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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

When absolutely not means coming soon

This Guardian headline is terrifying, coming, as it most definitely does, under the “never believe it until it is officially denied” heading:

UK ‘will not bail out EU pensions crisis’.

This denial, on the other hand, might be quite good news:

Mr Brown insisted: “There is no intention of having a European health care system that replaces national health care systems.

My understanding is that, healthwise, they do things rather better on the Continent than we do here, so the fact that we absolutely, definitely, I deny that completely, no truth in that notion whatsoever, are not repeat not going to have a European health system here in Britain, i.e. we very possibly are going to have such a system, is quite cheering. (See the comment 4 on this posting if you doubt the ghastliness of Britain’s current arrangements.)

And then there is this:

He reiterated the government’s determination to resist any moves towards EU tax harmonisation. “Tax competition makes for a more efficient single market,” he stressed.

Things like this are never said until the contrary claim is presented in the form of a question. And that contrary claim is at least as likely to be true as any denial of it.

The EUro-ratchet effect means that it only needs one British politician to relax on any particular issue, usually as part of an attempt to hold back the inevitable on some other front, for the deal to be done.

5 comments to When absolutely not means coming soon

  • Does the government mean UK ‘will not bail out EU pensions crisis’ in the same way they meant that there will not be referendum on the EU constitution?
    I for one am a non-believer.

    By the way, Mr Blair couldn’t even bring himself to say the word “referendum” in his speech today. Exactly the level of maturity needed in an official of his rank.

  • Regardless of one’s opinion of the “Stato Italiano”, I can confirm that the (state) hospital at Viareggio on the Tuscan coast about 25 miles from here matches the quality of my beloved private healthcare system in England. Arriving late afternoon the other day to check out the birthing facilities we were welcomed by the smell of dough being freshly prepared at the hospital pizzeria. The hospital, btw, is the spitting image of Stansted Airport (or the newish airport at Denver, CO). Not bad. Not bad at all.

  • Now I see why The Guardian is so easy to mock. They call the shots before they happen. That’s not even news. That’s what fortune-tellers do to make spare change at a carnival.

    I cannot believe the severity of the healthcare system in Britain. Until I read about it, I thought Americans had a bad track record. These accounts make it look relatively advanced. I sincerely hope that the situation there is improved.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    Absolutley right. Back when Sterling was being devalued periodically, the one sure time to get short was when the government said they’d never devalue…no truth in the rumour…broad support for the Pound…etc.

  • Lee Moore

    I’m puzzled by Mr Brown’s reference to his determination to resist EU tax harmonisation. Would this be the same Mr Brown that has devoted a very large chunk of this year’s Finance Bill to insisting that UK companies deal with each other at “arms length” prices ? Not because he thinks it will raise any money, nor because he doubts that it will generate an administrative burden remarkable by even Mr Brown’s standards, but solely because he has been advised that it is illegal under EU law to have such a rule for cross border transactions (where it makes sense) and not have one for domestic transactions (where it doesn’t.) The UK’s tax “veto” is a complete myth. Whatever pieces of paper Tony brings back from Brussels in an attempt to fool Perry are completely irrelevant. Because it is the European Court which decides what they mean.