Deal or No Deal

by John Quiggin on March 17, 2017

I was planning a post, looking at the Brexit negotiations in terms of game theory (more precisely, bargaining theory), but Frances Coppola has saved me the trouble. One reason for my hesitation was concerns similar to those expressed by Ariel Rubinstein, in a 2013 piece that seems to be having a bit of a revival lately. Still, whether or not game theory helps, I think Coppola has it about right.

{ 93 comments }

1

T 03.18.17 at 4:26 am

JQ — What is the current informed thinking on the fate of the UK financial sector post-Brexit?

2

Hidari 03.18.17 at 7:42 am

Are there any ‘examples from history’? Have there been any previous experiences of equivalent sized countries leaving large free-trade blocs? What happened to them, if there are?

3

Placeholder 03.18.17 at 11:11 am

I may not have a First in PPE from Oxbridge but I’m sure they’re overjoyed to be locked into a declining currency separating itself from its neighbors.
https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-14/konnichiwa-amsterdam-japanese-banks-seek-new-home-after-brexit

4

Maria 03.18.17 at 2:21 pm

Prefacing an existentially important negotiation in which you already have the worse hand by taking hundreds of thousands of the other side’s people’s fates hostage – well, it’s almost as if the nasty party a) have never read The Evolution of Cooperation (solution to Prisoner’s Dilemma – start with cooperating and keep doing it till the opponents defect, then defect till they cooperate), and b) have no experience of + never paid attention to the consensus-building measures sprinkled throughout previous EU constitutional processes.

Fucking amateurs.

5

Anonymous2 03.18.17 at 2:51 pm

Examples from history? England left the Romans Empire in the fifth century. Perhaps not the most reassuring precedent as it preceded four hundred years known as the Dark Ages.

6

Dipper 03.18.17 at 2:59 pm

My understanding is that a key factor is to what extent passporting rights are maintained from London.

This is far from the first occasion that there have been moves to take banking jobs out of London. A number of banks set up offices in Dublin to exploit the tax advantages but found it hard to maintain staff there and some of these offices have closed down. Much more successful has been moving IT and back-office jobs offshore primarily to India but in many cases to offices in Eastern Europe. Not being in the EU has not hindered movements to India in anyway.

Predictions of London losing its primary status to the continent have been around for decades. Often because of the high cost of London, but also because many European organisations have their main trading hubs are in London and would like to bring them home. However, London’s vast supply of experienced workers from around the globe, openness to people from all cultures and lack of restrictions on pay or working hours is a strong pull.

With regards to losing passporting rights I don’t think this is straightforward. London provides very deep markets for many assets. Eliminating that without a direct replacement would threaten financial stability and there is some evidence that the EU is keen to keep London as an active trading centre.

7

steven t johnson 03.18.17 at 6:11 pm

Coppola seems to be base the analysis on two premises. One, that the UK government couldn’t possibly use strong-arm tactics on security, intelligence and the status of EU nationals. The assumption the English are too civilized for that sort of thing strikes me as Anglomania, on a par with the notion they conquered an empire on which the sun never set in a fit of absent-mindedness. In particular, talk of the appalling humanitarian costs of mass deportation as if this was a real problem stand out as manifestly unconscious. This sort of mindless babble is the true PC.

The other of course lies in the Greek experience. Coppola observes that after the resounding “NO” vote, Tsipras et al. should have taken their mandate and walked out. Except of course this is to misread the nature of SYRIZA and the referendum. SYRIZA’s raison d’etre was not being KKE, rejecting Marxism/socialism in favor of EU/capitalism. And the referendum was merely a vote for us, in no sense intended to actually pose any question other than “How can the KKE vote no for the referendum that purports to authorize their policies without endorsing their mortal enemies, that is, committing political suicide. But if they vote yes, then they contradict their own program, also a rite of seppuku!” The thing about England is that leaving the EU on hostile terms is not political suicide for any major party, because all the major parties, unlike SYRIZA, are willing to oppose foreigners. Their main enemies are the foreigners, not a domestic opposition like KKE.

8

Sasha Clarkson 03.18.17 at 7:33 pm

I doubt whether either Mrs May or the Three Brexiteers have ever read any games theory, even if, in their thinking, they’re trying to play Chicken instinctively.

The problem for them is that the damage of no deal isn’t remotely symmetrical. The biggest damage to the EU was that done by the vote for Brexit last June. If that helps Madame Le Pen get elected, that damage will be very severe indeed. If the EU survives this year’s elections in member states, then it’s best interest might be served by no deal with May, and let the UK face the full consequences, even including break-up. This would more than reinforce the harsh example made of Greece. I would like to think that the EU might feel able to offer better terms to Greece at last as a reward for swallowing the medicine, and to encourage reconciliation within the EU. Alas, that’s probably wishful thinking on my part.

To go back to the game: Mrs May’s team might see it as two fast cars heading for each other, and be determined to force the EU to swerve. However, the EU might see themselves as a juggernaut lorry bearing down on a Reliant Robin, which they are determined to crush as a hazard to themselves and other road users. In addition, they might look at the the history of the UK’s relationship with the EU, especially under Tory governments, and conclude that General de Gaulle was right, ie that the UK should never have been admitted. It would then be in the EU’s interest to have no deal, offer Scotland generous terms, freeze out the City of London and its associated tax evasion, being, perhaps, prepared to help pick up the pieces when a post Indyref2 rump UK breaks up even further.

That is if Trump doesn’t destroy us all long before that.

9

Collin Street 03.18.17 at 9:22 pm

Remember: everyone in the tory party under fifty joined after the miner’s strike.

The party is made up entirely of authoritarians, people who don’t like being questioned. You can’t be that way and be good at negotiations; you won’t be able to question your own preferences enough to know what you’ll be OK with sacrificing, and you won’t know what other people want enough to make counter-offers. The only way you have of getting what you want is to yell at people until they decide they don’t care enough: normal-person techniques of trade-offs and negotiation will be closed to you. You do that your entire life and you’ll think it’s normal, and you’ll think you’re an awesome negotiator because of your superior abusing-people skills.

10

John Quiggin 03.18.17 at 11:55 pm

Actually, I think game theory understates the likelihood of a “No Deal” outcome*. Game theory assumes rational players. The standard Brexit position, as I read it is “As Britons, we can do and say what makes us feel good at the time whether or not it is in our rational self interest. But we expect that the EU will give us a good deal because it is in their rational self interest to do so” . But the EU isn’t a collective actor with a rational self-interest it’s a bunch of players, each with a veto and all just as concerned about domestic politics as the Tories were when Cameron proposed this silly referendum.

* At least according to the people who seem to have thought about it, a literal “No Deal” would be much worse than the WTO option analysed by Coppola. UK-EU trade would grind to a halt within a few days of a “No Deal”. So, the likely outcome would be an emergency transitional agreement to keep goods moving. What the content of that agreement would be is anyone’s guess, but there’s no obvious reason for the EU side to make any concessions.

11

bruce wilder 03.19.17 at 12:51 am

UK-EU trade would grind to a halt within a few days of a “No Deal”.

What is the basis for such a scenario? Changing to WTO could be disruptive, yes, but “grind to a halt”?

12

John Quiggin 03.19.17 at 1:30 am

Sorry, I forgot to include the link. The basic problem is that the required capacity for customs checks isn’t there and isn’t likely to be

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/20/post-brexit-customs-gridlock-could-choke-uk-trade-experts-warn

13

hix 03.19.17 at 1:32 am

Not quite sure why the EU should try to make efforts to let EU citicens stay in the UK or why removing them would be a threat against the EU.

