Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Stronger IN

So the moment of truth has finally arrived and I have decided to vote REMAIN. Here is why.

First and almost last is simply because the UK cannot go it alone. It doesn't mean the country will break down or fall apart (though with Scotland that too could happen) but simply that the UK that emerges after exit is complete will not be the same country it is now. It will not be as strong economically, financially, culturally and in so many other areas where we make a difference in the world by what is known as soft power.

In today's world it is the very largest countries and trading blocks that matter. In a world of the USA, China and the EU (without us) the UK stands not a chance. It may be the 5th largest economy in the world but that is precisely because it is a member of the EU and the rest of the world can buy its products and services and deal with it under the EU framework.

I could go on to quote economists, scientists, politicians and business leaders the world over who've been popping up in droves but there is hardly a need. If there is a choice between joining neighbouring countries in trying together to improve all our lives and make the world a better place or standing aside and withdraw into ourselves the answer, to me at least, is self-evident.

But we want our country back, say the Brexiters. The sovereignty of this country is being lost to Brussels, they complain. We are a plucky little country and we can go it alone. It was our finest moment in the 1941 and we can do it again.

But for the sake of what? For the right to decide our light bulbs, the suction of our vacuum cleaners and the speed of a cupa? Is that what was at stake in World War II and for which we fought? And who is to guarantee that it won't happen anyway if they become international standards (in which we have little say) or if it is introduced by a future Labour, or indeed, Conservative government? There are far more important things at stake than the regulations which exist in every country to some degree and much of which will have to be reinvented if Brexit was to win.

But, they say, Norway and Switzerland manage so why can't we? Well, there is a simple answer. Norway has a population of 5m and Switzerland 8m whereas Britain has 64m people. So what are we comparing here? Britain has a permanent seat on the Security Council, is a member of the G7, a nuclear power and her language is the international lingua franca. We may not lose all this overnight but our influence will wane and are we to risk giving it up for the sake of turning ourselves into Zurich gnomes? Zurich and Oslo may be pleasant enough places but only London is one of the greatest metropolis in the world for tourism, art, culture and of course finance. Show anyone outside Britain a map and ask them to point to Norway, Switzerland and the UK and which are they most likely to get right?

It is this soft power as well as the financial muscle which is at stake. Losers quit and quitting in this case can lead to national decline, economic strife and social unrest. And all for the sake of what? We begged Europe in the 1970s to be accepted, we got our way on the Euro, on the social charter and other issues. Even on immigration, just look at the barriers as you enter the tunnel in Calais to see that immigrants from outside the EU cannot come in easily. And as for people from EU countries, let them come.

When I ask Brexiters whether they prefer Poles, Romanians or people from other continents I don't need to tell you what the reply is. We are surrounded by immigrants running convenience stores, cleaning our homes and offices, builders, plumbers, mechanics and the like. If Brits wanted to do these jobs the Europeans wouldn't come. My father and grandparents were once immigrants from Europe and so is most of our community. I like the ease with which I can travel throughout the continent and I am happy to share that comfort with people from neighbouring countries. When the US introduced draconian new visa rules in the aftermath of 9/11 it was the EU that could object whereas Britain on its own would be laughed out of court. Just see how we capitulated to the US on the Iraq war where Britain had full sovereignty.

It is always easier to wage war than to broker peace and peace is rarely perfect. Europe was twice at war in the last century and on each occasion it dragged with it the entire world. If you asked a soldier in the trenches or a passenger on a cattle truck what they thought of a Europe at peace for more than 80 years in return for some powers transferred to a central body in which we all have a say, what would their response have been? Where is the sense in going it alone in a fast changing world where Russia is resurgent, China is belligerent and the USA pivots to Asia. Who will care for a tiny island singing Land of Hope and Glory and harking back to its heyday of empire and literary giants if it refuses to join in with its neighbours in embracing the future?

And as for the supposed benefits of £350m a week, even if we assume it is true it will never reach us. The government is not run from a single cash register from which you draw set amounts. At the end of the cold war we were promised a peace dividend, yet I do not recall a hospital, school or other project which was built because the cold war had come to an end. Government is a vast pit and by digging up one part you do not fill another. The money, whatever it amounts to, is swallowed up somewhere else and in this case much of it will be spent replicating what we already have from Brussels.

