* Posts by Cynical Observer

380 posts • joined 20 Dec 2007

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ICO fines Morrisons for emailing customers who didn't want to be emailed

Cynical Observer
Flame

Far from unique

Starting to lose count of the number of companies who think it's OK to lob a speculative email almost exactly one year after the last speculative email which prompted me to unsubscribe from them.

They seem to operate as if there's an aspect of the law that allows them to dredge up old contacts, chuck them on a new list and off we go again.

Bar Stewards!

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Internet of snitches: anyone who can sniff 'Thing' traffic knows what you're doing

Cynical Observer
Coat

Re: Watch the windows

@Pompous Git

Your name is Fagin and you sniff the IP traffic to hundreds of homes and send out your little Oliver Twits as appropriate.

You've got to pick-a-packet or two, boys; You've got to pick-a-packet or two.

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Boffins gently wake the Large Hadron Collider from annual hibernation

Cynical Observer
Trollface

Accuracy of the highest order

Recognising the need for an El Reg unit but

A barn is a unit of area equal to 10−28 m2

Don't feel so bad now when someone says I couldn't hit a barn door

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US border cops must get warrants to search citizens' gadgets – draft bipartisan law emerges

Cynical Observer
Mushroom

Banking Passwords!

FFS!

Not content with having damaged the tourist industry to the tune of hundreds dollars (Telegraph Article from February), the current crop of numpties want to go all in.

Shouldn't there be a minimum IQ rest for politicians? They don't have to be genius level but surely a modicum of intelligence and the wherewithal to see the consequences of your actions should be mandatory.

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Ofcom pressuring BT to slash wholesale prices for superfast broadband

Cynical Observer
Trollface

Re: Hmmm...

Surely that's being a overly optimistic.

With a 40% reduction in wholesale cost, I have every confidence they'll only pass on

40% of ZERO.

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Security co-operation unlikely to change post Brexit, despite threats

Cynical Observer

Re: The good things...

@Alowe

Unfortunately, I can't tell if you've intended your post to be serious or if you have offered it in jest with a degree of sarcasm.

But for the avoidance of doubt, I did not vote to Remain because I did not understand the raging clusterfuck that Brexit is likely to be. (See - not certainty - just a balance of probabilities.)

I voted to Remain, because for all its faults - and there are many, I still believe that the EU has a greater upside than downside. There are the economics of the matter - but for me, even more importantly, there are the social aspects of the EU. Things like the working time directive which allowed people to say that they would not be compelled to work unsafe numbers of hours - a measure that the enlightened of Westminster didn't show initiative on. Things such as environmental protections where it's the EU that seems to take the lead.

Does the EU need amending - yes it does. But the problem with storming out is that you get no say on how any remedial actions will take place. And the irony is that in order to trade, the UK will have to accept the rules of the EU - without modification as was conceded by Mrs may in her letter.

We also understand that there will be consequences for the UK of leaving the EU: we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the European economy. We also know that UK companies will, as they trade within the EU, have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part – just as UK companies do in other overseas markets.

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Cynical Observer
WTF?

Nice Community you have there - It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.

Where in the above is there a statement of intent to do harm?

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Cynical Observer
FAIL

@Halfmad

I can concede your interpretation of Mrs May's text as one possible interpretation.

But - It was phrased in a most undiplomatic manner. (My emphasis in the quote.)

The United Kingdom wants to agree with the European Union a deep and special partnership that takes in both economic and security cooperation. To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.

If, however, we leave the European Union without an agreement the default position is that we would have to trade on World Trade Organisation terms. In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. In this kind of scenario, both the United Kingdom and the European Union would of course cope with the change, but it is not the outcome that either side should seek. We must therefore work hard to avoid that outcome.

The way in which the text flows can be taken as linking security agreements (and hence cooperation) inextricably with a trade agreement. That this is so, has been backed up by some of the reactions of our European neighbours.

It is difficult to believe that, Mrs May, as a seasoned politician, working with the help of professional diplomats, did not foresee this interpretation. The only two explanations that I can see for this are that she intended the paragraph to be taken as it was in Europe, a thinly veiled threat or she did not consult when drafting the letter - it simply wasn't proofread.

Neither of these inspire confidence.

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Apple joins one wireless power group, the other one responds with so-happy forced grin

Cynical Observer

Re: But what have apple ever done for us ?

Our two weapons are embrace and extend.

.... and eliminate.

Our three weapons are embr...

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Cynical Observer
Trollface

Re: Splitters

What did standards ever do for us!

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God save the Queen... from Donald Trump. So say 1 million Britons

Cynical Observer
Thumb Down

Re: People

It's democracy innit!

