Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Zaune » 2017-03-16 03:02pm

Nobody really wanted the Troubles the first time around, but they still ended up happening.

And there's no "unless" about it. Be it through malice or sufficiently advanced stupidity, London has taken a conscious decision to fuck Northern Ireland sideways, along with most of the population of the country. For an analysis of just how bad it could potentially get, let me refer you to someone much, much smarter than me.

The UK is a small, very crowded island—hence much of the political pressure to cut down on immigration.

But Britain is not self-sufficient. We don't mine and export raw materials (the last big domestic resource extraction sector was oil, and North Sea reserves are in terminal decline and depressed by external factors, notably the drop in world markets). We export goods and services. Most of the physical goods we export rely on reprocessing materials imported from overseas, so a weak Pound means the cost of raw materials or components rises—and generally they must be paid for before the processed final product can be exported. (Clue: we're part of a global supply chain.) Services are another matter: if I write a novel and sell it abroad, that's a plus on the balance of payments sheet. But the biggest part of the British service sector is banking and finance.

A hard Brexit means that we will lose access to the Single Market—the WTO default terms the hard Brexiters so glibly talk about mean that anyone exporting goods from the UK will have to pay a 20% tarrif, and exports to the UK from the EU (our largest trading partner by a huge margin) will also be liable for duty at that rate. This is in addition to VAT at 20% (and dislocating UK VAT and tax revenue from the rest of the EU is going to be a nightmare on its own). We have to buy those raw inputs using funds in Pounds Sterling, which (see graph above) has just fallen off a fucking cliff. Translation: anything we buy from overseas now costs about 10% more than it did a week ago, and Sterling has dropped by roughly 20% since the Brexit referendum 4 months ago, to an all-time historic low.

But what about services? Well, a hard Brexit means an end to passporting, and the financial services sector will take a hit. Currently London punches way above its weight as a global financial center because the unacknowledged truth is that Sterling is the EU's unofficial secondary reserve currency—with Britain in the EU, if the Euro turns wobbly, funds managers can switch to Sterling, and vice versa. If Britain leaves the EU Sterling will no longer be a safe haven for EU investment vehicles, and so a rather large chunk of the financial services industry will go down in flames (or, more accurately, relocate to Frankfurt, Paris, and even Dublin).

Upshot: the service sector will be hit, and hard, at a point where the goods-producing industries will be undergoing a protracted cash flow crunch: the labour they apply to imported raw materials to turn them into exportable products will be cheaper in global terms, it's true, but they'll be buying the raw materials on credit using an unstable, rapidly devaluing currency. (See also Russia. Except we don't have Siberia to strip-mine.)

But here's the worst part of all.

The UK is not self-sufficient in food. The UK imports roughly 40% of the total food consumed, and the proportion is rising. Nor is it obvious that we can produce more food: to get close to self-sufficiency from 1939-45 required a world war, mobilization, and the conversion of all private gardens into kitchen gardens, along with rationing, and the UK population has grown by roughly 25% since then. While modern technology-intensive agricultural techniques can improve productivity, this is capital intensive, and the one thing a Post-hard Brexit Britain with a crashed currency and a financial sector fleeing to the continent is going to be short of is capital. Also, it takes years to roll out that sort of infrastructure upgrade, even if the will is there.

Food bank use is at record levels and hunger is a desperate concern for low-income (including low-earning employed) families. And the currency we buy our food imports with just crashed 10% this week, and 25% over the past four months.

If a Hard Brexit happens, then Sterling will almost certainly dip below Dollar parity for the first time in history. Imported foods will cost 40% more in real terms than they did in 2015. And there will be additional 20% tarrifs levelled on top.

I'm calling Hard Brexit a road to mass starvation and famine-grade deaths on a scale not seen in the UK since the Hungry Forties (that's the 1840s, not the 1940s).


At some point, in Scotland and Ulster and the bits of England that nobody in London cares about, the question will have to be asked: Will a protracted and undoubtedly bloody and brutal war of secession ultimately kill more people than just putting up with the status quo?
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Tribble » 2017-03-16 03:16pm

Zaune wrote:Nobody really wanted the Troubles the first time around, but they still ended up happening.

And there's no "unless" about it. Be it through malice or sufficiently advanced stupidity, London has taken a conscious decision to fuck Northern Ireland sideways, along with most of the population of the country.

At some point, in Scotland and Ulster and the bits of England that nobody in London cares about, the question will have to be asked: Will a protracted and undoubtedly bloody and brutal war of secession ultimately kill more people than just putting up with the status quo?


Erm, just remember the distinction between the UK government (which happens to be based in London) and the London electorate, which voted to Remain. London voters can hardly be blamed for the current mess.

