View Full Version : UK to become next US state

14th Apr 2004, 19:07
Potentialy a good idea?

I think so how about you?


14th Apr 2004, 19:11
I thought it already was!?!?

I saw it in a movie with Robert Carlyle and Samuel L Jackson based in Liverpool. I though it was a documentary. A very real portrayal of Scousers and all :p

14th Apr 2004, 19:13
Naw, it will never happen, some one would have to change what side of the road one drove on!

Other than that not a bad idea.:)

Boss Raptor
14th Apr 2004, 19:15
Great film...'no shagging...' :E

Clearly a thread by a 'Guvnor' wannabe who wishes to cause friction and Pprune to be the start of WW3...I would say Anglo/US relations get frayed enough on here as it is (note Anglo comes first :ok:)

Britain should distance itself from the EU and the USA and align itself with the Commonwealth (Empire) enough said...and Russia who think the sun shines out of bottoms, after all we were the first people to trade with them, Muscovy Company, and our royalty are related, and cant stand the USA, Germany and Chinese... :cool:

14th Apr 2004, 19:18
Peurto Rico more likely. Then France :E :E :E


14th Apr 2004, 19:20
Please, who can remember the actresses' name who played the hit-girl/ Carlyle's girlie mate? (Answers on a post card).

14th Apr 2004, 19:25
Sorry, I think Ireland has beaten you to it. Both republics and it seems all the major US corporate giants have global divisons here.

And the US military love Shannon Airport!!!

14th Apr 2004, 19:29
From what I saw on Paddy's day, half of them think they are Irish............and the other half wish they were.

14th Apr 2004, 19:29
Unfortunately the freehold has already been sold to a slippery Italian based in Brussels.

Perhaps the States could offer a buy-and-lease-back arrangement? Or liberate us like they've just liberated Iraq.:hmm:

14th Apr 2004, 19:31

That is quite an upsetting comment.

I have never touched a child.


Rich Lee
14th Apr 2004, 19:33
Well.....since the departure stage right of the Clintons, we have not had a Royalty to ridiclue....perhaps the idea has merit?

14th Apr 2004, 19:35
I think the girl you're think of is Emily Watson:E

14th Apr 2004, 19:35
It would legitimise those pesky movies about who won the war, and relieve a lot of heartburn.

14th Apr 2004, 19:38
Thank you very much 419. Off to search the web...........

And you guys don't need royalty. You already have one big eared clown there................

Rich Lee
14th Apr 2004, 19:41
Big eared clown? Have you seen photos of a certain Prince lately?

14th Apr 2004, 20:59
Good film. According to imdb (great site), the actress was Emily Mortimer.

Fave scene: La Mortimer's chatting on the phone in her 'Scouse' accent. Hangs up. Something missing. Switches to LA accent: "M*****F*****" Perfect! ;)

Britain joining the US? Hmm... Who's for 10 days' annual leave then?

14th Apr 2004, 23:23
What I love are these guys who rant on and on about how the EU is a threat to UK sovereignty. Then 2 minutes later, they're trying to become the 51st thru 53rd states.

Apparently, Harold Wilson suggested this seriously to LBJ in the sixties.

'Too late. Unfortunately the freehold has already been sold to a slippery Italian based in Brussels.'
Prodi slippery? He could have done with at least a degree in cunning. (Cue Blackadder 'cunning' joke). Or are all Italians 'slippery' ex officio in your view?

14th Apr 2004, 23:42
Yeh, right.

Join the UK to the States, tow it over. I'll just drive over to Hawaii and stay there.

Blair, Prescott, Hoon and Brown can go to Alaska. Or even better, just leave 'em in the big hole where England used to be ;)

15th Apr 2004, 05:57
I know it was only linked fairly recently, but with this whole thing, perhaps another airing of this (http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/end.php)

(With acknowledgement to Tobzalp for finding it....and there is a little swearing in it, but it's funny!)

15th Apr 2004, 11:08
Please ignore my last post. (everyone else does!)

It was actually Emily Mortimer in the 51st State.



