back to article Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world

In the early 2000s the United Kingdom was the powerhouse of European science and innovation. For many young, aspiring scientists from continental Europe, this meant coming here to world-leading institutes and universities to pursue research not possible in the constraints of their home countries. In comparison to, especially, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fail

    I fell asleep at the second paragraph.

    D-, see me after class.

    1. Alfred

      Re: Fail

      You're very much part of the problem. Perhaps if you and others like you could pay attention to something that wasn't flashing lights and beeping at you to hold your conditioned, obedient mind in thrall we wouldn't be in this mess.

    2. Just Enough
      FAIL

      Re: Fail

      Let's make a distinction here between intelligent argument and intelligent writing.

      Boris here has a few intelligent points to make. But his writing submerges them in a poorly structured ramble. By the third paragraph I wasn't asleep, but I has already lost as to where he was coming from and clueless to where we might be going. Reading further and I was even further adrift and getting tossed from one tangential observation to the other. It kind of pulls itself into a safe harbour by the end, but I fear most readers will have been drowned in divergences by then.

      You'd think that someone who is a Research Fellow would be more skilled at getting his points across. I hope his research papers aren't as bad.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fail

      "Speaking of Empire. Something that I’ve never quite understood: How do you justify colonising from Cape to Cairo? I’m just asking, as nowadays you seem to hold quite strong views about foreigners and that they should stay in their home countries. Pesky migrants."

      We were largely just visiting and bringing a little British civilisation to the local heathens as a thank you for ruthlessly exploiting their local resources. Where we were actually "colonising" there were mostly no indigenous natives worth speaking of...

      Migrants as the name implies tend to outstay their welcome. It's usually alright though if they already have lots of money (hello lots of Russians, etc.)

      1. keith_w

        Re: Fail

        I am pretty sure that North America, Africa, India and Austrailia all had indigenous natives worth speaking of, many of which are still suffering the effects of colonization.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fail

          "I am pretty sure that North America, Africa, India and Austrailia all had indigenous natives worth speaking of, many of which are still suffering the effects of colonization."

          I don't recall the Brits bothering to colonise Africa or India?

          The Colonies (North America and Australia) both had a very low density of natives when the Brits arrived. The vast majority of colonial impact to those natives was long after the British Empire ceased to be involved.

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: Fail

            They had a much lower density after we turned up.

          2. oldcoder

            Re: Fail

            Did you forget South Africa? Kenya

            Gambia

            Sierra Leone

            Nigeria

            South West Africa

            Basutoland

            Swaziland

            Bechuanaland

            North Rhodesia

            South Rhodesia

            Nyasaland

            Tanganyika

            Zanzibar

            Uganda

            British Somaliland

            Egypt

            Just about 1/3 to 1/2 all Africa.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Fail

              "Did you forget South Africa?"

              That was the Dutch.

        2. <shakes head>

          Re: Fail

          to add some context ,the population of Zimbabwe was 500k I a land the size of the UK.

    4. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Fail

      Allow me to translate.

      "free from convoluted bureaucratic processes and administrative hurdles"

      Or in other words, blissfully free of ethical standards and consumer protection.

      As with any regulations, it is sadly necessary for them to become increasingly convoluted because of the violators' never-ending attempts to circumvent them.

      I've observed that most opposition to the EU is motivated by neoliberal sentiment. Fortunately I've also observed that most Brits despise neoliberalism, so I'd guess that we're not going to leave the EU any time soon, at least not by democratic consensus.

      On the other hand, this is a neoliberal regime elected by a mere 25% minority of voters, most of whom seem to live on six figure salaries in London and the Home Counties, and which arrogantly persists in passing legislation that contradicts the opinions of the remaining 75%, so perhaps expecting democratic outcomes is somewhat naive in the blatantly undemocratic UK. That point alone is reason enough to retain the protection of EU oversight.

      What it boils down to is this: bluntly, I'd rather be ruled by the EC than this or any other Tory government.

    5. YARR

      "The arguments of the Pro campaigners just add to the sentiment that I wasn’t welcome in the first place."

      Brexit is about our relationship with the political institution of the EU, not with European people or nations.

      "when I interject that the former size of your Empire isn’t relevant anymore, your hurt pride"

      I don't think many British people are "proud" of Empire or "hurt" by your suggestion.

      "How do you justify colonising from Cape to Cairo?"

      How can the EU justify seizing political control of member states without a democratic mandate?

