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Old 26th October 2017, 03:33 AM   #161
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
I am not sure anyone has pointed out that under freedom of information legislation universities as public bodies are obliged to provide this information to anyone who requests it. Do people believe that MPs should be more restricted than the general public in access to information?

What would have been the response if he had requested the information on private note paper rather than House of Commons notepaper? Or got a researcher to request it on personal notepaper. Some people would argue that this was more suspicious as it was 'covert'.
If the claim by his friend is true - it is academic research - then I would expect there to be an investigation into his misuse of resources etc and the whip withdrawn until such time it is completed.

If the information he required is available under FOI then why didn't he use such a mechanism?

Whichever way it is sliced he doesn't come out of this smelling of roses.
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Old 26th October 2017, 03:43 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I think it may be the other way round, and that the English government doubles as the government of The United Kingdom. The most celebrated study of the Constitution of the UK was published in 1867
[...]is a book by Walter Bagehot. First serialised in The Fortnightly Review between 15 May 1865 and 1 January 1867, and later published in book form in the latter year. It explores the constitution of the United Kingdom, specifically the functioning of Parliament and the British monarchy, and the contrasts between British and American government. The book became a standard work which was translated into several languages.
I have omitted the name of this authoritative guide. Can you guess what it is called?
It's 2017..... Anything written in 1867 is going to be out of date, no matter how authoritative it might have been when it was published....
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Old 26th October 2017, 06:06 AM   #163
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Was he asking for some information which was not already freely available?

Was there something that couldn't have been looked up in public documents already offered by these schools. like their course schedules and faculty lists?

I don't think that freedom of information laws obligate those universities to respond to any question at all that they receive from anyone asking for information which is already publicly available and easily found by anyone who wants to bother to take a moment and look it up.

The question which seems to be evaded by those people trying to defend this letter is, "Why ask for this information this way?", when there was no need to ask for it at all.
Yes, if an FOI request is for information that is already available elsewhere, a perfectly acceptable point is to indicate where that is. These days that usually involves pointing at a web page or pages, but it can also include providing a scan or hard copy of a printed source.
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Old 26th October 2017, 07:18 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
I am not sure anyone has pointed out that under freedom of information legislation universities as public bodies are obliged to provide this information to anyone who requests it. Do people believe that MPs should be more restricted than the general public in access to information?

What would have been the response if he had requested the information on private note paper rather than House of Commons notepaper? Or got a researcher to request it on personal notepaper. Some people would argue that this was more suspicious as it was 'covert'.
Are lecture materials open to FOI requests? Given they form a significant chunk of a university course which currently costs over £9k I'd have thought they'd be exempt for commercial reasons if nothing else. Maybe they are, I don't know, it just seems strange if they are.
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Old 26th October 2017, 08:41 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by Mid
Are lecture materials open to FOI requests? Given they form a significant chunk of a university course which currently costs over £9k I'd have thought they'd be exempt for commercial reasons if nothing else. Maybe they are, I don't know, it just seems strange if they are.

The letter asked for names, syllabuses, and links to on-line courses.

I would think that all of that is already publicly available information.

Not the same as lecture materials.
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Old 26th October 2017, 10:08 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
The letter asked for names, syllabuses, and links to on-line courses.

I would think that all of that is already publicly available information.

Not the same as lecture materials.
Well it's the bit about links to online courses that I'm wondering about. Back in the good old days of the mid 2000s when I lectured all the online stuff would only have been available to registered students we didn't provide anything online to the general public. But I suppose this may vary between universities and subjects and things will have moved on in the past decade.
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Old 26th October 2017, 10:27 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by Mid View Post
Well it's the bit about links to online courses that I'm wondering about. Back in the good old days of the mid 2000s when I lectured all the online stuff would only have been available to registered students we didn't provide anything online to the general public. But I suppose this may vary between universities and subjects and things will have moved on in the past decade.

Having the link doesn't mean you have access to the website or its contents.

It just means you have the address of the site.

Just because you can find 10 Downing St. doesn't mean you can wander in any time you want and take whatever you want to.
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Old 26th October 2017, 10:54 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Having the link doesn't mean you have access to the website or its contents.

It just means you have the address of the site.

