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Michael Gumbrell

weddings and tutorials

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so i have a tutorial this Saturday, all booked are ready to go,

I might be hanging at the tutorial,because my sister in law is getting married on Friday, so that is a busy day and evening for me.

Not sure I will have time free to write a blog this Sunday, which is a shame because we have the SNP demands for a second referendum and the Dutch elections this week, plus we might see article 50 triggered in the next 7 days.

I will try and find time to cover the Dutch election, I mentioned it in my 'summer of brexit' article, so it will be interesting to see the results.

For the SNP independence blog, I fancied having  look at that from an economic perspective, did you know that the IMF has predicted that the UK economy will grow to larger than Germany's  in the next 10 years, so Scotland might have to think very carefully from an economic perspective, after all, when isolated, Scotland's GDP is the same as Slovakia or Estonia. Is Scotland's economy big enough to survive in a globalised world? In the first independence referendum, the SNP made much of the income from oil, they estimated in to be 12 billion in the first 3 years, where as the actual figure was 800,000 million! Can the new predictions from the SNP be taken seriously when they got it wrong last time by 1400% ?, also it is very interesting because if there is a second referendum, Scotland and the SNP will be talking a lot about 'freedom' and from a philosophical perspective, is seeking independence from England and staying on board with the super international aspirations of the E.U more 'Free' than remaining in a union with the U.K that is removed from the E.U? something to write about there, for sure.

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Michael Gumbrell

how to get ahead and alienate people

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from my blog:

The specialistgeneralist.net

Trump: the international realist


How to get ahead and alienate people.


Things seem to settle down somewhat in the White House for the last 5 days or so. I wonder if they have a board up in the White house staff break room that reads,

3 Days

 ‘Days since we had a total whirlwind of controversy’

So I thought I would have a little look and consideration of what Mr Trump’s fall back catch phrase of ‘make America great again’ means.

Mr Trump appears to be an international realist. Very much a fan of the state, The sovereignty of US territory. This must be the case because so much of what he has said, and unconstitutionally tried to do, reinforces a nationalist ideal. To be an international realist you must consider the power of your state on the world stage and in relation to the other states around you as primary. You must believe that all states exist in a balance of power and that winning this anarchy of power balance is to be the strongest player. To the victor the rewards, even if the reward appear to be playing the same game of power balance for ever.

To feed this ‘make America great again’ habit and reassert Americas position as number one, Mr Trump feels it is very important to, repel boarders-or let’s have a travel ban.

Remind the geographers and international partners that America has a non-porous border that is a fixed boundary and definable- or let’s build a wall.

Next Mr Trump turned his attention to the Liberal economic concerns of the interconnectedness of economic globalisation, again as an international realist, Mr trump will naturally resent the very transnational economic model of development. So playing his trump card (my apologies, but that cannot get old) he lays out his ‘art of the deal’ slick and pressures manufactures and companies into refocusing production on U.S soil. He also pulled the classic nationalist trick of going for government funded infrastructure development to fuel wages and living standards.

So far so good (if you’re an international realist) or not so good if you are of a collectivist persuasion.

If you are a collectivist, they you are going to consider that globalisation is inevitable, and the merging of cultural bonds progresses that process. Now it might get interesting. Is Mr Trumps persona, his public face, pre-planned to try and halt cultural collectivism? All of his tirades about the fake news, the unfair media, his opponents being evil, serve to alienate people outside of his core support. Are they aimed at a higher goal? Now if Mr Trump is planning his persona to offset and repulse global collectivism, then it is surely working. He is playing a role, after all politicians are ‘actors’ on a stage. Is he being deliberately outrageous, miss-leading, belligerent and vile to further his own agenda of international realism?

That would be fun, as long as he does not go so far that it threatens his position, then he will always use this tool of being unlikeable to repress the collectivist agenda towards globalisation. This is even more fun, because the media, Stephen Colbert on the late show, John Oliver, Trevor Noah and all the other liberal collectivist stars are helping Trump achieve his ultimate goal of steering the US into a more realist international position. The more they complain, the more people protest, the stronger Trump’s steer becomes. This is even more ironic when you consider the protests have popped up all over the world, we even had anti-trump protests here in Portsmouth, UK. They might all be playing even further into his hands, making the globalist trait of cultural interconnectedness even harder to achieve and providing Trump with internationalist realist fuel to thrown onto the fire.

There is a fly in the ointment of Trumps 110% commitment (it’s going to be great, let me tell you) to international realism. If you believe in the International realist perspective of international anarchy, then a mistrust of large states is a major part of your position. So you have threats to your states number one status. This makes Trump’s love in with the Russians and Putin a little harder to understand. Although the idea that Putin and Russia are really not fans of globalisation is easy to believe, so Russia herself is an international realist, then if you are in that game of one-up-man-ship, then you need a big heavy hitter to go up against. Since the cold war went the way of the neo-liberal globalist, Russia has been at a bit of a loose end, she could not win because she was playing a different game to everyone else. Rather like taking a cricket bat to a tennis match, you might get a game, but you will lose to the person with the racquet. So is the new Trump-Putin love in an attempt by the Russians to help Trump get his realist way with America, so that the newly wedded realists can have a good old game of superpowers?

Globalisation does raise many heckles, in fact it was the main bug bear of the Occupy movement, so does that mean for his very denouement, will Mr trump re-position America as a 100 % international realist state, destroy global collectivism with his own unique public persona, restore a nationalist economic agenda to American workers and then take up residence in a tent outside the Wall street to protest the remaining liberal economic elements of globalisation? Now that would really get the liberal media going, Stephen Colbert’s head might explode with the joy of that situation.

Who knows, here in the UK we voted to Brexit after all, so we clearly have eyes on a westphalian shift away from transnational organisations. The thing that interests me is the American belief that they are the best. They are god’s chosen country, the free country, the home of the brave individual. That mantra really supports an international realist perspective, right up to the point when things start to not go your way. America is the spiritual home of the liberal individualist, with their distain of big government and mistrust of governmental interference, lovers of their rights and freedoms.

So will Trump be able to roll back the clock, roll back globalisation and position America in a 100% international realist perspective, all in 4 years, whilst building a wall, rebuilding roads and bridges, making people happy with extra dollars in their pockets and being as vile as possible to the media? Well he got himself into the White House, so these things might well come to pass…. And if it all does not go his way, he can always go to his fall back position of ‘billionaire former president of the united states’


Mike Gumbrell


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Michael Gumbrell

Brexit blog post.

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Sunday, 5 Mar 2017, 11:06

here is my thespecialistgeneralist.net blog post about Brexit.

For all those of you who study social science and sweat TMA word counts, you might want to jump to the last 2 paragraphs first, for a bit of a chuckle:

Brexit, from the UK perspective.

Oh my, how many words, insults and offended philosophies have been thrown at the subject of Brexit. As I write this, the Brexit bills is with the house of lords and the usual pressure points of constitutional crisis are being bandied about to try and prevent the lords from amending the bill.

We have spent so much time and energy in debating and arguing the exit negotiations from our own internal UK point of view. We have heard from the EU itself, the comments ranging across a spectrum of ‘we must punish the UK for leaving’ to ‘we must respect the UK and offer them a fair deal’.

I find myself thinking about the European position to Brexit. This summer has no major sporting event in it, no Olympics, no World Cup or European football championships, but I believe the potential exists for the new summer blockbuster of entertainment to be the first 3 months after the UK Government trigger article 50.

This might sound a bit odd, but I would like to put it into context. From the UK side, the government will trigger article 50, with a government still in position until 2020, with a decent majority and an economy with steady, if unspectacular, growth. The team to negotiate Brexit will have been in place for 6 months, agenda’s set, outcomes prioritised and much work to be done. So the UK team will be set, positions coached and a positive team win is sought.

My worry is that we are going to be negotiating with an EU that is going to spend a lot of the summer in crisis. If these negotiations are going to be held, they need two sides with the time, skills and resources to negotiate.

I have very real concerns that the EU is not going to be able to hold its own side of the negotiation on track. I would suggest this because of the following reasons, a summer of EU crisis, that may well end in the autumn and the autumn of the European Union itself.

The first major shock to the EU will be March 31st itself. End of the financial year and the UK government will press the button on article 50. Gone are all the hopes, fears and potential last minute reprieves. Tony Blair, the very self-appointed king of global society, the nemesis of Westphalian sovereignty, might well be trying to halt the process, but his is an intervention with little credibility and much too late in the day to reset the UK government. So the first blow to the structure of the EU will be landed, with full force on 31st March. No longer a problem, Brexit becomes a certainty.

So where does the next blow to European union come from? Marie Le Pen was considered a right wing no hoper until this month. A surge of 20 points, helped by the revelations of corruption and elitism by her opponents, has seen her take the outright lead in the race to preside over France. Much like Trump before her, she was written off, and yet has ascended to a potential winning position. If she is the winner in May 2017, the EU will be negotiating with a member aboard that has also promised a referendum on EU membership. The UK was never a true member of the EU, we kept the pound, opted out of Lisbon and Dublin treaties. How would the EU cope with a full member on board who also wants to head for the exit? This is bound to disrupt, France and Le Pen would need courting and coaxing back into the fold, against a backdrop of the UK getting themselves out of the fold. Any potential advantage to the UK in the negotiations around this time would hit the EU hard and tempt Le Pen into an early referendum, after all it must be surely preferable to be second off a sinking ship rather than 27th off? Or might she prefer a smash and grab raid by renegotiating?

The European Central Bank might not be too keen to offer France some sweetheart deal money when it has several members in dire straits. On the subject of the ECB, when does Greece default again? Oh yes the end of June. Greece are currently trying to stave off the IMF and renegotiate their repayments, but that process has stalled. The Snap election threats are out again by the Greek government, and with that going on, they also have to fend off the IMF, which they cannot afford repayment too, so that they can then run into the June ECB deadline. So without ECB support and restructure, Greece may well fall out of the Euro by mid-June. But it will not be too much of a distraction for the EU, to be trying to sweetheart a founding member whilst dealing with the monetary collapse of a poorer member, to continue its negotiation with the UK at the same time.

But that’s okay for the EU, at least the Dutch will help keep the whole onion bag together. Unless the Dutch are aware that they are going from being the third largest net contributor in the EU to Second place with the UK leaving. Would that really push the Dutch into considering anti EU sentiment? By April 2017 we will know if Gert Wilders secured enough proportionally represented seats to become the Dutch leader. That could not possibly happen, because Brexit was never going to happen and Trump would lose. So if Mr wilders is in charge and Ms Le Pen rolls beside him, will the Dutch support or derail the EU. I think we can already answer that question. Yes Mr Wilders wants a referendum on membership of the EU for Holland.

So now the EU will be negotiating with the UK with two of its senior members (all members are equal of course, it is just that some members are historically more Westphalian than others) already looking to hit the exit too. This cannot be a position of strength. There will be times when the EU will not be able to negotiate with the UK because they are too busy firefighting their own members. Greece will default and the Euro may well fold. All this just gets us to the end of June.

From June the EU will have a brief rest, whilst continuing the Brexit negotiations before Germany goes to the polls in September. We can only guess at the mood of the German voters if they have had a summer of Brexit, French revolt, Dutch Westphalian grumblings and a Greek default and departure from the Euro. This must surely take its toll on the mood of the German people, along with another busy summer of refugee influx. Will this leave the German people in the mood to support the EU or in the mood to restructure it? If restructure was to be needed the German banks would need a solution to its over commitment to the Euro Zone. Germany has been repatriating its gold bullion stocks recently. In fact they aimed to bring 10% of its total ( 300 tonnes) bullion stock, back onto German soil by 2020. In completely unrelated news, they managed to complete the repatriation by March 2017.

So the Germans draw 300 tonnes of gold bullion back to home territory one month before the UK trigger article 50, two months before Mr Wilder goes to the Dutch polls, three months before Ms Le Pen goes to the French people and four months before the Greek’s default and six months before its own people go to the polls.

And during this first 6 months with all its potential fails for the European Union, the UK will be trying to negotiate a Brexit. A Brexit which must be finalised within two years, looking at the first 6 months (25% of the total negotiation timetable) I would suggest it will not be a case of hard or soft Brexit, not a case of punishment or appeasement, it will be a case of getting the Brexit done in quick enough time before the whole process breaks down and the EU members all go their separate ways.

At least Junkers, who will be in charge of the whole process, is there. If he had handed his notice in and was sailing away into retirement, that might put even bigger breaks on the process. And in other news, Mr Junkers will not be standing for re-election.

It would appear that the EU is not going to hold itself together long enough for the UK to complete its Brexit negotiations. It might well be that we just got to the head of the queue before everyone else did, but then again we are the UK, queues are our thing, right?

So at the opening of this article I mentioned all the words, insults and offended philosophies that had been thrown at Brexit. So here are my 1648 words on the subject. I am really not sure that Brexit will officially end as a process, because the EU will change so dramatically over the next 6 months that they will not be able to complete the negotiation with the UK under the article 50 terms. The UK will need a structure of institution to negotiate with, but the EU will be shedding its institutions and all of the agreements it holds as its structure right at the fulcrum of the negotiations.

So will it all fall apart, we will see the other members of the EU revert back to their sovereign states, will Westphalian sovereignty be restored. I think so. The Westphalia treaties were signed back in 1648. Which if you look at the paragraph above about my number of words, means I can be rather too smug with myself sometimes!

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