Brexit

Fortune favors the bold is one of those expressions popular in political circles because it tends to confirm things people want to believe about themselves. The guy who wins wants to see himself as a swashbuckling risk taker. The guy that loses wants to see himself as an exception, a bold swashbuckler who was not rewarded by fortune. That way, he can try again another time.

The truth is, politicians are risk adverse in the extreme. They hate risk and it is what often gets them into a jam. When one choice has a 90% chance of success, they will get hung up on the 10% and not act swiftly. Alternatively, they fixate on hugging the shore to the point where they are blind to looming danger. The Republican Party made this error with regards to Donald Trump.

There are two types of acceptable risk taking in politics. One is when the fix is in and the politician knows something before the public sees it. He comes out and takes a “bold stand” on X and has his media arm champion him as a great risk taker. When X happens, he is vindicated and promoted as a bold leader. Not everyone falls for this, of course, but enough people do. Bismarck was a master of this sort of risk taking.

The other type of risk is the reverse of this, when the pol figures out he is going to be on the losing end of something. With nothing to lose in the campaign, for example, he will champion some controversial policy so he can pretend to go down because of his bold fight against the forces of darkness. The whole point of this gambit it to set up the next fight. It’s putting your last chip on seven at the roulette table.

Smart politicians figure out that in uncertain times, even the safe bet is a gamble. In Europe, the turmoil created by the Million Muslim March makes all positions a risk. The public is unhappy, but not ready to break into a full nationalist mood. At the same time, the cultural elite is still drunk on the sangria of multiculturalism. There are no safe choices other than keeping a low profile and letting the greater fool theory play itself out.

That’s what makes David Cameron’s move to hold a referendum on the EU so bizarre. His own past election should have been a clue that he is living in very uncertain times. No one predicted he would win a majority and that the other main parties would implode. Unexpected results, even when welcome, should always be cautionary. If you don’t know why you won, your can’t know if you will win the next time.

The betting markets show volatility, which tracks with the polling. The “deal” Cameron negotiated with the EU has been laughed off as worthless so the vote is between the status quo and exit. That would seem to favor Cameron as people tend to like change in the abstract, but hate it in practice. You could argue that Cameron is looking at the polling and figuring the fix is in so he can afford to look like a risk taker.

That brings us back to why this is happening in the first place. The nationalist waves roiling Britain forced Cameron and the Tories to promise this referendum in order to stave off the challenge of UKIP. The stunning result of the election was due to the public rallying to the two parties most identified with national identity. The Scots went for SNP and the English went for the Tories.

That dynamic should scare the hell out of Cameron. Every day his voters see pictures of migrants clustered on the other side of the channel, trying to get a ride to England. Rotterdam could very well be the Lindisfarne of the Muslim Age. There’s nothing more patriotic than defending your women and children from foreign barbarians. Voting for Brexit is the sort of thing people under threat will naturally do, no matter the promised cost.

The polling at the moment suggests most people are open to both sides of the debate. It’s tempting for a normal person to think this bodes well for Cameron, but the old lawyer line about never asking a question unless you already know the answer applies here. A wide open public, in a time of great uncertainty, where the conventional wisdom is routinely proved wrong is prone to vote on emotion, rather than logic. Donald Trump says hello.

One of the striking things about the ongoing crisis in the West is just how many unforced errors the political class is making on a regular basis. Merkel inviting the young men of Islam to pour into Europe is an obvious example of something that was easily avoided. All across the West the politicians seem to have lost their footing and this gambit by Cameron feels like another blunder, assuming Cameron wants Britain to remain in Europe.

It’s hard to know if this string of unforced errors is just randomness, ineptitude or an indication of a systemic failure. Republicans running on amnesty after 2012 can be written off to stupidity, given their history, but what about Merkel? She was making sensible noises about multiculturalism in 2010. Did she lose her marbles in the interim? Is there some disconnect in the normal feedback loop between politicians and the public?

This brings us back to a familiar theme around here. The feedback loop used to have the media trying to sell news to the public. Those market signals led them to pressure the political elite correspondingly. This was an indirect market signal to the polls. It may not have been perfect and the liberal media often scrambled the signal, but the pols could at least feel the heat of an angry electorate before they saw the flames.

Today, the press is just a megaphone for the political class. The feedback loop is broken. David Cameron is surrounded by people who read the Economist. Everyone they know in the media thinks Brexit is just a sop to the UKIP types. Consequently, he really has no idea what the people are thinking and that means he has no idea how to pitch his plan to them. Brexit could easily end up being yet another unforced error.

