35 thoughts on “For Sale or Return”

  1. Hang on to them, you’re going to miss that flag (although I have to admit the ones without it look so much better!).

  2. Seriously though, on behalf of 48% of the UK voting public (and pretty much all of Scotland), I would like to apologise to our European neighbours. I’m really, really sorry.

  3. In a few months time when the excrement really hits the fan, you won’t find a single person who’ll admit voting out. It’ll be all; ‘not me gov – it were ‘im over there.’

    1. Oh no, they will be pleased by the discord they created. These are people who have voluntarily chosen to shit in their own bathwater. Trouble is, now everyone has to lay in it.

    1. Strikes aren’t actually that damaging for the economy, contrary to what some would have us believe.

  4. The first two letters of that number plate were what I said when I saw the news this morning.

  5. I sink I’ll order some spare parts for ze Jaguar today. I hear ze prices are really cheap.

    1. Jaguar driver sir. No problems. Let’s fast track you through customs. Hold on a mo, where’s your leaper? Just a minute, you haven’t got any cold beer in the boot by any chance?

  6. Daniel: if you’re interested, it’s at Comment is Free at the Guardian. Look for the user profile bertnairobi. The search term “guardian bertnairobi” gets my page of comments.

    1. Good heavens! You’re almost as left wing as me. You’re comments are incisive and diplomatic. I think I’ve seen you before on CIF; I’ve been banned six times now for politely questioning the veracity of some of the Guardian’s news. A lot of “petrolheads” seem to slavishly worship at the altar of Jeremy Clarkson and take pride in political incorrectness. There’s no reason why a socialist and/or Green can’t have an interest in cars although I have been accused of hypocrisy as a member of The Green Party.

    2. If it turns out that all the other German-speaking contributors are also Süddeutsche/Zeit readers, we’re having all the proof we could possibly (not) want that we’re actually a shockingly homogenous bunch.

      Mind you, I’ve got an awful lot of respect for the way Alan Rusbridger stood up for the free press back in the day.

    3. Thank you Richard.
      Kris: Sueddeutsche, yes. The Zeit fell out of my favour quite some time ago. In my opinion, it has become a tad too populist, in a quirky, bourgeois kind of way.

    4. I’d like to read more quality German newspapers. But, alas, I sometimes don’t even find the time to read my two Swiss, sometimes not so quality papers.

      Now they say that we Swiss should be pleased with finally having a new spiritual brother regarding our views towards the EU – at least that’s what our loud right wing wants to make us believe. I rather think now the Union is absorbed with their own divorce, it makes it even more difficult for us to negotiate a decent way of living with each other.

      The only positive thing I can see about this is that the EU might be forced to think about their goals, and to become more democratic and closer to their peoples’ needs. Alas, I’m almost inclined to bet against this happening.

    5. Despite my horror at what has happened, I have no illusions about the EU. I had hoped that a close vote in the other direction would have left us in an EU that had been shaken enough to start forming a less labyrinthine and impenetrable bureaucracy. For the sake of my (soon to be ex) fellow Europeans, I still hope this will be the case. Switzerland is in the fortunate position of being in the middle of everything, so hard to ignore. I fear that the Brexiteers will be disappointed at how easy it is to ignore a little island that no longer has the gunships and industrial lead that formed the nation we once were but, despite some people’s odd fantasies, have not been for a very long time.

      We will become the family member who moved out rather than helping with the redecoration and now lives in a tatty bedsit the other side of town. He’s lonely, and the roof leaks worse than it did at home. Occasionally they think of him but, really, there’s only so much you can do for people like that.

    6. On the other hand, a vote to remain wouldn’t have shaken anything. So in voting leave by a very small majority, Britain could well have done the EU a big favour. So now it’s all down to the remaining countries to take the Union on a new course. and Germany will be key to that process. Not sure if the vision exists (there or elsewhere) to make it happen though.

  7. Mark James: I think I’m quite left-leaning. I only know a few people more socialistically-inclined than me. I try to be polite at the Guardian. The tone of debate can be harsh and I don’t want to add to it. I find polite responses yield an answer and respect the hunanity of the avatar I’m addressing.
    My view on cars and the environment are reconciled through my view on urban planning: don’t give them an inch but that’s not what happened since 1945 in Europe, sadly and the message is still not getting through. I am now of the opinion private transport was a major mistake. It’s proving hard to put the genie back in the bottle though.

  8. Kris: what makes you think there’s a nest of Sud-Deutsch readers here?
    I am very pleaed with our German, NZ, Australian and American readers. We’ve Scandinavians too. It makes a nice mix.

    1. I was only referring to the German speaking minority of readers, obviously.

  9. Mark. In case you’re in any doubt, and despite what I’ve written about my sometime hoonigan driving, you won’t find any Little England politics among the founders of DTW. Nevertheless, we consider ourselves a broad church and welcome all comers, just like the UK …. oh hold on.

