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From my experience with the author, I expected Matt Ridley’s piece on Brexit to be largely about trade and economics. And while those subjects loom large in his article, the more arresting ones to me were on nationalism and what Ridley sees — correctly, I think — as the ultimate goal of the EU:
Be in no doubt that if we vote to remain on Thursday, turning the continent into a country is the path we are on. […] If the continent is not to be crucified on the cross of a currency, then it must become a country. It must have a single government that automatically transfers tax revenue from the productive to the less productive parts of the country. […] [The EU’s undemocratic diktats fly] in the face of all that we have striven for and shed blood for over centuries, especially in Britain: that laws cannot be passed and taxes cannot be raised except with the consent of the people through their elected representatives. I say again: is this worth it? What is so fearful about the world today that we feel it necessary to be absorbed into such a risky project?
Nation building is a bloody business, perhaps the bloodiest there is. We’ve seen that play out in American and European history; we’ve seen it play out in Iraq these past few years; we’ve even seen it play out in popular fantasy entertainment.
Author’s Note: This post is solely political commentary and does not constitute a recommendation to take a position long or short in the instrument(s) mentioned. Futures trading involves risk well in excess of initial margin capital. The first installment of this series published June 10th detailed the improving prospects of the Leave campaign as evidenced […]
There are dirty tricks in every campaign, and Brexit is no different. This handy voter guide is making the rounds on the Interwebs. Preview Open
Peter Robinson speaks with John O’Sullivan and Hoover Institution fellow Michael McFaul about the many problems Europe is facing, including an aggressive Russia, Brexit, NATO, and the asylum crisis in Germany. McFaul and O’Sullivan give their analysis of these problems and what it means for the future of Europe.
The day of decision on Brexit is fast approaching, and we’ll soon know whether the term will have a lengthy entry in the history books or be relegated to a mere footnote. Some of you may need a distraction from your troubles so — with the polls unbelievably close, not to mention just generally unbelievable — here is my hostage-to-fortune take on the future, either way.
Aside from the important economic, immigration and sovereignty issues, this is really an existential political battle, even if neither of the two main parties realise it. If the vote is to Remain, it will signal the death knell of small-c conservatism in Britain, leaving the technocratic big government center to dominate. If the vote is to Leave the left will be castrated.
Should We Stay …
Thursday’s vote on Brexit will perhaps be the most consequential decision that Europe has faced in several generations. The most recent polls suggest that the outcome is very close, with a small but uncertain majority in favor of staying. Last week’s polls taken after the senseless assassination of Labor MP Jo Cox, a strong supporter of Great Britain retaining its place in the European Union, point to a surge in favor of exiting for reasons that are hard to unpack. The issue is one on which I have previously equivocated. Now, after much unhappy reflection, I think that on balance a vote to leave the EU is the right choice—in part because the established leadership of both the Conservative and Labour parties is urging the opposite course.
A decision to leave or remain has vast ramifications for many aspects of British life: economics, energy, the environment, immigration, a system of weights and measures, and much more. Making a vote is a black and white yes/no decision in a world filled with grays, given that there are major advantages both ways. Staying in the EU assures England access to continental markets, which is why many, but by no means all, large firms and banks support remaining. But at the same time, staying in the EU subjects England to vast amounts of regulation from the powerful Brussels bureaucracy, which extends its tentacles with each new decree into every nook and cranny of British and European life, as Diana Furchtgott-Roth notes. Today, more law in Great Britain comes from Brussels than London.
The EU’s power rests on the critical notion of harmonization. The union subjects all member nations to uniform rules and regulations in order to ease the burden on cross-border transactions. Uniformity surely has some advantages, but to classical liberals like myself, the advantages come at far too high a price. To see why, it is critical to see how a federal system should work, which is best exemplified in the American Constitution—not as it is interpreted today, but as it was understood in 1787.
