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cadence

Schengen

why wont britain join?   I know I've asked this question before, but it still begs couriosity.
Fontfroide

Wild stab?  Keep out the 'others'.  Keep out drugs.  

From Wiki

'Ireland and the United Kingdom were the only EU members which, prior to the 2004 enlargement, had not signed the 1990 Schengen Convention. Both countries maintain a Common Travel Area with an open land border between them. The UK has always refused to join Schengen as it believes that the island status of the Common Travel Area puts the United Kingdom in a better position to enforce immigration controls than continental European countries with "extensive and permeable land borders".[18]  In contrast Ireland, while not signing the Schengen Agreement, has always looked more favourably on joining but has not done so, in order to maintain the Common Travel Area and its open border with Northern Ireland.[19]'

One question all my French pals ask, which is related but not the same is "How can Britain be in Europe and not use the Euro?  Why do they have the pound?"
Mrs John Murphy

Because the UK is a very Europhobic country and people believe the myths that signing up to Schengen would result in the country being 'swamped' by East European Gypsies, darkies and drugs. The government would rather waste money on having minimum wage goons sitting in booths at airports and ports harrassing people than spend it on effective policing.

So the answer to your question is bigotry by the UK government, or rather the unwillingness to confront the racists in the media and home office.

It is a little bit like asking why do we have to give 18 bits of information, be finger printed, photographed and treated like criminals when we want to visit the US? It doesn't actually stop any terrorism or attempted terrorism, but it gives the illusion to the media and the public that 'something is being done' - and no politician ever did badly by pandering to people's prejudices and fears.
SlowRower

Fontfroide wrote:
One question all my French pals ask, which is related but not the same is "How can Britain be in Europe and not use the Euro?  Why do they have the pound?"


Britain negotiated an opt-out from the Euro. At the time, Britain could have vetoed the Treaty (Maastricht?) that spawned the Euro, so the other EU members at the time agreed to the opt-out (undesirable but tolerable from the Grand European Project viewpoint) to guarantee no UK veto (catastrophic to the Project).

As MJM points out, the UK is somewhat Eurosceptic in nature, and any PM signing up to giving up the £ would most likely be consigned to the dustbin of political history PDQ. (Note that Ireland and Denmark voted against the relevant treaty in 1992, but in time-honoured European fashion were given the option of voting again until the "correct" answer was achieved, in the same way as the Irish were after the Lisbon Treaty vote recently.)

In general, the people of "old" Europe are considerably less enthusiastic about the EU project than their leaders. The Dutch and French voted against the proposed constitution in referendums (2005?), so the powers that be relabeled the constitution as the Lisbon Treaty and irksome negative votes by the people were side-stepped by not bothering with referendums again, except where constitutionally required. (And even then, as was the case with Ireland, negative votes were basically ignored.)

Back to the Euro, there are several real economic advantages (at least in the short term) to not being in for the UK, primarily being able to devalue to make exports more competitive (which Greece would - literally - kill for at the moment) and still having control over the printing presses. In the Eurozone, only the Eurpoean Central Bank can print money (or undertake "Quantitative Easing" as it's politely known these days), whereas the Bank of England can print as much as it likes to balance the books.

Having said all that, given the awful f*cking mess our Government has made of the national finances in the last few years, one could argue that some real Bundesbank-style fiscal restraint from living by the rules of the Euro (as opposed to doctoring the national accounts to make it look like the rules were being observed, Greek-style) would have been beneficial for the UK.
Mrs John Murphy

That is not strictly true.

There is Euroscepticism in many countries but for different reasons, some of which are to do with Europe and some of which are to do with internal political dynamics.

As for the UK - how much money did the Major government piss up against the wall in the ERM? Two recessions in 10 years? That was pretty good going from the Thatcher/Major governments.

Flexible exchange rates for trading benefit seems a little bit of a trojan horse argument given the amount of UK trade with the Eurozone, and Euro membership has hardly caused the collapse of the German economy etc.

The main objections to the Euro are primarily ideological and nationalistic than economic, but the tendency is to dress them up as economic.
cadence

I vaguely recall Austria having similar fears with regards to Slovakia becoming a member of Schengen and even trying to delay her membership…I’ve not since heard of them experiencing the problems that those in the UK fear would befall them.   Question though, if politicians are against it are they not just representing what the average UK citizen actually desires, i.e. it’s not the government, but the people themselves.

As to US security, yes, its embarassing the things this government has done in order to give people the illusion of safety.
Mrs John Murphy

The delays to Slovak accession were also to do with the Meciar government and its anti-democratic tendencies. Once Meciar had been removed from power, the Austrian fears subsided.

But this cuts both ways - look at how Klaus dug out the issue of the Benes decrees and how this was then seized upon by Fico.

