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The EU always fails Riddled with blind obstinance, its vaccine crisis was inevitable

Did she put 'ever-closer union' ahead of the health of Europeans? (Photo by Aris Oikonomou / AFP) (Photo by ARIS OIKONOMOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Did she put 'ever-closer union' ahead of the health of Europeans? (Photo by Aris Oikonomou / AFP) (Photo by ARIS OIKONOMOU/AFP via Getty Images)


March 24, 2021   4 mins

It was the Christmas miracle Europe had been waiting for; “a touching moment of unity,” as Ursula Von der Leyen put it, “and a European success story”. Only six months before, the President of the European Commission had proposed she negotiate vaccine deals on behalf of all 27 member countries. Finally, come Boxing Day, she was able to announce that the bloc’s vaccine programme was finally underway. Europe was saved.

As the leaders of the EU’s member states prepare to meet tomorrow for a European Council meeting, I suspect few believe it will be another “touching moment of unity”. For the truth is that the “European success story” has been anything but.

Even at the last meeting of the European Council, roughly a fortnight before Von der Leyen’s victory lap, the mood was hardly buoyant. During the all-night session, the representatives of the member countries failed to agree on everything except for the fact that a no-deal scenario was the most likely outcome of the Brexit process — another EU prophecy that has since unravelled.

Yet there remains a sense of solemnity to these European Council meetings. They are, after all, often convened in times of crisis. And whether it’s the collapse of the Eurozone, the sudden wave of migrants or the emergence of a new deadly coronavirus, if the past decade has taught us anything, it’s that the EU has never been short on crises.

Of course, not all of these disasters are of the EU’s own making — though some certainly have been. But throughout each of them, a remarkable trend has emerged: that no matter how bad the situation is, the EU always finds a way to make it worse.

When, for example, the Eurozone crisis hit in 2010, the federalists were intent on showing that only the EU could save the Mediterranean countries from economic collapse. Far less important for Brussels was the fact that Greece, in particular, would not have been in this mess if it had not been accepted into the Eurozone in the first place. Similarly, when the immigration crisis peaked five years later, Brussels insisted that only a unified block could respond to such a challenge. Predictably, it failed to take into account that it was failures at an EU level — in particular its unilateral approach to migration policies — that had exacerbated the problem in the first place.

And now we are seeing the results of the EU’s botched handling of the Corona crisis. Despite Von der Leyen’s promise of vaccine success, Paris has just gone into another lockdown and Germany is set to implement nationwide restrictions over Easter. Meanwhile, the vaccine roll-out across the majority of the bloc remains calamitously slow.

Yet while it’s easy to criticise individual governments and leaders for mistakes in their countries, we must not lose sight of how the EU’s decision-making has often amounted to nothing more than a catalogue of errors.

First there was the whole issue of vaccine development, with French and German companies both being protected by their respective governments even as they preached a message of unity. Then there came the procurement disaster, in which Franco-German protectionism once again delayed production. Then there was the disaster of the roll-out, where the bloc’s efforts to ensure that nobody raced ahead meant that every country advanced at the slowest rate possible. In the meantime, the Commission still found the time to order raids on laboratories and threaten to seize AstraZeneca manufacturing plants.

The Commission has, of course, apologised after every misfire. But on no occasion has it looked as though it has learned its lesson. At present, the EU seems more focused on the bloc’s “bad boys”, notably Hungary, for going their own way and acquiring massive quantities of the Russian and Chinese vaccines. Yet in Hungary, the country’s vaccination rate has raced ahead with around 16% of its population having received at least one jab, as opposed to a mere 9% average in the bloc as a whole.

In the face of these facts, one would expect tomorrow’s Council meeting to be a sombre if not sobering affair. But as those who have attended previous Council meetings can attest, they rarely are any such thing — for the simple reason that the Council is incapable of absorbing criticisms which cast any negative light on its own direction of travel.

Evidence from around the world suggests that countries which are limber and independent — such as Israel, Singapore and Britain — have been able to act swiftly during the pandemic, particularly with regard to vaccinations. Indeed, there is no logical reason why EU countries could not have been allowed to pursue independent vaccine development, procurement and roll-out. Except for the fact that any such conclusion runs counter to the heart of the EU’s fundamental principle: that its members must act in concert.

In Brussels, it has already been decided that an EU-wide approach is always the only approach. And as we are seeing, it will doggedly remain committed to the wrong answer even when that answer has been proved wrong. There are, of course, issues on which a multilateral approach are needed, as there are issues on which unilateral policies are required. But once you have decided that there is never — and never will be — an alternative, you are bound to encounter problems which you cannot solve.

In recent years, critics of the EU have repeatedly noted that while there was much criticism in Brussels of the UK for leaving the bloc, there was no self-reflection over why we might have chosen that decision. There were none of the procedures in place that would normally allow a political entity to consider criticisms and adapt accordingly. Why is this? Because if you believe that the answer to everything is an “ever-closer union”, then contemplating the benefits of a more relaxed arrangement is an impossible task.

All of which grates somewhat, given how the EU repeatedly asserted that it was Brexiteers who were the immovable ideologues; when, as Brussels’s recent behaviour has shown, in reality it is the EU that is riddled with blind obstinance. So when the European Council meets tomorrow, expect it to blame everyone but itself. And as a result, when the next crisis comes around, expect it to fail yet again.


Douglas Murray is an author and journalist.

DouglasKMurray

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Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

The British Common Law tradition means that people are free to experiment with ideas and creative ways of thinking. Things are permitted unless explicitly forbidden. The European rule of law is the Napoleonic Code, a top-down system where things are forbidden unless you have permission to do something different. In EU world Government knows best. Britons have always had a healthy disdain for pompous authority and official ‘bossiness’. Europe seems to live off it; often in European projects one is trying to get over or around officialdom. EU is officialdom par excellence.
In the long run, agility and flexibility will always be greater assets. Douglas Murray is right; EU has a fundamental design flaw which will prevent it from ever being the power it thinks it is or wants to be.

Last edited 3 years ago by Vikram Sharma
Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Until a year ago you were absolutely right about British Common law, but we now live in a country where it is illegal to leave the house without “a reasonable excuse” and we’re waiting for the government to tell us when we’ll be allowed to hug a family member. What a brave new world we live in.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I am so far willing to give the government the benefit of doubt. I realise that rights taken away are not easily returned by power-crazed officials and politicians. I sincerely hope I am not wrong in being trusting. Time will tell.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Once rights are taken away, even if they are subsequently reinstated, they become a privilege.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 years ago

Exactly. Once the principle of removal is established, especially when by mere statutory instrument, ‘rights’ become contingent and are therefore no longer rights.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Indeed. When California tried to close churches due to the pandemic, the churches went to court. SCOTUS found for the churches based on the 1st amendment right to religious freedom. Now the state has to figure out how to accommodate the right to worship in light of the pandemic. If there is no guaranteed right, the onus is on the wrong people. It should be on those trying to remove a right rather than those trying to maintain one,

Helen Fitch
Helen Fitch
3 years ago

Scottish courts have this week ruled that the Scottish government acted unlawfully by ruling that churches had to be closed. In England the CofE heirarchybwent along with the government decision to close churches and that decision has not been tested in court.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Helen Fitch

Yes, courts may rule one way or the other wherever you don’t have a constitutional right to freedom of religion.
The point is that when there is a constitutional right to freedom of religion, the onus is on the government to figure out how to accommodate that. If there’s no right, it’s always going to be a case by case basis.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

The right to infect others is not a right to allow.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I hope you’re right, but don’t share your faith.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Lmao. Sucker

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Also if this vaccine is the panacea Murray is suggesting , why is Britain still in lockdown/mask wearing mode and will remain so for the foreseeable future? He suggests European countries are only having lockdowns/curfews until they eventually get the vaccine,which their ‘ belligerance’ has delayed. My understanding of this vaccine is it has no affect whatsoever on the virus, you can still catch it , be ill and infect someone else.

Philip Walsh
Philip Walsh
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Caution. The government has had too many failures in the past 12 months and so is acting (unnecessarily, in my view) cautiously.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

‘…this vaccine has no affect (sic) whatsoever on the virus..’. Interested in where you have gained this understanding from, as my understanding is that according to well-developed and standard testing procedures, it has well-established efficacy levels that are not zero (if by ‘it’ you mean AZ and Pfizer). We are in lockdown & mask-wearing mode because only about half the country has yet received the first dose, and only about 5-6% the full set of two. But willing as always to be proved wrong if you can offer your sources.

