Sunday, June 12, 2016

Boris of Arabia

From what does Boris Johnson derive his extremely favourable view of Britain's economic prospects outside the European Union? Certainly expenses-paid trips to the Gulf to see only one side of highly open economies highly reliant on guest workers would be part of it. Here he is exulting (in the Telegraph) about Qatar --

The Qataris are wearing M&S underwear beneath their kanduras. They are eating in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. They are driving Land Rovers and phoning with Vodafone – and last year the UK exported goods worth a record £1.3 billion to Qatar alone; not bad for a place with only 1.8 million people. It was a joy to hear the natives speak spontaneously of their affection for Britain. I lost count of the number of times I was told: “London is my second home.” ...  I was amazed at the boom in the Gulf, for it is so very different from our wretched European story. For five years the crisis has dragged on, and every time we’ve thought the UK might attain an escape velocity, the euro has had another convulsion and confidence has drained away. Today, the Gulf is doing well because of resurgent demand from Asia, and above all from China. America is returning to life, too – and as to our continent, well, Europe is a microclimate of gloom. ...  It is an extraordinary fact that it is now the Commonwealth countries, so long neglected by the UK, that are turning into the powerhouses of the future. We have more friends than we sometimes imagine. 

All that was written in 2013 when the oil price and China growth stories look very different than they do now. But that's still his vision for a post-EU Britain. 

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