Klaus, a eurosceptic is ironically in favour of further EU expansion and in favour of bringing the likes of Ukraine, the western Balkans, Belarus into the EU.
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
The main objections to the Euro are primarily ideological and nationalistic than economic, but the tendency is to dress them up as economic.


That's most likely true, but there are undeniably major economic implications for "fiscally embarrassed" in the Eurozone, where devaluation is not an option. For the UK, a 20% devaluation vs the Euro since 2007 is a major benefit to exporters, as ~2/3 of UK trade is with the Eurozone.

As an aside, my comment about Brown's incompetent handing of the UK finances wasn't to imply those of a bluer hue were economically more competent. The thought of either Balls or Osbourne as Chancellor post 6th May is not a cheerful one.
Mrs John Murphy

However, a devaluation does not help those who have to import - raw materials which are then transformed and used in the domestic market. Given the destruction of the UK manufacturing base (meaning that the UK is far more dependent upon imports), combined with the 40% of all food consumed which has to be imported, a devaluation, and/or exchange rate instability, is not beneficial to the UK as a whole.
SlowRower

Agree that devaluation is not painless, not least because of the higher cost of unavoidable imports such as oil. However, one of the impacts of a lower exchange rate is that it makes imports less attractive so there's a switch to UK produced items at the expense of foreign one. Holidays are the prime example of this. Similarly, whilst we import a lot of food, it's fair guess that in extremis, people would happily eat cheap UK carrots as opposed to imported baby sweet corn etc.

There are also a lot of internationally focused service firms (e.g. lawyers and accountants) who do benefit from a weaker £, as their standard £-based rates become much cheaper in the Eurozone. Such firms don't have major raw material import costs in the short term (although longer term they do need to pay staff more to stop them heading off for higher salaries in the Eurozone.

Longer term, though, continuous depreciation of the currency (we don't have devaluations per se any more with floating currencies) disguises fundamental weaknesses in the economy and is something of an easy option. The German view of the Euro is that countries should learn to live with the Euro by improving the productivity of their economies and by exhibiting fiscal discipline, on the basis that economies so based are better in the long run.

I'm inclined to side with the Germans on this one!
Mrs John Murphy

That would be all well and good if there were comparable UK goods being produced which could be used instead of imported goods - but there aren't thanks to the economic policies of the Thatcher government which shifted the UK away from a manufactoring economy and towards a service based economy. What was that you were saying about economic mismanagement...?

(That said the shift towards S.T.E.M indicates a further attempt to re-orientate the economy away from a service based economy after this last fiasco).

I hardly think orientating economy policies to benefit lawyers and accountants is the way forward - afterall, we are in the mess we are in precisely because politicians fell in love with the city and its supposed benefits.

Furthermore, service industries as also no where near as flexible as is made out. We did not see a mass-exodus to Germany when the pound was strong against the Euro now did we?

The problem with the British economy is the fact that most British people can not accept or understand that the country is a third or fourth rate European nation, with no manufactoring base, low-levels of social and labour mobility and an economy based on service industries - which is nothing more than castles built on sand.

Furthermore, improving productivity in the UK (unlike in Germany) seems to be assumed to be anything which results in the reduction of rights and protection for low paid workers while allowing the middle class and the wealthy to pay less for the things they want.


re - food. The UK consumes 40% more food than it produces. That food has to be imported, much as the oil has to be imported.

So unless the UK cuts down its fuel and food consumption, devaluation would have a negative impact upon most of society.
SlowRower

Think of the benefits of not importing that food, MJM. We'll be a nation of the lean and mean, not lardy couch potatoes. Most people could benefit from a sizeable reduction in calorific input.

As to services vs manufacturing...

A balanced economy has its benefits undoubtedly, just as a balnce diet or balanced portfolio of investments does. Gordo's big mistake was to ratchet public spending up to a level well in excess of the tax base at the peak of the "boom", when a sizeable chunk of that tax base was from the more volatile end of financial services. Even a modest downturn in the sector's profits would have taken a big chunk out of corporation tax profits, and left a big hole in the national finances. Only a halfwit or someone who kept saying "I've abolished boom and bust" didn't know that a downturn was going to happen sooner rather than later. No-one wanted to be the first to jump off the money making machine though!

I was simply observing that if we have a lot of lawyers and accountants operating across Europe (as we do) then the fall in the £ against the Euro will help generate more fees for them (and corporate taxes) and maintain employment (more income tax and consumption tax, lower benefit payments etc.) So in the short term, it's a good thing, as we can't recreate a manufacturing base overnight. The main problem is what any incumbent government chooses to do with the tax receipts.

