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November 29, 2016

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Blissex

The difficulty here is that what will be the long term impact of "Leave" or the type of "Leave" seems quite uncertain, in the sense of JM Keynes (quote appended), so rational calculation here is not much use.

Note: while quite uncertain, the impact of "Leave" overall is likely to be small either way (even if probably negative), so not something worth of much anguish.

And anyhow as to "animal spirits", politicians are not "philosopher kings", their acknowledged job is to get re-elected, so propaganda is expected from them. It is not really astonishing for any voter to figure out that spin is being applied generously.

JM Keynes:

«Thus the fact that our knowledge of the future is fluctuating, vague and uncertain, renders wealth a peculiarly unsuitable subject for the methods of the classical economic theory. By uncertain knowledge, let me explain, I do not mean merely to distinguish what is known for certain from what is merely probable»
«The sense in which I am using the term is that in which the price of copper and the rate of interest twenty years hence, or the obsolescence of a new invention are uncertain. About these matter there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever.»

chris

@ Blissex - yes, there is of course uncertainty about the impact of Brexit. But this raises an important point - that the bigger you hope the potential payoff to Brexit to be, the more angry you should be at the govt's apparent mismanagement of the process, as it risks jeopardizing those gains. It's Leavers therefore who should be most upset by Ian and Nick's allegations.
Yes, it's politicians' jobs to be re-elected. I understand them campaigning in lies. But I'd expect them to govern in truth.

Magnus

"Note: while quite uncertain, the impact of "Leave" overall is likely to be small either way (even if probably negative), so not something worth of much anguish."

#Doesnotcomputedoesnotcompute.

If it's uncertain, in any meaningful sense, there's the possibility of a large downside, and the (in my view much remoter) possibility of a large upside.

Uncertainty, whatever Paul Krugman says, is bad for long-term decision making, hence bad for investment.

Voluntarily entering into this uncertainty was a collective act of stupidity, which as Chris rightly says is now being presided over in a (predictably) criminally stupid manner.

Luis Enrique

"This has got to happen, so negativity is unhelpful" is "leadership"

Rich

I'm left wondering what you think the solution might be. Mandatory training courses in psychology, logic, fallacies for all MPs? It sounds unlikely.

AndrewD

@ Rich
"Mandatory training courses in psychology, logic, fallacies for all" not just M.P.s
Prerably at school

Metatone

To echo Magnus, there is a whole set of plausible ways in which there turns out to be a large downside. It's most distressing to me that these are not being factored in at all.

(We've actually advanced a long way from Keynes time in working out how to respond to uncertainty, alas it involves a willingness to consider downsides seriously that seems beyond David Davis in particular.)

rogerh

You are right. The Brexiteers have no skin in the game. Whatever happens will make no difference to them. But they are now locked into an entirely selfish game where no one dare call stop. A long slow disaster I reckon.

Dipper

saying Brexit may be bad is not in itself a reason for not doing it. You have to show it is worse than the alternative which in itself was uncertain, and what certainty there was was of increasing federal government and erosion of democracy.

Magnus

@Dipper

I think it's pretty clear that we're talking about uncertainty that now exists and wouldn't have had the UK voted remain. Access the single market, immigration policy and social policy in general are now uncertain in a way they weren't before.

In the counterfactual (Bremain) I attribute very low probability to increasing federal government. And if anything Brexit seems to have undermined Parliamentary sovereignty, and therefore democracy, rather than strengthened it.

larry

Chris, don't forget the effect of Groupthink, analyzed by Irving Janus in 1983 (2nd ed);

@Metatone, Keynes' distinction can be parsed as a distinction between epistemic uncertainty and ontological uncertainty. And there is no way of responding to ontological uncertainty. These are deep unknowns, even the potential downsides. It is impossible to know what they will be.

I am thinking of things, as Keynes did, for which extrapolation from present reality is impossible. Those circumstances for which some extrapolation is possible, and thus possible to calculate a risk factor, for instance, I would consider to fall under the rubric of epistemic uncertainty.

ignormaus

You ask: Why the hell do they want power if they are unwilling to exercise it with even minimal competence?

But you've already answered: overconfidence; wishful thinking; the confirmation bias; the planning fallacy; and the tendency to become detached from the reality of what’s happened on the ground.

In particular, the first three are clearly what got them into power (i.e., they "got lucky"). If it's worked so far...

