Sunday, 2 February 2020

Small country goes it alone

Leo Varadkar, resuming his smirking demeanour that I love to hate, has upset me again with his small minded talk about the UK being a "small country" now we have left the EU. Oh dear, how are we going to manage? Well, Leo, you see:

  • the UK has four of the top ten universities in the world, according to the listing on  (Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL if you were wondering). On a quick scan of the list I could see only one EU university in the top 50, the Delft Institute of Technology in the Netherlands. And that's at number 50. The top French and German institutions are ranked 53 and 55. There is one European uni in the top 10 but that is non-EU Switzerland's Federal Institute of Technology. It makes you wonder why our academics are so distraught at us leaving behind this bunch of mediocrity!
  • The UK ranks second in the world for its number of Nobel prize winners, with 132 to Germany's 108 and France's 68. Ancient history I hear you say? Well it's more interesting if you take a more recent period. The listing I found covered 2000 to 2016 in which period there were 16 UK winners, 7 from Germany and 5 from France. A bunch of other EU states like Denmark, Swden, Ireland, Poland, Italy and Spain have one each, so all of the EU put together barely scrapes past the British total.
  • UK registered HSBC is in the world's top 10 largest banks by asset value and is larger than any EU based bank
One could look at excellence in all sorts of other fields such as business, entertainment, the media and so on. I could go on but the point is made. The UK provides a more dynamic environment for excellence of all kinds than the EU. There is no reason why that should cease to be the case as we move forward.

We'll be fine, Leo. Ireland? Well you might, in time, succeed in getting hold of the north, but I doubt you'll find that sink for pubic money will do you much good. 

What we have now and you never will is a greater degree of control over our own destiny. Just like lots of other, normal countries including Canada, Norway and Japan.

I've read a few gloomy columns about Britain finding the world a lonely place populated by bullies, in particular the USA, China and the EU. I don't get that logic in the context of Brexit. For a start, that's no reason for putting yourself under the control of one of said bullies. But secondly, the EU is a crap bully: just look how well it stands up to Putin.  Cowers would be a more appropriate description.

Keep smirking, Leo. It reminds us about the downsides of the old days when we were in the EU!

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