14

Sebastian H 03.19.17 at 2:06 am

” It would then be in the EU’s interest to have no deal, offer Scotland generous terms”

This is where the EU’s structure will get in the way. Scotland isn’t getting in the EU because Spain and Portugal will veto it. There is no way that separatists get the slightest bit of traction. It is too dangerous for those two countries.
I also agree that the “no deal” option is very likely even though both parties will be worse off for it. There are all sorts of internal political reasons for both sides to make terrible decisions on the issue.

All bets are off though if an anti-EU party wins in one of the other major countries (France or Italy or maybe even Spain I’d worry about).

I wonder about London though. While there are a few cities that would love to take over, I wonder if two years is really enough time to set up another strong enough financial center. This may cause a worldwide problem (and/or strengthen NYC).

15

Peter T 03.19.17 at 6:40 am

I think the projection of trade grinding to a halt is overblown. These days customs paperwork is submitted electronically and manual checks are rare. As with most taxes, 90 per cent or more of revenue and compliance is done without fuss, and enforcement is concentrated on the remainder. I know (I did some of my career with Australian Customs) that the UK has the requisite electronic systems.

Immigration is a bigger problem, as there is much more manual checking needed.

16

derrida derider 03.19.17 at 7:20 am

I think “no deal” quite likely, but doubt it will cause trade to grind to a halt in a few days. Both the EU and the Brits have a long history of messy muddling through, and I think movement of goods will happen unimpeded while customs sheds are built, douaniers hired, laws amended, etc.

If the EU want to play hard ball, they do have a couple of other strategies available:

– Threatening the City’s passport is particularly effective because it puts the pressure on the Tories specifically, not the whole Brexit base. It’s a wedge that may split them. The only danger from the EU’s POV is that Frankfurt and Paris might be all too keen and make it hard to withdraw the threat when the Brits fold.

– They can get Merkel or Macron or somebody to make an ‘indiscreet’ speech about Scotland and making it clear that they can get into the EU very quickly on extraordinarily good terms.

17

John Quiggin 03.19.17 at 7:27 am

@15 That doesn’t seem to work so well on the Turkey-EU border

@16 To restate, I’m not predicting that trade will actually grind to a halt, merely that ‘muddling through’ will require a transitional deal at very short notice, and probably on terms dictated by the EU.

I think the passport has already been ruled out by the withdrawal from the single maket. The fallback position is something called “equivalence”, which could

18

Faustusnotes 03.19.17 at 8:07 am

Peter T, I think you underestimate the power of British incompetence to stuff up every single new thing they do. Remember heathrow terminal 5 opening? I would imagine you could increase that by a few orders of magnitude. Certainly when I moved to the U.K. From outside the eu (and then back again) the postal service was completely unable to handle anything related to my belongings (fortunately I used a Japanese service for the return). Look at the debacle of permanent residency applications and ask yourself how the U.K. Will handle any significant increase in customs workload when it can’t run thing s it invented (like train networks and rugby teams), or anything resembling a viable postal service.

19

Dipper 03.19.17 at 8:47 am

They can get Merkel or Macron or somebody to make an ‘indiscreet’ speech about Scotland and making it clear that they can get into the EU very quickly on extraordinarily good terms.

Most people in England would regard Scotland quitting the union as a benefit. We are sick of the constant self-important anti-English nonsense coming from Scotland. We pay them extra money, send jobs there in preference to the rest of England, and just get abuse in return. Getting rid of Scotland would just be the icing on the cake of leaving the EU for many.

20

Collin Street 03.19.17 at 9:33 am

I think the passport has already been ruled out by the withdrawal from the single maket.

Continuation of passporting will destroy the london money-laundering industry. The EU regulators had already smashed swiss banking secrecy and were making no secret that london was next, then suddenly-out-of-nowhere Brexit comes up.

21

Sasha Clarkson 03.19.17 at 11:34 am

@Sebastian H ” Scotland isn’t getting in the EU because Spain and Portugal will veto it”

Perhaps, but this is by no means certain, and Portugal would have little interest in backing Spain on this.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2016/07/04/brexit-and-spain-would-the-spanish-government-really-block-scotlands-eu-membership/

Also, an independent Scotland could also seek to negotiate a very soft Brexit deal: “membership in all but name”, which would fudge the issue.

@Dipper: are you sure that “most people in England” share your view?
Many parts of north England are closer to Scotland than to London, culturally as well as geographically: in 50 years time the new border might stretch from the Mersey to the Humber! ;)

22

Francis Spufford 03.19.17 at 1:06 pm

Dipper, speak for yourself.

23

Layman 03.19.17 at 1:43 pm

I consider Dipper @ 19 to be something of a public service confirming the basic prejudices inherent in Brexit support. One can replace ‘Scotland’ in that formulation with any national, ethnic or religious group and see the effect. “We are sick of the the constant self-important anti-English nonsense coming from [Muslims / Hindus / Catholics / Africans / Pakistanis / Indians / Irish]” etc. Perhaps England would have been better off conquering a better class of Other?

24

Dipper 03.19.17 at 2:17 pm

@ Layman (and others)

One of the acts of genius of the SNP is to convince people that far from being a nationalist movement of Little Scotlanders they are are a force for liberal democratic reform.

A young adult (Essex born, home counties English) of my acquaintance has recently moved to Edinburgh to start work. Many Scots appear to think it perfectly reasonable to make racist and derogatory remarks about the English non-stop in the office; how bigoted and racist southern English are, how much they hate Essex and it should be raised to the ground. Scottish history as taught in Scottish schools seems to be one long list of anti-English grievances, and English living in Scotland are left in no doubt that they are an “other” and are tolerated despite the inherent evil of their English blood.

[Muslims / Hindus / Catholics / Africans / Pakistanis / Indians / Irish]

Just about none of these groups spend their time making openly racist and derogatory remarks about the English. All these are present in England and as far as I am aware living perfectly happily and contributing to our society. There are even quite a few Scots living in England quite happily, most hoping their relatives north of the border don’t go and do something really stupid like voting to quit the union.

Of course I cannot speak for the entire English nation but I’m pretty sure I speak for most of the people I bump into on a regular basis.

It really shouldn’t be necessary to explain to a group of people who would identify themselves as tolerant reasonable liberals that all nationalist politicians are scumbags. They thrive on creating a sense of victimhood against a neighbouring group and conduct politics based on ethnic or other dividing lines. They feed on creating hate-filled stereotypes. So you don’t like Brexit, fine. Don’t like Theresa May – quite a reasonable position to take. But that doesn’t mean the SNP are your friends, and you should think several times before taking the side of nationalist politicians.

25

Stephen 03.19.17 at 7:57 pm

DerridaDerida@16: “They can get Merkel or Macron or somebody to make an ‘indiscreet’ speech about Scotland and making it clear that they can get into the EU very quickly on extraordinarily good terms.”

If those extraordinary good terms can include transferring funds to Scotland at the rate of about £9 B/yr (£1,700/yr for every man, woman and child in Scotland), and accepting a Scots budget deficit of around 9%, and arranging for Scots exports to the rest of the UK to be treated on the same terms as Scots exports to the rest of the EU (a quarter at most of the former), then yes, that would attract many Scots. Otherwise, not.

I’m not complaining that Scotland is heavily subsidised by the rest of the UK (effectively, southern England). With a population spread over a wide, inhospitable, inaccessible region of mountains and islands, with alarmingly unhealthy cities, on egalitarian grounds they deserve to be. Fair enough. Just don’t think to remove that subsidy with no ill effects.

And don’t be certain that a 9% budget deficit would be entirely welcome in Berlin, either.

26

J-D 03.20.17 at 1:13 am

Of course I cannot speak for the entire English nation but I’m pretty sure I speak for most of the people I bump into on a regular basis.

