"Great Trump speech,
America first! Stop wars!
Protect our borders! Fair trade!
said it better!"
Former KKK grand wizard
Theresa May meets
Photo: Adrian Dennis
2016 July 24
Trump A Danger
The Washington Post
Republican presidential nominee
Donald J. Trump is uniquely unqualified to serve as president. A
Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.
It has been 64 years since a major party nominated
anyone for president who did not have electoral experience. The lack
of experience might be overcome if Trump saw it as a handicap worth
overcoming. But he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears
to believe he needs no advice.
The Republican Party has moved
the lunatic fringe onto center stage, with discourse that renders
impossible the kind of substantive debate upon which any civil
democracy depends. We have criticized the presumptive Democratic
nominee, Hillary Clinton, but we do not believe that she represents
a threat to the Constitution. Trump is a unique and present danger.
A Banana Republic
The Republican convention has been
consumed by a vigilante rage. Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted
that Hillary Clinton deserves to be in jail. The picture presented
to the world has been of America as a banana republic.
Donald Trump announced that he might not honor the NATO
guarantee of security to European allies, practically inviting
Vladimir Putin to destabilize Eastern Europe. That is a break not
just with seven decades of Republican foreign policy but also with a
core US commitment that has kept the peace since 1945. It is the
most reckless statement made by a presidential candidate in modern
The Republican Party has given itself up to a single
family and its business interests. Whatever happens, the Trump brand
will come out of this election with even greater global celebrity.
2016 July 23
The Final Frontier
A new NASA Hubble Space Telescope mosaic image gives
us our latest, deepest view of the universe. The map shows 1.2
million galaxies as they were were 6 billion years (Gy) ago.
NASA Frontier Fields lead astronomer Anton Koekemoer: "We basically
use a cluster of galaxies as a natural gravitational lens, using
effectively a natural telescope to amplify these distant galaxies
much more than we've ever been able to do before."
Fields is a joint project combining data from Hubble, the
Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The goal
is to learn more about the early universe by studying distant galaxy
clusters using gravitational lensing of remote supernovas by the
Koekemoer: "Many of the key scientific
results to come out of Hubble probably weren't even envisioned when
it was being designed. There are always new areas that can be
Researchers have used
BOSS data to measure galaxies in a spherical volume reaching
back 6 Gy. They find the universe expands by 1% in each direction
every 145 My. The James Webb Space Telescope, launching in 2018,
will observe light redshifted beyond anything Hubble can see, from
events soon after the Big Bang 13.8 Gy ago.
Sloan Survey gives us our most detailed picture of what we call the
intermediate distance universe, so these galaxies are distant but
they aren't nearly as distant or early in the universe as what we
see in these deep fields of Hubble ... You're really pushing back
further into the early universe. It's very much like a final
2016 July 22
America Is Back
My message is that things have to change —
and they have to change right now. The crime and violence that today
afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January
20th, 2017, safety will be restored.
Our convention occurs at
a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and
the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any
politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our
We are going to build a great border wall to stop
illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop
the drugs from pouring into our communities.
This is the
legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction terrorism and
weakness, but Hillary Clinton's legacy doesn't have to be America's
It is time to show the whole world that America Is
Back — bigger, and better and stronger than ever before.
Donald Trump is the person to make America
great again. I have seen him fight for his family, for his
employees, for his company. And now I am seeing him fight for our
My father not only has the strength and ability
necessary to be our next president, but also the kindness and
compassion that will enable him to be the leader that this country
needs. He is color blind and gender neutral. When Donald Trump is in
charge, all that counts is ability, effort and excellence.
president, my father will change the labor laws put in place when
women were not a significant portion of the workforce. He will make
childcare affordable and accessible to all. He will fight for equal
pay for equal work and I will fight for this too, right alongside of
When my father says he will make America great again, he
2016 July 21
A British Crisis
The vote for Brexit has revealed a deep
fracture in British society. The gaps between north and south, the
social classes, Londoners and everyone else, rich Londoners and poor
Londoners, and white and brown and black are real. Extreme
inequality fractures communities.
After a while the whole
edifice comes tumbling down. Everybody has been losing, but no one
more than the white working classes who really have nothing, not
even the perceived moral elevation of trauma or victimhood. And so
many of them have chosen to be flagrantly, shamelessly wrong.
There has been a money madness in London for some time. The
economically and socially disenfranchised of this nation are
struggling and deeply unhappy. I believe that most of those who
voted Leave did so out of anger and hurt and disappointment.
Britain is now in crisis. Rather than pull another veil over the
mess, we might as well start trying to build from where we are. The
rights and protections provided for the British people by Europe
must not now be replaced by a nonsensical vision of British
2016 July 20
UK v EU: Not Over
The dogma that referendums are
sacrosanct is a travesty of true democracy. In genuine democracy
nothing is ever irreversible, since every decision is always open to
debate. This principle of continuous challenge must be restored
quickly if Britain is to avoid a catastrophe.
others need to begin a serious debate about the right balance
between direct and representative democracy. The new government will
have to find a way to preserve the main benefits of EU membership
and then present the plan to voters. Political leaders from the rest
of Europe will then have to show greater flexibility and a stronger
instinct for EU preservation.
We need to challenge the
assumption that democracy requires unquestioning obedience to a
referendum result. The essence of democracy is the right to
challenge and reverse majority votes. After every election, the
defeated party becomes the official opposition, tasked to change the
will of the people before the next election.
A referendum is
a message directly from the people. But the UK is a representative
democracy. Parliamentary representatives are entrusted with making
decisions, because the will of the people is often inconsistent or
erroneous or even dangerous.
Margaret Thatcher called
referendums a device for dictators and demagogues. Germany excluded
referendums from its postwar constitution. Democracy represents the
diversity of individuals, each with changing opinions and
Efforts to keep Britain in the EU after the vote
are as democratically legitimate as any other popular political
movements. We need a campaign to secure a second referendum or
general election to judge any new deal proposed by the government.
The claim that referendums are irreversible and permanently binding
is a parody of democracy — one man, one vote, one time.
UK v EU: Facing Reality
Brexiteers said the EU was aiming for a
federal superstate. But the EZ and migration crises have changed
things. The EU is economically and politically too diverse to push
for ever closer union.
The EU faced reality during the EZ
crisis. The crisis was handled largely by the European Council, made
up of heads of member state governments, rather than the European
Commission, made up of technocrats. The EU must recognise the
council as its supreme executive and the commission as its
The EU must now face reality on freedom of
movement. That principle was first outlined by six member states at
a similar stage of economic development. It is unsuitable for 28
member states at different stages of economic development.
The EU needs to prove its value to its citizens. The British
contribution was always to subordinate rhetoric to reality.
Europeans need to rescue the EU from its elitist and technocratic
2016 July 19
Quantum theory is our best theory of basic
reality. The Schrödinger equation describes a wave function that
gives reliable odds on which of many possibilities you will see if
you take many measurements of identical objects. The Copenhagen
interpretation says the act of observing reality collapses the wave
function into a definite object. In 2011, an informal poll of 33
physicists attending a conference on quantum physics and the nature
of reality found that over 40% accepted the Copenhagen view. Sean
Carroll called it perhaps the most embarrassing poll in physics.
An objective collapse theory
can solve the observer problem. A human observer meddling with a
quantum system is bound to get entangled with it and collapse any
uncollapsed wave function in it. Such a theory was worked out
decades ago by Giancarlo Ghirardi and Tulio Weber. They tweaked the
Schrödinger equation to make the wave function evolve naturally from
a mixed states to a unique state. To do so, they added a nonlinear
term to promote one state fast and a stochastic term to make this
happen at random.
Daniel Sudarsky and Elias Okon have shown
how objective collapse in the early universe would give rise to an
uneven distribution of matter to form stars and galaxies. They say
the rate of random wave function collapse could explain the
information loss rate predicted for black holes. Since spontaneous
wave function collapse makes a bit of energy, this process could
solve the problem of dark energy. Objective collapse might also
explain why the universe started in a state of extremely low
entropy. The steady increase of entropy since then appears to us as
the arrow of time.
AR I read a
technical account of the Ghirardi-Weber theory in 1988 and found it
interesting. Although it is rather heuristic in motivation, it
shares this feature with much of physics. I am tempted to go for the
full Copenhagen, with a new theory of subjectivity to steer clear of
anthropology — the result is the psychophysics I aired in my 2009 book
erfreulicher Urlaub in Deutschland: Hotel direkt neben diesem
Garten, schöne Zeiten mit guten alten Freunden
spektakuläre SAP Summer Summit 2016 auf dem SAP-Campus in Walldorf
Statement from Tony Blair
on Chilcot Report
Pound plumbs 31-year low
as Brexit impact bites
Conservative leader and PM
vote among MPs, first round:
Theresa May 165, all the other candidates together 164
Pound hits new
against dollar: $1.30
UK property funds halt trading
as Brexit contagion spreads
A Letter to Europe
2016 July 9
Intricate webs of European cooperation
built up over decades by British companies, institutions,
universities, research establishments, galleries, employers of
British skills and British labour are now wrecked. In many cases the
work of patient decades is shattered beyond repair. The economic and
human consequences are of incalculable magnitude.
stupid, ignorant people in every country. Most of them are not asked
to take historically momentous and irrevocable decisions of state.
It is unfair to thrust onto unqualified simpletons the
responsibility to take historic decisions of great complexity and
The prime minister recklessly gambled away
the future of Britain and Europe. Lacking the courage to tell the
yobs in his own party to take a running jump, he played Russian
roulette with the future of Europe and the world. His decision to
hold the referendum was a monstrously irresponsible gamble.
His place in history is assured, but not pretty.
2016 July 8
America and Europe
This may be the most important moment for
our transatlantic alliance since the end of the cold war. Terrorist
attacks, waves of migrants, Russian aggression, and the vote in the
UK to leave the EU all raise questions about the future. We can meet
these urgent challenges only if we stand united.
confident that the UK and the EU will be able to agree on an orderly
transition to a new relationship. The special relationship between
the US and the UK will endure. I have no doubt that the UK will
continue to be a major contributor to European security.
Likewise, the US will continue to have an indispensable partner in
the EU. US and EU cooperation will be essential to stimulating
global growth and reducing inequality. Europe will remain a
cornerstone of American engagement with the world.
Brexit creates some uncertainty, our shared prosperity will continue
to rest on the solid foundation of NATO. In Warsaw, we must reaffirm
our treaty obligation to defend every NATO ally. NATO members must
continue to invest more in our common defense.
are more secure when we stand together. We are united by our
enduring commitment to shared values and strengthened by our rich
diversity of backgrounds and faiths. We will prevail if we stay
united, strong and true to our democratic values.
2016 July 7
Jews Reconsider UK After Brexit
Brexit has led to a surge in the numbers
of Britons seeking to become nationals of other EU states.
Descendants of Jewish refugees who fled to the UK to escape from
Nazi persecution are seeking German nationality.
nationality is available to someone who has at least one German
parent or who has lived for a certain period in Germany. For Jewish
and political refugees from the Third Reich, the Grundgesetz says
former German citizens who from 1933 to 1945 were deprived of their
citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds, and their
descendants, can have their citizenship restored.
AR I shall seek a German passport.
DARPA Hack Bots
A $55 million hacking contest put on by DARPA
called the Cyber Grand Challenge is set for August in a ballroom in
Las Vegas. A visualization in arena view will show hack bots inside
seven supercomputers, each running AI software that defends one
machine and attacks the rest.
The supercomputers will stand
on a clear plexiglass stage. The contestants, the seven teams that
designed the bots, will watch the bots working inside the machines,
analyzing and defending software and looking for security
vulnerabilities, scrambling to patch those vulns and keeping their
systems running. DARPA referees will watch the show too.
Finding and patching security holes was a human talent, but machines
are taking over. Google is building sweeping systems that can
identify vulns via fuzz testing, a technique that involves throwing
random inputs at a piece of software. The system can simultaneously
fuzz dozens of Android phones, and is using deep neural networks to
learn what sort of fuzzing is likely to work.
bots that can identify and patch vulns in the moment, without human
intervention. The Las Vegas audience will see when a bot finds a
hole, when it patches the hole, when a bot breaks the service, and
so on. The visualization can drill down and look at the streams of
data in a trace view that shows the execution flow of a program on
the data, like a debugger.
Reminds me of the good old days at SAP.
2016 July 6
Chilcot Inquiry Conclusions
Seven years and 2.6 million words later,
the Chilcot report presents the UK role in the Iraq debacle as a set
of collective failures. It concludes that Tony Blair's decision to
go to war in 2003 was flawed.
Chilcot: "It is now clear that
policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and
assessments. They were not challenged and they should have been."
The Joint Intelligence Committee headed by Sir John Scarlett was
responsible for collating the intelligence and presenting it to
ministers. MI6 had a responsibility to ensure that ministers "were
informed in a timely way when doubts arose".
criticised for failing to tell the Commons the full intelligence
assessment on the consequences of military action when he said
Saddam Hussein constituted a "real and present" danger to UK and
Chilcot: "The risks of internal strife in
Iraq, active Iranian pursuits of its interests, regional
instability, and al-Qaeda activity in Iraq were each explicitly
identified before the invasion."
The referendum was manifestly won on the
basis of misinformation. There are several plausible ways forward,
yet all the Conservative leadership candidates are going for Brexit.
An explanation can be found by extrapolating from a pattern evident
in privatisations going back decades.
When the railways were
privatised, the experts objected but the government pressed ahead
anyway. When university finance was privatised, experts pointed out
the problems but the government pressed ahead. When the government
proposed to force all schools in England out of local authority
control, its aim was to place the entire school system in private
hands. When the near meltdown of the global financial system raised
doubts about the entire system of global capitalism, the UK
government simply cut back social welfare provision on a grand
Advocates of leaving the European Union claimed that
after a brief period of turmoil it would be fine. A vast chorus of
experts disagreed, the referendum result delivered a global shock,
and now UK affairs are in complete confusion.
capitalism operates by delivering massive shocks to the system and
then using the ensuing period of anarchy, fear, and confusion to
reassemble the pieces of what it has broken into a new
configuration. UK politicians can now redraw the legal framework
that will govern all aspects of our lives. They will find countless
pretexts for emergency measures that benefit business and roll back
the state during the current parliament.
