Singapore-on-Thames : can it work?


firefly123

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In the spirit of your closing sentence.



You wasted your time posting nonsense eon the "Singapore model2", as you would posting on any "XXX model".


Outside the EU custom union (and hence common market), the UK can stop the punitive restrictions and remove the substantial taxes and charges currently placed on their citizens that have the temerity of wanting to trade with non-EU entities.
Well now you put it that way it's so simple.


Almost too simple!
 

niall78

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SOT you need free marketeers for that. not going to happen if Labour are the one in control, also would not happen if they some how remind part of the EU and the EU is not a free trade organisation except for those within it.
There is no global "free trade". Just lots of different trading blocs each competing in a cut throat manner for a slice of the global economic pie. The weaker your trading bloc the bigger you get fúcked over.
 

PBP voter

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The UK will power ahead regardless. So will Ireland.

All across the EU worked is taxed too heavily.

Small businesses have to pay too much of what we call "employers PRSI".

 

Cnoc a Leassa

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Excellent opener for a discussion.

If Singapore is relevant in the Brexit context it's entirely to do with London and not England. England would become the hinterland for the city state of London for drawing in service workers, like Indonesia and Malaysia are to Singapore.

Singapore sounds more like a modern Venice really and as a nation state it has more in common with Ireland than the UK. The Irish Republic was a rebellion against oppressive genocidal British rule and Singapore was established by ethnic Chinese in Malaysia in response to Sino-Malay racial tensions common in the 60s and before.

It's hard to believe now but Singapore trade city plan was based on Rangoon, which before Burma turned insular had been the premier trading port in that region.

It does seems to have its limitations though.

Very much agree with your comment “Excellent opener for a discussion”

My recollection, from a period spent working in region, is that Singapore was ejected from the Federation in order to protect majority rule. Singapore as an independent state emerged out of a sudden crisis. With very little by way of indigenous resources they started out to build their territory into a successful state. Many of the policies in place now reflect their crisis origins and the fact that they had no status quo as an anchor to their freedom of action.

Britain is not starting out on their Brexit journey from an economic crisis scenario, and imo their attachment to their historical status quo has become counterproductive. It is also very unlikely that they are starting out on the Brexit journey in the hope of a few decimal points of additional annual economic growth as the final outcome of the exit.

It may be that they see the existing worldview of international and transnational cooperation as a weakening model of global cooperation and they hope to gain significant benefit from being early entrants into a more nationalist independent world order. The problem with being an early adapter of new ideas is that the risk of the idea not working out as expected is high. It’s a high stakes gamble typical of a policy driven by crisis or desperation.

They have made the wrong calculation, and reached the wrong conclusion; any ambition that they can replicate the Singapore model is entirely misplaced imo.
 

Boy M5

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In the spirit of your closing sentence.



You wasted your time posting nonsense eon the "Singapore model2", as you would posting on any "XXX model".


Outside the EU custom union (and hence common market), the UK can stop the punitive restrictions and remove the substantial taxes and charges currently placed on their citizens that have the temerity of wanting to trade with non-EU entities.
No, you are ignoring the nature of the UK's economy it's competitive advantages - overwhelmingly services it sells to the EU; the importance of gravity in trade, modern supply chains - its manufacturing is focused on EU markets and collaboration, why it receives FDI (and that FDI will leave if it leaves the EU) - Airbus, BMW, GM (now owned by Peugeot).
All of that 60% or so of UK economy is reliant on following EU rules which it and its representatives, elected, appointed and direct (ministers) are involved in setting.

So its like saying my local Centra would benefit if it ignored the local and national regulation and could now started selling exclusively to Chicago, Tibet and Nairobi - which do not have the need for what it sells, or maybe cannot pay for it easily.

It is madness.
 

GrimReefer

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Very much agree with your comment “Excellent opener for a discussion”
Many thanks.


My recollection, from a period spent working in region, is that Singapore was ejected from the Federation in order to protect majority rule. Singapore as an independent state emerged out of a sudden crisis. With very little by way of indigenous resources they started out to build their territory into a successful state. Many of the policies in place now reflect their crisis origins and the fact that they had no status quo as an anchor to their freedom of action.
Yes, Malaysia in its wisdom booted out Singapore and (jury's out on whether this was a cunning deal to suit a certain Sultan) oil-rich Brunei. The paranoia is absolutely inherited from those days, and it's a good social manipulation tool to use as long as it lasts.