      Besides most European countries were also colonisers, and were primarily motivated by economic reasons.

      "nowadays you seem to hold quite strong views about foreigners and that they should stay in their home countries"

      Inside or outside of the EU views would still be divided, but being outside the EU gives Britain control of immigration. This matters more to many voters than having "greater influence in Europe".

      "It’s your government, who use cheap rightwing messages"

      Actually our government has used taxpayer's money to spread pro-EU propaganda to every household.

      There's nothing "cheap" or "uneducated" about wanting independence from a political union that we never voted for (we only voted for a free market), that is anti-democratic and run by a self-serving appointed elite, whose excessive regulations and taxes have made Britain overwhelmingly poorer, and taken away powers to effect change that benefits us.

      "Austerity measures and the demise of the NHS have nothing to do with a few million foreigners taking your jobs and benefits"

      With the money we spend on the EU, the national budget would go a lot further.

      "largely generated by a hasty invasion of Iraq in 2003"

      The 2003 invasion did cause a wave of refugees, but the present wave of refugees are caused by recent conflicts that have many causes. The downfall of Libya was assisted by many EU countries.

      "Do you still wonder about the success of Polish and Romanian builders?"

      Not really - a British wage is worth a lot more to them than a Polish or Romanian wage is to a Brit.

      "The lack of social mobility is strong in Great Britain"

      How is the EU going to fix this? The EU creates inequality by funding a large and excessively well paid, unelected bureaucracy.

      Perhaps if fewer foreign students went to British universities, more British students would have an opportunity?

      "a short-term recession would just be an inconvenience"

      Why would freeing ourselves from a counter-productive political union provoke a recession, provided we remain open to free trade? The threats seem to come from people with a vested interest in centralising political control. If Britain's economy was more successful outside the EU it would prove to other Europeans that they would also be better off independent.

      "At least, there, I won’t be shut up as a foreigner without a right to vote."

      This is a nonsensical argument coming from someone educated to PhD level! Fair is fair - we can't vote in your referendum and you can't vote in ours.

      You've been granted the opportunity to express your view to a wide audience here. There are many who disagree with you who would relish the opportunity to be read so widely.

      "For me, the EU is not about the money ... It is a model how people can work together "

      Like it or not, money matters and a grossly inefficient institution should be subject to some competition. The higher goals you mention are global issues not local European issues.

      The EU is a hierarchical structure that dictates laws that take precedent over national sovereignty, it's not a forum for equal partner nations to agree common policies.

      "Is the Brexit debate yet another move to distract from the real issues in the country?"

      As a member of the EU, we are powerless to affect the real issues facing our country. Brexit would take that power back.

      "These problems cannot be tackled with national pride and strong emotion. We have all got to look forward, not backward."

      Your appeal to abstract emotional concepts is not a valid argument. You appear to suffer from a delusion that the only political path we can choose is to surrender to centralised control. I would prefer to regain more control over my own future in exchange for less influence over others.

      "you need to work on yourself"

      The feeling is mutual.

      1. Mark Exclamation

        @YARR, wish I could upvote you multiple times!

      2. MrSuntan

        @YARR yeah wish I could upvote many times too!

      3. evilhippo

        Thread winner

        Excellent reply.

        And Boris, please don't let the door hit you on the way out.

  2. Tom 15

    Prat

    What a prat. Sitting in Cambridge whining about how Oxford gets all the attention...

    1. Andrew Ansell
      FAIL

      Re: Prat

      The word "Oxford" appears once on the article. As part of the phrase "Oxford and Cambridge".

      What a prat. Sitting there not reading a story properly and then somehow blaming someone else for his apparent inability to tell the difference between Oxford and Oxbridge, the commonly used abbreviation for Oxford and Cambridge.

    2. Richard 81

      Re: Prat

      You do know what Oxbridge means, right?

    3. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Re: Prat

      You may find that 'Oxbridge' includes Cambridge. I think that even wikipedia gets that right.

  3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Something the author should consider is the fact that most British people (myself included) don't consider themselves european.

    We don't speak a latin language. We make few rules but we stick to them, unlike continentals who make many rules and ignore the ones they don't like.

    There are more differences than similarities. We just happen to share a continental shelf.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's more a north EU vs to south EU argument than a GB vs EU argument.

      1. WibbleMe

        I am sure that at least the French consider UK south an and Spain north

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I always like how people like to pretend they're talking for the majority in this (and most similar) farce.

