back to article Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers

When will lawmakers ever learn? Whenever the electorate is given a choice, they are bound to do something silly. In this case, overloading the UK Parliament's petition site with signatures on a Brexit-stopping suggestion. The site began tottering at around 09:00 UTC as it buckled under the load of voters pledging their support …

  1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    The only conspiracy

    is all the rubberneckers sitting there, waiting for the counter to tick up.

    If they just turned that timer off, everything would be a lot smoother. I don't think anyone would mind a manual refresh.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: The only conspiracy

      "The only conspiracy is all the rubberneckers sitting there, waiting for the counter to tick up."

      It has to be a bit of a waste of time. Buy a good book and read that instead of staring at a counter.

      1. JoshOvki

        Re: The only conspiracy

        ". Buy a good book and read that instead of staring at a counter."

        Or kick off a defrag and watch the colours change block by block

        1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

          Re: The only conspiracy

          Mmmm... defrag...

        2. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: The only conspiracy

          "Or kick off a defrag and watch the colours change block by block"

          The first time I defragged a hard drive in Windows 95 I think I actually did that for a while. Until I thought 'what the hell am I doing?' and went off to get a good book.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: The only conspiracy

            Which book?

            1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

              Re: The only conspiracy

              well I believe the Da Vinci code is a good start

              1. Bloodbeastterror

                Re: The only conspiracy

                The Da Vinci Code? Nah, defrag is far more exciting. And better written.

                1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                  Re: The only conspiracy

                  The characters are much more believable, especially U+25AE.

                  1. Paul Johnson 1

                    Re: The only conspiracy

                    > "The characters are much more believable, especially U+25AE."

                    I thought he was a bit too square; a more rounded character would have fit better.

                  2. zuckzuckgo

                    Re: The only conspiracy

                    > The characters are much more believable, especially U+25AE.

                    Clearly a font of knowledge.

                2. James 51 Silver badge

                  Re: The only conspiracy

                  Private eye had a spoof, the da vinci highway code which was the story retold using the signs from the highway code. It was harlious and much better written than the real thing.

                3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

                  Re: The only conspiracy

                  It's also more realistic. I mean you know Robert Langdon will triumph in the end but you never knew whether Defrag would find too many surface errors and give up the ghost.

            2. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: The only conspiracy

              Which book?

              War and Peace by Tolstoj might be a good start, followed by Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach. Defragging should be finished once you get two-thirds into the Brothers Kamarazov.

              1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

                Re: The only conspiracy

                I used to take Godel, Escher, Bach with me on train journies to impress my fellow travelers. I was young and naive.

                I should add that I did not actually take Godel, Escher, and Bach with me on my travels. They were always busy when I asked, or dead, so I had to settle for the book.

                1. Slef

                  Re: The only conspiracy

                  How boring...what was wrong with a cadavar or two?

                  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

                    Re: The only conspiracy

                    Weekend at Gödel's.

                    1. Ken Shabby

                      Re: The only conspiracy

                      I can't believe it's a Gödel!

            3. HandleAlreadyTaken

              Re: The only conspiracy

              >Which book?

              He said, didn't he? The good one.

            4. mdcbigger
              Linux

              Re: The only conspiracy

              Defrag for dummies

            5. Lars Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: The only conspiracy

              "Which book?"

              Some Unix book void of any chapter on defraging, perhaps.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The only conspiracy

            Just the first time …… Was it really just me who watched it every time, wondering how many times it was going to jump back to the start again?

          3. Scorchio!!

            Re: The only conspiracy

            "The first time I defragged a hard drive in Windows 95 I think I actually did that for a while. Until I thought 'what the hell am I doing?' and went off to get a good book."

            Stop. You're making me nostalgic, and I'll go and cwy in the corner now.. My ex gf was a Mac user [1] and wondered what the defragger was doing. To shut her up I told her it was doing the work of a thousand monks in a millisecond. It actually shut her up!

            [1] She used to work for the porn king in London Docklands (Desmond somebody or other?) who used to own the Daily Express. She had the interesting task of (ahem) manipulating some of the images, such as 'stretching' Henry the Horse's manhood by the usual means. She has since settled down and sprogged. No more pr0n for her!

        3. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: The only conspiracy

          Watching a 3D printer must be the modern equivalent.

          It's strangely hypnotising watching them lay down layer after layer...

          1. macjules Silver badge

            Re: The only conspiracy

            As opposed to watching Parliament TV .. liar after liar ...

            1. hmv

              Re: The only conspiracy

              Makes a good drinking game though - watch Parliament TV and take a drink every time you see a liar.

              1. defiler Silver badge

                Re: The only conspiracy

                That'll be like the time a mate and I mixed up the rules for Star Wars drinking game and took a swig every time R2D2 beeped. Little bastard doesn't shut up for the first 45 minutes at least! I remember the two of us muttering "a presence I've not felt sinsssssss" and falling off the sofa giggling.

                Ouch.

              2. Suburban Inmate
                Joke

                Re: The only conspiracy

                Why not just cut out the middle (mostly) men and inject ethanol straight into a vein? The resulting cardiac arrest will at least get the job done quicker than the blackouts, starvation, civil war, and lack of medicines.

              3. Stoneshop Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: The only conspiracy

                watch Parliament TV and take a drink every time you see a liar.

                Just take a drink every time you take a drink. Same result, and takes less attention.

              4. tcmonkey

                Re: The only conspiracy

                The average person would be on their way to hospital after only 10 minutes.

              5. macjules Silver badge

                Re: The only conspiracy

                No thanks, 650 glasses of wine?

                1. DavCrav Silver badge

                  Re: The only conspiracy

                  "No thanks, 650 glasses of wine?"

                  Luckily you don't have to drink the whole 650. One seat is currently vacant, and Sinn Fein doesn't take up their seven seats. So only 642 glasses needed. That of course would also require them to actually be sitting in Parliament for you to see them, so actually only about 40-50 on a normal day.

              6. tfb Silver badge

                Re: The only conspiracy

                I think that would be rapidly fatal. Even if you drank water: you'd burst.

        4. don't you hate it when you lose your account

          Re: The only conspiracy

          Happy days charging by the hour to watch tetris on prozak

        5. JassMan Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: The only conspiracy @JoshOvki

          Defrag? I haven't done one in 20 years - does it still exist?

          Yeah, OK, I know that defraggers do exist for Linux but unless you have extremely large files or are running with less than 5% free space, there is no need. I have certainly never noticed any disk bound slow down like I used to get every 2 months when I used MicroShaft.

          1. JoshOvki
            Linux

            Re: The only conspiracy @JoshOvki

            I honestly have no idea, I have not done it in the last 15 years, but I am a penguin head too. Must be a MS admin on here somewhere that can tell us.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The only conspiracy @JoshOvki

              MS and joint penguin head here.

              NTFS is still pretty frag-happy as it's not extent-based like most "basic" *nix filesystems in use these days. (Advanced COW systems like ZFS or btrfs are another matter and can frag up worse than NTFS under the right workload/lack of maintenance regime)

              Most enterprise systems will be running on a SAN so the fragmentation doesn't really matter so much, as the backend SAN usually figures out the best place to lay out the blocks across a hojillion spindles anyway. Every SAN will have a different approach to this TTBOMK but almost all of them have a hefty write cache where small random writes are coalesced into big more-sequential writes across multiple drives (ZFS and friends do this too).

              Client side on an SSD, defrag doesn't really do anything either, since there's very little random read/write penalty on your average SSD and the controller will be trying its utmost to spread files across all the different flash chips anyway. Windows' automated defraggler doesn't normally run on SSDs (but can do under some circumstances).

              With NTFS on plain jane hard drives, as long as you keep enough free space and you're dealing with relatveively large files, windows will generally lay the block out in a sensible manner, but you'll likely benefit from regularly running defrag on a system drive. Assuming it stays up long enough between update reboots, because I wouldn't wish windows with a platter-based hard drive for a system drive on Teresa May.

              Actually, if TM is using a windows box with C: on a platter-based drive for her Brexit plans it would explain a few things.

              1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

                Re: The only conspiracy @JoshOvki

                What's an update reboot? My Win10 machine has been running for about 2.5 months now. Might reboot it for something to do.

                1. Radio Wales
                  WTF?

                  Re: The only conspiracy @JoshOvki

                  I never switch my W10 platter driven PC off and it doesn't seem to mind.

                  On each rare occasion when M$ deems it necessary to reboot, I am shocked to the core and mortally wounded by the sheer audacity of it proudly displaying my forgotten lock-screen picture (WTF?) and forcing me to grovel around searching in the cobwebs for that weird hack-proof password that someone convinced me to have.

                  I'd rather watch cat videos on Youtube to be honest.

            2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

              Re: The only conspiracy @JoshOvki

              MacOSX auto-defrags as it goes: upon (every) access, any file over 10mb (IIRC) is checked for fragosity, defragged if fragocious, and THEN accessed unfragostically.

              Introduced @ 10.3 IIRC.

          2. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

            Re: The only conspiracy @JoshOvki

            "does it still exist?"

            Yes its now an automated task performed by windows every so often unless you have an SSD in which case its replaced by a trim.

          3. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: The only conspiracy @JoshOvki

            Yes it does still exist. Windows schedules a Defrag once per week unless you change the default settings.

        6. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At Josh, re: defrag.

          I used to have a screen saver of the defrag. It was if it were trying to deal with a HDD of infinite capacity & would just go & go & go & go...

          I figured out how to edit the config file & make it use random psycadelic colours for each block.

          Talk about trippy! %-{p

          "Everything's so... octarene, Man!"

    2. Captain TickTock

      Re: The only conspiracy

      Check out @UltraButt on Twitter. Checks every 5 minutes so you don't have to

      "834865 mofos have signed the petition."

      https://twitter.com/UltraButt/status/1108707708197310464

      1. nagyeger

        Re: The only conspiracy

        12mins ago: 834865

        now: 855,723

        And counting.. I wonder how many mails it can send before someone declares it to be a spam source....

        1. Whiskers

          Re: The only conspiracy

          The site does say to allow 24 hours for the confirmation email to arrive, and to look in your spam and junk folders. I've been waiting about 30 minutes for the email to get to me.

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: The only conspiracy

            Mine took a full 3 minutes to arrive.

            North of 954 000 as I type.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The only conspiracy

              Mine came in 10 seconds...ummm...what are we talking about again?

          2. Whiskers

            Re: The only conspiracy

            The email just arrived, and confirmation worked. Still just shy of seven figures ...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The only conspiracy

              Mine took 6 hours to arrive and then another three before the site it linked to stopped returning errors.

              1. Radio Wales
                Thumb Up

                Re: The only conspiracy

                I finally received a notification that my vote had been accepted - just after I'd forgotten about it.

                Anyway, it says > 3.25 million now @ 15:00 Friday.

        2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: The only conspiracy

          It already has.....

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: The only conspiracy

        Maybe 1 Million by 3.30 pm?

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: The only conspiracy

          Maybe 502. Bad gateway

          ____________________

          nginx

          All afternoon.

          1. Detective Emil
            Thumb Up

            Re: The only conspiracy

            Good to see they're using Nginx, though. Good front end. Shame about the back, though …

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The only conspiracy

          Maybe 1 Million by 3.30 pm?

          Only another 16.2 million to go, then?

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: The only conspiracy

            Over 2 million now. And since the site has been down persistently for the last two hours, as well as intermittently before then, it's likely that a large number of people are still trying to sign.

            You're right, it's never going to outweigh the absolute number of people who voted "leave". (We'll never know how many would have signed it, if the site had decent hosting. But on the other hand, we'll also never know how many signatories are, genuinely, unique British voters, so the results would be taken with a large bag of salt anyway.) What it does suggest is that there is more, let's call it, "public concern" over this issue than over any other issue in recent history. By a margin of at least one order of magnitude, probably two.

            1. Wandering Reader

              Re: The only conspiracy

              "What it does suggest is that there is more, let's call it, "public concern" over this issue than over any other issue in recent history. "

              We already knew that - didn't 33,000,000 travel to the polling station and vote?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: The only conspiracy

                > We already knew that - didn't 33,000,000 travel to the polling station and vote?

                Of course not. It was very publicly stated to be advisory only and non-binding.

                Turns out in the final days they flipped that around and expected people to magically know. As if.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Counter

        % watch -n 10 "wget -q -O - https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584 | perl -n -e 'next unless m/data-count/; s/<[^>]*>//g; print;'"

    3. Benji Levens

      Re: The only conspiracy

      The timer itself isn't the problem, its the implementation of it that is. Just dumping the json data into some form of CDN would remove the load from the server.

      I really, really, hope that they are at least caching the count results, but, well, it is our government....

    4. myhandler

      Re: The only conspiracy

      They said it's the trending recounts crashed it - what arsewipe mofo ****** does a trending recount on live data per click? Shoot me now.

  2. ukgnome Silver badge

    It's almost as if people are panicking about the governments ability to deliver

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can you blame us?

      I voted to leave but all that's happened in the past two years is that Westminster has proven itself to be utterly unworthy of governing the people. No wonder Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally. What a bloody shambles the two main parties have created.

      Even though BOTH have been elected on a mandate to deliver Brexit they haven't been able to, neither wants to work with the other.

      At this point I'd rather we stay in and we clear out Westminster of every MP who has failed to deliver on the vote, which means ever 85% of them.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

        Meanwhile though there was a suggestion of the N.I. Assembly (Stormont), voting on May's deal, which enraged Scotland as they had asked for this from the beginning, Stormont is in its third year of not actually sitting.

        Mysteriously no Direct Rule or a new Election date. Also DUP "Lost" the Brexit vote in N.I. and has less than 30 % of electoral vote so have no mandate. ANY UK government dependence on ANY N.I. party breaks intention of the Good Friday Agreement. Oh, and Arlene Foster left Unionists and joined DUP because she opposed GFA. DUP has ALWAYS opposed the GFA and no doubt hopes a no-deal Brexit will result in the death of the GFA. They don't care about peace & prosperity (not sure SF do either, but DUP is doing their work for them!).

        Also no ability to have other than binary Yes/No in Westminster Chamber and UK uses flawed unrepresentative First Past the Post.

        I blame Cameron, not May. But it's a disaster for EVERYONE, Remainers, Brexiteers, rest of EU, Ireland and especially N.I.

        It could lead to break up of UK, England on their own.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

          Oh go one blame May and her 'Brexit means Brexit' diatribe follows up by an 'I am the only correct person and this e fucking MPs will listen to me spiel. Why not?

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

            The list of those responsible is long* but on becoming leader of the party Cameron did declare that "we've got to stop letting Europe tear us (the party) apart" only to cave in to the demands for a referendum. The lesson from him, but also several of his predecessors, being that you cannot negotiate with extremists: either you expel them from the party, or you let them takeover (which is what's happened to Labour under Corbyn). A lesson that, however, completely seemed to pass May by. Even now without her own majority and with around a third of the parliamentary party having no confidence in her, she has failed to seek a cross-party majority on the most important item of legislation.

            * And the financiers like to be kept in the background.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              Ah yes, the financiers.

              My boss was recalling a conversation with some City contacts after the referendum when he was astonished to find they had voted Leave. Apparently they planned to make a fortune on the volatile market that a leave vote would create. Absolutely no morals.

              1. Nick Kew Silver badge

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                Of course. Financiers can profit hugely from a country's troubles: most famously George Soros betting against Britain in 1992.

                At least Soros wasn't doing so from inside parliament and pulling the Prime Minister's strings. Contrast Rees-Mogg's hedge fund betting against Britain (though Private Eye reported they closed some such bets as far back as January, from which I guessed he'll be looking for a way to accept some kind of damage-limitation deal).

              2. CommanderGalaxian
                WTF?

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                The calibre and moral fibre of the #Brexiteers is impressive. Like this one here who campaigns against abortion and women's reproductive rights - even demanding that abortion be made illegal for victims of rape and incest.

                https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jacob-rees-mogg-abortion-pills-abortion-rape-conservative-party-conference-tory-leadership-leader-a7976386.html

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  @CommanderGalaxian

                  "The calibre and moral fibre of the #Brexiteers is impressive"

                  Are we going back to the XFactor approach of your side has horrible people? Remain had a few unsavoury people too, Blair being a prime example.

                  1. Nick Kew Silver badge

                    Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                    For once I agree with codejunky on the topic. Rees-Mogg doesn't represent him any more than Blair represents me. A plague on both their houses.

                    After all, it's only a select few whose hedge funds profit by betting against the UK. Fewer still who do so from within our parliament, and pulling the Prime Minister's strings.

            2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              A lesson that, however, completely seemed to pass May by. Even now without her own majority and with around a third of the parliamentary party having no confidence in her, she has failed to seek a cross-party majority on the most important item of legislation.

              Amen! +1000000!

              The stupid thing is that, even before she called an idiotic GE and lost her majority, she was told that she needed cross-party consensus to be able to deliver this. She ignored that advice, pushed on with her own plan, and didn't check whether parliament (or even her own party) would support it.

              There's a long list of people to blame for the mess we're in, but TM has to be at least near the top of that list!

              1. enormous c word

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                Can you seriously imagine trying to fight a General Election mid-way through Brexit negotiations.

                I think May correctly identifed herself as a single-term(ish) PM who would be used by the party/country for a single policy, then career over. Hello retirement. Even with an increased party majority, the Brexit votes would still be at best split - and more likely (as we see) saboutaged by spinless Westminster across all parties trying to appease the loudest Social Media voices...

                So what's next another referendum? And if that that returns a majority 'Remain' result, then will Remainers be satisfied? or can we keep having referendums until we get the *right result*.

                If we got a Remain result from a 2nd referendum, then can Leavers therefore expect to have a *best-of-three* third referendum.

                1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                  Re: can we keep having referendums until we get the *right result*?

                  Can Theresa May keep having meaningful votes until we get the *right result*?

                  FTFY

                  ------------>>>>> RA50N!! <<<<<------------

                2. Def Silver badge

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  At least a second referendum would be one where people are actually voting on something with known consequences. Three years ago most people didn't have a fucking clue what the consequences would be if leave won. A second referendum would also be largely devoid of all the bullshit and lies, again because people are, generally speaking, more knowledgeable today than before.

                  I would have voted to remain (I've lived in Europe for too long to vote on something that directly affects me, apparently), and I do not agree with the current result - mostly because of the bullshit way in which it has come about. If a second referendum also showed that the majority of people in the UK did still wish to leave, I would begrudgingly accept that decision - at least more so than I do today. Either way, I will get a second passport from my adopted home some time next year and stop giving a shit about what is rapidly becoming an insignificant banana republic.

                  That said, even if a second referendum did still show people wished to leave the EU, that wouldn't solve any of the insurmountable problems involved in doing so. In the last few years, the UK government has proven rather conclusively that leaving is going to be a fuck-ton harder than anyone initially thought, will fuck up the UK in more ways than anyone can possibly imagine, and will almost certainly signal a return to violence in Northern Ireland - which I would not be in the slightest bit surprised if that ultimately spread to the rest of the UK, which in all probability won't survive as a union in the medium to long term.