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago

Kathleen’s choice of words is a bit array; I am sure she just means you can still get COVID-19 from the SARS CoV 2 virus, plus still pass it on as well, even if you have had one or two doses of the new injected prophylactics.
We are in lockdown & mask-wearing mode because only about half the country has yet received the first dose…
If this is the case we truly are in a totalitarian state.

Last edited 3 years ago by David Owsley
Andy Clark
Andy Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

Should that perhaps be “awry” in place of “array”.
Array = orderly
Awry = away from the correct course

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

We are far from a totalitarian state. If we were you would not be commenting on this forum.

J J
J J
3 years ago

You are technically incorrect. All of the vaccines prevent infection (not just symptomatic infection, hospitalization and death) and therefore prevent transmission. Figures seem to vary between 50% to 80%. However more importantly serious illness and death is reduced by 80% to 100%, so even with transmission deaths and hospitalisation should fall by this amount – effectively making the pandemic not a ‘big deal’.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  J J

The problem here is the constant media distortions of “case”-demic, versus the long term vaccination goal of reducing deaths. As long as the media remain obsessed with the “case”-demic, none of the data will make any sense.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

ARR

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

Time will tell Andrew. The effects of the vaccine so far are staggering.

Ian McKenna
Ian McKenna
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Why we are still in lockdown and mask-wearing mode is an excellent question, but it is a political one, not an epidemiological one. Since the vaccine rollout, cases, hospitalisations and deaths have fallen dramatically. That would suggest the vaccine is effective? In Europe, where the vaccines have not been administered to many people, cases are rising. That would seem to be more evidence that vaccines make a difference. Of course, nothing is a panacea, but at some point we have to have the basic courage required to deal with real life. If we can’t do it now, then when?

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian McKenna
J J
J J
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian McKenna

You are incorrect, it’s a epidemiological one. The more people we have vaccinated by the time we end the lockdown, the fewer infections, deaths and hospitalizations there will be. Ideally we would wait until everyone who wants a vaccination is given one (two doses). However there needs to be a balance, waiting 16 more days before we essentially open up 90% of activities that were prevented, seems a reasonable balance to me.

Last edited 3 years ago by J J
Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  J J

It was 16 days over a year ago!!!!!!!! No more.

J J
J J
3 years ago
Reply to  Trishia A

You may as well wait 16 days (now 15 days) before having your revolution, just incase you are wasting your time.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian McKenna

Yes and Britain would gain the advantage of ‘look at us we got the vaccine and now we are back to normal’ over EU-instead we have gloom and doom of Sage who seem to want lockdown to continue forever.

Hal Lives
Hal Lives
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

My understanding is that the latest information shows the OAZ vaccine reduces, although may not eliminate, transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
As Whitty, Vallance, JVT et al have said, Covid will become endemic; we’ll have our yearly vaccinations and learn to live with it, just as we’ve learned to live with the 10-20K fatalities from the flu each year.
I’m in my early 60’s, lost my Mum to Covid during the 1st wave, and although I’ve had my 1st dose of OAZ I’ve no problem wearing a mask in a store or on the very rare occasion I use public transport to help protect not only myself, but others.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Murray’s article doesn’t mention the efficacy of the vaccines, Kathleen, let alone describe them as a panacea. You see what you want to see.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

I thought it was about the EU never apologising or changing their minds when they, fail not about vaccines.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I bet you voted remain and have bashed leavers contantly since.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  John Gleeson

Never voted, follow the Mark Twain principle-‘If voting made a difference ,they wouldn’t let us do it’. So I wonder why Britain has been allowed to leave the EU ( as there is no way of verifying the referendum result) and whether it is to allow us to be financially ruined?

Stuart Bennett
Stuart Bennett
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Is it too obvious to point out that in the EU referendum the establishment wanted to remain but the voters secured a leave? Turns out Mark Twain wasn’t quite correct with that one.

ricksanchez769
ricksanchez769
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Unclear if the vaccine is a panacea, they are absolutely efficacious in the older folk – evidence shows, less cases, less really sick, less hospital admissions. Why is Boris still locking down? Because he can…he can ignore the science as he sees fit because of the precedent already set at the beginning of this whole mess – Simon Wood University of Bristol paper, Lancet, Stanford paper, Nature paper, BMJ paper all say, knowing what we know now, that locking down is more harmful than not locking down. Here’s a compilation
https://principia-scientific.com/scientific-analyses-and-papers-on-lockdown-effectiveness/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+psintl+%28Principia+Scientific+Intl+-+Latest+News%29
BTW these are not vaccines in the truest sense – more like treatments. Small pox, polio – those are vaccines – those jabs prevent you from getting the bad effects of the virus or bacterium. These covid-19 jabs help lessen the effects of the illness of covid-19.

Last edited 3 years ago by ricksanchez769
William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Because they haven’t finished Vaccinating ? Two jabs for everyone.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

Build back better. Save the world from global warming. Sit in your house and wait to die. Make the world safe for billionaires again

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Scientists who don’t agree that global warming is man made don’t get research grants so there is a lot of pressure to comply.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

The vaccine is 80% effective in protection from the virus but 100% effective so far in preventing serious infection leading to hospitalisation.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

you have a weak understanding of what a vaccine is and how vaccines protect against infection, and you don’t seem to understand that often when a doctor prescribes a medication to a patient, it is not just the pill but a variety of other instructions are also given according to the condition.
Lockdowns, masks, etc, have a purpose, the only issue will be when and if it will be safe to remove them. People who have travelled a bit are aware that people from certain Asian countries who have had very low virus infection and disease rates often were wearing masks in public settings long before corona.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Yes, what the UK really needs is a constitution and a bill of rights. If things are permitted unless prohibited, there can always be a reason found for it to be prohibited. Much better to guarantee rights against political machinations leaving the government to have to figure out how to accommodate the right rather than making people fight for the right each time.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

We all break the law. There is a statute still on the books which says that all men over 18 should get 4 hrs of archery practice a week.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

That seems unconnected to my post.

Sean MacSweeney
Sean MacSweeney
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I have from the start refused to accept either of those premises, I have met frequently with family members and have left the house (avoiding the gestapo) those that give up freedom for safety deserve neither

Steve Weeks
Steve Weeks
3 years ago

Sean, do you feel the same way about being coerced into forever driving on the left?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

He said that things are permitted unless expressly forbidden which is still the case.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tony Conrad
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

The divide goes back further. The Divine Right of Kings was adopted by Charlemagne from the Roman tradition of the Emperor being Divine and The Law being used to impose his will.. The Anglo Saxons, Celts and Vikings elected Kings, the wisest warrior and kingship was not always hereditary. In England the first laws combined AS Tradition and the Bible were written by Aethelbert of Kent in about 650 AD. AS Kings ruled through consultation and consent. Edward 1 said ” That which affects all must be consulted by all”.
Napoleon assumes the Divine Right of Kings of Charlemagne, makes his Empire a reality by imposing his code  and like him, is crowned by the Pope and makes
Napoleon breaks the power of the feudal aristocracy and RC Church in Europe, enabling Charlemagne’s Empire to exist. The French  kings believed in the Divine Right of Kings  and in droit administratif, a sacred principle of state which  can crush the people. The EU is using droit administartif to block vaccines to the UK.
The EU is an attempt to recreate the Empire Of Charlemagne which is why Mitterand and Kohl visited his tomb at Aachen. If you look at the centres of power of the EU, they are largely in heart of Charlemagne’s Empire. Charlemagne’s Empire extended to south of barcelona, Italy North of Rome, in Italy, Slovenia Bohemia, Western Austria, Non- Prussian Germany, Belgium and perhaps RC Netherlands.
Charlemagne-empire-map-814-.jpg (650×594)
(shorthistory.org)
Those countries which are least pro EU are largely those which existed outside of Charlemagne’s Empire.
Who knows England who only knows England?
A major reason why there is lack of understanding of the EU is massive failure of the opinion forming middle classes to understand European History post 410 AD. The days when politicians had History degrees and could read Latin and French, is well history.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Yes, fundamental design flaw as is the case with all Left thinking organizations. I believe it stems from the Most basic flaw incorporated into Marxism by Marx himself. They do not take into account human nature and that people are individuals and not all the same. Some will excel, some are satisfied with the status quo, but you can’t force all into the mediocrity of the Leftist mindset.