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        Divide

        "That's more a north EU vs to south EU argument than a GB vs EU argument." --AC

        Yes, I've often wondered if the real divide is beer vs wine

        1. m0rt Silver badge

          Re: Divide

          "Yes, I've often wondered if the real divide is beer vs wine"

          Drink 10 pints of Beer, then 10 pints of wine*. I think you will see which wins then.

          *Not in the same day, obviously. Well I say obviously...

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Divide

            Drink 10 pints of Beer, then 10 pints of wine*. I think you will see which wins then.

            Depends. You'd get very different results with English beer and Italian wine, versus Belgian beer and English wine.

            1. m0rt Silver badge

              Re: Divide

              "Depends. You'd get very different results with English beer and Italian wine, versus Belgian beer and English wine."

              I challenge anyone to get through 10 pints of Belgian beer. That would be like trying to eat three Xmas dinners in one sitting.

              (I don't mean Jupiler, I mean something like Leffe, Duvel or Kwak. Lovely, but it is a liquid meal)

            2. Warm Braw Silver badge

              Re: Divide

              English wine

              At least English wine is, er, wine. Unlike British wine, which is factory-produced from imported grape juice concentrate and drunk only by those who find supermarket cider too sophisticated...

        2. Esme
          Coat

          Re: Divide

          Nope. It's tea (lovely!) vs coffee (filthy!)

    2. Chris Harden

      "Something the author should consider is the fact that most British people (myself included) don't consider themselves european."

      And you have some statistics on that do you? Maybe the people in your little world but for those of us who have met more than, say, ten people in our lives I would probably say most people would punch you if you tried to tell them what they are or are not.

      "We don't speak a latin language."

      Neither does Germany (as one example), what's your point?

      "We make few rules but we stick to them, unlike continentals who make many rules and ignore the ones they don't like."

      Yes, like the rules Bankers have to adhere to, or Politicians when claiming expenses. And the few rules we stick to, how many laws does this country have? When you take a black taxi do you make sure the bale of hay is in the boot of the car?

      "There are more differences than similarities."

      Yes, that's a good thing. Go check out evolution. The theory, not the film.

      "We just happen to share a continental shelf."

      We could try and cut ourselves off of that if you wanted, I'm pretty sure we have the technology?

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        most British people ... don't consider themselves european

        Probably also worth pointing out that many "British" people don't even consider themselves British (see previous referendum). It's interesting that you'd get similar observations to those of the author about our hereditary elite from people here in the frozen north - London (by which we typically mean everywhere south of Watford) looks as much like a remote colonial power to Newcastle as it once did to Nyasaland, so the whole issue of "identity" does not play in the same way as it does in the Home Counties.

        I do sometimes wonder if everyone would be happier if we simply built a wall around the M25 so the people on the inside could believe they were even bigger fish in the smaller pond of their own independent country and the rest of us could get on with our lives without the constant imposition of change for the sake of appearing to be powerful.

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          >Probably also worth pointing out that many "British" people don't even consider themselves British

          To be fair, it's not obvious that all British people consider themselves people.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Has to be said

            Ah, Brummie boys and Black Country boys working together

          2. Roger Mew

            I do not know where you come from ethnically, as most proper brits are derived from somewhere on the mainland eg France, Holland or Germany, and going back Italy. Now in my book these are European. OK those with shades of skin different to those countries are not of EU ethnicity, however the likelihood of being European if your skin is white is extremely high.

            So, if they do not consider them selves European where the phxxck do they think they are. Eastern asian are slant eyed, middle africa are black, and so on. So believe me there is not much considering to be done. Both my wife and I have names that trace back to French, many of our friends have names that are either Celtic or Dutch / German! Presumably they should allow themselves to be thought of as European, yet the majority of inhabitants of say Southall, Leeds, Peterborough and so on may not.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's your anecdote. I personally do identify as European.

      I always find my thinking amazingly similar to Germans when I visit.

      On the other hand, I simply can not believe, given we speak the same language (give or take), the yawning gap between American thinking. Unless the American is suitably well travelled and "Europeanized", it's nearly impossible to communicate.

      Makes me wonder why we fought Germany over such a small matter as a Hungry Ostrich getting shot.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Germany would be the exception. I get the impression that they are more like us than their neighbours, but they've been buggered by geography.

        1. Chris Harden

          Don't forget Poland too, they are much like you.

