We are pulling for you, but you have an uphill climb

When a good friend does something that you suggested he or she not do as it is fraught with peril, you are concerned, but still care for them and pull for them. This is especially true when, as an outsider, you can see more clearly the troubles with a decision to do something. It gives you a sick feeling, but you will do your best to help them soldier on.

That is how many feel about our friends in the UK with Brexit, a vote to leave the European Union. I recognize the EU is imperfect like any government entity and needs improvements, but the global construct is more beneficial than it is not, due to more trade and freedom of movement. Working collaboratively, also helps lessen the risk of national turmoil which can cause unhealthy behaviors.

The global financial markets have shown an immediate displeasure with the change with significant declines and the pound priced at a 35 year low. Watching BBC World News America and PBS Newshour, where many global financial and political experts spoke, the sense is this is not just a short term aberration and that the Brexit will cause more long term financial anguish. Plus, with Scotland poised to initiate another referendum to leave the UK, this time to rejoin the EU, coupled with Northern Ireland considering the same, this does not look promising. June 23, 2016 may be remembered as the beginning of the end of the current UK construct.

All of this is unfortunate. Clearly, the UK citizens have a right to decide on their own country. Yet, in addition to Scottish and Northern Irish voters wanting to remain, the people under the age of 35 clearly wanted to remain, as they see the continued job opportunities with a solid EU. So, this is not a universally appreciated decision. What these folks see is non-UK companies setting up headquarters in the UK for their Europe business. With this change, my guess is some will consider relocating those to the Republic of Ireland or on the main continent. London’s loss may be Dublin, Paris or Frankfurt’s gain.

The UK will soldier on and the US will continue to support it. We will pull for you, but the climb is now more uphill. We should be reducing barriers to trade, not erecting them. No one is relishing redoing trade agreements with all of these entities. The uncertainty created just by this process alone will cause issues. Plus, it adds the uncertainty of other EU countries following suit. The more disruption, the harder trade becomes and creates opportunities for unhealthy nationalism.

The EU does need to do a better job of governance. The EU does need to do a better job of allowing the pipe on immigrants to be tightened and loosened dependent on the labor demands of an individual  country. These are fixable problems, but they need to be worked at collectively and with due consideration of one’s country’s labor market. Leaving the EU makes everything a little bit harder to accomplish.

I know the “Leave” voters are happy, but the rest of the world is saddened (with some exceptions), that the vote to remain was defeated. And, that is unfortunate. It would be my sincere hope is that the next few months will allow the UK to reconsider its decision and proceed with a new vote. This may be precipitated by a need to ward off Scottish and Northern Irish votes to leave the UK.


40 thoughts on “We are pulling for you, but you have an uphill climb

  1. I haven’t been reading about this – you know I try to stay away from the news in order to control my depression – but I agree. We are becoming more and more fractured on this planet. I can’t say that I am thrilled with the way the whole “global economy” works, it has caused too much suffering in the country for the “normal people” while lining the pockets of the rich with an unhealthy degree of wealth. Of course, this has been going on for a while – remember me talking about the television program “The West Wing”? In episode #519 “Talking Points”, (http://westwing.bewarne.com/fifth/519points.html) they addressed the issue – you should watch that one, in particular, if you have Netflix, or you may be able to watch online somewhere?

    “Immediately thereafter Josh learns that the deal he just negotiated allowed companies to move more computer programming jobs to India.”

    So, hard working Americans are promised programming jobs if they stand behind the bill, only to find that the programming jobs they were promised are now gone to India, and the best they can hope for is part time work at Micky D’s…. that one put me into a rage! All the promises, and once again, American workers find their jobs gone, and their only possible jobs asking, “Do you want fries with that?”

    • Leiah, your points are valid ones, but on the whole, global trade has been a huge help to the economy and jobs. Both Clinton and Reagan were big on global trade and there were more jobs created under Clinton and the 3rd most under Reagan. There are a number of foreign companies who produce things here, such as cars rather than ship them from overseas.

