It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Tomorrow does come…eventually

Posted by chrisrick13 on June 4, 2019

It is obvious: you can fool all of the people some of the time

Early June and we have been out of the EU for 2 months now. See, it was not the disaster that everyone predicted.

What? We are still in? It seems that the conditions set out in the treaty that we signed are not actually conditions. This was confirmed by the ECJ saying that as we had out fingers crossed it doesn’t count.

This is the level of corruption that was associated with banana republics in South America.  Is that what we have become?

We have had 2 elections and it looks like the voters will vote for anything that moves as long as it is not Labour or Conservative. Amusing to watch everyone trying to look and sound like the Brexit party without actually becoming it. There is a danger at the next election, which could be tomorrow or still three years away, that first past the post will not preserve the two-party system that we have.

I think that nice Mr Farage needs to avoid dark alleys for some time to come. Accidentally shot by anti-terrorist marksmen hunting terrorists. Or killed during a street mugging trying grab his campaign rosette.

There is such agonising over the economic effects of a Brexit. It is not about that. It is about sovereignty. We suffered two world wars to protect it. Possibly, and by no means certainly, suffering some economic hardship this time round seems like a very small price to pay. Indeed we might be rewarded for it.

As the world circles the drain around an economic depression any bad effects from not being in the EU will be trivial in comparison. With the state of the economies in Europe due to the central bank ‘games’ protecting the banks, there will soon enough be a huge dislocation. This is a case of: better out the tent weeing in.

With hindsight enacting article 50 on Monday and leaving on Tuesday would have been the best option. The disgraceful ‘negotiating’ tactics of the EU would not have had to be endured. The EU would have been faced with acting quickly which is something they cannot do. With hard borders the Irish economy would have collapsed in days causing them to ignore the EU and anything they might say. A way of working would have been found because it had to. We might now be eating New Zealand lamb once again.

But all of that is irrelevant. People we elected would be making our own laws. We would have our own independent judiciary judging to those laws. Our own independent police force enacting those laws. That nice Mr Junker would no longer be telling us what to do and laughing down his sleeve while he did it.

So I need to put October into my diary.

At least they are giving me an extension on my prediction that there won’t be an EU around for us to leave.

It is obvious: you can fool all of the people some of the time and just sometimes the people get fed up of it.


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Every journey starts with a single step

Posted by chrisrick13 on March 30, 2019

It is obvious: when the revolution comes…

I have written a dozen blogs on Brexit and deleted them. What is the point.  I have voted.
I went to Australia for 8 weeks before Brexit for some welcome relief.
I have stopped watching television – except for the 6 Nations.
I have stopped listening to the radio.

Life is much more agreeable.

We voted to leave the EU so why are we not out today?
Why are there cries for a second vote? I remember The Netherlands voting the wrong way and being given a second chance to get it right.
We haven’t even tried it yet and despite all the dire warnings none of them have any basis in fact or certainty.

Leaving the EU was important for us in the UK to be masters of our own destiny.

Actually doing it was important for democracy.

We no longer have even a pretend democracy in this country.

Next up is a descent into polarisation, extremism and civil war.

Worst of all is that when the EU collapses, which it will, we will be on the inside.

It is a bit late in the day for me but New Zealand looked a mighty alluring place to live last month.


It is obvious: when the revolution comes…you will have to stand up and be counted

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Are you feeling lucky…EU?

Posted by chrisrick13 on December 8, 2018

It is obvious: there is nothing to fear

Had the EU got one shining, obvious, demonstrable benefit that could have been trumpeted before the Leave the EU referendum the remain vote would have been twice that of the leave. But they had not. The remain group had a lot of “one for all, all for one” and “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” arguments and unfounded fear. It was not enough. Quite right.

Now the argument is that our trade will suffer and we will all be living in holes in the ground from the end of March. This is based on propaganda from the likes of the Bank of England. If I were playing a game of pick-up football in the school yard and I were captain then BoE would be the last pick for my team in the hope that the other captain got it.

The BoE forecast huge rises in interest rates after the vote. Promptly cut them and watched in embarrassment as nothing happened and then sheepishly put them back where they were. We need higher interest rates but not because of Brexit.

But there are men of conscience who are now standing up and declaring the figures from the EU, IMF and BoE to be nonsense. They truly are nonsense. At the very least they cannot be proved as they are all based on assumptions that are pulled out of a very special hat. There is a suspicion that end results were picked and then worked back to assumptions that would give those results.

Trade with the EU is decreasing. Going down over the last 18 years. There are better business partners to trade with. More dynamic, more agile, less regulated, cheaper. The EU cannot compete with other countries that will become our larger trading partners.

If the UK will suffer so badly from leaving the EU why not just let us go? We will be out for a few years then come crawling back with much worse terms than today. (No rebate as gained by Saint Thatcher for one.) Everyone would see the clear benefits of the EU. Other countries would be quick to join and the bonds of union would become ever stronger. No, they are using bile and deceit to try and get us to stay so that the argument will not be tested. No honourable path of letting us go with regret. Just threats and spite. Don’t think I want anything to do with that. I want to be in a European union but not this one.

I liken it to Iceland. We have spent 10 years supporting the TBTF banks and have paid a high price. Iceland just let them go bust. It was dire for a while but they have recovered and instead of walking around with the large ball and chain of bust banks they are sprinting around in trainers. If we cast free the shackle of the EU there will be a hiatus but not much of one. Then we will be off over the horizon.

There are large and powerful forces at work trying to keep us in the EU in practice if not in name. I am not worried. There will not be an EU around for us to leave for much longer.

It is obvious: there is nothing to fear but staying in the EU

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Don’t panic…much

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 18, 2018

It is obvious we are between a rock and…


I’m not paying much attention to the coverage of Brexit by press and tv.  It is depressing as I think we are going to negotiate ourselves into a hole in the ground.

It is obvious that the world economy, let alone the EU’s, is on a cusp.  A reset has already been a lot longer in coming than it possibly can be.

Hardly a trigger as they are small things, but the slowdown in the world economy is putting a lot of stress on many countries but most of all on the EU and the countries within it.  The EU is more vulnerable than most with the internal strains that is has set up for itself.  The number of trigger events that could bring on the reset have increased as has their chance of success as a trigger.

We have left the EU.  Article 50 confirmed that.  Just a matter of setting an end date which is now set.  So the remainers need a new name.  They are returners.  This is important.

Any argument the returners raise for returning now carries at least one known cost.  St Thatcher negotiated the £5billion a year rebate.  That has now gone.  Back in costs every family £200 a year out of taxed income…on top of the £400 a year that we contribute to the EU.  It’s all the fault of the exit vote, which is quite irrelevant – we are here now.  We will also be back into huge indirect subsidies of European farming.

We will also be on the line for supporting broken countries.  Germany will not do it on its own.  For example, they’ll need the UK taxpayers to support the Italian banks and those non-tax paying Greek millionaires.  That is an open-ended bill.

Then when the Euro collapses we will be into keeping Europe going while the currency disolves.  That is open ended and big.

We need to be out.  Do not worry about the future.  It is unknown and there is little to suggest that being out will be worse than being in.  Certainly being in will increase the dangers and their severity.

But hang in there UK there is still a good chance the Euro and the EU will be long gone before 29th March.


It is obvious we are between a rock and…a comfy seat in the stands watching the action way below us.

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Horsemen of the Apocalypse (First XV) – more new signings

Posted by chrisrick13 on October 27, 2018

It is obvious: you are not alone shouting into the void

Nobody can see or at least only a few. The financial system is heading for a reset. Except a lot of people can see, it seems, not just me.

Mrs Mirkin’s party lost a lot of seats in the recent Bavarian election. They lost seats in all the recent elections – lots of them. Her days are numbered as Chancellor – accurately numbered.

Mr Orbán is running things in Hungary. Something to be avoided.

There is a clown in charge in Italy.

All over Europe a lot of people have realised that the EU does not offer them much. They are voting for anything but the politicians that got them there. Alas, that means that some unsavoury people are getting into power. (I will pay them the compliment of calling them extreme.) As much as anything it is because these unsavoury types are the only alternative on offer. The French are slick operators. They created a new party and leader to get into power. Except it was the same people as before. Smart. The USA is already a step ahead. Perhaps they will show us what happens next.

There is a message here for Mr Corbin. He meets the requirements for extreme. A box well ticked. Trouble is he sort of supports the EU. He has to really as his core support is fanatically for the EU. Trouble is that there are not many of them. Certainly not enough. Were he to take Mr Farage’s stance on  Europe Labour would win by a landslide. He won’t get power, not because he is too extreme, but because he is not extreme enough.

Saw some German economic numbers this week. I don’t believe the statistics I see so why do I believe these? They are not good and those kind of numbers are never allowed out to play, except if they are covering up something bad. Germans are busy making stuff and selling it abroad. They are not paying themselves much and so are not buying that much. The economy is expanding much of at all. This is the country that has the largest net contribution to the EU budget.

The UK is not far behind Germany in net contributions to the EU budget and that only because Saint Thatcher got us a rebate.  Take out Germany and the UK contributes more than the other 26 nations put together.  When we go that does make a big hole in the budget. But all that is small stuff compared to the support for the ECB. Germany is supporting the rest of Europe and is moving to a point where it can’t do it anymore. What is more it looks like the German population now realises how much they are supporting Greece where they will not get a penny back. It is only pennies though.

What is more interesting is Italy. Greece found out that when you owe the bank beans the bank is in charge. Italy or at least its current leaders have realised what when you owe the bank gazillions then you are in charge. The current problem with the Italian banks and the national budget is interesting. If the EU bullies the Italians into changing their budget the economy will still move into recession and kill the banks. The people in power will double their majority in parliament if they stand up to the EU. They got in on that promise. Can’t see any reason for Italy to change course. It is going to fail and resort to the only solution possible and devalue the Lira…ooops. Stitch that Germany.

Two weekends in a row senior ministers in Italy have said they have no intention of creating a new Lira or of leaving the EU. So it is going to happen then.

(…you do own some gold don’t you?)


It is obvious: you are not alone shouting into the void sometimes you get back more than just an echo

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Got a sledgehammer – any nuts need cracking?

Posted by chrisrick13 on October 14, 2018

It is obvious: there are a lot of good ideas

I know it is not obvious but I am a big supporter of getting out of the EU. It is only an experiment and it has failed. It needs a reboot. I think it will get one soon. I don’t know what will cause it but when the German population realises they are paying for everything they might demand that Germany comes out of the EU.

Jean Monnet is considered one of the ‘the fathers’ of the EU. He was a French politician active at the end of the war. He was instrumental in diverting all of southern Germany’s coal production into France weakening German industry and strengthening French industry. He arranged for the Saar to come under French control for its coal also.  Such a good set of ideas that in 1950 tensions between the countries were increasing and to prevent conflict between the two countries (only 5 years after the war) he came up with the idea of creating the European Coal and Steel Community which has become the EU of today.

There are some chilling quotes attributed to him that on a little research are not all of good provenance. There is the general idea that the ECSC and now the EU were created to prevent conflict between France and Germany. My thought, as above, is, that the people creating it were just trying to fix a problem they had created earlier.

Is it right to force all the nations of Europe into a federation to prevent conflict? It certainly works in the US. It works in the UK. There are agglomerations of smaller states now forming larger countries that are working reasonably well in Italy and Spain.

Is there a simpler and cheaper way?  Yes!  Having the USSR as a big ugly bear on the border helped the countries of Europe adopt a unified approach. However one organisation ensured that there was a defence against the USSR and that any members would not attack each other. That organisation is NATO. It is cheap and effective while also providing some deterrence to Russia. Indeed without NATO we would already have a unified Europe…called the USSR.

With its tariffs the EU is anti-trade and isolationist. While it is trying to take down borders internally it is strengthening the external borders. It continues to support CAP which distorts trade and favours one country. It gives little to the member countries. Ask the people of Greece: what has Europe done for you?

We know what NATO costs as most countries are below the 2% of GDP on defense spending that it asks for. Wished the EU was a cheap.

It is obvious: there are a lot of good ideas and many more bad ones

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Horsemen of the Apocalypse (First XV) – late kickoff on next game

Posted by chrisrick13 on October 3, 2018

It is obvious: predicting ‘when’ is difficult

2010 was the year that UK government debt first exceeded 60% of GDP.  If you include personal debt and a lot of unfunded liabilities such as pensions then it is a lot more, but the moment it is at 84%.

Italian debt is 131% of GDP.

German debt is 64% and has come down from 84% in 2010.

French debt is 97%.

Spanish debt is 98% and it too went over 60% in 2010.

Finnish debt is 61% only recently exceeding 60% and on a downward trend.

Belgian debt is 103%.

Debt for an economy is acceptable as the economy will grow and be able to service the debt.  Not pay it off.
Alongside that, 2% GDP growth is accepted as a normal rate of growth that countries can reasonably be expected to achieve.  Do not forget that 2% growth doubles an economy every 35 years.

There is a level of debt that means that a country can never grow enough and will eventually default.  That figure is 60%.  It is so well accepted that it is an EU rule that 60% is the maximum debt allowed by any member…60%.

Just for a giggle: the Greek national debt is 178%.

It is inevitable that these countries will eventually default on the money lent to them.  Take out Germany and Finland as they are both pretty close to 60% and we get 5 basket cases that include 4 of the 5 largest economies in the EU.

It is troubling for the numbers people that Germany did get their debt from 84% to 64%.

If EU rules are treated like the 60% rule then those about free movement of people can’t be that set in stone.  Indeed immigrants entering the EU must stay in the country they first arrived in.  So how come thousands of immigrants clustered around Calais trying to get into the UK.  According to the EU France should have been dealing with them…or Italy…or Greece.

What the 60% rule means, if it is right, is that a lot of EU countries will default.  If not tomorrow then next week, next month, next year.

Any large disruption but the UK leaving the EU could easily tip one of those economies into default and drag many more with them.

It is obvious: predicting ‘when’ is difficult, ‘if’ is not nearly so

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Riddle me this Batman

Posted by chrisrick13 on September 27, 2018

It is obvious: we have no idea what we are doing

With the huge resources of HMG behind her, surely on March 29th Mrs May went into the front of her Yellow Pages and looked up the contact number for AAAAAAAAA_Negotiate_It Inc?

It might not seem like it but surely someone with some negotiating ability is in there advising?

In a negotiation if someone is not acting in any predictable way or the way that seems most obvious then you are probably missing information and that becomes the most important part of the negotiation at that point: find the missing information.

There is history there. The EU has been in a lot of negotiations over recent years. The way it operates is well known. It ought to be much the same for the UK. Not as much negotiating but still history to look at.

Here is what the EU is doing (possibly). If the UK leaves the EU it will be a disaster the EU will be gone unless a very accommodative solution is worked out. If that happens there will be a queue at the door. So the EU is trying to bully us into another referendum, which it is far from clear will be a remain win, or to giving in to all their demands. They have to keep that secret. If it does not happen then they know they can knock out a working agreement in a couple of months based on the work already done. Last minute down to the wire stuff. The EU has history. But the EU need to hang on as long as possible. Let us defeat ourselves.

So what is Mrs May doing? She is keeping us from a second referendum and running the EU out of time. A very fine balance and she is doing it. The deadline for the UK giving in is approaching fast. Who will blink first – I hope it is not the UK.

However I have said a lot in the past that it is unlikely that there will be an EU for us to leave. Along the way it has looked that I was going to be wrong on that one. A week is a long time in economics. Italy is in disarray. It needs and wants write-offs of debt. The largest debt owner, Germany, is not likely to agree to this. (At some point the German population is going to realise just how much debt they are on the hook for. Debt that will not be paid off. They might force Mrs Merkel’s hand.) The Italian government now looks like it might collapse before the budget and that puts Italian bond yields very high. The long night will begin.

Italy is not alone though. The French GDP has just recorded two quarters of 0.2% GDP growth. Be wary of these figures. France is running along on a prediction of 1.6% growth. It will be hard pressed to make 1%. That means that the second largest economy in the EU is rapidly heading towards recession.

The German economy is not doing so well either and the Fed keeps lifting interest rates. The ECB is on the point of tapering QE down to zero though not thinking of paying any of it back yet. This has the makings of a perfect storm.

I wonder if Mrs May has this in her mind as well?

It is obvious: we have no idea what we are doing – perhaps

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One man’s cherry is another man’s…

Posted by chrisrick13 on September 22, 2018

It is obvious: fog in the Channel

There are a few simple rules to learn as a negotiator. I have learnt them. (It does not mean I am a better negotiator because I’m not.) If you lean the rules it does mean that there a lot of errors you will not make and when someone is trying a trick on you, you will spot it and know the counter.

There are two types of negotiation. The first is principled negotiating. Both parties are trying to get the best deal possible for them both. This is the long-term relationship where you will work with the other party over a long period to your mutual benefit. The carpenter and his lumber merchant. The farmer and his seed supplier. UK and EU???

