the backhanders but that's always been the way of the world!).
The idea that the French (or those of any other of the 27 sovereign nations that make up the EU) see themselves as any less free or less sovereign or less democratic because their country is part of the EU is not only faintly ridiculous but faintly offensive and in one unpleasant way very English because it contains the implication that ought to have died with the end of the Empire that "we" are ever so much better than "them", so much more honest, so much freer, so much more democratic ....
We ain't.
And now you know why I said I was going to keep out of this debate before I annoy all the people on here who in every other way I respect — and that includes Entropic Man and Ken Rice!!

Apr 30, 2016 at 2:26 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

'...even then my comments would be howled down because the Leavers do not want to hear any suggestion that the EU is anything other than a dictatorial monster.
Apr 30, 2016 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Yeah, get your retaliation in first. That is precisely the kind of attitude which is driving people like me further away from your opinion. With all due respect MJ, on this topic you are beginning to sound a bit like the global-warmers.

Apr 30, 2016 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart


Does not Jean Monnet's desire to keep the ultimate ambitions of the EU secret from the population bother you at all?
Enough with the Dung's arguments about freedom being laughable stuff ^.^

Apr 30, 2016 at 2:46 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Based on parts of this discussion I think it is worth looking at the civil servants. My understanding of the 'intended' role of civil servants is to advise ministers and then to enable them to make the legislation they decide upon. Please do rip this apart if it is not a correct assumption!
Would it not be a good idea to have civil servants aligned with parties so that if the Conservative party is elected to government then civil servants who support that party should be in place. Obviously the same should apply to all parties. If this happens it would be easier to prevent civil servants affecting policy/gold plating EU regulations etc, etc.
The idea that civil servants should be independent of political parties sounds good but not if it allows them to promote their own agenda.

Apr 30, 2016 at 3:31 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Thank you, MJ - helpful. You are one of those whose views I incline to respect.

Any thoughts about the Parliament?

I take the point about other supra-national bodies - such as the WTO. They are increasingly important - membership of the WTO and respect for the minimum standards that it imposes is vital for all countries. But would we do better to make our arguments directly in such forums, rather than have them diluted (or suppressed) by pre-negotiations within the EU? I tend to think so. I have been to meetings of one international forum on behalf of an NGO - mainly to listen. There we frequently hear from - interestingly - Norway and Switzerland, whose views are listened to with respect. We rarely hear from the UK, only from the EU. The EU view carries more weight than either Norway's or Switzerland's - but not that much more. UK civil servants will explain to you how hard they have have worked behind the scenes - and sometimes you see evidence of it. But that we get better results by supporting an agreed EU position than by taking our own line - that is hard to prove (or indeed disprove).

Apr 30, 2016 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

Jean Monnet who died in 1979, was working in the 1950s when there was still much turmoil in Europe, the Saar and its resources had been removed from Germany (Monnet Plan) who only got it back in 1957 and full unification later in 1981, The post-war coal and steel situation caused a lot of problems between France and Germany, Monnet was also a prime mover in the creation the solution to this potential post 1945 source of conflict, I'm not sure if he realised he'd got it wrong previously. As a result he is held in high esteem in Europe. Should a breakup of the EU follow Brexit here is a region could again become an area of conflict, the first shots of the Franco-Prussian war were fired in Saarbrücken, and in 1935 it voted to rejoin Germany after being under Anglo-French in reality French control. So there is a bit of history there.

Things he said and did can be held against him, all politicians get it wrong from time to time. In my opinion Thatcher got it horribly wrong in giving the Argentinian Junta the signal and allowing them to invade the Falklands, Churchill was a very poor general and not that great on finance: Dardanelles*, Norway.,Crete and the Gold Standard* (not to mention the implications for Europe from Yalta). These days he'd have had a hard time over swapping sides. But like Jean Monnet both got a lot of things right and are held in high esteem in the UK if not quite so much in other parts of the world. Were either Churchill or Thatcher wholly open about everything? (As a misquote - Who remebers the Cossacks now?) Does it influence decisions about the future that they weren't remember Churchill and Monnet were contemporaries and Thatcher has been out of power for 26 years. So taking one part of his life and taking one quotation from that and using in a broad discussion like this is perhaps a weak argument?

Personally I'm not surprised when a politician or very a senior civil servant or a business man or a banker or an entrepreneur is economical with the actualité. I suspect all those on the Brexit side promising you more freedom and democracy coupled with a golden financial future believe they will deliver it to you, but have their fingers crossed every time they say it.

