“Brexit could be like getting a tattoo when you’re young. When you get older, you might regret it.”

Lord Ashcroft has been running his EU Referendum focus groups in Belfast and Newtownards. Some fascinating material not least a perception that UK Labour is confused on the matter.

More generally though they highlight why (despite the popularity of Brexit amongst older more likely voters) the Leave campaign has by far the tougher job…

…more often, undecided voters felt the bigger burden was on those campaigning to leave. Though there were uncertainties to remaining, “we know more about staying in than if we leave.” Exiting “is a huge question mark.” “People like to stay with what they’re used to. It’s like relationships, jobs – it’s harder to leave than it is to stay.”

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  • chrisjones2

    Perhaps not when you cant afford the upkeep of the partner, they lie about what they are spending, leave the back door open so the house is invaded by squatters and then become abusive?

    Today Dave tells us if we leave it could lead to war!!!

    So we are in effect paying the EU Protection Money every year

  • the rich get richer

    Perhaps being in the EU is like having large unwanted Tattoos.

    It certainly is not easy to remove the EU from the United kingdom or is it the United Kingdom from the EU.

    Who is Tattooed and who is the Tattoo ?

  • Karl

    Does that sound a little familiar to anywhere else ?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Chris, a knee jerk reaction to this kind of hyperbolic scare technique was hot-wired into the Unionist consciousness when the “danger” of what would have been a glorified county council in Dublin (which is what Dominion Home Rule really meant in 1912) was amplified into something approaching the really scary 1903-6 Pogroms of the Russian Empire. In the 1912 “Project Fear” marauding Romanists were pictured as thirsting to avenge themselves on powerless Unionists. This actually became something of a self fulfilling prophesy, not least because the Unionists of the 1912 Covenant encouraged their marked enemies to run to an armed solution rather than a constitutional one, and also telling them in some detail how they would be expected to react to Unionist arming up. We can only hope that Cameron’s worrying histrionics do not interest the French, with their access to the only independent nuclear deterrent in Europe (the US pretty much control ours), in any similar final solution to their centuries old British Problem.

  • Nevin

    “Brexit could be like getting a tattoo when you’re young. When you get older, you might regret it.”

    I suppose the same could be said for the forty year-old EEC tattoo which morphed into an EU one. Organisations, once formed, may be very difficult to erase; they have their devotees.

  • terence patrick hewett

    And if there is a price on freedom and liberty then you don’t want either of them: you want something else. Double helping of Troika anyone.

  • Karl

    1707 / 1801 spring to mind.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Ah those pesky Brits! The UK nuclear warheads are designed and made @ Aldermaston: the developement of the Trident delivery system is joint. It is hard to see that if the British were determined to use it that there is any technolgical reason to stop them: there are of course other means of control, whch apply to any other nuclear power. The operation of nuclear weaponry depends on MAD: that no-one would be insane enough to use them. But we now know that there are forces in the world that would do just that. Which is a bit of a b*gger.

  • Nevin

    Those are two of many, Karl.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Possibly, TPH, the US Naval officer attached to the crew who holds one of two launch keys might just be reluctant to involve his country in a war with France (despite the bad blood). Trident is a US owned system which has involved a few British companies in their work, yes, but any suggestion that it is seriously in any meaningful way “joint” project is pure spin. It is a very expensive state leased Status Symbol. Note “leased” , as we do not own the system, we simply lease it from the US. And its guidance system requires access to a US controlled GPS satillite through a computer system sited on the Us mainland which has final say as to where any missile will actually land, should the laison officer be overpowered on orders of any completely florid future Prime Minister!!!

    Once the rael facts are known, Trident simply offers a route through which we become a slightly more effective cog in teh US military machine, a quite dubious role that the steady shift to a far more useful drone technology will incressingly make more and more redundant.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Plenty of technological ways to get around any of this which I am sure are in place at this very moment. Of course in the actual deployment we enter the murky area of the British Constitution: that is in extremis who is paramount: the Monarch or Parliament. The armed forces famously swear fealty to the Queen not to parliament or the state so in the end it will come down not as in the US to the written constitution but to blood oaths: and no-one knows how that would play out.

  • terence patrick hewett

    As an addendum Seaan: these sorts of scenarios have been played out by the military complex on a continuous basis since the days of the appalling Walsingham and the vile Sir Richard Topcliffe.

    We are unlikely to see another Joseph Kennedy or Obama but the Ace of Trumps is Lear-ing over the horizon and who knows where that will lead.

    Everyone spys on everyone else: the Five Eyes not withstanding because we know the need for each other to know what the other is thinking simply to reinforce mutual trust. The faux Teutonic outrage at this was and is a source of much amusement especially when they got caught themselves with their hands in the till. Our Gallic brethren of course remained stumm being up to their necks in naughtiness.

    The fact that a determined UK government with the 2nd largest aerospace industry in the world will not come up with, and has not come up with, a thousand and one ways of wreaking havoc on the ungodly stretches credulity to the limit.

    The real present danger is not that we are an alleged US
    poodle but that powerful technology is increasingly available to the individual both sane and the very much insane.

    And that is really scary.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh, I can agree with practically everything you are saying above, and yes it all goes back to Walsingham and Thurloe, and James II & VII was kicked out to France because he felt it dishonourable to spy on his people and dismissed the minions of Thurloe whom his savvy brother had paid the “protection money” to. But this is not a spying issue. The US naval officer on every Trident sub is there with the fully recognised task of being Washington’s man with full veto on any independent action that a British government might attempt with the America’s property they are leasing.