Peter Turner
Peter Turner
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

True enough about not being able to force everyone into a leftist mindset, but it’s still amazing to see the numbers, and apparent intelligence of individuals, who do indeed enthusiastically adopt that position.

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Turner

The key words here are ‘apparently intelligence’. That is the skill of our politicians. They exude ‘apparent intelligence’. Dissect the word politics phonetically and you have:
Poly – more than one
Tic – blood sucking parasite

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Turner

Maybe they think they will get something for nothing and not have to work.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

I forge to separate authoritarian leftists from libertarian leftists. There’s a big difference between the wokism dominating the covid debate and the libertarian leftists who lean to better hospital care, but more liberty for the majority of the population.
Wokeism rules the covid debate, as it rules other debates in society presently. The woke Left have embraced the religious authoritairian ways of church pushing right-wingers. It’s sad time in history.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

The pontifications of Klaus Schab head of the World Economic Forum author of the Great Reset is just another marxist idea where nobody owns anything but they will still be happy. Where have we heard that before?

Ben Morris
Ben Morris
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

The EU is our nearest and largest trading partner with which we had a perfectly functional relationship and a very open one until by a very narrow margin the U.K. electorate voted to leave. It is now perfectly clear that this was a self-damaging act and a terrible mistake, which will take years, decades to unpick. These abstractions about differing legal traditions are irrelevant. The U.K. will have to deal with whatever the EU is, whether from within it, or as a Third Country. The rest is mindless bombast.

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Morris

It is most definitely not clear that leaving the EU was damaging. Nor that it was a terrible mistake. In fact, it is ever more clear that the decision to leave was the right decision. This is somewhat supported by almost every bullying action that the bloc takes against the UK now. Rather than unpick our decision to leave, we should be working to build on opening our opportunities in the wider world and move on. Yes, we can, and will, work with the EU, even if, it seems that the EU is determined to stick the boot in at every opportunity. I would also take issue with your description of differing legal traditions as being irrelevant. Just recall that North America was built upon Common Law whilst South America evolved using European (aka Napoleonic) law. There is, it would appear, a strong correlation between the relative success of the USA and Canada versus the collection of basket cases that lie to the south of the Rio Grande. To counter your bombast accusations, I would say that it is they, not us, who seem to be looking for fights. I suggest, for your own mental health if nothing else, that you pull your shoulders back, hold your head up and get on with the new world rather than whingeing about leaving an arrangement which was rejected by the majority of the British public. The EU would have had us vote and vote and vote again until we got it right. We chose to vote and we voted to leave. It is irrelevant whether our majority was large or small – and I won’t throw into the mix the substantial minority who acquiesced to whatever the result was by staying in bed that day – so whichever side won should consider those votes to be theirs (sort of ‘a la PR’). It was a majority and that is what happens in a democracy.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Morris

It is not perfectly clear by a long shot.

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

“..unless you have permission to do something different”. You neglected to add, ‘and armies of bureaucrats to make it all but impossible to achieve that permission’.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Yet! When it comes to the populace, it was said, I think by Thoreau, that “The British obey the law because it’s the law, while the French obey the law only if it appears rational and useful”

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Trishia A

That’s the trouble with the French.

Ben Morris
Ben Morris
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

If Napoleonic or Roman Law is such a problem then the “design fault” exists in each European country. They are all fatally flawed because they don’t follow English Common Law. This is plainly ridiculous. The unwieldiness of the EU is because so many countries are represented there. Outside the EU exactly the same unwieldiness exists, as U.K. is discovering, but without the forum to resolve it. Daft.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Their history is more about dictators than democracy. I think they still don’t get what a democracy is supposed to be.

John Warren
John Warren
3 years ago

What amazes me is not that one nation left the EU, but that 27 stayed.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  John Warren

Give ‘em time!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

They all have large percentages of people who want out, not to leave their country but not to have the EU over them.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  John Warren

Most have gone down the path of no return – the Euro – unfortunately

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Yes. Poland and Hungary have done well to keep their own currencies. It gives them real independence and freedom to leave the EU one day without have to extricate themselves from the euro.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Likewise Sweden and Denmark. The poorer countries that have adopted the euro are trapped. Their debts are denominated largely in euros and those debts would completely crush them were they revert to the lira, drachma etc.
The richer countries could leave. Obviously, their currencies would appreciate against the euro. This might harm their exports, but they would not be sending their money to southern Europe in perpetuity.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It is utter nonsense to say countries can’t leave the Euro. Any sovereign country can leave the EU and/or the Euro any time they like. They simply have to accept the cost of doing so. It may surprise many readers of Unherd that the EU is made up of 27 sovereign entities (defined as ones with the guns and prisons and tax collectors and total control of their defined territories). I am sure all the countries involved also have printing presses just like the UK. All these wretched fiat currencies are much the same. All you have to do is BELIEVE – just like Brexiters and, of course, be willing to pay the price of your belief.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

It is utter nonsense to say countries can’t leave the Euro. Any sovereign country can leave the EU and/or the Euro any time they like. They simply have to accept the cost of doing so

And businesses in Tierra Caliente can decline offers of protection from the cartels at any point also. They just have to accept the cost of doing so.
I am being facetious but not all costs are equal. And nobody was indicating that it would be physically impossible to leave the Euro – just that the overwhelming cost (largely debt) would make it a poor choice.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Not at all. Simply default and start from scratch again – like Argentina has done many times over the past 50yrs – and they’re still great at the tango! Yes, your interest rate may be higher than those who don’t default but you’re only liable for ~20c on the € or $. Voracious hedge funds will surely take a punt on the higher rate of return – particularly with the ludicrously low interest rate on major currencies.

Life goes on.

So yes! any sovereign country can leave the Euro. The Brexiters were and are wholly wrong on this. The price for leaving will be loss of access to the Single Market but the UK knows all about that already!

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

So yes! any sovereign country can leave the Euro. 

Nobody said they couldn’t so not sure what you’re saying.
What is undeniable is that being a member of the Eurozone makes it more costly/difficult to leave the EU than not. Even accepting your positive outlook on a country leaving.

Last edited 3 years ago by A Spetzari
Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Not really that much more difficult. Just change the paper stuff in people’s pockets or the 0s and 1s in their bank accounts. It’s been done many, many times around the world.
The REAL price will be loss of access to the Single Market – so you’d have to haul your collective asses around the world trying to gain access to even more protected markets than those of the EU. Now THAT would be truly an awful price to pay.

Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

It is difficult to leave the Euro as a debtor nation. That was demonstrated by the fact that Greece would rather sustain a crushing recession than leave and default. It would take an extreme event to persuade the elite of any debtor country to take that risk. It is more likely that a creditor nation like Germany leaves.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago

You clearly did not read my earlier post correctly. It’s the countries in debt that can default! Surplus countries would be the loosers.
The debt isn’t the big issue as it relates to the past – it’s the future that matters and that’s where the price of leaving the Single Market simply makes no sense whatsoever.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

 It’s the countries in debt that can default! Surplus countries would be the loosers.

And so defaulting on debt will have no effect on that country’s future ability to borrow money? There’s being positive about prospects, then there’s outright delusion.
No a country cannot just decide it can’t be bothered pay back debt, not unless it wants to become an international financial pariah.
This is quite funny, sorry. Yeah loans are so easy if you just don’t pay them back! Free money! Same with other crimes. Robbery is easy – just don’t get caught and arrested!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Maybe you should advise those countries that want to leave starting with Greece.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

The deeper you get into it the more difficult it is to leave. The EU knows this and designs it that way like a muddy bog that you cannot break free from.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

You people really are sad.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Gleeson

I’m as happy as a buck hare with a harem of does. As for your argument……..?

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  John Gleeson

Actually, the more appropriate description might be contemptible!

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Sadly after today the single market no longer exists. Any EU official can distrain on any transaction involving EU exports – of anything.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago

Yes it does continue to exist much to the chagrin of UK exporters. Watch the UK’s export figures over the next few years.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

The majority of our exports are not to the EU. Anyone in business should know that. We buy from the EU much more than we export. These things can be discussed instead of the EU being bossy.

Barry Brother
Barry Brother
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Or reap the reward.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago
Reply to  Barry Brother

Absolutely – or reap the ‘reward’.

Ben Morris
Ben Morris
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Well said.