              2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                but TM has to be at least near the top of that list!

                Especially as she didn't appear to keep any eyes on the (lack of) progress of the feckless waste of space David Davis - who spent at least 12 months doing *absolutely* nothing - despite being shown up time and time again by Parliamentary committees..

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              There's an old joke that can be repurposed here:

              What's the difference between a terrorist and an ERG member?

              You can negotiate with a terrorist.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

          this fiasco, whichever way it swings, is a disaster for the UK, mostly, whether we crash out, deal out or even stay in. And, after three years, the EU folk just hope that we get the (...) out and leave them alone, which they have indicated clearly enough several times over the last few days. They don't even care any more than for the next 500 years we will moan how AD 2019 EU brutally forced the UK's exit and abandoned it to the sharks, and this is the sole reason for all our woes...

          1. don't you hate it when you lose your account

            All too late

            What happens next no longer matters. The damage had already been done. This whole process has diminished the reputation of our country to a point I fear is no longer recoverable. My heart cries

            1. hopkinse

              Re: All too late

              We had a reputation to diminish? I think you'll find that fuckwitts like Gavin Williamson et al have already destroyed what was left of it.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: All too late

              > This whole process has diminished the reputation of our country to a point I fear is no longer recoverable.

              Nah - it's the politicians' reputations not the country's and they're so thick-skinned that within a couple of years some of them will be bragging how they were the voice of reason all along.

            3. veti Silver badge

              Re: All too late

              Reputations go down, reputations go up. Nothing is unrecoverable - just look at Germany. It's just a matter of how long it takes.

            4. tfb Silver badge
              Terminator

              Re: All too late

              I think it does matter. What we have demonstrated is what we're run by incompetent clowns who are utterly useless at both knowing what they want and then negotiating a deal to get it.

              So there are two options: one is that we stay in the EU. Anyone negotiating, say a trade deal, does so knowing that there is at least one member of the EU run by clueless buffoons, but that the EU as a whole is run by reasonably competent people and is generally a major player, and they are going to need to negotiate with them. The EU will continue to get good deals as a result.

              The other is that we leave: we're now a small player who has just demonstrated in the most public possible way that we're run by clowns who, if they are asked to do anything complicated like eating their own food, will start biting each other furiously for months on end while their heads catch fire before eventually forgetting what it was they were meant to be doing and setting each other's farts on fire. We are going to get walked all over in every single fucking trade deal we try to negotiate, because we're run by clowns, and everyone knows we are.

              So our reputation is lost either way, but one way so is our livelihood.

              The only thing that makes this less embarrassing is watching Trump, who makes UK politicians look kind of competent. Clowns they may be but they don't spend their time attacking dead war-heroes on twitter: that's some whole next-level clownery. Even Boris isn't up to that. Unfortunately Trump is the kind of clown who weighs a thousand stone, and can sit on you and crush you, while we're not.

              1. RancidOrange

                Re: All too late

                "In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon.

              2. holmegm

                Re: All too late

                "The only thing that makes this less embarrassing is watching Trump, who makes UK politicians look kind of competent."

                Trump won because despite his clownery, the "real" politicians appeared to be a worse choice. Than a clown.

                Let that sink in.

                1. M.V. Lipvig

                  Re: All too late

                  This, exactly. And Trump will most likely be in office until 2024. He already looks better than the rest of the fools running.

              3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

                Re: All too late

                "We are going to get walked all over in every single fucking trade deal we try to negotiate, because we're run by clowns, and everyone knows we are."

                To be fair the EU is pretty keen on making a decent trade agreement. Not as good as the current one, but no-one is really interested in fucking themselves in order to fuck the UK.

                The rest of the world is out sharpening the knives. Even with a negotiating team as strong as the EU, the UK is in a much weaker position.

                The ex-commonwealth countries will require more access to the labour market (ie immigration) which is going to piss off certain groups.

                It's going to be chaos. But for some, chaos is a ladder.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: All too late

                I think it does matter. What we have demonstrated is what we're run by incompetent clowns who are utterly useless at both knowing what they want and then negotiating a deal to get it.

                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                It's worse than that.

                It seems that most of the politicians are incapable of actually recognizing reality - the sheer amount of fantasy being tossed about as 'solutions' is stunning.

                Most of the British 'political class' - politicians, party officials, policy advocates, and so on seem to be totally unaware of how anything works, what anyone other than themselves considers important, what laws, regulations, treaties, etc. exist and what they say, how diplomacy, trade, and regulation work...

                They can't negotiate anything because they are operating in an internal fantasy, with minimal connection to the real world.

                1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: All too late

                  and so on seem to be totally unaware of how anything works

                  That's because most of them haven't ever had a real job before they went into politics (and no - jobs in the City brought about by the Old Boys networks don't count).

                  There are a few I respect - and they all have had a Real Life(TM) before Parliament.

            5. CommanderGalaxian
              Black Helicopters

              Re: All too late

              My heart certainly doesn't. It's the death rattle of the British Empire, it's been a long time coming - and long overdue.

              England now needs to go and learn how to be a small, independent country and stand on its own two feet - without draining resources from others around it - and blaming everybody else for problems entirely of its own making.

              1. tfb Silver badge
                Alien

                Re: All too late

                [...] the death rattle of the British Empire [...] England now needs [...]

                This comment says a lot about the person making it.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

            "this fiasco, whichever way it swings, is a disaster for the UK, mostly, whether we crash out, deal out or even stay in."

            Barnier is pretty much forcing a no deal "crash out" anyway. The only option he's agreeing to is a delay till June 30 if Parliament votes yes to the deal before the 29th May. Except he knows that constitutionally (as things stand at the moment anyway), Parliament can't just keep calling for another vote on the same thing until the "right" answer is given.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              No, 30th June is what May asked for.

              Even though it'd be illegal for the EU to do that unless the UK elected candidates to the EU Parliament.

              She really seems to have never understood anything about the EU, despite her years in the Home Office.

              The important dates are 12th April, which is when the elections start, and 23rd May, which is when the vote takes place.

              On April 12th (or 13th?) the UK must start the election process or it won't be possible to be in the EU after the 23rd-26th May, because it wouldn't have any elected representation.

              You know, the thing a lot of Leavers claimed didn't exist, even though Farage is one. He's bloody useless - he didn't bother turning up to any committees, and about 40% of the votes (ranked 746 and 748, very nearly the laziest MEP).

              Presumably Farage was too busy arranging his second citizenship, or getting drunk in the bar to do his ****ing job.

              1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                > elected representation.

                You know, the thing a lot of Leavers claimed didn't exist

                In any real sense, this is accurate. The European Parliament is just theatre, has no power. All power resides in the European Commission. Which is entirely unelected public "servants".

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  The European Parliament can remove the Commission and it has to vote on all laws in order for them to pass.

                  So, yes the Commission is important but to say that or imply that MEPs have no power is not correct.

                2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  Sort of like the Houses of Parliament and the Civil Service?

                  1. Nick Kew Silver badge

                    Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                    More like parliament and government. The parliament in both cases has very limited powers short of dismissing the entire executive, in what we traditionally call a vote of no confidence. That's kind-of the problem now: a nihilistic element that holds the balance of power in the Westminster parliament refuses either to accept the executive or to give her the boot.

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  The European Parliament is just theatre, has no power. All power resides in the European Commission. Which is entirely unelected public "servants".

                  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  I suspect you have not had experience in governing even a moderately large enterprise or institution.

                  I served two terms on the board of a mid-sized organization - 15,000 employees, an annual budget of several billion, extensive property holdings, complex and varied activities.

                  Most of what we dealt with was staff reports and recommendations. This was necessary - there was too much going on to micro-manage. We set policy and approved plans.

                  When we didn't like the choices offered, we sent the issue back with instructions.

                  Our staff had a lot of input, but we controlled our goals and direction. The captain of a large ship does not do the detail work - he receives information and chooses a course.

                  Most of the time, when it is functioning, the British government will work in the same way. Unless you have a dysfunctional top down structure - like many dictatorships - you have to delegate to paid or unpaid staff. At least there is a chance that paid staff will have professional competence.

                  The criticism of the EU structure seems to be blind to this in national governments and somehow assume that all other bureaucracies are accountable, responsive, transparent, perfectly neutral mechanisms. The EU is then lambasted for not living up to this fantasy.

              2. SundogUK

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                You have absolutely no idea why Farage was there do you?

                1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  To get a cushy pension?

              3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                "She really seems to have never understood anything about the EU, despite her years in the Home Office."

                Despite? More like because of.

                She'll have been through standard Home Sec brainwashing to regard Europe as a problem purely because of the ECJ and the ECHR although the latter isn't actually an EU institution. When she crashes us out of the EU she'll have achieved one of the goals the Home Office set her.

              4. MonkeyCee Silver badge

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                "Presumably Farage was too busy arranging his second citizenship, or getting drunk in the bar to do his ****ing job."

                I believe he's busy getting ready to run in the EU elections, since his "job" is getting elected as a MEP, then failing to do much other than claim the maximum allowances etc.

            2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              > constitutionally (as things stand at the moment anyway), Parliament can't just keep calling for another vote on the same thing until the "right" answer is given.

              ...unlike the EU...

            3. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              Barnier is pretty much forcing a no deal "crash out" anyway.

              I respectfully disagree: IMHO TM is 'pretty much forcing a no deal "crash out" anyway' by ignoring Parliament and sticking to her own "Red Lines".

              The way forward from here is (again IMHO):

              - Form a cross party working group to take control of Brexit negotiations

              - Request a long extension to A50

              - Renegotiate from scratch, using criteria which are supported by a majority of MPs

              I think there's a good chance the EU would accept this. We would have to take part in the elections and would remain full members of the EU for now, but it's got a much better chance of working than TM's "When I say Brexit, it means just what I choose it to mean".

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                I'd go a bit further than that. The cross-party group should start by revoking A50 so we can go back and do things properly. The first step of doing things properly would be to to conduct a proper impact assessment on the economy. On the basis of that make a recommendation to the country of what the pros and cons are of the alternatives and then seek approval of that, either in the form of a general election or by a binding referendum conducted on a basis of requiring a supermajority for a change to the status quo.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                > - Renegotiate from scratch

                That's not going to fly.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                - Form a cross party working group to take control of Brexit negotiations

                - Request a long extension to A50

                - Renegotiate from scratch, using criteria which are supported by a majority of MPs

                * * * *

                It won't work.

                There is no end state / goal common to a majority.

                And there is not enough time. Starting two years ago, yes, but now with hard deadlines imposed by legal requirements on the EU, and Britain's choice to skip the EU elections, you have a couple of weeks.

                1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  There is no end state / goal common to a majority.

                  This is why getting a cross-party group formed to find and/or build a consensus is required. Saying there's no way to do it is defeatism. Also, I'm pretty sure that a group of MPs could either find some form of Brexit which would satisfy a majority (maybe grudgingly) OR find another way to break the impasse (like a referendum on the options).

                  And there is not enough time.

                  Of course there's enough time, as long as you realise we can revoke A50 any time we want. This may upset Brexiteers, but it's probably the best course of action now to gain enough time to find a way forward. Once we have found that solution, we can always reissue A50 and renegotiate from scratch.

          3. veti Silver badge

            Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

            The other EU governments know that if the UK crashes out without a deal, the rest of the Union won't last another decade, probably much less.

            That's why they have been to such pains to make sure "revoke article 50" is always on the table, no matter what else happens. They think that if the choice comes down to "remain" vs "no deal", the British will choose "remain". I used to think that too, but after the last three years of EU "diplomacy" I'm not so sure.

            (It's easy enough to blame this whole fiasco on Cameron, and to be sure he deserves a lot of that. But Merkel also played her part. She was the one who, first, gave the Eurosceptics a talking point by inflicting needless austerity on the Greeks, and then backed the EU to send Cameron home with his tail between his legs when he came to them for "concessions" ahead of the referendum. If the EU does go down, she'll occupy a place in history as one of the major architects of its collapse.)

            1. H in The Hague Silver badge

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              "She was the one who, first, gave the Eurosceptics a talking point by inflicting needless austerity on the Greeks, "

              Not an expert in this field, but it strikes me that if the Greeks had run their government/economy a bit better (i.e. not spending above their means) there would have been no need for a bail-out or austerity. But perhaps I'm just a grumpy git scarred by being brought up with the idea that financial prudence is a virtue.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                @H in The Hague

                "Not an expert in this field, but it strikes me that if the Greeks had run their government/economy a bit better (i.e. not spending above their means) there would have been no need for a bail-out or austerity"

                Not quite. Our economy needed bailouts, the US did, the EU had to also. Unfortunately the EU's handling of the recession was so poor and economically insane that it nearly brought the EU-proper into deflation. That was purely down to the Euro being a bad idea and extremely bad management of the situation. Simply put Greece and others were less important than keeping the project going and could be sacrificed.

                The banks chose to lend money to Greece. The risk was private debt. Except of course the debt being defaulted on would have killed the Euro so the ECB bought the debt making it public debt and the EU taxpayer on the hook for it. The Eurosceptics were right that the Euro was doomed. What we didnt count on nor did the US FED was that the EU would inflict such economic harm on member countries for its little daft project.

                The solution to the Greek problem was to default what they cannot pay, devalue the currency and use IMF loans to support economically sound changes to stabilise the economy. Instead now Greece is bought and owned by the EU who tug its short and curlies to keep it in line.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  I agree with you about the Euro being a bad idea. It's a pity that the likely cost of getting back into the EU to repair our economy will be to accept it.

            2. Casca

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              Ah, yes. The poor little greeks… Strange how the never learn to fix there economy?

            3. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              The other EU governments know that if the UK crashes out without a deal, the rest of the Union won't last another decade, probably much less.

              If you mean the UK Union, I agree with you.

              If you mean the EU, I seriously doubt it. There are 27 other countries involved and, once they saw the mess the UK ended up in from leaving, the rest will not want to leave. It would lead to a stronger determination to keep things going, the countries pulling together even more strongly, and would be more likely to strengthen the Union than anything else.

              1. M.V. Lipvig

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                Unless the UK, after the initial floundering, comes out stronger than you were. This is what I think will happen. Once you're actually out the British will have to come together to keep your nation going, because there won't be a path back to the EU. To even get back in, you're going to have to be strong enough to be am asset and I'm betting that once you're strong enough to be accepted back into the EU you'll be wondering why you even need to be back.

                Just an observation from across the pond, as I have no dog in that fight.

                1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  "because there won't be a path back to the EU. "

                  Probably no path back to the current situation. If the UK joined again it would probably have to accept the Euro. Generally speaking the EU is fine with the UK being part of it, and the UK was one of the drivers for the project. Rather than Germany, France and the UK fighting a war every generation, we work together, along with all the countries that get invaded along the way. Same with NATO on the military front.

                  "I'm betting that once you're strong enough to be accepted back into the EU you'll be wondering why you even need to be back."

                  Because belonging to the largest trade bloc in the world is beneficial, especially when it's on your doorstep.

                  "as I have no dog in that fight."

                  While I'm sure that's true personally, it is in the strategic interests of the USA* to see the EU and the UK weakened. The EU recognises this, hence why there is quite an effort for unity and a desire to not punish or humiliate the UK.

                  The fight is all internal to the UK, within the parties/electorate/Parliament** and between Parliament and the government. The only thing all sides agree on is it needs more time. May's deal is just more time with citizen's rights and the Irish backstop and that not only can't get passed, it set a record for a loss.

                  IMHO the government should revoke A50, then work out what the fuck the UK wants, assuming the EU sticks to the current rules of the EU, then gets a mandate from Parliament on the reality based position, then calls A50. Even if the plan is for a hard brexit, then two years planning with that as the only goal might make it less of an omnishambles.

                  *and China, Russia, Australia et al

                  ** and the various agendas, such as the DUP wanting to break the GFA

        3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

          I think that " Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally" must count as the understatement of the year. They want, and will get, full independence and then rejoin the EU, where they will have a lot more influence than they do in the UK.

          The way the Tories have mishandled the whole fiasco, solely for their own perceived party benefit, is the best argument we've ever had for Indy. Basically could we do any worse?

          Ironic that the narrow self-interest of the Conservative and Unionist party will be responsible for the break-up of the Union.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

            "and then rejoin the EU, where they will have a lot more influence than they do in the UK"

            But double nothing is still nothing.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              Every EU member has a veto.

              That's far, far more power than any of the devolved governments have ever had. One might almost call it ABSOLUTE POWEEEERRRRR!

              Well, not quite but still.

              The EU works on consensus, it's not adversarial like Westminster. That means the member states have far more power than it looks like.

              1. SundogUK

                Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                "Every EU member has a veto." You have heard of 'Qualified Majority Voting' haven't you? It's how the EU is run and basically means Germany and France get to run the show.

                1. KrytensHoover

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  "You have heard of 'Qualified Majority Voting' haven't you?...basically means Germany and France get to run the show."

                  That is really not what it means.

                  https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/9-503-0498?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true&comp=pluk&bhcp=1

                  It is quite a sensible method frankly.

                2. Is It Me

                  Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

                  They still need to persuade at least two other member states to go with them:

                  "The standard voting system in the Council of Ministers will be QMV. It will be based on the double majority principle. Decisions in the Council of Ministers require the support of 55% of member states (currently 16 out of 28 EU countries) representing a minimum of 65% of the EU's population. To make it impossible for a very small number of the most populous member states to prevent a decision from being adopted, a blocking minority must comprise at least four member states. Otherwise, the QM will be deemed to have been reached even if the population criterion is not met."

          2. dajames Silver badge

            Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

            I think that " Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally" must count as the understatement of the year. They want, and will get, full independence and then rejoin the EU, where they will have a lot more influence than they do in the UK.

            Methinks they might find it hard to get readmitted to the EU ... other nations (such as Spain) are terrified that their own regions (such as Catalonia) will seek independence from the parent country if they think they will subsequently be allowed to rejoin the EU, and will veto any such application.

            1. CommanderGalaxian
              FAIL

              Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

              "...Methinks they might find it hard to get readmitted to the EU ... other nations (such as Spain)..."

              I do wish Little Englanders would bother to fact check what Spain actually says.

              https://www.thenational.scot/news/17235220.spanish-foreign-minister-declares-an-independent-scotland-would-be-welcome-in-eu/

          3. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

            > "and then rejoin the EU, where they will have a lot more influence than they do in the UK"

            That's what a lot of people think, but that's not the case.

            Scotland is mad keen on the EU because FREE MONEY.

            Problem: the bulk of that money has been the EU redirecting UK money (over and above the direct £8.5bn subsidy by UK to EU, the EU also takes over over £9.5bn of UK money to distribute internally to UK, which both the recipients and the EU rebadge as EU subsidies rather than involuntary UK subsidies) to Scotland, as an impoverished zone or economically disadvantaged zone or whatever the precise EU term is.

            So, post Brexit, that money disappears, and Scotland is swinging in the wind looking for pure EU handouts.

            Basically, "influence"-wise, in reality, they'll be another Greece.

        4. veti Silver badge

          Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

          There's no doubt that Brexit will result in the reunification of Ireland, so Sinn Fein should be happy.

