Brexit -- Known Unknown, Putin’s Arctic Plan, Our Saudi Friend, Emmanuel Macron, Trump’s Allure, Germany's New Right

Edward Burra, from The Snack Bar (1930), Tate Britain.

What I’m listening to. 

Pieces de Clavecin: Suite No. 2: Courante No. 1

No clue.

Financial Times -- Britain’s friends are right to fear Brexit

Despite absurd attempts to deny this, nobody knows what would follow a vote to leave the EU.


HM Treasury analysis: the long-term economic impact of EU membership and the alternatives

The other Brexit fear game.

Telegraph -- Border Security: How the US and Britain compare

The United States deploys a much tougher regime than Britain to hunt down Islamists in their midst and screen out potential extremists who attempt to reach American soil.

I’m on the top of world!

The Times -- Tsar Vladimir is plotting an Arctic Cold War

Russian adventures in Ukraine and Syria are merely rehearsals for a much bigger power play.

Quote -- “The militarisation of the Arctic, however, continues apace. Russia’s force there will soon be larger than all the other Arctic states — the US, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland — combined. This force is doing more than securing Russian economic interests and its claims on the continental shelf. From a defrosted north it poses a strategic challenge and cows Nato. The more China uses the northern sea lanes, the more the Sino-Russian relationship will swing in Moscow’s favour.”

Friends, really?

The Atlantic -- The Ever More ‘Complicated’ U.S. Relationship With Saudi Arabia

Just as President Obama prepares to travel to Riyadh, the kingdom has threatened to withdraw hundreds of billions in investments over a Senate bill related to 9/11.

France’s fresh face.

Economist -- Liberty, equality, seniority

French politics usually favours grey hair and fusty ideas. Emmanuel Macron provides fresh thinking.

Why Trump matters.

New Yorker -- American Demagogue

Nearly three decades ago, Howard Kaminsky, of Random House, called on the real-estate developer and self-marketing master Donald Trump at his office on Fifth Avenue. 

Germany’s new right.

New York Review of Books -- Behind the New German Right

Throughout its postwar history, Germany somehow managed to resist the temptations of right-wing populism. 


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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.