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Is the EU really past it's sell by date?

Would other countries leave the EU if given the choice?

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Jeremy Clarkson (who I admire) has said that the EU must punish us so that others don't leave. This coming from a man who is a staunch European. The logic follows that the EU is defunct and other countries do not want to be part of it but are frightened to leave in case they get punished (The EU as it is now). What a wierd way of conducting business.

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By K81
08th Jan 2019 15:30

a client of mine is French & told me last year that several years ago the French people voted to leave the EU but the government decided not to go with the results. He says that he admires the British people & government for sticking to our democratic principles.

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Replying to K81:
Flag of the Soviet Union
By thevaliant
09th Jan 2019 12:29

Although no lover of the EU am I, the believe that France had a referendum on the EU is incorrect. They did not.

They had a referendum on the EU Constitution, which was rejected by France. So the EU renamed it the Lisbon Treaty and voila, no referendum required in France to pass that.

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Out of my mind
By runningmate
08th Jan 2019 15:38

There was a vote on this a couple of years ago. A lot of people indicated they wanted the UK to leave the EU. I guess fundamentally they do not feel "European".

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Replying to runningmate:
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By johnjenkins
08th Jan 2019 15:51

I was in Vienna for new year and got talking to a local. He actually couldn't understand why I didn't feel European. Yet an Austrian friend of mine, who we met up with, understood perfectly well. So perhaps if the EU bosses weren't so arrogant about forcing a federal Europe on people then there might not be this great divide (not only in the UK).

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Replying to runningmate:
Tornado
By Tornado
11th Jan 2019 13:25

There is a big difference between the EU and feeling European.

We are and always will be European, and love the people of Europe as we always have.

A significant number of us simply do not love the European Union, an organisation which purports to represent Europe but is really just a self-serving entity that craves POWER and WEALTH at the expense of the European people.

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Replying to Tornado:
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By johnjenkins
11th Jan 2019 14:45

Spot on.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
08th Jan 2019 16:09

john, politically I would have to agree with Clarkson.

it has been the case since day one, that it is in the clubs interests to not make it easy to leave the club.

If we get 'cake' on leaving (ie still benefit from membership whilst being an ex-member) other countries who also have anti-EU sentiment may want to go - the UK is not the only country to have spent the past 20 years blaming the EU for anything and everything.

Its like a golf club letting an ex-member play at reduced member rates. You don't do it, or you wont have any members left.

The UK already has a special status on the currency and payments to the EU budget whilst in the club, ie the golf club equivalent of our own parking space and a discount off the subs, so to still get special treatment after it taking the urine.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By johnjenkins
08th Jan 2019 17:30

Why shouldn't it be easy to leave EU? Better still why don't the EU listen to the people and do their bidding, then perhaps countries might not get arsy with them. What is wrong with the UK saying we want movement of labour but need to control immigration? Seems like common sense to me. There you have it. A rigid regime will always collapse.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
08th Jan 2019 18:50

Well its a long time club, its not supposed to be for short dithering in and out. The EU is 28 countries and half a billion people, you cant just make up special rules for each member, albeit the UK seem to have more of those than most counties.

You personally might not like freedom of movement of labour, I personally think is a wonderful thing, having the freedom to study, work and live in any county you like, so long as you can support yourself. Of course if you cant support, you cant stay, albeit the UK does not tend to enforce that rule for some reason. If its the main price for free trade then so be it. I don't see why the EU should change that policy to appease a core freedom of being a European to satisfy an inward looking group from one country, which accounts for what 6% of the EU in total, even if you assume all the people who voted brexit wanted to stop their own freedoms. Many seemed to just want "one in the eye" for Cameron, or believed what was written on the bus.

What makes me laugh about the immigration is the more culturally diverse the least people like "the others". And more culturally diverse is exactly what we are going to get a lot more of if we turn off the EU migrant flow and have to pull our cheap labour from other countries to do the grotty jobs brits wont do. Back to the 1970's we go.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
RLI
By lionofludesch
08th Jan 2019 21:58

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

You personally might not like freedom of movement of labour, I personally think is a wonderful thing, having the freedom to study, work and live in any county you like ....

