Geography ain\’t what it was

More fundamentally, over centuries this country has made her living (and endured much of her dying) around the world. It is extraordinary that in the age of the internet she should believe that she must do the economic and political equivalent of marrying her next door neighbour. If ever there was a time when matters of language, culture, shared history, law and fellow feeling should trump geography surely this is it.


There was indeed a logic that we should trade with the people next door to us preferentially. A logic rather destroyed by the invention of the shipping container.

The first sailing of which was 6 months before the Treaty of Rome…….

3 thoughts on “Geography ain\’t what it was”

  1. Global free trade now. Well, soon at least. Aim to be there in a generation and we can adjust without too many shocks to the system. Then that chunk of the in/out argument is irrelevant.

    Are UKIP MEPs campaigning for Brussels to tear up all the remaining tarrifs? I sure hope so, but it seems to me a fundamental weakness of the EU that policy is made behind the scenes by the (big) governments rather than representatives at the European level.

  2. There’s not much evidence for this in the academic literature – rising energy costs haven’t helped but I’d have thought a more varied product mix and requirement for rapid changes in spec might have pushed the other way.

  3. The shipping container didn’t actually destroy that argument – it made a tiny dent. I was reliably informed in the 1960s that the biggest saving from containers was the reduction in pilferage in the docks, so the saving in fuel cost relating to distance travelled was marginal.
    There were and are a lot of arguments for Imperial Preference as the food-surplus Dominions are complementary to the food-deficit UK, but the benefits of container shippingare negligible in this context.

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