Riot Club last night, I realised that the Brexit drama could
have been scripted by establishment figures duped by disaster
capitalists who aim to get rich at EU expense. Seriously, the key to all this is that
government is the problem, not the solution. People must sort their
own lives, not look to the nanny state to do it for them. Government
is hobbled by its commitment to democracy. Big corporations are free
to order themselves like totalitarian states, which given clear
goals can be much more efficient. A parliamentary democracy should
leave as much as possible to corporations and restrict itself to
debating a framework of rules and goals for them. In this view,
the EU is a dinosaur like the USSR, or rather a cash cow, ripe for a
2016 July 5
Juno Enters Jupiter Orbit
The New York Times
Juno is the second spacecraft to enter orbit around Jupiter. The
NASA Galileo spacecraft spent eight years there surveying the planet
and its moons.
Jupiter is believed to hold the keys to
understanding the origins of our solar system. How much water it
contains and the possible presence of a rocky core could reveal
where in the solar system Jupiter was created and provide clues to
the early days of other planets. Juno will measure the magnetic and
gravitational fields of Jupiter and the microwave glow from within.
A titanium vault will shield its crucial systems as it passes
through the Jovian radiation belt.
Juno traveled within 5 Mm
of Jupiter's cloud tops, passing through almost the exact spot that
the navigators had aimed for after its 2.7 Tm voyage. After the
engine burn, the spacecraft pivoted to turn its solar panels toward
the Sun. Sunlight at Jupiter is 4% as bright as at Earth, and Juno's
three 10 m long solar panels generate only 500 W to power the craft.
The spacecraft will have to make multiple flybys to start
answering questions like whether there is a rocky core at the center
of Jupiter. From polar orbit, the Juno cameras are likely to add to
the number of known moons of Jupiter, now 67.
radiation dose will take its toll on the electronics. As the mission
progresses, the orientation of the orbits will pivot, and Juno will
pass through more intense radiation.
On orbit 37, slated
for 2018-02-20, Juno is to dive into Jupiter, ending
As UK home secretary, I have been the cabinet
minister responsible for counter-terrorism for the past six years. I
am a member of the National Security Council. At times of high
alert, I am called upon to chair meetings of Cobra.
vital for our national interest that we maintain what is the most
significant security and military capability in Europe. It is
crucial that we maintain our independent nuclear deterrent. We need
a full fleet of four submarines.
We should get on with it.
EU — UK
IMF head Christine Lagarde says the UK could
lose up to 4.5% of growth by 2019 if it presses ahead with Brexit —
but the EU could make the best of the vote by getting on with
decisions unencumbered by British opposition. The prediction assumes
Britain reverts to WTO status. If the UK remains part of the single
market, the damage would be 1.5%.
Lagarde: "I have heard
European commissioners, one after the other, say, this is so
complicated, we can't do it because of the British ... I believe
Europeans will come out of Brexit on top."
Steps to Brexit
David Allen Green
The political class in the UK has had a
fright. They were not expecting to lose the EU referendum. So now
there is a crisis — but only for a while.
Already the unwritten constitution may be saving the political class
from their own folly and complacency. The referendum was never
binding in law and was a glorified consultation exercise. The real
decision had to be made afterwards, as a distinct legal act.
The prime minister was expected to make that decision on the day of
the result. But he left it to his successor to make. The government
may get away with this move because the Leave campaigners had no
Unless a sincere Leaver becomes the next prime
minister, the UK government can be expected to take three steps
to slow down the Brexit process:
Snap the tie between the referendum result and the Article 50
2 Require some form of
preconditions before further action.
Brexit becomes less
likely as time passes. It may not happen at all.
Non to Frexit
For the French, the most visible
consequence of the Brexit referendum is the return of Marine Le Pen.
She is back with a vengeance and a huge grin. But France is not
ready for Frexit.
France had a crucial role in creating
the European Union. Postwar French leaders have constantly pushed to
take Europe further as an instrument of power on the world scene. As
Europe took shape, at every stage, the Franco-German tandem, the
engine of Europe, was humming behind the scenes.
three pillars: France, Germany, and Britain. For France, Britain was
a partner in its strategic vision of the world. With Brexit, one of
the three pillars is gone, and France faces an uneasy marriage with
a stronger Germany.
For the past 10 years, the European Union
has failed its citizens. Over the past few days, European leaders
have hastily identified three priorities to save their union:
security, migration, and economic growth. Their failure can be
overcome if European citizens regain a sense of the political and
historical mission of the European idea.
Berlin on Brexit
The result of the referendum was clearly
in favor of withdrawal. That disappointed us, but we must respect
it. But we can also see that the debate over how to handle the
results is only just beginning. Wisdom demands that we wait and see
the outcome of this debate.
I have always wanted
Britain to be a strong member state in the EU, especially from a
German perspective. The Brits must first decide if and when they
want to submit a request to withdraw. No one knows what demands the
new government will put forward.
British institutions should
be allowed to reflect on the consequences of the referendum. The
German constitution does not permit such referenda for good reasons.
We will continue to be reserved at the federal level about
plebiscites, especially if they have direct effects on other
Globally, the EU has enormous allure and enjoys a
great degree of respect. But there are different notions about how
Europe should continue. Simply calling for more Europe is not
The Evolved Laser Interferometer Space
Antenna (eLISA) is a physics experiment. eLISA relies on a stable
configuration of three satellites 1 Gm apart (3 times the distance
from the Earth to the Moon) at the vertices of an enormous
equilateral triangle drawn by laser beams.
satellite there is a set of tiny gold cubes in zero gravity. These
free falling test masses will respond to the smallest disturbance in
the fabric of spacetime, looking for gravitational waves.
Gravitational waves were first detected last year by LIGO and
promise to open a new type of astronomy. European Space Agency
mission eLISA is LIGO in space. It should offer gravitational
sensitivities beyond anything possible on Earth.
"We are opening up a window on the universe so radically different
from all previous windows that we are pretty ignorant about what's
going to come through. There are just bound to be big surprises."
Memorial service for
76th anniversary of the
Battle of Britain: Spitfire
AR Expect more
nationalism after Brexit.
Nigel Farage resigns as UKIP
leader (but not as MEP):
have done my bit."
AR Done too
A Wake-Up Call
I was born in America,
my parents are English,
I was schooled in Brussels.
shocking outcome of
the British referendum has
my understanding of who
I am and my place in the
It was a rejection of the sense
that our differences
important than our shared
experiences, a wake-up
call for British youth.
At work recently we had
a vote and
decided to invest
a considerable sum of money
in a new venture that
a week we could see was
not going to work.
We all sat around
and gnashing our teeth
until someone had
a brilliant idea.
"I know," he said.
"Let's have another vote."
So we did, and as a
result financial ruin
2016 July 4
"Welcome to Jupiter!"
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, California,
shortly before 9 pm Pacific Daylight Time:
The NASA Juno mission
completed its main engine burn and entered orbit around Jupiter.
NASA Science Mission
Directorate acting administrator Geoff Yoder: "This is phenomenal."
UK to Slash Corporate Tax Rate
UK chancellor George Osborne plans to
slash corporation tax to less than 15% to woo business to invest in
Brexit Britain: "We must focus on the horizon and the journey ahead
and make the most of the hand we've been dealt."
will anger EU finance ministers who fear a race to the bottom. The
OECD tax head warned that the fallout from Brexit "may push the UK
to be even more aggressive in its tax offer" but that further steps
in that direction "would really turn the UK into a tax haven type of
AR Bullingdon boy
George gives billionaires a break at the expense of the plebs.
UKIP Plot to Install New PM?
Theresa May supporters accuse UKIP of trying to steal the
Conservative crown for Andrea Leadsom. A big UKIP donor swung behind
her leadership campaign after she promised to trigger formal Brexit
more quickly than her rivals. This has won her huge support among
hardline Brexiteers. Conservative MPs start tomorrow to cut a field
of five candidates down to two for a ballot by party members.
German Cheer for Scotland
German economy minister and vice-chancellor
Sigmar Gabriel says Scotland can join the EU as an independent
country. He said the EU would certainly accept Scotland as a member
in its own right if the country left the UK and wanted to join the
SNP spokesman: "These comments highlight the goodwill
there is towards Scotland in the EU. Our focus is on the
negotiations that lie ahead, to protect Scotland's relationship with
the EU and our place in the single market."
General Election Before Brexit
The Conservative party has caused the greatest
constitutional crisis in modern times. The party of business is now
the source of reckless economic turmoil. The natural party of
government is now presiding over paralysis in Westminster and
Whitehall. The party is now letting Britain drift.
government has no leadership, no plan, no consensus, and no clue
about what to do next. All it wants is to leave the EU. Hedge fund
owners want to turn the City into a tax haven and Brexiteers witter
about staying in the single market but shirking its rules. We need a
Der Spiegel am Montag
Das Votum der Briten ist so
etwas wie der inoffizielle Startschuss für den Bundestagswahlkampf.
Während Martin Schulz die Kommission in Brüssel zu einer Art
europäischen Superregierung ausbauen will, findet Finanzminister
Wolfgang Schäuble, dass zur Not die Nationalstaaten die Sache in die
Hand nehmen sollten. Und die Kanzlerin hofft darauf, dass die Briten
sich besinnen und am Ende doch noch davon absehen, aus der EU
Die Queen riet ihrem Volk, "ruhig und gefasst"
zu bleiben. Es ist ganz und gar unüblich, dass sich die Queen ins
politische Tagesgeschäft einmischt. Aber wozu braucht es eigentlich
ein Staatsoberhaupt, das selbst dann zum Schweigen verdonnert ist,
wenn die Regierung purzelt, die Opposition sich zerlegt und
Schottland darüber nachdenkt, eigene Wege zu gehen?
Waiting for Gödel
In 1975, Kurt Gödel was awarded the
National Medal of Science. Nicknamed Mr Why by his parents, Gödel
was known to some of his admirers as God. His 1931 masterpiece was
his incompleteness theorem: There is more to truth than can be
caught by proof. Within any given system, there are claims which are
true but which cannot be proven to be true.
This June, a
group of Gödelians convened for a crash course in incompleteness in
Brooklyn. The students included a computer scientist, a
nutritionist, a philosopher, an ad man, and a teacher who had spent
a lonely winter reading Douglas Hofstadter's
Gödel, Escher, Bach.
London professor and Facebook
engineer Peter O'Hearn: "Gödel's theorem has a major impact on what
all computer scientists do. It puts a fundamental limit on questions
we can answer with computers."
My second thesis (Oxford 1976) was on the implications of Gödel's
theorem for mathematics. I read Hofstadter's book in Japan in 1981.
Dice With 120 Sides
Earlier this year, at a mathematical
conference in Atlanta, two scientists from the Dice Lab débuted a
die with a 120 sides. The d120 is 5 cm in diameter and 90 g in
weight, and is technically a disdyakis triacontahedron. Its face
numbers are distributed so that any two opposing sides sum to 121.
Each of its 62 corners boasts equanimity, too. For example, a vertex
at which 10 triangles meet sums to 605, which is 10 times the
average of all the numbers on the die.
AR My first thesis (London 1974) was on the logic of
probability, as applicable to dice throws.
ER = EPR
The slogan ER = EPR hints at a
connection between two parts of physics first investigated by Albert
Einstein. His general theory of relativity says gravity is the
warped geometry of spacetime and implies black holes have entropy.
Quantum theory he attacked in a paper with Boris Podolsky and Nathan
Rosen, arguing that entanglement was preposterous.
Martín Maldacena conjectured that string theory equations describing
gravity in some volume of spacetime are dual to a set of quantum
equations describing the surface of that volume. He gave an example
based on a paper by Einstein and Rosen showing how two apparently
separate black holes might be connected inside. He showed that an
Einstein-Rosen bridge or wormhole would only form if the outsides of
the black holes were entangled. This links quantum mechanics and
Mark Van Raamsdonk explored further. If you slowly
reduce the amount of entanglement between two black hole surfaces to
zero, the wormhole becomes thinner until it breaks, leaving two
unconnected bits of spacetime. He infers that spacetime is a
geometrical manifestation of entanglement. It may also be a
manifestation of quantum information.
Black holes emit
Hawking radiation. If nothing new falls in, a black hole will
eventually evaporate. But matter is information, and in quantum
theory it can never be destroyed. If information escaped with the
radiation, a Hawking particle on its way in would have to entangle
with all other Hawking particles that left the black hole at all
earlier times as well as its partner outside the horizon. This
offends the monogamy of entanglement. But without polygamy a blazing
firewall of radiation forms at the event horizon, contradicting
general relativity — paradox.
Quantum monogamy says three
quantum systems cannot all be entangled at the same time. But if the
particles just inside the horizon and the particles far away are
connected via a wormhole, one must lie to the future of the others.
So they are not all entangled at the same time — paradox gone.
AR I groped at such links between
spacetime and entanglement in my 2006 paper
About Time (Mindworlds
13). Recently I have neglected these ideas.
2016 July 3
David Cameron gambled away British EU
membership and history has moved on. The vote for Brexit has set the
stage for the next big power struggle within the EU: more Europe
versus less Europe.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
and Parliament President Martin Schulz want more. Schulz: "If
the British play games with us, the entire EU will fly apart."
Most European heads of state and government, led by Angela
Merkel, want less: Treat the British amicably, don't rush them and
play for time. And choke off all efforts aimed at more Europe.