I haven't got the figures to hand, but I recall reading a few interesting things on the subject recently  (If you're bored then please feel free to dig out the data to disprove me!):
- Since 1997 manufacturing as a proportion of UK GDP has declined from 20% to 12%, a greater rate of decline than under the Tories.
- Manufacturing is a surprisingly small proportion of German (and French) GDP. They are heavily service-based economies as well.
Mrs John Murphy

We have seen how unpopular attempting to get people to consume less fuel, alcohol etc is - I tend to think that making people eat would be very unpopular. Witness the protests when Jamie Oliver tried to have chips banned on school menu's. A curtailment of the 'freedom' to stuff your face and be obese.

Just out of interest what percentage of UK GDP was manufacturing 1960-1970, 1970-79 and 1979-1997? We need to a larger data set. (The largest decline in UK manufacturing was actually post 1918 and not post 1945 as everyone assumes). Plus any decline needs to be framed against changes in GDP - if GDP is increasing while manufacturing remaining constant then it will naturally shrink as a percentage of GDP (as the economy grows in other sectors).

What percentage of UK GDP is produced by lawyers and accountants specifically? Do the short term benefits to that sector of the economy offset the costs to other sectors of the economy?

All politicians say stupid things about the economy - Norman Lamont was seeing 'Green Shoots of Recovery' for about 3 years before there was any recovery.
SlowRower

MJM,

I was hoping you'd research the manufacturing / GDP figures for me!

Very good point re what else is happening in the economy, though. Manufacturing's share of the GDP went up when GDP was declining sharply at the start of the recession as other sectors declined more.

It doesn't really matter what the relative benefits of a lower exchange rate are in the short and long term. The £ is freely floating vs other currencies and Black Wednesday demonstrated that defending an exchange rate is nigh on impossible. The exchange rate is what it is and people act accordingly.

The key point about the exchange rate is that it drives voluntary behaviour to change as the rate itself changes.

Thus, as imported food and foreign holidays become more expense, folk grumble a bit, but change their behaviour. They don't keep buying expensive stuff regardless. (Unless they're very rich, but even so, there must be a point at which a new Ferrari becomes less attractive than a new McLaren F1.)

10 years ago, petrol was 80p per litre and there were fuel blockades, such was the outrage. Now, we think back longingly to the days when it was only £1 per litre and consider driving less or buying a smaller car when the current one packs up.

Lawyers and accountants were just an example of service industries that can compete more effectively in Eurozone countries with a lower Euro/£ exchange rate. IT contractors are another. They can maintain their £ daily rates relative to three years ago, and are automatically 25% cheaper in Euro terms than their competitors now.

Once the economy has been boosted by the low exchange rate, foreign confidence in the UK increases, and overseas investors pile into £-donominated assets, bringing the exchange rate back up again, usually overshoot an "equilibrium rate", which benefits foreign competitors and the whole thing starts again in reverse.

If memory serves, the French Franc / £ rate went from 7.5 in 1995 (still reflecting the early 90s recession in the perceived prospects for the UK) up to around 10 in 1998, before settling at about 9 (or its Euro equivalent of 1.4) until the credit crunch when the full extent of the UK's problems (i.e. worse than the other major economies in the Eurozone) became apparent when it fell to just over parity in early 2009.

I remember this very well as we were on hols at the time, and lunch made out of left-over bread from breakfast became a lot more attractive than paying £15 for a pizza. I thus kept my cash and spent it on a few takeaways at home, benefiting the UK economy, rather than lining the pockets of the Frenchies.

Anyway, we are where we are. If I'd been in charge, we'd be in a different place, but the bond markets will force whoever wins the election to toe the line with fiscal plans, irrespective of what the Great British Public might think they're voting for!
SlowRower

MJM - I forgot to add that it's good to have a reasoned debate with you and that you could expand the range of subject on which politicians speak bollocks almost infinitely. Actually, forget the "almost". Smile
Mrs John Murphy

I think the experience of the Leu this autumn shows that it is possible for a currency to be supported if necessary.

It is fairly well established that even extreme relative poverty does not necessarily cause a revolution, nor even does a significant drop in absolute living standards won't necessarily bring people onto the streets.

As I say, the benefits to one sector of the economy need to be weighed against the costs to another sector. Would you necessarily be able to defend a policy which benefits the wealthy/middle classes in urban areas but no doubt has a harmful effect on working class and rural communities?
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
As I say, the benefits to one sector of the economy need to be weighed against the costs to another sector. Would you necessarily be able to defend a policy which benefits the wealthy/middle classes in urban areas but no doubt has a harmful effect on working class and rural communities?


Indeed. This is one of the reasons I'm not a politician!

Ultimately, a society should be judged on how it treats its weakest members, so I guess I'm a closet "leftie", despite what you might think. Smile(Having kids and interacting with "different" types of parents has certainly been an eye-opener.)

