London, New Year’s Eve 2018.
It is a very English middle-class trait: the world will end if the price of a certain life style goes up. Certain services will be cut. Access to certain travel destinations might be restricted. (The usual European haunts in France and Spain rendered dearer if not inaccessible.) But there is no denying that the attitude to the New Year from this side of the world is one of gloom made normal.
Not a day goes by without a digest of panicked revelations about what will happen in the event of a “no-deal Brexit”. A lack of certainly has propelled a set of speculations so thick as to be asphyxiating. But there is always room for more, the next desperate act of a government so cadaverous it can only give vague clues that it is still alive, wincing, dodging and avoiding what faces the United Kingdom before the mandarins in Brussels and the nostalgia driven addicts in the Conservative Party.
London itself is the ground-zero of teeth-chattering panic. Stockpiling of essentials (and various non-essentials) is taking place in a manner reminiscent of the doom that might arise from nuclear holocaust or a crippling blockade initiated by a foreign power. These fears are not entirely irrational: no one knows what might happen to the smooth exchange of goods and services with the EU in the absence of any clear set of guidelines.
The latest manifestations of this sense of heightened neuroses can be found in three ferry contracts that have been awarded to French, British and Danish companies. But the means of shipping do not combat paperwork on the ground, the sort is bound to mount once Britain’s departure from the EU bloc is enforced. Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping Bob Sanguinetti puts it bluntly: “Government is rightly preparing for every eventuality… but it is not clear that government-chartered ships can move goods faster or more efficiently than the private sector.” The issue of customs remains an obstacle that threatens to hove into view with disrupting menace.
That said, the eve of 2019 featured a comic affair with a bitterly ironic dimension, an episode that rapidly came to be known in Twitterland as Ferrygate, more conventionally termed the Seaborne Freight controversy. It began with murmurs printed in the Financial Times from the May government that a no-deal Brexit could see the Dover corridor, comprising the port and tunnel, run at between 12-25 percent of normal capacity for half a year. Given that the proportion of trade being handled through the corridor comes to an eye-popping 52 percent of value of the total trade in goods with the EU (some £422.6 billion), this is more than troubling.
This doomsday scenario was somewhat papered over by the farcical circumstances behind one of the ferry contracts – the British one no less – that was meant to be yet another emergency measure, part of a broader £107.7 million arrangement. The purpose of the contract will be to provide substitutable capacity to handle exiting volumes of trade that would have otherwise gone through the Dover corridor.
But the jokes piled on quickly: Seaborne Freight, having won a £13.8 million contract to operate ferries on a Ramsgate to Ostend route, had never previously operated ferries and had no intention of doing so till touching distance of the scheduled departure date from the EU. “It has no ships and no trading history,” observed Paul Messenger, Conservative county councillor for Ramsgate, “so how can due diligence be done?”
The Department of Transport finds itself in a state of pulsating anxiety, churning out the paperwork of woe. The choice of words in its documents supplies more than a hint about what is coming, even if they genuinely cannot imagine what that might be. Such agreements are being put in place to counter “unforeseeable” situations, which is more than mildly absurd given that those situations are precisely that: unforeseeable.
The entire Brexit reaction has been characterised by a total absence of planning, which propels the circular reasoning that you cannot plan for what you simply do not know. This feeds the apocalyptic scenarios of empty supermarket shelves and absentee workers in industries characterised by the employ of vast numbers of EU citizens.
It has also bred a total mistrust. Plans circulate with a giddying confusion that show lack of consultation and engagement. Major motorworks, by way of example, have focused on the port of Dover. The plan (dare one use the word?) is to turn the M26 motorway into a holding area for hundreds of heavy vehicles to permit traffic greater freedom to move. In October, local MP Tom Tugendhat, Conservative chair of the foreign affairs committee, was seething in the House of Commons: “It’s come to a pretty pass when [an MP] finds out that works have begun on a motorway to turn that motorway into a parking lot without consultation either with the local community or with surrounding [MPs].” Fittingly absurd, though not as much as awarding a ferry contract to a company without ships.
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“London itself is the ground-zero of teeth-chattering panic.”
The most hilarious demonstration of this panic has had infrequent mentions in the news. Brit’s seeking Irish citizenship as an each way bet! There will be cemeteries across Ireland, populated by the interns of battle’s past – the uprisings which culminated in the 1916 rebellion and an un-civil war in ’22-’23 – who will change their haunting echo from wails and woo’s to mirthless laughter at the deep, deep irony of the ‘vassal state’ offering refuge and succour to the descendants of their oppressors.
Naturally, no discussion of Brexit can ignore the fatal flaw of the argument, the offering of a proposal as a silver bullet for the woes of a country, without any scrutiny of what the actual policies were. Any campaign based on fear and hatred rather than reason and logic has no prospect of enduring beyond the cold hard light of a new dawn.
These people have no idea of what they wanted or what they proposed other than mantras. ‘Immigrants baaaad’ is not a policy, it’s a childish attempt to find someone to blame for your mistakes. They are now running around the planet to look for a ‘tried and true’ model to fit a unique scenario. Talk about making the peg fit the hole. Singapore is the model du jour, apparently.
What the article and the proposal don’t acknowledge is that Singapore’s financial success is largely underwritten by the state run fund that has been buying up infrastructure projects across the planet for decades now. Hilarious, right? Governments across the planet have been privatising their essential services and Singapore has been buying them, all under the auspices of an ideology that preaches governments can’t run anything. The Chinese have been doing the same thing, but are more often subject to scrutiny, even if only for political purposes. We all need a villain, don’t we?
