The Olds have it! the Olds have it!

The ‘wiser’ generations, generally speaking, have a keener ear for nonsense. The EU, no doubt, a mushy construct of liberal ideology, bureaucracy, and hubris, must register on their radar with the footprint of some alien mega-spaceship – the stuff of Independence Day. The babbling of the ‘young’ can be dismissed as endearing but deluded naivety. So the grey voters crowded into the voting booths, walking sticks and all.

The tragedy is that now, in the wake of ‘having it their way’, this wiser generation has apparently paused, ‘realized’ its terrible mistake and, equipped with a wandering index finger, on the closest keypad, and in half an hour, has found an ‘online petition’ and signed it. Today, that petition is upwards of 3 million votes.

The most irresponsible part of this process is the lack of conviction.

Meanwhile, the lacklustre response that we have had from the EU means that they are still bureaucratic. The fact is that Juncker hasn’t yet resigned and that Merkel is still throwing her weight around as if nothing had happened, while Hollande and Tusk wallow in repeating useless platitudes;  and instead of begging the UK to sit at the table and discuss reasonable demands, these lords of Europe remain as supercilious and hubristic as ever. The fact that they claim to have looked at all options, mock Cameron for failing to prepare for Brexit, and yet have no contingency plans in place and that they insist on walking blindfolded to a political crisis of epic proportions means that they are as liberal and self-obsessed as they have ever been.

But the EU’s moves are being carefully watched by those young economists and young social commentators who voted stay, but who are now starting to think they might have voted the wrong way.

 Those working for the markets wonder, what country will follow Britain’s exit. Greece? Portugal? Italy? Will we see the partitioning of Spain with the Catalonian vote only 3 weeks away? How will the EU negotiate further fiscal consolidation between the Eurozone members, when each member can now play the Exit card?

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Those with more of a cynical edge who write blogs wonder- how will a divided EU stand up to Russian aggression and export its principles of democracy beyond Europe? Can Europe really afford or allow the break-up of the United Kingdom? What happens to the UK’s seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council? Should the UK’s permanent membership, in any case, or in the near future, be substituted for England and would Scotland, independently have its own claim?

There is, of course, the matter of greed: France and Germany, jealousy watched London become the financial capital of the World and profit from the riches that came with it. The French sacrificed their national pride to keep Paris beautiful, unharmed by German planes – so why aren’t American Investment banks flocking to Paris or to Frankfurt for their European headquarters? The answer is that investment bankers too have a keen sense for nonsense.

The UK will undoubtedly face economic consequences. It is widely expected that asset prices will fall, starting with house prices. The housing market has received two shocks this year, firstly, when Osborne (welcomingly) increased stamp-duty for second-time buyers, which so far has led to a 5% downward correction in house prices and secondly, with the Brexit vote. Real Estate Funds like JJL and CBRE have already started postponing their planned UK investments. CBRE only invested £180 this year, compared to £650 in 2013. Many leading investors are predicting a correction averaging 10% in the commercial real estate sector, particularly in London.

 The DAX, CAC and FTSE, which are all very good indicators of economic expectations, have dropped to 2011 prices. The pound and Euro are both taking a beating against the dollar and other currencies, while bonds yields have dropped to record lows; which together with an appreciation in the price of gold, indicate investment is drying up.

 It is perhaps too early to tell how the general economy will react, but a correction downwards in GDP figures is widely expected. The low exchange rates might improve exports, but that is expected to more than be countered by the fall in investment and consumption.

However, this isn’t all bad news. The fall in asset prices will provide much-needed relief to some social anxiety. Housing might, in this way, become cheaper for first-time buyers. Wages in the lower thresholds will probably increase as unskilled European labour goes home. The NHS will have fewer patients and doctors may have an easier time working, maybe only 10 hours a day. Parents will scarcely have to worry about getting places in schools.

The real losers might still be the EU. The money that was flowing out of depressed continental assets and into the UK, won’t stop flowing out. Switzerland and Norway will probably have their hands full in the near future. The hostility to investors remains a core principle of French liberalism (thus the EU); simply ask Emmanuel Macron.

Greece remains a troubled asset, (property of the German state – before Tsipras came along, whoever knew you could actually buy a country?) and fiscal unity seems to claim exponentially more of Draghi’s seemingly infinite life-line. The EU may just survive Brexit and is determined to do so; it may even survive another shock like Brexit (should we call that Catalonia?), but it won’t be able to avoid a third shock.