Equally ultimately though, however nice / desirable it may be to treat the disadvantaged members of society with largesse, someone has to pay the bill. I think there are currently unrealistic expectations amongst both potential beneficiaries of taxpayer generosity and taxpayers. The former think they deserve more than can be afforded and the latter overlook that they will eventually be old and feeble and even if they've never claimed a penny of benefit to that point, they will still cost the taxpayers at the time a fortune in their last couple of years.
cardinal guzman

GB, a shitty little island on the arse end of europe has punched massively above it's weight since the 1100's due to a policy of always aligning it's self with it's 'second most dangerous immediate rival' against the most dangerous immediate rival.

But we're not talking about danger to GB as a whole - merely danger to the wealth and lifestyles of the rich, powerful and few.

So it is with Schengen and all things continental. We will continue to align ourselves with the USA and resist European-ness until it is financially advantageous to become fully European which will be when oil runs out and America is fucked and even then, our cosying up to India and China may mean full integration never becomes expedient.

Essentially, 'we' are paid to be a thorn in Europe's bum.
cadence

cardinal guzman wrote:
GB, a shitty little island on the arse end of europe has punched massively above it's weight since the 1100's due to a policy of always aligning it's self with it's 'second most dangerous immediate rival' against the most dangerous immediate rival.

But we're not talking about danger to GB as a whole - merely danger to the wealth and lifestyles of the rich, powerful and few.

So it is with Schengen and all things continental. We will continue to align ourselves with the USA and resist European-ness until it is financially advantageous to become fully European which will be when oil runs out and America is fucked and even then, our cosying up to India and China may mean full integration never becomes expedient.

Essentially, 'we' are paid to be a thorn in Europe's bum.


Interesting perspective Cardinal…

I have a friend from Singapore who talked about British stratedgy, which was to create a conflict between  other parties in areas it wished to occupy/control, thereby letting others do her fighting.
Mrs John Murphy

SR - I note that they are predicting famine in the UK due to the no-fly zone over the UK meaning that food imports from abroad are stuck. So no imported kumquats for you this weekend.

Quote:
The UK imports about 90% of its fruit and 60% of its vegetables. While the vast majority come by sea – Fair Trade bananas from the West Indies, for instance, are regularly delivered to Southampton and Portsmouth – some of the more exotic inhabitants of the UK's shops come by air.


ironically, the food shortage may not result in people eating less (and hence healthier) since what we might be eating less of is more expensive fruit and veg.

As for the welfare state. The issue is probably more to do with the general sense of entitlement felt by all citizens of the UK of every class. The rich feel that it is their right to have power, money, no responsibility and to not look after those less wealthy than themselves. Call it the Jeremy Clarkson syndrome - why should I have to cut down my emission, bother about speeding etc, I have the money for a car that does 200mph at 1 mile to the gallon - Fuck you if you don't like it. Alternatively others feel that it is the job of the state to provide them with a job, house etc etc (all the good thing) but not the job of government to tell them to eat more healthy food.

Everyone wants to have their cake and eat it.

That said - who needs terrorists with bombs in their pants to bring the western world to its knees - all you need is a huge fuck off volcano.
Nolte

i mentioned schengen at work and my work colleagues thought i was being a blathering eejit (ok that's the general response to me speaking but still) it shocked me that when hearing schengen they never heard of it before Confused
70kmph

Schengen, sounds like German for smoked ham...
SlowRower

No imported Kuquats indeed, MJM. More pertinently, no pesto. However, the local "Farmer's Cart" was doing a roaring trade and Farmer Sykes was hoping the volcano carries on, so he can sell much more of his stuff.

I'm not actually advocating a devaluation. In a floating exchange rate regime (such as the UK has had since Sterling left the ERM), there are no formal devaluations. The exchange rate simply reflects the perceived outlook for the UK on a minute by minute basis.

I simply favour a floating regime vs a fixed regime for the UK, given the UK's historical inability to maintain fiscal discipline over a sustained period. It would be better if this were not the case, and the UK population reflected the Germans in terms of outlook and expectations, but we are where we are. And given where that currently is - i.e. deeply in the sh*t, along with Greece and Ireland - having a flexible exchange rate is a less bad option than a fixed one.

With a fixed exchange rate, the only way for the economy to become competitive is for real wage deflation (like in Ireland). Or you can take the Greek approach, stick two fingers up to everyone and rely on German taxpayers bailing you out - until the next time.

I detect discontent at your end with either or both of the current exchange rate and the fact that sterling is freely floating. Are you advocating a policy of the Bank of England targeting a specific rate (if so, what rate) or are you suggesting Euro membership (again, if so, as what rate)?

Or, are you just as depressed as I am for the prospects of the UK, but put the blame on Thatcher for implementing policies that left Brown no choice but to follow, with the result that there is little left that the UK can export, as opposed to my allocation of blame to Brown, for b*ggering the national finances?
Boogerd_Fan

English like to be separated from rest of Europe.. i'm pretty sure rest of Europe likes to be separated from English!!