(Interestingly, while Singapore was a part of the Malayan Federation, Lee Kuan Yew decided to to hit the books and in a few months become fluent in High Malay - the King's English of Malay as it were - and gave a speech to the astonishment and likely terror of the Malayan elite. Lee imagined that this would impress the elite that Singapore would fit nicely into their society and the example of a Chinese speaking their language at an erudite level would inspire them to filial warmth. The likelihood is, unfortunately, that the underworked and excessively rich elite saw their worst fears come true : a Chinese person proving that they could do anything they could, and do it better, and in parallel with being richer and more productive. I'm sure the decision to remove this dangerously talented genius from their ranks was an easy one after that. Since then the bumiputera rules to prop up the ethnic Malay whether they want it or not has been one of the poisons that has held back both Malaysia's general advancement as well as racial integration. A reunion between Singapore and Malaysia would make terrific economic sense, but spell the end for a regime that still has royalties in key places)

Britain is not starting out on their Brexit journey from an economic crisis scenario (....)

It may be that they see the existing worldview of international and transnational cooperation as a weakening model of global cooperation and they hope to gain significant benefit from being early entrants into a more nationalist independent world order.
That's quite a sophisticated position you credit the Brexit movement (in broad strokes) with. My rather wry view is that there are simply a lot of Brits who (justifiably) see that Europeanism is creeping into British life, and it's now or never to cling to the past.

The problem with being an early adapter of new ideas is that the risk of the idea not working out as expected is high. It’s a high stakes gamble typical of a policy driven by crisis or desperation.
All true in my view. I believe the crisis and desperation are ultimately identity-related. Even the smooth talking pseudorational brexitbots (Dan Hannan is a good example) all have the same angle : it'll be better because it's British! The UK will stay in the EU's orbit for another decade or two until something else happens.

They have made the wrong calculation, and reached the wrong conclusion; any ambition that they can replicate the Singapore model is entirely misplaced imo.
As many others point out on this thread, this is really certain British people believing that Britain is really London+hinterland. As goes London thus goes the UK, or similar. Now that's a fallacy, and merely serves to weaken the Union (particularly when London is as pro-Remain as you can get in the UK).
 
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GrimReefer

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That is because it is an urban center and does not have the countryside GDP to bring the average down. The correct comparison is between cities and not between a city and a country.
If Singapore is relevant in the Brexit context it's entirely to do with London and not England. England would become the hinterland for the city state of London for drawing in service workers, like Indonesia and Malaysia are to Singapore.
Yes ... and No to both. While it is far more accurate as you both point out to compare London to Singapore on the basis of their economies, social structure, demographics and geographical size (and London has a certain level of autonomy versus the rest of the UK), and I do believe that the proponents of SOT are people who think that the UK stops outside the M25, the fact is that the UK as a whole is the only relevant economic entity to bring into the discussion. My view is in fact that the SOT model is proposed by people who really don't think about the regions at all. And this is precisely why the (English) regions are revolting.


It's hard to believe now but Singapore trade city plan was based on Rangoon, which before Burma turned insular had been the premier trading port in that region.
As hard to imagine is the fact that Lee Kuan Yew, in the early days of the State declared his admiration for Sri Lanka's progress. Goes to show that hare growth can sputter while the tortoise just marches on.
 

Sync

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They have made the wrong calculation, and reached the wrong conclusion; any ambition that they can replicate the Singapore model is entirely misplaced imo.
There's a very blasé attitude of "Oh we can just do Singapore". It's not just a tax system, it's a smaller area so it's easier to control. There's only 1 party, so it's possible to plan 10, 15 years down the line in terms of policy. There's been decades of social engineering so that it's not just that there's a great police force somehow suppressing crime, it's that people grow up without the concept of crime being an option. There's a tiny social welfare programme, there's no free rides for farmers. There's a smaller, more talented per capita working pool.

There's lots to want to emulate, but it's naive in the extreme to think it's something that can be done in 5 or 10 years.
 

McTell

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No
(Hint : Betteridge's Law of Headlines)

Touters of the unleashed Brexit future for the UK believe that "Singapore-on-Thames" (SOT) is the model to go with. The metaphor appears to me to be based loosely on the idea that Singapore is a country that allows trade with everyone (Cuba and the US, Russia and China, you name it, they're all friends of Singapore) and makes trade straightforward.///.

Agree it can't be done, as your average brit is thinking of 3 months / 12 months, but your rich singaporean is planning over generations.

