Markets don’t enjoy uncertainty, probably because people don’t either.
What a historic week, we’ve been watching in whether we actually live in a British democracy or not. Never before have I witnessed such blatant, but crafty, disregard for 52% of the British public.
This week I read, with a dry non-amused expression, that the BBC reported the following headline:
“Brexit case ‘not about in or out’.” It was listed at 17:11 on their live rolling coverage of Day 1 of the Brexit Case. Strange. I thought we’d voted on it already. Anyway, “David Greene, a member of the legal team representing hairdresser Deir Dos Santos – who is challenging the government alongside Gina Miller – says the Brexit case is “all about process and not about in or out.” I can’t give you a direct link because these rolling live comments tend to be incredibly hard to find the next day.
If this is really their motivation – and we all know, regardless of how we voted, that it isn’t – then why didn’t David Greene and the legal team for Miller and Santos not sue The Guardian back in July for completely misrepresenting them? According to their protestations of innocent motives, the following is libel, surely?!
“The first legal attempt to prevent the prime minister initiating Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is to be heard later this month. A high court judge, Mr Justice Cranston, has set 19 July for a preliminary hearing of the judicial review challenge brought on behalf of the British citizen Deir Dos Santos.” (The Guardian, 8th July 2016) The piece was entitled “First legal attempt to prevent Brexit set for preliminary hearing.”
The answer is simple. Because The Guardian didn’t completely misrepresent their motives, rather, it illuminated them. Oops. Now that this pseudo-case has ridiculously reached the Supreme Court, you’d better be more subdued, innocent and high-minded-sounding. Make sure you talk about the importance of British Parliamentary sovereignty and how highly you regard the law of the land, even though being a member of the E.U. means diametrically the opposite. Basically, be more careful, because your motives continue to show. The “unintelligent British public” can see it, which is surprising, considering we’re all so “under-educated.”
The strawman question being discussed yesterday in the court case – in long-winded, monosyllabic and slightly indifferent tones so indicative of the London legal world from which I herald – was this: “Is the referendum of political or legal significance?” I implore the government and the legal team for the government to explode that false-choice being dictated by the legal team for Miller and Santos. The true question is this: Why one or the other? Why isn’t a national vote both political and legal? When wasn’t it?! When did a national vote become a political event and not a legal one? And why wasn’t that choice on the ballot paper i.e. could we have ticked a box saying either “I’d like this referendum to just be of political significance” or “I’d like this referendum to be of legally-binding significance”? How many of us would have showed up if it was just the former? The very fact that so many of us showed up to vote, apart from the lower turn-out in Scotland (67%) shows we all presumably thought it wasn’t just a fun day out. In the South East and South West of England, both of which voted to leave the E.U. the turn-out was 76.8% and 76.7% respectively. (The Electoral Commission) Because Scotland’s population is small, the difference between those who voted Leave to those who voted Remain was just 500,000. But we tend not to be too aware of this figure, because Scotland’s land mass is large, so the yellow “Remain” section looks huge compared to England. A million Scottish people voted to Leave, while 1.5 million voted to Remain, compared with a third of Scotland who sadly didn’t vote at all.
The Remain campaigner’s actions themselves prove they always thought the result would be fully both of political and legal significance. Because, if it was just a political, non-legally binding, advisory result, why did the Remain campaign go to such lengths to manipulate the outcome, and fail? Who worries that much about a bunch of 52% of your population just giving you some friendly advice?
Their behaviour continues to show the full political and legal significance of our democratic vote, precisely because they are still trying everything they can to over-rule, delay or dilute it.
And if our own government’s appeal does “fail”, which – in a court of so many europhile judges – is hard to see how it won’t, how could any M.P. legitimately not vote according to the majority vote of their constituents? An M.P. is not a vicarious controlling parent, voting for what they patronisingly think is best for their local little people. An M.P. is a servant of the people. If this was also not the case, when were we the people told this prior to voting them into office to represent us? If this theatre of the absurd were just tiring, heh, adult life is often tiring and we are British, so we work through our tiredness, go to work on lemsips, tea and coffee, and patiently, stoically, endure the petty and wearisome battles with our excellent and fabulously British character.
I was thinking yesterday how polite we are. The 52%. We’re being very patient and giving the government and newspapers a chance. We maturely understand that it takes a little time to implement our democratic instructions. We’ve instigated no riots, no national moaning on and on and on via social media, no temper tantrums, no strikes, no civil unrest, no walk-outs, no road closures to blindly interrupt our economy for a day to immaturely cut off our nose to spite our face. We are very much like those kids in the classroom who get ignored because they get on with it. No coloured bean bags and safe spaces for us. We’re the 52% and we’re showing our British values by our patience and maturity, regardless of our varied demographic and political backgrounds. We have the grace to think any rare violent remarks against Miller or Santos are abhorrent against our values, all the while being the ignored victims of an historical democratic delay ourselves.