      With that said, companies have tended to chase cheap labor, always have. This trend in the deterioration between the haves and have-nots can be traced to technology improvements (which will be the biggest threat), offshoring (your point), outsourcing, downsizing, rightsizing and wage suppression. We need to shore up minimum wages and the earned income tax credit. We need to invest in our country with even more infrastructure investment and ABCD (asset based community development) investment, and we need to support retraining efforts through community colleges, even more than is being done now.

      While we must be mindful of the pipeline of immigrants, closing the borders is not the answer. Our university system is the best in the world and we attract a significant percentage of teens from around the world. By keeping those who want to stay, innovation flourishes. Easy example, there is an 18 year old inventor from India attending Princeton in the fall. He represents the talent we need to keep on our shores.

      The dilemma is these issues are complex and cannot be argued on a bumper sticker like one of our Presidential candidates tends to do. The “leave the EU” movement has a right to be concerned, but being together is far better than being apart. And, the opportunities for the youth are more, which is why they overwhelmingly voted to remain.

      Thanks so much for the reblog, Keith

      • All valid points, I agree. But I tend to have a “worker bee” mentality. And being my age, I have watched as men and women who have been loyal to the companies they have worked for for years being thrown away like trash, their lives and families destroyed, homes lost, you know the drill. The youth do gain, sometimes, in the long run, as the jobs of older, more loyal workers are taken away from them and given to the younger, less trained, and cheaper workforce, but I have to remind them – they will reach their 40’s and be thrown away like trash as well. Remembering that is important. Of course, my disliking it won’t change anything!

      • Leiah, your comments are valid as well. The key reason is money. The older person can be replaced with someone cheaper and, maybe more inclined to do things a new way. The emphasis is on “may” as this often is cited as a reason – the older person is told the skill sets are different or eliminate the job and displace them. This will happen even more with technology, which has been one of the reasons in the past. With globalization, this is happening with offshoring or outsourcing to an IT firm in India, e.g.

        On the flip side, there are a significant number of foreign companies who have North American operations. Auto makers is an easy example, as it is cheaper to make them here for our market rather than ship them here. Yet, with that said, we still need to shoot straight with people and help them get trained for new positions. Also, companies once again need to value loyalty and consistency more. For more than a few jobs, it is better to have a C+ or B- effort from someone who shows up everyday and stays for ten years, rather than someone who does A work, but leaves after six months, just when you have them trained.

        This is a complex issue and you are right, it tends to be the older folks who are discarded. I guess the key in life is to stay as relevant as you can. Thanks for your excellent dialogue. Keith

      • Annnndddddd – I am taking technical support training classes, in telephone technical services, virtual machine architecture, etc. The editing just isn’t coming in as much as I would like…. 😦

      • I do wonder how much longer this practice of discarding the elderly will go on. I hear from my son and one of my former students that it is increasingly difficult to find younger workers who want to work hard. They complain loudly that the applicants they interview — for professional positions of responsibility — want high pay and fewer working hours. Employers may soon discover that the older workers are cheaper in the long run — and more reliable!

      • Hugh, your point is valid. Easy example, if I were a retailer, I would have some retired folks on staff. They will be more dependable and show up. This also translate into other businesses as well. Keith

  2. Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today and commented:
    I am simply reblogging from friends right now – I am in a Computer Technical Services class for the next few days, and my time is really crammed! So, enjoy Kieth’s writing, and if you aren’t following him, you should be. He is thoughtful, contentious, and always has well thought out posts that truly make you think!

  3. Very thoughtful and fair appraisal of the sad situation, my friend. I am working on a post in which I argue that this decision was less about finances than it is about bigotry. It is probably both!

    • Hugh, that clearly was a factor for many, but we should not short change the financials part either. I think the immigrants have been demonized as the reason for fewer better paying jobs. Yet, the opposite measure of increased opportunity here and abroad, the buying power brought in from abroad, easier travel and movement, have all been major plusses which make staying in the EU much more economically favorable.

      But, to your point, it goes beyond the financials. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, speaks of this issue and puts together a song at the end that sums it up. I look forward to reading your post. Keith

      • Given the voting breakdown, it appears the older blue collar generation carried the day. But this is the same group that supports Trump in this country. The stain of bigotry isa there in the form of the suspicion that “foreigners” are out to take my job away.

