Just before the Referendum the G7 met (with or without David Cameron we can’t be sure as he’s not in the photo – or is he hiding behind Obama?) and perhaps helped to provoke the Referendum result by declaring how awful leaving would be, by damaging global growth. Of course they provided no evidence but they did try to link it to global security, just to emphasise the risk that voters then decided to take anyway.
Was anyone surprised by the communiqué that they issued, praising their cooperation and their wonderful policies while ignoring their failures?
G7 versus Brexit (27/05/2016)
Even before the Referendum populism and migration were seen as crises for the EU. The responses seemed to be – then and since – to do a deal with Turkey to limit the flow of migrants into their territory and to blame the member states for a lack of unity. However, the populists are now more popular than ever, and Turkey is going rogue, which indicates just how effective EU policies are.
Is breaking-up so hard to do? (01/06/2016)
We have not been the only ones asking if the EU has a future, although Remainers seem to be scared of this question, or just assume that it has a future, without question. But the European Central Bank (ECB) had concerns about the political risks; in the Spring of 2016 they published a chart showing how such risks had been increasing. (Interesting that the UK was not picked out just before the Referendum but Greece topped the table; now Greece has just kicked out ‘populist’ Syriza and restored one of its traditional parties, previously regarded as corrupt by Greeks – a return to safety there then.)
More recently EU leaders seem to have successfully suppressed talk of political risk, emphasising how good they are at dealing with crises.
EU in Crisis? (01/06/2016)
But apparently the EU thrives on crises, that’s what the founders thought would drive the Project on despite any public reluctance. We take the view that at some point the crises will overwhelm the Project and it will fail. Real reform is unlikely and EU leaders appear to be heading with blurred vision into a massive and possibly terminal crisis due to monetary union (the Eurozone).
It is difficult to understand why Remainers choose to ignore the possibility of EU failure and focus instead on the assumption that leaving will have only bad outcomes for the UK. They miss the full story, which might change a few minds, among those who are not emotionally committed to the ideal despite the reality.
Ambition outruns achievement in the EU; there is no solid foundation for the Project, which is why, ultimately, it is at risk. The case to remain has been overwhelmingly based on fear but the greatest fears should arise from the risks and uncertainties of remaining.
Risks & Uncertainties (02/06/2016)
There are of course risks and uncertainties if Brexit happens but these need to be set against those that derive from the ideology and performance of the EU. Since the Referendum these risks have grown and the uncertainties have not lessened, yet those who fear the consequences of Brexit use forecasting models that predict bad consequences from leaving. This is not surprising because such conclusions are built into the assumptions underlying their models.
The risks and uncertainties were the UK to remain in the EU grow out of its ideological foundations and the policies and practices that have demonstrably failed to produce the promised results.
Be aware, but not afraid (16/06/2016)
Once in a while, though not often, we come across a substantial attempt to defend the EU and put a positive spin on the risks and crises that it experiences. So far we have not been persuaded by the arguments, but we will keep looking and report good arguments if and when we find them.
One point of concern that is rarely publicised is that treaties, laws, regulations and so on are intended to be irreversible, unless it suits the EU. Switzerland is experiencing this at present, as is the UK. Perhaps the only reversible provision is Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, under which the UK submitted its application to withdraw from the EU. Other countries (for example, Denmark, France and Ireland) whose people have indicated a wish to restore some power to their nation, were told not to be so hostile and gave in eventually. Are British voters being softened up ready to come to their senses in a second referendum?
EU Easing Up – Really? (18/06/2016)
Excessive ambition and inadequate competence underlie the risks and crises that the EU faces. Inevitably whenever a crisis occurs EU leaders call for more unity, which is an autocratic way of blaming everyone but themselves. Rather than take action to resolve crises the EU demands loyalty, in the expectation, or at least the hope, that if everyone sings from the same hymn sheet the crisis will somehow evaporate.
From Britain’s point of view, any deal that may be agreed with the European Commission and the European Council will still have to be confirmed by the European Parliament and, separately, by each of the 27 remaining member states. Given the volatility and frequent disunity experienced within the EU, this requirement presents a risk to the UK, though no doubt any wobblers will be ‘persuaded’ to conform.
100 Days Review (Part 3) (21/10/2016)
Once in a while we summarise our objections to the EU and offer our reasons why Britain should leave. Our first such summary, in October 2016, focused on four issues: ideology, competence, authoritarianism and fragility. EU ideology—that the nations of Europe should be governed centrally, for their own good—is one fundamental reason for objecting to, and leaving, the project. There is no reason to believe that a federal government is necessary, and less reason to believe that the self-selected leaders of the project have the competence to bring about the blissful results they declare as their goals.
Ideology leads to authoritarianism and incompetence to fragility. Our conclusion? The EU is a fragile autocracy and an obstacle to the formation of a collaborative and effective community in Europe.
What’s Wrong with EU? – New Summary (26/10/2016)
Our favourite anti-Brexit newspaper, The Economist, continues its unbalanced reporting on the EU and its wonders. The assumption promoted by the EU and its supporters is that with its history of inter-state struggles, Europe is unable to collaborate to keep pace with other international players. They want us to believe that as a single entity Europe (they mean the EU) will become a major economic and political player on the international scene. Its share of world GDP has halved since 1980 and it hasn’t agreed about much concerning foreign affairs despite appointing a Commissioner – note the Falklands, Russia, China and Libya for example (it does agree about Iran but to no effect).
In practice there is a contradiction between EU theory (or its ideology) and EU practice, between the goal of European union and the reality of European diversity. There is a revealing contrast between the assumption that the EU can form an effective regional government and the firm belief that neither the UN nor any other international institution could provide an effective world government. Their logic is flawed or, more likely, not logic at all.
Evidence of Fragility (Part 5) (03/03/2017)
Both Boris and Jeremy promise that ‘no deal’ will happen if whichever of them becomes Prime Minister can’t get a deal. Given the intransigence of both the EU and the UK Parliament a re-negotiated Draft Withdrawal Agreement seems unlikely to happen. However, they could agree to a transition period on more-or-less current terms while negotiating a future free trade agreement. But is that wishful thinking?
One week before the original withdrawal date we hoped that, whatever the posturing, both sides would put the interests of their citizens first. It has to be said that no one in a position of authority, on either side, seems to take that strange idea seriously.
Part 2 of this Theme will look at some more recent posts touching on risks, uncertainties and crises. In the current state of uncertainty, if not crisis, no one can predict how the next few months will turn out or what, if any, risks either side will take.
Deal, or No Deal (22/03/2017)