Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Fun Online Polls: Fixed-odds betting terminals & The Brexit Bill

The results to last fortnight's Fun Online Poll were as follows:

What 'should' be the maximum bet on fixed-odd betting terminals?

£2 - 19%
£20 - 4%
£200 - 1%
It's none of the government's business - 76%

Thanks to everybody who took part, 105 votes in total, a good turnout (albeit spread over two weeks).

'Nuff said, I think. These machines - and gambling in general - is something I (and presumably a lot of other people) instinctively dislike, it's always a negative sum game and seems all rather depressing. But that in itself is no reason to ban something.
Our strong and stable leader appears to be adopting a bizarre variant of the black sheriff in "Blazing Saddles"'s negotiating tactic, i.e. taking the whole country hostage and offering to pay the EU £40 billion in ransom for a safe return of the Brexit negotiations.

Ho hum, seems a bit craven to me, but not as bad as the original ransom demand of about £100 billion.

So that's week's Fun Online Poll.

"How much should the UK be prepared to pay the EU to kick start the Brexit negotiations?"

Vote here or use the widget in the sidebar.


Bayard said...

AFAICS, the EU are justifying the divorce settlement by saying that we need to pay our share of the commitments that we entered into as an EU member. OK, fair enough, but why are we not being offered the alternative to fund those specific commitments instead of a lump sum?

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, good question. And nobody knows how much the EU "owes" us as our share of the costs of all the grand buildings, the EIB, joint projects like ESA, Large Hadron Collider etc.

paulc156 said...

How do we know exactly how the UK offer is being structured? The EU keep saying they don't need a specific figure rather a detailed commitment to specific areas that we will honour. 'both sides will seek to agree on the methodology for calculating the bill, and the actual figure will be finalised at the end of negotiations'. According to the Institute for Government website which also outlines some principles of asset offsets.

Shiney said...


Taking an accountants view - let us say the budget number is €20 billion and the assets perhaps €500-1,000 million. So €19,000 net. We could probably argue in a court that we owe nothing, but lets go with this as a start point.

I'd say that since the EU is bankrupt (morally and financially) we offer them 10p in the £1 like you would in any receivership and walk away.

So €2 billion tops.

Payable in stages over, perhaps 3 years.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sh, I like your thinking.

Graeme said...

Paulc, so you go to buy a car and the salesperson insists on talking about how much you want to pay. When do you start talking about what you want to buy? That dialogue seems impossible. But then, any of the EU nations can veto whatever Barnier agrees. This is a truly pointless exercise.

Frank said...

I voted other.

A penny (or a Euro cent) just to show willing. Then present the bill for our share of all the EU's assets.

Mark Wadsworth said...

G, more good points.

F, beautiful.

DBC Reed said...

This is ridiculous: you all seem to be imagining this is a two-sided dispute where we make a case in front of a totally disinterested arbiter.Our opposition is the arbiter.
You lot ( I generalise) got us into this mess.You are now reacting in the British public school elite manner of shitting your trousers at the first sign of totally foreseeable trouble.Since the leave campaign went round with Boris Johnson having plastered lies about millions of pounds to the NHS around his big fat bus or arse surrogate,(being a retired loafer I watched on TV as he proudly displayed it in its big red enormity while a bloke who'd turned up to point out that it was factually inaccurate was kept off camera)I should say that Beleavers need to start compromising on staying in the customs union etc with a few face saving changes.And paying our dues. Its stupid saying "we agreed to pay our dues but had no idea how much they might be"
Games up for this jolly jape from the reserve army of self appointed
elitists (Our elite is headed by Boris Johnson,Bill Crashing bore Cash etc!!)

paulc156 said...

In any case we will pay somewhere upwards of £40bn...still get plenty of inward migration, but mostly from outside of the EU...delays at ports for our exports...and probably accept ECJ rulings on all matters pertaining to trade with EU. And be first in the queue for a deal with Donald Trump and his chlorinated chickens. What's not to like?

Bayard said...

DBCR, I am surprised that you believe the Remainer lie about the big red bus. What any English speaker who spends more than five seconds thinking about what was written thereon can see is obvious is that what it was was a true statement followed by a suggestion. Wherein lies the much-vaunted lie or indeed the factual inaccuracy of which you speak?

"You lot ( I generalise) got us into this mess."
No we didn't. The author of "this mess" is no-one other than David Cameron XMP. He called the referendum and then made such a cockup of the campaign that he lost, having been so confident of winning that he had done no planning for losing.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, to be fair, the bus slogan was one true fact (£350m a week), one glaring omission (the EU sends half of that back), and one suggestion (let's spend it on the EU instead).

Like any sane adult, I was not influenced by the bus slogan one bit, finding it a bit childish.

But hats off to whoever thought it up.

DBC Reed said...