Status quo, that won't go unbroken in our lifetime i guess.
Fontfroide

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
English like to be separated from rest of Europe.. i'm pretty sure rest of Europe likes to be separated from English!!

Status quo, that won't go unbroken in our lifetime i guess.


Actually, at the risk of being told I am wrong, I don't think there is any sense that "Europe" wants to be separated from Britain.  Its more a sense of ignorance or puzzlement about how Britain wants to be separate from Europe, even though huge numbers of the Brits come to live in France and Spain as well as other countries.  Of course they take their customs and habit with them, as do all immigrants, but there does not seem to be any sense of wanting them separate.  Just puzzlement why they seem to be separate, like the pound for one thing.

I would say without a doubt, that in my area, the Dutch are the most disliked as a nation (not including the Parisians of course).  Germans a bit disliked, for the war, amongst older people, but the Dutch are disliked the most.  I actually don't know a single Dutch person (eight years here), although there are many here, number plates in supermarkets indicate that.  People always say the same thing, they bring their own food, their own building material, their own workers and do not mix with local folk.  To some extent this is true of ALL immigrants, but the Dutch are picked up on most.

The Brits are more of a puzzle, a strange and odd people.  Loads of them, living France, but somehow not wanting to join in Europe, just live there.
SlowRower

FF,

I guess it's not unrelated to the fact that Britain has not been invaded or subject to Communism, unlike pretty much the rest of the EU.

The whole European Project was about stopping wars in Europe from happening again, and in that it's been very successful. Countries are far less likely to invade each other when they know they can get a much better revenge by serving bizarre food at the next EU banquet they host or by threatening to veto someone's pet project.

Without the direct experience of invasion, occupation, fascism and communism etc, the Brits are always more likely to focus on the downsides of EU membership (an undefined "loss of sovereignty") than the benefits.

Plus, of course, there is the fact that having bailed the French out in WW2, it just doesn't seem right (to some in the UK) that the French and Germans then team up to try and take over Europe in combination. The "joke" about the Bundesbank succeeding where the Luftwaffe failed is not funny to some. Smile
cardinal guzman

SlowRower wrote:
Plus, of course, there is the fact that having bailed the French out in WW2:)


?

WWII.

War between Germany and Poland becomes inevitable.
Germany invades Poland.
Britain and France declare war on Germay.
Germay twats Britain and France and Belgium and Holland.
Germany tries to invade Russia, Stalin murders everybody.
America supplies both sides in exchange for gold.
25/8/1940 British bomb Berlin.
An enraged Hitler orders luftwaffe to bomb cities not airfields thus losing the Battle of Britain and turning the tide of the war.
America joins the winning side.
America wins. Spends gold on telly and lipids.
SlowRower

Cardinal,

I obviously wasn't for WW2, but my understanding is that whilst Germany tried to "twat" the UK, it failed miserably, and ultimately got a good kicking for its troubles.

In the meantime, France was invaded and occupied at an early stage and De Gaulle spent WW2 in exile in London. After the road to Paris was cleared of the occupying forces by the plucky Brits (amongst others), he triumphantly drove to Paris in a borrowed British jeep, liberating France in much the same way as John Simpson defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001.

It is therefore decidely bad form for the French to have started toadying up to the Germans straight after the dust of WW2 had cleared. Smile
cardinal guzman

Germany twatted us back to the middle ages - it just wasn't a fatal blow. If we hadn't bombed Berlin and Hitler hadn't been such a dick we'd have lost - and had pretty much the same government we have today.
SlowRower

cardinal guzman wrote:
Germany twatted us back to the middle ages - it just wasn't a fatal blow.


Something of a flaw in the execution of the German plan, wouldn't you say?
cardinal guzman

SlowRower wrote:
cardinal guzman wrote:
Germany twatted us back to the middle ages - it just wasn't a fatal blow.


Something of a flaw in the execution of the German plan, wouldn't you say?


No - the flaw came later, (though Hitler didn't help himself by sparing us at Dunkirk) if Hitler wasn't such an Armstrong during the Battle of Britain he'd have won. One maybe two more raids on British airfields would have broken us.
SlowRower

Such defeatist talk, Cardinal. Are you sure you shouldn't be on the Premiership thread instead? Smile

World Wars are very much like cycling results - The results are what they are and history gets written by the winner.
cardinal guzman

It's not defeatist - it's commonly accepted amongst historians. I don't mean broken our spirits, I mean we'd have literally had no planes left, Goring would have had air superiority - Operation Sealion would have gone ahead and we'd all now be noshing sausages.

Not sure what you mean about the prem thread - I think city have done better than expected this season.
cadence

cardinal guzman wrote:
SlowRower wrote:
Plus, of course, there is the fact that having bailed the French out in WW2:)


?

WWII.