The second is the adversarial negotiation. You will have no dealing with the other party after the current negotiation so get what you can at any cost. Second hand car salesmen fall into this category.

This second type of negotiation is the one that the EU have chosen to adopt with the UK’s exit from the EU. It seems they have not noticed that the UK is not moving away from the continent after the exit into the Pacific, say. It will still be there. There is business that can be done to mutual benefit…or not as the EU would have it. There is a mutual interest in defence for example with Russia regularly overflying UK territory to see if we respond.

Most of these rules of negotiation are very simple:

Never accept a first offer. After the deal is done one side will regret they didn’t ask a higher price the other will regret they didn’t make a lower offer.
Never allow time pressure. If the car is available until tonight at £10,000 walk away. It will likely be on offer for £9,000 tomorrow. If not you can be sure you will get it for £10,000.
Never split the difference. A good negotiator will just accept that as new price from which he can work.
Never negotiate by giving gifts. A good negotiator will accept the gift and not change his negotiating position or give any credit for the gift.
Never argue against yourself. Make your offer and shut up.
Never do a gentle barb. It makes you feel good. It annoys the heck out of the other party and makes an implacable enemy. Think of an example…hmmm…Salzburg on Thursday.

I could fill a book – as many have.

How does the UK deal with the adversarial other side? Two things: never underestimate your power and avoid criticism of your negotiating partner, traps for the partner to fall into and barbs of the partner that enrage them.

Note I have called the other party just that or a partner. They are not an opponent unless you are doing adversarial negotiating as the EU are.

After the rejection of the Chequers deal the UK should sit back and wait for a counter offer. Do not ‘improve’ our deal or they will do it again.

There is time pressure on the EU. As the various deadlines approach and are passed, the chance of a UK exit with no deal increase.

The big problem is ROI and the border with the UK. If this is closed then the ROI economy with its 2.4 trillion Euros of external debt will not last even weeks. Italy will quickly follow and the EU ship will be deserted in short order.

The EU knows this but they think that by doing unprincipled negotiating they can somehow trick the UK into a very poor deal.

If I was the negotiating team for the UK I would suspend all contact. Tell the EU that if they have something meaningful to offer we’ll look at it. Anything they send to us will take at least a month for any response.

I would say that Spain is nice this time of year for the negotiators…but it won’t be! Maybe the beaches of Western Australia are the place to be until the EU responds.

So what about the cherry picking? Who said that is not allowed? In this negotiation does the EU expect the UK to offer just to take the burnt scrapings off the baking tray and leave all the cherries to the EU? No way. Why don’t the EU do that? We will grab as many cherries as we can. So will the EU. Then we negotiate.

Problem is that the EU have forgotten that people of the UK we are good friends and implacable enemies, when we could all be working to our mutual advantage.

The EU is scared that if others see a good deal for the UK they will follow. If the EU was any good then there would not be any good deals to lure other countries away!

Taking this approach shows just how poor the leaders of the EU are. They confirm they are unfit for purpose. They certainly confirm to me that this European Union is not one I want to be in.

It is obvious: fog in the Channel – EU isolated

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The Horsemen of the Apocalypse (First XV) – back-room team

Posted by chrisrick13 on September 22, 2018

It is obvious: we’ll all be richer outside the EU

Donald Tusk:
What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you use it?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?

Jean-Claude Junker:
What power have you got?

Michel Barnier:
What power have you got?

Mario Draghi:
What power have you got?

As an aside I might add –
Mark Carney:
What power have you got?

To name but a few. Then I might mention –

Theresa May:
What power have you got? I can appoint and fire ministers.
Where did you get it from? The British people via the ballot box.
In whose interests do you use it? The British people.
To whom are you accountable? The British people.
How do we get rid of you? Via the ballot box or your MP who got where he is via the ballot box – all boxes filled by the British people.

Then I might mention Viktor Orbán, the PM of Hungary. He is unique in the EU in that his party got within a whisker of an outright majority of votes.

I think he is quite objectionable for his views and even dangerous. Put him in a room with Le Pen and Matteo Salvini and there would not be much to disagree on. None of them are mass murderers but add in Hitler and they still might have difficulty finding points of disagreement.

By a 4-to-1 majority the EU parliament has voted to censure Hungary for immigration and other policies they are enacting. These are polices that the Hungarian people voted Orbán into power to carry out.

It is obvious: we’ll all be richer outside the EU and I haven’t even considered the financial consequences

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