It is a lay-down certainty that ‘people I bump into on a regular basis’ are a wildly unrepresentative sample, and that you can’t make any safe deductions about wider populations on that basis.

Purely as a spectator, I have long thought it would be interesting to find out what the result would be if England held a referendum on leaving the UK. If that’s what the majority of the English want, I can’t think of any reason why they should be denied the right, but I have no idea whether that is how they would actually vote — that’s one of the reasons the idea intrigues me.

27

derrida derider 03.20.17 at 1:43 am

dipper, even if you were right (and you certainly are not) that “most people in England” want Scottish independence, you would still be wrong on the effectiveness of the Scottish separatist threat because the Tories are not “most people” – one thing uniting them is that they are dedicated unionists. See the prior point I made about City passports.

28

Faustusnotes 03.20.17 at 2:49 am

I don’t get the impression that people here are siding with the SNP – just pointing out that the breakup of the union is a big deal and brexit may increase the risk of that. The U.K. was willing to run a long war with considerable terrorism risk to keep the rump of Northern Ireland in the union, so whatever dippers friends think it’s clear that most politicians think most brits like the union.

Also the idea that the “English” (who are not a race no matter what ukip tell you) are the one sided victims of cross border slurs is hilarious. You poor benighted souls who never did anything wrong …

29

Peter T 03.20.17 at 7:02 am

faustus’ anecdotal point above deserves more attention. While I am fairly sure UK customs can cope with goods clearance and tariffs without too much trouble (Dover is not the EU-Turkish border, and UK-EU traffic will have been cleared at points of entry into either the EU or the UK, leaving only tariffs to be collected via electronic declaration. The UK already maintains controls for smuggling of various sorts from the EU).

Nevertheless, Brexit will throw a lot of functions back to the British state from various EU bodies, and the administrative capacity of that state has, I think, been severely eroded over the last few decades. So Britain can expect a whole series of stuff-ups, delays and general friction. If it follows the US pattern, the left will get the blame.

30

John Quiggin 03.20.17 at 7:37 am

Peter T: Are you equally confident about the capacity and eagerness of French customs to help sort out this mess?

31

Dipper 03.20.17 at 9:03 am

Firstly on Scotland it is worth noting that the generally accepted explanation for the late surge to the conservatives in the 2015 election was that as the collapse in Labour support in Scotland and SNP landslide became clear, so too did the fact that any coalition government would have to include the SNP. At that point, lots of English voters voted Conservative as the only way of keeping the SNP out of government. Recent suggestions of some kind of radical alliance involving Labour, Greens, and the SNP are guaranteed electoral suicide in England. There is absolutely no way English voters will let the SNP anywhere near the Treasury.

The SNP’s love of the EU is bizarre. Stephen @25 nails it. Scotland is currently in a union with a country that understands fiscal transfers are part of the deal, gives it lots of say in how it governs itself, both in marked contrast to the EU. Most English are accepting of that situation. The SNP campaign to leave the UK and join the EU must be the only case in history of a nationalist party campaigning to have less say in how its country is governed.

So on to Frances Coppola’s post. I have left my usual helpful and insightful comments there but in summary her conclusion is wrong. She makes the mistake of most Remainers in thinking that people voted to Leave because they thought they would be better off, and if they find that on transition they will be worse off they will reject the deal. That is not why most people voted to Leave. In the words of a UNITE/Labour Party Geordie I bumped into “I voted to Leave because in the short term we would be worse off but in the long term we would be better off.” So a poor economic deal on exit is not a deal breaker.

What is a deal breaker is Free Movement of People. Any agreement that maintains Free Movement will be seen as a betrayal of the referendum and will result in significant social unrest. The European Commission projects an increase of 25% in the UK population between 2013 and 2050/60, and over half of that is due to immigration. If we maintain Free Movement then by the middle of this century the notion of the UK as an independent nation will have been replaced with the UK being the place where the EU parks its surplus labour. And once that happens, you can’t go back. Even on the current basis of 3 million Eastern Europeans recently coming here, you can’t send them back without losing a large chunk of your humanity to say nothing of the legal quagmire. Once people are here in number, they are here.

Which brings me to a question for CTers. If you do an action which you can be reasonable sure means someone else will carry out an illegal action in response, are you in any way complicit with the illegality? Are you responsible? Currently that’s just an academic question, but if Free Movement of People is maintained it will be a real question.

32

Peter T 03.20.17 at 9:36 am

John

I did not have much interaction with French customs. But as they already have systems in place to deal with goods entering from outside the EU (eg via Atlantic or Mediterranean ports or by air), I can’t see a major problem IF the will is there. EU borders have shifted several times in the last two decades without too much drama. I’ll say again that movement of people, issuance of international certificates of compliance, certification of standards and similar are likely to be much bigger problems.

33

gastro george 03.20.17 at 10:19 am

I’m surprised that nobody has pointed out the cognitive dissonance of those people who favour repatriating powers from the EU and are also in favour of a small state. Who do they think are going to make those decisions or enact those policies?

34

Dipper 03.20.17 at 10:38 am

Peter T @ 29 is an example of how the two sides of the EU referendum saw the same things and drew different conclusions.

Remain: the UK Civil Service simply isn’t up to the job of running the country. We need to stay in the EU to avoid chaos and disorder.

Leave: the UK Civil Service simply isn’t up to the job of running the country. We need to leave the EU now to force the restoration of the Civil Service to the necessary degree of competence.

For most Leavers, the whole point of leaving is to drive long-term transformation. Current problems and issues are not a reason for staying, they are a reason for leaving.

Part of the duty any thinker has to themselves is to read and consider seriously things they disagree with. This blog http://www.eureferendum.com/default.aspx gives Leavers like me quite a lot to chew over. Most of the posts are about tariffs and customs and what awaits on Day One so quite pertinent to Peter T’s post.

35

casmilus 03.20.17 at 11:02 am

You may be interested:

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86413

The author of that site (Richard North) is a longstanding anti-EU campaigner, early supporter of UKIP, who has become extremely disenchanted with “the movement”. He still supports Brexit in principle but despairs of the idiocy of “hard Brexit” fantasists. His blog is a huge resource of detail on the subject. He advises the anti-EU columnist Christopher Booker, who is now unpopular with Leavers for repeating his warnings.

See also the writings of his son Peter North:

http://peterjnorth.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/brexit-end-of-great-british-ponzi-scheme.html

36

casmilus 03.20.17 at 11:04 am

Gah, someone else beat me to it. But I’m pretty sure I’ve linked to the Norths previously.

Peter North’s blog is interesting as an example of “untutored”, shall we say, writing about political thought.

37

casmilus 03.20.17 at 11:07 am

@33

“I’m surprised that nobody has pointed out the cognitive dissonance of those people who favour repatriating powers from the EU and are also in favour of a small state. Who do they think are going to make those decisions or enact those policies?”

They don’t think anyone should be exercising those powers; we should have the no-regulation utopia. Consumers should be free to choose which of the hygiene regimes they want to pay for, it will be the job of producers to indicate which one they are adhering to.

Short version: if you don’t like what Thatcher did to the North, don’t vote for the option that Patrick Minford is in favour of. He thinks she didn’t go far enough.

38

djr 03.20.17 at 11:33 am

Dipper @ 31:

There is absolutely no way English voters will let the SNP anywhere near the Treasury.

This position is basically that the party chosen by the majority of the Scottish electorate should be treated basically like the IRA, and cannot be considered as a legitimate part of a potential governing coalition. My view when the Tories / Daily Mail pushed it in 2015 was that it was going for short-term electoral benefit at a cost of breaking up the Union.

Scotland is currently in a union with a country that understands fiscal transfers are part of the deal, gives it lots of say in how it governs itself, both in marked contrast to the EU.

