Is Robert Cole really this stupid?

So, Maggie\’s passing means we must all be kinder to hte Europeans, join the euro, sign up to be ruled from Brussels and….well, the argument seems to be:

Sterling\’s exchange rate sovereignty has made for a more volatile currency than the euro.

Err, yes, that\’s the damn point.

We\’ve this optimal, non-optimal currency area thing. If you\’re in such an area then the joy of not having FX trading outdoes the damage from all having to react the same way to basic economic changes. As in, say, interest rates, differential demand for products, booms or busts elsewhere in the world, that sort of thing.

If you\’re outside such an area then the costs of FX trading are less than the costs of having to all react the same way.

If someone invited you into a currency area, but you declined, then one of the ways that you would work out whether you were right to decline or not is to look at your FX volatility. The more volatile this is then the more correct you were not to join: for obviously, your reaction to whatever changes have been going on has been different from those who did decide to join.

So, R. Cole is using as evidence that we should have joined exactly the evidence that we should not have. And how stupid do you have to be to do that?

23 comments on “Is Robert Cole really this stupid?

  1. Yes, he must be that stupid; but then he presumably believes in ‘ever closer union’, which will colour his judgement.

  2. This is the sort of thing the expression “that’s not a bug, it’s a feature” was coined for.

    I must admit I love this line

    True, all but the hardest of hard-line secessionists understand the value of having an open trading relationship with near neighbours”.

    Firstly, because apparently wanting to leave the EU is secession now. Secondly, because (like our host) the hard-line secessionists tend to be the biggest supporters of free trade. Thirdly, because near zero global transportation costs mean that locality is not much of an issue anymore .

    The EU (and previously the EEC) have always been exclusionary when it comes to trade. People seem to assume that free trade is something that only happens when governments allow it to happen, when in reality they are simply graciously getting out of the way.

    The writer seems to have forgotten the real purpose of the EU was an extension of the NATO principle (to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down, although the way it’s evolved they’re forgotten all of those). I’m not really seeing where the UK has a dog in that fight. Political and monetary integration is required for peace and free trade why exactly?

    I think the push to end the UK’s “isolationist tendencies” has more to do with claiming a symbolic victory by capturing the last significant holdout. No one gives a damn about Switzerland.

  3. The whole EU project has always reeked of “let’s create an Eastern USA, but on our terms”. It’s empire building, pure and simple. And just proving that Europe has learned nothing.

  4. Isn’t ‘secession’ an appropriate term? There are many, like the author of this blog, I believe, who wish to secede from the European Union. It’s not only a state from which one can secede.

  5. No, secession is not an appropriate term. That implies a level of political union that doesn’t exist yet. Classic example of proving something to be true by assuming it is true. The author of this blog doesn’t want to secede, he doesn’t acknowledge that there’s anything to secede from.

    Scotland declaring independence would be seceding (and not for the first time). The UK withdrawing from some treaties and agreements wouldn’t be.

  6. I’ve often remarked on this; “voluntary” arrangements in time cease to be voluntary. The classic example is the American case; the States which seceded were initially voluntary members; at some point, that ceased to be the case, and the Civil War was the final proof of that. So, I’ve often said, the longer we stay in this stupid thing, the more that leaving will cease to be withdrawal and become secession.

    So, it is very worrying to see that language being used already. Although, it has to be said, the Lisbob Treaty was the first clear indicator; by providing for the first time an official method for leaving, it actually asserted for the first time that member states couldn’t just leave on a whim and needed permission.

    How long before the Federal government officially declare that they have this “competence” too, and that they may use armed force to “preserve the Union”? The answer is; when they have the force to assert that will; when they have a European Army. As such, we may be closer to the point of no return than we think.

  7. The answer is; when they have the force to assert that will; when they have a European Army.

    For all that, I really can’t see Spaniards, Dutch, and Estonians having the will to fight and die for the cause of keeping Greece (say) in the EU. For one reason or another, the Yankees were willing to fight and die to keep Johnny Reb in the club.

  8. I wish I shared your optimism, Tim. Professional soldiers, well-paid, led by men they respect and convinced of the rightness of their objectives, can do a lot of things. When you reflect that a significant number of people in the countries they were ‘supporting’ would welcome them with open arms, and many of the others would be ambivalent…

  9. Professional soldiers, well-paid, led by men they respect and convinced of the rightness of their objectives, can do a lot of things.

