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June 21, 2014



Beijing wants the yuan traded internationally, and where better?

Indeed. What a lot of people are in the process of understanding (and it is partly my fault that it's taken so long, for not writing a lot more about it over the years ...) is that one massive advantage London has over New York is that you only have to deal with British law and politics. In New York City, you have both federal and state levels to deal with, and the NY Department of Financial Services (the old state banking commission) is one of the most powerful and politicised regulators in the world. If they based yuan trading out of New York, they would be highly vulnerable to anyone who wanted to play to the (eg) Taiwanese ethnic vote, and they'd have to develop very strong antennae in one of the most incomprehensible political communities in the world.


No No No.. You are getting it wrong.

Luckily a far more clued up and perceptive commentator has worked out what is really going on



The idea that public opinion in Scotland is going to be swayed by what the Chinese Premier says is just nuts.


And it's hardly as though, if Li doesn't get a few trade deals, he's going to come out and say "Why yes, we think that all rebellious provinces should have the right to regain their ancient independence, as long as a majority of their population thinks they should", is it?


I suspect the author is more familiar with the design and wear of non microwaveable headgear than the diplomatic strategy of the PRC. His grasp of opinion formation in contemporary Scotland seems less than entirely reliable too

But it would be a mistake to think that there isn't a constituency in the 'debate' about Caledonian Secession / Scotland's Freeeeeedom (delete according to preference) that delusional stuff like this plays to.

Dan Hardie

'A government so relentlessly cruel to the powerless should be expected as a matter of course to be obsequious to those it believes have more power than it does. '

I'm sure this is true. But I also suspect that possibly the voices of The UK's Business Community- at any rate, those of them that might be persuaded to stump up the cash for the Conservative Party's election funds- have also been taken into account in this matter. 'Listen, Grant, don't Dave and George realise that they're supposed to be showing the Chinese that UK plc is open for business? Just fix him up a meeting with the Queen, for Christ's sake, it's hardly a big ask.'


Yes, in the past we've been much more embarassingly obsequious to equally junior members of the Saudi establishment, for lower sums of money. Fawning is one of our core competencies - it's pretty much a British Value to be taught in schools.


I think the point Dan is hinting at - and if it isn't, then I'd like to make that point myself - is that for the government to do X, X doesn't necessarily have to be good for 'UK plc' (horrible phrase, and I resent in particular the way that senior military officers have now taken to using it to mean 'the country'), X just has to be good for one particular person who has the ear of the PM.
The analogy is with Libor-rigging - skewing Libor needn't necessarily be good for Barclays overall, it just has to be good for one dishonest Barclays trader who is mates with the guy who prepares Barclays' Libor submission.

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