          You know, since their racist, bigoted, isolationist government got put in to power.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "We don't speak a latin language."

      Wait what? Are you not descendants of the Anglo-Saxons? Angel-Sachsen? The ones who spoke in Germanic languages, which are relatively closely related to latin?

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        "The ones who spoke in Germanic languages, which are relatively closely related to latin?"

        AFAIK Gothic (earliest attested Germanic language) is an Indo-European language, like Greek, Latin and also Sanskit. However, in terms of a time series, the early history before 300AD isn't known. What's more, early Gothic documents include a lot of Greek loan words.

        I'm no expert but I wouldn't therefore like to claim Gothic was "relatively closely related to Latin". They certainly share a common ancestry, but using that argument you could say we are closely related to Aryan Indians (not, I hasten to add, fantasy Nazi Aryans, but the writers of Sanskrit who called themselves Aryans.)

        Perhaps if the Leave campaign wins and the takeover of the country proceeds on its merry way, in a few hundred years we'll be having a vote on seceding from the Indian Empire, so we can join up with the Circumpolar Co-Prosperity Sphere run by China.

    5. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "We don't speak a latin language"

      Depends on who "we" are. There are two quite distinctive versions of English that could be described as "educated" and "uneducated" - as happens in other countries e.g. Greece and to a degree in France. Educated English still retains very significant verbal forms from Norman French and Latin.

      Let's write that again with Romance-derived words missing:

      on who we are. There are of English that could be as and as happens in other and to a in English still from and.

      Another example, from a train in Yorkshire:

      "Please retain tickets for inspection"

      for which the demotic is

      "Keep tickets to be looked at".

    6. ToddR

      Oh Dear,

      Didn't you know that most of the other EU countries don't speak a latin language either, but mostly germanic, (includes english), and slavic.

      I do feel european, but I also will be voting for Brexit, beacuse I care about democracy

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Why is it that lefties always use the phrase "oh dear"?

        ( I assume you're a leftie due to your unnecessary and condescending use of "oh dear" )

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          I assume you're a smug git due to your use of 'leftie' and your belief that a single non-political phrase can be unequivocally identified with a wide political spectrum occupied in varying degrees by tens of millions of people.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            I'm right though.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        ToddR "I do feel european, but I also will be voting for Brexit, beacuse I care about democracy"

        Perhaps you meant Sovreignty as opposed to Democracy, democracy requires a genuine majority to function, not many British Governments actually have the majority of voters vote for them.

        In addition once you have given whoever wins an election your 'mandate' they will do whatever they like regardless of majority feelings. So no, Brexit will make no difference to democracy in Britain, only where the arbitary decisions that are apparently made on your behalf and for your own good will be onshore instead of Brussels.

      3. TheVogon Silver badge

        "but I also will be voting for Brexit, beacuse I care about democracy!"

        I will because of immigration. Just think about what's going to happen when say much of Bangladesh sinks under the waves in a few decades due to global warming / sea level rise.....The EU will be inundated by even more undesirable economic migrants and refugees.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Yeah, close the borders. We don't want no stinkin people fleeing from some disaster.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            @ anonymous boring coward

            Has the eurozone/EU torn itself apart already? Not shocked they kept that quiet, until after the referendum anyway. Then we can go back to the disasters (economy, migration, politics, racism)- Greece, France, Portugal, Italy, Germany etc.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: @ anonymous boring coward

              "Not shocked they kept that quiet"

              Yes, it's all a big conspiracy, and the state of EU is a secret, of course.

              You can't go anywhere within the EU and see what it's all like either.

              Bloody forriners.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: @ anonymous boring coward

                @ anonymous boring coward

                "Yes, it's all a big conspiracy, and the state of EU is a secret, of course."

                What secret? they openly report the high unemployment rates, and were quite happy about the dire youth unemployment in (I think it was) Spain. The Euro currency crisis isnt a secret either even if they dont like to talk about it. The swift move to border controls is also pretty public too. What is remaining pretty quiet is the advancement of Turkey to joining the EU in exchange for migration controls (Bloody forriners indeed).

                You do have the conspiracy part down though. Many voices all contradicting each other as to why we need to remain (the EU will crumble, we will crumble, the UK will physically move out of Europe- maybe we will end up in a warmer part of the world. Who knows, etc). In fact them conspiring together is part of what the club is about, and our membership does seem to have given them something to agree on.

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