The first was certainly true during the North Sea boom in the 1980s, there’s maybe a bit more pushback from the English now. The idea that Scotland had the autonomy of Catalonia or Flanders before the Blair government came in is laughable. It certainly has far less than Spain or Belgium do now.

39

Layman 03.20.17 at 12:01 pm

I also laughed at the juxtaposition of these two statements from dipper:

“There is absolutely no way English voters will let the SNP anywhere near the Treasury.”

And

“…gives it lots of say in how it governs itself…”

Put another way, the Scots can participate in government, so long as they do so in a way that meets with the approval of the English.

Then there’s this pair:

“For most Leavers, the whole point of leaving is to drive long-term transformation.”

And

“What is a deal breaker is Free Movement of People.”

Which one is it? Is Brexit primarily an effort to improve the bureaucracy, or is it primarily an effort to keep the foreigners out? Will dipper accept a deal which makes the trains run on time, but lets the bloody foreigners ride on ’em?

40

casmilus 03.20.17 at 12:07 pm

@9

Brexiters assume that the EU will not do exactly what they are doing themselves: putting “ideals” and “principles” above cold economics.

This would seem like straightforward incoherence. However, the way to resolve the apparent contradiction is to realise that the typical Tory Brexiteer regards their own vision of Britain as a concrete historical fact, whereas “Europe” is a mere theoretical abstraction that no one would fight for when real difficulties turn up.

The fact that their notion of “Britain” is…. oh, you know.

41

Faustusnotes 03.20.17 at 12:09 pm

Djr I wouldn’t waste my time addressing that point of dipper’s – it’s just a long winded way of sneering at scots as welfare bludgers, a typical little englander position that depends for its potency on ignoring the subsidies English farmers and collapsing English rural towns get. Meanwhile, having sneered at the scots for being a pack of dole bludgers, dipper complains that they are “racist” against the English (who are not a race). This is the manner and level of intellectual engagement of your typical brexiter, though fuller uses the odd fancy word and no doubt thinks him or herself to be quite an advanced thinker.

I guess this is why these idiots won the referendum – remainers tried reasoning with them, while farage lied and showed them photos of Syrians.

42

casmilus 03.20.17 at 12:29 pm

@19

If you still want to play at being a “great power”, you’ll need those Scottish submarine bases.

I don’t believe the English majority want Scotland to go, though I can easily believe they’d be happy to see Ireland reunited, as long as it was done according to some vaguely democratic process. We may be seeing the start of that now.

43

Dipper 03.20.17 at 12:44 pm

@ djr and Layman.

The Scottish electorate are free to choose however they want. However the SNP have no other purpose than broadly speaking to advance the interests of the people of Scotland. It should come as no surprise that the 90% of people who don’t live in Scotland don’t want the SNP in charge of the country’s finances in any way. I don’t even see why that’s in any way up for debate.

@ Layman.

Well that’s the problem with referenda, particularly one like the EU referendum. Both are true.

And to conflate wanting border controls with not liking Foreigners is just playground nonsense. For the record Layman, are you in favour of having no immigration controls at all and allowing all the worlds 7 billion people to come to the UK and set up home if they so wish, or are you in favour of keeping bloody foreigners out?

44

casmilus 03.20.17 at 12:50 pm

The true reason why there was a last-minute swing against Labour in 2015 is that Ed Miliband stood next to a giant replica of Stanley Kubrick’s original version of the Monolith from “2001:A Space Odyssey” and said… whatever it was. No one remembers. What everyone remembers is the realisation that anyone who could do that clearly spent too much time uncritically nodding at every suggestion made by American advisers, and thus could not be trusted to keep the UK out of President Clinton’s 2018 invasion of Iran.

45

casmilus 03.20.17 at 1:54 pm

@43

“The Scottish electorate are free to choose however they want. However the SNP have no other purpose than broadly speaking to advance the interests of the people of Scotland.”

Much like the Tory Party is only concerned with selected regions of southern England.

46

casmilus 03.20.17 at 1:55 pm

Can we be clear: will you be opposed to any deal between a minority Tory administration and the Ulster Unionists? That’s been a likely outcome of UK elections for the past 40 years, much more than Lab/SNP.

47

Matthew Heath 03.20.17 at 1:55 pm

What everyone remembers is the realisation that anyone who could do that clearly spent too much time uncritically nodding at every suggestion made by American advisers, and thus could not be trusted to keep the UK out of President Clinton’s 2018 invasion of Iran.

The number of people who thought anything more specific than “he looks a bit of a dick with that stone” wouldn’t have swung a single seat.

48

Layman 03.20.17 at 3:55 pm

dipper: “And to conflate wanting border controls with not liking Foreigners is just playground nonsense.”

The playground nonsense is pretending that there are / were no border controls with EU membership. As a frequent non-EU visitor to the U.K. and other EU member states, I assure you that there are in fact border controls. And it’s nonsense to pretend that free movement of EU people within the EU means anything at all about 8 billion non-EU people – in fact, if I may, that is the sort of lie with which the Brexit vote was sold. People who say such things should ask themselves whether they believe that nonsense, or whether they claim it while not actually believing.

49

Dipper 03.20.17 at 4:34 pm

Layman – a country of 60 million has no border controls on 500 million people. I’m not sure why people think it is progressive politics to say someone should have a right to work and live here just because they are Bulgarian when someone as smart, talented, and good-natured as your self should have to jump through bureaucratic hurdles.

50

J-D 03.20.17 at 5:27 pm

Which brings me to a question for CTers. If you do an action which you can be reasonable sure means someone else will carry out an illegal action in response, are you in any way complicit with the illegality? Are you responsible?

The question is far too vague for a sensible answer. I suspect you have a specific scenario in mind which you haven’t spelled out because you expect readers to be able to guess, and perhaps some of them can, but to me your meaning is opaque.

51

Moz of Yarramulla 03.21.17 at 12:36 am

If you do an action which you can be reasonable sure means someone else will carry out an illegal action in response, are you in any way complicit with the illegality? Are you responsible?
The question is far too vague for a sensible answer. I suspect you have a specific scenario in mind

I’m guessing he means working for a living. By having money and assets, you can be reasonably sure you’ll become a target for thieves of various sorts. Just as wearing a short skirt means accepting responsibility for being raped, so does having money mean accepting responsibility for being robbed. If you don’t want to be robbed, don’t appear to have anything worth stealing.

52

Layman 03.21.17 at 2:09 am

@dipper, if I’m not bothered that Arkansas can’t lock out Californians (or vice versa), I’m probably not going to be up in arms that Britain can’t lock out the French. I get that you might not want to be part of the EU proto-state; but you should get that I already get that, it isn’t in question. What is in question is your motivation, and responding to questions about that with deceptive statements about the absence of border controls, allowing 8 billion people unfettered access to the crisps in your pantry, isn’t helping your argument very much.

53

Layman 03.21.17 at 2:11 am

Also, too, what dipper means with this:

“If you do an action which you can be reasonable sure means someone else will carry out an illegal action in response, are you in any way complicit with the illegality? Are you responsible?”

…is that if the British government makes a Brexit deal which includes free movement of people, he says they will be responsible for the violence he believes is certain to follow.

54

nick s 03.21.17 at 3:30 am

Well, it’s annoying that Dipper has hijacked the thread with a stack of unsubstantiated comments that would be better suited to the trolling section of the Graun’s BTL brigade.

There’s an interesting question to be asked about pro-Leave parts of northern England that are also within the traditional market of the Sunday Post, and where candidates running on the SNP social and economic manifesto would stand a chance. All bets are off once you’ve gone down the path of remaking the constitutional framework of the state.