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Heretic
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Heretic

The US won’t let Britain leave the EU, the UK is the American insider and without them the Franco-German alliance becomes much stronger.

American elites worst nightmare is a French-German-Russian alliance, the US State Department coup in Ukraine was made to prevent this.

UKer
Guest
UKer

Your pretend president is working hard to keep Britain in the EU and at the same time get Turkey in. So, a muslim nation with porous borders in Europe? I leave it to you Americans to decide why your top dog is so keen on both these outcomes.

CaptDMO
Guest
CaptDMO

Some of us Americans predicted such outcomes, based on resume/CV of the previously unknown candidate, as well as the resume/cv of his “champions” We’re know in certain media circles as racist, misogynist, homophobic,low information voters. SURELY there are some of the ilk of (ie) Piers Morgan that haven’t QUITE been shuffled out of the country, that can Vox splain (sic) it all. Failing that, our New York Times has an “economist” on staff that will be happy to explain why our presidents vast brilliance in political/economic theory is NOT to be questioned! (provided one can NOT count up to 19,000,000,000,000… Read more »

JohnTyler
Guest
JohnTyler

Don’t know why you pay any attention to the comments of Heretic. First off, Obama is not taken seriously by anybody with the intellect of a pebble. Second, you infer that Obama works hard. You could not be more wrong. Obama only works hard at golf, Motown and Rap concerts at the White House, Hawaii vacations and figuring out ways to eviscerate – politically, economically, militarily, every which way – the USA and give aid and comfort to the enemy (this is usually called treason). Further, by calling him a dog you are insulting the entire canine species. Shame on… Read more »

UKer
Guest
UKer

Consider me shamed. But I still do not know why the man in the White House wants millions of Turkish (and other) muslims in the UK. Okay, I know he doesn’t like us, but even so…

Member

See: Return the bust of Winston Churchill as one of his first acts as President. That simple move should explain it all. If not, Obama is a racist communist who despises the West. See his “parents”, grand parents, college associates, mentors, and fellow travelers for a more complete story. See: most of his actions as CIC to readily expose his traitorous actions. I particularly “like” his release of gitmo terrorists to rejoin the fight against the west and his swap of one traitor/deserter for five high value terrorists. I could go on but you already know, if not aware.WSHub

Karl Horst (Germany)
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Karl Horst (Germany)

@ UKer – Some Americans still believe the US has a serious influence over Europe. I would argue those days are long gone. It’s actually the other way around and American influence in Europe is a thing of the past. And you will forgive me, but I just have to say it – anyone in America who still clings to the belief that the “Ruskies” are going to roll tanks through the Fulda Gap is stuck in 80’s just like those who use the worn out phrase “…we kicked your a$$ in WW2 and we can do it again.” Please.… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
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Karl Horst (Germany)

@ theZman – American soldiers and airmen are welcome here in Germany. We have long and happy history with US servicemen. It is our hope they and their wonderful families and children will take a little of Germany home with them and share what “real” Germans are all about. As for the French, well, they are their own worse enemy – n’est pas? 😉

UKer
Guest
UKer

Isn’t the symbol of France a bare-breasted woman leading the charge from the barricades? A woman, some scurrilous folk might say, who is all too ready to hoist her skirt up at the best offer.

James
Guest

I agree with Uker! But using bad terms isn’t good if you want to be respected. Just remember the golden rule bro. Thanks

CaptDMO
Guest
CaptDMO

I’m not convinced the US is in a position to allow/disallow much, with the current debt load weighing heavily on our “economic brilliance”. Not sure how much “moxie” the US can pull off using “We’ll refuse to pay our debts” business model either.
If the UK, and EU are LUCKY, the Standard Operating Procedure may all change DRAMATICALLY next November, so GET BUSY! But BEWARE the swan song of the current bundle of “appointed experts”.

Anon..
Guest
Anon..

Ultimately, Obama is just another celebrity backing an outcome. Britain and America have such a strong bond that it’s ridiculous to think anything would really change following a Brexit.