Schulz and Juncker have long been working toward limiting the
influence of European heads of state and government in the EU. In
May, the two pledged to join forces to ensure greater powers for the
EU. It was a pact against Merkel.
German finance minister
Wolfgang Schäuble wants to improve EU-27 cooperation and cohesion.
He wants completion of the single market and the free movement of
capital, plus agreement on economic growth and external border
Sunday — French president François
Hollande wants to get rid of the UK as quickly as possible. He says
the EU must be clear about what leaving entails. Brexit increases French influence in the EU.
— Merkel and Holland meet in Berlin with Italian prime minister
Matteo Renzi. They say proposals for further EU development in the
areas of security, employment, youth, and EZ cooperation should be
presented by September. Merkel addresses the German parliament: no
secret negotiations with the UK before it officially applies for
withdrawal and no cherry picking by London. But give them time.
Tuesday — EU leaders meet for the last supper
Wednesday — EU heads of state
and government will take the lead in Brexit negotiations. Junker
says that is his responsibility, but they say they have been elected
and he hasn't. They agree on no changes to European treaties, no
convention, no fundamental modifications to the EU, and no deepening
— Merkel defeats Schulz and Juncker for the
idea of Europe as a collection of nation states.
— Polish Law
and Justice party head Jaroslaw Kaczynski wants more Europe in
foreign and security policy. He wants a European army and a strong
European president. Many governments in eastern and central Europe
agree with him.
— Governments in southern Europe want to see
greater public investment, such as an EZ budget under European
— Countries like Sweden and Germany want
a joint asylum system, with a fair distribution of refugees
throughout the EU. This too would lead to more Europe.
AR The UK is fundamentally out of step
with all this. Long live the EU.
How to Revive European Union
The New York Times
One critique of the EU is that it is
not democratic. European Council decisions are subject to political
compromise and rarely reflect national preferences directly. The
European Commission negotiates trade agreements, enforces antitrust
rules and proposes legislation, but its president is selected by the
European Parliament, which is weak. Reforms could include making the
parliament more central in decision making and letting Europeans
directly elect the president of the commission.
Nationalists will rail against greater European unity, but
addressing the refugee crisis will require it. EU leaders made the
crisis worse by leaving Italy and Greece to handle it on their own
with little assistance. A long overdue European border and coast
guard operation will help manage migration and security. Officials
need to centralize the registration and screening of refugees.
Another big challenge is the weakened EU economy. Some
countries, like Greece and Spain, have suffered such a steep decline
in living standards that a full recovery could take decades. Even in
countries like France and Italy, unemployment rates are still way
too high. In Britain, median wages surpassed their pre-crisis level
only last year. The EU could strengthen its economy by restructuring
the debt of weaker countries and increasing public spending.
AR If Europe had still been a collection
of separate nation states, mass immigration would have led to armed
conflict by now. The national economies would be crippled by red
tape at borders and citizens would suffer permanent austerity inside
their police states. They would dream of European integration as
A Dutch View
European political leaders are allowing
asylum seekers and migrants to come to us. They're spending billions
of euros on them. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states should take care
of these people.
I want to close the Dutch borders. I don't
have a problem with people from Slovakia and Lithuania. But I do
have a problem with immigration from Islamic countries.
will decide who we allow into our country and who we will outlaw.
Immigration from non-Western immigrants costs our state €7.2
billion annually, much more than closing the borders and visa
We have a million Muslims in the
Netherlands. As long as they obey the law and respect the
constitution, nobody has anything to fear. But when somebody has
dual citizenship and commits a crime, his Dutch passport should be
revoked and he should be deported.
Islam is an imperialist
ideology like communism or fascism. Islam wants to destroy us and I
want to prevent it. I will not stop fighting against Islam until I
have achieved freedom for our country.
AR Fight imperialist Islam at the European level. Close ranks
and fight together.
Brexit Will Still Hurt
Brexit probably won't happen
for years yet. There is no evidence to dismiss predictions that the
UK would suffer a recession if it left the EU. The vote alone has
triggered an instant 10% drop in the exchange rate.
was no revolt against the elites. The Tory leadership contest is
like Oxford student politics. Oxford graduates David Cameron and
George Osborne were defeated, then one former president of the
Oxford Union debating society (Gove) knifed another (Boris Johnson),
while a former Oxford Union treasurer (Nicky Morgan) decided to back
Gove against a former Oxford Union returning officer (Theresa May),
who is married to a former Oxford Union president. The shocking
truth about British politics is this: heads, Oxford wins; tails, all
other universities lose.
The big division exposed by the
referendum was between the generations. Not only were the elderly
much more likely than the young to back Brexit, they were also much
more likely to vote.
AR At Oxford I studiously avoided student politics. Now I see
there's no escape!
Ein gepflegter Ausraster britischer Schnösel
Selten haben sich Angehörige der
britischen Elite so verzockt wie David Cameron und Boris Johnson
beim Brexit. Die Erklärung dafür liefert womöglich der Club, dem
beide als Studenten angehörten.
Sehr britisch, diese Nobel-Uni von Kotzford!
Riot Club — der Film über Hooligans in
Nobel-Uni-Uniformen. Vorbild war ein Club, dem auch David Cameron
Bullingdon boys trashed Britain — thanks, chaps!
London, Saturday: Thousands of
anti-Brexit demonstrators marched from Park Lane to Westminster.
AR A vibrant democracy is not always
a cricket match played to Westminster rules. On a question of
the people may take to the streets, as
many have done here, and overturn a majority that was achieved by
Governments are elected to serve the people, not fool
them with party political games that shame our country.
Poole Park, June 7
— an age ago!
The Great War
Both my grandfathers fought
in WW1. They
and patriotic men whose
memories my family holds
dear. They survived years
of fighting and came home
medals for bravery.
As we commemorate British
war dead I
bow my head. But
during the moments of silence
I recall this:
were on the German side.
We must think and act coolly.
The UK will not gain access
to the single market without
allowing free movement of
Do we as a nation
hate foreigners sufficiently
to the single market?
"We need to confront
what kind of country
we want to live in."
"Time does not exist.
Time exists for us."
2016 July 2
UK Still in Deficit in 2020
UK chancellor George Osborne has had to
abandon his goal of reaching a budget surplus by 2020. The Brexit
vote has torn up his economic plan and continues to convulse world
British government bonds traded in negative
territory. The FTSE 100 closed up on Friday but the FTSE 250 closed
down compared to referendum day. The pound also ended the week down.
Osborne: "The government must provide fiscal credibility so we
will continue to be tough on the deficit but we must be realistic
about achieving a surplus by the end of this decade."
The Biggest Blunder
The decision for Brexit is its single biggest
democratic act in modern times. But it is also a historic blunder,
provoked for the wrong reasons and then pursued in the biggest
establishment cock-up in my lifetime.
The cock-up started in
2012, when David Cameron and his closest political allies decided
that the only way of scuppering UKIP and the Euro-hostile right of
the Conservative party was to give the British people a referendum.
Cameron decided to put party management and tactics ahead of grand
strategy, grossly overrated his own negotiating skills, and has been
badly bitten in the bottom accordingly.
The British political
class has come close to destroying itself. My guess is that
parliamentary chaos and a sense of drift will propel us into an
election later this year or next. There is plenty of anger still to
Brexit Warns America
The true impact of Brexit will not be
visible for many years. The slow agony of the divorce proceedings
will take up precious political time and energy in London and other
European capitals. The UK will turn further in on itself, so British
energy and talent will not be dedicated to solving bigger problems.
Money will not be spent and opportunities will be lost.
European countries may now face political instability as well. Not
just in the smaller European nations but also in France, the
Netherlands, Italy, and possibly even Germany, the political scene
may shift dramatically. Again, much of the damage will be invisible,
taking the form of things that will not happen.
referendum campaign was unique. Identity politics trumped economics.
Arguments about independence and sovereignty defeated arguments
about British influence and importance. The advice of institutions
was ignored. Elected leaders were swept aside. If all that can
happen in the UK, it can happen in the United States too.
University towns voted overwhelmingly for
Remain. But now the people whose sense of security and wellbeing has
been shredded by the knowledge economy have taken their chance to
answer back. The gap between the winners and losers in the new
economy has been laid bare.
economic winners find themselves on the losing side. In economic
terms they still have plenty to lose, and populism will not hold
much appeal. My sense is that underlying the voter demographics
behind the result is the basic gap that now exists between people
who can imagine a viable future for themselves in a networked world,
and those who cannot.
The digital revolution reveals a future
in which knowledge is the primary currency, connectivity the primary
asset, and physical geography at best a secondary concern. People
who are rooted in particular places, who work in industries that
produce physical goods, and whose essential social interactions do
not happen online are the ones who wanted Out.
result represents a rejection of the power of elites. The tragedy is
that it has undermined one of the few institutions that operates on
a scale that might limit the power of those elites. It shows that
real people still have the power to surprise faceless networks.
Brexit Britain: Elites Run Amok
A week on from the referendum, no one knows
who will be taking back democracy for us. But public money will be
squandered on disentangling the UK from the EU and getting the
elites the trade deals they want. When the government limits free
movement, the islanders will have to buckle down.
Conservative MPs will spend the summer deciding which two candidates
for leader and prime minister they will ask their membership to
choose between. Then democratic accountability will be restored to
sovereignty. With EU protection gone, our dysfunctional
democracy will be all we have.
We voters broke it, we voters must fix it.
2016 July 1
Exit From Brexit
Markus Becker and Dietmar Hipp
A campaign to stop Brexit
is gaining ground. Organised opponents are lining up their
1 The betrayal argument: The day after the vote,
Leave campaign leaders disavowed central promises and the market
reaction confirmed the fears of Remain campaigners. Voters felt
2 The democracy argument: The result was too
narrow. If millions of Leave voters were to change their mind in the
next few weeks, it would be hard to ignore them. Leave campaigners
lied to them.
3 The legal argument: The referendum is not
legally binding. David Cameron was moved to call it not by the
public interest but by party interests. Brexit is arguably a
disproportionate response to a narrow majority.
Before the UK
government enacts Brexit, experts say it must get the
consent of Parliament.
Wir erwarten von London einen
überrascht, wie wenig vorbereitet Großbritannien ist. Was mich am
meisten ärgert, ist, dass die beiden Hauptkontrahenten bei den
Tories aus einem zunächst nur innerparteilichen Konflikt eine
ausgewachsene Staats- und Regierungskrise in Großbritannien gemacht
und damit auch der ganzen EU Schaden zugefügt haben, nun aber die
Verantwortung für die Folgen anderen überlassen.
Was wir von
London erwarten, und zwar zügig, ist ein Fahrplan, wann die
Verhandlungen über den Ausstieg mit der EU beginnen sollen und wie
die Briten sich diese Verhandlungen vorstellen. Weitere
Verzögerungen wären nicht wünschenswert, und sicher auch schädlich,
für die Briten selbst und auch für uns in Europa. Es kommt jetzt
darauf an, Europa zusammenzuhalten.
AR In short, foreign minister Steinmeier
expects a plan from London as soon as possible. Delay would damage
not only the UK but also EU member states.
A Nation in Peril
The most important decision taken by the UK in
many decades has left the country deeply divided. The question is
how to unite, how to protect and advance the national interest, and
what is the right future relationship with Europe.
This will not be easy. Leave elation is matched by a
profound dismay in the ranks of Remain voters, and in the case of
younger voters anger. To come safely through this we need adult
The European Parliament has to agree any new deal
for Britain. There is going to be a negotiation of extraordinary
complexity where there are a thousand devils in every detail. This
needs serious statesmanship.
The EU-27 could decide to deter
other secessionist movements. We the British people will be face to
face with our new reality.
Art has the ability to open our eyes to a
different perspective on the world. Physics does the same thing. It
opens our eyes to something new, more wide and true.
Science is the best tool we have. One should distinguish the
actual job of doing physics, solving problems, learning how to do
equations, from the sheer beauty of what physics is actually
describing. The results can be appreciated by everybody.
In trying to understand quantum gravity,
we find that there is no time at the fundamental level. Instead of
time, there is only the change of things with respect to one
another. Our feeling of passing time is due to our imperfect
knowledge of the world.
Nature is so complex. If we learn to
move from thinking of the world as an ensemble of distinct things to
thinking of it as a network of interconnected processes, we will
grasp it better.
AR I make time.
Battle of the Somme, 1 July — 18 November 1916: What
happens when European solidarity fails
Alliance of the angry
deserves a second vote
"This has been a
miscalculation of gigantic,
AR Radek is
of some sort of a nuclear
catastrophe is greater than
it was during the Cold War
and most people are
of this danger.
William J. Perry
"There can be no democratic
choice against the European
"The United Kingdom will not
be the last
member state to
leave the European Union."
Germany, France, and Italy
but reject informal
talks on future
Global markets lose record
$3 trillion since Brexit vote
Leave UK and relocate
somewhere else in the EU:
Germany is the
place for you.
Yes it is.
"My Polish father-in-law did
for Britain than any
"Austerity is the cause
economic woes. It's
nothing to do with the EU."
BoJo, June 9
BoJo now vows to keep
UK in Single Market
London is the financial
capital of Europe. Most
trading in euros is in London.
Britain stopped the ECB
forcing some of that business
into the EZ. Now the ECB
may try again.
Gabriel: Press UK
German SPD leader
Sigmar Gabriel demands
that Angela Merkel press
the UK harder to exit EU
as soon as
Rise in Racism
A Polish community center
was daubed with racist graffiti
chanted abuse outside a
mosque amid a surge
hate crimes following
the referendum vote.
Baroness Warsi said the
atmosphere on the streets
was not good.
Be Like Greece —
Ignore the Referendum!
"The key Leave campaigners
made contradictory promises
"They told us it was Project
Fear but you can see already
that it is Project Reality.
all we got in the campaign
was people saying the governor
the Bank of England and the
Treasury were peddling false
information. That was
No. 10 official
Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders
"It's the last thing I want
to see. It's not a game
best of three."
