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  1. New thread http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-uk-leaves-the-eu-37278222 Brexit: The phoney war Returning to the UK from North America is to encounter an air of unreality. Britain has embarked on the biggest constitutional change in nearly 50 years - but you wouldn't guess it. Informed but incredulous Americans ask "you really had no plan?" The much-quoted "Brexit means Brexit" is met with bafflement. A Washington Post columnist said it had as much meaning as a parent declaring "bedtime means bedtime" The French talk of "le grand flou de Theresa May", the great vagueness of the British PM. In this period of seeming inactivity, the financial markets and the British consumer buy time and cover. The IMF declares the financial turmoil has subsided. UK manufacturing records the biggest month-on-month increase in half a century. The sense of crisis ebbs, or it does until the next month's figures appear. The prime minister warns of "difficult times" ahead. The politicians' phrases are more about buying time than delivering a plan. "Brexit means Brexit" is aimed primarily at preserving unity in the Conservative Party. The Brexiteers remain eagle-eyed for any backsliding and the mantra that "Britain is open for business" is an empty sound bite. It is unclear anyone believed the opposite. And during this slow post-Brexit summer Europe has largely been a passive bystander, obdurate in its refusal to even talk about options before the UK invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the formal withdrawal process begins. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, insists "our position is crystal clear: there will be no negotiations without notification. This principle is enshrined in our treaties…". And yet informal talks would speed up and possibly smooth out the formal negotiations, although there is insecurity in many of Europe's capitals. The German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned that the EU could go "down the drain" if other countries saw Britain keeping "the nice things". So, in the divorce proceedings that lie ahead, there must be some pain. Occasionally there is a shaft of light, of reality. Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the European Commission, declares: "The UK will remain a European country if it is not a member of the EU and that should be the basis, I believe, for the negotiations." But, at times, it can appear that Europe's leaders have a vested interest in Britain's failure rather than in achieving mutual success. It is clearly in the interests of both parties in this split to talk informally. The politics may be difficult but the economic signals from the eurozone are still troubling. The European Commission says it is expecting growth of 1.8% but the figures mask continuing weakness. In the second quarter of the year, Italy and France posted no growth at all. A fragile recovery might be expected to prompt a flexible approach towards Europe's second-largest economy but when the EU meets in Bratislava in the coming days to discuss its future, Brexit will not be the major subject. In the UK the cabinet, two-thirds of which voted to remain in the EU, will have to make some hard choices. Prime Minister Theresa May has strongly hinted that Britain will be looking for a "bespoke" rather than an "off-the-peg" deal with the EU. That seems to rule out the Norway model that offers access to the single market without tariffs but includes paying into the EU budget and accepting freedom of movement. And the UK would have no voice in decision-making. It probably excludes the Canadian model too. That offers tariff-free access for most manufacturing goods but not services - and services account for four-fifths of British GDP. At the heart of the British dilemma lie two irreconcilable aims; retaining full access to the EU single market and ending - or greatly reducing - freedom of movement. Europe's leaders have said repeatedly - you can't have one without the other. A great political battle is looming which carries risks for the Tory party and explains Theresa May's caution. There are those who argue passionately that access to the single market must be retained. Britain's economic future depends on it. "It is a delusion to argue that Britain can prosper outside of this area," says Anna Soubry, the former business minister. The financial services industry depends on being able to operate across Europe and it contributes £65bn to the Exchequer. These voices are prepared to seek a deal on freedom of movement that would reduce immigration. Their strategy is dismissed by the other side as "Brexit lite". Then there are the Brexiteers who question Britain's need to remain in the single market. The former chancellor Nigel Lawson is among those who question whether the single market has brought the discernible benefits claimed for it. Like others, he argues that after the referendum no future government can accept the right of EU workers to live and work in the UK. And, if that is the case, Britain will put itself outside the single market. He sees the City of London's position as unassailable. There are some inside cabinet who believe the City should be left to fight for itself, who would accept tariffs and higher prices for the consumer in order to make a full and complete break with the EU. The prime minister has chosen her words carefully but has made it clear the referendum vote requires "controls on the numbers of people coming". It is also clear that, if possible, the government would like to retain tariff-free access to European markets - but that will be at the heart of the negotiations. What makes the UK's position more difficult is that it is almost impossible to take unofficial soundings, to test what flexibility may exist. As things stand the government will have to declare its hand, set the clock running, before getting a sense of Europe's response. And leaders like Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande have limited room for manoeuvre. They both face elections next year and concessions to the Brits may not be good politics. And even if the formidable question of the trading relationship between the UK and the EU is ironed out, the list of further hurdles poses a massive administrative challenge. Will parliament get to vote on whatever deal emerges? How will any deal work for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? What about the acquired rights of EU citizens living in the UK? What about 43 years of EU laws and policies? What should be retained or discarded? And the questions continue. So, for a period, the phoney war will continue but the pressure will grow to allow informal contacts that will make the real negotiations more productive. Watch for those back door deniable channels opening up. And on all sides there are risks. Theresa May has to keep her party and cabinet united. Businesses in continental Europe as much as in the UK want to continue trading and to end uncertainty. And then there are tensions between the Commission and the European Parliament on the one hand and the member states on the other. And so, as summer eases into autumn, the British people are no clearer as to what Brexit will mean.