15th Apr 2004, 12:15
Then pehaps the rest of Europe can move along without that bunch of whinging limeys holding it all back.

Europe will be delighted, but I somehow feel that the US will fail to spot the difference.

15th Apr 2004, 12:36
What US would notice:
6 more Democrat senators
Lots of unemployed Brit pilots (and more besides) coming to look for a job

What the EU would notice:
No more Easyjet
Ryanair refocus away from UK
Vodafone changes its base to Germany
Lots of yummy American regional corporate headquarters looking for a new home

What the UK would notice:
Oh dear. We've just spent the last 20 years selling Yoorp to the Yanks and America to the Yoorpeans.
And what happened to our financial services sector?
Lower speed limits on interstates (formerly motorways).

15th Apr 2004, 12:57
Ever noticed how the US appear to be trying to create an empire like we brits used to have....now those were the days :(

15th Apr 2004, 13:00
Hang on............wasn't there a little war around the time of 1776 when a certain colony kicked another certain empire out!?!
Aw Rugz, you just beat me to it!

(And in another part of the world, somebody was getting off a boat after a long journey and seeing a Kangaroo for the first time and explaining "What the f*ck is that?!?!")

15th Apr 2004, 13:25
London EN would be a state capital, with the same status as Albany NY, Sacramento CA or Austin TX.

No drinking under 21. enforced.

15th Apr 2004, 13:30
And Sean Connery would be Governor!

15th Apr 2004, 13:36
Sean Connery would indeed be the Governor of the great state of Scotland. But he would have to give up his views on making Scotland independent, unless Scotland managed to negotiate the same right of withdrawal from the Union as Texas did.

Hey, Texas could join the EU. Well, Morocco tried, so why not?

15th Apr 2004, 15:30
42, I'm all for that,

Texas into the EU. HOORAY!

(Can we still beat them in College football?):)

15th Apr 2004, 15:32
I think little Johnny Howard has got his heart set on Aus being the next US state

15th Apr 2004, 15:59
Think again, Scotland, Walers and England would just be counties in the new state of Britain!! (Size of West Virginia)

15th Apr 2004, 16:05
Well at least if we did join we could have the 7 nations rugby,and that would give Scotland a chance of not getting the wooden spoon next year.
Also the Scottish cricket team would win,and their football team and their.....oooops that will set some Scotsman loose with his kilt.I'd better duck!

15th Apr 2004, 16:41
I don't think you've got it. If Britain joined the US, there would be no more rugby. Gridiron. Touchdowns. The forward pass. The whole nine yards. No national teams. NFL franchises that can be moved from Birmingham to Birmingham at the owner's will.
No going down the pub after a match. Instead, watching the game on TV or driving home and opening a 6-pack.
No weird phrases that need explaining like 'wooden spoon'.
Anyone wearing a kilt at a game would be liable to be arrested.

Texas can still play college football in the EU but the ball would be round. No-one watches college football in the EU. It's not on TV. There are no cheerleaders. The players actually study and don't get given cars or other goodies. They have no better chance with the girls than anyone else. They almost never go on to become professionals. No-one cares.
Makes you almost feel sorry for Texas.

15th Apr 2004, 17:13
Humm, really, I think that is the way Texas is now.

Never, never, never feel sorry for Texas.:E

15th Apr 2004, 17:38
answer=42, at least those US athletes actually have a degree and there are now very strict rules in the NCAA about receiving gifts etc.

They are far more rounded then the 16 year old kids in this part of the world just off the council estates with no education and given 20 grand a week when they join big clubs.

Which would you prefer? I'd always go for the pro athlete who from high school age has been prepared for pro sports and who spends 4 years in college, getting used to national media coverage and learning how to deal with it alongside his peers before turning pro.

Wee Weasley Welshman
15th Apr 2004, 17:55
Hows about the UK out of the EU but with a free trade agreement with NAFTA plus the commonwealth plus whatever deal the EU is willing to offer?

NAFTA is just as large a trade block as the EU and with the Commonwealth countries back (sorry we left you in 1974 - whoops) we'd have no shortage of markets to sell to.

