UK and EU Could Be Better Partners Apart

Why a deal will (have to) be done

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by Bob Bischof in London
Published on OMFIF Wed 28 Feb 2018

As a German businessman who has lived and worked in Britain for 40 years and seen all facets of the Anglo-German divide over Europe, I am convinced that UK and continental negotiators will reach a mutually satisfactory accord over European Union withdrawal.

Britain and the EU-27 are better off apart than together. The EU will reach an agreement because the other 27 countries believe it is in their interest that Britain not only leaves now, but also that no future government thinks of knocking on the door again. Many well-meaning British Europhiles from all parties are sadly wasting their time by campaigning for Britain to stay in.

There has been much noise and hot air. Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet met last week and declared that only a bespoke deal is acceptable – earning an immediate rebuff from Brussels that this is impossible. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, has pledged that Britain will stay in a customs union with Europe to help industry and employment and prevent a ‘hard’ Irish border. This spurred claims that Labour is ‘betraying’ those party supporters who want a full-scale EU exit. It also threatens May by encouraging Europhile Conservative rebels to join Labour against the prime minister’s strategy.

Squabbling over Europe is as old as Britain’s 50 years of half-hearted attempts at being a full and engaged European partner. European wrangles have haunted successive Conservative prime ministers. David Cameron had to step down after miscalculating the outcome of the 2016 referendum. May would have met the same fate, had her adversaries not hesitated to oust her out of fear of Corbyn in Downing Street.

The litany of divergence is long and substantial. Not having accepted the euro or Schengen area borderless travel, Britain will never sit at Europe’s top table. Public opinion, heavily influenced by a powerful right-wing press, is hostile to Europe. The British don’t like and are not good at the big government, structure and regulation conducive to European integration.

Other sources of division are Britain’s affinity with case law and a non-written constitution, contrasting with the continent’s Napoleonic code, and the British hankering for flexible labour markets and shareholder value rather than worker protection and the social market economy.

The referendum outcome gave credence to James Surowiecki’s book The Wisdom of Crowds. Large numbers of ordinary people sometimes make better decisions than smart elites. Because of deep cultural, political and economic disparities, I believe now – as I did before the vote – that Britain will continue to have misgivings about the EU and its political framework in spite of the fact that it will be worse off economically. Moreover, the EU will be better off without its quarrelsome neighbour.

For all these reasons, May and the EU have to and will agree a deal that Remainers and Leavers can (just about) live with in parliament and even in a second referendum.

Ultimately the EU will deliver such an accord. The reasons are rooted in reality, not fairyland. The right-wing press regularly claims that the EU needs Britain more than vice versa, that the EU’s exporters are somehow more vulnerable than the UK’s, or that the EU will be a more dangerous place without a deal. These mantras are overdone and misleading. Both sides need a deal, for equal and opposite reasons.

Separation can take place amicably. The French and German elections led to one common political result: more Europe and more integration.

A softer EU stance on Brexit is unlikely to encourage other countries to leave, as the EU is economically out of the doldrums. Employment is rising. Growth is higher and at a more sustainable rate than in Britain, where, in spite of sterling’s fall, the high current account deficit is expected to show only marginal improvement. Household debt is at record highs. Unemployment started to creep up in the last quarter of 2017.

No wonder net migration to the UK has fallen substantially. Because of Britain’s worse economics, I predict that immigration will shrink so much that May will claim victory and can drop insistence on free movement of people for a future accord. This is one more reason why, in the coming months, headlines will portray more harmony than hostility between London and Brussels.

Bob Bischof is Chairman of the German-British Forum, a Vice-President of the German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce and a member of the OMFIF Advisory Board.

Liverpool Voted Remain – Due to Lack of Sun?

How did Liverpool vote compared to other cities on the EU referendum? – The Liverpool Echo has an interesting report.

How did Liverpool vote compared to other cities on the EU referendum? – Liverpool Echo

I have mentioned before the appalling influence of the right wing British press on public opinion. Here is some proof:

As you can see the whole of the Liverpool region voted 58,2%  to remain although according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation referendum analysis they should have come out on the Leave side due to their socio-economic make-up. Why did they vote so differently from the rest of the UK?

There is only one possible explanation – ever since the Hillsborough disaster 28 years ago the SUN newspaper has been boycotted in Liverpool….
I think that is quite conclusive!

The people have spoken in the referendum, but the puppeteers pulled their strings!

Read the statistics in the Liverpool Echo here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/how-liverpool-vote-compared-cities-11521041.amp

Shooting the Messenger

Exports row masks corporate governance issues

Liam Fox, the British secretary of state for international trade appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May to lead post-Brexit trade negotiations along with Boris Johnson and David Davis, put his finger squarely – but not fairly – on the biggest headache Britain has had for years last week.

In comments to the right-wing Conservative Way Forward group, he referred to the anaemic export performance of Britain’s major companies, calling their bosses ‘fat’ and ‘lazy’, and claiming they would rather play golf than open up new markets with new products. The Times, which first published the comments, accompanied an opinion piece with the headline, ‘Don’t shoot the clumsy messenger‘.

The comments prompted an expected backlash from business leaders, but the facts themselves are evident. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s ‘march of the manufacturers’ and the goal he set of doubling exports to £1tn by 2020 look further away than ever – exports of £510.3bn in 2015 were below 2014’s figure of £511.7bn.

Will Brexit make a difference? Sterling’s approximate 10% devaluation since 23 June has prompted hopes of a boost to UK exports. But while there may be anecdotal evidence to suggest this has already happened, the decline will have only a limited effect if sterling’s 25% fall in 2008-09 has any lessons for today.

British managers are not lazier than their German counterparts. But in many ways they have a much harder – if not impossible – job. They do not spend their time on golf courses these days, but rather use it to present quarterly return figures in such a way that they satisfy shareholders and/or optimise their profit- and often share price-related bonuses.

Many of the best British companies sit on large cash piles. They do not spend them on product development or opening up export markets in the Far East, for fear of an adverse reaction affecting their share price. They prefer to ‘return cash to shareholders’ through share buy-backs or look for mergers and acquisitions, rather than growing their companies organically. If all else fails, they can ‘bring the company into play’ and sell it at a premium.

The Anglo-Saxon corporate governance model puts British businesses at a disadvantage compared with their European and Asian competitors. More than 85% of German businesses – the famous Mittelstand – are not quoted on the stock market. Managers can afford to think and act long-term without fear of a takeover, being dismissed or losing out on remuneration.

Chief executives of listed companies are shielded by their supervisory boards, which include worker and frequently customer representation. This acts as a practical defence against takeovers and over-adventurous board directors, and is a useful tool for communicating with workers.

May – like Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, a scientist by training – appears to have a better handle on the root causes of the UK’s export malaise than Fox, a medical doctor with no business experience. She fired a first salvo in the right direction shortly before taking office by suggesting worker participation on company boards, as well as an overhaul of the UK company takeover code and remuneration practices in British boardrooms. It is ironic that, just as the UK turns its back on Europe, its prime minister wants it to adopt a more continental-looking business model.

Changing the UK’s shareholder value model will not be easy. Tony Blair talked in 1995 about the stakeholder economy model, similar to Germany’s social market economy or ‘Rhineland capitalism’, and was very quickly stopped in his tracks. Let’s hope May’s attempts to address the root causes of the problem, rather than its symptoms, are more successful.

The Globalist: Economic Lessons from the UK’s Olympic Success

There can be no doubt that there is enough talent in the United Kingdom to compete with the best – but the system has to be right. Brexit or no Brexit, the UK has a choice to make. It can follow an Olympic strategy or stay with the calamitous football set-up, which has all the glitz and none of the glory.

This article was first published on The Globalist website 25 August 2016

2016 were the most successful Olympic Games ever for the United Kingdom. With 27 gold medals (and 67 medals overall), Team UK came in second place, ranking only behind the United States.

In spectacular fashion, the UK beat both China (3rd) and Russia (4th), as well as Germany (5th ) in the overall standings.

What makes this very special Olympic glory so noteworthy is the contrast to the Olympic Games two decades earlier. In Atlanta in 1996, the British team received just one gold medal – its lowest score ever.

What a difference smart planning makes

What has made the difference over these 20 years? The short answer seems money from The National Lottery, with each ticket sale generating proceeds that were dedicated to funding Team UK at the Olympic games.

But that is not the whole story. Once Britain was awarded the 2012 Olympic games, the country’s then-government under Messrs. Blair and Brown decided to change things around a bit.

A long-term strategy was developed and priorities were set to focus on certain sports where the chance of medals were greatest.

To that end, specialized facilities like the Manchester Velodrome created (yielding a record haul from indoor cycling events for Team UK this time around).

In addition, the best coaches were hired and they and the athletes were highly motivated through incentive schemes based on performance.

Just apply the Olympics strategy to the UK economy

As far as I can tell, the new British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is determined to take a leaf out of her nation’s Olympics book and apply it to the entire British economy.

Mrs. May certainly doesn’t want to copy the English football team’s example, which reached its own “Atlanta moment” this year, with a defeat against Iceland in the European Championship.

Britain has got plenty of sports talent but, as the Olympics strategy has proven, that talent must be properly nurtured.

England’s national football team failed because of systemic problems. That football is considered the national game in England makes these failures especially stinging.

The BPL cover-up

However, for most of the year, they are carefully covered up. With the relentless focus on the global commercialisation of the Barclays Premier League, club football seems a glorious enterprise.

But even here, as is seen in the late stages of international club competitions every season, English clubs fall short of expectations.

A key part of the explanation is short-term pressure on results, paired with too many foreign owners and managers with no interest in the national game.

They look for spectacular foreign signings rather than developing home-grown talent over the long term. The contrast to Spanish and German clubs is palpable. They do hire foreign talent, but develop plenty of home-grown talent.

Sir Alex Ferguson was the last manager who raised English youngsters to become world-class football payers – and that is now too many years ago.

As goes football, so does the economy?

Unfortunately, England’s football saga bears an uncanny resemblance to the overall British business approach, with a similar result.

The Anglo-Saxon “shareholder value” governance system, with its inherent pressure on quarterly results, drives short-term decision-making by boards.

M&A activity yields quicker results to make a corporation larger than organic growth would. For the latter approach, you need patient product improvement and development, investment in the latest technologies, focus on opening up new markets and, above all, on skills development in house (at all levels, from shop floor to top floor).

Balance sheet maneuvers, instead of focusing on productivity

All that costs money and reduces profits in the short term. The approach chosen instead is to massage the balance sheet – often through share buy-back schemes – to make the company’s results “look” better, even if this is just a financial engineering exercise achieving no real enhancement in value.

It is part of the shareholder value model where the incentives for directors are in line with those of the shareholders – unfortunately both thrive on short-term results.

Bizarre “business” practices

Even more importantly, they mostly just pay mere lip service to the stakeholders – employees and their families, the towns and cities where operations are based, as well as society as a whole.

To give a concrete example how far this disregard for employees and society can be taken, consider Sir Philip Green’s purchase of British Home Stores some years ago.

His special dividend payment of £400 million to his tax-exiled wife, followed by his sale of the company (which carried a £572million pension deficit) to a three times bankrupt associate for one Pound and the subsequent collapse of the company led to the loss of 11,000 jobs.

This bizarre, but carefully crafted chain of events has rightfully been described as “the unacceptable face of capitalism”. It clearly highlights major shortcomings in the UK’s corporate governance.

To make a long story short, under the British business-as-usual rules, the deck is amply stacked against long-term thinking and value creation.

Selling the family silver until there is no more?

Britain has lived for decades on the proceeds of selling assets to shore up the country’s current account deficit and the exchange rate.

Ports, airports, the energy sector, huge numbers of industrial businesses have been sold to foreign investors. The London Stock Exchange and high-tech ARM Holdings PLC are the latest in a long line.

For a long time, all this selling off the family silver was falsely heralded as underlining the attractiveness of Britain as an investment location and considered a virtue.

Why was all this misleading thinking pushed on the British public? Because plenty of people in “the City” got filthy rich in the process of acting as advisors to, if not instigators of, these transactions.

Just ask all the lawyers, investment bankers, accountants and management consultants.

England and the “kindness of others”

Now, at long last, doubts are being voiced over the long term effect of all this so-called inward investment. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England warned before the Brexit vote that the reliance on “the kindness of strangers” might backfire.

There undoubtedly is a short-term gain for the national accounts when the proceeds of a sale support the British balance of payment. However, the dividend flow leaves the country forever.

Unsurprisingly, the UK’s once considerable earnings flow from overseas investment has reversed. While the country’s trade balance has for decades been negative, it is a new and worrying development of the last few years that the service sector is in deficit, too.

In some areas, the open door policy has of course worked with remarkable results. The car industry, once the perpetual laggard, is now thriving as it is almost completely under foreign ownership and management.

That is a great success story — and so are hundreds of foreign owned businesses in the UK. The profits from these operations, however, are only partly re-invested in the UK.

The largest part flows abroad. It is thus like English league club football – a great success story, but sadly not so much for the national team.

May’s mind in the right place: Can she do it?

The UK Prime Minister Theresa May appears to understand that there is a problem. Rather atypically for a former Home Secretary, she has been referring to:

  • rethinking the role of workers on boards of publicly listed companies
  • refocussing on industrial strategy and board room remuneration in connection with the ease with which British companies and assets can fall into foreign hands.

It will be interesting to see what she can actually do about it. The prime minister’s mind certainly is in the right place, but she will encounter plenty of resistance from her country’s financial establishment that has gotten very rich on selling off assets.

A true challenge given global competition

Britain’s businesses are up against world-wide competition, quite a few of them like the Germans, Japanese, Chinese and others who are determined to play the long game.

These nations engage in the long game for very different reasons. For example, most German companies, even in the export sector, are not listed on the stock market.

They are family-owned enterprises, whose main aim is to grow to survive and look after its stakeholders – their employees, customers, suppliers and the community.

But even those companies that are listed on the stock market have supervisory boards with worker and management representation.

This structure, reflecting in actual voting rights for workers at the supervisory board level, prevent a company’s top managers from purely self-interested behaviour that underlies most prettifying balance sheet manoeuvres.

I know because I was there: As a top manager of German companies, I was always paid bonuses on market share and profit – never on profit only.

What can be done?

It is impossible, and even counter-productive, to try to copy the German governance system and corporate culture for many reasons. Theresa May is obviously avoiding any reference to the German model – the Social Market Economy also called Rhineland Capitalism.

It would be ironic, to say the least, if Britain would turn in the direction of the continental economic model after leaving the EU. Probably for that reason, Mrs. May has been called May Guevara already!

The search is on for a workable construction that combines the best of both worlds and allows British managers to act in a long-term oriented fashion to the benefit of their shareholders, employees and the national performance.

There can be no doubt that there is enough talent in the United Kingdom to compete with the best – but the system has to be right.

Brexit or no Brexit, the UK has a choice to make. It can follow an Olympic strategy or stay with the calamitous football set-up, which has all the glitz and none of the glory.

British Have Been Fed Misinformation by the Rightwing Press for Years

I don’t think the British people per se are anti-Europe but they have been fed misinformation for years by the puppet masters of the rightwing British press, which has such a huge circulation advantage over the liberal press. To make out that they are doing this for the working class people of Britain is the con of the century.

This letter was published in the Financial Times on June 22nd 2016, the day before the EU referendum. It was a response to a Martin Wolf article on the previous day, and ran alongside ‘Fleet Street’s European bite remains sharp’ by John Gapper – see below and click to read the full item. 

Sir,

As a German who has lived and worked happily in the UK for more than 40 years, I can only underline Martin Wolf’s arguments for staying in (“Why I believe Britain belongs in Europe”, June 21). Two small additional comments, however.

The Brexit supporters constantly mention that Britain can easily stand alone, being the fifth largest and fastest-growing economy among the Group of Eight countries.

First, as David Smith, the fiercely independent economics editor of The Sunday Times has pointed out, Britain is by purchase power parity (PPP) the 10th largest; and as for gross domestic product growth, the much maligned eurozone grew by 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 against 0.3 per cent in the UK and is forecast to be ahead over the full year. Naturally, David Cameron can’t mention this fact, as he would be accused of talking the country down.

My second point is that I don’t think the British people per se are anti-Europe but they have been fed misinformation for years by the puppet masters of the rightwing British press, which has such a huge circulation advantage over the liberal press. To make out that they are doing this for the working class people of Britain is the con of the century. I only hope that enough people will see through this and that the famous British common sense will prevail.

Bob Bischof
London SW1, UK
Vice-President, German British Chamber of Industry & Commerce; Chairman, German British Forum

Read with:

Fleet Street's European bite remains sharp

German and Proud

When the Germans are bad, they are b……y awful, but when they are trying to be good, they seem to be more annoying and irritating to some.

This letter appeared in the Times on 26 December 2015; we here have also the unedited text

Sir,

Edward Lucas must be congratulated on his thoughtful article today (“Self-righteous Germany has left guilt behind”) – in spite of its misleading headline.

When the Germans are bad, they are b……y awful, but when they are trying to be good, they seem to be more annoying and irritating to some. These are of course two sides of the same coin.

As a German, who has lived and worked in Britain for over 40 years, I am beginning to be proud to be German again. The latter side of the coin suits me and my countrymen definitely better. Long may it last.

As for Britain leaving the EU and inevitably hitching closer up to the US, I hope the famous British common sense will prevail.

Sincerely yours
Bob Bischof
Chairman, German British Forum
Vice-President, German British Chamber of Commerce & Industry

 

Bob Bischof - German and Proud

Why Brexit is So Likely

As a German I would definitely like Britain to remain in the EU – with my English hat on it is, however a bit less clear cut.

This is based on the transcript for a speech given at the Kapitalmarkt Forum of Commerzbank AG in Hamburg, October 2015. Lesen Sie diese auf Deutsch

There are a number of reasons why the British people may prefer an exit in the forthcoming in/out referendum. These are quite apart from any economic arguments that have been put forward and which may point to staying in.

Firstly this island paradise is already overpopulated and has too much foreign influence – in most British eyes. Immigration from Commonwealth countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean started decades ago, is still strong and the integration process in many peoples’ eyes has not gone well.

The new immigrants from Europe were welcomed to start with – Polish plumbers were much in demand during the big housing boom prior to the recession. Instead of using the permissible EU quota system, Labour decided to let all in who wanted to come. During the recession when unemployment was high and afterwards, when wages remained depressed, politicians like Farage and others took advantage to blame Britain’s membership in the EU. The fact that Europe went through a terrible time made their argument even stronger. The Merkel invitation to all refugees from Muslim populated countries into Europe is possibly the final straw in the debate about immigration.

Whilst Germany may be able to cope and eventually integrate these people and bolster its workforce, the rest of Europe is struggling with it. And so is Britain. One big reason is that Britain has never had and probably will never have an infrastructure to cope with large scale immigration. No identity cards, no border controls on exit are just two examples. Students come on a six months visa and stay for twenty years; nobody knows how many are living in Britain. This is one of the main reasons why Britain has become the preferred immigration country – apart from the fact that the whole world speaks some broken English and that seemingly unlimited numbers of unskilled jobs are available in the service sector.

Secondly, structures and regulations are quite alien to the British and they do not care for them.

It’s a cultural thing; it starts with the language: a grammar with more exceptions to rules than rules themselves. Easy to learn, but very difficult to perfect. One also prefers to express oneself vaguely rather than clearly, as the anthropologist Kate Fox describes beautifully in her book Watching the English.

Very interesting” usually means “boring” or “rubbish“. “You must come for dinner” means you never hear again. Speaking your mind is – particularly if it comes from a German – called blunt, or in your face, or worse. Proper English is not only a living and constantly evolving language, it is also an important domain for the true Brits.

My friend Prof Thomas Kielinger, correspondent for Die Welt, has showcased this splendidly in his book “Crossroads and Roundabouts” – everything is constantly in flux.  The Germans like regulation; they stand patiently at a road crossing and wait for green to cross the street – whether there are cars coming or not. But in the UK, self-reliance and self-regulation is more important than rule by the authorities.

Labour flexibility is the name of the game in the world of business in Britain, and employment laws don’t fit easily into an adversarial culture. For Germans with their more consensual model they are the norm.

Another huge difference – Britain sports “case law” whilst the Continent has written law – another non-fit and quite alien.

So it’s not surprising that that there is so much opposition to the huge amount of regulation coming out of Brussels, lots of it of course unnecessary.

Thirdly, the press in the UK is mostly Eurosceptic, and their owners are probably frightened of all the possible rules and regulations that might come their way one day. For them the debate has started in earnest and their influence on the referendum should not be underestimated.

And finally, the Exit Supporters have simpler messages:

  • We want our country back from those unelected and overpaid bureaucrats in Brussels
  • Being outside the Eurozone, Britain will have little influence and will be a second grade player forever
  • In language, history and politics, the UK is closer to the USA than to Europe – and when it matters, has to follow America.
  • The Europeans sell more to us than we to them – it’s all to their advantage
  • You can’t trust the Europeans – least of all the French and the Germans, who are suspect, as they want to rule Europe again
  • The City contributes more to GDP than manufacturing and Brussels wants to break or undermine its supremacy in Europe.

As a German I would definitely like Britain to remain in the EU – with my English hat on it is, however a bit less clear cut.

The more EU or German politicians try to help the UK to remain in the EU, the more it appears to the Eurosceptics that the Europeans are doing it for their own advantage. A real conundrum. It will require very finely tuned political handling to find the right tone here. Sentimentality is neither suitable nor wanted. The Anglos always were from Mars and the Europeans more often from Venus (even the Germans nowadays – to everyone’s confusion).

Will Britain exit? The Scots were very close to leaving and to creating a social democratic country. They have promised that if the UK overall votes “out” and the Scots vote “in” then there will be another referendum in Scotland, and the Scots may well leave the UK. There could be some tactical voting here!

Much depends on how Europe portrays itself until voting day. If the Eurozone develops on a positive trend economically, as it appears to be doing at the moment, that will take some of the wind out of the sails of the no campaigners; if not – and if the immigration problem gets worse, which is more likely, then I feel that many Brits will want to shut off the tunnel for good.

BB/January 2016

Why Brexit is So Likely (auf Deutsch)

Bob Bischof speaks about the inevitability of the ‘Brexit’ with his German-British perspective. Read the transcript here.

This is the transcript for a speech given at the prestigious Kapitalmarkt Forum of Commerzbank AG in Hamburg, October 2015. Read the English version here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meine Damen und Herren

Es gibt eine Reihe von Gruenden dafuer, dass die Briten den Exit vorziehen koennten bzw ich moechte darstellen, wie hoch der Berg ist, den die Briten ueberwinden muesssen, um sich fuer Europa zu entscheiden oder gar zu begeistern – dann koennen Sie selbst entscheiden, wie hoch die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist.

Dazu muss man die folgenden Scenarien verstehen

  1. Das Inselparadies ist bereits uebervoelkert und ueberfremdet in vieler Briten Augen. Die Einwanderung aus den ehemaligen Kolonien wie Indien, Pakistan, Afrika und dem Karibik Raum begann schon vor Jahrzehnten und viele der Immigranten sind wenig integriert und leben in bestimmten Ballungsrauemen. Die neue Immigration aus Europa wurde zunaechst begruesst – polnische Klempner waren begehrte Fachkraefte waerend des grossen Haeuserbooms in der Vor-Rezessionszeit. Als danach die Arbeitsosigkeit und ebenfalls die Europafeindlichkeit stieg begannen Politiker wie Adolf Farage sorry der heisst Nigel mit Vornamen mit simplen Parolen wie „die nehmen uns die Arbeit weg und sind fuer die hohen Hauspreise verantwortlich“ Schlagzeilen zu machen und die Regierung unter Druck zu setzen. Seine UK Indepence Party (UKIP) gewann die Europa Wahl und Prime Minister Cameron musste sich unter Druck seines rechten, ausserordentlich euroskeptischen Fluegels auf das Referendum einlassen.

Die Immigration ist tatsaechlich ein heisses Thema besonders weil UK

– wie ich im naechsten Teil darstellen werde, ein Land ist, dass total unterstrukturiert ist – wie Deutschland vielleicht ueberstruckturiert ist. Da es keine Personalausweise –identity cards – gibt und niemand weder Fahrzeugpapiere noch einen Fuehrerschein bei sich haben muss, weiss man nicht wie viele ueberhaupt im Lande sind. Hinzu kommt, dass es nur Grenzkontrollen bei der Einreise, aber nicht bei der Ausreise gibt. Studenten kommen mit Visa nach GB und keiner kontrolliert, wann sie wieder abreisen. Great Britain ist deswegen ein bevorzugtes Einwanderland und auch weil die ganze Welt zumindest gebrochenes Englisch spricht und wie spaeter erklaert, es unskilled (ungelernte) Jobs in Huelle und Fuelle gibt.

  1. Regeln, Strukturen und Vorschriften liegen den Englaendern nicht

a. Es geht mit der Sprache los. Die Sprache hat kaum Regeln und die Grammatik besteht im wesentlichen aus Ausnahmen. Daher ist sie leicht zu lernen aber unendlich schwer zu perfektionieren. Man drueckt sich auch ungern klar aus, wie Anthropologin Kate Fox in ihrem Buch „Watching the English“ so gut beschreibt. Very interesting heisst total rubbish etc Henning Wehn, der deutsche Komiker, der in England Furore macht, beshreibt das herrlich

b. Es gibt weder eine geschriebene Konsitution noch ein BGB oder HGB – alles ist auf case law aufgebaut und damit interpretierbar – Beispiel die sogenannten „Pay Day Loans“ mit 4stelligen Zinssaetzen waeren auf dem Kontinent unmoeglich, da es Wuchergesaetze oder aehnliches gibt

c. Main Freund Prof Thomas Killinger, Korrespondent der Welt in UK hat das vortrefflich in seinem Buch „Crossroads and Roundabouts“ beschrieben – alles ist staendig im Fluss

Meine Damen und Herren – stellen Sie sich vor, was sich da abspielt, wenn so eine Gesellschaft von unseren EU Freunden in Bruessel mit Regelungen und Vorschriften ueber alles und jedes beglueckt wird…..Das passt wie die Faust aufs Auge.

  1. In der Wirtschaft steht die Flexibility im Vordergrund und Arbeiter-und Angestellten Schutzgesetze (Employment Law) passen da ueberhaupt nicht hin. Wir in Europa sind an diese Dinge wie Mitbestimmung gewoehnt, fuer die englische Wirtschaft ist das alles ein rotes Tuch. Es gibt in UK etwa 2 millionen Zero-hour contracts, bei McDonald allein etwa 100.000, d.h. man wird nur bezahlt, wenn Arbeit da ist.

Als Ausbildung wird in der Regel das „on-the-job“ training als ausreichend angesehen. Im Service Sektor ist das auch oft ausreichend im Herstellbereich nicht – aber der schrunft sich schon seit Jahren gesund und liegt inzwischen bei knapp 10% vom GDP

  1. Die Presse ist ueberwaeltigend rechts, zum Teil rechts von Tchingis Khan

a. Allen voran die Murdoch Presse mit eienm Zeitungs- und TV Empire, dass euroskeptisch ist und mit grossem Misstrauen den Kontinent betrachtet. Murdoch’s Einfluss ist so gross, das Blair und Brown jede Idee von einem Stakeholder Model a la Soziale Marktwirschaft aufgeben mussten. Am 8.1.1996 hielt Blair eine Rede in Singapore ueber die Vorteile des Stakeholder Models. Drei Wochen spaeter mussten Blair und Brown bei Murdoch antreten – das Wort stakeholder wurde danach aus jedem Labour Program gestrichen. Fast wie zu Stalin’s Zeiten, wenn ein General oder Politiker ausradiert wurde.

b. Die Daily Mail, Daily Express und Daily Telegraph sowie und ihre lokalen Ableger sind noch extremer eurofeindlich mit fast taeglichen Attacken auf Bruessel oder auch Deutschland und Frankreich

c. Man darf nicht uebersehen, wie hoch die Auflagen der Zeitungen in UK sind – etwa das zehnfache der deutschen… Die Leser werden in allen Zeitungen mit 20-40 Seiten Sportberichten gefuettert. Wie im alten Rom – Brot (minimum wage) und Spiele. Vorne eine paar Schlagzeilen, harte Kommentare wobei Information oft hinter Meinungsmache zurueckbleibt

d. Guardian und Mirror auf der linken Seite haben wenig Chancen sind aber auch klar tendenzioes ausgereichtet – nur nach links.

  1. Die Exit Befuerworter haben die simpleren Messages a. Ohne Mitglied des Euro Clubs zu sein, ist UK ohne wirkliches Mitspracherecht im Kreis der Grossen und braucht eine Sonderstellung bzw ist besser gleich draussen b. Sprachlich, politisch und kulturell ist UK naeher an USA als an Europa und muss im Zweiferlsfalle immer Amerika folgenc. Den Europaern allen voran den Franzosen kann man nicht trauend. Europa ohne Grenzen ueberschwemmt das Land mit Fremden
  1. Die City hat einen ebenso grossen Anteil am GDP wie der Manufacturing Sektor; die einen brauchen Volatility die anderen Stabilitaet. Vorschriften aus Bruessel werden oft als Unterwanderungsabsicht der Kontinentaleuropaer gegen die Vormachtstellung der City in allen Finanzangelegenheiten dargestellt. Freiwillige Ueberwachung hat zwar in der Vergangenheit nicht funktioniert aber wir nach wie vor bevorzugt. Die Meinung in der City ist jedoch sehr geteilt was das Referendum angeht, aber ueberwiegend pro EU Verbeib – allerdings sie war immer anti Euro, da der Euro bedeutet, dass man nicht mehr mit Waehrungen von 19 Laendern spielen kann, sondern nur noch mit dem Euro.
  1. Was sagt die verarbeitende Wirtschaft dazu?

Ueberwaeltigend dafuer in der EU zu bleiben, aber moeglichst mit einer „reformierten EU“ – weniger Regeln, mehr Subsidiarity, Einspruchsrecht (Veto) im Arbeitsrecht und Finanz- und Steuerangelegenheiten etc

Als Deutscher moechte ich die Briten klar in der EU behalten – mit meinem englischen Hut auf, sehe ich das allerdings nicht unbedingt so eindeutig.

Nebenbei, je mehr sich die deutschen Politiker um UK bemuehen, um sie in der EU zu halten, desto mehr erscheint es den Insulanern, dass die Europaer das nur aus Eigennutz befuerworten zum Nachteil der Englaender. Es bedarf also grosses politisches Fingerspitzengefuehl, hier den rechten Ton zu finden. Sentimentalitaet ist wenig angebracht oder gefragt. Die Anglos waren schon immer von Mars und die Europaer eher von Venus (selbst die Deutschen zur allgemeinen Verwirrung neuerdings).

Mae West Zitat – “When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad, she was …. magnificent”. Leicht abgewandelt auf Deutschland bezogen wuerde das heissen

When the Germans are bad, they are awful, but when they are good …. they are even more annoying.

Ce la vie!

Werden die Briten austreten? Die Schotten waren nahe daran, die UK zu verlassen und ein sozial-demokatisches Land zu bilden und haben geschworen, dass wenn Grossbritannien insgesamt mit „out“ waehlt und die Schotten mit „in“, dann wird es ein neues Referendum in Schottland geben und die Schotten wuerden die UK eventuell dann verlassen. Die Scottish National Party, die eine grosse Mehrheit hat, ist nebenbei am weitesten links (im englischen Sinne) – sie nennt sich „progressiv“ und befuerwortet das Model der sozialen Marktwirtschaft a la Germany.

Die neue Labour Opposition unter Jeremy Corbyn ist ein natuerlicher Verbuendeter der SNP, steht allerdings auf sehr fragwuerdigen politischen Positionen wie Verstaatlichung der Bahn und Energiewirtschaft, ist allerdings pro-Europa.

Vieles haengt natuerlich davon ab, wie Europa sich bis zum Wahltag darstellt. Falls die Eurozone sich positiv entwickelt, ist den Austretern schon ein wenig Wind aus den Segeln genommen. Falls nicht und falls sich das Immigrationsthema noch schlimmer entwickelt, wollen viele Englaender den Tunnel wieder zuschuetten …

Bob Bischof – September 2015