My best guess is that the Three Brexiteers will construct a worse deal than anything they could produce by just doing nothing for the next two years, because of domestic forces that will demand symbolic masochistic “victories” along the way.

55

Dipper 03.21.17 at 7:34 am

@Moz, J-D

I was really talking about governments.

I don’t want to be more specific because saying “If the government does X then some people will respond by doing Y” is practically inciting people to do the action Y. In which case you take some individual responsibility for action Y yourself. And if action Y is a bad thing to do, then best not to mention it as a possible thing that people might do.

In a more specific example politicians like Farage talk about the possibility of civil unrest unless “the people are listened to” (see http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/06/brexit-advocate-farage-warns-there-could-be-riots-if-eu-exit-is-blocked.html). As you can infer from the above I don’t think politicians should ever say this as it is practically inciting unrest.

56

Z 03.21.17 at 8:51 am

They can get Merkel or Macron or somebody to make an ‘indiscreet’ speech about Scotland and making it clear that they can get into the EU very quickly on extraordinarily good terms.

For those who listened carefully, Macron (the presumptive next French president) did just that in the presidential debate yesterday. It was all in one sentence, but evidently a well-thought one, and the message couldn’t have been clearer: he intends to make sure that the UK is getting a rough deal.

As for Scotland, for all I know, it may be true that a majority of British favors its independence. Considering what Scotland and the Scottish Enlightenment historically brought to the UK (and to the World), if true, this reflects quite poorly on British people.

57

lurker 03.21.17 at 1:30 pm

‘It really shouldn’t be necessary to explain to a group of people who would identify themselves as tolerant reasonable liberals that all nationalist politicians are scumbags.’ (Dipper, 24)
Pot, meet kettle.

58

lurker 03.21.17 at 1:36 pm

@Dipper, 31
The SNP could have agreed to give a Labour minority government confidence and supply to keep the Tories out, but more than that would not have been in their own interest.
The SNP really do want to break up the UK, not to run it. Like the Sinn Feinn, only without the bombs.

59

Dipper 03.21.17 at 2:29 pm

@ nick S. I responded to a question about perspiring with an erudite and informed comment. No responses. I gave a quick response to a comment from derrida derrider on Scotland. I tried to pull discussion back to the OP at 31 but to no avail. Face it NickS, we are here by popular demand.

I responded on Scotland partly because in another forum there was an immediate and strong anti-SNP response following Sturgeon’s call for a referendum. If we are going to discuss the politics of Scottish Independence, people should know that lots of English cannot stand the SNP. Most English are happy with the union, would like Scotland to remain, but the incessant demands from the SNP for more and more concessions or else they will leave are seen by many as a kind of extortion racket and we are approaching the point where paying them to stop trying to destroy the union seen as becoming not worth it.

…is that if the British government makes a Brexit deal which includes free movement of people, he says they will be responsible for the violence he believes is certain to follow

With regard to the OP, I think Coppola (and hence JQ) are wrong because failing to deliver suspension of Free Movement of People in the EU will definitely undermine parliamentary democracy and may will result in violence, so the UK government will have no deal rather than keep Freedom of Movement.

I asked the question about responsibility because I’m not sure of the answer. For instance, given this is the day Martin McGuinness’s death has been announced, should the UK government have seen that the way NI was governed would lead to violence? And if they should have done, and didn’t act, does that make the UK government responsible to any degree for the bloodshed that followed?

@Layman. There are many aspects to the Freedom of Movement issue of which race/culture is just one. It is worth remembering that the UK government thought there would be very little immigration. Migration Watch, an anti-immigration group, predicted a few times more and were widely criticised for being alarmist. Actual migration was many times what Migration Watch had predicted. When challenged the government gave the usual comments – its part of being in the EU (i.e. they are not responsible), its good for us (in which case why hadn’t they said this is why they wanted free movement in the first place) – and there’s nothing they can do about it. If the UK government has such little ability to control something as significant as who lives here, then what else are they going to give up? And how might those other things pan out given their and others complete inability to make accurate predictions? So for many its a symptom of the way the EU undermines democratic accountability.

Finally the usual comparison with the UK in Europe being like being a state in the USA. That is a minority view in the UK, and notably no significant Remainer politician has suggested that as a desirable outcome. Perhaps you could suggest on here that Canada becomes a state of the USA and see how well that goes down.

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Dipper 03.21.17 at 2:29 pm

doh – auto correct – passporting, not perspiring.

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gastro george 03.21.17 at 2:58 pm

One of the problems with Dipper’s analysis of Scots-English relations is that the North of England probably hates London and the South East with just as much venom. English “unity” against those dreadful outsiders is a bit of a myth.

62

lurker 03.21.17 at 3:13 pm

@gastro george, 61
But there’s no Northumbrian nationalism, and as long as there isn’t, it’s just the usual provincial hatred of the capital that you find everywhere.

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gastro george 03.21.17 at 5:20 pm

@lurker
Sure. My comment was more concerned with opposition to ascribing uniform views to aggregates. Rather like people imputing that all Leavers are old, northern and thick, rather ignoring the influence of the southern suburbs in the vote. Further, there’s also a question of degree. I’d very much doubt if many of those northerners who do “hate the Scots” do so more than they hate Londoners. Which rather casts doubts on the meaningfulness of any view that “the English” hate the Scots.

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Dipper 03.21.17 at 6:02 pm

for clarity I should say my comments are specifically about the SNP not about Scots in general. A quick look below the line on The Scotsman web site will show lots of Scots don’t like the SNP for the same reasons lots of English don’t like them.

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nick s 03.21.17 at 7:06 pm

we are approaching the point where paying them to stop trying to destroy the union seen as becoming not worth it.

Again with the bloody ‘we’? Give it a rest.

Still, Dipper’s unconscious ‘we’-ing underlines my thinking here: the negotiations are going to be influenced on the British side by Little Englanders (e.g. Bill Cash, for whom it’s forever 1940, the year he was born) who was their negotiating party to represent Deep England and not the UK as it is.

66

derrida derider 03.22.17 at 4:48 am

Wow, this thread has gone way OT. The question posed in the OP, friends, is not whether Brexit or the SNP is good or bad but rather what is the EU’s optimal bargaining strategy from here.

Scots nationalism can ultimately be terrible or terrific for Scotland, England or the EU but none of that changes the fact that it is a great lever for an EU negotiator because whatever the real effects the current UK government is ideologically Unionist (ie is incapable of calling your bluff).

67

PeteW 03.22.17 at 8:16 am

@Dipper

You say “There are many aspects to the Freedom of Movement issue of which race/culture is just one. “

You then describe how the UK Government miscalculated the number of possible immigrants over a particular period. This does not seem to to be, as you attempt to make it, a criticism of EU “democratic accountability”, but rather of the incompetence of the UK Govt and its forecasting – and also of certain politicians making pledges they couldn’t keep.

What are these “many aspects” of FoM which you speak, apart from race/culture?

68

gastro george 03.22.17 at 9:50 am

@Dipper

Scots/SNP, pish/posh. Do “the English” really hate the SNP?

Furthering my argument about degree, and allied to the discussion above about responsibility for inevitable blacklash/violence – there is a big difference between disliking, hating and being prepared to do violence. Of course provocateurs are happy to slide their rhetoric up and down the scale as suits their current argument, while being prepared to push towards the extreme end.

69

casmilus 03.22.17 at 10:57 am

We have already had a case of a pro-European politician being murdered in the UK, however nobody on the Leave side seem very keen on the idea that the murderer should be regarded as a “terrorist” or any kind of figure other than a “madman”.

The killer himself owned a copy of “Case Closed” by Gerald Posner, the notorious “Oswald did it, Warren Report was right” debunking book. So not a fan of “conspiracy theories”; quite the opposite.

