Saturday, January 18, 2020

Will the real Chancellor please stand up?

Britain is better off in. And that’s all because of the Single Market.
It’s a great invention, one that even Lady Thatcher campaigned enthusiastically to create.   
The world’s largest economic bloc, it gives every business in Britain access to 500 million customers with no barriers, no tariffs and no local legislation to worry about. It’s no surprise that nearly half of our exports go to other EU nations, exports that are linked to three million jobs here in the UK. 
And as an EU member we also have preferential access to more than 50 other international markets from Mexico to Montenegro, helping us to export £50 billion of goods and services to them every year. 
Even the most conservative estimates say it could take years to secure agreements with the EU and other countries. 
Having spent six years fighting to get British businesses back on their feet after Labour’s record-breaking recession, I’m not about to vote for a decade of stagnation and doubt.

The chancellor has warned manufacturers that "there will not be alignment" with the EU after Brexit and insists firms must "adjust" to new regulations. Mr Javid declined to specify which EU rules he wanted to drop. 
Speaking to the Financial Times, Sajid Javid admitted not all businesses would benefit from Brexit. "We're also talking about companies that have known since 2016 that we are leaving the EU. Admittedly, they didn't know the exact terms."

I'm old enough to remember a time when the Govt promised us the “exact same benefits ” as membership of the single market. Good to know that all those Brexit voters knew exactly what they were voting for. Shame they still haven't managed to share their vision with the rest of us.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Maths homework

For those who struggle with arithmetic, £130Bn is more than 14 times the annual contribution of £9Bn that the UK currently makes to the EU. The end-of-year £200Bn estimate is more than 22 times larger, and exceeds the totality of our contributions over the entire 47 years of our membership. It seems a hefty price to pay for a blue passport and a new 50p piece.

Of course the long-term damage is far greater than can be measured in purely economic terms. Students and the young in particular will be thrilled that the Govt has recently refused to commit to participating in the wildly popular and effective Erasmus exchange program. The rest of the EU members and associates will no doubt be devastated that they will only have 30 countries to choose from rather than 31.

In unrelated news, the racists who told Meghan Markle to f off back where she came from, are apparently upset that she has decided to do just that. Shrug. Some people just love to hate, I guess. The story even got a mention in the Guardian which has obviously gone down-market.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Review of the blogyear?

Nope, Can't be bothered. There's only a handful of posts for 2019, you can read them from the sidebar. Or just scroll down the page. I will be posting about real science quite soon though, once we have recovered from the insane 31 Dec IPCC deadline. Who thought that was a good idea? Bad enough to have that for our own paper, but then along came another couple that we were co-authors on, that required commenting and editing, and a project proposal for which there was really no reason at all for the same deadline to be picked, but back when we were first talking about it, it didn't seem to matter...

Anyway, all 4 things got done in time. Phew. Watch this space for further news.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Just when you thought you'd heard the last about brexit

Not that any of my readers would be deluded enough to think that this is going to go away any time soon, just because Johnson wants to pretend it will.

Brexit, in some form or other, is going to start actually happening at the end of the month. I'd call it a grotesque act of self-harm but of course a lot of those who are going to suffer will be those who have opposed it at every turn. In fact it is not so much self-harm as intergenerational conflict. 

Here is the horrific split of voting preference versus age in the 2019 general election:

Now I know what you're thinking, old people have always tended to vote tory. True to a small extent, nothing like what has happened recently. Here is the longer set of results from 1992 onwards:

The blue lines do trend modestly up to the right, and red ones down but it was only since the brexit referendum that age became such a sharp dividing line, with roughly a 3:1 split of old voters voting one way and 3:1 split of young voting the other in the recent election.

What we have now is nothing short of an ideological war being waged on the young by the old. Having had all the opportunities and benefits of EU membership for most of their adult lives, they are denying this to their own children and grandchildren based on their anti-EU obsession. This isn't just an accidental consequence of not thinking about things, when specifically asked about the possibility of family members losing jobs due to brexit, a majority of brexit voting pensioners actually said they didn't care, they wanted their precious brexit anyway.

And let's not forget that there are about 2.5 million voters who have never been allowed to vote on brexit because they were under-18 at the time. Well over a million brexit voters are already dead (that's just simple demographics) and yet their views are literally held in higher esteem than real live people who are going to suffer the consequences for decades to come. Even if not a single person had changed their mind (and I'd agree not many have) then we would have had a majority for remain for the past year. That pretty much agrees with all opinion polls now for the past year and more, not to mention the election result itself where the tories (and brexit party) totalled about 45% of the vote versus the 55% from parties who wanted at least another referendum on the details if not outright opposition. Nevertheless, that's the way our system "works" and the tories have the power to do whatever they want for the foreseeable future. They, and those who voted for them, own the consequences in their entirety, especially after they've spent the past few years yelling that they know exactly what they voted for. A bit odd that they never managed to agree what that exactly was (beyond a few trivial slogans), but never mind. I'll not bother predicting because there is not yet any clear picture of what they want to achieve.

Remember the heady days of 2016 when the brexiters told us that we held all the cards and our negotiation with the EU would be the easiest trade deal in history? Now there is no more talk of sunlit uplands, brexit is at best presented as a tedious, costly and difficult task we need to try to get through before the tories can start to undo the damage caused by whoever it was that happened to be pretending to govern the country over the past decade (don't anyone tell Johnson who was in the cabinet over the past few years....). In fact it's such a good idea that the govt is banning any mention of it from February, even though the fun will barely have started at that point.