I think we're still going to be able to move between counties, are we not ?

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By carnmores
09th Jan 2019 09:53

you could always nip over to Dundalk for a snifter, or will there be a check on whether you have paid your €7 or whatever.

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Replying to carnmores:
RLI
By lionofludesch
09th Jan 2019 10:09

carnmores wrote:

you could always nip over to Dundalk for a snifter, or will there be a check on whether you have paid your €7 or whatever.

County Louth ?

Oh, I don't know about that. But I think I'll be OK to visit Mrs Lion's mum in County Down.

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By carnmores
09th Jan 2019 18:11

i spent many happy days in Newcastle. i drove thru Newry on 6th November god it took a while ....

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Replying to carnmores:
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By lionofludesch
10th Jan 2019 09:21

carnmores wrote:

i spent many happy days in Newcastle. i drove thru Newry on 6th November god it took a while ....

Ah - see Naples and die; see Newry and Mourne.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By carnmores
10th Jan 2019 09:58

The mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea I suspect that Die was swept into the sea

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By johnjenkins
10th Jan 2019 10:12

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Narnia based on this landscape?

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By carnmores
10th Jan 2019 10:23

Rostrevor forever only been a couple of time

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By lionofludesch
10th Jan 2019 11:58

johnjenkins wrote:

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Narnia based on this landscape?

Indeed it was.

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Replying to carnmores:
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By lionofludesch
11th Jan 2019 12:01

carnmores wrote:

The mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea I suspect that Die was swept into the sea

You're thinking of Dai. The Welsh boi.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By johnjenkins
09th Jan 2019 08:47

I'm quite happy with the free movement of labour and diversity. What I am not happy is with 300k+ net immigrants per annum into the UK when there isn't the infrastructure to cope. So you would think any sensible Government would say "hang on" let's just have a look at what is occurring here. Better still the EU should stop and think about the effect of their rigid regime on smaller countries is having. The problem is that when we joined and even after the first referendum there was no talk of a Federal Europe under one Parliament. Let the people of Europe have a referendum on that point and you will get a shock.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By Michael C Feltham
11th Jan 2019 12:07

@John:

Free movement of labour is one of those nice ideas, in theory, but as always with the UK government, it was not carefully considered before they agreed.

1. As happened, workers from economically stressed member states came to the UK and were prepared to work for far less; plus put up with diabolical living conditions. They also stripped the UK of large sums of capital which was expatriated. This depressed the UK labour pool and drove down hourly rates. The East End of London Olympic development was a prime example. Remember One Eyed Brown crowing "British jobs for British workers!" until someone with a brain pointed out a MAJORITY of the construction were Eastern Europeans!

2. Try working in most EU states doing anything much other than plucking chickens in an abattoir! In order to work as say a bricklayer in France, a person must jump through loads of hoops, including proving skills, joining a Metiere etc.

3. Health service: UK free on demand: most of the EU, er no. One has to pay! same with social benefits.

4. Residency: rafts of Eastern Europeans came over and stayed, supported by an insane benefit structure. France, Germany et al? Nope! One must firstly prove income and capital.

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Replying to Michael C Feltham:
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By johnjenkins
11th Jan 2019 12:25

Free movement of labour is slightly different to free movement of living accommodation and benefits paid in UK with UK rates rather than the country the person comes from and has his family. This is something the EU should have carefully considered. What's it called when you keep changing the rules half way through, ah yes doing a Bercow.

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By Michael C Feltham
11th Jan 2019 13:57

However, John, it is impossible to regulate the core problem of disparate economies and income expectancy, is it not?

Again, this is the worm in the apple for the dysfunctional, artificial construct, the Euro Monetary Mechanism.

Parity between say Germany and Greece, Portugal, Spain et al simply does not exist. Setting up a currency mechanism where central banks of member states are not allowed to adjust both interest rates (all of them: Depo Rates, Base Rates, Discount Rates etc) and, perhaps worse, Money Supply, meant discrete Governments could only resort to Sovereign Debt to try and coordinate their fiscal demands and policies - and of course, politics - by borrowing. Big Time!