Speaking of governments that can’t run anything and with deference to your premise that England would be alone tendering to a company that is unequipped or unsuited to the tender, Australia has been doing that for years now. Heck, we’ve even mastered a system where ‘tendering’ is not the submission of a proposal requiring picking the best of the suggestions, it is the appointment of a mate for a job. Naturally, our gulags are easy targets, given the lack of oversight.
That’s not to pretend the military complex is not susceptible to the mindless cretins in charge.
Who would have thought we’d conscript the services of a suspect semi state run company?
Naturally, Malaysia isn’t the only source of allegations against a company that is inherently corrupt in its business practices.
And even that list is incomplete. What would you expect from a government that throws bouquets instead of brickbats at Adani, a company mired in abuse of the environment, its workers and its consumers, not to mention its ‘cosy’ relationship with its own government?
It is all too easy to criticise the English for falling victim to sensationalist imbeciles. You have to be wary of throwing stones though, as so often the only sound you hear is the breaking glass of your own brittle walls.
Thankyou Dr Kampmark. I’m off to fill out my Irish passport application. My new escape theory is that if I scream loud enough, our minister in charge of stupidity, Duddo, will cancel my Australian citizenship and deport me. As the idiot in charge would say, ‘win win’. Take care
In the military they describe this as “SNAFU” …. “Situation Normal Absolutely F**ked Up”.
@Kyran: “Duddo” … I like it!! May I use it in “Benito Duddo”? Monster for Incarceration without Trail of Legal Refugees and Tacit Supporter of Communist PRC External Migration Settlement Programme After Entering Australia by Aeroplane with Assistance for North Asian Residential Property Investors from the NSW Gladly Back-flip-I-can Liarbral Notional$ misgovernment.
Complacency, arrogance, right wing/Nativist coup and delusions of grandeur; starting with a car crash in slow motion still to stop (and I wish Oz media would stop parroting English media seemingly incapable of analysis vs. more insightful analysis of Ian Dunt politics.co.uk or Irish, DW etc)
Cameron’s head of policy Craig Oliver described it as a ‘right wing coup’, backgrounded by decades of anti EU/Europe and anti-immigration dog whistling in media. However, he did not explain the complacency of precluding and/or excluding British citizens resident in the EU from voting while allowing Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK voting?
Who had been advising May and the Home Office over the years encouraging anti immigrant, anti refugee and anti ‘population growth’ sentiment emanating from the US (same as in Oz)?
One also observed and heard amongst British friends ugly behaviour and fractures in relationships with friends and family to create a divided and almost ungovernable nation.
Good example of leveraging emotions, bigotry and nostalgia over analysis and rational thinking, backgrounded by ageing and regional vote for Brexit including Labour.
An excellent academic research conclusion was reached by a team at Goldsmiths, ‘collective narcissism’
Now we are learning of links between Brexit and Trump strategists, what a surprise.
Finally, while British assume nations like Australia will compromise (like the EU) to accommodate UK, many Australians would seem to desire something similar e.g. withdrawal from our regional relationships (wink wink Asia); John Howard described both Brexit and Trump as ‘tremendous’.
With changing demographics in western nations, it’s the last but more aggressive gasps of white Nativism and exceptionalism?
New Zealand looks nice – with the added advantage of maybe being on the winning side in the rugby for a change. Fush and chups anyone?
Brexit…the day poms discovered they had lost the power of self determination. They had already demonstrated their misunderstanding of the great Bankers Plan that is “Europe”, a glorified and unexplained labour market and social infrastructure manipulation/dismantlement mechanism disguised as multiculturalism, in fact an acquisitive Ponzi Scheme, as per Neolib theology.
This was demonstrated in an earlier fundamental misreading founded within an information vacuum of the gruesome reality that was GREXIT. Now, the population of this Sceptered Isle discovered, to its horror, that it was not only a mere appendage of the City of London, but at the whim of people like Juncker and Barnier and their string pullers.
It derailed on the folly of the bubble world denizen Cameron, like Blair, a “Man who fell to Earth”.
I will say no more because I think I think the obvious connection in substance to the FTA’s here and what these really mean for Australians will not be recognised, or the treason of politicians bullied by TNC’s and foreign governments acting in their interests- it is not the overtised situation that is Iraq, say..
I will say no more, other than mention that I enjoyed Kyran’s contribution.
But I will say I smile when I read the nonsenses of so many who claim the thing is about ending racism- it actually stirs up communal conflict, divide and rule as intended.
It is about the neoliberalist financialised capitalist and Imperialist agenda for the construction of a Road To Serfdom for that small part of the world not yet subject to Third World living and political standards.
Otherwise, why was “Aid” to the Third World not humanitarian and investment aid rather than military aid for tinpot kleptocrats to keep their populations in order and why were some many $Trillions wasted destroying the Middle East and Africa when that money, too, could have been used to solve the population/poverty trap at source?
Then there are all the $Trillions tax dodged and the vast scam that was the Meltdown, privatisation of wealth socialisation of debt. Welcome to the machine.
Many see the EU as a centre left idyll that ensures peace between member states, free trade between member states, the free movement of citizens between member states, ensuring rising living standards, an upholder of high standards for consumer rights, human rights, liberty, democracy, health and protection of the environment, providing the option of a convenient common currency and for providing a common powerful voice for Europeans in a hostile world.
Most of this has however proved to be false in practice.
The EU is governed not by its parliament but by unelected technocrats centred in the European Commission and European Central Bank that impose national government austerity, ongoing high unemployment, corporate oligarchy, foster the financialisation of economies, increasing wealth inequality, massive trade imbalances, deteriorating public infrastructure, favourable treatment for large member states like Germany and France but sociopathic treatment of smaller nations like Greece, privatisation of government services and the rest of the neoliberal agenda that has plagued most of the developed world over the last 3 or 4 decades.
