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Comment Re:They have a headstart (Score 1) 238

We were less dicks with you precisely because the Americans won, and we realised that being less dickish was more likely to keep the remaining colonies in the Empire.

Although that was a relative thing of course: we carried on being dickish for a lot longer where the colonies were mostly inhabited by brown or black people, sad to admit.

Comment Not quite (Score 3, Informative) 384

In this case, if the Lords do block it, which is possible but relatively unlikely, AND there's no time left for the Commons to overturn the Lords' vote, which is possible and fairly likely as the Mandybill is the last of the wash-up bills to be debated in the Lords, then it will fail, as the current Parliament will be dissolved. Unfinished bills can be carried from one annual session of a Parliament to the next, but can't be carried from one Parliament to another. If the above, admittedly not likely, scenario takes place, then even if Labour do get re-elected with a Commons majority, they'd have to re-introduce the Mandybill from scratch.

Also, not applying to this bill I beleive, but generally any bill that begins in the House of Lords can be thrown out by the Lords and the Commons can't override this. That's why if the government has any sense they always start likely to be controversial bills in the Commons.

Comment It's called negotiation (Score 1) 324

The EU sets out what it wants, Canada sets out what it wants. In this particular section, the EU is asking for a lot more than Canada, but quite possibly in other sections Canada is asking for more than the EU (I've not read the full text of the draft).

Then the two parties sit down and start horse-trading. Maybe there's something that Canada really wants that they'll happily swallow these copyright provisions to get. Maybe Canada will say, no, we can't accept these provisions, but we'll concede something else instead, or maybe the EU will say insist, in which case the Canadians will say "no deal". Most likely there'll be a lot of compromises by both sides, with both getting some of what they want, but not all.

It's interesting to consider why the Canadians are considering a free-trade agreement with Europe, considering that they're already in NAFTA. I understand the Canadian government has been unhappy with what they see as persistent US non-compliance with their NAFTA obligations, so perhaps they're looking at a deal with the EU as a Plan B.

Comment New Financial Year (Score 4, Informative) 125

In the UK the public sector (and a lot of provate firms too) begins the new financial year on 1st April, so this date is commonly the day that new government agencies start operating, and old ones are wound up. It's because until 1752 New Year's Day in Britain and its colonies was March 25th. In 1752 we adopted the Gregorian calendar, and New Year's Day moved to January 1st. Since then the tax year in the UK starts on April 5th (March 25th + 11) because moving from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar meant an adjustment of 11 days, but the Inland Revenue didn't want to lose any revenue from their annual accounts. April 1st became the common financial new year as it was the nearest whole-month start to that date.

Comment Re:Yawn (Score 1) 2044

No, I was expecting someone else to pay for it, but then I'm not intending to come to the US for any healthcare anytime soon, as all the international stats show that my country is rather better at healthcare than the US is, even though we spend far less than you do.

And guess what, here in Socialist UKistan, we have *private* healthcare too! Yes, if I have the money, I can be seen by a private doctor or treated in a private hospital instantly. I don't know why I'd want to, assuming I had the money, as the NHS is pretty damn good in an emergency and the waiting times for non-emergency treatment have been steadily falling over the last few years. And private healthcare here doesn't have a terribly good rep. There have been several horror stories of people who've gone in for private treatment, suffered severe complications and been sent to an NHS unit for them to be dealt with as the private hospital was unable to cope.

Comment Re:Yawn (Score 1) 2044

Except with my pre-existing condition I wouldn't be accepted by any health insurer in the US... What was that about rationing again?

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