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Friday, 24 June 2016


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Way to go... now we all want to see THE snarky sentence ?

As regards the new Hasselblad (that anyone would have to try hard not to want), this just came to me in an unconsidered flash - would a 645 in this ilk not suit Pentax? Hmm... and it'd probably be a few thousand cheaper, too.

Alternatively, maybe there is enough Texas Leica tooling still around to tempt Fuji into producing an X150-xs? I'm going to stop now, before I start thinking any of those are likely!



A bad day for the UK. Feel far more depressed about this than election results because this is for good, not just for five years. Your surprise at people voting to leave is less surprising to me, here on the ground. Sadly the leavers are generally less well educated, so they are blissfully unaware of European history or of the economic consequences of leaving. It is a populist movement led by some very clever people who are exploiting the situation for their own agenda. You may be familiar with this phenomenon in the States (you all know who I'm referring to), not that I'd dirty my pen by naming him. It's a total betrayal of the young by the old too,(leavers tend to be older demographic) because they are going to have live with the consequences. The "little Englanders" have won this one, which is going to have a literal sense too as the Scots will now almost certainly hold a referendum to leave the UK and stay in the EU. I feel so diminished by this vote, there's not much more I can say!

I find your opinion on Brexit quite interesting, If I am to interpret it to mean you were for Remain. It occurred to me this morning that the EU agreement is one that the USA would never even contemplate joining. I could not imagine the US allowing other people to make there laws, (that all states would have to adopt) open the borders completely to 27 other countries (no Walls allowed) as well as all the other small changes including moving from imperial measurements to metric, Kilometers and liters. As a Canadian with a lot of family ties to England, I think they were very brave to make this decision but it will be scary, but only for a short time.

[Yeah, well, we fight States vs. Federal interminably. Different parameters, but not that different in tone and endlessness. --Mike]

If there was a similar entity to the EU suggested in the America’s - potentially uniting (to a significant degree) every country politically and economically, from Chile in the south to Canada in the far north, with a parliament in a non-US country (Ecuador perhaps), and a daily price tag (for the US) of US$150m, would the US join ?

Would the American people be prepared to relinquish a great many of their fundamental democratic rights and freedoms ? Would they accept having members of parliament that they did not elect passing laws that they would have to abide by ? Would they be happy with un-elected bureaucrats in a foreign land making laws that affected their daily lives ?

The answer to those questions in 1775, when Great Britain was that foreign power, was ‘no’ and - given the high regard with which the American people hold their own sovereignty today - it would still be 'no'.


P.S. Those of us who wanted to leave the EU should be thankful to the US President for one thing; being told by him to stay in the EU 'or get to the back of the queue' was probably one of the most galvanizing soundbites heard during the entire campaign.

Sorry Mr Johnston but may I suggest you stick to usually incisive photographic comment. Our decision is ours to take and we really dont need history lessons from outsiders. The debate is over now and democracy has spoken. We dont try to lecture you on your politics or politicians and find it rather graceless when others try to tell us what we should or should not do.

[That's why I didn't give my opinion yesterday, before the vote, Martin. Once the vote is in and done you're going to hear what I think. --Mike]

For those of us outside the UK, Brexit isn't really a big deal. The EU is not falling apart (at least not yet), and the referendum is non-binding (though it seems most commentators agree that Parliament is likely to act on it). World markets will be choppy for a little while, but this is really only a problem for day traders and other people clueless enough to fiddle with their investments constantly.

The EU is annoying at times, and overly bureaucratic, but the UK had already shielded itself from the worst of the EU's problems by not joining the Euro. There are advantages to having your own sovereign currency.

My first thought was that, by nailing his career to one side of the referendum, Cameron the Myopic turned it into a referendum not only on Brexit but on him as Prime Minister -- and hence completely distorted the meaning of the result. We will now never know how many Brits would have voted for Brexit as a single issue.

Dear Mike,

Normally I don't get involved in discussions in the comments sections online. But I must disagree with you on your opening paragraph.

Despite its bluster and pretence, the EU is not solely responsible for 70 years of stability and peace in Europe. As much as anything, that was NATO, and the threat of atomic annihilation. Where the EU (EC then) tried to get involved in peace-keeping, as in the former Yugoslavia, it did not cover itself in glory. The EU (back in the EEC days) started off as an attempt to bridge historical differences and to ensure harmony through trade and bringing people together. But now it has brought 50% youth unemployment to Greece and Spain, France's economy is in perma-recession, and Italy's is still smaller than it was in 2000. It has an imperial Court of Justice that swats away the decisions of national elected parliaments. It has five presidents (can you name any of them?), none of whom appeared on my ballot paper at the last European election. It has a parliament with no opposition. The question being asked on the referendum ballot paper was - who should be sovereign? The elected Parliament in Westminster or the Brussels institutions?

The worst thing about the campaign for the referendum here was that both sides lied and distorted the truth to such an extent, that all parties to it are utterly diminished. The Remain camp never presented any of the good aspects of the EU, but instead shouted at us an image of the UK as prisoners in an EU cage, and if we tried to escape we would get blown up by a bomb (OK, it would be under the economy rather than ourselves) or maybe world war 3 would break out. The Leave side presented us with the prospect of a horrid nationalism, and awful lies about how much money we'd be able to shower on public services if we leave the EU.

One more thing that has horrified me (and it has been reflected to an extent in some of the comments to your earlier article). There is real fear and loathing of the demos by the political and media elite. The patronizing comments from columnists in the papers and elsewhere in the media, as well as from the political and business establishment, have been a wonder to behold. The little people - they can't be trusted to come up with the right answer. Well, the demos have spoken - and good for David Cameron allowing this chance. I've no doubt we'll have a rough time for a while, but we'll come through it.

And I hope that you can continue to say you love your British readers, and that love will be reciprocated in spades.


"-Just wondering how 52% of the population could so easily dismiss the value of 70 straight years of stability and peace in Europe."

Michael, please note that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. The true reason for the years of peace in Europe is the fact that western Europe have consisted of democratic nation states since the war. Democratic nations do not fight each other on the battle field. True democracy is the key to peace.

