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politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Alastair Meeks recommends his approach to baldness as Britain’

SystemSystem Posts: 5,841
edited January 17 in General

imagepoliticalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Alastair Meeks recommends his approach to baldness as Britain’s best post-Brexit strategy

The 1970s were my best decade for hair production.  My parents have pictures of me at a young age in lurid paisley colours with an Osmond-like hair helmet.  Those pictures are safely under lock and key.

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  • Superb
  • TheScreamingEaglesTheScreamingEagles Posts: 64,973
    edited January 17
    Sort of on topic.

    HARMED FORCES

    Former Armed Forces minister exposes shocking military cuts and issues dire warning on UK’s fading power

    The senior Tory has spoken out for the first time since stepping down because 'enough was enough'

    THE former Armed Forces minister lifts the lid on shocking military shortfalls on operations - as he issues a dire warning about Britain’s fading prowess.

    Sir Mike Penning has told The Sun that the UK is on the verge of “no longer being taken seriously” around the globe because defence has been cut “to the bone”.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5357033/former-armed-forces-minister-exposes-shocking-military-cuts-and-issues-urgent-warning-about-uks-fading-power/
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 470
    Brexit? A cure for baldness? Cool!

    Or have I misinterpreted the thread? There again it is equally as plausible as spending our savings on the NHS!
  • John_MJohn_M Posts: 6,466
    I agree with Alistair. Clearly foreshadowing the apocalypse. We retired from Empire reasonably gracefully. Time to stop playing toy soldiers.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 5,452
    It's a good argument.
    However, the chance of May getting ahead of anything, rather than reacting long after the sensible option is obvious to the meanest intellect, is minimal.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 12,950
    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.
  • John_MJohn_M Posts: 6,466
    edited January 17

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 5,452
    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1
  • Richard_NabaviRichard_Nabavi Posts: 18,218
    Nigelb said:

    It's a good argument.
    However, the chance of May getting ahead of anything, rather than reacting long after the sensible option is obvious to the meanest intellect, is minimal.

    Maybe she did get there first:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/24/ministry-of-defence-in-line-for-steep-cuts-in-2018

    However, I'm not sure that Alastair's analysis is correct. The UK spends more than some comparable countries on defence, but not outlandishly more. You have to be a bit careful making comparisons because it depends what you include, but according to the Stockholm International Peace Research figures we spend 1.9% of GDP on defence, compared with France's 2.3%, Australia's 2.0%, and Italy's 1.5%.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

  • TGOHFTGOHF Posts: 17,637
    It was going so well until this nonsense..

    “ and decided that they would nevertheless turn their backs on deeper levels of international co-operation.“

  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 12,950
    edited January 17
    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    How we spend our 2% is up to us but NATO says we should spend 2%. If we spend less on aircraft carriers then we could if we remain in NATO (without breaching our commitments) spend more on aircraft or soldiers but not more on the NHS.

    Maybe NATO has had its day but it needs to be part of the discussion if we're going to seriously consider this.
  • Scott_PScott_P Posts: 35,840
    @seanjonesqc: "All that is necessary for the triumph of Hard Brexit is that good people stand around waiting for @UKLabour to pull it's head out of its a*se"
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 42,447
    Mr. B, cheers for that, put a small sum on.
  • Blue_rogBlue_rog Posts: 1,941
    A bit soon apologies O/T

    Seems like the bitcoin bubble is finally bursting
  • stodgestodge Posts: 3,819
    Afternoon all :)

    As always, an interesting thread from Antifrank with which it's hard to disagree. One could argue the French still think they have a role to play in parts of Africa and have their own force de frappe so are they managing the transition any better ?

    One could look at the Chinese example where they have made huge investments in Africa and provided infrastructural links primarily, one supposes, for the transportation of raw materials and they've done this without the same military power projection (though the overthrow of Mugabe perhaps suggests that might be changing).

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 21,125

    Nigelb said:

    It's a good argument.
    However, the chance of May getting ahead of anything, rather than reacting long after the sensible option is obvious to the meanest intellect, is minimal.

    Maybe she did get there first:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/24/ministry-of-defence-in-line-for-steep-cuts-in-2018

    However, I'm not sure that Alastair's analysis is correct. The UK spends more than some comparable countries on defence, but not outlandishly more. You have to be a bit careful making comparisons because it depends what you include, but according to the Stockholm International Peace Research figures we spend 1.9% of GDP on defence, compared with France's 2.3%, Australia's 2.0%, and Italy's 1.5%.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    There's no pot of gold.

    Even if we were to concentrate solely on defending Europe's frontiers, we'd still be spending about the same amount, just differently. Instead of aircraft carriers and nuclear weapons, we'd be spending the money on infantry, tanks, destroyers, and aircraft.
  • John_MJohn_M Posts: 6,466

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    How we spend our 2% is up to us but NATO says we should spend 2%. If we spend less on aircraft carriers then we could if we remain in NATO (without breaching our commitments) spend more on aircraft or soldiers but not more on the NHS.

    Maybe NATO has had its day but it needs to be part of the discussion if we're going to seriously consider this.
    Only five NATO countries meet the 2% target. Germany spends less than 1%. Our 'foe' is Russia, with an economy sized somewhere between Spain and Italy.

    Alistair is broadly correct in that our defence strategy is incoherent and riven by inter-service rivalries that distort our procurement processes and damage what capabilities we do have.
  • Scott_PScott_P Posts: 35,840
    Blue_rog said:

    A bit soon apologies O/T

    Seems like the bitcoin bubble is finally bursting

  • Blue_rogBlue_rog Posts: 1,941
    stodge said:

    Afternoon all :)

    As always, an interesting thread from Antifrank with which it's hard to disagree. One could argue the French still think they have a role to play in parts of Africa and have their own force de frappe so are they managing the transition any better ?

    One could look at the Chinese example where they have made huge investments in Africa and provided infrastructural links primarily, one supposes, for the transportation of raw materials and they've done this without the same military power projection (though the overthrow of Mugabe perhaps suggests that might be changing).

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    Rebuild the Commonwealth :)
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839
    I am not sure I agree that this has anything to do with Brexit but I do agree that our defence spending should reflect the hazards we face and our national interests, not the desire to play toy soldiers.

