Monday, June 13, 2016

BREXIT


If I had a vote in the Referendum on whether or not the UK should remain in the EU or leave, I would certainly vote Leave. This neo-liberal Germanic Union of ours, with its unnecessary and perverse austerity, its false pretence to promote investment and growth, its failure to protect both external borders and desperate refugees, its Potemkin façade, insistence in destructive so-called “structural” reforms, is no use for anything or anyone, including the Germans. There is no prospect of conceivable change for the better except under the duress of actual or threatened disintegration. One of my favourite comedians, John Cleese, has also declared himself for Brexit, for the same reasons: “If I thought there was any chance of major reform in the EU, I’d vote to stay in. But there isn’t. Sad.” And he added: “I feel terrible about being lined up with thugs like Murdoch and Dacre and Brooks, but I do think Stiglitz and Owen have got it right...” (@JohnCleese, June 12, 2016). After all, Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers has always known how to deal with the Germans. A strong case for Brexit is also made here.
Having said this, that option is undoubtedly costly, uncertain in its implications both positive and negative, habit breaking and very uncomfortable. I simply do not believe the polls predicting a substantial lead for Brexit (52% over 33% in the Daily Express latest poll), in spite of the significant contribution given to the LEAVE faction by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown with their kiss of death endorsement of the REMAIN option. I believe that on 23 June the third of the voters still undecided will decide otherwise and tip the scales to REMAIN.
And if voters did choose to LEAVE overwhelmingly, it is no good pretending that the UK is a small Swiss canton voting in a mandatory referendum, for there is no such a thing in British constitutional documents or constitutional practice. David Cameron, having set up the Referendum to protect himself from Ukip’s threat, will be under great pressure to comply with the result and apply to leave under art. 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, but would not be in a hurry to make such a move. After all, he already said he will not serve another term, but he is still on course to serve until 2020, can rely on a solid cross-party pro-EU majority in Parliament, and might be able to obtain additional concessions from the EU on the strength of the vote, on top of the token ones he recently negotiated, sufficient to re-open the whole question.
But if Britain did leave, I would watch with Schadenfreude the impact of the vote on the further disintegration of the Union and the collapse of the German ruling parties. There is a group of distinguished academics, calling themselves EREP Economists for Rational Economic Policies, who have issued a “Remain for Change” Report, “Building European solidarity for a democratic economic alternative”, a generous but misguided approach. On 23 June, Vote, as the Irish saying goes, vote well, vote often.
Family loyalties, however, seem to be divided. My wife – a UK citizen who acquired double Italian citizenship through marriage  – tells me that if she had  a vote in the UK (which was removed under the Blair administration at the beginning of this century)  she would vote REMAIN:
I would vote REMAIN because I live in Italy, a country that benefits enormously from EU membership as one of the original Treaty of Rome signers for,  and by whom, the Project was designed, (one of the defeated Axis powers seeking to remedy losing) and which benefits  currently and most specifically from the UK's membership.
Italy is a transit country for incoming migrants that it fishes out of the Mediterranean, and the closing of the borders of one of the main countries of migrant settlement (as opposed to migrant transit) in the EU would have adverse effects on the transfer of migrants northwards and generate serious conflicts with any attempting to stop here rather than transit to Germany, Sweden, France and the UK.
Italy exports also over a million Italian nationals to the UK for settlement and draws strongly upon welfare payments available there to all EU citizens.  Losing a settlement of choice venue for a million Italian workers would be intensely disruptive in Italy itself.
High-quality employment in UK services, academia,  culture, and local and international administration for Italians (and other EU citizens) as well as educational opportunity at low cost from primary to post-graduate levels  in the UK are also at stake with BREXIT.  UK means-tested and universally applied welfare benefits to Italian workers at all levels both in the UK and (as is the case with many children returned to Italy) at home are very valuable and not to be lost.
Italy may be a net contributor to the EU budget, but its contribution must be set against the direct beneficial transfers and subsidies drawn directly from the UK even though the UK is not a member of the Eurozone and pretends to its electorate that there is an 'opt-out' from such transfers.
Of course, if I were settled in England I would have a different view of the whole matter - a looking glass view it might be called.  But as an Italian citizen and resident the last thing I want to see is a goose leaving with its golden eggs”.

