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Bank of England Accidentally E-mails Top-Secret "Brexit" Plan To the Guardian 396

schwit1 writes: The first rule of "Project Bookend" is that you don't talk about "Project Bookend." In retrospect, maybe the first rule should have been "you don't accidentally e-mail 'Project Bookend' to a news agency," because as the Guardian reports, one of its editors opened his inbox and was surprised to find a message from the BOE's Head of Press Jeremy Harrison outlining the UK financial market equivalent of the Manhattan project. Project Bookend is a secret (or 'was' a secret) initiative undertaken by the BOE to study what the fallout might be from a potential 'Brexit', but if anyone asked what Sir Jon Cunliffe and a few senior staffers were up to, they were instructed to say that they were busy investigating "a broad range of European economic issues." And if you haven't heard the term before, "Brexit" refers to the possibility of Britain leaving the EU -- one of the possible outcomes of an upcoming referendum.
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Bank of England Accidentally E-mails Top-Secret "Brexit" Plan To the Guardian

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  • Whistleblower (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Accidentally" isn't certain here. If I was part of something that was wrong and I wanted it to be known, I would very well "accidentally" leak it too.

    • Overblown (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @04:34AM (#49757461)

      The headline exaggerates, anyway. The e-mail doesn't contain a Top-Secret "Brexit" Plan: merely the top-secret fact that the bank is going to be working on a "Brexit" plan. It's neither a surprise that they're doing this, nor a surprise that they want to keep it secret: the finance ministers of certain other European countries were already offended by the Bank of England having a Grexit plan.

      • Re:Overblown (Score:5, Insightful)

        by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @05:12AM (#49757555)

        exactly. I bet they also had all sorts of contingency plans, and meetings if Scotland voted to leave the UK too.

        The USA has military plans to invade Canada, and the UK. and they keep them updated. it is war game scenarios just in case and it makes for easy test cases for new people to think about.

        • Re:Overblown (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:29AM (#49757709)

          I bet they also had all sorts of contingency plans, and meetings if Scotland voted to leave the UK too.

          They did. In fact, none of this is really a surprise to anyone involved, because this kind of contingency planning is part of the Bank's official responsibilities.

          As far as I can see, the only problem here is the premature release of information that could be politically/diplomatically sensitive via an inappropriate channel and at an awkward time for the government. It doesn't look like this exposed any wrong-doing, and it's not like the other EU leaders our Prime Minister is starting to negotiate with wouldn't have expected it, even if it's not great PR given the delicacy of those negotiations.

          • Re:Overblown (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @09:14AM (#49758269)
            In principle, there could be parts of the plan that require secrecy in order to work. Otherwise, if the market knew a particular move was coming, it would react to it before it happened which could defeat the purpose of various possible moves.
            • Potentially, but the reports I've seen only disclosed the existence of a planning process, not the results, which don't seem to have been determined yet. Everyone who might be affected in the kind of way you described will have known or assumed that the relevant people would be making these kinds of plans anyway, so it seems no real harm has been done here.

          • As far as I can see, the only problem here is the premature release of information that could be politically/diplomatically sensitive via an inappropriate channel and at an awkward time for the government.

            Yeah, it sounds like the bank accidentally emailed the press their secret study as to who would be committing economic suicide if they voted which way, just before the vote.

      • Nooo... a headline that exaggerates? Anyway, the Bank of Greece has Grexit AND/OR Brexit plans, and it's a TOP but surely not SECRET job of any nation's central bank to do it for its nation and/or any other nation (especialy if they share a union)...
      • Re:Overblown (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @08:39AM (#49758115) Homepage

        And yet it's an obvious case for cheap political rhetoric, "What do you mean that's never going to happen? You're sitting there making plans for it right now!" I don't think you should underestimate the explosive power of contingency plans. For example in a supply chain you might have a contingency plan in case your business partners, vendor or distribution network turn shit but nobody's going to like that you have a plan to stab them in the back. And there's always those who willingly or unintentionally confuse planning in case of failure with planning for failure.