We'd be quite confident and content as a stand alone country thank you very much - unlike most of our continental partners who have either been or have invaded each other in living memory or who are otherwise tiny on the world stage. Who said Belgium?

No more Common Agricultural Policy so you can waive goodbye to the equivalent of twice Council Tax everybody. No more Brussels rulings on our courts or our laws. No more MEPs.

China, Russia, Latin America and in 30yrs Africa are the emerging major trading countries. Lets get in there now unencombered with EU rules and quotas. Who needs the Franco-German 10% unemployment and massive health/pension overhead?

Not us.



15th Apr 2004, 21:04

The discussion about sports above should show you that Britain is pretty close to the rest of Europe culturally. But if it's economics you want to talk about, let's do that.

The UK has had very strong economic growth for a number of years now. Effectively, the strategy has been to sell services to Europe and worldwide. Easyjet and Vodafone would not have grown anywhere like as fast without the EU. In contrast, British companies have repeatedly failed in the USA. America has used GB as its gateway into Europe and, in the financial services sector, as its international department. Without British membership of the EU, both aspects of the strategy disappear.

The NAFTA trading rules are no more open or logical than are the EU's CAP and other trade rules. Membership of NAFTA is incompatible with any serious trade deal with Commonwealth countries. The EU would give the UK a far worse deal than Switzerland or Norway have.

As you point out, there is considerable economic growth outside the developed countries. These countries want to trade with America and Europe. But they will trade directly with Europe and America. Abandoning Britain's strategic usefulness to both continents will hardly make Britain an attractive strategic trade partner.

Health and pensions systems are national systems in the EU and have no great bearing on the discussion. (The situation in the UK ain't too great either.) Corporate health plans have dragged down American industries such as steel and motor vehicles. It's a problem everywhere but not so relevant to this discussion.

The British airline industry has done pretty well out of the EU's liberalisation. Can you imagine how bad things would have been in the airline industry over the last few years without EU open skies? Why put yourselves out of work?

And all for what? Because you don't like Belgium? Feel free to dislike Belgium as much as you want. But inside the EU.

You are right. Britain has this bizarre anti-education attitude in sports. Which is why so many football managers are from elsewhere.

15th Apr 2004, 21:48
The only reason the UK joined was because of an accident of Geography (the EU is the closest entity). Culturally we have far more in common with former colonies such as the US, Canada, Australia, etc.
The EU has taken 15 (soon 25) of the longest-established nations in the world and piled their bureaucracies on top of each other. It has tried to impose 'harmonization' for the sake of sameness, rather than trying to understand why different systems developed.

Within the next 20-30 years it will collapse, first when the currency comes under the inevitable strains, then when some of its new citizens realise that they have traded one foreign master for another, and then when its bureaucratic sclerosis starts to impede its wealth creating ability. And that's to say nothing of the effect of emerging euro-sceptic nationalist movements everywhere.

Let's hope the collapse is peaceful rather than violent.

15th Apr 2004, 23:17

I think you’ve misunderstood harmonisation. As you quite rightly point out, EU Member States have legal systems that operate on different principles. The aim of harmonisation is to achieve agreed objectives or standards. So, each country passes its own legislation that meets these standards. Obviously each will do so in the way it thinks is best. Harmony isn’t the same as unison.

You seem to think the Euro will fall apart sometime. Well from Euroland, it don’t look like that. The Euro feels like its been here for always. Sooner or later, a decent set of fiscal rules will be put in place – they’ll probably look a little like the British ones. The Euro will work simply because it’s in everyone’s interest for it to do so in this internet age.

You also seem to think that EU legislation comes about because of some foreign shenanigans. Well most of the initiative comes from a collective decision of the EU Member States, ie the British government agreed to it or proposed it in the first place. Of course, it’s always easy for politicians to blame ‘Brussels’ for their own decisions, just as American politicians regularly blame ‘Washington’. East European countries should be pretty good at negotiating their way around the system. The alternative for them – as it is for Britain – is to have commercial rules imposed on them by larger countries without a chance to negotiate them and make a deal.

