Allow me to translate this for you

The Prime Minister added: \”In the spirit of this healthy competition with France… If France goes for a financial transactions tax, then the door will be open and we will be able to welcome many French banks to the United Kingdom and we\’ll expand our economy that way.\”

\”If France wants to be so mindbogglingly stupid about it then we\’ll take advantange of having a mark at the table, don\’t you worry.\”

Here\’s what the real problem is though. Are the French actually so mindbogglingly ignorant and stupid as to think that an FTT is a good idea? Or have they something up their sleeve?

It\’s possible that they do think it\’s a good idea: economics/finance has never been something that the Enarques quite get. They tend to see politics and the decisions of technocrats as somehow over ruling the movements of markets. Certainly they believe they should and they might even believe they do.

Or it could be that they know that an FTT is a bad idea, most especially one imposed in only one country inside a Single Market with the free movement of capital, companies and labour. But they\’ve got some ace up their sleeve: perhaps they\’ll use the movement of business resulting from the FTT as an argument for its extension?

Anyone any ideas?

7 comments on “Allow me to translate this for you

  1. He says that he will implement it in August, but I believe that the French elections are before that. So it is just a bit of banker bashing to help his electoral prospects, not something that he actually intends to do.

  2. also – never bet that the French won’t find a way to use the EU institutions to their own advantage. There will be some sneaky clause buried away in 4-point type in a footnote on page 936 of the treaty allowing Europe-wide imposition with no democratic intervention allowed.

  3. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-29/financial-transaction-tax-in-france-to-take-effect-in-august-sarkozy-says.html

    Yes, they certainly have something up their sleeve. They are going to implement a weaker version of the UK stamp duty reserve tax on equity trades, though they say CDS too (good luck with that).

    The French did say they understood the insanity of taxing sovie bond transactions. Maybe they get it, and it’s all posturing to bait Cameron or Merkel? Politics is a strange game.

  4. This might be naive, but maybe they think it will be a success and that its success will prove to the rest of the EU that it should be implemented continent-wide?

  5. An FTT which is just SDRT will be a “success”, so, sure; it steals money from future pensioners and wraps it up as a tax on evil banksters. What’s not to like?

  6. To answer question 1: Yes, Enarques really are that stupid.
    To comment on the elections:
    The choice is between a corporatist socialist, a syndicalist socialist and a poujadist socialist, not to mention various weirdos and fantasists. None of them really have a handle on the mood of the people (ultra-grumpy, but indecisive) so there is plenty of posturing still to do.
    (P.S: I’m not including the Napoleonolator, de Villepin, who may still run but really should be in a funny farm.)

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