Member

My personal theory? The flood of information from the Internet is so overwhelming that most social entities are circling the wagons and are no longer listening to the “outside” or even the loyal gadflies within the organization. I see this in my own profession every day. In the same paragraph, smart people are arguing for empowering employees, provided only the big bosses make the decisions. Everyone misses the truth that the only real power in a bureaucratic organization is the power to make decisions. I could give you more, worse examples, but rather value my job. As you say, this… Read more »

Delbert McClintock
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Delbert McClintock

It might end well, at least for Americans. Seems like the other big players (Russia, China, etc) are more likely to diminish themselves through bad decision making, than to prosper and grow. Both have and are polluting their lands massively, for example. Perhaps they will nuke each other. A massive plague could reduce the world’s population by 90% and calm things down nicely. Once the west stops subsidizing the 3rd world food wise — and it will — that alone will drop the world population by 20% or more.

Member

I was making the argument c. 2003, that if we didn’t get this Salafist thing back in the box decisively, we were looking at somewhere between 10^8 and 10^9 deaths further on down the road. No traction.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Perhaps Cameron recognizes that the push for the UK to exit will only grow over time, so, as a good agent for his multiculti masters, he needs to strike quickly. The “tell”, for me, is Cameron’s insistence that this quickie election will be the only vote ever to be held on the subject.

Lorenzo
Guest
Lorenzo

There will be only one vote on Brexit if the vote is to stay in. Otherwise the EU policy of repeating votes until they come out right will be invoked.

etcetera
Guest
etcetera

The promise of a referendum wasn’t an “own goal” by Cameron. Without it he would have lost or at least failed to get a majority in the last election. There is actually a pretty good historical parallel here. In 1974 Labour and its leader Harold Wilson promised a referendum giving the British the option of leaving the European Common Market, as the European Union was then called. At the time Labour was known for its opposition to the organization and the Tories were known to be in favor. Labour won 319 seats in Parliament, a majority of 2, on 39.2%… Read more »

Doug
Guest
Doug

The Tories are their own worst enemy. They don’t understand when to back down. They made that mistake with the colonies in 1774. Didn’t understand people sometimes refuse to comply no matter what. Tories have this thing with people who refuse to be obedient, it is a sense of soft tyranny, where Tories know what is best for everyone.
You see the same thing with America’s political class. How dare the peasants revolt!

UKer
Guest
UKer

I shall be voting for Out. I made the naive mistake in the mid-‘seventies of voting for the Europe union, though then it was touted as a trade matter and Britain was — as Labour like to forget — going through some awful times in industrial relations with poor output and even lower quality of goods. One doesn’t have to look further than the communist/union controlled British Leyland car maker to see how bad things were: when not on strike, the workers made utterly awful cars. Actually, that probably made Brits want to buy more foreign cars, which worked as… Read more »

etcetera
Guest
etcetera

” despite a win in the General Election can really thank SNP for stripping the Labour vote north of the border rather than his own appeal: the Scots would rather embrace muslim immigration than vote Tory. ” The SNP helped the Tories over the finish line in 2015 in two ways. They helped directly by winning 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland. This didn’t hurt the Tories much, who held one Scottish seat going into the election and kept it. It devastated Labour, who lost something like 40 seats to that alone, and also the Lib Dems, who historically… Read more »

JohnTyler
Guest
JohnTyler

Brexit would be the best thing that could happen to the UK, for sooner or later the EU will fall apart. Best to get on with it, free themselves and be forced to find ways to become more independent, free, economically viable and more realistic about their present suicidal “open borders.” Hooking up with Europe was the worst thing they could have done. As for Scotland, the Englanders will do fine without them. Scotland is a leech, a parasite and is led by the usual litany of Marxist-Leninist moron politicians and make moon beam Governor Jerry Brown of California look… Read more »

Buckaroo Banzai
Guest
Buckaroo Banzai

“That’s what makes David Cameron’s move to hold a referendum on the EU so bizarre.”
Good heavens, ZMan, you answered this question three paragraphs earlier.
“One is when the fix is in and the politician knows something before the public sees it.”
Cameron knows the fix is in. The probability that Britain “votes” for Brexit is so low it can’t be measured. Barring the political equivalent of a meteor strike, Britain will be remaining in the EU until it implodes.

Thud
Guest

Leaving will not stop the ongoing mass import of 3rd world terrorists sucking off the states tit so I just don’t care.

Anon.
Guest
Anon.

You’re talking as though Cameron had a real choice but to agree to a referendum. Also, you keep repeating that the Tories won because Scots voted for the SNP. That’s an understandable mistake to make. It is simply untrue. The Conservatives won a majority of seats. Even had the SNP not won a single seat and had Labour won all the seats the SNP did, the Conservatives would still have won the elections. You also suggest the Tories were seen as the most patriotic party when actually UKIP was. By the way, strangely enough, I gather that this whole EU… Read more »

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