    But I don't think that is anything new. We have in fact cut our defence commitments throughout my lifetime to a point where our current commitments are trivial compared with what we used to have. When I was a child I spent 2 years in Singapore. We had several regiments there including a regiment of Ghurkhas in our pay and significant naval assets. We had military bases in Hong Kong and several other places in the Far East. All long gone.

    When I was slightly older in the 1970s I lived in Germany. The BAOR (British Army on the Rhine) was still a formidable force in the early 70s with several regiments of heavy tanks, heavy artillery, infantry and RAF back up. The base I was staying in, in Fallingbostel alone had a heavy tank regiment, a light tank regiment, a REME regiment and an infantry regiment. All gone. Now we would honestly struggle to keep more than about 40 tanks in the field for a month, as we did during the first Gulf war.

    During all of that period we kept significant number of destroyers and frigates along with submarines in the Atlantic with a view to keeping the sea lanes open. Again pretty much all gone with a handful of ships remaining.

    So to pretend that our defence commitments are exceptional or delusional and that we have failed to recognise our diminished role is a straw man. There may be further steps to take. Do we need Trident submarines or could that money be better spent on tactical forces we might actually use? Are we really likely to fight major tank battles in the near future? But this is not new, let alone a consequence of Brexit. It has been an ongoing pattern since WW2.
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 21,125
    John_M said:

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    How we spend our 2% is up to us but NATO says we should spend 2%. If we spend less on aircraft carriers then we could if we remain in NATO (without breaching our commitments) spend more on aircraft or soldiers but not more on the NHS.

    Maybe NATO has had its day but it needs to be part of the discussion if we're going to seriously consider this.
    Only five NATO countries meet the 2% target. Germany spends less than 1%. Our 'foe' is Russia, with an economy sized somewhere between Spain and Italy.

    Alistair is broadly correct in that our defence strategy is incoherent and riven by inter-service rivalries that distort our procurement processes and damage what capabilities we do have.
    2% is not much, to be part of a successful military alliance which has kept the peace in our lifetimes.
  • williamglennwilliamglenn Posts: 18,465
    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
  • YBarddCwscYBarddCwsc Posts: 1,650
    edited January 17
    I agree with the thrust of this. We should mind our own business,

    The curious thing is Meeks believes that is the dark forces of Leaver-stan that want to meddle in other countries ("Weirder Leavers", Colonel Blimps as he has referred to them in recent posts.)

    I could have sworn that the Meddler-in-Chief was Mr Remainer, Tony Blair. The great Bomber of Serbia, the Invader of Sierra Leone, the Hero of the Iraq War, the Pacifier of Afghanistan, the Prince of Remain-ia

    Meeks might like to ponder whether Blair's disastrous foreign policy is one of the reasons why we are leaving.

    As in Foreign Policy so in Europe, if we are doing the opposite of what Blair wants, we are in the right place.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 12,950
    John_M said:

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    How we spend our 2% is up to us but NATO says we should spend 2%. If we spend less on aircraft carriers then we could if we remain in NATO (without breaching our commitments) spend more on aircraft or soldiers but not more on the NHS.

    Maybe NATO has had its day but it needs to be part of the discussion if we're going to seriously consider this.
    Only five NATO countries meet the 2% target. Germany spends less than 1%. Our 'foe' is Russia, with an economy sized somewhere between Spain and Italy.

    Alistair is broadly correct in that our defence strategy is incoherent and riven by inter-service rivalries that distort our procurement processes and damage what capabilities we do have.
    Apart from Iceland which has special circumstances all NATO nations are supposed to be building their defence up to 2%. We are one of the few fully honouring ours but if we dramatically slash ours below that we might as well call time on NATO.

    Maybe it is time to give up on NATO but it has to be part of the conversation if we're going to go down that route.
  • John_MJohn_M Posts: 6,466
    Sean_F said:

    John_M said:

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    How we spend our 2% is up to us but NATO says we should spend 2%. If we spend less on aircraft carriers then we could if we remain in NATO (without breaching our commitments) spend more on aircraft or soldiers but not more on the NHS.

    Maybe NATO has had its day but it needs to be part of the discussion if we're going to seriously consider this.
    Only five NATO countries meet the 2% target. Germany spends less than 1%. Our 'foe' is Russia, with an economy sized somewhere between Spain and Italy.

    Alistair is broadly correct in that our defence strategy is incoherent and riven by inter-service rivalries that distort our procurement processes and damage what capabilities we do have.
    2% is not much, to be part of a successful military alliance which has kept the peace in our lifetimes.
    Tell that to all the other alliance members. We have to be brutal here; Europe has been sheltering behind the USA's skirts since WW2. Britain has done its best to play its part, but the reality is that we are (as DavidL points out) a shadow of our former selves - at least in the pure military sense. We are still a Great Power in the intelligence game.
  • williamglennwilliamglenn Posts: 18,465

    Meeks might like to ponder whether Blair's disastrous foreign policy is one of the reasons why we are leaving.

    I think you make a very good point. Blair turned his back on 'Old Europe' over the Iraq war and our foreign policy has been out of whack ever since.
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 21,125
    John_M said:

    Sean_F said:

    John_M said:

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    How we spend our 2% is up to us but NATO says we should spend 2%. If we spend less on aircraft carriers then we could if we remain in NATO (without breaching our commitments) spend more on aircraft or soldiers but not more on the NHS.

    Maybe NATO has had its day but it needs to be part of the discussion if we're going to seriously consider this.
    Only five NATO countries meet the 2% target. Germany spends less than 1%. Our 'foe' is Russia, with an economy sized somewhere between Spain and Italy.

    Alistair is broadly correct in that our defence strategy is incoherent and riven by inter-service rivalries that distort our procurement processes and damage what capabilities we do have.
    2% is not much, to be part of a successful military alliance which has kept the peace in our lifetimes.
    Tell that to all the other alliance members. We have to be brutal here; Europe has been sheltering behind the USA's skirts since WW2. Britain has done its best to play its part, but the reality is that we are (as DavidL points out) a shadow of our former selves - at least in the pure military sense. We are still a Great Power in the intelligence game.
    I agree that Europe as been sheltering behind US skirts (I'd say since about 1990, not before). That makes it all the more important that we pull our weight.
  • YBarddCwscYBarddCwsc Posts: 1,650

    Meeks might like to ponder whether Blair's disastrous foreign policy is one of the reasons why we are leaving.