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casmilus 03.22.17 at 11:04 am

@59

“With regard to the OP, I think Coppola (and hence JQ) are wrong because failing to deliver suspension of Free Movement of People in the EU will definitely undermine parliamentary democracy and may will result in violence, so the UK government will have no deal rather than keep Freedom of Movement.”

Why would it undermine it?

There has been no act of Parliament to end FOM.

We did not have a referendum to end it. What happened is:
1. We had a referendum on EU membership. Leave won by a narrow margin.
2. It was suggested this was because of anti-immigration vote, and lots of Dippers said this was a terrible slur to say that all Leavers were racist.
3. A short time passes. The Dippers suddenly start declaring that the referendum in fact delivered “a clear message on ending freedom of movement”.
4. This line is completely accepted by the new Tory leadership. And now we’re hemmed into leaving the Single Market, which we didn’t vote for, and plenty of Leave campaigners said we should stay in.

71

Dipper 03.22.17 at 11:55 am

@ PeteW

All domestic politics is a family argument on a grand scale. The democratic accountability relates to that of the UK parliament. Anyway:

There is the issue of the UK population going to 80 million by 2050/60. Taking one of the most populous countries in the EU and increasing the population by 25% in a relatively short time without there being an obvious reason is surely nuts (Sweden’s population is set to increase by 36.5% over the same time btw).

There is the issue of pressure on services such as the health service and education. It is important to remember that there is little reliable data on this. The extent of immigration from Europe only became apparent when the 2011 census recorded unexpectedly high levels of Eastern Europeans. The last ONS migration review recorded a drop of 49,000 but this was not statistically significant. So the government does not know, partly because it does not want to know.

There is the effect on labour. The recent FT chart showing the UK being the only leading nation to have both an increase in GDP and a reduction in wages showed what many people suspected – that the flood of labour from Eastern Europe was pushing wages down.

The availability of cheap labour combined with the benefits system has had a highly negative effect on employment for the indigenous population at the low-end of the skills and qualifications market. There is little point in them investing in skills because the additional income is very low due to competition with Eastern Europe and if you have children the government just takes 90% of your additional income.

Free Movement of People is very clearly a big advantage to Large companies, and similarly a disadvantage to workers who find themselves in competition with cheap labour from overseas. The fact that the left are arguing for cheap wages and increased supply of labour and the people arguing to support local workers are classified as right-wing is just one of those ironies that no longer surprises me.

Finally Free Movement of People has encouraged a quasi-racist attitude amongst many leading Europhiles to workers in the UK. Lord Kerr famously said ‘the UK needs immigration because native Britons are “bloody stupid”’., and Britain needed ““an injection of intelligent people from outside”. If anyone said high unemployment and poor incomes in any ethnic group was because they were stupid and other people were more intelligent they would have faced massive public condemnation and probable prosecution.

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casmilus 03.22.17 at 12:21 pm

This old New Labour hack seems to be reinventing himself as the voice of Mercia:

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/politics/2017/01/21/sion-simon-labour-candidate-for-west-midlands-mayor-launches-campaign/

I can imagine within 10 years that regionalism is a thing in England. There was a referendum for a North East assembly that resulted in a No vote back in the Blair years, and that killed the idea at the time. May be due for a revival.

The only consensus in Britain right now seems to be lots of gasbags going on about the system being “broken”, by which they mean they aren’t in charge, though we are in fact conducting the experiment of putting the Angry White Men With Serious Faces back in charge and already discovering they have no ideas whatsoever.

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gastro george 03.22.17 at 2:37 pm

Getting back on topic, I think Frances has it about right in her blog. The Brexiteers have a very weak hand. Currently they’re strutting around enforcing the idea that any form of debate constrains their options, while they posture about walking away with no deal. This is just bravado. The EU has to do very little apart from stand it’s ground – and it has the form for doing so. If May wants to walk away, she (and we) will have to take the consequences. The only people who will be happy with that are the stupid, the insane or those with ulterior motives.

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J-D 03.22.17 at 8:07 pm

Dipper

How much of your question is answered by drawing your attention to Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 (UK)?

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Dipper 03.22.17 at 10:38 pm

@J-D many thanks – will have a good look, but from section 46 it looks like they are responsible which is a bit of a surprise.

@gastro george – I disagree. The argument is that Brexiteers have weak hand, that all the cards are in the EUs favour, therefore the UK will have to cave in. But where does that leave the UK? If it caves in today, it will have to cave in tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. How long before we get instructed to join the Euro, and that weak hand means we will have no choice but to accept? And what kind of outcomes do people have if they continually cave in to others? How has Greece benefited by caving in?

That, in a nutshell, is why people voted to Leave. the conservatives know that and their constituencies are continually reminding them of it so they won’t cave in.

76

J-D 03.23.17 at 5:44 am

In a more specific example politicians like Farage talk about the possibility of civil unrest unless “the people are listened to” (see http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/06/brexit-advocate-farage-warns-there-could-be-riots-if-eu-exit-is-blocked.html). As you can infer from the above I don’t think politicians should ever say this as it is practically inciting unrest.

I can find no good reason to think that the UK’s exit from the EU, no matter how it is handled, will increase the risk of rioting in the UK. The background probability of rioting in the UK is low compared to the majority of countries, but it is non-zero, and I can see the possibility at a future date that the UK’s exit from the EU, or something specific about the way it ends up being handled, will be blamed for rioting, but, I think, falsely blamed (if the situation should ever arise, which I still think unlikely although not impossible).

I am not sure I would go so far as to say that there is no possible situation in which rioting is justified, but in general rioting is destructive and to be avoided, and incitement to rioting should also generally be avoided. In this particular instance I am not sure whether Nigel Farage’s words can fairly be considered incitement to rioting, partly because he is deliberately obfuscating the point, but the remarks under discussion deserve to be treated with nothing but contempt and lend support to the conclusion that he is a fatuous buffoon. Unfortunately it is possible for fatuous buffoons to be dangerous.

77

J-D 03.23.17 at 8:37 am

I asked the question about responsibility because I’m not sure of the answer. For instance, given this is the day Martin McGuinness’s death has been announced, should the UK government have seen that the way NI was governed would lead to violence? And if they should have done, and didn’t act, does that make the UK government responsible to any degree for the bloodshed that followed?

Once again, your question is too general for a specific answer.

The usual pattern in human affairs is that people make both good decisions and bad decisions; I know I’ve done both. Therefore, I assume that over the course of a century, the British government, in its management of Northern Ireland affairs, has made both good decisions and bad decisions. I don’t know nearly enough about the subject to try to list the most important good decisions and the most important bad ones. If the question is whether there is any way there could have been less violence in Northern Ireland if the British Government had handled it differently, the answer must be almost certainly yes, but then again there are equally almost certainly ways that there could have been more violence if the British government had handled the situation differently.

Some of the violence in Northern Ireland has been perpetrated by agents of the British state (military and police); whether you have any responsibility in any situation for violence perpetrated by other people, you must surely have at least some kind of responsibility for violence you perpetrate yourself. But then, I wouldn’t say that there can never be any justification for any act of violence in any circumstances; I need a more specific question before I can give a more specific answer.

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gastro george 03.23.17 at 9:04 am

@Dipper – broken record.

Tell me one thing. What is unique about the UK that we should have all these problems with the EU? Compared with other EU countries. I mean Germany has a higher percentage of EU-born immigrants than the UK.

Hint: “we are nice and foreigners are not” is not a acceptable answer.

79

Collin Street 03.23.17 at 9:09 am

The argument is that Brexiteers have weak hand, that all the cards are in the EUs favour, therefore the UK will have to cave in.

