Saturday, 7 May 2016

Review of the week

Well, what a week it’s not been.  All local, Welsh, Scottish and police commissioner elections.  Yawn.

And there is still no FlexIn plan.

As for the referendum debate, here goes.

  • Blunt & Jenkin
  • Dalibor Rohac
  • Population growth: older and slower
  • The liberal case for leave: Adam Smith Institute
  • EFTA States and the Philippines sign Free Trade Agreement
  • Russia runs rings around Europe with gas pipes, but not as one would like
  • How 'flexible' can the UK actually be on EU data protection law?
  • Seven blunders from the Centre for European Reform

Blunt & Jenkin
King’s College London has published a website about the UK’s position in a changing Europe, an academic platform to speculate about the future.

Within the week, Bernard Jenkin MP spoke favourably about Brexit and Crispin Blunt spoke pragmatically about EurIn announcing his Committee’s recent report.  I comment on the latter on this linked post.

Both messages are good quality contributions.

Blunt’s Committee’s report is an analysis of others’ opinions in assessing possible (or likely) outcomes of both EurIn and Brexit, Jenkin’s views are a sound case for Brexit.

In particular, Jenkin’s speech and Blunt’s report appear to agree on the degree to which there is equal uncertainty of EurIn.  Blunt’s report paragraph 77 dovetails in principle with Jenkin’s views (“For as long as we remain in the EU of 28, we are but a minority of one…”) and Jenkin has realised that Cameron’s deal 19Feb2016 is an unsustainable, mid-air position, a fantasy.

Dalibor Rohac

On 02May2016, Dalibor Rohac wrote an overview of his new book.

I don’t understand Rohac’s position.  If Rohac cannot see that market socialism ultimately needs a centralised illiberal state to guarantee its equality-of-outcome, then I can assume only that he hasn’t understood the policy choices of the European Union prior to 1989.

It’s all very well wanting to believe that the European Union is a great innovation, but not spotting that it leaves itself wide open to be hi-jacked by the very forces that have driven Europe to war over the millennia is odd.

And I’m not sure I can reverse-engineer Rohac’s understanding of monetary policy and its democratic accountability.

Therefore, I don’t see Rohac as a credible witness.

Population growth: older and slower

On 01May2016, Business Insider summarised population growth.

What does this mean?  It means that the Western European idea of a welfare state - and the non-economic ‘job protection’ scam that forms part of it - is grossly unaffordable, and always has been.

The market socialism hard-wired into the European Union’s ‘constitution’ and social charter more-or-less prohibits the recognition of this unaffordability .  Worse, welfarism is a very popular opium of the demos.  Europeans will never vote to limit welfare, let alone abolish it, because, even if they recognise how damaging welfare is, in the mind of the ordinary voter, free-riding off somebody else’s work is always worth a try.

If the demos’ anger against immigration is materially measurable, just wait until young Europeans start to realise the true cost of their parents… and that their parents have dumped that cost onto the kids.

The European social charter is already a barrier to investment and employment.  Moreover, zero-percent interest rates of state-run fiat currency monopolies are a barrier for sustainable economic growth.  Earning has never been harder.  So who is going to pay for the welfare promised to the baby boomers (1950s-born), for which those same boomers chose to save grossly insufficient resources to fund that welfare?

Will Europe reform itself enough to avoid this painful choice?  I doubt it.  Only this week did a Frenchman sue his employer for being bored at work [RT, Le Point].  Do I want to be around Europe when that comes home to roost?  No thank you.

The liberal case for leave: Adam Smith Institute

This is a compelling case, and well worth the long read.  It rejects the Little-Englander-hates-all-immigrants argument, and embraces the world-is-bigger-than-Europe argument.   It’s another source that questions the purpose of a European Union, the current European Union in particular.

The case contains a lot of relevant facts, and well-based arguments.  Far from assuming a competent UKGov post-Brexit, it accounts for the reality that a post-Brexit UK will be managed by a EurIn Conservative UKGov with an equally EurIn civil service.

The case even proves the irrelevance of the “influence in Europe” argument.

I particularly like the one paragraph that says, “Looking back, the EU was (and is) an old ideology in a hurry.”

The case’s concluding paragraphs:

“So a parochial inward-looking “little Europe” and a demographically declining one, ranged against an expansive, liberal and global outlook. This vision certainly doesn’t want to go back to the past: of barriers, blocs, and narrow-mindedness.

“The crux of the matter is that we in Britain want trade and cooperation; our EU partners want merger and a leashed hinterland. Are we prepared to spend another generation or more dancing around this basic fact while the rest of the world moves on?”

EFTA States and the Philippines sign Free Trade Agreement

Yep.  You read that right.  EFTA can clearly see where the future lies.

Russia runs rings around Europe with gas pipes, but not as one would like

On 02May2016, the EU Observer published an opinion about Russia’s tactics with gas pipes.

Basically, it’s disinformation via divide-and-rule.  Russia takes advantage of relative greed & fear of European sovereign states, to obtain political power.  And the result is that EU nations allow themselves to squabble amongst themselves as to who is going to get some cash, at the cost of an actual energy union (or a single market for energy).

It’s quite amazing that European governments think that they want federalism, when at the first occasion they have to make some cash (or so they think), they play to win and refuse to co-operate with others.  It’s exactly the behaviour of “solidarity” that I expect.

Russia knows Europeans better than the European do.  Smart Russia!

How 'flexible' can the UK actually be on EU data protection law?

On 04May2016, the Register re-published a blog of Amberhawk Training Ltd analysing how UKGov might be when implementing EU data protection law.

This is a heavy-ish technical piece, but worth the time understanding it.  It’s not immediate obvious what the issue is.  In short, the blog identifies that UKGov wants EU law to have minimal effect in the UK - for reasons not specified - and questions whether the UKGov’s position is lawful.

But the UK state is largely decentralised, so the Information Commissioner can sue UKGov for breaking EU law.  Will that happen?

This issue is both a friend and foe of both Brexiteer and EurIneer alike.

Seven blunders from the Centre for European Reform

On 28Apr2016, the CER published a good-quality comment on the challenges of fulfilling Brexit.  The comment is about the mechanics of Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, it is not a comment about the principle of Brexit per se.

There is a strong alignment of the comment to Flexcit para 4.1.

“If a post-Brexit Britain changed its mind, it would have to follow a painful accession process. Britain would struggle to secure the opt-outs from the euro and Schengen that it enjoys today. Most of its political capital in Europe would already have been spent.”

Precisely.  If a Brexited Britain wants back in, then UKGov will have to be more honest with the people than it was in 1971.

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