G H
G H
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Not impossible but having to extract from the Euro makes it much, much harder than our tortuous exit. Sweden and Denmark are watching very closely how we fare.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago
Reply to  G H

Yes indeed, the world awaits with bated breath (nah – not really) how Global Britain fares navigating all those world markets – which happen to be far more protectionist than the EU! See:
https://itif.org/publications/2016/01/11/seven-countries-home-world%E2%80%99s-10-worst-cases-protectionism-subverting

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  G H

I hope they learn by how we have been treated.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Not quite. German banks lent heavily to Greek oligarchs who disappeared with the money . So The EU illegally helped those banks by enforcing austerity on the Greek people (who had no part in that money) to get those loans repaid . This action was completely illegal. But Greece suffered terribly for it .

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

You are obviously not aware of the creeping undemocratic nature of the EU.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

They would have to default.

Paul Mayes
Paul Mayes
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

But both of these countries get huge amounts of financial asistance from the EU, so will probably never leave, inspite of the occasional 2 fingers their leaders give to VdL and Mutti.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

It should be a commonwealth of countries not a domination by the EU. It started as trade then went political although that was probably the idea from the start.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
3 years ago
Reply to  John Warren

Well, it might well make sense for the UK to have ‘left’ the EU, but that doesn’t mean that the EU itself will dissolve. There are powerful forces holding it together that trump individual preferences and grumbles. Not saying that’s a good thing, mind you.

Possession Friend .uk
Possession Friend .uk
3 years ago
Reply to  John Warren

UK won’t be the last to leave, we’ll have Opened the flood-gates and that’s what E.U. know and have been trying to bully us out of. EU were doing very well at it with Theresa may – best thing happened to UK is seeing the back of her.

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago

bullseye!

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  John Warren

Most of them receive German and French money – if that wasn’t happening they would be off .

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  John Warren

A lot of them want to leave but the EU makes it very difficult and they all see how difficult it was for us.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

While there’s a bit of schadenfreude over the EU’s incompetence after it did everything it could to hurt the UK during Brexit, it should be noted that this Covid incompetence means many lives will be lost while more nimble countries zip ahead with vaccines. There will likely be no accountability over it either as who would conduct such oversight? The EU will bungle along, blaming others, without any consequences whatsoever and if any country gets any big Brexit type ideas, they know what they will be in for from the EU. In my view, the EU’s response to the UK decision to leave the bloc was never about the UK which had always been a thorn in the Franco/German alliance. They were just putting on a show to intimidate any others from getting any independent ideas.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

The EU did not “do everything it could to hurt the UK during Brexit”. It just treated the UK as a non-member. The interests of members take priority over those of non-members. As Rafael Behr in the Guardian put it Britain is “too small to be an equal, too big to be a client; not powerful enough to assert its will in trade negotiations but hefty enough to cause trouble.” Did Brexiteers expect the EU to make sacrifices – even small sacrifices – to make Brexit a success?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not entirely true. If you look at the trade deal the EU finally did with the UK, it’s a worse deal than it has offered other countries like Canada and Japan. There’s a reason for that. Offering the UK a favourable deal (i.e. a worse situation than being a member, but better than the current situation) would have been hugely advantageous to the EU. It would have provided a framework for restructuring relations with Switzerland (they will not accept the current framework agreement on offer) as well as for the states of the West Balkans which have been waiting patiently for accession negotiations to begin for about 15 years. There is clearly no appetite or ability to expand the club but also not enough political courage to be honest with those countries. Having a decent associate membership structure might have been a good compromise which allowed them to benefit from that kind of “half way house” and would also hug them close, keeping China and Russia at bay. By failing to get over itself and its “no cherry-picking” obsession, and failing to get beyond the rigid “either you are in or out” position, the EU has just hurt itself and made sure its sphere of influence in its own neighbourhood will remain compromised.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Sure, you can make a case for the EU offering a better deal. But as they see their interests, it is more important to make sure that those who enjoy the benefits also pay the costs. Norway or Switzerland are not going to abuse (as the EU sees it) any deal, because they are so small that the EU can force them back in line. Canada and Japan cannot make a mint by systematically undercutting EU rules and deviating investments that were going to the EU – they are too far away. Britain can do it – and openly planned to do exactly that. That is the reason that the UK was offered a worse deal. A better deal was on offer – if the UK would limit its freedom of action to ensure that future ‘level playing field’. The UK would not offer anything. End of story.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“Norway or Switzerland are not going to abuse (as the EU sees it) any deal, because they are so small that the EU can force them back in line” – there is not enough time in the day to argue about why this is an unacceptable way to treat free and sovereign countries. It is not for the EU to “force” them to do anything. If the EU is going to force anyone to do anything, then they might like to start with countries that consistently violate the budget rules…or perhaps even the ECB which rather likes to test the limits of its own mandate.
Canada and Japan have to comply with certain international standards to be able to trade with the EU (even if there is no truly frictionless trade). The “level playing field” rules that the EU offered Britain were far stricter than asked of any 3rd countries. It was never about having a “level playing field” at all. There’s no “level playing field” even within the EU. It was a superficial argument used to keep maximum control over Britain in return for trade – just like “peacekeeping” was a superficial argument to what the true strategy was in Northern Ireland.
It was never Britain’s plan to have a race to the bottom with regulation; maybe a few hardcore Brexiteers dreamed of it but it was never a realistic proposition and today, this is mainly EU paranoia. And one must ask oneself: why are they so afraid of competition? Could it be that they know that the EU is highly uncompetitive, regulating itself into irrelevance but don’t want to face up to the truth?
As for the argument about geographical distance meaning anything – what a bunch of absolute rubbish. The UK is a services economy – geographical distance to the recipient mostly doesn’t matter. If it was going to systematically undercut rules, the effect would be the same whether it was 30 miles away over the channel or in the middle of the Pacific. One of the most hilarious bits of EU rhetoric on this theme was arguing that Britain should accept EU rules and regulations to be able to trade “because our economies are so interlinked” – all the while contemplating a no-deal outcome. If it had have come to no deal, then the economies would have been completely unlinked overnight and that argument would have disintegrated.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The EU has no right to tell small countries what to do. True. On the other hand, small countries have no right to access the EU markets. North Korea is almost totally free from foreign interference, but if you want to deal with others, you need to settle on the conditions.

Geography does matter – in the real world. A lot of companies set up in Britain because they wanted a presence in Europe, and the British system suited them better than the French. Give Britain the freedom to set more relaxed rules while keeping EU market access, and it would happen more.

I am glad you konw what the Boris plans to do – nobody else does. But if Britain is so doggone determined to accept no limits on what it might do, surely it is because it plans to do some of it. Is even the Boris crazy enough to ruin his relationship to Europe in order to be allowed to do something he does not actually want?

As for control, why should the EU care to control Britain? They want to stop Britain doing things that interfere with their own markets or their own internal arrangements, but if they can prevent that I am sure they are happy to let Britain go to hell in any way it wants.

Uncompetitive? The EU has made some choices that make production more expensive in order to favour workers, consumers, the environment, social development. If there was free access for lower-cost producers those choices would not be available to them.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

No there is no right of access. But the EU harms itself by putting barriers up too high. There was no objective reason to put up barriers to trade with the UK that were as high as the ones in the trade agreement. That was the will to punish, pure and simple. The EU was willing to harm itself to do that.
If companies choose to set up in Britain rather than France, then that – given a little more courage on the other side of the channel – might have been a cause to look at why the UK was so attractive and improve the french system. But no, protectionism prevailed. And the French didn’t really win out either as expected – I think they thought they would clean up the banking business to be had from London. And yet it is flooding into the Netherlands, which has a similarly liberal approach to Britain. Will the French learn from this? Probably not.
Britain I think was willing to accept limits, but they had to be reasonable. Any trade agreement is going to ask for certain standards. It would be quite reasonable to accept the same standards as were asked of Canada and Japan as a price for trading with the EU. The ones that were forced on it were simply overblown – see the conclusion of my first paragraph.
And I’m not buying the geography argument.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

