Category Archives: Politics

Brexit: a lot of energy is being expanded so that as much as possible remains the same.

On January 4th of this year, Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade tweeted that the “IMF predicts 90% of growth will come from outside the EU”.

This obsession with “growth outside the EU” is an implicit admission that disruption to current free trade with the EU may negatively impact growth in the UK. Perhaps the Secretary did read in that same IMF report that projected growth for the EU in 2019 will reach 2% while it will be only 1.5% for the UK.

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Two months later, on March 2nd, the Prime Minister made this threat explicit stating that “the reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts.”

The hard facts may be that at least some sectors of the UK economy will be hurt when even a few barriers to trade and custom restrictions will reappear. How much pain there will be is still unclear because there are no details yet on any future trade agreements.

These hard facts could become even harder than those Theresa May hinted at in her “five tests”. The entire Brexit economic gamble rests on the notion that the UK will do better economically than if it had remained a member of the EU.

There are two main hurdles to this gamble.

The first is that two of the three largest world markets, the US (number one) and China (number three) are threatening to move towards more, not less protectionism. In this context, how much leverage the UK might have when asking the US and China to allow more access to UK goods and services?

Is there much negotiating might in saying “listen we just left the second largest trading area (the EU) so we need you to hurry up and sign a deal with us”?

This is particularly acute with the US given that the UK has a trade surplus and Donald Trump is not keen on losing “trade wars”.

Secondly, it may sound surprising to some that it is possible to export to China and be a member of the EU. In fact, the EU is China’s largest trading partner. Germany and France both export more to China than the UK. The question for the trade minister is this: what kind of trade deal with China might compensate, at least partly, for any loss of trade with the EU?

The balancing act for the UK is this: “what is the minimum level of change required to officially qualify as Brexit while minimizing any negative economic impact?”

No wonder a lot of energy is being expanded so that as much as possible remains the same.

 

USA-UK Trade Data in Two Charts

How important is the UK to the USA as a trading partner?

Here is the data from the US Census for Septembre 2017.

For the US, the UK represents a whopping 4% of total worldwide exports and 2% all imports.

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 19.50.13Downlod the table USA-UK Trade Data

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 19.54.37

 

 

Using Extremist Politics to Make Money on Twitter

I was searching for “Sessions” and “Russia” on twitter and found a series a similar posts published within minutes of one another as you can see below from the time stamps.

I then clicked on some of these and it turns out that not only these post are near identical, but that they have similar features: same posts, same links and same number of tweets (around 10.7k).

Crucially, if you click on the link viid.me…. it will take you to an advertisement. So it seems as though all these accounts are automated. They relay highly charged political news and bait people into clicking on those links to make advertising money.

Here is a video I recorded that summarises all of the above.

Trump’s Deflection Tactics

Earlier today Trump tweeted the following.

In other words, we are lead to conclude that the network AONN (One American News Network) has conducted its own independent research and that this investigation found that Trump dossier is false.

Trump does not provide a link to any story on AONN, not even the link to the channel itself, just the twitter account.

Indeed, if you search for “complete fraud” nothing that relates to the Trump dossier exists.

So the tactic is as follows, deflect attention to another source and hope that most people will not bother to search further.

One American News Network is owned by Herring Network Inc. According to Bloomberg, it has no key executives recorded. In other words we don’t know who is behind it.

One America News Network

Where is the fraud report?