Coffee House

Angela Merkel: I can’t imagine UK quitting the EU

7 November 2012

7:17 PM

7 November 2012

7:17 PM

David Cameron and Angela Merkel are eating dinner together tonight, over which they will discuss the forthcoming European Budget summit. The discussion may make even the sweetest crème brûlée taste rather sour, with Cameron continuing to threaten to veto anything above a real-terms freeze in the budget. He has told reporters following him around on his tour of the Middle East that he will make the argument for a freeze ‘with vigour’. As she arrives in Downing Street, Merkel will be mindful, though, that she has a key role in trying to reach a consensus between the British position and the desire of other countries in the union for more money.

The Chancellor made her own vigorous argument about the UK and Europe this afternoon when UKIP leader Nigel Farage called for her to tell Cameron that it was time for a ‘simple amicable divorce’ as Britons were opposed to greater integration within the EU. Merkel replied: ‘I cannot imagine that the UK would not be part of Europe.’ She added that it was ‘good for the UK to be in Europe’, and that she would ‘ensure’ that this would continue to be the case.

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Merkel’s words could conceivably have come from David Cameron himself: he has made clear, too, that he sees many benefits to Britain continuing to be a part of Europe. But many of his backbenchers disagree, and want at the very least the Prime Minister to give British people the opportunity to vote for an ‘amicable divorce’ in an In/Out referendum. Merkel has been taking heed of the increasingly Eurosceptic rhetoric coming from the Tory benches and from Cameron’s colleagues in government, with Der Spiegel reporting last month that Merkel ‘has long since come to terms with the fact that there will not longer be a path back to the centre of the union for the British’.

Today’s retort to Farage showed that Merkel is sufficiently concerned about the possibility of an exit that she is prepared to address the UKIP leader’s question directly rather than batting it away. What will be interesting is whether her inability to imagine Europe without the UK would lead to her making concessions in a renegotiation.

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Show comments
  • eurosceptic

    I can imagine Britain out of the EU we would be better off. What Germany failed to do in two world wars they are trying to do politically. I would not believe anything they say they want our money and all our businesses including the city of London so that they can hand out so called pocket money and use Britain as a housing estate they do not like us we think too much for ourselves well mrs merkel the feeling is mutual we do not like you

  • Hoot_Gibson

    One thing I am sure of is that their is an unstoppable pressure being built for an in or out refrefendum.

    For all political parties not to include in their manifesto’s and honour the pledge is to become an irrelevant party of the 2014 elections.

    Cameron’s refusal to honour his last “cast iron guarantee” for a referendum has seen the loss of thousands if not millions of potential votes since 2010 especially to UKIP a party I have joined after 34 years a Tory voter,

    Never again unless a referendum is granted on in or out.

    I am very concious that £22,000 per hour every day 365 days of the year are paid into the corrupt coffers of the EU and want ti to end now!

    The EU is as corrupt and inept as the Roman Papacy was in the 16thC and I feel I am a modern day protestant angered and frustrated at our ongoing membership

  • IRISHBOY

    Angela doesn’t seem to have much of an imagination, you know, for being a world leader and elite and all that stuff.

  • proculharem

    Merkel’s comments are diversionary as the issue under discussion is the EU’s Budget on which diferent members will have serious and different views.

    Mrs Merkel says she “can’t imagine that the UK would not be part of Europe”. She lives in a parrallel universe. The UK has always been part of Europe and its current nations have been in existance longer than the current Germany.

    And then there is more recent history of Europe which, as ever, will always include the UK. Amusingly the UK has been the only country whose application to join the current European bunfight (now known as the European Union) was rejected twice by the then members, who included West Germany and then fell out of the ERM, the precussor to the Euro, not least because West Germany refused to support the UK’s currency. This was of course very lucky for the UK because, as one of the very few good Europeans it then stayed out of the maelstrom of the Euro, giving the EU one less European problem. The UK’s economic position has been bad enough, if it had been in the Euro it would have been worse.

    And all this, Mrs Merkel, is irrelevant to the EU’s Budget. The EU members, without control from the European Commission, are misspending and wasting the funds they receive. Greater control on the amount and the manner of EU expenditure is required.

  • TomTom

    Angela Merkel is a politician enowned for “lack of vision”. She is simply a tactical opportunist with no fixed compass

  • jelliedeels

    Angie has no need to worry ,England may leave but Scotland isn`t so parochial and has the best energy resources in Europe

    • Fergus Pickering

      Oh come. The SNP is the parish pump to the nth degree.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

      Scottish oil is running out and in decline. Britain is once again a net importer of petroleum products, for the first time since the 1970’s.

      As for wind power, it’s an over-hyped fantasy that simply is not practical.

      • jelliedeels

        North Sea oil will last for 100 years’

        The north sea will continue to provide oil for another 100 years,
        twice as long as previous estimates, according to industry analysts.

        By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent

        12:24AM BST 15 Jun 2008

        Dr Richard Pike, a former oil industry
        consultant and now the chief executive of the Royal Society of
        Chemistry, said: “Rather than only getting 20 to 30 billion barrels
        [from the North Sea] we are probably looking at more than twice that
        amount.”

        His analysis is supported by
        petroleum experts who believe there are some 300 fields off the coast
        of Britain still to be explored and tapped properly. If energy prices
        continue to soar, companies will become increasingly willing to tap
        previously uneconomic oil fields.