What would you expect with an amoral banking class in effective control.
The common currency zone, the Eurozone is a disaster as it allows nations like Germany to sustain huge trade surpluses without their currency appreciating which by necessity imposes major trade deficits on less economically competitive nations like Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece. Germany gets the jobs and Greece gets the debts which are then used as a weapon by the EC, ECB and the IMF to impose crippling austerity, fraudulent state asset selloffs and even higher levels of unemployment. The Eurozone also deprives nations the opportunity to devalue their national currency to restore competitiveness when needed. The Eurozone also deprives nations of the ability to use fiscal policy to stimulate their national economies to reduce unemployment, the financial means to provide adequate government social and other services or for sufficient financial resources that may be needed to respond adequately to national emergencies.
Wisely the UK chose to retain their own currency, along with other EU members like Sweden, Denmark and Poland, so they were only forced to drink half of the EU’s neoliberal poison. The UK however has had its own neoliberal policies implemented by its own governments but at least they have a chance to elect a better government which could change direction at some point. EU member states will find that the EU will not allow the unwinding of the neoliberal disaster even if their national governments had an electoral mandate to do this.
A hard Brexit is the best option even if trade with Europe stumbles and falls before ultimately sane trade, customs, travel and residency rules are running smoothly, as they do for other outside nations like the US, Japan or Australia with the EU.
Other European nations should also be encouraged to leave the EU and a preferential European trade zone with a minimum of central political authority but with optional harmonised standards and regulations, made up of democratically controlled nations each with their own currency and central bank, be set up to work in parallel and to eventually replace the current failed EU model. This alternative model could be called the European Preferential Trade Zone or EPTZ. This model is much closer to the original European Common Market but one would hope Tasmania could still sell their apples to the UK and others?
Ultimately even nations like Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Turkey could join such a preferential trade zone once minimum democratic, judicial and human rights standards are adequately entrenched whilst maintaining their current independent military alliances which would then hopefully become less hostile towards each other over time. Russia realistically could never join the current EU as it would mean relinquishing too much political and military independence and Germany would not willingly risk losing her current hegemony over the EU.
Andreas Bimba, You are not fooled either?
Some cliched comments egregiously ignore the fallacies of Britain and Brexit, its reasons for leaving and the very sub-optimal referendum, while banging on about the EU as some form of left or liberal or neo liberal conspiracy (think more similar to Australia, a federation of states).
Britain seems to be following Trump et al. and neo con ideology for the top global MNCs and banks who do not like trade blocs, areas or multilateral agreements which include regulation and potential forms of taxation on global players, for the benefit of EU citizens (unlike the UK where Leaver Jacob Rees Mogg’s investment fund has partially moved to Dublin to be in the EU to access finance ‘passporting’ rights).
Further, if the EU is so God awful why doesn’t Greece, or any other European member nation wish to leave the EU? One of the EU’s least favourite member nation leaders is that clown from Hungary, Viktor ‘illiberal democracy’ Orban who does not want to leave either, especially when he and his cronies have been the recipients of EU development funds (nor would he want 500k+ working age Hungarians returning to vote).
Finally, many Europeans have memories of a bitter divided Europe in WWII and do not want a repeat of Nazism and/or fascism, let alone war.
Question how can Brexit, unplanned and chaotic, be good for Britain, except those wealthy or old enough, not to care?
Europe is too diverse to be a functional federation similar to Australia or the US. The German elites attitude towards Greece is an example. The German people’s attitude and also the attitude of most Northern Europeans towards Greece and other Southern nations is also an example. A preferential trade zone of independent democratic nations is a better fit economically, politically and psychologically.
The Brexit referendum choice was presented terribly by both sides with very little sound advice presented in the media but was nevertheless decisively in favour of Brexit. My guess is a large proportion of those that identify as working class and middle class saw it as a rejection of globalisation and being undercut by more desperate foreign workers for scarce jobs.
Trump still supports trade blocs and all the awful aspects that favour multinational corporations and the wealthy elite at the expense of the common man for example his tax cuts for the rich. He has exploited the legitimate concerns of the US working class regarding the off-shoring of manufacturing but has so far not achieved much. The centre left could have addressed this issue at least 20 years ago but instead fostered globalisation and the rest of the neoliberal con AND STILL DO. Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders are promising exceptions.
The fact that Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and other conservative or right wing nutters support Brexit does not negate the fact that many lefties also support Brexit. Tony Benn who was clearly a great visionary saw the EU as an undemocratic abomination when it was being founded, that is before the neoliberal disaster became obvious. Jeremy Corbyn is clearly a disciple of Tony Benn but is also cautious hence his luke warm public position.
Do you really think Greece remains in the EU because it is good for them? Syriza had an electoral mandate to leave but either got scared or is as corrupt as previous governments – probably both. Their mass media is under the control of the oligarchs, like ours, and these oligarchs are complicit in this scam by the worst of Europe’s banking cleptocracy.
The Hungarian’s have a chance to kick out that toad Viktor Orban at the next elections, only the German banking cleptocracy get to choose who leads the EU. Again the far right only became populist after the centre left joined the conservatives/free marketeers in the pursuit of the failed neoliberal agenda for decades now.
Has the EU ensured peace in postwar Europe? Hardly when you consider Europe extends to the Urals and Putin’s little green men nearly started WW3 in Ukraine which was triggered by the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU and NATO. Clearly a geopolitical and military disaster for Russia. Yes Putin is a despot but any sane Russian leader would have to say ‘nyet’ to that given what the EU really is – a neoliberal banking cleptocracy centred in Northern Europe but primarily Germany.