...And that leads us to the current problem and the very reason for why the Europeans now are turning against the EC: -The total lack of democracy. How many candidates did the current president of the European commission have to beat to get elected? Answer: None. Zero. Mr Juncker was the only one.. Who voted for him? Answer; Nobody. He was appointed the same way Leonid Brezhnev was appointed head of the CCCP in 1964...

Since the EC started to have aspirations to become a political union some 20 years ago, democracy has flown out the window. And people in Europe are starting to say that enough is enough.

Yes, the EC was intrinsically a good idea, but we must remember that no organisation is immune to de-democratisation.

"But look on the good side—could be very good for Scotland, if it now leaves the UK and rejoins the EU."
I can understand pride in ancestorship, but the risk of disintegration of the UK is now actual and could lead to some oddities.
For instance, the Ulster and the Republic of Ireland were both Member States - the former through the UK - of the European Union and there was free circulation, which meant no borders separating their territories. What's going to happen, now that the UK will no longer be part of the EU? Are they going to close the border between the two Irelands? Wouldn't this lead to new conflicts (and we all know how much blood shedding these conflicts caused)?
And then there could be a domino effect. Disintegration could spread across Europe, bringing back the status previous to WWI. That can't be good...!
Of course I'm speculating on a worst case scenario. What will probably happen is that the EU and the UK will sign treaties that will bring the latter to a status similar to that of a Member State - which will be deeply cynical and hypocritical, but that's politics. Even if that happens, though, in the meantime there will have been much damage done to economy. Speculative manoeuvres will undoubtedly take place, many of them in a bid to bring the Euro down, and the most vulnerable of the EU countries will suffer.
Curiously, one of the aspects that most pleased nationalists (read neonazists) was the foreseeable end of free circulation between the UK and other EU member states. A Syrian living in France won't be able to enter UK territory without a passport anymore, which will satisfy misinformed xenophobes, but so won't French or German citizens. And what will happen to all Polish, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish migrants in the UK, who will be reputed as foreigners once the severance procedures are concluded? Will they need visas to stay in UK's territory, after having lived, worked and paid taxes there for years? Will they be expelled? If just 2% of the 'Leave' voters had given these questions a thought or two, we wouldn't be facing such risks.
Finally, will there be anyone foolish enough to think the repercussions of this won't affect the whole world?

Cameron made the point about European stability and peace in May: "Can we be so sure peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt? Is that a risk worth taking?". He was fiercely attacked and called an alarmist by the Brexit camp, who in my opinion have argued dishonestly throughout.

One of many sad ironies re Brexit:

"Age breakdown on Brexit polls tells underlying story. Older generation voted for a future the younger don't want"


I'm a little surprised that all of this Brexit business is being rolled up and dropped at Cameron's feet. He appears to be the most hated man around at the moment, but I'm not sure that's fair.

Wasn't a referendum was one of his key promises in the last election? He seemed pretty clear that if he and his party won they'd hold a referendum.And then the people voted him in.

So I think it’s a bit disingenuous to lay all of this at his feet. The people voted for the guy partly because he promised to hold a vote. If the people of the UK didn't want this possibility they could have voted for another party and avoided the referendum altogether.

All of the people who voted for Cameron also decided to throw the dice right along with him and yet somehow once the gamble turned sour everyone has backed away and are pointing their fingers in shame. It was a bad bet, but one that a lot of people seemingly supported him taking at one point.

Hi Mike,

Let's hope the US learns from our error.

Come your November elections, be careful what you wish for...

As often happens, you have expressed my feelings as a inter-European emigrant (and the ones of all my group of friends here in Spain and Europe, mostly created during an Erasmus study interchange --- the best thing happened to Europe since, well, forever). The worst is not the fact that UK leave: is the call effect to all the crazy, populist, hate-the-stranger-just-because movements in Europe. You know were it starts, you don't know where it stops. Hitler, too, was the result of a "democratic" vote. US people, please--- don't follow suite in November.

Seventy years is just enough time for the bitterly acquired consensus,"It can happen here" to accrete an extra n't. I suspect it's happening here in the good old U. S. of A., too.

That must have been quite a sentence to inspire years of vendetta. Can you point to a direction that I might look to find said sentence?

Surely the question really is, would you as an American be happy to be told what you could and couldn't do, by a group of other countries that were not connected to America? Would you happily surrender your right to self-governance to say, Canada? I don't think so, so why should the UK? The World Wars were actually fought so that people had the right to govern themselves and in a democratic country, that is what people want to do.

"70 straight years of stability and peace in Europe"

You're forgetting what happened to the former Yugoslavia in the '90s. The EU didn't cover itself in glory then.

Sad day, nevertheless.

"Just wondering how 52% of the population could so easily dismiss the value of 70 straight years of stability and peace in Europe."

What ordinary people "so easily dismissed" rather is the fact that the present-day EU has turned into the dangerous bully it was never supposed to be, run by an opaque anti-democratic body with corporate structure in mind and not the citizens it was originally chosen to represent, let alone the bureaucratic nightmare it has become for those very same citizens.

"Just wondering how 52% of the population could so easily dismiss the value of 70 straight years of stability and peace in Europe"

Is democracy optional if the author disagrees with the outcome? That's pretty arrogant.

Besides, the biggest "Leave" vote came from people of age, some of them may very well remember how it used to be.

[Do you somehow imagine that to support democracy one has to agree with all the outcomes? One might have to abide by the outcome...if it affects you. No one is forced to endorse it. --Mike]

I love a lot about the new Hasselblad: the industrial design, the Nikon hotshoe, the EVF, the size, the press-button PASM lock, the leaf shutter. I just wish Micro 4/3 had started with leaf shutters! All that shutter-shock angst! Now if someone could just do the same thing for a 135 format digital. I'm afraid that Sony doesn't have the je ne sais quoi for something this … pleasant.

I also hope that Panasonic updates the 25mm and 42.5 to the new cosmetics. The 15mm is such a joy to use.

'Didn't the UK already have all sorts of special dispensations from the EU to feed its exceptionalism?'

No, they begged for bread crumbs and got chicken feed. The real arrogance comes from an unelected political elite who seem unwilling to accept any compromise. It may just be their downfall. If so, Britain has a head start. If not, well the EU governments will have some serious questions to answer to their respective electorates, who are very unhappy with the status quo. Unfortunately, it's the right wing that seem to monopolise on that.