The argument is that what the UK is demanding — continued membership of the single market while imposing barriers to trade in labour — is logically/mathematically impossible. You may as well demand that three plus five equals seventeen.

Threatening self-harm doesn’t affect this basic reality. And, well, “never negotiate with hostage-takers, it only encourages them” applies just as much to people who are taking themselves hostage as you appear to be: you might want to flip your “what next” claim and ponder exactly what the EU might think you might want to threaten self-harm over next time some EU-wide decision doesn’t go your way.

80

Collin Street 03.23.17 at 9:19 am

Dipper: “We want the single market — core of the european project — to be redefined over the next two years to reshape it into a market in goods and services only, not in labour”.
EU: “… on first flush, that’s not a thing we want to do. But, hey: convince us.”
Dipper: “If you don’t we’ll stab ourselves in the gut and it’ll all be your fault“.

81

PeteW 03.23.17 at 10:42 am

@Dipper

You have not explained how the EU “undermines democratic accountability”. This is a British newspaper fake meme, not a fact.

“There is the issue of the UK population going to 80 million by 2050/60.”

This is a forecast, not a fact.

” Taking one of the most populous countries in the EU and increasing the population by 25% in a relatively short time without there being an obvious reason is surely nuts”

Why “surely nuts”? There are more densely populated countries than the UK – it is not in the top 50 most densely populated countries in the world, according to Wiki.

“There is the issue of pressure on services such as the health service and education.”

Evidence indicates immigrants pay more into the system and take less out than those already here. That the UK Govt chooses austere public service cuts is their call, nothing to do with the EU.

“The extent of immigration from Europe only became apparent when the 2011 census recorded unexpectedly high levels of Eastern Europeans.”

The UK Govt waived its right to apply transitional controls, unlike other countries. Again that was their fault, not the EU’s.

“The availability of cheap labour combined with the benefits system has had a highly negative effect on employment for the indigenous population at the low-end of the skills and qualifications market. There is little point in them investing in skills because the additional income is very low due to competition with Eastern Europe and if you have children the government just takes 90% of your additional income.”

There is little evidence that available cheap labour has had a “highly negative effect on employment” in the UK – this is the Lump of Labour fallacy.
“Little point in investing in skills” – you are making this up, you have no evidence for this.
And any punitive aspects of the UK benefits system have nothing to do with the EU.

“Free Movement of People is very clearly a big advantage to Large companies, and similarly a disadvantage to workers who find themselves in competition with cheap labour from overseas.”

If a company wants to open a large plant in the UK, but does not think it can find enough workers at the right wages, what’s to stop that company opening up in Poland? How will that benefit UK workers? Do you not understand how free movement can actually INCREASE employment and opportunity in the UK?

“Finally Free Movement of People has encouraged a quasi-racist attitude amongst many leading Europhiles to workers in the UK.”

Blaming FoM for bigots being bigots is just silly.

Many of the views you espouse have little empirical support. You should also consider that you look at only one side of the balance sheet: you seen only at costs and not benefits.
You say nothing about the huge advantages to UK citizens – indeed of all EU citizens – in being able to travel, live and work freely across a whole continent. I’m old enough to remember British brickies flocking to Germany in the early 1980s because that’s where the work was. How did that opportunity harm them and their families?

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Marc 03.23.17 at 8:00 pm

I have to admit that I find these sorts of pieces puzzling, because you have to understand the incentives of the parties to do proper game theory. The UK government wins or loses, at least in the political sense, to the degree that they do things which have popular support. If the EU digs in for punitive trade measures, then the very likely result will be that opposition to them becomes politically profitable.

There is also the logical matter that, if trade benefits all, then presumably trade barriers also harm all. This makes punitive measures on the EU side a form of self-harm in search of some larger goal.

Finally, it’s far from clear to me that a hard Brexit line would make sense in game theory if viewed through the political consequences. For example, I think that the Greek drama badly hurt the European project – certainly the austerity debacle and the migrant crisis shattered the EU image of competence. If the EU is perceived as malevolent and vindictive, that makes it a less desirable club to be a member of.

This doesn’t mean that the EU won’t insist on unfavorable terms for the UK and that there won’t be losses from Brexit. It does, however, mean that being over-the-top vindictive and malicious, which I unfortunately expect to be the case, will have entirely predictable negative political consequences, and that the current UK government would end up benefiting politically from the EU adopting such tactics.

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hix 03.23.17 at 8:53 pm

Heres a map, showing the EU and Schengen membership status of countries. Cearly, the UK does have border controls with the other EU nations:
http://www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-countries-list/

I cant believe someone who clearly lives in the UK would claim there are no boder controls between the UK and other EU nations.

84

J-D 03.24.17 at 4:51 am

In order to apply game theory rigorously, we would need a model of strategic choices available to each party and how those strategic choices would interact to produce different outcomes. But we don’t have certainty about the necessary information and neither do the parties — otherwise this would all proceed very differently.

However, that doesn’t prevent us from using a loose and impressionistic approximation of game theory to indicate some possible insights.

For example, we might imagine that each side has a choice of two strategies which we might call ‘Conciliatory’ and ‘Uncompromising’, and draw up a table of four possible resulting outcomes:
A. The two sides reach an agreement which both find mostly satisfactory (‘Win-Win’).
B. The EU accepts an offer from the UK which it doesn’t really like, because it likes the possibility of no agreement even less (‘UK Wins’).
C. The UK accepts an offer from the EU which it doesn’t really like, because it likes the possibility of no agreement even less (‘EU Wins’).
D. Neither side makes an offer the other is prepared to accept, each preferring the outcome where the UK leaves the EU without any special agreement on arrangements for the future (‘Deadlock’).

Obviously reality is more complex than this, but so long as we remember the model is a simplification, I think it can still be useful.

I conclude as follows:
Both sides have some incentive to represent themselves publicly as leaning more towards a ‘Conciliatory’ strategy than is actually the case.
If we reach outcome D (‘Deadlock’) the truth of it can’t be hidden, and each side will be inclined to blame the result on the other side leaning more towards an ‘Uncompromising’ strategy.
If we reach outcome B (‘UK Wins’), the EU negotiators will strive to represent it as close to outcome A, ‘Win-Win’ (or possibly even outcome C, ‘EU Wins’), and the UK negotiators will not be motivated to contradict them strongly.
Conversely, if we reach outcome C (‘EU Wins’), the UK negotiators will strive to represent it as close to outcome A, ‘Win-Win’ (or possibly even outcome B, ‘UK Wins’), and the EU negotiators will not be motivated to contradict them strongly.
Therefore, unless we arrive at outcome D (‘Deadlock’), the result is likely to be presented as more or less like outcome A (‘Win-Win’), even if it really isn’t.
All four outcomes have, as far as can be estimated at this stage, a significant probability of coming about.
Both sides have some incentive to avoid outcome D (‘Deadlock’), or at least look as if they are trying to avoid it; but the UK probably has a stronger incentive to avoid it than the EU and therefore outcome C (‘EU Wins’), although by no means a certainty, is at least more probable than outcome B (‘UK Wins’).

85

Dipper 03.24.17 at 9:19 am

I think a key thing that Game theorists are missing here is that the EU is not a single player.

There is a handy guide to European Union Trade agreements here http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2012/june/tradoc_149616.pdf. In which it states:

“Finally the EP votes in plenary session to consent.
Where the agreement contains provisions that fall under Member State responsibility (this is known as a “mixed agreement”), individual Member States also have to ratify the agreement alongside the EU according to their national ratification procedures.”

So surely a more interesting Game Theory question is to why individual states would vote to agree a hard/soft deal, and why the European Parliament would vote a hard/soft deal when the European Parliament is in an ongoing power struggle with the member states.

