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Alf Bentley

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Alf Bentley last won the day on 24 March

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About Alf Bentley

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  • Birthday 29/02/1916

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    Floating through space and time
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    Situationism (passive & active)
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    Richard III took his helmet off

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  1. Alf Bentley

    Politics Thread (encompassing Brexit) - 21 June 2017 onwards

    Maybe - or might just be a move to ensure May survives this week and makes it to and through the summer recess. She could accept the ERG amendments, then lose them in negotiations with the EU, then come back with whatever she negotiates and dare her opponents to vote down the deal and/or her leadership in October. The consequences of doing so potentially being No Deal and/or a general election or another referendum.....
  2. Alf Bentley

    Politics Thread (encompassing Brexit) - 21 June 2017 onwards

    While I agree with most of Blair's comments, I'm not sure what purpose his intervention serves - beyond boosting his planet-sized, non-deflatable ego and irritating Brexit voters. If anyone were capable of changing minds on the Brexit side, it certainly wouldn't be Blair. They'd see him as the epitome of the much-hated "liberal establishment". Pretty much the only people who'd listen to Blair would be people who are already convinced Remainers. It's not likely to encourage further flexibility by the Corbyn leadership, either - more like the opposite. I bet that fervent Brexiteers are delighted at his intervention!
  3. I just completed this quiz. My Score 80/100 My Time 89 seconds  
  4. Alf Bentley

    Politics Thread (encompassing Brexit) - 21 June 2017 onwards

    As I understand it, there's been no significant change in the position since we discussed this last year: whether it would be legal to revoke has not been settled, but the prevailing opinion is that it would be. Here are 2 Law Professors arguing the 2 sides....but note that the one claiming we could not revoke unilaterally only claims that the EU would need to agree - and accepts that his is a minority opinion: http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2018/01/can-article-50-notice-of-withdrawal.html A Brexit Minister in the Lords had to publicly apologise for wrongly claiming that revocation was impossible (scroll down to 15:34): https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/nov/20/brexit-bill-voters-will-go-bananas-if-uk-offers-40bn-to-eu-former-tory-minister-warns-may-ahead-of-key-meeting-politics-live A case for the legality of revocation was brought in Dublin, but the case was not settled due to it being hypothetical, if I'm remembering rightly. As mentioned above, 15 months ago I wrote to my MP about this. He referred my question to David Davis and I got an official reply from Robin Walker MP, Davis' deputy at the Brexit Dept. The file is too large for me to post (DK if I could send by PM?). The letter talks about the govt intending to "respect the will of the people", it being "a matter of firm policy" that the UK will not revoke and there being "no precedent". But it studiously avoids answering my question as to whether it is a legal possibility. Surely, if it was not a legal possibility, the letter would have said that? Surely, a Brexit Minister would not have apologised in the Lords for claiming it could not be revoked? Surely, Law Professors would not be arguing about this, with the majority believing that revocation IS a legal possibility - even without the EU agreeing to it? I'm not suggesting that it's about to happen. I doubt that a UK govt would try to revoke unless it was confident that the public mood had shifted decisively against Brexit (hasn't happened yet), and probably after a general election or 2nd referendum. It is also not certain that revocation would be possible, even if most experts believe it is. The majority view, however, is that the UK could revoke even without the EU being able to contest it. Of course, it might extract a political price for all the time and money spent on Brexit.... If the UK did try to revoke, irony of ironies, it would the ECJ that would ultimately decide whether this was legally possible. Imagine what Brexiteers would make of that?
  5. Alf Bentley

    Politics Thread (encompassing Brexit) - 21 June 2017 onwards

    New Statesman reckons that opposition to May's Chequers Plan in Tory ranks now extends way beyond the Hard Brexit hardcore. It concludes that May could well now face defeat on legislation this week (the last before summer recess) - and an immediate leadership challenge: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/07/tory-civil-war-now-inevitable The first phase of a leadership challenge (the one triggered by the 48 letters from MPs) is simply a confidence vote in her leadership. In theory, if she wins that (still quite likely, I'd imagine), she can stay on without a leadership contest for 12 months. However, someone on Marr this morning (Amanda Platell?) was suggesting that she'd have to go if more than 100 MPs voted "no confidence" in her, even if she won the vote. I've no idea whether that's true. But it's roughly what happened with the overthrow of Thatcher, wasn't it? She won the first party vote but not by enough to stay on. If May went, in theory the MPs could agree on a new leader to replace her without it having to go to the party membership (as happened when May became leader). But that seems massively unlikely. There would surely be at least 2 candidates (at the very least a Hard Brexit/No Deal candidate and a compromise candidate - not sure the Remainers would put anyone up, as they know they'd lose a membership vote). It would surely be impossible for the party to complete a membership vote before September? The membership would almost certainly support a Hard Brexit/No Deal candidate. Thus, with the final deal due to be done in 3 months time, we could spend the next 2 months with a deposed lame duck PM (May) or an acting PM (Lidington?) and no agreed policy on Brexit. Just 4-5 weeks before the final deal is due, we could then have a new PM, probably seeking a Hard Brexit deal or ready to walk away with No Deal.....whose policy will then be rejected by Parliament as soon as it is presented in Oct/Nov! Where the hell that will lead us, I'm not sure: Possibly heading for No Deal, but with the govt collapsing and a December general election, change of govt without an election or even a parliament-ordered second referendum?!? What a mess, if that happens....
  6. Alf Bentley

    Questions Thread

    I suppose you could be so grandiose that you believed yourself to be the personification of grandeur.....
  7. Alf Bentley

    World Cup Betting Thread.

