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. TheVogon Silver badge

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

            Quite. Let the EU play migrant table tennis without us. Especially when it's likely going to be many millions of them. We already spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid...

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      I've always thought of myself as a European for what it's worth.

      And what's all this about not making many rules but sticking to them? That's not the British way! We have many rules and laws, but there's a tacit understanding of whether they'll be enforced or not, which varies according to the time and place.

      Or maybe that's just the impression I got from growing up in the countryside, where things like licensing hours for pubs were regarded more as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule.

      1. Roger Mew

        Oh what now THAT is French, they have highway laws yet we are taking our Mairie to the Tribunal d'administration for infractions numbering over 100 according to the Hussier (bailiff who is supporting our concerns) then we are going after amny other towns and organizations including the Gendarmerie and the police for failing in thier duty of care and not prosecuting these infractions.

        All they care about is getting money from motorists, not even if you report something will they do ought. So really your comment is really French! Not the British way!

        Incidentally, I was in a pub in the west country, you had to go down a river to get there in a car or wellies, and the police turned up at silly oclock one summers evening when the harvester vehicles had just finished. They knicked the publican, and a load of vehicles for no tax or MOT etc.It was the first time the police had been there for many years, before the war in fact. Most of the vehicles got off as it was found that the road in the river had not been adopted by the council and the police car actually was in infringement of its insurance limitations!

    2. Paul Hampson 1

      We don't all feel like you.

      I have to agree with the man.

      I left the UK to work abroad because of the wealth/influence imbalance (coming from the north with a matching accent) I took my Master's degree and left. His being foreign may have actually aided him in some circles since a foreign accent is often considered better than a northern one.

      I am very much European and trust Brussels more than London.

      If this was a fair referendum (most expats can't vote) the contest would be over

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We don't all feel like you.

        I am very much European and trust Brussels more than London.

        I suppose planned mediocrity does have some appeal. "mostly harmless"

        If this was a fair referendum (most expats can't vote) the contest would be over

        Don't bet on it. I'm a UK expat living in the EU, and whilst I'd have voted to remain in the common market/EC, I would certainly vote to leave the EU. If I had the vote that Cameron's bunch promised us in their manifesto, that is.

    3. manchesterj

      Wouldn't that make German an un European language?

  1. Efros

    I'm glad my mind doesn't image this.

    "I can almost imagine Vladimir Putin and Boris Johnson sitting on that horse together. With bare chests."

    shudder!

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: I'm glad my mind doesn't image this.

      Duh! Rule 34 tells us that it has already been imagined. Perhaps even by at least one of the protagonists?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: I'm glad my mind doesn't image this.

        Perhaps even by at least one of the protagonists?

        The horse?

        1. captain veg

          Re: I'm glad my mind doesn't image this.

          There can be, be definition, only one protagonist. Could be the horse.

          -A.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm glad my mind doesn't image this.

      pass the mind-bleach please

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The ad hominems have started early

    Given that we have one commentard anxious to make it clear that he hasn't read beyond the first 74 words and another pretending not to know the difference between "Oxbridge" and "Oxford", there's clearly some anxiety to avoid engaging with the argument.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The ad hominems have started early

      It was sarcasm - of course I read it, all of it, but I was implying it was an awful article. A huge number of words without managing to actually say anything.

      1. Alfred

        Re: The ad hominems have started early

        No, that wasn't sarcasm. Sarcasm involves implying the opposite of what you said, and you made no such implication. You realised afterwards that you were being the class clown, playing up to an audience of idiots, and then decided to pretend that actually you had read it all along.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The ad hominems have started early

          >playing up to an audience of idiots

          Bit of an own goal there Alfred.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: The ad hominems have started early

        A huge number of words without managing to actually say anything.

        Yes, it does rather read like a petulant rant from somone whose grant to research his pet subject wasn't renewed again.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: The ad hominems have started early

          A huge number of words without managing to actually say anything.

          You know how you used to write those essays and then do a word count...

    2. Banksy

      Re: The ad hominems have started early

      But the ad hominems in the article are perfectly acceptable? For example lumping in UKIP with the EDL? Calling people who might vote to leave 'losers' (despite it looking like almost, or more than, half the country will vote that way)? Asking why an empire is acceptable despite there being nobody from the height of empire alive now (I'm excluding Hong Kong)?

      Don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out Boris.

      1. Vinyl-Junkie
        Flame

        Re: The ad hominems have started early

        "For example lumping in UKIP with the EDL?"

        As far as I, and many of my friends, are concerned the only difference between EDL and UKIP is the lengths they go to in order to disguise their inherent xenophobia and racism. They totally deserve to be lumped together.

  3. joeldillon

    I'm not sure there are many people outside the BNP who seek to justify colonising Africa these days...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would you like European neo-liberalism, or British neo-liberalism?

    This referendum is bollocks. Where's the referendum on TTIP?