          Of course that will in turn result in more bloodshed in Ireland, and an influx of refugees, mostly to Britain. The post-Brexit government will take them in because how can they not? So everyone who voted for Brexit in the hopes of reducing, or at least controlling, immigration will find it a most spectacular own goal.

          1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

            Strange idea. Yes, SF will be happy, but why should there be a return to violence? Irish unification will only happen when the majority in NI (and the Republic) want it.

            And why would violence by Unionist terrorists cause Unionist refugees to come to England?

          2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

            Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

            "There's no doubt that Brexit will result in the reunification of Ireland, so Sinn Fein should be happy."

            No offence, but you could do with a wee look at the Good Friday Agreement.

            If the people of Northern Ireland want to, they can vote to join Eire. No bloodshed, no bombs. In the long run, Sinn Fein get a united Ireland by waiting it out and being more moral than the DUP. this isn't hard.

            The general long term trend is that people are keen on unification, but perhaps it's more hassle than it's worth, both being in the EU and all that.

            The main protestant party is the DUP. They are hardline unionists, and are about the only people keen on getting rid of the GFA. They are quite happy with the idea of a hard border. They are slowly losing votes over time.

            The NI assembly hasn't sat for three years. Becasue Sinn Fein won't take their shared leadership role until the "cash for ash" scandal gets investigated, and the DUP are up to their eyeballs in the scam, so refuse. So NI is run from England, while the DUP push the boundaries of the GFA.

            Thus the elected representatives of ~45% of Northern Ireland won't run the devolved government they've been elected to run, but they do get to sit in the UK parliament and stick their oar in to brexit to try and break the GFA.

            The DUP are anti-abortion. So abortion is now legal in Ireland and the UK, except for Norther Ireland. Sinn Fein are now pro legalising abortion (people's choice etc). So you have the DUP insisting NI must be the same as the UK, except when it doesn't want that. Oh, and can you keep running our country while I refuse to face my responsibility in stealing millions in public money.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Can you blame us?

        Even though BOTH have been elected on a mandate to deliver Brexit

        Who's the BOTH you're shouting about, and what's this Brexit you're expecting? I only remember so waffle about a strong and stable or red, white and blue or one that's good for everyone. All of them seemed to involve magical pots of money for hospitals, schools, farmers, police, etc. but only the DUP ever seems to get any extra money.

        Thank god Bercow put a stop to the schoolmistress' attempt to keep everybody behind until she gets want she wants. In a country where parliament is supposed to be sovereign, even the government has to play by the rules.

        Can't get parliament to agree? Then hand the matter over to parliament to come up with a consensus. Need more time? Then ask for it. And if it takes another session of the European Parliament to do this, then so be it. We've all seen what happens when you try and put the cart before the horse and it's not as if parliament hasn't got other things to do.

        Oh, and if anyone see's that fucker, Farage, on his walkabout, there's a free pint if you clock the self-serving publicity whore one. Or spike his beer, or fags.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can you blame us?

          I'm more likely to drink his beer, filter it, then give it back in a glass.

          1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Can you blame us?

            @AC - "I'm more likely to drink his beer, filter it, then give it back in a glass."

            Oi! There's a queue for that, you're second!

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Can you blame us?

          @Charlie Clark

          "Can't get parliament to agree? Then hand the matter over to parliament to come up with a consensus"

          The good news is the default is hard brexit. There is no room nor time to negotiate so if parliament is incapable of working together to stop it then we brexit.

          "Need more time? Then ask for it."

          I hear the French are looking forward to saying no to that request. This is a pointless exercise in trying not to leave the EU and if we are lucky the members wont tolerate it.

          "Oh, and if anyone see's that fucker, Farage, on his walkabout, there's a free pint if you clock the self-serving publicity whore one. Or spike his beer, or fags."

          I wonder if May is regretting not accepting his help. Or rejecting the help of our allies with this negotiation.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: Can you blame us?

            I wonder if May is regretting not accepting his help. Or rejecting the help of our allies with this negotiation.

            What? You mean you weren't joking?

          2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            > I hear the French are looking forward to saying no to that request. This is a pointless exercise in trying not to leave the EU and if we are lucky the members wont tolerate it.

            Hear hear. First breath of fresh air I've seen in the clusterfuck that is the UK political class + "civil" "servants" attempting to hijack the referendum, was the Australian media here reporting last week that the EU is seriously contemplating rejecting all this faffery time-extension and just forcing a hard brexit. Not for any good reason, just more of the "fuck YOU" attitude they've taken from Day 1, but hey, you can get a good result for the wrong reasons.

            Despite all the mad propaganda, a "hard brexit"/"no deal" means no more than the UK operating as a standard normal country.

            Incidentally, it also means the UK will get cheaper beef and chicken -- the ongoing ex-EU trade deal work has already led to tariffs on these being cut by 40-50%. Lamb will see no change (ATM), so bad luck if you were looking forward to cheap NZ lamb cutlets. :(

          3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            The good news is the default is hard brexit

            Only a sociopath (or somebody well off) will think that a hard Brexit is a good thing. We are not the UK of 100 years ago, able to (largely) determine our own destiny. We are a small island off the European coast that doesn't really have much of anything other than acting as a service economy broker and financial centre.

            So, come a hard Brexit, when those sectors evaporate since there's no longer any EU advantage to being based here, what will we have left?

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Can you blame us?

              @CrazyOldCatMan

              "Only a sociopath (or somebody well off) will think that a hard Brexit is a good thing."

              Is that because to believe in remaining requires being overwhelmed by emotion or be parasitical in nature?

              "We are not the UK of 100 years ago"

              Very true. The EU is not the Europe of 100 years ago. We have all got far more wealthy and the EU is working hard to turn that around.

              "We are a small island off the European coast that doesn't really have much of anything other than acting as a service economy broker and financial centre."

              I guess if you deduct a working economy and one of the largest financial centres in the world then yes you are deducting a large part of this little islands ability.

              "So, come a hard Brexit, when those sectors evaporate since there's no longer any EU advantage to being based here, what will we have left?"

              Why would those sectors evaporate? If they want the EU advantage they would be in the EU countries no problem. Unfortunate for the EU, for all their efforts, offers, bribes and begging it seems the UK is more attractive to those sectors and there seems little chance of that changing. Instead of an EU advantage (tosh) they will be on the global field.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can you blame us?

          Oh, and if anyone see's that fucker, Farage, on his walkabout

          I don't think there's much chance of that - he f***ed off from that procession almost as soon as it started. Mind you, if he does rejoin it you should be able to spot him - it's not like he's going to get lost in the crowd.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            It's going to cost Adam Hills a pretty penny.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can you blame us?

          One is unlikely to see Farage on a walk around as he now lives in Germany with his wife while trying to get residency so he can retain his EU citizenship.

          Shows how much UKIP was just a vehicle to get him noticed and now brexit is coming to pass he has vanished to leave us in the dodo.

        5. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: Can you blame us?

          "if anyone see's that fucker, Farage, on his walkabout, there's a free pint if you clock the self-serving publicity whore one. Or spike his beer, or fags."

          But your threat of violence or death is only in jest, eh Charlie?

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            You know, I'm not sure. I'm unlikely to cross paths with him so it's probably moot, but I do find him despicable, loathsome and self-serving but if I did ever come near him I'd probably just seeth.

        6. Blitheringeejit
          Mushroom

          Re: Can you blame us?

          >>or fags

          I wonder if the CIA have any old exploding cigars lying around, which they might sell us...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can you blame us?

        As Parliament has proven itself to be completely incapable of organising a party in a brewery, I suggest we abolish Parliament/Westminster, and take accept rule from our elected representatives in Brussels.....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can you blame us?

          accept rule from our elected representatives in Brussels.....

          You do realise that we sent more UKIP MEPs to Brussels than any others?

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            Trouble is, they couldn't be arsed to actually go and do their bloody jobs.

            Look up their voting records. It's pitiful.

            1. Wandering Reader

              Re: Can you blame us?

              "Look up their voting records. It's pitiful."

              Wouldn't it be in poor taste to try to shape an organisation that we are leaving?

              And people complain that UKIP stand for election; or that they turn up when elected; and now the full set - complain when they don't turn up.

              1. Jedit

                "Wouldn't it be in poor taste to try to shape an organisation that we are leaving?"

                Not as much as it is to sign up to shape it for a hefty wage, refuse to do anything to shape it in the UK's favour, then complain that the UK has no voice in Europe.

        2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          Re: Can you blame us?

          > accept rule from our elected representatives in Brussels

          I admit to having been baffled by the Remainers whilst I lived in the UK, but I've paid close attention to the ElReg commentards' recent posts on the topic as the deadline approaches and the ranting rises, and people actually explain their reasoning.

          I've come to the conclusion that Remainers have little or no experience with, or even knowledge of, either international trade or the actual realities of the EU. They have myths, they have stereotypes, they have beliefs. But those are not connected to what's actually there, what's actually been happening.

          This post is an example.

          The "elected representatives in Brussels" have precisely zero power. The EU Parliament is just theatre. The power rests in the EU Commission, and the MEPs just eat the dogfood they're given. The Commission, btw, is entirely self-selected civil servants. It is absolute rule by bureaucrats, it is the bureaucrats' ultimate triumph of weaselling into power. It's "Yes Minister" on steroids and meth.

          Vote or don't vote for your MEP -- s/he is entirely meaningless and just a pre-guaranteed drain on the EU coffers. It's barely even a talking-shop. It's pure theatre to cover the actual control by bureaucrats.

          And the scary thing is: how MANY people have been snowed by the false structures being given names which they associate with something quite different.

          "No Deal" is a wonderful more-recent example of deliberate re-badging of something to imply it's very different from what it actually is.

          1. H in The Hague Silver badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            "I've come to the conclusion that Remainers have little or no experience with, or even knowledge of, either international trade or the actual realities of the EU."

            Looks like thee and me are living in mirrored realities - my experience is the same, only with Leavers.

            1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

              Re: Can you blame us?

              Well, I've gone through 5 passports for work-travel including 2 "fat ones", for a long time there was working in 3 countries a week across Europe (in my No Deal state!!! OMGWTF), and have turned-around and built-up businesses across Europe, America, Asia, and the UK. All in a NoDeal status.

              I'm also a born NoDeal boy who couldn't even pop over from London to France without a separate stamped visa.

              I've learnt to my cost that nearly every fed-to-children Australian stereotype re the world is wrong, so within a month of arriving in Europe and a few WTFisms just threw them away and absorbed what was actually happening rather than what people (especially the locals) shouted. This took a lot of time and work and, frankly, I don't think you COULD do it properly unless you'd actually WORKED and FAST across borders and at a very high intensity/little margin for error. (I think my France perspective turnaround was the sharpest; but also the violent inversion of what Germans will tell you is the relative "efficiency" of genius/efficient North Germans vs risible/useless South Germans vs bathetic (shudder) Austrians is another wtf (it's the other way round, in case you're wondering), as is the peculiar inversion of French vs German Swiss (vs French and Germans) in terms of getting anything done). I'm also a trained quant and researcher at the interface of economics and finance with pointy-end experience in finance and corporate turnaround (subject of/quoted in international investment banking journals, eg Risk, Futures & Options World, Global Corporate Treasurer, etc) who necessarily and compulsorily had his arse pinned to the wall on predictions vs reality, very publicly. So far: no mistakes.

              I've also spent time at the pointy-end of various flavours of IT. Apparently the 7th person in the world to manage 4-way DRBD replication, for example (and reverse-engineered a much nicer way of writing the configfiles than is documented) ; and spent 2 weeks writing a P&L engine in a custom language I'd only ever seen the week before (+RDBMS) (then another teeth-grinding 6mths on the data-adaptors), which ran for a decade until the framework was retired without a single bug the entire time, but running according to my clients nearly 10% of Europe's M3 ; and...

              The UK Remainers insist that everything I've seen and done will be impossible for NoDeal UK people or businesses, because they'd be treated like me, an Australian, or like some of my employers, American. Both NoDeal WTO, you might notice.

              I've also learnt that newspapers are only useful for getting heads-ups of things that might be worth digging into properly.

              You?

      4. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

        Re: Can you blame us?

        The EU are just as much to blame.

        Constantly asking what we want. When we tell them we want, to renegotiate the backstop, they say "the deal is sealed and is non-negotiable". They then watch us squirm trying to fix it and ask us again what we want while emoting for the cameras to make it seem like they are the ones to pity. We tell them we need to look at the backstop, they say its non-negotiable.

        Who can sort out a problem with a deal when one of the parties is acting in a very immature and stubborn way? Its like trying to ask a taxi driver to drop you the road next to the one you originally asked for only for them to tell you to shut up and put up.

        If the EU were decent enough to sit down and actually talk with May about what would need to be done to the deal to make parliament and the 27 member states happy it would have been a lot smoother I bet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Pensions

          I phoned my bank and said I wanted my mortgage cleared but I didn't want to pay them any money.

          They laughed and hung up.

          I think if you look just ever so slightly closer, you may find that the unreasonable party is not the EU.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pensions

            > I think if you look just ever so slightly closer, you may find that the unreasonable party is not the EU.

            I think if you look just ever so slightly closer, you may find that the EU (well the French) would absolutely love a Norway-style deal where we pay full whack, take all the rules and regulations but have no say and get to host none of the institutions. So maybe, just maybe, Barnier has only offered the Norway model, without actually calling it that. That's very reasonable (from their point of view).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Deals

              Yes, how dare they make us any offer at all.

              We voted to leave the club and now we’re getting upset that they made us an offer.

              You do realise that they could have said “no” to absolutely everything?

              I vaguely remember someone saying “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

              Oh yeah, same person who claimed there was no magic money tree (before bunging the DUP £1 billion(, the same person who was adamant about not having a general election (before calling a general election), the same person who says that there can only ever be the single referendum with no ability to devote despite ramming (and failing) her own vote twice and now trying for a third time.

              That’s the vote for the bad deal. But I thought no deal was better? Why try so hard for the bad deal?

              Still, she’s on our side. I know this because she said it on tv yesterday and she has such a great track record.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Deals

                "We voted to leave the club and now we’re getting upset that they made us an offer."

                You do know the whole point of the "deal" was only for the conditions of the 2 year "transitional" period so as to allow for a smooth exit. Once that began, then, and only then, were the EU prepared tor start actual trade negotiations. Some people seem to think this "deal" is a forever thing.

                1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                  Re: Deals

                  > Some people seem to think this "deal" is a forever thing.

                  It is.

                  Things have moved on from the original (UK-only) suggestion re Deal. (You are correct about the original UK intention/discussions.)

                  In its current form, specified by the EU, it IS a forever thing.

                  Same as the Euro.

                  There are no exit provisions from the Euro.

                  There are no exit provisions from the current "Deal".

              2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                Re: Deals

                > Why try so hard for the bad deal?

                The first Remainer I've seen actually put his finger on the nub of the problem.

                The political class and the civil service have deliberately wound up this insane scrabbling NEED for "a DEAL, mummy!!"

                No.

                Just get the hell out. You already have deals with every country including the EU (the EU is a WTO member). As was obvious from the first demands by the EU, they were playing solely to fuck up the UK, and haven't they done well.

                Anyone else notice the EU is playing the same NASTY subtle trick with the Irish backstop that they played with the Euro?

            2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

              Re: Pensions

              That has a certain charm. Basically England has full membership (in effect) but without any voice. Means that trade and free movement etc continues, but idiot UK politcians can't mess things up with their private arguments and insane prejudices. That's what Brexit means, isn't it?

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Can you blame us?

          We tell them we need to look at the backstop, they say its non-negotiable.

          I think you'll find that what is considered non-negotiable is the Good Friday Agreement. The "backstop" exists because of this, and also because the UK doesn't want to be in either the customs union or a free trade agreement: both of which would be valid "implementations" of the referendum.

          Still, maybe it would be a good idea to roll the Good Friday Agreement back. After all, the IRA bombings were really just youthful high spirits, weren't they?

          1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            > The "backstop" exists because of this, and also because the UK doesn't want to be in either the customs union or a free trade agreement: both of which would be valid "implementations" of the referendum.

            The backstop exists because the EU wanted to punish the UK by making the exit as gnarly as possible so created the backstop as --and I quote EU documents-- a "moral issue". In fact, their entire original (and still unmoved) position they describe as a moral stance.

            And pretending that the UK has not tried to be part of the customs union (the only EU-related referendum which the Brits voted "+" for), or to have an FTA (what do you think the bulk of the negotiations have been about?) is literally fantasy, literally madness. The EU is on record, for example, as flatly rejecting repeatedly every attempt by the UK to maintain customs union participation, as it had pre '93. Expressed in bizarrely sneering ad-hominem tones and with repeated emphases that the UK's either all-in or all-out.

            Have you paid ANY attention whatsoever to what's been going on?

            1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

              Re: Can you blame us?

              "The EU is on record, for example, as flatly rejecting repeatedly every attempt by the UK to maintain customs union participation,"

              Bollocks.

              What the UK has asked for is a customs union with the EU without ECJ oversight. Might as well ask for a customs union with the USA, as long as SCOTUS doesn't have presidence.

              The UK can get a CU for goods without an issue, as long as it accepts ECJ rulings related to it. Everyone wants it, even Jeremy Corbyn :)

              A CU for services and money will be trickier, but following all the current and any new EU rules should make it possible.

              But then, why leave? Block freedom of movement, pay the same fees, get no vote?

              Or no custom union. It's very simple, it favors the EU, and it was written that way. At the insistence of the UK, proud EU members :D

              "with repeated emphases that the UK's either all-in or all-out."

              Because that's the rules, written in part at the insistence of the UK.

            2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Can you blame us?

              they describe as a moral stance.

              Ah, that would be the one relating to maintaining the Good Friday Agreement. What a bunch of ninnies!

              Elsewhere: the Republic of Ireland does not want a hard border with the UK, but such would be consequence of the British government's red lines.

              Don't go blaming the EU for this: the UK adopted a poor opening position and didn't really turn up at the negotiations for most of the first year. It would have been far more sensible for May to use the party conference in 2016 to get backing for her position, then call a geneal election based upon that and only then to invoke Article 50. As it was, she failed to adopt a clear negotiating position before invoking Article 50 and managed to fumble the general election, making her beholden to the DUP and other extremists.

        3. fandom Silver badge

          Re: Can you blame us?

          "When we tell them we want,"

          And when we tell them we want a hard border with the EU while having no border with the Republic of Ireland, they have the chutzpah of looking mistified.

          1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            > when we tell them we want a hard border with the EU while having no border with the Republic of Ireland

            No, that's what the EU told the UK had to happen.

            For god's sake, has NO one been paying attention? Is EVERYONE just taking their "facts" from partisan newspapers' headlines?

            1. fandom Silver badge

              Re: Can you blame us?

              Absolutely, the EU told the UK that, that's why the deal the UE approved includes no hard border between the EU and the UK.

              1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                Re: Can you blame us?

                Do feel free to read back what I wrote.

                Slowly. Take deep breaths.

                .

                You merely underlined what I pointed out...

