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Montevideo, November 13th 2018 - 18:42 UTC

Support for second Brexit referendum increases; PM May's approval ratings plunge

Monday, July 30th 2018 - 06:16 UTC
Full article 22 comments

The proportion of voters who favor a referendum on the final terms of any Brexit deal has overtaken those who do not for the first time, while UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s approval ratings have plunged, according to opinion polls. Read full article

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  • Brit Bob

    The EU always does this — grinding down people’s aspirations for freedom.
    Denmark rejected Maastricht Treaty in 1992 but was made to vote again. Ireland rejected the Nice Treaty in 2001, but, like Denmark, was forced to vote again. Both France and Holland rejected the EU Constitution in 2005. That was replaced by the almost identical Lisbon Treaty in 2008.
    Neither French nor Dutch voters were allowed to vote on Lisbon. Ireland did reject Lisbon but, of course, the Irish people were made to vote again.

    Jul 30th, 2018 - 01:48 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @BB
    I don't know how the Brexit referendum was conducted, but presume there was ONE question put to voters, “do you want IN or OUT of the EU ?”, (presumably after the many issues were publicly debated by those 'for and against' it ?)..
    If that was the case, wouldn't it have made more sense to break down the referendum into various questions, like for ex., if people were in favour of free or controlled movement of European citizens, of uncontrolled immigration, or of imposing certain restrictions on newly arrived refugees/ immigrants on the continent, their thoughts on the status of foreign nationals already living and working in the UK, if they agreed with having purely domestic matters being dictated by laws from Brussels etc, instead of under one broad question where a variety of different issues had to be answered with an overall YES or NO ? Many people probably ended up with a feeling that they hadn't been given the chance to vote differently on specific issues that were relevant to them, some of which they supported, and others not.....Just asking.

    Jul 30th, 2018 - 10:02 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Brit Bob can answer for himself, but I think asking such detailed questions would be totally impractical. The real problem was that the OUT alternative was a big blank unknown, and the various leave campaigners all claimed different things, with varying levels of (im)plausibility. The government should have had a plan on what would happen if people voted leave, specifying whether we'd stay in the single market, customs union etc, or aim for a simple trade deal, and told people what the implications would be. That way, everyone would have known what the options were and could have made an informed decision.

    As for the EU, it's perfectly true they have held repeat referendums, usually after making some small changes. No one held a gun to people's heads and forced them to change their votes the second time, though.

    Jul 30th, 2018 - 10:52 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    @JB. I don't know where you hail from. Let's assume that it's a democratic country with a parliamentary system. So every so often, I presume, you have national elections to determine who will govern the country. How many votes do you get? Do you have separate votes on welfare, with divisions for pre-natal, natal, post-natal, mental, general physical, elderly, on housing, on education, on industry, on labour, on road traffic, on the environment, on foreign relations, on international trade, on defence? No? I've never heard of a country doing that. The candidates get out there, make their speeches and their promises. People read newspapers and look on news websites. If they want to be really detailed they go to the websites of the political and, possibly, read the manifestos. Then they vote. ONCE. There is little opportunity for ordinary people to contact political parties and tell them that there are parts of their manifestos that they don't agree with. And, once the votes are cast, they don't get more votes every one, two, three, four years. And what's worse is that, once the votes have been cast and the government has been elected, the politicians do what THEY think and what suits them.

    Usually, people just shrug their shoulders and get on with it. But the referendum, whilst quite similar to a national election, had certain important differences. For a start, one body, the incumbent government, spent a fortune in taxpayers' money to print and distribute an explanatory leaflet to every household. It promised that it would respect the result. It wasn't a decision that could be changed four or five years in the future. Voters included those that had only known EU control and those who remembered how things used to be. Those that enjoyed a nanny state and those that preferred to stand on their own two feet. Those that believed in their nation and those that didn't. Those with memories, preferred their own feet and believed in their nation WON!

    Aug 01st, 2018 - 04:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    “...asking such detailed questions would be totally impractical”.....agree, the general public is not too smart, so trying to obtain meaningful answers might be useless.

    “The government should have had a plan on what would happen if people voted leave”...
    Would've thought Govt would only detail a plan to leave, after the referendum, as if the answer had been NO, things would have stayed as they were. But weren't the various issues, and implications, for and against leaving, amply debated in Parliament and/or public TV ? No one had a gun pointed to their head, even the first time. But if the mood has changed, what are the chances of another round of publicdebates / another referendum ?