  2. What a 54yo child really @MerGirl
  3. Absolutely, all of the above Mainly, most of the times, it all boils down to jealousy. How many high profile women and not just in music have been snarky about her? And it's not just women of course but this thread focuses on her poignant Billboard Speech and females in the music industry Madonna has always praised women who came before her and cited them often as inspiration, the recognition hasn't always been mutual. Debbie Harry, Joni Mitchell, Chrissie Hynde ... Obviously also some of the people that started out with her or followed her had their digs, Suzanne Vega etc I think Madonna came onto the scene at a crossroads in the industry history, and that crossroads was MTV and the visual aspect blending in with sound which she was great in understanding and utilising to complete her already perfect melodies and great pop hooks, being the 360 total artist that she is, you just need to watch her New Music Seminar speech in the summer of 84 to notice how strong her conviction on this was, there she was, this 26 yo unknown girl making a fool of a panel of established, pompous, self-referential male acts with her smarts All those that preceded Madonna know about her genuine artistic roots, the Martha Graham/Pearl Lang connection, the band days etc and the jealousy stems from the fact that she was able to turn those credible, as unDisney like as they get origins (compared to most that followed) into one of the most bankable, mainstream and enduring careers ever, if not the most bankable mainstream and enduring one. They also know how she famously said no to Camille when she wanted to turn her into the next Pat Benatar and there u have it bingo. It proves how Madonna has always stuck to her guns and in a field where if you don't do as you are told they will kindly escort you to the nearest exit. Not Madonna. And did so without marrying a powerful honcho, inheriting etc she was the honcho. That she also expressed herself through a variety of platforms and style and enjoyed critical favour and several renaissances at different stages throughout her career is just too much for some to take I think the dead giveaway is when they start bending over backwards to praise the plagiarist, we have seen that with all the Elton one sided faux attention-seeking feuding and many other examples Cindy Lauper recently saying Madonna was not eloquent takes the biscuit. Madonna has as much artistry and vastly more curiosity, intellect, eloquence than all of them put together in the end and the stratospheric, diverse scope of her career is not the sole testament to that When did they ever, will they ever?? Never Haha you're acting right now
  4. He blocked you? How childish I don't think they have ever stopped liking her but they did make some very passive-aggressive and silly remarks in recent years (after they had done a whole interview back in 2013 for Corriere Della Sera praising her to the heavens, especially in relation to you know who). They clearly didn't like being called out as she rightly did on the IVF "synthetic babies" controversy and they haven't responded to that openly but did obviously keep a little grudge, then last year Madonna mistakenly posted a pic of a former Wheel Of Fortune Italian showgirl whose career famously started out as a Madonna lookalike and they mocked her in one of Gabbana's posts implying she was getting senile or "confused", even daring to tell her she needs to pay attention. Then FF to her Cuba Birthday celebrations last August and her wearing one of their creations ... I think they have been very jealous of her collaborations in recent years and friendship with Riccardo Tisci (another prominent Italian in fashion and younger so doube the jealousy), Jeremy Scott and her championing new talents and creative directors in general such as Alessandro Michele from Gucci. Gabbana even commented on some RH promo outfits claiming their heart and dagger design / spanish/ sacred heart motif was being copied, ridiculous of course http://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-madonna-idUSKBN0MF1XV20150319 Madonna weighs in on Dolce & Gabbana IVF controversy Madonna added her voice to the controversy surrounding fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, telling them to "think before you speak" after Dolce described children born to gay couples through fertility treatment as "synthetic." The performer joined other celebrities who criticized the Italian duo when she posted a message on Instagram along with a photograph of herself and a baby from Dolce & Gabbana's 2010/2011 winter collection campaign. "All babies contain a soul however they come to this earth and their families. There is nothing synthetic about a soul!! So how can we dismiss IVF and surrogacy?" said Madonna, who released her 13th studio album, "Rebel Heart," earlier this month. Pop star Elton John, who with his partner and husband David Furnish is the father of two children conceived through fertility treatment, slammed the designers for the comments and called for a boycott of the fashion brand. Celebrities ranging from designer Victoria Beckham to singer Ricky Martin rallied behind John after the Italian magazine Panorama published Sicilian-born Dolce's comments. "You are born and you have a father and a mother. Or at least it should be like this, that's why I am not convinced by chemical children, synthetic babies, wombs for rent," Dolce said. Madonna, a mother of four and a client of the designers, said God is involved in everything, including technology. "We are arrogant to think Man does anything on his own. As above so below! Think before you speak," she added on Instagram. In a statement released by the designers, who once had a romantic relationship and remain business partners, they said it was never their intention of judge other people's choices. Give me a vowel - You think before you press send Cuba August 2016