                (but failed to mention the EU's sting in the tail: no brexit, merely loss of EU-input)

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Can you blame us?

              "Is EVERYONE just taking their "facts" from partisan newspapers' headlines?"

              Leavers seem to.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Can you blame us?

                "Is EVERYONE just taking their "facts" from partisan newspapers' headlines?"

                Leavers seem to.

                At least we read the papers, unlike the remainers who just swallow whatever the EU tells them.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Can you blame us?

              >has NO one been paying attention

              Quite clearly, not you..

        4. JassMan Silver badge

          Re: Can you blame us? @DuncanLarge

          It is only certain news outlets which are saying that the EU are refusing to negotiate. The ones I listen to regularly have reports saying the EU is offering to talk about any other deal we might want. It is just May's deal which they regard as signed, sealed and delivered which they won't reopen. I have heard various EU spokespeople say that we are welcome to restart on Norway+, Canda+, or any pre-existing deal with any other 3rd party country.

          1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: Can you blame us? @DuncanLarge

            > I have heard various EU spokespeople say that we are welcome to restart on Norway+, Canda+, or any pre-existing deal with any other 3rd party country.

            That's interesting. What is being reported&quoted offshore is only EU spokespeople saying all such are completely off the table. Norway, eg, I've seen flatly stated to be not possible. By very very senior EU Commission types. Eg, commissioner...

            Can you remember where you saw/heard these statements? I'm interested to follow it up.

            1. fandom Silver badge

              Re: Can you blame us? @DuncanLarge

              So, as a brexiter would you like a deal like Norway's?

              You know, Norway pays the EU to access the union market, has to follow EU regulations despite having no voice in setting them and accepts free movement of people from the EU.

              Because, you know, wouldn't it better to send that money to the NHS instead?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Can you blame us? @DuncanLarge

              " Norway, eg, I've seen flatly stated to be not possible. By very very senior EU Commission types. Eg, commissioner..."

              It was Norway that suggested the UK might be more disruptive and troublesome than it was worth, and that allowing them into EFTA was likely not in the current member's best interests.

              Iceland was more circumspect when their PM suggested that it might not be a good fit.

              My sense is that likely none of the current EFTA members would welcome a narcissitic, fantasy dominated, politicaly fractures and totally self-centered country into their organization. It just proves they are sensible people.

              No EFTA, no 'standard' membership in the EEA, thus no "Norway".

              Yes, one of the EU officials pointed this out after EFTA had made it clear that they didn't want the UK. It was basic unicorn identification after the 999th time someone from the UK proposed it as a solution.

              At this point, at least 99% of the 'solutions' coming out of the UK are the handiwork of the severely reality-challenged.

              1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                Re: Can you blame us? @DuncanLarge

                Well, you're missing the point, but at least you're aware that EEC-participation ("Norway") HAS been repeatedly proposed by the UK.

                .

                >My sense is that likely none of the current EFTA members would welcome a narcissitic, fantasy dominated, politicaly fractures and totally self-centered country into their organization.

                Nonsense. France is the second/third-largest economic participant and profoundly the largest political participant in the EU.

                1. fandom Silver badge

                  Re: Can you blame us? @DuncanLarge

                  France is an EFTA participant? Really?

                  Well, someone best tell their web masters, somehow their forgot to add France's flag to the site

                  Anyway, as a brexiter, would you like the UK to make a deal with the EU like Norway's?

                  1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                    Re: Can you blame us? @DuncanLarge

                    I was referring to EEC (OP's ref. to Norway+ (my bad for forgetting to add the plus in my reply))

                    > Anyway, as a brexiter, would you like the UK to make a deal with the EU like Norway's?

                    Christ no. Yes, good EEC membership, but at cost of total EU legislation-mirroring, actual $$ contribution/fee, etc. Not hugely different from EU membership.

                2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                  Re: Can you blame us? @DuncanLarge

                  Well, you're missing the point, but at least you're aware that EEC-participation ("Norway") HAS been repeatedly proposed by the UK.

                  No, it hasn't and certainly not formally. Norway's deal is EU rules (including free movement of people), paying (a bit less) into the EU's budget, complying with ECJ judgements and no seat at the table when it comes to making the rules. So, basically everything the UK government said it didn't want. OK, no European Parliament so less gravy for Farage and his cronies.

                  The EU would have no problem with an arrangement like this, but the members of the EEA have indicated that they would be unhappy should the UK apply to join.

        5. M.V. Lipvig

          Re: Can you blame us?

          "If the EU were decent enough to sit down and actually talk with May about what would need to be done to the deal to make parliament and the 27 member states happy it would have been a lot smoother I bet."

          This assumes the EU wants a smooth exit for Britain, which they don't. They want it to be a disaster for Britain as an example, so as to discourage others from jumping ship. If Britain makes a go of it and doesn't go all third world after the exit, other members who see more money leaving than coming in will wonder why they are staying. A smooth exit for Britain would be a road map for others to leave, a disaster means other nations wanting to leave must figure out how on their own.

        6. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Can you blame us?

          "If the EU were decent enough to sit down and actually talk with May about what would need to be done to the deal to make parliament and the 27 member states happy it would have been a lot smoother I bet."

          That's exactly what happened.

          The EU talked to the 27 states. Formed a position. Then talked to May and a rotating cast of Ministers for Brexit. They reached a deal.

          Turns out May hadn't bothered to talk to Parliament.

          Maybe she should have done that first....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Can you blame us?

            Turns out May hadn't bothered to talk to Parliament.

            Maybe she should have done that first...

            She talked to her cabinet, they told her it wouldn't fly, so she manoeuvred them out, replaced them with remainer yesmen, and pressed ahead. It didn't fly, quelle surprise.

      5. Phil W

        Re: Can you blame us?

        "I voted to leave but all that's happened in the past two years is that Westminster has proven itself to be utterly unworthy of governing the people."

        I voted Remain, not because I was that arsed about staying in but because:

        A. I knew that our MPs were a waste of oxygen who wouldn't be able to sort it out properly

        B. I didn't see the benefit, in terms of the whole "unelected bureaucrats" "sovereignty" and "making our own laws arguments. We've got far bigger problems with corruption (all of westminster) and unelected bureaucrats (the house of Lords) in our own country, before we worry about being part of the EU.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Can you blame us?

          Point of order. The Lords aren't bureaucrats. That's the Civil Servants. And Sir Humphrey controls an empire orders of magnitude bigger than the EU bureaucracy.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Can you blame us?

            Technically, it's about one order of magnitude. IIRC, it's around 300k in whitehall compared to around 30k in Brussels.

      6. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Can you blame us?

        Funnily enough, the total inability of Westminster to govern is exactly why I didn't want them trying to 'take back control'.

        Imagine if everything they did (that's currently spelt out for them by Brussels) was handled this efficiently.

    2. Wyrdness

      Has anyone tried turning the Government off and on again?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        off and on again

        I think some bloke called Guy Fawkes almost tried that......

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just off will suffice

      3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Yes....

        Northern Ireland has done just that and so far seems to rolling along OK enough..

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Yes....

          Northern Ireland has done just that and so far seems to rolling along OK enough..

          Except for the civil servants unable to act because there's no elected representative available to make policy decisions, which would be challenged in court if the civil servants overstepped their authority. And then Theresa May appointed Karen Bradley as NI secretary, who turned out to be both stunningly ignorant of Northern Ireland and utterly useless so there's still no sign of Stormont reconvening.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yes....

            ... Karen Bradley as NI secretary, who turned out to be both stunningly ignorant of Northern Ireland ...

            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Most of the MPs in both 'major' parties seem stunningly ignorant of almost everything... particularly the ones 'running' those parties, both officially and unofficially.

            Bradley was clueless about Ireland - inexcusable when you live next door, are part of the same country, and are responsible for it.

            One of the Brexit ministers - Raab? - didn't understand about what it means to be living on an island.

            Davis spent two years, supposedly negotiating a transition agreement - without knowing that an agreeent was needed to create a transition period.

            Corbyn is clueless about economics, and thinks he can negotiate his preferred herd of custom unicorns in a few weeks... and also thijnks that democratic policy processes means that he ignores agreed policy to pursue his own personal agenda.

            Leavers promised easy trade deals with everyone in a week or two after invoking article 50... and are still struggling to get a comprehensive deal with any significant countries. The 'jewel' of their efforts so far is a goods only deal with Switzerland, when more than half of trade with them is services. Most of the other deals are with countries bigger than a postage stamp, but not by much.

            Rees Mogg and friends have their money safely stashed in international assets, while they contemplate turning the UK into a revived 18th century tax haven.

            .... no wonder the EU is feeling like they may be better off at a distance, for now.

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Yes....

          Except it isn't.

          And the amusing thing is they haven't been able to spend most of the 1st £1bn bung, as there is no minister or govt to authorise what to spend it on. Despite the NI NHS making the English and Welsh ones look like paradise.

          They should have demanded cash in a very large brown envelope. (out of interest, how 'big' is a stack of £1bn in £20 notes? New Reg unit of volume?)

          1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Re: How big is a £1 billion bung?

            Just answered my own question. £1bn in £20 notes is approx 1200 cubic metres, so a bit bigger than my house! that's 32 x 20' shipping containers or a very large brown envelope.

            1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

              Re: How big is a £1 billion bung?

              I used to work in a cash handling centre, would regularly process 7 million in a day myself. The vault had c.1 billion in notes. Looked awesome.

            2. 's water music Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: How big is a £1 billion bung?

              just imagine how long that could have kept one of those RHI furnaces fuelled

            3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: How big is a £1 billion bung?

              Why £50 notes?

              Any fule nos that crisp € 500 notes are the money launderers' denomination of choice. Handy for the DUP to be able to hop over the open border to change spend them.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: How big is a £1 billion bung?

                >Why £50 notes?

                It's the UK government paying, it costs them next to nothing to print.

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Yes....

          They seem to be having a spot of bother getting it to boot up again...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A question for all those petition signers.....

    Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?

    I'll head off the pedantic grammar nazis, technically it is two questions.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?"

      You seem to assume those signing (or trying to sign) the petition didn't vote. Have you stopped beating your wife?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >>>Have you stopped beating your wife?

        How strange and childish.

        As Brian Redhead said:

        'while you compose an apology for daring to suggest you know how I exercise my vote, and I shall reflect upon the death of your monetary policy comment'

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          > How strange and childish.

          You presumably don't get the reference. He's saying you've asked a loaded question rather than a straight question.

          It's asked as a yes/no, and contains the implicit assumption that you are (or have been) beating the wife.

          Just as yours contained the assumption that none of the petition signers voted in the ref, along with the assumption that no-one who originally voted Leave would have signed the petition.

          One is demonstrably false (I voted, and signed) and the other likely to be so too

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Thanks, Ben.

            Am I too old if I assume everyone knows that one?

            1. hmv

              I would say no, but I assumed everyone knew that one too, so we're probably both too old.

              1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

                Too old...

                As I'm pushing 40, I found being called "boy" by a bog standard leaver rather amusing.

            2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

              Honestly, I don't think it's an age thing. But then, I can't pin-point exactly why I know it and when I learnt it, so /shrug

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Have you stopped beating your wife?

        Have you stopped beating your wife?

        You should read Lewis Carol. I have not stopped beating my wife. Please note, I haven't started to either...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not for lack of trying

        Well, since you ask, disenfranchised — despite government saying I wouldn't be —  through having lived on the mainland "too long".

        There was a petition about that, too …

      4. M.V. Lipvig

        1 in 3 Brits failed to vote, so it's a valid question.

    2. David Webb

      They probably did vote leave during the referendum, they just can't (or don't want to) accept the result so want it to change. I have accepted that even though I voted remain the majority voted to leave so Article 50 must be pushed through, even if it's a giant clusterfuck which will affect the younger generations (who were unable to vote) for the rest of their lives.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "I have accepted that even though I voted remain the majority voted to leave so Article 50 must be pushed through, even if it's a giant clusterfuck which will affect the younger generations (who were unable to vote) for the rest of their lives."

        Yes. That's why I am currently pressing the government to make attempted suicide a capital offence. After all, if they decided to do it once, it should be pushed through, even though in the meantime they might have changed their minds, and it's obvious that it's a terrible idea.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > which will affect the younger generations (who were unable to vote) for the rest of their lives

        I'm always bemused when I see this presented as an argument. Do these people think there is some magic way that a vote can take into account the views of those too young and not yet born?

        1. strum Silver badge

          >there is some magic way that a vote can take into account the views of those too young and not yet born?

          Well, yes - if voters thought beyond their own immediate desires and considered their children's futures. Radical, I know.

      3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge
        FAIL

        Absolutely. We should bring back slavery and forbid women the right to vote. It took years and a number of failed votes before it went through, obviously we should stick to the very first decision forever.

      4. DontFeedTheTrolls
        Flame

        "the majority voted to leave"

        Which in itself is a problem - nobody defined what should be an acceptable number for Constitutional Change. Such change requires the clear backing of the people, and a simple majority is not sufficient. Neither side achieved 50% of the electorate. You cannot claim 45% is a "mandate for change", and it could be argued a non-vote is a vote for the status quo, the failing being the referendum never made that a criteria. It was classed as an advisory referendum, it is indicative of the feeling of the people who responded at the time, but the number is too close to call it a mandate to change such a lifetime affecting International relationship.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @DontFeedTheTrolls

          "Which in itself is a problem - nobody defined what should be an acceptable number for Constitutional Change"

          Yes they did. The rules of the referendum was majority. It was clearly the rules which is why the majority was the acceptable criteria.

          "Neither side achieved 50% of the electorate"

          One of the highest turn outs for a vote and we have a majority. The support for the EU couldnt even get 50%. In what world does that look like support to remain?

          "and it could be argued a non-vote is a vote for the status quo"

          It could be argued that a non-vote is for either side. The fact is if you dont vote you accept the outcome, because you had your opportunity to have a say and you didnt wish to say.

          "It was classed as an advisory referendum"

          That the remainer PM banged on about following through regardless full stop, stop crying, once in a generation vote. That idea fell apart quicker than the crap predictions of remain or even Camerons promise to stay on. Democracy is to vote and for the losing group to accept the outcome even if they are unhappy with it.

          "but the number is too close to call it a mandate to change such a lifetime affecting International relationship."

          Democracy or not democracy that is the question. Decision made, so shall we democratically leave the EU or should the moaning complaining minority be ignored and we leave anyway?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: @DontFeedTheTrolls

            "Democracy or not democracy that is the question. Decision made, so shall we democratically leave the EU or should the moaning complaining minority be ignored and we leave anyway?"

            And why should the remainers not continue to campaign? That's democracy too.

            Bear in mind that the Leave campaign, not expecting to win at the time, were vehemently stating that they would continue the fight after the vote.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @DontFeedTheTrolls

              @John Brown (no body)

              "And why should the remainers not continue to campaign? That's democracy too."

              I have no issue with that. I say it pretty regularly that remain should pull themselves together behind a party that will rejoin the EU if they really want that. But the calls to stop the leave result from being implements is not democratic.

              "Bear in mind that the Leave campaign, not expecting to win at the time, were vehemently stating that they would continue the fight after the vote."

              Of course they would. They would have to try and get elected or pressure the main parties into offering a choice on our participation of the EU. If leave had lost we would not be discussing how we should be leaving anyway because it was a close vote. So the remainers (gov particularly) need to wrap their heads around democracy and apply the result.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: @DontFeedTheTrolls

                "So the remainers (gov particularly) need to wrap their heads around democracy and apply the result."

                Politicians understand and accept that "a week is like an eternity in politics", hence why they think they can come up with something to solve the Brexit plan in the next few weeks. Now, using their own definition of reletive time, why is it so infeasible that "the people" might not only have different views on even leaving the EU after 2 and half years, but many leavers might have very different views on the type of Brexit they want. And yet "the people" of this democratic nation are not being asked what they want. Bear in mind that at the time of the referendum, there were no plans whatsoever for Brexit so those voting didn't really know what they were voting for. Remainers wanted to remain, but leavers were left to make the own various and disparate guesses at what leave might look like.

                Personally, at this stage of the game, I no longer care if we leave or stay. I just wish some fucking decision could be made so at least we all know where we stand instead of this constant bickering leaving the country, trade and the economy in limbo.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: @DontFeedTheTrolls

                  @John Brown (no body)

                  "And yet "the people" of this democratic nation are not being asked what they want"

                  They were. We spent 20 years trapped in the EU without a say because we were not asked what we want. We finally forced them into giving us a say and now we have said what we want this is the claim.

                  "there were no plans whatsoever for Brexit so those voting didn't really know what they were voting for"

                  The stitch up from remain (particularly the government) was ridiculous, but there is not much leave could do about it. The rigging involved in the referendum was appalling for what should be democracy. But we knew when we voted to leave the EU we were voting to not be in the EU.

                  "Remainers wanted to remain, but leavers were left to make the own various and disparate guesses at what leave might look like."

                  I like to apply the same reasoning to remain. They had no idea what kind of remain they were voting for. How far would we be swallowed into the EU? Some remain commenter's claim they voted for the status quo, and yet the EU is in desperate need of huge reform with differing views of what that should be.

                  "I just wish some fucking decision could be made so at least we all know where we stand instead of this constant bickering leaving the country, trade and the economy in limbo."

                  That would make a huge difference. The uncertainty has caused plenty problems but I would like them to state we are leaving, hard brexit, get on with it and preferably get a government committed to the action.

                  1. DontFeedTheTrolls
                    Boffin

                    Re: @DontFeedTheTrolls

                    "We spent 20 years trapped in the EU without a say because we were not asked what we want"

                    Good grief. We elect Members of the European Parliament in same way as every other European citizen. Everyone has an equal say. Perhaps we didn't get what we wanted because we elected arseholes like Nigel Farage who didn't stand up for what "we" wanted and did all he could to disrupt the democracy of Europe.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: @DontFeedTheTrolls

                      @DontFeedTheTrolls

                      "Good grief. We elect Members of the European Parliament in same way as every other European citizen"

                      Which in absolutely no way changes what I said- "We spent 20 years trapped in the EU without a say because we were not asked what we want". You saying that we were allowed to participate in the project we couldnt have a say in leaving (until now) proves my point.

                      "Perhaps we didn't get what we wanted because we elected arseholes like Nigel Farage who didn't stand up for what "we" wanted and did all he could to disrupt the democracy of Europe."

                      Which is what we elected him for. Ffs is it really so difficult to understand the simple concept??? How many remainers are going to struggle with such an easy thing to understand? We didnt want to be in the EU, we were not allowed to choose that. We had to elect MEP's so we elected someone to fuck with them.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          nobody defined what should be an acceptable number for Constitutional Change

          I think the pro-leave campaign did define a number, and it was bigger than 52%...but they were expecting a pro-remain result and when it swung the other way they soon ditched that particular yardstick.

          1. agurney

            "..nobody"defined what should be an acceptable number for Constitutional Change

            The Iron Lady set a precedent for this in 1979 when she insisted that 40% of the electorate be in favour of the Scottish referendum - 51.6% voted yes, but that was only 32% of the electorate.