2016 June 30
Boris Johnson says he will not stand to be
PM after his fellow Beleaver Michael Gove, the party intellectual,
said he did not think Boris could be leader so he was standing
instead. Supporters accused Gove of treachery.
launched her bid to be leader and promised no general election
before 2020. Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom, and Stephen Crabb complete
the list for the leadership election.
Jeremy Corbyn got into
trouble at the launch of a report into anti-semitism in the Labour
party when he said: "Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for
the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim
friends are for those various self-styled Islamic States or
We can make Britain work for everyone
Today I launch my campaign to become the leader of the
Conservative party and prime minister
of the UK:
1 Our country needs strong, proven
leadership to steer us through this period of economic and political
uncertainty, and to negotiate the best possible terms as we leave
2 We need leadership that
can unite our party and our country. It is the patriotic duty of the
Conservative party to govern in the best interests of the whole
3 We need a positive
vision for the future of our country that works not for a privileged
few but for everyone, regardless of who they are and regardless of
where they're from.
I favour big changes to the way we think
about our economy, our society and our democracy. We believe in
capitalism, but we need to reform it.
We need to think
differently about the role of the state. We have to cherish
institutions like the BBC and the NHS. And we have to restore the
contract between the generations.
Under my leadership, we
will put ourselves at the service of ordinary, working people and we
will strive to make Britain a country that works for everyone.
AR Excellent: Count me in.
Leavers say the EU is elitist and
undemocratic. The reality is more complicated. Technically, the EU
has quite a lot of democracy going on.
Parliament is directly elected. Every five years, every adult EU
citizen can vote for a representative. EU treaties define 751 seats.
The Council of the EU is the upper house, with representatives sent
by the governments of member states.
The two houses appoint
civil servants and members of groups such as the European Council.
These officials are both powerful and unelected. This is much like in
Democracy is also about accountability. The
EU was designed by technocrats and lets experts make sound decisions
that rise above nationalist politics. To protect it from populists,
there is no easy way to call them to account.
The EU does not
feel very democratic. Its decisions seem remote, its leaders
unreachable. When people are unhappy with EU decisions, they blame
Brexit may be unlawful
Brexit would consist of two acts performed
by the government. These acts are subject to legal evaluation. The
government decides that the UK will withdraw from the EU and then it
notifies the European Council of that intention.
government acts in question are exercises of legal powers, which
have limits. A legal power of the UK government affects the legal
situation of many people, so the courts are firm in keeping the
government within legal limits.
A directly affected person
can request that a court conduct a judicial review to determine
whether the exercise of a public power on a given occasion is within
the limits. All public power is subject to the law applied and
enforced by the regular courts. The ultimate guardian of the rule of
law is a government minister.
A person might challenge the
actions of the government in the process leading up to the
Referendum Act 2015 on the ground that the motive for holding the
referendum seems to have been not the public interest but the
particular interest of a political party. A court can decide that it
is arbitrary and unreasonable and disproportionate to base the
decision to withdraw from the EU on the opinion expressed by a bare
majority of people taking part in a referendum.
from membership of the EU, the government is using the powers
contained in article 50, which leaves the legality of a withdrawal
decision to national law. An unlawful decision under UK law would be
invalid for the purposes of article 50.
John Kerry: Brexit could be 'walked back'
US secretary of state John Kerry visited
David Cameron and said he was loth to invoke article 50 or to start
negotiating a thing he doesn't believe in, and has no idea how he
would do it — "and by the way, nor do most of the people who voted
to do it."
Asked if the Brexit decision could be "walked
back" Kerry said: "I think there are a number of ways. I don't, as
secretary of state, want to throw them out today. I think that would
be a mistake. But there are a number of ways."
The next crisis to confront the EU will
be Frexit. The inability of French governments to redress the
growing social and economic fissures in French society has
encouraged a retreat to nativism and nationalism.
president François Hollande has a dismal approval rating — according
to a recent Le Monde poll, just 16% of French voters agree he is a
In the wake of the Brexit vote, FN leader
Marine Le Pen stood in front of a new poster displaying a pair of
hands breaking free of a handcuff made of gold stars with a caption:
"And Now France!"
On Saturday, François Hollande
sat with Marine Le Pen at the Elysée Palace. The FN leader said she
wanted an EU referendum. Hollande: "What would be the question?" In
or out, she replied. "Out of the EU or the eurozone?" Of the EU, she
AR Frexit would
destroy the entire European order.
2016 June 29
Angela Merkel on Brexit
German chancellor Angela Merkel has several
views on Brexit:
1 She may be
quietly hoping that the referendum can be reversed. Similar things
have happened several times in EU history. She may be playing for
time against those who want a quick Brexit.
2 She will minimise the damage if it
goes ahead. She must protect the EU and sees a risk if Britain gets
a good deal. Access to the single market will require respect for
freedom of movement.
3 She sees
UK membership as a counterweight to French dirigisme. Support for
the EU is high in Germany but not in France. French president
François Hollande needs to show his voters that exit is not an
option, so he is inclined to punish Britain.
4 She sees the EU as an instrument of
nation states and does not see it evolving toward the United States
of Europe. In her view, Brexit would be a huge loss.
5 She knows the economic impact of
Brexit would be damaging. After the US and France, the UK is
Germany's #3 trading partner, but the terms of trade between EU-27
and a lone UK are unknown.
fears Brexit could lead to a decline of European influence on the
global stage, especially with regard to China. It would also make
the EU a less attractive partner for the US.
Merkel does not
want a divorce that destroys trust and humiliates Britain.
Brexit on Ice
Angela Merkel gave a speech about
Brexit. Everything she said was correct. The address was undramatic
and objective, Brexit on ice.
Brexit is an historical
watershed in the history of Europe. People across the continent are
searching for answers. Business as usual is not enough. Merkel
1 Push the pace
The British can choose when they apply to leave the
union but they should get on with it, before they are tempted to
block even more EU proposals.
Use the opportunity to relaunch the EU
British out the future EU will be different, so an opportunity for
radical change has presented itself.
Boost an inspirational Europe
The EU is much
more than a service provider for European citizens, whatever Merkel
Speed, change, and emotion — all lacking in her speech.
David Cameron told EU leaders last night that they must allow
migration curbs if they want a future deal with Britain over the
single market. He said refusal to reform freedom of movement rules
during his renegotiations this year led to the British decision to
leave the EU.
A UK government source: "He believes that one
of the key issues in the referendum campaign, and therefore why a
lot of people voted to leave, was this sense that there was no
control on the scale of immigration or free movement."
Merkel says Britain must choose between immigration controls and a
trade deal involving membership of the single market — it cannot
Boris Johnson was forced to reassure the
Conservative right that he would fulfil his promise to limit
immigration if he won the leadership. On Monday he suggested he
would prioritise free trade with EU states, caused a backlash.
The EU four freedoms — movement of people, goods, capital, and
services — are cornerstones of the single market.
Remaining UK options
• Norway is in the European
Economic Area. It accepts free movement of people and makes a
payment to the EU in exchange for access.
• Switzerland is not
in the single market. It has a free trade deal for goods and access
for some services but not full access for financial services. It
accepted free movement of EU citizens.
• Canada has a free
trade deal with the EU. Canadians need a visa to work in the EU. The
Canada deal will allow free trade in almost all goods apart from
some farm products and in many services but not financial services.
The deal took five years to negotiate.
• Michael Gove mentioned
the Albania model. Albania has free trade for industrial goods but
not agricultural products and no single market access for financial
The Norway Option
Membership of the European Economic
Area — the Norway option — gives countries full access to the
single European market, albeit with no say in EU politics.
EEA membership would be the least damaging to the British economy
and would best minimise the transitional costs of Brexit. No British
company would have to leave Europe. The City of London would keep
its EU passport. This option is economically almost neutral.
But it would compromise several key Leave campaign messages. It
would not allow Britain to curtail free movement of labour from the
EU. The UK would still pay into the EU budget.
A new prime
minister could set a time limit. Britain could decide later whether
to continue in the EEA, opt out for a new agreement, or rejoin the
EU, either under Article 49 or under some form of associate
A Norway option is not ideal. Before the
referendum, there was a broad consensus that there is really not
much point in leaving the EU in order to join the EEA. But now it is
the best choice left.
Elites of the World, Rise Up!
The British have had their day of reckoning.
The American one looms. France may face a similar fiasco next
In much of Europe, mainstream parties of the left and
right may increasingly combine forces to keep out the nationalists.
Perhaps these informal coalitions can survive until the fever
breaks. Cohabitation may be their only alternative to irrelevance.
The issue is globalization. Brexit, Trump, the National Front,
and so on show that political elites have misjudged the depth of the
anger at global forces. With prospects of low growth in Europe and
the United States, voters are rebelling against their dismal
prospects. Older people whose familiar world is vanishing are waving
their fists at cosmopolitan elites.
Perhaps politics will
realign itself around the axis of globalization, with nationalists
versus pragmatists. The nationalists would see themselves as the
defenders of sovereignty. The reformed center would include the
beneficiaries of globalization and the marginal citizens excluded by
the celebration of national identity.
Mainstream parties on
both left and right are trying to reach the angry nationalists. But
left and right disagree deeply about how best to cushion the effects
of globalization and how to deal with increased migration. Even the
threat of extremism may not be enough to bring them together.
The schism we see opening before us is deep. People are deluded
and the task of leadership is to disillusion them. If it is now
elitist to believe in reason, expertise, and the lessons of history,
we should embrace it.
reason and history to the masses with a globalist spin —
2016 June 28
Cameron gets frosty welcome at farewell EU summit
EU leaders have refused to engage in
negotiations until Article 50 is invoked.
Angela Merkel: "We will ensure that the negotiations will not be run
on the principle of cherry-picking. We must and will make a palpable
difference over whether a country wants to be a member of the family
of the European Union or not. Whoever wants to get out of this
family cannot expect that all the obligations fall away but the
privileges continue to remain in place."
Dutch premier Mark
Rutte said give Britain some space: "England has collapsed
politically, monetarily, constitutionally and economically."
French prime minister Manuel Valls: "It's not up to the British
Conservative party to set the agenda."
Result of Labour No Confidence motion: 172
for, 40 against, 4 spoilt ballots, 13 didn't vote.
The government is in disarray. Ministers
have no exit plan, but are determined to make working people pay
with a new round of cuts and tax rises. Labour has the
responsibility to give a lead where the government will not. To do
that we need to stand together. I was democratically elected leader
of our party for a new kind of politics. Today's vote by MPs has no
English politics is in chaos, Scottish politics
is not. The SNP has a clear and positive vision of the future. The
SNP will only call a fresh referendum if it is confident of winning
it, but Scottish accession to the EU would be greeted with open
arms. Even dallying with the prospect of joining the EZ might help
A British Folly
Friends of Europe
This is just the beginning of a major
political, constitutional and economic crisis in the UK. Within
hours of the result, Sinn Fein had called for a vote on reunifying
Ireland, Spain called for joint control of Gibraltar, and far-right
leaders in France and the Netherlands called for their own EU
referendums. Scotland wants to stay in the EU.
leaders are in disarray. They never had a plan as to what voters
would get instead of the EU. Westminster has a clear majority of MPs
who support staying in the EU. The EU leaders are pushing for a
rapid move on Article 50. The UK currently lacks any strategic
political leadership. Business as usual will not do.
Britain spoke, Europe should listen
Britain has sent Europe a message.
Europe needs to heed it, because the same message is being repeated
often and loudly by EU citizens.
priority must be restoring stability. Economic convergence, banking
union, and energy union are all political issues related to specific
problems. For these problems, sharing our sovereignty makes sense.
But jumping to a federal political Europe is not the answer.
The British public were not impressed by the agreement reached by
Cameron. Brexit shows politicians can no longer ignore popular
Marine Le Pen
The people of Britain have decided, with
the courage of a people who embrace their freedom.
British voters understood the question: Do we want an
undemocratic authority ruling our lives, or would we rather regain
control over our destiny?
The European Union has become a
prison of peoples. In the eurozone, different economies are forced
to adopt the same currency, even if doing so bleeds them dry. The
European Parliament is democratic in appearance but is based on a
lie: We have tried to deny the existence of sovereign nations.
British have presented the union with a dilemma. Either it allows
Britain to sail away quietly and set a precedent. Or it makes the
British pay for their departure and thus exposes its tyranny. I have
a feeling Brussels will choose the latter.
Brexit will not
make the union more democratic. Like all dying ideologies, the union
knows only how to forge blindly ahead. Germany will lead the way.
I choose France. I choose sovereign nations. I choose freedom.
AR Wonderful rhetoric, better than
any words from Farage, but subverted by a naive petitio principii
over national identities.
Theresa May appears austere
and remote, shuns the media, and refuses to put her private side on
show. A leadership survey by ConservativeHome in June found that May
was the choice of 35% of respondents, more than Boris Johnson, for
Just a few weeks earlier, as home secretary she
spoke on police reform to the Police Federation in Bournemouth. With
a piercing stare she listed the corruption, incompetence, racism,
and gross misconduct that had scarred policing for over 20 years.
Theresa May Is Conservative Front Runner
Party support for Theresa May has soared, making her more
popular than Boris Johnson in the race to become the next
Conservative leader. The home secretary is now the betting favourite
to replace the prime minister.
English language could be banned from the heart of Europe after
Brexit. English is the #1 choice for EU institutions but no state
other than the UK has registered it as its primary language. So its
legal status will be removed when the country leaves.
England out of Euro 2016: Iceland 2
Britain is in its biggest crisis for decades
and so is the Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn has lost control of his
MPs with 46 resignations from his shadow cabinet and frontbench. He
must quit now for his party and his country.
I do not believe that Brexit will happen
Britain might be heading towards a second
referendum rather than Brexit. Boris Johnson in February: "There is
only one way to get the change we need — and that is to vote to go;
because all EU history shows that they only really listen to a
population when it says No."