    @Conqueror
    Live in Brazil, “fairly” democratic. Presidential system with a corrupt Congress. Elections “appear” to be honest (not sure if 100% honest) and are held regularly. The vote is simple, i.e., you vote for 1 candidate for each post, and those who get the most votes, win.

    But voting in an simple election is rather more straightforward - and presumably (but not always) the voter has done his homework - or is governed purely by ideology.
    In the Brexit referendum, I believe there were a 'few' really key issues, those which created the insatisfaction with the EU in the first place, and which could make the result sway one way or the other...these issues and only these could have been focused on. If the voter is content to just shrug his shoulders and get on with it, then he had his chance, and maybe blew it. I'm not saying people now need a 2nd chance to revert their earlier decision, unless of course it was unanimous - which obviously it wouldn't be.
    Anyway, I was just interested in knowing more about how it had worked. I remember discussing some of the pros and cons of the referendum with a few friends (who voted), and if I had had a vote, I too would've voted for OUT.

    Aug 01st, 2018 - 05:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @Conq
    “once the votes are cast, they don't get more votes every one, two, three, four years.”

    Um, yes we do. They're called general elections, and are held at least every five years, sometimes more often. Perhaps it slipped your mind?

    @JB
    That is what Cameron (PM at the time) said. He supported staying in, as do most politicians, and refused to make any plans for if the vote went the other way. We are all paying the price in chaos and uncertainty now.

    And no, the issues weren't properly debated. Both campaigns were awful; the pro-remain campaign tried to scare people into voting to stay using - in some cases - ridiculously over the top scenarios of doom and gloom, which backfired spectacularly, and the various leave campaigns simply lied by saying we could have all the good parts of the EU without the downsides. Their main slogan was saying they were 'tired of listening to experts'.

    Most of the crappy tabloid newspapers supported Brexit, too. Rupert Murdoch said that when he goes into Downing Street, they do what he says, but when he goes to Brussels, they take no notice.

    After the referendum they analysed the results and found by far the biggest factor affecting the vote was level of education. The more educated you are, the more likely to vote to remain. Second biggest factor was age.

    Now people like Conq who voted to leave call the remainers unpatriotic for refusing to believe in their daydreams of a long-gone empire, and meanwhile the talks drag on... and on... and the government can't agree on what to do, the PM is besieged on all sides by her own party, and we're getting closer and closer to the cliff-edge. The whole thing is a massive shit-show.

    Incidentally, there is a country where they ask their citizens detailed questions as you proposed. Switzerland, where most government is local and decentralised. I assume the Swiss are also better educated than average.

    Aug 01st, 2018 - 10:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Interesting.....correct me if I'm wrong, but I understood that Conq was in favour of Brexit...”Those with memories (i.e, the old days), preferred their own feet and believed in their nation WON!” and in a way he's right about the referendum : It's not like a elction for Parliament, where you get the chance to change yoiur vote every so-many years...You have one shot, and if you blow it, you've got to live with it...until perhaps, a situation arises whereby it might become possible to undo it....
    The Swiss ?? without a doubt....and easier, due to a far smaller population.

    Aug 02nd, 2018 - 09:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Yes, Conq is in favour of Brexit, that's why I said he voted to leave the EU? And you can see what he said about remainers: don't want to stand on their own feet, don't believe in their nation. It's really divided the country, and it's hard not to resent the leave voters for
    doing this to us, the vilification is just the cherry on top.

    If I say anything more about them I'm just going to rant, so instead I'll tell you why I support the EU.

    Apart from ensuring peace in Europe - and just look at history to see how truly rare that is - the EU is big enough to stand up to the huge multinationals like Microsoft and Google. It's big enough to have negotiating power with even the US and China. And unlike our government they care about worker's rights and consumer protection. It's the EU that stops our data being sold off to spammers, makes sure we know what's in the food we eat, and bans stuff like growth hormones in beef and chlorine in chicken. I liked the fact I could move to any other EU country, get a job and buy a house, without needing a visa or any other bureaucracy. It means a whole lot more opportunity, and I'm not afraid of competing with European workers.