        3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          the number is too close to call it a mandate to change such a lifetime affecting International relationship.

          Which is also true of every vote taken when the EU was created in the first place. If there had been a 60% or 70% threshold there wouldn't be an EU to leave.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Which is also true of every vote taken when the EU was created in the first place"

            Agreed.

            "If there had been a 60% or 70% threshold there wouldn't be an EU to leave."

            Not necessarily. Having to achieve a supermajorty might have lead to different arrangements being proposed.

        4. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          "Which in itself is a problem - nobody defined what should be an acceptable number for Constitutional Change. "

          I think we have established that it is zero. That's how many UK citizens voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty.

        5. Wandering Reader

          "You cannot claim 45% is a "mandate for change", "

          Strangely enough, that is a line favoured by English Remainers but seems to be unpopular with Scotiish Remainers. Can you work out why?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "which will affect the younger generations (who were unable to vote) for the rest of their lives."

        I was not born when we went into the EEC. I was too young to have a say in 1993 also.

        NOBODY WAITED FOR ME!

        And you know what, I'm fine with that because I was a kid. A child. I wasnt a man yet.

      6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "They probably did vote leave during the referendum, they just can't (or don't want to) accept the result so want it to change. I have accepted that even though I voted remain the majority voted to leave so Article 50 must be pushed through, even if it's a giant clusterfuck which will affect the younger generations (who were unable to vote) for the rest of their lives."

        I think the biggest problem is that all those who voted remain were voting for the same thing. As we've clearly seen over the last 2 years or so, there are significantly different groups of leavers who want different versions of leave. Brexit means Brexit, of course, but which Brexit? At the moment, it seems we have two options for closed source Brexit (decided behind closed doors) when what should have happened over the last two years is a sort of GNUBrexit where everyone could see what was happening and negotiate their input. The biggest clusterfuck of all was Government negotiating for most of the two years before releasing the "code" for final approval at the 11th hour when it's too late to make rational changes? Maybe T May is a fan of Poettering ?

        1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          > The biggest clusterfuck of all was Government negotiating for most of the two years

          I think most people with actual experience of hard-arse balls-on-the-table-and-the-hammer's-hovering negotiations would instead describe the last 2 years as :

          * the UK govt pleading rather than negotiating,

          * the UK govt acting as supplicant rather than equal party with specific and genuine requirements,

          * fucking insane.

          .

          I mean, the SANE way to have started this 2 years ago, would be to simply (but loudly and publicly) kick off full prep for full independence/normal status (relabelled by one group as "no deal").

          Then bring the EU's demands to the table.

          Which, since they were specifically created and worded to be unsolveable (Norway and Switzerland are mute demonstrations that the Irish Backstop is furphy rather than murphy), the UK would have simply stated "not acceptable" and walked away.

          Which would have left the EU policrats with no leverage vs the UK yet still with the HUGE internal-to-policrats NEED to try to score points off the wicked splittists. Which means they would have come back with something at least noninsane, in an attempt to get an actual discussion. And THEN maybe a sensible middle-ground could have been found, for the UK to gain an advantage over other countries like Australia or Canada or America, rather than being just like them.

          Worse comes to worst, the UK would have had 2yrs to build extra truck parks and hire more border staff, etc. No dramas, no rush.

          .

          I mean, this is Negotiation 101.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            "Worse comes to worst, the UK would have had 2yrs to build extra truck parks and hire more border staff, etc. No dramas, no rush."

            And plenty of time for all of the supply chains to leave the UK. No deal = death to large-scale manufacturing.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            I mean, the SANE way to have started this 2 years ago, would be to simply (but loudly and publicly) kick off full prep for full independence/normal status (relabelled by one group as "no deal").

            Yes, but the brayng hordes of Leave demanded Invoke Article 50 NOW; don't even ask Parliament, just do it.

            This is the state the Leave campaign engendered. Leavers can scarcely complain now that things weren't done in a sensible order.

            1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

              Invoking Article 50 "now" includes Article 50's provisions. Which include the time lag sufficient to allow preparation without drama. 2 years.

              UK Parliament and Civil Service instead fought to stop any public sector preparation. They succeeded -- brilliantly, in fact. [Second-order effect: stultifying private sector preparation, since they need Certainty regarding Sovereign activity] A particular micro-/tactical- triumph was to remove all non-civilservants from the brexit discussions. Offshore observers were first gobsmacked, then tearing their hair out at the stupidity.

              Do not try to pin the consequences of deliberate spoiling tactics by a tiny subset of self-interested parasites, on the relative wisdom of the action chosen. It might raise cheers from the echo chamber, but it's not real.

              .

              I have seen now precisely ONE commentard raise an antibrexit point which has some validity. See the chap just before you. Although even he is only in the vague neighbourhood, rather than being aware of the actual situation: supply chains are to the key point as parsley is to pesto: adds tastiness but not critical -- but he is (the first!) in the right ballpark. Nor has he acknowledged that the current situation could only ever exist due to the UK's fundamental ur-cultural differences with the continental EU (with the partial exception of Austria). Which, given the rock-steady 600,000/yr immigration to the UK from the poverty states of the EU, combined with the 400,000/yr Brits exiting, could realistically only have a ~20yr lifespan anyway before material cultural/economic homogenisation: evaporation of that advantage.

              That advantage, by the way, has been shown by much research to accrue to only the immigrants and to the ultra-rich.

              There is also one other antibrexit point. Fundamentally related but a different industrial sector. Again: the driver is regulatory arbitrage of artificially-distorted (and hence fragile, and indeed being actively worked against by the EU) cost-base, which is itself driven by cultural differences. Differently, changes in this sector will be (are currently) visible sharply almost immediately (12mths) rather than over a generation. But counter that: the UK advantage there is SO large, that apart from some faffery intrachange, that sector will still at worst collapse back to what it was pre93: world-dominating.

              Both should have been the sole focus of hte post Article50 declaration's "Deal!" negotiations, because if handled even halfway sensibly would have had UK in precisely hte same position post-brexit as pre-brexit.

              Instead, the civil service took a deliberately "whatever you say" approach, including deliberately deciding to confine their "negotiations" to a deliberately antagonistic "moral stance" presented by the EU.

              .

              Whatever happens next, it's got nothing to do with the intent of brexit. It was deliberately smashed from Day 1. By a tiny subset of self-interested parasites.

              But please don't conflate tactical sabotage with the strategic sensibleness of the original position.

    3. John Mangan

      @AC

      Well, demographically speaking several hundred thousand affected by this clusterfuck weren't eligible on the date you mentioned.

      Many who were eligible and did vote are now dead.

      No doubt some who expected to see the easiest trade deal in history signed, sealed and ldelivered by now have become fatigued.

      I could go on . . . a bit like May's government's Brexit process.

    4. JoshOvki

      "Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?"

      In work and because they kicked me out after I put my vote in the ballot box, didn't seem practical to stay there all day stopping people from voting.

    5. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Where were you on the 23 June 2016"

      Voting to remain

      "and why were you not at the ballot box ?"

      I was. But somewhere along the line, 48% of those who voted were ignored completely to satisfy the most rabid minority of the 52% on the other side. Even if you ignore the lies and duplicity, did most people who voted 'Leave' vote for 'No Deal', never mind the 96% that would have been necessary to outweigh Remain? At the time of the referendum, the Leave campaigners were saying 'leave the EU, do a Norway-style deal and join EFTA, and nobody was saying WTO-only.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        @DavCrav

        "But somewhere along the line, 48% of those who voted were ignored completely to satisfy the most rabid minority of the 52% on the other side"

        48% < 52%. 48% !> 52%. We dont put the rabid socialists of labour in charge because they didnt win the election. A polar situation- in or out of the EU requires that we remain or leave based on the result. If it was 52% remain where would the reduction of EU influence begin? Would we be leaving to satisfy the few?

        "Even if you ignore the lies and duplicity, did most people who voted 'Leave' vote for 'No Deal', "

        Yes. That was easy. People voted to leave the EU, that means leave the EU/not be in the EU/exit the EU/no longer participate in the EU project. And the EU made clear that leave is hard brexit. And they are within their right to do that too, which means yes people voted to leave the EU.

        "never mind the 96% that would have been necessary to outweigh Remain?"

        This is a new statistic. Where did 96% come from?

        "At the time of the referendum, the Leave campaigners were saying 'leave the EU, do a Norway-style deal and join EFTA, and nobody was saying WTO-only."

        Yet the leave option available is to leave the EU. We might have done better if it was left to leave to negotiate but unfortunately they were so successful they were overruled. For example Davis lost his job for not making enough progress (May interfered and he quit) while may has lost so much ground her deal is considered worse than leave or remain.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: @DavCrav

          Davis in 2012 was quite clear that we should "remain in the customs union" and participate in a "common market to deliver economic benefits for the whole continent".

          So what changed? Other than his falling in with a nihilistic bunch of extremists. He's genuinely puzzling: I've no reason to suppose he expects to profit from the Rees-Mogg hedge fund's bets against Britain, nor that he'd even take such an incentive.

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: @DavCrav

          "If it was 52% remain where would the reduction of EU influence begin? "

          IIRC, Cameron already had a deal in place with the EU to implement some reforms favourable to the UK if the result was remain

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: @DavCrav

            Cameron's "deal" was a total sham.

            Headline "concession": 4 years before an EU national in the UK qualifies for benefits. But rather nebulous qualifiers around the 'concession'.

            Standard EU rules: 5 years before an EU national resident in another country qualifies for benefits and healthcare in the host country's system.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @DavCrav

              @Nick Kew: That is patently false.

              As someone who has lived in the EU, and was unfortunate enough to be out of work for 6 weeks after only being there 18 months, I was perfectly entiltled to benefits and healthcare. I was an EU citizen, and the point of being an EU citizen is that you are treated as a citizen anywhere in the EU.

              The timeframe you refer to is merely for naturalisation and becoming a full citizen of the country you are working/living in. Although prior to Brexit, there wasn't really any need for a person to be naturalised in another EU country, if you were already born in another.

              1. Nick Kew Silver badge

                Re: @DavCrav

                @soulrideuk: so your host country was more generous to you than EU law requires. That's allowed.

                EU freedom of movement doesn't in itself entitle you to live more than three months in another EU country unless you're economically self-sustaining. What it does do is give you automatic rights if you have a job. Or alternatively if you have independent means and health insurance (typically, pensioners).

                Thus when I filled in the paperwork for moving to Italy, one box I had to fill was how I was going to support myself. "Through employment" gave me the right to live there, barring exceptional circumstances such as a serious criminal/terrorist conviction.

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @DavCrav

            @jmch

            "IIRC, Cameron already had a deal in place with the EU to implement some reforms favourable to the UK if the result was remain"

            No not really. His 'earth shattering' reforms wernt agreed, they would need unanimous agreement to implement which was not guaranteed even if we remained. Basically he offered a damp squib and couldnt even get the EU to agree to that.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @DavCrav

          And the EU made clear that leave is hard brexit

          -------------

          They most certainly did not.

          The 'staircase' slide of 2017 12 19 clearly shows the options available to the UK - and how the UK's demands ruled them out.

          The UK was looking for a free banquet with a 'bespoke' menu. That was never going to fly. Even after the UK's mandatory 'red lines'. a deal similar to Canada's or Japan's was available - but the UK did not want those because they weren't getting enough free extras that no one else had.

          Oddly, they seemed to think that by repeatedly demanding the same thing over and over, they'd get it... like a five year old demanding candy. That doesn't always work, and in this case, the adults said no.

          Everything on the chart less than EU membership was rejected by the UK as 'not good enough for us because we're special'.

          If you are down to no deal, that was a matter of the collective choices of the UK government and parliament (and political parties).

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        " Even if you ignore the lies and duplicity,"

        Which lies? That the economy would crash by 8% upon just a vote for leave? That the Chancellor would need to bring in a draconian emergency budget?

        Or are you banging on about the fact that leaving will ONLY free up $280M-odd per week for the NHS, rather than the $320M-odd "promised"? - eye roll -

        Apologies: I am smirking at the moment, and I know that is not allowed.

        1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          spot on, but:

          > leaving will ONLY free up $280M-odd per week for the NHS, rather than the $320M-odd "promised"? - eye roll -

          No, it really was the larger number (more like £340m/week iirc: ~£18bn / 52).

          That's the sum of the amount of pure subsidy the UK paid the EU (£8.5bn) (after rebate), plus the amount of UK money that the UK handed control over to the EU for spending within the UK on whatever projects the EU thought were virtuous (~£9.5bn).

          But that's only if you applied the full amount to the NHS. Which would be a bit silly. There were SOME things the EU applied the UK's 9.5bn to which would still be done after the UK re-took the reins. It wasn't all half-built bridges and so on.

          1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            I am intrigued by the (so far) 1 thumbdown.

            Someone doesn't like arithmetic?

        2. DavCrav Silver badge

          "Apologies: I am smirking at the moment, and I know that is not allowed."

          Well you are an idiot at the moment, because just take a look around. Here's a lie:

          "They need us more than we need them".

          Here's another one:

          "Easiest trade deal in history".

          The ONS disagrees with people here and states that the Brexit bus slogan was, in fact, a lie.

          1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            > "They need us more than we need them".

            Errmm... continental europe has a larger $exposure to the UK than vice versa.

            Not sure where you got the "easiest trade deal etc." but that's toy-town. If the EU (bureaucrats) was rational, yeah sure. But they're not -- they're parasites, have been since day 1. I hit the UK in '96, and even by then I had my eyes out on stalks at what was going inside the EU. And also, at the blithe startling ignorance within the UK of the reality.

            Granted, I was working all over the EU so got to see it up close and personal.

            But still... you'd think Brits would AT SOME STAGE pay attention to what the EU is in fact rather than in fiction.

            And no idea what the ONS might have blurted at some stage, but I was operating at a level where the ONS was merely one data source, and not a hugely good one, and if you've descended to the level of individual civil servants offering opinion pieces on political matters, rather than restricting themselves to numbers, you're in trouble. And I'm sorry, but the numbers are black&white (and I'm a quant/markets boy from way back and only work on real, verifiable sources) and if some junior twonker in the ONS came out with that, well, the EU's own published numbers flatly contradict him. As do the UK Treasury's own published numbers a la payments to the EU. As do the ONS's. "Whoops", etc.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              "Not sure where you got the "easiest trade deal etc." but that's toy-town."

              The (former?) Trade Secretary, not-actually-a-real-Dr Liam Fox. I mean, if he even lies about his own name (former GPs are not supposed to call themselves 'Dr' unless they have an MD) then he's very well suited as a Brexiteer.

              "I hit the UK in '96"

              Ah, an immigrant. Why don't you fuck off back home then?

              "And I'm sorry, but the numbers are black&white (and I'm a quant/markets boy from way back and only work on real, verifiable sources)"

              And I'm a professional mathematician. Given the statistical ability of most quants I know, I wouldn't trust your analysis, to be honest.

              "and if some junior twonker in the ONS came out with that, well, the EU's own published numbers flatly contradict him."

              It's the ONS Pink Book that says the net figure was around £200m/week. The £350m/week didn't even include the rebate. But I was slightly wrong, it was the UK Statistics Authority that slapped Johnson down for using the figure over and over again. And it wasn't a junior twonker, it was the head of the UKSA. Now, out of the head of the UKSA, and Boris Johnson, which should you believe is more accurate about, well, more or less anything?

              1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                > Liam Fox

                Ah well fair enough -- he always came across as an idiot, throwing shiny-sounding words around but clueless.

                > Ah, an immigrant. Why don't you fuck off back home then?

                I did. After 20 years. Still doesn't mean I like seeing good people and a good culture shoot themselves in the brain while screaming that they're not doing it and it's all THESE EVIL PEOPLE's fault then throwing around strawmen and toytown myths as PROOF.

                > Given the statistical ability of most quants I know

                True dat. Gob-smacking meme-followers, most of them. You want a surreal experience? Watch at any conference the french quants kinda race through parrot-learned proofs AT each other, sitting side by side but half-facing and pretentiously scrawling on their pads in what I used to call a wannabe quant-off.

                Good test of any quant: point them at the core/only globalwarming model, give them an hour or two, and if they're not spluttering in disbelief/shock/rage and shouting "the forcing factor is TAUTOLOGICAL!!! This entire thing is BORKEN!!!" they're idiots with a badge, not quants.

                > the ONS Pink Book says

                Like I said, the ONS is one of many sources and no longer weighted materially with regard to anything meme-related. The meme dominates the numbers now. Try going by what the EU itself reports, for example. Which matches what other branches of the UK govt reported for many years until it became politically (or rather: civil service-ally) unacceptable. (But still available in the pure-accounting areas sans "economists".) Which all matched precisely any number of deep-dives by fulltime third-party analysts and economists who actually have to stand by their numbers, with their career actually on the line with a 4 week notice period rather than at worst a 12-24mth payout.

                It's been years since I did my own deepdives so I can't any more simply point you at something categoric since I didn't bother keeping particular notes/files at the time, because my own matched everyone else's plus the published numbers plus --then-- the ONS's. But a quick duckduckgo just threw up the same numbers from eu&uk govt sources so I suggest you give it a try.

    6. 45RPM Silver badge

      I imagine that many voted then and are still not happy with the result, some may not have been able to vote and are doubly unhappy with the result, and some might have changed their minds and decided Brexit is a bad idea after all.

      As for all this Will of the People bollocks, that’s a) uncomfortably close to a Nazi slogan and b) based upon a misunderstanding of democracy - which is that we have the democratic right to change our minds (and hence why governments are regularly elected rather than elected once and in forever more).

      The problem with leaving, and especially with leaving on such a slender mandate, is that if we decide we don’t like it later then we can’t change our minds. If there was an overwhelming mandate in favour then that’s one thing, but there wasn’t and so, like it or not, leaving the EU is the undemocratic thing to do.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        No deal might not even be legal.

        Disclaimer - IANAL, and I voted remain (and would do again).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > blah blah blah blah and so, like it or not, leaving the EU is the undemocratic thing to do.

        That's quite the most pompous statement I've ever seen from a commentard.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          You must be new here then.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Pint

        As for all this Will of the People bollocks, that’s a) uncomfortably close to a Nazi slogan and b) based upon a misunderstanding of democracy

        Have an extra upvote in the form of a foaming pint…

      4. strum Silver badge

        >based upon a misunderstanding of democracy - which is that we have the democratic right to change our minds (and hence why governments are regularly elected rather than elected once and in forever more).

        Quite so. Democracy isn't about arriving at the correct answer. It's about arriving at an answer most people can live with - until the next time. No opportunity to change our minds == no democracy.

    7. daldred

      Re: Really?

      I was at home, then on my way to work, via a convenient ballot box, then at work, then at home again.

      The second part of your question falls as a result.

    8. Lee D Silver badge

      Personally, I was saying: "Yes or No" are pointless options and don't give me anywhere near enough information to proceed, even with the supporting documentation as it existed at that time, because we're voting on an intention to leave, not an actual plan of action.

      They are also non-legally binding, representing only one-50-millionth-or-less of a vote, the people who asked had absolutely no intention of doing so, their party didn't want to do so, and they won't let the other party take over just to do so.