The sad thing is that the EU will now want espouse all kinds of apocalyptic scenarios and make the UK suffer in order to put the fear into voters in any further referendums that might take place across Europe.

A sad state of affairs when a little in the way of positive negotiation would probably have cemented a 'remain' vote.

As for Scotland, I think Nicola and the SNP should have had a little bit of respect for the outcome before announcing their intentions. They lost a referendum and negotiated all kinds of decent concessions for Scotland and still retained a voice that affected issues in England and Wales, does that only run one way? Still, I do support self-determination if that's what the voters want.......

The company pursued a nasty vendetta against me for a number of years...
A little unfair to drop hints of an interesting story like this and not share.

And we love you too, Mike.

Donald Trump thinks leaving is a terrific idea. What's that tell you?

The demographics of the vote are troubling, from a democratic/parliamentary point of view, if predictable. As Josh Marshall put it, the UK's future electorate voted to stay.


In other words, most of those who expect to live with the consequences thought staying in the EU was a good idea. If, as mishka seems to think, the older folks thought they were voting to turn back the clock, that is doubly troubling.

Just wondering how even 1% of the US population could so easily dismiss the value of 70 straight years of not voting for Mr Trump...


Not sure the Kosovars, Bosnians, Croats and Serbs would agree about the 70 straight years of stability and peace, but then again those guys don't see eye to eye about too much anyway.
As for the U.K., well, we could have taken a third option, built a big wall around the borders to keep out the Europeans and then made them pay for it.
No, wait...That's just crazy talk!!!

Half the voters in my country have made a decision based on a half truth; that is that we can be our own masters regardless of the continent of 27 nations and 500 million people immediately adjacent to us. The world don't work like that!
Now the young are alienated, the far right encouraged, Scots waving goodbye and the poor folk of Gibraltar imperilled by a hostile Spanish government.
Well Done messrs Gove, Farage, Johnson, Redwood, Hannam and the 52% majority. Bitter? moi?

Sigh.. all this pessimism over a nation actually declaring themselves as a sovereign independent entity! It's a founding principle that history generally smiles on.

And as far as who voted for what I found this interesting: "“Leave” won “literally every single region of England and Wales w/lone exception of London. Even super-solid Labour Northeast.”"

"One of many sad ironies re Brexit: age breakdown on Brexit polls tells underlying story. Older generation voted for a future the younger don't want"

Two points:

1. The same irony is in the fact that the younger generation is generally governed by older generation.

2. The 0-17 years old age group was denied the vote at all. And it is *their* future that was affected the most!

If someone insists that 18-year-olds usually make well informed and balanced decisions, see my point 1.

[Okay, but please let's remember the Comment Section isn't a forum, per the Guidelines, so no back-and-forth please.... Thanks, Mike the Mod.]

Watching this debacle, it encourages me that 52% of the people can't change the U.S. constitution -- it takes more of a consensus to do that, which has bridged us across some serious troubles in time past. It should have taken more than a 52% vote for the UK to leave the EU as well, IMHO.

It also reminds me that in the past thirty years or so, the Western media has become a form of cynical, self-serving entertainment, lapdogs for the elite, rather than a source of reliable information. Even once independent newspapers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have come little more than mouthpieces for the Democratic and Republican parties respectively; and the British newspapers are worse.

The Brexit campaign, IMHO, is a good example of what could happen in the upcoming American presidential campaign, with both sides shouting inane slogans at each other while nobody knows what will really happen if one side or the other is elected. If, come fall, the UK is breaking up, if Scotland has scheduled another independence referendum, if the financial industry has begun to flee London, if the UK itself is mired in a an increasingly deep recession and unemployment begins to skyrocket -- if, in other words, the true impact of the Brexit has begun to hit -- I suspect the vote to Remain would be 65-35 or so, and nobody would much worry if the odd Syrian took up residence in Birmingham. But honesty and information is not what the media fed the British, and that's not what we're getting in the US on the Trump/Clinton campaign. As a former media guy who took the job seriously, I find it all very depressing.

Mike, People tend to rebel against things when they believe they have been pushed too far. Discontent over various EU issues has been around for a long time. Things happened to come to a head in UK yesterday.

Ours is not the only EU country some of whose citizens feel let down by elites who seem to them to be out of touch, however idealistic.

It's much better to bring things out into the open and argue about them, even if some politicians can't resist name calling, scare mongering and sometimes outright lying, than to tell the people to shut up and hope the discontent goes away.

Don't assume that we are all too stupid to see through BS when we hear it, or too unreasonable to cooperate afterwards with our fellow citizens who wanted a different outcome.

As a Brit I do wonder why Americans are taking an interest in Brexit.

Next to the horrors of racist killings, out of control cops and mass shootings that seem almost daily occurrences in America the UK's democratic right to leave a corrupt, divisive and failing EC hardly seems newsworthy.

Re 70 years of peace and stability: Of course, it is not possible to prove a causality between post-war peace and stability in Europe and the EU. I would like to second the idea of the EU being a stability factor nevertheless. In my opinion, the biggest merit of the european integration is having aided the transformation of the axis powers into modern democracies and having integrated them with the allied powers into a new Europe, as partners. This way, the mistakes from the Versailles treaty, which in consequence lead to WWII, have been avoided. My parents and my in-laws were born during WWII and have had their share from the last war: Eviction from the former German territories which now belong to Poland, growing up in bombed out cities. I am grateful that I have been spared this, and I believe that the vast majority of my fellow Europeans feel the same.

That being said, the mentioned deficiencies of the EU in its current incarnation are, in my opinion, sadly true (having grown into an undemocratic behemoth, being unable to solve the Euro- and the refugee crisis, among others). On the other hand, the current EU and the Lisbon contract did not fall from the sky - it has been created and shaped by our national politicians, which have been elected by us.

Unless I miss my guess, the throwaway line about hasselblad is here: http://photo.net/mjohnston/column3/ , "Unless I'm messing up my research somehow, a Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH costs $1,495, and a Hasselblad 80mm f/2.8 CFE lens costs $1,875. Meaning, you'd spend considerably more for either lens and still be short a camera."