Yes a hard Brexit will no doubt produce disruptions with trade and the movement of people but mutual self interest and because businesses on both sides will demand it, will ensure a sane arrangement will be reached eventually. Many good options for the UK also arise from trade agreements with non EU nations and the EU has a sizable trade surplus with the UK so has more to lose. The Conservatives are not suitable for the task but they are unlikely to win the next general election on current trends.
Here’s two good articles from one of the world’s best economists Bill Mitchell who is also an old lefty. The first article presents many arguments for Brexit and the second explains how Greece has been unjustly treated by the EU controllers.
I cannot believe the inanity of Andrew Smith’s comment about European countries not wishing to leave the EU.
You ask this after witnessing GREXIT and BREXIT etc since the Meltdown in particular?
Hard to leave when you have a gun pointed at your head, yes??
And despicable that captive populations must suffer for the crimes of naive speculators.
Nothing to do with me, but rather than focus upon that project in making the EU (supported strongly by younger generations of Europeans and British), let’s see how ‘global’ Britain goes in whatever it decides, if it can get beyond gross incompetence. A commentator described the UK, by it’s actions, as the recent and weary divorcee on a dating site demanding potential partners be 9+/10, only, i.e. unachievable or delusional
Meanwhile, the anecdotal feedback from many Europeans toward UK pre referendum was simply f*** off now (after decades of whinging and moaning) while formally media person Jon Snow of C4 stated the official EU response was ‘please ffff…inalise the divorce now’. Hilarious, if he’d dropped the ‘f*** off’ bomb nobody would have noticed 🙂
British friends are almost entirely angry and/or embarrassed (some did vote leave) at not only the Brexit outcome or process, but the incompetence and complacency of the political elites in the UK, who managed to become wedged down a cul de sac where maybe the UK belongs? (cul de sac is not dead end but Catalan for sh** in the bottom of the bag).
The EU is an easy kicking bag for national politicians and media, with some grounds for complaint and improvement, but will be in a far superior position economically, trade wise and socially versus ‘little England’.
Ok, Andrew. It is more reasoned response and I get where you are going with it.
It is the other side of the coin to the arguments coming from slightly different trajectories from Andreas Bimba and myself and I’m not sorry to consider your response, since it develops the picture- very rarely is one side totally wrong or right as to these things- but am more than happy to stick with Andreas’ comments and scepticism, which highlight several aspects strangely ignored by neoliberal media and press.
My perception is that Brexit was a Conservative Nativist coup leading people on with anti EU, Europe and immigrant rhetoric couched in anti business or anti globalisation sentiment (trying to sound anti-semitic), while being ignorant about the EU, in an us vs. them binary.
I have observed central eastern European nations embrace opportunities, development, support, standards and structure the EU affords nations, regions, cities, towns, communities, SMEs, sole operators and individuals, for mutual benefit.
Interestingly, much of the animosity or antipathy towards the EU comes from national elites including Conservative politicians, some multinationals e.g. finance, fossil fuels (who avoid regulation) and outright Nativists.
The issue for politicians, especially Conservative, is that through the EU, mobile, multilingual and informed youth and working age neither follow orders nor vote the right way (hence significant obstacles if not resident in home nation); ‘relevance deprivation syndrome’.
However, the same patriotic politicians are happy to become MEPs (e.g. Farage) with snouts in trough and distributors or conduits of EU development fundsf, or largesse, with much for their friends and/or family.
Post edit typo: ‘trying to sound anti-semitic’ should be ‘anti-elite’.
However, anti-globalisation has been a long standing anti-semitic trope.
This recent blog post again from Bill Mitchell shows the data on economic growth for the world’s advanced economies from 1999 to 2018. The weakest performer is, you guessed it, the EU with the EU Eurozone members performing worse than the rest of the EU. This is despite Germany’s (inside Eurozone) booming exports and the UK’s (outside Eurozone) mediocre performance under the contractionary austerity of the Conservatives. The same story applies to post GFC employment growth with the Eurozone again at the bottom.
The EU is a failed experiment and meaningful reform is impossible.
I agree with your observations.
Big “C” conservatives do not play well with others, they fear sharing, abhor collaboration and do not like change unless there is an immediate bleeding obvious benefit for themselves and (preferably) no one else – otherwise their sense of superiority is threatened.
Bill Mitchell’s blog post maybe interesting, but confusing and light on context i.e. several nations on a low base, GFC etc. but headline data does not explain much, nor do simplistic graph(ic)s; good analysis requires a thesis then drilling down to e.g. postcodes and sectors; Statistics, Economics and Finance 101 (he seems to assume Brexit has occurred?)
On the other hand what would the impact be or data show if nations left the EU trade area requiring new regulations, tariffs etc. and restrictions on not just accessing the EU but neighbouring nations?
Let’s see how Britain manages if they ever get round to Brexit…. I’d trust a more informed sources like BoE’s Mark Carney et al. over Mitchell.
The other issue with Mitchell’s blog, seguing into Diannart’s comment, is how Conservatives moan and complain about what they don’t like, but are light on or totally lack detail to support their own preferences, in his case a future Brexit.
There’s increasing autocracy with ageing Conservatives who want to stop the world and wind back any change they don’t like e.g. mobility, trade blocs, social progress etc.
Andreas Bimba, thanks for referring readers to Prof. Mitchell’s blog.
It is certainly a pleasant relief after having to endure so much neo-liberal tripe here and I do commend it to folk who maybe interested but uninformed, as appears to be the case at this thread.