      Additionally, I was also asking why I can't vote online in 2019 (despite having electronic passport, driving licence, etc.), why we're asking the public to vote on an issue they don't understand at all, and why there was a sudden rush to create a vote only after it was mentioned casually only in order to gain the support of the DUP etc.

      Unfortunately, if you look at anything like this, 99.9% of the vote and reasons around it has absolutely no correlation whatsoever to "would I like to look at leaving the EU" and absolutely NOTHING to do with "DO YOU THINK WE MUST LEAVE THE EU NOW IMMEDIATELY NO MATTER WHAT, WITH NO PLAN WHATSOEVER AND YOU DON'T GET ANY FURTHER SAY OR CHOICE OF WHAT WE DO".

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        why we're asking the public to vote on an issue they don't understand at all

        So, should we just stop having elections & go back to an absolute Monarchy, then?

        1. strum Silver badge

          Democracy is never about a final, unchangeable decision. On the contrary, the whole point of it is to allow for peaceful change - turfing out governments that don't deliver, without having to shoot them.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Pirate

            ... without having to shoot them.

            Although that might well be the most sensible option occasionally, "pour encourager les autres"..

      2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Personally, I was saying: "Yes or No" are pointless options

        Mauve!

        (I love the way that I still have to type in HTML tags here on The Register. And I'm actually not even being sarcastic (for true!))

    9. EvilDrSmith

      Probably where they are now.

      Which is (probably, in a significant number of cases) not in the UK.

      And thus not eligible to vote (technically, you require two answers)

      1. Vincent Ballard

        I was not in the UK, but I was eligible to vote and had, in fact, sent in my postal ballot a week earlier. British citizens who move abroad can still vote for 15 years afterwards in general elections. The limitation to 15 years was a big bone of contention at the time: few people are as directly affected by Brexit as people who have taken advantage of freedom of movement to or from the UK, but a considerable number of British citizens in that situation were disenfranchised.

    10. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?

      I was at the ballot box, casting my vote to remain, wondering what would happen when those who voted to leave and adopt the Norway or Switzerland model, as Farage and other leave advocates had told them they could have, discovered that had been a lie, when claims that leaving the EU didn't mean having to leave the single market or customs union turned out to be another lie, and that those lies were simply intended to get them to vote leave when they would never have done so if they had realised the truth.

      I never imagined though that Brexiteers would just outright lie and claim everyone who voted to leave had voted to leave with no deal, would claim they had all voted to leave and have WTO rules, or Brexiteers would be able to get away with that lie for three years, that we would seek brexit on that premise, or anyone would believe the lie that 'the will of the people' is nailed down and carved in stone at some past point in time.

      Though I wish it was, since 'the will of the people' back in the 70s was to remain in the EU. It's funny how Brexiteers won't accept that. Only applies for June 23rd, 2016, apparently.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        EU ≠ EEC

        since 'the will of the people' back in the 70s was to remain in the EU

        Not, it was to remain the Common Market (an economic grouping). The EU (a political grouping) wasn't created until the Treaty of Maastricht was signed in 1992. Maastricht was only passed by 51% in France, and failed with 49% in Denmark, who had to be made to vote again to get it right, certainly not a decisive result.

        I would have voted to remain in the Common Market, but not to remain in the EU.

        1. strum Silver badge

          Re: EU ≠ EEC

          Bollocks. It was perfectly clear in 1975 that the EEC was a political project. I have a copy of Edward Heath's leaflet, in which he makes this abundantly clear. Also, the central plank of the No campaign's platform was 'loss of sovereignty' (which is why I voted No in 1975).

          The Euroseptics started lying about this (along with a steady deluge of other lies) only a few years later.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: EU ≠ EEC

            It was perfectly clear in 1975 that the EEC was a political project.

            Then why did it take multiple other treaties to create the EU?

            Certainly, the idea of a closer political union was around from the start, but not the current plans for a centrally-controlled superstate.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "a centrally-controlled superstate"

              "a centrally-controlled superstate"

              Ah, like the United Kingdom, you mean?

              (Although even the UK now has devolution (well, apart from Englandshire), and, surprise, the national governments of EU member states also have full control over everything apart from those areas where they have agreed to work communally as part of the EU. I really don't understand those people who somehow see that setup as a bad thing. Oppressive superstate, it ain't.)

          2. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

            Re: EU ≠ EEC

            "Edward Heath's leaflet"

            Do you mean this tiny little section of the Illustrated LONDON news from 1972. I'm sure that everyone read that.

            https://goo.gl/images/KYKHrz

      2. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

        "when claims that leaving the EU didn't mean having to leave the single market or customs union turned out to be another lie"

        What claims?

        I never wanted to remain in any part of the EU. Leave meant leaving. I was actually surprised when I found out about some things that were NOT part of the EU such as the ECJ.

        I was not an expert on the EU by any means and yet I knew I was leaving anything they had implemented. How on earth would someone not know that the customs union for example was an EU mechanism?

        Unless you are a child perhaps. When I was a child, for many years I was convinced that teachers did not get paid. They were simply teachers and teaching was not a job, just what they did. When they went on strike in the 90's and I asked how that was possible I was shocked to discover that teaching was a profession, that I could even go into myself.

        Maybe others did not learn that lesson and continue to think that things like the CU and the common market have simply always existed, always will and just are? Of course thats a sarcastic remark as I'm hoping it isnt true.

    11. codejunky Silver badge

      @AC

      "Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?"

      They probably were. So far the number is still pretty small in comparison to the actual vote. Apparently those few think they represent a change in the peoples opinion. Of course the petition isnt binding in any way and can be ignored.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @AC

        "Of course the petition isnt binding in any way and can be ignored"

        Whoops.

        The referendum wasn't binding either.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @AC

          @Doctor Syntax

          "Whoops.

          The referendum wasn't binding either."

          No whoops needed. Remoaners like to complain the referendum wasnt binding. Now I take said stick and again beat the remoaning fools with their own argument again. Since the default legal outcome now is to leave then the gov is in a binding position. And with a high turnout vote supporting the action.

          Vs this piddly entertainment value petition.

          1. desht

            Re: @AC

            "Remoaners" ? Grow the fuck up.

            1. Nick Kew Silver badge

              Re: @AC

              Derogatory terms for an oppressed group in society.

              That's the same mindset that used an american derivative of the Latin word for black to sneer at people whose liberty - and later civil rights - they resented.

          2. CliveS
            Facepalm

            Re: @AC

            "Since the default legal outcome now is to leave then the gov is in a binding position."

            That may not actually be the case...

            https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2019/03/19/no-deal-brexit-may-be-unlawful-a-view-from-rose-slowe/

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @AC

              @CliveS

              "That may not actually be the case...

              https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2019/03/19/no-deal-brexit-may-be-unlawful-a-view-from-rose-slowe/"

              I am not sure I would take the blogs word for it. Didnt parliament accept brexit as the legal direction and it was then left to the skills of government to negotiate (I am laughing as I type that last bit)? The treaties of the EU is wrapped up with us handing over A50. UK side we seem to be talking of an extension and the French laughing then saying no.

    12. KarMann

      Do you know what non-citizen UK residents can do? They can sign the petition. [Source: the petition]

      Do you know what non-citizen UK residents couldn't do? They couldn't vote on the referendum.

      Any more obvious, easily-answered questions?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That goes both ways - a lot of UK citizens were disenfranchised, because their ability to vote in the referendum was blocked (they had been living outside the UK for over 15 years), they had not voted in the UK prior to moving abroad (quite common with, for example, Brits who took their teenage children to live in Spain) and/or the deadline given to mail paperwork was too tight for people to register to vote from abroad if they hadn't already done so.

        Leavers have based a lot of their opinions on unsupportable facts or outright fictions, and the idea that every UK citizen who wanted to vote could do so is right up there with the belief that UKIP and the Daily Mail were talking about factual information.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Long term residents in the UK from other countries should have been allowed the vote, too. They have far more to lose than the whiners* who, by accident of birth, got a vote.

          *I include my depressingly thick family and friends in that description. There was no attempt to learn (I teach EU and UK constitutional law, and many times pointed out that their preconceptions were... mistaken... and why), and the immigration crap kept coming back over and over again - and still does!!

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Long term residents in the UK from other countries should have been allowed the vote, too"

            They declared themselves as resident and then registered to vote?

            Or did they just assume they can come to the UK, never leave, never register, never sign up for benefits given to anyone who does and expect to vote? If I moved to France and lived there for a couple of years, got a job, had french kids, I would declare to the French government that I was resident and going to remain so for a significant amount of my future and so would want to be able to vote and take advantage of any benefits given to French people. I would also learn French and consider French political matters as my own.

          3. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            > Long term residents in the UK from other countries should have been allowed the vote, too.

            They were. Voting in the UK is by virtue of residency, not even by right to be in the country. You can be illegal, but registered resident, and you can vote.

            I'm Australian. "Indefinite Leave to Remain": nb, not a citizen. I legally voted in every UK election whilst I was there.

            1. H in The Hague Silver badge

              "Voting in the UK is by virtue of residency, not even by right to be in the country. You can be illegal, but registered resident, and you can vote."

              I don't think that's correct. Could you quote a source please?

              As far as I'm aware only UK, Irish and Commonwealth citizens are entitled to vote in national elections and referendums.

              Source: https://www.gov.uk/elections-in-the-uk

              (EU citizens in the UK are are currently entitled to vote in local elections, etc.)

      2. Vincent Ballard

        Irish and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK could vote in the referendum. The franchise was the same as for a general election, prioritising simplicity of administration over making sense.

    13. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      You mean in the non-binding referendum that the polls said remain would win, and where the choice was between remain, and leaving while easily keeping all of the benefits of EU membership while making huge profits on other trade deals and having more money for local priorities at the same time?

      Didn't vote, couldn't vote, but I did anticipate about 70% of the problems of leaving - some of which took years to sink in to the awareness of leavers.

      I honestly didn't anticipate the level of confusion, personal ambition and self-interest, lack of planning skills, inability to anticipate the obvious, total incomprehension of why the EU did not want to self-distruct to pander to British political quirks, lack of understanding of how anything worked, including rules drafted at the insistence of the UK, and the amazing number of people keen on re-fighting a B-movie version of world war 2, to better relive the glory of the empire.

      Train wreck, three years and counting - definitely slow motion.

      I figure the worst of this will die down in twenty years or so, when England follows Scotland and Northern Ireland (as part of Ireland) back into the EU. Wales? I have not the slightest guess whether they will go independently or with England.

      Or England could opt for a role as Airstrip One, the US forward base near the continent.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: why were you not at the ballot box ?

        I was at the ballot box on that day, but for the sake of avoidance of doubt, it needs to be stressed that one is not referring to the establishment of the same name nestling in the shade of Horsenden Hill. The one I was in doubles as a church, the one you were in doubles... oh cheers, thanks, but actually I'm teetotal.

  4. John Mangan

    It is hypnotic though...

    watching hundreds of signatures added at a time.

    Won't make any difference of course but then neither is anything that Parliament is doing.

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    How many are russians signing in through VPNs

    After all , funding both sides and watching the country fall apart is much more fun than funding one side

    1. The Axe

      Quite a few according to Guido at order-order.com. some from North Korea too. Basically remainers cheating.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Given Guido's history with the truth, I'd take that with a fucking massive pinch of salt

      2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Guido is not a reliable source.

        Plus, I seem to recall there's been occasions where they've dropped votes out of petitions due to cheating - more than once. There are some protections against bots and fraud in there. I don't, however, know that they've actually revealed what those protections are, so I don't know whether they're up to the job, but we have to assume (or, at least, hope) that they are.

        Each vote has to be confirmed by email, that's the most visible part.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Taking a quick (heavily adblocked) look, they're relying on the JSON exposed on the petitions site.

          It breaks down the number of signatures by country. For example, it's claiming 250 sigs from Finland

          But, what Guido happily ignores is that British Citizens live across the world, or may be out of country on business.

          But, ignoring that:

          #!/usr/bin/env python

          # -*- coding: UTF-8

          import json

          import urllib2

          url='https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584.json'

          response = urllib2.urlopen(url)

          s=response.read()

          p=json.loads(s)

          print(p["data"]["attributes"]["signature_count"])

          x=0

          y={}

          for country in p["data"]["attributes"]["signatures_by_country"]:

          if country["code"] <> "GB":

          x=x+country["signature_count"]

          y[country["name"]] = country["signature_count"]

          print x

          Currently gives:

          848031

          34333

          So that's 34,000 out of nearly 850,000. Ignoring the fact some of those probably are citizens, as well as the fact I've only factored in GB so may well have missed out some British Dependancies (like Gibraltar) who will be just as affected.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            In fact, if you look at where Guido tweeted it, there's a lot of people taking responsibility for some of those votes - all British citizens living overseas: https://twitter.com/GuidoFawkes/status/1108680088793636865

            So I think my initial instinct was right, Guido Fawkes is talking bollocks.... again

            1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge
              Alert

              Wait, what?

              Hang on, that's a genuine website? I've just been to order-order.com for a look and I really thought it was a Daily Mash type satire site.

              Are you telling me that's real?

              1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                Re: Wait, what?

                I'm afraid so, yeah.

          2. BlartVersenwaldIII
            Joke

            > But, what Guido happily ignores is that British Citizens live across the world, or may be out of country on business.

            But therefore they're not true British Citizens!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "But therefore they're not true British Citizens!"

              You mean like the arch-brexiters Nigel Lawson resident in France - and Jim Ratcliffe moving to Monaco to avoid UK tax.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                And Farage in Germany.

                Curious how all of the rabid public Brexiteers have moved themselves, their money or both out of the UK and into the EU27.

                Actually, if I think about it, it doesn't seem curious at all.

            2. 's water music Silver badge

              But therefore they're not true British Citizens!

              Certainly they are no true Scotsmen

          3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

            # -*- coding: UTF-8

            For some reason, I'm more inclined to believe someone who has done some proper research. Using an emacs coding directive is just the cherry on the cake.

      3. Groaning Ninny

        Oh you have got to be joking. Mental.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you suggesting that brits currently abroad shouldn't be allowed to vote?

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Are you suggesting that brits currently abroad shouldn't be allowed to vote?

        One of Cameron's broken election promises was to remove the 15-year limit.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They were disenfranchised during the actual referendum vote, so why not?

  6. Chloe Cresswell

    Hah, another TITSUP expansion to add to my collection. I've had to start making a list of them all!

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      A very long list then.....

      1. Chloe Cresswell

        Only 16 so far that I have recorded.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          You can't have been collecting them for very long.

  7. Paul 195
    Holmes

    No conspiracy needed

    There's a good article here explaining a little about how they scale this website according to demand: https://technology.blog.gov.uk/2016/08/16/scaling-the-petitions-service-following-the-eu-referendum/ . Unless they've changed it since this was written, it looks like inappropriate use of a strongly transactional database is the bottleneck. This is one of the cases when a scalable non-relational database might have been a better choice for recording the initial petition signing, with the count updated in a transactional way only when the user clicks the link in the email they are sent.

    1. Paul 195

      Re: No conspiracy needed

      Usually it's quite exciting getting downvoted on El Reg, but I can't see who I offended with this post. Unless it was someone from Oracle unwilling to accept that relational isn't always the answer.

  8. Lee D Silver badge

    Please indicate a petition which actually resulted in any positive action whatsoever (not just "it was debated" or a refusal-after-consideration). Especially any that actually results in a shift-change of law, political direction or anything remotely substantial.

    I'm not aware of a single one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think there was one for MP pay rises that got 650.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Phone-in

        Are these Petitions like Phone-in shows, an opiate for the Masses to think someone cares?

    2. Whiskers

      I think the one against compulsory ID cards had some influence.

    3. JassMan Silver badge

      @Lee D

      There was an ePetition for a retrospective pardon and posthumous apology for Alan Turing. This may or may not have resulted in the Prime Minister of the time making a public apology, but the timing was an awfully big coincidence, that it was straight after the petition.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's very very tricky.

    As someone who voted but didn't get their own way; every argument that points towards rerunning the vote clearly looks totally sound and justified and necessary. It was based on lies, we didn't get to vote on the plan, lots of people missed out on voting, lots of people who vote the other way are now dead.

    For those who voted and won; every one of those arguments looks like an attempt to deprive them of their democratic rights.

    And both points of view are valid. 

    Basically we're all fxcked

    1. JoshOvki

      There there are those who voted and won, and have since realised it was all rubbish and they are fscked.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "There there are those who voted and won, and have since realised it was all rubbish and they are fscked."

        And add those who weren't old enough to vote at the time.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @Doctor Syntax

          "And add those who weren't old enough to vote at the time."

          Very true. I remember reading a politician going to a school and asking the 3yr olds. Maybe in 15 years we could have another referendum where these little tykes might be out of the state school system?

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      In some ways, it's worse than that though.

      Having a new (binding, to avoid "best of" accusations) vote would be divisive, but there'd be a decisive outcome based on what we now know. It's not a politically clean solution, by any means, and there'll definitely be upset.

      The problem is, lots of energy seems to be going into preventing that happen, to the extent it's quite possible a People's Vote won't happen.

      The problem is, the alternative is no-deal (May's deal is shit). Because of the government's ineptitude in planning, there's a good chance that'll fuck us seven ways from sunday (well... friday I guess). If a PeoplesVote is blocked, the only alternative to no-deal would be Revoking.

      That feels a lot more divisive, and a lot less democratic than holding a people's vote. Especially as it should not be run as a re-run of the original question, but a selection between the now known options.

      Either way, everything May says about her course being the least divisive is bollocks being spouted by someone who looks a lot like a wannabe dictator. If the worst case no-deal's happen, that's going to be insanely divisive as people look for others to blame. Given her brinkmanship that's definitely a potential outcome.

      From the very outset there should have been an attempt to resolve the partisanship and find a solution that the other side could live with. And we *should* have been planning for No-Deal from 24 June 2016, just in case.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        With or without a plan, No Deal is the end of UK manufacturing, possibly the end of UK farming.

        It's also seriously damaging to the financial sector (all those tasty taxes), IT and several other large industries.

        Nobody at all trades under pure WTO rules. Nobody.

        Under the WTO, if you unilaterally cut import tariffs, you must cut them for everyone - so zero-rating means the UK gets flooded with cheaply-produced stuff, and the local producers of said stuff go out of business because they become more expensive in the UK (undercut by abroad) and abroad (tariffs)

        Worse, unilaterally cutting import tariffs removes the only big lever you've got when negotiating bilateral agreements. If chicken imports are already duty-free, what else can you offer? Cheaper chlorine?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "is the end of UK manufacturing"

          ~= s/end/start/

          "possibly the end of UK farming."

          Sure, we are all going to fast.

          "Nobody at all trades under pure WTO rules. Nobody."

          Citation needed.

          "Under the WTO, if you unilaterally cut import tariffs, you must cut them for everyone"

          How do you know, apparently nobody trades under WTO so where did you get this data from?

          "the UK gets flooded with cheaply-produced stuff,"

          No more food banks for a while then?