Magic of the internet, nothing goes away. That said, it does seem like a lot of sour grapes on their part to come after you for it.

[Nope, that wasn't it. I'll tell the story one day. --Mike]

"...do they not teach European history in the UK?"
In the UK yes, at Eton looks like not !

I am afraid that you are suffering from a misunderstanding about the nature of the European Union Mike...

It is neither a free market, nor a democracy.

Do you think that the breakup of the Soviet Union was a "good thing" or a "bad thing"....

If you think the former, then you might begin to understand that the truth of this decision by the British will maintain the peace rather than begin another European war.

Note also that Britain, latterly Britain and the USA (who are not in political union) have been the saviours of fighting Europeans, and the existence of Nato, is the guarantee of continued peace rather than the anti-democratic Zollverein also known as the European Union.

Today is a great day, today is OUR independence day.

My harebrained Southern ancestors did the secession thing 150 years ago, and this part of the country still hasn't really recovered economically.
(Not even with wiping out Pellagra and the hookworm -- mostly).

One of the best comments I read was this:

"I phoned my Uncle Johnny (WWII Parachute Regiment) last night to wish him a happy 90th birthday. He was putting on his overcoat and heading into the rain to his polling station in West Yorkshire. I asked which way he was planning to vote.

“When I was 20 I dropped into France to stop the Germans taking over my country,” he replied, “so I thought I’d better have another go at stopping them now.”

Congratulations to all the Brexiters. After one day of celebration the results are:
1. The worst day on stock markets world wide since Lehman etc.
2. Schotland (and probably N-Ireland and Wales) preparing to leave the UK
3. Europe wanting to speed up the exit despite the lack of haste in London
4. Tories divided (not that others will care). Labour probably too
5. Generations in the UK are politically divided
6. English rural and urban areas are politically divided
7. Dropping Pound
8. Nobody has the faintest notion here this all will end up.

Positive things to be read in the Dutch newspapers today:
1. It becomes attractive for EU citizens to buy their next camera in London
2. Probably a lot less noisy drunken English tourists in Amsterdam. (Not a sick joke, but a serious problem for decades).

Intergenerational warfare yet again: Boomers versus everyone who follows them.

TRUMP 2016.

Mike. Come to England. Hire a car. Let's say, a Miata. Get driving. Try the A361, all of it. Try the A413 between Aylesbury and Buckingham. Try visiting Sulgrave Manor, home of a certain family by the name of Washington. Try the back roads all around there. You might end up at Silverstone, where, I understand, they do a spot of motor racing. There's plenty of nice B roads all over to try as well.

Go on, you know you want to! : ]

I have to agree with Nick D, manuel, robert e, David Lonsdale and others. My parents generation are "stuck" and have decided the future of their children and grandchildren.

Why can't people learn to get along with each other rather than promoting tribalism and separatism? Of English birth I'm sorry to say that I'm glad I don't actually live there currently.

Infamy, infamy. They've all got it in for me.

Despite my ninja-like web research mad skillz (sitting here in my black underpant) I can't find it either. I suspect Panasonic's PR sent out a a press pack with the common set of images you see on all the usual suspects web site.

This is way too long but ...

Regarding Brexit like some of the others here I would have voted leave. Not because I'm a xenophobic swivel eyed loon but because I think the European project has gone off the rails in the last two decades. If the choice was a 1980s EU with limits I'd vote yes. Migration is not a issue. After all I'm one in the USA.

The root problem with the EU is a small group have moved it from being a coal and steel treaty (between France and Germany) to a customs union, to the EEC, to the EU. The ultimate goal is a United States of Europe (as the Treaty of Rome said in Article 1 "An every closer union" When is close enough? When would that stop?).

The problem is most people in Europe don't want a USE even people who are quite pro-European. So the pro-USE Eurocrats keep nibbling around the edges and make structures that make the EU look more like a single country (a European Parliament, FTW).

A country has a currency so well make one (the Euro after the miserable failure of the Exchange Rate Mechanism) but without putting in the proper structure around to to make it work as a real national currency (i.e. no true National Bank to manage it but all the governments will help out but not be committed to particular financial targets because the countries economies are very different from each other). This has lead to a huge win for Germany (cheaper export products, FTW) and disaster for the smaller members (the PIGS who have been borrowing Euros from Germany to buy German products). The Euro crisis, aka the Greek Crisis but it's bigger than that, still isn't resolved. They just kicked that can down the road.

Then they wanted a "European President" too (President of the European Council with Tony Blair said to be the guy for the job) but that didn't work out. So we end up with a guy nobody has heard of who hasn't been elected.

Looking at the distribution of votes in the UK is very interesting.

London is overwhelmingly remain (60-40) and some districts (where the "Guardian/Independent reading brioche eaters" live, like Islington) are 75-25 in favor. I guess if you can get a train or a flight from one of your three airports or drive directly to Europe you feel a lot more attached to it. But the surround small towns in South East Eng-ger-land were voting for leave.

Other major cities like my post-industrial home town Liverpool voted remain too but some only just squeaked in (like Newcastle) and Birmingham (the second largest city) was 50-50. It seems these all have a post-industrial vibe to them: either creative industries or tourism.

Move to the small ex-industrial towns and the rural areas and you find leave starts to win bit. A lot of people live out there. They're poorer, less mobile, whiter and really hold a grudge against the political Metropolitan class (who return the favor by writing articles in the paper about what they think about them). This is where most of the leave vote was. It's most of England. Boston on the Lincolnshire coast was the most pro-leave with 74-26 (IIRC).

Scotland, of course, voted remain 62-38. I expect the SNP to make a lot of that and perhaps look for another referendum but more people voted in the Independence referendum (result 45-55: a No win) than in the EU referendum (by a lot 3,623,344 to 2,681,179 votes) so it's not clear to me if they could get a yes to another independence vote. Some people would change their vote but is that enough. An independent Scotland would want to join the EU and use the Euro (that's a requirement). Do the Scots want that? I dunno.

For me the oddest result was Northern Ireland. The Catholics/Nationalists has a poor turnout. They vote either nationalist (Sinn Fein) or left and are pro-Europe. The protestant Unionists are often seen as very conservative Little Britons but this time around they voted pro-EU. Weird to a non-NornIron person, like meself.