And we know how this ended up!

as I wrote early on (Businessweek International):-

"If we had 12 Switzerlands, then the Euro Mechanism could work. However, if we had 12 Switzerlands then we wouldn't need it in the first place!"

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Replying to Michael C Feltham:
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By johnjenkins
11th Jan 2019 14:51

A federal Europe was never going to work, so why some politicians march on regardless really baffles me. All the EU has to do is take a step back, have a look and be a bit flexible and then who knows what they might achieve. To have rules without flexibility can never work

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By Michael C Feltham
12th Jan 2019 13:07

@John:

The day ANY politician admits, unequivocally, "I was wrong!", is the day Hell freezes over and Satan and his fallen angels start snowball fights, skiing, ice skating and etc.

Interestingly, I have just finished two absorbing books: Douglas Murray's "The Strange Death of Europe" and Quentin Letts's "Patronising Bastards!" and have now just started Lett's book, "50 People who buggered Up Britain". The chapter on Geoffrey Rippon recounts how he and Heath err, lied over Britain's Fishing Rights. Lied? What a PM and his faithful sycophant?

Heavens to Betsy!

And here is the core problem: the plans for the dysfunctional artificial construct of firstly the E.E.C. and the European Union, plus EMU (Economic and Monetary Union) et al, were all enshrined in the Treaty of Rome, 1957. Jean Monnet and the other founding fathers were determined to create one federal Europe; roll out the Euro and enact Economic Union, which IS intended to harmonise taxes and laws across the whole continent.

Heath, naturally lied to "Sell" his spavined concept that the E.E.C. was simply a trading area and nothing else.

Is it any real surprise, therefore, that the ensuing disaster we are stuck with (and will be forever if PM May's iniquitous Brexit Deal is voted "Yes" in the masquerade of our pathetic parliament?) will simply enjoy an insane continuum?

(N.B. I write on all this and earlier, majored on the EEC etc when at Management School in the far off days of the mid 1970s)

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Replying to Michael C Feltham:
RLI
By lionofludesch
12th Jan 2019 13:15

Michael C Feltham wrote:
"50 People who buggered Up Britain".

Come, come, there are more than that.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Michael C Feltham
12th Jan 2019 13:46

I quite agree, L of F;

Clearly, Letts's selection (added to by five in the re-issue afterword) tabulates a selection only!

We could all nominate our own choices!

Being, of course, wary of the Libel Court!

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By MECtax
08th Jan 2019 18:27

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

john, politically I would have to agree with Clarkson.

it has been the case since day one, that it is in the clubs interests to not make it easy to leave the club.

If we get 'cake' on leaving (ie still benefit from membership whilst being an ex-member) other countries who also have anti-EU sentiment may want to go - the UK is not the only country to have spent the past 20 years blaming the EU for anything and everything.

Its like a golf club letting an ex-member play at reduced member rates. You don't do it, or you wont have any members left.

The UK already has a special status on the currency and payments to the EU budget whilst in the club, ie the golf club equivalent of our own parking space and a discount off the subs, so to still get special treatment after it taking the urine.

I would say it's more like joining a golf club and then after a couple of years being told that you must partake in all your sporting activities here, football, rugby, cricket, everything. Not only that, but you cannot play those sports at any other club.

If you want to leave you have to pay your subs for the next 5 years regardless and you will not be permitted to join other golf clubs without their permission (especially if they are in Ireland).

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
RLI
By lionofludesch
08th Jan 2019 18:37

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

Its like a golf club letting an ex-member play at reduced member rates.

It's not, is it ?

Trade is a two way thing.

The thing is that the EU is now significantly different from its Common Market roots.

Do I feel European in the sense of being part of a huge confederation ?

No, of course I don't.

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By andy.partridge
08th Jan 2019 18:34

The EU is facing the same problems that Empires historically tend to face. If the benefits of being part of it are no longer obvious or have ceased there are difficulties keeping it together.

The idea of of a leaving punishment is a sure sign of an organisation that lacks confidence in itself. The EU should concentrate on promoting the advantages to members and not warning of dire consequences.

Veiled threats may work with some member states but it tends not to work with the UK people. On the contrary. Perhaps this, in a small but important way, is what singles us out from being 'truly European'.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
09th Jan 2019 14:56

"Perhaps this, in a small but important way, is what singles us out from being 'truly European'."