        Dr Pike claims that the industry knows the true figures but refuses to release them because of commercial secrecy.

        A
        spokesman for UK Oil and Gas, the offshore industry’s trade
        association, said: “The current estimates are that there are around 25
        billion barrels left.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

          Let’s hope they’re right. Their predictions are, of course, based on two assumptions:

          1. That the price of oil will continue to rise. The price of oil is affected by numerous factors, all of them subject to change. The price of oil is extremely volatile.

          2. That there are indeed 300 fields. However, geologists’ predictions of oil are frequently inaccurate. After all, Dr Pike’s statement that “Rather than only getting 20 to 30 billion barrels [from the North Sea] we are probably looking at more than twice that” means they’ve all been wrong until now.

          However, the fact remains that Britain is still a net importer of petroleum products for the first time since the 1970’s. That is not expected to change.

          • MichtyMe

            In my newspaper yesterday, John Hayes UK Energy Minister, is reported thus “There’s a myth that the North Sea’s best days are gone but the interest here, the enthusiasm, the potential is immense”.

          • MichtyMe

            And in September the industry reported that it would need to recruit an estimated 120,000 staff in Scotland in the next 10 years, some decline.

          • MichtyMe

            Also reported by the industry in September, the North Sea will need to recruit 120,000 staff in next 10 years, some decline.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

              I’m talking about the quantity of oil produced and the earnings it brings. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you Google it? I’m not revealing classified information here!

    • sir_graphus

      Scotland? Not parochial?

  • Daniel Maris

    Compare what’s happened to Industrial production in the UK as against Germany.

    This is the real indictment of the Blair-Brown years and now the Obsorne austerity. Germany has stormed ahead while we have gone into reverse, thanks to public policy dominated by financial interests and the imperative of mass immigration. Time for a final halt.

    *ttp://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php?title=File:Industrial_production_per_country_annual-rates_2000-2011.png&filetimestamp=20120711093514

    • 2trueblue

      Germany stormed ahead because they benefited from the cheap euro rather than the real price things would have been if they were selling in the value of the mark. They sell their goods at Greek prices.

      • HooksLaw

        Which is why Germany should pay the price of sustaining the Euro if thats what they want. There are rational arguments for criticizing Germany, as opposed to xenophobic ones.

  • Austin Barry

    Honestly, what does she want us to do and say?

    To click our heels, wave our EU design-buggered passports in the air and shout, “Jawohl Mein Fuhrer!”?

    Cameron really should tell this other uncontrollable chestnut mare that neither he nor the British people will continue to lean over the EU’s withers while Van Rompuy’s budget nutters try to mount us.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    She added that it was ‘good for the UK to be in Europe’, and that she would ‘ensure’ that this would continue to be the case.

    Good for the parasites in Brussels perhaps.. Good for the lazy tax avoiding bankrupt vino republics to leech subisdies off us bringing a new meaning to the term ‘benefit scrounger’. Good for Germany in that we off-set the demands on their wealth but NOT good for the UK in any way at all! We don’t need their foul corrupt oligarchy to run our affairs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

    Doesn’t the fact that she feels the need to make such a public statement rather suggest a sense of insecurity?

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/277650612280959/permalink/456009351111750/?comment_id=456083617770990&ref=notif&notif_t=like

  • Orbs Steel

    She looks like that woman on the original Total Recal who’s fake head blows up

    • HooksLaw

      And this pearl of wisdom has exactly what relevance?

  • Orbs Steel

    looks like Germany wants rule Europe to me. This could end badly, history repeating itself and all that.

    • HooksLaw

      The historical problem you have is that history keeps repeating itself inside your head.
      But like many on here your problems begin with a basic lack of comprehension. You are unable to read and understand plain English and thus on the basis of crass ignorance you come to your warped views.

  • Bert3000

    Chilling to hear Merkel talk about getting rid of nazis and responding to questions from one of ours.

  • H.Chen

    Does any one has an idea how much UK profits ( financially) by being a member of EU? Every time it is how much we contribute to EU, but not even a word about the financial gain . It is similar to contribution of overseas students to UK economy.Always we have something negative to say about overseas students, not that they contribute billions of pounds to UK’s economy. As British, we always loath others and assume we are the best in every aspect. Today it Germans, tomorrow it is French and day after it is the Americans and the list goes on.

    • 2trueblue

      We run a huge deficit with the EU. The figures bandied about of huge exports are untrue, the exports include exports that then go out of Rotterdam to the rest of the world. You do not have to be a member to trade with Europe.

      Blair gave back the rebate for a renegotiation of the CAP, which of course once the money changed hands, never happened. The hand is always out and we are expected to pay up. There is a world recession and there has to be some line to hold when it comes to contributions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

      “As British, we always loath others and assume we are the best in every aspect. Today it Germans, tomorrow it is French and day after it is the Americans and the list goes on.”

      You might, but speak for yourself. My experience as one married to an American is quite different. “Loathe” is a very strong word, and I do not believe for one second that it’s in any way justified.

    • Magnolia

      I have ‘others’ in my own family and I love them dearly but I’m a eurosceptic because I believe in keeping the sovereignty of these islands that Lord Nelson and many others died for.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      No we don’t. I often hear people ask this question. But they never seem to be able to give a credible answer.

  • In2minds

    Merkel should try harder then!

  • Kevin

    Why doesn’t CH just ask for Nate Silver’s projection on this? Stats over substance, as per US politics.