    The EU tries to develop poorer countries in Eastern Europe, and it's working. In the short term it's caused some difficulties, but I think in the long run, we will all be better off. And on a smaller scale the EU passes useful laws, like when they forced the mobile networks to remove roaming charges for using your phone on holiday, or insisted all devices must charge with a standard USB lead instead of those wretched proprietary things they used to use.

    As for the referendum, originally I didn't think we should have another, but I've changed my mind after seeing what a shambles the talks have been. If they could get the EU to agree to let us stay under the original terms as if nothing had ever happened, then they should hold another one, otherwise no. I don't believe it will happen though.

    Aug 02nd, 2018 - 10:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    You're right ....Conq did say he voted to leave, but when you wrote “Now people like Conq who voted to leave call the remainers unpatriotic for refusing to believe in their daydreams of a long-gone empire”, for some weird reason I momentarily confused things and understood the contrary...sorry.

    Ok, I see and understand your reasons for preferring to remain within the EU, but as the referendum did not give people the choice to vote separately on the issues they liked / disliked (impracticable), and obliged them to group everything under a yes/no, must have gone against the grain for many....but I well remember the two main issues which influenced my friends vote to leave, the obligation to have to indiscriminately accept immigrants and/or refugees, and Brussel's invasive interference in things which might be better off by having more local autonomy.....Being forced to accept such impositions, with no say in the matter, I think would be frustrating.
    But you weren't given the choice to accept the good / get rid of the bad...

    Aug 03rd, 2018 - 07:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I ran out of room to mention the open skies agreement that made foreign holidays so much cheaper, and I didn't even get onto the economic side. But you get the idea. I could also make a list of things I don't like about the EU, but even if the government wanted to ask separate questions, the EU doesn't let us pick and choose (much).

    However, there is no obligation to indiscriminately accept immigrants and refugees. We are obliged to let EU nationals live and work here, not refugees or citizens of third countries. For some people just having the EU workers was a deal breaker, but there was a lot of misinformation before the referendum, for example saying Turkey would soon join (they are in no state to do so, and are moving further away if anything), and that the EU would force us to accept 'Muslim immigrants' (pure fake news). Germany chose to allow immigrants, and was trying to distribute the ones in overburdened Greece and Italy around the Schengen zone, but may countries have refused to take them, and as usual the UK already opted out.

    As for Brussels interference, there are certainly cases where I agree things would be better done locally. But we do have a say, as we vote for MEPs, and the various governments choose the commissioners. It's not unlike America; obviously people have more control of their own state government, but they also get to vote for Congress, and these days senators too, but originally senators were chosen by the state government which is more like how the EU works.

    By far the most frustrating thing about the referendum, is how terribly misinformed most the leave voters I have spoken to are. That's how I found out about the fake news that was being spread, and most of them haven't the first clue about the economic implications, and don't want to know either.

    Aug 03rd, 2018 - 08:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    ”but even if the government wanted to ask separate questions, the EU doesn't let us pick and choose (much)”.....that is the type of interference I don't like...too much government ; but suppose it boiled down to weighing the pros 'n cons, and voting for what displeased you less.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't there quite a few illegal immigrants (or refugees already in France, or Germany) that were smuggled in or tried to get in to the UK by other means (Chunnel)? what happened to them ? simply deported or given the right to asylum ?
    Also, I was under the impression that Brussels had a certain amount of power to oblige the UK to accept a determined number of immigrants, and that many were even given benefits superior to native Brits, already waiting in line (for similar benefits) for years....such as jumping the line for cheap (or subsidized) housing...(???)

    Also, by having a government in Brussels, overseeing your own home government, seems to me that the EU favours politicians electing other politicians, perpetuating themselves in power, which in a way is like putting the fox in charge of the chicken-run....and that the individual citizen in the UK, was being ruled (more 'n more) from abroad..

    Regarding the lack of information, or comprehension of the implications of the referendum, it's not surprising that most people were probably not well informed, or had misconceived ideas about both possible decisions, but when you have such a referendum, which requires minimum comprehension of certain issues that most know nothing about - or “don't want to know either” - the result becomes a lottery.

    Need space to post comments on “Argentine military involved in domestic security..”, now closed….