War between Germany and Poland becomes inevitable.
Germany invades Poland.
Britain and France declare war on Germay.
Germay twats Britain and France and Belgium and Holland.
Germany tries to invade Russia, Stalin murders everybody.
America supplies both sides in exchange for gold.
25/8/1940 British bomb Berlin.
An enraged Hitler orders luftwaffe to bomb cities not airfields thus losing the Battle of Britain and turning the tide of the war.
America joins the winning side.
America wins. Spends gold on telly and lipids.


Approx 200,000 Americans die for the cause....your welcome....
cardinal guzman

cadence wrote:
Approx 200,000 Americans die for the cause....your welcome....


No you are welcome.

Like most American troops in most conflicts since, they should have stayed at home.
SlowRower

cardinal guzman wrote:
Like most American troops in most conflicts since, they should have stayed at home.


Why do you say that Cardinal? I think the politically correct view is that the American forces were most welcome, but they should not have been given live ammunition. (That's a joke, Cadence. Smile)

The Germans would have won without American support to the UK - particularly pilots. The Germans could still churn planes out as quickly as the Allies but essentially ran out of suitable people to fly them.

Or would you have preferred to live in a Fascist-ruled Europe if it was free of American influence?
cardinal guzman

SlowRower wrote:
The Germans would have won without American support to the UK ......Or would you have preferred to live in a Fascist-ruled Europe if it was free of American influence?


That old chestnut - the war according to History Channel.

In reality, the WWII had already been lost by Hitler before America joined. Without Americas involvement the war may possibly have lasted longer, though it could be argued that the removal of Patton and Bradley from the scenario would have expedited an early victory. There's a slight chance we'd have ended up communist, but no chance at all for Hitler to have won.
SlowRower

For the sake of argument, let's assume you're right. What would Europe have looked like post WW2?

Would the Germans simply have realised the game was up and gone home or would they have ended up being turned over by the Russians in all of Europe rather than just the East?

Just curious, as I recall reading Robert Harris's "Fatherland" a few years ago, which portrayed events in the modern era assuming that Hitler had won in Europe in WW2.

I'm not particularly bothered either way - events turned out as they did and life is as it is - but I'm a curious type at heart.
cadence

cardinal guzman wrote:
SlowRower wrote:
The Germans would have won without American support to the UK ......Or would you have preferred to live in a Fascist-ruled Europe if it was free of American influence?


That old chestnut - the war according to History Channel.

In reality, the WWII had already been lost by Hitler before America joined. Without Americas involvement the war may possibly have lasted longer, though it could be argued that the removal of Patton and Bradley from the scenario would have expedited an early victory. There's a slight chance we'd have ended up communist, but no chance at all for Hitler to have won.


Yep, the Russians had the Germans beat by the time American forces arrived.  However, America had been supplying both Russia and Great Britain a great deal previous to this (intelligence and material) and many merchant marines died in the process.  Also something to consider, did Great Britain have the means to launch a land invasion into France (without help) and start the liberation.  American boots on the ground may not have been a factor but American Air Power and material were.    

It’s dishonorable not to honor those who died fighting for a cause in which they themselves were mere participants.
cardinal guzman

cadence wrote:
It’s dishonorable not to honor those who died fighting for a cause in which they themselves were mere participants.


Cause?

They were fighting for captured lugers and iron crosses as they played Craps across Europe.

You say America supplied those things - surely you mean gouged - for pure gold - the very last of 'Britains' gold reserve was collected direct from CapeTown by a US warship.

Before joining the winning side, the US was also supplying Nazi Germany - I believe the word is Profiteering.
berck

cardinal guzman wrote:

You say America supplied those things - surely you mean gouged - for pure gold - the very last of 'Britains' gold reserve was collected direct from CapeTown by a US warship.

Before joining the winning side, the US was also supplying Nazi Germany - I believe the word is Profiteering.


Wow, you really hate us that much. Do you have some actual facts to back up those opinions?
headwind

berck wrote:
cardinal guzman wrote:

You say America supplied those things - surely you mean gouged - for pure gold - the very last of 'Britains' gold reserve was collected direct from CapeTown by a US warship.

Before joining the winning side, the US was also supplying Nazi Germany - I believe the word is Profiteering.


Wow, you really hate us that much. Do you have some actual facts to back up those opinions?


Yepper...in fact Prescott Bush, GWs grand daddy was a profiteer helping the Nazi war machine roll on.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar
cardinal guzman

berck wrote:
cardinal guzman wrote:

You say America supplied those things - surely you mean gouged - for pure gold - the very last of 'Britains' gold reserve was collected direct from CapeTown by a US warship.

Before joining the winning side, the US was also supplying Nazi Germany - I believe the word is Profiteering.


Wow, you really hate us that much. Do you have some actual facts to back up those opinions?