    Sorry I can't do that (call me) Dave.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge
      Pint

      You know what, if the writer thought like this it'd have:

      a) Been a much shorter article

      b) Made more sense

      c) Worth much more

      Have a pint from me. TTIP is a far more dangerous issue and is a massive issue regardless of whether we vote In/Out.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Where's the referendum on TTIP?

        We'll only have a option of that once we leave the EU.

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: Where's the referendum on TTIP?

          >We'll only have a option of that once we leave the EU.

          You realise that unlike the British government, the French government has actively come out against TTIP and is refusing to even think about signing it without major changes?

          Meanwhile Boris said in 2014 there was "absolutely nothing not to like" about TTIP, and that "it would have Churchill beaming."

          And you want to trust Boris and his chums with the UK's future?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Trollface

            Re: Where's the referendum on TTIP?

            the French government has actively come out against TTIP and is refusing to even think about signing it without major changes?

            Sounds like a good reason to vote for it. Anything international that the French don't like must be good.

          2. Gezza

            Re: Where's the referendum on TTIP?

            OK - so flip the respective positions in your post. You may end up with the same final line but which ones can we do something about. It certainly isn't any of that lot in Brussels/Strasbourg* (*delete as appropriate depending on which day of the month it is when the whole kit and caboodle gets crated up and re-housed - classic EU fiscal probity).

            This whole EU thing is about self-determination. Everything else is a subset.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        The problem is that the EU might be on the verge of cancelling TTIP and you may find yourself post-Brexit in a situation where the conservatives enact it in the UK...

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          post-Brexit in a situation where the conservatives enact it in the UK...

          And just like the US-UK extradition treaty, the US omits to sign up to it themselves...

          1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

            I believe the same thing happened after WWII where there was an agreement to share secrets between the US and the UK, that only went one way as well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Is the prevalent feeling that the public can consider themselves lucky to choose between candidates, who more often than not went to the same elitist schools, depicted and promoted by media run by their former classmates?"

      That explains the antipathy towards the young (in particular) to politics. However it also explains the even greater antipathy towards Europe.

      The EU appears to be run by a bunch of political has-beens (Neil Kinnock anyone?) who gain their positions and substantial salaries purely by means of their connection to the old politicians club. There was certainly no democratic input into that process.

      I think it is easy to support the general EU objectives of free movement of goods, services and people. But it is very hard to support the opaque and incestuous political structures which underpin it, and which we can do nothing to change.

      1. inmypjs Silver badge

        "I think it is easy to support the general EU objectives of free movement of goods, services and people."

        Really? That is most of the problem. When the border with Poland opened 2 million Poles crossed going outwards. The number that crossed inwards looking for work? - could probably count on your fingers.

        So sure Poles will support those objectives but the people in the countries they went to not so much because at least some of what the Poles gained was their loss.

        Free movement forces an equalisation of living standards and that hurts people in the wealthier members and very unfairly. The rich get cheap servants and labour for their businesses the skilled workers get their wages depressed and the unskilled end up on the dole.

        1. Chris Harden

          That's a stupid way of looking at it, what are you going to do, load all 2 million of them in to a van and ship them back across the continent?

          PS before you reply I should warn you it's a trick question.

          When you start thinking of people, PEOPLE, as 'them' your doing life wrong. Europe is trying to do something good for the world, get over it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > > "I think it is easy to support the general EU objectives of free movement of goods, services and people."

          > Really? That is most of the problem.

          On the whole I'd say this movement is economically neutral as far as the UK is concerned: more workers, more consumers, more taxpayers. Remember that this inbound movement is typically young, skilled and enthusiastic workers and we have a mountain of pension debt to service.

          The main area where the impact is profoundly negative is on the shortage of housing.

          I find it ironic to see the right-wing press on one day saying how terrible immigration is, and the next day crowing about how wonderful it is that house prices have risen so much.

          > Free movement forces an equalisation of living standards

          I see that as a plus: better living standards for humanity overall, less polarisation of wealth, and a far better way of achieving it than either foreign aid or taxation.

          Which reminds me of the other major problem with the EU: enormous amounts of money being paid to the already-rich (i.e. landowners). By the EU's own admission this amounts to about 1% of total government spending by EU members. Presumably it is done primarily to stop French farmers from blockading the roads and ports.

          But even that policy would be OK if it were decided openly and democratically - not behind closed doors.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The rich get cheap servants and labour for their businesses the skilled workers get their wages depressed and the unskilled end up on the dole.

          Not that this wasn't an issue in Britain before the EU.

        4. Tom Womack

          Why would you bother looking for work in Poland? This is the era of capital; take the money from selling a two-bedroom house in Zone 2, buy an apartment block in Krakow with half of it, stick the other half in UK-based investment funds, and you get to live the rentier dream. Settle down with a nice Polish girl somewhere where you can actually live off the interest.