I thought Andrew Smith had scraped the bottom of the barrel with the GREXIT “free to leave Europe” comment, but the “anti semitism” stuff sinks even lower than that, it was actually a tragic remark..
‘Post edit typo: ‘trying to sound anti-semitic’ should be ‘anti-elite’.
However, anti-globalisation has been a long standing anti-semitic trope.’ (e.g. Rothschild’s, now Soros).
You misrepresent my comments while there has not been any substance as to why Brexit is a good idea, if anyone actually knows what it is. Regarding Greece and EU I was referring to polling of individuals, not decisions by or whims of governments or related stakeholders.
What is Mitchell’s credibility regarding the EU and Brexit, versus the same in the UK or Europe? Have I missed something?
Interesting nonetheless, as observed in the UK whereby the ageing Labour leadership seems to agree with the ageing Tories, loony left meeting the autocratic right; both Nativist. But don’t be surprised if there is a rebellion against Corbyn in the Labour party as a majority of Labour voters now profoundly disagree with his (non) stance on Brexit, as opposed to his insurgent Momentum supporter members.
Andrew explained his typo above, he meant to write “anti-elitist”.
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “scraping the bottom of the barrel”.
As for the “anti-globalism” that term has been used by far right nutters like Trump as dog whistle for “anti-semite”. Except when talking up Israel.
If I have misunderstood, wouldn’t be the first time … 🤭
I didn’t know if you were going to respond.
Yeah, you’ve been very careful not to define what you mean by ” anti semitism”.
By “antisemitism”, you mean the persecution of Palestinians by European settlers in Palestine over the last century?
The misemploy of the term “anti semitisim”, a term referent to European history, as a means of silencing questioning of “Zionism”, at worst a curiously naziistic ideology employed to justify the dispossession of Palestinians is not an accidental thing and you are fully aware of it.
paul walter: One should be aware of the person with all the answers and no questions.
Still waiting, addressing the article, while many have antipathy towards the EU couched at best through ignorance, abstract concepts or worse in conspiracy theory terms, yet unable to explain what Brexit will bring for UK citizens, now and in future?
Also, as this article has been used as an opportunity to promote Bill Mitchell’s MMT, can it be described in 2-3 sentences or less to show what credibility and relevance it has?
What is your agenda?
To argue semantics over your perception of anti-semitism? To cast aspersions on any answers no matter how clear?
Attacks on Palestinians has been a ‘sport’ for eons by a variety of nationalities, the most recent being Zionists determined to undermine any chance of a two state agreement.
What was the topic again?
The absence of reason, planning and thought is echoed upon these pages.
Brushing aside Diannnart’s irrelevancies for a moment, I wonder if a reading of this would finally help some (finally) gain a belated comprehension of the back grounding to the issue Dr Kampmark raises:
I suppose Andreas Bimba would be the one person who has contributed here to even half-way grasp the point this article is trying to make.
Not about “racism” so much as an incompetent best, malicious at worst, handling of change, unemployment and immigration by neoliberal and conservative governments driven by big business influence and agendas.
Paul Walter: Trying not feed some need, but still struggle to understand what you are trying to explain? Light on meaningful analysis vs. Guardian article citing Vox pop blaming the EU for policies and actions of British Tories from Thatcher closing coal mines (but good for the environment), having people trust their heart or sentiments over facts and analysis (Crosby Textor?) while glossing over the fact that Brexit was mostly voted for by oldies (indirectly supporting Tories neo-liberalism); British democracy and parliament now in gridlock (an aim of Leave?)
Ageing left or socialists merging with ageing Tories?
From Counter Punch:
The great failing in the whole divisive debate over Brexit is that it has never really addressed the means by which – to adapt the words of the famous eurosceptic slogan – control could be regained.
The argument has focused instead on Brussels and on a narrow range of economic pluses and minuses, while it should have been over who runs Britain in an era of globalisation when the power of the nation state is everywhere being eroded.
British powers that be have misled people helped by an over inflated sense of importance (‘collective narcissism’)
From Project Syndicate
A chaotic Brexit could do great damage to ordinary people, as was the case with Britain’s self-ejection from the Exchange Rate Mechanism of the European Monetary System in 1992. But those ordinary people will be overwhelmingly British. The days when Britain could move the world are long gone.
*”The great failing in the whole divisive debate over Brexit is that it has never really addressed the means by which – to adapt the words of the famous eurosceptic slogan – control could be regained.
The argument has focused instead on Brussels and on a narrow range of economic pluses and minuses, while it should have been over who runs Britain in an era of globalisation when the power of the nation state is everywhere being eroded.*”
Brexit when viewed from the 20/20 perspective of history will be seen as the farce it is. A farce which has harmed the British people, while revealing the inbred incompetency of the Tories.
Paul your (usual) resort to evasive sniping is noted.
Thank you, Franklin Credits Petition. Your relevant posting has certainly cleared up all mysteries concerning this thread concerning BREXIT.
Now I know not to point out to my fellow contributors the fallaciousness of there arguments involving workers rights and BREXIT against a backdrop of open slather immigration regardless of unemployment levels already extant.
I should say I feel I seem to be trapped between two Poles here, but will terminate for now for a shower and something to eat after doing some gardening.
I think the faith held by many with the EU is misplaced. To complement the EU for having better worker protection laws than the UK is more than negated by the EU’s austerity bias and high ongoing unemployment levels. The huge trade imbalances are also very destructive for most members. Governance is however the biggest problem.