Dipper

@Magnus - we clearly disagree about the counterfactual. The Federal noises coming out of Brussels have been loud and clear, and if the referendum had been to Remain the UK would have had no power to resist. Most Leavers are pretty clear on this as the main reason for voting to Leave, and felt collectively felt the reassurances coming from the Remain campaign were dangerously complacent.

Blissex

I'll try again on the topic of uncertainty as perhaps some of the responses did not get how important is the time dimension in the JM Keynes idea of uncertainty, as expressed in «the price of copper and the rate of interest twenty years hence, or the obsolescence of a new invention»

In practice as to the "economy" side of "political economy" in the short-medium term the possible outcomes of "Leave" range from WTO+EFTA just-WTO. There is not much to it; it is likely that the difference won't be that big, after all the "Remain" side estimated a once-only negative impact of 3-8% of GDP.

But as to the "political" side in the long term "Leave" may result in nuclear war in Europe or the resurgence of the British Empire; it seems unlikely *today* that either will happen, but it is really rather uncertain, in the sense that JM Keynes used. I guess most "Leave" voters hoped for this :-):

http://thebristolboard.tumblr.com/post/41532152189/full-page-by-chris-weston-from-ministry-of-space

So it is all down to «animal spirits», as expressed in the (slender) vote for "Leave", and as to that I can imagine that the government really *cannot* know what's best for the national interest, or even for the interests of just their constituencies; and therefore they are just pushing out whatever random propaganda covers the situation that the "animal spirits" of the voters have chosen a leap in the dark.

I guess that it would take *any* government quite a while to make up their minds about exactly where to leap into that dark, and especially one fronted by B "chancer" Johnson, D "nutso" Davis and L "slimy" Fox.

PeteW

@ Dipper

You elide from "increasing federal government" to "erosion of democracy" without any explanation. How is one automatically linked to the other?

Lord Ashcroft's post-Brexit poll did indeed find: "(49%) of leave voters said the biggest single reason for wanting to leave the EU was “the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK”.'

What Brexiteers cannot seem to explain is why, by the same token, European decisions should not be taken by Europe - there are many things which affect us all - or why the UK should no longer be a part of that.

We now have the situation where we will continue to be be affected, one way or another, by decisions taken in the European Parliament (a directly-elected democratic body) and the Council of Minsters (relevant ministers of the constituent, democratically-elected governments) without having any say. How is that "taking back control"?

In fact how is that not very stupid?

Dipper

@ PeteW

The EU exists to solve a particular problem, which is to prevent war between nations in Europe. The way they are doing this is by abolishing nations in Europe. This may be the right thing to do in Europe, but it isn't addressing a British need. Consequently British needs are not considered or catered for at all by the EU, and we had no effective influence on those institutions you name as they were collectively not concerned with our issues.

The biggest example of this is the expected population growth which is equivalent to gaining two Londons in thirty five years (although only just over one is due to immigration). If we voted to remain there was absolutely nothing we could do about a massive increase in our population, and this increase is not to address any problem we have, but to enable the continent to solve its own inability to provide work for its young people.

We have far more chance of influencing those institutions by being outside them than we have by being in them, as now they have to explicitly consider the fact that the UK has freedom of action when making decisions that affect us and there are consequences to their decisions.

Frankly, the attitudes of many Remainers to the nature of the EU both here and elsewhere has been astonishingly naive and reckless.

Ralph Musgrave

Facts have never been of much interest to the ideologically committed.

PeteW

@ Dipper

Almost every assertion you make is highly contestable, if not misleading, if not simply wrong.

“The EU exists to solve a particular problem, which is to prevent war between nations in Europe.”

That was the motivation for the original Treaty of Paris in 1951 – and a good one too – but it can no longer be said to be the sole reason for the EU’s existence (BTW, on those terms it’s been pretty successful, hasn’t it?)

“The way they are doing this is by abolishing nations in Europe. “

Please name the nations that have been abolished in the past 65 years.

“This may be the right thing to do in Europe, but it isn't addressing a British need. “

What is British need? Many people might start with something like: “A thriving, sustainable economy that works for the benefit of all.” Since Brexit is likely to make us poorer, raise barriers and frictions to trade, deny us freedoms and protections that our own government is too stupid or corrupted to give us, and leave us more isolated in a world of sharks, I am pretty sure most people’s “needs” are not going to be addressed. At all

“Consequently British needs are not considered or catered for at all by the EU, and we had no effective influence on those institutions you name as they were collectively not concerned with our issues.”

Sorry, but this is a ridiculous statement.