    I think you make a very good point. Blair turned his back on 'Old Europe' over the Iraq war and our foreign policy has been out of whack ever since.
    I agree that (for many reasons) Iraq was a pivotal moment.

    No Iraq, No Brexit.
  • rpjsrpjs Posts: 755
    Blue_rog said:

    stodge said:

    Afternoon all :)

    As always, an interesting thread from Antifrank with which it's hard to disagree. One could argue the French still think they have a role to play in parts of Africa and have their own force de frappe so are they managing the transition any better ?

    One could look at the Chinese example where they have made huge investments in Africa and provided infrastructural links primarily, one supposes, for the transportation of raw materials and they've done this without the same military power projection (though the overthrow of Mugabe perhaps suggests that might be changing).

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    Rebuild the Commonwealth :)
    But what does the Commonwealth think of that?
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 17,694
    FPT Mr Dancer. Note that Martin Whitmarsh is working as a consultant to the FIA, rather than the promoter. It will be interesting to see how his work interacts with that of Ross Brawn.
  • John_MJohn_M Posts: 6,466
    edited January 17

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 21,125
    O/T it looks like the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission's revised proposals are much more DUP-friendly. The government may get the changes through the Commons, now.
  • williamglennwilliamglenn Posts: 18,465
    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    Do you consider Gove sensible?

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/19/brexit-could-spark-democratic-liberation-of-continent-says-gove

    A British exit from the European Union could spark “the democratic liberation of a whole continent”, as other member countries follow Britain’s example and throw off the shackles of Brussels, the justice secretary, Michael Gove, has argued.

    He compared the EU, with what he called its “mock parliament”, to sprawling and ultimately unsustainable regimes throughout history, from the Ottoman empire to tsarist Russia; and claimed that by leaving, Britain would force the EU to reinvent itself.
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 21,125
    DavidL said:

    I am not sure I agree that this has anything to do with Brexit but I do agree that our defence spending should reflect the hazards we face and our national interests, not the desire to play toy soldiers.

    But I don't think that is anything new. We have in fact cut our defence commitments throughout my lifetime to a point where our current commitments are trivial compared with what we used to have. When I was a child I spent 2 years in Singapore. We had several regiments there including a regiment of Ghurkhas in our pay and significant naval assets. We had military bases in Hong Kong and several other places in the Far East. All long gone.

    When I was slightly older in the 1970s I lived in Germany. The BAOR (British Army on the Rhine) was still a formidable force in the early 70s with several regiments of heavy tanks, heavy artillery, infantry and RAF back up. The base I was staying in, in Fallingbostel alone had a heavy tank regiment, a light tank regiment, a REME regiment and an infantry regiment. All gone. Now we would honestly struggle to keep more than about 40 tanks in the field for a month, as we did during the first Gulf war.

    During all of that period we kept significant number of destroyers and frigates along with submarines in the Atlantic with a view to keeping the sea lanes open. Again pretty much all gone with a handful of ships remaining.

    So to pretend that our defence commitments are exceptional or delusional and that we have failed to recognise our diminished role is a straw man. There may be further steps to take. Do we need Trident submarines or could that money be better spent on tactical forces we might actually use? Are we really likely to fight major tank battles in the near future? But this is not new, let alone a consequence of Brexit. It has been an ongoing pattern since WW2.

    In military terms, I'd rather concentrate on doing a few things well, rather than trying to do everything badly, because it's being done on the cheap. But, the former still costs serious money.
  • John_MJohn_M Posts: 6,466

    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    Do you consider Gove sensible?

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/19/brexit-could-spark-democratic-liberation-of-continent-says-gove

    A British exit from the European Union could spark “the democratic liberation of a whole continent”, as other member countries follow Britain’s example and throw off the shackles of Brussels, the justice secretary, Michael Gove, has argued.

    He compared the EU, with what he called its “mock parliament”, to sprawling and ultimately unsustainable regimes throughout history, from the Ottoman empire to tsarist Russia; and claimed that by leaving, Britain would force the EU to reinvent itself.
    I think the end of the second paragraph is broadly in line with my view. I don't know what the EU's done to prompt the first paragraph ('Now Michael, show me on this dolly where the nasty EU etc').
  • rpjsrpjs Posts: 755
    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    And the Danes are actually following the convergence criteria even though they have an opt-out.
  • Tissue_PriceTissue_Price Posts: 7,511
    I've just received some spam from a Mr Solomon Molotolo promising me a 60-40 split of an unclaimed $25m etc. etc.

    The twist is that it was by airmail from South Africa, to my work address. Anyone else experienced this?
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 42,447
    Mr. Sandpit, indeed. Did you hear the rumour that the rubbish new logo nobody wanted might get F1 sued? Remains to be seen if it'll happen, but so far the bigwigs (with that and the weird grid girls nonsense) are not being very impressive.
  • williamglennwilliamglenn Posts: 18,465

    Meeks might like to ponder whether Blair's disastrous foreign policy is one of the reasons why we are leaving.

    I think you make a very good point. Blair turned his back on 'Old Europe' over the Iraq war and our foreign policy has been out of whack ever since.
    I agree that (for many reasons) Iraq was a pivotal moment.

    No Iraq, No Brexit.
    You'd probably have to say that 9/11 was the pivotal moment to which everything else was a reaction. Arguably Greenspan's determination to avoid a recession in the aftermath of the attack also helped sow the seeds of the financial crisis so it was a factor on many different levels.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 17,604

    Nigelb said:

    It's a good argument.
    However, the chance of May getting ahead of anything, rather than reacting long after the sensible option is obvious to the meanest intellect, is minimal.