What you are saying is that the UK way is much better, and the EU ought to see that. Lower barriers, slacker rules, more competition, less ‘ever closer union’. If giving access to the UK would force the EU to change that would be all to their benefit. For what it is worth I might agree with you.
The problem is that the EU does not want that. All those things you dislike are there because other countries like them, and demanded them as the price for accepting the open markets Britain wanted. You said it – giving Britain what it wanted would have forced the EU to change and become more like a mere free-trade area. Since the EU member states do not want that, that is a perfectly objective reason for setting high barriers.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Are you sure that all EU states (or rather their populations) want an ever closer union? I think if populations were asked (which they won’t be), then you would find a significant portion of them (if not an outright majority) would happily just have a free trading bloc. As it is, ever closer union (economic and political) seems to have become something being forced onwards from above without any reference to whether it works in reality or whether it is wanted by a majority of citizens (and is thus democratic). And the reality, as far as I can see, is that it doesn’t. It is quite mad to think that a group of 27 countries, all vastly different histories, cultures and ways of seeing the world are all going to be able to come together and act in concert in the swift way that the 21st century is going to frequently require. The vaccine fiasco simply serves to underline that. Maybe Britons can just see this in a more sober light than Europeans can because it isn’t quite so much in our culture to dive into ideologies headfirst. We ask: is it working? And if it isn’t – how can it work? And that approach has, historically, served us well. By contrast, the EU seems to be hell bent on saying “this is our idea which is wonderful in theory so, by God, we shall MAKE it work in reality, whatever the cost.” It can’t end well.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The big difference is another one: Britain seems to think that it is big and strong enough to take on China and the EU on its own and win. France and Germany have no such illusions. And smaller countries know that they will be squashed if they stand alone, no matter how nimble they are. As a Danish foreign minster put it: “There are two kinds of country in Europe. Those that are too small to make it on their own – and those that have not figured it out yet.”

David FĂŒlöp
David FĂŒlöp
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I do not think at all that the UK ever thought it could take on China alone. If you care to read British news you can see that such delusional thinking is difficult to find.
But the UK believes that there is no need for a political entity to coordinate the cooperation that is needed to take on China and that Britain can more efficiently look after its own interests without having to nurture this ideological longing for a United States of Europe.
Frankly that idea is now so far fetched ( and probably has been since the admittance of Eastern Europe along with some Balkan countries into the EU ) that it would be beneficial to drop the pretension and have a honest conversation about the future. The trouble is that this is not possible within the current framework of EU institutions because their very survival depends on the status quo.
Also probably many are now wondering whether it is the EU’s intention to take on China anymore.

Last edited 3 years ago by David FĂŒlöp
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Indeed – why is it that so many Remainer arguments are based upon what the author conveniently decides is the motive of someone who opposes their view.
Just plain arrogance ..

Ben Morris
Ben Morris
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Remainers may have used many arguments, but the strongest ones are still true: Brexit is making the UK poorer and weaker, and it is threatening the Union.

Ellie Gladiataurus
Ellie Gladiataurus
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Morris

I think the vaccine roll-out disproves the ‘weaker’, theory. And I don’t think we can judge the ‘poorer’ theory until we get passed Covid.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago

Great rebuttal of this guy’s ridiculously brainwashed drivel.
The normal person in the UK isn’t even contemplating trying to compete with the great superpowers of the world in the first place. Neither are they in Europe.
Only the super-rich billionaires for whom political entities like the EU are vehicles to achieve their endlessly avaricious business goals think like that. They wanted the people of Britain to simply give up ever more control to the little band at the top of the EU who do their bidding for them first and foremost: their real pay masters.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

OK, ‘take on China on its own’ was a little exaggerated. Let us say that you believe you are strong enough to do well on your own most of the time, and when there is a need for cooperation on some specific point you will always find willing allies. Without having to trade off in some unrelated area (which is how the EU works). Without a framework that encourages cooperation. And without worrying what will happen when individual medium-sized countries try to make deals one by one with the US or China. I think you are neither big enough, strong enough, lucky enough or universally loved enough for that to work. Up to the Boris to prove me wrong.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Depends what you mean by ‘win’!

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It’s quite a bit more complex than that though isn’t it.
Take currency as a starter. The UK govt is now able to make decisions that are of benefit to UK businesses based on a whole range of criteria. Furthermore the UK citizenry can vote in and out governments accordingly.
Trouble for the EU is that the business conditions for German industry differ somewhat from Italian industry (for example, etc). They might have the same currency but there have to be unified decisions made for the EU. Furthermore, those not in the Eurozone will always be outvoted by those within.
So yes a small(er) politically and democratically responsible government will most likely make better decisions for businesses under its currency, than a large federation of nations with less unifying purpose, leadership and responsibility.

John Smith
John Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I don’t think any polls have been done on the question of ever closer union. However in terms of satisfaction with the EU in the 2019 there were significant proportions of the populations (and by significant I mean a third or greater) of Spain, Netherlands, Greece, UK, Italy, Czech Republic and France who held an unfavourable opinion of the EU.
It would be interesting to see an update of this in light of the vaccine fiasco.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Smith
John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

This is the best summation for the Brexit position I’ve seen. Ours has consistently been a superior approach. Pragmatic, flexible, sensible, non-ideological.
It was the reason this ‘Little Englander Flag-shagger’ propaganda, which sought to conflate and demonize anyone choosing the British approach rather than the totalitarian, ideological, collectivist EU one, as a backwards-looking, uneducated peasant, was the main thrust of their media strategy.

It was one of the greatest moments in British history for the nation as a whole to have rejected that vile nonsense.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  John Gleeson

Ironic, as I voted remain. But I always looked at both sides of the argument with equanimity, never called leave voters stupid and was always willing to revise my opinion of the EU.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Andrew Nugee
Andrew Nugee
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Haha Katharine 🙂
Reminds me of when I worked at a well-known strategy consulting business. In the UK (and in Germany, where I worked for two years) we used to ask at the end of an assignment “It’s all very well in theory, but does it work in practice?”. Except in France, where they asked “It’s all very well in practice, but does it work in theory?”.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

”A mere free-trade area”.
This is the one area where I understand Remainers’ opposition to Brexit. What else beyond that does the EU offer that is so coveted and sought-after that people are so mad to give away so much autonomy for?

Last edited 3 years ago by John Gleeson
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  John Gleeson

I would prefer a free-trade area, probably.I would certainly prefer much less ‘ever-closer union’. The problem is that we have the EU we have. We either take it or leave it.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

it is more important to make sure that those who enjoy the benefits also pay the costs. 

Really? I think you totally made that up. I am not familiar with the EU ever applying that approach when we were members.
It’s anyway a profoundly unlikely doctrine for the EU to adopt. It’s at heart a socialist organisation, and socialists think that those who’ve got money should pay the costs – of literally everything. To that end they organise the state to take private individuals’ money off them. By your logic, the 24 countries who pay nothing into the EU pay nothing because they aren’t gaining. If so, why are they even members?
The EU has applied the same approach with the vaccine.
A point not often appreciated is that the EU’s hostility to vaccine nationalism arises from its belief that what should instead prevail is vaccine socialism. If everybody can’t have something, nobody can have it, and the EU’s principles instruct them to confiscate it from those who do.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Our ideologies are different.
The EU doctrine is that we are all better off negotiating a common way ahead than having everybody fight to profit at each others’ expense. You can call it socialism if you like. It has its costs, but it is not unreasonable. Look at it this way: their policies managed to avoid a situation where they were hitting each other with vaccine export bans – even if they still use them against outsiders.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yes and it seems to be working fabulously, doesn’t it? People are dying like flies and the economy is tanking and there’s no end in sight….but at least we’re all tanking together! Yay!
Would have been far better to let a couple of the larger countries to forge on ahead and bag a bunch of vaccines which they would then share out. Wouldn’t have had the lovely unity optics, but people’s lives would have been saved.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I do not notice Britain sharing out vaccines. Why should it? And why would Germany or France do it, before they had finished vaccinating their own?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Because Germany and France are in the EU still and could therefore have been pressured into sharing what vaccines they obtained with smaller countries in the club using the EU solidarity argument. Britain is now outside the EU (you might have noticed) and cannot be pressured in the same way. Britain will surely share once it is able to.

Monty Marsh
Monty Marsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Just not with the EU if Boris has any regard for British public opinion. Especially while Australia is languishing.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Sharing after vaccinating their own population may still have meant a faster roll out than the EU is so far achieving. It may also have meant that they could concentrate on getting vaccination done rather than looking for who to blame for it not happening.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I do not notice Britain sharing out vaccines.”
Then you should pay more attention to the UK’s financial and scientific contributions to GAVI, CEPI and COVAX. And note the UK’s insistence that the AZ vaccine be distributed to the developing world at cost, in perpetuity, something the EU has conspicuously failed to do for the BioNTech vaccine.