15th Apr 2004, 23:38
I hate to be controversial, and I don't have the time to enter into a debate (as much as I would like to) about the benefits/disbenefits of EU membership.

I think you will find that from a UK perspective the EU has had little benefit to this Country, despite what our Brussels loving MPs would have you believe.

There are many illustrations of this.

Take one. So called 'Mad Cow Disease'.

UK declares it and all our meat exports ares stopped immediately.

France has a dose and apart from lying about it EU does absolutely nothing. France is ultimately 'fined' by EU for maintaining illegal ban on UK meat...result France ignores ruling and still has not paid compensation.

The Euro is a complete disaster. Talk to any economic commentator or expert.

Economically the EU is on the down, only the UK is showing any growth. Other EU leaders are now openly talking about shedding EU 'rules' that prevent entrepreneurism.

Travelled much in say Spain since the Euro?. Prices in Spain changed from being in Pesetas to Euros. It is no longer cheap to go there..or any other Country operating Euro in comparison to pre-Euro.

Pensions....there is a major pensions crises looming with only the Northern European states having made any provision for state pensions. This means that the Northern European states will have to shoulder the pension burden for many other EU countries.

I could talk about the CAP or the Asylum issue but I don't want to bore anyone or change the thread.

Over the years the European Economic Community (EEC) has become the European Community (EC), then the European Union (EU).

The real influential part of the EU which is France has NEVER wanted the UK in and does everything in its power to disadvantage the UK.

I for one happily declare that getting out of Europe can only benefit this Country unless we return to the ORIGINAL aims of the EU which was Economic/Trade partnering.

16th Apr 2004, 03:35
42 - If Arnie can be the Governor of California, then Sean can certainly be the Governor of the new London, EN. ;)

16th Apr 2004, 09:06

Are you talking about Seans Connery or Penn there?

Governor is boss of a state, so one Sean would have to be Governor of England and the other Governor of Scotland. Hizzoner the Mayor of London is currently Ken Livingstone. He will probably want a bigger challenge so will move to LA to sort out the traffic problems there. London can have Newt Gingrich in exchange.

State capitals are usually some out of the way place, like Trenton NJ or Bismarck ND. May I suggest Winchester EN and Stirling SD.

Bletchley, you old Slytherin

Will get back to you. Stay cool.

16th Apr 2004, 09:13
Ans42 .Anyway what's Belgium given the world? A fat detective with a tache and a mess that still needs a lot of clearing up in West Africa.Other than that nothing.
There would be pubs,the Yanks think they are cute and sell better beer than their's.Everywhere I go in the US I can always find a pub or two.
They don't like the French either so there's another commonality we both have.Still goes back to the saying that any nation that eats something that leaves a slime trail behind can't be trusted.

16th Apr 2004, 09:31

Please don't let me stop you slagging off Belgium. A few points in mitigation:
The saxophone
Belgian beer
Jacques Brel
better restaurants than France
Johnny Hallyday (well, perhaps this proves your point).

Glad to hear you can find decent pubs in the USA. I thought their beer was getting better: microbreweries and suchlike.

Also glad to hear that you place the blame for the mess in central Africa where it belongs.
A lot of top Belgians still think they did nothing wrong. :yuk:
Unfortunately, the good old U of K gave quite a helping hand in this heart of darkness.

But are you really serious in implying that a Chicken McNugget doesn't leave a slime trail?

16th Apr 2004, 11:39
Ans 42..Who says it's chicken inside anyway?

West Coast
18th Apr 2004, 06:07
It would just screw up the flag. Fifty is a nice round number.

I suppose we could break it up and sell parts to the French, the Irish and whom ever else could pony up some good ole green backs.

18th Apr 2004, 07:01
the Irish gave up this week on producing Guinness

in the UK.
Still going in the third world though

terroists - wot ?

