Thursday, January 24

Up Or Down

As David Cameron goes for broke on the European Union - Britain up or down vote by 2017 (the clever bastard vitually ensures his continuation as the PM of the Tory party) - let us consider what is at stake.  Britain habitually plays the role of the fence sitter, weighing in when it makes sense to do so, pulling back at other times and forming alliances as need be.  The EU has handicapped some of that, for sure, and Britain the second largest contributor to the fiscal agendas (ie, Greece and other bailouts) following Germany. I have heard we contribute somewhere between £180 and £200 billion pounds annually.

On the flip side, the UK is Germany's largest trading partner (greater than China, greater than the US) and about half British exports go the continent. But that really underweights the situation: the City is the world's financial centre strengthened by common form cross border regulation. And let's face it : without the square mile this country falls pretty quickly into second tier (London the sixth largest city in the world by economy, led by finance and professional services).   London exports £20B to the rest of Britain (despite the most  transportation congestion, hospital wait times, school rankings. .. ).  Without the Union (corrupt, inept and it all) this is an island for tourists and Russians.

So should we, the people, vote? Yes. Britain's Democracy not as ancient as Greece nor as large as India but it dates back to principals suggested in the Magna Charta.  A decision by Britain may forces others (the givers; Germany) to consider their involvement in the EU 'project'. And should they go, will civil unrest result  on the periphery and evolve into open conflict?  Europe did an atrocious job handling the Balkins.

So Cameron plays a dangerous game.