John Smith
John Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

No. Instead their respective heads of state issued completely false statements about the effectiveness and safety of the OxAZ vaccine, flip-floped in public as to whether or not they will have the vaccine or not, ignored the scientific advice of their own precious EU medical advisory authority and suspended the vaccine programme on the basis of precisely NO valid scientific data or evidence citing nothing more than a preposterous “precautionary principle” only to u-turn again a few days later, which further damaged confidence amoungst their respective populations in the vaccine programme, with the result that half of the OxAZ vaccines actually delivered to EU countries are still unused and even if they are able to secure more the likelihood of people wanting to have it has been dramatically reduced. What a bravura performance!
Do stop trying to defend the indefensible with vague references to “different ideologies” and simply admit that the EU’s entire vaccination approach has been a fiasco from the moment it was conceived right up to today.
I can only hope that the majority of European peoples finally have their eyes opened as to how poorly they have been served by their leaders and their misplaced faith in the EU, and by the EU’s own floundering incompetence throughout this entire episode. I do not, however, hold out the same hope for you.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I cant help feeling there has been at least an element of luck in that the UK backed a couple of vaccines that came through early, were approved early and appear to be effective against the variant that was first noticed in Britain. The EU also backed the successful vaccines but were slightly slower in terms of ordering and in approval. Someone was always going to be first in the ‘race’ but actually winning the race is a less meaningful victory if we still have to wait for the last runners to come in before celebrating.
The current wave of Covid going through some of Europe now is indeed a tragedy but before we get too smug about the falling rates of disease or death in the UK compared to some others where rates are rising we should remember some countries are experiencing a third wave due to a new variant. We didn’t have a third wave as our second wave lasted from September to now (despite having a vaccine available since December) with catastrophic consequences in terms of lives lost.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The new variant is, I assume, the British or Kent one. There’s a bit of clue there in that the AZ and Pfizer vaccines must be tolerably good against this variant, otherwise the UK would not be seeing the efficacy results that we evidently are.
I suspect that when the history of the virus is written we’ll find that its spread was not easy to control by government edict and was affected by things that were not fully understood as the time, like relative innate resistance among populations and initial starting conditions affected by fairly random factors. So the relatively very poor UK stats, whilst definitely due in part to government ineptitude (e.g. over deaths in care homes) will not look quite so bad, compared with the EU’s outstanding uselessness when it came to vaccinations.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

I think I agree but also that the EU uselessness over vaccines will not look quite so bad from the perspective of time. On average EU seems to be about 7 weeks behind UK in terms of % vaccinated with one dose and we’re about two weeks behind them on two doses.

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

ok Mark, you look back in seven weeks time and see how many EU citizens paid the ultimate price. Its like Napoleon playing war and empire building with his battalions of cannon fodder?

Monty Marsh
Monty Marsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

There are several new variants, P1 and P2 from Brazil, and one more from South Africa. These are designations of convenience regards origin, as UK is one of the very few jurisdictions with anywhere near sufficient genomic tracking. Basically we therefore can’t know where they really originated.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

No luck involved. The UK backed several vaccines and placed orders early, long before trials were conducted. We also got on with funding development and production facilities early. That was the key missing factor in the EU approach, not the relatively short delays in placing contracts and achieving authorisation.
Then there is the efficiency of the vaccination programme itself. Germany has still not authorised vaccination in doctors’ surgeries, to give just one example of their dilatoriness.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The worst thing about Brexit is that for the amount of time all those remainers who were around having their collective mental breakdown and unleashing the worst, most toxic bile againt leaver, is they will forever be driven to write-off, negate, play down, ridicule and diminish any positive outcome of being a freer, more agile, more autonomous nation. Just like this guy.

Such is the power of propaganda that give one group free reign to unleash all of their endless prejudice, their deeply-held, sub-concious sense of superiority, arrogance and contempt on one group. Brexiteers were made out to all belong to the UK underclass. And it was lapped up by people like this poster, who will now always be downplaying the UK in the context of the EU.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  John Gleeson

Well, the Brexit campaign was solidly based on lies, misinformation, and fantasy. Remember ‘the worlds easiest trade deal’? That does not mean that brexiteers are wrong *every* time, of course. But it does mean that anything you say requires lots of independent confirmation before there is reason to take it seriously.

Kevin Newman
Kevin Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

UK bought seven vaccines, not lucky but risk management

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Newman

Yes, and they bought early like the US. The EU was months behind and then tried to get in line ahead if those who bought early.

John Smith
John Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Fortuna eruditis favet

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The vaccine debacle suddenly made a lot of nationalists out of EU members. Some did go their own way on it once it became clear the EU was too sclerotic to get it done.

George Glashan
George Glashan
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The EU is a supranational political, monetary and trade federation that priorities the manufacturing economy of German goods over Eastern members whole economies. Its literally profit for Germany at other nations expense.

like you say your an ideologue and unable to objectively appraise the EU’s actions as opposed to its rhetoric, but well done admitting that it is the first step to recovery. the golden bridge is now open for you pal.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

In the real world you make deals, and the powerful get more of what they want than the weak. Coming from a small country I know that you are better off inside the club, where they have to at least pretend to listen to you, than outside. Do you think that Germany would be less powerful, or more generous to its neighbours, if there was no EU?

The EU is an unlovely beast – slow, ungainly, too centralising, and full of messy compromises. Still countries are free to stay out, and most have decided that they are better off joining. In material terms I have absolutely no doubt they are right.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

In the real world you make deals, and the powerful get more of what they want than the weak. ‘
But the EU’s whole image is that of a ‘rules-based’ order, and the whole point of having rules, surely, is that they occasionally work in favour of the weaker party and against the stronger. Otherwise why bother with a mile-high acquis communautaire? Why not just let the strong states clean up and have done with it?
It is fine for Germany to be powerful, but unfortunately, in its short-sighted pursuit of what seems to be good for Germany within the EU, it is forgetting that having happy, friendly and above all, prosperous neighbours and allies is also greatly to the long-term advantage of a state. Not neighbours that have been hollowed out and beggared by a selfish financial strategy.
The UK at present seems to be one of very few countries in the world that sees that trade and international relations can and should be mutually beneficial, not a zero-sum, ‘win-lose’ game. If the world is in no mood to get the message then it’s a bad look-out for all of us, but that doesn’t make the UK wrong.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

“trade and international relations can and should be mutually beneficial,” No disagreements there. Does it mean that Britain should make a bigger effort to make sure its neighbours, friends and allies are happy, and Germany should expect to get more benefits from its trade deals? Or is it the other way around?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Who is expendable in the EU when it comes to satisfying Germany and France? Perhaps who is expendable for satisfying Germany’s wants?

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Well it wouldn’t be able to benefit from the Euro, which greatly distorts currency exchange rates, to Germany’s benefit and the detriment of UK exporters among others. As to the benefits for member states, there is sadly a great deal of groupthink going on among the whole European political elite, so that, as Douglas Murray argued, alternative approaches towards cooperation within a much looser framework are automatically dismissed, even though they very likely would deliver better economic outcomes and be more democratic.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The EU destroyed the people of Greece in order to save French and German banks. That is not ‘socialism’ or a common way forward. It is financial tyranny. You are either trolling, or incredibly naive and misguided. I suggest you read ‘And The Weak Suffer What They Must?’ by Yanis Varoufakis.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Varoufakis? The man who ran Greek economic policy on the assumption that German taxpayers would be forced to bail out Greece, so that Greece could set its own terms?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not true – he was the man who wanted to reject EU/German cash, because of the destructive terms being dictated by the North.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Maybe. But his negotiating strategy only makes sense if he took it for granted that the EU *had to* bail out Greece to prevent the Euro from collapsing. Which is why he chose to lecture European finance ministers on macroeconomics instead of trying to, maybe, convince some of the people who were supposed to pay.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Greece should have defaulted on its debts. But had she done so what would have happened to her creditors who were, as Fraser points out, French and German Commercial Banks ? And, lest you forget, which you obviously have, the whole mess was created by the EU itself firstly by allowing Greece to join the Euro when she didn’t meet the criteria written into the Treaty, and subsequently by allowing the impression to be gained that there was no difference between a German Bund and a Greek Bond, that 4% in Athens was as good as 4% in Berlin, thus erradicating the risk premium. It was a disaster. Couple this with a vastly overvalued Euro (for Greece it should be worth about 35 US cents, whereas for Germany it should have a value of $2.35) and you can see how the mess was created.
Varofakis is an arrogant oaf, but even a clock is right once a day or twice depending on type ! Tsipras was a damn fool and a duplicitous one like Mrs May.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Your ideologies seem to be such that you would endorse the USSR or Chinese approach.
Mine are such that I see the EU doctrine as being “us Eurocrats are doing brilliantly – why should we change”

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Nonsense – the Southern EU states are not better off.
The EU Commission exists to keep everyone locked in – whatever the collateral damage.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Maybe. But they chose to enter and they choose to remain. Maybe they know something you don’t?