    The video link below has nothing to do with the above subject, but is interesting to understand the attempt of the left to take over Latin America. https://youtu.be/OpfdNHZbD3w
    https://youtu.be/OpfdNHZbD3w

    Aug 04th, 2018 - 05:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    You live in a huge country, so there would not be much advantage to forming such a union. But I see the rest of the world growing quickly, and becoming richer and more powerful, and Europe hasn't much room to grow. We can only be strong and look after our own interests by working together, isn't that why Trump declared the EU an enemy? Because economically it's a rival for the US.

    Anyway, I don't think the EU are unreasonable, because they have a list of exceptions and opt outs as long as your arm; they have to draw the line somewhere. The problem is it badly needs reform in several areas, but because it's a collection of countries, it's very hard to reform anything; someone always objects.

    Yes, there was a camp of illegal immigrants in Calais, trying to sneak into Britain, mostly by hiding in lorries. Not sure what happened to those who made it here, probably they were allowed to apply for asylum and their cases heard. Asylum seekers get £37.75 per person per week, and somewhere to live if they need it, which could be anywhere in the country where there is spare housing. For comparison, if you are unemployed in Britain, you can claim jobseeker's allowance, which is £73.10 per week for a single person, and if eligible can also claim housing benefit to pay your rent.

    And no, Brussels cannot force Britain to accept even one migrant, because Tony Blair opted out of EU immigration and asylum in the 1997 Amsterdam treaty. Same as we were not obliged to join the Euro, not included in the Schengen free travel zone, received a huge rebate on our contributions that no other country gets, and did not have to join in the bailout of Greece et al (thought our government chose to give bailout loans to Ireland and Portugal, on better terms than the EU gave). That was the dynamic in the EU; mostly France and Germany were able to control the direction, while Britain was able to opt out of things we particularly objected to.

    And now I've run out of room too...

    Aug 04th, 2018 - 09:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Am not contesting the concept of forming a union to become stronger etc,. but giving up part of your nat’l identity/autonomy in order to do so…couldn’t free-trade agreements (and others) be made, without the need to impose other obligations not all agreed 100% with, but were obliged to swallow the whole package deal…it’s like signing a contract for health coverage, in which you don’t like all the clauses, but are obliged to accept them in order to get what you need…
    ” a list of exceptions and opt outs as long as your arm”….perhaps, but looks like not sufficient to avoid discontent.

    But even considering Brazil’s size/potential, it signed the Mercosur agreement (1991), which has quite frankly, failed to deliver what it promised…and prevented Bzl from signing better, bilateral agreements with economies that matter.

    Ok, native Brits, or long-time residents get a bit more than asylum seekers, but at what point do these asylum seekers become productive taxpayers ? if at all ? Well, I’m glad the UK had the chance to opt out of some things it disliked, but unfortunately not of all of them…

    Aug 04th, 2018 - 10:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I guess even a standard trade deal involves giving up some of your national autonomy, but the EU was way more than we wanted. The UK mostly joined for trade reasons, it was other countries that had more ambitious ideas like the shared currency and immigration area, and European parliament. Unfortunately that is what was on offer, take it or leave it.

    The real opt-out needed to avoid discontent was to free movement, but the other members would never have agreed. Ironically it was the UK that pushed to allow the E European countries to join the EU, thinking that a bigger EU would be a more diverse EU, preventing more moves towards 'ever closer union'. But this created a problem with free movement; when the much poorer countries joined, hundreds of thousands moved to wealthier ones to find jobs, causing large scale demographic change.

    And the asylum seekers cannot legally work, so only *if* they are granted asylum, can they then get jobs and start establishing themselves. I imagine it's difficult, often their qualifications are not valid in the UK, and many speak no or bad English. But we don't take them for our own benefit anyway, but grudgingly, because we're required by international law.

    I'm curious how much money those two amounts seem to you. I imagine in Brazil many people have to survive on much less, but probably the cost of living is lower too?

    As for Mercosur, I agree it has failed to deliver. Probably it suffers from the different sizes of the members, as Argentina seems more interested in protecting their economy against Brazil, than in any opportunity, and the other two countries are comparatively small and not very powerful. In the EU France and Germany have balanced each other since the beginning, and Britain was also big enough to have a lot a lot of sway.

    Anyway, looks like Mercosur is finally getting somewhere with the EU, so maybe it'll soon start being useful, but not there yet.