Bless you. I don't hate Americans, my best friend is one - incidentally the same person who pointed me at much of this information - is he a self-hating traitor? Are you so nationalistic that you can't read about history without taking it personally? I don't really care if you believe me - look it up if you're really interested. Most of what I've written is true, although written in a way to aggravate Cadence when he/she got all uppity and pompous after the first post.

Do what you will with the info - if I were you, I'd assume it's all lies from someone who hates Americans then go and salute the flag. Ra ra.
berck

cardinal guzman wrote:

Bless you. I don't hate Americans, my best friend is one - incidentally the same person who pointed me at much of this information - is he a self-hating traitor? Are you so nationalistic that you can't read about history without taking it personally? I don't really care if you believe me - look it up if you're really interested. Most of what I've written is true, although written in a way to aggravate Cadence when he/she got all uppity and pompous after the first post.

Do what you will with the info - if I were you, I'd assume it's all lies from someone who hates Americans then go and salute the flag. Ra ra.


Well that's good to know you don't hate us. I just call people out when they make outlandish remarks without backing it up with any proof. Headwind helped you out some, but your claim is that America did it. Headwind basically showed against an individual and couple of corporations. That sort of stuff happens in many countries during wars. Its not a great thing to be proud of, but I'm aware of other countries who had their share of problems with people supporting Germany during the war.

If its all so true about America supporting Germany like it supported Britain before we jumped into the war, then show your evidence. If you just want to tell me somebody told you that and you believe them, fine. Its all opinion in that point.
cadence

Was just reading a chapter from a book about the friendship between Franklin and Winston and it does mention American plans to take British Gold reserves in South Africa as payment for supplies... Shocked
cardinal guzman

berck wrote:
Well that's good to know you don't hate us. I just call people out when they make outlandish remarks without backing it up with any proof.


Well you don't really do you? Loads of outlandish remarks get under the Berck radar. Just this set of 'outlandish remarks' that irked you. Headwind helped me none - like I said, what you choose to look up is your own affair.
cadence

Asked a fellow co-worker (someone whom I consider extremely knowledgeable and objective) and he pretty much agrees with the facts as stated by Cardinal.  Before America declared war on Germany they were profiteering from both sides, though not so much from Germany (American companies sold their subsidiaries in Germany but still did direct business with them).  America did play a role in expediting victory which became important when it appeared the Soviets would take control over Western Europe.  In his words, America needs a divided Europe to compete against, same as Britain.  Interesting fact he did mention, Britain was technically at war with Russia also, due to Russia’s invasion of Poland.

Facts never aggravate me Cardinal; it sometimes just takes me awhile to get them.
berck

Like I said, I don't doubt that some companies from America had made money with Germany. I've heard and read about this before, but I don't call this as America supported Germany.

The implication is that America as a whole helped out Germany implied equally with Britain. I don't see it, nor has anybody shown any evidence to back it up.

And Cardinal, no I don't call out all outlandish statements here. Part of it is that many things people are talking about are about things I lack knowledge about. But I have jumped into some besides this.
cadence

Ask Cardinal about the Sudeten?
Mrs John Murphy

SlowRower wrote:
No imported Kuquats indeed, MJM. More pertinently, no pesto. However, the local "Farmer's Cart" was doing a roaring trade and Farmer Sykes was hoping the volcano carries on, so he can sell much more of his stuff.

I'm not actually advocating a devaluation. In a floating exchange rate regime (such as the UK has had since Sterling left the ERM), there are no formal devaluations. The exchange rate simply reflects the perceived outlook for the UK on a minute by minute basis.

I simply favour a floating regime vs a fixed regime for the UK, given the UK's historical inability to maintain fiscal discipline over a sustained period. It would be better if this were not the case, and the UK population reflected the Germans in terms of outlook and expectations, but we are where we are. And given where that currently is - i.e. deeply in the sh*t, along with Greece and Ireland - having a flexible exchange rate is a less bad option than a fixed one.

With a fixed exchange rate, the only way for the economy to become competitive is for real wage deflation (like in Ireland). Or you can take the Greek approach, stick two fingers up to everyone and rely on German taxpayers bailing you out - until the next time.

I detect discontent at your end with either or both of the current exchange rate and the fact that sterling is freely floating. Are you advocating a policy of the Bank of England targeting a specific rate (if so, what rate) or are you suggesting Euro membership (again, if so, as what rate)?

Or, are you just as depressed as I am for the prospects of the UK, but put the blame on Thatcher for implementing policies that left Brown no choice but to follow, with the result that there is little left that the UK can export, as opposed to my allocation of blame to Brown, for b*ggering the national finances?


To be honest - UK politics is not my thing and I find it very very boring. But in short - the last 13 years represent one of the biggest missed opportunities a government has ever had to do something about the fundamental structural problems of the UK. The problem was that the government was so worried about appeasing the Daily Mail, and its fear of losing the 'centre ground' meant that it was politically timid.

