Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
public opinion in the UK has moved on to other things largely because public sentiment remains fixed. there has been no significant movement in opinion polls since the referendum, if anything opinion is becoming more polarised.

Brexiteers on the street are losing patience with the whole process, "why can't we just leave?" is a very common sentiment. This is not helped by the right wing press, ie almost all of it, more or less agreeing that it would be better if we just upped anchor and slipped away in the night rather than dealing with sneaky Johnny Brussels.

Meanwhile, pro-EU people have slipped into sullen acceptance, rather as the condemned man awaits the noose.

There is no meeting of minds, there is no debate in the press, just people around Westminster who won't change their mind shouting at each other about one another's treachery and refusal to accept reality over one thing or another. Frankly, it's got boring cos it never changes.

You wouldn't mind so much if there was any sense of purpose in the UK position, but there isn't. Just one set after another of mindless rainbow-seeking unicorn assertions by our ministers-in-chage, each eventually dashed on the rocks of the reality of something the EU negotiators had explicitly stated months previously.

Government-by-incompetence isn't amusing, it's tiresome.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 12:56:00 PM EST
And the Brexiteers on the Street aren't wrong: there is nothing stopping the UK leaving straight away, except the prospect of losing a significant part of the UK economy, and a large part of government revenues. The underlying assumption appears to be that the EU can be brought to heel only by the threat of the nuclear option of a no deal Brexit and that the EU would then cave to UK demands because, well, Jonny Foreigner has no balls.

There is even, perhaps, even an atavistic nostalgia for the Battle of Britain days when Britain opposed the world and ultimately won out. Some may relish the conflict as a relief from the grey bureaucratic maze woven by Brussels.

And there is some truth in this. Britain is more important to Europe than Norway. The UK economy is bigger, London based financial services are a key part of the EU economic infrastructure, and UK military forces have been a key part of NATO and an important part of the sense of security currently enjoyed by eastern European states.

But if it does become a major political stag fight, moderate, pragmatic, short-term focused business interests will lose out to the siren voices of political nationalism and the very survival of the EU itself. Any short-term economic damage will be treated as collateral damage in a larger struggle - by both sides.

Obviously the EU as a whole could weather the storm better than the UK, and it helps that there is currently a strong economic up turn which might have to be moderated to avoid an overheating of the economy in any case. A hard no-deal Brexit could then, from a conservative EU economic perspective, be little more than an alternative to a sharp upward turn in interest rates.

Ireland and the Benelux countries together with the German car industry will scream disaster, but Governments need not panic if other sectors continue to prosper and even benefit from the transfer of UK financial services and Aerospace activities.

It could take a very long time before very real economic damage trumps national pride and brings more moderate voices to the top of the political heap again. The people who will suffer most are also those who are least important politically. Already wealthy financial services executives can always transfer overseas. They already do.

So I see a pro-longed clusterf*ck of gradually deepening economic damage in the UK and UK facing parts of the Irish economy. Northern Ireland will go into melt-down when public services and agricultural subsidies are de-funded. Many will have to leave to get a job elsewhere. Smuggling across the border will become a major industry rewarding all the worst elements in society.

This will not end well, if the Brexiteers in the street get their way, and there is still every chance that they ultimately will. And I don't think that a Corbyn led government will necessarily chart an altogether different course, if for other reasons. And for the most part, there is little that the EU can do about it. This is a very English coup.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 01:51:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
London based financial services are a key part of the EU economic infrastructure

Finance in 2018 is people working in a global network of computers, talking to each other via a global telecommunication system.  Firms can become a node in this system by paying the money to plug in, the Mizuho Financial Group could totally shut down their London operation Friday night and seamlessly re-open in Frankfurt or Dublin or Paris or all three together on Monday morning.  

Physical location is almost irrelevant.

Regulatory location is absolutely relevant.

The City is 3 times larger than the UK economy needs or can support.  The extra is there because it was easier to expand already existing offices handing Eurodollar business when the UK's $2.6 trillion (US) economy joined the EU's making a total $18.7 trillion (US) economy. Further, while the EU economy will no doubt take a hit the cost of Brexit to the UK economy will be staggering meaning the UK will need even less Finance.  Since the Finance firms are looking being locked-in to an ever shrinking $2.6 trillion economy or being locked-out of a $16.1 trillion economy ... the decision becomes easy.