    Aug 05th, 2018 - 12:42 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    “ but the EU was way more than we wanted...” sure sounds like it.
    Standard (bilateral) 'trade' deals are more transparent, closer to what you expect you'll get out of them, and easier to re-negotiate if / when situations change.

    “..but grudgingly, because we're required by international law”....int'l law, or EU law ? Either way, that's what I mean, 'foreign' laws superseding domestic ones...

    The £ 73.10 per week, equal to approx R$ 350,00, is about double the monthly average for the BF....which just about puts basic food necessities on the table...the cost of living here IS less than in the UK (at least in most things I suppose), but how far do the 73 quid per week go in the UK ? after buying food, (paying rent ?) anything left ?

    Regarding the Mercosur, the issues on integration and cooperation are usually presented from two angles ; first, the optimistic one, in which negotiators claim things are progressing, but there are natural difficulties (still not sorted out after 27 years ?) ; second, the pessimistic angle (from which, even prior to the negotiations there were loads of barriers, and ) : IF the productive/commercial integration doesn't work, we always have other fields to explore, such as the political, social and cultural ones (really ? thought it was supposed to be a TRADE agreement , not a political forum...)
    In other words, always full of excuses to not do what should be done. Meanwhile, it prevents Brazil from inserting itself in to the global economy, from signing more important/promising agreements.

    As to the trade agreement with the EU, negotiations which have been dragging on for about 20 years, and although never as close as now to being signed, still faces a lot of resistance from some EU members, due to agricultural issues....that's the problem of negotiating within, or 'in' “block”, rarely are all members on the same level of development, in agreement, or want the same things.

    Have two posts to send…

    Aug 06th, 2018 - 04:56 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Yeah, bilateral trade deals are easier (though not among 28 countries!) but we couldn't just ignore the EU. Like many things on Yes, Minister, there is a certain element of truth to this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVYqB0uTKlE

    Now we still can't make individual deals with our big trading partners in Europe, but have to deal with a united EU... and the chances of agreeing anything are looking worse all the time. The economy is already suffering and nothing has actually changed yet.

    “int'l law, or EU law”

    International law. The same one that stops America just dumping immigrants back over the border in Mexico. Personally, I think having a few international laws is a good thing, given what some governments have been willing to do in the past...

    “how far do the 73 quid per week go in the UK?”

    I'm fortunate enough not to know that now. But after Uni I was on the dole for a while. I was living in the boxroom in a shared house, and I could afford rent, bills, and cheap food, nothing more. I didn't even get the bus when I went to sign on, but walked. After that I got a crappy part time job and wasn't much better off.

    As for Mercosur, I think the left-wing governments weren't big on trade, and more interested in political etc integration. Things have changed now. But, if the talks don't go anywhere, maybe Brazil should leave, or just ignore it and start making your own deals with other countries. What are the other members gonna do anyway?

    And I finally have room to talk about your video. It was interesting that she said the free market approach had never properly been tried, but what makes her think any government will be willing to act differently now? Reminds me of the people who claim(ed) there has never been a truly communist country, because none of them followed the theories properly, so didn't count. Anyway, in Argentina they did get fed up of the left and elected a centre-right government. I think many are regretting it now - seems just they can't win.

    Aug 06th, 2018 - 09:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    “Yes Minister” is hilarious...”divide 'n rule, why change it now, to break it (EU) up you need to get inside..“....used to watch it in the US, pity we don't get this type of humour here.

    Re the US, doesn't look like int'l law is preventing them from deporting illegals...and quite frankly, don't agree with the principle that an outside entity can impose laws not voted for domestically.

    The 73 quid, although probably just the bare minimum to survive in the UK, is much higher than the BF, 'n goes much further.

    Regarding the Mercosur, perhaps a bad agreement is better than none, but in practise, with all the trade barriers & restrictions still in force, you sometimes wonder how tangible the benefits really are ; despite the agreement, trade is NOT free...as each country wants to change the rules when something happens /goes against their interests...in the end, they 'force' concessions, as there isn't much option, but it's hardly the spirit of a true trade agreement.