So I come to my last point which is the very crude question, is it good for the Jews? While the question can be a legitimate and important one it is also often raised by those who cannot think beyond Jewish interests. Europe has, for better and very much for worse, been a home to Jews for 2000 years and perhaps more. We have seen the best and the worst of Europe though our history in the UK has not always been rosy either.

However, as a project the EU has been at worst Jew-neutral and at best a very positive development. True there have been calls from Europe on Shechitah but then so have there been calls in the UK. There are indeed very nasty and virulently antisemitic political parties in Europe but they have no sway over EU politics or policy. From the UK to the Baltics it is the neo-nazi parties who are bitterly opposed to EU membership. It is tyrants like Putin and dangerous nutters like Trump who hate the EU and look what they’re doing or propose to do to their own countries and to their neighbours.

The EU has the protection of minorities at its heart and from which we as a people benefit. We more than anyone else know the consequences of a divided Europe and we should be happy that Europe with the UK in its midst is a stable, prosperous and vibrant place.

For these reasons I am IN.


  1. Wait until the EU regulate the permitted size of your house extensions and ban your Shtreimelech......

  2. Social chapter opt out was negotiated by Major in Maastricht in 1992 but surrendered by Blair in 1997. The U.K. is currently bound by it.

    Stable, vibrant and prosperous place? In which planet (or continent) do you live? Greece has suffered an even worse depression than the 1930s due to the euro straitjacket. Youth unemployment approaches 50% in most of Southern Europe. Millions of people are on the move through Europe and the EU has proven itself inept and utterly incapable of forming an effective response. Politicians such as Marine le Pen lead the polls precisely because mainstream politicians have had no response to the economic stagnation in Europe. The euro is a blind political error that has perpetuated misery all over Southern Europe. It is the EU elite's dogmatic insistence on further integration in the face of all national adversity and its disdain for the will of the demos that is also fuelling support for extreme politicians who stand up and say enough. This is a bankrupt dysfunctional project that has so far proved unable to reform and adapt in today's fast moving world.

  3. stamford hiller21 June 2016 at 20:55

    Le'maaloh miderech hatevah there has been since WW2 an unprecedented prosperity and, at least in Europe, generally peace. It's not the first time. I don't know how far back you want to go but it is not the first time. E.G. (and there are many other examples) After the Crimean War (roughly 1870)there was a similar boom and prosperity but like the present one it was unsustainable and when, as was inevitable, it ended in 1914 we ended up with the worst half century of all time.
    It is inevitable that this borrowing based and mismanaged situation should last. It is only a question of time, not if but when, it all goes belly up.
    Do you then want to be a member of a club that builds gas chambers, torpedoes civilian liners etc. etc. etc.
    Those who forget history are condemned to re-live it.

  4. stamford hiller21 June 2016 at 20:57

    Le'maaloh miderech hatevah there has been since WW2 an unprecedented prosperity and, at least in Europe, generally peace. It's not the first time. I don't know how far back you want to go but it is not the first time. E.G. (and there are many other examples) After the Crimean War (roughly 1870)there was a similar boom and prosperity but like the present one it was unsustainable and when, as was inevitable, it ended in 1914 we ended up with the worst half century of all time.
    It is inevitable that this borrowing based and mismanaged situation should last. It is only a question of time, not if but when, it all goes belly up.
    Do you then want to be a member of a club that builds gas chambers, torpedoes civilian liners etc. etc. etc.
    Those who forget history are condemned to re-live it.

  5. It is shocking to see the progeny of a survivor endorsing Hitlers vision for the sake of a few perks and financial stability.The Europeans hate us. That is why Europe is good for day trips to mekoimos hakedoishim and nothing more. Yieden are happy to visit Michelstadt in Germany Lizensk in Poland Kerister in Hungary but that's it. Besides for Antwerp and Switzerland there is nothing to look for. Maybe a kosher restaurant in Paris if you are prepared to go without a Kuppel. Make no mistake Europe is covered in Yiddisher Blood the 6 Million were murdered with the assistance of the very European countries you feel 'safer' with. With the United Kingdom as part of the EU the far right will flourish and manifest rabid anti semitism. If we are out the EU will weaken and the Hidden will be safe. By voting in you shoot yourself in the foot. Good Luck with your crazy haskufis your smug words make mockery of the smouldering ashes of Auschwitz.