        TL;DR: Some things you should just keep your mouth shut about, even if makes sense.

    • Re:Whistleblower (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ironduke-particle ( 134903 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:46AM (#49757769) Homepage

      Yup. Remember the irregular verb:
      I give confidential briefings
      You leak
      He is breach of Section 2a of the Official Secrets Act

  • Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @04:27AM (#49757441) Homepage Journal

    I think UK should leave EU completely. Sooner better.

    P.S. I live in Germany.

    • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iserlohn ( 49556 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @04:42AM (#49757471) Homepage

      If you support a strong EU (which is a necessary counterweight to the aggressiveness of Russia and the instability of the Middle East), then the UK should be in.

      Unless you don't.

      • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @04:45AM (#49757479)

        If the UK was actually more interested in ties with the rest of Europe than its ties with the US, I'd agree. In the current form I'd not expect it to be anything but a spy and tool to stop legislation that goes against the interests of the US.

        • by johanw ( 1001493 )

          Indeed. I'd say some other countries filed some criminal charges against the GCHQ about their spying for the US to give them some more incentive to leave. Some BND officials should have that comming too.

        • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:00AM (#49757645)
          Most rational people recognize Britain should be part of the EU. Unfortunately UKIP spooked the Conservative party and they made a bunch of promises about negotiations and a referendum to leave.

          Leaving would be economic suicide so I expect Cameron will extract some concessions to persuade people to stay in and dodge that bullet. Because if he doesn't it's likely that the UK will leave the EU and Scotland and Northern Ireland would leave the UK. That would be Cameron's legacy and he knows it as much as anyone. It's probably why the Conservatives are already trying to take the bite out of some of the pro-exit talking points by tackling illegal immigration at the moment.

          • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @07:20AM (#49757859)

            Most rational people recognize Britain should be part of the EU.

            Why? I haven't made up my mind yet, but I'm erring on the side of leaving for entirely rational reasons.

            In short, I think the UK and much of continental Europe have different long term goals. The Eurozone nations have opted for a degree of financial integration that the UK doesn't want or need. Obviously that hasn't worked out very well recently, at least for the economically stronger EU nations, so there is little reason for the UK to join in the foreseeable future. I think the wider EU is also heading for a more centralised, federalised system of legislation and broader government, which again the UK does not generally want to join. I suspect that in the long term these two fundamental types of integration will prove to be inseparable, and those who want to be part of the EU will increasingly lose sovereignty over things like taxation, weakening national governments in favour of ever-more-powerful central EU authorities. That's OK if it really is what they want, but I don't think it is what the UK is looking for in its relationship with its European neighbours.

            On the other hand, the UK and many other EU nations are valuable trading partners for each other, so maintaining a liberal trading environment is in everyone's interests. This was what our previous generation actually signed up for by joining the predecessors of the current EU, of course. I think many in the UK also value things like the the European Convention on Human Rights (even if our current administration do not like it) and would be happy to remain a signatory, but that is a different European system, not part of the EU. Similarly I think those from the UK who often travel to Europe or vice versa would see merit in the UK joining the Schengen Area (even though again our current administration are probably strongly against it).

            As things stand, it may be that the best way of everybody getting as close as possible to achieving their own goals is for the UK and EU to separate amicably, and then for the UK to establish alternative agreements for mutual benefit with the EU and/or individual member states in those areas where everyone's interests do align. It would no doubt be painful for everyone in the short term, but this might be a having to break eggs to make omelettes situation.

            • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Insightful)

              by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday May 23, 2015 @08:06AM (#49757985) Homepage Journal

              The Eurozone nations have opted for a degree of financial integration that the UK doesn't want or need. Obviously that hasn't worked out very well recently, at least for the economically stronger EU nations

              There is a saying that goes "share your wealth with us or we will share our poverty with you". The whole point of the EU is that the stronger members bring up the poorer members so that they don't dissolve into financial chaos which tends to have other inconvenient outputs. The UK wanting to leave the EU is just the problem with capitalism writ large: The proponents claim it is good for everyone, but the moment it starts to actually be good for anyone else they do everything they can to change the game so that it's best for them and crap for everyone else again. That, in a nutshell, is the UK leaving the EU.

              • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @08:36AM (#49758099)

                The whole point of the EU is that the stronger members bring up the poorer members so that they don't dissolve into financial chaos which tends to have other inconvenient outputs.

                The trouble with that argument is that it relies on the stronger members having enough economic power to actually do that. It is far from clear that this is currently the case, with the expansion of the EU in recent years to include many far less economically advanced member states, not to mention a few of the longer-standing ones habitually cooking the books. The likes of Germany can't make up for shortfalls across so many of their fellow EU nations indefinitely; it isn't politically viable, and even if it were, it probably isn't economically viable in the long term either.

                • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday May 23, 2015 @10:13AM (#49758561) Homepage Journal

                  The trouble with that argument is that it relies on the stronger members having enough economic power to actually do that. It is far from clear that this is currently the case, with the expansion of the EU in recent years to include many far less economically advanced member states

                  The problem with that argument is that the economic condition enjoyed by the stronger nations is built upon the exploitation of the poorer ones. You don't get to complain about how poorly someone is doing at treading water while you step on their head.

                  • The trouble with that argument is that it relies on the stronger members having enough economic power to actually do that. It is far from clear that this is currently the case, with the expansion of the EU in recent years to include many far less economically advanced member states

                    The problem with that argument is that the economic condition enjoyed by the stronger nations is built upon the exploitation of the poorer ones. You don't get to complain about how poorly someone is doing at treading water while you step on their head.

                    That may be the case with the world in general, but for this case (ie. the EU) it is not the case. Most of the poor economic situations are self inflicted from corruption, poor taxation system or just plain bad government. No one forced Greece to be a corrupt tax avoiding nation and certainly no one was benefiting from what they were doing.

                  • The problem with that argument is that the economic condition enjoyed by the stronger nations is built upon the exploitation of the poorer ones.

                    Odd, because conventional wisdom is that German success was down to 1) good academic and practical education 2) good industrial relations 3) big picture/long term thinking 4) moderate taxation and 5) hard work.

              • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @11:17AM (#49758867)

                There is a saying that goes "share your wealth with us or we will share our poverty with you". The whole point of the EU is that the stronger members bring up the poorer members so that they don't dissolve into financial chaos which tends to have other inconvenient outputs.

                That's actually the problem with the EU. Poverty doesn't go away just because you reduce trade barriers. If it did, NAFTA would've turned Mexico into a shining beacon of democracy. You need political and legal reform to disperse the conditions that are causing the poverty.

                The EU does take some steps towards this - e.g. harmonizing product standards. But for the most part the EU countries are insisting on political independence. That's like trying to hitch up a bunch of horses of different athletic ability to a single wagon under the premise that the faster horses will bring the slower horses up to speed. What really ends up happening is the slower horses end up getting dragged along, and the faster horses end up having to work harder (e.g. Germany and Greece). You need to condition the horses until they're of similar fitness (i.e. political reform until they're of similar economic strength) before you think about hitching them all to the same wagon.

                The U.S. tried what is basically the EU approach in the 1700s when it first won independence from Britain. Mostly because of the bad aftertaste of the overreaching British Monarchy, each state wanted to govern itself [wikipedia.org] as if they were separate countries. That lasted about a decade before it became obvious it wasn't working, and a stronger central government was needed if there was to be a union.

            • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Feral Nerd ( 3929873 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @08:32AM (#49758091)

              Most rational people recognize Britain should be part of the EU.

              Why? I haven't made up my mind yet, but I'm erring on the side of leaving for entirely rational reasons.

              In short, I think the UK and much of continental Europe have different long term goals. The Eurozone nations have opted for a degree of financial integration that the UK doesn't want or need. Obviously that hasn't worked out very well recently, at least for the economically stronger EU nations, so there is little reason for the UK to join in the foreseeable future. I think the wider EU is also heading for a more centralised, federalised system of legislation and broader government, which again the UK does not generally want to join. I suspect that in the long term these two fundamental types of integration will prove to be inseparable, and those who want to be part of the EU will increasingly lose sovereignty over things like taxation, weakening national governments in favour of ever-more-powerful central EU authorities. That's OK if it really is what they want, but I don't think it is what the UK is looking for in its relationship with its European neighbours.