    Maybe she did get there first:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/24/ministry-of-defence-in-line-for-steep-cuts-in-2018

    However, I'm not sure that Alastair's analysis is correct. The UK spends more than some comparable countries on defence, but not outlandishly more. You have to be a bit careful making comparisons because it depends what you include, but according to the Stockholm International Peace Research figures we spend 1.9% of GDP on defence, compared with France's 2.3%, Australia's 2.0%, and Italy's 1.5%.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    France still spends alot of money to keep its African Empire in line....
  • stevefstevef Posts: 1,044
    Perhaps all remoaners should be inspired by the hair analogy when it comes to Brexit: just accept the inevitable and stop living in the past.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 12,950
    edited January 17
    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    The Swedes may lack a formal de jure opt-out but they've given themselves a serious de facto one.

    Are you proposing that the EU should compel Sweden to join the Euro against their wishes?
  • BudGBudG Posts: 609

    I've just received some spam from a Mr Solomon Molotolo promising me a 60-40 split of an unclaimed $25m etc. etc.

    The twist is that it was by airmail from South Africa, to my work address. Anyone else experienced this?

    Don't fall for it, he's a conman. I went along with it thinking it would be a 60-40 split in my favour and he only deposited a miserly $10m in my account.
  • rpjsrpjs Posts: 755

    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    The Swedes may lack a formal de jure opt-out but they've given themselves a serious de facto one.

    Are you proposing that the EU should compel Sweden to join the EU against their wishes?
    Can they? Wouldn't it require treaty changes which the non-Euro countries could block.

    (ITYM "join the Euro" BTW)
  • Ishmael_ZIshmael_Z Posts: 5,434
    edited January 17

    I've just received some spam from a Mr Solomon Molotolo promising me a 60-40 split of an unclaimed $25m etc. etc.

    The twist is that it was by airmail from South Africa, to my work address. Anyone else experienced this?

    You will never be 100% sure that the situation was not this one.

  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 12,950
    rpjs said:

    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    The Swedes may lack a formal de jure opt-out but they've given themselves a serious de facto one.

    Are you proposing that the EU should compel Sweden to join the EU against their wishes?
    Can they? Wouldn't it require treaty changes which the non-Euro countries could block.

    (ITYM "join the Euro" BTW)
    Yes I meant join the Euro. :)

    No I don't think they can but John_M seems to be suggesting they should. Its not clear though.
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 43,665
    I wouldn't bother with the 2% for NATO. Just let it go to 1-1.5% (Match Germany) then spout guff about how oh so important it is at one of those meetings.
    Leaving NATO would be daft but we might as well play the game as others do.
  • I've just received some spam from a Mr Solomon Molotolo promising me a 60-40 split of an unclaimed $25m etc. etc.

    The twist is that it was by airmail from South Africa, to my work address. Anyone else experienced this?

    I once got an airmail letter to my office telling me I had won the Spanish Lottery and I had to provide some personal details and include $200 dollars to process the payment of my winning of 30 million euros.
  • philiphphiliph Posts: 2,808

    I've just received some spam from a Mr Solomon Molotolo promising me a 60-40 split of an unclaimed $25m etc. etc.

    The twist is that it was by airmail from South Africa, to my work address. Anyone else experienced this?

    Yes, twice.

    First time was from Nigeria and I can't remember the exact year, but soon after I started work so I would estimate circa 1976 - those days it was a meagre 5 million (I think) to split.

    Second time earlier this year, but I can't remember the country of origin.
  • John_MJohn_M Posts: 6,466
    edited January 17

    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    The Swedes may lack a formal de jure opt-out but they've given themselves a serious de facto one.

    Are you proposing that the EU should compel Sweden to join the Euro against their wishes?
    Euro membership was part of Sweden's accession treaty. They've sidestepped it by avoiding joining ERM II, thereby ensuring they never meet the convergence criteria. However, countries should honour their treaty obligations, right?
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 17,604
    BudG said:

    I've just received some spam from a Mr Solomon Molotolo promising me a 60-40 split of an unclaimed $25m etc. etc.

    The twist is that it was by airmail from South Africa, to my work address. Anyone else experienced this?

    Don't fall for it, he's a conman. I went along with it thinking it would be a 60-40 split in my favour and he only deposited a miserly $10m in my account.
    Read the small print, every time.....
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 21,125

    I've just received some spam from a Mr Solomon Molotolo promising me a 60-40 split of an unclaimed $25m etc. etc.

    The twist is that it was by airmail from South Africa, to my work address. Anyone else experienced this?

    I once got an airmail letter to my office telling me I had won the Spanish Lottery and I had to provide some personal details and include $200 dollars to process the payment of my winning of 30 million euros.
    Very, very rarely, if something sounds too good to be true, it isn't.

    A client told me he'd been offered £3.5m for his lease of a barely-profitable pub in central London. I thought this was just on a par with one of those letters from Nigeria. But, it turned out the freeholder wanted to redevelop the building, and had bought out all the intermediate tenants, or waited for their leases to end. My client was the only tenant left, with 10 years left to run on his lease, so he was able to name his price.
  • RoyalBlueRoyalBlue Posts: 2,083
    @AlastairMeeks

    You have outdone yourself. Wit, verve and argument all blended together. Marvellous!

    Jean Monnet was right. We paid the price of victory after 1945 by thinking that things could remain the same. We wasted billions on idiocies like 4 different strategic jet bombers and endless varieties of other aircraft with little thought of export potential.

    The MOD needs radical reform. If I were Gavin Williamson I would do the following:

    1) Take an axe to the senior ranks of all 3 services.

    2) Cut the full-time army back to 20,000. Aim to have 80,000 reservists.

    3) Scrap all army tanks.

    4) Strip the RAF of all responsibilities except air defence. Give transport to the army and maritime patrol to the Navy.

    5) Explicitly recognise the Navy as the senior branch of the Armed Forces. The chief of the General Staff should always be an admiral.

    6) Ensure that the aircraft carriers have proper air groups. Other navies can provide escorts in any likely war scenario.





  • Richard_NabaviRichard_Nabavi Posts: 18,218

    Do you consider Gove sensible?

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/19/brexit-could-spark-democratic-liberation-of-continent-says-gove

    A British exit from the European Union could spark “the democratic liberation of a whole continent”, as other member countries follow Britain’s example and throw off the shackles of Brussels, the justice secretary, Michael Gove, has argued.