  6. There is so much to hate about the EU, and its cast of Sepp Blatter like functionaries, who have outlawed the bent banana and the effective vacuum. These morons serve interests rather people. Difficult decisions are left unmade. The Euro is a disaster for an entire continent, but the ideologues of Europe cannot retreat for fear that the whole house of cards will collapse.

    It is precisely because of my frustration with the dysfunction of European politics that I will be voting REMAIN.

    If vote leave wins, the backwards and forwards furtive and public denunciations and negotiations will go on for decades. It will put to shame the august, ongoing, and entirely impotent deliberations of the London Board of Shechita about what to do with the Federation Dayan after the Federation has voted to Leave. It will be a vote for the proud British sausage to leap, boldly and imperiously, out of the frying pan, only to splat down deep into the chulent.

    A vote to leave is a vote to open up a whole new Pandora's Box of procrastination. The barristers will love it. The translators and bureaucrats will do just fine. We will invent methods and means of shuffling paper that the historians of the world will tremble from. The economy will stutter along burdened by the weight of uncertainty, and the UK will be poorer as a result.

    North Korea aside, most nations of the world have to come to some sort of accommodation with their neighbours which inevitably involves cooperation, and a surrender of control. We Taking back control is a chimera, an impossibility, a conceit, a madman's dream, a betrayal of all it means to be human. Even the Greeks, who have suffered (and, previous to that, benefitted) more than most from the dysfunction of Europe, when faced with the choice between EU membership and Going Alone, elected for EU membership.

    Meanwhile I can tell you that the GBP:EUR looks like Tickle's heart rate monitor at a Yesodei Hatorah function as a vote of thanks is being expressed, and the FTSE has taken on a suspicious resemblance the white cliffs of Dover.

    I therefore urge you all to take up your pen and vote REMAIN, in favour of the gloriously muddled and deeply flawed status quo, in the knowledge that all families are Better Together.

  7. Remember that the Jews who were killed in the holocaust had nowhere to go to. The borders were shut.

  8. stamford hiller23 June 2016 at 08:02


    The borders are now more shut to non-members then they were then.
    Remember, the pre-war gedoilim strongly discouraged their followers from leaving.

  9. I can assure you that it is entirely possible to have serious conversations about weighty topics without invoking Hitler, and that the quality of those conversations usually benefits as a result. Neither leave nor remain are advocating the reintroduction of the gas chambers.

  10. Antisemetic EU will abolish shechita and bris milah, and will boycott Israeli goods

  11. stamford hiller23 June 2016 at 11:36

    Of course it is possible to have weighty conversations without invoking Hitler but not when discussing Europe. He, his policies and his allies are so central to European thinking and action (with the honourable exception of England whose last anti-Semitic act was in 1291)for centuries that talking about Europe without mention Hitler is like talking about Judaism with mentioning G-D.

    The quality of any debate is always diminished when one side states that mentioning an argument which might weaken its case is taboo.

    Hitler and his ideals are so central to mainland European history that he (or his ideals) MUST be mentioned.

  12. stamford hiller23 June 2016 at 12:05

    Whilst I freely admit that attacking the person rather than argument he presents (i.e. the witness rather than the evidence) is a manifest sign of the weakness one's own argument I feel that in this case I must make an exception and refer this site's readers to some of The Hat's previous arguments and statements.
    'Nuff said?

    Also a couple of typos in my previous post.
    1) mention Hitler should read mentioning Hitler
    2) with mentioning G-D should (OBVIOUSLY) read without mentioning G-D.

  13. Last time I checked Hitler wasn't an advocate of free trade, open markets, the rule of law, international cooperation, constitutionalism and all the other liberal ideals upon which the EU was founded.

    There may be an argument to be had about the pros and cons of the EU as currently constituted and whether the UK should remain in it but to argue that the EU is Nazism and fascism redux is plainly wrong and misleading. It is succumbing to the very scaremongering which the remain campaign is accused of.

  14. The complete and total absence of antisemitism in the England between the edict of expulsion of 1290 and the agreement made with Cromwell in the late 1650s is entirely explicable by the self same edict. In this respect England was something of a dishonuorable exception.