Ellie Gladiataurus
Ellie Gladiataurus
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I don’t think there is a choice. The introduction of the Euro has made it nigh on impossible for countries to leave, without serious financial fall-out.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You seem to have conveniently forgotten various PPE export bans within the EU last year.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“It is more important to make sure that those who enjoy the benefits also pay the costs”
An interesting notion given that there are more member states who are net beneficiaries than net contributors.
Perhaps you would like to acknowledge that the UK was badly weakened in the negotiations by the reprehensible actions of Europhiles in sabotaging the negotiating leverage of their own country against a foreign power.
Lib Dem and Labour Party leaders and their MPs ran off to Brussels to tell them to offer a bad deal so they could force a second referendum. At home MPs conspired with a rogue Speaker, willing to trash Parliamentary precedent, to vote for measures that prevented Britain walking away from the negotiating table, giving the EU the upper hand. Then we had Mrs May sytematically and intentionally throwing away negotiating leverage by agreeing a “divorce bill” before trade negotiations.
I don’t blame the EU for the poor deal. I blame Europhiles, who instead of respecting the result of a democratically held referendum and joining together with their fellow countrymen to show a united from against the EU, did everything they could to reverse the result and damage the UK’s bargaining position. The EU simply took advantage of their treachery.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

The Tories have already been uncooperative and abrasive enough to extract everything that could be achieved that way. We are now where the UK is insisting on having its own way, even in contravention of the treaties Johnson (not May) have signed, and the European parliament is threatening No Deal. No amount of UK unity would have helped you.

In negotiating it is not enough to say ‘give me what I want, or I make a mess’. You also have to convince the other side that if they do give you what they want, you will in return give them something they find acceptable.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I notice you didn’t address either of my points.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Let me spell it out then: Britain wanted a deal that was way beyond what the EU was willing to give. For the EU, No Deal really was worse than a bad deal. Ultimately the europhiles made no difference; no matter how united or intransigent the British had been the result would have been no better.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I see. agreeing to give the EU ÂŁ40 billion upfront before entering trade negotiations, , endless campaigning and marching by Europhiles, opposition politicians convincing the EU they could stop us leaving and legally preventing the government from walking away from the negotiating table, had no effect. I doubt even you believe such obvious nonsense.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

It is very simple. Britain had to convince the EU that it would walk away if it did not get what it wanted. The Boris pushed it right to the wire – in the end I think he made the point as well as it could be made. The EU would still not offer you a deal that they felt was worse (for them) than No Deal. When you do not have the necessary leverage, playing hardball will not get you what you want.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

People like you are and always will be incredibly dangerous. Easily propagandized ideologues who get ideas in their heads and then become impervious to reason, sanity, opposing view points or any idea that runs counter to their pre-held ideology. We had religion, Nazism, Marxism, Fascism, and now this weird hybrid of EU Federalism, Collectivism, Globalism, Supra-nationalism, Socialism and Capitalism.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The EU offered no incentive to be nice. Theresa May acted nice and got screwed. Everything which the UK suggested was shot down, because at the end of the day, the EU wasn’t willing to accept anything except what it wanted. That, in my mind, is not negotiating, that is dictating. The British are a very patient and flexible people, but even we have limits. Boris Johnson being elected was a signal that patience had been lost and now we won’t even try to be friendly or obliging. And the thing is – the EU doesn’t even acknowledge that its behaviour was THE contributing factor in the UK becoming abrasive and uncooperative. Self-reflection? Forget it. And that lack of questioning itself will lead to the EU’S downfall.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Everything the UK suggested was shot down because it was way beyond what the EU was willing to give. If you ask for the moon, being nice will not help. Being nasty still hurts you, though – it gives the other side a personal desire to see you fail, and it suggests that you cannot be trusted to implement any deal in good faith. Face it: no matter what you think you deserve, you were never going to get the kind of deal you wanted. Negotiation means finding out the limits of each side and looking for the least bad result you can get. Losing your patience, not bothering to be nice, and putting the blame on the other side is not going to help you.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It was shot down because Barnier hadn’t mastered any English other than “Non” to strat with. Make negotiating very easy.

Why do you say “being nasty” when it was simply being strong rather than just bending over?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

The UK explicitly ran on brinksmanship. Refuse to extend deadlines, refuse concessions, threaten No Deal, and hope you get concessions at the last mnute. Refuse to make any promises that could limit what you might try to do in the future, then refuse to honour the deals you just signed. It might work for China – who actually are strong and do not have to care if anybody like them. For the UK?

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Mrs May had a faulty approach to setting her red lines, which made it difficult to get her deal through parliament. If she had (as promised) involved the devolved administrations – and parliament – and built a consensus-based approach at a time when both main parties were committed to leaving, then she would have had a much better chance of getting a deal through parliament.
As it was, far from being “screwed”, she got as good a deal as was possible, given her red lines!

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The Tories have already been uncooperative and abrasive enough to extract everything that could be achieved that way.”
Rubbish – Boris etc were only allowed to start negotiating in a meaningful way after the damage had been done.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Boris had to sign May’s appalling legacy to get to a point where it could be unpicked.

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

We have seen that ‘level playing field’ and ‘reciprocity’ only work one way with the EU – whenever we are perceived to be ahead of them. We are having reciprocity flung at us over the vaccines but what reciprocity have the EU ever shown us?

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

UK financial regulations are currently identical to those of the EU, yet the EU cannot bring itself to agree equivalence, even though it has offered equivalence to countries such as Chile.
Since no trading contract can be agreed without a willing buyer and a willing seller, both of whom see the deal as advantageous, it is axiomatic that trade disruption damages both parties. But the Commission doesn’t care about the damage it is doing to the economic wellbeing of EU citizens by deliberately disrupting cross-Channel trade: the future of the “project” is more important.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

EU financial regulations, particularly MiFID 1, were a cut & paste of existing UK SFA/FSA regs with a few additions and modifications.

MiFID 2 was a howitzer shell aimed at the heart of the largest equities market in Europe.

The much heralded migration of financial services businesses and personnel to the EU hasn’t happened. Frankfurt (who’d swap it for London?), Paris (not a major trading hub or global marketplace), Dublin (too small, limited housing available) and Luxembourg (do I really need to..?!) all failed to capture from London despite some questionably legal incentives.

Understandably a % of trading and liquidity has migrated to Amsterdam, given the engineered impasse, for the time being. Ultimately it will come back, when yet another failed protectionist EU strategy becomes self-defeating. In the meantime if it were so minded (so small minded?), Britain could inflict a lot of damage on European markets by turning off or down a number of liquidity taps. Maybe we should.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

Yes as Horatio Nelson said” Engage the enemy more closely “!

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yes but the Crazy thing is that a better arrangement would have been in the EU’s interests. All commercial deals that work have mutual interest. The Eu stance has been to reduce mutual advantage . Which makes no economic sense.

daniel Earley
daniel Earley
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I suggest you watch ‘Brexit – Behind Closed Doors’ as that will show just how determined the EU was to punish the UK.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Rafael Behr was once a relatively sane counterweight at the Guardian. He used to write on a wide range of subjects, from foreign affairs, to defence and culture with a fairly rational centrist viewpoint.
However since the 2016 referendum he has somewhat lost the plot and writes a weekly diatribe on why this week x or y is bad because of Brexit. Indeed he even attributes his heart attack to Brexit. (I am not making this up):
https://www.rt.com/uk/512814-corbyn-guardian-heart-attack/

Last edited 3 years ago by A Spetzari
Matt B
Matt B
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Clearly UK has the means, economy and will to bolster defence of EU, half of which still failed to back UK on a landmark single issue: Novichok.

