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> To Brexit or not to Brexit?, That is the question
Julian
post Jun 15 2016, 05:25 PM
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As you may or may not know, Britain faces a referendum next week with a simple question - should the UK remain a member of the European Union, or should we leave?

"British Exit" (contracted by the media to 'Brexit') is seen by proponents to be a big opportunity for Britain to take control of it's own destiny, sovereignty, economy and borders. And, mostly, the other camp ("Bremain", in a similar portmanteau fashion) simply thinks that the unknown size of the potential risks of leaving the EU, rather than doing what we can to change it from within*, are too great a gamble to risk our national future on. Nobody really knows, because - aside from the economically insignificant and politically very different case of Greenland, no country has ever left the EU, certainly not a nation with one of the biggest economies and populations in it.

*One of the touchstones - the main one, in fact- of the campaign so far has been immigration. Just under half of immigration into Britain is from other EU states, and we are bound to allow free movement of people from the rest of the EU as long as we are in it. There is, however, a groundswell of public opinion across Europe against immigration into the EU from outside, and a growing minority of opinion against free movement of EU citizens within it, something that has been a central plank of the Union. Some of those opinions are racist, but not all of them.

Whatever the result, it's not binding on the government in UK law, merely advisory. However, it would be a brave government who went against the result, whichever way it goes.

So:
1. How much coverage has this issue had in the news media you have seen? Would you say that the coverage you have seen, heard or read was balanced, or skewed towards the Remain camp, the Leave camp, or some other position?
2. Are the British insane for even thinking about leaving the EU?
3. As Americans, what do you see are the consequences of either Leave or Remain for Britain, for her relationship with the USA, and for the world as a whole?
4. If you were British, and registered to vote, how would you[ vote in the EU referendum?
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akaCG
post Jul 20 2016, 04:00 PM
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QUOTE(Julian @ Jul 13 2016, 01:31 PM) *
...
... Optimists look at the currency devaluation and say "oh, that'll boost exports", but our economy hasn't been a net exporter for fifty years or more, and as a net importer on a record scale, it's bound to put upward pressure on prices. Inflation, in other words. ...
...

Let's take a look not just at the import side, but at the export side as well, shall we?

From 1960 to 2015, UK imports grew from 22% to 29% of GDP. Meanwhile, UK exports ... lo and behold, ... also grew, from 20% to 27% of GDP. IOW, the UK's trade deficit as a percentage of GDP - 2% - is the same now as it was back in 1960.

Perspective matters.

What also matters is making sure to avoid the pitfalls of projections based on static assumptions. Individuals and firms change their economic behavior in response to changing economic variables. Buying a UK-produced car instead of a foreign-produced one, for instance. Vacationing on the coast of Cornwall instead of the coast of Spain, for another. On the other side: foreign car manufacturers lowering their prices in order to maintain their share of the UK car market; owners of bed-and-breakfasts in the Dordogne lowering their weekly rates in order to keep UK vacationers coming. Etc.

End result: one would need a virtual microscope in order to detect the inflationary impact of Brexit on the pocketbooks of average UK citizens, be they Leavers or Remainers.

QUOTE(Julian @ Jul 13 2016, 01:31 PM) *
Stagflation, anyone?
...

Should it occur at some point, it will have had nothing to do with Brexit.

QUOTE(Julian @ Jul 13 2016, 01:31 PM) *
...
I'll keep you posted.

Please do. But also please make sure to provide the entire picture, not just part of it.

Sources:
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.IMP...ZS?locations=GB
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.EXP...ZS?locations=GB

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Julian
post Jul 21 2016, 06:00 PM
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QUOTE(akaCG @ Jul 20 2016, 05:00 PM) *
QUOTE(Julian @ Jul 13 2016, 01:31 PM) *
...
... Optimists look at the currency devaluation and say "oh, that'll boost exports", but our economy hasn't been a net exporter for fifty years or more, and as a net importer on a record scale, it's bound to put upward pressure on prices. Inflation, in other words. ...
...

Let's take a look not just at the import side, but at the export side as well, shall we?

