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"Who would have waged money on the original thirteen states successfully integrating, let alone becoming a superpower? 
Dec 14, 2018 at 8:55 AM | Supertroll"

"Germany" was 2-300 different States/Cities/Regions before Bismarck united them. Please note that Bismarck was a Junker. Any confusion with Juncker is on his part, and a bit fuzzy between the gills.

Analogies involving the USA are unfortunate. The idea that a United States of Europe could become a Superpower are leading to Civil War, which is what the Americans were doing, as Germany first started to dominate Europe. WW1 was still 40+ years in the future.

Dec 14, 2018 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Charly, I've been through the Lisbon Treaty. It is just amendments to Maastricht.

And I have discovered that fish are sentient (a philosophical breakthrough).

I have discovered that "The archives of the Union shall be inviolable." But I don't know what that means.

More, I saw that the European Court will respect any member state giving immunity to it's leaders:

Article 28 - Witnesses and experts may be heard on oath taken in the form laid down in the Rules of Procedure or in the manner laid down by the law of the country of the witness or expert.

But changes to majority voting I did not find. The closest was this which notably isn't it.
That's my research. Please show me where I made a mistake.

Dec 14, 2018 at 10:15 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Americans had to fight a horrific four-year war before becoming united.

Dec 14, 2018 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

By the way, no real surprise that Ivan Rogers in his speech played down (or, rather, failed to mention) the EU's own difficulties:

"Sir Mark Ivan Rogers KCMG (born March 1960) is a former senior British civil servant, who was the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union from 4 November 2013 until his resignation on 3 January 2017" (from Wikipedia).

Still, he does know a thing or two about how the EU operates, and maybe the politicians charged with delivering Brexit should have spoken to him before they set off on their journey down a blind alley, having failed to make preparations before serving the Article 50 notice...

Dec 14, 2018 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

TheBigYinJames. I cannot dispute what you have written because the smart money would be placed upon you being correct. However, there are some parallels with the early United States. Who would have waged money on the original thirteen states successfully integrating, let alone becoming a superpower?
I would not put money on the EU, as an entirety, successfully integrating, but on the other hand a smaller group of northern European states, I believe is fully possible.

Dec 14, 2018 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll


Thanks for the link to the speech by Ivan Rogers. I have just ploughed through it, and it makes for sober reading, whichever side of the debate you are on. Oh for politicians with such clarity of speech, and with such intellectual ability and honesty! I think, however, it's a bit of a struggle to seize on his lessons 8 & 9 without also thinking long and hard about lessons 1-7.

He very clearly highlights weaknesses in the rampant Brexiteers' case. None of them, IMO, are insuperable, but I think he is absolutely correct in pointing out that serving the Article 50 notice without first having our ducks in a row was a mistake of major proportions.

But I think he makes the mistake of assuming that the EU is a superb monolith capable of facing down all opponents to it, or all who it needs to subjugate to get its own way. He (not unreasonably) dwells very much on the UK's internal divisions and problems, but nowhere touches on the huge divisions and problems within the EU. I have no faith at all in our ability to leave the EU successfully, whilst led by our current political (and civil service) class. My only faint hope is that the EU will do the job for us - by imploding!

More seriously, I think ardent Brexiteers underplay the difficulties involved in the process, but I also think ardent remainers have too much of a starry-eyed view of the EU and its future. Especially without UK funds, I think the EU has problems aplenty. And while Ivan Rogers talks about the importance of UK trade with the EU, he nowhere mentions the rate at which that trade (as a proportion of the total) is in rapid decline, proportionately to our trade with the rest of the world, a point of some significance.

His better point (IMO) is the importance of the EU to the UK services sector. I am baffled why politicians stress the importance of a free trade deal (meaning in goods) whilst being seemingly unconcerned about services. We have a massive trade deficit in goods with the EU, but a significant surplus in services with the EU. We need very much to think about the importance of services to the UK economy, given the destruction of our manufacturing capacity over recent decades.