“The biggest example of this is the expected population growth which is equivalent to gaining two Londons in thirty five years (although only just over one is due to immigration). If we voted to remain there was absolutely nothing we could do about a massive increase in our population, and this increase is not to address any problem we have, but to enable the continent to solve its own inability to provide work for its young people.”

I suspect this is the kernel of your concern: population movement and growth. Much of this has nothing to do with our membership of the EU, it is natural domestic population growth or immigration from non-EU countries. Like pretty much all Brexiteers I have encountered, you present no objective cost-benefit analysis: you see only cost. So freedom of movement is always expressed as a “cost” (people coming here) and never as a “benefit” (we can move, live and work freely anywhere in Europe). For many of us Remainers this is one of the greatest benefits of the EU, one which Leavers seem determined to deny us, and themselves.

“We have far more chance of influencing those institutions by being outside them than we have by being in them, as now they have to explicitly consider the fact that the UK has freedom of action when making decisions that affect us and there are consequences to their decisions.”

That makes no sense.

“Frankly, the attitudes of many Remainers to the nature of the EU both here and elsewhere has been astonishingly naive and reckless.”

You don’t like our attitudes; I am dumbfounded by your actions.

Put it this way. I live in a village. We have a parish council that can take some limited decisions at a micro level. Our borough council can make decisions that affect the whole of the borough. Our county council has primacy over decisions countywide.
Our national parliament then makes decisions and passes laws at a national and international sovereignty level (though Wales, Scotland and N.I. have their own discrete powers her too)
And the EU parliament and institutions make decisions of mutual, agreed interest at a continental level.
That's functioning, pluralistic democracy. On multiple levels.

I do not understand why Leavers’ view of democracy stops at our national boundary. The modern world is extraordinarily complex and interconnected. Why would you not want to be part of the democratic institutions taking decisions of mutual interest and advantage at our continental level? It doesn’t make sense.

Dipper

@peteW

"Please name the nations that have been abolished in the past 65 years."

they are not being eliminated one by one, but they are all slowly being dissolved. Next stop the European Army. How can France and Germany go to war if neither has an army? Makes sense, but not for the UK.

"I suspect this is the kernel of your concern: population movement and growth. Much of this has nothing to do with our membership of the EU, it is natural domestic population growth or immigration from non-EU countries."

Well, its a symptom of the lack of basic control nations have in the EU. But its a key issue. Remainers never accept that the population growth is anything to do with freedom of movement, because if they did then the game would be up. Its always something else, like immigration from outside the EU. But if you have freedom of movement and millions of people have the right to move in from the EU and exercise that right, then you are continually playing catch up with services and having to fill gaps, so getting control of numbers is critical.

As for your right to move freely and work in Europe, I have UK friends who live in USA, Australia, Canada and all seem to manage happily. The EU can come to a deal with the UK and give similar rights and opportunities other nations manager. It is really up to them. Demanding we accede to their instructions before they behave like reasonable nations is quite disgraceful and just shows how much they have lost the plot.

The nation state has worked well for the UK. We have been able to resolve many social issues and make significant social progress in that framework. Why would you throw it away to be ruled by Juncker, someone who blatantly despises our nation, who we didn't vote for, and who has no interest in improving our lot? We really are a lot better off navigating this complex world as a nation rather than an ignored part of a super-state.

PeteW

It is truly weird to claim we are "ruled by Juncker" and suggests you have a fundamental problem with reality, which undermines anything else you have to say.

George Carty

@ Dipper

"The EU exists to solve a particular problem, which is to prevent war between nations in Europe. The way they are doing this is by abolishing nations in Europe. This may be the right thing to do in Europe, but it isn't addressing a British need."

Haven't European wars also been very costly to Britain though (from the War of the Spanish Succession through the Napoleonic Wars to World Wars I and II)? And since you (unlike a lot of Brexiters) don't seem to object to the EU's existence, couldn't it be argued that Brexit runs counter to the centuries-old British foreign policy dictum "don't let the Continent unite against us"?

"Consequently British needs are not considered or catered for at all by the EU, and we had no effective influence on those institutions you name as they were collectively not concerned with our issues."

Any good examples of this _not_ connected to migration?

"The biggest example of this is the expected population growth which is equivalent to gaining two Londons in thirty five years (although only just over one is due to immigration). If we voted to remain there was absolutely nothing we could do about a massive increase in our population, and this increase is not to address any problem we have, but to enable the continent to solve its own inability to provide work for its young people."