    The danger is certainly not that we are a US poodle (why “alleged”? its clearly evident) but that people believe that a system leased from the World Power does not remain a property of that world power. So should Donald get to hear “Hail to the Chief” played just for him, it will all be his property! And I agree, that is really scary, yes!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah, TPH, there were ways until everything became so entangled in computer control. There are layers and layers of computer interplay where the US can grab control in the overt systems, and I dare say many, many more hidden within the (“All US” made) software systems used.

    The older Trident was less controlled, but the last twenty years has changed all that. Rather than let me report myself. simply google my name and Trident in the box on the right and you’ll get my last interchange over gyro guidance with a most tenacious true believer in our so called independent nuclear deterrent. A most disturbing re-read even for me!

  • jporter

    The EU referendum is utterly toxic. The majority will vote, uninformed, dictated to by their chosen media outlet, according to whether they see themselves as ‘left’ or right’, or swayed by the fear-based campaigns on either side, if they even vote at all.
    So one thing we definitely can say about the result is that we will utterly deserve what we get.
    Which is why I’m all in favour of more direct democracy. We need to start taking responsibility for our decisions and our futures, give less power to government and grow out of our craving for ‘strong leaders’ to tell us what to do. We may all need a bit of pain to teach us these lessons.

  • Angry Mob

    The way I see it is the EU is the tattoo, which we got during a mid-life crisis when we should have known better and the years have not been kind to it as it grows even more haggard than the painful day it was inflicted upon us.

    Brexit is the laser removal, it will in this case be relatively painless, it won’t be an instant solution and there will always be remnants but ultimately worth it to get us back to a state that we were in before we got the tattoo.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Back from dinner!

    Hmmm: Would that be the poodle that refused to bomb Assad and sent Obama back to hide behind the skirts of Congress? Would that be the poodle that refused to fight in the Vietnam War? Would that be the poodle that joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founder member much to US ire? Shortly followed by Oz and all the rest: oo-er.

    Of course we are very close allies with the US: it would be very surprising if we were not given that the US is the offspring of the Whig and Republican theorists such as James Harrington: the liberal tradition of Edward Coke, John Hampden, Algernon Sidney, John Milton, John Locke, Pitt the Elder, Edmund Burke, Earl Grey, Viscount Palmerston, Richard Cobden, John Bright and of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson: the world that emerged from the jolly US/UK tradition of piracy, slavery and genocide.

    Just how independent is the UK deterrent? No-one really
    knows and those that do ain’t telling: on a brutalist level it is “the price we pay for a seat at the top table”

    No technology lasts forever and Trident will go the same way
    as all the rest. But it is unfortunately the case that defence is the suppository of much of any nations advanced technology so CND would be well advised not to hold their breath.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed, TPH, but I’d still cite Britain’s startling roll over in the face of GATCA, through which US IRS have full access (for tax purposes) to the accounts of anyone from anywhere banking in a UK bank but without any mutual agreement for our own HMRC to scrutinise US banking! Its always a very uneven relationship, as any rich-comparitivly poor relationship will always be. But, regarding Trident, the simple fact that “real people” across the world know that the deterrent is clearly not in any sense independent”:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmdfence/986/986we13.htm

    Must inevitably add, when they see our boy at the “top table”, something of a sense of pity at Britain’s need to play such slightly embarrassing macho games, especially when France has been able to actually develop and keep their own independent system. Not that I’d ever agree with it or anything!

  • terence patrick hewett

    Agree with you there: France to their great credit parlayed Concorde into the European Space Agency. The UK wasted it. UK industry has prospered not because of government but in spite of it. And it shows. Germany generates $1 trillion more from industry than we do because they, like the French, actually support their industries. I of course live in hope that the parcel of rogues will not be around for much longer.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Agree with you there”, I also, and for a life-long neo-Jacobite such as myself, “parcel of rogues” has many layers of resonance. And I agree too, as a small businessman, about the “in spite of” !!! I can only imagine the capricious waste our fools in power are ensuring that I do not yet know about.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Well yes: I would take Mad King Ludwig or even Mad King George over anything the Cromwells could produce: how one family generated two such unmitigated sh*tes, Thomas and Oliver, is quite remarkable.

    I have always admired James Ussher for his ability to have kept all the essential bits of his anatomy and ended up being buried at Westminster Abbey.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    At least Ussher’s 1904 gravestone is still accessible. A few years after my ancestor was laid to rest in the abbey a Cromwellian Grandee (if such a term is not an oxymoron) planted his own tomb directly on top of him!

  • terence patrick hewett

    Yes Westminster Abbey covers a multitude of sins: Percy Deamer is buried there: the man who thought he could write better prose than John Bunyan.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The pentagon must be plugged into yr computer Seaan:

    DARPA Selects BAE Systems To Provide Undersea Navigation System:

    http://www.defenseworld.net/news/16077/DARPA_Selects_BAE_Systems_To_Provide_Undersea_Navigation_System#.Vz4I-L7tuo8

  • SeaanUiNeill

    This is not the only British involvement at a subsiduary level as this evience presented to the Select Committee of Defence shows, TPS:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmdfence/986/986we13.htm

    The really important thing is that the US mainland computers that “broker” the GPS system’s signals used by this “British” system are still entirely under US control. We are all paying for something presented as an “Independant Deterrent” but which is in actual fact simply an extension of the US deployment of Trident.

    But yes, the Pentagon has almost certainly noted this comment and Obama now has my name on his list of potential drone recipients when the drone programme is finally extended to people such as those ice cream men who inadvertently have “Hail to the Chief” as the tune their van plays in the streets! I am now off to look out the tin foil to shape some headgear.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The Actinic Rays!!! I keep my work computer very firmly offline so any info. which I lose is my own grievous fault.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The serious problem is that nothing, I repeat nothing, can stop them!

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