Whatever one takes from it, I urge all, on both sides of the debate to read it. There's much food for thought. Probably the one thing we can all agree on is the failure of our political class, on all sides of the debate.

Dec 14, 2018 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Blimey, AK, you must be looking at a different EU than I am. Thhe one I see is run by B-Arkers fresh from their Tower of Babel project. A weasel colony. Bureaucracy in it's purest form, interfering in everything and everyone with no aim than perpetuating its existence. I don't want to be part of it now with its superpower ambitions nor in the future when the whole thing comes to naught. which multi-lingual empires always do.

Dec 14, 2018 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda Klapp


It's a European myth that the EU is failing to achieve its potential because of those pesky Brits always putting the dampers on everything. If you think there are differences between the UK and the rest of Europe, they pale into insignificance compared to the tensions within Europe - we're talking of millennia-long grudges, ethnic rivalries and unresolved territorial claims dating back to the year dot, never mind a cultural and financial north-south divide that makes ours look like nonsense. The idea of unifying that lot is laughable.

The EU is four or five strong economies propping up a country-sized benefits culture. The north gets cheap labour to pay for its socialist dream of a lazy proletariat. It's a bubble that's going to burst in the most horrible of ways, and probably not very far off.

Anyway, Baba Vanga said so, and that's good enough for me :)

Dec 14, 2018 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I, of course, was referring to a self-imposed isolated UK offshore of a potentially fully integrated Europe, an EU with the population, skills and drive to rival the power of the USA or China. The present-day EU has this potential and a drive to attain this goal. Whether it will achieve this level of integration is up in the air, but many believe it to be more likely without the UK. Comparing the present day EU with the potential of a more integrated future version is hardly relevant.

Dec 14, 2018 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

"Climate change: 'Hell to pay' if COP24 talks fail
By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, Katowice"

"Amid impassioned pleas for progress, negotiators at the UN climate talks in Poland are facing the final day with many issues undecided.

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed said there would be "hell to pay" if countries failed to take significant steps.

Countries are struggling to complete the complex "rulebook" of the Paris climate agreement."

"Representatives from 196 states are here trying to sort out some very tricky questions pertaining to the rulebook of the Paris agreement which comes into force in 2020.

These are the regulations that will govern the nuts and bolts of how countries cut carbon, provide finance to poorer nations and ensure that everyone is doing what they say they are doing.

It sounds easy but it is very technical. At the moment countries often have different definitions and timetables for their carbon cutting actions."

While "greens", political leaders and most of the MSM were celebrating the "success" of the Paris climate agreement, some of us (i.e. those who had actually bothered to read and analyse it) were pointing out that without agreement over these "regulations", the Paris Agreement was a waste of time. It seems most of the MSM, most prominently the BBC, preferred to cut & paste UN press releases rather than do some critical thinking of their own.

"But there are significant holdups.

Poorer countries want some "flexibility" in the rules so that they are not overwhelmed with regulations that they don't have the capacity to put into practice.

"The rulebook right now hangs in the balance, because you need all countries on board and you need to support developing countries," said Jennifer Morgan from Greenpeace.

"Flexibility can mean a lot of things and I think some countries are using that word to delay having to implement rules and others are worried because they don't have the capacity to do it, when you don't have a clear signal from developed countries that they are going to provide that support it just brings a lot of uncertainty.""

And that's the nub of it. This is going nowhere.

Unlike the delegates...:

"For the more than 20,000 people attending these talks, the end can't come quick enough.

Most have been here for around two weeks. Officially, it is all due to finish on Friday evening. But the expectation is that it will be Saturday at the earliest.

Some are worried that it could go into Sunday, but most delegates have flights to catch on that date so the pressure will be on to finish by then."

Yes you read that right - "flights to catch". Hypocrites!

Dec 14, 2018 at 7:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

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