The asparagus tip of the Brexit iceberg

As Britain slowly stumbles towards a no-deal exit of the European Union and its successful Single Market and Customs Union, Leave voters are desperately reassuring themselves in their echo chambers that trading on just WTO terms after the 27th of March 2019 is not all bad news. “We’ll trade with the world”, they say. As if the gravity model of international trade in international economics no longer exists after Brexit.

World Map

An example is a little iPhone video posted by a British ‘Yellow vest’ of all the fresh exotic vegetables ‘not from the EU’, that he could find in his local Tesco fresh fruit and veg racks. The irony of a Yellow Vest revelling in the abundance of Peruvian asparagus tips and Kenyan broccoli spears would not go unnoticed, should any real French ‘Gilet Jaune’ stumble upon it.

A short video of non EU produce for sale in a typical UK Supermarket with following comment:

“PROOF: We won’t all starve when we finally leave the #EU, this is World Trade.

The scaremongering by the fake news mainstream media has to stop!”

Let me try and explain this Peru asparagus tip phenomenon for simple Leave voters:

I will use a simple example of supply and demand pricing that most will be familiar with: You can fly with RyanAir to France for €9.98 on some days when demand for flights is low. During school holidays however like on April 19th just before the Easter break the same flight is  €96.89 or ten times as high! The flight price point for RyanAir to break even on its flights to France is probably somewhere comfortably in the middle.

Same with asparagus tips from Peru and beans from Egypt. Sometimes passenger airlines have a few ton spare freight capacity and clever buyers at UK Supermarket chains exploit that price anomaly to cheaply transport speciality food to UK that usually you would not see out of season on our supermarket shelves. You cannot however ship crates of one pound cauliflowers, bags of potatoes and apples that way. There just isn’t the volume of airfreight available. There aren’t enough planes in the sky, to replace the thousands of lorries of fresh produce that arrive from France Italy and Spain every day of the year. Keeping UK PLC. supplied like that is not sustainable! The UK’s food supplies are another example of carefully crafted ‘Just in Time’supply lines built up over the last 40 years of EU membership.

Think also of the carbon footprint of food being flown in like that in bulk. Imagine the lorry queues at Heathrow and Manchester Airport! It all doesn’t bear thinking about it!

Leave voters of the Hard Brexit WTO variety are also too too stupid to realise much of this stuff on the videoclip is only available because of EU trade agreements with Africa and South America, Free trade Agreements for everything but arms, from which the UK as a current EU member benefits. If Brexshit happens there won’t be any agreements in place on day 1, so UK can’t import it unless it pays the relevant tariffs, which can go as high as 40%!

Trade Agreements can take years to agree. Any free trade agreements have to be carefully balanced with the threat to our own farmers and industry, many would be forced into bankruptcy in the face of cheap foreign imports. The EU usually gets this balance right. For instance oranges from Morocco only attract a small tariff during the few months the Spanish orange growers are harvesting. This assures these farmers don’t go bust, but yet we can enjoy cheap fresh oranges all year long.

We also had a discussion about cheaper wine from outside the EU. Non perishable foodstuffs like wine can indeed be shipped in by climate controlled containers, but let’s face it, the amount of duty U.K. government adds on top of any alcoholic beverage makes those tariffs pale into insignificance. See for example this €1.79 bottle of rose wine. Where could you find that on U.K. supermarket shelves. The myth that food and drink will be cheaper in UK after Brexit must be one of the most insidious lies ever to be perpetrated on a gullible UK public.

Finally an infographic of the free trade area that UK plc. will lose access to if it crashes out without a deal in six weeks time. I have added in Japan, a huge economy that EU yesterday signed a free trade agreement with.

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FDI: The Tories magic money tree and Brexit

Wrote another belter of a thread on Twitter.

Kindly the Twitter ThreadReader app made it into something that looks more like my usual blog posts.

Enjoy and best wishes for 2019!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lately I have become a bit obsessed with Britain’s trade deficit and Balance of Payments with the Rest of The World(ROW). Let me explain why, and what’s it got to do with #Brexit.
For me as a UK-expat in Euroland I have seen the value of my pension drop by 20% since the dreaded referendum.