In conclusion, it is not at all a matter of divided loyalties, nor of indecision, but a conflict of interests between two different, alternative capacities. If you live in the UK, vote to LEAVE.

46 comments:

Alberto Chilosi said...

I can see that the contagion of petty nationalism has arrived to hitherto unsuspecting shores: Salvini, Le Pen, Farage and ... Mario Nuti. Back to the future, to the nineteen thirties...and the National way to Socialism.
An addendum: I don't think there are many Italians taking advantage of the British welfare system. They are mostly young, working and net contributors. But the British, mostly pensioners, living in Italy, who, by the way, according to statistics, are more numerous than the Italians living in the UK, because of their age are probably taking advantage of our National Health service more than the Italians living in the UK of the British.
Finally I think that for some British national living in Italy with double British-Italian citizenship Leave would be more advantageous: every trip back home would be cheaper, owing to the probable devaluation of the pound.

D. Mario Nuti said...

I do not see anything nationalistic in wishing not for less but for more European integration. Merkel and Schauble are nationalistic and the ultimate enemies of the vision of Europe of our Founding Fathers. And you can keep National Socialism, which has nothing to do with me or with what we are talking about. But if the only way to genuine European Integration requires prior actual or threatened disintegration, so be it.

D. Mario Nuti said...

SG sent me a comment via e-mail: "Fiscal policy is decided by national parlaments, not by Brussels. The unemployment rate in Germany is low and Germans apparently support the policies which have brought this result. The EU arrangements and reforms, including closer economic ties , bigger mobility of people and effective elimination of borders, have reduced national political and military rivaries in Europe, and this may be the biggest benefit. We should keep this benefit , and this may be easier with the UK a member of the EU."

My reply: Thanks, SG. National Fiscal Policy is very tightly constrained by EU Treaties and by EU institutions right down to the last decimal, how can you say that it is decided by National Parliaments!? Greater mobility of people is a mixed blessing, I do not have to explain that to a citizen of a country that refuses to accept redistribution of refugees within Europe. This Europe is coming apart anyway.

D. Mario Nuti said...

JH says that he will be abroad on 23 June, and he is not allowed to vote anyway; he hopes he will be allowed back in. Fear not, JH, I bet you a pint of beer to a glass of tap water thaI the UK will not leave whatever the result of the referendum.

D. Mario Nuti said...

From MK: "Are you ironious or erroneous (excuse the invention, foreigners are allowed to coin strange terms)? The future you are charting is Brits leaving the EU, EU falling apart, Trump becoming our president and Leader of the "Free" world, and Putin, Erdogan and Xi remaining as the only rocks of stability in our universe. Quite an alluring landscape for our children. We, who almost remember the 1920s and '30s, may agree with Alberto. I am sure this does really include you too!

Continue with the good work, it set one thinking."

Thanks, MK, both for the bitter comment and my absolution.

Alberto Chilosi said...

I quite agree with you as to the need for a stronger and not a weaker EU. But I am very much in doubt whether under the present circumstances a disintegration of the EU would lead to a stronger reintegration. Apparently the mood, not only in the UK, is that the EU is too much integrated and not too little, that the national states have given up too many powers to the EU, not too few. As to the distribution of migrants, this is a red herring. Migrants want anyway to go to Germany and Scandinavia. Unless you fortify the internal borders as Trump would do with the Mexican border, there they will eventually go, wherever is the first destination. Finally as to the EU budget rules thwarting fiscal policy in the component states, the constraint of fiscal policy in practice are not the (very much disregarded) Maastricht rules, but the willingness of the markets to carry on financing the deficit of the heavily indebted states presenting the risk of default. Had the Maastricht rules, and in particular the pledge to reduce the debt GDP ratio towards the 60%, been followed in relatively normal times, when the time of the recession came there would have been much more leeway to carry expansionary fiscal policies anyway.

Alberto Chilosi said...

By the way, I agree with you that probably the UK will not leave the EU anyway. Apparently the Leave campaign has been in part a trick by the clownish Boris Johnson to get rid of Cameron and to take the premiership for himself. Once done he will probably say that it was just a prank.

PH said...

Interesting post, and I can see where you're coming from.

But even though I am concerned about the Euro and about the EU's apparent inability to handle/manage well serious current problems like immigration - and the EU's inability/unwillingness to end austerity and stimulate growth - I am still optimistic enough to think that reform is possible.