German finance minister Wolfgang
Schäuble talks of negotiating an associate membership status for
Britain. In reality, the UK already enjoys a form of associate
membership since it is not a participant in the single currency or
the Schengen zone.
What the new PM would need to win a second
referendum is an emergency brake on free movement of people. It was
a big mistake on the part of the EU not to give David Cameron this
concession in his renegotiation of the UK terms of membership. A
second referendum with a proper answer to the question of
immigration should be winnable.
Anger in Berlin
Merkel wird sich heute ihre Regierungserklärung zum Brexit abgeben.
Aus SPD-Perspektive ist Merkels Kurs grundfalsch. Die Kanzlerin
möchte den Eindruck vermeiden, Berlin wolle zu viel Druck auf
Großbritannien beim Vollzug des Brexit erzeugen.
Vizekanzler Sigmar Gabriel sieht die Gefahr aufkommender
Fliekräfte in Europa,
wenn man Großbritannien zu viel Zeit lässt. Gabriel: "Das
Brexit-Referendum hat Großbritannien gespalten. Damit der Brexit
nicht auch Europa spaltet, müssen die Staats- und Regierungschef
jetzt schnell für Klarheit sorgen."
Nicht nur Gabriel sondern
auch Sozialdemokraten Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier und dem
Chef des Europaparlaments, Martin Schulz, wollen Tempo machen in
Gabriel und die SPD träumen mal wieder vom
großen Wurf: Europa neu gründen.
AR In short: Chancellor Merkel is ready to give Britain more
time to decide on Brexit. But the SPD trio vice-chancellor Gabriel,
foreign minister Steinmeier, and European Parliament president
Schulz want a fast Brexit.
Brexit and Angry Old Men
Brexit was a victory for angry old men
like Nigel Farage.
Our future is in danger of being taken
away by the maniacs of disintegration. The vote for Brexit was very
much one of the old against the young. The older the voter, the more
he or she was inclined to leave.
We can still repair the
damage done to democracy. Migrants and refugees have become symbols
of the idea that elites have unleashed rapacious globalization that
hits poor people hardest. Yet it is dangerously foolish to believe
that Europe can somehow shut its doors to the world.
outpouring of anger in Europe has only just begun.
2016 June 27
Brexit Turmoil Continues
Markets in turmoil: FTSE 100 down 2%,
FTSE 250 off 5.9%, the pound drops 14%
addresses House of Commons, advocates minimal change
Labour party in turmoil: dozens of shadow cabinet members
Britain Is Part of Europe
This EU referendum has been the most
extraordinary political event of our lifetime.
The number one
issue was control. We should restore to the people the power to kick
out their rulers at elections. People who voted Leave were also
inspired by the belief that Britain is a great country, and that
outside the EU we can survive and thrive as never before.
Britain is and always will be a great European power. The only
change is that the UK will extricate itself from EU legislation.
This will bring golden opportunities for this country. The
Government will be able to take back democratic control of
The verdict of history will be that the
British people got it right.
Boris is no historian.
Brexit May Never Happen
Across social media were reports of Leave
voters waking up with remorse. Some were counting on a Remain
victory and wanted only to send a message or press the EU for
reforms — like playing a game of chicken with 64 million hands on
the steering wheel.
If Boris Johnson becomes prime minister,
he knows that as soon as he triggers Article 50 and begins the EU
withdrawal process, the markets will plunge again. The more time
that passes before the Article 50 notification is sent, the less
likely it is to happen.
Conservative MP and Leave campaigner
Liam Fox: "I think that it doesn't make any sense to trigger Article
50 without having a period of reflection first, for the Cabinet to
determine exactly what it is that we're going to be seeking and in
what timescale. And then you have to also consider what is happening
with the French elections and the German elections next year and the
implications that that might have for them."
Johnson would be
tempted to kick the can down the road. Perhaps a blue-ribbon
commission will meet for six months and then deliver a report to
Parliament, which then engage in its customary vigorous debate.
Maybe Johnson would call a general election and push for an
aggressive renegotiation of UK membership in the EU.
British establishment is good at muddling along. But a period of
prolonged uncertainty about Brexit might be worse for Britain than
just doing it. A long wait would see the Conservatives lose seats to
UKIP. But a prime minister faced with a choice between that and the
financial calamity of full Brexit might go for the lesser of two
The biggest concern is Scotland. SNP leader Nicola
Sturgeon has a strong incentive to press Johnson to invoke Article
50 so she can demand a new Scottish referendum. History is full of
City Braces for More Losses
British businesses say Brexit will trigger
investment cuts, hiring freezes, and redundancies. A survey by the
Institute of Directors (IoD) found that most businesses believed
Brexit was bad for them.
IoD director general Simon Walker:
"A majority of business leaders think the vote for Brexit is bad for
them ... Businesses will be busy working out how they are going to
adapt and succeed after the referendum result ... But we can't
sugar-coat this: many of our members are feeling anxious."
Food Prices Will Rise
National Farmers Union president Meurig
Raymond calls the referendum result a "political car crash"
and warns that UK dependence on imports plus a weakened pound equals
rising food prices.
The EU Will Treat Britain Like Greece
The European Union can be both flexible
EU leaders have been ready to say
goodbye to Britain for a long time. Britain has not left until
Article 50 is activated formally. David Cameron has left it to his
successor to activate it.
In brutal EU negotiations, Greece
had a number of cards to play: EU solidarity, sympathy for the Greek
people, and the German taxpayer cash in Greek banks that risked
going up in smoke. And Greeks made plain they wanted to remain
No such goodwill
exists for Britain. Boris Johnson caused grave offence by likening
the European project to the ambitions of Hitler. His declarations
that Brexit will trigger events that unravel the entire project is
like a declaration of war.
Recall how inflexible EU leaders
were earlier this year, when Cameron put a gun to their heads and
threatened to leave unless they submitted to his demands. He has
fired that gun at his foot and resigned. The only leverage left is
the damage a messy Brexit would inflict on EU economies.
EU has had 70 years of practice in breaking nations.
A Very British Fiasco
It's not often that one decision can cripple
your own economy, damage global investor confidence, imperil one of
the most successful alliances in modern history, foster the rise of
ultra-nationalists, precipitate the possible breakup of your own
country, deeply divide your own party, and cause a great schism
between voters of every ideological stripe, but this is one of them.
Well done, David Cameron.
AR Britain is facing its worst crisis
since the war. But there is no Churchill in sight. We need a PM who can
show enough leadership to kick the referendum result into touch
until wisdom prevails,
portray Leavers as dupes of wild newspapers and a UKIP plot, reassure EU leaders, and chart a course to
rehabilitation in the global community.
2016 June 26
A Very British Coup
The Sunday Times
shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn was sacked this morning after
being accused of plotting to overthrow his party leader.
Benn had been consulting colleagues about approaching Jeremy Corbyn to
tell him that unless the Labour leader resigned this week, they
would quit. The coup attempt came amid mounting anger over Corbyn's
failure to campaign harder against Brexit. A shadow cabinet source:
"Corbyn will be out by the end of the week."
secretary Heidi Alexander resigned over the dismissal. Shadow
minister for young people and voter registration Gloria De Piero and
shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray have also resigned.
Benn: "It has now become clear that there is widespread concern
among Labour MPs and in the shadow cabinet about Jeremy Corbyn's
leadership of our party. There is no confidence that we will be able
to win a general election as long as Jeremy remains the leader. He's
a good and decent man, but he is not a leader. And that's a
UKIP leader Nigel Farage: "We have the potential to
keep a lot of the voters that we've got and extend out into Labour
party territory in the north of England. In the Midlands and
northern towns and cities the response to us on the referendum was
huge. Once people have made that connection and they've left their
party over a referendum, it becomes easier to leave your party over
how you vote at other elections too."
Could Scots Veto Brexit?
Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon
says the Scottish parliament could veto Brexit by blocking the
passage of needed legislation: "If the Scottish parliament is
judging this on the basis of what's right for Scotland then the
option of saying we're not going to vote for something that's
against Scotland's interests, that's got to be on the table."
A poll carried out just after the Brexit result revealed a
bounce in support for Scottish independence. In 2014, Scotland voted
to remain part of the UK by 55% to 45%.
Sturgeon: "There are
going to be deeply damaging and painful consequences of the process
of trying to extricate the UK from the EU. I want to try and protect
Scotland from that ... As I watch what's happening in Westminster
just now, the complete vacuum of leadership, it's shameful what's
happened both in the Tory party and in Labour. I am determined that
Scotland is going to be led, and led with purpose."
Populists exploit general dissatisfaction.
Only a quarter of European citizens think things in their countries
are going in the right direction. The mood in the UK is far from the
Populism needs only three ingredients: a national myth
to weld a We together, a few enemies, and a halfway charismatic
For economic development populism is highly
problematic. Anyone who ignores economic limitations can quickly
gain a following. But they will fail in the end.
populists are enjoying the slipstream of Brexit:
— Geert Wilders
in the Netherlands
— Marine Le Pen in France
Strache in Austria
In eastern Europe some are already in
— Jaroslaw Kaczynski's PiS party in Poland
Viktor Orbán in Hungary
— Robert Fico in Slovakia
Referendums are the populist power tools of choice.
Brexit — So What?
Brexit will have dramatic consequences
for the UK. But for the EU they will be mainly positive:
1 Brexit will scare off copycats
Even if right-wing populists like Geert Wilders or Marine Le Pen
look with longing to referendums, they are unlikely to win
majorities for Nexit or Frexit. The flood of bad news from Britain
over the next few weeks and months will be enough to scare voters.
2 Brits can no longer block
Economic union must finally be realised so
that national decisions no longer endanger the common currency. We
need common economic governance and a European finance ministry with
its own resources. The same goes for foreign and security policy.
3 We don't always need more
It would make sense to return a few
competencies from Brussels to national states. Although Brits will
no longer get the deal David Cameron negotiated, the other 27 EU
states can still implement some of its terms.
more EU citizens will learn to love the union.
From Brexit to #Regrexit — an online petition
demanding a second referendum on the Brexit result has passed 3
EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum
undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the
remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75%
there should be another referendum.
My signature is #2,774,019.
"This was their meanest hour."
"Es gibt nichts drumherum
zu reden, der heutige Tag
ein Einschnitt für Europa."
2016 June 25
Wake up. We do not have to do this. We can stop this madness and
bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament. Our
sovereign Parliament needs to now vote on whether we should exit the
The referendum was an advisory, non-binding referendum.
The Leave campaign's platform has already unravelled and some people
wish they hadn't voted to Leave. Parliament now needs to decide
whether we should go forward with Brexit, and there should be a vote
in Parliament next week. Let us not destroy our economy on the basis
of lies and the hubris of Boris Johnson.
AR If Parliament fails to step up to the
plate to reject this abortive experiment in direct democracy,
my novelist persona envisions a brief military coup to stop the
Beleavers and reject the referendum result in order to maintain
national security. Not very plausible ...
Boris Johnson is the frontrunner to become the next Conservative
prime minister. Theresa May is emerging as the leading Conservative
"stop Boris" candidate.
Scottish first minister Nicola
Sturgeon has started to fulfil her manifesto promise to hold another
independence referendum in Scotland.
Global markets took a $2 trillion Brexit hit,
the biggest one-day drop since 2007.
Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith, propped up by
Nigel Farage, are not viable as a new British government. This will
be a shambles.
experiment in direct democracy is hurtling toward our tradition of
representative democracy. Within a year they will collide. The
overwhelming majority of Westminster MPs believes that leaving would
be a mistake.
Biggest Blunder Since WW2
The numbing news that Britain has voted to
leave the European Union is the worst step backward for Europe — and
for Western civilization — since the end of World War II.
That hideous conflict left much of the continent in ruins. But it
had two extremely positive effects:
Personal experience of the horrors of war has inoculated Europeans
against all-out war ever since.
2 Visionary politicians pushed for the
creation of what would become the European Union.
French ambassador to the United Nations François Delattre: "These
are difficult times, and we must chase these evil winds of populism
by addressing the real issues facing our democracies."
ambassador to the United States Peter Wittig: "This is a really
serious setback. We have to prove to the citizens that the European
Union is there for them — that it is a union for the citizens and
not a union for the bureaucrats."
A Leap in the Dark
Brits have given the world a massive kick in
the teeth by voting to leave the EU. The decision will plunge
Britain into uncertainty for years to come.
the dire consequences goaded a mood of defiant anger among voters.
They are revolting against global capitalism. The EU was a
convenient target of their rage.
The EU may unravel. Dutch
nationalist Geert Wilders tweeted: "Hurrah for the British! Now it
is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum!"
against the global economic and social order. Now Britain will punch
beneath its weight. It faces serious political and economic risk.
Russian politicians, journalists, and
nationalists are reveling in the UK vote to leave the EU. Russian
TV stations spoke of a victory for Little England and cast the
referendum as a nightmare for Brussels.
ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky hailed the vote as a "heroic
deed" by the British people: "Agricultural, provincial, working
Britain has said no to a union created by the financial mafia,
globalists, and the rest of them."
David Cameron has been destroyed by Boris
Johnson and Nigel Farage. He now pays the price for years of
unfulfilled pledges and for running a Remain campaign that
disastrously misjudged the mood of the British people.
Cameron is a bright man but his personal clique is dominated by
Etonians and PR men. He has never seemed to possess any vision of
where he wanted to take Britain. When he became Conservative leader,
he conveyed to party supporters and to the nation the impression
that he was sceptical about the EU and committed to force change in
our relationship with Brussels.
Cameron gave repeated public
pledges to control immigration, then made no credible effort to do
so. This failure has grown into the main cause of the breakdown of
public trust in him. As the numbers of people coming to Europe
increase into the millions, the response of EU leaders remains
pitiful. Now tribal instincts have been roused and nationalists are
in rebellion against ruling elites.