Since you yourself admit that almost half of our population increase is natural rather than due to immigration (from inside or outside the EU) do you believe that also needs to be limited somehow (and if so, then how)? Or do you desire (as some Brexiteers seem to) to replace free movement within the EU with free movement within the white Commonwealth, so that Australia, New Zealand and Canada can revert to their traditional role as the UK's overseas Lebensraum?

"We have far more chance of influencing those institutions by being outside them than we have by being in them, as now they have to explicitly consider the fact that the UK has freedom of action when making decisions that affect us and there are consequences to their decisions."

That may have been the case were it not for the facts that:

a) many EU countries are already pissed off at the UK for demanding so many special privileges in the past (the Thatcher rebate, formal exemption from the Euro, exemption from Schengen), and
b) many EU governments will want to make an example of the UK to deter their own electorates from electing far-right anti-EU parties (such as the Front National in France, the PVV in the Netherlands, or the AfD in Germany).

Jake S

@Dipper:

"How can France and Germany go to war if neither has an army? Makes sense, but not for the UK."

Leaving aside whether or not an EU army a) is going to necessarily happen or b) necessarily results in national armies being disbanded - why not for the UK? What is different in the relationship between France and Germany to the relationship between France and the UK? You can't surely be thinking of the tiny stretch of water between us?

The other possibility that springs immediately to mind is the notion of British Exceptionalism, which is frankly not a very good basis for national decision making.

"As for your right to move freely and work in Europe, I have UK friends who live in USA, Australia, Canada and all seem to manage happily."

Good for them. I bet it was a lot more hassle, more uncertain and involved more bureaucracy, stress and anxiety than it was for my EU friends to come and live here and for those of my friends who have chosen to move to the EU to do so.

The US system in particular is notoriously frustrating to deal with, whereas had I wanted to move to France or Germany a year ago it would have been as trivial as packing my things, arranging a rental and booking the removals company and the flights.

"Why would you throw it away to be ruled by Juncker, someone who blatantly despises our nation, who we didn't vote for, and who has no interest in improving our lot?"

Ridiculous assertion that seems to owe more to the Daily Express - an organ with as close and loving a relationship with the truth as you have with M. Juncker - than objective reality.

From the point of view of the man on the street in the UK, Juncker is exactly as unelected as Theresa May. There's a good chance that said man on the street didn't vote Tory in the last GE, and even if they had, they wouldn't have had a vote for or against May as PM, she was 'elected' by her peers in the parliamentary party, who are elected by the ordinary man on the street. Juncker was elected by his peers in the EU parliament, who are elected by the ordinary man on the street. Or woman, whatever. The fact that you personally didn't happen to vote for any of the parties that elected him on your behalf doesn't mean that his position is any less democratically valid.

Juncker shows every sign of wanting to improve our lot - he just happens to disagree very strongly with you as to how our lot would best be improved. I happen to disagree very strongly with Theresa May as to how our lot would best be improved, but I don't go around accusing her of being an autocratic tyrant.

JohnM

"If we voted to remain there was absolutely nothing we could do about a massive increase in our population"

Low indigenous birthrate.
Increased longevity.
The two things that do not go well together if you need a working population to support a long-lived retired sub-population, many with complex, and expensive to treat health problems.
I suppose we could get-on with training-down our workers to meet the need for low-skilled field skivvies....except Brit industry seems to find it hard to train-up workers as well...

Dave Hansell

On the matter of Euro federalism it would certainly be useful for Dipper et al to consider the points in the argument presented here

https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/11/thatchers-plot-defeat/

In regard to the EU debate it would also be useful to know exactly what the issue is for those arguing against UK membership of the EU.

What I mean here is this: is the issue one of membership of the EU as it currently exists or is the real issue one of the EU as an idea. If the latter then it would certainly help to make this explicit - ie that involvement in ANY structure, process or system which involves shared decision making at any level is anethama. Should this be the case than it follows that anyone taking such a position needs to clarify how they would tackle issues and problems which exist above the national level, as well as explaining how they can face in three different ways at once by being against the very principle of shared decision making per se; whilst at the same time having no problem with a coach and horses being driven through such a 'sacred' principle by allowing a foreign power (the USA) a veto over a supposed vital and existential plank of our foreign and defence policy (Trident - which is produced by a US Corporation, Lockheed Martin, leased to us rather than owned outright, and cannot be independently used because the foreign power controls the launch code process and structure); and being against a European wide armed force on the grounds of the same principle.

Fact is, those taking that position cannot have it every which way. If one is publically wanting to die in a ditch over a principle than there needs to be consistency otherwise the stance taken has zero credibility and merely degenerates into dishonesty because it implies an exceptionalism which is unworkable, impractical and untenable.

A further issue concerns one of democracy. Another seemingly 'flexible' principle. The argument about control over decision making cuts both ways (except of course for the dishonest exceptionalists who, if they wish to wear that cap is up to them). There exists another single market superstate(let) within the geographical region of Europe for which the same arguments apply. That single market superstate(let), the UK, which has existed long before the EU, is currently denying at least one other distinct State member, Scotland the Democratic rights to decide it's future which it, The English Westminster Parliament, is claiming for itself in regard to the EU.

This will be one key element in the imminent Supreme Court case over the a Royal Perogative, the Scotland Act, The 1972 Act and the 1707 Act of Union , the latter of which is likely to cease to exist should the Government either prevail or ride roughshod other the same Democratic wishes of, in terms of the 1707 Act, an equal partner in the Union.

On the issue of immigration Dipper neglects to consider two key issues besides those already stated by others here.

Firstly he/she assumes that there is no difference between the theoretical possibility of allowing free movement and the practical reality. The fact of free movement has been in place for some years. Yet there has not been any sign of the theoretical concern that everyone in Europe and beyond has even attempted to enter the UK never mind actually done so. As pointed out its a two way street with nowhere near the same level of bureaucratic hassle associated with living on the other side of the world or the Atlantic.

Secondly, as I understand it the immigration stats include those coming to study here, not just from the EU but also further afield, like China. Three points arise- that the fees paid by these students cross subsidise our own students and many of our universities would go under without them; that whilst a proportion do stay and contribute to our society many return meaning that the stats Dipper et al hang their hat on are, when it comes down to practical realities rather than post truth arguments, over estimates; and that the bulk of immigration is from outside the EU AND therefore nothing to do with the EU and everything to do with the UK. Anyone who is willing to admit that they wanted to leave the EU on the basis of immigration is barking up the wrong tree. It would help if they had the good grace to acknowledge this fact of blaming the wrong institution whilst at the same time supporting the UK national Government chiefly responsible for this.

Moreover, I've yet to see anyone offer a coherent argument on the issue of immigration in terms of the core concerns associated with it. If there are concerns over the numbers of jobs lost, the impact on UK infrastructure and the demise of communities across whole regions of these islands etc than if one wishes to be and appear serious in tackling those concerns the issue to tackle is the free movement of capital since the onset of the neo liberal era in the mid to late seventies which has seen industry after industry in this country transferred abroad for the benefit of free capital movement and legalised avoidence of corporate and other 1% taxes. Trying to scapegoat and pin these problems on immigration is at best just playing at it and at worst acting as a useful idiot on behalf of the tiny minority gaining from these divide and rule arguments.

The fact is that allowing free movement of capital whilst denying equal free movement of labour is not just anti-free market (and the issue here is the consistency of free marketeers) it also further advantages capital at the expense of labour and working people. If free movement of labour is curtailed than the same restictions should be placed on the free movement of capital. Otherwise one is not only favouring one at the expense of the other but also allowing the factor which has caused the most devestation on the metrics of concern a free ride to continue to devestate communities and enjoy a tax free ride on our crumbling infrastructure ( which is down to the tax privileges enjoyed by free capital movement) while blaming the wrong factor (immigration) for the problems which are chiefly down to free capital movement.

Duncurin

@Dipper:

"We really are a lot better off navigating this complex world as a nation rather than an ignored part of a super-state."

Europe is not a super-state and will not become so in our lifetimes. Similarly the UK is not 'ignored' by other European countries.

The world is indeed complex, and also dangerous. Despite what geography may suggest, no nation is an island entire of itself. If continental Europe is not prosperous and secure then we will suffer again, as we have in the past. Our best way of ensuring that prosperity and security would be by remaining part of the EU.

Dipper

thanks for all the comments. I'm still happy with the vote on 23rd June.

It's nice of you all to interpret what the EU are up to, but it is a reasonably straightforward task to look up Jean Claude Juncker quotations, and for that matter comments from other participants, and they have a clear thread of centralisation and moves to reduce the power of nations.

On immigration there still is no clear understanding from the comments about the scale of what is happening, and the complete uncontrolled unstable nature of the movements. Fortunately the European Commission has done the hard work and the projections are here: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/structural_reforms/ageing/demography/index_en.htm and very interesting they are too not just for the UK but taken as a whole.