    The video is interesting in that besides exposing the the non-existence of any real attempts to integrate the continent tradewise, it points out the real dream behind the FdSP....”political” integration, despite enormous contrasts, not only between countries but 'within' countries as well...
    IF trade integration requires enormous concessions, it's never going to work ; and that is provided you manage to ignore what is really behind it ...the desire to dominate the continent, potentially rich, being poorly managed for the benfit of VERY few.....and of course, we know who those few are.

    To me, Latin-American politicians use ideology and sweet talk just to get elected, and once in, most ignore their promises and strive for (relative) absolute power, claiming to be 'perfect' democracies....and using the excuse they were democratically elected (at least initially). Their ploys only fail when the institutions are solid enough to resist their attacks.
    And the people, or rather “sheeple”, don't learn.

    Aug 07th, 2018 - 05:14 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    It was before my time really, but I've heard lots of people say Yes Minister was frighteningly accurate.

    As for the illegals, we do deport them, and I'd say they are treated better in the US overall, although we have never had a systematic policy to separate parents from children. Out government doesn't mind putting kids in jail, although they've done nothing wrong. And our immigration laws are ridic strict for legit immigrants too.

    Do you agree with the allies hanging the Nazi's for war crimes after WWII? Because what the Nazi's did was fully legal under the laws they made themselves. It's not a perfect system, but I think it's worth having a few international laws.

    RE the dole money, there's no comparison between 'surviving' in the UK and in Brazil. IIRC, in the Brazilian census they asked questions like whether people had running water in their homes, or whether they owned a refrigerator. In the UK everyone is assumed to have these things. Here the money is supposed to allow a poor but decent standard of living, healthy diet, etc, although some areas are more expensive than others and not everyone spends it wisely. In Brazil, the BF has literally stopped people starving. Being on the dole sucked big time, but I never went hungry and still had all the mod-cons.

    Oh, just to illustrate how much people here know about Brazil, today my boss asked me what country São Paulo is in. (Our software had screwed up the 'ã'.) It's only the single biggest city in the entire Americas...

    I don't think the Mercosur really compares to the EU, but Argentina is your third largest trading partner, so I guess it depends how much benefit you get with that, and who else you might be able to make a deal with. You'll know these things better than me, but it's clearly very different to Britain's situation.

    “trade integration... desire to dominate the continent”

    Not sure what you're saying here. Who wants to dominate the continent?

    Aug 07th, 2018 - 10:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    “D'you agree with the allies hanging Nazi's for war crimes ?” sure do. That’s war...not to mention tt their crimes fully justified it. The Nazi’s local policies were very different to common laws made to regulate society 'n (decent) interaction between people. And pretty extreme.
    As to census questions (BZL), you are quickly realizing tt what you take for granted may be a luxury in Brazil, and usually is, amongst the really poor.
    Ok, you went on the dole while you needed it, 'n didn’t use it to make yourself ‘comfy’. You had ambition to stand on your own two feet.
    You’d be surprised how little tt people who haven't travelled (and not even necessarily extensively) know about Brazil, or Latin America. In the 80s, in the US, outside the people I mingled with (in shipping, int’l logistics), very few had any clue.
    The Mercosur can’t be compared to anything (serious)…it still hasn’t accomplished its full purpose, and after 27 years isn’t much closer to it. Just one case for ex., in the late 90s/early 2000s, Brazil exported enormous quantities of ‘white products’ (stoves, fridges etc) to Argentina…Brazil took cars made in Argentina….at the first sign of domestic crisis in Argentina they tried to change the rules : they would drastically reduce those imports but would carry on exporting us their cars….Brazil eventually accepted to avoid a worse situation, and saw its trade deficit in this area, grow. Local producers (Whirlpool) sacked employees etc, and that was it.
    “dominate the continent...” after what you’ve read of the FdSP, what do you think its intention really was/is ? clearly, to elect their leftist friends in as many LatAm countries as they could/can, with the sole intention of implementing their socialist ideas, which btw, have nothing to do with socialism as you understand it…more like a corrupted form of democracy (used to get elected), where they are the elite ‘n the people are just the means towards an end. Why can't people see the writing on the wall?

    Aug 07th, 2018 - 11:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “sure do”

    Well then, if we are going to enforce international laws on other people, we better had follow them ourselves. And if we expect countries like Brazil and Turkey to take endless refugees (tho now one of your state gvmts is trying to close the border) , then richer countries should take some too.

