Fantasy Land

The EU is not what it would seem to be.

The Lisbon Treaty

The Lisbon Treaty, which came into force on 1st December 2009, declares that the European Union is based on common principles of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. To ensure all this the Commission ‘seems’ to have noted the advice the Duchess gave to Alice (In Wonderland) before introducing her to the Mock Turtle: “Be what you would seem to be”, which implies that the Union must stick by the principles it has declared. But the Duchess added:

or if you’d like it put more simply -‘Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.’”

Her ‘simplification’ seems to be the format the Commission has adopted, or else it is simply confused about what it should seem to be. The Ambition of the declared principles has been smothered by Distraction (such as the invention of a parliament without democratic control) and Uglification (the growth of inequality between member states). Furthermore, since its voters decided to leave the Union the UK has suffered continual Derision. Oh dear, that sounds like the Mock Turtle’s definition of arithmetic – the Commission seems to have confused the Treaty with a fantasy. [1]

[1] Ambition, Distraction, Unification and Division

Oh Shit!

After Brexit there are winners and losers in most areas of Continental trade and for some the losses are considerable. For example, the EU has decided that our waters are suddenly not clean enough for British shellfish to be safe for EU citizens to eat but that doesn’t stop Dutch ships coming as close as permitted to take their catch and deliver it to their own ports [1]. Have our water companies chosen to pour more sewage into the sea since January 1st to show how they feel about the EU? If so this rude gesture would show what the world really thinks of the spiteful Union since British water and sewage is largely controlled by companies from Canada, China, Malaysia, the USA and even Germany [2]. We haven’t heard that this is happening so more likely the ban is petty punishment by Brussels bureaucrats.



Stick it up them

We might have joined the EU’s programme for vaccines, as Labour demanded, but the terms would have given us no say about which vaccines to buy, at what price or on what delivery schedules and with no side-orders allowed the outcome would have been dreadful. Enough said – we’ve covered this already [1].

[1] Our Friends in Europe

Funny Money?

The EU has so far refused to grant the UK’s financial services sector reasonable terms, despite its regulations being exactly the same at present. As The Economist magazine notes: “The EU recognises Australian rules as broadly equivalent to its own in 17 different areas, compared with only two for Britain. It is now easier to sell many financial products to clients in the EU from 10,000 miles away in Sydney than from across the Channel.” The USA has also been treated more equally.

Global banks in London have previously had full access to EU markets and would like to keep it that way, whilst the insurance sector (i.e. global leader Lloyds), smaller banks and alternative investment managers would benefit from divergence to make themselves more attractive to other regions and partners.

However, even amongst the big players there is no unanimity. Jes Staley, the boss of Barclays told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “I think Brexit is more than likely on the positive side than on the negative side” … “What London needs to be focused on is not Frankfurt or not Paris, it needs to be focused on New York and Singapore.” …”If we get it wrong, the main beneficiary is probably Asia” … “Yes, there are some jobs that are going to Europe, that otherwise would have been in the UK, but it’s in the hundreds. Barclays employs some 50,000 people in the United Kingdom, roughly 20,000 outside of the UK and 10,000 in the US.” [1]

There is a fair chance we can do better on our own in most sectors, over time. For the financial sector things are likely to develop in new directions in response to global challenges and changing technology (fintech); crypto currencies for example are challenging fiat money (government-issued bank notes). We can be sure that the EU will be slow to respond and alignment would strangle our industry. Submitting to deliberately hostile foreign control and regulation is a terrible idea and sclerosis would be the only prospect.



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