How to Evaluate UK Referendum/Brexit
Over the last few days my February piece on the UK referendum was rediscovered and passed around Facebook and some of the other social networks. Here are some thoughts on how to think about BREXIT amidst the hysteria.
If a pundit or politician predicted Britain would Remain in the EU, they were obviously wrong. Ignore anything they say now.
- There is no question the absence of tariffs within Europe is a huge benefit, but travel without passport controls was only marginally more convenient. The rest of the EU was in my experience limiting and bureaucratic. Two small examples I encountered daily in business. You could not sell to customers or buy from vendors as you did in the rest of the world. You could not send information out of the EU to the US. Most of the EU is not about free trade, but actually creating protectionist barriers favoring continental companies.
- Europe has a trade surplus with Britain. On that basis Mercedes, French wine producers, Dutch telecoms, Danish meat producers, Fiat, etc. need Britain more than British companies need Europe.
- Be careful about Scotland leaving the UK stories. The Scottish Nationalists lost their majority in the last election. The Scottish budget in the 2014 Scottish Referendum barely covered independence at $110 oil. Today oil is $50/barrel. If the UK gains some access to the EU single market in final negotiations, would Scots really vote to leave the UK at $50/barrel?
- The folks in the EU bureaucracy with their usual business sense ceded the power to leave under Article 50 to the exiting country. Britain can delay negotiations as long as it takes to generate a favorable EU negotiation environment.
- Remember, the Brits voted to be more like America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Is that obviously a bad outcome? Is that obviously bigoted and xenophobic?
- UK Prime Minister David Cameron resigned. If there is one obvious negative, it is the loss of this honorable and moderate leader. What a contrast to the EU bureaucrats who dislike voters and representative democracy, such as Claude Juncker and Martin Schultz. Juncker and Schulz having lost the election are not only staying, but are bent on retaliating against the British.
Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission – “”I’m sure the deserters will not be welcomed with open arms.”
Martin Schulz, President of the EU Parliament – “The British have violated the rules. It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate“. (emphasis added)
We will not know whether the UK will prosper or not out of the EU for at least five years. It will be at least two years before the UK leaves under the treaty. Beware of anyone who thinks on any issue they can predict five years out.
Climate Change Opportunities
Gambel’s Quail in Arizona
At the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Commission we have discussed climate change in our last two meetings. As I have written before, we do not argue over the cause and remedies. I accept the majority position on those issues, but I suspect some of my fellow commissioners do not. And since the Commission has no ability to change the cause or legislate remedies, we contemplate adaption for parks and wildlife. What should we as a natural resources agency do to adapt on the ground?
It can be such a negative topic generally that we forget there are some opportunities. As climate warms in Southern Colorado can we introduce species that need a warmer drier environment? So, for example, why not Mearns and Gambel’s quail that currently do not exist in Colorado?
The opportunities do not outweigh in anyway the dangers, but they do exist. It is important to consider and where possible make those opportunities a reality.