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      Good point on TTIP referendum

      UK govt would sign TTIP even faster than they would pocket a dubious regime backhander for some weapons: - if "brexit" happens, "solo" UK (no longer bound in EU TTIP negotiations) will definitely be TTIPing as nary a squeak against TTIP has come from UK govt thus far.

      Ironically TTIP agreement hit a bit of a stumbling block currently due to various (non UK) EU nations not being keen on some of the excessive "let corporations walk all over us" strictures.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Stop

    The facepalm is strong in this one

    France has less science bureaucracy or favouritism than the UK? Most European governments would fall if their approval for something like GCHQ’s Tempora became public, yet Germany and the BND are still going strong. The EU is a fluffy cuddly thing... that has driven Southern Europe into the ground.

    There are imperfections everywhere, including everywhere else in Europe.

    The UK is between a rock and a hard place with this referendum on the future of the Tory party, Brexit and a bunch of swivel-eyed loons take charge, Bremain and the EU marches ever onward with... who knows what it does, sometimes it does good things like privacy and human rights laws, other times it brings countries to its knees, others it's unable to do sweet FA (migration crisis), and it's not too democratic while it does it.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: The facepalm is strong in this one

      The EU's democracy is odd. It's undemocratic in some areas, and overly democratic in others. So pretty much the only things that ever get done are the stupid things like telling us we can't use fast boil kettles anymore.

    2. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: The facepalm is strong in this one

      " Brexit and a bunch of swivel-eyed loons take charge"

      Yes but at least we get a chance to elect some different ones in a couple of years and will have much more reason to care.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The facepalm is strong in this one

      Southern Europe has driven itself into the ground, by overspending then cooking its books.

      Oh, sure, one can criticize the plans aiming to help them - but right or wrong, they're still plans aiming to help them They are not the cause of where they are.

      And the EU does, the EU does not. Last time I looked, people at the head of the EU are all either directly elected by us or chosen by our governments. They're not aliens from another planet coming upon us, they are us.

      Not happy about it? Why, blame your government, which is only too happy to keep them as the bogeyman everything can be blamed on.

      I'll use one example: Brits forced upon us the right to mix crap (aka «hydrogenated vegetable fat») with cocoa and still call the brown result «chocolate» (2000/36/CE). Things come from somewhere, not from a vague «the EU»

      1. Chris Miller

        Southern Europe has driven itself into the ground

        But it's their membership of the euro that ensures they can do nothing to correct their errors. And given that it takes two to make a loan, who lent them all the money? Why, that would be the German and French banks (not the British ones for a change) who saw an opportunity to make much higher interest on euro loans than they could at home, overlooking the fact that interest is (in large part) a payment to cover the risk that the loan you're making may not be repaid.

      2. AndrewDu

        Re: The facepalm is strong in this one

        So remind me again, how do we get rid of the European Commission if we don't like them or their policies?

        Oh yeah, that's it, we can't.

        1. John G Imrie Silver badge

          Re: The facepalm is strong in this one

          You get the elected European parliament to vote the out of office.

    4. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: The facepalm is strong in this one

      Brexit and a bunch of swivel-eyed loons take charge

      Indeed, who knew Gideon (of all people) could have an ugly friend? I was shocked

    5. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: The facepalm is strong in this one

      "The EU is a fluffy cuddly thing... that has driven Southern Europe into the ground."

      Southern Europe has done a very good job of that all by itself.

      As for what happened in the recession in Greece, it's a replay of what the West did to the Asian Tiger economies when they faltered: IMF lends the country in trouble money which is used to pay off the bankers immediately and then the IMF loan must be repaid - in other words the IMF is more-or-less directly propping up bad bank loans instead of forcing the original lenders to take a haircut.

  6. Stu J

    You don't need money to get into Oxford or Cambridge

    Just saying...

    1. Alfred

      Re: You don't need money to get into Oxford or Cambridge

      But if you have money, you can buy your way in. That's the point. That's why Oxbridge is full of the children of rich people, perpetuating the system.

      1. Alexander J. Martin

        Re: You don't need money to get into Oxford or Cambridge

        Conspiracy theory rubbish. The children of those with money do go to better schools, get a better education, and have a better chance of entering the best universities. You cannot purchase entry to either Oxford or Cambridge.

        1. ZSn

          Re: You don't need money to get into Oxford or Cambridge

          You'll find that you are speaking rubbish there:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1388770/Two-quit-in-Oxford-cash-for-places-scandal.html

          Obviously you've never been to Oxbridge. It's remarkable how often college benefactor's children get admitted with inferior grades. True, the children of people with money do go to 'better' schools, go to Oxbridge, then, as a cohort, do significantly worse than those of us who have been to state schools. Being pushed hard by a school then finding you have to do it all by yourself (even with all the tutoring) is no replacement for actually ability and application.

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