After a break from blogging to attend to pressing professional and personal matters, The Referist is back on line with another look at some recent articles appearing in the international press.
From Canada’s The Globe and Mail comes two opinion pieces. The first, by Doug Saunders, entitled How David Cameron fumbled the Brexit ball picks up on a BBC 5 interview with Arthur and Tina, two retired Britons living in Torrevieja on the Spanish Costa Blanca. They will voting ‘out’. Asked why, Tina points to immigration, saying there is too much and someone has to say no. The author then gives his view on the lead up to the decision by Mr Cameron to hold a referendum in the first place before going on to make the point that for a referendum to be valid, it needs to ask a basic existential question that every voter understands and produces a clear result. He suggests that Britain’s relationship with ‘Europe’ isn’t like that, given that: “Every aspect of the country’s life is so tied up with its EU connections, in such complex and inextricable ways, that any yes-or-no question is bound to become entangled in noise and distraction. The European Union is part of the country’s economic and political plumbing.”
The author, to his credit, recognizes that the EU is indeed part of the UK Government. He concludes by an overview of how, in his view, Cameron, Corbyn, Johnson and many others in the political establishment have tried to grab the limelight, all with weak cases.
We look forward to hearing what Doug has to say once he is aware of The Market Solution pamphlet and the full version of Flexcit.
The second Globe and Mail piece is by Lysiane Gagnon, Britain’s Cameron tackles Brexit fight with his hands half-tied. In what is clearly a remain oriented opinion, her first paragraph ends with “In the colourful political lexicon of Britain, you’ll have the Innies (also called Remainiacs) against the Outies (or the Brexiteers)”. She then looks at the collective letter from Britain’s biggest corporations, noting that Sainsbury’s and Tesco cautiously abstained, in her view because the Innies are elitist and privileged while the two companies mentioned are close to the people, by whom we presume she means the Outies. The Boris and Dave Show of course gets a mention, as does “xenophobic” UKIP.
Her conclusion, before giving us this little gem: “Britain is not really an active partner in the EU; it’s neither in the euro zone nor part of Schengen (the treaty that erased the frontiers). And it never warmed to the generous and visionary concept underlying the EU’s creation – hardly surprising, in a fiercely isolationist country where people still talk of “the continent” as if they didn’t belong to it.”
“Still, the retreat of the second-richest member country (after Germany) and the second military power (after France) would deal a quasi-death blow to a union that has already started to unravel under the terrible pressures of the migrant crisis.”
From Canada we move on to France, where we find an unexpected Brexit supporter. In a video clip “Michel Rocard favorable au Brexit“, broadcast on TF1, one of France’s main television channels, as part of his guest appearance in a debate on Indés Radios-LCI-Metronews, we have M. Michel Rocard, a former French prime minister, in typical gruff and uncompromising Gallic fashion giving his view on ‘England and Europe’, as he terms them. He begins by explaining that a look back at history reveals ‘Europe’ is insulted by the “English” government and press on an almost daily basis. “Isn’t that enough?” “Haven’t you understood?” he asks. To his mind, we can’t stand the decision systems of “Europe”. He then states that it’s true to say Mr Cameron wants to remain, as “England” earns money by benefiting from the economic crisis in the rest of “Europe”. That aside, he points out that 60%, if not more, of the “English” people want to leave and if they feel that way, it’s because they are uneasy and say no to everything. Since joining in 1972, one after the other has absolutely prohibited any progress for “Europe” and resisted integration, whether in social, fiscal, economic, bureaucratic, diplomatic or military terms. He ends by reiterating that he hopes his audience has understood.
The remainder of the French press has been obsessing about the Queen and what she did or didn’t say.
Various articles from Ireland convey the concerns of the Irish about Brexit. The Irish Times has an article by Denis Staunton “London Letter: Irish disenfranchised at home but may vote on Brexit” giving an interesting perspective on the fact that Irish people living in GB have the right to vote in The UK’s referendum, while they don’t have the right to vote in Irish referendums and general elections. This in the author’s view makes Ireland the envy of her continental European counterparts
In Sinn Fein appears an article by Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson MEP on her address to farmers on BREXIT. The article discusses the absence of information about relationships with the rest of the world post-Brexit. In her speech to the farmers she is to say: “In any case, the north MUST have its own say, specifically on whether the 6 counties remains part of Europe or not.”
CEPS (the Centre for European Policy Studies), a leading think tank and forum for debate on EU affairs, has published a 225-page pdf document “BRITAIN’S FUTURE IN EUROPE: The known plan A to remain or the unknown plan B to leave” A quick glance at this hefty document provides nothing that hasn’t already been amply covered over the years by EUReferendum.com, but we note that there is no mention anywhere of FLEXCIT or The Market Solution, which puts paid to their claim of “the unknown plan B to leave”.
Bruegel, in a piece Brexit and the EU-UK deal: consequences for the EU, gives its views on the pros and cons of the outcome of the referendum and concludes “Regardless of the result of Brexit referendum, the EU will not be the same as before. Either it will be seriously weakened by Brexit, or with the UK still on board it will be less internally coherent. The integration process, even if justified on the grounds of increased returns to scale or delivering pan-European public goods, will face serious obstacles.”
Bringing us up to date, a scan of today’s international press brings up an article in the NIKKEI Asian Review, courtesy of Bruegel, Andre Sapir and Guntram Wolff: Would Brexit give back sovereignty to UK? which looks at “taking back sovereignty”, EFTA and the EEA.
Several newspapers look at today’s announcement by Moody’s. India’s IIFL is one such, with the headline “Moody’s: Uncertainty is biggest near-term risk from a Brexit for companies in the UK“
The Irish Times reports: “Ireland likely to be Brexit’s silent victim” based on new research by Oxford Economics, a consultancy linked to the Oxford University business school.
Finally, brought to our attention courtesy of @efta4uk on Twitter, comes an excellent article from Norway’s Nei til EU: “Britain, Do not listen to the Scaremongering!” The Referist greatly appreciates the support of our Norwegian friends and the insight given from a non-EU European country.