Finally Dave Cameron, the PM, came up with the referendum idea before that last election to stave off a challenge from UKIP. Most of the Conservative party voters are Euroskeptics and he was worried about defections to UKIP. It seemed to work (he won against all the polling) right up until the referendum where he lost. He's resigning in October. Expect an interesting fight by the Euroskeptics for the leadership. Some in the Labour Party see this as a failure by their leader Corbyn to lead. About a third of Labour voters voted against the party line (which was Remain). These are the folks Labour is loosing to UKIP. The knives are coming out for him. I expect an early election (late 206 or early 2017) that the Cons will win big if Labour still have Corbyn and his mates in the leadership and will win more narrowly if Labour get their act together.

Where will UKIP end up? Are they a one trick pony (I think they are -- they don't seem to have the staying power of the hard right. There support base is mostly the apathetic disaffected right). Or will they try to use this to lever their way into power? I can't see it.

One last thing, "+100% spike in UK searches for "getting an Irish passport" after #Brexit vote"


I'll not worry. I'm an Irish citizen too.

This story isn't finished yet. It's going to run and run for at least a couple more years.

>70 straight years of stability and peace in Europe

I guess the former Yugoslavia is not Europe then?


And on a totally non-political note (aren't you glad?), the rules of binomial nomenclature require that the genus name for your colourful flowers be capitalized. (File this comment under "Biological Correctness".)

Have a good weekend.

[Fixed and thanks. --Mike]

Can we talk about photography on this blog, please? This is not a political forum.

[We talk about a whole lot of things here, photography usually most prominent among them. Not normally current events, but they're not off the table. If you don't like any particular topic, you have only to wait a bit, as blogs must move on, and our topics change more often than the weather in Scotland. --Mike the Ed.]

hopeless photo geek here, but I find your off topic posts a healthy sign you live in the real world. Also hereby applauding the depth, level and range of all your musings (except pool, billiards, & snooker)

[As a regular reader, you should know that I never write about pool, billiards, or snooker. --Mike]

That looks like a Swallowtail butterfly to me. Monarchs have similar coloring, but are more orange and the black stripes on the wings are a slightly different pattern. You can try a google image search on both and see if you agree.

Thanks to all the respondents on Brexit. I believe I learned more here than from my usual suite of news sources.

Here in the North of England the voters knew little of the EU beyond what they had been told by right-wing papers for many years. What they did know was that they have been systematically disadvantaged by privileged toffs in government since time immemorial. So when people talk about why they voted Leave you discover that the topic very soon comes round, not to the EU or even immigration, but neglect by powerful people from the South. The sad thing is that they will soon enough learn how many worker's rights and environmental rights, and how much EU funding for infrastructure they will have to do without. Such a profound change should have led to a new election or to a government of national unity, given that the vote was almost 50-50. But that's not what's going to happen.

Mike, it wasn't 52% of the population. It was 52% of those who voted, less than half the population. So, please have a heart, there are many millions of us feeling quite sick today. We are looking at the breakup of the UK and a belligerent Spain looking at Gibraltar yet again, I could go on. We don't yet know what is to come, but it doesn't look good.
regards, Kerry Glasier. Cornwall. UK (for now!)

As an interesting point, one of the "leave" campaign's ideas is that the EU is undemocratic, but it is in fact, *more* democratic than the government structure of the UK, as laid out here: https://theconversation.com/how-democratic-is-the-european-union-59419

Just as an aside, the UK is currently marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. No town and barely a village here is without a monument listing locals who lost their lives fighting wars. Even kids as young as your Sandy Hook victims get taught about war. I don't know about the US educational system, but I think when it comes to teaching about war we can pretty much hold our own. A more apposite focus for criticism might be your own president, whose "back of the queue" threat did much to galvanise the anti-EU crowd. Quite a few vowed to remember his words when the US launches its next war.

Three things strike me (and I hope I haven't missed similar in the comments):

1 The guarantor of peace in Europe for the last 70 years has not been the EU but NATO. Wherever the EU has tried to do something peacekeeping based it has usually been a farce - the former Yugoslavia springs to mind.

2 Secondly, were Scotland to vote for independence, it would have to apply to join the EU: it would not inherit the UK's place as it would be separate, 'new' country. And, importantly, accession to the EU has have unanimity amongst existing members and the Spanish, for one, would not agree to Scotland joining because it would give their Catalan and Basque separatists more ammunition to break up Spain.

To understand the EU, one has, as an example to think of a pan-Americas organisation that had it's capital in, say, Caracas, and whose trade rules AND economic rules AND currency applied to everyone from southern Chile to the tip of Alaska: while it would be good for some, it would not be good for others and countries like the US and Canada would tire of the inept bureaucracy and politics of South American countries and the free movement of, say, Mexicans into the US.

We live in interesting times over here in the UK and in US politics as well.

[I think you might be being too literal about the guarantor of peace. The idea behind the EC is to defuse nationalistic jingoism, xenophobia, and demonization by creating a commonality of interests across borders--by means of mutual trade, a free flow of citizens, and pooling and sharing resources. That's what has created the protection within Europe, not common defense against outsiders or UN-style policing efforts.

As for PanAmericanism, that's been discussed many times over the past centuries. A big difference is that Canada has never been at war with Columbia and the US has never invaded Brazil. Europe is historically far, far more fractious than the Americas have been. Our own Civil War was by far America's biggest hemispheric war, more costly in lives than all of our other wars combined--and that was us against us.

As for your point 2, are you sure about that? Scotland is part of the EU now, and it seems to me it could at least ask to simply retain that status by "not leaving" as opposed to re-applying. I don't know (really, I don't know), but I haven't read anywhere that your take on it is a settled matter. --Mike]

David Cameron used a single spin of the roulette wheel to determine the fate of the United Kingdom.

Such decisions, in a democracy are for the governing legislature to decide, in this case, parliament.

Giving the 'people' the chance to decide such an important issue, which clearly they were not capable of doing so, was an abrogation of responsibility done for purely political ends.

It is in times like these that you can easily see how civil war can occur.