    And yes, standard of living in Brazil is very different to UK, and the benefits reflect that. Your BF seems very small to me, for all the complaints of paying people to do nothing. When I was on the dole I met people with few skills, and fewer aspirations, and plenty were happy to stay on benefits - the reason employers prefer Poles and Lithuanians. It's somehow soul destroying doing nothing every day, even the shitty job I had working in a pub was better than that. I'm just glad I was smart enough to get an education and a decent job eventually.

    Do Americans know any more about Brazil now, compared to the 80s?

    RE Mercosur, why did Brazil accept such an unbalanced situation? Surely being the bigger country, you should have more power than Argentina? Or was it just that Argentina was so broke, they couldn't pay for anything?

    As for the FdSP, I don't see how it would make any difference, Latin America has always been poorly managed for the benefit of a few, and trade has generally benefited the other party more, whether it was Portugal, the UK, or US. More trade between the countries should be helpful, supposing they would ever agree to it.

    “Why can't people see the writing on the wall?”

    Why did people vote for Trump, or Brexit? I suppose if present conditions are bad enough, they are willing to vote for anything else...

    Aug 07th, 2018 - 11:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Don't think the reluctance to accept international law, or (a slightly extreme) one imposed inview of belonging to a block' ('n which may not be acceptable to a good part of the population), i.e.,not wanting to receive immigrants/refugees indiscriminately, can be compared to the atrocities committed by the Nazis...using that example to justify the blind acceptance of some international law, is similar to our local politicians arguing against the privatization of State cos, based on the unique case of PB. How abt “a bit” of independence in deciding domestic issues, when these conflict with int'l law ? (IMO).

    The BF, although piddling compared to your 'dole' payments, is still enough - in the N & NE - for receivers to lie back 'n do nothing...that's why they should be monitored, to at least check if they are even trying to get a job...

    “Do Americans know any more about Brazil ....”...I'd say yes, due to the spread of mass communication...but I also think the majority has little interest in what goes on beyond their bellybuttons.

    The Mercosur members, although not all on the same footing when the agreement was signed, commited themeslves to take measures to reduce the differences...by the look of it this didn't happen, due to different economic structure, to the way global problems affected each one differently, and course, lack of political will ('n continuity) to do what they should have. If they can't even agree on simple issues between themselves, what to say about negotiating a viable agreement with another block ? Each country's vote has the same weight, so even if you could force a situation, what use would it be? You can only go so far...

    The FdSP would, if succesfull, turn LatAm into a dictatorship, similar to how Maduro rules in VZ ; it's the differences, not the concentration,that keeps a healthy balance

    Most don't see the writing on the wall, either becos they are uninformed, or incapable of understanding the implications of certain decisions.

    Aug 08th, 2018 - 03:08 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Well, of course murdering someone is much worse than stealing their wallet, but that doesn't mean the latter should be ignored. The rules on asylum come from a 1967 UN Protocol, which the UK (and Brazil) *chose* to sign up to, and incorporate into domestic law. D'you think we should just ignore the treaty now because it has become unpopular? Honestly, I think you share a little of the Brazilian disregard for laws.

    Re the BF, no point trying now while unemployment is so high, but when the economy improves, it would be worth looking at root causes - do people need to move, or get training/education, in order to find a job? Or would building infrastructure provide more opportunity? I agree it's bad for the country (and themselves) to have people just living off it, though better than the alternatives.

    “the majority has little interest in what goes on beyond their bellybuttons”

    Too true. There are plenty of ignorant people in every country, who have no interest in changing that.

    “Each country's vote has the same weight”

    In theory it's like that in the EU too; despite the parliament, mostly all the countries have to agree on things. And yet the biggest countries always manage to get their way anyway. I guess you're right about Mercosur not working out how it was planned, and the countries have all had different problems, as well as successive governments that strongly disagreed on the value of trade, integration, etc. Reversing a country's course every ten years can't be good for development in any case. Do you think Brazil should leave?

    RE the FdSP, there's a reason socialism is still popular in South America, even after watching Cuba for 50 years. Those countries badly need reform, more inclusive policies, and less inequality. As long as the problems are not fixed, drastic measures will appeal to some people. As for differences, didn't they all fall to military dictatorships in the 70s, then nearly all turn socialist this century? I don't see any balance there.

    Aug 08th, 2018 - 05:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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