Moreover, I am deeply nervous about the disintegrating tendencies that could be set in motion by Brexit, both across Europe and within the UK itself. Putin will be enjoying the spectacle!

D. Mario Nuti said...

Thanks, PH. I sincerely hope you are right. Antonio Gramsci distinguished between the pessimism of reason and the optimism of will, the trouble is that I do not see what we could/should will, whatever can we do to activate the necessary reforms you advocate, which are very different from the destructive so-called structural reforms enforced by neoliberal economists, Eurocrats, and corrupt national politicians?

SE said...

Well, as a voter it is tricky. All the evidence suggests the economic benefits are to stay in. Van Reenan and the cep eat have written quite a few papers on this, including about FDI. Trade helps development and growth, doesn't hinder it. But.... the EU is not democratic and represents a series of mechanisms to exploit globalisation in favour of the better off. Leaving it could strike a blow for people’s power against corrupt politicians acting as apologists for big corporations.

The problem is: who is leading the charge against the EU? Is it greens, liberals, parliamentarians , thinkers? No, it is demagogues, xenophobes, little englanders. The one thing that unites them is a dislike of foreigners and especially immigrants. I can see the other side is just a bunch of bland machine politicians, which hardly gives hope, but what matters here is the company one keeps.

David said...

Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" He pushed hard and the temple collapsed on the rulers and all the people in it. He killed many more people in his death than he had killed during his life. Judges, 16:30

D. Mario Nuti said...

At long last the Financial Times has woken up to the notion that a Brexit vote might have no consequences:
http://blogs.ft.com/david-allen-green/2016/06/14/can-the-united-kingdom-government-legally-disregard-a-vote-for-brexit/
I told you so.

Stefania Jaconis said...

For once, I am in total disagreement with Mario Nuti.
First of all, as an Italian shareholder I look with horror at the foreseeable disruption caused in financial markets by an actual Brexit.
But, even if one tries and takes a 'Britich' position, there rally isn't much to say in favor of the UK leaving Europe. In fact, I am pretty convinced that the negative impact on the country's real GDP and trade might spread over as long as 15-20 years, as suggested by some British economists. And the single most important catalyst for this would be - besides, obviously, trade - the uncertainty generated by the loss of access to the European market, a process which will take years to come into effect and will thus generate a substantial decrease in growth-enhancing investment.
To get an idea of the cost of Brexit one just must consider how much union membership has raised British trade with Europe, and with it productivity and output, with a net fiscal cost which is estimated at 0.5% of GDP.
Exiting Europe (to become what - Switzerland, Norway?...) would not even solve the migration problem England is currently facing, given the fact that the country has one of the most unregulated labor markets in the continent.
In short: over the next week I shall keep my fingers crossed!

MF said...

You do not say why you do not believe in the polls.

D. Mario Nuti said...

Because on average there are twice as many undecided as the Brexit lead, and because pre-referendum feelings do not necessarily prevail over self-interest on election day.

Tomasz Mickiewicz said...

f the "stay in" campaign will loose it will be because Cameron and Osborne do not understand the motivation of those who want to be out: it is not about economics, and the brexit crowd will therefore not be convinced by economic arguments. It is about fear of strangers. This is a deeply routed feeling. Instead of focusing on economics, the 'stay in' campaign should therefore tackle it heads on and argue how much Britain benefits from being open. But nobody dares to take this stand right now. this is what makes the 'stay' campaign so dull.

This plus most of Labour supporters having no idea where their leader stands as pools show; they elected Corbyn asking themselves who would annoy the tories most, so now they got a fanatic whose best friend is anybody whose worst enemy is global capitalism read US (if not in fact Israel)...

Yes, Putin may witness enjoying even more trouble in Europe shortly before he in turn is swept away, I give him some two-three years unless the price of oil recovers.

Carlo Clericetti said...