Now throw in the standard - Patent Pending, all Rights Reserved - May governmental incompetence


Yes, London's financial services are currently a key part of the EU's economic infrastructure that won't last 3 seconds past Brexit.  In fact I expect firms to continue shifting their operations to EU sites.

Note:  Goldman Sachs pronouncements of staying are, IMO, being driven by the fact they are building a .1 million square foot office in London scheduled to open in 2019. And despite what GS said in the previous quote:

Goldman said on Monday that Brexit could "materially adversely affect" how it operates businesses in Europe and could require it to restructure some of its operations.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 04:52:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and once the City leaves, that's one Humpty Dumpty that ain't gonna be put back together once we realise our folly and scramble to get back  in.

Frankly, I view that as a benefit cos the City are a parasite on the UK, it sucks away the oxygen of any debate on all other aspects of the UK economy.

Even multi billion pound infrastructure developments such as CrossRail2, HST2 and Thameslink 2 are all about the City, while transport and economic advancement in the north of England wither for the lack of a few million.

However much it hurts the economy, that's one thing that will make the UK a better place in the long term

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 05:59:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can only dream that Trump might do something that would have a comparable effect on Wall Street. Come the day!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 at 05:45:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have always viewed reports of tens of thousands of jobs moving instantly as over-blown and somewhat beside the point. Yes EU regulators won't except "brass plate operations" as constituting domicile for market access purposes and so significant numbers of senior decision makers will have to relocate to 5* Hotels in EU cities for 3 nights a week at least. More operations will move over time.

But the most important implications from a political point of view is that tax revenues on large scale profits and large salaries will also move deprive the UK Exchequer of a crucial revenue source. In addition the primacy of UK law in settling contact disputes will be challenged and lawyers in EU capitals will be glad to pick up the business. Dublin, with the same language and similar common law legal system to the UK, should target this business in particular. Trillions of $ in financial derivatives require expensive lawyers to broker. Hopefully the oversight will be sufficient to prevent the taxpayer being put on the hook for losses.

Downstream support services, property values, and future investment flows will gradually follow, but the actual employment migration may not be all that great, to begin with, at least. From an Irish point of view I am far more interested in smaller UK industrial and food companies looking to set up smaller EU bases which can be located in smaller rural Irish towns and don't require rarefied skill sets. Despite a return to rapid economic growth, smaller rural towns in Ireland remain depressed, and will not be helped by large financial firms moving some operations to Dublin.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 06:17:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The people who will suffer most are also those who are least important politically.

Not always "least important", argues this academic:
`We don't exist to them, do we?': Why working-class people voted for Brexit - LSE Europp

The referendum was a turning point for the women in east London. They had not voted in the 2015 General Election: they had little interest or faith in a political system seated only three miles away when their daily and immediate situation needed constant attention. When `Sally' told me she was going to use her vote for the first time to leave, I asked her if she thought things would change for the better if we were to Brexit. She said she didn't know, and didn't care. She just couldn't stand things being the same.
Working-class Leavers were derided as turkeys voting for Christmas, but it is the middle-class Remainers who have been running around like headless chickens since the vote. Like Henny Penny, they think the sky is falling in, but whether the sky falls in or not, Brexit has made a difference to working-class people dubbed `the left behind'. They have become visible for the first time in generations, and to some extent feared.
by Bernard on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 09:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh, they'd been abandoned by Labour since the early 70s. And, once thatcher had used them and spat them out, neither party ever gave them any mind.

Appeal to those who vote has been the credo. The idea that the abandoned still have opinions was moot, if they didn't vote, they couldn't be persuaded usefully.

They're also the people who will vote for Corbyn and then expect miracles he can't deliver cos their hopes are unrealistic. Same as Attlee lost in 51 cos he couldn't hope to deliver on every expectation and Churchill attacked him on what he'd not done

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 10:10:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And come the next general election they probably won't vote again as most are not in marginal constituencies. Or has Brexit led to them being much more engaged politically?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 10:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series