Just because you can find 10 Downing St. doesn't mean you can wander in any time you want and take whatever you want to.
Well I suppose it depends how the stuff is made available online i.e. pw protected website, intranet etc. I'd still be surprised if what's available to a non student is beyond: here's a link to a website for which you need to be registered to see anything more than the intro. page.
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Old 26th October 2017, 11:03 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
It's 2017..... Anything written in 1867 is going to be out of date, no matter how authoritative it might have been when it was published....
You might think so. But the thing that was being described in 1867 is still substantially in place, so it is not surprising that the description is believed to have retained some value. The name of the work, however, was not correct, and could easily be understood not to be correct, at the time it was composed.
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Old 26th October 2017, 12:18 PM   #170
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And on the off chance this was just an innocent request the Daily Mail decides to make it as sinister as possible:

Daily Mail's Attack On 'Remainer Universities' And 'Anti-Brexit' Academics Sparks*Backlash
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Old 26th October 2017, 12:38 PM   #171
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Any kind of criticism of how things are is now being treated as treason.
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Old 26th October 2017, 01:17 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
If the claim by his friend is true - it is academic research - then I would expect there to be an investigation into his misuse of resources etc and the whip withdrawn until such time it is completed.

If the information he required is available under FOI then why didn't he use such a mechanism?

Whichever way it is sliced he doesn't come out of this smelling of roses.
He did. he wrote and asked for it!
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Old 26th October 2017, 01:42 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by Mid View Post
Well I suppose it depends how the stuff is made available online i.e. pw protected website, intranet etc. I'd still be surprised if what's available to a non student is beyond: here's a link to a website for which you need to be registered to see anything more than the intro. page.

That's all the letter asked for, a link.
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Old 26th October 2017, 01:48 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
If the claim by his friend is true - it is academic research - then I would expect there to be an investigation into his misuse of resources etc and the whip withdrawn until such time it is completed.

If the information he required is available under FOI then why didn't he use such a mechanism?

Whichever way it is sliced he doesn't come out of this smelling of roses.
He did. he wrote and asked for it!

I guess it must be different in the U.K.

In the U.S. a Freedom Of Information request is a distinct formal process which entails very specific channels and documentation. It isn't just a matter of sending a note saying, "Hey, how about telling me this.".
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Old 26th October 2017, 01:58 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
I guess it must be different in the U.K.

In the U.S. a Freedom Of Information request is a distinct formal process which entails very specific channels and documentation. It isn't just a matter of sending a note saying, "Hey, how about telling me this.".
Well, in the sense that in the UK you have to specifically cite the FOI Act when putting the request in, I suspect it's not that different. This clearly wasn't an FOI request, notwithstanding the fact that it could have been.
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Old 26th October 2017, 03:19 PM   #176
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That's not quite how FoI works in the UK but I'll not derail the thread.
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Old 26th October 2017, 09:45 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
Well, in the sense that in the UK you have to specifically cite the FOI Act when putting the request in, I suspect it's not that different. This clearly wasn't an FOI request, notwithstanding the fact that it could have been.
No you do not have to quote the FOI act; (though it may be more likely to get a response if you do).

"You should give:
your name (not needed if requesting environmental information)
a contact address
a detailed description of the information you want - for example, you might want all information held on a subject, or just a summary
You can ask for information in a particular format, such as:
paper or electronic copies of information
audio format
large print"
https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of...mation-request

"You do not have to:
mention the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations, although it may help to do so;
know whether the information is covered by the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations; or
say why you want the information."
https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/official-information/
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Old 27th October 2017, 03:51 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
No you do not have to quote the FOI act; (though it may be more likely to get a response if you do).

"You should give:
your name (not needed if requesting environmental information)
a contact address
a detailed description of the information you want - for example, you might want all information held on a subject, or just a summary
You can ask for information in a particular format, such as:
paper or electronic copies of information
audio format
large print"
https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of...mation-request

<snip>

And the letter in question asked for the names of instructors teaching certain subjects, syllabuses, and links to on-line lectures.

