Thursday, March 21, 2019

Italy May Block Brexit Extension, Force UK Out Of EC Altogether March 29

Posted by Peter Quennell

Sardinia will lose a lot of trade

In The News

Italy may block the extension of the UK Brexit negotiations.

That would cause the UK to crash out on 29 March. Spain, France and Belgium are also said to be taking a hard line.

In economic terms this does not seem to make much sense. Sardinia alone could see 40 million pounds of exports down the tubes.

But in international sway Italy might gain a lot. For all years previously it was the EC’s fourth economy, after Germany, UK and France.

But now that the UK is leaving, Italy can, and should, step up. It is the third largest country and economy in the EU…

It has significant voting rights in the EU institutions. It is at the centre of the immigration crisis. It has a strong military and, despite its public debt, the third largest gold reserves in the world.

It is a manufacturing powerhouse, ranking among the top 10 exporters in the world.

With the UK out, this is the time for Italy to assert itself in, and for, the EU.

In practice, this would mean demanding to be present at any meeting where France and Germany take joint decisions designed to lead Europe forward.

“...third largest gold reserves in the world”? Hmmm!


Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/21/19 at 05:58 PM in


Okay, at near-midnight Brussels time, it sounds like Italy may compromise - the deadline will be 22 May IF the hardliners reflect that in a vote, and 10 April if not.

Requested by the UK had been the end of June. We dont yet know what conditions if any will apply.

It’s hard to see the Irish backstop as anything other than permanent. Is it that or more bombs?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/21/19 at 07:11 PM | #

Sardinia, now that you mention it. I was in London in 2012, walked inside a realtor’s office to ask about renting an apartment for 6 months. A very handsome young blonde guy showed me a few listings, we talked as we walked. He was from Sardinia. His office was near Paddington Station.

It seems like just yesterday David Cameron was in 10 Downing Street. I loved to watch him on “The Prime Minister’s Questions” on tv.

The Brexit vote seems like just last week. Tempus fugit.

Good to know Italy has big supply of gold!

Long time back many of the ships with oars that plied the Mediterranean were built in Venice. They had the glass blowers there, too. Like the old Romans, Italians are good engineers, they build with stone, they are energetic (and good-natured). Artistic.

Don’t tell me all the prayers said from St. Peter’s in Rome haven’t lifted that nation.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/22/19 at 01:02 AM | #

Hi Hopeful. Fair points.

The Catholic-Communist kabuki dance (now superceded by the Catholic-Masons kabuki dance, as Dr Mignini knows too well) is captured in a very funny way in the Don Camillo books.

I was laughing at them even before a teenager, they were my first exposure to Italy.

One real shocker for anyone making their first trip to Italy is the amount of marble - baroque church after baroque church consisting of nothing but. St Peters is absolutely gigantic.

Had Brexit occurred a few years ago it is unlikely the endemic nuisance David Anderson would have been allowed to retire and set up a business there.

And would Meredith even have made it there? Whither the Erasmus fellowships for UK residents now? 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/22/19 at 11:53 AM | #

Headline today: ‘Amanda Knox reveals she will ‘face her fears’and return to Italy where she was convicted and then cleared of murdering her British roommate 12 years ago’. This is Daily Mail online for March 25, 2019.

Knox was speaking at the True Crime festival in New York as she said this. She told audience she wanted to ‘help her healing process by returning to Perugia.’

The Sun newspaper reported Knox saying, “It’s very scary and every day you need to face up to something new that is terrifying but I’ve been lucky and I am healing. I have an amazing family and friends and an incredible support network.”

“But you have got to face up to your fears alone if you want to heal, and I know the main thing that still terrifies me is returning to Italy.”

“It’s something I know I have to do and I will do it but it really does scare me.”

Comments edited by me, say:

Why poke the bear?

It’s as dangerous as going to North Korea.

she’s a sociopath

We don’t care.

I would never go back.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/25/19 at 04:41 PM | #

Tks for the tip Hopeful.

Yes, Italy is really, really, really, really, really scary!!

Did she think to mention that the murder rate and incarceration rate are both about 1/50 that of the US?

She has done Italy IMMENSE harm.

But we WILL nail her. The problem is not so much Knox as an immense entrenchment of the media which will take the equivalent of an atomic bomb to cause them to realign.

We’ll get there. If we could give this more than an hour a day things would happen faster (and the world unscrambling all around us is sure keeping me tied up) but most of the core work is done.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/28/19 at 01:52 PM | #

This Italy-China connection is contentious, but (if I count!) I sure favor it.

The reason why starts with Russia. Russia kept all their former East European satellites disconnected by building freeways only toward Russia but not between one another.

In the UN Europe program which also got me to know Italy so well there was a freeway design project to connect up all of the countries. Its called the UNECE TEM, the northern arm. So I’ve seen disconnection costs up close.

Okay. Back in the day when it was safe to go anywhere, I imported a car from Hong Kong to south India, and drove via Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey to London in a few weeks. Nice trip.

But the roads even back then were variable, sometimes crowded, some accidents, and there were longish customs stops. All vehicles had to put money down for a “carnet de passage” saying that if the vehicle did not make it out of any country the carnet would be cashed in as sales and import tax.

Thirty plus years later the entire route has only got WORSE! Dangerous in places, and needed traffic of goods and people is almost at a halt.

As the maps below show, China and Russia both now propose superhighways which would add to the global economy a lot. If Italy gives its support, is that really a bad thing? All maps do leave India off though! As the predicted largest economy in the world by 2030 will India leave Italy out in the cold?

[Waiting for advice on the code to make these images show.]

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/28/19 at 02:32 PM | #

That was am amazing road trip! south India all the way to England driving through 4 other countries (where now you’d be blown up by an IED or shot crossing the border.)

It sounds like Orient Express on wheels or something from a Christie novel, or The Amazing Race or Around the World in 80 Days.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/28/19 at 08:31 PM | #

Hi Hopeful. I thought you knew. Till lately I didnt think about it much, but Knox’s dangerous bigotry putting Americans off Italy tends to rub in what we lost and lose.

That was a relatively commonplace trip back then - at a guess several dozen a year - with good instructions to get fully prepared. Hotels & guesthouses cheap, food along the way just great, colorful items to buy, whats not to like.

It would actually be 16 countries now: those 5 plus Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy (Milan), Switzerland (Geneva), France (Paris and Boulogne) and so UK.

Our BIG project of course is to get back to those days….

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/28/19 at 09:00 PM | #

When I was younger, I watched La China et Vicina.

I have almost forgotten it but sometime back I was talking to a friend (but that was about 6 years ago) and said that France and Italy are the most successful communist country in the world. He laughed.

Walking around Lake Como, I said unless you wake up now, the future is not bright. Do not wait till it is too late. It is time to learn practical economics and politics.

Sometimes you can use the migrants as an asset. And sometime I believe that you need to tell people what is good for them.

China is risky!

Posted by chami on 03/29/19 at 06:37 AM | #

Fine thoughts Chami. But superhighway or no superhighway India is going to be eating China’s lunch in a dozen years. Also what you are saying about Italy and France? Yes top-down is an insidious menace, and the less Italy meddles with that the better.

Chami, I’m wondering how many know and understand about the innovation S-curve? Do you teach it and talk about it? That one device can be used to lock people into a correct understanding of, well, everything.

Applying it “bottom up” is what happens in the early days and the early surge in invention and value.

“Top down” is at the top of the curve when the invention and value are dying, corporations get way too big, and it’s corruption of the government and scorched-earth destruction of any competition.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/29/19 at 08:35 AM | #

Dearly beloved British:

I hope this helps in the context of your “pickle”

(1) The EC is a systems problem - actually many systems problems - not so much a people problem, as all the design through the years was top-down by crass amateurs.

(2) The UK is a systems problem - actually many systems problems - not a people problem for the same reason.

(3) The Parliament is at the top of the heap of crass amateurs. One of the primary skills of a UK politician is to nuke the opposition. They are mostly lawyers and born to do that. How does THAT lead to universally embraced visioning and major system change?

(4) Best to set up a network of functional experts across Europe, don’t have any nodes in London, Brussels or Strasbourg (just kidding but take care there), start many exploratory processes bottom-up, and look to jump all of Europe onto a whole new plane within a decade or less.

The government should be the tail, not the dog. Do please start by getting the dog right?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/29/19 at 12:15 PM | #

So the deadline in effect set Friday by another no-vote on the PM’s highly divisive BREXIT proposal (it’s actually more hard-line than many of the votes the previous day) is 10 April.

EC just could give a long extension, but why? Your suggestions?

What might work is to say to the EC on 10 April: time is needed to set up a non-party Royal Commission, to ignite a much-needed bottom-up process.

And bring in outside help? Well, it is already there!! Just not being asked.

Every member of the EC plus all other European countries are members of ITU, WMO (which is in London), WHO, and around 30 other UN development bodies - including the World Trade Organization.

Almost by definition the UN employs or draws on all of the world’s best experts.

They dont impact our affairs? It’s low-key (politics is locked out) but ICAO and WHO and many others do, day-to-day. ITU is designing and introducing 5G.

The UN doesnt really have apex bodies, each body is managed and funded separately, but the one that ties things together when asked is the UN Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva.

The EC doesnt really get into this “systems stuff” whereas the UNECE does nothing but. It gave the ex East Europe immense help to come up.


Ironically, under a hard BREXIT, the UK will anyway be drawing upon these UN bodies (especially the World Trade Organization) more than ever.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/30/19 at 10:09 AM | #

Meredith territory, this. Avid European. Interested in Brussels work. If she was working there now, her job would be on the line.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/30/19 at 01:14 PM | #

Back to posting on our main mission this week as the site change seems to have shaken down.


Front page headline in Sunday’s New York Times:

Britons United By Lost Hope, If Nothing Else; Many Feel Brexit Has Democracy On Trial

WRONG!! As argued above…

It is not that democracy was tried and failed, it should never have been applied the way it was.

With zero of the usual consensus-building and process-management skills, and thus utterly unqualified, Theresa May wrongly launched a political one-party process, highly incompetently micro-managed by herself. A case-study in arrogance for the ages here. 

This all along could and should have been an expert-heavy process with people with the right skills (they need not all be British; some East Asians would be a good idea) who would have evolved some possible scenarios for a better Britain, from the bottom up.

Air those scenarios before the people and finally refer back up, preferably to a multi-Party group.

All along democracy would have thrived, and come out better than it ever was.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/19 at 10:00 AM | #

The UK has PAID for the use of the above tools, many times, for developing countries by way of the UN and British and EC aid.

Just the politicos didnt put two and two together and apply those tools to the UK.

(Other historically generous aid givers are also in the same boat. I’ve met more bafflement in Washington DC than in any of dozens of developing countries.)

The GOOD news is that they will still be there for the using whatever happens next week.

And they are all fun, interesting, empowering, and investment-attracting. Just wait!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/19 at 08:40 PM | #

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