Monday June 27, 2016
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As I have freely admitted in this space over the past 12 months, I have only the most basic - and by "basic" I mean, of course, "shallow" - understanding of politics in America.
Thus, trying to understand the nuances of the "Brexit" vote in
I suddenly realize I don't know the difference between England, Great Britain, the British Isles, and the United Kingdom. I'm certain even the most ill-behaved four-year-old in the East End knows the answer to this but I do not.
However, I found the webpage of the Woodlands School in Kent (which, for all I know is a haven for ill-behaved four-year-olds) which explains all.
It's available to you on the Secret Decoder Ring.
Britain last week is impossible.
But, as everyone else in America is talking about it, and I don't think they know much more about it than I do, I'll take a whack.
There is a wonderful clip from the program "Yes, Minister," in which the Minister's senior advisor explains why "Britain's foreign policy has been the same for the past 500 years: to create a disunited Europe." Also on the SDR.
There are many reports of people saying the voted to exit the EU as a protest vote which they never would have cast had they though the "Leave" side would win.
Yeah, well, voting matters and if you want to cast a protest vote give a restaurant one star on Yelp.
The comparisons between the anti-establishment vote in Britain and the anti-establishment movement here as evidenced by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders doesn't go very far.
The part that compares is the sovereignty issue. Members of the European Union give up a great deal of local law- and rule-making so that all 28 countries operate under the same ones.
State governments in the U.S. complain of the constant encroachment of the Federal government on their ability to have laws and rules that make sense in their state.
No matter what you think about the issue, the transgender bathroom "guidance" for local public schools is an example.
Another: The Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on a case last week on whether President Obama overreached by issuing an Executive Order which would have shielded a large number of people living here illegally from deportation.
That tie sent the case back to the appellate court from whence it came. That court ruled the President's side-stepping Congress was Unconstitutional.
I'm not sure anyone wants to go back to the Articles of Confederation, but it is not hard to see that at some point continuing to cede sovereignty over local issues becomes untenable.
Trade is a non-starter in comparing Brexit and our 2016 Presidential campaign. Britain is, as you might have noticed, an island. It doesn't have the capacity to grown, mine, and manufacture everything it needs. And it can't sell everything internally that it does grow, mine, and manufacture.
It needs free trade with the rest of Europe - and the rest of the world.
Immigration is a closer call. The middle class in the UK, according to a massive poll reported in 2008, is like the middle class here in the U.S. According to the UK Telegraph, are less well off than they think, and are "keeping up appearances by depending on loans and credit cards."
These data were collected and reported at the front end of the Great Recession, but the notion of living beyond our means on unsecured loans and credit cards is not unknown here in the Colonies.
Well over 2 million Britons have signed on-line petitions asking Parliament to consider another Brexit vote. A petition exceeding 100,000 requires Parliament to at least take up an issue for debate.
To me, it smacks of throwing your putter into the lake after dribbling your third consecutive putt by the hole, then demanding the golf course provide a diver to get it back once you realize you have to putt with your three wood the rest of the round.
As I write this at shortly before 9 PM Eastern, the Asian stock markets are mostly down about two percent - not good, but certainly not in the "chaos" category.
As for the effects of Brexit on the U.S. there are multi-national companies and financial institutions that will have to recalibrate, but they can do that.
As for the rest of us, Donald Trump was - however unartfully - correct. With the Euro and the Pound trading against the dollar at decade lows, this is a good time to schedule that overseas trip you've been thinking about.
As for the Brits: One of their national hymns goes:
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: That link to the Woodlands School, also to the "Yes, Minister" clip, to the Articles of Confederation, and to the petition to re-run the Brexit referendum.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
he Mullfoto is a selfie that I took looking at a monitor in a studio at MSNBC yesterday.
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