    • celtthedog

      I share your contempt for Nate Silver — but he did call last night’s election correctly….

  • ldo

    That is the euro-elite all over. The simply cannot comprehend an alternative to their demented super state

  • Daveyyy12

    Only way I will vote Tory is if a get a guaranteed in out vote on the EU.

    Nothing else, no renegotiation, no rule changes, nothing In or Out.

    I am a Tory voter…

    Hope Dave and Angela like the meal.. He only has a couple of years eating with the big boys table. All the help for the Arab spring will not get him many votes. People like me will be the ones who will keep him in and I will vote UKIP unless I have a guarantee.

    • Mirtha Tidville

      So will I

    • HooksLaw

      OUT of the EU but then where?
      The EEA? You still need to abide by single market rules.
      You repeat the endless witterings of the nut jobs. the EU is not going to go away even if we are not in it. We have to still deal with it.

      Fantasy trade deals (where countries queue up to throw themselves open to UK exports) abound in the midget minds of the nut jobs.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        British exports to Japan have to abide by Japanese rules. I’ve never heard anybody suggest that’s a problem.

        And there’s plenty of countries the world over who are very happy to throw themselves open to trade with the UK. I see no reason why Europe would be any different. Britain’s economy is one of the largest in the world.

        President Hollande: “Mes chers Renault workers. I realise your employer is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and there’s a strong chance that many if not all of you will be unemployed by 2014. I realise also that Renault sells millions of cars in Britain, worth billions of euros every year. However, thanks to a political tiff in which you are only marginally interested at best, I have decided to take actions that will deprive Renault of this massive income, even though it’s probably the only reason Renault survives at all. Of course, the treasury being deprived of all that money that Renault provides, I will simultaneously raise your taxes. Vote for me.”

        • HooksLaw

          Any trade agreement we have with japan is negotiated via the EU and we contribute to the negotiations. If on our own we would just be us to fight our arguments.
          You have a naive view of trade deals and the notion that other countries are going to roll over and agree to everything we want that simply suits us and that there would be no downside.

          As for Japan, we benefit from many Japanese car companies setting up in here to export to Europe. Are those workers their families and all the associated people who make their living off that going to vote to leave the EU?

          Renault of course does not sell millions of cars to the UK. The fact that we buy Kias and Hyundai’s instead is indicative of why Renault are in trouble

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

            “Any trade agreement we have with japan is negotiated via the EU
            and we contribute to the negotiations. If on our own we would just be us to fight our arguments.”

            So?

            Actually I think I understand trade deals rather better than you do. I’ve not been impressed by the degree of knowledge that you’ve demonstrated elsewhere. Nor does your inclination toward verbal abuse also does not inspire confidence in your ability to formulate a coherent argument.

            However, you do need to remember that Britain already exports more to the rest of the world than it does to the EU. Furthermore, with the EU’s drastically declining proportion of global GDP (currently 25 percent, down from 30 percent just a few years ago, projected to reach 15 percent within the next eight years), and preoccupied as it is with lurching endlessly from one economic crisis to another, year in, year out, the EU will simply become ever more of an irrelevance.

            Millions of Renaults — now you’re being pedantic. Would you be happier if I’d written “an awful lot”? The fact is that Britain remains a major export market for both Renault and French industry in general, and president Hollande, or any other European premier for that matter, is not going to jeopardise that for the sake of some political tiff about which his typical voter cares very little. Do you really think the typical factory worker in Marseilles, or a waiter in Stuttgart, or a car mechanic in Verona really could care less whether Britain quits the EU or not? They certainly do care about whether their jobs are secure.

      • Daniel Maris

        You’re saying Norwegians and Swiss are “nut jobs”?

        You have some weird ideas Hookslaw.

        Have you seen how industrial production has declined in this country over the last 12 years during our EU membership?

        • HooksLaw

          You know so little.
          Being in the EEA means abiding by the EU single market rules and paying money into EU development funds and Norway is in Schengen.
          Norway is effectively IN the EU.

          Being in the EEA might be a good idea for us (or not there are valid rational arguments, not rabid racist ones), I for one see no need for parliaments or councils or presidents, – but the overwhelming point is it would be effectively no different from being IN the EU.
          The argument against being simply in the EEA is that we would have no say in the EU rules that would be imposed on us.

          What you constantly ignore is that the EU is there and will not go away and we have to deal with it. To howl continually about being OUT to the exclusion of all other consequences makes you a nut job.

        • dalai guevara

          Switzerland is one great example right there:

          1- whenever they wish to trade with the EU, they need to abide by EU regulations.

          2- they are finding it increasingly difficult to ‘keep a secret’, which was one of their main assets

          3- whenever the Euro drops below a certain level, they are forced to throw money at it in large quantities (as seen this year) to keep the currency ratio intact and not to overvalue the franc.

          Now, I give you this: item 3 will not bother us too much if we continue to print money anyway as if there was no tomorrow.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

            1. Astonisdhingly enough, whenever Switzerland wishes to trade with Mexico, it has to abide by Mexican regulations. Even more astonishingly, whenever Switzerland wishes to trade with Indonesia, it has to abide by Indonesian regulations. And — I know this will leave you utterly gobsmacked — whenever Switzerland wishes to trade with Kenya, it has to abide by Kenyan regulations. What makes you think that abiding by EU regulations is such an extraordinary imposition?