* After these two it's not surprising Churchill spent a long time in the wilderness.

Apr 30, 2016 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS


You always make a great case even when I do not agree with you ^.^

Ref Monnet; in my experience of life, people may often change their opinions but not their character. Monnet was in favour of deceiving people and I believe that would remain part of his character.
For me Churchill was a man who was for and of his time, Britain badly needed a real leader at the start of the second world war and Churchill was that man. I accept that Churchill made huges mistakes but I also believe that without him we would have lost.
Thatcher was another politician made for the time, she stopped the unions from destroying our economy and was the charicmatic leader that united us in regaing the Falklands. All this is just my opinion of course hehe.

Apr 30, 2016 at 7:56 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I would hate to express any opinion on the European Parliament because I don't really know the mechanics of its operations. Worse, I don't know the vibes, which are important in any gathering of that sort. And I suspect this is the reason why people don't trust it, and that's not unique to the UK. None of my neighbours seem to know how it works either and the turnout for elections is not significantly greater than in the UK.

On things like the WTO, there are two arguments and I don't think either side knows which is right.
The Leave argument, which has been made by Booker amongst others, is that the UK would have its own seat at the table when it came to negotiating international agreements. Which is true and means that Britain's voice would be heard.
At the moment Britain's voice is heard in the EU as part of the discussions which the EU hold before taking their seat at that same table.
The question is which route would serve Britain better in those negotiations. In one case you are trying to influence 100+ countries; in the other you are trying to influence 27 who will come to a collective view and a representative will then go and try to influence the other 100+. I can't see that either way the difference could be more than marginal.
Your experience would seem to suggest you are better placed than me to decide! Either way I wouldn't see this as a 'deal breaker'.

michael hart
I call it as I find it. There is enough evidence on this thread alone, not to mention the comments below virtually every relevant article in the Times, Telegraph, Spectator, to support that statement. "Retaliation" has nothing to do do with it because I am not in a fight. Once again, I regret letting myself be dragged into this because it is going down the same route as the Scottish referendum "debate" (read 'street fight') and life is too short. I shall try again to keep out of it.

Apr 30, 2016 at 10:22 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


I can not object if you decide to stay out of the argument and indeed since you do not seem to have a vote then why should you bother? However the rest of us really are in the fight of our lives and therefore see things differently ^.^

Apr 30, 2016 at 11:35 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Mike Jackson on Apr 30, 2016 at 10:22 PM
"... in the other you are trying to influence 27 who will come to a collective view ..."

I think, often, there is only one country to influence, two at most: Germany and perhaps France. It doesn't make it any easier though. :)

If we left the EU, the UK would have its own seat at the WTO table and while it might not get its own way that often :) , it would mean that Whitehall and Westminster could be held to account more easily as they would be held responsible for its implementation in Britain. There would be no one else to blame! It is also easier to police something that you have helped to create, rather than being told what to do by the EU delegation, which doesn't have the responsibility for implementing the regulations in ANY EU country. The EU delegation act for the EU, not for any particular country. The British officials sitting at the WTO table will have been through the loop at the highest level, contributing, while (hopefully) thinking HOW it should be implemented, something that the EU delegation need not concern itself!

Also, at the WTO level there are often options that would be available to Britain, but are not available to any EU country as the EU enforces its own choice of options, 'influenced' by Germany/France.

May 1, 2016 at 12:07 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Could it be that some of the differences expressed here reflect whether the correspondent has lived (or still lives) away from the UK?

I may be influenced here by my recent experiences with my grandchildren. My younger grandson is at the age where he is reading WW II novels (Biggles and the like) and started to express some mild, but definitely worrying, anti German sentiments. These influenced my granddaughter, until she did an exchange visit to Germany. The German boy's visit to us, and her experiences with a German family changed her views entirely. (I think it might have helped that she fancied the boy).

I believe the view from abroad changes a person, they appreciate parts of British life more, become more aware of its deficiencies, but even more significantly come to understand 'the other'. I believe you become more international in your outlook on life.

Just a theory, perhaps destined to be crucified by facts to the contrary.