Democracy has been compromised by powerful vested interests to varying degrees everywhere but it is still the most powerful means available to pursue the best interests of citizens. The UK’s national government and parliament are still within the grasp of democracy but the same cannot be said for the EU’s governing bodies. Currently many of the EU’s policies or regulations are more enlightened and progressive than the UK but the issue of democratic political control is surely even more important. Only the ruling elites of the big players, Germany and to a lesser extent France set the agenda in the EU and all member states must approve any changes.
It would be much wiser to retain the nation state as our most important political entity and to strive to ensure democracy functions in the best interest of citizens in each nation rather than globalise our way to a rule by the elites of world capital or some other group of autocrats. Leaving our fate to be decided by unelected experts or elites is not going to end well when there is no mechanism for ordinary people to change course. Currently it is the lives of the Greek people that are being trampled on, later it could be those of the larger nations as well but at least the EU offers a get out clause – with consequences.
International bodies are difficult to ‘democratise’ effectively and are best used by nations for negotiating or working with other nations for the purposes of pursuing collective self interest without relinquishing national autonomy.
I believe it is a deliberate strategy by global capital to deny the power of the nation state to citizens while harnessing this power and that of international bodies for their exclusive purposes.
Bill Mitchell’s blog posts may not be as easy to understand as a typical article in the mass media but they are based on a deep understanding of economics and politics that few others possess. For more detail there are many hundreds of relevant posts on his blog but his recent books are particularly relevant to this discussion:
Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale – on the EU.
Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World – reconceptualises the nation state as a vehicle for progressive change.
My attempt at MMT basics in a few paragraphs?
Nations with their own sovereign fiat currencies utilise currency issuance by their central bank to fund all national government expenditure. National government taxation extinguishes money and is used to provide economic space for government expenditure.
National government deficits can be used to ensure sufficient aggregate demand so that the economy can provide full employment, without incurring debt or ongoing inflation. The limit to national government deficits is the availability of real resources such as unemployed workers, raw materials, energy and so forth. Inflation can arise if real resource limits are exceeded.
A nationally funded and locally administered Job Guarantee program by acting as the employer of last resort – by providing a job at a liveable wage and training when needed to anyone wanting a job, can also act as a counter-cyclical mechanism to automatically set the level of national government net spending needed to ensure full employment without incurring excessive ongoing inflation.
The government fiscal balance is one of three major financial sectoral balances in the national economy, the others being the foreign financial sector and the private financial sector. The sum of the surpluses or deficits across these three sectors must be zero by definition. (Savings – Investment) + (Imports – Exports) + (Tax Revenues – Outlays) = 0; or (S-I) + (M-X) + (T-G) =0
Steven Hail’s one and a half hour youtube video on macroeconomics is a good start on MMT.
I believe the multitude of sins brought about by the Brexit vote needs addressing before introduction of MMT. Although, I do concur there will never likely be a ‘right’ time.
Why would the powerful vested interests of corporates be interested in MMT?
That said, how would introducing a fiat currency into Britain help with the following?
Public mistrust of politicians, the ineptitude of the hardline Brexiteers, the ripple effect throughout Britain, Europe and the rest of the world when the big exit finally occurs, then there is Trump, the pissing contest between China and the USA, climate change …
Come on mods, block these Petition idiots!
Diannaart, I was suggesting making democracy work was the key to building a better world and the EU is structurally undemocratic. Andrew wanted a quick summary on MMT and this is also relevant as this knowledge helps provide the cash for adequate government services, full employment and the transition to environmental sustainability if wanted.
Actually the UK does have a fiat currency like us but our leaders fail to take full advantage. The corporations and wealthy would also benefit through extra sales that come from full employment but are still focused on driving down wages and conditions instead.
Paul keep standing your ground but I can’t see any idiots here, just a spectrum of opinions.
I understand. However, my view that MMT is not part of the solution at present remains. For the reasons I have stated above.
I have read a great deal of Bill Mitchell, thanks to yourself and John Kelly.
Many people are unaware of the driving force behind the formation of the EU: peace.
Europe has been at war within itself for centuries, culminating in the bloodiest of all: WW2. They never want that to happen again. Ever. The EU was born out of the desire for peace.
When in Scotland a couple of months ago an Aussie-born Englander (and WW1 historian) told us a wee story …
He was talking to an Italian woman – now living in England – who said she voted for Brexit because the EU was intending to make illegal a game kids played with chestnuts. The flicking of chestnuts – the main feature of the game – had sometimes caused blindness for the poor kid who was unlucky enough to collect one in the eye. Hence the move to ban the game.
Well this lady didn’t want it banned so she voted for Brexit.
Our war-historian friend lost his cool with her:
“Madam, 900,000 [I think that was the number] Italians died in WW2. The EU was formed so that would never happen again. Now you want to leave because of a damn game of chestnuts.”
David Cameron’s decision to have a referendum must count as one of the dumbest decisions this century.
Strangely, In view of conclusions reached from some more reading, I move a little closer to Diannaart (in the metaphorical sense).
Here is another attempt, this time from the Guardian a few months ago:
I understand more fully the contempt for UKIP mentioned by Diannaart and Andrew Smith, but against that there is the concept that underlined my initial thinking concerning the EU itself as increasingly a rubber stamp for neoliberalism
That leads to a point I see raised, again and again, to do with the exploitation of EU politics by Brit Tories and neo-libs to bring labour to account, in the form of the free movement mechanism, whilst skewing the rules in favour of Big Capital- no accountability here- and we see similarities to Australia over recent times as to taxation, money movements and offshoring in general, FTAs, dumbing down and bias in surveillance.