    But, mostly, they wish to avoid fighting.

    The point Tim N was making and you are assuming is wrong is that Obergefreiter Fritz and Fantassin Francois believe that the UK, or Greece, being in the EU is something worth fighting for.

    I would strongly suggest that if the “EU Army” rolled over the Greek border (or came up through the Channel Tunnel), you’d get a lot of immediate and exemplary nationalism, even from people who would have quite happily, even enthusiastically, voted to stay in the EU.

  10. They do, it’s true. It all depends on the narrative and the circumstances.

    Your country is under threat from these secessionists, your family’s jobs, your own jobs – this is a European Army, after all, and if you don’t want to fight – and we won’t actually be fighting, we’re just going in to keep the peace while the political dialogue continues…’

    Meanwhile, half the British Army’s kit is rusting in Afghanistan, the old regts have all been disbanded and the senior officers are onside…

    I’m not saying it will happen, and certainly not next month, just that given time it could.

  11. If I were in charge, I’d also be careful to make it a British led op. Of course, British troops would never go onto British streets to keep order…

  12. I’ve a dreadful suspicion Interested’s dead right on this. It wouldn’t be sold as a European Army imposing EU will on a recalcitrant member. It would be dressed up as support of the Greek “people” against….whatever was appropriate. “Elements”. A Greek government acting “against the interests of the Greek people”. These guys have read the history of the Warsaw Pact. They do remember Hungary & Czecho.
    And for Greece, also read UK. Or maybe: British Isles EU Southern Region. Hell, with enough EU immigration, they could even conjure up a Sudetenland.

  13. @Dr Evil
    ..you d get a lot of immediate and exemplary nationalism, even from people who would have quite happily, even enthusiastically, voted to stay in the EU.

    From the Brits? In your dreams. Not if it conflicted with XFactor, you wouldn’t. The gutlessness of the British people knows no bounds.

  14. Precisely the example I was alluding to Ian B. The South in the US civil war simply wanted to leave the Union. and go their own way. Wow, they learned that wasn’t an option.

    Is Europe ready to roll into Greece to put down a revolution? No, not by far. I won’t even discuss how laughable it would be to try to subjugate Britain.

    But these things get complicated. An oopsie either way and Edinburgh would have been the capital of the UK. In some ways, the political evolution of the UK is a more classic example of ‘once they’re in, they’re in’ than the US. It’s almost funny to see the EU attempting the same thing on a grander scale.

  15. SE “But, mostly, they wish to avoid fighting. ”

    Not true, young men in armies love fighting.

  16. Without wanting to engage in a bout of war-porn, most European governments would run a mile from any engagement at the first sign of casualties. See here, for example:

    Mr Sarkozy said that the question of an early French [military] withdrawal from Afghanistan would arise if security conditions were not re-established.

    This is what is going to hold Europe together?

  17. I think you’re joking Tim, hence the smiley face, but in case not the British Army is very well-trained and led, certainly at the company level and arguably above. Well paid not so much. It’s ‘failure’ in Afghanistan is down to a shortage of men and materiel, impossible (and sometimes inexplicable) ROE, crazy short term political thinking and shifting military goals (this year we’re taking ground and holding it, next year we’re in and out etc etc).

    The German Army is not what it was!

    I didn’t say, and don’t think, that EU military action in Britain is imminent or even likely, just that it’s conceivable some time in the next 20 or 30 years.

    Would a few Scots or Taff Toms like to crack some heads in London? I think we know the answer to that!

  18. Tim N, everyone under-estimates the French. They’ve had the most practical, and hard headed, foreign policy of any European country for a long time. Blowing up the Rainbow Warrior, invading Rwanda and the Ivory Coast without anyone making a fuss, testing nuclear weapons in the Pacific.

    I’m not even going to say any of those were good or bad things. But when they decide to do something, they do it. For all that’s wrong with France, they’re like Israel in that respect.

  19. Ltw, the French have a far greater military history than us. A few key battles and two wars convince some people otherwise but when he’s up for it your Frenchie is formidable.

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