Whole different mindset.
 

GrimReefer

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Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit | Politics | The Guardian

I can't really bring myself to believe this, but it seems to be true : the UK Foreign Secretary is actually plugging the "Singapore model" and get this, telling people in Singapore, that thanks to the Brits, it's been a great success

In a speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, he resorted to euphemism: “The British legacy of the rule of law, clean administration, independent courts and the English language have all been part of Singapore’s success.”
Where does this tool get off?

Meanwhile the UK's NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR, once freed from the shackles of authoritarianism (the Catholic one, which succeed the British one) is as valid a model for Global Britain as somewhere literally on the other side of the planet, but if it seems strange that the UK would wish to be like it's former colony it must be galling in the extreme to admit that Ireland is simply outclassing it, and roaring ahead of it along any dimension you might like to choose, due at least in part by its embrace of a supranational structure built to benefit all members, as opposed to the UK which as the numbers tell us, is really built to benefit London by providing it economic hinterlands.

Surely this reversion to a feudal Britain is what the London-centric Brexiteers get off on: they finally have control of their subjects, the last remaining Empire is the country itself. We are back, not to the glory days of Empire when technological advancement and utter sociopathy allowed this country to extricate riches from most of Asia and Africa, but to the origins of the Union, when Scotland and Britain became Great Britain, when waves of genocide and depopulation allowed the plantations of Ulster to enrich a coterie of connected carpetbaggers.

Will England feast on the remains of the UK? Will this be the end of the road for the millenium of blue blood running and devouring the peoples of the Western Isles?

It must be the end of the UK : one country at a time. Northern Ireland Unionism has no raison d'etre without being the local agent of a powerful despotic regime. The Scots no longer value being the engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors and soldiers of the Empire, and are quite envious of the Celtic Tiger across the sea. The weather is just as bad in Ireland, the accents as guttural, the blood as hot as the country is cold, and yet Ireland is prosperous now on its own terms, no longer a vassal state of London. The UK today is also morphing far from the Britain that once rules the seas. The only part of the UK that truly works, London, is a welcoming, vibrant city that deserves its constant reinvigoration, and like the Republic, currently undergoing its own Renaissance, to borrow the term from DMcW, is led by a brown man. Not because he's brown, but because he's leading through a time of prosperity, and prosperity convinces us all that race and identity don't matter.

The fatuous vision of Jeremy Hunt et al claiming credit for Singapore's basis of prosperity, shows that he and his ilk hate the fact that Britain is really a part of Europe, is nothing special, and no longer has any reason to lord it over other countries through a sense of superiority and exceptionalism.

The tragedy for the UK now is that its major political forces are living in the past, the past of freewheeling fk-you Empire promoting pirates and the East India expansion, and the past that never existed of a Marxist haven of revolutionaries.

Bye bye, Britain. It'll take time, but I'll see the end of the UK in my lifetime. I just hope it's peaceful.
 

londonpride

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Singapore has got to be the only country in the world where anyone can walk down the street at 3am with a wallet full of money and not feel the cold shiver of fear down their back. Don't spit your gum on the ground though. I liked it for a short while, but was glad to leave. I cannot see it working in Blighty.
If that is how we are supposed to live, then I am glad I saw the world 30 years ago.
Just like in Macao. Places that are a pleasure to visit.
 

Ardillaun

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Nice to visit, nice to leave. I think I’d turn up in my surgical greens given the punishment they mete out for drugs in the luggage.

Good OP there.
 

wombat

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Its a really silly comparison, a better comparison will be with Japan on a good day or Turkey on a bad one.
 

GrimReefer

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...but a bit of a dystopian authoritarian nightmare to live in.
Do recount your life living in Singapore. It appears to have been vastly different to my 15 years there.

Now, I think the society there is very standard East Asian in the sense that you keep your head down, submit to authority figures, cuss the other races and hate people who upset the social apple tart. However any Irish person who has gone to live in Singapore (I can presume this does not apply to you) lives a life of pretty decent comfort and gets locked and shagged on a far more regular basis than in Ireland.

What I *do* find dystopian about Singapore is the obsession with one's status compared against everyone else's that the locals as a whole subscribe to. Status of race, riches, children's performance in class, house, car, possessions etc. Like most Westernising societies, it is mellowing in tone, but due to the ferocious materialism and capitalism in the country, the status gaps are still keenly felt.