            2. I assume you mean that other organisations are constantly trying to uncover the trade secrets of Swiss businesses? Well, stone me! Who’d have guessed? But how would EU membership make that more secure? Does EU membership secure the trade secrets of British businesses against all the industrial espionage that the Swiss engage in?

            3. This is the result of Europeans getting all their money the hell out of Europe and stashing it in Swiss banks. They trust Swiss francs. They don’t trust the euro. I don’t think the Swiss are all that unhappy about their problem.

            • dalai guevara

              1. Because Kenyan regulations are what exactly? Gobsmackingly enough, what exactly are Indonesian regulations? 😉

              2- no, its all about tax evasion.
              3- you will find that it is Berlin Munich and Frankfurt property that is seeing the investment from abroad. when you say ‘Euro’, you ought to look at the specific nature of specific local economies.

              4- I am not referring to Swiss QE, I am talking about Switzerland buying large quantities of Euro to stabalise it (as seen this year). The common misconception is that QE had anything to do with the ‘real’ economy.

            • terence patrick hewett

              2. Would someone tell Bosch not to keep on trying to steal secrets from Dyson.

      • Daveyyy12

        So what…

        We will be free to do what we want. Trading is simple and we will survive as long as we compete.

        Regulations… I do not care.. All I want is the freedom to make our own laws and hold our own politicians to account. Once out of the EU we will next be able to ignore the ECHR.

  • Asreal

    They hate us, but they need our money. It will be hard for us to leave too thanks to Moron Brown signing that damned Lisbon Treaty.

    Perhaps one of the concessions we should get is no snide remarks (or even a modicum of respect?) from the Germans AND the French.

    Ironic how the French veto anything that will harm THEIR country and yet sneer at us when we (very occasionally) do the same.

    I don’t want a referendum, I want to LEAVE the EU. We can have trade agreements just like the other countries NOT in the EU without losing out, regain control over our own laws and human rights and save a truck load of money (which never seems to be appreciated by the “leading” EU countries anyway).

    You don’t like us so sod off.

    • jelliedeels

      Ah poor didums did johnny foreigner shout at you .

      Nobody matches the English for snide remarks

      • Asreal

        Spoken like a true Scot =P

    • dalai guevara

      Oh yes, cannot wait for you to hold our talks on import duties, never mind the regulations ‘your’ products will have to adhere to.

      • Asreal

        This is kind of why I ‘elect’ people to do it for me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        Their products will have to adhere to ours also, don’t forget. And without the EU, we’re free to make them whatever we want.

        “So, Frau Merkel, you persuade Brussels not to make life difficult for British exporters, and we won’t impose a 5000% import tariff on Volkswagens. Deal?”

        • dalai guevara

          We are fighting economic wars with America right now:

          1- Starbucks tax
          2- Google tax
          3- Amazon tax
          4- Barclays fines
          5- HSBC fines
          6- generally UK presence on Wall Street

          Are you seriously suggesting you intend to kick off a war on two fronts and emerge victorious? We know how that worked out for some…

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

            Are you suggesting Starbucks’ tax avoidance is US government policy, or something?

            I don’t think you actually know what “economic war” is, do you? It’s not private companies minimising their tax liability, or fining a company for — shock! horror! — breaking the law.

            • dalai guevara

              Tit for tat playing out in front of our eyes. when the blame game starts, and I do believe you have noted the blame game is in full swing, all sorts of diversion tactics are launched.

              It’s all Europe’s fault? Oh, give me a break, who failed first?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                You’re very confused.

                • dalai guevara

                  Delusion is a mental disorder.

                  Who.failed.first.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Define “failed”

                • dalai guevara

                  Failed: experiencing a bank run, requiring nationalisation to not experience another bank run, kicking the can.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Well, defined that way, it was American banks that that were initially affected by the credit crunch. I don’t see what that has to do with “economic war” though.

                  Do you still remember what your point is? If so, I’d be grateful if you’d explain it for me, because I really have very little idea what you’re going on about. You started out with something about import duties and regulations, then moved on to something about “economic war”, and implications that Starbucks organises its tax affairs in accordance with some US government policy, all confused with a sense that all things American are determinedly united in a mission to do down the British, and now something about bank failures.

                  I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what the hell you’re on about.

            • TomTom

              I don’t know but it might be worth looking at DISC and US Offshore Tax Rules to see how they encourage Amazon and Starbucks to double-dip tax exemptions

          • Hexhamgeezer

            You Fortress EUroloons really are a foaming bellicose lot aren’t you?
            Impervious to reason, evidence, good faith, justice, reality, and lacking in respect for anything that hasn’t emerged from the @r$e of a Commissioner

        • http://www.facebook.com/rfmcdonald Randy McDonald

          440 million > 65 million.

      • TomTom

        China manages just fine and they gained access to the EU Market simply by getting MFN Status from Clinton which made the EU duty bound to give China full access. China even fakes CE labels on its goods

        • dalai guevara

          Absolutely – the true issue here is not Europe, but the tat that is shipped in by Mainland China, Taiwan etc. We must not lose focus where the real trade issues of the future lie, I am pretty certain it will not be with Europe.

  • The Oncoming Storm

    “I cannot imagine that the UK would not be part of Europe…” Well unless something straight out of a Ronald Emmerich movie happens we’ll always be part of Europe geographically.

    I can however imagine the UK not being part of the EU in the not too distant future.

    • MichtyMe

      Yes, quite possibly so, as there is a referendum in 2014 to dissolve the UK.

