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Comment Re:Sure (Score 1) 409

You can't have any kind of customs union without some base level of standards in everything from consumer protections to national subsidies to labour rights. It just doesn't work. Like it or not, you have to create some sort of centralized regime to set and enforce such standards. Why do you think the Founding Fathers through the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution? Their experience with the brief period of the US under the Articles of Confederation showed that if you don't have a strong central government that can overawe the constituent members, you'll end up with an unbalanced and ungovernable union with races to the bottom in all sorts of economic categories.

Comment Re:A completely unaccountable governing body (Score 1) 409

In general, people only "forget" that principle of a Westminster parliament when it happens when the opposing party is in power. I can't recall too many Labour members decrying the undemocratic nature of Gordon Brown becoming PM after Tony Blair stepped down. It's really just an impotent taunt.

As it is, I can't imagine too many sane Labour members wanting to have had a General Election any time in the last year, Brexit or no, since every poll indicates Labour would suffer pretty catastrophic losses, and the last two byelections at Stoke and Copeland demonstrated that. Labour clung on in Stoke, but lost Copeland, a seat it has held since before the Second World War. Only the delusional Momentum types seem to be under any kind of illusion that a GE held right now wouldn't leave Labour even weaker. Like it or not, the majority of British voters may not like the Conservatives (and shouldn't, since Brexit really is the culmination of a forty year civil war among the Tories), they simply do not see anyone else as a reasonable alternative.

Comment Re:Scotland just announced a post-Brexit independe (Score 1) 409

So far as I'm aware, Spain has made no such statement. It's position is considerably more nuanced:

Essentially, it means Scotland won't be able to "remain" in the EU if it should secede during or around the time of Brexit, and that Spain might agree to "eventually" let Scotland in. In other words, it is in the Spanish government's best interests that Scotland spend some amount of time out in the cold, simply because Spain cannot afford to be seen to be rewarding any independence movement, lest it light a fire underneath Catalan independence.

Comment Re:Scotland just announced a post-Brexit independe (Score 1) 409

Not an independent country as such, now, but then again the history of the Low Countries is an exercise in confusion, but at the end of the day the Wallonians are as distinct a community as the Scots are, and the "marriage" as it were that created the Kingdom of Belgian was one of those Great Power exercises in drawing borders, with the idea as much as anything to weaken certain nations and create semi-artificial barriers with the hope of sustained peace.

Catalonia might be a better example, as even after the union of the crowns with the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabellia, Catalonia, much like Scotland until the Act of Union, maintained its own independent political institutions, and even after Spain was more fulsomely united, the notion of Castilan/Catalan autonomy is very longstanding and of a similar historical age as Scotland's. Spain, like the UK after it, devolved powers to Catalonia and other "autonomous regions", but there remains a very strong Catalan independence movement, and this is precisely why Spain is unfriendly towards Scottish independence or any easy path to an independent Scotland's joining the EU. For Spain this represents the potential of significantly inflaming Catalan independence. If the EU were to admit Scotland quickly into the EU, that would send the message that Catalonia would expect the same quick admission.

Comment Re:How? (Score 2) 236

If they can get the bulk 'anonymized' data, there's a high chance they'll be able to identify the individuals. Anonymized data is such a joke that it rarely hides the identity. For example, if you have cell phone GPS data, the name of the owner and the phone number can be hidden, but if it starts and ends at the same place every day, then you can figure out who it is.

In browsing habits, you might look for people who surf to the congressional mail server web page. You might search URL query strings for embedded names. There's a lot of potential there, and the anonymized data might even include their address, which happens sometimes when the vendor doesn't actually care about hiding identity.

Comment Re:Tradeoffs (Score 1) 409

Haven't been able to. There ain't a lot of land in Britain, and a fairly high population, and it's been that way for over two hundred years. That's why Britain was, even in the 19th century, a big buyer of American corn (hence the grievance the Irish still hold over the Potato Famine, where the British government sat on large storehouses of US corn even as millions starved or fled Ireland).

Comment Re:Tradeoffs (Score 1) 409

It isn't just military guarantees. The economic ties between Britain and the Low Countries date back to the Middle Ages, and defending the Low Countries has accounted for much of Britain foreign policy for centuries. Britain is a trader nation, and since the Empire faded away after the mid-20th century, the importance of the Continent has only grown, but its importance has always been there, which is why Britain has fought every attempt at a Continental System.

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