Thursday 17 January 2019

Brexit Positivity from an Unexpected Source

OK, so, quiz-time at C@W: 

Q - who is saying this, and where?  (no googling at the back there)
Only a rupture with the EU will alter the failed status quo - it’s not plausible that either Brexit in name only or no exit at all can lead to radical reform of our broken system ... Just before Christmas, the Bank said the economy could shrink by 8% in the event of a disruptive no-deal outcome - but this was a worst-case scenario and the Bank had to throw in the kitchen sink to arrive at it. The idea, for example, that interest rates would rise by four percentage points after a no-deal Brexit is implausible ... 
Brexit, the gilets jaunes protesters in France, the terrible pain inflicted on Greece and the support for the League/Five Star government in Italy all tell their own story. Europe is alive with political discontent that reflects the demand for deep and urgent reform, but the chances of getting it are less likely if the status quo prevails ... 
a reformed Britain in a reformed Europe” - possible but not all that plausible, given that it would require breaking up the euro, more autonomy for individual countries to intervene in the running of their economies, and a simultaneous philosophical U-turn in the big member states ...  
The softer the Brexit, the more convinced the EU will be that it has been doing the right thing all along. Britain will not go up in flames, but there will still be consequences. Leave voters will feel they have been victims of an establishment stitch-up. The anger will not go away and will eventually resurface. The risk is that the losers will be the biggest supporters of the EU – the liberal left. And the biggest winners will be the extreme right.
A - Larry Elliot in ... the Grauniad !   Elliot is an honest fellow, noted for traipsing the streets of northern towns before, during and after the referendum, canvassing actual opinions.  Westminster bubble-journos willing to get their shoes dirty in this way are few and far between: honourable mentions also to Michael Crick and, credit-where-its-due, yes, La Toynbee (who for all her nosepeg-wearing support for Labour has long held very realistic views about immigration, albeit furtively). 

Worth a read.


Update: see BTL, Mr Cowshed has pointed out that it is John Harris who tramps the streets for the Grauniad.


Anonymous said...

I see CiF is in predictable meltdown.

Good on yer, mate.

E-K said...

I have relatives ooop North - it's where a lot of my info comes from.

The metropolitan elite are well out of touch.

E-K said...

PS, The beeb is very selective about who it shows on TV in these so called random street surveys.

It uses phrases that are politically loaded - JR-M is a bit late complaining about it all now.

Sobers said...

He's not wrong. The Establishment may succeed in their stitch-up over Brexit, but if they think thats put the genie back in the bottle, that everything will go back to its pre-brexit vote state they will have a harsh awakening. You can bottle up resentment if you like, but its going to come out eventually, almost certainly over something entirely different. And the longer they bottle it up the more spectacular the final eruption will be..........

Raedwald said...

I'm utterly convinced we need real reform if we're to be able to take advantage of the change this century will bring. My own list includes

- decentralisation of power
- Lords reform / abolition of political honours
- clear-out of fake charities / NDPBs, re-establish democratic control
- controls on party funding, accounting for internet use
- widening democracy - open primaries, tax matching for for small donations
- power of recall (with a bar high enough to prevent vexatious use)
- greater direct democracy to augment traditional systems
- defence of our key freedoms - secret ballot & universal suffrage
- overhaul of the higher education scam
- planned transition to an AI economy in which 30% of existing jobs will go in the next 15 years
- And yes, I'm very much a One Nation Tory, so an equitable settlement across the UK for ALL our citizens.

I'm under no illusions that we will fight the entrenched establishment tooth and nail to realise even a fraction of it.

As the ComRes poll found, 60% support “the UK should try to become the lowest tax, business-friendliest country in Europe, focused on building strong international trade links”

That's our future. Internationalist not globalist; driving the future, not being driven. If we want an NHS and welfare provision in 2040, we need to reset out wealth-creating foundations.

GridBot said...

Raedwald for pm please.

E-K said...

Whilst in the EU our people have become so fat and useless as to need immigrants to take up the slack.

WTO - we are not going back to our supply lines being torpedoed by U boats.

A bit of hardship is exactly what we need right now.

That goes for me too. Running in the rain, cold showers and an austerity diet - all self inflicted but by golly ! I feel great on it.

Timbo614 said...

@E-K: Beeb: Also Lowest inflation rate for 2 years is relegated (like all good or better news) to the Economy page of the Business section. Bias? thay say.

I could support nearly all that Raedwald said. AI is really not anywhere near ready for the mainstream yet.

jim said...

Let me see, March 29th comes and goes, there is a fair chance we will either take WA or some sort of hard-ish Brexit with a few mitigating measures to spread the pain a bit. Or we kick the can a bit.

That takes us to 2020 and the run up to the 2022 election. As that prospect hoves into view we have the Tories desperately trying to keep the economy on an even keel. Maybe some good business opportunities come along - maybe. By 2022 Labour will still look as unappealing as it does now. A fair chance the Tories will win even if they wish they didn't.

By 2022 some/all of the mitigation measure fall away and Brexit gets going in earnest. But where is the industrial policy, where are the new industries, where are the improved schools, colleges and university courses. Where are the changes to planning law and the motivation to build public sector housing in decent quantity? Our present Parliament has spend almost three years wasting time and achieving nothing, I don't hold out much hope for much of a result in the 2022 - 2027 timeframe.

Which brings us to 2027. By which time the full glory of Brexit (hot or cool) will be written clearly in all our bank accounts. Seems to me nothing useful will have been achieved by 2027 unless some red hot fires burn under parliamentary benches. And those same red hot fires will be burning in our pockets too. Look for a Labour win in 2027, Corbyn should be history by then and unless the Tories achieve some sort of miracle they will be out in the cold. All that pain - for nothing. All shows a lack of strategic planning, but that's Brexit all over.

Anonymous said...

Economic growth is generated by business, especially small and medium sized businesses, not by government. All a government can do is damage these businesses -- and they usually do. Government "industrial policy" is entirely harmful and the less there is of it the better.

Where the government does have a job to do is in areas where competition makes no sense or is impossible. That is, infrastructure such as roads, canals, railway tracks, airports, docks, power stations.

They could do more to support Further Education colleges that offer courses in marketable skills such as welding or computer games design. But this also depends on support from employers.

A Parliament that contains scarcely anyone with a science or engineering degree or practical business experience will have nothing useful to say about the economy. We need a Prime Minister with, for instance, a degree in Chemistry, a degree in Law, and experience of how a small business operates.

Don Cox

Bill Quango MP said...

We need a Prime Minister with, for instance, a degree in Chemistry, a degree in Law, and experience of how a small business operates.

Have a sneaky Lol for that.

Raedwald said...

Timbo - I'm relying on this PwC report for AI impacts

It's a year old now, but steers a middle course with 30% jobs going between other low and high estimates of 5% - 45%. There's a brief review of the literature included.

dearieme said...

I think I shall vote for the Extreme Right. That's because the Gruaniad and the Beeb call Extreme Right anyone to the right of John Stuart Mill.

James Higham said...

Is there some provision for legally strangling Toynbee?

DJK said...

"We need a Prime Minister with, for instance, a degree in Chemistry, a degree in Law, and experience of how a small business operates."

The Rt. Hon. Neville Chamberlain, FRS then.

(I think Mrs. Merkel also has a chemistry degree.)

Timbo614 said...

@ Raedwald. Thanks for the link - I'll get back to you when I've got the gist, it's long!
While I am a coder I do not code anything resembling AI. I did some infant neural net concept stuff for a guy in the early days (1988 ish). But coding for OLTP, the processes are automated but looking after the processes & processing equipment certainly is not!

Anonymous said...

"We need a Prime Minister with, for instance, a degree in Chemistry, a degree in Law, and experience of how a small business operates."

Or Lord Neuberger who has stepped down from the Supreme Court - Chemist, Banker and Lawyer. Fits the bill perfectly.

But is it not better to keep the quality outside Parliament but ensure that the Executive's power is trimmed. Most of Raedwald's agenda is about taming the excesses of the Executive. Give power back to the back-benches.

E-K said...

Mrs T had degrees in Chemistry and Law.

andrew said...

@ Raedwald.

v. interesting.

Knowing a little about AI I still don't know what it means and suspect no-one else does.
The best description I came across is 'the fruity bit in fruit bread'
Back in the late 80s context sensitive help was AI

In the mid 90s when I studied it, expert systems / natural language processing was the thing and Neural Nets were just getting going in universities.

There is a long history of overpromising (expert systems were supposed to be replacing gp diagnoses by 2000) and under delivery (IBM's watson has some as far as I can see not too successful trials in '17)

AI works well in highly controlled environment.
Not so well 'out on the streets'.

There may come a time when a car can drive autonomously on a motorway (you can use a tesla autopilot in the UK but if you take your hand off the wheel that is driving without due care etc), but the real world is too random (children on skateboards, cyclists etc).

Getting to the point
neural networks are just 'tuned' formulae that given a set of data, produce an answer Yes or No. Lots of clever ways of doing the tuning, lots of big hardware that allows for v. big formulae.
v. hard to understand what that formula is - there are many examples of neural nets coming up with v.v. stupid rules
AI works better in a controlled environment and it seems to be that the environment we live in is becoming increasingly controlled.
I am not sure this is a good thing

Nick Drew said...


Watch & wait, I'd say. What google (and others) can already do is amazing, but G have a long track record of keeping quiet about a new idea until they've used it to move their business so far forward, nobody can catch up

Timbo614 said...

@ND Sensible of course.
But in other news (hard to find I know!) what have you got to say about Hitachi?

Nick Drew said...

Timbo Well firstly, nobody needs to fall for the "there will be shortages" nonsense

Second, we may be grateful it hasn't gone the way of Hinkley, "oh gawd, better give them what they want"

But for the rest, I'm quite agnostic about nuclear as a technology, knowing that some folks aound here see it as essential. I'm mostly inclined to say, ok, but at that price?

One of the key things is to get the government off its insane 'targets' of electrifying residential heating, and cars. Then demand will just steadily decrease, and there's no obvious supply problem, just grid-balancing / system-balancing issues which I think can get solved relatively cheaply over the next 10-15 years, provided technology continues to move on in the ways it is doing now

one of the biggest roadblocks to this IMHO is the very variable quality of the companies that hold the distribution licences ('DNOs') because they will be critical to this future and some of them are not as competent as will be needed

sorry, I'm getting off-topic now

Timbo614 said...

Thanks For the response Nick.

It still sounds like there will be some finger crossing about it not getting too cold.

Electrifying residential heating: I read something of this a few years back that was along the lines of it being illegal? to fit gas boilers to new builds after a certain date. I didn't hear anything more so dismissed it as rumour. Maybe it wasn't, but no-one is making any fuss about it. Mind you, as mentioned, it's been difficult to find much news that doesn't involve the B word for two years!

Is the DNO problem similar to the small provider risk? This has touched me because I was an Extra Energy Customer until 2 days before they went bust (I had just been transferred to a new supplier). They owe(d) me over payments. It's not a fortune (£160) but I have a sneaky feeling that people in my situation fall through the cracks and need to contact the liquidator/Administrator? I mean I was not an EE customer nor was I transferred with the bulk to SSE so I bacome just a normal creditor :(

Hmm got off topic too!

Nick Drew said...

No probs Timbo, it's just us in our quiet corner!

the residential heating thing hasn't gone as far as to make gas boilers illegal in new houses (yet ...) but it's a necessity if we are to 'totally decarbonise by 2050'; & ditto the cars

thing is, on top of the challenge of financing tens of millions of new boilers, residential heating (mostly gas) on a winter's day represents several times more energy than all the UK's present electricity demand! (for everything!)

so - err, the capacity of the grid & all the other wires has to be made VERY much bigger. The cars thing is crazy, too, unless some very clever tech comes along

the DNO thing is akin to the small supplier issue, though they ain't as small in relative terms. But whereas the Grid itself, and (e.g.) the Big 6 are essentially quite capable companies in most dimensions (not customer service, obviously ...) the DNOs are patchy medium-sized companies and a couple or more are a disgrace

this hasn't (much) mattered until now, because their business model is very limited and doesn't call for any imagination / creativity / innovation etc. Bu with increasing amounts of (a) micro-generation (b) 'prosumers' (c) distributed generation (d) big batteries (e) e-vehicle recharging needs on a potentially massive scale etc etc etc, the Grid becomes less and less the master of everything - indeed it becomes less and less relevant! - and the DNOs are at the sharp end

some of them will be very bad at getting to grips with this, unless they overhaul their managements comprehensively, starting at the top: and a lot of opportunities will go begging (on the positive side) and serious cockups will occur (negative)

the small supplier thing is worse in one sense (some of them are seriously suspect if not outright shysters), but of less consequence in absolute terms - no disrespect to your own travails with the bastards, along with tens of thousands of others. Ofgem have really taken their eye off the ball there

Timbo614 said...

Nick, thanks again for that.
I'm sure the tech is availbale to handle the grid and variying loads and supplies, people just need to start doing joined up thinking for a backbone that all can profit from, sort of co-operating capitalists? LOL.

Cheers, Timbo

Anomalous Cowshed said...

"noted for traipsing the streets of northern towns before, during and after the referendum, canvassing actual opinions."

Umm, I think that's actually John Harris.

Nick Drew said...

AC - I stand corrected!

(and correction made)