Penso anch'io che vinceranno i "no" e che una vittoria (improbabile) dei "leave" provocherebbe turbolenze sui mercati che con il nostro debito pubblico non sono certo desiderabili. Non credo invece che ci sarebbero gravi conseguenze economiche di lungo periodo, gli affari sono affari...
La mia preferenza va al "leave" per le ragioni esposte da Mario all'inizio: questa Europa è irriformabile e prima o poi esploderà comunque. Meglio che cominci a sgretolarsi con un paese non-euro (e non-Schengen) Peraltro l'idea di Europa che ha l'UK non è quella di un'Unione, ma solo di un grande mercato da allargare il più possibile senza curarsi minimamente dell'omogeneità dei membri. Inoltre l'UK è il più grande paradiso fiscale del mondo e il campione della deregulation finanziaria, e se esce magari diventa più facile mettere qualche paletto in più. Se poi il "leave" non dovesse provocare sfracelli (come sarebbe probabile), l'opzione di uscita conferirebbe forza contrattuale agli altri paesi. Ma, ripeto, anch'io penso che non succederà.

D. Mario Nuti said...

Thanks, Carlo, I agree with your considerations/

And thanks, Tomek. The Economist agrees with you: "Britain’s referendum on whether to leave the EU is turning into a referendum on foreigners. While the Remain campaign has focused on the economy, the Leavers have been banging the drum against immigration. Their campaign reflects the issues that the British public fret about the most today. In 2013, the vast majority of British demographic groups worried about the economy. Today it is all about migration”.

However Hilary Benn (Labour Vote Remain) http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86102 declares that Brexit "would not put a stop to high levels of immigration of foreign workers".

By the way, the Spectator has published a beautiful editorial in favour of Brexit
http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/world-spectator-backs-brexit/
highly recommended.

D. Mario Nuti said...

For a sober case for REMAIN see David T. Llewellyn, Ten Myths in the Brexit Debate, SUERF Policy Note Issue No. 7, May 2016.
https://www.suerf.org/policynotes/661/ten-myths-in-the-brexit-debate

Frank said...

Sober? While Llewellyn's summary of Brexit gains is good, though not exhaustive, the last option 'stay in and reform' is the weasel option of the Remainiacs. The EU Project is German dominance of the European continent; there is no reform group of like-minded Member States that could be formed in opposition to that longterm policy (and I mean long, not just the lifetime of the current version).

Francesco Checcacci, CFA said...

Interesting piece. Incidentally, apart from the very good reasons given above for not believing polls, I would add that the historically most accurate predictor is showing a solid lead for the 'remain' vote. The most accurate predictor being of course th betting market.
On another note, it woudl not be a wild assumption to think that Scotland and Northern Ireland, both polled in the 'remian' camp, would organise referenda to leave the UK some years down the line, in which most probably they would vote to exit the UK and apply for (supposedlyu) preferential entry in the EU.
Then there is the average Sun reader, with which I think I never had a conversation longer than 2 minutes despite having lived in the UK for quite a long time...

D. Mario Nuti said...

On current polls
Ipsos-MORI/Standard poll, 16 June: Leave 53% Remain 47% http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/
Of course French Policemen beating up English football fans, Bob Geldoff attacking Farage's flotilla on the Thames and Osborne's futile threat of tax rises following Brexit are not helping the Remain cause.

Sorry I had missed your comment, Stefania, what you say from an Italian viewpoint is consistent with what I recommend to UK voters. And cheer up, financial markets have probably overreacted and the UK stock exchange is bouncing back.

Alberto Chilosi said...

" The EU Project is German dominance of the European continent"
Germany has taken the place, in the imaginary of frustrated Europeans, of the mythical "perfida Albione", often called by Fascists as responsible for Italian woes in Mussolinian times, or of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion for anti semitic delusions. To me it seems sheer paranoia.

Alberto Chilosi said...

If we look at the World Bank classification on the "easy to do business", Italy's position at rank 45 is very much due apparently to the item "trading across borders" where the score is 1, due to its belonging to the EU, since some of the other scores are kind of dismal: 137 for "paying taxes", 111 for "enforcing contracts", 97 for "getting credit" etc. In case we were opting out of the EU, as Salvini, Grillo and some leftist à la Varoufakis would like, we would probably precipitate much lower, to the level of poorer and not more corrupt countries than we are. The UK however could fare better since its overall score is 6 but its "trading over borders" is 38. I wonder where the latter much worse score of the UK in relation to Italy and other EU countries does come from.

D. Mario Nuti said...

Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Führerin...

Alberto Chilosi said...

Ein Volk ... and one million of Syrian refugees.

Susan Senior said...