    Before getting round to being the first country in Europe to expel Jews, the English also invented the blood libel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Norwich) and held one of the first ever pogroms (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Tov_of_Joigny).

    In more recent times, antisemitism was evident in the attitudes of certain senior officers of the British establishment in mandatory Palestine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Barker#Barker.27s_antisemitism) and right through to the late 1980s in certain members of Thatcher's government (http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/87027/thatcher-and-the-jews) as documented in Alan Clark's diaries.

    Yet this country gave birth to Churchill and not to Hitler, for which we are very grateful. Let's not get into competitive victimhood and the grudges of millennia. The European Union and United Kingdom are both places which are safe for the Jews.

  15. the fact is had this referendum taken place in 1946 not a single ashkenazi jew would of voted 'in'. True much has changed since but European Jewry has never recovered and never will. For a few bekitshes from Hungary we have sold our souls to the devil.

  16. stamford hiller23 June 2016 at 22:06

    Well said Anonymous.

    We will fight on the beaches..........We will NEVER surrender.
    If the British....................last for a thousand years men will still say "This was their finest hour".

    What would he say now if he saw for what we are willing to sell our souls. He must be turning in his grave.

  17. My Stamford Hill friend,

    This all a little too much. You quote Churchill's speech made a few days after the British Expeditionary Force fought in solidarity and alongside the French.

    This was the Churchill who first proposed the EU, a "United States of Europe." (http://www.churchill-society-london.org.uk/astonish.html), right? So what would he say? Counterfactuals are always difficult, as doubtless we will be hearing from revanchist defeated Leavers for the next century or so of what happened if they hadn't lost. But I would speculate that a modern day Churchill would greet profound ignorance with a "LOL."

    By voting for the European Union today, we the electorate did not sell our souls. in a difficult and dangerous time, when the temptation was to focus inwards, we reached out of the narrow confines of identity politics to share our souls.

  18. Oops.

    Spoke too soon. The cows have voted for shechita munachas, and the gbp declined 10% in 6 hours.


  19. Nebech Merkel has to sit with all the countries Hitler tried to conquer, The United Kingdom who welcomed 10,000 yiddisher kinderlach 70 years ago and since then has been tolerant towards their thousands of einiklich, comes out the winner. all you poor sods who voted in for your HMO's and Europaisher Samett Hitten. Let me tell you something - there is a world out there further then P&P hall you have no idea that everything we have on our plates comes from the toil of our previous Rabonim - Tzadikim like Dr Schonfeld, Reb Shmelker Pinter, Reb Rabinow, people who saw a neshuma in every yiddisher soul and did'nt judge them on there gatchgkes size. all the previous generation HATED europe THEY NEVER went back there. Only now have we come out the woodwork and do the odd day trip to mekoimois hakedoishim. to all those who wanted in I say FOOLS - to think for a few perks you would team up with the very countries that slaughtered us to bits and to this day have never done anything to welcome us back is a bizoyoin for the kedoishim whose blood soak the lands of the EU. GOOD LUCK

  20. stamford hiller24 June 2016 at 15:22

    Thank you. Well said and all true.
    Erev Shabbos so not much time.

    Those who forget history are condemned to re-live it. Thank Hashem there are a few people like you and me who haven't forgotten.

    BTW you forgot to mention sheitel length and colour and skirt length. Oh! And her driving licence!
    Good Shabbos.

  21. Yes here we go Yimach Shemoi Vzichroi...
    1939 all over again let the Jews in Paris and Antwerp go to the gas chambers because they are one carriage behind us.
    We will then retrospectively blame the prime minister for not flying a 2,000 like sortie to bomb the railway lines where the Nusach sefard or was it ashkenaz daveners are residing.

  22. Mr. Tickle,

    You write some of the best prose in the blogosphere. It is always a pleasure not just because the content is usually hilarious but also because your English is such a pleasure to read. More posts please.


  23. Mr. Tickle. Where are you when your country needs you?
    Why nothing here about the great asifah about saving our precious kids from shmad (Is it the Gestapo or the Inquisition)?
    As you know, many of us do not and cannot have Twitter accounts (If it became known that we do, we'd have the Gestapo after us). We are all waiting for your erudite comments.