All of which is information which would be freely available and easily accumulated without having to send such a letter under the letterhead of an MP ... who has no connection with the government, of course .
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Old 27th October 2017, 05:14 AM   #179
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To sum up David Davis

* Claimed he will negotiate a deal directly with Berlin after the leave vote, then negotiate separate trade deals with individual EU member states

* Claimed we should have had trade deals with the US and China by now

* Does not know that Czechoslovakia doesn't exist

* Does not know the difference between Holland and the Netherlands

* Calls the Republic of Ireland "Southern Ireland"

* Is in charge of negotiating our future trading relationship with literally the entire world

What could possibly go wrong?
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Old 27th October 2017, 05:28 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
To sum up David Davis

* Claimed he will negotiate a deal directly with Berlin after the leave vote, then negotiate separate trade deals with individual EU member states

* Claimed we should have had trade deals with the US and China by now

* Does not know that Czechoslovakia doesn't exist

* Does not know the difference between Holland and the Netherlands

* Calls the Republic of Ireland "Southern Ireland"

* Is in charge of negotiating our future trading relationship with literally the entire world

What could possibly go wrong?
The highlighted bit is wrong, once we leave the EU that responsibility falls to Liam Fox. I'm sure that's as much a relief to you as it is to me
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Old 27th October 2017, 06:38 AM   #181
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Quote:
Claimed he will negotiate a deal directly with Berlin after the leave vote, then negotiate separate trade deals with individual EU member states
How will that work?
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Old 27th October 2017, 07:12 AM   #182
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
How will that work?
Like most of the Government's plans:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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Old 27th October 2017, 07:17 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
How will that work?
Unicorns, rainbows, the usual Brexit stuff.
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Old 27th October 2017, 07:49 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by Mid View Post
The highlighted bit is wrong, once we leave the EU that responsibility falls to Liam Fox. I'm sure that's as much a relief to you as it is to me
It isnt though. All of our trade and customs agreements are through the EU. If he stuff it, and its not exactly a very big if, we lose all of them.
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Old 27th October 2017, 08:34 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by Mid View Post
The highlighted bit is wrong, once we leave the EU that responsibility falls to Liam Fox. I'm sure that's as much a relief to you as it is to me
I'm sure Adam Werritty will be glad to hear that too.
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Old 27th October 2017, 03:01 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
No you do not have to quote the FOI act; (though it may be more likely to get a response if you do).

"You should give:
your name (not needed if requesting environmental information)
a contact address
a detailed description of the information you want - for example, you might want all information held on a subject, or just a summary
You can ask for information in a particular format, such as:
paper or electronic copies of information
audio format
large print"
https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of...mation-request

"You do not have to:
mention the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations, although it may help to do so;
know whether the information is covered by the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations; or
say why you want the information."
https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/official-information/
It's been a few years since I was responsible for complying with FOI requests, but it's my recollection that every one passed on to me cited the Act, and there were none that didn't, which may have given a false impression of the fine detail.
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Old 29th October 2017, 07:40 AM   #187
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This is Chris Johns in the Irish Times today, article headlined May trapped by Brexit ‘headbangers’ and Tory media. Brussels holds all the leverage and the prospects of a ‘no deal’ departure are rising all the time
The EU is a customs union which requires, with no ambiguity or subtlety, an external border. When the UK leaves, it requires, as a matter of law and logic, a border with the EU. That means a border between the Ireland and the UK.
As Pascal Lamy, the former EU commissioner and secretary general of the WTO said this week, the only question is where you put it: either on this island or somewhere in the Irish Sea. The latter option appears to be ruled out by our friends in the North so logic strictly implies a land border.
So it does, but try persuading the Headbangers or the Friends in the North, who seem to have different ideas.
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Old 29th October 2017, 08:46 AM   #188
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No one doubts there will be a border between the republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: in fact there is already a border.

The question is what, if any, new infrastructure is installed at the border and on which side(s) of the border. No one (except maybe Pascal Lamy and friends?) wants any infrastructure installed at the border, so it would be the height of stupidity to install such.
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Old 29th October 2017, 09:10 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
No one doubts there will be a border between the republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: in fact there is already a border.

The question is what, if any, new infrastructure is installed at the border and on which side(s) of the border. No one (except maybe Pascal Lamy and friends?) wants any infrastructure installed at the border, so it would be the height of stupidity to install such.

What sort of infrastructure exists at other land borders the E.U. maintains with other non-E.U. countries?

It would be the height of stupidity to expect anything much different.
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Old 29th October 2017, 09:40 AM   #190
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Well, except for there being no Good Friday Agreement that operates across any other EU land border.

Last edited by ceptimus; 29th October 2017 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 29th October 2017, 10:31 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
No one doubts there will be a border between the republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: in fact there is already a border.