    He compared the EU, with what he called its “mock parliament”, to sprawling and ultimately unsustainable regimes throughout history, from the Ottoman empire to tsarist Russia; and claimed that by leaving, Britain would force the EU to reinvent itself.

    Well, it depends on your timescale for 'unsustainable'. The Ottoman Empire lasted about six centuries, which wasn't a bad run as these things go.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 17,694
    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
  • williamglennwilliamglenn Posts: 18,465
    RoyalBlue said:

    Jean Monnet was right.

    Amen. ;)
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839
    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839

    BudG said:

    I've just received some spam from a Mr Solomon Molotolo promising me a 60-40 split of an unclaimed $25m etc. etc.

    The twist is that it was by airmail from South Africa, to my work address. Anyone else experienced this?

    Don't fall for it, he's a conman. I went along with it thinking it would be a 60-40 split in my favour and he only deposited a miserly $10m in my account.
    Read the small print, every time.....
    I am not sure that the small print will really be the issue....
  • RoyalBlueRoyalBlue Posts: 2,083

    RoyalBlue said:

    Jean Monnet was right.

    Amen. ;)
    I KNEW you’d say that :tongue:
  • philiphphiliph Posts: 2,808
    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    They are waiting for the next Kennedy / Clinton (or other descendent of the great Dems of the past) who is ordained to be the next member of the elected dynasty to rule the free world.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 17,694
    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    So you can tell your daughters to keep away from them?
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 19,537
    Ir says much about my school that Quentin Crisp was perhaps it most famous alumnus.
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 21,125
    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    Chelsea Manning wants to run for the Senate. Maybe she could be their Presidential candidate.
  • rpjsrpjs Posts: 755
    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    Cuomo has been pretty successful in New York, but to be a successful Governor of New York you end up acquiring associations that would make a presidential bid pretty difficult. I still think there's a good chance he'll run though.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839
    philiph said:

    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    They are waiting for the next Kennedy / Clinton (or other descendent of the great Dems of the past) who is ordained to be the next member of the elected dynasty to rule the free world.
    But Bill Clinton didn't come from any dynasty. He came from a dirt poor family and a dirt poor southern State. Ditto Obama re poverty and Hawaii. Democrats were dazzled by Kennedys but they haven't had a runner since 1980. If the field wasn't so sparse there would be candidates emerging but with only 16 governors in office and many of them pretty elderly the options are poor.
  • I agree with Mr Meeks about baldness. No point fighting the inevitable
  • VerulamiusVerulamius Posts: 770
    Sean_F said:

    O/T it looks like the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission's revised proposals are much more DUP-friendly. The government may get the changes through the Commons, now.

    Useful commentary by Nicholas Whyte on his website:

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2949414.html
  • I started to lose hair when I was in my late 20s. It didn't bother me as it was no surprise - it happens to most men in my family. I took no action until my 30s when I decided that there were 3 choices. Monk look, comb over or shave it all. Two of these were unacceptable to me so I just shave it all off once or twice a week.

    As for the politics in this piece - I broadly agree though I'd go much further in terms of cutting military and weapons spending to pretty much zero (though I accept I'm a total outlier on this issue and it'll not happen).
  • Alistair, great article. Must be one of the rare times that we agree.

    We look back and add up the human cost of Iraq and Afghanistan but I would love to know how many billions we spent on those wars with no benefit to people in this country at all.

    I do wonder if the BBC is a little bit to blame as they are very good at going to all the world's trouble spots and then provoking a bout of "something must be done-itis" amongst our virtue signalling politicians.

    I suppose if Corbyn gets in at least we won't get dragged into any more overseas adventures.

    In the same vein, we should also cut back on International aid to a similar level that France and Germany spend. I hear politicians saying they want us to be an aid superpower but it's not their bloody money.

    The sum of our foreign policy is that we have had countless military adventures and thrown cash around with very little benefit to the ordinary citizen. We have high taxes, struggling public services AND a still substantial defecit. We could do with taking a step back from the world stage and getting our own affairs in order for a decade.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839
    Sandpit said:

    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    So you can tell your daughters to keep away from them?
    Of course.

    I wondered about Phil Murphy. He's just got his feet under the desk in New Jersey so it is early days but he has a background that could make him a credible candidate by 2020. Has a bit of a chipmunk look though:https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Murphy
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839
    edited January 17
    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    Chelsea Manning wants to run for the Senate. Maybe she could be their Presidential candidate.

    You may have the wrong Chelsea.
  • logical_songlogical_song Posts: 5,738

    Alistair, great article. Must be one of the rare times that we agree.

    We look back and add up the human cost of Iraq and Afghanistan but I would love to know how many billions we spent on those wars with no benefit to people in this country at all.

    I do wonder if the BBC is a little bit to blame as they are very good at going to all the world's trouble spots and then provoking a bout of "something must be done-itis" amongst our virtue signalling politicians.

    I suppose if Corbyn gets in at least we won't get dragged into any more overseas adventures.

    In the same vein, we should also cut back on International aid to a similar level that France and Germany spend. I hear politicians saying they want us to be an aid superpower but it's not their bloody money.

    The sum of our foreign policy is that we have had countless military adventures and thrown cash around with very little benefit to the ordinary citizen. We have high taxes, struggling public services AND a still substantial defecit. We could do with taking a step back from the world stage and getting our own affairs in order for a decade.

    Of course the biggest saving would be Trident.
  • david_herdsondavid_herdson Posts: 13,788
    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    If we want a mercantile foreign policy then Britain needs a fleet with which to protect the shipping on which it depends, whether foreign-registered or not.

    In fact, Alastair's thinking as to overseas commitments is back-to-front. Britain developed overseas military commitments in the first place for that same commercial imperative; even when it did start empire-building for the sake of it, it was as much to deny the land to rivals.

    As I mentioned in a thread a few weeks ago, there's a reason why China is building naval bases in Africa.
  • MortimerMortimer Posts: 9,688
    DavidL said:

    I am not sure I agree that this has anything to do with Brexit but I do agree that our defence spending should reflect the hazards we face and our national interests, not the desire to play toy soldiers.