The butterfly looks like a Swallowtail.

It takes distance to understand what happened here, hence:


And from the same source


It may work out, it may not, but one thing is for certain. Right now, Europe wants us out as soon as possible, and won't be sympathetic to any more special case pleading.

I fear many of those who voted out will be directly affected by the fallout and will change their minds when it is far too late. The level of dishonesty surrounding the campaign was frightful and embarrassing.

Mike - At first I was surprised that your lilies have survived the deer in your area, but then it struck me that our orange blossoms have as well. Not so with my favourite that have (well, had last year) wonderful multi-hued blossoms in the red-pink range. Just prior to the buds opening, overnight, they got munched. I'm a vegetarian, but would consider taking up with venison again ...

As for #Brexit, I am sorely disappointed. Not only will Scotland vote to leave the UK, but there is a more than 50-50 chance that Northern Ireland will seek the same. One of my son's apartment mates in Paris is a Brit who has worked in Paris for many years. His work status will not be threatened by this (he's been there long enough to claim French/EU citizenship) but he has cash and investments in the UK which are taking a bath -- even if there is financial recovery in the near to medium term, who knows how rocky the road may be for years to come.

In my mind perhaps the most serious impact is that the younger generation(s) will be losing the right of free movement of labour which has been a huge advantage to so many.

This is all so sad.

FYI....For butterflys I use a 300mm telephoto, set shutter priority at 1000

Mike, I'm proud on ya, man, for those flower fotos! Cool beans. Some day I'll wander up there and make a UV photograph for you of all those gorgeous blooms.

Be careful though -- this flower & butterfly thing can grow on you, pun-probably-intended. You might find yourself making many more such botanical shots.

Added: Your butterfly is either the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) or the closely related, slightly smaller Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (P. canadensis). You live in an area where either one (or a hybrid of both) is possible. Keep it fierce and just call it "Tiger".

I'm an Englishman in my mid-40s and an American of 20+ years. I divide my time between NYC, England and here, Sharon, CT. Leaving the local market this a.m. a woman - English (common as muck in these parts), late 60s - who'd overheard me and my kid lurched our way and asked how I was feeling after the vote. I said angry, disappointed &c.

"Why ever would you feel that way?"
"Because it's a crying fucking shame rich dumb nationalists have courted poor dumb nationalists and between them done irreparable harm. My mother campaigned for the EEC referendum in '75, of which I'm terribly proud, and...."
"But you and I are the same age..."
"Wait, what?"
"...and we remember how great Britain once was! We will rise again!"
"Lady you're delusional. And way older than me."

Mark Cotter is right about Scotland having to reapply to EU after its recent independence referendum but *maybe* it's different now if the UK leaves the EU. Greenland was able to leave the EU despite being part of the kingdom of Denmark. IANAL but no one would doubt that Scotland is a nation with equal status with England (England and Wales strictly) but shares a head of state so it's at least arguable that England etc would be the Greenland in this analogy and Scotland the Denmark ;-) .

Mike -- you can't just tease us with juicy gossip bits about your fight with Hasselblad and then walk away. Inquiring minds need to know.... What did you say? What did they do?

We need a bit love this weekend Mike. At home here in England, my family feels bereft. In fact, this no longer feels like home. I cannot think of myself as English. British clearly has little meaning if Scotland cedes and so our thoughts turn to making home elsewhere.

Economic migrants? Possibly. Pilgrims seeking a better land? Certainly.

I wrote earlier that I felt ashamed to be English, but that isn't correct. I am just embarrassed at the views expressed about the English and knowing that I can only be lumped in because of where I live.

Did you read about the 'leave voters' who later expressed regret because they never expected it to happen. As though we were voting for the voice and it didn't matter. I despair.


"you'll even find active secession movements in several states (most notoriously Texas, Alaska and California)"

All true enough, but note that the California secession movements tend to be wanting separation from Sacramento, not from the U.S. as a whole.

Of course, nobody could seem to agree on where it should be separated, into how many parts, or what to name them. Colorado, Shasta, North, Central, Coastal, Western, and South California were all proposed at one time or other for parts of the state. And that's ignoring the Cascadia movement.

In 1941, several counties in southern Oregon and Northern California ceremonially seceded, one day a week, from their respective states as the State of Jefferson. Pearl Harbor put that on hold, mostly, until 2013.

The California State Senate voted on June 4, 1965, to divide California into two states, with the Tehachapi Mountains as the boundary. The Assembly wouldn't go for it, though. There's still a lot of discontent with Sacramento's management of the state in the north, and this sort of thing will will continue to ferment.

Personally, I'm kinda partial to "Baja Oregon", but having left the state after 64 years for a new home in Minnesota, I'm pretty much out of the discussion.

Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, wrote a long and interesting piece in today's Wall Street Journal (not behind the paywall) ...

The Brexit campaign started as a cry for liberty, perhaps articulated most clearly by Michael Gove, the British justice secretary (and, on this issue, the most prominent dissenter in Mr. Cameron’s cabinet). Mr. Gove offered practical examples of the problems of EU membership. As a minister, he said, he deals constantly with edicts and regulations framed at the European level—rules that he doesn’t want and can’t change. These were rules that no one in Britain asked for, rules promulgated by officials whose names Brits don’t know, people whom they never elected and cannot remove from office. Yet they become the law of the land. Much of what we think of as British democracy, Mr. Gove argued, is now no such thing.


For some reason they voted to leave a political entity that is talking about doing this. Seems like we got a little bit agitated back in 1775 about people instituting rules we had no say over (banning without representation in this case). This is from the Telegraph -

The EU is poised to ban high-powered appliances such as kettles, toasters, hair-dryers within months of Britain’s referendum vote, despite senior officials admitting the plan has brought them “ridicule”.

The European Commission plans to unveil long-delayed ‘ecodesign’ restrictions on small household appliances in the autumn. They are expected to ban the most energy-inefficient devices from sale in order to cut carbon emissions. 

The plans have been ready for many months, but were shelved for fear of undermining the referendum campaign if they were perceived as an assault on the British staples of tea and toast.

That butterfly looks photoshopped.