The government's policy was essentially to be as 'right wing' as possible in order to control the political centre-ground, thus forcing the Tories to more extreme/hard right positions. The failure was to recognise that all this did was move the centre ground from the centre to the right. What 20-25 years ago would have been extreme/hard right policies - PPP, ID cards, Police Powers, Immigration Policy etc, are now considered to be mainstream.

What the government under Blair failed to do, was to argue against the Daily Mail/Murdoch press on many issues, instead choosing to adopt their policies. This is despite having a large majority and a lot of public support and goodwill (especially after the dog-days of the Major government).

The Home Office has been completely out of control since Michael Howard's time and no one has had the balls to call it to heel. The people who have been in charge have been seduced by the thrill of power and the fear of being labeled 'soft'.

In terms of economic policy - the problem is that with the Thatcher government having sold off all the 'crown jewels' in the 1980's to fund that boom, there was very little left - certainly none of the promised benefits of privatisation have appeared - certainly not better services at lower costs thanks to the power of the market. As mentioned previously, the economy is largely a service economy and so policy is governed by what 'the city' wants rather than is necessarily what is in the interests of the population.

One of the reasons why the Lib-Dems are doing quite well at the moment is two-fold - i) they do have an alternative vision which they are arguing, and ii) they are not tainted by having been in power since 1979.
mr shifter

SlowRower wrote:
FF,

I guess it's not unrelated to the fact that Britain has not been invaded or subject to Communism, unlike pretty much the rest of the EU.
1066 the last Invasion by force. (since 1955 they just walk in with welcome signs)
before that the vikings (sorry that is germanic tribes who had settled in Denmark and the Anglo Islands)
70 years ago these Islands were the last outpost of European Freedom and Free speech.
We still think we are the last outpost attempting to hold out against a very quiet powerfull adversary.
We would like to be like Switzerland but yet again they have the advantage of a common tongue and border exchanges. (like 70 years ago)

SlowRower wrote:

The whole European Project was about stopping wars in Europe from happening again, and in that it's been very successful. Countries are far less likely to invade each other when they know they can get a much better revenge by serving bizarre food at the next EU banquet they host or by threatening to veto someone's pet project.

Without the direct experience of invasion, occupation, fascism and communism etc, the Brits are always more likely to focus on the downsides of EU membership (an undefined "loss of sovereignty") than the benefits.

Plus, of course, there is the fact that having bailed the French out in WW2, it just doesn't seem right (to some in the UK) that the French and Germans then team up to try and take over Europe in combination. The "joke" about the Bundesbank succeeding where the Luftwaffe failed is not funny to some. Smile

Many a true word said in Jest.
1870 Franco-Prussian War (Germany walked all over France who lost Allsace and the Industrial Lorraine. (begging bowl to the UK)
!914 Germany walked over Northern France. (begging bowl again)
1940 Germany walk over and take complete control (Vichy puppets) (begging bowl again).
In 1914 the first UK soldiers on French soil were spat at and things thrown at them.
I hear that Merkel wants to get out of the Euro.
What will she do with Frankfurt who control the Euro Marks. (well give it its right name FFS)

Can I just say in balance that some Frenchmen I have met in their company do have my deepest respect.
This is the movement, known as the Maquis who until about 30 years ago still had meetings like a secret society. I was invited to one and listened to their exploits, a very memorable evening near Paris.
Mrs John Murphy

History is not one of your strong points is it Mr S.
cardinal guzman

Just a bit of pedantry....

1667 - Dutch sail upriver to Chatham and destroy and steal the royal navy.
1668 - William of Orange invades and takes the English crown.
cardinal guzman

Anti European Swiss?

Biosphere

mr shifter wrote:
. . . We would like to be like Switzerland but yet again they have the advantage of a common tongue . . .


Which of their 4 official languages would that common tongue be?

German, French, Italian or Romansch?  Wink
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
One of the reasons why the Lib-Dems are doing quite well at the moment is two-fold - i) they do have an alternative vision which they are arguing, and ii) they are not tainted by having been in power since 1979.


I think the latter of these factor is most important, although I thought the "Pinkos" hadn't been in power since 1918. (Cue chorus of "Lloyd Geroge knew my father..." Smile)

Their new "vision" is not hugely different to the other main parties' offerings, although they do have some good stuff. The problem is that they have some cr*p stuff as well. The same can be said of the other parties as well, although in different proportions!

Another curious thing is that each of the main parties is already a coalition of quite different views. The Clegg, Cameron and Blairite factions in their parties are much more closely aligned than for example Cameron and the "old" Tory wing. Ditto the Brown and Blair factions.

If you had to pick three people to hold the main ministerial posts then a threesome of Captain Darling, Canny Ken and Uncle Vince would be less bad than a lot of combinations (although maybe not as much fun as you, me and The Cardinal. Smile)

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