    But I don't think that is anything new. We have in fact cut our defence commitments throughout my lifetime to a point where our current commitments are trivial compared with what we used to have. When I was a child I spent 2 years in Singapore. We had several regiments there including a regiment of Ghurkhas in our pay and significant naval assets. We had military bases in Hong Kong and several other places in the Far East. All long gone.

    When I was slightly older in the 1970s I lived in Germany. The BAOR (British Army on the Rhine) was still a formidable force in the early 70s with several regiments of heavy tanks, heavy artillery, infantry and RAF back up. The base I was staying in, in Fallingbostel alone had a heavy tank regiment, a light tank regiment, a REME regiment and an infantry regiment. All gone. Now we would honestly struggle to keep more than about 40 tanks in the field for a month, as we did during the first Gulf war.

    During all of that period we kept significant number of destroyers and frigates along with submarines in the Atlantic with a view to keeping the sea lanes open. Again pretty much all gone with a handful of ships remaining.

    So to pretend that our defence commitments are exceptional or delusional and that we have failed to recognise our diminished role is a straw man. There may be further steps to take. Do we need Trident submarines or could that money be better spent on tactical forces we might actually use? Are we really likely to fight major tank battles in the near future? But this is not new, let alone a consequence of Brexit. It has been an ongoing pattern since WW2.

    +1 (Apart from questioning trident subs, which I think our ownership of secures the whole continent of Europe rather efficiently)
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 42,447
    On baldness, I just shaved the lot off once it reached a certain thinness. Apart from the shaving faff, I actually really like having practically no hair, and would've adopted it as a haircut years ago if I'd known.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    If we want a mercantile foreign policy then Britain needs a fleet with which to protect the shipping on which it depends, whether foreign-registered or not.

    In fact, Alastair's thinking as to overseas commitments is back-to-front. Britain developed overseas military commitments in the first place for that same commercial imperative; even when it did start empire-building for the sake of it, it was as much to deny the land to rivals.

    As I mentioned in a thread a few weeks ago, there's a reason why China is building naval bases in Africa.
    Do we really need to protect the sea lanes these days? From what? Pirates in the Indian Ocean I suppose. Otherwise? Germany seems to manage to export a great deal more goods than us with a smaller navy.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 17,694

    I agree with Mr Meeks about baldness. No point fighting the inevitable

    Agree with him about baldness (and I’ve been reasonably lucky so far) but disagree with him completely about the military. The world’s 5th largest economy can and should let the rest of the world know it’s serious.
  • TGOHFTGOHF Posts: 17,637
    Hollywood actor the Rock has gone on to a tremendous career without having to worry about the regulation and red tape of haircuts and barbers.

    He has thrived on his own skills and ingenuity - which is what Britain must do once we adopt the more aerodynamic hairless pate of Brexit.
  • BenpointerBenpointer Posts: 2,992
    Really great article Alastair, thanks!

    Agree entirely.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 12,950
    John_M said:

    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    The Swedes may lack a formal de jure opt-out but they've given themselves a serious de facto one.

    Are you proposing that the EU should compel Sweden to join the Euro against their wishes?
    Euro membership was part of Sweden's accession treaty. They've sidestepped it by avoiding joining ERM II, thereby ensuring they never meet the convergence criteria. However, countries should honour their treaty obligations, right?
    Which has de-facto given them an opt-out since they're not obliged to join ERM II and have now said they won't join it until a referendum agrees to join the Euro.

    Are you proposing the EU compels Sweden to join the Euro and ERM II against their wishes?
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 19,537
    For the first time in my life, I'm growing my hair long. After nearly three decades with a No.3 cut all over once a month, I haven't had it cut for three months. This is at Mrs J's suggestion, as she wanted to see what I'd look like with long hair before I go fully grey.

    So far I have experienced the weird sensation of wind blowing my hair, much more usage of shampoo, and a look that probably scares away half the village (more than usual, that is).

    I'm not particularly enjoying it. My hand's itching for the hair clippers ...
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 17,694
    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    Chelsea Manning wants to run for the Senate. Maybe she could be their Presidential candidate.
    You may have the wrong Chelsea.
    A convicted felon, a traitor to his/her country. Loads of votes in California, not so many elsewhere...
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839
    Mortimer said:

    DavidL said:

    I am not sure I agree that this has anything to do with Brexit but I do agree that our defence spending should reflect the hazards we face and our national interests, not the desire to play toy soldiers.

    But I don't think that is anything new. We have in fact cut our defence commitments throughout my lifetime to a point where our current commitments are trivial compared with what we used to have. When I was a child I spent 2 years in Singapore. We had several regiments there including a regiment of Ghurkhas in our pay and significant naval assets. We had military bases in Hong Kong and several other places in the Far East. All long gone.

    When I was slightly older in the 1970s I lived in Germany. The BAOR (British Army on the Rhine) was still a formidable force in the early 70s with several regiments of heavy tanks, heavy artillery, infantry and RAF back up. The base I was staying in, in Fallingbostel alone had a heavy tank regiment, a light tank regiment, a REME regiment and an infantry regiment. All gone. Now we would honestly struggle to keep more than about 40 tanks in the field for a month, as we did during the first Gulf war.

    During all of that period we kept significant number of destroyers and frigates along with submarines in the Atlantic with a view to keeping the sea lanes open. Again pretty much all gone with a handful of ships remaining.

    So to pretend that our defence commitments are exceptional or delusional and that we have failed to recognise our diminished role is a straw man. There may be further steps to take. Do we need Trident submarines or could that money be better spent on tactical forces we might actually use? Are we really likely to fight major tank battles in the near future? But this is not new, let alone a consequence of Brexit. It has been an ongoing pattern since WW2.

    +1 (Apart from questioning trident subs, which I think our ownership of secures the whole continent of Europe rather efficiently)
    It would certainly be under threat from the French if we did give them up. Not sure about the overall security though. Its done nothing for the Ukraine or the Balkans and does very little for the Latvias and Estonias of this world. And of course nothing at all against Islamic terrorism.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839
    edited January 17
    Sandpit said:

    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    Chelsea Manning wants to run for the Senate. Maybe she could be their Presidential candidate.
    You may have the wrong Chelsea.
    A convicted felon, a traitor to his/her country. Loads of votes in California, not so many elsewhere...

