Newsletter 14/04/24

Figures published this week show that, since Brexit, the UK has gone from being the seventh largest exporter in the world to being the fourth largest in the world, overtaking France, the Netherlands, and Japan.

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Dear Subscribers,

Figures published this week show that, since Brexit, the UK has gone from being the seventh largest exporter in the world to being the fourth largest in the world, overtaking France, the Netherlands, and Japan. The increase is driven mainly by an increase in export of services, a sector which remainers said would be crushed during the referendum. Predictably, the mainstream media have little to no interest in reporting on this achievement.

An advisor close to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has said that a free trade deal with the UK would be a priority for the US if Trump wins a second term in office, citing ‘enormous economic potential’ for increased trade between the two nations. Talks between the UK and the US were hampered from the get-go by pressure on Biden from American trade unions favouring protectionist trade policies.


Trump campaign talks up trade with the UK

Russian metal producers have been banned from trading on the London Metal Exchange. It is hoped that the measures will limit the Russian government’s access to foreign currencies and thereby limit its ability to maintain the war effort in Ukraine. The sanctions are worthy in intention but risk forfeiting the advantages that come from hosting the world’s largest metal exchange.

Ben Bernanke, former chair of the New York Federal Reserve, the largest central bank in the world, has said that the Bank of England’s economic forecasting is ‘out of date and unfit for purpose’. In a review commissioned by the Bank, he also criticised the Monetary Policy Committee for using faulty forecasts as a communication tool.


Bank of England under fire

The ECHR has found that the Swiss government’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions violate the human rights of its citizens by not being tough enough. Granting itself the power to determine what climate measures are sufficient, the court found that the elderly claimants were particularly vulnerable to ‘extreme heat’ and therefore had a legitimate claim against their government. The case for leaving the ECHR, which was already strong, is now glaringly obvious.


John Gray on progressive doublespeak

Dr Gerard Lyons on Bernanke’s bashing of the Bank of England


Global France meets Global Britain? By John Keiger

The anniversary of the Entente Cordiale is being celebrated with the usual military pomp. The past is useful, but more interesting today is to look to what the future relationship, cordial or otherwise, might be when there are new governments in both London and Paris.

This is where a revitalised Entente Cordiale could come into play. It would need to be post-Macron to establish a clean sheet on which to sketch longer term Franco-British relations. There are clearly shared long term interests that Global Britain and a new Global France could work towards, notably in the Indo-Pacific. The 2010 Lancaster House agreement, like the Entente Cordiale itself, is a light and flexible structure that could serve Britain far better than hitching itself to a tired and cumbersome EU.

Key Points

In the Spectator this week, Lord Sumption lamented Britain’s exclusion from what he called the continent’s “grandest and most inspiring project”. It is remarkable how many Brits who are otherwise clear-eyed and sceptical can be carried away by such lofty sentiments, especially when they are on holiday. There is nothing grand about the slow and subtle seizure of power by unaccountable judges and bureaucrats. There is nothing inspiring about the imposition of uniformity on a continent with such a rich variety of nations and peoples.

Sumption makes two claims about the EU (that it has made statehood ‘economically viable’ for small nations of Eastern Europe and that it is ‘repairing the continent after a century of war’.) and one about Brexit (by which we have done ourselves ‘much economic damage’). Briefings has shown time and again that there is no evidence that Brexit was the cause of significant economic damage, but the line seems to have achieved an unassailable authority through nothing more than persistent repetition. Treating it as an uncontroversial fact is an embarrassing lapse in judgement for a former Supreme Court Justice.

The point about the economic viability of statehood is an odd one, not least because he mentions 6 Eastern European nations not in the EU who seem to be able to manage statehood without the patronage of Junkers from the North. What’s more, the cost of membership is sacrificing sovereignty in which statehood consists. National governments give up much of their autonomy to make their own laws by becoming members.

But his strangest point is about peace. Sumption sees the EU as a sort of physician, healing the wounds of war in a historically troubled region. Can it be that, alone amongst the nations of the world, the peoples of Eastern Europe are incapable of keeping the peace without legal and constitutional oversight from abroad? And can it be that, alone among the empires of history, the EU will be an erstwhile bulwark against conflict?

There is perhaps no greater impediment to reasoned debate about the EU than the sort of sentimentality that a rousing rendition of ‘An Die Freude’ can evoke. The EU should not be mistaken for some grand humanitarian vision. It is a deeply flawed system of supranational institutions with a variety of economic and political purposes. It is about time people started treating it as such.

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Briefings For Britain