  24. Tickle - with reference to your recent retweet of the independent: why would any liberally minded individual begrudge with the rights of other individuals to engage with an impartial judicial system at their own expense?

    Do you think the judges need secular spiritual guidance?

  25. Mr Tickle, are you ok ? Haven't heard anything from you for so long ? All in the community must be perfect now

  26. Mr. Tickle.
    A Good Moed and a good gebensht yohr.
    I whole-heartedly second all that Chaim Feldman says. Living in Stamford Hill I know that not all here is yet quite perfect (cynical krechtz!).
    Come back soon. Your country needs you.

  27. Reading that judgement I cannot help but wince at the judicial overreeach on show. The underlying mentality of imposing a fairly arbitrary compromise of the judge's devising is clear. It grates against the pretentions to objectivity and minute 'findings of fact.' The debate about whether or not the father did or did not wear a kippa, whether his friends were frum or not, whether the park had a kosher eruv, and indeed whether or not he watched tv on Shabbos were all in my view completely inappropriate questions for the court to even consider. They violated the father's human right to be as frum or frie as he sees fit. The only question that the court had a mandate to engage in was the question of the best interests of the children. The judge find that a relatively consistent religious observance was in the interests of the children (a proposition I agree with); and also made the conflicting funding that substantial contract with both parents was in the interests of the children. She should have left it there and weighed up the two competing interests instead of trying to square a circle. The father's lawful life choices are a given; they inform but are not the subject of judgement. Yet here the judge is explicitly setting an expectation threatening the father to be frum.... Or else.

    It was wrong to use these children as political footballs and publish the case. The judge is obviously very proud of her dogs' breakfast of a ruling.

    It's also heartbreaking that the father, newly set adrift in the world, had to represent himself in the initial hearing, and now has to pay costs for some recycled allegations of unfit parenting to be made against him, ostensibly so that the judge feels she is being impartial. It's perhaps part of the reverse misogyny that we hear about in the family courts. I cannot help feeling that if a father breached a court order and harboured such negative attitudes to a mother that the ruling would be different. And indeed the courts also sided with the woman in the JFS case.

    To all the frum people applauding this ruling; it bodes not well. Yes, it is important to have the role of religion in a child's life recognised. But to krich arein in beinem in such fine detail will not end well.

  28. The whole thing confuses me. The greatest of all prohibitions in the shulchan aruch is that of going to secular courts to resolve disputes between jews (CM 26).
    Indeed there several cases of true erliche yidden who have lost out financially because of the UOHC's beth din forbidding them to go to court even when they themselves (for a variety of reasons) could not or would not resolve it.
    If they are really frum why did they go to court?

  29. another stamford hiller24 January 2017 at 11:19

    Stamford hiller
    You are absolutely right in what you say about the Halacha and secular courts. However, you should study the whole siman in Shulchan Aruch. Implicit in that Halacha is that there is a local Beis Din that is ready, willing and able to enforce justice and Halacha in financial matters. I.E. That a heimishe yid in Stamford Hill has recourse to a local Beis Din that he can go to with a claim against anyone, individual, mossad or any other entity, secure in the knowledge that that Beis Din will, without fear or favour, hear, rule and, if necessary, enforce its ruling.
    Is there here such a Beis Din? If there is, where is it? And if not where should an aggrieved party (real or imagined) go to get justice?

  30. The inspection report on Bes Jacob is a complete hatchet job.

    Complaint #1 was a proper jobsworth go at the lack of policies and procedures. Because of course it is the proper job of any public sector worker to fill filing cabinets full of obscure policies and procedures which will never be referred to, and, if they are to be regarded as compliant by OFSTED, parrot word for word existing govenment legislation and standards. There's no formal performance management policy for the headteacher. So the school would be better run if someone ran off a template downloaded from the OFTSED, put an entry into the minutes approving it, and then continued to manage the headteacher in the same way that any sensible person would? The governors haven't had child protection training. OK, but a massive overreaction - there's no evidence that tick box culture protects from child abuse.

