Article 50

Article 50

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

*Article 218(3)**

3. The Commission, or the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy where the agreement envisaged relates exclusively or principally to the common foreign and security policy, shall submit recommendations to the Council, which shall adopt a decision authorising the opening of negotiations and, depending on the subject of the agreement envisaged, nominating the Union negotiator or the head of the Union's negotiating team.

*Article 238(3)(b)**

(b) By way of derogation from point (a), when the Council does not act on a proposal from the Commission or from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the qualified majority shall be defined as at least 72% of the members of the Council representing Member States comprising at least 65% of the population of these States.

Article 49

Any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the Union. The European Parliament and national Parliaments shall be notified of this application. The applicant State shall address its application to the Council, which shall act unanimously after consulting the Commission and after receiving the assent of the European Parliament, which shall act by an absolute majority of its component members. The conditions of admission and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the Union is founded, which such admission entails, shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State. This agreement shall be submitted for ratification by all the contracting States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. The conditions of eligibility agreed upon by the European Council shall be taken into account.

Article 2

The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.

That's it.

Look, this isn't complex. Anyone who's been to school and can read, anyone who's ever read a novel with more than 27 total characters, can take time to gain understanding.

And this is why I'm scared. From childhood I've been a voracious reader, though parenthood broke my streak. Yet I know people who are, if not proud, content to say they've never read a book since leaving school. Heck though I'm writing a book right now! Yet they too turned out ok, right? Apart from that blind faith the same politicians who are screwing them over can guide them to the future prosperity.

I've trotted out this before: if we had the ability to beat the world in making widgets and gadgets and stuff, we'd be doing it already; the European Union has, as far as I know, never stopped us innovating. Thatcher-era Conservatives did that without any external influences! But anyway, this road I'm travelling down leads me to all kinds of thoughts, epiphanies. Here's one.

It's all about imagination.

Without imagination, the daily paper's articles are statements of fact. Without an inquiring mind, the politician's repetitive soundbite directed against the common man becomes a thing to be savoured, the mere listening bring a sense of involvement. Without a thing to contrast against, those 'facts' become facts.

The imagination I'm thinking of isn't content to believe only a rosy future awaits. It weighs probabilities, examines history, and extrapolates. If the result looks bad it doesn't hide under a rock, it attempts to find solutions.

Now I'm a big fan of Star Trek, though even I cannot make the leap to a wholly utopian future United Kingdom, let alone a whole Earth. I'm not saying the current incarnation of the European Union is a precursor to a future without want, but it's a start.

I fully expect the Conservatives to be confirmed as the righteous guardians of Brexit in a few weeks. So I'm again voting Liberal Democrat.


There's no easy way to say this. I've been neglecting my blog, I've hardly looked at the four social networks I've got accounts with. Heck, I even missed posting in the weekly WednesdayChallenge.

I'm obsessed by something I've never done before, something a number of people have done historically, and experienced the darkest times of their lives.

Yes, I'm writing a book.

Not a book, no. It's a novella. Well ok, I don't know. Novellas are probably longer than 7,500 words, where novels have more than 17,500 words. It depends who's setting the rules.

In this case, me! Right now I've broken off, at 4,710, to compose this blog post.

Science fiction isn't everybody's cup of tea, so I'm not hoping for fame and fortune.

You know how everyone's supposed to have a niche set aside for their fifteen minutes of fame, and everyone has a novel inside them? Well, if anyone were to read mine, I would appreciate it if they ensured mine remained outside my personal comfort zone.

Yeah, I'll post a link when the plot is fleshed out a bit more. For now though, there's this:


NSFW. Perhaps.

On Sunday evening, late on Sunday evening I took my youngest daughter to the town's Urgent Care Centre, to help with the onset of a sudden and particularly painful ear infection. We were there for just about 2-3/4 hours, came away with advice and antibiotics.