      • The Oncoming Storm

        Nope, there is a referendum on Scotland leaving the UK, if there is a Yes vote, and the polls currently say No, the UK would continue.

        • MichtyMe

          You misunderstand the construct of the polity, in which, I assume, you live. It is a Union, a partnership created by Treaty between two states and without this Union there is no UK.

          • The Oncoming Storm

            The UK is also comprised of the Union with Northern Ireland and there is no prospect of that ending soon, last poll had support for Irish Unity in an immediate referendum at just 7%. Whatever you want to call it if Scotland leaves England, Wales and NI will be seen as the successor state and will remain in the EU if it wishes, in the same way that Russia inherited the USSR’s UNSC seat etc.

            • MichtyMe

              There were no Union Treaties with sovereign Welsh or Irish (in whole or part) states, they were never party to any Union, they are appendages, sort of internal colonies. The Kingdom of Ireland was created by proclamation of HenryVIII and was subservient to the English Crown.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                Ireland became a full member of the United Kingdom in 1801. That’s why it’s represented in the Union Flag, which it wasn’t prior to the nineteenth century.

                • Daniel Maris

                  A flag is not a constitution. MichtyMe has it right. Ireland was never party to a union – indeed that is one of the major beefs of Irish nationalists then and now – that Ireland never freely entered into the union with England and so there was no true union, only a bit of constitutional mummery.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  I’m sorry, Daniel, but you’re quite wrong. Irish nationalists might dispute whether it “freely entered” into a “true” union (whatever that’s supposed to mean), but under the constitution of the time, Ireland was a full constituent part of the UK from 1801; hence the nation’s name of “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland”. Following Irish home rule in 1922 (not 1919, as I wrote above), this name was amended to its present form: “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

                  While you make a valid point that a flag is not a constitution, national flags are not typically redesigned to include territories that are not a part of the nation. The Union Flag does not, for example, represent other British possessions, such as Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands, that are not formally a part of the union.

                • Daniel Maris

                  APS ,

                  No one is saying that the territory of Ireland wasn’t part of the United Kingdom. But it had a colonial status. It never freely entered the union as a sovereign nation. The idea that it did is a legal fiction.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  If it was part of the United Kingdom, it wasn’t a colony.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

            Ireland was a part of the UK until 1919. The UK didn’t cease to be simply because it chose home rule.

            As a Welshman, I do feel not a little slighted that you consider the UK to be Scotland and England. There’s rather more to it than that.

            And no, Wales is not demanding independence any time in the foreseeable future, whatever you may have heard from some English paranoiac who has failed to take note of the number of Union Flags displayed in Wales throughout the diamond jubilee and the Olympics.

            • MichtyMe

              I sympathise of course but the Union was created by the 1706 Treaty and Acts of the two parliaments. And where, tell me, is Welsh bit in the Union flag?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                The Union Flag has never been updated to include Wales, primarily because there’s no real demand for it. Wales was annexed by England in the 12th century, and remained integrally a part of England at the time of the nineteenth-century redesign. In 1955, Wales was politically demarcated, and became a full member of the UK at that time; however, the Welsh people are largely content with their own flag, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard any Welshman complain about the current composition of the Union Flag.

                That much said, I confess I don’t see how your question is relevant. The same could be said of your historical statement about the Treaty of Union. Britain is rather a different place to 200 years ago.

                • MichtyMe

                  There will have to be an update to remove the blue bit. Perhaps they should then include the Welsh or they will be left with a “double cross” which some might, tee hee, think fittingly appropriate.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  If Scotland votes for independence, which is looking distinctly unlikely at present.

                • dalai guevara

                  Just arrange for Gideon or CallmeDave to do speech at Glasgow’s St Enoch Shopping Centre and let me know how you get on.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Which is why the unionist campaign is being headed by Alistair Darling.

                  Have you seen the voting-intention polls lately?

                • dalai guevara

                  Have you seen the Obama Romney supposed ‘neck on neck race’ press coverage all over all news outlets? To find out what was really going on, all you had to do is check with Betfred…

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  What’s your point?

                • dalai guevara

                  Today I need to spell out everything – I do not care about polls, or ’employment’ figures, of ‘foot fall’ in shopping malls.

                  I care about hard data, good old hard data. Everything else is…propaganda. What do YOU know about voting intentions?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Where do you propose acquiring this good old hard data, if not the polls? Betfred?

                • dalai guevara

                  Lord almighty, yes, Betfred or any other ‘polling station’ where your money is where your mouth is.
                  Obama1/5
                  Romney7/2

                  There was no contest.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Good luck with that.

                • HooksLaw

                  I suggest to you that my country no matter how it is constituted can design whatever flag it likes and the UK can keep its flag no matter what happens with Salmond.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Come along. We can have the flag we want. The blue bit is aesthetically pleasing. It stays. The Scots can have the flag that THEY want should they become an independent nation.

              • HooksLaw

                You are so thick I feel sorry for you. Such is the sad state of the xenophobic right wing of british politice.
                On reflection that is an insult to honest right wingers.

          • HooksLaw

            The UK continues if Scotland chooses to leave. And quite frankly we can call it what we like.

            But in and amongst the howling mad loony tune bonkers nut job spittle infested clap trap we see on here your inebriated drivel is quite mild.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

              While I disagree with MichtyMe, might I suggest that verbal abuse of that kind is unnecessary, adds nothing, impresses nobody, demeans you and the unionist movement, and is frankly rather puerile.