          "Cheaper chlorine"

          That will be good for the salad industry. Maybe the chlorinated water from the UK mains will also be cheaper. Win win.

    3. John Robson Silver badge

      The easiest question for the 'no second referendum' group is - what are you scared of - being able to judge the will of the people?

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Hang on

        ..and then call another referendum in 2 years because xx% disagreed with the result, and then another 2 after that ad infinitum?

        It's referendums all the way down......

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Hang on

          "and then call another referendum in 2 years because xx% disagreed with the result, and then another 2 after that ad infinitum?"

          The way to deal with that is what should have been the original arrangement: a change of status quo needs a substantial majority, such as 2/3. To say nothing of the vote having been clearly stated to be binding.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Hang on

            The way to deal with that is what should have been the original arrangement: a change of status quo needs a substantial majority, such as 2/3.

            Very true, but that wasn't applied to any of the votes to join or create the EU so it would be a little one-sided to only apply it now to the vote to leave.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Hang on

              It might not have been applied, but the votes would still have passed if they had required a 2/3rds majority.

              This was a draw in referendum terms.

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                Re: Hang on

                but the votes would still have passed if they had required a 2/3rds majority.

                Really?

                The EU was created by the Treaty of Maastricht

                France voted for Maastricht in 1992 by only 51%

                Denmark voted against it in 192, 48% then in favour in 1993 by 57%

                Finland voted to join in 1994 by 57%

                Sweden in 1994 by 52.3%

                Norway voted not to join in 1994 by 52.2%

                None of the few countries that were allowed a vote on the treaties of Nice or Amsterdam reached 2/3

                If all EEC/EU-related votes had required even a 2/3 majority of those who voted (never mind 2/3 of the electorate) Europe would look very different today. We'd have a smaller EEC, and no EU.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Hang on

                  "If all EEC/EU-related votes had required even a 2/3 majority of those who voted (never mind 2/3 of the electorate) Europe would look very different today."

                  I'm with you on that. But having known that they were going to have to sell their product to a 2/3 majority those negotiating the Maastricht treaty would have had to come up with a different product. It's by no means certain that there wouldn't have been an approved treaty.

                2. John Robson Silver badge

                  Re: Hang on

                  The French referendum wasn’t a UK referendum though - that one garnered more than 2/3rds of the vote...

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Hang on

              "Very true, but that wasn't applied to any of the votes to join or create the EU so it would be a little one-sided to only apply it now to the vote to leave."

              I've always considered they should have been. But the economic situation we have is what it is. It makes it a pretty expensive gesture to try to change what should have happened in the past.

        2. batfink

          Re: Hang on

          And this is one of the reasons that Referendums at the Federal level in Germany are explicitly restricted to two subjects: changing the constitution and moving State boundaries. Otherwise it's the odd idea of "parliamentary democracy".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The easiest question for the 'no second referendum' group is - what are you scared of "

        Scared of people who want to leave but dont have the will to carry on so vote to end it just because they are tired and want the easy way out rather than keeping calm and carrying on.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5y68ErffgM

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      That could also be said for just about every general election vote

      I suspect you would end up with a legal challenge for every new government, in the same way that over here every new election begins with a plan to impeach the winner

    5. Paul 75

      Random thoughts on this sad situation

      The whole thing has just been complete bollocks from start to...was going to say finish, but that is still nowhere in sight. There should have been only a change of this magnitude if there had been a vast majority in favour, e.g. two-thirds...

      I, and many, many ex-pats were not even entitled to vote due to being abroad too long, yet are still impacted by all this total crap. I wonder how many folks for example working happily in European institutions for many years, will lose their job, simply because they don't belong to an EU country anymore? How many with holiday homes abroad or retired somewhere warm, will be impacted, possibly due to laws concerning non-EU ownership, or even simply the GBP-EUR exchange rate?

      I definitely think there should be a second referendum with a choice between "No Brexit", and a "Deal" spelled out in full, even "No Deal" just for the kamikaze assholes that appear to exist. Mandatory voting might even be necessary to get the real scale of each position.

      We have to elect these morons every few years or so, if we applied the "no second referendum" logic, then there would never be a change of government.

      The only good thing from all this is that I hope the Tories and at this rate Labour will implode; only interested in their own gains, and to hell with the rest of the country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I hope the Tories and at this rate Labour will implode

        and who, do you think, will emerge from such a big bang, the cream of the cream? More like the froth of the scum, those who shout loudest what people want to see/hear: EASY SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I hope the Tories and at this rate Labour will implode

          The bizarre thing is that the political party which is coming out of this looking the most generally competent at the present time is the SNP (and I don't even agree with their core policy, although right now it might just about be looking like the lesser of two evils).

          (And the Green parties as well, although the nature of the Westminster parliament FPTP voting system, unusual among the parliaments/assemblies of the UK and other civilised countries, makes it very difficult for them to get fair and proportionate representation for their voter base.)

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I hope the Tories and at this rate Labour will implode

          "and who, do you think, will emerge from such a big bang, the cream of the cream? More like the froth of the scum, those who shout loudest what people want to see/hear: EASY SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS!!!"

          I'm trying but failing to see what might the change be which you are suggesting.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Random thoughts on this sad situation

        Indeed, it was insanity to not allow UK citizens who had resided in EU for years not to vote, precisely because they could be extremely adversely affected by a leave decision

        The cynic might think it was deliberately rigged and that the campaigning did not exactly push the economic and other (e.g. anti pollution regulations) benefits of being in the EU... and the fact that the UK chose not to make good use of the measures the EU allowed to make the UK less attractive to other EU citizens long term (if you know anyone who has moved to Spain to live ask them what a PITA and often quite costly the Spanish make lots of services as an EU but non Spanish citizen)

        1. Vincent Ballard

          Re: Random thoughts on this sad situation

          I moved to Spain to live back in 2008, and I'm not sure what you're referring to with "what a PITA and often quite costly the Spanish make lots of services as an EU but non Spanish citizen".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Random thoughts on this sad situation

        I wonder how many folks for example working happily in European institutions for many years, will lose their job, simply because they don't belong to an EU country anymore?

        Very few if they've truly been there for years, they'll have acquired rights under the Treaty of Vienna, and probably also such rights under the laws of their current country. In France, for example, 5 years is sufficient to gain permanent resident status.

        How many with holiday homes abroad or retired somewhere warm, will be impacted, possibly due to laws concerning non-EU ownership, or even simply the GBP-EUR exchange rate?

        For ownership, see the above Treaty of Vienna. For the exchange rate, that's a pointless argument. The parlous state of the Eurozone economies will have a much bigger effect.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Random thoughts on this sad situation

          In France, for example, 5 years is sufficient to gain permanent resident status.

          That's EU rules - and assuming the bureaucracy works (in contrast to the Windrush story here). Permanent resident status is what gives you the rights of a native to things like benefits and healthcare, and to get citizenship. Eligibility comes after five years legally resident, working and contributing to your host country, except where a host country has its own laws that are more generous than that.

          I was in Italy long enough to qualify. Sadly back then I saw no reason to suppose an Italian passport offered any advantages that I didn't already have by virtue of my British passport, so I never bothered to tackle that particular bureaucratic process.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Random thoughts on this sad situation

            That's EU rules

            No, it's French rules, and I have the "Carte de Séjour permanent" to prove it (I moved here before the EU was created). 5 years at first, then you have the right to permanent residence which you keep unless you're absent for more than 2 years.

            Permanent resident status is what gives you the rights of a native to things like benefits and healthcare, and to get citizenship

            Salaried employment gets you the rights to benefits and healthcare. French citizenship is a different matter. Make a request today and you'll get a date for an interview in 2020 (and that's not just for UK citizens post-Brexit).

      4. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

        Re: Random thoughts on this sad situation

        "I, and many, many ex-pats were not even entitled to vote due to being abroad too long, yet are still impacted by all this total crap. I wonder how many folks for example working happily in European institutions for many years, will lose their job, simply because they don't belong to an EU country anymore? How many with holiday homes abroad or retired somewhere warm, will be impacted, possibly due to laws concerning non-EU ownership, or even simply the GBP-EUR exchange rate?"

        Oh dear god.

        NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE

        Try turning on the TV once in a while and watching the news. Its not 2017 any more.

    6. David Nash Silver badge

      And if the original referendum had been required to have a (say) two-thirds majority to take effect, probably everyone would have accepted that beforehand as reasonable.

      Then whichever way it went there would have been more acceptance of the result generally.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And what if remain campaign was also lies...?

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
        Facepalm

        If my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And what if remain campaign was also lies...?

        What do you mean if?

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "And what if remain campaign was also lies...?"

        Whether they were consider to be such at the time is no longer relevant. Many of them are true now, what with a shite deal no one seems to want or hard Brexit as the only likely options now.

  10. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Pirate

    This is not the non-functional you need to worry about

    How many signature sessions it can support simultaneously is irrelevant compared to end to end response time: how long will it take for any petition exceeding the target to result in a vote. I somehow suspect that's going to be more than 8 (and a bit) days.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: This is not the non-functional you need to worry about

      The description on the petition actually says exactly that - it's an attempt to get enough signatures to prove the strength of public support.

      So I assume that could do three things - get revoke in the news, get it being talked about and get MPs thinking "oh yeah, we could actually do that." It's achieving the first, quite possibly the second and I'm wondering how long it'll be before it starts doing the third.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: This is not the non-functional you need to worry about

        "It's achieving the first"

        Rather better than it it had all gone smoothly!

  11. Dr Who

    With the site going up and down like a yoyo (it's down right now) we will never know how many would have signed the petition had the site been up continuously.

    Fret ye not though, I have a cunning plan. What we need is a *second* petition to confirm the result of the first one.

  12. Rudolph Hucker the Third
    Holmes

    It's been whispered elsewhere (on a Gov-related Web Admin portal) that the Nginx gateway error message is being triggered by the sheer volume of automated bot votes being chucked at the site.

    Now who on earth would want to do such a thing? I couldn't possibly comment.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      But are they trying to ballot stuff or just DDoS the site?

  13. lordminty

    Suspicious activity?

    If you watch the petition site it jumps up in numbers in bursts of around 350 every 20 seconds or so.

    Having watched other similar petitions its not the normal behaviour seen on the site.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Suspicious activity?

      Not exactly a normal situation.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Suspicious activity?

      This gets claimed whenever there's a popular petition. But other popular petitions have followed the same pattern; the call for a second referendum, 'Ban Donald Trump'.

      One needs to watch what happens over a longer period. There is always an exponential surge as people email their like-minded friends a link, with peaks over breakfast before setting off for work, around lunchtime, when people get home from work in the evening, or back from the pub or club. It then fades to a trickle until the morning, where the saw-tooth effect restarts, usually with reduced numbers after a couple of days.

      Much of that comes about because votes are only counted when a confirmation email link is clicked and it seems a lot of people don't visit non-work sites or deal with personal email during work time. Some need reminding to actually sign-up.

      It is possible someone determined could match that pattern for ballot stuffing but it seems rather unlikely. Once over 100,000 there's no real benefit to ballot stuffing. Better to stop than risk earlier successful stuffing being revealed.

      Any dismissal of the count as rigged is rather irrelevant anyway once it's reached a critical level. One could knock 50% off the tally, even more, and it's still a significant number.

    3. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Suspicious activity?

      @lordminty

      Because most of the petitions are absolutely nonsense.

      Apparently this one people care about.,

    4. 0laf Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Suspicious activity?

      TBH the Russians want brexit. It's an effective form of divide and conquer. so they're not likely to be hobbling it.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Suspicious activity?

        But they also presumably prefer a maximally disruptive version of it - so continuing the FUD might be in their strategic interest.

        Isn't it nice to have a proper enemy that has a proper mustache twirling strategic evil plan, rather than one that flips with with the latest stock market or twitter news.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Suspicious activity?

      Presumably that's the maximum throughput it has while serving so many clients rubbernecking.

      Seems odd that they don't have an option to pull the plug on the automatic update under times of high load, but I guess nobody thought of the use case where the PM is about to drive the country off the edge off a cliff and broadcasts live from the nation from her Downfall bunker citing the will of the people, while denying a referendum to find out what the will of the people is three years later, leading to the petitions site being used as a kind of proxy referendum.

      Andrea Leadsom said "should the petition reach more than 17.4m signatures [ie, the number of people who voted leave], there would be a very clear case for taking action" once again leaving the nation in no doubt of her grasp of statistics, mathematics, referendums, and whatever else you care to mention.

    6. batfink

      Re: Suspicious activity?

      Really? Nothing to do with, er, a lot of people actually hitting the site perhaps? Does more than a million people in less than a day constitute "normal behavior on the site"?

    7. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Suspicious activity?

      Answer from the horse's mouth:

      https://twitter.com/pixeltrix/status/1108673644660699136

      Well done everyone - the site crashed because calculating the trending count became too much of a load on the database but we're back now at around 180k per hour by my estimation.

    8. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Suspicious activity?

      "Having watched other similar petitions its not the normal behaviour seen on the site."

      It's hardly a normal petition though is it? If many people keep banging at the site until their vote is registered, I would expect that votes will increase at the maximum rate the server can handle, with everyone else locked out. That's exactly the behaviour you describe

  14. Anonymous48t

    Did you mean office instead of orifice?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      You seem to be new here.

  15. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    At the moment it is up but simply not sending the required confirmatory email - job does by Theresa (well if she ignore the large number of sigs)

    1. Whiskers

      As the site says, allow 24 hours for the email to arrive, and check the spam and junk filters. I can imagine the email servers struggling just as much as the rest of the system.

    2. Korev Silver badge

      I eventually got one after a couple of hours which then worked

      1. Anthropornis
        Paris Hilton

        Took me a bit more than 2 hours to get a confirmation email (after several 'invalid gateway' trying to do that first part), then best part of 2 hours trying from time to time to confirm (lots more 'invalid gateway', one "down for maintenance"). But did it in the end. Now 1.3 million and counting - hopefully, Leadsom will have encouraged some more people to sign it ;-)

        Icon because not even Paris could have created such a clusterfuck as May.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So lots of votes doesn't necessarily mean you'll get what you want. A lesson for us all there.

    Well, sooner or later referenda will be held in a similar fashion. And as far as I remember, the latest referendum in this country got those who voted (at least the majority) what they wanted, almost. So I don't really see this as being "a lesson for us all there", because it isn't. And, regardless of what the politicians say about this being a significant (or not) indication of people's will, some of them will use it as a prop to pedal their cause. Whatever their cause is, has been (none of those causes I have seen pedalled on the telly indicate they care for the country, despite their extolling. For everybody brexit seems a perfect excuse to get their petty (relatively) goes achieved, from getting into a trough, large or small. Where the f... is the future of the country in their bickering?

    btw, from the beeb:

    Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said she had been made aware of technical problems with the site - but she dismissed the petition as not being on the same scale as the pro-Brexit vote in the 2016 referendum.

    "Should it reach 17.4 million respondents then I am sure there will be a very clear case for taking action," she told MPs.

    This statement is an interesting development, in a sense. Highly unlikely to go past a few milion votes imo, but if it DID hit that magic number, it would be a "sign of the times" and proof life's firmly settled in the digital domain. That said, even hard brexit (for now at least) does not look disastrous enough for many milions to support this petition, so I doubt it will succeed.

    Btw, frankly speaking, I would be much, much happier, if that magic number of 17M plus people voted to hold a second referendum, this would make it much fairer for the final outcome.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: So lots of votes doesn't necessarily mean you'll get what you want. A lesson for us all there.

      Fucking hell, can she be any more sanctimonious?

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: So lots of votes doesn't necessarily mean you'll get what you want. A lesson for us all there.

        Fucking hell, can she be any more sanctimonious?

        She's a politician, does that answer the question?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So lots of votes doesn't necessarily mean you'll get what you want. A lesson for us all there.

      if I were one of the brexiteer voters, and changed my mind by now, I don't think I would vote in this poll to have Article 50 revoked, i.e. cancel brexit. I would - maybe - vote to have another brexit referendum, if I felt I was originally dupe / uninformed / etc. That's why I think this poll will fade well before reaching anything really unique, like 10M, etc. (which would still be something).

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: So lots of votes doesn't necessarily mean you'll get what you want. A lesson for us all there.

      "Should it reach 17.4 million respondents then I am sure there will be a very clear case for taking action,"

      Now that it's above 2 million she'd be wise to reconsider that. If only she were wise.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Botnet

    We live in a world of paid for upvotes from botnets.

    I would imagine that someone has tried using one and ended up DOSing the system. Looking at the total votes its going up by approx 200 every 10 seconds. Seems a bit too constant to me.

    Either that or its just a convenient coincidence brought on by something we will hear about in 10 years or so on "WHO ME?".

    1. The Bit Wrangler

      Re: Botnet

      Or perhaps that's the maximum the servers can handle and they're being pushed as hard as they can?

      If it's botnets they'll be easy to weed-out since you have to give an email address and a postcode. You also have to second-stage confirm the email address.

    2. Chemist

      Re: Botnet

      "Looking at the total votes its going up by approx 200 every 10 seconds"

      Well I make it ~100000 /hr from 0630 until now very constant apart from a slowing around breakfast time Suggests a choke point at this rate to me

  18. Flatpackhamster

    Bots or scripts or sunnink.

    No petition has ever garnered so many votes in one day. Many people may feel strongly about this but given the speed and rapid growth of the numbers it can't be genuine.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: No petition has ever garnered so many votes in one day

      In the time that online petitions have been used, this country has not been in a position to be quite so royally fucked by self centred money/power grabbing bastards.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No petition has ever garnered so many votes in one day

        The petition is being shared massively on social media (yes, in other places apart from the illustrious Reg forums), so it is not at all infeasible for hundreds of people to be signing it every minute. There are around 66 million people in the UK, probably at least 4/5ths are old enough to be politically interested (if not necessarily eligible to vote, including non-British residents of the UK), and there are also many, perhaps even more directly affected, British citizens who live elsewhere in the EU.

        Most of us have internet connectivity during the day, either from work computers or personal mobile phones, and a recent (YouGov?) survey showed that at least 90% of people are extremely unhappy with the way that so-called Brexit is developing, so I don't find it surprising that many people are registering their discontent and concern.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No petition has ever garnered so many votes in one day

          +500k increase overnight does not make sense unless this is caused by a botnet.

          1. Screwed

            Re: No petition has ever garnered so many votes in one day

            Obviously your definition of night might not be the same as mine, but it has NOT gone up by half a million between 23:30 and 07:30.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bots or scripts or sunnink.

      "Many people may feel strongly about this but given the speed and rapid growth of the numbers it can't be genuine."*

      *Citation needed

    3. hopkinse

      Re: Bots or scripts or sunnink.

      You need to confirm by email by clicking on a link before your vote will be registered. Presumably only one vote per email address. I'd imagine it would be more than trivial to spam that significantly with bots.

      I voted several hours ago but haven't had the email to be able to confirm. The total has only crept up by 100,000 odd in the last three hours. Wonder how many other people are still waiting for an email? Seems like a good way to knobble the process :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bots or scripts or sunnink.

        I got nothing yet either despite voting at lunchtime.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Bots or scripts or sunnink.

          The old advice applies. Check your spam folder. That's where I found mine on HotLive3(some integer probably above 50 but no guarantees.)Mail

      2. Peter X

        Re: Bots or scripts or sunnink.

        I signed at ~14:30 and got my email at 17:33. It works, it's just slow! Also, when I clicked the link in the email, Chrome initially said the site wasn't responding, but the spinner kept turning, and after about 3 minutes or so, my confirmation page appeared. Over a million at that point.

    4. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Bots or scripts or sunnink.

      No petition has ever garnered so many votes in one day.

      And your evidence for that claim?

      The call for a second referendum hit 4 million signatures in short order.

      1. xmyre

        Re: Bots or scripts or sunnink.

        Yes and that was down to a botnet - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36640459

        This petition increased by over 500k overnight while the UK was sleeping. That makes no sense unless it was a botnet.

        1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Bots or scripts or sunnink.

          This petition increased by over 500k overnight while the UK was sleeping.

          Your evidence?

          According to Google's cache it was standing at 134,451 on Tuesday 19 Mar 2019 22:05:58 GMT -

          https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4MHLjyI_DRkJ:https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions%3Fstate%3Dopen+&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

          It was "just over 365,000" according to the quoted tweet from 06:00 this morning. It was at 700,000 when El Reg's article was posted at 11:30, hit 800,000 at 12:00 noon.

          So please do explain your claimed "500k overnight". The simplest explanation would seem to be "Fake News".

  19. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

    Go here instead

    This one is more worth voting on:

    https://www.change.org/p/keith-fraser-commemorate-only-fools-and-horses-nelson-mandela-house-before-its-demolition?recruiter=941579558&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But at least we will get our precious blue passports back. GStQ !

    1. Peter X

      Didn't the EU have a prank news report saying they were changing their passport colour to be blue?

  21. ukgnome Silver badge

    Jeebus Cripes

    Does this mean we will win Eurovision?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jeebus Cripes

      "Does this mean we will win Eurovision?"

      I doubt we will be able to afford the mandate to stage it the following year.

  22. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    Stand-by for the El-Reg Remoaner bots to down-vote me .. in 3,2,1....

    The petition saw a suspicious jump in signatures last night, with fake signatures arising everywhere from Russia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, to North Korea, Nigeria, etc. Signatures have even come from non-country ‘Western Sahara’, and Vatican City.

    Sham numbers, dodgy foreign actors, and disinformation…

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Sham numbers, dodgy foreign actors, and disinformation…"

      And that's just the Vote Leave campaign!

      Hiyoo!

    3. batfink

      Fake? According to?

      You are also aware that some British Citizens live overseas, yes?

      1. xmyre

        Yes fake thanks to a botnet...

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

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          "Posts by xmyre

          2 posts • joined 21 Mar 2019" https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/92387/

          What was that about "Fake News"??

  23. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    Good news chaps!

    Titania McGrath has voted in favour of the vote.

    Now all woke folk will know what to do.

    https://twitter.com/TitaniaMcGrath

  24. Gobhicks

    it's a bit like ...

    ... watching the scoreboard for Kazakhstan v Scotland... /sadface

  25. batfink

    We've broken it...

    !7:00 and the "Petition is down for Maintenance". I suspect a few of us here know what that actually means...

  26. Jove Bronze badge

    Tony Blair ...

    ... asks that someone send band-aids and more coffee.

  27. Claverhouse Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    Palace of the Dead

    All the pathetic snivelling by brexiteer ministers and the miserable like that X number of votes doesn't add up to the alleged 17.4 million votes for leaving back in 2016 --- quite as if they were our glorious war dead --- fails completely to include the 16.1 million votes for remaining.

    My favourite aspect is that the leavers with slack jaws and lolling tongues whine on indeterminably about repatriating powers and 'taking back control' from a Foreign entity so that such rule can be wholly in the charge of the parliament which could not even create the plans to leave within 3 years and then exploded in a meltdown like a crystal meth laboratory run by the ERG.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Palace of the Dead

      @Claverhouse

      "My favourite aspect is that the leavers with slack jaws and lolling tongues whine on indeterminably about repatriating powers and 'taking back control' from a Foreign entity so that such rule can be wholly in the charge of the parliament which could not even create the plans to leave within 3 years"

      Could not and unwilling to are two different things. Remainers are unhappy we are leaving the EU. Leavers are unhappy the gov is doing its best not to leave.

      " X number of votes doesn't add up to the alleged 17.4 million votes for leaving back in 2016 --- quite as if they were our glorious war dead --- fails completely to include the 16.1 million votes for remaining."

      Yes. Because you cannot add the X to the 16.1 million votes since they are likely the same people and the official vote is for the people to cast their vote, and we did. If we must add X to the 16.1 million votes then surely the electoral roll - X needs adding to the leave votes. It just doesnt work.

  28. CountCadaver

    Down again at 19:30

    Came back up this afternoon, but unsurprisingly went down and stayed down as folk came home from work and logged on.....

    Some may wonder if Maybot has ordered the site's connectivity restricted to prevent anything contradicting her "will of the people" line (constantly amplified by the BBC amongst others)

  29. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

    Site has been up and down like Boris' Y fronts.

  30. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Signatory # 1,411,868

    Submitted at 18:10; confirmed at 20:35.

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Zebo-the-Fat

    The guvmint has had almost 3 years to sort out brexit, now we are just days away and they still have no idea what to do. They couldn't organise an orgy in a brothel. We should replace them all with gibbons, couldn't do a worse job and may be more entertaining!

  33. David Roberts Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Would it be wrong of me

    To consider voting for a second or subsequent time if the total rose above 10 million?

    Strangely enough I have more than one email address and I know more than one postcode.

    It might be a little undemocratic, but the temptation to scare Andrea Loathesome would be strongl

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Would it be wrong of me

      Yes, it would be wrong.

      Not as wrong as much that passes for democracy in this country (not least Cameron's gerrymandered 2016 charade), but we don't lower ourselves to their level.

      I don't know what level of checking they might have against such things. We know they're mapping where signatures come from: that may mean inferring them from IP addresses. Who knows if they have Big Data that might associate your various email addresses/ It would, after all, be a fairly rudimentary defence against serious abuse like bots signing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Would it be wrong of me

        "We know they're mapping where signatures come from: that may mean inferring them from IP addresses."

        For a large ISP that may bear no relation to your actual location. Sites I visit think the ISP portal is 40km away from here. Presumably a lot of the ISP's other customers signal that egress too.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Would it be wrong of me

          Yep. I come through EE 4G, which they don't even try to geolocate more precisely than "somewhere in UK". Nevertheless, a majority of folks come from IPs that can be geolocated, albeit often not reliably. The days are gone when it's located me in Moscow or Minneapolis, or even a distant part of Blighty.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Would it be wrong of me

      Vote early and vote often - Al Capone (allegedly)

  34. adnim Silver badge

    another service

    outsourced to the incompetent?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: another service

      outsourced to the incompetent?

      Not necessarily, they probably just bought the PMs line how the British public was behind her, and didn't reckon the site would garner much attention.

  35. Dante Alighieri

    >2^21+2^15

    at midnight

    2,138,983 for ease - seems to be updating at intervals of 15' at present

  36. Big_Boomer

    USE vs USA

    This seems to me to be the choices we have. Many seem to believe that we still have an Empire and that we can go it alone in the 21st century, but it's pretty evident that we don't and can't, not and retain our economic standing. Personally I would choose USE over USA every day, not that I don't like citizens of the USA but I definitely don't like their politics, or healthcare, or their willingness to let 25,000+ people get shot dead every year just so they can keep their guns. That last demonstrates an amazing lack of empathy for their fellow man.

    Either way I see these Brexit negotiations as the death throes of the UKs parliamentary system, and good ****ing riddance!!

  37. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Populism

    Whenever the electorate is given a choice, they are bound to do something silly.

    Is the author promoting dictatorship?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Populism

      When a populist choice proves disastrous - another populist is likely to demand (and be given) the powers of a tyrant so they can apply their "simple" solution without opposition.

      Failing populist movements tend to double-down on their draconian measures in the belief that it will all come right in the end.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Populism

      "Is the author promoting dictatorship?"

      The UK parliamentary system is "representative democracy". An MP is not a delegate who must vote with the majority opinion of their constituents. Instead they are supposed to use reasoned judgement of the facts of the issue to arrive at a sensible solution.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Populism .... an Initiative requiring Integrity

        The UK parliamentary system is "representative democracy". An MP is not a delegate who must vote with the majority opinion of their constituents. Instead they are supposed to use reasoned judgement of the facts of the issue to arrive at a sensible solution. .... AC

        Crikey, AC, there are so many things wrong and conflicting in those three sentences. And they certainly don't agree with what an MP seeking election would be pimping and pontificating/pumping and dumping on the electorate with the toxic complicity of idiotic media machinery/propaganda mechanics.

        And absent true facts, they are just as convenient impotent puppets to the holders of secrets.

        1. Cliff Thorburn

          Re: Populism .... an Initiative requiring Integrity

          *clears throat and speaks in deep superhero voice*

          “Don’t panic, i’ll save Brexit by changing my mobile service provider and transferring my number ... “

          And you believe Unicorns actually exist? ...

          4 million votes by the morning I reckon, it will be interesting to see if sanity prevails in the end.

        2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          Re: Populism .... an Initiative requiring Integrity

          0_0

          *blinks at bot's startling change of pattern/algorithm*

          *which seems to have gone from v.wideflung association to sharp second-level context-aware cynicism.*

      2. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Populism

        "Instead they are supposed to use reasoned judgement of the facts of the issue to arrive at a sensible solution."

        Aas Edmund Burke put it in in 1774:

        “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion. ..... parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole."

        Source: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmmodern/337/33706.htm

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Populism

        "An MP is not a delegate who must vote with the majority opinion of their constituents"

        TM has taken note of this. Her constituency was predominantly Remain.

        "they are supposed to use reasoned judgement of the facts of the issue to arrive at a sensible solution."

        Hmmm.

        1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          Re: Populism

          Well put / nicely observed

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who created the petition web site? Was it Crapita?

    It's a bad advert for nginx, unable to handle the load. Have they thought of putting it in Azure or AWS?

  39. David Gosnell

    Counter stalled?!

    I see the counter on the petition has now stopped altogether, just shy of 3 million. Apparently a large part of the problem yesterday was people sitting on the site watching the figure mushrooming. But now it's been jammed at 2,971,394 for quite a while, across multiple browsers. Assuming the signatures haven't stopped, and the site doesn't appear to be otherwise broken, goodness only knows what the real total is now.

    1. David Gosnell

      Re: Counter stalled?!

      Ah, I see someone above reckoned there was a 15 minute update; seems quite possible. The site operators probably should say as much though, to prevent reckless re-loading... Now turned 3 million anyway.

  40. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    Update

    Time now 12:50 on Friday 22 March, the petition is working, the confirmation email arrived within a minute.

    Total now = 3,047,041

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2nd Ref

    As someone who voted leave, and would again, I'm firmly in the belief we should have a second referendum. The margin was too close for a large portion of the population to accept it. If it were 70-30 in favour of leave with a massive turnout then fair play, but it wasn't. Two things are certain though it has completely divided the country like nothing else before, and it has shown how utterly broken our politics is.

    I think a second referendum including expats and EU citizens living in this country should be taken. It would show the true result. Looking at feedback on many forums I suspect remain would win by a massive percentage and I'm okay with that if it allows us to get on with our lives. I'm equally okay with it been the other way and us leaving with no deal. However, once we have done this referendum, whatever the result, our eye should be firmly fixed in direction of that shithole called Westminster. As a nation we should insist on their resignations. All of them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2nd Ref

      "Two things are certain though it has completely divided the country like nothing else before, [...]"

      The Wars of the Roses were like the Tory Party fighting within itself - and the general population being affected as collateral damage. The Civil War of Charles I v Parliament probably did reflect a split in the general population - but still basically two elites fighting over the power to rule the country.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2nd Ref

      Looking at feedback on many forums I suspect remain would win by a massive percentage

      The polls all show much the same as they did the day before the referendum - 51% remain. Look how accurate that was.

  42. Aseries

    Too Late.

    As with the USA 2016 election day, Where were you all when it counted?

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Too Late.

      ...Where were you...

      I will be able to tell any grandchildren in the future that I was against Brexit from the start, annoyed people by saying this, voted against it and have seen no evidence to make me even wonder about this opinion.

      Where I, my children, my grandchildren and beyond will be is the question. I would like to hope we will all be in the UK but suspect I may be in Scotland or even Orkney which has reverted back to Norway or Denmark. At least that last option will mean I am back in the EU.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Too Late.

        @Spanners

        "I will be able to tell any grandchildren in the future that I was against Brexit from the start"

        I expect there are a lot of people who can tell their grandchildren in future that they wanted the Euro currency in the UK. I very much doubt many of them will though. For whatever certainty they thought they had that they were right, reality didnt agree. Reality being what the Eurosceptics kept pointing at.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too Late.

          "Reality being what the Eurosceptics kept pointing at."

          The reality that the Leavers I know were voting for was to reduce immigration - particularly from the Indian subcontinent. They hadn't listened to the then Tory minister Priti Patel or later Theresa May - saying they wanted them to replace EU immigrants. The Indian government also indicated that was their condition for any future trade deal.

          Popcorn time.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Too Late.

            @AC

            "The reality that the Leavers I know were voting for was to reduce immigration - particularly from the Indian subcontinent"

            There are some people who believe anything. Some remainers thought we could change the EU for the better, or that we would be some 3rd world country after leaving it. Some people can do the right things for the wrong reasons. Hell even Brown stopped us joining the Euro because he hated Blair. The reason might be rubbish even if the action is right.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Too Late.

          "I expect there are a lot of people who can tell their grandchildren in future that they wanted the Euro currency in the UK."

          I can and would tell them that now were they to ask. I think the long term result of this is that we'll be back in, tails between legs and the Euro as a requirement.

          If avoiding the Euro was your objective I;d say battle won, war lost.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Too Late.

            "[...] and the Euro as a requirement."

            IIRC joining the Eurozone has always been voluntary. Any requirements are that an applicant country's economy meets certain threshold criteria. In hindsight - in some applicants' cases the criteria were not applied strictly enough.

            Use of the Euro in contiguous countries - where established borders were rather arbitrary - made sense to the local populations. Having different currencies meant daily dealing with exchange rates and brokers' fees. When I worked for the EEC in Luxembourg we popped across the borders to do our weekend shopping in France, Germany, and Belgium.

            IIRC There is a street in Belgium/Luxembourg where the border runs up the middle. The Luxembourg side is lined with about ten different companies' filling stations as the petrol was/is cheaper on that side.

            What the UK would lose on re-entry at a later date are their historically negotiated privileges and exemptions.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Too Late.

              IIRC joining the Eurozone has always been voluntary.

              Not remotely so. Without an agreed opt-out like the UK and Denmark, euro membership is an obligatory part of EU membership. Sweden works very hard to avoid meeting the economic criteria that would oblige it to fulfil that requirement.

              1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                Re: Too Late.

                > Without an agreed opt-out like the UK and Denmark, euro membership is an obligatory part of EU membership.

                I agree except a slight wrinkle re the UK's current exception: it wasn't an agreed opt-out, it was a forced fail-out pre-Euro.

                IIRC that obligatoriness only came into effect when the actual Euro did, and the UK lost its pre-Euro/ERM eligibility as a result of Soros realising the sheer wildness of the real-life disconnect and taking an opposite position with sufficiently deep pockets to ride out the anti moves of the UK to stay in.

                The UK Treasurer took a lot of stick at the time for literally handing billions to Soros by the failed defence. A defence that was guaranteed to fail. He sucked it up at the time but went on the record a few years ago spitting the dummy, pointing out that he had NO discretion in the matter, that the money he poured into the guaranteed-to-fail "defence" was actually mandatory, required by EU law. His whole contribution was to sign the papers until they exceeded the ERM's requirements. And if he personally refused, all that would happen is that the signing requirement would proceed down a chain of failovers until finally every member of the government refused. At which point (assuming no one actually signed), mahoosive penalties applied.

                IIRC nearly half the money went in the day before the crash-out.

                Mandated by EU law.

                1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                  Re: Too Late.

                  If you (the reader) object now to Soros' economic capability, and what he's choosing to do with it politically, consider that it was ~wholly created by the EU bureaucrats writing a law they intended only to trap EU members into the next stage, which resulted in the UK handing Soros a mahoosive subsidy/donation.

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Too Late.

            @Doctor Syntax

            "I can and would tell them that now were they to ask."

            I can believe that. There would be no pride in offering up that you wanted the UK to take on that plague of a currency. Hopefully you would say something about hindsight and that sales pitches are one thing but facts must be kept in mind.

            "I think the long term result of this is that we'll be back in, tails between legs and the Euro as a requirement."

            For that to happen we would probably require a Corbyn government turning the country into Venezuela. It would be harder to take our working economy and currency to a level that the Euro looks attractive.

          3. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: Too Late.

            The Euro is a disaster for most of the EU, by definition (as pointed out by any number of markets observers at the outset). Essentially eliminates the only timely government influence on the local economy (I'm speaking here in a nation sense). ie, Monetary Policy out the window. A great bonus for those economies on the upside of the register (really only Germany), seriously damaging for those on the downside (eg, Ireland, Italy).

            Interestingly, the Euro agreement was when the EU bureaucrats were first really feeling their oats, and drafted it in such a way that there is NO exit provision, same as how they insisted the Theresa May brexit "deal" be drafted (it was already bathetic even without that, mind you).

            If you've ever wondered WHY ON EARTH the ECB etc has fought/subsidised so desperately to "save" Greece, this is why. The (actually necessary for recovery) Grexit would necessarily exit hte Euro, at which point the actual illegality of actual physical/real-world reality/necessity would start to force into public awareness even for The Believers/Trusters that what they'd been told was going on, actually wasn't, that quite another agenda by a surprisingly large group of parasites was under the table, rather than what was on the table.

  43. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    5,000,070 signatures

    at 14:17 Sun 24 March 19

    (at a rate of over 400 per minute this morning)

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: 5,000,070 signatures

      ...and 5,217,484 six hours later.

      That's an average rate of 6,039 per minute over those six hours. If that rate keeps up (doubtful, but if...) then Leadsom will have her 17.4 million respondents in a day and a half.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: That's an average rate of....

        You must have gone to the same school I did. I use a calculator these days. Ok MS Calc, so YMMV (Your millions may vary).

        5217484

        5000070-

        =======

        217414 difference over 6 hours

        /6

        ======

        36235 per hour

        /60

        ======

        603.9 per minute

        Still a very respectable rate, which includes the small hours when people should be sleeping rather than worrying about Brexit.

  44. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    "EU referendum petition hijacked by bots" says the BBC

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36640459

    That petition is so good some people have voted many times.

    "I voted 33,000 times. Left a script running while I was taking a shower," wrote one member.

    Don't forget, vote early and vote often.

  45. codejunky