Monday, June 20, 2016

Great Britain exit from European Union could hint at Trump victory

    Americans generally believe in “exceptionalism.” We are not just another country on a planet chocked with other countries. Instead we are the best country, maybe even the only country. A mythical city on a hill. The storms that rock lesser places mean nothing here. That others do things differently and perhaps better doesn’t even merit a shrug.
     That most of the civilized world has national health care or greater restrictions on guns is meaningless. It’s like suggesting that soccer has interest as a professional sport.
     Like much self-flattery, it just isn’t true. We are part of the world, and the same shifts that occur elsewhere are at work here, too, whether we know it or not. I would bet that if I asked Chicagoans what enormous international event happens Thursday, June 23, very few would say, “Duh, Neil. Great Britain votes whether to Brexit, short for ‘British Exit,’ aka, whether to leave the European Union.”
     The European Union began after World War II as an attempt for nations to stop slaughtering each other by binding together, politically and economically, to give Europe some of the advantages we in the United States enjoy. A truck can travel from California to Maine without being stopped at one border crossing or dealing with currency that isn’t dollars. That’s good for business. Meanwhile Europe had francs and marks and kroner, with each country guarding its borders and sovereignty. The idea was....

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  1. I have a feeling the Brits will get cold feet and vote to Bremain. Voting to Brexit would truly be, as you aptly described it, like "diving off a cliff to feel the breeze".

    Similarly, I'm holding on to my belief in our citizens that the nightmare of a Trump presidency here will not be forthcoming. So no worries; Europe wins, and so do we (#fingerscrossed).


  2. More people know about Brexit than you might think, NS.

    1. Why should the British be tied in with economic messes like Greece? At least the Brits were wise enough to hold on to the pound sterling and not go in for the Euro.

  3. One of the many advantages for members of the European Union, is it helps a country with a dysfunctional government maintain normal business activity. Greece is a good example of that. They have massive deficits and can't print money to pay for more spending. Their tourist industry can collect Euros from vacationers, and have the hard currency needed to pay for food, electricity, cruise ship fuel, regular salaries for employees, and profits enough to pay taxes.
    Venezuela has no such advantage, and as a result of poor government policies, it is in bad shape, and getting worse by the day.
    Switzerland is not a member of the EU, and gets by very well. But they have had many decades of responsible government, that has negotiated well thought out treaties and trade agreements with the EU.
    If the citizens of Great Britain vote to exit the European Union, there will be on less fail-safe available to protect their economy. Going forward, they need to be more thoughtful selecting their leaders. If they elect a Trump like character, well good luck to them. If we elect Trump as President, good luck to us.

  4. The polls I've seen are all very tight. This should be a cliffhanger.

    Interestingly, Scotland, polled in isolation, strongly leans against leaving. One of the reasons they came so close to asking for independence from Britain, or so I was told, is that they felt they could have greater ties to Europe on their own.

    Bitter Scribe

  5. I think we inherited our "exceptionalism" from the Brits. Trollope, for instance, is bluntly truthful about the injustice of Britain's colonial policies with regard to native culture, economics and the peoples' very existence, yet shrugs his literary shoulders and more or less states that such is the price that needs to be paid if Englishmen are to be masters in every corner of the earth.


  6. I'm sure a lot of Blokes will end up with buyer's remorse if the U.K. Brexits. And it is easy to dismiss people like Boris Johnson as just better educated Trumps. However, I doubt that "all economists" agree about it plunging Britain and the rest of the world into recession. Economics is not one of the hard sciences, and examples of universal agreement are few and far between. We can only keep our fingers crossed.

    On another subject, Neil, a few days ago was captivated by a quote in a news column echoed the opening line of "The Odyssey." Just so, I was taken by a sub-head on today's front page referring to a meeting of influential Hillary backers that recalled the Anglo-Irish poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy, now remembered only for a poem about the impact writers have on the world and the three words in the first stanza that have passed into common usage:

    "We are the music-makers
    And we are the dreamers of dreams.
    Wandering by lone sea breakers
    And sitting by desolate streams.
    World losers, and world forsakers,
    On whom the pale moon beams
    Yet we are the movers and shakers
    Of the world forever, it seems."

    Tom Evans

  7. The irony is that Britain wanted to get in the EEC in the '60's and was constantly opposed by France (or specifically, De Gaulle), and then once they got in were thinking about leaving.

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  9. You certainly guessed that one right.


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