It’s the Glorious Twelfth – but if you’re not out shooting, here are some thoughts on the Referendum aftermath.
CBI calls for focus on US trade relationship
The CBI confirms that the UK remains the largest foreign investor in the USA. $449 billion of UK investment supports a million jobs in the USA, a quarter of which are in manufacturing. However Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s Director General, points out the need for careful handling of the UK/US trade relationship. She gave a very up-beat analysis on the BBC Today programme this morning, but recognised that the Brexit vote had caused a degree of uncertainty.
A senior US trade lawyer on the same show said that there would be no immediate impact, but that future US investments in Europe might start to go to Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin – although this depended on the terms agreed for UK/EU trade. The issue of uncertainty is a real one – and another reason why Theresa May’s government should get on and invoke Article 50 as soon as possible.
The political mood in the USA is currently very negative on trade mega-deals, which means that prospects for TTIP (the proposed EU/US trade deal) are poor. Ironically it may be easier to do a more straightforward UK/US deal than an EU/US deal.
Insurers coping with Brexit
The FT reports that after initial Brexit worries, the insurance industry is “peeping out from behind the clouds”. More than that – share prices have recovered and the insurance index has moved back above its pre-crisis level. Yet another industry (a contributor to the Today business news this morning made the same point about the advertising industry) where an initial wobble was replaced by a realisation that the sky hasn’t fallen, and a resumption of business as usual. A reproach to the merchants of Project Fear.
Minister’s “secret meeting” with Tata
The Times reports that Business Secretary Greg Clark flew to India on Wednesday for a “secret” meeting (but now, apparently, not very secret) with Cyrus Mistry, head of Tata Steel, amid increasing concerns over Port Talbot. One has to wish him well. The continuing uncertainty over steel production is a huge burden for the Port Talbot workforce.
Germany moves to tighten security
The New York Times reports on German proposals to tighten security in the face of public anxiety over terrorist attacks. The measures on the whole seem reasonable but incremental. In particular I can find no confirmation of suggestions yesterday that Germany will “Ban the Burqa” (which some say would require a change to the freedom of religion rights in the German Constitution). Germany received over 1.1 million migrants last year, of whom 400,000+ have applied for asylum.
France: “Let refugees into your homes”
France is reportedly overwhelmed by immigrant numbers, with the 147 reception centres across France overflowing. So the government is appealing to citizens to take refugees into their homes. Good luck with that one, guys.
Young people fear unemployment, not Brexit
A survey by Politico’s of youth activists across Europe showed that over 80% were concerned about youth unemployment, while only 4% cited concerns over Brexit. . None saw Donald Trump as a threat, by the way.
Greek banks in panic mode
Greek banks have decided to offer greatly enhanced deposit rates in a desperate attempt to bring back funds that have been moved elsewhere. Mind you, “greatly enhanced” is relative. In this case, 1.3% for six months fixed, up from a previous 0.8%.
Voter fraud and political correctness
A new report from former Minister Eric Pickles, commissioned by the government, claims that widespread voter fraud in Muslim communities is allowed to flourish because political correctness deters any efforts to address the problem. . Few will be surprised at this news, but it is important for two reasons. First, it illustrates the way in which some immigrant communities bring with them practices and values which are at odds with the British way of life. And secondly, because it amounts to official recognition of the problem, which in turn should fully legitimise efforts to eradicate such practices. We have already seen in Rotherham and elsewhere the dire consequences of turning a blind eye to abuses within minority communities.
Of course this is not a Brexit issue – although it may be seen as a European issue, since similar problems are experienced across Europe. But it is very relevant to immigration, which of course is a key EU issue. Overwhelmingly British voters believe that the law is the law, and that it should be the same for all British citizens and indeed everyone in the country, citizen or not.
Forget QE – cut taxes instead
Fraser Nelson writes a cogent plea in the Telegraph saying that monetary policy has run its course, and we need fiscal initiatives to drive growth.
The fall of UKIP?
“The New European” (no, I hadn’t heard of it either) carries a story entitled “The Fall of UKIP”, by Professor Matthew Goodwin. OK, so we’re having a leadership election – on a rather more measured basis than the Labour Party can manage. But I think we can say with Mark Twain that “reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated”.