18th Apr 2004, 11:04
And how come the Yanks get the JSF in 2008 and we get them in 2011 eh eh?:mad:

18th Apr 2004, 12:14
LGS, you are 100% correct, and history will prove it so.

The French appear to have forgotten that a couple of generations back, there was another European power which wanted a united and harmonised Europe, and almost got it.

The EU, and the Euro with it, are destined for the scrapheap of history. This is just so plainly, blindingly, obvious from the outside, that it is quite pitiful to watch and listen to the promoters of the same as they parrot their favourite propaganda to anyone who may pretend to be listening.

One can do little but shake one's head.

BW's pick for the next thirty years...(after the collapse of the Euro in 2010)...Ireland will adopt the US Dollar. Holland, Portugal and Luxembourg will adopt the Pound. Spain will join them for a short while, but will then go back to it's own currency. France and Germany will attempt to keep the myth of the Euro alive , issuing currencies known as the Euro (France) and the Euro (German). Italy will issue both French and German Euros.

The new Eastern European members of the EU will, firstly, run with the US Dollar. Fairly soon thereafter, a few will decide to opt for the Pound, and several others will issue both Dollars and French or German Euros.

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden will stick with their own Krone, but will link them to the Pound.
The Swiss will continue their own currency, playing it off between all various competing factions, making a healthy profit, and good on them.

The Austrians will issue German Euros, but will keep a weather eye on the Pound; God alone knows what the Greeks will do. They may run with the Dollar. The Finns will probably go the Dollar road as well, at least initially.

18th Apr 2004, 14:46
I think you have got it very wrong there.

Sterling is destined for the scrap heap, only a matter of time.
The Euro coins may well be changed, cause they are crap, but the currency is here to stay, its in the interest of the vast majority of countries, and it is bloody conveiniant too, especially in an age of low cost airliners were it is cheaper to travel across western Europe by jet then to get a train cross country. Remember how worthless the Italian Lira was.

The only reason the brits are holding out on joining is Jingoistic.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is a very good thing that the two bed buddies, the Krauts and the Frogs have a major voice to contend with, but I think the Brits are only hurting themselves on this issue!

18th Apr 2004, 20:52
As to Britain becoming another state, we already have quite a few small islands in the qeue: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. I am afraid that you will just have to wait your turn.

And when it comes to that, aside from the problem with your foul weather (simply unacceptable as it now stands, although Global Warming may sort things out) and your hideous cooking (which makes McDonalds look pretty good, sometimes) you shall have to learn to talk American rather than speak English; otherwise you won't be able to make yourselves understood.

You have been moving in the right direction over the years, especially your 'yoof' but you still have far too many educated people who talk funny and use big words. That will never do with most Americans, I fear. I mean that they like the sound of it fine, but trying to figure out what you are trying to say... unnnh!

As to the Euro, I think that experiment is going to end in tears. A central currency without a central bank is just an invitation to abuse, while there are already signs of trouble with various nations needed to revalue but being unable easily to do so.

On the physical side the coins are far too large relative to their value. When you have about €4 worth of small change the wallet bulges rather alarmingly. The same value in sterling takes up much less room.

My suggestion would be to move backwards, out of the EU, where no one likes you or deals fairly with you anyway, take back control of your fisheries, fill in the Chunnel and resume your once happy existence as an island race. You might have to cull some bureaucrats and most of your dole bludgers or send them off to do compulsory farm labour to get back on an even keel but after that you may find that roast beef will do just fine compared to snails, say.

18th Apr 2004, 23:39
take back control of your fisheries

I agree with that one, we are getting right royaly screwed there.
In retrospect, I suppose i would be in favour of Britain and
Ireland joining the U.S, the rest of Europe are just a Shower of bureaucratic c***s.

19th Apr 2004, 00:47
Well our fish stocks are f***ed. Our seas have been plundered by the Spanish. I remember a study was done not long ago that showed for every euro of funds we received from the EU, we've paid 2 euro with regards to our lost fish stocks.

I suppose if we did becaome stae 51, we'd just be turned into one giant aircraft carrier!!