Let’s home in on what happened around the time of the referendum. Although part of a longer term decline, the sharp drop did not go unnoticed by the commentariat.Sharp drop in Sterling rate highlighted June July 2016Cartoon of pound falling off cliff

Of course markets never like uncertainty, but I did notice that every time a Government Minister assured us it would be a ‘Soft #brexit’ there was a slight upturn. Mention ‘Hard Brexit’ or ‘no-deal’ and the short term gain was immediately wiped out.

n 1971, thirty three years after the post war Breton Woods conference agreement, the link between currencies and a the UK’ s Gold Reserves was effectively abandoned and Sterling became in effect free floating.Screen grab from Wikipedia Breton Woods article

The pound like many other currencies became a ‘Fiat Currency’Screenscrape from Wikipedia fiat currency article

In simple layman’s terms, the Pound, Dollar or Euro is worth as much as the people that use them and the markets that trade in them have confidence in the government that issues them. When the markets lose confidence you can end up with shock devaluation and hyper inflationImage of a trillion dollar Zimbabwean bank note

Watching iconic U.K. films like “Made in Dagenham”
and “the Crown” it always felt reassuring that in Cabinet Meeting scenes the U.K. balance of payments was always discussed as something of National importance. We must as a nation, never spend abroad, more than we can afford.Made in Dagenham film flyer

At some point in recent history, whatever passes for a competent Government in the U.K, must have given up the pretense of trying to match the level of imports into the country with the level of exports as a nation, the U.K. ships to the rest of the world.

So they invented FDI1

Definition of FDI

FDI is the magical money tree the Tories invented, when they no longer managed to keep the UK’s trade books balanced.

It happened around the same time Britain decided it did not want to join the Euro.

We no longer export as much as we import?

Let’s have a giant car boot sale!!

For sale the UK offered it’s Utilities, empty factories and warehouses, all with prime access to the emerging giant EU market that was developing on its doorstep. Hey presto. Our abysmal trade record solved. National Financial Accounts balanced and the Pound propped up by FDI🤗

All this happened without being honest to the UK electorate. Not joining the Euro was sold as a clever move. The country kept partying as if it was still 1999 while across the pond the EU economy, powered by Germany, went from strength to strength.

Of course with failing investment and falling productivity wages of ordinary working people in Britain fell behind.

Et on charlatans, who wreaked havoc on our economy, while lording it over, had to find a scape goat.

In true fascist style, an easy target was found: Immigrants!

This is the economic background story to #Brexit. It’s a story of mismanagement of the U.K. economy, at the same time as our EU neighbours did everything right.

@jeremycorbyn has understood some of the problems, but unless he first fixes #Brexit, he’s on a hiding to nothing.

Let’s look one more time at that league table of trading nations.

Look at who’s in the top ten and the bottom 10.

Where would we rather be?

Back in the EU fold or adrift alone in a globalised world?

Does anyone seriously think @LiamFox can fix this? That @jeremycorbyn can?Lust of countries by net exports: Six EU nations in top 10. EU although not a country in third position for referenceLust of countries by net exports: Bottom USA. Second from bottom on position 193 UK

Stop #Brexit with a #peoplesvote before it’s too late!

 

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What makes a great Trading Nation?

I keep reading posts about what a great trading nation Great Britain is, or was, or could be after Brexit so I tried to look for ‘United Kingdom’ in the global list of countries by net exports.

I was not surprised to find Germany near the top and consequently also the EU, although strictly not a country and therefore listed in third position for reference only. I quickly found Ireland and Netherlands on the list and France and Italy. But where was UK I wondered? I had to use the ctrl-f function to find you and astonished to find UK second from the bottom next to USA.

America of course long ago stopped worrying about running a huge trade deficit. They had some clever professors at the Chicago School of Economics figure out that, as the whole world traded billions of barrels of Oil in dollars, the greenback would keep its value, even if they stopped making actual stuff like cars and airplanes. Just Google ‘Chicago Boys’ and find out what damage they did to economies worldwide, e.g. in Chile.

Practically the whole world has figured out that America has been scamming the rest of us with a currency that is practically worthless. Poor people work long hours in sweatshops all over the world to satisfy the insatiable demand of American consumers. No wonder the British establishment like John Redwood and Rees-Mogg thought they too could play that game.

Only…. Great Britain is really little England with proud Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland attached. The Pound of the Bank of England is no more this great reserve currency every central bank in the world wants to stuff in its vaults in the 21st century, than they admired the Dutch Guilder in the seventeenth century. That idea and practice died along with the British Empire sixty years ago.

Meanwhile the Euro goes from strength to strength. Not only does the EU represent the single biggest consumer market in the world, they actually also make stuff that people worldwide want to trade for in return. Quality and style!!

Oil producing nations increasingly specify they want payment in Euros for their black gold. Why would they want to be exposed to Micky Mouse money like the dollar or Sterling?

So I got to laugh when I listen to Brexit shouters who predict the always imminent demise of the Euro and the EU as a whole. This idea flies in the face of the markets. Not even Greece or Italy want to go back to their own Micky Mouse money Drachma and Lira.

As long as Brexit shouters think Free Trade is just about buying stuff abroad for bits of fancy paper with the Queens head, without producing enough stuff to trade in exchange, they are in for a bitter disappointment. These bits of paper are really IOU’s and the bearers of these debt bonds will one day come and collect what’s due to them. They will buy more than just marmalade. They’ll own the country.

By staying in the EU a different chart can be plotted for the UK economy. By adopting the Euro the U.K. can build further on its strength in the ‘Services Industry’. The services sector represents already 80% of the UK economy. Think software rather than hardware. Export your cool culture rather than your nationalists backwardness. Brexiteers just can’t get their head wrapped around this idea. They still think they’re the workshop of their old empire. They still think fisheries are important for their fish and chips. Come on guys, it’s 0.1% of your economy you get hot under the colour over and most of what you catch in British water is sold to EU, not eaten by you!

So come back in the EU fold. Play on your strengths rather than nostalgia. Be cool again and re-educate those stupid Leavers.

Références: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_net_exports

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let’s talk about ‘Entitlement’

I picked the following post up from one of the many FaceBook Groups created by British ex-pats in a post #brexit referendum world. It could be a Russian troll spreading disinformation of course, but I know similar types in real life that really mean this!

  “A quick word about the post Brexit attitude of the French towards Brits. Countries universally welcome tourists because of the wealth they bring. They spend billions advertising for and encouraging tourism. Tourists import free money. They bring prosperity in all its forms.

Many Brits in France, resident, semi resident or short term tourists all bring this wealth. Each Euro they spend is someone’s profit, and tax for the state. Consider taxes Foncière, d’habitation, fuel duty and TVA, before we come to direct taxation. Those self supporting and on S1 health arrangements are pure profit for the French State.

A priori the French would be acting against their national interest to cause this group to leave. ”

What follows is mainly my reply to this outrageous statement.

“There is so much wrong with this post, I don’t know where to start. Of course you can only write stuff like this if you are a Leave voting blue passport waving Brit with an enormous sense of entitlement.”

In pure balance of payment terms there is of course a grain of truth in this; all lies and propaganda have at least a grain of truth. Most of what follows is pure delusion.

Let’s consider the statement “every Euro we spend is  someone’s profit”
As an example let’s take a simple pack of UHT milk we might all use in our tea or with our breakfast cereal. I like the milk that give farmers a fair share for their work.
These cost near enough one Euro per pack. Let’s see in whose pocket these 100 Euro cents end up.

Lait3

Only 5.5% of each Euro we spend on food ends up in French State coffers.

Of course different percentages apply to non-food, alcohol and Cars, but you see how easily this Brexit myth was debunked when you think about it for just one second? It’s as these poor Brexiteers think this milk would be pored in a Ditch if British ex-pats didn’t buy it for their tea.

The example of ex-pats using an EHIC or S1 card to get medical treatment resulting in “pure profit for the French state” is even more ridiculous. As if Nurses and doctors in France are ‘free’ and don’t have to be trained and paid? As if they are just twiddling their thumbs waiting for the next Brit to wander into A&E ???

At the risk of making some assumptions and generalisations of my own here, when us British tourists or AOPs spend our cash in The Dordogne or the Costa del Sol, we’re in economic terms just handing out IOUs from UK Plc. The real economic value we represent we created a long time ago, when we ran our businesses in UK or worked on a Sunderland Nissan or Reading Honda production line assembling Japanese cars or whatever we did back in the UK.

As ex-pats, retired here in France (not working young Brits of course), we’re mainly distributing wealth created elsewhere. A young Romanian however, one that picks fruit in a UK orchard all hours God gives him or her, this person creates wealth in the produce they help create with the farmer. An EU nurse that changes a U.K. worker’s bandages after an NHS operation creates health. This also has an economic value. Us retired folk in France or Spain don’t do anything of the kind and our pounds are increasingly worthless as Brexit wrecks the U.K. economy back home.

I got  quite a few thumbs up but also a lot of stick stating the obvious. First of all the author of the original post. I clearly touched a nerve here:

“How very sad. This comment is a economically illiterate as it is misleading. I have zero sense of entitlement in France. Facts are facts and not opinion. You are entitled to your opinion. It is all illustrative of the bitterness and stupidity that characterises the whole Brexit issue.

A more nuanced comment worth repeating here:

“We[this group] cover the range of [British] society in France from the beggar in the street to Lord Lawson in his mansion.

It’s possible to force an EU Citizen to leave the country if they’re not here legally but it’s much easier when it’s a third country national.

The thought that it would come down to our monetary value is horrific. I prefer the idea that it comes down to our legal position but I also realise that this will leave some people in a difficult position which may be impossible to hide once we have to be registered and our movements are monitored more closely.”

Until proven wrong. I maintain my statement that most of us ex-pats from UK living in France and on the Costas are not economically active. Certainly not full time. We’re not all big spending tourists. And bandying the myth about that it’s our paltry UK retirement money that keeps the French Economy afloat is not the way to make friends in France and influence the French administration in a post #brexit world. I’m personally sick of people with that outlook of entitlement. There’s only one group worse and that’s the one’s saying stuff like ‘you’d all be speaking German if it wasn’t for us Brits

17/09/2018 Update
As in the comments section as well as in the FaceBook group RIFT a fierce debate ensued how economically ‘active’ our British ex-pats exactly are in France, here’s a graph from the UK’s own Office of National Statistics. Look at the balloon at the top depicting our group and judge for yourself who gets the better deal, France or UK?

Census

Posted in #brexit | Tagged , | 14 Comments

CAP explained to Brexit fools

If you don’t mind I share with you snippets of a discussion on a Facebook page about, well EU politics of course…..

As a large chunk of the EU budget is spent on agricultural support the conversation drifted to talking mainly about the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Sometimes I get the impression the thing that upsets Leavers most, is that French Farmers receive more money than UK farmers. French farmers are painted as small and inefficient producers, while UK farmers are naturally efficient and could well survive without.

The copied conversation is reproduced where it starts getting interesting:

Wrong wrong and wrong again. The early versions of CAP were indeed wasteful and produced food we didn’t need. Exporting that surplus food indeed risks distorting markets in places like Africa.

What folk don’t understand is that CAP’s goal was creating food security, food self sufficiency in a post war world were food was rationed.

So how to ensure food security without subsidised food production? Well that’s why ‘set aside’ was invented. Because if through ecological disasters the flow of food from other continents to EU is halted somehow, we can replough those wild flower fields and grow wheat, maize, carrots and haricots again and you folk won’t starve.

The sad fact that in U.K. millions of this money ends up in the pockets of rich City Bankers and Newspaper Editors with hunting estates is an entirely different matter, nothing to do with EU. All to do with Tory policy of looking after their own while screwing little farmers.

Later someone said EU was incapable of reform…..

Of course reform happens in EU. Take CAP and CFP. These policies currently bear no resemblance to what they once were. We had butter mountains and wine lakes. But while we sold packets of butter surplus to requirement for 10 cts a pack to Russia, Brits insisted on importing much more expensive butter from their cousins in New Zealand. It still makes my blood boil. British fishing waters were much depleted even before they joined EU. So British trawlers went further afield and started a Cod War with Iceland. When fish stocks recovered thanks to a common effort in EU, it was the UK government who decided to sell the larger part of the UK’s catch quota to big business. One Dutch trawler the Cornelis Vrolijk, was allocated 24% of the entire permitted catch by London (not by ‘Brussels’)

But hey blame the EU! Meanwhile Leaver Supreme Nigel Farage showed his face in just one of 42 EU fisheries committee meetings during the three years he was paid to attend. The hypocrisy of the Leave camp is astonishing, disgusting even.

Some more discussion on how all this EU money just ends up in the wrong pockets…

Me: “The distribution of CAP agricultural subsidies is a responsibility of national parliaments. Why are you laying this problem at the door of the EU? Before answering, can you please read this article?” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/farm-subsidies-blatant-transfer-of-cash-to-rich

Later I was asked the following:

“How can you justify the EU spending 40% of its budget on agricultural subsidies, when it can only account for around 1.5% of the EU GDP? You may think it’s good value for money, but the rest of us reject it. Subsidising specific sectors is difficult to justify, and might not not be so bad if it was done fairly across the EU. But it’s not – certain member states like France take a huge chunk of that subsidy.

Sorry, but it is a protectionist racket. It protects a small number of producers, and penalises hundreds of millions of consumers. it’s not fair that EU tax payers pay towards such subsidy, where the beneficiaries are wealthy land owners.”

I was sent the following link and asked to comment

http://capreform.eu/does-capping-direct-payments-make-sense/

My Response:

I’ve read the article. I find the logic somewhat perverse. “Were not implementing capping of the biggest landowners because it’s not proven that it helps the smaller farmers who really need the payments to survive”. Well I have a farm and I have no CAP subsidies on it. For that I thank the brilliant idea of the British to decouple the subsidy rights from the land it was originally assigned to. In doing that the Conservatives ensured their beloved City of London had something else to trade in. It also enabled rich newspaper owners to buy up these subsidy rights. All they had to do is buy a few hundred of acres of Scottish wilderness, turn it into a hunting estate and reapply the subsidy to land that will never produce food other than a few grouse to shoot.

Plus it gives the same newspaper owners some new novel ammunition to fire at the EU besides the shooting game on their estate. Brilliant! Only in Great Britain could Leave simpletons think this is a great outcome.

maslow-s-pyramid-vector
Some Leave voters say the EU’s emphasis on Agricultural is crazy because only 2% of the EU workforce works in that sector. My quick fire response is why they are so obsessed about UK fisheries which only accounts for 0.3% of the UK economy. My response:

“In this case I think it’s about a much more basic need for people to eat and not worry about going hungry. I think of it in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. [Food] Security is at the base of the Maslow pyramid. It may very well involve only 2% of workers, which to me only underlines what a bargain EU is. Difference between you and me, I am talking about keeping the bottom secure. You seem to be at the top of the pyramid talking about self actualisation.
That’s What sovrinty is all about init?

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10 reasons to feel positive after Brexit?

This morning on Twitter Brexit voter Neutopia told me to educate myself about ten positive outcome of the EU Referendum:

He sent me a newspaper article (link) by Sean O’Grady  from the Independent Newspaper  from just three days after the referendum titled

10 reasons to feel positive after Brexit

“Some poorer communities that were sacrificed for the good of the EU could become prosperous again; we probably would have been forced to join the euro eventually; and savings on the EU budget contribution are real”.

Oh yes Unicorns roaming the sunlit uplands of Brexit and pigs will fly!!!

I thought it might make a nice blog item to examine just how well these ten reasons have stood up against the test of time passed after the Vote Leave’s marginal win in the EU Referendum. The UK public at large actually did not, does not and will not want a Brexit in the foreseeable future.

  1. Remember the fundamental facts:

    Although a plural ‘facts’ is used, actually only one statement is presented:

    The only way to have lots of jobs and higher wages is to have a competitive economy.”

    While in essence I have no problem with that statement, there follow a number of non-sequiturs. The tired example of Greece in EU is used to illustrate ‘uncompetitive’ and the example of not-in-EU Korea for ‘competitive’. That’s like saying a cow gives milk and a goat gives milk. You don’t have to be a cow to give milk, while ignoring that being of the Bovine Genus, you tend to make a lot more milk than being in the goat club.

    Anyway, Korea is as we know a manufacturing nation like Germany, while 80% of the UK is instead involved in ‘Services’. Neither Greece nor Korea are comparable economies to UK.

    Hence reason 1 quoted is a ‘red herring’ if I ever saw one.

  2. We can build a competitive economy outside the EU.

    While again this is true as an ambition, the statement, ‘We can build a competitive economy inside the EU’ is just as true. After all Germany is one of the top exporters globally and they are firmly in the EU.

    Reason 2 is another complete ‘red herring’.

  3. We live in a stable, venerable democracy.

    A pompous statement at best. Is the UK democracy any more stable than let’s say the one in the Netherlands, who also have a Monarch and a first and second chamber? The model of democracy the UK has, is pretty much universal. The only thing the UK lacks that other democracies tend to have, is a written constitution. That makes it inferior rather than superior, in my honest opinion. Plus the adversarial system in Parliament combined with the antiquated ‘First past da post’ election system, often means progress is made by taking two steps back before every three steps forward at every change of government. Give me the steady consensual progress of continental coalition governments any day!

  4. We have the pound!

    Well there’s a sore a contentious point! In the weeks after the EU Referendum the pound lost 20% of its value against the Euro and the Dollar The Euro is the currency of the trading block we do most business with. This devaluation was not an example of ‘being in control’. It’s an example of being at the mercy of speculators in the market. The rule of thumb is here, that the smaller your economy, the more volatile and susceptible to manipulation your currency is. The Eurozone is about ten times the size of the UK economy and the European Central bank has ample means to protect itself against speculators. Unlike the UK, where one single speculator called George Soros, brought the currency virtually to its knees on what we now refer to as ‘black Monday’.

    I would go even further to say Britain would have fared a lot better if it had decided to join the Eurozone in 1999, when it had the chance. Not only would this have benefited the United Kingdom economy, the whole Eurozone economy would have recovered faster from the 2008 financial crisis. My arguments are pretty much the same as those set out by Martin Sandbu in the Financial Times.

  5. We can buy what we wish, where we wish

    Total bollocks statement. The argument put forward is that outside the EU and its Common Agricultural Policy the UK could buy cheaper food. Statisticians from ONS have calculated that on average EU tariffs on agricultural products was roughly 11% in 2016, compared to about 4% for other products. So it is clear to see that with the 20% devaluation of Sterling, that supposed benefit of Brexit has been more than wiped out. People also forget that tariffs are levied on prices of goods as they enter the country. On wholesale prices in other words. By the time these products reach supermarket shelves, the influence of often quoted EU tariffs is much reduced if not negligible. Hence the SUN and people like Rees-Mogg had to retract similar statements as the one made here.

    People also forget that there is a price to pay for taking advantage of surpluses and low cost producers from across the planet. Our own farming community would not be able to compete. They’d go bust in huge numbers  in no time! Also, what is the impact on UK food security, when there are global crop failures? You cannot bring farmers back out of retirement when their tractors have been sold off to Africa. Who’d look after our countryside, when the EU set aside scheme is set aside? This is the reason why the UK farming community, while voting for Brexit initially, is now among the biggest group of converted remainers.

  6. The savings on the EU budget contribution are real.

    Remember the £350 m. promise on the red Vote Leave bus? The savings on the EU budget may well be real, but offset this against the calculated costs of Brexit, and it leaves the UK with a net loss and no extra money for the NHS. British households are today already more than £900 worse off after the vote to leave the EU, according to Mark Carney , the governor of the Bank of England. If the UK leaves the Single Market and Customs Union and reverts to trading under WTO rules, businesses will face extra customs paperwork costs of 20 billion. That’s more than twice the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget. The Return of Investment for Brexit stinks to high heaven! When you point this out to Leavers, the discussion is quickly steered to priceless sovereignty. But we remember how people like David Davis said, “There are no downsides to Brexit, only considerable upsides”

  7. We can still have immigration.

    Well yes, the UK might be able to stem the flow of workers from the EU, but what will they be replaced with. Nearly every major economy Brexit International trade secretary started exploratory trade talks with has indicated that freedom of movement will be part of the package. I can just hear the cries of joy from Tommy Robinson followers that instead of Dutch and French nurses we will have more from India and Pakistan. Instead of Catholic Polish builders from EU, we’re now ‘free’ to recruit Muslim ones from non-EU Albania. the English Defence League will be delighted!

  8. Trade deals with other countries may be easier to win.

    Well the fact that the sentence starts with ‘may’ turns it into a joke right away. Anyone that has ever been involved in trade talks keep telling us that in trade negotiations size really does matter!
    UK will be at the back of the queue for a trade deal in both EU and USA. The only chance to escape that place in the queue is, if Britain pretty much dropped any pretence that it wants to get anything favourable out of those deals that they didn’t already have through the 80 odd EU trade deals they currently benefit from and Brexit throws away. Leading Leave politicians also are fond of hailing the Commonwealth as natural trading parties to turn to after Brexit. But recently it was reported, Australia and New Zealand decided to launch trade talks with the EU instead. A bitter blow for International Trade Secretary Dr. Liam Fox.

  9. We could get some industries back.

    Obviously, there’s more to an economy than fish writes the author of the original article. You’re damned right there is. In fact turns out that Fisheries contributes less than 0.5% to the UK economy, so why does this industry constantly gets pushed to the forefront of discussions and pro-brexit manifestations? It’s because it’s easy to pull at the heartstrings of simple minded gullible Leave voters by prancing about on a little fishing boat throwing a few fish in the Thames as Farage did. When you dive deeper into the matter it turns out that most of the fish we eat in the UK actually is caught off the Coast of Iceland, while what remains of our fishing fleet, their catch is mainly sold to EU customers. So it’s all a big Leave con. We also learned during our investigations that it was the UK government that decided to hand over a quarter of the UK’s fishing quota to just one Dutch factory ship. A single Dutch vessel, the Cornelis Vrolijk, accounts for almost a quarter of the entire English catch and about 6 per cent of the total UK quota. Not an EU decision, but a decision of our Conservative government to favour big business.

  10. And, finally, remember the fundamental facts (chorus)

    Remember, Brexit diehards don’t do facts. It’s a believe system for them. More like a religion. Each underlined word in this blog is a hyperlink to a learned paper or a respectable newspaper article. You can ask Leavers to supply you with links like these till the cows come home. They just don’t do facts. If you disagree and have any to shar, please feel welcome to reproduce them in the comments section below.

 

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How did one little #brexit tweet touch nearly 300 K. Brits ?

As regular readers of this blog know, I am a bit of a keyboard warrior on Twitter active mainly on the #Brexit hashtag. My twitter handle is @lasancmt should you want to check it out.

Of the thousands of tweets I have sent into the ether, every now and then I seem to touch the nerves or souls of either Remainers or Leavers in Twittersphere and it’s highly satisfying for one’s ego to see the number of engagements (Likes, Retweets and Comments) climb and climb by the minute before settling down like a mini dust storm at the end of the day.

Up to this weekend I was very happy with 20-30 k impressions, a few hundred ‘Likes’ and retweets. I would pat myself on the back and convince myself it was time well spent for a good cause: Stop Brexit!

A recent trend on Twitter is to ‘thread’ tweets. Each individual Tweet still has to be punchy with the ability to be liked or Retweeted, but as a thread they tell a mini story, where the sum of the parts ideally is bigger than the same number of single tweets. Think of it as a round fired by a semi automatic weapon where the words are sharper than the sword.

Nothing could have prepared me for the enormous response I got when having a lie in on Friday morning with a cup of Yorkshire tea I threaded 16 tweets together, straight from the heart, in a moment of mad inspiration and despair about Brexit.

You know you’re on a winner when Twitter can’t keep up with the number of alerts:
“You have 20+ notifications! And 5 minutes later again and again. At the end of the morning I was up to 50 k. impressions. By midnight it was 100 k. By Saturday night is was 200 k. impressions and new retweets fanned on my little thread like a bush fire.

At the point of writing my initial tweet has had 274,544 impressions, 3409 likes and 1332 retweets. (update May 7th 309,942 Impressions!)

For the life of me I do not know why this particular tweet caught the mood of the nation. To all intents and purposes it was a fluke. It led me to think about the evolving scandal of stolen FaceBook personal data and how Cambridge Analytica, for a considerable amount of illegally coordinated spending by the Leave campaigns, managed to swing an election, managed to swing the Leave vote in the UK’s EU referendum and brought about Brexit.

What if, what I consider a lucky fluke of a tweet, they managed to turn into an art form?

What if they found a way to dish out Goldilock’s porridge just right every time for the group they targetted? Not too hot, Not too cold, not too salty, but ‘just right’ every fucking time? What a powerful political weapon. The Excocet rocket of political campaigning. Laser guided individualised messages.  Scary stuff!!

Anyway here is the content of my lucky tweet as unrolled by the Thread reader App.

https://threadreaderapp.com/embed/982513852108722178.js

Below follows the text with a few annoying spelling and autocorrect mistakes removed

*************************************************************************************

As a Dutchman, having lived, worked and raised a family in UK,
what best describes my current #brexit emotions is as follows:Come on U.K., I love you and respect you, but also be aware, there’s nothing special about you as a country that means you deserve ‘special treatment’ from EU.

 

In the past the U.K. has had the fortune of having had clever diplomats that have secured some opt outs and special consideration when you joined us in our union.
But make no mistake, when the UK did eventually join the EU, we in the rest of Europe were mainly feeling sorry for you and yes, we owed you some WWII favours.
Since then you have done your usual thing of being the loudest person in the room. You’re like the slightly embarrassing uncle at every wedding, with a few good jokes. We’ve listened to you and laughed, mainly to be polite.
We’ve given you the best seat at the table, but it’s never enough is it?
Like when we adopted the single currency to accompany our fledgling ‘single market’.
We felt we had something promising to rival the powerful petrol dollar of the USA.

But you felt you already had a respected ‘Reserve Currency’ in your precious Pound Sterling and didn’t feel the need to join in.Now the € is the second most held reserve currency in the world and the pound is nowhere to be seen. It lingers somewhere in sixth place.

 

Your volatile Pound  goes up and down like a yo-yo in the markets, an easy target for speculators. How is that bringing back control?
In 2004 you felt France-Germany as a political axis in the EU, were getting just a bit too cosy. You thought it a clever idea to expand EU eastward with the ex- communist countries. This would dilute things a bit. Part of your divide and rule strategy in EU.
The rest of us were a bit more cautious but you, under Blair and Brown,
pressed ahead regardless. It seemed such a good idea at the time.
Now you’re complaining about Polish immigration but did not bother to use your brakes.
Brakes that other EU countries asked for and prudently applied as EU rules permitted.
I could go on and on like this but the main point is you, UK,
never really engaged with us in Europe.It’s been like one foot in the EU and the other in your old Empire.But that other foot really was in some sort of grave, wallowing in Imperial nostalgia.

We’d love to have you back on board, when you shed your backwardness and delusions of grandeur; of being a cut above the rest.

 

We had such a perfect place for you in mind within our EU.  We all speak English as a second language.  You could have been, could still be the ‘Services Capital’ of the EU as well as for the rest of the world. Services, financial and others, this is something you’re good at. Other countries don’t even know the meaning of the word and what customer friendly is.

 

But beware, if you don’t want to play ball with the rest of us in EU, we’ll freeze you out.
We’ll just keep using your language and call it Euro-English.

That’s not a punishment for daring to go it your own way. We’ve just had enough of you being outside the tent pissing in. We’ve had enough of you wanting to have your cake and eat it. We’ve had enough of your cherry picking.

And also as a Dutchman, don’t give me that bullshit that the UK is bankrolling the EU and that when you pull the plug the EU will go tits up.

For starters with a population a third of the UK, The Netherlands almost pays as much in the EU coffers as you British.

 

But unlike the UK, Dutch really are a nation of traders and we know which side of our bread is buttered. So instead of complaining we grab opportunities of the Single Market and border-less trading with both hands and get our rewards that way.

A brilliant return of investment! That’s how we see our EU contributions.

 

And when we go on holiday in Spain or go skiing in the Italian Dolomites and see a shiny new E designated motorway or a new EU funded ski lift, we’re proud we paid for bits of that and glad we can enjoy it with the natives. We don’t begrudge pulling Mediterranean countries up to our level of prosperity. It means we can have great shopping and good food on our holidays there.

After all, when all European nations have the same levels of prosperity, the same employment levels and the same protection under the umbrella of the European Courts, then why would we be jealous, why start wars with our neighbours?

I can hear you bleating already NATO kept the peace, not EU.

NATO is a fighting machine, not a peace corps.

One thing I remember from my flower power seventies hippy days:

“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity”

The biggest threat and ‘black swan event’ that’s heading our way threatening all our jobs in EU and creating discord in all our EU societies is not 3rd world immigrants propping up our diminishing population numbers and feeble birthrates.

We need immigrants to do the jobs our kids shy away from. We need nurses to wipe the bottoms of our incontinent parents in care homes. We need fruit pickers and meat packers.

The treat that will hit many of our jobs soon all over the EU, without taking prisoners, will be Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.

It won’t be the likes of @johnredwood & @Jacob_Rees_Mogg that will ensure we all get a fair share of the new wealth and economic growth this will create at the same time.

They’re already busy carving up the rich spoils for their friends in the City of London.

Whereas in EU parliament they’re starting to think about how to handle this in a EU wide context. They’ve even started worrying about robot rights FFS!

I for one know who’s protection I’d rather be under….@conservatives and @Nigel_Farage and his mate @realDonaldTrump would be the last I’d trust after #brexit

I’d rather sell my soul to @JunckerEU and @guyverhofstadt
overseen by a strong EU Parliament any day!!

/ENDS

End note.

I have received amazingly positive feedback from Twitter followers and hardly any abuse from the usual Brexit shouting trolls on Twitter.  I will cut and paste a few below later as comments, but it’s hard to find them back and individually reply to.

So for all your encouragement, likes and Retweets.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

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