Your above last sentence has a touch of exceptionalism, all countries/peoples have this inward belief in their standing out/ difference from the others, if they did not they really would not be a country/people, the catch is they often tend to recognise it in themselves but seldom recognise it in the others; view the EU from a different mindset and it looks very different.

View Brexit from a different viewpoint and it also looks very different/takes on different hues. One of my Swedish neighbours, an ex political journalist/editor with the Gothenburg Post who I sometimes go fishing with when over there, pointed out their/his perspective was one of being betrayed, the UK was at the forefront of those non euro using nations in the EU, the big brother of that group in his words. So as we floated in a boat on an evening with a few drinks , a cigar and a natter , with very few fish, it strikes me that we have become very insular, we look at the issue from our aspect vis a vis this monster apparition, the EU beast/machine, we in the process consider its impact on us and ours, we very much ignore how , as individuals, some in Europe now view what we are doing.

Having said the above up here we are cut from similar cloth, we see ourselves as singular to all down south, despite holding no animosity to England (and strictly I am as much English as Scottish by parentage- I could have played rugby for both had I been any good) there is a touch of,

"Here's tae us. Wha's like us? Damn few, and they're a'deid."

in my makeup.

So as I sit here watching the debacle, the mess, the chaos, the chase for an illusion of self determination that will disappoint all who now chase it (fools gold), as an anti Scottish (insert "independence") advocate who worked tirelessly against the 2014 independence movement, I am really starting to wonder why I bothered, because from up here, my perspective, you have all lost your reason and your sanity.Maybe Brexit is contagious and I should act in similar perverse manner and when Indy Ref 2 looms large, as it looks like it will, maybe I should just ignore the economics, the common sense, all logic and just leave you to it.

If Brexit is intended as a cure for something that ails the UK one really now has to hope that the cure will not kill the patient.

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By johnjenkins
09th Jan 2019 09:10

Be warned, Parliament. Carry on messing about with the will of the people and you will be in the smelly stuff come the nest general election. In fact if I was TM I would go the country right now with her deal.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
09th Jan 2019 09:49

They are either way, if they bomb out with no deal electorate is not going to be best pleased.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
09th Jan 2019 09:58

What is the "will of the people?"

as far as I can see it half voted for brexit, and half didn't.

it was almost a dead heat.

Moreover people votes for many different types of brexit. Don't forget we were told we could have free trade, obey no rules, and pay no subs (including no divorce settlement), which was patently absurd at the time as it is now, but people still believed it.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By johnjenkins
09th Jan 2019 10:33

52% to 48% doesn't add up to half does it? If you really want to go into detail, those that voted to leave new exactly what they were voting for, which is more than can be said for a lot of the remainers. Nobody voted for different types of Brexit. The question was simple. What is absurd is the way the "will of the people" has been undermined by Parliament.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By adam.arca
09th Jan 2019 12:56

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

What is the "will of the people?"

as far as I can see it half voted for brexit, and half didn't.

it was almost a dead heat.

Moreover people votes for many different types of brexit. Don't forget we were told we could have free trade, obey no rules, and pay no subs (including no divorce settlement), which was patently absurd at the time as it is now, but people still believed it.

I appreciate you'll see it differently but, for me, your arguments fail on all counts.

Even if we accept that half voted for Brexit and half didn't (which isn't even close to correct), those were the rules and it's a bit rich to complain about them afterwards.

Compare the Brexit referendum with the Welsh Assembly one back in 1997 and where the vote was something like 50.2% for vs 49.8% against (and even that was after a dodgily late landslide declaration in the constituency of the bloke running the referendum, make of that what you will). Now that's what I call a close decision yet look what happened: I appreciate the scale of matters is different but there was certainly no option touted for a second vote and those of us who voted no have still had to put up with 20 years of inept rule from Cardiff. That's how referenda are supposed to work.

I do agree with you that people voted for their own personal types of Brexit but I don't see the relevance of your point: democracy is about giving a broad brush mandate not micro-managing because Mrs Jones in Poplar Avenue isn't happy.