On trade:
I think it is necessary to distinguish between the EU and Eurozone. The Single Market has been of benefit to all member states, including the UK. The growth of GDP per capita of the UK has been the fastest of the G7 since joining in 1973, having been the slowest between 1950 and 1973. The EU has played a major role in overcoming tensions between Western European countries in the last fifty years and in permitting the largely peaceful transition of Central and Eastern Europe. It would surely be better for everybody from the point of view of balance of power to have the UK remaining in the EU – the British contribution to the European project is often underrated.
All the main studies, by institutions such as the Treasury, Bank of England, OECD, and IMF indicate huge costs to Britain of Brexit. It is worrying when former Education minister, Michael Gove, says "the British people are sick of experts". According to all the studies, the scale of the losses depends on whether Britain opted for the Single Market, a free trade agreement, or what is often called the "default option" of the WTO framework. Whatever option is chosen negotiating any trade agreement takes years, creating uncertainty. The Treasury, Bank of England and IMF suggest very high immediate costs of Brexit due to market volatility.
The Treasury study is the probably the most extensive economic analysis, and suggests that if Britain opts for remaining in the Single Market (an option opposed by the Leave camp) with an arrangement like Norway, after 15 years the estimated cost to each British household would “only” be about £2600 a year. The exact statistic can be challenged, but the loss is likely to be substantial. There is also a trade off between more market access and accepting more EU standards and regulations. Against this, much of this legislation, for example, on protection of the environment and fighting the monopoly power of huge multinationals such as Microsoft or Google has been of benefit also to the UK.
The preferred outcome of the Leave camp is thought to be a free trade agreement (like Albania, said Michael Gove, but Albania maintained this was just considered an interim arrangement while it is waiting for EU membership). Canada has been negotiating such an arrangement with the EU for 7 years now (with ratifications being blocked by Romania over visas and by Wallonia over standards). The 2 years deadline of Article 50 of the EU Treaty for withdrawal after notifying the EU would not be long enough. The Leave camp has suggested not using Article 50 and relying on informal negotiations, but this option seems to be contested by the European Commission and other EU member states. According to the British Treasury, by 2030 switching to a free trade agreement with the EU would involve an estimated cost to every British household of about £4300 a year.
The Treasury places the cost of moving to a WTO arrangement (like Russia or Brazil) at an estimated £5200 per year per household, or between 5.4% and 9.5% of GDP. The Director General of the WTO, Azevedo, has since said that the UK has never been a member of the WTO (which was founded in 1995) so would have to negotiate membership. The last country to do so was Liberia, which became the 162nd member after years of negotiations as these have to cover all aspects of trade.
The EU has 36 trade agreements with 58 countries and the UK would have to replace these. The economic weight of Britain in the world is much less than that of the EU, and outcomes depend on bargaining power. According to the FT, in the case of the USA Obama said Britain would have to go to the back of the queue (I'm sure he said "line"!). Also since 1973 the UK has not carried out trade negotiations. One of the experts in Brussels estimated that Britain would need about 475 negotiators, but only has about 25.

Susan Senior said...

On immigration and the rest:
On immigration, the UK has an opt-out of EU policy so the issue in the case of the Brexit vote is immigration from other EU countries. The main EU immigrant groups in Britain are the Romanians, Poles and Italians. If the UK wanted to impose living or working restrictions or limits of use of the National Health and other services for immigrants from other EU countries it would have to negotiate with all 27 other member states together (not individual countries), and arrangements would probably have to be reciprocal. This –together with the fall in the value of sterling- is not good news for the 2 million Brits living in other EU countries, including the 66,000 in Italy. EU immigrants in the UK tend to be young and have jobs, so most studies find they are net contributors rather than a drain on UK public finances. EU enlargement would not change the picture very much as negotiations with Turkey are stalled and membership is extremely unlikely, while other candidate or potential candidate countries are relatively small.
Introducing different arrangements for trade and immigration would probably mean introducing a new border between Northern Ireland and the Republic (not to mention Gibraltar) setting back the peace process carried out over decades, which was also facilitated by the EU framework. Scotland would probably request a new referendum on independence.
The Vote Leave campaign stands by the claim that each week £350 million is sent to the EU, and maintain that this money could be spent on the NHS. The net UK contribution to the EU budget is about £8.4 billion a year or only 0.5% of British GDP.
The scope for further deregulation of British markets is relatively limited, and Britain already has wide autonomy in deciding policies such as defence, foreign policy, education and so on. Britain has also benefited considerably from EU programmes on research.
The Leave group argue that the EU needs the UK because the UK has a large trade deficit (perhaps not the best argument if you are trying to avoid volatility of financial markets). But the EU is far more important for the UK (53% of UK imports and 44% of exports were with the EU in 2015), while the equivalent share for the EU was about 10%). The main EU exporter to the UK is Germany and the Bertelsmann Foundation suggests that the negative effect for the UK would be about 10 times as great as that for Germany. Ireland, with about 16% of its exports to the UK (about 40% before EU membership) would be hit relatively hard.
The City would also be negatively affected, with financial institutions based in Britain probably losing their "automatic passport" to operate elsewhere in the EU, where they carry out about one quarter of their operations. Banks and other financial institutions are likely to start moving their activities to Frankfurt and Paris. In a recent opinion poll in the City three quarters of those interviewed were against Brexit.
Sterling is falling (by over 10% since November), and British investment is already down while firms and households "wait and see". If Brexit wins, the next few years will be spent in negotiations and uncertainty. The cost is simply too high.