May 1, 2016 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan, your theory is very attractive, and I'd require strong counter-evidence to reject it! I have no doubt that contacts with other cultures help us to see some of the strengths and weaknesses both of our own culture and theirs. And the more different the culture, the more you learn! I spent several years working as part of a close collaboration with a Japanese firm, which was fascinating. Tokyo looks superficially like a Western city (disregarding the fact that you've suddenly become unable to read) but that is so misleading. There are plusses and minuses, of course (and it would be madness to attempt an overall balance sheet). What I do think is that different cultures work best with their own governing systems. How would we get on with America's, for example? And I feel (rationally or not) that the EU system is not well adapted to British culture. If we do leave the EU, we are going to have to work very hard on developing and strengthening relations with it. But political union may make mutual understanding more difficult rather than easier.

May 1, 2016 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

Alan Kendall
Similar experience with my eldest son. As a 16/17 year old he had some anti-American leanings; what have the Americans done for us, arrogant, loud and so on. So that summer we went and spent some time in Normandy Omaha beach, St Lo and various other places. We also drove down to Verdun and some of the WW1 battlefields. I think his and his younger brothers perspectives changed to what America sacrificed for Europe and the carnage of WW1 which America's entry helped bring to a close.

Driving along the Western Front is an experience that everyone should undertake, truly staggering the number of graves you pass without actually going looking for cemeteries. My wife and I drove along the Western Front to Strasbourg before our sons were born.

Never having a war fought across the countryside where you live certainly gives you a different view of things. I'm of the opinion that Angela Merkel's ill considered invitation to migrants was in part coloured by growing up in post war Germany, presumably in daily contact with Germans who had been expelled or fled from Eastern Europe. Apart from all the other refugees hoping to reach America or elsewhere, passing through Germany.

May 1, 2016 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Alan Kendall on May 1, 2016 at 7:53 AM
"Could it be that some of the differences expressed here reflect whether the correspondent has lived (or still lives) away from the UK?"

I would expect so: it is why many people travel. But we mustn't conflate a People and its individuals with the political machinery with which they have been landed by their History. This was especially true just after WWII and also during the Cold War. As a more recent example, I have met and lived with many French families and they have been very hospitable, very understanding and much fun, but it doesn't excuse the French intransigence over CAP.

Another, even more recent example: the Germans were very inviting towards their recent 'visitors', but many have dramatically changed their views because of the terrible incidents that have been reported in the World's media. What is of importance to us is, have they been able to alter their nation's policies to ensure that it doesn't happen again. Just taking the never ending source of offenders through the German Courts doesn't help future victims: it just drains the nation of its wealth, saps its enthusiasm and changes its culture.

The inviting Germans knew no better because they hadn't travelled abroad to the 'right' places', or were there but were unobservant. For those who had travelled abroad to the 'right' places', they knew! They knew what many now know, to their cost, well before these 'new visitors' had arrived, yet the knowledgable souls were treated as ignorant, bigoted, outcasts.

Learning from your own mistakes is a sign of intelligence.

Learning from the mistakes of others is an even better sign.

And Learning from the wisdom of others, those who have travelled to the 'right places', is better still !

It doesn't matter how much generosity is shown, if the visibly generous (Juncker and the feigned confession of meddling springs to mind!) are mandated' by ungenerous policy, we will just be taken for a ride, as we have been for forty years by CAP.

Germany's visitors are also mandated by very un-generous policies, especially to Jews, Christians, Atheists, Gays and even the wrong sort of Muslim (as in Asad Shah's murder), and the German Authorities do appear frightened to react, blaming the victims instead.

Do the young have any ability to comprehend what is happening to their world?

May 1, 2016 at 10:38 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Osseo. I know I'm turning your comment around, but I would argue that the EU and the British culture are ever more closely becoming adapted to each other. In food, TV programmes, scientific collaboration and much more besides we are becoming ever more similar. With increasing numbers of British holidays being taken abroad, with ex pats living in the rest of Europe and large numbers of EU immigrants working here, mutual understanding must be improving. London is now one of the world's most cosmopolitan of places (the others being New York and Toronto).

If you specifically mean political compatibility, you may have a point but one already covered by posts earlier in this thread.

I think you could equally argue that separation, and not union, may make mutually understanding more difficult, rather than easier.

May 1, 2016 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

osseo on May 1, 2016 at 9:53 AM
"And the more different the culture, the more you learn!"

That may be true for those that frequent these pages, but the recent German 'visitors' do not appear to have this ability.

And in our Northern towns it appears that it is our Police Service, Social Services and associated groups who appear to have had an exceptional ability to learn from the newly arrived cultures!

May 1, 2016 at 11:01 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher