Saturday, 24 August 2019

A plague of yellowhammers



If Remainers were bookmakers, they would have been out of business long ago. Their ability to predict future events ranks with prophets predicting the end of the world is nigh. Next time you see someone ranting in the street calling on you to repent your sins because the world is going to end on October 31st it is important to realise that neither of you can predict the future. But we have seen this sandwich board wearer before. He told us that the world was going to end in 2016. The sin of rejecting the great God Europa would see us cast out. There would be ten plagues and we would wander aimlessly until a people’s vote brought us back to the promised land of Eu. 


The problem with Remainer predictions about anything is that they are all systematically biased. It is for this reason that they have no predictive validity at all. In Britain we know that weather forecasts are unreliable because our weather is so changeable. But imagine if the weather forecasters were systematically pessimistic about the future of British weather and wanted each summer to be wet and cold. This is the problem with Remainer predictions. They want the British economy to be dependent on the EU. For this reason, they predicted in 2016 that a vote to Leave would immediately lead to recession and job losses. The opposite occurred.

But to predict anything accurately you have to be unbiased. Pseudoscience wants to confirm all its theories, rejecting any that contradict the prediction. Meteorology can only be a science if it accepts that its predictions both in the short term and the long term may be wrong. The bias of the Remainer makes everything he predicts worthless and no more worthy of attention than the preacher ranting in the street.

If weather forecasting is an inexact science, economics isn’t really a science at all. Economists cannot predict what the stock-market will do tomorrow. They cannot predict recessions nor can they predict crashes. There are some general economic principles that are useful, but human behaviour is so complex and adaptable that no one has been able to predict with accuracy what will happen tomorrow, next week or next year. It is for this reason above all that planned economies don’t work. Human nature is chaotic for which reason we suit free markets rather than socialism. To plan our economy means to attempt to control and regiment human nature. Socialism always makes us less free because freedom depends on free markets, supply and demand.

I can’t predict what will happen if the UK leaves the EU on October 31st without a deal. It would be a big change, perhaps the biggest change in UK politics and economics since 1945. If the EU decides to continue to try to punish Britain things could be difficult for a while. France could decide to check every lorry for five hours. British tourists going to Spain may be told they need to wait in a queue while each page of their passport is scanned. There are things that Britain cannot control. There are things we cannot predict. We are all going to have to wait and see.

But as an alternative to all the negativity it is worth pointing out that there are definite advantages to leaving the EU without a deal. These I think will outweigh any short-term disruption. The reforms Margaret Thatcher introduced in the 1980s led to short term recession, job losses and sometimes disorder, but they paved the way for a radical changes in the UK economy that brought us long term efficiency, greater competitiveness and prosperity. So too completely leaving the EU without a deal will more quickly bring the benefits of Brexit to Britain.  

Brexit is above all about bringing sovereignty back to the UK. No longer will laws made in Brussels supersede laws made in the UK. We voted in 2016 to bring back control. We have waited long enough. The EU is the equivalent of the inefficient working practices of 1970s nationalised industries. The EU tries to plan and regulate everything rather than allowing the free market to determine the best way of working and how to trade. The EU inhibits free trade because it only allows "free trade" between member states on payment of a fee. When you pay for something in a shop, it obviously isn't free. The EU imposes a common external tariff on trade with non members. Anyone who wants genuine free trade with as much of the world as possible should realise that it is the EU that prevents this. We don't have free trade with the EU, because we pay, and they stop us trading freely with those who don't demand payment. The sooner we get out, the sooner we can get on with gaining the benefits that real free trade brings with it.

If we leave the EU without a deal, Britain will not have to pay £38 Billion pounds to the EU. Doubtless Britain owes the EU something but having paid into the EU for the past 40 years doubtless the EU owes Britain something too. Let’s go to arbitration. Let’s have a non-EU court determine what each side owes. In this way we might not only save the £38 Billion we may end up with a profit too.

Leaving the EU without a deal means that the issue of the border in Ireland ceases to be Britain’s problem. We don’t intend to make any checks at the border. We will make those few checks that are necessary so as to inconvenience both British and Irish citizens as little as possible. But the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is an international border and it will become the border between the EU and the non-EU. If the EU insists on controls, it will be up to the Irish and their EU friends to determine how to do it. Most likely the EU border will end up between Ireland and the continent.

Ireland has wanted both full access to the UK single market and full access to the EU single market. Brexit demonstrates that this is simply not possible. This will prove a salutary lesson to Scottish nationalists. Independence creates an international border and this has consequences. Sometimes those consequences are not revealed until one hundred years have passed. If Irish trade with the UK is devastated, the simple solution would be for Ireland to leave the EU as well. They won’t do so because the hatred for Britain that they have demonstrated lately runs too deep. Millions of Irish families like mine settled in Britain. Most of us benefited from the move. But the Irish gave Britain little credit for providing us with homes, jobs and a standard of living we could not at that time find in Ireland. Instead British affection for Ireland is most likely to be answered with hostility. So, if things go badly for Ireland after Halloween, whose fault really will it be? This too is a lesson for Scotland. I strongly suspect that the example of Ireland will hold the UK together. Scotland's trade relationship with the UK depends on being a part of the UK. Ireland's example will clarify this very nicely. 

The greatest danger for Brexiteers now is that the EU concedes ground on the Irish backstop. Better by far to get out completely. The worst aspect of Theresa May’s deal was the backstop, but the rest of it too left us controlled by the EU for years and sometimes indefinitely. We have all seen how the EU operates. They are hostile to Britain and want to punish us.  Does anyone fancy two more years subject to EU laws and regulations with no say in them whatsoever? Does anyone fancy trade negotiations after we have already handed over our billions and our best cards. No. Theresa May’s deal was the worst treaty in British history. Let's be done and dump the whole thing now. If the EU later wants a genuinely reciprocal free trade deal with nothing else attached and no costs, let it ask for one. Until then we can buy our cars from the USA and our wine from Australia. There is nothing the EU produces that we can't get elsewhere. Who loses?

There will be surprises after Halloween if we leave without a deal. We will all have to be ready to work hard to make Brexit a success. We need to get rid of the pessimism because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our future success is in our own hands.  The future is not determined. A no deal Brexit will be wildly popular in at least half of Britain. It will humiliate Theresa May and instead of a Labour/SNP pact giving us indyref2, a no deal Brexit will give Boris Johnson a majority, perhaps even a  landslide. If we don’t get a plague of yellowhammers, sometime in November, the Remainers will once more look ridiculous. After three years of national humiliation we will be able to tell the EU and Leo Varadkar where to go. I would stand in a very long queue to be able to do that. Just like Brexit, it would be worth it.





37 comments:

  1. I still value your individual thinking, Effie, but I think no deal is too big a risk.
    I hope your optimism proves correct if it comes to that.

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  2. I've followed the Brexit argument closely for four years and you are the first person to point out Ireland's perfidious hypocrisy in wanting access to both the EU and UK 'single markets'. As it's a country with a smaller population than even Scotland, Veradkar really is the arse wagging the EU dog.

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    2. The meaning of 'hypocrACy' would be 'rule from below'.

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    3. It was the UK who asked for the backstop to be put in and now ERG have said that even if the backstop is removed they will not vote for a deal. If you want perfidious hypocrisy and liars then then ERG and hard line Brexiteers should be your target.

      The renewed input from DUP MP's puts my teeth on edge, my imagining of their death(politically) and subsequent putrefaction was sadly premature.

      If they get a hard Brexit(which none of them mentioned during the Brexit campaign), remember "Easiest Trade Deal in the World" and if their own estimates in Yellowhammer come true then I would hope the UK public have their revenge. Hopefully served red hot.....

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  3. It would be quite pleasant if Ireland suffers after 31/10 Veradker's duplicity cannot go unpunished. One other policy we could implement is the abolition of the Common Travel Area albeit with the exception of Northern Ireland. All Citizens of the Irish Republic should after 31/10 be treated the same way as any French, German or American Citizen in the UK and by the way under no circumstances should they be allowed to vote

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    1. Some very brave and gifted people laboured long to bring about the 1998 Agreement. This latter dramatically reduced the incidence of violence, took the Border out of political contention, and enabled hundreds of thousands of ordinary people to live something like normal lives. Brexit has not yet even happened, but is already causing the Agreement to unravel. If the situation once more slides out of control, there is no reason to suppose that the new Troubles will not immediately spill over into Western Scotland and Northwest England. Lives will be lost, and persons at the highest level in the State will not be immune to the hazard.

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    2. The bigots thought their world was dead following the Good Friday Agreement, recent developments have brought them out from under their rock again.

      Clearly Ian knows nothing of teh Irish Act of 1949.....

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    3. I am aware of the rather shameful actions of Premier Attlee to preserve the Irish Catholic vote for Labour in the 1948 Act. Sheer gerrymandering

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    4. The irony of a unionist talking about gerrymandering.....

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    5. Rather glass houses territory!

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  4. Here come the anti Irish brigade.......

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    1. They are the unionists eternal enemy, boogie man and fifth columnist all rolled into one. They had the temerity to resist British rule, free themselves from it and worst of all, make a success of it.

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    2. and they did it all on purpose....

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  5. While I share Effie's hope that we shall not suffer any of the adverse consequences forecast, I am unable to partake in her optimism.

    It is not very long since many questioned whether or not meteorology was a science. There are, of course, many grey areas, as there will inevitably be in any statistically-based discipline. And it is by no means the case that analysis, forecasting, and planning have no place in economic activities. Businesses are constantly doing them, and depend on such for their prosperity and survival. Those with the gifts and skill for these activities can command telephone-number salaries. Those of them more interested in the discipline than in ridiculous remuneration exercise their calling as journalists and economists. A wise person will examine the form of such experts, and place their bets accordingly.

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    1. Any issues following Brexit will be blamed on the EU, the right wing UK press have already started that and their acolytes like Effie will try to help.

      You will in my opinion be hard pushed to find anyone who will admit voting leave once this whole idiocy is finished.

      What I find utterly amazing is the number of hard core unionists who have flipped to being extreme Brexiteers, its been an eye opening transformation. I'd go as far as saying conversion rate is easily more than 9 out of 10.

      The very same people who wailed with all their might in 2014 about the effects of Scotland leaving the UK and the EU....Are now complete converts.

      None of the Brexit supporters were talking about WTO and no deal exit from EU. However once the possibility arose due to political incompetence, then they all rushed to that side of the boat.

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  6. By now, the possible outcomes of Brexit have ceased to be relevant for more and more of its proponents. It is an end in itself, manifesting some existential need.

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  7. Effie tells us that she wants to tell the other 27 Member States of the Union, and the mild-mannered G.P. exercising powers once wielded by Viceroys in silly hats, where to go. She does not, however, reveal their intended destination. In any event, I surmise that none of them will not budge an inch.

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  8. A sad thing about Effie, and those who are of a like mind with her, is that she imagines enmity where there is none. Most people in Ireland are well-disposed towards Britain and the countries in it. There e exceptions, of course (some of the biggest Anglophobes I've ever met were Ulster Loyalists). However, the present course which Effie at al. are pursuing is already creating uncertainty. Uncertainty creates instability, and there is now a generation suffering increasing frustration and deprivation, but did not live through the Troubles. Like those over here who invoke wartime Britain as an exemplar, but were not even born at the time, they are tempted to adopt a belligerent demeanour. Unless the present course is changed, I can see no possible good outcome.

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    1. ERG confirmed yesterday they will never vote for any deal....regardless of Irish backstop removal or not. Ireland is being used as a smokescreen by hard line right wingers to turn the UK into a fascist state..

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    2. Now Johnson looks to close parliament.....

      Unionist becomes fascism in just 2 short years. Interesting.

      This is essentially the English version of the NS Enabling Act from 1933. I'm sure Effie will be thrilled.

      I don't want to hear any more denials of being fascists from Brexit supporters now. We can see your swastika knickers.

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    3. References to nether garments, Running, are at best unnecessary. I understand that Effie is comfortable with such talk, but it discredits the viewpoint of those using it.

      That said, I see what you mean. At the same time, the parallel with events in Germany is premature. A much closer parallel would be with the Dolfuss coup in Austria.

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    4. There are also points of comparison with the Second Empire in France. Napoleon III's rule depended on a weak legislature, with occasional ratification by plebiscite of the Emperor's most recent initiative.

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    5. Now I come to think of it, the parallels *are* strikingly close. Let us consider a ruler who:
      makes a fetish of some great man of the recent past;
      suffers from an exaggerated view of his country's strength and preparedness; and,
      labours under a wildly exaggerated estimate of his own abilities; and,
      has no clear consistent strategy, preferring to make it up as he goes along.

      Napoleon III, or Mr. Boris Johnson? It's so very hard to say.
      Mak

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    6. Having spent yesterday evening perusing my school copy of Perroy's 'Histoire de la France', I rather wish I hadn't make that comparison. The positive results of Napoleon III's various adventures were at best meagre. The negative results ranged from the unfavourable to the disastrous, culminating at Sedan in 1870. Given Mr. Boris Johnson's combination of instability and exuberant self-belief, I earnestly pray that he will not try to escape from a desperately tight corner with some ludicrous Galtieri-like military adventure.

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  9. Britain in Ireland has form for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Everybody (except the Orange Order) accepted the Act of Union, since it was clearly understood that Catholic Emancipation would follow. HMG decided not to introduce Catholic Emancipation. Throughout the second half of the 1840s, the potato crop failed over most of Northern Europe. In most countries, the authorities took appropriate measures. The King of Prussia, for example, did not permit his Polish subjects to die in their hundreds of thousands. HMG did not follow this example in Ireland. Queen Victoria's celebratory visit to Dublin received rapturous welcome. With Parnell out of the way, HMG decided that no serious reforms were needed. When the third Home Rule Bill was finally passed, the Tories supported armed resistance, incited the Crown Forces to mutiny, and welcomed the importing of 25,000 rifles and 3,000,000 rounds of ammunition from Germany. The overwhelming majority of Irish Nationalists supported the war effort in 1914, and opposed the Easter Rising. HMG pursued a policy of bloody repression and wholesale internment (shades of Guantanamo!) that alienated even the most moderate public opinion. Leaving out several other sorry episodes, we come up to 1969. British troops protecting the Roman Catholic population from the RUC and from ununiformed assailants as well received a rapturous welcome. HMG put the troops under the command of the RUC. The Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh condemned violent insurgency, and approached Mrs. Margaret Thatcher with a view to discussing ameliorative policy changes. She harangued him, and sent him empty away with his credibility erased. She also broke the No. 1 golden rule for any British Government, 'Never get involved in an Irish hunger strike'. The consequence was to turn Sinn Féin from a fringe party into a serious contender for power. More recently, the 1998 Agreement took the Border out of contention. Violence dropped to a low level not experienced in decades. People were able to live something like normal lives. HMG now propose to erase all the premises of the Agreement. None of the members of HMG, from Mr. Boris Johnson downwards, gives the slightest sign of understanding what is at stake. The precedents are as discouraging as they could be.

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    1. Ireland is being used as a smokescreen.....

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    2. There's a lot in that, Running. Effie puts her finger on it elsewhere in her text. One of the main targets in this sorry venture is the reassure of what remains of our civil, industrial, health, welfare, social, and cultural rights.

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  10. Mea culpa.

    For 'reassure', read 'erasure'.

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  11. They could not erase them while part of the EU....

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    1. Exactly so. We must, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, resist at every step.

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  12. It will be interesting to read Effie's views on Col. Davidson's recent manoeuvres.

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    1. I'm not sure she was a fan...."Remoaners" never change their spots and all that. Seems to be the line among the good unionist/brexity folk in the Herald.

      This of course means we'll never see Ruthie as FM...sniggers like a 12 year old

      Aldo however will be heart broken i believe, he was a big fan. He'll also not be loving this WM nonsense as he can see how it fans the flames of nationalist frenzy.

      It's a funny old world....

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    2. Indeed she wasn't. There is a gulf between them. Colonel Davidson is a conservative, wishing to maintain existing institutions laws, and customs. Effie is a Hayekian.

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  13. Clearly, Col. Davidson has achieved all that she can in her public career. Equally as clearly, she is unhappy with the ideological trend now prevailing in the Conservative [sic] and Unionist [!] party. Her family will be grateful for her decision.

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  14. So, no interim interdict: that could have muddied the juridical waters. In respect of the UK's political system, we are in uncharted seas. The Court of Session is about to take a sounding. Roll on Tuesday!

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