...where you say what you want, and do what you're told!

The icon in honour of the US being reclassified as a flawed democracy by the Economist

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Landmark EU ruling: Legality of UK's Investigatory Powers Act challenged

Cynical Observer
Coffee/keyboard

Re: But I thought we "took back control"

@Dr Dan

these agencies are certain not to have anywhere near the levels of data security that the police currently have. The police know all about not letting secret information leak out of their systems, and their copies of the ICRs will be on machines physically separate from the open internet

You owe me a new keyboard sir.

This would be the same police that maintains photo databases which include innocent people - in breach of UK law, the same police that a Chief constable would be warranted in "Exceeding the letter of the law in some instances"

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Reschedule the holiday party, Patch Tuesday is here and it's a big one

Cynical Observer
FAIL

Re: About a decade ago

@davidak

As you asked....

Came across this earlier this year.

Not only did iTunes replace his ripped music with a copies that were of an inferior quality, according to the author replaced rare special editions with more readily available better known editions of a track.

And worst of all - it copied up original compositions to the cloud; deleted the original and served back an inferior copy.

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Icelandic Pirate Party sails away from attempt to form government

Cynical Observer
Trollface

Re: Trade?

Swapping Cowboys for Pirates?

What's the worst that could happen?

Any Vandals want to get in on this?

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Top tech company's IP was looted by China, so it plans to hack back

Cynical Observer
Trollface

the second of which dropped players into the year 2022 at a time when several companies have demanded government action after their IP suddenly and mysteriously turn up in the hands of offshore rivals.

So the exercise simulated those government mandated back doors of the recent investigatory legislation becoming accessible to non-government players....

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Brit telco EE's ads banned for 'misleading' 4G speed claims

Cynical Observer
Coat

What's 4G?

Groan, Grumble, Grouse and Gripe......

Standard on all networks now.

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Microsoft says LinkedIn will make Trump, Brexit, voters feel great again

Cynical Observer

Re: And this just in ..

Let's continue this thread...

Microsoft says buying LinkedIn will .....

cause so much added momentum in the tech world that Earth can cancel all the leap seconds for the next millennium.

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Google turns on free public NTP servers that SMEAR TIME

Cynical Observer
Joke

Hang on a sec

With all the suggested variations in how to handle this, I sense a rift in the space time continuum

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Eugene Kaspersky is now personally defending your feet

Cynical Observer

Clearly believes that this is the one and only way to cover the Achilles Heel of modern computer security.

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Jeremy Hunt: Telcos must block teens from sexting each other

Cynical Observer

Re: Think for a minute

@Gezza

Rather than being so arrogantly superior, perhaps one should think of the average non-tech literate user of all your technical wizardry and instead think of ways to achieve a solution rather than taking the piss.

Having a friend whose daughter suffered similarly, I sympathise. But I would contend that in the first instance, the correct approach is to educate. Educate Parents, Educate the kids.

Mobile phones offer blocking on a per number basis - a couple of nasty texts from the same number - block it. Defriend and block on Facebook, coupled with appropriate privacy settings works to eliminate huge amounts of shit from a timeline.

While technical solutions may be held up as an answer, they are a poor second to training the kids to always be cautious. Kids understand the concept of secrets and how, once they are out there, they cannot be put back under wraps. I tell my kids that the web is the same.

They understand for example that though Snapchat dumps a picture after seconds, a screen grab lasts for ever.

There would be a very valid case for using public funds to educate younger tech users - and parents - about this rather than pissing it up a wire on some fantasy firewall.

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Cynical Observer
Facepalm

Mr ?unt has made the classic mistake of believing that a simple question will have a simple answer.

What comes to mind is the day when a customer asked the question why it takes so long to fix something - followed by the observation that it only took a day to break it?

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Cynical Observer

Re: What planet do these people live on?

@Dan 55

By studying PPE at Oxford university and joining the Oxford University Conservative Association*, along with Bojo and Cameron.

*Other political parties are available - Labour,New Labour and the Lib Dems have a fair smattering of candidates as well - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Oxford_people_with_PPE_degrees

Imagine being as radical as Canada and appointing cabinet members who have some real life experience in the subject that thy are responsible for e.g. Farmers in agriculture, Lawyers in Justice and an academic as Minister of Science......

And you do have to smile at the logic behind choice of Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. He was a Queens Scout.

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UK Parliament waves through 'porn-blocking' Digital Economy Bill

Cynical Observer
Joke

Icon says it all...

Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition

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Ofcom to force a legal separation of Openreach

Cynical Observer
Facepalm

Re: And in the course of time

@William 3

And if you'd slow down before firing from the hip and reread my original post,

I did not suggest that anyone but BT would be evil. I did not suggest that Openreach should remain in the ownership of BT.

What I did question was whether or not it was appropriate for such a key element of national infrastructure to be in the hands of foreign ownership. Some people might feel concerned at that. The two sovereign wealth funds that I selected were picked because they easily have the ability to foot the bill and neither is held up as a paragon of civil or human rights.

As to ownership by Rupert - if that doesn't fill people with dread, well -->

Ultimately, my post questions whether or not the regulator will take a broader view.

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Cynical Observer
Childcatcher

And in the course of time

... when Ofcom forces through full and complete separation, will Ofcom also move to prevent the then independent Openreach being taken over (hostile or friendly - doesn't matter.) Will there be howls of outrage as it's bought by a sovereign wealth fund? China? Saudia Arabia?

10 years from now, when Openreach is owned by Sky, what will the solution be?

Reads more and more like a policy that plays into the hands of Rupert.

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CompSci Prof raises ballot hacking fears over strange pro-Trump voting patterns

Cynical Observer
Flame

We may yet find out...

This surfaced yesterday evening - Jill Stein raising funds to initiate a recount in WI, MI and PA.

At one stage last night, (UK time), while the US was awake, it was ratcheting up at about $3000 per minute. It's hit its first target and while it has slowed a little it is still clocking up bit by bit.

</turning up the heat>

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Analysts apply Occam's razor to Tesco Bank breach

Cynical Observer
Coat

Re: Credit where credit's due

I do hope that if he's working at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning, his language skills are proficient.

We wouldn't want an ignorant linguist.

Checking for passport..... >>

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Navy STEALS? US sailors dispute piracy claim

Cynical Observer
Trollface

Typical military procurement - paying over the odds!

If the Navy is correct someone is going to get chewed out for spend 38 times more on software than they needed to.

After all, one unrestricted copy is only 6 steps away from having at least the 38 that they paid for.

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Ireland to fight against billing Apple for back-taxes

Cynical Observer

@Thomas Whipp

My understanding is that the rules are that tax should be consistent within a country

Nailed it!

<Wobbly Screen effect>

Back in the days

Ireland used to have two rates of Corporate Tax - one for indigenous companies, one for inward investors. This was deemed unfair by Europe and the Government of the day was leaned on to have a harmonised rate for all companies. The expectation at that time was that the rate would harmonise upwards - moving closer to that of France who were one of the biggest critics of the time.

Never underestimate the ability of any Irish politician to behave as what is termed a cute hoor.

Rather than raising the inward rate, the government of the day lowered the indigenous rate - to howls of apoplexy from Europe of "That's not what we meant!" But the rate was harmonised.

</Wobbly Screen Effect>

The current Irish Government is in a lose-lose position. It either has to pass on 13billion euro or give up its sovereign right to set its own tax policy. Damned if they do and Damned if they don't.

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Brexit judgment could be hit for six by those crazy Supreme Court judges, says barrister

Cynical Observer
FAIL

Re: Time to hang the lawyers

Damn I also left out that the only person in any position to do any negotiating with the EU was Cameron. He refused to negotiate the possibility of a leave vote and then of course people complained there was no plan to leave. There couldnt be as it was the PM who refused.

Oh I readily accept that CMD was an abject failure in this entire process. He went into a set of compressed negotiations having declared that it had to be sorted over one weekend - Fuckwit!

He came back with a meaningless set of "Compromises" that wouldn't convince a six year old high on blue Smarties that anything had really be achieved - Fuckwit!

He called a referendum on June 2016 that did not need to be called before December 2017 in order to hold the manifesto commitment - Fuckwit!

He fought a campaign based on selling the negatives of leaving instead of the positives of staying - Fuckwit!

The only thing he did that I can hat tip for is his resignation. He clearly couldn't negotiate his way out of a paper bag so better off gone - and in the process he screwed Boris and Gove. I must admit I took some small enjoyment from that.

So all in all - I'd allocate the grade shown.....

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Cynical Observer
Holmes

Re: Time to hang the lawyers

@codejunky

the remain campaign wasnt just built on a lie but they rigged the game every step.

Would you substantiate that please - it's a strong claim that is surely deserving of supporting evidence.

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Cynical Observer
Holmes

Re: Smokescreen

@waynecarr30

You sure it's not something else you're smoking?

In relation to Brexit and QMV.....

Regarding the deadlines, the extension process has to be unanimous. Art. 50 makes this clear.

Regarding the exit criteria, QMV would probably be of help to the UK. Firstly, remember that the remaining 27 sit on one side, the UK on the other. Among the 27, QMV might help to mitigate against some refuseniks who will not agree to the exit deal save for concessions that are unpalatable to the UK. An extreme example might be Gibraltar Sovereignty in return for the Spanish agreement. Essentially QMV makes it easier to react a threshold that allows an exit agreement to be signed.

The Internet Conspiracy that cropped up from June 24th onwards was that QMV would in some way prevent the Brexit process from proceeding once the UK government delivered a valid notification in accordance with the UK's constitutional requirements. This is simply not the case.

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Cynical Observer
Pint

Re: Time to hang the lawyers

@Toltec

And one in reciprocation.

My posts leave little in doubt as to where I stand! And while a piece of me died inside on the night of the referendum, I came to the conclusion after a period of mourning that there was no going back. That does not mean that I will change my opinion, it does not mean that I will quietly accept the removal of rights that I currently enjoy. And I most certainly will not cheer as we make our Titanic voyage into uncharted waters.

But I will respect the right of all - on either side of the debate- to voice an opinion, calmly, considerately and without incitement. And I will happily engage in considered debate with anyone operating on that basis.

Have one on me! ---->

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Cynical Observer
Mushroom

Re: Time to hang the lawyers

"I would suggest that the mad remainders consider whether they really want tyranny tempered by assassination as a form of government"

Decorum stops be calling you a ..... but it sure as fuck doesn't stop be thinking it.

One of the main planks of the Leave argument was about taking back control and making the UK parliament sovereign once again. (Leave aside the fact that it never stopped being sovereign.)

Going back though history there are documented instances of the courts ruling that when rights have been granted to citizens through an Act of Parliament, those rights cannot be negated through the use of Royal Prerogative. The court determined that as a result of the European Communities Act, we had gained rights that cannot be directly replaced once we leave the EU. Therefore Prerogative is not appropriate for starting an irreversible process that will result in the removal of said rights. The process can only be started via an Act of Parliament. (Section 94 of the Judgement makes this clear.)

In a nutshell - the court declared that the UK Parliament is Sovereign. It became apparent during his stint on the BBC yesterday that Blessed Nigel doesn't now want this. He now wants the people to be sovereign now - something that has not been the case in the UK. Now we hear that he will lead 100,000 in a march on the Supreme Court on the day of the appeal. Presumably to give the judges moral support.

And in all of this - the people who have threatened and incited are the factions/media intent on stirring up ill feeling for getting exactly what they asked for. The rule of law has prevailed and yet you threaten tyranny and assassination as consequence.

The mad remainers as you term us will go no where and will not flinch from the Bridiot Brexiteering Bullies.

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Cynical Observer
Facepalm

Re: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

@codejunky

the UKIP people are the only ones to represent me and 52% of the referendum voters in the EU.

That would be the collection of MEPs that missed over a third of all votes. And you wonder why the UK might not achieve things in Europe.

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FBI's Clinton email comedown confirms it could have killed the story in a canter

Cynical Observer
Stop

Was Hillary the real target?

One opinion that has been positioned is that damaging Hillary Clinton's chances was not necessarily the true target of these announcements. If as seems to be the case, there is an acceptance that The Donald will fall at the last hurdle, then the GOP has to hold both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

With those in GOP hands, Hillary is shackled and much as Obama has struggled to achieve his agenda over the last 6 years, she will fail to make much change.

The real fallout from the last week is the down ticket voting - momentum which was tilting towards the Democrats is expected to come back to Republican candidates.

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Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

Cynical Observer
Flame

Re: The majority of people who voted, voted to leave...

...and that's all that matters. If you didn't vote, then your fault. You don't count. You can't complain.

On another thread I called out the voting record of UKIP in the European Parliament. To that I add Blessed Nigel's absence from the Fisheries Commission where he was supposed to represent the interests of his nation and constituents.

Based on your logic, UKIP never had a right to bleat, moan, complain or stir things up - and yet they were accorded the privilege of an audience.

You now want to deny that courtesy to those that you disagree with.

Shame on you.

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Cynical Observer

Re: Whether you voted leave or remain...

The definitive point is when we have a negotiated position on what the terms of our leaving the EU would be. At that point there a Parliamentary vote should be considered essential, or we really will have shown democracy the door.

One of the issues in the court case was whether or not Article 50 is or is not unilaterally revocable/reversible. That unilateral aspect is essential as it would be the only aspect leaving the UK in any sort of control over its own destiny/progress through the negotiations.

As I understand it, the High Court did not rule on this - and the feeling among the legal commentators seems to be that such a decision would need to go all the way to the EU Court of Justice. It is felt that that might be unpalatable for the executive.