      • What is interesting is Scotland has a heavy blue collar mix and they overwhelmingly supported the EU remain vote. The premise put forth last Sunday by John Oliver, a former Brit, on his show Last Week Tonight, relates to more historical issues, so the allegiance to the EU was smaller in the minds of many English and Welsh. I don’t know enough to opine on Oliver’s view. But, the vote is likely due to a complex see of factors.

      • Of course he did. He will be bashing more and more folks. I hope they print my letter to the editor, as George Will said he does not represent my Republican party. My letter says Trump is a mirror image of the ugly part of the GOP. It was not Trump who has made a state by state assault on LGBT rights, Black and student voter rights and the environment. It is not only Trump who is standing in the way of better gun control laws, more climate change actions and more infrastructure investment.

    • I dare say. I didn’t mean to suggest that bigotry and the transformation of news into information were the only causes — just that they are major causes and that they operate in this country as well. (Though I see that the Trumpet’s numbers are falling. There is hope yet!)

  4. I will add my two penneth Keith, as you’ve asked me too 🙂 It probably isn’t what you want to hear though. With any contentious issue such as this, there is in my view no wholly correct decision. If there was an entirely clear cut pathway into the future the PM would not have put it out to referendum. Whether the voters had chosen to remain OR leave the EU, there would have been many people unhappy who reside on the opposite side to whichever one won, and the world can have whatever opinions they have. It doesn’t bother me. I didn’t vote myself because there are pluses or minuses to both outcomes and I am pretty ambivalent, though on balance more on the leave side. I don’t believe one way (in your view to remain) is wholly the right way, and the other way (to leave) leaves us automatically doomed as country. I just don’t believe it’s that clear cut. I don’t read newspapers or watch the news, never have done. I know that there are a lot of highly intelligent well informed people who will come to decisions based on the evidence they know. However a lot of people’s opinions on politics are governed by the newspapers we choose to read. Each newspaper will each have their own bias and present unbalanced evidence and inflammatory propaganda that supports that particular political viewpoint. So that’s why I don’t allow myself to be influenced by newspaper propaganda, nor do I have particularly strong views or political leanings in either direction. When it comes to refendums I don’t think it’s right to do one, and then consider getting the population to vote again when the politicians don’t get the result they expect. I also think it’s highly insulting for anyone to judge the British public’s decision. The majority made that decision based on the campaigns we were exposed to. That’s politics! That’s my view anyway. And my opinion will not change or be influenced due to me reading anything, so I will continue to not read anything. With me, I am strongly opinionated in my own unique directions on all topics, and I have an independent mind and don’t follow the crowd. I commend you for taking the time to post an intelligent account of your viewpoint and everyone is entitled to do that. I think people thinking they’re right and others and completely wrong/ignorant is unfair though as there are always two sides to every story 🙂 Well done for your post Keith 🙂

    • BE, thank you so much for your response. It is greatly appreciated, which is why I asked you for it. You are so right, that it is not my place to interfere with the decisions in another country; I hopefully conveyed that. But, you must also know that I try to remain informed from legitimate sources of news. It is very hard to find less-biased sources that cover the issues. What concerns me is the Scottish leaders met Saturday to discuss a renewed referendum to leave the UK and to remain in the EU and Northern Ireland’s leader has noted they may follow suit. That is also unfortunate. So, the next few months will reveal a future that is even more tenuous. I truly wish for the best. And, I also understand the issues which caused the “leave” vote. If by some change of heart, the UK decides to stay in the EU, these issues need to be addressed. At the end of the day, my opinion does not count. Thanks again for your well-worded response. Keith

      • Thanks Keith. I think you’re totes amazing and that doesn’t change even though we may disagree on world politics 🙂 I admire your intelligence and ability to construct a reasoned argument and time will tell what happens. I guess my life philosophy is not on a world bigger picture level. I devote my energies to the very important circle of people closely around me and as long as I’m a good friend, as good as I can be, I hope that keeping my close circle happy is enough to create a positive ripple effect on the universe 🙂 Take care Keith

      • BE, many thanks for your note. Friends often disagree on issues, but it does not and should not alter the friendship. Unfortunately, here in the states, we have allowed ourselves to become polarized, so we talk at each other, rather than to.

        Being a good friend and family member matters most. It is the ultimate “think globally and act locally” action. As we have discussed before, being there for your daughters and family is most important.

        Best wishes, my friend. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: On “The Week” with Charlie Rose, a member of a UK panel of experts noted one community voted to leave, but the largest employer in the community is a Japanese auto maker that is there to have duty free access to the European market. So, these folks voted against their economic interest, as this auto maker will now have to make a decision as to its future presence. On PBS Newshour, it was reported that 59% of Scots would advocate leaving the UK, as they feel when they voted to remain a part of the UK in 2014, that it was under the presumption the UK would remain in the EU. The reporter said the impression he got is it is likely the Scots will move forward with another referendum to leave the UK. As I mentioned, it is my sincere hope that the UK petition which is now at 3.3 million will cause a new UK referendum to remain in the EU, so more information is available to the public about pros and cons. If Scotland leaves, followed by Northern Ireland, the UK may have shot itself in the foot.

  6. I have a friend that lives in Wales. She posted yesterday that she has witnessed history revert back decades over the last 3 days. She posted a photo of signs that have popped up telling all “Pols” to “go back where they came from.” Hate is ramped and she is scared.

    • Lisa, as Hugh notes in his excellent blog post, bigotry and fear are factors and used by many politicians. I was watching the excellent movie “All the Way” with Brian Cranston doing an impressive LBJ acting role. In the movie, LBJ speaks directly to a hostile southern audience (after the Civil Rights Act was passed) to the fear Barry Goldwater was drumming up in the south, along with George Wallace, the first Donald Trump. He impressively puts down that fear at least for this election which he won, but he knew he was losing the Dixiecrats to the GOP for a generation. Thanks for opining and sharing you friend’s story. By the way, I did hear on PBS last night that 75% of the service industry is staffed by EU citizens living in London. These folks are worried about their livelihoods.


  7. Brexit, like the rise of the Dumpster, do not bode well for our planet. Our divide and conquer mode will tear us apart. And with the tools at hand, that rending could happen with lightning speed and global devastation. Together we fall.

    • Linda, it does not, but on the flip side the UK will see first hand the cost of not collaborating. I wrote a post several moons ago called “Coexisting and Capitalism.” In short, the economy does better when we coexist and collaborate. Trade is a terrific aphrodisiac to better economic results. Unfortunately, the real result of Brexit is revealing and will continue to reveal its ugliness for our friends in the UK. I just hope the petition and Scotland/ Northern Ireland’s displeasure will cause a revote or pause to fully evaluate the implications without politics. The financial experts say the fall off will be 1% to 3% of GDP in the UK, but that does not factor in Scotland or Northern Ireland leaving. Keith

      • Yes, it will. I think Clinton will choose Julian Castro as her running mate, but Elizabeth Warren is campaigning side-by-side with her. What do you think?

      • I think it would be wise for Elizabeth to keep campaigning with her, but from her current position of authority. I’m afraid 2 women running on the ticket might be the straw that broke the camel’s back. And I suspect Elizabeth can say things from where she is, that she could not say as a running mate. But what I think doesn’t matter. It will be interesting…

      • I agree, I think Warren is there to help. I think if the Dems retake the Senate, Warren could become the party leader.

  8. Note to Readers: Although the Chancellor of the Ex-Checquer, the UK Treasurer tried to calm folks, the financial markets took another hit today and the UK’s debt rating was downgraded due to the uncertainty. Further several foreign companies are now on record that they must consider moving their European HQs and/ or plants to EU countries. Boris Johnson, the flamboyant former London Mayor and Leave advocate, noted the markets had settled, but as noted above they do not look too settled to me. Scotland is moving forward with their referendum planning, but will also send an advisory recommendation that does not support the move out of the EU – note the advisory does not carry weight. More to come.

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