19th Apr 2004, 00:50
Doesn't a carrier get to cruise? Yer might be a landing strip if yer stationary. Things could be worse.


19th Apr 2004, 00:52
Nah, I'm sure they'd develop some way of getting us moving across water!

And cruising to warmer climes mightn't be such a bad thing!!

19th Apr 2004, 00:59
Nice one OW22, I agree. The EU has single handedly killed off the fishing community of many a "non-mainland" country. It's not fun, it's just not funny.:sad:


West Coast
19th Apr 2004, 01:16

You sure use a lot of us and we when you talk of assimiliation. You renounce your US citizenship or is it a part time thing?

19th Apr 2004, 11:12
Nothing meant by it WC, I am an American first and foremost, but I've been here now since the mid 70's and its home as well.

The two countries are very similar anyway so I feel comfortable calling both home if you know what I mean.

I have the wife (Irish) on a promise that in the next few years we will move back to the US. Preferably California, (love it there and I love the Sun) I'd actually love somewhere like where you are, but anywhere in Southern California would be great.

But not Palm Springs!! I may be getting on a bit, but I'm not ready for the retorement home yet!!

19th Apr 2004, 14:42
Bletchley, you old chip off the old token block:
From the famous two cows thread: (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=105240)
Great Britain:
You have two cows
You feed one cow to the other cow
It goes mad
You shoot it
And blame the European Union for your lack of cows

The Euro does have a central bank. It's located in Frankfurt and called the European Central Bank - snappy name eh?
And ze continentals, especially the froggies, really lurve the Brits, e.g le fair play British etc.

Did the Irish fishing fleet owners sell their quotas to the Spanish, as many of the Brits did? I'm a little sceptical about your report but prepared to believe it when I see it.

The Brits are such brilliant bureacrats that after dealing with UK government you don't notice the pain until the scar has almost healed. In comparison any other administration, EU or US, is going to seem a pain in the Harris Tweed. Download any official form from a US government website and you will see that the grass is no greener on the other side!

19th Apr 2004, 14:55
answer, can't give you a definite link, I just remember reading it in the Irish Independant about a year/18 months ago, can't remember who actually did the report.

I don't know what the situation was, just that Irish waters seem to be a free for all for whoever wants to fish there. Pretty ridiculous in my book, like us just going to the North Sea and extracting oil there and not paying the UK a penny....

19th Apr 2004, 15:07

Trying not to be boring but it's a little more complicated than that. There is indeed a single European fishing zone (coz the fish tend to swim in and out of national zones). Fishing quotas were allocated to each country to reduce the catch and given to existing ship owners. Many Brit ship owners then sold on their quotas to Spanish owners.

The problem is over-fishing which probably started long before the EU fishing policy. Over fishing has certainly continued: I don't know whether the EU quotas were too big, there was cheating on the quotas or both. The European Commission recently tried to get zero quotas for some species in order to save the fishing grounds. Each country - including the Brits - then tried to keep their own fishing quotas. Back to square one. There really is a problem. If Britain/Ireland had their own fishing zones, the problem would still have to be addressed.

Ozzie's right to say that some of the EU fishing deals with other countries have been pretty disasterous.

Oh, and I think that in the US, the Federal Government has no right of royalty over oil reserves. Perhaps you have been this side of the Atlantic too long!

West Coast
19th Apr 2004, 15:54
I know we have discussed this before, but have you looked at the prices of homes in socal? Damn near criminal.

19th Apr 2004, 17:31
Can't be worse than southside Dublin now WC! Have you seen some of the prices here??

19th Apr 2004, 19:00
Dear Answer=42,

After careful analysis it would appear, strictly on the face of it, that, yes, you might just be correct. There does appear, right there on the notes, BCE ECB EZB EKT EKP, which might just mean 'European Central Bank' most of their official languages.

Give me some time here to prove that I was not actually wrong in what I wrote. Well, the words as they appeared did appear to suggest that, but I believe I may have been misquoted.

I will get back to you on this later.



