The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Tate Modern

I visited the Tate Modern on Saturday to see their new building and snapped some photos. Here's the north face with the Millennium Bridge off to the left:

A better photo of the west entrance foyer:

And one of the staircases in the new building:

Later today or tomorrow, a couple photos of my hike in Buckinghamshire.

 

Brexit and aviation

Cranky Flier points out that while tourism to the UK is really a great deal right now (as I'd attest), it's going to be a lot more expensive if Brexit actually happens:

Today the UK is part of the European Common Aviation Area (CAA). That means that UK-based airlines can fly anywhere within Europe they want, just as if they were based in any of those other European countries. The same goes for European airlines flying within the UK. It also means that bilateral agreements negotiated by the EU with third parties outside the EU apply to the UK. And there are a host of European aviation regulations that govern air travel in the UK as well. Some or all of this may go away completely when the break-up occurs. That is to be determined by those negotiating the terms.

...[T]he EU may decide it doesn’t want the UK in the CAA anymore. That would be quite the blow to the UK, but it would be a warning shot for anyone else contemplating the same thing. I keep coming back to that castle scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

That would mean that the UK and the EU would need to set up a more traditional bilateral agreement. It would be shocking if those restrictions didn’t include a ban on UK-based airlines from flying within the EU. That would mean foreign ownership rules would apply. For EU-based airlines this wouldn’t be a huge issue. They’d probably lose the ability to fly domestically within the UK and they couldn’t be majority-owned by a UK shareholder anymore. That’s not really an issue.

For the UK, however, it’s bad news. Think about easyJet, a UK-based airline that criss-crosses the EU all day every day. It would no longer be able to do that. Instead it would be forced to create an EU-based subsidiary, of which it could presumably only own 49 percent, and then have that company handle the intra-EU flying. Half the profits of that company would go into the EU instead of to the UK as they do today. The airline is already investigating this possibility. This wouldn’t hurt easyJet other than adding a little more complexity, but it would hurt the UK.

Yesterday, I thought of a different problem, but related not just to Brexit but to the general British mindset of never wanting to change anything. That problem is Heathrow. It's not fun connecting through Heathrow to go anywhere, mainly because it's only got two runways servicing its five spread-out terminals. Compare that with, say, Amsterdam's Schiphol, or Munich, or even Brussels, and it's difficult to see how Brexit doesn't make Heathrow even less attractive than its continental competitors.

The UK will screw itself by leaving the EU so many ways that porn stars will be flabbergasted. Aviation is just one small area of this.

What did we learn?

I'm heading home from London having talked to dozens of people about last Thursday's vote. No conclusions yet, or at least none that really challenged my earlier beliefs that the vote itself was a bad idea that went badly. Jeremy Corbyn probably thinks so too at this point. (Link when I'm back on a real computer.)

Let's see what Parliament screws up while I'm in the air.

At least the exchange rate cushions the blow immediately. Sterling is about £1 = $1.35 today, which changed the economics of the Duty Free shop quite a bit just now.

Bit of a hike

Today was pretty full. I took a train to Tring, hiked for two hours, came back to London, and walked around Kensington for a couple more. Now it's 11pm on Sunday night and everything is closed.

I won't have all the photos I took yesterday and today ready until I get back to Chicago, but here are a couple. First, the Tate Modern:

Second, this guy, who rode in my train carriage on the way back from Tring:

These are just from my phone. I did lug my real camera all over the hills of Buckinghamshire today, so I'll have real photos later in the week.

Totally, ridiculously, dumb

It's 6:30 am in the UK, and the results are mostly in. The United Kingdom has apparently voted to secede from the European Union. That makes David Cameron about the unluckiest person ever to head Her Majesty's Government.

Cameron pushed the "Brexit" vote on the understanding that it wouldn't pass. How'd that work out?

In literary terms, the apotheosis of Nigel Farage is the dramatic climax in the story of the United Kingdom. David Cameron mooting the referendum was the technical climax. The denouement? England winds up a has-been little country surrounded by the European Union states of Scotland, Wales, and a united Ireland.

Prediction: By 2020, an independent Scotland and an independent Wales will join the EU, while a very confused Northern Ireland struggles to decide whether to join the Republic or Scotland. (My bet's on Scotland.) Meanwhile, Nigel Farange, having succeeded in his lifelong ambition to destroy the UK, finds himself having to explain to his geriatric, ineducable supporters why England can't make it on its own, and why no one wants to build in London anymore.
 
Congratulations, you lot who voted "Leave." You're about to find out why it's better for the head to rule the heart in matters of economics.
 
And this chart below? You idiots who voted to leave the EU? This is bad. Bad, bad, bad. But since you obviously don't believe rational thought is an important part of statecraft, what do you care? It's only your economy collapsing.

Will Cameron be dumb or lucky?

UK law prohibits discussing an election while polls are open. The Daily Parker, being an American publication, isn't subject to this rule, but I decided this morning not to flout it anyway because I'm going to be in the UK tomorrow evening.

Polls closed 20 minutes ago in an historic referendum to decide whether the UK should remain within the European Union (my belief) or leave it. Here's what people are saying.

First, the Guardian, my go-to source for breaking British news:

Long queues have been reported outside some polling stations as voters cast their ballots in Britain’s closely fought EU referendum.

In London and parts of the south-east many were forced to brave torrential rain and navigated flooded streets to have their say.

The latest Ipsos Mori phone poll, completed in the days before the referendum, gave remain a four-point lead on 52% to leave on 48%. So far all the final phone polls have shown remain in the lead, while all but one of the final online polls have given the lead to leave.

Some polling stations were forced to close and relocate as the equivalent of one month’s rain fell overnight in the capital.

Finian O'Toole, writing for the Irish Times, wonders if the English are ready for self-government:

Brexit is essentially Exit: if the Leave side wins the referendum it will almost certainly be without securing majorities in Scotland or Northern Ireland. For all the talk of reasserting the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, the desire to leave the European Union is driven above all by the rise of English nationalism.

And the chief consequence of Brexit will be the emergence of England as a stand-alone nation. Whatever entity might eventually emerge from a tumultuous breach with the European Union will almost certainly not, in the long term, include Scotland: a second referendum on Scottish independence will be inevitable, and this time Scots would be voting to stay in the EU.

It may or may not include Wales. (A resurgence of Welsh nationalism in reaction to the rise of English nationalism seems possible.)

And its relationship to Northern Ireland will be increasingly tenuous and fraught: if nothing else the Brexit campaign has made it abundantly clear that what happens to the North scarcely merits an English afterthought. The kingdom founded by Boris I will, in time, come to be bounded by the English Channel and the River Tweed.

CityLab agrees:

The Scotland/England divide also cuts both ways. If the U.K. as a whole swings towards Remain, many English Brexiteers may feel that it is Scots in turn who are twisting their arms. Independence aspirations could ultimately still lead one day to Scotland breaking away as a separate state, leaving the remaining parts of the U.K. “stuck” within an E.U. that a narrow majority had voted against. That’s not a possibility the pro-Leave camp would accept with any relish. Indeed, part of the Leave camp (though far from all) are motivated by a form of nationalism that is morphing from British to English, populated with people frustrated that Scottish MPs can vote on some issues affecting England while, due to its devolved parliament, Scotland can make similar decisions for themselves independently.

By laying bare these fault lines, both Leave and Remain results in a referendum could imply a threat to the future unity of the United Kingdom. Not as an instant axe-fall severing the country’s parts come Friday, of course, but as a steady polarization which may end up making such unity untenable.

Closer to home, the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal likens the vote to Downstate Illinois kicking out Chicago:

Given the way some Illinois politicians try to drive a wedge between north and south, it doesn't take much imagination to envision people Downstate who might want to vote to cut ties with Chicago.

Maybe they don't want to pay for Chicago's financial mistakes. Perhaps they feel little in common with its denizens. They could be appalled by the city's crime and corruption.

At this point, ignoring arguments that the state is served by greater size, diversity and economic might, they may simply want their independence and believe the benefits are worth whatever a less-than-amicable divorce might cost.

Meanwhile, as of 22:30 BST, counting millions of paper ballots has comenced in the UK. I'll be watching.

In the news

Once again, here's a list of news items I haven't fully digested but want to when I have a few free minutes:

There's another major story that I'm following, about which I'll post in a few minutes.

New gig

SPR logoYesterday I started a new job as a Principal Architect at SPR in Chicago. It's a cool gig, and I'll be working with lots of great people, including some I already know (and to whom I'm sure I now have to pay hefty bribes for the references).

I'll be writing more later this week, but I'm kind of swamped at the moment.