From 1960 to 2015, UK imports grew from 22% to 29% of GDP. Meanwhile, UK exports ... lo and behold, ... also grew, from 20% to 27% of GDP. IOW, the UK's trade deficit as a percentage of GDP - 2% - is the same now as it was back in 1960.


Interesting. But that's historical data, and takes no account of Brexit nor of any trade barriers that may or may not arise as a result of it, or of any further falls in the value of Sterling. Nobody knows what will happen. Everyone is just guessing, including the both of us. And it's so needless - the referendum was offered to the public as a political expedient, not as a thought-through policy.

The new cabinet appointments have put prominent Brexit campaigners into all the offices of state most directly responsible for negotiating Brexit, including the specific ministry created to do just that. It doesn't take a genius or a cynic to think that these people are being set up for the fall to limit the electoral damage to the party, rather than being the best available people to secure the best deal for the UK that can be achieved. Political expediency and party interest over the national interest, again. This story will run and run, I fear.

QUOTE
Perspective matters.


Indeed. Mine is my own.

QUOTE
What also matters is making sure to avoid the pitfalls of projections based on static assumptions. Individuals and firms change their economic behavior in response to changing economic variables. Buying a UK-produced car instead of a foreign-produced one, for instance.


What UK car manufacturers are there? One's owned and headquartered in the UK, I mean, not just car plants opened here by foreign businesses taking advantage, at least in part, of our membership of the EU single market. Not everyone can afford to buy an Aston Martin.

QUOTE
Vacationing on the coast of Cornwall instead of the coast of Spain, for another.


On a hot day, Cornwall can be much nicer than much of Spain. However, Cornish travel infrastructure isn't really geared to mass transit of the order of the millions of Brits who head to the Mediterranean coast every year and never has been. The big domestic resorts of yesteryear, before cheap foreign travel (which predates UK membership of the EU anyway, at least in Spain) left them mostly empty, are in places like Skegness, Blackpool, Brighton or Weston-super-Mare. None of which have even the milder climate of Cornwall, much less the baking heat of Southern Spain.

And, because of the lack of hotel space and infrastructure, a weekend in Cornwall in peak season can work out two or even three times as expensive than a fortnight in a purpose-built seaside resort within a few hours flying time of the UK. Not just Spain, but Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and the rest of the Arab world (which is heading to be even cheaper, to try to attract business scared away by terrorism) can all work out less expensive than domestic holidays. Sure, economic actors will react to that, eventually, and make more of UK travel, but how long will that take?

QUOTE
On the other side: foreign car manufacturers lowering their prices in order to maintain their share of the UK car market;
They already have 95%+ share of it. I doubt they'll have sleepless nights over their market share
QUOTE
Owners of bed-and-breakfasts in the Dordogne lowering their weekly rates in order to keep UK vacationers coming. Etc.

They'll need to lower it a fair bit just to account for the existing currency devaluation.

QUOTE
End result: one would need a virtual microscope in order to detect the inflationary impact of Brexit on the pocketbooks of average UK citizens, be they Leavers or Remainers.


We shall see.

QUOTE
QUOTE(Julian @ Jul 13 2016, 01:31 PM) *
Stagflation, anyone?
...

Should it occur at some point, it will have had nothing to do with Brexit.


It may be a causative factor, but I never claimed it would be the only cause. Plus, UK politics are in such flux, and we aren't even a calendar month past the referendum result, I find it hard to credit any prediction of anything very much.

QUOTE
QUOTE(Julian @ Jul 13 2016, 01:31 PM) *
...
I'll keep you posted.

Please do. But also please make sure to provide the entire picture, not just part of it.

Sources:
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.IMP...ZS?locations=GB
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE.EXP...ZS?locations=GB

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akaCG
post Jul 27 2016, 12:52 AM
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Thought I'd share the following:
QUOTE
...
It turns out rock didn’t die when Elvis joined the Army in 1958, or when the Beatles accepted their OBEs in the 1960s, or when Vivienne Westwood went from making filthy t-shirts for punks to being dressmaker-in-chief to the filthy-rich bourgeoisie. No, it died last Thursday, outside Liverpool St, when an NME distributor shoved the latest issue of the once rebellious mag into my hands and I glanced at its cover and realised it is a special issue on how to cope with life outside the EU. For real.