You moreover glide over the point that the EU we ended up with is a completely different animal from that voted on in the 1975 Common Market referendum. I wasn't around to know what the arguments for voting 'in' were but I'm sure there were a shedload of broken promises then too.

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By bernard michael
09th Jan 2019 10:00

My local bookies are offering bets on who leaves next, which in betting order are
Italy
Greece,
Poland
The EU only survives because the richer countries contribute to the rest so it's an overall basket case
The Irish have already asked the EU for 100's of £million to support their farmers and fishermen if we leave with no deal.
It would also have to replace our 39 £billion ransom money

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Replying to bernard michael:
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By johnjenkins
09th Jan 2019 10:27

Hungary might be up there as well.

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By carnmores
09th Jan 2019 10:08

I have lived in UK since 1972 am an Irish citizen but not a British subject and i was allowed to vote (why?); the border problem which was totally clear to me was the reason I voted remain. Given the chance again i would vote leave in order to try and stop the greatest democratic betrayal since Magna Carta. I went back to Ireland (both sides) in November and no one i met wanted a hard border , that's one hell of a change from the 60's & 70's when my parents friends from NI would not cross the border. Sadly there appears to be a disconnect between the DUP (& some other UK MPs) and the voters on this. A month ago there was a great program on BBCR4 brexit and the border that should be compulsory listening for all politicians. we Irish feel European after a few glasses its the craic.

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By Jdopus
09th Jan 2019 13:28

I think calling it a punishment is a bit daft - we lose all the benefits of being in the club if we leave and they aren't going to give us special treatment compared to other non-club members. That's the extent of it.

It's only perceivable as a punishment if you've been stupid enough to believe all the people who said that we could continue to reap all the benefits of the bits we like after we quit.

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By bernard michael
09th Jan 2019 13:33

I'll get there first

Groucho Marx said I wouldn't want to belong to a club that had me as a member

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By bernard michael
09th Jan 2019 13:56

For odds on the next country to leave the EU
Italy 2/1
Greece 4/1
Poland 5/1
Czech 5/1
Sweden 10/1
France 12/1
Hungary 12/1
Ireland 16/1
How long you'd have to wait before collecting I know not. Obviously as we've shown the way others may follow

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By johnjenkins
09th Jan 2019 14:06

You forgot the UK at 1000/1

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By theedge
09th Jan 2019 13:59

the 52-48 split is regularly trotted out as being a close run thing. If the results are taken on a constituency basis as used in a GE the result would have been a landslide victory. Approx 400 leave areas and 250 remain (mostly in London and Scotland)

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Replying to theedge:
By Red Leader
09th Jan 2019 14:05

Fair point, hadn't thought of it that way before. That said, it would have been easier for all concerned if it had been more than 51.9%.

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Replying to Red Leader:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
09th Jan 2019 15:10

There are loads of perms.

Take 1979 Devolution which was a vote where we actually had the legislation in place before the vote so everyone at least knew what they were getting.

"The Scottish referendum of 1979 was a post-legislative referendum to decide whether there was sufficient support for a Scottish Assembly proposed in the Scotland Act 1978 among the Scottish electorate. This was an act to create a devolved deliberative assembly for Scotland. An amendment to the Act stipulated that it would be repealed if less than 40% of the total electorate voted "Yes" in the referendum. The result was that 51.6% supported the proposal, but with a turnout of 64%, this represented only 32.9% of the registered electorate. The Act was subsequently repealed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_Scottish_devolution_referendum

So with a more certain outcome ,as legislation was already in place ,there was a requirement for a percentage of the total eligible electorate not merely those who turned out to vote.

In addition I think it was not merely advisory, probably why the higher test was used.

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By Red Leader
09th Jan 2019 14:00

Punishment People's Vote Vassal State Colony Fear Lies Betrayal Enemies of the People.

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By johnjenkins
09th Jan 2019 15:03

Where's you're commers

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By Red Leader
09th Jan 2019 16:21

In the lorry park.

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Replying to Red Leader:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
09th Jan 2019 16:59

Manston?

(A long time ago my pension scheme had an interest in Manston via Wiggins Group PLC, one holding I dumped before I got really burnt)

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