  5. Her taste is impeccable indeed Just looking at the background details of one of her IG posts you can get the umpteenth confirmation of that
  6. I find Carlos in his prime to be way hotter than A-Rod
  7. I admire Luca but he really needs to pause and reflect about the things he says. considering his intelligence and curriculum Otherwise you just sound petty and passive-aggressive Saying Madonna has achieved a lot despite not being an an excellent singer and dancer is tired Or saying that he's learned from Madonna how you can go very far in life by working hard backstage for that matter Especially if he were to look at some of the collaborations he did on Italian TV in recent years, awful Xfactor stars and all You don't get to be chosen and mentored by Martha Graham's heir Pearl Lang if you haven't got talent ------------------------------------------ The pic is lovely of course Another magical performance
  8. Absolutely fabulous Thank you Jamesy. Astounding to think that she didn't do any TV or radio around the TB release. Reminds you of Jane Pauley's words a year later in that 40min special for NBC. You are a megastar yet you haven't done much TV. When you think about stars today compared to Madonna or other acts from the 80s and 90s, they are constantly everywhere but the allure, mystery and megawatt effortless star quality are long gone
  9. Of course She should date whomever she feels like dating, I don't think anybody here would disagree with that
  10. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39264349 Saudi Arabia launches girls' council - without any girls It was an encouraging initiative for a country not known for giving women a platform in public life. But when Saudi Arabia wanted to show off its inaugural girls' council in al-Qassim province, they overlooked one thing: the women. Pictures released to mark the first Qassim Girls Council meeting showed 13 men on stage, and not a single female. The women were apparently in another room, linked via video. The male-dominated photos have been circulating widely on social media, after the meeting took place on Saturday. It has been compared to another viral hit - an image of US President Donald Trump, surrounded by men, signing an abortion policy in January. The Saudi launch was led by Prince Faisal bin Mishal bin Saud, the province's governor, who said he was proud of the conference and it was the first of its kind in the kingdom. "In the Qassim region, we look at women as sisters to men, and we feel a responsibility to open up more and more opportunities that will serve the work of women and girls," he said. The girls' council is chaired by Princess Abir bint Salman, his wife, who was not in the photograph.
  11. This He just did it knowing it would give him attention. Rather sad, silly and immature on top of rude
  12. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-labour-party-policy-energy-prices-tarrifs-spiral-rises-tackle-tory-spring-conference-a7635161.html Theresa May steals Labour policy by vowing to tackle spiraling energy prices Prime Minister echoes Ed Miliband by admitting ‘the market is not working as it should’ – hinting at a cap to be announced soon Theresa May has stolen Labour clothes by vowing to act on sky-high energy prices, saying: “It is clear to me – and to anyone who looks at it – that the market is not working as it should.” In a speech to the party faithful in Cardiff, the Prime Minister said prices had soared by 158 per cent over the last 15 years, with the poorest hit by the highest tariffs. “Our party did not end the unjust and inefficient monopolies of the old nationalised energy corporations only to replace them with a system that traps the poorest customers on the worst deals,” she said. Ms May did not set out how her crackdown would work, but the pledge revived memories of Ed Miliband’s plans to intervene in the energy market – condemned by the Tories at the time. Addressing the Conservative Spring Forum, the Prime Minister also sharpened her attack on the SNP’s determination to stage a second Scottish independence referendum. “Three years ago they campaigned for a result that would have taken Scotland out of the EU altogether,” she said. “They are happy to see power rest in Brussels. But if those powers come back to London, they want them given to Edinburgh – so that they can try to give them back to Brussels. “And now they apparently say that an independent Scotland would no longer seek to become a member of the EU after a vote for separation. It is muddle on muddle.” We are now the party of a new centre ground of British politics. Rejecting the extremes of Labour's socialist Left, UKIP's libertarian Right and the divisive and obsessive nationalisms of Plaid Cymru and the SNP
  13. Totally The irony is that the only sane British politicians at the moment appear to be from one of the nations comprising the Union that won't accept the gambling away of the country's future in pursuit of petty little personal agendas. It would really be wonderful if Labour had someone like Mr Robertson who could own Theresa May the way he does rather than Corbyn's tripping and falling in his own speeches What amazes me are the words of Old Guard Thatcherites such as Kenneth Clark and Lord Heseltine who have savaged their own party gimmicks and looking at history you wouldn't have thought you could get much worse than Thatcher /Reagan era politics but it appears the current Tory establishment has surpassed their predecessors. Meanwhile David Cameron must be enjoying the advance on his next book, tragic times we live in
  14. Exactly! Much more interesting than those bland ephebic 20 something boys (nice eye candy but also looking dull like few)
  15. Is that part of her famous 18 #1s?