19th Apr 2004, 20:41
Dear Answer=42,

You obviously overlooked the word 'powerful' in between the words 'a' and 'central' in what I wrote. Perhaps that was because I didn't write it in the first place, but never mind that!

Yes, I think it might be slightly more accurate to say that a powerful central bank, akin to the Federal Reserve Board of the United States of America, is a vital feature needed to make the concept of the Euro a success, given the rather obvious fact that, yes indeed, there is an ECB.

In strictly technical terms I could be considered to have made what is sometimes called a 'mistake' there, but I would prefer to think that you simply misread what I didn't write. Your apology is hereby accepted. Thank you.



19th Apr 2004, 21:20
Glad to see you couldn't refute my comments then.

West Coast
19th Apr 2004, 21:27
You have a point, its reletive. A cuz of mine just bought a smallish place out near the Wicklow mountains and paid gobs. Another one has a place in Skerries that would likely rival costs in La Jolla.

19th Apr 2004, 22:33

Please accept my apologies.

For 'powerful central bank', I think you meant 'with a strong reputation' or 'sufficiently anally retentive to cow the markets' central bank.

But, I hear you ask, what did the US of A do before they had the Fed, which was founded in the early 20th century. Well, I don't know. But I do know they had bimetalism, which was both a logical inconsistency and the equivalent of George W. Bush making the Texas Rangers baseball card the national currency.

No, don't tell him. Please. We have enough problems already.


You AWS you. Do you really want this? OK, here goes.

So called 'Mad Cow Disease'.
I can't make it any more succinct than '2 cows' above. But, if you insist.

Yes, British genius and flair invent Mad Cow Disease (BSE) and the whole world shuts its doors to British beef. Not just the EU. Some countries banned beef from all the EU, just to make sure. Slightly similar to the recent situation in which some Asian countries banned American beef and chicken in separate incidents (my memory is failing me on this, so please excuse).

Let's leave aside the point that Britain didn't have beef exports before it joined the EU and got beef producing subsidies. If we discuss the CAP, there is a danger we might agree on something, which would make me very unhappy indeed.

OK, why did EU countries close their doors on British boeuf? Well, they obviously didn't want Fifi the French cow catching a dose of something nasty. Or worse, BSE entering the food chain and mucking up their own exports. As you note, there were a few BSE cases on the continent (not just in France) and every so often a new case crops up, even now.

These nasty continentals were entitled to shut the door under the EU Rules & Regs, subsection 'nasty diseases'. The Rules & Regs also provided a means for Britain to demonstrate that all was well and good again. Trouble was, the Rules and Regs depended on the EU's standard method of tracking cattle. Which GB (not UK) had asked for and got an exemption to. Go into many supermarkets in Frogland, scan the barcode of a bit of bifteck and you can see a picture of the late Fifi and read her life story. You couldn't trace Georgette the English cow in the same way.

That's right, boys and girls, not only had the Brits tried to use unproven 'meat recovery' techniques but they also had less sophisticated methods for tracking the resulting disease when it occured.

OK. Now Britland is in deep Eurodoo. So what does your average Euro-superhero do in this situation? Yes, that's right, he negotiates his way out. Give a little, take a little.

What did John Major do? He grandstanded and stuck his ground. When the EU wanted to talk about expansion, he was going to talk beef. When the EU talked about the single currency, he was going to talk beef.

Sounds like bull to me.

So, eventually Britland gives way and does what the rules said and what the other countries were waiting for. Eventually, the European Commission says that Britain has done what it was suppose to do and that little Georgina can come and play with the other cows.

France then sticks its heels in (and it wasn't clear why, even in the French newspapers). The Commission then takes France to the European Court and wins. (I'm not sure if the fine was actually levied. The French may have backed down just before the fine was due to be imposed). Which just goes to show that if you want to play fisticuffs with the EU rules the way that nice man John Major did, you have to be either:
a) right
b) smart

Just think (if possible) what would have happened if the UK had not been a member of the EU. Once BSE had been cleared up, it would have had to take its case against the EU to the WTO.

This takes three years. And no certainty of winning.

I rest my case, m'lud.