Clearly, the Tories skewed the referendum to a false choice, devoid of accurate information in order to have their cake and eat at the expense of the long-suffering Brit masses, particularly since Cameron/Osborne (Thatcherite/Murdochist) Austerity represented the cynical opportunity taken by Cameron and Osborne to add more grief to ordinary people in the wake of the Meltdown induced by globalised High Finance a decade ago.
The EU being a guarantor of peace in Europe is a false narrative as Russia which is Europe’s largest nation in terms of population and area understandably sees the Eastward expansion of the EU and NATO up to Russia’s borders as geopolitical threat. Putin’s invasion and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and of Eastern Ukraine was triggered in the main by this eastward expansion and Ukraine’s moves to join the EU and NATO. Putin’s intervention was highly risky and could have lead to all-out war with Ukraine and even with NATO. Some Russian ultranationalists have discussed the merits of Russia reincorporating the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania or at least seizing regions with substantial ethnic Russian populations. Peace in Europe?
If the EU was instead just a European preferential trade zone then at some point nations like Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia and the CIS states could reasonably be expected to join which would surely be good for European peace.
No argument from yours truly that the E.U. has major flaws. However, Brexit does little to address this issue. I agree with your suggestion of a trade zone.
Any ideas on how a trading union could be implemented?
The UK leaves the EU and trades with the rest of Europe and the world and adopts some trade agreements. Later other countries leave the EU and do the same. Later these European countries outside the EU harmonise their trade and other agreements like movement of people, safety, health and environmental standards. This becomes the European Preferential Trade Zone and operates in parallel with the EU. Eventually Germany as the last remaining EU member also joins the EPTZ because the euro has skyrocketed in value. 😉
RInteresting how those claiming to be of the left against neo-liberalism and supranational bodies in favour of nation states and Brexit do not understand the EU or Europe and indirectly promote Nativist and neo-liberal policies for the top people and corporates?
Europe and the EU’s strengths include codependency, mutual rules/regulations etc. vs. (mostly) ageing citizens of left and right who want to tear it all down; ignoring all the contradictions.
For example many multinational businesses including NewsCorp, fossil fuels etc. also avoid trade agreements and regulation, at the expense of SMEs and citizens, while -ve consequences having minimal impact upon many large global corporates, with longstanding global infrastructure and political/media influence already in place.
Meanwhile Nativist economic theories are promoted as liberal and/or environmental when originally seeded and supported by some malign corporate interests; Brexit and Trump policies resonate here. Includes sovereignty, withdraw or avoid trade agreements'(in favour of unbalanced bilateral agreements), tariffs, strong borders, ‘sustainability’, antipathy towards ‘immigrants’, ‘balance’, ‘limits to growth’ etc.
This has been clearly promoted through (resurgence) in Herman Daly’s ‘steady-state economy theory inspired by Club of Rome constructs and pseudo science (sponsored/hosted by global fossil fuel, finance and auto oligarchs); basically precludes competition for entrenched players (and immigration vs. native citizens), bits of Malthus (population constraints), Ricardo (resource constraints), Adam Smith’s self interest, with potential economic decline mostly impacting SMEs and citizens (lacking size).
The idea that the UK can simply leave the EU with a ‘no deal’ is nonsensical fantasy (explained well by UK journalist Ian Dunt re. food import reqs on JIT logistics, health certification etc) and contradictory, i.e. leave or fall out of one ‘supranational’ system the EU, then trading via the WTO rules, another supranational body (which Trump and US corporate interests are trying to nobble); while hoping to develop trade deals away from nearest neighbours and biggest markets?
Smells like corporate and elite takeover of government and economies to suit an elite minority (who claim they are acting against elites; very Orwellian).
We have a long way to go before such a happy(?) ending.
For a start the impact of the ill informed, unplanned FU that is Brexit, ripple effect not even started yet.
While I was writing, Andrew posted the above and all I can say is “what he said”.
The corporate sector is not going to cede any power to governments unless they have tied up agreements beneficial only for big business and screw the people.
Andrew, the rupture occurred a good decade ago or more. It is all just the results, the fall out we are witnessing.
I find it incongruous, your first sentence, so non-empathic of the anxiety of people who likely also see, guess in general terms or already suffer through the nature of the change you outline well in the rest of your comment.
That first sentence, so jarringly out of kilter of the rest…
I guess I’ll just have to book my bed at a suitable nursing home without internet access and end my days zonked out on medications as us oldies are just past it and so Andrew and his generation can feel free to save us all from neoliberalism and corporate domination? Bit short on solutions though? Supercharge the Gig economy? Desolve nations? Bring in a UBI? Put an upper limit on the voting age, 50 maybe? More libertarianism?
Andrew if you want a debate, being understandable would help and where are your specific suggestions?
It’s very concerning for younger generations in UK (quite rightly peeved at Brexit vote) while the developed and developing world’s have ageing populations with short term horizons and propensity to be attracted by populism and authority.
‘The right-wing populism that has emerged in many Western democracies in recent years could turn out to be much more than a blip on the political landscape. Beyond the Great Recession and the migration crisis, both of which created fertile ground for populist parties, the aging of the West’s population will continue to alter political power dynamics in populists’ favor.
It turns out that older voters are rather sympathetic to nationalist movements. Older Britons voted disproportionately in favor of leaving the European Union, and older Americans delivered the US presidency to Donald Trump.’
Further, strong whiff of nationalism and/or Nativism promoted over globalisation as a fear factor, and supported by the dismal science or economic theories that resonate on environment, sustainability etc. too, including MMT and Daly’s Steady State Theory, yet neither tested nor implemented, hence very risky and radical with potential to crash economies, including UK post Brexit.