              On the other hand, the UK and many other EU nations are valuable trading partners for each other, so maintaining a liberal trading environment is in everyone's interests. This was what our previous generation actually signed up for by joining the predecessors of the current EU, of course. I think many in the UK also value things like the the European Convention on Human Rights (even if our current administration do not like it) and would be happy to remain a signatory, but that is a different European system, not part of the EU. Similarly I think those from the UK who often travel to Europe or vice versa would see merit in the UK joining the Schengen Area (even though again our current administration are probably strongly against it).

              As things stand, it may be that the best way of everybody getting as close as possible to achieving their own goals is for the UK and EU to separate amicably, and then for the UK to establish alternative agreements for mutual benefit with the EU and/or individual member states in those areas where everyone's interests do align. It would no doubt be painful for everyone in the short term, but this might be a having to break eggs to make omelettes situation.

              Somebody has been attending UKP rallies, "...separate amicably..." that is has to be one of my favourite Nigel Farage quotes. In other words you want the UK to enjoy all the economic advantages of EU membership without any of the burdens and preferably outside the EU? The Americans have a saying: "There is no such thing as free lunch". What motivation would the other EU nations have to give Britain all the economic advantages it used to enjoy once Britain leaves the EU without any of the perceived shortcomings such as political and economic integration? At the very least:

              1) Giving a Britain outside the EU a 'special deal' would be opening the door to every eurosceptic wing nut and velvet fascist in the EU to demand the same special treatment. That would be worse than the Brexit alone since it would effectively be the end of the EU and exactly the effect that the likes of Putin would like to see. Which is also why the Russians support parties like Front National and the Party for Freedom in one way or another. The smart machiavellian thing to do is let Britan Brexit if it really wants to and then give them a rough time.
              2) There are plenty of countries willing to fill the political vacuum that Britain leaves in the EU, first among them being Poland. It is pretty revealing that when the Ukraine crisis hit it was German France and Poland that took centre stage when a decade ago it would have been Britain, France and Germany. If Britan Brexits in some fit of nationalistic intoxication Britain would to a large extent be an overseer in the decision making process that will determine the political and economic future

              • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Mendy ( 468439 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @08:46AM (#49758145)

                3) Since it depends upon the eurozone for at least half of it's exports. The toll barriers resulting from a Brexit would induce British business to move significant portions of their production into the common market area.

                Britain is one of the few countries within the EU that exports more to countries outside it than to ones in it, albeit by a small margin. One of the arguments for leaving is that the regulations required by the EU (which may have protectionist origins) make it harder to compete outside of it with faster growing world economies.

                • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo&world3,net> on Saturday May 23, 2015 @09:53AM (#49758467) Homepage Journal

                  Britain is one of the few countries within the EU that exports more to countries outside it than to ones in it, albeit by a small margin. One of the arguments for leaving is that the regulations required by the EU (which may have protectionist origins) make it harder to compete outside of it with faster growing world economies.

                  It does make it harder to compete, but let's be absolutely clear why. It's things like employee rights, environmental protection rules, anti-monopoly rules, data protection rules and the like. Basically stuff that benefits the citizens but slightly reduces corporate profits.

                  How do you think they will compete with "growing world economies"? By paying you growing world wages, and paying growing world levels of tax.

                  Don't think for a moment any of it will benefit you. It will benefit corporations and the already extremely rich people who own then or have large interests in them.

                • 3) Since it depends upon the eurozone for at least half of it's exports. The toll barriers resulting from a Brexit would induce British business to move significant portions of their production into the common market area.

                  Britain is one of the few countries within the EU that exports more to countries outside it than to ones in it, albeit by a small margin. One of the arguments for leaving is that the regulations required by the EU (which may have protectionist origins) make it harder to compete outside of it with faster growing world economies.

