The Weather And Brexit

Here are a couple of observations about the weather and Brexit.

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said in his speech on 5th July that a full blown trade war was likely to hit the USA harder than it would any of the countries upon which tariffs were imposed.

He said that

the US economy is growing robustly, momentum has faded a little in the euro area and, more markedly, in some emerging market economies.

He also said that

The softness of UK activity in the first quarter was largely due to the weather, not the economic climate. A number of indicators of household spending and sentiment have bounced back strongly from what increasingly appears to have been erratic weakness in Q1.

Now we have a heatwave in the UK, so we shall very quickly see whether there is an uptick in Q2. That will show whether his analysis is right or whether he has to think of another reason why the economy does not pick up.

If he is right and the economy does pick up, it will be bad for last ditch efforts to reverse Brexit.

I remember my wife Tamara telling me on the morning of the UK referendum on leaving the EU ‘It is raining in London’. There was particularly heavy rain that day, some flooding in parts. It deterred people from voting.

My wife feared the result and predicted the result. London was and is a Remain stronghold. In a referendum, where every vote counts, those lost votes in London were crucial.

The weather and Brexit: Is the weather in charge of UK politics?


map of the GIUK Gap (the Greenland, Iceland, UK naval choke point)

The GIUK Gap is an abbreviation for the Greenland, Iceland, UK gap.

It’s what is called a naval choke point, difficult for a navy to get past if there are defenders set against it.

This article is about geopolitics, and specifically about what would likely happen in a conflict between Russia and the West. In time of conflict, the primary task of the Russian fleet in the Atlantic would be to stop the US fleet coming to the aid of Europe.

If the Russian navy wants to get into the Atlantic, it has two choices.

One is to get the Black Sea fleet out of Black Sea, through the Bosphorus, and into the Mediterranean.

Russia has a naval base at Tartus in Syria, so if the Black Sea fleet could get there, it would be able to refuel for the trip along the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic.

For more on the importance of Tartus to Russia, see my post on Why Russia has been bombing ISIS.

Getting to the Atlantic this way is a journey full of problems though, particularly at Gibralter which is covered by the British.

The other option is for the Russian Northern fleet to come down from Murmansk, past Norway, and into the Atlantic.

That’s where the GIUK Gap comes in.

Submarines have got the obvious and big advantage of not being seen so easily, and the deeper they can go the better chance they have of evading detection.

Look at this bathymetric map of the GIUK gap from the Department of Mathematics at Oslo University. It shows how comparatively shallow the gap is between Scotland and Iceland. That of course lessens the chance of a submarine being able to get past the defences.

The Russian fleet could skirt around Iceland and run the gap between Iceland and Greenland. It is a longer journey but it takes the fleet further away from the British area of influence. And the gap is still not that deep if the Russian fleet were to decide to take this route.

Still, the US Navy has taken into account the possibility that Russia would choose to take the Greenland route.

It’s 2017 Navy plan includes upgrading its port at KeflavĂ­k on the west coast of Iceland. That decision to upgrade the base came about as a result of board games that the US Navy and its allies carried out the year before.

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