Now, this is nothing to do with the government (colloquially referred to as the gahmen). This is just traditional East Asian society, good as anywhere else in the region.

Singapore isn't dystopian, I mean, Jesus, come on. I do consider it to be an intellectual wasteland once you step outside of overseas educated company, or into deep Asian company.

The issue is that Western values and Asian values are just not measurable using the same systems, they are independent of one another. Frequently, what is deep and meaningful to a westerner is likely superficial and unnecessary to an Asian, and vice versa. It's like you live in a different universe.

Now, if you have lived in Asia and NOT lived as the locals do, you might think I am harsh. But once the Singapore you have pints with and talks about work and football goes home, his or her mind is focused on a vastly different set of values to yours. As yours is to his.
 

LadyLou

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Excellent OP and thread. I was there once many years ago and couldn't believe the cleanliness of

the streets. Ireland wasn't too good at having clean streets at the time. We have improved since then.

Also there were rows of lockers on the streets where people put their possessions as they went elsewhere.

I know those street lockers would not last long even in today's improved Ireland.
 

GrimReefer

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Nice to visit, nice to leave.
yah, you know, I went there for the money, weather and the women. But that's not everything, and they are all a bit monotonous after a while.

I think I’d turn up in my surgical greens given the punishment they mete out for drugs in the luggage.
Ironically you would get the same treatment (or worse) in far less functional countries like Indonesia or Thailand where frankly speaking drugs are rampant and the cops are corrupt. Singapore has fame for zero tolerance, but actually it's an outlier only in terms of actual control. There are drugs in Singapore, and drug addicts. One local braggart claimed in the pub that he sells mary jane to a cabinet minister's son and puffs away in his house. But drugs are still pretty hush hush and hard to come by. Frankly speaking, the fact that Singaporeans abstain from standard western style drinking or drinking outside large scale social occasions in general is an indicator of societal abstinence, rather than successful government policy. And that's probably linked to the absence of social welfare safety nets, and applied confucianism. But smoking is bigger there, compared to Ireland. Helps deal with work stress.


Good OP there.
Thanks. Wonder if Jeremy Hunt will read it.
 

SideysGhost

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Now, I think the society there is very standard East Asian in the sense that you keep your head down, submit to authority figures, cuss the other races and hate people who upset the social apple tart. However any Irish person who has gone to live in Singapore (I can presume this does not apply to you) lives a life of pretty decent comfort and gets locked and shagged on a far more regular basis than in Ireland.

What I *do* find dystopian about Singapore is the obsession with one's status compared against everyone else's that the locals as a whole subscribe to. Status of race, riches, children's performance in class, house, car, possessions etc. Like most Westernising societies, it is mellowing in tone, but due to the ferocious materialism and capitalism in the country, the status gaps are still keenly felt.
Horses for courses. Personally I find what you describe to be an appallingly rigid, claustrophobic society that I, personally, would find to be an authoritarian dystopian frigging nightmare to live in. We have a factory in Singapore and I deal with the work colleagues there on a daily basis - living in Singapore would drive me completely bananas within a couple of weeks.

Is it Mad Max leather-clad gangs gunning one another down in the streets dystopia? Obviously not. Is it verging far too close to an Equilibrium style dystopia for my personal tastes? Absolutely. There are more forms of dystopia than violent anarchies.
 

GrimReefer

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Excellent OP and thread.
Thanks!
I was there once many years ago and couldn't believe the cleanliness of

the streets. Ireland wasn't too good at having clean streets at the time. We have improved since then.
Helps to have armies of Bangladeshi workers on 300 euro a month or less living in dormitories. To be fair, though, people do get the message on littering. Littering is still seen as a form of cleverness and a revolutionary act in many parts of Irish society.

Cleaner Irish streets are likely because of the Tidy Towns competition which mobilises people and changes attitudes, not because there are better street cleaners. It's all down to social attitudes. Do you think it's your responsibility to clean up your dog's poop, or to find a litter bin?

Also there were rows of lockers on the streets where people put their possessions as they went elsewhere.

I know those street lockers would not last long even in today's improved Ireland.
Haven't seen those actually. Now, I have had things nicked in Singapore, outdoors and indoors under lock and key. But there is no vandalism. This largely due to society's traditions of linked generations depending on one another and allowing government to legislate pretty freely and enforce fairly harshly. Nobody in Singapore thinks it is cool to destroy other people's property. But it's still a Western (or at least European) thing to smash stuff that isn't yours if you are angry.
 
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