[Nope! --Mike]

If you read the Ming Thein article, which I linked to my early comment regarding Nittoh, you'll see that he says the lenses are made by Nittoh, not the camera. Don't know his source.

For those who use the former Yugoslavia as a counterpoint to "70 years of peace and stability" ... ummm, those countries were not part of the EU when conflict came. Kind of a lame argument, even if EU members didn't cover themselves in glory.

All other things aside, that is a brilliant photograph of the butterfly. Thanks for sharing...And for standing in the hot sun long enough to get it.

Sadly, only 36% of the young (18-24 yrs) actually voted (75% of them for 'remain'). Of the 65+ 83% voted (61% for 'leave'). Looks like a wake-up call for the young after the fact.

And first things last: I really like your branches / sun / clouds / rooftop photo. Looking at it and 'taking it in' makes me feel good.

I usually don't get involved in political discussions online, particularly on a photo site, but some of the doom and gloom predictions and general angst are just silly.
Does anyone recall a tiny island that decided, fifty years ago, to secede from it's large archipelago nation which it regarded as oppressive and not a good social and cultural fit? When it broke away from Malaysia, Singapore made itself an economic powerhouse with global influence. The future is in Britain's hands, we can't say yet what will ensue.

Hiya Mike

The flowers might be Sumkinda, but they are not lilies, I think. We have just had a discussion on this in the m43 DPReview forum, triggered by me misnaming some blooms. Check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemerocallis_fulva.

As for the Brexit, remember only about 70% voted, so there is really no majority either way. And it looks like Dad's Army triumphed. Sad. A lot of Brexit voters are already getting antsy about the fact that what they were told was not the truth, it seems. Further, a lot of stuff that the tabloids (particularly Murdoch tabloids) have published over the years about EU stuff-ups and idiocies were either straight lies or matters blown totally out of proportion.

But imagine if we end up with a Little England and a Celtic Alliance of Scotland, all of Ireland, and Wales (yes, I know Wales voted the other way but how would they go if offered such an alliance?).

Watching the Brexits try to persuade the Scots to stay under England's thumb is going to be hilarious. I wonder whether they will pay royalties to Bremain campaigners to use their arguments? LOL.

Someone named Bill Maher said Jane Austin had it covered: 48% voted for "Sense and Sensibility" and 52% voted for "Pride and Prejudice".

An American comic writing in the New Yorker has come up with a great line: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/british-lose-right-to-claim-that-americans-are-dumber?mbid=social_facebook

The Hasselblad X1D? Wonderful! Not interested personally, my Panasonic cameras and Panny and Oly lenses I have will see me out, but I love the top end leadership this shows. I'm having a loud chuckle about the inclusion of GPS. It is in my Panny FT4 "tough" camera and every travel cam, but "more serious" cameras don't have it. Why not? People offer all sorts of amazing workarounds for the lack of it (the best is to use an iPhone's GPS capability -- yes, I really, really do want an accessory that costs more than my camera to get that simple function!) and waffle on about battery drainage (key ring GPS thingies run forever on button batteries).

It is going to be fascinating to see how this pull from the top combines with the push from the bottom to get Canikon moving.

Cheers, Geoff

Forgot to mention the PanaLeica 100-400 zoom. So much love for this is being expressed on the DPReview m43 forum that I have decided I will ignore all 100-400 posts except once a week, late in the working week when all the weekend stuff has been done and gone to page 2 or whatever, I will pick ONE and view/read it.

Very, very nice images being posted -- and here I am stuck with the old Lumix 100-300.

I can't take it any longer!

(Exits stage left, weeping bitterly!)

Cheers, Geoff

Yugoslavia was part of a separate and very different economic and political union to the European Union. It was when that grouping fell apart that Yugoslavia disintegrated into bloodshed and mayhem. That rather helps the case for supra-national co-operation having the objective of getting people to dismantle the frontiers that they set up in their own minds.

Hi Mike
After consulting one friend of yours and reading unspecified material you voiced your opinion on politics in Europe. As you can see from the comments, you stirred up a wasp’s nests. To make matters worse, I am coming with my two cents. The problem is not owned by GB and EU alone. Being of Slavic tongue and living in Switzerland (please bear with my English), I would like to give you some additional ideas on Europe and on the EU:
1) EU is not Europe. Certainly not geographically, and – too – not politically.
2) Specially EU-members in Central Europe (Western Europeans call them ¨eastern¨ which is wrong.) are sometimes suspicious of Germany leading EU. It is not even legal, but sometimes German Chancellor says or does something (E.g. strikes a deal between EU and Turkey) and Brussels just follows. Germany has its history its lust to lead Europe is not always seen without caution.
3) EU handling ex-USSR countries reminds me of say handling of Granada by US. EU tries to be a global power, but cannot manage without the help of NATO and USA. See Ukraine. EU embraced some Oligarchs and proclaimed them ¨good¨, only to gain a new market. By the way an agreement between USA, NATO and Russia has been broken. Meanwhile EU realised that the said oligarchs are only that, but it is too late, we have amassing of arms and soldiers from USA there and irritated Russia. What good is it?
4) EU likes o speak of integration and unification. Did it occur to you that in not so distant past we have got more countries in Europe than before? Brexit, Spain, etc. could mean even more. Is it because of EU? Is it in spite of EU?
5) Problems and shortcomings of the EU are not only between Great Britain and EU. There are more member countries (and non-members) with reservations of various degrees. One could say, up to now only Great Britain has found the strength to say so. Why is EU putting up acts of defiance instead to go to do good work?
The list above is not complete even from my individual point of view. I am only trying to give you additional ideas with regard to the complexity of the whole thing. If I remember right, it was 1991: We have had a vote in Switzerland about joining the EWR as a preliminary step for joining the EU. At that time we had no practical experience with the EU, we saw the idea of freedom and prosperity for all Europeans. Today, I would not repeat my pro-vote of then. The bureaucrats in Berlin and in Brussels have lost connection to the people, they are not responsible for what they do or what they do not do. Did you know that only for milk products they produced 12k laws? Those are for everybody, everywhere – from the photogenic pastures of rainy Scotland to sun parched stones of Calabria. Great Britain proposed talks about reforms, EU declined very strongly. This alone speaks against the EU.
What I observe with worry is media and those free men, who – maybe not knowingly – exercise their right on free opinion and speak their thoughts even on not so simple matters. With internet there many readers, quotations of quotations and in the end nobody knows for sure. Again, maybe not knowingly, this only stirs up emotions and helps said EU-politicians who are not shy to place roughly 50% of the voters into right wing camp. For them this is better than to admit that mistakes have been made.
Anyway, keep on writing, sometimes ;-) I enjoy your wordplay. Please do not take this – as we say over here - ¨into wrong throat¨, just had to spill it.
Best regards