The question is what, if any, new infrastructure is installed at the border and on which side(s) of the border. No one (except maybe Pascal Lamy and friends?) wants any infrastructure installed at the border, so it would be the height of stupidity to install such.
So, as quoted

"The EU is a customs union which requires, with no ambiguity or subtlety, an external border. When the UK leaves, it requires, as a matter of law and logic, a border with the EU. That means a border between the Ireland and the UK.
As Pascal Lamy, the former EU commissioner and secretary general of the WTO said this week, but nobody wants a border, even though law and logic require it; so it would be the height of folly to install such (I just made that last bit up, by the way.)
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Old 29th October 2017, 10:40 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
Well, except for there being no Good Friday Agreement that operates across any other EU land border.

Having looked at the E.U.'s position paper with regard to the Irish border I see nothing that suggests they wish to disturb the status quo ante. This leaves the U.K.'s view with respect to an unrestricted border with the E.U.

I have not uncovered a similar position paper from the U.K. offering their concerns or intentions regarding such a border. Since one of the primary concerns asserted by the Brexit camp was the integrity of such borders it would be useful to know what those intentions might be. They are, after all, the ones pursuing a major change in relations between the U.K. and sovereign countries that are also members of the E.U.

I note that the only political entity in Northern Ireland that opposed the Good Friday Agreement was the DUP which, as I understand it, is the party whose support is crucial to the current pro-Brexit coalition government.

If you can offer some citations regarding the U.K.'s intentions concerning the border with the Republic of Ireland that might help facilitate this part of the discussion.
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Old 29th October 2017, 10:51 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Having looked at the E.U.'s position paper with regard to the Irish border I see nothing that suggests they wish to disturb the status quo ante. This leaves the U.K.'s view with respect to an unrestricted border with the E.U.

I have not uncovered a similar position paper from the U.K. offering their concerns or intentions regarding such a border. Since one of the primary concerns asserted by the Brexit camp was the integrity of such borders it would be useful to know what those intentions might be. They are, after all, the ones pursuing a major change in relations between the U.K. and sovereign countries that are also members of the E.U.

I note that the only political entity in Northern Ireland that opposed the Good Friday Agreement was the DUP which, as I understand it, is the party whose support is crucial to the current pro-Brexit coalition government.

If you can offer some citations regarding the U.K.'s intentions concerning the border with the Republic of Ireland that might help facilitate this part of the discussion
.
They'd probably better inform Theresa May as well as her plan currently seems to be to keep everything ambiguous, because that way she avoids* open warfare within the Conservative party.


*For certain values of "avoid". I seriously wouldn't be surprised to see her have a breakdown, she seems so utterly out of her depth and panicky, and she seems to see no way through (probably because there isn't one that doesn't cause major problems - although doing nothing is not a good option for her either).
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Old 29th October 2017, 02:08 PM   #194
Aber
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Having looked at the E.U.'s position paper with regard to the Irish border I see nothing that suggests they wish to disturb the status quo ante.
Up to a point:

Quote:
This must be achieved in a way which ensures that Ireland's place within the Internal Market and Customs Union is unaffected
Which means the EU wants a tariff border if the UK does not remain in the Customs Union.

On the British side:

Quote:
BRITISH Prime Minster Theresa May has used a major speech on Brexit to restate that there will be no hard border in Ireland after Brexit.
http://www.irishnews.com/news/northe...rexit-1143949/
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Old 29th October 2017, 02:17 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
Well, except for there being no Good Friday Agreement that operates across any other EU land border.
Did the EU sign the GF agreement?

If not it's irrelevant.
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Old 29th October 2017, 02:22 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
Up to a point:



Which means the EU wants a tariff border if the UK does not remain in the Customs Union.

On the British side:



http://www.irishnews.com/news/northe...rexit-1143949/
Can someone explain then how you can have no border while not allowing the movement of people or goods? That seems like the definition of a border to me.

It seems that the UK position relies on either a border between NI and the rUK or between Ireland and the EU. Both of which seem politically ridiculous.

Theresa could easily come out and spell out exacty what she wants but she doesnt. I think thats because she nor her cabinet have a clue exactly what they want.