    There's the now tired complaint of "lack of discussion about other lifestyles that people may follow in modern Britain." I don't believe many schools offers "explicit" (the inspector's words) discussion of sexual orientation, and I believe that a substantial majority of the population don't want them to. In a well adjusted society a person's sexual habits are rightly a private matter.

    We get idiot comments like "However, the annual written reports to parents do not include information about each pupil’s academic progress, but report only on their attainment and effort." Academic progress *is* attainment.

    The best one is surely this gem. "The behaviour of pupils is good. It is not outstanding because pupils are sometimes too reliant on adults to support and guide their learning". Run that past me again slowly? What has learning style that got to do with behaviour?

    There are some real issues with the school ("pupils receive regular feedback on their work. However, this is sometimes about presentation, rather than academic quality" - rings true) but this was a hatchet job perpetrated by an apparent zealot whose issue was not with the school but with the fundamental incompatibility between his version of "British values" and that of Orthodox Jews.

  31. These 'shomrim' cards are a nightmare. 2 goyim standing outside SHUL giving them out with weird t shirts on. This is terror and against the law. Please everyone if you see them tell them to move on or we will call the police. The cards have disgusting content and are a waste of money. The rabonim are almost encouraging it openley and they Dont realize by so called saving the kids they are damaging thousands of adults by making them feel second rate and treif. Whoever is behind this should burn in hell.

  32. another anonymous12 March 2017 at 09:07

    Not being a lawyer I do not now if it is against the law but it certainly isn't terror. Actually it is rather a bit of fun. Not likely to influence anyone and, perhaps unfortunately, unfair on the poor fellow who just wanting to earn a few quid has been the butt and victim of countless good humoured (and not so good humoured) jokes and wisecracks etc. The Rabbonim neither encourage or discourage it.
    They never get involved in anything unless it affects their wallets or their kovod and certainly not anything that requires any effort. I don't believe anybody has been "damaged" or whatever by this. The content of the cards is not particularly disgusting. Rather stupid and childish actually.

  33. Sorry, Mr. Tickle, I don't have a Twitter account so this is the only way I can communicate with you.
    Quite right about the drink/driving warning but the idea of a UOHC document signed by Rabbi E. Padwa embracing or even quoting the concept of "Dina D'malchuta Dina" is really mind boggling.
    Bearing in mind the time of year, let's be charitable and assume they wanted to inject a bit of Purim levity into the announcement.

  34. Uohc asked for 300k for the kimcha depischa. Maybe if we cut the spending on the fancy wines and chocolates with its trimmings we could fill the deficit. Then the kolel men can spend Purim with their families instead of running around like church mice.

  35. another anonymous13 March 2017 at 16:46

    UOHC and its affiliates have a cash credit balance of over £3,000,000. And that is just what is on the books.
    If they were to use just 10% of that for their emergency appeal the problem would be solved and they would still be left with over £2.75 million for themselves.

    As you know the Golders Green Rabbonim are very strict about mixed men and women. They do not permit any man to be in a room with a woman when her husband is there. The only time they allow anyone to be in a room with a married woman is when her husband is NOT there (and ideally when nobody else is there).

  36. Concerning the Shomrim cards, it is not correct to say these are "a bit of fun". By all means, publicise the caution required when using smartphones, discourage their use when not necessary, and do not lend smartphones to children. However, these Shomrim cards are teaching children to disrespect adults much older than themselves. In my view, this is not chinuch, and it does not make for a comfortable living environment. On the contrary, there is a risk that the responsible smartphone users will feel marginalised and eventually leave the kehilla. It would be better chinuch to show everybody that a large number of smartphone users are responsible, and such people deserve to be respected.

  37. Charlotte Hogg, whose integrity and competence has never been questioned or disputed has been forced to step down from her new job as a deputy governor of the Bank of England because she has a brother who has a senior position in Barclays Bank and there is a possibility of conflict of interest.

    Are we missing something? E.G. Kedassia crisps (and other products) from France and its Executive Kashrus Director. Or, perhaps, Kedassia Poultry Ltd. and Kedassia Hechsher chickens.

  38. Mr. Tickle.
    For reasons we are sure you are aware of many of us do not have Twitter accounts and we are "chalishing" to respond to your many erudite tweets. Come back please, we really need you. A sole voice of sanity in our topsy-turvy world.
    A Git Zimmer.


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