Grasp the Nettle

The decision is taken. It will soon be time to grasp the nettle.

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52% to 48%. The “Leave” vote was provided by England outside of London and, to a lesser extent, Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland chose “Remain.”

Currency and stock markets have reacted badly with near panic selling of currency and index futures in the early hours of the US east coast morning.

Champagne was opened or not depending upon opposing perspectives.

Prime Minister David Cameron has chosen to stand down in advance of his party’s conference in October.

Tempers run hot.

Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London, leader of the “Leave” forces and a candidate to succeed Cameron as Tory Party leader and thus Prime Minister was called a tw.t as he left his house and got into his car. (In England it rhymes with hat but is more used there and thus less rude than here.)

Now what?

There will be a period of blaming as the disappointed try to make themselves feel better by demeaning the motives of the majority. Some of the blaming will be deserved, as there were undoubtedly many frightened voters who chose “leave” for less than noble reasons.

Some of the blaming will not be deserved, however, as the vote can also be viewed as a report card on the performance of Whitehall and Brussels.

The ubiquitous World War II slogan (that was never actually used) will serve you well during this period.

 

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But then it won’t.

When the breathless blamers have spent themselves and moved on to other concerns it will be time to:

 

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Scotland and Northern Ireland might choose to stay in the E.U. as their votes indicate. Recent experience suggests that forcing people to live under regimes they dislike might be less than a clever plan. London is far more difficult as it chose Remain. It was not offered the chance to become a part of Switzerland, which might have won handily.

A rare opportunity exists to design a future that can be more successful than the recent past if leaders throughout Europe recognize the results of this report card and choose to grasp the nettle.

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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8 comments

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  • The EU is essentially a kind of cartel. Rather like OPEC. But cartels don’t last forever. Both these cartels appear to be in decline.

    The sensible geopolitical thinker George Friedman notes that Germany sells a large amount of products to Britain. And they won’t stop doing that, because it would hurt them. This will likely lead to an advantageous trade deal with Britain and the EU, which is now even more dominated by Germany. Friedman also doubts the EU will be able to attract financial firms away from London, where they enjoy a laissez-faire status as compared to the more restrictive commercial cultures of the EU.

    And, the great Donald Trump issued a statement today vowing increased commercial ties and trade with Britain, now that it is free of the EU. Why argue with the Donald when (and if) he says sensible things?

    The EU, unlike the LibertyPell, is mostly cracked.

  • While I took a hit along with everyone else today, and while I did not pay too much heed to the hype and the rhetoric, if I had had a vote it would have been to leave. It’s bad enough having your own politicians telling you what to do and how to think, but a bunch of stuck up crackpots in Belgium? No thanks.
    Speaking of cartels, it seems we have our own cartel of special interests and big money and that Hillary will keep that ball rolling. This nearly assures her election, in my opinion, probably to the detriment of us all, and certainly to the detriment of the Constitution and the “rule of Law.” Would Trump be worse? I have no idea, but he would be far more entertaining.
    The way things are going, I think if Texas voted to leave the Union I would be heading West. Corpus Christi sounds nice.
    Haven, you might consider an article about the Supremes. How is it possible that the “immigration bill” vote was not 8-0 against? The President either has the power to make and change law at will, or he doesn’t. The question of which law he wanted to change should not have an effect on the vote. Obama said more than 20 times that he could not do it, but did it anyway, and gets half a politicized bench to go along with him. I think this is a disgrace and I suspect if this had come up when W was in office, the vote would have been unanimous against him. What the Hell happened to the “separation of powers?” What the Hell happened to our Constitution? And speaking of that, what the Hell happened to decorum in Congress. The sit-in looked all too familiar to someone (me) who spent 30 years in a “lesser developed country” and laughed at the political shenanigans, never imagining such things could happen here. At least fisticuffs were avoided ( this time). As I think I have told you before, my opinion is that the problems we are experiencing in this country derive from a too large government trying to meddle in too many aspects of our lives. This can only result in acrimony.

    • Thank you for the comment Sellers. Unsurprisingly, I am interested in the candidacy of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. I wonder if they would take any steps to avoid the injuries that the EU inflicted on itself by over reaching.

  • While I wish it were Weld/Johnson, I hear you…

    For some reason though, the Libertarian movement suffers from the same problem that “Truth” (a rare commodity today) does. Remember that movie where Jack Nicholson testifying to Navy lawyer Tom Cruise said: “You want the Truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Well, it seems that we also can’t handle Liberty, or at least that the Dem’s don’t think we can except on their terms, which is closer to a rescripting of history than anything resembling “Truth.” Well, that was a confusing thought, but I think you get the point.

  • Having worked in Greece and around Europe since 1982 I take a very jaundiced view of what has happened but I am far from surprised. I have always stated that the introduction of the Euro and the fiddling of a number of nations’ economic figures was a disaster in waiting. Everyone said that I didn’t understand the new economics. Perhaps not but I understood mathematics both simple and complex.

    Recurrent themes in my travels after work around Britain by motorbike were that is was wet, people enjoyed the delights of Europe, a multitude of east Europeans were being warmly welcomed along with their need to find work and that the rich are getting richer and leaving everyone else behind (an issue identified by the Singapore government a number of years ago).

    Another hot topic was the growth of power within the un-elected EU ruling clique along with questions as to who had elected Jean-Claude Junckers. I couldn’t answer that and certainly not the other surprising Junckers and Luxembourg question about their roles in corporate tax avoidance schemes. Would a number of American multinationals like to step forward here along with their political donations in the United States and explain? Probably not….

    For me the 45% youth unemployment in southern Europe, the state of German, Italian, French banks need action and not deeds. The EU has singularly failed here. Does the United States have similar problems?

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, David. Please let me know how you found libertyPell? Glad you are here.