When Cameron leaves
Downing Street, there will be no substantial legacy. He will be
remembered chiefly for lighting the fuse that led to Brexit. He will
leave the UK and his party more divided than at any time for a
UK: Old Against Young
The New York Times
At Glastonbury, Lewis Phillips, 27,
said he was now "terrified" about British economic prospects:
"A group of pensioners have managed to make a decision for us."
In London, Louise Driscoll, 21, spent most of the day crying: "I
had a bad feeling in my gut. What do we do now? I'm very scared."
The vote exposed a generational divide. According to
pre-election surveys, 57% of Britons between the ages of 18 and 34
intended to vote for remaining in the EU, while 57% of Britons over
55 supported leaving. For those under 25, three-quarters wanted the
UK to stay in the EU.
people in Britain have grown up thinking of European integration as
a given, not a political experiment to be rolled back.
2016 June 24
UK Votes OUT From EU
A clear majority of UK voters want to leave the
Leave — 17,410,742 (52%)
Remain — 16,141,241
UK Prime Minister David Cameron resigns, with effect
Sterling falls 10% to its lowest value since
"We now expect the United Kingdom
government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. We have rules to
deal with this in an orderly way."
European Council president
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker
European Parliament president Martin Schulz
president Mark Rutte
AR This earthquake is a
consequence of mass migration. Sovereign states across Europe want
the freedom to restrict the flow. The EU can adapt and survive but
it needs radical reform. Britain was always the odd one out in the
EU and the other 27 states will find agreement easier. If sterling
fails to recover quickly, Scotland may vote to leave the UK, join
the EU and adopt the euro. That will be the end of the UK and an
opportunity to write a new English constitution. The rump state
might even one day find its way into a federal European polity.
75 years ago today:
Global Markets Soar
Pound soars as markets
bet on a Remain
World Speed Record
The fastest computer
in the world
Sunway TaihuLight can
perform 93 quadrillion
calculations per second,
three times more than
#1, and it
has 10.65 million cores
plus 1.3 PB of RAM.
is 15.3 MW.
In a digital business, the
decision making is
instantaneous, as everything
is connected live.
Every organization needs fast
access to data that
can be trusted. SAP continues
and invest in its
portfolio to offer customers
for a digital
President Jean-Claude Juncker
fire for his unilateral
style of leadership: Officials
Berlin and Brussels are
Jo Cox death sparks
EU referendum poll
surge for Remain
Tim Peake: “It's just been
fantastic from start to finish.
I'm just truly elated, just the
smells of Earth are so strong,
it's wonderful to be back.”
IMF: Brexit Bad
It would permanently lower
UK incomes and harm
2016 UK EU Referendum Day
The European Union has mishandled the crises
of the past decade. Political solidarity is dissolving. Xenophobic
and nationalist parties are gaining strength in Poland, Hungary,
Austria, France, and Germany. Their nasty tone infused the Brexit
campaign with hostility toward immigrants. British nationalists
depicted the continent as under invasion from migrants. A UKIP
campaign poster looks like the propaganda of far-right politicians
in Hungary or Poland.
2016 June 22
As far as I am concerned this referendum
should settle the matter. I believe it will one way or another be
decisive. Britain will not want to go through this again. On the
other hand if we vote to leave, this really is irreversible.
We are the reformers. Reform ends if we leave, not just for us
but also our friends in Europe who want our voice heard in Europe. I
think us leaving would not only damage ourselves but also the kind
of Europe we want.
I always said the best outcome was for
Britain to remain part of a reformed European Union. NATO is the
cornerstone of our security but the EU has a growing role in
exchanging information on terrorism, criminals and borders.
Please Don't Go
We need Britain in the EU. There are 100
million people in countries between the Baltic and the Black Sea who
remember how you fought for our freedom. When the Iron Curtain fell,
you made sure we were included in the most important western clubs —
the EU and NATO.
We don't like
bureaucracy either — we had enough of that under communism. But
likening the EU to a dictator is going too far. Trust us, we've been
there and know the difference.
We fret about the unfairness
of eurozone bailouts, want more free trade and less protectionism.
We want the single market to be deeper and bigger, including
services and the digital economy. But we have a voice, and it chimes
NATO stands for military security. But the EU
offers economic security. It also stands up to Russian aggression.
We need both organizations. And we need you playing a full role in
Brexit: Blame British Newspapers
Boris Johnson was fired from The Times in
1988 for fabricating a quotation. He had made his name as a
journalist in Brussels by tirelessly attacking, mocking, and
denigrating the European Union.
By the time I arrived in
Brussels, editors wanted only reports about faceless Eurocrats
dictating the shape of the cucumbers that could be sold in Britain,
or plots to impose a European superstate, or British prime ministers
fighting plucky rearguard actions against a hostile EU. Much of the
British press peddles narratives reflecting and exploiting the
innate nationalism, historical sense of superiority, and disdain for
Johnny Foreigner of many readers.
Recent headlines in the
We're from Europe: Let Us In!
Ten Bombshells the
EU's Keeping Secret Until After You've Voted
Greediest Snouts in
the EU Trough
Recent headlines in The Sun:
Stuffed by Turkey
Checkpoint Charlies: Euro Judges Open
Floodgates to Illegals
Eur All Invited
Queen Backs Brexit
BeLeave in Britain
Boris and the Beleavers are asking the
British people to leave a monster about as real as the one in Loch Ness.
Gender as Performance
Queer theorist Judith Butler introduced the
idea that gender is a performance. It is not an essential biological
fact but comes into being through repeated actions. The world as we
know it has generally presumed everyone to be straight, and we can
find ways of questioning this.
grew up in Cleveland, and as a preteen she said she hoped to be a
philosopher or a clown. She went to Yale for its philosophy program
and remained through graduate school.
Gender Trouble was published in 1990 when she was 33. The book
drew on Foucault, Freud, Lévi-Strauss, Lacan, Irigaray, Wittig,
Kristeva, and de Beauvoir. (Hegel, Derrida, and Nietzsche lurked in
Butler: "The move from a structuralist
account in which capital is understood to structure social relations
in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power
relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation
brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure,
and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes
structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the
insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a
renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites
and strategies of the rearticulation of power."
formulating her idea of gender performativity, Butler drew on the
work of J.L. Austin, the philosopher of language who described
performative utterances as speech acts that do something, like
saying "I do" in a wedding ceremony. Her move was to apply this idea
to actions as well as words.
AR So actions do something
— forgive my LOL.
2016 June 21
EU Referendum Discussion
Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth
West, and Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, talked to
students about the EU referendum. Conor wants to leave, Tobias wants
AR We had a
stimulating and informative debate, thanks to excellent moderation.
I will vote to Remain. I am sceptical of
radical change without proper consideration of the consequences, of
turning everything upside down without a plan for what happens next.
In their dreams of restoring sovereignty or agreeing trade deals
with our former colonies, what the Leave campaign really want is a
different yesterday. What they lack is a coherent plan for tomorrow.
We have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it
To fight, to lead, and not to run away when things get
tough — that's the British way. Our security is enhanced by our EU
membership. The EU adds valuable tools that NATO cannot provide.
The current NATO Secretary General, five of his predecessors,
and four former NATO Supreme Allied Commanders want Britain to stay.
Not a single NATO defence minister wants us to leave.
British defence secretary, I know that the global challenges we face
cannot be confronted without cooperation between NATO and the EU,
with the UK at the heart of both.
Leavers owe it to the
British people to explain how they would guarantee our security and
prosperity outside the EU. All we have had are vague promises and
carefree assurances that everything would carry on as normal. For a
sceptical Conservative, that is not credible.
Conservatives must be ready to do the harder thing and champion our
interest from within. For our security and our prosperity, we have
to make Europe work.
EU Would Make UK Pay
If Brits vote Brexit, they can expect a
tough response. EU leaders will reject suggestions by Beleavers that
the rest of the EU will trade with Britain on good terms. They want
to deter other states from following the British example.
Once the British government invokes Article 50, the EU will likely
talk about trade only after all the member states have agreed on how to
unwind UK membership. Officials want to negotiate future
arrangements with the UK as a nonmember. They do not want the status
of EU citizens in the UK to become bargaining chips in the
Brussels would offer Britain a choice of three
models: the arrangements with Norway, Canada, and the WTO. They will
reject any proposal for Britain to remain within the single market
without an agreement that EU citizens will be allowed to live and
work in the UK.
France would insist on a divorce. Populists
throughout Europe will celebrate Brexit as a festival. NF leader
Marine Le Pen compares Brexit to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Without the UK in the EU, Germany would become too powerful.
Germans fear the formation of an anti-German alliance. The EU would
become more French in its economic policy.
foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski: "Europe could forge ahead with a
common security policy, which the British have vetoed repeatedly.
And the countries of the eurozone would probably insist on all euro
trade being moved out of Britain."
All agree that the EU is
much better with the UK in it.
Thomas Van Der Dunk
For Britain, the EU is no more than a
distribution outlet for British exports.
As an EU member,
London has consistently resisted deepening and supported enlarging
the union. The result has been a subtle form of sabotage. The more
the EU expands, the looser it gets, and ever closer union becomes
If the British vote to Remain with a
small majority, the discussion will not be over. Should London be
asked to make a new sacrifice for the common European cause, like
contributing extra to help Greece or taking a proportional share of
refugees, we can expect another mutiny.
When Brussels has
sought to provide more economic protection to normal Europeans,
Britain has stood in the way, the better to protect big business.
Westminster wants unlimited access to the common market, but
declines any fiscal or social obligations. It offers tax paradises
for the rich and low wages for the poor. It forces more civilized
countries to follow it in this race to the bottom by dismantling a
welfare state model that has long assured security for all.
As long as the UK remains in the EU, the problems will continue.
2016 Summer Solstice
Brits Don't Quit
At my office I sit two yards away from
cabinet room where Winston Churchill decided in May to fight on
against Hitler. The best and greatest decision perhaps anyone has
made in our country. He didn't want to be alone. He wanted to be
fighting with the French, the Poles and the others. But he didn't
quit. He didn't quit on democracy, he didn't quit on freedom. We
want to fight for those things today. You can't win if you're not in
A Colossal Blunder
The prospect that Britain might commit an act
of national folly by voting to leave the European Union has
politicians throughout Europe alarmed. This huge gamble would be
taken for the chimera of restored sovereignty. It would reflect
petulant nationalism, base bigotry, and laughable little England
The European Union has significant failings. It
is short on democracy and long on bureaucracy. But its achievements
far outweigh its problems. For Britain to succumb to its delusions
and leave the union would be a colossal blunder of historic
Brexit is an English nationalist movement.
A win for Leave will almost certainly be without a majority in
either Scotland or Northern Ireland and perhaps without winning
Wales either. The inexorable logic of Brexit is the birth of a new
nation state bounded by the Channel and the Tweed.
the main outcome of Brexit is likely to be a standalone England.
Over the past 400 years, England has been in first the United
Kingdom in its various forms, then the British Empire, and now the
European Union. The English are less used than they think to
The English nationalist movement makes no
attempt to articulate any set of social principles by which the new
England might govern itself. Nationalism is about the line between
Them and Us. Brexiters seem pretty clear about Them, but they need a
much better sense of Us.
British institutions have been anything but
insular in their origins and character. The vast majority of the 25
barons who obliged King John to sign the Magna Carta were Norman
French. The Bill of Rights of 1689 that established our
constitutional monarchy came about as the result of a Dutch
invasion, and was the product of our being pulled into a European
coalition resisting absolutism.
Former communities minister Baroness Warsi accuses UK justice
secretary Michael Gove of peddling complete lies. She says the final
straw was hearing UKIP leader Nigel Farage defend a poster with the
slogan "breaking point" depicting refugees trudging across Europe.
Lady Warsi: "That 'breaking point' poster really was for me the
breaking point to say I can't go on supporting this. Are we prepared
to tell lies, to spread hate and xenophobia just to win a campaign?
For me that's a step too far."
Jo Cox was about to launch a report in parliament on the danger
posed by nationalist radicals.
The report national monitoring
group Tell Mama details rising aggression by far-right extremists
and an increase in Islamophobia in the past 12 months. Tell Mama
director Fiyaz Mughal said that there were clusters of far-right
activity across Yorkshire.
In court, the accused Cox assassin
gave his name as "Death To Traitors, Freedom For Britain".
EU migrants contribute more to our economy than
they take out in benefits.
Brexit is not the answer to
worries about migration. It would not automatically stop the free
movement of EU citizens to Britain. We would have to leave the
single market, in a catastrophic act of economic self-destruction.
Australia has twice as many migrants per person as the UK. Their
system aims to let businesses control who comes into their country.
For us, this would lead to an increase in cheap labour.
People are worried about job security, school places, and the NHS.
Leaving the EU is not the only way to deal with concerns about
immigration. We can do far more to address immigration while
remaining in the EU.
The prime minister is right: we are
stronger, safer, and better off IN the EU.
2016 June 19
Aeroplanes and Leaky Roofs
If people want to leave this organisation, of course we must
leave. But once you have jumped out of the aeroplane, you can't
scramble back through the door. You could only get back in on the
basis of joining the euro, Schengen and giving up the rebate. No one
is ever going to want to do that.
I believe there is a clear
case for Remain. I am making that argument as vigorously as I can. I
believe in confronting big questions rather than ducking them.
When I'm at a European Council and explain to Angela Merkel that
I'm going back to do my constituency surgery, they all look at me as
if I'm a bit mad. You go from European migration to a leaky roof in
two steps. It's very good for our politics.
Fear, Loathing, Brexit
Brexit would make Britain poorer. My rough
calculations, which are in line with other estimates, suggest that
Britain would end up about 2% poorer, forever. The risk that Brexit
would undermine the City of London could be even more costly.