[Thanks for the two cents, Robert. As I stated, I'm no expert. But then neither will my two paragraphs on the subject have a resounding effect on the wider world. [g]

I think my current take on it is probably summed up in the article "Britain Leaves on a Cry of Anger and Frustration" by the New York Times Editorial Board:


But I'm eager to hear other viewpoints. It's a truly fascinating situation, especially given that that UK already is a union of nations similar to what the EU aspires to be. --Mike]

Between Brexit and butterflies, I'd rather read comments about butterflies.

This issue is really about one thing... Self determination.

Since the end of the last world war, there have been countless wars between peoples suing for just this issue... The UK did it with a democratic vote.

There are many more nation states now than there were in 1945.

Democratic nation states do not go to war with each other.

Co-operation between nation states is a natural effect of political freedom within those states and the European Commission is becoming more and more like the politburo of the Soviet Union every day. The recent imposition of governments by that commission in two of those democratic nation states in recent years being a great example of that behaviour, and should stand as a stark warning of what is to come.

So, co-operation, including the 'relatively' free movement of people is present in Switzerland for instance, however it takes an awful long time to acquire full civic rights if you are a non-Swiss national.

Co-operation in terms of trade, in terms of human rights, in terms of how people deal with each other and the environment, is governed more loosely at world level, the EU being more of a rubber stamping organisation in much, and just as easily managed at national level.

There is not one person across the European Union that voted in favour or against any of its five mostly anonymous "presidents". I doubt whether most readers can name all of them, I could think of three of them, but I didn't vote for any of them, there are appointees.

The consequence of the last twenty years of the European Commission's behaviour, rather than being a guarantor of peace, is a guarantor of war... Mike, your fabled 70 years (though technically incorrect anyway) will not reach 100 years.

Hopefully following the UK exit there will a considerable amount of enthusiasm for such acts amongst a significant number of other similarly yoked member states to do the same thing, without civil war.

The EU is and has always been an exercise in corporate fascism and the sooner it withers on the vine, the better.

The referendum has revealed one of the flaws in democracy. Many had no idea what they were voting for ... on the one hand, you had those who were simply voting against the government (and would always do so no matter what the issue) and then you get interviews with explanations like - "I hate Eurovision" and "I'm fed up with all the football cause of the Euros".

The fault of course is with the politicians for turning the referendum into a slanging match, and in the broader context, the woeful state of our education system.

Churchill's quote comes to mind "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others".

The only person who has come out of this well to my mind is the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ... I wonder if we could invite her to run the whole country? There is a precedent with James I!

Fortunately for my kids, they are entitled to Irish passports, and have applied - they were born members of the EU, and do not want to loose their birthright.

Mike, This has been a really worthwhile thread. As you've seen there is room for more than one sensible opinion on the subject of how people in EU countries should manage their affairs. There can't possibly be a single best choice. The present situation is only part of the way towards what some want, and far beyond what many are prepared to accept. I'm sure the initial briefing from your friend was fair and reasonable in terms of what he or she believes would work best. Democracy is messy!

One thing I find interesting is that the stay/leave vote was partly a proxy for a fight on globalization and income disparity. Nice sleight of hand there, if you want to be cynical about it. So instead of fixing real problems by addressing them, everyone was distracted by talk of "freedom", "immigration", and "being your own country", even to the point of reviving empire talk of invading Europeans. Invading? Really?

No matter what happens, the rich will be fine, that's the one thing I know for sure.

Integration in a trade partnership is a complex thing. Maybe resolving its problems by using a simple yes/no referendum isn't such a good idea.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb via Twitter ...

When people vote the way of the IYI elite, it is "democracy". Otherwise it is misguided, irrational, swayed by populism & lack of education.

IYI: Intellectual Yet Idiots.

[Sorry, I really don't think that's a good guiding principle here. Who's the idiot has yet to be determined. If England and Wales find themselves alone in 20 years, the old UK broken up like the old USSR, with 20% lower GDP and having about the same influence in the world as Slovenia, then it wasn't a good move. If on the other hand a future "Little England" becomes a Switzerland only ten times larger, with a supercharged economy and innovative self-determined government, nimble and agile, prospering while the rest of Europe is bogged down in bureaucratic nightmare dominated by Berlin, then the 52% were right. Either way, sorehead whimpering like this twit--er, tweet--doesn't either prove anything or enlighten anyone. Just my 2¢. --Mike]

I totally agreed with Anthony said above. It is a horrible debate (unless you like my Brits wife listen to radio which I do not).

But the key now is to move forward. The French-German is not going to be kind and never was. Without even one drop of tear, setup 2 teams to deal with Brexit and afterwards plus no informal talk to smooth it out. There is no future of UK in EU anymore.

Move on. Lost to Iceland for god's sake is fine, it is just a football game. Lost to EU-ex-Brits, it is a horrible mix of countries with very tough negotiators (as they have to in that system).

UK has not been in this kind of "game" as an outsider for a very long time. Unprepared.

BTW, I think talk about it is fine. Even though I guess Anthony is better but each should have a view; it affects a lot of us. In this regards, EU is more a problem than anything else. Perhaps European Market may be a good move. Not EU.

As told in Sociology 101, it is not the deviant you have to study but the family, the institution, ... and the specific form it exists. EU currently form is the problem not UK.

Mike, Your response to the IYE tweet above is a bit harsh, almost 'shooting the messenger'. You could, if you chose, construct a similar doom laden future for the EU itself if it pursues its current policies. Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better, going over a cliff.


James VI, you wee sassenach:-)

However, excellent idea - although I do not agree with some of her politics, it is hard not to admire Ms Sturgeon for her consistency and brain (Rare combination for a politician).

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