As I said I watched the wheel-out of the big red malicious inaccuracy on the box and this geezer popped up stage right and pointed out just how maliciously inaccurate it was along the lines MW has followed above.
David Cameron, who seems to have lived a rather sheltered life,thought UKIP and Beleavers were harmless eccentrics and was moreover sold out by the "Tory" press particularly Dacre's Mail(which actually believes if the average house price in this country was £1 million we'd all be millionaires) and numerous freak show Hoorays on his own side like Bozza campaigning against him. The bigger floppy failure was May who rushed to adopt the newly revealed xenophobe vote claiming to be tougher on foreigners than Corbyn in negotiations only to not win the election she stupidly called as the general discontents over house prices rents austerity were exploited by Labour.
Following the Budget it now appears that the dimwits are in total control.Christ!

Shiney said...

Hey @DBCR & @paulc156...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are both EU Remainers and, shall we say, left-of-centre (I'm assuming this from your comments here).

I don't get how you reconcile those positions as to my mind the EU hierarchy are just shills for large corporates like Tesco, RR, PSA, Carrefour, Siemens, VAG etc

Please explain, as I am genuinely interested, how you can hold these two contradictory positions at the same time. At least Corbyn, as an 'old-hard-lefty' in the Bennite sense, is consistent (i.e. anti-EU to the core).


Mike W said...

Yes I sometimes find it perplexing for many reasons too. It is not so much 'hard left'thing though Shiney. In the end, Benn and Foot's position was that of the Democrat.Even if that hurts to admit. Don't tell me how powerfull the head of the EU and his cronies are, how can I vote them out?
Proximate cause for 'Out' apart from Greece, the laying of successive British PM's (pretending not to be King) etc, etc . Sometime before the referedum, I was asked how did we remove the Swedish bint telling us to fuck off over the TTIP negotiations she was conducting, I couldn't even begin to answer. I was ashamed. So I had had enough then, took Cammeroons unexpected invite and put the boot in. There are more reasons of course, which we have been over here.So I do get a bit annoyed that the meme still is that I first, even read the Express/Mail, two, listen to Tory ministers on the BBC,and three,voted out because a c~nt wa#k drove a red bus past me, one day, with a made up number on!

Shiney said...


Yep - Wedgy-Benn was right when he said that joining the EU was a bloodless coup d'etat perpetrated by the 'establishment'.

"So I do get a bit annoyed that the meme still is that I first, even read the Express/Mail, two, listen to Tory ministers on the BBC,and three,voted out because a c~nt wa#k drove a red bus past me, one day, with a made up number on!"

Same here.

Mark Wadsworth said...

MW, Sh, this blog is a "safe space" for troublemakers who voted Leave for their own individual reasons, completely unrelated to xenophobia, "£350 million a week for the NHS" or general Daily Mailexpressgraph nonsense.

DBC and PC come along every now and then to do their usual Bremoaner slagging off, but they're in the minority here :-)

Bayard said...

"one glaring omission (the EU sends half of that back).

If you put everything into a slogan, it's no longer a slogan, is it? it becomes a manifesto. Anyway the word was "send", not "give". There is a difference, as the Buffoon-in-Chief attempted to explain, before he was shouted down by the likes of DBCR, who read things as they want to see them, not as they are.

"As I said I watched the wheel-out of the big red malicious inaccuracy"

You still haven't explained what the "inaccuracy" is, although I note that whatever it is, it has been upgraded from "lie" to "inaccuracy".

Shiney said...

MW, MW, B et al.

I am genuinely interested in their position.... really.

I have many, many friends who are left-of-centre politically and also remainers and I can't get them to coherently explain why they are so in favour of EU membership.

They usually come out with guff about 'shared experience', 'my children's future', 'freedom to take a holiday in Tuscany', 'Trump ???' etc. Never anything about VAT, regulation, free trade or all the interesting stuff.

I've got a funny feeling its a tribal thing (the MikeWs of this world are an exception) - people who are left of centre are in favour of the EU because in general the main opposition to it, in the past, has come from the Tories.

Lola said...

Shine you. That puzzles me too. The EU is clearly an anti democratic crony corpoartist shill for banking and Germany (because they are the paymasters) . None of that is 'socialist'.

DBC Reed said...

I voted Out in the 1975 referendum for reasons a lot of people on here including perhaps Shiney voted Leave in the re-run : anti corporate suspicions and, strange as it might seem now, hopes for a more Socialist system outside a Europe of interlocking private sector monopolies .
Its the Conservatives who have to explain themselves: pushing us in and then dragging us out, taking their lead from UKIP who were not much better than street agitators.

Bayard said...

"Its the Conservatives who have to explain themselves"

If they were so foolish as to do so, I expect it would run like this:

"We called a referendum although we had no intention of leaving the EU because we thought we would win. We wanted to shut up the tiresome Eurosceptic minority in the party for once and for all. We wheeled out Project Fear that had worked so well in Scotland, or so we thought, and it backfired and we lost. We then realised that, whatever we did, half our supporters were going to hate us, so we decided to infuriate the smaller half and go with the larger half, even though we hadn't done any planning and had no idea how we were going to negotiate our withdrawal."

