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Clark Kent II

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  1. When we were furnishing our French house, my wife went into the bedding department of a large store and told a salesman that she wanted a matelot.
  2. [quote user="chateaubriant"]My point is, the Tories won the election with a mandate to hold a referendum on membership of the EU. I'm of the opinion that, because the country has turned to the right, the result will be withdrawal of the EU.[/quote] I know where you are coming from, and I, too, am disquieted by the election result. But you cannot predict a simple Yes/No result from the results of a multi-party First Past the Post election. I don't think it will be as straightforward as that. A probable consequence of an Out vote would be the independence of Scotland. Cameron doesn't want that, nor does he want to leave the EU.
  3. The reason for a referendum - in 2017, not next year, unless there is an upset of some kind - is for exactly the same reason that Wilson held one about 40 years ago. To keep the rebels under control. Wilson's referendum was to shut Tony Benn up. Cameron's referendum is an attempt to close down a small group of right wing Tory MPs. True, the playing field has been muddied by emergence of UKIP. David Cameron wants to stay in the EU. He is trying to make continued membership appear attractive by talking about "renegotiation" before the event. I know few people who want to leave the EU (but that may say something about the circles in which I move) and I would be very disappointed were it to happen. UKIP is certainly a problem - its message essentially is that we should go back to the past. The surprising result for the Labour Party in the General Election appears to be mainly due to defection of Labour voters to UKIP. My guess is that UKIP's primary appeal is to relatively unsophisticated voters whose voting behaviour is somewhat tribal. In order for any referendum to be meaningful I think that there should be a large-scale public discussion of the matter, with impartial analyses of the claims being made on both sides of the argument. Where either side is being shown to be claiming something fallacious, then such claims should be challenged. We shall see.
  4. [quote user="idun"][quote user="PaulT"]To add to Pickles post: SNP has 56 seats with 1,454,436 votes LD has 8 seats with 2,415,888 votes UKIP has 1 seat with 3,881,129 Plaid Cymru has 3 seats with 181,694 votes - yes one hundred and eighty one thousand and six hundred and ninety four votes gives them 3 seats.[/quote] It has just struck me that I don't know who many people were registered to vote, or how many should have been registered to vote, because 'just' those that vote skews these figures. Maybe we should all be made to vote and that all constituencies should have equal numbers of voters, surely this would be as fair as having PR?????????? [/quote] Fraid not, Idun. Let's take your hypothetical situation one step further. Because of your 100% equal size constituencies, the proportion of the vote is the same for all parties. Because of the First Past the Post, the same party would win every constituency. There would be no other parliamentary representation. You would a One Party State. With PR, a party which consistently polled 20% and never won any constituency with FPTP, should expect to occupy about 20% of the seats in Parliament.
  5. I think that the most insidious thing about politics in Britain at the moment is the dominance of the professional politician. Cameron, Osborne , Milliband, Balls and Clegg have all emerged from roles as "special advisors" (Cameron did leave politics to work as head spin doctor for Carlton for a few years). They are all a similar age. Apart from their party labels they come from the same identikit box. Cameron's sole qualification for being leader of the Conservative Party is that his name is not Clarke. Following the Scottish referendum, Cameron could have called a constitutional convention. The British constitution is over 200 years old, is not codified and is clearly in need of overhaul. The referendum managed to stimulate all kind of discussion about  constitutional affairs in Scotland, England, the English regions, Wales, Westminster and the Union. Cameron has, in effect, ignored all of these and has concentrated on party management. Heaven knows what his political legacy will be. I suppose he is most concerned about the Tory rump who despise him. So. We are coming up to a general election. At present it looks as though it may result in a minority government - and this from a "first past the post" electoral system. (The British electorate did have the opportunity to have a proportional representational system four years ago. They gave scarcely more attention than they did police commissioners!)  It is possible that the significant minor party will be the SNP. If I have any hope it is that UKIP is humiliated. Yours, depressed.