    Yeah, I didn't actually say that. I said the same as you. Something went wrong with the editing.
    And its happened again!
  • david_herdsondavid_herdson Posts: 13,788
    DavidL said:

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    If we want a mercantile foreign policy then Britain needs a fleet with which to protect the shipping on which it depends, whether foreign-registered or not.

    In fact, Alastair's thinking as to overseas commitments is back-to-front. Britain developed overseas military commitments in the first place for that same commercial imperative; even when it did start empire-building for the sake of it, it was as much to deny the land to rivals.

    As I mentioned in a thread a few weeks ago, there's a reason why China is building naval bases in Africa.
    Do we really need to protect the sea lanes these days? From what? Pirates in the Indian Ocean I suppose. Otherwise? Germany seems to manage to export a great deal more goods than us with a smaller navy.
    Pirates, yes, but also any other state or non-state actor that might seek to cause trouble.

    Germany does export a great deal more goods than us with a smaller navy. It also lost two world wars, in no small part because of its failure to command the oceans.
  • David_EvershedDavid_Evershed Posts: 4,970
    I am assuming the picture is of Quentin Crisp and not of our own Alistair Meeks.
  • rpjsrpjs Posts: 755
    DavidL said:

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    If we want a mercantile foreign policy then Britain needs a fleet with which to protect the shipping on which it depends, whether foreign-registered or not.

    In fact, Alastair's thinking as to overseas commitments is back-to-front. Britain developed overseas military commitments in the first place for that same commercial imperative; even when it did start empire-building for the sake of it, it was as much to deny the land to rivals.

    As I mentioned in a thread a few weeks ago, there's a reason why China is building naval bases in Africa.
    Do we really need to protect the sea lanes these days? From what? Pirates in the Indian Ocean I suppose. Otherwise? Germany seems to manage to export a great deal more goods than us with a smaller navy.
    Commerce protection against modern piracy is pretty much the only naval rôle that makes sense these days, other than using amphibious assault ships to drop in specialist land forces in random locations, and selling HMS Ocean to the Brazilians suggests we're not really interested in doing that any more.

    it's an open secret among naval officers the world over that in any full-scale conflict, everyone's ships would be on the sea floor within a few days. Apparently the USN won't play war games with the other services any more because that always happens.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839

    DavidL said:

    John_M said:

    Interesting thread Alastair.

    However it was my understanding that we haven't been spending a disproportionately large amount of GDP on defence. We've been spending "just" the NATO 2% amount which all NATO nations are supposed to spend.

    If we're going to cut below that then we won't just be leaving the EU but driving a stake through the heart of NATO.

    We don't need aircraft carriers to deliver on our obligations to NATO. We get very poor value from our defence spend, mainly in a futile attempt to preserve our sovereign industrial base.
    If we want a mercantile foreign policy then Britain needs a fleet with which to protect the shipping on which it depends, whether foreign-registered or not.

    In fact, Alastair's thinking as to overseas commitments is back-to-front. Britain developed overseas military commitments in the first place for that same commercial imperative; even when it did start empire-building for the sake of it, it was as much to deny the land to rivals.

    As I mentioned in a thread a few weeks ago, there's a reason why China is building naval bases in Africa.
    Do we really need to protect the sea lanes these days? From what? Pirates in the Indian Ocean I suppose. Otherwise? Germany seems to manage to export a great deal more goods than us with a smaller navy.
    Pirates, yes, but also any other state or non-state actor that might seek to cause trouble.

    Germany does export a great deal more goods than us with a smaller navy. It also lost two world wars, in no small part because of its failure to command the oceans.
    Are we planning on conquering the world again? If not perhaps commanding the oceans is not our priority.
  • John_MJohn_M Posts: 6,466
    edited January 17

    John_M said:

    John_M said:

    stodge said:

    We thought we were still an Imperial power until Suez - we then hitched ourselves to Europe for 60 years but that is now over. I'm far from clear many people have thought about our place in the post-EU world. One possibility is we will move ever closer to America but America has changed too and may not be as welcoming as it once was.

    We won't be in a post-EU world. The attempt of Boris, Gove and others to fatally wound the EU or use Brexit as leverage to turn it into something else has failed. That's the new reality we have to come to terms with.
    I'd take mild issue with your assertion. I know there are some whackos who want the EU to crumble, but it's like the Rule 34 of politics - whatever policy can be conceived by man, someone will advocate it.

    No one sensible wants the EU to fail. I'd argue that with the UK out of the way, the EZ can put its house in order and bring other member states inside (iirc only the UK and Denmark have formal opt-outs, the rest are just playing shenanigans with the convergence criteria).
    The Swedes may lack a formal de jure opt-out but they've given themselves a serious de facto one.

    Are you proposing that the EU should compel Sweden to join the Euro against their wishes?
    Euro membership was part of Sweden's accession treaty. They've sidestepped it by avoiding joining ERM II, thereby ensuring they never meet the convergence criteria. However, countries should honour their treaty obligations, right?
    Which has de-facto given them an opt-out since they're not obliged to join ERM II and have now said they won't join it until a referendum agrees to join the Euro.

    Are you proposing the EU compels Sweden to join the Euro and ERM II against their wishes?
    It's not just them. Every new member since Maastricht is under a treaty obligation to join the Euro.

    I don't think the EU has the power to compel any country to join the Euro. I think there needs to be carrot, rather than stick. But the Euro does need to become a 'proper' currency.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 40,468
    Britain has not fought a military engagement on its own without joining the US apart from the Falklands since Suez. Apart from Iraq almost all its engagements have also had UN and NATO backing which as a P5 permanent member and NATO member is to be expected. So I don't think Brexit will make much difference either way to our military adventures although Alistair Meeks may point out Britain stayed put of the Vietnam War before it joined the EEC.