    Lloris, you massive, massive, humungous plonker!!!
  8. Alf Bentley

    France v Croatia - World Cup Final

    Fair enough. Awful conduct that I'd forgotten about - but it was 20 years ago. Just that, or do you dislike him on a personal level, too? I quite like him as a pundit - and as a manager. I seem to remember he was a bit of dirty bastard as a player, though also a good defender.
  9. Alf Bentley

    France v Croatia - World Cup Final

    What's good ol' Slaven done to upset you?
  10. Alf Bentley

    President Trump & the USA

    My last comment on this in here, as I don't want to hijack the Trump/US thread......see you back in the Politics Thread re. Brexit sooner or later, I'm sure. I agree with your last comment. Any country/bloc promotes its own interests in negotiations - and can expect to get its own way to a greater extent if it is the stronger party or party with less to lose: e.g. US or EU negotiating with the UK. The UK would be in the stronger position if negotiating with Portugal, Ireland or wherever. It's logical that the EU will mostly get its own way in negotiations with the UK for that reason. I'm curious, though, as to the issues on which the UK has been "bullied"? There's been an agreement on the divorce settlement, based on pre-existing commitments. There's been a mutually beneficial agreement to protect the interests of EU citizens in the UK and vice-versa. The EU has agreed to the UK's request for a transition period, of benefit to both parties, but particularly the UK. The EU has been insisting on no hard border in Ireland to protect the peace, to ensure that the Irish Republic doesn't face problems and to protect the integrity of the Single Market - hardly bullying. Likewise, so far, the EU has been resisting UK attempts to retain those bits of the Single Market that it likes (free movement of goods) while opting out of those that it doesn't like (e.g. freedom of movement) - again, hardly bullying, just protecting their interests, which they're in a strong enough position to do. On your first comment, I've no idea who this "establishment" is that is frustrating you - after all, you have a Tory Govt. You can ignore "the establishment" if you want. As for MPs standing on a manifesto of leaving the EU.....er, we are leaving the EU! Personally, I think May is showing "balls" of a sort in trying to negotiate a Soft Brexit departure with a few bits of red meat for the headbangers. I presume she realises that telling the EU to "stuff their deal", having made few preparations for a cliff-edge Brexit, could cause devastation to the nation - so she's being responsible and quite brave in facing the headbangers down to a large extent and trying to negotiate the best possible deal from a much stronger negotiating partner that is determined to protect its own interests.
  11. Alf Bentley

    President Trump & the USA

    I remember the days when you used to argue that the UK was in a strong Brexit negotiating position because of our trade deficit with the EU, German car makers needing to export cars to us, French wine exporters etc. Whatever happened to that argument? I've always argued that the EU was in a much stronger negotiating position than us - and that it would push for a deal much more beneficial to the EU than to the UK, particularly when its very existence is in some jeopardy. That's realpolitik. You could describe it as bullying - or as bloody stupid by the UK to think that, from a weak negotiating position, it could somehow persuade the EU to offer us a leaving deal that would make us the envy of all other members.
  12. Alf Bentley

    President Trump & the USA

    He's already encouraging the further disintegration of the EU so as to benefit the US. He recommended "Frexit" to Macron, praised Italian nationalism, undermined Merkel as leading EU power etc. But it might be wishful thinking if you imagine him offering the UK a great deal to that end. For a start, he'll have probably already either been re-elected for his 2nd term or defeated by the time any deal is done. More likely he'd use his strong negotiating position to bully us, when we're desperate for trade deals, into accepting terms massively beneficial to US exporters, the US economy and Trump voters in the US. Granted, he'd have to offer us a few scraps to make it worth our while - but you can be pretty sure that any deal would be all about "America First", not "UK First as a subtle plan to undermine the EU over many years".
  13. Alf Bentley

    2018 Deathlist

    This is the Nancy Sinatra of "Boots were made for hanging up" fame, I presume?
  14. Alf Bentley

    Politics Thread (encompassing Brexit) - 21 June 2017 onwards

    I hope you're wrong with that first comment. No idea whether you are or not. Sectarianism hasn't gone away and communities are still very divided from what I understand (still mostly separate Prot/Cath schools, I think). Though I get the impression that younger generations mix a bit more - maybe what you were hinting at with your last comment. There's been comparatively little trouble over the past 20 years, though. You'd like to think that the longer peace lasts, the harder it would be for anyone to get wide support for violence. Reunification could presumably only happen with the agreement of the Irish Republic - and I imagine that they'd only want it to proceed if it had a good chance of succeeding, whatever SF thought. On the other hand, there is now a protestant minority (not dyed-in-the-wool loyalists, obviously) who would apparently prefer reunification if Brexit damages the cross-border economy....let's hope that doesn't happen.
  15. Alf Bentley

    Politics Thread (encompassing Brexit) - 21 June 2017 onwards

    Events in N. Ireland are a bit of a cause for concern.... - Loyalist riots in Belfast - Dissident Republican riots in Derry - Explosives thrown at the homes of Gerry Adams & an ex-IRA prisoner I'm sure some will say "what goes around, comes around" about that last bit of news, but we could really do without a spiral of violence over there. Whatever comes out of Brexit, too, let's hope that there's nothing to disrupt the peace in N. Ireland.