The difficulty in getting 28 member states to agree on anything is considered by some to be the key factor in “Eurosclerosis” and another reason for leaving. So a Game Theorist may usefully consider the question of whether a number of states each acting independently generates a better/worse outcome than those same states acting in concert on the basis of having to get agreement from all states.

In terms of Coppola’s article, surely the notion that in a 2-player game the strongest wins everything has been disproved on many occasions. Often the weaker player can get a good outcome by making the cost to the stronger player of them gaining victory worse than the cost of conceding to the weaker player.

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lurker 03.24.17 at 11:07 am

‘ If the EU is perceived as malevolent and vindictive, that makes it a less desirable club to be a member of. ‘ (Marc, 82)
If it’s generally perceived that you get the best deal from the club by leaving the club, the club will cease to exist. You are arguing for the abolition of the EU, which is of course the hard-line anti-Europe wet dream.

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Layman 03.24.17 at 11:48 am

“There is also the logical matter that, if trade benefits all, then presumably trade barriers also harm all. This makes punitive measures on the EU side a form of self-harm in search of some larger goal.”

Not really, because they are not each equally dependent on trade with the other. Trade with the EU constitutes nearly half of the UK’s exports, while trade with the UK is only 16% of the EU’s export economy. The harm, to the extent there is any, would be proportional. And it is the UK that has created the harm in the first place. The EU can (and does!) quite reasonably feel that they have the upper hand, and that it is the other party that has created the difficulty. That’s not a recipe for a generous deal, especially when everyone knows the terms of the default outcome if no deal is struck.

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MisterMr 03.24.17 at 4:27 pm

In my opinion, it is almost sure that we will end up with a “hard brexit”, that the brexiters (and perhaps some other britons) will blame it on the EU, and that the EU (including for once most of its inhabitants) will think that the Brits are crazy and that it’s all their fault.

First of all, the brexiters already believe that the previous situation was unfair to the britons, whereas everyone else in the EU think that the britons had it better than the others, so there isn’t really a point of compromise.

Second, and very important, for some reason the brexiters don’t think that the EU is a proto-state, but other peoples in the EU do, and will see the britons as traitors of sorts.

Third, I often read sentences like: “we voted to leave the EU, not the single market” from britons, but this is simply false. For example I’m an italian citizien, but if for some reason i recuse my citizienship, I can’t then say that I recused my citizienship but not my right to vote in italian elections, or be pissed off if the italian police now treat me as an illegal alien, because those rights descended from my citizienship. So face it guys, you actually voted for exiting the single market (well perhaps most people here voted against, I’m sorry but that’s it).

Fourth, from the point of view of the EU, “no deal” is not a form of punishment to the UK, it’s just what the britons voted for (see point 3), and while the brexiters will call it a form of revenge from the EU, EU politicians will feel as if they are scapegoated, so things are almost sure to become nasty.

Fifth, only partially relevant, the greeks never asked to leave the EU, so the two situations aren’t really similar, plus the greeks are actually squeezed by the EU while the UK is not.

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Sebastian H 03.24.17 at 7:22 pm

Quite a bit of this discussion operates under the assumption that what is good for general GDP is the main focus. The problem is that from a political perspective that isn’t the focus at all. On the Leave side, the general complaints seem to be vaguely centered around the idea of GDP gains not going to them (both because they are going to immigrants and because they are going to London). So merely saying that screwing it all up will hurt GDP isn’t enough.

It may well be true that the non-London Leavers will be hurt by a bad deal with the EU, but we’ve squandered our ability to argue that because we’ve been essentially lying to them about the idea that free trade benefits them by benefiting the GDP–it absolutely has not worked that way.

So from a political perspective, it isn’t clear that the politicians will pay a price for hammering out what outsiders can see would be a more optimal solution.

The same is true for politicians on the EU side. They are distanced from accountability in any event, so they can focus on political choices. They are invested in making it as painful as possible for people to leave the EU, because leaving the EU reduces their power. (Pity they aren’t nearly so invested in making it attractive to stay). So they already have incentives to have a less than optimal (economic) solution. Furthermore, they have already illustrated that they aren’t particularly worried about causing pain in the non-core countries. So to the extent that the pain ends up not particularly hitting France and Germany, they don’t have great incentives to avoid it at all even if the negotiations end up in the negative sum zone for both sides so long as it isn’t particularly negative sum for Germany and France.

So essentially the political incentives to get no deal (or perhaps from the UK side a token deal) seem well above the economic costs for both sides.

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J-D 03.24.17 at 7:59 pm

The difficulty in getting 28 member states to agree on anything is considered by some to be the key factor in “Eurosclerosis” and another reason for leaving. So a Game Theorist may usefully consider the question of whether a number of states each acting independently generates a better/worse outcome than those same states acting in concert on the basis of having to get agreement from all states.

Hypothetically, perhaps, but in practice no: game theory has not yet found a way of dealing satisfactorily with multi-player games.

In terms of Coppola’s article, surely the notion that in a 2-player game the strongest wins everything has been disproved on many occasions. Often the weaker player can get a good outcome by making the cost to the stronger player of them gaining victory worse than the cost of conceding to the weaker player.

You don’t need game theory to tell you that on average the stronger player will do better than the weaker player; if you’ve got a theory that tells you that on average the weaker player will do better than the stronger player, you should be very suspicious of your theory.

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Zamfir 03.24.17 at 9:13 pm

The difficulty in getting 28 member states to agree on anything is considered by some to be the key factor in “Eurosclerosis” and another reason for leaving.
You have to love this reasoning. “We want to leave the EU because it threatens the sovereignity of its members. Also, we want to leave because its members show too much signs of sovereignity”

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J-D 03.24.17 at 9:39 pm

I have to admit that I find these sorts of pieces puzzling, because you have to understand the incentives of the parties to do proper game theory. The UK government wins or loses, at least in the political sense, to the degree that they do things which have popular support.

That’s an important point about incentives for the UK negotiators, but what about incentives for the EU negotiators?

Some things are easy to predict. In two or three years time, the UK government will be saying what a good deal they got for the UK, and how well things are working out, and some people will concur, and some people will dissent. But if there’s a widespread view across the rest of the EU that the UK has done well from leaving the EU, then people in other countries will be encouraged to think about leaving the EU. The strongest incentive for the EU negotiators is to avoid an outcome where majority opinion across Europe is that the UK has done well out of leaving the EU.

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Collin Street 03.25.17 at 6:51 am

So a Game Theorist may usefully consider the question of whether a number of states each acting independently generates a better/worse outcome than those same states acting in concert on the basis of having to get agreement from all states.

Well, sure. They have, it’s fairly straightforward, and the answer is “you’re fucked”.

[After notification under art 50, a deal other than a messy hard-brexit — which will as mentioned kill people — requires unanimous consent from all EU members. Signing up to EFTA or to some other way of continuing single-market membership is pretty likely to get that consent, because it treads in well-worn pathways; any custom deal cut specifically for Brexit will require individual consideration and consent by each individual government, and obviously the more independent actors you need to get in simultaneous agreement the harder / less-likely it is and the more complex / expensive the tradeoffs. “Each EU country is an independent actor” makes single-market-except-for-labour harder to achieve; at this point, with the current UK government and its current negotiation ability, basically impossible. As is pretty straightforward to understand; there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about it because bluntly it’s pretty obvious.]

Dipper: you’ve cost a lot of people a lot of time; you’ve asked questions and recieved detailed and actually difficult-to-write answers and explanations. What have you learned, to make the effort justified?

[this post alone took fifteen minutes; that’s five AUD at my current wage, and I’m pretty cheap compared to most other posters. You’ve had literally hundreds of pounds of work poured into you: where’s the payoff?]

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