    As for the CANZUK union the division is less clear cut, Australia and Canada have a higher GDP per capita than the UK but the UK has a higher GDP per capita than New Zealand
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 40,468
    DavidL said:

    philiph said:

    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    They are waiting for the next Kennedy / Clinton (or other descendent of the great Dems of the past) who is ordained to be the next member of the elected dynasty to rule the free world.
    But Bill Clinton didn't come from any dynasty. He came from a dirt poor family and a dirt poor southern State. Ditto Obama re poverty and Hawaii. Democrats were dazzled by Kennedys but they haven't had a runner since 1980. If the field wasn't so sparse there would be candidates emerging but with only 16 governors in office and many of them pretty elderly the options are poor.
    Joseph P Kennedy III, Bobby Kennedy's grandson, is a future prospect but he needs to move from the House to the Senate first and 2024 is more likely for him than 2020. Thus he could be a candidate to succeed Trump but not to beat Trump.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 2,041

    Sean_F said:

    O/T it looks like the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission's revised proposals are much more DUP-friendly. The government may get the changes through the Commons, now.

    Useful commentary by Nicholas Whyte on his website:

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2949414.html
    Interesting to see he points out that the DUP's complaint is NI losing a seat. I was unaware of that. On that point they have no case. 17 is the number of seats NI gets, whether there are 650 or 600 seats.
    That is simple arithmetic.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 40,468
    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    So what, Trump is also old and well over 70 too
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 21,125
    dixiedean said:

    Sean_F said:

    O/T it looks like the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission's revised proposals are much more DUP-friendly. The government may get the changes through the Commons, now.

    Useful commentary by Nicholas Whyte on his website:

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2949414.html
    Interesting to see he points out that the DUP's complaint is NI losing a seat. I was unaware of that. On that point they have no case. 17 is the number of seats NI gets, whether there are 650 or 600 seats.
    That is simple arithmetic.
    18 is the correct number, if there are 650 seats overall.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 19,839
    HYUFD said:

    DavidL said:

    philiph said:

    DavidL said:

    Sandpit said:

    Nigelb said:

    Off topic, but betting post...
    I am becoming convinced that Biden will run, and has a good chance of securing the nomination.
    This encouraged me to put a few quid on today:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/17/oprah-winfrey-2020-poll-343096?lo=ap_d1

    Biden would be an awesome Dem candidate but he’s too old (he’ll be 78 at his inauguration if he wins in 2020). The problem the Dems have is their good candidates are all really old and their younger candidates aren’t the sort to win marginal States - building up massive votes in California and NY doesn’t make you President.
    They are really paying the price for having so few successful governors. Where on earth are the Clintons of this generation? As the father of 2 daughters I think we really ought to know!
    They are waiting for the next Kennedy / Clinton (or other descendent of the great Dems of the past) who is ordained to be the next member of the elected dynasty to rule the free world.
    But Bill Clinton didn't come from any dynasty. He came from a dirt poor family and a dirt poor southern State. Ditto Obama re poverty and Hawaii. Democrats were dazzled by Kennedys but they haven't had a runner since 1980. If the field wasn't so sparse there would be candidates emerging but with only 16 governors in office and many of them pretty elderly the options are poor.
    Joseph P Kennedy III, Bobby Kennedy's grandson, is a future prospect but he needs to move from the House to the Senate first and 2024 is more likely for him than 2020. Thus he could be a candidate to succeed Trump but not to beat Trump.
    He declined to run for senator last year and said he did not plan to run for any other office. He seems a little short of the old star dust right now.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 2,041
    Sean_F said:

    dixiedean said:

    Sean_F said:

    O/T it looks like the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission's revised proposals are much more DUP-friendly. The government may get the changes through the Commons, now.

    Useful commentary by Nicholas Whyte on his website:

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2949414.html
    Interesting to see he points out that the DUP's complaint is NI losing a seat. I was unaware of that. On that point they have no case. 17 is the number of seats NI gets, whether there are 650 or 600 seats.
    That is simple arithmetic.
    18 is the correct number, if there are 650 seats overall.
    Is it? You may be correct. Don't have time to check that out right now,
    If you are correct, then that does not bode well for the new boudaries being passed.
  • YorkcityYorkcity Posts: 3,171

    Alistair, great article. Must be one of the rare times that we agree.

    We look back and add up the human cost of Iraq and Afghanistan but I would love to know how many billions we spent on those wars with no benefit to people in this country at all.

    I do wonder if the BBC is a little bit to blame as they are very good at going to all the world's trouble spots and then provoking a bout of "something must be done-itis" amongst our virtue signalling politicians.

    I suppose if Corbyn gets in at least we won't get dragged into any more overseas adventures.

    In the same vein, we should also cut back on International aid to a similar level that France and Germany spend. I hear politicians saying they want us to be an aid superpower but it's not their bloody money.

    The sum of our foreign policy is that we have had countless military adventures and thrown cash around with very little benefit to the ordinary citizen. We have high taxes, struggling public services AND a still substantial defecit. We could do with taking a step back from the world stage and getting our own affairs in order for a decade.

    Also if Corbyn got in hard to see defence contracts for example with Saudi Arabia going ahead on the same basis as the last 50 years.In all honesty can not see the Hierarchy in this country letting it happen .I will have to re read , A very British Coup.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 30,364
    edited January 17
    Yet Britain continues to behave as if it still bestrode the world.

    Nope. It acts like a moderate global power, which it is, and sometimes overreaches, which we certainly not alone in doing. Lazy people, however, love to pretend that we continue to behave as if we were still the sole global superpower.

    And the occasional tub thumping of politicians or jingoist media don't undermine that most people know we are not a superpower, just a power, and our actions reflect that, by and large.
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 43,665
    Sean_F said:

    dixiedean said:

    Sean_F said:

    O/T it looks like the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission's revised proposals are much more DUP-friendly. The government may get the changes through the Commons, now.

    Useful commentary by Nicholas Whyte on his website:

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2949414.html
    Interesting to see he points out that the DUP's complaint is NI losing a seat. I was unaware of that. On that point they have no case. 17 is the number of seats NI gets, whether there are 650 or 600 seats.
    That is simple arithmetic.
    18 is the correct number, if there are 650 seats overall.
    18/650 < 17/600.
This discussion has been closed.