Thoughts – Saturday 13th June 2020

As the clock ticks towards my 65th birthday (eek), and I work to get Mary mobile and well again so I can schedule my overdue hernia surgery, the Western world teeters on the brink of a massive recession and social unrest is bubbling.

  1. London 

Black Lives Matter was planning a demonstration in London today, but decided to call it off. This may have been a very smart move, since all of the fascists who were planning to show up to fight them did show up. However, having nobody to fi…er, demonstrate against,they were left to take out their drunken anger on whoever from the media happened to be too close, or the police. 

It is rather obvious that these people are not fans of democracy, inclusion and the equitable treatment of minorities. They are, however, for many people outside of the UK, the face of modern England.

2. The irrelevance of Nigel Farage

Poor Nigel Farage. A 7 time (count them) failed parliamentary candidate in the UK, a long-term mostly-absentee MEP (get Nigel to tell you how many EU Fishery Committee meetings he attended while he was a member of that committee), and now he has been released from his LBC contract.

The problem with leading a single-issue pressure group is that if the issue is resolved, you have no rationale for public existence. I suspect that Nigel’s backers no longer need him, so he is old hat, yesterday’s man. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

3. Brexit fiascos, continued

The UK seems determined to ignore most of the normal rules about negotiation, as it tries to look tough. The problem with these normal rules is that they exist for a very good reason: they are smart.

One fundamental rule of negotiations is: keep your options open. If you are ever faced with a scenario where you have only one option, you have no leverage, and your opponents will squeeze you.

The UK just violated that rule (yet again) by announcing that it does not want an extension to the EU departure transition period.This means that at midnight on 31st December this year, all agreements that currently exist with the EU will disappear, unless they are replaced by new ones. If they are not superseded by new agreements, the UK will become a totally outsider country, with no trading,customs, aerospace, travel,fishing agreements…the list goes on. This will not end well. The UK’s current behavior is going to result in it becoming an international pariah.

The delusion that the UK is going to magically obtain a “good deal” on fishing rights and quotas is another area where the UK has violated fundamental rules of negotiation. The government and its supporters keep insisting that fishing is an important subject, and that the UK will get a good deal. (This persistently ignores that the fishing industry in the UK is less than 0.5% of GDP, and it is declining).

When you publicly put yourself in a box like this, there are going to be one of two likely outcomes, both of which will be bad for the UK:

  1. The UK, desperate to obtain some useful concessions on fishing that it can sell as a victory to its supporters, will end up making big and damaging concessions on other issues, which will end up severely damaging the UK economy in the medium term
  2. The UK will fail to get a good deal on fishing (because the other concessions would be way too damaging), and the fishing industry in the UK will be left to twist in the wind, amid allegations of betrayal and sellout

The right answer would have been to adopt a calm and measured approach to negotiations, not making bellicose statements in advance in an attempt to negotiate in public. But the bunch of unqualified juveniles currently running the UK government cannot manage something that simple.

4.  COVID-19 in Texas

The graph of new cases shows a worsening trend. The economy was opened way too soon here in Texas. This is not just true for new cases. The overall death chart is also worsening.

The idea that you could re-open the economy in states like Texas, Florida or Arizona is going to be seen, before long, as the naive and deluded actions of free-market idiots.

6. The NFL continues with virtue signals but…

…until they apologize to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, and ensure that they are signed to teams, the gestures are deficient, defective and hollow.

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