The Brexit Vote: What Happened?

Financial, political, and even an unsettling degree of social chaos still reign a full week after Britain’s shocking vote to leave the European Union, however amongst this turmoil a clearer picture is emerging as to why the “Leave” campaign won. Down below are four explanatory points made by The Economist in its much longer June 25, 2016 online article, “After the vote, chaos”images

  • One is that, despite repeated warnings from an alphabet
soup of national and international bodies—the Treasury, the
IMF, the OECD, the CBI, the NIESR, the IFS and others—
that the economy would suffer as Brexit led to lower trade,
less investment and lower growth, many voters were
unimpressed because they did not feel the economy worked
for them now.
  • Leavers also took on a strong anti- establishment tone, championing losers from globalisation and fiscal austerity. That message chimed well with Labour voters in northern England, who backed Leave unexpectedly heavily. The division between London, which voted strongly for Remain, and the north, which did the reverse, reveals a sharply polarised country, with a metropolitan elite that likes globalisation on one side and an angry working class that does not on the other.
  • The Leave campaign also won on
immigration. Mr Cameron was unable to
say how he could meet his twice-promised target of reducing the net annual number of immigrants to “the tens of thousands” so long as Britain was bound by the EU principle of the free movement of people. Remainers failed to convince voters that EU migrants brought economic benefits, or to explain that more than half the 330,000 net immigrants in 2015 came from outside the EU. The Leave slogan that Britain should “take back control” of its own affairs from Brussels worked especially well on this issue. It even trumped Mr Cameron’s case that Brexit would be bad for security; voters chose to believe instead that more migration might let terrorists slip in.
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 2, 2016 in Uncategorized


Great Britain Votes to Leave the European Union

Yesterday Great Britain shocked Europe and the world by voting 52-48 % in favor of leaving the European Union (EU). While I’ll be posted more implications of this vote in the next few days once the global stock markets settle down and the emotional reaction diminishes, this map compiled from the BBC and New York Times depicts the geography of the Brexit vote. The blue color shows the “Remain in the EU” vote; the brownish red the “Leave the EU” vote. The circle area in the lower right is a close up of the London metropolitan area. Full details here on the Brexit voting map in the the New Times. More later from, so stay tuned.


Leave a comment

Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


Might Britain Really Leave the European Union?

London under construction

Construction cranes for new building in central London give clue to that city’s role in the world economy, a matter of grave concern to the financial world as Britain votes on June 23d on a referendum to leave or stay in the European Europe. (Photo by Rowntree)

Next week on Thursday, June 23d the British will vote in a referendum on whether the country will leave the European Union (EU), a process referred to as “Brexit”. Regardless of the outcome the ramifications are huge for Britain and Europe. Though the arguments for and against leaving the EU get rather complex they basically come down to the proponents arguing Britain will have more control over its borders and finances by leaving the EU while those against the referendum say Britain will suffer dire economic consequences from leaving the world’s largest trading bloc. While the British government itself is against leaving the EU, there is enough public support for Brexit that right now, seven days before the vote, pollsters say it’s too close to call. Want more info? Here are links to recent Brexit articles in the New York Times, along with the lead paragraphs of those articles.

Brexit Plan for the Financial World? Cross Your Fingers“. NY Times, June 15, 2016

By PETER S. GOODMAN Among those who manage gobs of money, the possibility that Britain might actually disavow the European Union seemed until recently like a remote and even outlandish possibility. But about a week before voters go to the polls to determine their future, masters of finance are suddenly absorbing the prospect that Britain might really walk, unleashing anxiety and uncertainty throughout the global economy. Like local responders readying sandbags as a hurricane menaces their shores, financial industry overseers have been quietly drawing up contingency plans while surveying the expensive havoc a so-called Brexit is already wreaking. Central bankers from London to Washington have been monitoring the tempest while making preparations to unleash credit should markets seize with fear.

• “Brexit Vote Has European Workers in Britain Unsure of Future” New York Times. June 13, 2016

LONDON — Filipe Graca hovered over an espresso machine at the British food chain Pret A Manger and frothed out a cafe latte for a waiting customer. Until last year, he had struggled to find any kind of a job in his native Portugal. But when he arrived in London, he was able to work almost right away. So were the young women from Hungary, France and Albania who cheerfully tended the cash registers. And the staff from Poland, Spain and Italy cleaning tables and preparing sandwiches for the lunch crowd. Only one thing seemed to bother them: the prospect that Britain might actually leave the European Union.


2015 Warmest Year on Record

from the New York Times (complete article here)

Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history by far, breaking a record set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

In the continental United States, the year was the second-warmest on record, punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.

Scientists started predicting a global temperature record months ago, in part because an El Niño weather pattern, one of the largest in a century, is dumping an immense amount of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere. But the bulk of the record-setting heat, they say, is a consequence of the long-term planetary warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


Worldwide Solidarity with France


SF City Hall

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


Fabulous NPR Photo Story on Brazil’s Rainforest

Click here for NPR photo story

Soberania National Park, , near the Panama Canal. --- Image by © Paul A. Souders/CORBIS

Soberania National Park, , near the Panama Canal. — Image by © Paul A. Souders/CORBIS

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


Update: Europe’s Refugee Crisis

Trucks carrying wire fencing arrived in the Slovenian village of Veliki Obrez close to the border with Croatia Photo: REUTERS

Trucks carrying wire fencing arrived in the Slovenian village of Veliki Obrez close to the border with Croatia Photo: REUTERS

Two important updates today on Europe’s refugee crisis: First, Slovenia started building a fence along its border with Croatia to limit the flow of extralegal migrants entering the country, and, second, in Malta, European and African leaders met to discuss the refugee crisis.

Because Hungary built a fence along its southern border with Serbia, the refugee route has shifted westward into northern Croatia. From there refugees where entering Slovenia at the rate of 6000 per day. From there most migrants would then move (or be moved by Slovenian officials) into Austria, not just because that country was more welcoming to extralegal migrants but also because of its proximity to Germany, the goal of many refugees-migrants. A story in this morning’s UK Telegraph—along with a good map of the migrant route—will be found here.

At least three issues are being discussed at the meeting between European and African leaders: Can improved conditions in African countries reduce the flow of migrants into Europe; can Mediterranean coastal African countries inhibit the flow of migrants into and out of their countries; and, third, how will African countries deal with extralegal migrants who don’t qualify for amnesty in Europe and are then returned to their home countries? The NY Times has that story here.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Uncategorized