But, underneath the endurance we are showing against the ones who are trying to dilute and delay our economic, legal and sovereign exit from the E.U. is a very serious and growing point, both for our future and our economy. William Hague rather excellently came up with a new allegory for the sinking ship of the E.U. in The Financial Times:
“William Hague has said a prediction he made in 1998 that the euro area would be “a burning building with no exits” has been proved right and that eurozone member states would have to live with the consequences for decades. In an interview with The Spectator magazine to be published today, the foreign secretary says the sovereign debt crisis in Greece shows his judgment of 13 years ago was correct and the single currency “will be about for centuries as a kind of historical monument to collective folly”.
In comments that reflect the government’s hostility to involvement in a rescue, and which may rile other European Union states, Mr Hague said back in 2011: “I described the euro as a burning building with no exits and so it has proved for some of the countries in it.”
Mr Hague adds: “Greeks or Italians or Portuguese have to accept some very big changes in what happens in their country, even bigger than if they weren’t in the euro, and Germans will have to accept that they are going to subsidise those countries for a long time to come, really for the rest of their lifetimes.” He continues: “You can have burning buildings where they manage to put out the fire or control it or get more room or something. I might take the analogy too far but the euro wasn’t built with exits so it is very difficult to leave it.” Mr Hague’s harsh tone on the euro crisis contrasts with the one that was adopted in a speech of the day by Nick Clegg, the then deputy prime minister.
Except, William Hague didn’t warn us with these words today. He warned us with these words five years ago, in a article written by the Defence and Diplomatic Editor of The Financial Times. I cannot stress how imperative it is for Great Britain to make economic ties with international non-E.U. nations as soon as possible. And to do that we need to be free of the single market rules of the E.U. I implore those who are currently trying to block or delay our exit to please step aside, if you have any love for this nation, our people, our rule of law and our common sense, as you are currently enjoying saying you do. Because here is the crux: Parliamentary Sovereignty is only sovereign because it reflects the vote of the people. Otherwise, “Parliamentary Sovereignty” is being used as Double-Speak for “Anti-Democracy.” British Democracy is Sovereign, that is all that makes Parliament sovereign. Because without Democracy there would be no concept of Parliament as we have historically understood it.
A thought. If the few can bring a pseudo-legal case to try to thwart, delay or dilute the will of 52% of a nation’s citizens, can the 52% of the nation’s citizens bring a pseudo-legal case against the few? Let’s make a new legal argument up, as seems to be the trend. Perhaps we could call it “Economic Manslaughter” of Exhibit A – Exhibit A being Great Britain’s future international trade health. Manslaughter, of course, instead of murder, on account of their diminished responsibility, in that these few do not currently understand what they do. For every week, month or year they try to delay our exit from the E.U. we could counter-claim they are putting us all in increasing economic danger. If you say you are doing something for the nation’s good but your actions contradict this, then I will believe your actions, not your words.
I’ve been quietly impressed on several occasions with Theresa May. She seems to politely and inherently understand that the passive-aggressive techniques of controllers hate surprises. Early this morning news broke of a surprise move on her part: “Theresa May has dramatically announced that MPs will on Wednesday be given the opportunity to vote on her timetable for triggering Article 50 and formally beginning Brexit. Just over 24 hours after the Supreme Court began considering whether Parliament should be allowed a vote on Article 50, the Prime Minister formally amended a back bench motion on Brexit. MPs will be asked to back the Government’s plan to formally serve Article 50 by the end of March 2017. Mrs May also committed to revealing the official plan for Brexit before the process begins. The unexpected announcement came after months of the Government refusing to give a “running commentary” on Brexit, or formally to allow Parliament a vote on the process. The news of Wednesday’s vote was welcomed by both Leave and Remain campaigners, with Brexiteers backing the Prime Minister’s decision to finally tackle the issue head-on. Downing Street sources said that it was now time to “see if those who say they accept the result really do”
MPs and Remain campaigners have been accused of spending months plotting how to undermine the result of the referendum – while saying they support the will of the people – and will now have to reveal their intentions.” (The Telegraph, 7th December 2016)
This is smart. I’m smiling into my large early morning glass of green tea. I believe time will show that the 52% helped the 48% dodge an economic bullet. At that point, we will be very gracious. Some will thank us for seeing it coming. Some won’t. It’s too early to know how today’s surprise House of Commons vote will play out. And I expect, true to form, that the current court sitting will “decide” that it is “non-binding.” But the conundrums for the few just keep getting more entangled for them. Because, if some non-elected judges decide today’s House of Commons vote on Brexit called by our Prime Minister is non-binding, then if the same judges then rule that the House of Commons must vote on Article 50, will that vote also be, by consistency of argument, non-binding? Oh the webs they weave.
“If I get the result I don’t like, it’s non-binding. If I get the result I like, it’s binding.” So say I, because I want to. *Gavel* I am impartial *Gavel*
This case should never have made it to court. It’s an insult to the image, intelligence and hard work of our judicial system.