And as I've said in other threads, most of this mess would be averted if the UK simply joined the EEA (or remained, depending on how the laws covering it work). Unfortunately its not going to happen under the present government.
Last edited by Tribble on 2017-03-16 03:20pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Zaune » 2017-03-16 03:19pm

Yeah, I could have phrased that better. Sorry. But you know what I mean.
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Tribble » 2017-03-16 03:23pm

Zaune wrote:Yeah, I could have phrased that better. Sorry. But you know what I mean.


Ya I guessed what you meant, just making sure :P
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Civil War Man » 2017-03-16 04:11pm

Zaune wrote:Nobody really wanted the Troubles the first time around, but they still ended up happening.


I do recognize that. Hence why I prefaced it with "never say never." Keep in mind, though, that the Troubles did not end all that long ago in the grand scheme of things, and there may still be some lingering war fatigue from them. Decades of guerilla warfare can have that effect on people.

And there's no "unless" about it. Be it through malice or sufficiently advanced stupidity, London has taken a conscious decision to fuck Northern Ireland sideways, along with most of the population of the country. For an analysis of just how bad it could potentially get, let me refer you to someone much, much smarter than me.


It depends on your definition of fucked sideways in this context. What's going on today is definitely tame in comparison to what Britain was doing to the Irish back in the day. My personal guess is that things would have to get a lot worse before a return of the Troubles becomes the more attractive option, especially if Sinn Fein can achieve their goal of reunification without having to bring out the guns and bombs again.

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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Tribble » 2017-03-16 04:58pm

What if Northern Ireland wants to separate from the UK and join the EU, but does not want to become a part of the rest of Ireland?
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Zaune » 2017-03-16 05:34pm

Well... In theory, that would probably be a compromise that everybody could live with except the remaining hardcore loyalists. But they're a pretty small region (about a million people total, I think) and their economy isn't in the best of shape; a lot of progress made since the Good Friday Agreement was undone by the big crash in 2008, and the Tories put about as much effort into doing anything about that as you'd expect.

I won't say it's impossible, but they're in a significantly worse position to break away than Scotland.
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Civil War Man » 2017-03-16 10:59pm

Not to mention that reunification would probably be a much cleaner way to stay in the EU in a hypothetical situation where NI broke away, since they'd be becoming part of an existing EU country as opposed to having to reapply as a separate nation.

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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Zaune » 2017-03-16 11:11pm

Probably easier than convincing the Republic to take the place back, though.
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Thanas » 2017-03-17 10:07am

Why wouldn't they want to take NI back though?
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby NecronLord » 2017-03-17 10:15am

Because it's poor as a church mouse and the Dáil Éireann is pretty infamous for caring only about green so long as that green is on banknotes.
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby Zaune » 2017-03-17 01:27pm

Not to mention the aforementioned transformation of the IRA (who the Republic weren't very fond of even before the ceasefire) into a very large and unusually well-armed criminal gang, and the massive sectarian issues that are still bad enough that Belfast still has fucking great walls running between neighbourhoods with armed police manning the gates so that roaming gangs of scallies won't amuse themselves by lynching someone who's the wrong denomination or pouring petrol through their letterbox.
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Re: Second Scottish Independence Referendum Is Go

Postby madd0ct0r » 2017-03-18 07:56am

Yeah. Neither the UK or Ireland really benefit from having Northern Ireland. It's an expensive post-industrial city on life support, with aforementioned terrorists turned mafias (on both sides), with a few fields around it. The UK might seek to hand it over if Hard Brexit takes us far enough downn the shitter as a fast way of taking out a black hole in the finances.

I'm still trying to figure out what happens if 50-75% of the bankers fuck off to Paris, Frankfurt and Poland (Poland is aiming at the middle office, risk mangement due digiligence type roles). As stupidly unbalanced as our economy is, it's going to be a horrendous correction process. That's a lot of tax reciepts to loose quickly, and I'm not sure any of our other sectorsare placed to expand quickly, even if there's a lot of investment and intelligent people suddenly available. An example I know from my own industry - construction and enginnering - Uk firms do a huge amount of consultancy work outside the EU, partially becuase the EU is a mature market and partially becuase friction between different codes and approaches means local consultancies can undercut us. BUT I don't think there's huge untapped demand out there for engineering consultancy. There's growth, we need to build every city on the planet AGAIN by 2050 to keep up with urbanisation, but nothing that can accomadate a sudden flood of half trained ex-managament consultants. Maybe the rise of finance in Paris Frankfurt and Poland will hoover up enough people that they will have openings and labour shortages in those countries other sectors, givien small openings for UK firms to try and expolit. Maybe.

I think the UK is just going to be less of a parasite on the world economy, and people who benefited indrectly from that will suffer. I hope I get to keep my job and buy a house when the house prices crash.
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