A few minutes after we got there a young lady and her daughter plonked themselves down in the middle of the room, mother with a phone glued to her ear. Not literally, that'd be a bit odd. Maybe not in a hospital at 10:45pm though?

Anyway, while in the waiting room the phone was in use continuously for 2 hours. Not sporadically no, she was chatting all the time.

But I still haven't got to the point.

She has a husband. In the early hours of the morning the conversation changed from idle chat (I couldn't help but hear) to something more 'adult.' You know, the sort of stuff of the bedroom. No, not 'Stop taking the covers you…' or a long and heated conversation on snoring. No. Emphatically no. But heated? Yes, oh yes, yes, yes, etc.

Telling hubby what she would do to him when she got home, what she wanted him to do to her. Exceedingly graphic. So I attempted to hide, to bury myself in my tiny phone screen. To ignore the waves of words as best I could.

Not good enough. Not by a long way.

Especially when the conversation reached a certain peak and she said she'd have to go to the toilet to…

No. Just no.

Yeah, I did indeed delete some words. Naughty words. Well, naughty words used in a certain context.

Daily Mail

As with the Sun I'm not clicking links to Daily Mail articles. Yet the headlines look so 'juicy!'

Bands seen live

There's a list, varying with each person, going round social media at the moment. It challenges friends, readers, to pick a lie from a list of 10 bands supposedly seen live by the poster.

Here's mine, though live music's never been my 'thing' for a lot of reasons:

  • The Cheeky Girls
  • The Mitchell Brothers
  • Bob Geldof
  • Deacon Blue
  • The Prodigy
  • Buck's Fizz (tribute)
  • Girls Aloud
  • 50 Cent
  • Speedway
  • er… I can only think of nine.

So there you go, consider yourself challenged to find the lie!

300 posts?

As someone who uses a blog to write to work through issues I must appear to the world to be a seething mess of discontentment, finding Schadenfreude in the news, no solace from the issues confronting our world.

Checking through the nearly-300 posts at the GitHub Pages repository, some of which I've deemed unsuitable to resurrect at 10Centuries (actually uninteresting even to me!), I found a couple where I profess to be not a blogger.

I very rarely check my post view/feed access count page, have never thought of monetising it all (for reasons anyone who's ever read my stuff will know) so why do I write? To get things off my chest in the hopes of achieving a catharsis, inner peace…

Nearly 300 posts, probably a few more if counting the WordPress precursor, predecessor, whatever the word is…


I should compile a 'best of' list, as ageing rock stars do.

80s bands again

A headline: "Seven bands from the 80s we wish would reunite" (BBC Entertainment & Arts)

A paragraph: "Children of the 1980s, rejoice - the original Bananarama line-up is back together at last. Which got us thinking - lots of 80s bands have reformed over recent years but which ones are we still wishing would reunite?"

A suggestion: Talking Heads. (Note the article date before exploding.)

I can but hope.

NOW is the time for a protest vote

I know several people who voted for the first time last June, in the Brexit referendum, their intention being to send a message they'd had enough. Enough of what I found it difficult to pin down both then and now; not one of them will admit to racist tendencies, well aside from the pensioner my wife encountered outside the polling station: 'Finally, a chance to get rid of the darkies,' she said. My wife said nothing. What a wasted opportunity, on any level.

A conventional protest vote has a target, and last year's was no exception. A conventional election though has an opportunity to change the effects the next time around, by ousting the subsequently-unpopular people who raised the subsequently-unpopular policies. In any event the 2 terms of each government repeats, in general, 2 terms later. But nothing changes apart from the cuts and the discontentment.

The upcoming General Election provides the best opportunity to change UK politics and thus the direction the country takes for the better, for the long term. Conventional wisdom and the tactical voting spreadsheet doing the rounds online dictate that a Labour vote in all-but secure Liberal Democrat areas is the only way to rid ourselves of the troublesome Tories.


Voting Liberal Democrat across the board would elect Liberal Democrats who would implement Liberal Democrat policies. It really is that simple. Why is this concept so opposite from ingrained, monotonous behaviour?

