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April 28, 2017

On the coming Tory landslide

This is another good example of smart polling. Martin Robbins and Martin Baxter took a recent UK opinion poll, but added extra information to create a model which takes into account Brexit support, how people voted in 2015, and turnout estimates on a constituency level. They conclude that the Tories are headed for a landslide - not the 30-40 seat majority some of the pollsters are forecasting, but something in the order of 150. Perhaps even more shocking is that, in this model, the share of the LibDems declines from 9 seats to only 6. Labour would be left with 150 MPs, much worse than the headline numbers suggest. This would go so far that Labour leadership candidates like Clive Lewis could no longer be challengers, because they would no longer be MPs. Their conclusion is that there is no polling evidence for the much-talked-about Remain surge. This election currently looks good for the Tories and for nobody else.

Sebastian Payne makes the point in an FT article that, even if the campaign by Gina Miller in support of tactical voting pays off, and raises the LibDems from their current position of 9 seats to 20, it would not dent the overall Tory majority. And then he makes the important point that tactical voting works in both directions. Brexit supporters of other parties might support a Tory pro-Brexit candidate. Separately, we note a comment from Klaus Dieter Frankenberger in FAZ, who reflects the German position well. Germany does not want to give the UK a sweetheart deal, but Germany is very keen to avoid a breakdown. Both sides should be guided by the intention to achieve a close relationship, he writes. This would require a softer version of a Brexit than previously suggested by the Tories. And he writes that the agreement with the UK could become a model for an association agreement with Turkey.

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April 28, 2017

How Grillo sees the markets

Beppe Grillo recently responded to criticism from us that he was ignoring the likelihood that financial markets might force the hand of the next Italian government. He said that the will of the people mattered more than that of the markets. Yesterday he went a step further and said that the financial markets are actually on his side. We think this article is interesting because it gives us more details about the thinking within the Five Star Movement, and why complacency about the financial market impact of a euro exit is likely to persist. 

In his latest blog Grillo notes that financial markets are democratic and, while they have a tendency towards speculation, this tendency eventually self-corrects. He cites as his key witness the famous US economist Myron Scholes, co-inventor of the Black-Scholes model of option pricing, who writes in the FT that the options markets are favouring the populists. Scholes and co-author Ash Alankar note that the use of option prices to extract information about possible future outcomes is similar to using crowdsourcing to estimate political trends. And he notes that the options markets are favouring Italy and France over Germany. This is their extraordinary conclusion:

“These option prices tell us that the populist movement has grown to a point where Brussels cannot ignore it and must be more open to policy changes that help revive growth by giving countries more flexibility to compete. Win or lose, the rightwing populist movement is likely to have left its pro-growth footprint in Europe. A one-size-fits-all approach to policymaking — which Germany arguably has been the biggest benefactor of — in a culturally highly diversified continent, has led to obvious national frustrations that Brussels must heed in future decision making.”

Scholes' argument makes no sense to us. If option prices indicate more optimism about France or Italy, why does that necessarily mean that they are betting on a euro breakup? Is it not more plausible to think that they are optimistic for the very opposite reason - that strong support for Emmanual Macron makes a euro breakup much less likely?