But, some light-hearted news. If you fancy increasing and starting your own pot of Gold or Silver, while all this silliness puts weight on the increasing economic uncertainty, we highly recommend not going about it this way:
“Police are looking for a thief who managed to carry an 86lb (36kg) bucket of gold flakes worth $1.6m (£1.2m) off a truck in New York. Surveillance video showed the theft happened in just 20 seconds while the armoured truck was briefly unattended.The man struggled to carry the gold, taking an hour to lug his loot on a usually 10-minute walk, footage showed.” (BBC, 30 November 2016)
The copious comedic surveillance videos resemble a silent Harold Lloyd skit from the days of Laurel and Hardy-esque timing. He does all this oblivious to the fact that he’s in probably the most surveillance-heavy city in the world.
For an easier to lift alternative, browse Bleyer’s website for a wide delightful variety of Gold and Silver bars and coins. Consider the smaller coins for beautiful, thoughtful and timeless Christmas gifts. And how about a real Silver coin for your children or grandchildren over Christmas, Chanukah or whatever you celebrate in your own household.
And what to watch for this coming week? Italy is showing deep signs of economic failure: “Global markets were not lacking in precarious unknowns. Italy just added another. As voters on Sunday emphatically rejected constitutional changes aimed at streamlining government and making it easier to revive a moribund economy, they enhanced concerns that Italy’s banks could spiral into a disaster. They reinvigorated worries about the endurance of the euro currency and broader European economic integration. And they amplified the sense that Europe is a land of disappointing growth, political dysfunction and seething populism.” (The New York Times, 5th December 2016) I wonder why populism can’t be described as sensible, instead of seething? Then again, The New York Times is left of left in its “journalism”, so sensible populism wouldn’t fit with the narrative.
I found a very clear-headed financial piece published not by a “newspaper” but by the London School of Economics from 2013, again warning us, entitled “The Quiet Collapse of the Italian Economy”
“While attention on the Euro crisis has been focusing primarily on Greece and Cyprus, it is no mystery that Italy, alongside with Spain, constitutes the real challenge for the future of the common currency, in any direction events will be unfolding. In the relative silence of the international press, Italy’s macroeconomic situation has been showing no sign of improvement, and indeed numerous indicators portray a national economy which finds itself in a depression, rather than in a however severe recession. It is no overstatement that the Italian economy is currently collapsing.
Italy is the third largest economy of the Eurozone (after Germany and France), holds the largest public debt (over €2 trillion), which has been growing at an astonishing pace, even in more recent times and particularly as a ratio to GDP (130%), since the latter is contracting fast. How is this sustainable? Well, it is not. But for the moment, thanks to the ECB direct interventions (€102.8 billion of Italian bond purchases in 2011-12) and especially to the LTRO mechanisms, the finances of the Italian state can still be kept afloat. Italian banks have been absorbing €268 billion of liquidity issued by the ECB by means of the LTRO programme. In its essence, the mechanism is the following: because the ECB cannot lend liquidity directly to the states, except in times of absolute emergency and for the stabilisation of financial markets in the short term (as happened in 2011), it lends money to the banks, which in turn purchase government-issued bonds.”
In June of this year, two days before our supposed non-educated, non-binding E.U. referendum fun day out, which supposedly wasn’t about serious well researched citizens voting to get our laws and economy out of the way of this E.U. disaster, after one of the most politically informed national debates of any vote in our history, well, two days before that E.U. referendum, The Telegraph coined the epic phrase for the E.C.B. buying up its own debt: “the doom-loop.”
“Europe’s banks are still buying more of their home governments’ bonds, even though the enormous exposures between states and financial institutions risk re-starting the so-called ‘doom loop’ that damaged the Greek economy so badly. Banks have doubled their holdings of their own states’ debt since 2008, according to Standard and Poor’s, despite plans over the past five years to cut back on the exposures. When banks invest heavily in one government’s debt, the banks become dependent on the government’s good performance, and the governments depend on the banks purchasing the debt.”
Aka, the Doom Loop!
It continues: “Western European banks have more than doubled their holdings of their own governments’ debt from a low of €355bn in September 2008 to €791bn today. Among southern European banks in the EU, the number is up from €272bn to €722bn.” Yes, you read that right! €722bn!!
If anyone tries to tell me, one of the 52%, one more time that we didn’t mean leaving the E.U. meant leaving the Single Market, I may just lose my British temper and spill my tea. Who wouldn’t want to free themselves from such an unhealthy economic zone? They always say you can tell how healthy a relationship or ideology is by how free you are to leave it. Events are compounding the truth that the E.U. is very unhealthy indeed. All the more reason and motivation to leave.
To prepare for the doom-loop, and to prepare for any further delays to our economic ability to trade with non-E.U. economies, consider investing in Gold and Silver bars and coins today. The government don’t own it, the banks don’t own it, you own it. Now, let’s all hope a few judges and M.P.’s see sense, learn to accept a result which their personally may not have preferred and remember the millions who voted to make a real, legal, political and every-day future difference to our nation. I’ll be interested to see how today’s snap vote in the Commons goes.
Hope you all have a good week.