If it really is irreversible then the maximum scrutiny/discussion before firing the starter pistol seems only sensible.

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Cynical Observer
Stop

Calm down dear - it's only a chance to vote

The public give Parliament the right to rule and make laws in our name

I think you'll find that no one is arguing about this. Or at least no one that voted remain is arguing about this. It's simply that it was not felt appropriate that St Teresa and the Three Brexiteers should be able to do this over croissants and coffee on a Saturday morning.

In essence - the Judges have confirmed what seems to be a strongly held view of yours - that The public give Parliament the right to rule and make laws in our name and that is exactly what they will do.

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Cynical Observer

@Mark 110

If you want to talk about the basis on which the last election was fought by the Tories how about this from their manifesto.....

We are clear about what we want from Europe. We say: yes to the Single Market. Yes to turbo-charging free trade. Yes to working together where we are stronger together than alone Yes to a family of nation states, all part of a European Union – but whose interests, crucially, are guaranteed whether inside the Euro or out. No to ‘ever closer union.’ No to a constant flow of power to Brussels. No to unnecessary interference. And no, of course, to the Euro, to participation in Eurozone bail-outs or notions like a European Army.

We will build on this. We want to preserve the integrity of the Single Market, by insisting on protections for those countries that have kept their own currencies. We want to expand the Single Market, breaking down the remaining barriers to trade and ensuring that new sectors are opened up to British firms.

Brexit is fundamentally incompatible with the above - part of the basis on which they were elected. Even more interesting, convention is that the House of Lords does not mess with stuff that was a manifesto commitment. Well, the commitment was to grow the Single market - seems fair for the House of Lords to try and take that line.......

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Cynical Observer

Re: Law is always a matter of interpretation and this is wide open

@ Yet Another Anonymous coward

IANAL....

But I don't think so. I think it's a case of they are additional to domestic law. e.g. the tariffs for criminal offences are set by the national legislatures but the working time directive is pan-European as are the standards certain aspects of safety e.g. combustibility of fabrics.

These are just a couple of example - as with all things it's rarely that simple.

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Cynical Observer

Re: Law is always a matter of interpretation and this is wide open

No mention on whether the Prime Minister does or does not have the power.

I'll type it out as the judgement does not facilitate copying.....

"In our judgment, the clear and necessary implication from these provisions taken separately and cumulatively is that Parliament intended EU rights to have effect in domestic law and that this effect should not be capable of being undone or overridden by action taken by the Crown in exercising its Prerogative powers."

That's pretty much slam dunk. It means the executive has no where to go except on a spurious trip to the Supreme Court - where they will most likely lose.

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Cynical Observer

Re: Very Interesting . .

@John Mangan

If the appeal fails as well

It is likely that it will - at least according to many legal commentators. The judgement suggests that the government were on a hiding to nothing before they even started as the European Communities Act fairly bluntly made sure that the executive could not ride over the will of parliament.

As such, the only way to go form here is an Act of Parliament that changes the law to allow the executive to move forward - or give parliament the opportunity to exert its sovereign will.

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Cynical Observer

In the word of many a Brexiteer... You Lost, Get over it!

As for the unholy combination of merchant bankers and unelected judges who achieved this result ...

Did you read the judgement? Linked for your convenience.

In particular #92 to #94. The judges looked at what was the intention of the European Communities Act of 72 and their interpretation is that it was explicitly crafted to prevent the executive riding roughshod over Parliament.

So the things that can be taken from this....

The law makers of old were bloody good at their job, ensuring that what they desired to happen was safeguarded appropriately.

The government of today needs better lawyers - their case was dead before the claimants even started

The UK parliament is sovereign - it can and will hold the executive to account.

And finally - from the noises on various corners of T'Interwebs..... Democracy is only convenient to some people when it delivers the result that they want.

I'm off to buy popcorn - this one has months on it yet.......

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James Dyson's new startup: A university for engineers that doesn't suck

Cynical Observer
Pint

@ Pen-y-gors

It's Friday and you deserve this IMNSHO

Have an up vote as well.

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Cynical Observer
Coat

Re: It may not suck

All this worry and needless hand wringing...

When they finish they can dust off their qualification. ..... oh wait....

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US reactor breaks fusion record – then runs out of cash and shuts down

Cynical Observer
Trollface

Re: Money

If only they had opted to have a smart meter installed.......

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Euro Patent Office staff demand new rights to deal with terrifying boss

Cynical Observer
FAIL

Re: Brexit

Except that the EPO is not an organ of the EU - at all.

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