The party's devastating loss of face after the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition was a predictable consequence of the larger party's ability to dictate terms, to insist on, for instance, the humiliating climb-down on increasing student tuition fees. Ask people to name one issue that would preclude voting for each party and this would be the most popular in the casual observers' response to the LibDems. Given the choice between, for example, raising the minimum tax threshold with the benefit of taking the nation's lowest-paid entirely out of tax, or raising those university fees, the choice was plain. I can't begin to feel the sense of loss most Liberal Democrat politicians must have felt; the inability to explain why the choice had to be made. Appeasement.

So what do the Liberal Democrats actually represent, whose lives will be made better were they to be elected?

The easy bit first, making lives better: how's about me, how's about my family, everyone I know? It's a party that aims to not intrude into people's lives or business decisions, and to encourage freedom and tolerance. Not in the manner of the Conservatives' 'Big Society' project (removing funding and support), not by any means.

The hard differentiating bit, the biggest in-the-news-today bit: Brexit. In common with the other smaller parties not called UKIP they're opposed to disturbing the common notion that to derail Brexit would subvert the whole Democratic (big D for definition) process.

People who voted for Brexit don't, in the main, realise that shouting down those who 'lost', calling them 'losers' and demanding they stop moaning is not democracy in action, it's paving the way towards a bleak future. It's a future in which everyone agrees there'll be disadvantage for some in the UK. As long as it's not themselves, but the reality is nobody knows how this'll all play out.

This brings me on to an interesting point. Interesting to me, so I'm writing about it. Someone I've know for a long time, who won't tell me how they voted last June, has definite ideas on how Brexit will play out. It involves showing our current partners that we can indeed be great again, have lots of things that we can sell that the rest of the non-European world wants, we don't need Europe at all, and finally that we should cut our ties just to see the looks on their faces. Really, that's it. The futility of discussing it at all is evident in 2 areas:

  1. As a 'loser' any argument I make is automatically diminished, even dismissed, simply because I lost. Unless we're discussing Turkey's 51%/49% vote margin, to turn their premier into a de-facto dictator for maybe the next 12 years. That's not democracy is it!
  2. Any point I raise in response to a politician's obvious lie or inability to effectively communicate is deemed "just your opinion." Yeah.

I can imagine what it'll be like when the to-be-elected politicians decide to impose more cuts, real austerity measures; the inevitable tax rises and service cuts won't be popular. But I'm rambling again…

The Liberal Democrats are, to me, the obvious choice. Everyone who votes Liberal Democrat is making a choice to move away from the bit of the status quo we have direct control over: a move away from the Conservative Party, a move away from the once Conservative-lite now ostensibly Marxist-lite but still Parliamentary Conservative-lite Labour Party.

So go on then, why, specifically the LibDems?

I read the document linked to in one of my previous blog posts, the document itself is the Preamble to the Liberal Democrat Constitution. My blog post, though almost inconsequential, at least provides some sense of my interest. The document is not, you will note, a Manifesto. I'm not linking to that. Why? Rhetorical question: When was the last time all of a Manifesto's promises were implemented?

How long have we got to restore sanity to the UK? 6/7 weeks.

Four Roses review part 6

Drunk neat after Nice'n'Spicy NikNaks, it's indescribable.

Also, Ruby dog is no longer fazed by me swinging my bits about, barely-contained within a dark grey dressing gown, whilst shouting "sniff my cheeeese!"

To be concluded…

Birthday customs

I had a birthday recently. Nothing special, aside from to those colleagues who remembered my 'special day' and who didn't receive the cakes and biscuits it's customary to provide.

So, a few weeks on, and after occasional good-natured banter designed to motivate me, I finally left a few packs of cakes and a box of biscuits in the office kitchen. Well-received it all was too.

Speaking of late birthday surprises, Theresa May called a UK General Election for June 8th 2017..

Yeah, of course I fear the worst.