              And you’re wrong. In the twenty-first century, a country can hardly name itself or fly flags that lay a claim upon a nation that it recognises as independent. You might as well suggest that Britain is free to include a French fleur-de-lys in the Union Flag, and call itself “The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and France.” It can’t.

          • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

            There would be no Britain, the UK would remain.
            Britain actually means England+Scotland+Wales. The UK is the Union which would be changed to the United Kingdom of England, Wales and N. Ireland (sounds good to me!)

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

              That’s a very good point.

        • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

          Correct, but it would be the “United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland”. Technically, it cannot and would not be called Britain as Britain geographically includes Scotland Wales and England. If the Scots leave (hope so) we would have to change our name legally. But so what! Get the jocks OUT!

      • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

        Lets get the Scots OUT of the UK – And lets get the UK OUT of the EU. That way we can spend our money on helping OUR economy get back to straight. Sod throwing money at the EU and sod throwing money to Scotland – All they do is spend it on fkin super strength booze and fags.

        • HooksLaw

          You are really quite pathetic.

    • timinsingapore

      And who do you see as the UK’s natural allies once we have flounced out of the EU?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        I do not consider that the EU’s members constitute “natural” allies. Apart from Ireland and, perhaps, Malta and Cyprus to a lesser extent, we have very little in common with any of those countries. At the most fundamental, their whole concept of the relationship of the State to the People is utterly opposed to the philosophy of “the social contract” that underpins British society. That’s ninety percent of the problem.

        I would suggest that our natural allies are those cultures that largely sympathise with the commonly accepted British view of government, as well as possessing historical, cultural and linguistic ties. The Commonwealth and the USA would be the prime candidates.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Well said. The differences in attitudes to government are indeed crucial but successive British governments have been rapidly discarding or changing the social contract that once prevailed here in favour of the top down, directive European model. A thousand years of history and achievement through struggle turned upside down by a handful of arrogant pillocks in less than 30 years.

        • HooksLaw

          So we should leave NATO as well then?
          You are an absurd xenophobe.

          The USA view of government is quite different from ours.
          And if you think that the USA do not believe in vast amounts of govt spending, or that they are ultra concerned about getting the best deal for themselves out of ‘free trade’ deals or that their model is somehow different from say France then you are deluded.

          The Commonwealth? Don’t make me laugh. Canada is trying to get a trade deal with the EU, just at the time you would have us pull out. Australia NZ? The other side of the world.

          Africa? Come on admit it – you hate the Africans as much as you do the French.
          And if it came down to it as far as being in common with the USA – you really do not mean the blacks or hispanics or asians.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

            The last time I looked, NATO included the USA and Canada.

            I would certainly distrust an alliance based on Europe. The EU’s multiply demonstrated inability to formulate any form of concerted action would concern me very deeply.

            The Commonwealth happens to have a larger GDP than the EU, and Britain already exports more to it than it does to the EU. Furthermore, whereas the Commonwealth’s combined economies are expanding (in India’s case, very rapidly), the EU’s is shrinking.Today, the EU accounts for about 25 percent of global GDP, down from 30 percent a few years ago. Within the next eight years, it will have fallen to 15 percent.

            Africa — I grew up there. French — j’admire les Francais beaucoup. Mes parents habitent la France, et j’ai passe pleain de vacances chez eux. J’adore le climat, la nouriture, les panoramas, et la musique. Je suis un grand fan de Patricia Kaas depuis une vightaine d’ans.. Mon ancien partenaire commercial est francais, et meme que nous ne sommes plus associes, il reste un mec. Va t’en faire foutre, alors, espece de branleur. Now translate that and tell me that I’m a xenophobe.

            You know, my wife speaks Spanish just as well as I speak French. Rather odd for such xenophobes, wouldn’t you say? How many European languages do you speak, by the way, given that you’re such a model of Euro-inclusivity?

  • 2trueblue

    Merkel should heed the words from Farage. Why should the budget go up automatically just because others in the EU demand it? So far we have little that is poitive for us in the EU. We are referred to in a negative way, and considering we are the 2nd largest contributor we certainly deserve more say.
    I hope Merkel enjoys her dinner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jnz.nop Jnz Nop

    referendum please, and as its been forced on us already, i’m naturally inclined to say no tbqh

  • Andy

    Merkel should mind her own business. It is for us, the British People, to say if we want to stay in this embryonic Fascist State she and her mates are busy creating. And while we are on the subject of the EU budget she ought to honour her agreements.

    • Dicky14

      Steady on ol’ bean. It’s the politest invitation to a fascist party gathering i’ve ever been witness to. It really is fucking rude blaming Germany for European countries pissing money down the bog. Merkel’s just doing her job. The Rumpy Dumpy dude said Scotland shouldn’t go independent – now he can go do sit ups in a marrow field.

      • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

        No, It is NOT Merkels job to save Southern Eu with cash. Why would that ever be anyones job? The Germans have always wanted to be in charge of Europe – this is their “legitimate” way of doing so.

      • Andy

        Well the old bag is a tad short of Panzer divisions this time around.

  • Machina22

    She lacks imagination then.

    • Vulture

      Yes, and humour too. Its a German thing. But what do you expect of a Protestant pastor’s daughter who dragged his family with him when he emigrated FROM West Germany to Communist East Germany. She’s a product of a socialist system ( the clothes are the giveaway) with views to match: dictatorial, statist, undemocratic, and plain bloody awful. But it seems she can twist Dave round her pinkie. (But then, who can’t?)