                  It's easy to point out statistics like this. It is tougher to find that a bit less than half of your exports, albeit by a small margin, have alluvasudden become 15-20% more expensive and therefore less competitive. That is a recipe for a nosedive in market share, and market share is much more easily lost than regained. It is considerably more difficult to point out how British businesses who export into the common market are supposed to compete if they keep their production in the UK. The obvious reaction

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            Most rational people recognize Britain should be part of the EU.

            Really? The EU is heading towards political union and a single superstate.

            Most rational people recognise that over the long term Britain is either Britain OR the EU. It can't be both.

            I'm rational, I think strong trading links are excellent and political assimilation is stupid. Fuck the EU.

      • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @04:52AM (#49757499) Homepage Journal

        I want EU to be strong.

        UK is pretty arrogant toward EU and showed so far no desire to integrate fully in long-term.

        Them waving often their veto right (even if they are not part of some negotiations) also doesn't instill much trust.

        I do not see the point in a larger but weaker union.

      • Greece and England actually weaken the EU.
        England was never wholly part of it, Greece just expects money for nothing. And yeah, I live in the EU, in a third no-goodie EU member.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Foreign policy was never the strongest point of the EU. In fact, there's hardly any international issue where the EU really can speak with one voice, without some national leaders acting directly against it. And the EU has nothing to say about military actions at all. So foreign policy, or counterweighting Russia, is really the worst possible reason to support the EU.
      • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @07:09AM (#49757833) Journal
        Many of us who are labelled "europhobic" are actually in favour of a Union, even a strong one. The problem we see in the EU is that it has become a bureaucratic, intransparent, undemocratic monster with a far too wide mandate. And if you look at the people building the EU, that is no accident. Considering what this EU might turn into, I think it would be better to not have it at all.

        What the EU lacks first and foremost is a proper constitution: a simple document that describes what the EU does and doesn't do, who does what, how, and under what conditions, and what the rights are it grants to its citizens and national governments. Since we don't have one, the EU can grow in any direction and in any way its architects desire. And that direction might not be what's best for Europe or its citizens, but for those running the show in Brussels. As Juncker once said: "When it becomes serious, you have to lie". And that is sort of what they did with the thing that is called the European constitution. It's a huge document and you have to be a legal expert to make any sense of it. And that too is by design: when several countries voted against the "constitution", they took out one part (making "An die Freude" the European anthem) and rewrote the rest in impenetrable legalese.

        There are many good reasons for having *a* union. And there are many more for not having *this* one.
        • There are many good reasons for having *a* union. And there are many more for not having *this* one.

          All I can see from your comment is a need to unfuck the constitution, not to just throw up your hands and give up.

          • All? Well, if you have any tips on how to accomplish that, I'm all ears. One of my country's parties sees the same issues but they want to try and fix things from within (i.e. working within the existing European political framework). Personally I fear it may be too late for that: the positions that reformers can be elected for are all but powerless, and the people currently running the show will ensure that real reformers will never be appointed to a position of influence. It's close to a dictatorship,
        • The problem we see in the EU is that it has become a bureaucratic, intransparent, undemocratic monster with a far too wide mandate.

          Welcome to the machine. America is the same. Remember that we were a Union of States too, and then the Federal Government grew. Eventually the E.U. budget will be larger than all of its member States budgets combined, just like in America.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "a necessary counterweight to the aggressiveness of Russia and the instability of the Middle East"

        Both of which the US agitates and the UK supports.
        No, the EU is better off without the UK.
        To think otherwise shows how deep your head is buried in the sand.

    • Isn't Germany the only other country along with the UK that can hold up the economy of the EU? Will that burden be left fully on their(your?) shoulders be wise?

      If another country needs a bailout, will that responsibility fall completely on germany?

      • Isn't Germany the only other country along with the UK that can hold up the economy of the EU? Will that burden be left fully on their(your?) shoulders be wise?

        I want Germany to grow to be able to fill the role.