Last edited 3 years ago by Matt B
Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

My neighbour and I expect each other to be neighbourly. We don’t expect sacrifices from each other. You seem to think that there are only two ways to behave: be supplicant or be domineering. Might work in a bedroom; doesn’t work in international relationships.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Interesting comparison there.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

If you make an important business deal with your neighbour, do you expect him to demand the market rate, or be neighbourly and put you in a position to profit at his expense?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

A good deal with the UK would not necessarily have been at the EU’s expense. There were a thousand ways of structuring the relationship in a mutually beneficial way whereby membership in the EU still remains attractive but the UK can regain sovereignty and trade with the EU. But the way you see it (which seems to be shared by the EU top brass) is that any success for the UK is at the EU’s expense. This is crackers. There is no fixed amount of success in the world so that when one person has more, the other has less.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

There was a deal to be made that the UK thinks would be very good for both sides. Unfortunately that is a deal that the EU thinks would be very bad for them. When negotiating what matters is what the other side thinks, not what you think they ought to think.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

When you say the EU I’m betting you really mean the Eurocrats – the majority of the EU would almost certainly be happy with a nice easy trade deal – why not poll the citizenry?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

It is one of the frustrations of life that we have to deal with the Europe that is there, not the completely different one what we would prefer to have.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

No, I expect it to be mutually beneficial otherwise why would either of us make the deal?

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

be neighbourly and put you in a position to profit at his expense?”

That is not being neighbourly ! Nor would planning to rip your neighbour off be!

Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

.
Might work in YOUR bedroom – not mine!!
.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Flynn

🙂

Peter Fisher
Peter Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Quoting the Grun around here, crazy! I suspect a lot of people have come here fed up with the stupidity and lies of that toilet paper. On the bright side, you can comment in disagreement with the narrative and not have your comments deleted. The Grun is moderated in the classic Nazi/Communist way, by removing any sign that goes against the papers dictats. In the Grun comment is anything but free. They can’t execute you, which is fortunate, but they will delete your account.

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“Did Brexiteers expect the EU to make sacrifices – even small sacrifices – to make Brexit a success?”
We didn’t expect them to make ANY sacrifices; we expected them to play by their own ‘rule book’!

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I disagree – the EU officials conduct has been that of a petulant teenager .

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You need to find a new service Ramus, either that or stop posting mate. 56 down votes and counting.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Cumulatively he’s running a deficit well into the hundreds. But that never bothered a dogmatic (as opposed to ideological) Europhile or Remainer.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

OK, I’ll give it a rest on this one and be back on another post. Never expected to convince anybody, but you learn more from discussions where you disagree – politely of course. At least you are more tolerant and make more sense than the lot at the Guardian.

If you want to get rid of me, just ignore me.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If the French Senate report had said “the EU must not be worse off after Brexit than before”, that would have been understandable, but it said “the UK must not be better off after Brexit than before”?
Is that not revealing? Every action of the EU can be explained as being intended to fulfil this objective.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

We obviously see things differently, the EU did indeed try to hurt the UK and even tried again over the vaccines. It was sending a message to the other EU members, try this and this will happen to you as well. I wouldn’t put too much faith into anything in the Guardian,

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago

And what country in continental Europe has the highest death rate from Covid? The almighty UK. Bit of a bummer that.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

And what country in continental Europe has the highest death rate from Covid?

The Czech Republic. Followed by Slovenia then Belgium. UK is not doing so great in 4th place admittedly but you keep saying the same falsehood.
Secondly, since we are miles ahead of most countries in vaccinating, despite our failings at the start, it is likely that come the end of the pandemic we will not be at the top of that list, unfortunately for EU citizens.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/1111779/coronavirus-death-rate-europe-by-country/

Last edited 3 years ago by A Spetzari
Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

If memory serves, last report named three EU countries – Belgium, Czech Rep and one other – all with significantly higher death rates than the UK!! Why do treasonous Remainders insist on lying as a means of self-aggrandisement?

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Because it is all they’ve got left?

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Fact Check – Belgium has a higher deaths per million population than UK.___________ Great Beer but even more crowded than UK.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mark Walker
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Your nomen betrays your stupidity.

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
3 years ago

Having lived & worked in Southern France for 3 years, plus a year spent in Rome and 6 months in Frankfurt, greatly enjoying the lifestyle.____ I had no hesitation in voting Leave on Referendum Day but was very pleasantly surprised by the Brexit Result. _____It is clear to me that the Napoleonic and English Common Law will never be able to coexist happily for any period over 50 years. ____. It does not take much understanding of European History to see why EU and UK will be at loggerheads for the next 50 years. Hopefully no actual war in Europe, just posturing as with the Vaccine War.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

[1] “Far less important for Brussels was the fact that Greece, in particular, would not have been in this mess if it had not been accepted into the Eurozone in the first place.”
And Greece was admitted entirely for political reasons and against the bloc’s own criteria for membership of monetary union.
[2] “In recent years, critics of the EU have repeatedly noted that while there was much criticism in Brussels of the UK for leaving the bloc, there was no self-reflection over why we might have chosen that decision.”
This is true in spades not only of the EU, but also of the entire Ruling Caste in the western world today: the politicians, the bureaucrats, the mainstream media, academe, big business, the lot.
It ought to be one of the wonders of world history that in 2016 a majority of British participants in a referendum could vote for Brexit, that 63 million Americans could vote for Donald Trump (lately at least 74 millions, possibly much more depending on how fraudulent the 2020 election in that country was), that populist parties could make real gains in European elections 2017/18; AND VERY NEARLY THE WHOLE NEWS COMMENTARIAT, LET ALONE THE GOVERNING CLASSES, CONTINUE NEVER TO ASK THEMSELVES WHY!!
The rulers of the Occident in our time are as stupidly unreflective, unself-critical, unself-aware as the most besotted of aristocrats in eighteenth-century France.
And they call themselves ‘meritocrats’.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

‘The rulers of the Occident in our time are as stupidly unreflective, unself-critical, unself-aware as the most besotted of aristocrats in eighteenth-century France’
Yes, for at least 10 years I have been saying that the EU leaders, and other western leaders, are as remote from normal people as were Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and that they deserve the same fate.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes; but with this difference.
Born and raised in extreme privilege lifelong, Louis XVI and his queen (herself an Austrian princess) had little experience of ordinary people’s lives.
Today’s rulers in the West have mostly come from middle-class backgrounds where, at least nominally, they have had to prove themselves; even if only by obtaining the ultra-suspect PPE degree at Oxford University.
Emily Thornberry MP, SO snooty about white-van man and the St George’s flag hanging from his bedroom window, allegedly had to rely on free school meals and food parcels after her parents divorced.
Then, from age 17 she worked as a cleaner and a barmaid.
If Marie Antoinette deserved to be guillotined for her remoteness from the lives of normal people, what is the appropriate penalty for a snob like Ms Thornberry?
Hanging, drawing and quartering; the Mikado’s surmise with ‘something lingering with boiling oil in it’?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

The appropriate penalty for a snob like Thornberry? I would make her serve behind the bar at a Wetherspons in, say, Southampton, for the rest of her days.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Portsmouth, if you’re feeling really vicious…

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Grimsby..

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

‘And may the Lord have Mercy on her Soul’.

Chris Scott
Chris Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Buckland in Pompey would be more appropriate, I think.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Based on the current panic she wouldn’t have many customers.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Split shifts.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Thornberry’s father was a senior diplomat at the UN.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Belfast, Cambridge (St Cats’s), LSE, journalist for the Guardian, Human Rights Lawyer, UN.*

Did a “runner” after seven years of marriage.

* Wikibeast.

Monty Marsh
Monty Marsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

When little Emily was born, the midwife should have smacked her mother.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Under the old Treason Laws, for reasons of ‘modesty’, woman were not hanged drawn and quartered, but rather burnt at the stake.

However as one modern (female) historian has pointed out this cannot have made much difference.

Scantily clothed in the first place, the flames would rapidly have consumed any clothing, leaving the victim “naked and trembling “ before the actual immolation began.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

All these suggestions gratefully received.
Perhaps they could be carried out seriatim; i.e first serving behind the pub bar in her least favourite place, and then after that burning at the stake.
This would at least encourage other Labour MPs to stop saying snooty things about working-class people.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Nothing like making the punishment fit the crime eh?
Don’t you think you’re overreacting a little to a foolish remark a female Labour MP made a few years ago? It’s the sort of overreaction that makes some suspect misogyny – though I’m sure you wouldn’t mean to be guilty of such a thing.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

I would assume they are joking no? Allowed?
Although admittedly not been round their houses to check for wood and petrol stockpiles…

Last edited 3 years ago by A Spetzari
Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Yes, we are joking.
But it relieves our exasperation at the horrible standards of today’s Ruling Caste.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago