After a weekend of code reading – three other websites got hacked and needed cleaning – I almost had it with the internet. When I got back to the fun part of life, I noticed a dozen SPAM comments on diablog. And unfortunately one of Philippa’s
got caught in there as a false positive. Sorry for that, Philippa, your comment is up now here.
Prior to that, Glynsky and I were debating again. We just love it. Not that it changes much, or anything at all. It is fun, an intellectual exercise. This time the topics were:
- Great cars, we agreed mostly.
- The potential Brexit, we did not agree at all.
Now, the POTUS, aka Barak Obama, already collected negative points, when he “meddled with British affairs”. His advice was, do not leave the EU. More about the reasons later.
I do not really care that much, whether you will leave the EU, or not. But Glynsky asked for my opinion. And maybe I can add some food for thought from the outside.
Update: Before we get serious, here is an amusing piece (Monty Python says hi):
Let me start with the positive implications of a Brexit:
The only positive aspect Glynsky maintained after our debate was, that he likes being independent. Fine. But that is more for entertainment. In itself it is not worth much. Being against mainstream, the whole world develops towards more cooperation not less, can be interesting. Yet, being North Korea isn’t a lot of fun, I was told. And no, you will not be allowed to play Switzerland or Norway. Which both are paying substantial amounts towards the EU, and they make sure to play nicely.
Whereas the monies you are sending to the EU are peanuts. Since Thatcher you get a 66% discount on your net payments. Yet you got most EU headquarters of foreign companies from America and Asia. I’d say that is worth a lot more in tax revenues, employment, general business, and not to forget influence. And you have not played nicely in recent years.
Glynsky’s next idea was, the UK could become the tax haven in Europe. To which I replied: that you are already. Granted, the Dutch have the Antilles, the French have Curacao, the Italians have San Merino. But nobody helps tax cheaters and criminals more than the English banks. Nothing to gain there. Most dubious money from almost all crooks in the world finds it way to London already.
And what about additional international business? From where? Do you believe, there is anyone out there, who has held back? As in: Oh, no, they are part of the EU, we will not deal with them. Seriously? English as a foreign language made you the number one destination for trading. You surpassed France hundreds of years ago. Before any Chinese, Indian, or whatever tries France, Germany, Italy, or any other market, they come to you. You actually benefit handsomely from being perceived as the gate to Europe. Even Americans start export to Europe in the UK.
Now let us get to the almost certain downsides of a Brexit.
Nobody can put a number on it, but you will lose business. And it will be substantial.
First all the above mentioned EU headquarters will leave the UK quickly. You can kiss good-bye to tens of thousands of high paying jobs. Those are very flexible and their reason of being in the UK will be lost.
Next, most of the manufacturing/assembly done in the UK will leave. For example, currently the UK is a net exporter of TVs. Not because you have an English TV manufacturer. But the Asians assemble there for the EU. Those businesses and jobs you will lose. The same goes for cars. Why would Tata make Land Rovers in the UK? Why should BMW make Minis there? For all foreign investors you used to represent access to some 350 million consumers. That will be down to a mere 60+ millions. Almost 80% of your commercial importance will be gone.
What about your financial industry? Immediately after the Brexit the EU states will play hardball. If you want to learn what that feels like, ask Swiss bankers. Or ask around in Panama. Only as a member you could prevent a tax on financial transactions. Only your membership saved you from losing your all important ‘financial industry’. Once you are out, you and you banks will be free game. The money from citizens of the EU will leave immediately. Your so-called City will have tons of office space available soon. Have you wondered, what the Pound Sterling will be worth after that drain?
And for the ones hoping to get new trade deals negotiated quickly, I quote our POTUS:
“The UK will be at the end of the queue”.
You are way more dependent on imports, than anyone is on exporting to the then reduced UK. You actually need trading partners. While those are focusing upon Brazil, Russia, India, China, Iran, etc. Do the math. 60 Million Brits versus billions of consumers in the other markets.
You made a similar mistake in 1887. Overestimating your power you forced German companies to label their products with “Made in Germany“. The result is well known, you helped create one of the most valuable brands in the world – for Germany! And lost tons of business in the process.
While we are at history, England invaded all but seven counties in the world at one point or another. Do you really think, they all forgot? Do you really think, those will be eager to deal with a reduced, less wealthy, less powerful, less important UK? Right now, nobody starts a trade war with the UK, because you are part of the EU. After a Brexit some might give it a go. Russia comes to mind. Farewell British Petroleum, hello TotalFina and/or Royal Dutch Shell. Mr. Putin might get some of the Russian money out of London and closer to home.
Finally, I owe you the reasons why the USA wants you to stay in the EU.
The first reason is, you were and are up until now are our #1 partner within the EU. Whenever Europeans wanted to do something we didn’t like, it was your job to veto it. Whenever we wanted something from the EU, you organized that. Whether we want you to spy on people, or when we wanted Europeans to join us in a war, or at least pay the costs. Since WW II you have – to call it politely – followed our lead increasingly well. We would not like to lose that kind of influence.
Secondly, there are only two things our national security experts really fear:
- A fleet big enough to invade. We will do everything to prevent that from being built by anyone.
- An alliance of Russian manpower with German money and knowledge. Such an alliance could endanger US hegemony. The result of the Nazi-Soviet-Pact was disastrous enough, wasn’t it?
As long as the UK plays a role within the EU and represents our interests like in the past, such an alliance is less likely. We would like it to stay that way. Not only for us. For another 70+ years of peace in Europe as well.