        It might be at the moment strongest economy in EU, but it doesn't mean it is alone. Which is the whole point of having the EU.

      • The European Central Bank has already declared that they won't let any of their member states go under, which means they are committed to printing as much money as needed. In the end, it's not like they are transferring wealth to the bailout country anyway (that already happened when the money was borrowed). Now, they're just paying off the debt to their own banks. In other words, a taxpayer-funded bank bailout.

        • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Informative)

          by bkmoore ( 1910118 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @05:41AM (#49757611)

          The European Central Bank has already declared that they won't let any of their member states go under, which means they are committed to printing as much money as needed....

          Mario Draghi said, "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough."

          Financing a member state via printing money does not exist within the ECB's mandate. So the ECB cannot legally do what you say they are doing. Greece is financing itself via ELA Emergency Liquidity Assistance, where Greek banks loan the Greek government money that cannot be repaid, then the ELA rescues the Greek banks from the bad loans. This type of back-door financing is not sustainable and will eventuall collapse under its own weight. OTOH, the ECB also lacks the mandate to kick a member state out of the common currency when they are unwilling and unable to meet the conditions for membership. Only the political leadership of the member states have the authority to either change the ECB's mandate, or to kick a member state out. How this will turn out is anybody's guess.

          • How this will turn out is anybody's guess.

            Not really. I hear bookies are giving odds of 1/25 on "badly".

            The trouble is, the Eurozone hasn't actually solved the underlying problems that caused or amplified most of the troubles in recent years. There is still wide disparity between the economic strengths of different EU member states, including those within the Eurozone. They still share a common currency but control their own taxation, government spending, and trade relations with partners outside the EU.

            Measures like quantitative easing (as we seem

      • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:4, Insightful)

        by johanw ( 1001493 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @05:08AM (#49757551)

        The economy of the UK isn't that strong. And they don't support that much anyway, they negotioated special tarifs for them in the past under the threat of leaving. Now they will try that again, but I think it won't work anymore. The others will simply say "you want to leave? Fine, then leave".

        After all, we're not the American Empire that declares war on parts that want to leave and then calls it a civil war.

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          "The economy of the UK isn't that strong."

          Compared to what? We've got the 2nd largest european economy after germany (we overtook france recently) and one of the highest employment rates in europe, so I'd be interested to hear what your definition of "strong" is.

          The EU is nothing but a bunch of 2nd & 3rd rate countries sucking off the teet of germany and in the end when germany finally can't afford it any more its all going to end in tears. The sooner we (the UK) get out of this farcical club run by une

        • After all, we're not the American Empire that declares war on parts that want to leave and then calls it a civil war.

          I haven't seen a Jew run like that since Poland, 1939!

    • Hear hear.
      Personally, I think EU should consist of France, Germany, Benelux, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and maybe, just maybe, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. That's it.

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        You can add Poland as well, they aren't too bad. They actually work!

        • by johanw ( 1001493 )

          Poland tries to drag us into a new cold war with Russia together with the US and the fascist Kiev coup junta.No thanks, let the poles first grow up and get over their grudges.

          • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

            Poland tries to drag us into a new cold war with Russia together with the US and the fascist Kiev coup junta.No thanks, let the poles first grow up and get over their grudges.

            Hi Vladimir! Protip: wear a shirt, you're not in your 20s anymore.

          • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

            Poland has reason for those grudges. They got raped time and again by the bear and that kind of horror doesn't go away quick. The fact that Putin is grinding up the Ukraine makes it seem likely that a country whose asshole still hasn't healed from the last fucking the Russians gave them would get more than a little nervous. Hard to blame them.

            • Poland is what they call an "asshole victim". Right after WW1 they've invaded soviet Russia and annexed half of Ukraine and Belarus, including both their capitals. And in 1938 they have helped Hitler with carving up Czechoslovakia.

              The grudge between Poland and Russia is very much mutual - if you read up some history you will see that Poland and Russia fought quite a lot of wars and more often than not Poland started them.

              • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

                I know they've bad history. I speak more to the occupation from the end of WWII until the Cold War's end. Those decades are reason enough for Poland to fear events in Ukraine. They'd be foolish not to.

        • No thanks to Poland. Not after their anti-EU rhetoric, religious craziness, CIA torture prisons and so on.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I also live in germany it is not this simple.

      What the UK needs to do is finally figure out if they want to be some sort of US overea-territory - or if they actually belong to Europe. What the political leadership is doing right now is "a bit of both, none really". I think the political UK has not understood they are not "The Empire" anymore and that the political landscape in central Europa has changed a very lot when compared to 100 or even just 50 years ago.
      Gemany, France, Poland, parts of Scandinavia, Ea

      • Airstrip One.

        The previous Tory leader - can't remember his name just now but he was a minister in the coalition government - absolutely loathed the EU to the extent that he apparently asked the Dubya administration if there was some way of joining the Mexico-US-Canada trading block. No.

      • I also live in germany it is not this simple.

        I agree with you. It is just that I have made up my mind already.

        [...] but the UK is the only big player who pretends all this was not happening or actually the future.

        UK is an island nation. Geographical isolation leads to a strong culture of isolation, where it is always us, the island, versus the world. IMO, UK doesn't pretend. They simply can't grasp that it is not just some monotone news on the TV. They simply can't grasp that they are part of it - because it happens outside the island.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      Start with kicking out Greece. It's a money pit.

      The Brits do was they please, it won't change much if they are in or out.

      The EU itself has grown to a colossus of well-paid politicians striving for more power than they can get in their home countries.

      • Re:Yes to Brexit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @05:06AM (#49757541) Homepage Journal

        Start with kicking out Greece. It's a money pit.

        I also favor Greece exit.

        It is very similar situation as with UK politically: EU is constantly used as a scapegoat to justify the crap they do internally. A point of time comes when population is simply way too alienated toward the EU.

        IMO, Greece is long beyond the point and UK is just tipping over. Reading the UK newspapers, the amount of arrogant BS about EU is astounding. (I follow politics reluctantly, but even I know enough about EU organization to call BS literally 100% of what people say about EU in UK.) They are definitely on their way out of EU. It is not the question of "if" - it is the question of "when".

        The EU itself has grown to a colossus of well-paid politicians striving for more power than they can get in their home countries.

        That is inevitable. (Compare to Amis complaining about the Feds.)

        But that's the price of making out of many different pieces something bigger and hopefully better.

        So far, personally, I hadn't experienced anything EU did to affect negatively my life. That while there are some positives (like for example cheaper imports) which affect my daily positively.

        • by ale3ns ( 453301 )

          I'm Greek and I also favor a Greek Exit. There's no point in being in this farse of an economic union. The only country that seems to benefit is Germany. We should just default and let the ECB and the other EU Nations absorb the debt we have incurred over the years, in order to save the EU banking system. It looks like Germany believes this won't be a problem for the EU these days, like Italy, Spain or Portugal being up next, I highly doubt that, but to be honest I really don't care.

          The Brits are looking pr

      • Start with kicking out Greece. It's a money pit.

        None can "kick out Greece" (one of the oldest partner)... neither from the European Union (E.U.), nor EUROzone (which is where the current problems exist - and since Greece currently has a surplus on the state's badget...) - i am not writing this with a "nationalistic mood" (i am Greek), but our other partners in the EUROzone try to avoid the scenario that has Greece leaving EUROzone (but staying in the E.U. since they are different kind of unions) and returning to our national currency (i don't want that t

    • by pr0nbot ( 313417 )

      The EU referendum is a proxy for a vote on immigration. If limits could be placed on the right to live anywhere in Europe, people would be completely fine with the EU and would likely be swayed by arguments like the need for unity in the face of neighbouring dictators, free trade, energy policy, climate etc. There are other issues with the EU, around sovereignty, democratic deficit, two-speed Europe, etc, but I don't think the average person really cares about those, they're too abstract.

      In principle I thin

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The EU referendum is a proxy for a vote on immigration.

