Britain gets a new PM

Summarised by the FT:

Theresa May has entered Downing Street with a promise to address the country’s deep divisions, ruling not “for the privileged few” but for people who felt they were losing control of their lives.

Within hours of becoming the UK’s second female prime minister, Mrs May made her first cabinet appointments by installing Philip Hammond as chancellor and Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. George Osborne left the government, making way for the former foreign secretary who has long harboured an ambition to move to the Treasury.

Mrs May spoke only fleetingly about last month’s Brexit vote as she addressed the nation outside Number 10, but her mission statement was aimed squarely at those voters who saw the referendum as a chance to attack the economic establishment.

A low-key fiscal hawk, Mr Hammond is not a natural fit with Mrs May’s plan to relax austerity and tackle corporate excess but he will bring business and ministerial experience to the top of government in uncertain times.

David Davis, a Leave campaigner with a long record of Euroscepticism, was appointed to the key new role of secretary of state for leaving the EU.

Liam Fox, another Eurosceptic, is given a new role as international trade minister, in charge of delivering the trade deals that Brexiters claimed would be available if Britain left the EU.

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  1. Dat beeach be slappin’ down the London ‘pad balloon dawg?

    The old guy dundunuffin bout slanty-eyed Charlies banking all dem homes!

  2. drb1979MEMBER

    Yes, and unlike some of the recent commentary here Theresa May has confirmed Brexit will be happening, and Article 50 will be invoked once UK decides its negotiating position. She very much is not an ardent supporter of Remain, in fact she said very little pro EU stuff during the referendum campaign.

    The “markets”, particularly various US participants still dont get that this will happen. Probably explains why the VIX is back down and markets generally higher than pre June 23rd. Once they appreciate that Brexit is for real, expect more turbulance.

    In the meantime, potential opportunity in the markets now going long VIX, shorting indexes etc

    Jamie Dimon apparently thinks Brexit will reverse course……not sure if he isn’t well advised or just sticking his head in sand….

    • With the UK running a nice fat trade deficit with the EU the EU will need to take that into account before they decide to gaily slap tarriffs and quotas on goods and services from the UK.

      Plenty of countries will be more than willing to accept British exports tariff and quota free in return for similar access to the British market.

      Perhaps it is time for the mighty Commodore to prowl the back lanes of the English countryside.

      Australia already has few restrictions on British exports, all the UK needs to do is cut their EU barriers and they will be swimming in cheap wine, car parts and the other few things we are still capable of making.

      • I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written but it’s the old slippery slope argument. If the EU agrees to give up trade or finance access without migration…then everybody will want that deal and it will be the end of the union as we know it.

      • Sure but I think it is likely the UK will happily allow relatively easy movement and visas to EU passport holders so the question becomes – how hard will the EU fight for complete access for everyone.

        The ultimate differences between the UK position and the EU position on movement might be quite small.

        The reality is that other countries will want to leave the EU unless the EU lifts its game.

        Being ratty to the UK on the way out will not help them much.

        Club members have to like the club – not just have the fire doors welded shut.

    • drb1979MEMBER

      Umm, no. Not quite. Nobody is saying deals will be signed with individual EU countries, but negotiations/talks with them will take place either directly or indirectly via EU institutions. France, for example, will – either directly or indirectly – make its wants known.

      Dont forget the EU Council of ministers – who is taking the lead in Brexit negitations from the EU side – is just the leaders of the remaining 27 EU member states. The EU Commission will undertake and deliver what the EU coucil tells it to do.

      But nobody is expecting to sign deals directly with EU member states. I think the professor who retweeted that David Davis tweet got a bit excited and misunderstood what DD was saying.

      • Stephen Morris

        Legal academics are notoriously naive when it comes to realpolitik. They tend to view the world through the lens of the strictly hierarchical legal system and fail to understand the de facto way in which decisions are made.

  3. Theresa May takes over as Britain’s Brexit PM, appoints Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary….

    Political ideology

    Ideologically, Johnson has described himself as a “One-Nation Tory”[312][313] and a “very moderate liberal conservative”.[314] Academic Tony Travers of the London School of Economics described Johnson as “a fairly classic—that is, small-state—mildly eurosceptic Conservative” who like his contemporaries Cameron and Osborne also embraced “modern social liberalism”.[315] The Guardian agreed that while Mayor, Johnson had blended economic and social liberalism,[316] with The Economist claiming that in doing so Johnson “transcends his Tory identity” and adopts a more libertarian perspective.[317] Stuart Reid, Johnson’s colleague at The Spectator, described the latter’s views as being those of a “liberal libertarian”.[318] Johnson’s biographer and friend Andrew Gimson noted that while “in economic and social matters, [Johnson] is a genuine liberal”, he retains a “Tory element” to his personality through his “love of existing institutions, and a recognition of the inevitability of hierarchy”.[319]

    “[I am] free-market, tolerant, broadly libertarian (though perhaps not ultra-libertarian), inclined to see the merit of traditions, anti-regulation, pro-immigrant, pro-standing on your own two feet, pro-alcohol, pro-hunting, pro-motorist and ready to defend to the death the right of Glenn Hoddle to believe in reincarnation.”
    Boris Johnson[125]

    Stuart Wilks-Heeg, executive director of Democratic Audit, noted that “Boris is politically nimble”,[315] while biographer Sonia Purnell stated that Johnson regularly changed his opinion on political issues, commenting on what she perceived to be “an ideological emptiness beneath the staunch Tory exterior.”[320] She later referred to his “opportunistic—some might say pragmatic—approach to politics”.[321] Former Mayor Ken Livingstone claimed in an interview with the New Statesman that while he had once feared Johnson as “the most hardline right-wing ideologue since Thatcher”, over the course of Johnson’s mayoralty he had instead concluded that he was “a fairly lazy tosser who just wants to be there” while doing very little work.[322] He has sometimes been described as a “populist”[323][324][325] and a “nationalist”.[326]

    Disheveled Marsupial…. Oh… man… this is going to be interesting….

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Boris Johnson,
      “a fairly lazy tosser who just wants to be there” while doing very little work”

      Yes, his “love” of british tradtional instutions, I think, is just him choosing the “best” Plutocratic instution that will allow him to “do very little”

      A right wing Brexit, will do nothing for the Vast Majority of the British People,…but the left is hiding and to scared to stand up.

      Corbyn is part of Labour’s old guard – relics of a democratic socialist wing of the post-war Labour party that was mostly purged under Tony Blair’s leadership. Labour under Blair became a lite version of the Conservative party.
      And here we reach the crux of the problem with the referendum campaign.
      There was a strong and responsible leftwing case for Brexit, based on social democratic and internationalist principles, that Corbyn was too afraid to espouse in public, fearing that it would tear apart his party. That opened the field to the rightwing Brexit leadership and their ugly fearmongering.
      Left’s case for Brexit
      The left’s case against the EU was frequently articulated by Tony Benn, a Labour minister in the 1960s and 1970s. At an Oxford Union debate in 2013, a year before he died, Benn observed:
      The way that Europe has developed is that the bankers and multi-national corporations have got very powerful positions and, if you come in on their terms, they will tell you what you can and can’t do – and that is unacceptable.
      My view about the European Union has always been, not that I am hostile to foreigners but that I’m in favour of democracy. … I think they are building an empire there.

      Nearly 40 years earlier, in 1975, during a similar referendum on leaving what was then called the EEC, Benn pointed out that what was at stake was Britain’s parliamentary democracy. It alone “offered us the prospect of peaceful change; reduced the risk of civil strife; and bound us together by creating a national framework of consent for all the laws under which we were governed.”
      His warning about “civil strife” now sounds eerily prophetic: the referendum campaign descended into the ugliest public political feuding in living memory.
      For Bennites and the progressive left, internationalism is a vital component of the collective struggle for the rights of workers and the poor. The stronger workers are everywhere, they less easily they can be exploited by the rich through divide-and-rule policies.
      Globalisation, on the other hand, is premised on a different and very narrow kind of internationalism: one that protects the rights of the super-rich to drive down wages and workers’ rights by demanding the free movement of labor, while giving this economic elite the freedom to hide away their own profits in remote tax-havens.
      Globalisation, in other words, switched the battlefield of the class struggle from the nation state to the whole globe. It allowed the trans-national economic elite to stride the world taking advantage of every loophole they could find in the weakest nations’ laws and forcing other nations to follow suit. Meanwhile, the working and middle classes found themselves defenseless, largely trapped in their national and regional ghettoes, and turned against each other in a global free market.

      • EP…

        Philosophical arguments rarely square wrt reality…. a disorderly unwind of trade is in noones interest…

  4. LabrynthMEMBER

    Why do these politicians insist on installing narcissistic people to the top job.

    I heard that she was angry when Margret Thatcher became prime minister because she wanted the title of first woman to be hers.

    It tells you a lot about these peoples ambitions for government that it is a facility to serve their ego not a place to serve the people.

    • Douglas Adams had it right.

      The major problem — one of the major problems, for there are several — one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

      To summarise: it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

      To summarise the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

      To summarise the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

    • Know IdeaMEMBER

      Plato had a similar view to Douglas Adams, although he may have been more open to the possibility that the right person could be elected to lead. But as a whole, on my understanding of his writings, he tended to the view that the wrong person would typically be elected and, hence, there would be a progressive and natural degradation of the society’s governance from democracy (which was already a degradation from a sequence of posited higher forms) to ultimately despotism.

      And so the cycles continue … like sand through the hour glass …

      • Yeah coming from the guy that was an elitist and anti democratic….

        Disheveled Marsupial… last time I looked we have better methodology than referencing dead poets….

    • Stephen Morris

      The same principle of “adverse selection” is stated more formally by economics Nobel laureate James Buchanan:

      “[S]uppose that a monopoly right is to be auctioned; whom will we predict to be the highest bidder? Surely we can presume that the person who intends to exploit the monopoly power most fully, the one for whom the expected profit is highest, will be among the highest bidders for the franchise. In the same way, positions of political power will tend to attract those persons who place higher values on the possession of such power. These persons will tend to be the highest bidders in the allocation of political offices. . . . Is there any presumption that political rent seeking will ultimately allocate offices to the ‘best’ persons? Is there not the overwhelming presumption that offices will be secured by those who value power most highly and who seek to use such power of discretion in the furtherance of their personal projects, be these moral or otherwise? Genuine public-interest motivations may exist and may even be widespread, but are these motivations sufficiently passionate to stimulate people to fight for political office, to compete with those whose passions include the desire to wield power over others?” (James Buchanan and Geoffrey Brennan, “The Reason of Rules”.)

      Contrary to popular misconception, the real purpose of Democracy (true Democracy) is not to have the People voting on each and every issue but rather to change the incentive for election of politicians.

      See the Swiss system of all-party collegiate government here:

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I think I prefer Benns “A Framework of Consent” interpretation of Democracy.

        ‘Nearly 40 years earlier, in 1975, during a similar referendum on leaving what was then called the EEC, Benn pointed out that what was at stake was Britain’s parliamentary democracy. It alone “offered us the prospect of peaceful change; reduced the risk of civil strife; and bound us together by creating a national framework of consent for all the laws under which we were governed.”

      • Stephen Morris

        The Judicial Oligarchy has never been independent. It’s just that when it is appointed by The Elite, they don’t see any problem in that.

        See the section on “Regulatory Capture” here:

        In Australia the Oligarchs are appointed by the Executive of the central government without the need for referral even to the Legislature. It is rather like having Telstra appoint the ACCC.

        As the famed American jurist Learned Hand once remarked on the operation of the judiciary:

        “[Judges] wrap up their veto in a protective veil of adjectives such as ‘arbitrary’, ‘artificial’, ‘normal’, ‘reasonable’, ‘inherent’, ‘fundamental’, or ‘essential’, whose office usually, though quite innocently, is to disguise what they are doing and impute to it a derivation far more impressive than their personal preferences, which are all that in fact lie behind the decision. . . . .”

      • Stephen Morris

        The Orwellian use of the term “democracy” to describe “elective” government (such as parliamentary government) is very recent, going back only to 1798.

        Before that “democratic” had been only in a pejorative sense. For example:

        All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and the well-born; the other the mass of the people … turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the Government … Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. (Alexander Hamilton, Speech to the Constitutional Convention, June 1787)

        Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. (John Adams)

        Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos. (John Marshall)

        We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real Liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of dictatorship. (Alexander Hamilton)

        …democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. (James Madison, Federalist No. 10)

        [One might ask just how many democracies Madison and his colleagues had examined in coming to these sweeping conclusions, or how many other systems of government had not eventually been “violent in their deaths”, but it is clear from their language that they regarded “democracy” as something to be avoided at all costs.]

        The modern Orwellian use of “democratic” to describe non-democratic government arose only in 1798, paradoxically as a response to Hamilton’s perjorative use of the term against Jefferson’s and Madison’s “Republican Party” (the so-called “Democratic Republican Party”, not to be confused with the modern Republican Party):

        The Republicans contended that the Federalists harboured aristocratic attitudes and that their policies placed too much power in the central government and tended to benefit the affluent at the expense of the common man. Although the Federalists soon branded Jefferson’s followers “Democratic-Republicans,” attempting to link them with the excesses of the French Revolution, the Republicans officially adopted the derisive label in 1798. (

        Thus, ten years after ratification of a deliberately non-democratic constitution (in the historical sense), a political party can be seen appropriating the title “Democratic” safe in the knowledge that there was no real threat of actual democracy.

        This strategy has been used ever since. The German Democratic Republic (the former East Germany) was in fact a police state. Likewise, to this day the brutal North Korean dictatorship chooses to style itself “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”.

        Just because Elitists choose to style themselves “Democratic” doesn’t mean they are actually Democratic.

      • More rancid “Public Choice” theory which views society as a rational actor theory based market…. barf…

        Because it worked so well for credit… eh…

        The paper presents a post-Keynesian interpretation of the consequences of financial liberalization (FL) programmes in less developed countries (LDCs). The interpretation advanced here incorporates the new-Keynesian concepts of adverse selection and credit rationing into a post-Keynesian framework. It is argued that FL can lead to a particular kind of development, ‘speculation-led economic development’, which is characterized by a preponderance of risky investment practices and shaky financial structures. In addition, FL is likely to induce an increase in directly unproductive profit-seeking activities, a greater likelihood of financial crises, a misallocation of credit and, ultimately, diminished rates of real sector economic growth. Given the likelihood of these outcomes (as well as their realization in LDCs that have implemented FL), FL programmes are argued to be a poor foundation for stable and sustained real-sector economic growth, especially in the context of resource-scarce LDCs.

        Disheveled Marsupial …. most of this stuff can be addressed with two points of reference… the Milgram experiment and Uptons hard to get people to understand when their pay packet is at risk…

      • Stephen Morris…

        Rational agent models have nothing to do with Democracy… especially in the framework of a Market… M’k…

  5. I read that she is the one who put tough salary requirements on immigrants. Non-EU immigrants must have an income of £35k/year over 5 years to be allowed to stay in Britain.

    And Britain is less corrupt than AUS, so the laws have a better chance of being enforced.

    • The UK´s price tag for selling out is higher than Australia´s, that is the only difference.