Author’s Note: This post is solely political analysis regarding the Brexit referendum and not a recommendation to take long or short positions in the instruments described. Futures trading involves risk of losses greater than original margin capital. Ten days ago I posted an article examining predictive power of the U.S. futures markets as it related […]
These last weeks leading up to the June 23rd Brexit vote will be about instilling fear. Cameron’s threats to the elderly on pensions and the scaremongering from all sides will trigger some reliable — and often noble — British character traits: to avoid controversy, to be risk averse, and to suffer quietly. As America’s Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “[A]ll experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
But deep in its heart, I believe the old Britain I know wants to leave, but will be too wary to change. In many ways, there is a cultural war of attributes over the British psyche. The love of what is British and the Island mentality, versus the fear of risk and change. To accept the risks of leaving is to change one’s identity; to stay is to lose it.
Author’s Note: This post is solely political commentary and does not constitute a recommendation to take a position long or short in the instruments mentioned. Futures trading involves risk well in excess of initial margin requirements to trade these leveraged instruments.
Several members and contributors reference various betting markets and their predictive power for certain political decisions and elections. I always enjoy their posts and comments, but given my daily work in futures markets, haven’t visited the betting markets.
Futures markets, like betting markets, can sometimes be predictive of possible outcomes in that they reflect commitments by a group of people who are well capitalized and hopefully well informed. The size of the British Pound physically delivered foreign exchange futures market is notionally $24T (this is outsized compared to historical norms given the hedging activity associated with Brexit).
In the autumn of 2008, with the election of Barack Obama imminent, I began writing political satire in verse. Today, I have posted the fiftieth of those satires. I am pleasantly surprised that my inspiration has lasted for so many years and so many pieces. But more than that, I am moved that this fiftieth piece […]
With all that is going on in the US, perhaps the topic of “Brexit” has escaped most people. Until the last week or so, even as an American living in Switzerland, I have to admit I didn’t find it important. But Brexit is important even to Americans. It is about what happens when an “administrative state” is in the process of becoming your unwanted master.
Brexit is the June 23 referendum to decide if the UK remains in the European Union (EU). The peoples of the 28 members of the EU are governed to a growing extent by a complex organization in Brussels that can best be described as an “administrative state.” It has evolved from the original Treaty of Rome; this formed a trading bloc called the European Economic Community (EEC). When the key members formed this bloc in the 1950s, it amounted to a group of countries that sought free trade among themselves and common tariffs with countries outside the bloc. It was simple, effective, and democratic because each member’s participation was governed by the parliaments of each member state.
The European Union has evolved into a political-economic behemoth of enormous complexity and costs, headquartered in Brussels. Because of this complexity, many here in Europe believe it represents the worst of centralized government. It is seen as largely unaccountable to the average citizens of the 28 member states, and equally leaderless, incapable of speaking in a coherent voice about issues such as the tidal wave of refugees coming out of Africa and the Middle East.
The Spectator, a weekly British publication, sponsored a debate on Brexit last week, hosted by the always-interesting Andrew Neil. The Leave side was represented by Daniel Hannan, Nigel Farage, and Kate Hoey, and the “Remainians,” as Farage quipped, were represented by the always-oily Nick Clegg, Chuka Umunna, and Liz Kendall. Spoiler: the Leave side won. Preview […]
Federal Reserve meetings come in two flavors: with and without a press conference, with the former coming about once per quarter. In recent years Ben Bernanke and now Chair Janet Yellen have practiced a policy not to change interest rates without a press conference. So given that today was the non-presser variety of FOMC meeting, it surprised nobody that the Fed didn’t change interest rates today.
But much like a meeting of the Politburo or the College of Cardinals, you look for clues for what monetary policy will do in the smallest of signals. So today’s statement of the end of this week’s two-day meeting was interesting to many in that it said the economy was doing pretty darn well.
“[L]abor market conditions have improved further even as growth in economic activity appears to have slowed. Growth in household spending has moderated, although households’ real income has risen at a solid rate and consumer sentiment remains high.”