It's an absolute nonsense. Anyone pro-Brexit at this point is an imbecile or a bigot.
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Old 29th October 2017, 02:34 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Can someone explain then how you can have no border while not allowing the movement of people or goods? That seems like the definition of a border to me.

It seems that the UK position relies on either a border between NI and the rUK or between Ireland and the EU. Both of which seem politically ridiculous.

Theresa could easily come out and spell out exacty what she wants but she doesnt. I think thats because she nor her cabinet have a clue exactly what they want.

It's an absolute nonsense. Anyone pro-Brexit at this point is an imbecile or a bigot.
Nonsense, May has been very clear what she wants: she wants to remain PM. Others such as Johnson have been equally clear, they want to be PM. And all this tedious Brexit malarkey is a distraction from that.
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Old 29th October 2017, 02:49 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Can someone explain then how you can have no border while not allowing the movement of people or goods? That seems like the definition of a border to me.

It seems that the UK position relies on either a border between NI and the rUK or between Ireland and the EU. Both of which seem politically ridiculous.

Theresa could easily come out and spell out exacty what she wants but she doesnt. I think thats because she nor her cabinet have a clue exactly what they want.

It's an absolute nonsense. Anyone pro-Brexit at this point is an imbecile or a bigot.
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Nonsense, May has been very clear what she wants: she wants to remain PM. Others such as Johnson have been equally clear, they want to be PM. And all this tedious Brexit malarkey is a distraction from that.
@Archie Gemmill Goal

The highlighted bit: I refer you to your first paragraph. My view is that May realises that she wants two mutually incompatible things from Brexit. I don't think the three stooges realise - Johnson probably does, but thinks he'll be able to wing it (see Darat's post).

He probably wants Brexit to not go through, and then play the "stabbed in the back" card without having to deal with the consequences.
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Old 29th October 2017, 03:18 PM   #199
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As an outsider looking in this whole thing from start to finish just seems crazy to me.

First near as I can tell this whole thing happened because the UK Independence Party had been gaining in popularity and taking voters away from the Conservative Party for a few election cycles now so the Conservative Party promised a "UK Leaving the EU" referendum as a carrot to bring people against the UK being in the EU back to their party for the election. This worked but the promised "Leave the EU" referendum vote had a turn out way, way beyond what as expected (Almost a 75% turnout. Jesus Christ you couldn't get 75% of Americans to vote if the choice was between "Ice Cream for Dinner and a massage" and "Road Salt and Broken Glass for Dinner with a kick to cranberries" and the polling stations were giving away diamonds and blowjobs and they sent a car and driver around to pick you and drive you the polling station and you got to keep the car afterwards) and the now called "Brexit" referendum squeezed by at 52 to 48 percent.

That whole thing just screams of a political party promising something they never thought the people would actually deliver on and having their bluff called. The Conservative Party promised a "Well let the people decide whether to stay in the EU or not" vote counting on the people to get cold feet and not follow through and when that didn't happen...they had no idea what to do.

Second the Brexit Referndum was not legally binding. It was basically an opinion poll marketed as some official "Press Here to Leave the EU" button.

English History professor CGP Grey has a good breakdown video that basically is the only way I was able to make sense of this whole thing.

He puts the odds of what is going to happen as such:

15% chance of "Maximum Brexit." The UK fully leaves the EU, EEA, and (what little they participate in) the Eurozone and Schegen. He goes on to say if this happens he puts high odds (97%) on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, 45% odds on North Ireland leaving the UK, and even 5% odds of the City of London (not London a distinction he also had to explain to me) leaving and become an independent city-state.

30% on literally nothing happening. The UK plays the waiting game forever and 100 years from now "Did you know that the UK has been in the process of leaving the UK for a century?" is a bit of trivia like when two countries find out they are still technically at war because an official armistice was never signed.

55% on "Partial Brexit." The UK leaves the EU, stays in the EEA, and that's it. This allows politicians to save face by technically leaving the EU. He argues this is the most likely because "It's the best kind of compromise, the one that leaves everyone unhappy and nobody really gets what the want."

But he makes the point any answer right now is really not good. The Full Brexit option seems to go against political and economic self interest and could very well mean the end of the UK while the other two goes against... like the idea of democracy.
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Old 29th October 2017, 04:27 PM   #200
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We will get whatever the PM and her ministers think will keep them in their jobs and stop the Tories tearing themselves apart.

That's why it's such a cock up at the moment.
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