In the words of NME editor Mike Williams, this latest issue is chock-a-block with ‘sage advice’ on how to cope with the post-Brexit ‘madness that’s engulfed the UK’. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. ‘Anarchy in the UK’ screams the front-cover headline, next to photos of Nigel Farage with devil’s horns, Boris looking bonkers, and Cameron looking stressed out. Remember when youths thought anarchy in the UK might be a good thing? When Johnny Rotten snarled, ‘I want to be anarchy… get *** NOTICE: THIS WORD IS AGAINST THE RULES. FAILURE TO REMOVE IT WILL RESULT IN A STRIKE. ***, destroy’? Now the NME loses the plot over a bit of political unpredictability and pumps out advice like: ‘Make sure you have savings.’ I’m not making this up.
...
Perusing the NME’s sad, stuffy, small-c conservative freakout over this big change in British politics got me thinking: Brexit is actually the most rock’n’roll thing to have happened in a generation. What we have here is ordinary people, including vast swathes of the working class, saying ‘No’ to the status quo, sticking two fingers up at an aloof elite, channelling Rotten and Vicious to say screw you (or something rather tastier) to that illiberal, risk-averse layer of bureaucracy in Brussels. It makes the student radicals of the 60s and even the anarchic punks of the 70s look like rank amateurs in comparison. Sure, those guys might have waved flowers against the Vietnam War or put safety pins through their snouts, but did they send the political class, the chattering class and the business elite into an existential tailspin by delivering a severe sucker punch to these people’s favourite institution? No, they didn’t. Brexit did, though.

The NME shows what side it is on by this week replacing the ‘E’ in its name with the Euro sign. So it is openly celebrating a currency that has caused chaos for so many working Europeans. A currency that is viewed as so holy by the rulers and banks and businesspeople of the European Union that protecting its standing is considered more important than the livelihoods of Greek people or democracy in Italy. There you go, folks: the NME is on the side of The Man against the people. The sellouts. The rebels have become the squares, the youths have become the authoritarians, and the spirit of rock’n’roll no longer lives in the middle-class music scene or leftish activist circles, but in the hearts and minds of the little people.
...

Link: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/07/brexi...0303.1466675047

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Julian
post Jul 27 2016, 03:35 PM
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QUOTE(akaCG @ Jul 27 2016, 01:52 AM) *
Thought I'd share the following:
...<snip>...
Link: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/07/brexi...0303.1466675047


That's all very well, but what happens when The Man happens to be right? Is sticking it to The Man always the right thing to do, no matter what the consequences? It might be the punk thing to do, for sure, but as your linked article points out, 99% of first generation punks are now in comfortable middle age and don't want to rock the boat. Brexit rocks the boat so much it might even sink it.

Oh, and you'll be perfectly aware that the profanity in the Sex Pistols lyric the article refers doesn't refer to the American usage of the phrase, in the sense of "get angry". It, being a British usage, refers to the British sense of "get drunk". Certainly, Lydon's lyric is archly aware that both senses exist, but so is the author of the article, and in choosing only one meaning to illustrate their point, they are twisting it to suit themselves.

Tell you what, just for variety, instead of trawling the web for excerpts of other people's thinking then posting a one-line comment to introduce it, how about you actually answer the questions for debate with your own thoughts, unfiltered by any external links. You know, just for a change?
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akaCG
post Jul 28 2016, 01:00 AM
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2. Are the British insane for even thinking about leaving the EU?

Nope.

What IS insane is thinking that ...

... the 5th largest economy in the world, ...

... the 9th largest exporter in the world, ...

... and the 5th largest importer in the world would, ...

... by virtue of its choosing to no longer be subject to Brussels-derived, yeeears-long deliberations regarding such things as ...

... the acceptable curvature of an average banana and/or ...

... the acceptable size of an average condom, ...

... would see its role as a major player on the international geo-political-economic stage shrivel.


4. If you were British, and registered to vote, how would you vote in the EU referendum?

LEAVE!!!

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