        True, it's about time we kicked all these foreign buggers out...
        Personally, I favour starting with the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and their descendants,
        a Pictish friend wants those pesky Celts thrown out,
        another mutters darkly about the need to round up those damn Beaker People and their descendants and send them back to where they came from...
        (Don't even get the Neanderthal* family living 10 minutes walk from me started about those bloody Cro-Magnons who've moved into these sceptered isles...)

        *I'm not kidding.

  • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @04:35AM (#49757465) Journal
    So there's an upcoming referendum on leaving the EU... do we expect their government to not be investigating the implications of that? It would be grossly incompetent for them not to investigate what would happen, if there's any chance that it will.

    So, what's supposed to be the news here? Is leaving the EU something that was not considered within the realm of possibility, but this leak demonstrates the seriousness of it? I don't follow UK/EU internal politics. (Except for Jeremy Clarkson... freedom to fracas! Reinstate Jeremy!)
    • by Barny ( 103770 )

      Except this has nothing to do with the government (except of course for the outcome of the referendum). This is basically the bank internally speculating in regards to what would happen and what they would need to do to keep afloat in a very turbulent section of the world (should Brexit happen, that is).

      The linked article makes no use whatsoever of the phrase "Top-Secret". It is a secret of the bank's, sure, but Top-Secret refers to official government secrets.

      Basically, Slashdot's getting into the click-ba

    • by Shimbo ( 100005 )

      There isn't really much news here. The Bank of England is somewhat independent of government, so it gets to offer an expert opinon on some possible scenarios. However, it needs to keep some appearance of impartiality, so it will make it in confidence.

      If its advice were "Holy shit, you really don't want to do this", that would be a story.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @04:48AM (#49757485)

    I can only wonder how incredible the timing of those "leaks" always happens to be. Just not that the big discussion is brewing on whether the UK should retain its "Brit-rebate" and other undue privileges, we get to hear that the sky is falling over Europe should they dare to withdraw.

    Timely blunders indeed.

  • by khchung ( 462899 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @05:57AM (#49757637) Journal

    Project Bookend is a secret (or 'was' a secret) initiative undertaken by the BOE to study what the fallout might be from a potential 'Brexit'

    Good, so BOE management is doing their job, making plans for different scenarios that might happen. With the current situation in Europe, some countries might exit EU is not a very far-fetched scenario.

    Calling this the "equivalent of the Manhattan project" is a major journalist FAIL here. The Manhattan Project is to build the bomb, not to study the fallout that might come from one. If the Project Bookend is a plan to make it happen, then the comparison might make some sense.

    Yeah, I know, we can't expect much from journalists writing click-bait articles, but it should be called out nonetheless.

  • The "story" is merely a leaked email that the project exists.

    There is no information about what its remit is (past looking at the consequences of a BRexit). There is no information about the project's findings - as there haven't been any and there is nothing about what recommendations or actions would / could / should be taken.

    In the end this is just a piece of sensationalism and I greatly resent the author of this /. piece hyping it up far beyond any factual basis.

  • As a Finn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @07:14AM (#49757843) Journal

    I am very much in support of Britain leaving the EU. Later, if and when Scotland gains independence, I would be happy to see them join. But britain, with their retrograde social policies like expensive higher education, weakening unions etc. should stay the fuck away from the Western world.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      It isn't Britain without Scotland.

      • No, but it was Britain that voted for the retrograde policies. If you recall the vote was only won because the Scottish Labour MPs decided they thought it'd be jolly nice to vote to make the English pay fees.

        Without Scotland there'd be no university fees in England.

        Had the MPs had a shred of decency and stayed out, the vote would have been lost comfortably.

  • Of COURSE they're studying the consequences of a potential Brexit; believe me, the fact that there will likely be a referendum on it means the chance is greater than zero and thus EVERY responsible financial entity is doing the same.
    And chattering that they are who they are, it would be almost criminally negligent if they weren't studying it closely.

    In the same sense the U.S. army had http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki... [wikipedia.org], because unless they're busy with an active war (and even then), their job as a government

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