  • Carol-Ann

    It’s not for Merkel to ‘ensure’ Britain stays in the EU. Who does she think she’s talking about here? Britain is NOT Greece or Spain or Italy and won’t be told what to do by Germans.

    The ONLY people who should decide Britain’s relationship with the EU is the BRITISH ELECTORATE!! In or Out referendum is needed. Nobody under the age of 55 in Britain has had a direct chance to vote on whether we should be in Europe and this is an affront to democracy.

    • Dimoto

      Don’t be so hysterical, she was saying that she would ensure “that it remains in our
      interest to be part of the EU”, which she probably thought was being generous.

      Trouble is, so far she has been all talk, and devious words, but no action.
      After last time, Cameron won’t be counting on her airy “assurances”.

      Curious that Hardman doesn’t mention Labour’s full on support for a budget CUT.

      • Vulture

        Health warning – Dimoto is Cameron’s hired hand on this site. But don’t believe a word that he says re. Dave standing up to Frau Frumpel. He won’t.

        • Dimoto

          Ha-ha, I guess that counts as the ultimate insult from you guys.
          I am honoured.

        • Austin Barry

          Unfortunate image, Frau Merkel seems to be costumed as a Buchenwald guard in front of a yellow star. She’s not that bad.

    • celtthedog

      Actually, I think the “ensure” was bad translating. Merkel’s not really into threats — and when it comes to Britain, the Germans actually do want the UK in as a counterweight to French protectionist impulses. Problem is, they also want something akin to a federation and we don’t.

      • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

        UK is a counterweight to Frances Nationalistic demands. William Hague today says France has the best Diplomatic service in the world (because they know how to demand what they want). This isnt a reason for the UK to stay in the EU though, we usually end up somewhere inbetween Germany and Frances arguments.

      • barbie

        plus our 55 million per day, which we could better spend here on our NHS for example. Its not us they want but our money, and reserves and banking sector, i.e. the City, to remove it to Frankfurt. We won’t be fooled by that.

    • Austin Barry

      You forgot to mention the poodle-like, Vichy French in your list of simpering supplicants.

      • HooksLaw

        You illustrate well the bonkers way you nut jobs live in the past.

      • jelliedeels

        it wasn`t the French who were first on the beach in 1940

    • dalai guevara

      do you realise, you sound like a spokes person from Golden Dawn.

      • HooksLaw

        Its very sad indeed pathetic, but shockingly you are right.

        • dalai guevara

          Once the likes of Kirstie Allsopp et al stop going on about her mum or auntie losing everything, we might just about see the introduction of a mansion tax. Everything else is already congruent.

          • HooksLaw

            Pathetic. Like we all live in mansions. All you are hitting is ordinary people.

            • dalai guevara

              Context please

              • HooksLaw

                To raise real money any so called mansion tax would have to hit ordinary people.

                • dalai guevara

                  which is what happened in Greece

                  quod erat demonstrandum

              • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

                You aint normal

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        Now that’s just silly. Don’t be so hysterical.

        • dalai guevara

          UK vs Greece

          1- structural deficit vs structural deficit
          2- debt vs debt
          3- NHS cuts vs hospital shortages
          4- inability to collect tax vs tax evasion
          5- living beyond our means vs living beyond their means
          6- default privatisation vs imposed privatisation
          7- boys club vs boys club
          8- benefit cuts vs benefit cuts
          9- inability to hold perpetrators to account vs inability to cut corruption
          10- public sector cuts vs public sector cuts
          11- printing money you haven’t got vs recieving money that’s not yours
          12- inept leadership vs inept leadership

          What is it exactly that is not comparable?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

            “What is it exactly that is not comparable?”

            We have the pound, and they have the euro.

            • dalai guevara

              My pound is worth 20% less Euro than before crisis struck. What does that tell the economically illiterate?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                What it tells the economically illiterate hardly matters. For people who do understand something of economics, it should say that British exports are more competitive, and therefore that there will be a greater demand for them, resulting in higher export earnings, a stronger economy and more jobs.

                Currency values alter minute by minute. A low-value currency of itself indicates nothing at all. There are hundreds of Japanese yen to the pound, but Japan has one of the world’s largest economies.

                Sterling is of low value presently thanks to a deliberate Bank of England policy to expand the quantity of money in circulation, known as “quantitative easing”. In time, the economy will improve, the Bank of England will call in all that money again (something it can do quite easily), and the value of sterling will rise again.

                • dalai guevara

                  We have a trade DEFICIT with rest of the world, never mind the Eurozone. Therefore, without reducing imports the gap will not shrink.

                  Can you afford not to import oil, gas, technology that prints in Berliner Format? When the bonds mature, you pay out in what exactly? Rhubarb from Bury?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Check the figures. There are a number of countries with which we have trade deficits, but globally, we run a trade surplus which is cancelled out by our deficit with the EU.

                  A low-value currency does also have the effect of reducing imports, by making them relatively more expensive and so reducing demand for them.

                  Many countries have the problems you describe. Most of them simply print more money — quantitative easing — to pay for it all. It’s not a problem as long as your population is willing to accept a high level of inflation.

                  Where it becomes a problem is when you have a country like Greece that has no control over its money supply. In that case, it keeps paying out money, with not enough coming in to replace it, and can do nothing but borrow. However, there comes a point when it can no longer afford to take on more debt. That’s where Greece is at.

