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Miles Morland, the sage of contrary British thinkers, offers two contrary predictions — on the fate of the UK after BREXIT and of President Trump’s party in the U.S. Midterms. Whether his predictions turn out to be right or wrong, he is guaranteed to stimulate your thinking.
--Marvin Zonis

Brexit – Calm Down, Dears

By Miles Morland

Younger people don’t remember Y2K. In the late 1990s people suddenly realised that Microsoft had forgotten to design their software to allow for a change from the second millennium to the third, so when 1999 gave way to 2000 all computers in the world were going to go doolally. Businesses would collapse, electricity, gas, airports, train systems, governments would be crippled. As an investment manager I was asked weekly by clients and regulators if we were “Y2K compliant”. Nuclear weapons might be launched by mistake. All through 1998 and 1999 governments panicked. If you don’t believe me, read this http://amp.timeinc.net/time/3645828/y2k-look-back .

Remind you of anything?

I mentioned in Brexit – Grow Up a couple of months ago the extraordinary propaganda being promulgated by the BBC, Guardian, FT, Economist, senior civil servants, and other outriders of the metropolitan elite.

Because of Brexit, they have been saying, Britain was finished, food should be stock- piled, medicines would run out, the pound would collapse along with the stock market, we would need visas to cross the channel, EU citizens in England would be summarily expelled, and the booming EU would leave Britain in its wake.

All of those assertions, viewed from a Britain which is performing just fine economically, far better than the Bank of England’s feverish predictions, whose 4% unemployment rate is the envy of the EU, whose currency is higher against the dollar and the euro than it was two years ago, and whose finances are in better shape than most EU countries, are just childish scare-mongering.

If lies have been told about Brexit, it is not Mr Farage and the wonderfully sinister Mr Banks we should be looking at, but at the Financial Times, the Bank of England, the Guardian, and the civil service. Much of what these once-respected entities say is pure, nanny-says-the-boogieman-is-coming, fantasy. They should be ashamed of themselves and one of these days it is to be hoped that they will write the kind of mea-culpas that Time Magazine wrote over Y2K. But don’t hold your breath. These are people who don’t like to admit they are wrong. They still can’t believe that Trump is President of the US. Nor do they understand why.

I have no crystal ball, but I’ll give you my very boring forecast.

Brexit will be a non-event. It will be another Y2K. It will come and go and we will go on leading lives pretty much as we did before. We won’t be much richer, and we won’t be much poorer. A few things will change. We won’t send our money to Brussels for them to decide which British farmers should get subsidised with British money. We won’t send our education money to Brussels for a Hungarian yoga-teacher (I’m not joking) to decide on which British universities it should be spent. That’s healthy but you won’t notice the difference.

We English lead the world at fudge. Brexit will be a fudge. Like the best divorces it will leave both sides feeling grumpy. Divorces are dangerous when one side walks away smiling.

Brussels is feeling nervous. For a long time Herr Juncker and his commission-selected oligarchs have been secure because they knew that the Chancellor of Germany, the most powerful woman in the world, and the President of France, the new Jupiter, had their back Uh-uh. Frau Merkel has turned to candy-floss and Germany is about to go into a multi-year political melt-down. Jupiter, Mr Macron, has achieved the impossible. He is now even more unpopular than his predecessor, Francois Hollande. He has become a political eunuch. And the other big countries. Italy? Italy has elected a government that hates the EU and has just passed a EU-illegal budget. Spain? Portugal? Hungary? Poland? Austria? Everywhere mini- Trumps are popping their heads out of the edelweiss.

New politicians are making their voices heard in Europe. The metropolitan elite dismiss them as the alt-right, whatever that is meant to mean. I have been a liberal all my life and will die a liberal but I listen to this lady talking in the Reichstag and I’m impressed. Just as voting for Brexit did not make me an ignorant, racist bigot, hearing what Alice Weidel has to say will not turn you into Mussolini. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNh3312dTtA&feature=youtu.be . Listen to it. You may be surprised at hearing the voice of much of Europe, a voice that likes and is sympathetic to Britain, a voice that detests the Brussels oligarchy.

In five years’ time, with the euro in tatters, EU countries will look enviously at Britain. We will have our own currency. We will have our own government. We will not have to contribute to bail-outs of the Garlic Belt (Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain, sometimes unkindly known by bankers as the PIGS). Not everything will be rosy, but we will have avoided electing Mr Corbyn and we will be muddling along in our irritating English way having fudged Brexit.

Leaving the EU will probably cause some pain due to the hostility of the EU oligarchs. They are unprincipled, self-elected, thugs who, in their spite at our deciding to go our own way, will do whatever they can to make our leaving as uncomfortable as possible. To say that this is an argument for remaining part of this sorry group of thugs is odd. It is like saying that you should go on running heroin for the Mafia because they would break your legs if you stopped. It is a fine argument for separating ourselves from them.

As I have tried to point out in the three Brexit papers I have written, England’s future is much brighter than that of our continental neighbours. We are, along with the US, one of the two leading post-industrial powers who dominate the great post-industrial industries, the brain-intensive industries as opposed to the capital-intensive ones at which our Germans friends are so good thank to the rigged euro.

Remainders are obsessed with “trade agreements”. Big deal. Why are these so important? The countries that have done best at exporting over the last fifty years, China, Japan and Taiwan, have had few trade agreements with the countries to which they send most of their exports. The pluses and minuses of trade agreements tend to be more than offset by monthly currency movements. They are a red herring used by Remainers to frighten the ignorant.

Brexit is the new Y2K, full of sound and fury and soon forgotten. Calm down, dears. It’s going to be OK.

*****

While I’m making predictions, I’ll stick my neck out and make a further rash prediction which will be proved right or wrong by the end of this week. The US mid-term elections are both important and fascinating. Usually the party in power gets thumped mid- term. It happened to Obama who lost his majorities in the House and Senate, and it happened to G W Bush. In fact it happens to just about every sitting President. They get thumped.

Waal, I don’t think the Donald will get thumped. He will do much better than Obama or Bush did. He will hold the Senate where they decide things like Supreme Court Justices and, if he loses the House, as he has said he might, it will be a squeaker. He might even against all the odds hold it.

I hold no brief for President Trump but his is a most interesting Presidency. Obama is a lovely man, but he did buggah all apart from restore style and civility to the White House.

OK, Obamacare . . . has that been a great success? You tell me. His weakness was that he thought that style trumped substance. GW Bush was defined by Iraq.

Trump though is a game-changer. Lying on your bed and drumming your fists about Trump, as the NY Times, the New Yorker, and the upmarket British press do is idiotic. Making patronising metropolitan elite jokes about Trump is indulging in denial. As we are seeing all over Europe and in many other parts of the world, where Trump has led many are following. Sticking your fingers in your ears, New Yorker-style, and going waaa-waaa-waaa until the howwid man goes away is as sensible as ignoring communism in 1917.

 

Posted November 3, 3028

Mr. Miles Quintin Morland is the Co-Founding Partner and Chairman of Development Partners International. He spent 22 years in money management and investment banking as Head of First Boston. He serves as a Director of a number of emerging market funds, the Dubai Investment Group and of various companies. He serves as a Director of SouthWest Energy (BVI) Limited. Mr. Morland serves as a Director of SW Energy, Ethiopian Oil Exploration Company, the Social Security Bank of Ghana and several emerging market funds. He founded London Business School and served as its Chairman of Africa Advisory Board for five years. Mr. Morland founded Blakeney Management Ltd in 1990 and became its Non-Executive Chairman in July 2006. He served as an Independent Director of SABMiller plc from February 8, 1999 to July 24, 2014. He served on the board of African Lakes Corporation plc, Dubai Investment Group, and Blakeney LLP. After leaving Wall Street and before starting Blakeney, he wrote The Man Who Broke out Of the Bank, published in 1992 by Bloomsbury, who described him in the publicity for the book as “a middle aged wreck”. He studied Law at Oxford University in 1965. He can be reached at mqm@milesmorland.com.

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  • I was reading and considering his argument, but he lost me when he referred to the "Garlic Belt", followed by the oft repeated banker's acronym. Not denying the problems stated regarding these countries, but I lost all faith in his intellect and integrity of his observations when he resorted to offensive comments. Not very clever after all. Signed, a proud "garlic eater". Sheesh.

    by Peter Argentine at 11/06/2018 19:58
  • Comparing a technical fix, Y2K, to Brexit speaks loudly of the biased intentions of Mr. Morland. Furthermore his referring to the Southern European countries as Garlic belt whilst apparently rejecting the term used in the investment banking industry, cannot be more hypocritical, Finally his shortsightedness, being candid, can only be, using his own words, described as Idiotic. Or is it that he fears that a strong Europe can better protect its citizens from the excesses of a bully administration or corporate behemoths?

    by J. M. Magra at 11/06/2018 21:06
  • Miles Quintin Morland omitted Boris Johnson's claim: the British NHS would save an extra 350 pounds per week after the UK stops paying rent to the EU. But that is not going to happen. So, an observer might reply that this claim is "fantasy," much like the argument Morland puts forward. And that aside from his vulgar reference to the Garlic Eaters and those PIGS.

    Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Miles Morland are cut from the cloth of Little Britain fashioned with the broad banners of a British Empire long gone. And not surprising that Morland slides from Britain to England in his fantasy narrative, for surely he, like Boris, is a Little Englander. Whoever described Morland as "the middle aged wreck" probably had him tagged in 1992. A less kind appellation today would be a dotty old man sitting with his feet to the fire as the UK burns.

    Always on the look for provocation, we should thank Marvin for serving up such an obtuse and vulgar commentator on the UK's momental error to leave the world's largest trade union. For what? Sovereignty? Read: the UK as lap dog of Trump's America.

    by Terence Murphy at 11/07/2018 19:38