D. Mario Nuti said...

Thank you Susan for your thoughtful, thorough and comprehensive comments on Brexit implications for trade, immigration and the rest. In my post I conceded that Brexit would be costly and uncertain. You may be overestimating the cost and uncertainty of new trade negotiations; the process might be speeded up simply by the UK re-joining EFTA. It will be up to the voters to judge whether costs are too high for them. I for my part judge that Brexit costs for the rest of the world have been grossly overstated, relatively to the potential benefits of a jolt that EU and Eurozone very badly need and which otherwise might never come, with disintegration the most likely default option anyway.

D. Mario Nuti said...

Roland Smith, of the Adam Smith Institute, makes the "leberal case for Leave": http://www.adamsmith.org/the-liberal-case-for-leave/.
Somewgat vague, but interesting.

Ronnie said...

Boris Johnson, of Turkish origins and a formersupporter of Turley's accession to the UE, is now leading the Brexit faction on the threat of 76mn Turks invading the UK. How dishonest can you get?

D. Mario Nuti said...

Boris Johnson's grandfather was a Turk, but you do not offer any evidence of his alleged change of mind on Turkey's EU accession. which a Turkish Minister recently claimed David Cameron to be a great supporter. Anyway you do not need Brexit to keep Turkey out of the EU, but you do need Brexit to keep Turks and Turkish Kurds out of the visa-free travel to the EU (including the UK) negotiated unilaterally by Merkel,

Tomasz Mickiewicz said...

As of now, the pound is up since yesterday. that could mean remain, as some financial institutions ordered their own exit pools in order not to wait for official results. we will see.

by the way, it seems I was right about immigration: their` survey data few days ago showed about 28% people saying immigration the most important issue to them, few percentage point ahead of economics. fear of strangers stirs more emotions than money

Lea said...

You seem to believe that Britain could re-open negotiations with the EU following a Brexit vote, but Junker made it very clear that there would be no renegotiation, and Out means Out.

D. Mario Nuti said...

Juncker is a crook who turned his country, Luxemburg, into a fiscal paradise, by selling multinational companies advantageous tax treatment, thus robbing other European governments of their legitimate fiscal revenue. He is also the man who mobilised two bn euro of EU money for investment in Europe, pretending to be providing another 18bn that did not exist and fantasising about an equally inexistent multiplier effect on private investment. Also known in England as Juncker the Drunkard for his habit to drink cognac with his breakfast, his credibility with the British public or with me is less than zero. He can say what he likes, it is an irrelevance.

Alberto Chilosi said...

Nobody is perfect... (quote from the last line of "Somebody likes it hot")

Alberto Chilosi said...

"you do need Brexit to keep Turks and Turkish Kurds out of the visa-free travel to the EU (including the UK)"

Apparently this is not the case, since, as Susan writes above,
"On immigration, the UK has an opt-out of EU policy". The same applies, as far as I know, to visa policy: the UK has its own visa policy, independent from that of the EU.

Moth said...

"Be careful what you wish for, lest it comes true"...

M.K. said...