    I’ve woken up in the middle of the night, my head buzzing with some abstract fury at what has happened, ashamed that ‘my country’ (a phrase itself that now seems to have been permanently tainted) might be the catalyst for a shitstorm in Europe. Being, on paper at least, a stereotypical London-living, middle class, twat, and in view the odious and bogus divide that has been whipped up by the various factions, I actually feel as welcome in the UK as any other outsider does this morning.

    This has been called a victory for ordinary, decent people. I work with a bunch of ordinary people, who are generally decent (though I think decency is a credential you renew every day, not bequeathed for life), though many of them weren’t born in the UK. I even try to be decent myself. More than ever, Johnson’s (Samuel not Boris) quote that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel comes to mind.

    Although I actually do a lot of work with Europe, personally I don’t feel directly threatened by what has happened but, suddenly, I feel like the character in a science fiction film who finds that many of the ‘ordinary decent’ people he has been living with all his life are actually lizards from the planet Duh!

    1. Thx for that. It tells me (one more time) that we, the EU, are going to miss so much more than just the British economy.

  10. The bit that rots my socks, so’s to speak, is that I have twice turned down the opportunity to get a second EU passport, since “who needs two EU passports?”. Now I haven’t even got one EU passport ;-(

    1. This reluctance to trigger Article 50 is confusing things. Merkel is being charitable but others are asking in the EU for a rapid process. Both Labour and the Conservatives are now headless and so too Britain. So who do the EU address? Lame duck office holders? Or the people jostling for power?

    2. I find the petition to hold another referendum fairly silly (should we keep doing it until they get the ‘right’ answer), but I signed it all the same since I view the alternative as so dire. So I will probably also write to my just elected MP . As someone pointed out, the British Public recently voted to name a boat, but that that was ignored.

      My own take is that I’m not just holding this view for my own sake, but for everyone’s, Leave or Remain, who I’m convinced will be worse off, even disregarding the fallout in the rest of Europe. But, of course, turning over a ‘democratic’ decision now will open up a further can of worms. Once you’ve offered people something, you can’t take it away. There can be no neat answer to this, … unless I wake up.

    3. Agreed Sean – I also added my name to the (most likely futile) attempt to scupper this frightful leap into the abyss.

      But as to holding a second referendum, there are two Irish precedents for starters. Yes, there were howls of anger from some quarters but in each case the public freely chose to reverse their previous decision. Interesting piece on this here;
      http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2015/10/19/asking-the-public-twice-why-do-voters-change-their-minds-in-second-referendums-on-eu-treaties/

      It’s too calamitous a decision to leave where it fell – especially as the out camp are now rowing back on every feckless promise they made while desperately cobbling together a plan they should have had in the first place. Fag packet politics – is this all they have to offer?

    4. This is a salutary lesson in democracy for us all. It brings to mind the idea that most votes should be run over 3 days. The first one’s results being published, leaving the second deciding one for people to reconsider whether ‘voting with their hearts’ was altogether wise and ‘not voting because it doesn’t make a difference’ just plain stupid. In between, no-one (journalists nor politicians) is allowed to say a word. But you have to decide that before the event, not rewrite the rules afterwards.

  11. Anecdotally I have heard a few people say that they would not have voted for Brexit, would they have known the problems it would cause. I have also heard a few people give entirely valid reasons why they chose to vote for it. Still, it is done. I would be interested to see how the public would vote in another referendum in another couple of years, although let’s be clear, the next General Election will be a good yardstick.

    This whole situation is attributable to the failure of the UK political classes. We have had a number of General Elections with barely a fag paper’s width between the policies of the two main political parties. Labour has long been in thrall to the neo-liberal EU, even when EU policies have run counter to the interests of their core voters. Since 1978 UK manufacturing has been hollowed out to the point of near extinction. Then 2004 working class people have seen their wages depressed by economic migrants or their jobs shipped to cheaper parts of the EU. Meanwhile, the public services that are overwhelmingly used by working class people such as the NHS and council housing have come under pressure as never before. The Conservatives by contrast have failed to press the EU to curb migration or convincingly act against UKIP, which is effectively a Tory splinter group. Hobbled by infighting and desperate to prolong his premiership, Cameron rolled the dice and promised a referendum, a gamble that he then lost.

    Both parties are caught in the Westminster bell jar, ignoring the discontent their own activists have been reporting on their doorstep. Both are also complicit in the neocon carve up of public resources and endless bailouts to the banks, a situation that only seems to benefit the rich and beggar the working classes via pointless austerity.

    Deprived of meaningful choice, British voters has chosen the electoral equivalent of shitting in their own hands and throwing it around. And instead of stepping up to provide leadership at a critical juncture, both main parties have imploded. Honestly, I despair.

    1. True that, although I have a reasonably strong contempt for those wrinklies of my age and more who voted Out because they (euphemism alert) wanted a ‘return to traditional values’, I can’t really blame those who feel so disenfranchised that they realise that the only way their vote can make a difference, the only way that anyone will notice them, is by voting Out. But understanding that doesn’t mean that we’re still not all stuffed.

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