Nov 152020
 

There’s a myth propagated by the far-right anti-EU brigade – that the “original” European Economic Community (there was an earlier ECSC) was only ever about a single market for goods and services. As can be seen from the Schuman Declaration, the long-term aim was always political integration :-

A united Europe was not achieved and we had war.

Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.

Now you could argue that a unified Europe is undesirable and that it is perfectly reasonable to stop at a single market. That would be an agreeable position – stupid in my opinion, but valid.

But arguing that unification was never the goal would be dishonest.

Toward The Sea
Jun 142018
 

Trump is outdoing himself in stupidity by starting a trade war with the strongest allies of the US. He imposed unilateral tariffs on steel and aluminium (supposedly to protect US workers although it won’t do that), and acts surprised when allies respond with tariffs of their own.

Which is a bit like a child being surprised when they throw a ball in the air and it falls back on their head.

So what effect will the tariffs on steel and aluminium have? For a start, the US producers of steel and aluminium are not going to suddenly pick up the slack – the US imports in the region of $2 billion worth of steel products per month, and whilst US steel manufacturers can increase production it won’t be able to increase it that quickly.

So the US will continue to import foreign steel, but importers will pay more for it. That means the goods produced by imported steel will cost more. Consumers will pay more for those goods or switch to foreign producers who produce it cheaper (the later will cost US jobs).

So Trump has chosen to implement tariffs that will harm the US.

And assumed that those countries Trump has imposed tariffs on will meekly accept their punishment; which obviously hasn’t happened..

The EU has imposed retaliatory tariffs on motorcycles, cranberry juice, denim, peanut butter, and cigarettes. Notice something interesting about those products? They are all finished products with easily sourced alternative suppliers, or luxury goods that aren’t necessary.

In other words the EU tariffs are going to have a minimal impact on the EU economy.

So Trump will blame the damage to the US economy on his own trade war, and point to the lack of damage to the EU’s economy as ‘evidence’.

Expect more temper tantrum Trump ‘policies’ shortly.

 

Nov 062016
 

There has been a great deal of fuss over the recent High Court decision recently that requires the government to ask parliament to authorise Article 50 to trigger leaving the EU. Most of it complete rubbish, and the more extreme responses were childish too.

The court case had nothing to do with Brexit itself – it was a constitutional issue over whether the government had exceeded its authority by trying to use the royal prerogative to authorise Article 50. The court decided it had, and that parliament should decide on the Article 50 issue.

It was not an attempt to defeat Brexit. There wasn’t some sort of remainer conspiracy to block Brexit. It was “just” a standard constitutional law case deciding on whether the government was using the royal prerogative unnecessarily to act in an undemocratic way.

As a side effect of the decision, there is a chance that parliament might decide to ignore the referendum result and try to remain within the EU. This would probably be a dumb move (and I would prefer to remain within the EU), but the blame for that loophole is down to how the original referendum was drawn up.

stack-of-coins-p1

Jun 292016
 

Having said give it a rest already, this is where I rant a bit about the dumbest decision England has made since following the direction of the pope and invading Ireland back in the 13th century.

So it turns out that crowd-sourcing decisions can sometimes result in the dumbest possible result. If you think about it a bit, you realise that the decision is effectively not a decision at all. The result (52% for exit, 48% for remain) indicates that half the country wants to leave and half the country wants to remain. We’re effectively undecided.

Parliament could ignore the result and decide to remain within the EU; the referendum is not legally binding. That probably isn’t going to happen, and a second referendum is even less likely – I cannot see the politicians wanting to spend that much money on democracy.

The amusing thing is that there are people out there who voted to leave as a protest vote, and didn’t really want to leave at all. Which strikes me as possibly the dumbest method of protesting you can possibly come up with. Mooning number 10 Downing Street is more sensible than voting for something you do not want.

But what do those of us who want to remain part of the EU do? Probably the most sensible thing is to keep quiet, let things go through their course, and in about 5 years time start campaigning to re-join the EU. Five years is about long enough to demonstrate just how dumb this move was, and will also shift all those under-18 remain fans get old enough to start voting.

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Apr 282016
 

How much money do we pay into the EU? Well according to Full Fact, it’s quite a bit less than the Brexit campaigners would have us believe (who would have thought it? Politicians lying!). It’s actually around 13 billion a year (inclusive of the rebate), and the EU directly spends about 4 billion in the UK. To which can be added other figures such as grants for research, etc.

Now that’s still quite a bit of money, and the Brexit campaigners are busy claiming all sorts of benefits that could come about if we spent it ourselves rather than send it to the EU.

Really? Have they not checked the colour of the Prime Minister’s underpants? The current Tory government is not in the business of spending money; they are more interested in cutting taxes for their rich cronies.

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