It is clear that the only salvation of the EU is through more coordination, ie more centralisation. To save the Euro you need some common exchequer, to deal with immigration you need a common policy, to get some democracy you need political oversight over the bureaucrats in Brussels. All this means a Euro-governement with powers to tax. Even to force the Germans to increase their expenditures while the Greeks' economic activity is raised by surging demand from the Northern members, some common budgetary authority is the only solution. But who wants a Euro-governemnt? Isn't this the dilamma?

D. Mario Nuti said...

Yes, M.K., well put. The prospect of a European fiscal authority in the hands of a German a' la Schauble today would be the worst of all possible worlds.

M said...

A prophetic video from the 1980s Yes Minister series:
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2016-06-24/the-brexit-vote-has-made-this-prophetic-yes-minister-video-go-viral
Unmissable.

D. Mario Nuti said...

Great, thanks. A bit too close to the knuckle, though...
On a more serious note, see
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/2016/jun/24/divided-britain-brexit-money-class-inequality-westminster

Alberto Chilosi said...

Per invocare l' art. 50 ci vuole una decisione del parlamento di Westminster, che probabilmente non verrà mai,tenuto conto di quello che sta succedendo all' economia britannica e del fatto che la maggioranza dei deputati è contraria al Brexit.
,
https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2016/06/27/nick-barber-tom-hickman-and-jeff-king-pulling-the-article-50-trigger-parliaments-indispensable-role/7

D. Mario Nuti said...

The High Court has proven you right, Alberto, though this appears to be one of those law-creation sentences, typical of the English systen, that change the rules rather than applying them as in our tradition. In the UK constitutional practice foreign affairs, from the making and unmaking of treaties to the declaration of war, have always been part of the "Royal Prerogative", i.e. the powers of the Monarch transferred to the Government in the 17th century. The High Court has motivated its ruling by saying that the EC Act modified domestic legislation, but this is true of any Treaty, and sounds rather specious.

The May government has appealed to the Supreme Court, scheduled to meet in early December and deliver a ruling in January. But whatever the ruling Theresa May should have no difficulty to obtain a Parliamentary vote in favour of Brexit, either in this Parliament or a newly elected one if need be. Before the Referendum there was a parliamentary majority (both in the Commons and in the House of Lords) in favour of Remaining, but after a 52% majority vote on a high turnout in favour of Leaving it is most unlikely that Parliament would vote against the will of the people.

Besides, it is very difficult to argue that the UK has not given notification of the decision to leave the EU already: Cameron has resigned instantly, his successor has swiftly replaced him and confirmed that "Brexit means Brexit", negotiators have been appointed on both sides, the language of negotiations has been discussed, the government has confirmed that the entire UK would leave and not part of it, the UK has not been invited to crucial summits like the Bratislava one about migrations.

Art 50 does not specify any particular form that notification should take. The UK Notification to Leave meets the duck test: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks, it is a duck.

D. Mario Nuti said...

By the way, The New European recently argued that "Brexit is not an earthquake. It is the aftershock of the death of European SocialDemocracy". Not quite: Brexit - like Donald J. Trump's Presidential election - is the aftershock of the death of a perverted kind of SocialDemocracy: hyperliberal, globalist, austerian, unequal, unfair, multinational-colluded, corrupt, destructive of the welfare state, and relying on unrestricted mobility of capital and labour, and on the alleged but non-existent self-equilibrating and self-propelling features of markets.

Alberto Chilosi said...

"the will of the people", the vote of a few percentage of Britons on a referendum that, whatever the theory, was really on the dilemma whether David Cameron or his nemesis Boris Johnson had to be the leader of the Conservative Party.

The leave propaganda was a bunch of lies, from the 350 million pounds weekly saved for the National Health Service, to the invasion of the Turks in case of the proximate entry into the EU (to which if UK remains in the EU has in any case veto power) amounting to what in Italy is the crime of "circonvenzione di incapace". Moreover it was not deliberative, but simply advisory, so there is no compelling reason why the parliament should not vote remain. After all Britain is supposed to be a parliamentary democracy.

As to the notification of art. 50 the decision should be taken, as stated in art. 50, in accordance with British own constitutional requirements, what has not yet been the case. Finally the most basic motive for the leave seems to have been to block net immigration from the Eu (aim that will not be reached if the UK wants to maintain access to the single market). A simpler and safer way to get the result would simply be to elect Jeremy Corbyn as a prime minister with his labour party: instead of a lot of young continental Europeans coming the the UK to find a job it would be the other way round and the flow promptly reversed.