Thursday, 9 June 2016

A miscellaneous reading list

A crude list of some bits and pieces from the mainstream media that cropped up on my radar, with my short reactions underneath them. All knee-jerk stuff really. As the articles are devoid of rational reason, I'm not sure why I should bother with responding to them rationally...

Analysis - Brexit would leave EU less liberal, less Atlanticist
Speculation about geo-politics within a Brexited European Union.  The most noteworthy comment is:
“Guntram Wolf, a German economist who heads the Bruegel economic think-tank in Brussels, said the Berlin establishment was in a funk, fearing that "we are left alone with all those Mediterranean spending countries with a preference for redistribution and we are going to pay for them and drift away from a liberal, pro-market, TTIP Europe. That’s the big angst."

Indeed.  Wouldn’t it therefore be more practical to cancel the current European Union and start again with a Northern European Union (Ireland, Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway (if they want!), Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic) and a completely separate Southern European Union (Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus)?  (Note sure where the remaining countries would fit in).

The Southerners could continue to indulge in their welfarist and socialist spending habits, their constant struggle against the pan-galactic conspiracy of crony capitalism, their on-going hatred of America, trade embargoes, strikes, protectionism, and pay for it all by themselves.  The Northerners could just get on with productive work, beneficial to themselves and their customers overseas, and have an honest life.  That sounds like social justice to me.

Dear Britain: Elena Ferrante, Slavoj Žižek and other European writers on Brexit
All emotional, all left-wing, all Project Fear.  Ignore.
Besides, Slavoj Žižek,I rather like the idea that I could sue a government for engaging in economic vandalism against my interests.  Why should I suffer collateral damage from careless policy choices without compensation?

'Let’s be honest: the union does not exist'
Good news: here is a sign that if Britain votes EurIn, then at least one member of the European Parliament publicly says he wants to stick to the deal that exempts Britain from further European federalism.
Relevant to the voter in the referendum?  Possibly yes: if this comment represents all European Parliamentarians (which, of course, it doesn’t), then it gives the first good, solid reason to vote EurIn.

Dimming the beacon of rule of law
A worthy opinion about the effect of Brexit on the rule of law.  All speculative, of course, but worthy nonetheless.  Credible?  Not sure.  Relevant to the voter in the referendum?  No: it’s too consequential and mechanistic. A lot of things need to not happen for any of this speculation to come true.

Dear Britain, if you stay in the EU, you will ruin our lives. Here is why
More emotional, supposedly ironic, rather patronising and pure Project Fear.  At least the patronising is sincere. Well-written and so very tempting to call the author’s bluff.  I don’t share Quatremer’s negative, snobbish attitude about the non-European world, even less his nihilistic views about Britain.  But Quatremer over-states the power of a EurIned UKGov and ignores the guillotine that the European Parliament can yet bring down on the Cameron deal of 19Feb2016. I love his bit about the break-up of the UK... most amusing for those of us in England who would quite like Scotland to become independent!

It’s not just Britain: A new poll shows Europeans elsewhere are tired of the E.U.
Yep. For all the good that the European Union has achieved for mainland Europe - a move towards democracy, a degree of freer trade (still heavy managed by corrupt nation states), some transparency of how European governance works - the bit that no-body wants to spell out to the people is that a shrinking demographic of working-age taxpayers cannot afford to prop-up the bloated welfare states and little tin-pot protections of vested interests that each nation state represents, and tries to impose on others at a European level. As a consequence, the people feel lied to. The outcome mismatches the rhetoric.

Which European country is going to be the first to replicate France of the 1790s?

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