Daly presented in The Social Contract Press (TSCP):
‘Mainstream opinion has it that economic growth, the democratization of affluence, and ever-increasing consumption are the formula for individual and social happiness. A thoughtful and well-informed minority emphatically disagrees. Few have contributed more to this dissent than Herman E. Daly, widely regarded as the founding father of ecological economics.’
By coincidence, another Nativist anti globalist, Steve Bannon, had his most important influence, Raspail’s ‘Camp of the Saints’ (racist novel) reviewed in the TSCP, after many were afraid to, by no less than an Australian academic with attitude about ‘immigrants’ and ‘population growth’ ( like in Oz the negative theme is heard: we only have immigration for economic growth, therefore economic growth is bad….)
TSCP was founded by former ZPG director John Tanton (in ZPG with Paul ‘population bomb’ and ‘Club of Rome’ Ehrlich and supported by Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie Foundations), admirer of the white Australia policy, coined expression ‘passive eugenics’, his network advises Trump, indirectly Brexit, and passed away recently.
According to SPLC
‘The Social Contract Press (TSCP) routinely publishes race-baiting articles penned by white nationalists. The press is a program of U.S. Inc, the foundation created by John Tanton, the racist founder and principal ideologue of the modern nativist movement. TSCP puts an academic veneer of legitimacy over what are essentially racist arguments about the inferiority of today’s immigrants.’
Moral of the story is, be wary of plausible theories and PR constructs that appear liberal etc., but are nudging toward isolationism and economic stagnation, except for the top people and corporates.
I will lend you my walking frame Andreas, but the largactil comes at a cost.
I’m sorry…more neoliberalism as cure for neoliberalism?
Andrew, the fundamental error in your argument is that unquestioned assumption that the EU itself is a somehow ordained neutral entity rather than a construct whose formation is itself neoliberalist through oligarchic inputs in its formation.
You strawman us too much…look for the real foes, please.
I have no difficulty understanding Andrew at all. Nothing to do with age BTW.
What I do not understand is the hostility his comments generate from others, such as Andreas and Paul W.
He is pointing out what we need to aware of; corporate wolves in liberal clothing.
If the EU does disintegrate post Brexit, there is no guarantee of an improvement in trade agreements for the greater good.
Am very exhausted if I am missing something please advise instead of tossing insults.
It is ok , I don’t understand most of your stuff either- sure Andreas may feel the same.
You are the owner of adhominem and dominatrix of the strawperson, but I always look in vain for something constructive in your malignant comments.
I ask for an honest answer, minus insult, and I get Paul Walter.
Gee thanks, Paul, next time I need help, I know who NOT to ask.
Sir Humphrey explains Brexit
There you go, Diannaart..
All neatly explained by Sir Humphrey, via Paul Davis..
Fast forward thirty years and we discover that some in Europe finally woke up, eg the Germans and BENELUX, but the French as ever continue to rotate on their own axis
The following should bring you mucho grande schadenfreude.
Yesterday a tree fell on the side of my house. Neighbours rushed over to make sure I was OK. I met some more I did not know who also are very kind. My home has only superficial exterior damage. But wait, here’s what you will enjoy.
I needed to move my car away from potential damage onto the road. In front of another neighbours house. There is plenty of parking along my street didn’t think it was a problem. This neighbour also has off street parking. Apparently I should’ve parked anywhere except in front of his house for reasons that are only known to him. There was no inconvenience to him. However, because I stood up for myself he called me every name that men call women and abused me, he is also a head taller, bigger, stronger. I had no idea he suffered from grizzly bear syndrome. In the past we’d do the usual hello.
But now, I am shaking, oh, I moved my car, but the noise of branches hitting my roof (falling mountain ash very noisy) and the thought of encountering this man in future leaves me feeling hopeless, helpless.
So Paul, enjoy your abuse. You don’t know me, nor do I ever have to meet you. For this I am grateful.
Love those English comedians, they are the best….
Diannaart, i had neighbours like that years ago and commiserate. They were related to famous football players (bulldogs, so appropriate) and had relos who were coppers they said so watch it sunshine or …. Aggressive, abusive bullies whom no one in the street interacted with and avoided.
Sorry about your tree problem hope it gets sorted.
The tree can be sorted.
I have good neighbours. However, it’s been a while since someone stood over and abused me. I just don’t get why people have to behave like bullies.
Paul Walter doesn’t like me. So what? Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Sad, sad people.
People destroy each other over bullshit.
Brexit is bullshit but it is going to be the people who suffer whether they voted for or against, they will pay dearly. But not the pollies, the corporates, the powerful, they’re just fine thank you. And bullies always believe they are justified.
Sorry to hear about that awful incident Diannaart, that would knock anyone off balance.
I think Paul’s a great bloke for offering to let me borrow his walking frame.
Below is a relevant article from Costas Lapavitsas who may be a bit too old and too nativist for Andrew but he’s definitely not a neoliberal ‘socialist’, he’s a proper socialist and understands the neoliberal menace of the EU.
Thank you for your understanding.
May one be both despairing of Brexit and sceptical of the EU?
Because that there is where you’ll find me.
Will Britain’s exit be the catalyst for a people’s Europe? I don’t think so.
Globally, big business and their obsequious politicians are not about to relinquish power.
That’s all I can manage on a too hot, muggy day.
Diannaart, I don’t like you? More the other way round.
Andreas, just for that you get a free bag of trusses for nothing.
Oh, my mistake,
”You are the owner of adhominem and dominatrix of the strawperson, but I always look in vain for something constructive in your malignant comments.”
Was meant to be ironic.
Doh! Sometimes, I take things too literally, ya know wot I mean?