DBC Reed said...

Further to above I voted leave in the 1975 referendum because the stay in campaign was more or less Oswald Mosley's Union (with Europe)Movement with all the same arguments plus Edward Heath's personal obsession, abolishing Resale Price Maintenance, which was a condition of EEC membership. Beware Tories with single issue "ideas".(The American Supreme Court has had to relegalise RPM over the Leegin case).
There is no coherent case for leaving now with no practicable set of alternatives to the status quo.Remaining seems sensible when the wonderful opportunities from leaving seem so much pie in the sky brought to us by those dimwit masterminds who have also brought us 20 years of income stagnation.

Shiney said...


As I suspected...like all my other left wing buddies. No coherent reason to stay in. Just 'I don't like Boris and co so I'll vote to stay in'. Which is total bollocks really, and just as bad as 'I don't like brown people/Poles/Muslims [delete minority of choice] so I vote leave'

Hey and @DBCR - most of the shit we are now in is as much the fault of Blair/Brown as Cameron/Osborne... who all wanted to remain if I am correct.

@pc156 - your silence is deafening ;-D

Bayard said...


A couple of points:

Neither side promoted any good reasons either to stay or to go, only bad ones, it was basically Project Fear versus xenophobia and all was lies and misrepresentation from start to finish.

Blair/Brown may not have been Conservatives, but they were definitely Tories and part of the Tory Establishment. However, what makes DBCR's Remainer stance at odds with his dislike of the Tories is that the Tory Establishment are Remainers, too.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I voted leave, that's all. I did not vote for Boris, Gove or Farage. Neither did I vote against Cameron or Clegg.

Shiney said...


Exactly but remainers always make that claim. Perhaps we should accuse all the remainers of being duped by Cameron/Osbourne/Blair/Juncker/Merkel.

On the whole most remainers can't put together a serious coherent argument for staying. Aparat from an appeal for the status quo - a deeply conservative position IMHO.

They "don't like it up 'em" and all that.

DBC Reed said...

It is rather the Beleavers who have no coherent position.Asked to present a practicable alternative to the existing and carefully worked out/well bedded down European system, they present a blank sheet of paper.
As it is suddenly becoming apparent post Budget that the UK has serious structural problems (overvalued property for one!), it may be these that make this country a basket case in comparison with Germany which does well in Europe.
I am of the opinion that the referendum served as a protest vote for people whose wages have n't risen in years while prices have gone up no problem, particularly rents (of £800 a month in my home county of Dumpshire where there's no jobs).This is rather proved by the Conservatives disgraceful volte face on Brexit with floppy May calling a snap election declaring " Trust me to smash the Europeans"(her predecessor Cameron having said the opposite).But the moment had passed and the electorate voted in huge numbers for a radical Labour Party programme instead, the radical possibilities of Brexit no longer enough to answer the deep-seated problems people face every pay day.
Brexit is a diversion from the UK's structural economic questions that need answering whether we leave or remain.
We have been going on about one of these problems for a very long time and have watched in stupefaction as a monster house price crash brought down the capitalist banking system in 2008.
We have been right all along.We should not be diverted by Brexit.

Shiney said...


"Brexit is a diversion from the UK's structural economic questions that need answering whether we leave or remain."


But most people who voted leave feel we can sort these things better if we're out - and your 'radical' (crazy??) 2017 labour manifesto couldn't happen while we're in anyway - as Corbyn and McDonnell know very well.

Bayard said...

"It is rather the Beleavers who have no coherent position."

Hardly surprising when they are being headed up by a government, who are, at heart, Remainers, but have decided to go for Leave for political reasons.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC: "It is rather the Beleavers who have no coherent position"

The Tories have no coherent plan; neither does Labour if truth be told. Lib Dem plan seems to be another referendum.

But there is "a" coherent plan, as espoused here. Unilateral free trade, phase out VAT, let EU nationals stay here (or apply for British citizenship), tell the EU we are paying nothing etc.

Shiney said...

I just thought I'd leave this here....


DBC Reed said...

Does unilateral Free Trade involve the conjoined twin of Free Trade: Land Value Tax as Adam Smith insisted? If so you should besmirch the blank sheet of paper which is the sum total of Beleavers proposals with this idea which would challenge the day dreams of the credulous who dream of kicking all foreigners out and other forms of taking back control (Quick run for you lives!)
Mark's aversion to Europe seems to be VAT; nothing more to it.(I would like a post Leegin reconsideration of Leegin in respect of Resale Price Maintenance.Perhaps this should go on the blank sheet of paper too?)
But the Beleaver strategy is to leave the paper blank: so the aggrieved think their grievances are being dealt with whatever they are.
How are we any farther forward with Brexit sans LVT? Splitters!!

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, I'm not a raving Beleaver. I'm not sure whether you think I am or not.

There's a long list of good things about the EU, but the list of bad things is much longer, ergo, I did the decent things and voted Leave.