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  • Will Fillon move to the centre?
  • The Dutch left field is getting crowded
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 18, 2019
  • The horrifying implications of Merkel’s 5G decision
  • April 17, 2019
  • Why it is far from clear that the grand coalition will survive the year
  • Macron's chance and challenge
  • Eurozone firms' surprising response to sagging profits
  • The result of Spain's elections, a riddle wrapped in mystery
  • The MMT debate is coming to Europe - and Germany
  • Greek parliament seeks German war reparations
  • October 15, 2018
  • Black Brexit smoke
  • Bettel can relax and stay in office
  • Solving the crime vs solving the problem
  • April 16, 2018
  • Italy's and Germany's pained response to the Syria attacks
  • On the end of the eurozone's economic honeymoon
  • Why Bulgaria should stay out of the euro
  • Where shall we meet after Brexit?
  • October 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • October 20, 2016
  • No games please, we are Europeans
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 14, 2019
  • Are France and Germany finally converging on security policy? We think they might.
  • July 04, 2019
  • What will the European Parliament do?
  • February 21, 2019
  • Sound and fury, but Brexit reality unchanged
  • Supertanker Deutschland moves to join internet age
  • October 12, 2018
  • A deal so close, and yet so far
  • AfD leaves Germans speachless and helpless
  • June 04, 2018
  • German discourse out of control
  • Wait for European disunity on US tariffs
  • January 24, 2018
  • AfD europhobe to chair of Bundestag's budget committee
  • Watch out for the Labour Party debate on the single market
  • On the productivity puzzle
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • May 12, 2017
  • What to do with Germany’s tax windfall
  • How Macron counts on building a majority
  • Options for the eurozone
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 30, 2016
  • Brexit facts on the ground
  • Burkinis and Republican primaries
  • The SPD and TTIP
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 18, 2019
  • Is Macron facing another uprise against elites?
  • Forget the inflation target: Lagarde’s job is much bigger.
  • October 07, 2019
  • What did Conte know?
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 09, 2019
  • What the UK polls are telling us - and what not
  • May 31, 2019
  • Salvini’s frightening strength
  • The significance of Corbyn’s latest flipflop on the referendum
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • March 18, 2019
  • May's deal still on the table. Don't rule it out.
  • EPP decision on Fidesz still open
  • On the defeat of liberalism
  • February 08, 2019
  • Macron turns stand-off with Italy into a game changer
  • Is there a strategic intent behind Macron's decision?
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • November 28, 2018
  • Short postscript on post-first-vote scenarios
  • Listen to the music, but watch the procedure
  • Macron's underwhelming energy speech
  • October 26, 2018
  • Towards Fine Gael II minority government
  • EP votes for Saudi arms embargo, but who cares?
  • It's not easy being green - French edition
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • August 23, 2018
  • Chancellor says No to Maas' one and only substantive idea
  • French households yet to see reduction in fiscal burden
  • July 25, 2018
  • Future of euro debate: can the ECB do the heavy lifting?
  • June 26, 2018
  • Could the Irish border issue trigger a no-deal Brexit?
  • Is Harley-Davidson's decision really a victory for the EU?
  • May 30, 2018
  • Italian pro-Europeans repeat UK Remainers' error
  • Commission shakes up structural funds
  • Democracy lessons from the Irish referendum
  • May 04, 2018
  • On the madness of Germany's investment cuts
  • Has Macron given up on eurozone reform?
  • April 09, 2018
  • Orbán gets his supermajority
  • Riding the wave of resistance
  • The EU’s self-defeating strategy
  • March 15, 2018
  • Miro Cerar resigns over railway
  • Taking on trade unions over the rail reform
  • How strong is the EU's solidarity with the UK really?
  • February 19, 2018
  • SPD divided over grand coalition
  • Wauquiez - the French Trump?
  • Why Brexit will be extremely hard to reverse
  • January 26, 2018
  • Will the prison strike turn the fate for Macron?
  • Destroying the constitution in order to save it
  • Will populism wane with the global recovery?
  • Issing on the coalition agreement
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 04, 2017
  • Can Brexit still be stopped?
  • Could Poland open up the Posted Workers Directive again?
  • Has the Bank of England solved the productivity puzzle?
  • November 13, 2017
  • A pro-European list: Wauquiez' nightmare
  • Catalan separatism isn't going away
  • Why oh why does Germany behave the way it does?
  • Why the four freedoms matter
  • October 23, 2017
  • Macron's plans for the European Parliament
  • First phase of Brexit negotiations in final stretch
  • Why the left hates Europe
  • October 06, 2017
  • Catalan parliament session suspended
  • Can Jamaica fail? (not the country)
  • Portugal to give tax relief to the lower middle class
  • Stagnant wages and Central European populism
  • September 20, 2017
  • AfD on the rise
  • Is this the end of the FN as we know it?
  • Refugees overflowing Lesvos lead to call for action
  • September 05, 2017
  • On the Turkish question
  • Macron's unemployment insurance reform, next?
  • Labour to vote against the Repeal Bill
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • July 31, 2017
  • Russia sanctions bill becomes US law
  • Spain's Guardia Civil in the eye of the Catalan storm
  • A grand bargain between France and Germany
  • July 18, 2017
  • Brexit biases
  • July 07, 2017
  • Is Emmanuel Macron just another Matteo Renzi?
  • The real obstacles to a Brexit deal
  • Why Nordstream 2 should be delayed
  • On why the G20 won’t solve the main problem
  • June 26, 2017
  • Brexit - the central case and the tail-risk
  • The German fear of Macron
  • June 15, 2017
  • The politics of Brexit
  • Assembly this week, senate in September?
  • Romanian government crisis refuses to go away
  • June 07, 2017
  • A majority for Macron's labour reforms?
  • Options for the future of defence
  • What happens to legal contracts after Brexit?
  • May 30, 2017
  • Beer tent politics - Merkel edition
  • Brexit arrives in UK elections
  • Rajoy clears budget hurdle
  • May 22, 2017
  • Catalonia's independence blueprint
  • Commission wants completion of eurozone by 2025
  • The case for more honesty about the abolition of cash
  • The case against an Italian euro exit
  • May 17, 2017
  • Whither the Dutch coalition talks?
  • Is fiscal federalism necessary and sufficient?
  • What the UK elections will and won’t achieve for Brexit
  • May 12, 2017
  • What to do with Germany’s tax windfall
  • How Macron counts on building a majority
  • Options for the eurozone
  • May 08, 2017
  • A message of hope
  • Barnier's not so easily agreed Brexit principles
  • The rebirth of the paranoid conspiracy theory
  • May 05, 2017
  • Front National - thinking beyond Sunday
  • Tusk attacks Juncker over Brexit diplomacy
  • Extraordinarily ordinary
  • May 02, 2017
  • An accident waiting to happen
  • Matteo Renzi wins PD primaries
  • So much for the Schulz effect