                • dalai guevara

                  ‘but globally, we run a trade surplus which is cancelled out by our deficit with the EU.’

                  yes, I did just state that.

                  ‘Most of them simply print more money — quantitative easing — to pay for it all. It’s not a problem as long as your population is willing to accept a high level of inflation.’

                  The UK is the country with the highest QE per capita in the world right now. This is aided by the fact that rating agencies are an Anglo-American invention playing by Anglo-American rules. There simply is no underlying data supporting triple A status in the UK. It is pure fiction.

                  The point will come, and it will come suddenly, when inflation and interest rates will have parted so far from one another that something will have to give. Inflation will not reduce, it is interest rates which will have to rise, either due to market discrepency or simply due to lack of trust (see Greece). That is the day when I am outta here.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Now you’re getting into the realm of conspiracy theories, which I can’t be bothered arguing with. I’m off to bed.

                • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

                  We are in control of our own Money, Destiny, Future. Unfortunately, France has given up her sovreignty just enough to be no longer in control of: Value of money, interest rates and her future. We will always have our Queen as head of state, you mon ami, will have Frau Merkel – Good luck with that!!

                • dalai guevara

                  Mon ami? Are you covering your bases, ma cherie?

                  In a currency union, as the Welsh or the Scots how much in control they are of money printing.

                  Macky Dee, lift your burger bun flaps and look sideways!

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  “In a currency union, ask the Welsh or the Scots how much in control they are of money printing.”

                  I’m a Welshman, so here’s my answer: About as much as the bloke down the Dog & Duck in Islington. But we can vote for the government, which works with the Bank of England to control the economy, and if lots of us don’t like what they’ve done, we can vote for the other party and see if they can do any better.

                  The inhabitants of the Eurozone can’t. Or rather, they can, but it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. Whoever wins an election, they can’t adjust the money supply, they can’t alter the interest rates, they can’t redistribute money from wealthy regions to poorer regions. They can beg, plead and cajole the president of the ECB to give them a break, but he might well tell them to get lost, in which case they’re screwed. And there is nothing that anybody can do about it.

                • dalai guevara

                  You can VOTE to see a change in BoE policy? Do elaborate on this, I am all ears.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  I didn’t say that.

                • dalai guevara

                  APS ‘vote, work with BoE, control economy’

                  A few last things:

                  – the BoE is supposedly an independent organisation.
                  – you have not fallen into the trap of calling the BoE a bank that is controlled by England, as this is far from the truth
                  – monetary and fiscal policy are two different things. I assume you know the difference?

                • timinsingapore

                  Andrew, you clearly do not remember the 1970s. ‘It’s not a problem as long as your population is willing to accept a high level of inflation’ – please keep well away from the levers of economic management.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  I do remember the seventies. It was concerned with rather more than just quantitative easing.

                • HooksLaw

                  The pound is high by recent standards compared to the Euro. it has not changed much against the dollar for quite a while.

              • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

                It means we CAN devalue as and when we need to…
                You CAN’T – so… oly’ en coulle! poor french bugger

          • Fergus Pickering

            The Greeks don’t pay tax and we do. What about that?

            • dalai guevara

              Yes – explain to me again WHY we have printed £175bn of QE in 2011-2012? Why we printed £2,800 per granny, mother and child this year? It officially paid ‘for outgoings’ that were no longer backed.

              Now, this is a trick question: either we printed for the 1%, or we printed because there were not enough revenues.

              What is it?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                The 1% of what?

                • dalai guevara

                  You are new to the world,aren’t you?

                  research zuccotti park.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  This conversation would be a lot simpler if you’d just phrase yourself in plain English. What on earth are you talking about? Spell it out, avoiding slang and jargon. Don’t just assume I’m going understand whatever idiom happens to pop into your head.

                • dalai guevara

                  ok Andrew. I cannot do your research for you. when you type ‘zuccotti park 1%’, what happens?

                  I am not sure links are allowed here: have a look at some nice art here:

                  http://tinyurl.com/bm4d96c

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                  Why don’t you just tell me what you mean by “1%”? In words of one syllable.

                  No, I’m not going to type zuccotti park 15 or anything else. In the first place (unlike you, evidently), I have work to do between posts. In the second place, I don’t owe you that much.

                  You want to make a point, make it; preferably with an absence of jargon.

                • dalai guevara

                  I will have to let you go now, I do not want to stop you from paying your taxes.

          • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

            I can see you have to come to a British website to have your say heard, are there no decent websites in France?

            • dalai guevara

              France? Don’t make me laugh – why on earth would you assume that? Come to my local and I’ll show you what a real french muffin with a clowdy french IPA tastes like.

      • http://twitter.com/mackydee1977 Macky Dee

        No, France is. Britain will be the fastest growing EU economy in 2013 and 2014… ahead of both Germany and France!

      • Hexhamgeezer

        No it isn’t. I dont see any Brits smoking in bars or cafes these days.

    • HooksLaw

      As reported above Merkle did not say what you claim. She said she would ensure that it was still in the UK interest to be in Europe.

      But you are thick and in charge of a keyboard. Truth is a passing fancy.

      You have no notion of what ‘Out’ means. It actually means very little. We would still have to abide by single market rules which would be made up in the absence of the UK.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Time to disabuse the good Frau of her illusions, methinks!

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