  6. Thank you, Gardian. I shall be using Condor, whose website, if I recall correctly, merely states that there is parking. I wondered if any members of the forum who know/use St Malo had any specific information or advice.  
  7. [quote user="Mrs Trellis"]I thought the tontine meant the survivor owns the whole property? Surely they'd have 50% even without a tontine? (Unless there are more than 2 children I suppose.)[/quote] You think correctly. Effectively, determination of ownership happens on the death of one of the partners to the tontine (if there are two of them). When my wife died, we had bought our French house en tontine, it became solely mine. My children - at no time - were involved or considered. Tontine is effectively the same as joint tenancy in English Law. In order to retain ownership of your part of the property you buy as tenants in common.
  8. [quote user="Théière"][quote user="Clark Kent II"] I suppose also that there is the bureaucratic belief that if people who are granted limited periods of stay in the UK know that their departure will be monitored it may make them less inclined to stay. [/quote] It is a bit nicer than driving around with a lorry and saying go home but if they don't want to go home you still have to find them and I am just guessing here but they won't be at the address they registered at? [/quote] Like I said "bureaucratic belief".  Like that rather stupid expression beloved of politicians and officials:    ... it sends a message ... If nobody's bothering to listen it does not!
  9. I understand that one of the problems HMG has is that it does not know whether people who have been granted limited stay in the UK have actually left or not. I suppose also that there is the bureaucratic belief that if people who are granted limited periods of stay in the UK know that their departure will be monitored it may make them less inclined to stay.
  10. In August, during my summer residence in France, I shall have to visit Jersey for a few days. My plan is to drive to St Malo and then to travel as a foot passenger on the Condor ferry. Can anyone tell me if there is any appropriate parking at or near the ferry terminal in St Malo? I don't want to have the expense of taking the car on the ferry.
  11. Evolution is a process without any specific direction. There may be many changes but the ones best suited to cope with changes in the environment will thrive. I blame it on mobile phones!
  12. I think that English may have evolved during the four years since the previous post on this topic.
  13. Something else about the Canal du Midi .... I am really surprised that this did not crop up in the programme. The flight of locks - which Timothy West so spectacularly misnavigated - was constructed by a labour force of women.
  14. The canal doesn't cross the Montagne Noire, but follows the valley to the south of them. The highest point is at Naurouze, 190 meters up and all of the locks both ways from there go down! What was a very large lake at Naurouze was fed from the Bassin St Ferriol, 15 or so miles away and was built by Pierre-Paul Riquet with his own money to prove that it could be done. There is a very good museum there and the walk around the lake is a lovely one. Yes, you are right - it does not cross the Montagne Noire - I was just being economical with words.  [:P] It is instructive to stand at the foot of the memorial to Riquet and look to the hills in the distance to see how far the water has come. Riquet's act of genius was to take water from the wrong side of the watershed on the Montagne Noire and culvert it into the Bassin St Ferriol and then to feed the canal at its summit. Providing water for a canal was the problem that had defeated the Romans and Leonardo da Vinci. I feel that by focussing on the Malpas tunnel, the programme was ignoring the real feat of genius. I suspect the tunnel is more immediately interesting than a distant view of hills! I did hear that there is a long term plan to replace the plane trees, which had originally come from Spain, with London plane trees, which are resistant to the infection.  
  15. I watched the programme last night about Timothy West and Punella Scales on Channel 4 last night. I ended up being disappointed and feeling vaguely cheated. The programme was really about the Wests rather than the Canal. Clearly, Prunella's Alzheimer's is an important factor in their lives, and the ways in which they deal with the problems this brings are interesting. When they did consider the Canal and Riquet's great role in its construction, they just looked at the obvious, touristic, visual aspects. The great achievement was not the digging of the Malpas tunnel but getting water to the watershed. Leonardo thought it impossible, but Riquet succeeded. The importance of the Canal is not that it passes Carcassonne and Beziers but that it crosses the Montagne Noire creating a connection between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Or have I missed the point?
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