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Nothing is written in stone. The will of ‘the people’ might change and a second referendum, whether Blair proposes it or not, may become a political necessity given the weight of the UK in the global political arena. However, rather than turn around and backtrack, we should be further convinced that the outcome of the referendum was the right one. If the EU buries it’s multi-headed self in the sand and refuses to acknowledge that we didn’t leave on a whim, let the olds have it; the olds have it.

More from “spiderman”

dear PM

It was so nice to see you for our light lunch today of potted crab, capers and quail egg with a selection of home-grown organic produce garnished with slices of fresh venison, shot on our estate in Scotland and followed by toasted goats’ cheese, milked, churned and set under supervision by my wife, and I thought that, before you go, I should write a few words to clarify what we have discussed. I mentioned to you the anxieties that have developed around the increasing incidence of red hair, both in my own family and more generally around our United Kingdom. There seems no doubt that this is a matter that will undoubtedly require governmental action at some time in the fairly immediate future: my own instinct is that it is acceptable in Scotland, but should really be kept there.

I also agree that while this was once something we could probably cover up, with today’s wayward youth the carpet is as clear as the curtains. God preserve us from the Tinder you described so eloquently! But what (or who) is Snapchat? or Grindr? I remain at a loss.

It is probably too late, as you pointed out, to institute compulsory blood tests to trace the ginger gene to its inevitable source, but, in the meantime, I like your suggestion that, in the meantime, we should show greater support for red-heads of all description. To this end, might I suggest that my former sister in law should represent our country abroad as Ambassador of the Scilly Isles. It would be important to ensure that she receives the proper equerries and staff – do make sure you check out their feet. (Fergie seems to have a thing about people’s feet.) And do make sure she receives proper guidance, almost on a minute by minute basis because she is inclined to go rapidly off-message.

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I do not wish to press the point about our family, but it seems that Chancellor Merkel is warming to the idea of restoring the hereditary monarchy in Germany and I would be keen that Britain is fully represented in such an effort. Might I put myself forward as a possible candidate in the absence of any foreseeable employment? It would be like a homecoming of sorts for my family and a tremendous aid to your undoubted efforts to keep Britain in the EU if we could also, at the same time force our own dynastic links across the continent. You might be aware that my father also has strong ties to Greece and might be prevailed upon to solve the current economic crisis with a few well-chosen words.

Regarding your suggestion that Jeremy Clarkson should take over as our man in Argentina, I am afraid, on reflection, that I have never heard of Jeremy Clarkson, or of his erstwhile programme, “Top Geer” which you mentioned with affection – might this be one of those travelogues about journeys through the EU? Was Michael Palin not available perhaps when the series began? But I am afraid I am a loss as to what even the mighty Mr Clarkson might have had to say about Greer. It is a dull place in Liege somewhere up the river Jeker. I am certainly impressed he has managed to talk about this for 10 years. It gives fuel for thought and suggests he is a man of astounding talent to have made so much of so little. As for Argentina! Of course, I know of Argentina! I went there in the late 90’s and my younger brother regales us often with his deeds of aeronautical daring-do as does my son, and if the said Clarkson might help to quieten down any further attacks on our diminished territories in the Southern Hemisphere, so much the better. Did you enjoy the cranberries? They are from our own garden, and I knew each personally – each almost as a thought in the mind of God. They are plumper because they grew with affection.

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Yannis Varoufakis

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Very odd that everyone misrepresents what Varoufakis is actually offering or, as the TV claims, “threatening”.

The BBC says he refuses to talk to the Troika. In fact, he seems prepared to talk to anyone. The only thing he does not accept, it seems is to be bullied into a position by people who claim to know better.

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As a pretty distinguished  academic, Varoufakis seems perfectly positioned to comment on the last 5 years and Greece’s debt. He says, “The disease that we’re facing in Greece at the moment is that a problem of insolvency for five years has been dealt with as a problem of liquidity.” Thank God this is a man who can express himself perfectly well in both Greek and English. His appearances and explanations on the News’ channel Al Jazeera were excellent too! This is a man we can afford to take seriously.

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Mrs Merkel meanwhile says she is not prepared to discuss anything and wants Greece nevertheless to stay in the Eurozone. I cannot see that she can have it both ways, poor lass. The fact that someone repeats herself does not make what she says any clearer or more certain- she is just repeating something.