Some true Beleavers say leaving
the EU would free Brits to deregulate and unleash the magic of
markets, leading to explosive growth. This is voodoo wrapped in a
flag. The economic case to vote Remain is as solid as it gets.
I sympathize with Britons who feel frustrated enough with the EU
to leave. The EU elites never seem to acknowledge their mistakes.
Brexit could jolt them out of their complacency and lead to reform.
But I fear it would only make things worse.
A Brumpy Ride to Little England
(heavily edited — AR)
early lead for the IN crowd has melted away, and polls predict more
OUT cast votes.
Remainians say Brexit will bring on economic
armageddon — depression, devaluation, and decline.
Beleavers say Brexit will restore a sovereign nation that can have
its cake and eat it too, with both full access to 500 million EU
consumers and controls on EU immigration.
Great Britain may
soon shrink into Little England. Westminster politicians look
nervously to Scotland. Most Scots say they want to stay in the EU.
Brexit is overwhelmingly an English idea. English nationalist
anger is aimed at the EU. In fact the English need to take back
control not from Brussels but from bloated, privileged London.
Germans say Brump will no longer have access to the EU single
Outside the EU, Brump would be the pits. For
foreigners, it would be less easygoing, more suspicious and more
bureaucratic for work and travel. For Brumpits, it would become a
less regulated, more unequal society. For the young, it would seem a
dim and stifling place that anyone with imagination would want to
AR My attempts to lighten
the tone have introduced a few neologisms here.
2016 June 18
The Times believes Britain would be better off
leading a renewed drive for reform within the EU rather than
starting afresh outside it. This referendum has rightly been a
thunderous rebuke to Europe. Leading a reform movement in Europe may
not sound as exhilarating or romantic as a defiant march to Brexit,
but it is the better choice for Britain and Europe.
The right has so far taken the initiative on
the migration issue. Mainstream politicians try to neuter the
populists by taking their ground and aping their rhetoric. Far from
closing down the debates, these steps legitimise their views,
reinforce their frames, and pull the debate further to the extremes.
The UK government policy is a masterclass in how to get the
crisis wrong. They obsess over numbers when they should focus on
reinforcing frames of fairness and order. They set an unrealistic
target, miss it, report on it quarterly, and in doing so show a
complete lack of control.
Across Europe, the populist right
have shifted the public debate on the issue. In Germany, although a
huge amount of energy goes into practical support for immigrants,
the focus on this has left the public narrative for the populist
right to exploit. In Poland, immigration dominated a national
election debate in a country whose population is 97% white Catholic
and immigration levels are tiny. In France, young people are many
times more supportive of migration than older people.
who know refugees and immigrants are much more likely to support
migration as a whole. As our societies become more diverse and
immigration reaches more communities, more people are likely to
become less prejudiced and more supportive. Power on this issue is
with the people.
2016 June 17
Jo Cox MP
Jo Cox was shot three times, stabbed and left
bleeding on the pavement outside the library where she was due to
hold her regular surgery. She was 41 and had been a Labour MP for
just over a year. Mrs Cox was also a Cambridge graduate and a mother
of children aged 3 and 5.
attacker, Tommy, 52, a loner with poor mental health, was arrested
soon afterwards. Witnesses say he shouted "Britain first" in an
apparent reference to the EU referendum. A far-right
group has the
same name. Mrs Cox was a campaigner for Remain.
Robots in Space
The practical case for sending people into
space is getting weaker as robots are getting better. Spaceflights
have become an adventure sport. The space station only makes the
news when something goes wrong or when Chris Hadfield plays the
The space station altogether has cost a
twelve-figure sum because we've been up there for a long time. I
don't think anyone could justify it to science since manned space
exploration has slowed down. Each time a shuttle failure happened it
held up the program for three years, paid for by taxpayers' money.
Space flights should be left to adventurers prepared to accept
I do hope that some pioneers will eventually
land on Mars, but I think they'll either be Chinese or they'll be
privately funded adventurers taking high risks and one-way tickets.
AR Agreed: NASA and ESA should spend
taxpayer money wisely — on robots.
Jo Cox MP dead after shooting attack
Hass auf Muslime,
Bürger denken völkisch
und finden in der AfD eine
AR The D-UK mirror:
Leavers look like
this to Krauts
Two US immigrants:
Kurt Gödel and
Photo: Carl Court
and Tory intellectual
"I'm with Hillary."
"Honored to have you
New MC-21-300 airliner,
Irkutsk Aviation Plant,
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev:
"I am absolutely certain
the airliner will be the pride
of Russian civil
Italy has 600 boats to patrol
its coastline for
The UK has 3.
Just say No to
2016 June 16
Vote Stay In EU
The FT does not favour membership of the
single currency. But opting out of the EU would seriously damage the
UK economy. Constructive engagement is vital when Europe confronts
The referendum campaign is a contest between between
liberal internationalism and a pinched nationalism, between an
open-trading system and marginalisation. Britain's allies have
unanimously supported Remain.
The influx of EU migrants has
stirred fears about jobs, public services and British identity.
"Take back control" in the name of democracy is a seductive slogan.
But Leave has failed to spell out the serious risks of life outside
Britain's seat at the table has allowed it to win big
arguments in Brussels. The UK has shaped membership to its needs,
securing opt-outs from the euro and the Schengen agreement. It
retains control of income tax and corporate taxation. Education,
skills and a skewed housing market hold the UK economy back, not a
Brussels bureaucracy the size of Birmingham city council.
Brexit is an act of sabotage. It would put the territorial integrity
of the UK at risk and trigger a political crisis in the UK.
AR Vote In for peace and prosperity.
Vote Out for confusion and chaos.
2016 June 15
LIGO Sees Second Black Hole Death Spiral
On 26 December, 2015, for the second time,
LIGO caught the ripples in space-time shaken off by the death spiral
of a pair of black holes. The discovery was announced at an
AAS meeting today.
Signal GW151226 also came from a pair of black holes merging.
They were about 14.2 and 7.5 times the mass of the sun and merged to
form a black hole of 20.8 solar masses, radiating about 1 solar mass
of energy in gravitational waves in a couple of seconds. For
comparison, our sun has radiated about a millionth of its mass in 5
The new observation establishes gravitational
wave astronomy. The black holes in the first event were so massive
that LIGO saw them orbit less than 10 times before merging. In the
second collision, the team watched 55 full orbits before the end.
EU Rescued UK
In 1963, Britain was failing. It was being
overtaken economically by Germany and overpowered by France. The end
of Empire was coming and the Americans saw us as a bridge to the
British prime minister Harold Macmillan saw that
outside the European community the UK faced an eclipse. We finally
joined the European community in 1973. Since then, we have grown
faster than Germany, France, Italy, and even the US.
easy to say this growth has occurred despite the EU, not because of
it. We have adopted a different economic model — which shows the EU
does not dictate our laws and economic model. We have been free to
go our own way.
This country is a better place to be than it
was in 1973. Now virtually every democratic European country
eligible to join the EU has wanted to do so as soon as possible —
for good reason.
Leavers are inflaming public concern with
lies. Responding to public concern about migration is a challenge
worldwide. Populists are getting free rein to rant and exploit
Michael Gove and Boris Johnson are being
deliberately dishonest and divisive. Turkey isn't joining the EU.
They meet one out of 35 criteria they need to join. Cyprus and
Greece will veto them. Britain has a veto too. The
NHS crisis is down to government policy, not immigration. Brexit
would hit growth and mean less money for the NHS, not more.
Brexit will not help us to tackle illegal immigration. We need to
cooperate over the Syrian refugee crisis. No country can solve it
Brexit will not lead to big cuts in legal migration
either. Over half of migration comes from outside the EU. Johnson
has promised access to the single market and a good trade deal, so
we would end up like Norway or Switzerland, with little change to EU
immigration after all.
Voting Remain does not exclude backing
reforms to migrations rules and controls. We dare not let anger over
immigration overshadow the good reasons for staying in Europe.
2016 June 14
Last year saw the highest level ever of
EU net migration to the UK. A similar number came from outside the
EU for a total of 333,000.
Imagine that we left the EU and
banned EU immigration completely for 10 years. And for comparison,
imagine we stayed in the EU and immigration continued at the present
level (the highest ever) for the next 10 years. How would that pan
After 10 years we would have 1.85 million fewer people
living in the UK. Our population is 64.6 million, so under these
extreme assumptions the difference is about 3%.
realistic, a points system might reduce net immigration to 100,000
per year, say half from the EU and half from elsewhere. The
difference in population after 10 years would be 1.35 million, about
2%. If we use a 5-year average for net migration, the difference in
our population after 10 years is only 790,000, just over 1%.
So the impact on population is relatively small. By far the most
immigration to the UK over the last 40 years has been from outside
the EU and had nothing to do with EU membership.
make a big contribution to the UK. They contribute more in taxes
than they use in public services, so if we use that extra tax
revenue to hire more doctors, build more schools, invest in
transport and so on, we can have better public services than
The fundamental reason for NHS pressure,
oversubscribed schools, congested roads, and the housing crisis is
not EU immigration. For the last 30 years, we have failed by a wide
margin to build enough houses in the UK. So house prices are high.
The story of decades of underinvestment is repeated for our roads
and railways too.
All of these issues are within the control
of the UK government. They have nothing to do with the EU and are
not the fault of EU migrants. A new study finds no evidence that
immigrants take too many UK jobs or reduce wages or opportunities
for British workers.
Our net contribution to the EU was £8.5
billion last year and our annual NHS budget was £116 billion.
To work out the impact of leaving the EU on our public services, you
also need to consider the effect that leaving would have on the size
of our economy, and hence on government tax revenue. The best
estimate suggests that the government would have between £20 billion
and £40 billion less to spend on public services than if we remained
in the EU. So our public services would be much worse. Devaluation
following Brexit could wipe 20% off the value of the pound.
So leaving the EU to "take control of immigration" would not only
still leave us with the same problems we have today in housing, the
NHS, schools, roads and so on, but add to them a recession and
damage to the foundation of peace in Europe.
Churchill addressed the Congress of Europe in 1948: "A high and a
solemn responsibility rests upon us here ... If we allow ourselves
to be rent and disordered by pettiness and small disputes, if we
fail in clarity of view or courage in action, a priceless occasion
may be cast away for ever. But if we all pull together and pool the
luck and the comradeship ... then all the little children who are
now growing up in this tormented world may find themselves not the
victors nor the vanquished in the fleeting triumphs of one country
over another in the bloody turmoil of ... war, but the heirs of all
the treasures of the past and the masters of all the science, the
abundance and the glories of the future."
AR The UK is safer, stronger, and better
off IN the EU.
2016 June 13
A Historic Moment
I can only hope the British vote not to
leave. It is a historic moment.
The financial and the refugee
crises have fueled uncertainty, led to an uprising against political
correctness, and caused a movement against the establishment. A
feeling of instability is growing.
Divorce is traumatic for
all. Economically everyone in the EU would suffer, but especially
the British. Brexit would cheer all radical anti-Europeans in the EU
countries. And on Brexit day our external enemies would drink
Brexit would be a geopolitical setback for
the UK. It could be the beginning of the end not only of the EU but
of the entire political civilization of the West.
dissolution of all contractual obligations and connections would be
relatively simple, and would take about two years. Negotiating new
relationships would be much more difficult. Each one of the 27 EU
member states and the European Parliament must approve the overall
result. That will take at least five years to complete, and I'm
afraid without any guarantee of success.
would be the worst response to our problems.
The Brexit referendum is a trial balloon for
the health of western democracy. If the British are foolish enough
to leave Europe, perhaps Americans are crazy enough to elect Donald
Trump. Leaving Europe is to Brexiters what building a wall with
Mexico is to Trumpians — a guillotine on the cacophonous
multiculturalism of postmodern life. Both are reckless illusions.
Xenophobic sentiments are
presented as reason enough for Britain to leave the European Union.
The Leave campaign is telling voters that getting out of the EU
would fix the immigration problem. The response they expect unites
outright xenophobia and racism with a more general fear of
The debate about population mobility and
border control has been skewed by the misrepresentation of
immigration as an inherently pathological process. Most immigration
is no such thing. Migrant labour is routinely needed in this country
by the NHS, supermarkets, cleaning firms, public transport, and most
other sectors of the service economy.
Problems of capacity in
housing and public service provision are a side effect of this core
economic reality. Pragmatic border control is part of any social
contract. But a society on the move is a direct product of the
economic liberalization of the Thatcher revolution.
carries the day, the jobs that migrants presently fill will simply
be filled by non-EU migrants. Net migration from non-EU countries is
greater than that from the EU. The status of these migrants will not
be affected one way or the other by Brexit.
AR In other
words, block Poles and get Pakistanis. I have nothing against
Pakistanis, but Catholics are easier to tolerate than Muslims. I
vote for the easier option.
2016 June 12
Saving the West: A German View
The future of the West is at stake. The
European Union has unified western Europe for seven decades. Britain
is a bridge between Europe and the United States.
would lose much with Brexit and gain nothing but a brief moment of
pride. They have irritated the rest of Europe for years with their
special requests, self-pity, and wretched haggling over every last
Saving the West: An American View
The British referendum is too close to call.
The disaster if Britain voted to leave would be huge.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, the disintegration of the European
Union would be sweet revenge for the fall of the Soviet Union.
Brexit would offer comfort for the fantasies of populist politicians
like Donald Trump in the United States and Marine Le Pen in France.
Trump calls NATO obsolete when we need it to defend the Baltic
states from Putin.
Brexit would devastate Britain too if
England and Scotland parted. A season of anger is upon us.
Self in the Digital Age
The digital revolution changes what it
means to be human. When everyone is carrying a smartphone, they can
be found and intruded upon, not only at a fixed address at home
or at work, but everywhere and at all times. A newly pervasive and
transient sense of self has migrated to the digital cloud and to the
judgments of the crowd.
