Monday, September 12, 2016

Fraser Stoddart on Brexit

...Queen Elizabeth’s Commonwealth Day message continues, “So many of the world’s greatest technologies and industrial achievements have begun as partnerships between families, countries, and even continents. But, as we are often reminded, the opposite can also be true. When common goals fall apart, so does the exchange of ideas. And if people no longer trust or understand each other, the talking will soon stop too.” With these thoughts ringing in her ears, it is to be hoped that the monarch will work passionately behind the scenes in London to dissuade her government from failing to learn yet another lesson of history, which is that small islands that isolate themselves off the shores of large continents are destined to eke out more impoverished existences than their continental cousins. 
Time is running out fast for the U.K. It would help, Ma’am, if your worldly wisdom were to prevail closer to home. Time is not on the side of the EU either. It would be best for all concerned in Europe if governments within the EU were to speak out with one voice against the U.K.’s knife-edge vote to leave the EU and say, “No, you can’t.”
I don't pretend to have any insights into British politics (or EU administration), but it seems to me that the prevailing wisdom into Brexit was that it's highly unlikely for Sir Fraser's suggested solution to work? I am under the impression that the governments of France and Germany were interested in a quick divorce; perhaps the facts on the ground have changed?

17 comments:

  1. >Spend last 20 years in America
    >Call your old country racist/xenophobe
    >Pray for French/German domination
    >Wish for end of democracy

    wow. just wow.

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    1. i think many people are only interested in democracy to the extent that it agrees with their personal policies

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    2. Well put. I think UK scientists (he's not the first I've seen complain) haven't thought much about how Japan, S Korea, and (probably) other countries manage to finance research, find students, and not abandon national sovereignty.

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  2. "it is to be hoped that the monarch will work passionately behind the scenes in London to dissuade her government from failing to learn yet another lesson of history, which is that small islands that isolate themselves off the shores of large continents are destined to eke out more impoverished existences than their continental cousins."

    I think the postdoc who wrote Sir Fraser's latest Jackass paper on historical theory of the world should be fired. After major revisions, they should resubmit it to Chemical Miscommunications and forget that it ever existed.

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  3. Angew. Chem. Miscom. Int. Ed.

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  4. Everybody loves a scare story.

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  5. 1) I can't think that trying to force the UK to stay in the EU over the wishes of a majority of its people is going to work out well. "For your own good" works poorly with children, and even less well for adults.

    2) At some point the EU is going to have to figure out what to do with its common currency; if it wants one, it either will likely have to vest more power over member country budgets than it has, which will generate more sovereignty complaints, or be willing to remove or quarantine countries that won't play by the fiscal rules it sets. If the former, then as long as people don't have any control over the people that have that power (they aren't elected), the EU is going to have problems.

    I don't the UK is going to benefit from leaving (the vote to leave has the hallmarks of a drunken one-night stand leading to an unexpected child), but this isn't the way to help, I think. Adults have to learn to deal with the consequences of their actions and desires (a lesson we may get to learn shortly).

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    1. James Altucher says quite well what the Brexit actually means. http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2016/06/financial-fridays-brexit-means/

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    2. Sometimes a fool has to learn the hard way. And sometimes, MILLIONS of fools have to learn the hard way.

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  6. France and Germany want a fast exit that limits the ability of the UK to bargain for as much of the benefits of being in the EU without actually being in the EU, because if Brexit happens, but the UK gets to keep all the good parts (market access, etc) other countries will consider exiting. Given the lack of enthusiasm for brexit from the current government who knows what the actual time frame will end up being. It may be that they hope to simply keep kicking the can down the road and de facto ignore the vote. But at some point I would think the ambiguity would be bad economically.

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  7. It might work; they're just not going to do it.

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  8. A disappointing editorial. It's obvious that the elitist, unpatriotic Sir Stoddart does not believe in British exceptionalism. He probably doesn't even wear a Union Jack pin (made in China) on his lapel.

    Well Sir Fraser, the Andy Capps have spoken. So build that wall and make the EU pay for it. Make Britain great again. The only thing the UK needs from the EU are mistresses and wives for billionaires.

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  9. Complaining that you need to get a visa is truly the most first-world of first-world problems.

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    1. Even more than complaining about your parents buying you the wrong colored iPhone?

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  10. HRM, if I recall, still has to sign all bills passed by Parliment so I suppose she could simply refuse to ratify any bill separating from the EU. Odds of this happening are clearly tiny (Queen Anne being last to try?).

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    1. She could, or she could decide to follow Stoddart's suggestion; I was assuming it wouldn't go well for her if she did, but she could. I don't know whether it would end up as a profile in courage or like the ending of a dictatorship, though.

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