Teenagers use messaging services to
open private channels of communication after encountering one
another in social networks. The zombie apocalypse is upon us as the undead lurch through the streets, each staring
blankly at a screen. The Internet turns experiences from the
material world that used to be densely physical into abstractions in
a world of pleasure and immediacy.
The crowd has always been
the field in which isolation dissolves and the individual will
merges into collective impersonal force. The habit of making and
seeking status updates of oneself and others creates a similar crowd
that coalesces bodies into monstrously connected chimeras. Machines
change the deepest experience of life.
2016 June 11
Brexit: A German View
The withdrawal of Britain would be a
heavy loss for Europe.
Britain is one of the
strongest economies in the EU. London is Europe's largest financial
center, and Britain plays a leading role in all matters of foreign
and security policy. That is why Europe is stronger with Britain
than without it.
Britain is economically very closely
integrated with its European partner countries. Were these ties to
be cut, it would be a huge step backwards for the country and would
weaken it considerably. In the era of globalization, splendid
isolation is not a smart option.
One has to respect the
sovereignty of the British people. No one knows how the markets
would react on the day after a decision like this. If the British do
vote to leave the EU, it will be important to remain calm.
response to Brexit, a call for more integration would be crude. Even
if only a small majority of the British voters rejected a
withdrawal, we would have to see it as a wakeup call and a warning
not to continue with business as usual. Either way, we have to take
a serious look at reducing bureaucracy in Europe.
and security policy, we need the British in Europe. Whenever anyone
on the European mainland tried to oppress other countries, the
British were their most prominent adversaries, and they tipped the
balance each time. That was true in the fight against Napoleon 200
years ago, just as it was against Hitler 80 years ago.
has grown through crises. It has emerged stronger from each one. Six
years ago, many no longer thought the common currency had much of a
future. Today the euro is the uncontested second reserve currency in
the world, and it is stable.
One country alone cannot lead
Europe, especially not Germany. We need France and Poland. The EU is
far better balanced with Britain than without it. And the more
Britain gets involved, the better Europe works.
I have always
greatly admired and respected Britain.
2016 June 10
IN or OUT?
Public EU debate, New Milton, Hampshire
AR I spoke alongside Roy
Perry, formerly an MEP and now Leader of Hampshire County Council.
Leading the charge against us was Paul Bailey, founder and chief
executive of Col-Tec plc and former UKIP parliamentary candidate.
The audience was aggressive and I fielded many hostile questions,
but afterwards I won a big round of applause and shook numerous
hands. A win, I guess, although most of them will probably still
NATO is the most successful alliance in
history. Now we are positioning ourselves to address an increasingly
confident Russia. We have enhanced our presence in the eastern part
of the alliance.
At the NATO summit at the beginning of July
in Warsaw, we will determine how to defend ourselves in future. Our
planning staff has proposed sending battalion-sized units to the
east. We will improve our infrastructure and position materiel and
reinforcements in the region. The NATO rapid reaction force has been
tripled in size, to 40,000 troops.
Our stronger presence in
the east is in keeping with the counsel of our military planners. We
can deploy NATO soldiers all over the world on extremely short
notice, including to the Baltics. Today, the decisive factor is
rapid deployability. We do not want any confrontations. We are
working to establish a more constructive relationship with Moscow.
NATO is an alliance of 28 democratic societies. History shows
that democracies have forged the strongest military alliance that
has ever existed. In the end, democratic societies are stronger and
more resilient than any autocracy. Democracy, individual civil
liberties, and the rule of law are the basis for our unity. These
values are fundamental to NATO.
2016 June 9
Celts End Fortress UK Dream
Sir John Major and Tony Blair travel to
Northern Ireland to warn Brexit could jeopardize the peace process
and the future of Fortress UK.
The two former
prime ministers say Brexit could see the reintroduction of a hard
border in Ireland between north and south, reigniting political
Sir John also claims that if Britain left the EU it
could trigger an "uncontrollable and irresistible" demand for a
second independence referendum in Scotland.
Sir John: "That
means the unity of the United Kingdom itself is on the ballot
AR Vote Leave means vote
FUK means end of the Union, hello Little England minus its Celtic
fringe, and Albion alone in a sea of troubles.
2016 June 8
David Cameron always understood the danger. He wanted an
emergency brake so that freedom of movement would still be the norm
but that the UK would have the power to cap numbers in abnormal or
extreme circumstances. Angela Merkel apparently said no.
year's net immigration influx of 333,000 could be 444,000 this year
or 555,000 next. There is no upper limit. A recession in Europe
could accelerate the flow of unskilled workers to Britain.
a campaign when so many unbelievable things are said by both sides,
the right of this island nation to control who lives and works here
could hardly be more tangible.
If Brits vote Leave, it will
be because of a desire for border control and an Australian-style
points system. Any arrangement that preserves freedom of movement
will be ruled out.
AR This is an
emotive issue for many, and easy to have a robust opinion on,
independently of humanistic scruples or sympathy for poor people
elsewhere, and it plays on the widespread British propensity to
construe "we" as native British islanders.
|Poole Mayor Xena
Dion in a 1909 Stanley Steamer
the Poole Park Photomosaic
Mind and Cosmos
Nagel says something
more than physics and biology
is needed to
beings. He says we can't know
what it is like to
be a bat. We
cannot be bats. For him, this
of everything. He proposes a
natural teleology to
the universe waking up
and becoming aware
"Once you have paid him
the Danegeld, you never
get rid of the Dane."
Rumble in the Jungle
"Donald Trump says he has
because he ran the Miss
Universe pageant in Russia
His ideas are not just different,
they are dangerously
They're not even really ideas,
just a series of
personal feuds and
2016 June 7
As the EU referendum looms, two anxieties
collide: the fear of job losses if the UK leaves and the fear of
high immigration if it remains.
Britain has no empire and its
special relationship with the United States is played out. Leavers
try to summon a patriotic vision of Britain standing alone, a race
apart, an island fortress, independent of Europe. Remainers want Britain to maintain a positive engagement with
The positive case for the UK in the EU is to lead its
next stage of development. Britain can put itself in the vanguard of
charting a course for Europe. A new agenda can help reinvigorate
Europe and promote the union that the international community needs:
Britain is home to respected intelligence agencies well placed to
lead a more professional European effort on intelligence sharing and
Britain must help the union provide its neighbors with new
educational, economic, and entrepreneurial opportunities.
• Climate change
With British encouragement, Europe can lead the world in renewable
energy projects and in building the world's leading network of
• Economic revival
Britain can play a vital role in making the EU an engine of global
growth again. The future of the continent lies not in a United
States of Europe but in a United Europe of States.
On July 4,
1962, President John F. Kennedy called for a "declaration of
interdependence" with a Europe pledged toward a more perfect union
and urged Britain to champion a united Europe. He was right. Britons
should vote Lead, not Leave.
Flash Gordon to the rescue again!
2016 June 6
Trump cards: Remainers have the economy,
Leavers have immigration.
In 2015, net migration to the UK
hit 333,000, the second-highest number on record, with about half
that number coming from the EU.
Leavers say immigration from
Europe demonstrates loss of sovereignty, the faulty judgment of
elites, and the difficulty of achieving meaningful reform of the EU.
A nation state traditionally has the right to decide who can
live in the country and enjoy the benefits of citizenship. That
right is sacrificed by EU members. Free movement is one of the four
freedoms basic to EU membership. All EU citizens have the right to
live and work anywhere in the EU.
Leavers blur the
distinction between legal immigrants from the EU and refugees from
the Mideast. They even cite sexual assaults by migrants in Germany.
Migration from Europe has benefited Britain. But many British
people are ready to accept that high immigration makes social
Concerns about immigration could win the day
on 23 June.
Last year, 270,000 people came to the UK
from the EU and net migration was 184,000. Since 2004, 1.25 million
people have been added to the population due to EU migration.
London has benefited in so many ways from migration. As Mayor I
argued consistently for a more sensible visa policy that would
welcome talented people from across the globe, people recruited on
the basis of their skills.
People of all races and
backgrounds in the UK are genuinely concerned about uncontrolled
immigration. We need to answer those concerns by taking back control
of those borders.
We cannot control the numbers. We cannot
control the terms on which people come and how we remove those who
abuse our hospitality. Worst of all, this has deeply damaged faith
in our democratic system.
The Government has failed because
inside the EU we cannot control immigration. We have to accept the
principle of free movement. The only way to take back control of
immigration is to Vote Leave on 23 June.
AR Immigration to the UK from outside
the EU is the problem. EU migrants represent economic opportunity
all round. If we make the effort, we can control the influx of
outside immigrants already, Brexit or not. Brussels has nothing to
do with it.
2016 June 5
Clash of Generations
There is a conflict of interest between young and old. Last
week, voters aged 18-24 were in favor of the UK remaining in the EU
by 78% to 22%. Voters aged 65 and over favor Brexit by 68% to 32%.
US millennials are in trouble unless they see dramatic change.
They have had two recessions, students have mountains of debt, most
face high healthcare costs and mediocre job prospects.
democracy won last century. It entrenched the position of trade
unions and created public sector jobs with generous pensions and
other benefits for older workers, above all in healthcare. When tax
revenues did not cover the costs, social democrats borrowed.
The liabilities of the US federal government vastly exceed stated
government debt. Generational accounting shows a huge gap between
future federal outgoings and revenues. To close it would require
every federal tax to be increased by 53% or every federal
expenditure to be cut by 34%.
Young Americans will either pay
much higher taxes than their parents or get much less in social
security and Medicare, or both. They need reform of the bloated
entitlement system, the public sector unions, and the universities.
Young Britons oppose Brexit because they will have to pick up
the tab if the UK votes to leave.
Alain de Botton
Marriage is a gamble taken by two people
facing a future they cannot imagine. They are drawn together by
instinct and know it is right. Romance outweighs reason.
think we seek happiness in marriage. What we really seek is
familiarity. We seek to recreate feelings from childhood.
make mistakes because we are so lonely. To choose an optimal partner
we have to be at peace with the prior prospect of years of solitude.
We marry to preserve the joy we felt when we proposed. We failed
to see that there was no solid connection between that and the
Abandon the romantic ideal. The best partner is
good at disagreement. Compatibility is an achievement of love, not
AR Marry well,
be happy. Marry badly, become a philosopher.
2016 June 4
Working Toward the Führer
The Third Reich maxim to work toward the
imagined aims of Adolf Hitler pushed him to ever wilder extremes.
Anyone who could persuade others that he was carrying out the
Führer's will would get his way. A chaotic struggle raged between
opportunists who claimed to speak his mind. The maxim cuts Hitler
down to size and widens responsibility for the ensuing disaster.
Hitler devoted his life to acting the Führer. His
private life was boring but he was a tremendous orator. Beginning
with droning and dull recitals of fact and analysis, he would
suddenly shift his voice upward almost an octave, double its pace,
and explode into yelling demagogy. He became chancellor not by his
own efforts but by those of idiots who claimed to manage him.
In 1933, the Nazis smashed parliamentary democracy, silenced all
opponents, brought a chaos of voices under central control, and
imposed a national revolution. Hitler ruined the groups that had led
him to power: the titled landowners and the officer class. His
legacy in Germany includes a stronger sense of social equality and
solidarity. A new Europe rose out of the ruins.
2016 June 3
Academic philosophers often disregard the
possibility of finding philosophy outside the university. Yet unlike
most departments in the modern university, philosophical activity
seems to have a niche in every society in recorded history.
Philosophy is so primitive and socially basic that its domestication
in the university can seem dubious or laughable.
For much of
its history, philosophy was the study of particular things. Although
some strands of philosophy assert the unity of philosophical and
scientific knowledge, philosophy is usually taught as a specifically
European innovation in human history. But the tradition stemming
from the ancient Greeks does not explain all the philosophy in world
Perhaps philosophy is like dance, a practice
inherent in human life and society, which emerges in a host of forms
in different places and times. Philosophy can be found wherever and
whenever humans begin to reflect on the concepts by which they live.
If philosophy is a basic human activity, not to expand the borders
of its history would be absurd.
Most philosophers end up
advocating a specific kind of philosophy, relying on tactics of
exclusion. Philosophy as an academic discipline depends upon its
distinction from other disciplines and upon the assumption that it
requires its own setting and credentials to exist. Academic
philosophers are in danger of betraying the activity they profess to
AR With four degrees
in philosophy and experience of teaching it at Oxford, I guess I
count as a philosopher in the bad sense as well as the good.
2016 June 2
We work well together with the United
We have to develop new rules for the European Union
together with the UK. Whenever we negotiate them, you can much
better have an influence on the debate when you sit at the
bargaining table and you can give input into those negotiations,
rather than being outside of the room. Having led many negotiations
with countries outside the EU in the past, I can say we would never
enter the same compromises and reach the same good outcomes with
states that don't share the responsibilities and costs of the common
I personally hope and wish that Britain will stay.
2016 June 1
Germans are still traumatized by their
history. Setting aside whether Nazism arose from the German DNA,
four trends led people to revolt: economic depression, loss of trust
in institutions, social humiliation, and political blunder. These
trends echo in the West today.
The 1929 crash set off a
global depression. Things were bad in Germany, just as traditional
ways of life and values were being shaken by modernization. A
cultural chasm opened between the traditional working and middle
classes and the cosmopolitan elite.
Some people today think
Hitler sneaked up on Germany. In fact, mainstream politicians saw
the danger but failed to stop him. The conservative parties and the
nobility believed he could be their useful idiot, contained as
chancellor by a squad of reasonable ministers.
century, Europeans and Americans thought things were fine. The 2008
crash left many millions of people angry. The result is a protest
against globalized postmodernity. Liberal democracy has become too
elitist to respond to the challenge.
My family came from Lwow (now Lviv) in
The peace and security we take for granted is fragile
and precious. Britain often went to war to preserve the balance of
power in Europe. World War II really ended with the fall of the
The EU is a huge achievement.
Jonathan Besler Photo
Wagnerian weather in southern Germany