The EC report doesn't go into why the numbers are what they say, and as its a report on an ageing population it is possible to draw the wrong conclusion, but the CIA world fact back birth and death rates are useful as is the ONS population projections give the breakdowns of both/death rates.

Enjoy!

PeteW

@ Dipper

Give up with the Juncker stuff, he doesn't make the decisions. The appalling Brit tabloids have demonised him because they are masters of the oldest play in the book: personalise a complex debate and heap bile on your opponent. It's their version of the lawyer's trick: if you can't win on the facts, discredit the witness. Don't fall for it.

You link to some population projections but don't say why or how this supports a Leave argument. What's your point?

Dipper

@ PeteW

The EU had a chance in the referendum to pitch for a decent settlement for the UK that kept the UK in Europe. They didn't take it. If Juncker doesn't make the decisions then whoever does make the decisions was happy to let Juncker speak unchallenged, so it is reasonable to take his word as the policy.

The point about the population growth projections is the scale. Its enormous. All those folks going on about how we need to have immigrants to run our health service are completely missing the point. You can have immigrants to run the health service from outside the EU. What the EU gives you is absolutely no control over the numbers of people in the country and hence the strain on services.

I've never heard a single Remainer discuss how the country is going to cope with a population growth of 25% in 35 years. It is, to repeat, roughly the population of Netherlands, so requires us to replicate the health service of the Netherlands just to stand still. And none of this is to make our country better, it is to solve problems of unemployment in Eastern Europe an Southern Europe.

My motto in politics is look at what is in front of you. Lots of Remainers looked at what they wished was in front of them, but wasn't.

gastro george

@Dipper

"I've never heard a single Remainer discuss how the country is going to cope with a population growth of 25% in 35 years."

Germany took a million refugees last year. AFAICS life is still pretty normal there.

And it has been explained before in other posts, even assuming that the figures are correct (they are only projections), it is not impossible to build houses and hospitals.

PeteW

@ Dipper

World population is forecast to grow by 32% between 2015 and 2050.

http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/2015-report.html

In the UK over the same period, the population is forecast to grow from 65.1m in 2015 to 77m in 2050, according to Eurostat.

That's 17%, or roughly half the rate of world population growth.

That doesn't suggest a UK crisis The strain on services is caused by deliberate Tory austerity, not population growth. I thought everybody knew that by now.

We will "cope" by coping. Or if it really bothers you, you could, if we were still in the EU, move to a less densely populated part of the continent. Finland's good.


Dipper

@gastro george. Of course they took a million refugees. The population of Germany is declining drastically. Reduction of 10 million in the time ours is going up by 16 million.

No of course it is not impossible to build houses and hospitals. Or 400 extra railway stations. Or a new major international airport. And 10 extra universities. But why?

Dipper

@PeteW. Well that's your opinion. I have a different opinion. We had a referendum, and my vote was there to be won by the Remain side. I'm not pathologically isolationist, but they failed to deliver a viable settlement with the EU,

I don't think the lack of services is caused by Austerity. And how do you plan for future service demand when you have no idea how many people will be here?

the only other European population facing a similar demographic crunch is Sweden. Its easy for the EU to demand free movement when it is not them getting the huge increase. If they had shown the same commitment to that other pillar of the EU - a free market in services - then perhaps I would have voted to Remain.

gastro george

@Dipper

"I don't think the lack of services is caused by Austerity."

[bangs head on wall]

"And how do you plan for future service demand when you have no idea how many people will be here?"

Well you seem to "know" how many will be.

And, in any well-organised country, it's called Planning. Whereas we, for example, systematically educate less doctors and nurses than we need.

Igor Belanov

"And how do you plan for future service demand when you have no idea how many people will be here?"

You seem sure. You said earlier in the thread that the UK's population is going to increase by 25% over 35 years.

Historically bureaucracies have planned for the future with sets of expectations that have proved completely at odds with subsequent reality. We should be used to adapting by now.

Dipper

I don't know how many people will come to the UK or leave it, but the projections are very big and there is no way of controlling it in the EU, so its a risky number. It could easily be a lot more.

Well-organised countries control their borders.

@gastro george yes we do consistently educate fewer doctors and nurses than we need, although I hesitate to recommend we should train more "home grown" medics for fear of being accused of taking policies straight out of the pages of Mein Kampf.

But to get back to the original post, there is a line of argument that we have rejected a known beneficial path for a more uncertain but clearly worse path. I dispute that. The known beneficial path wasn't known and wasn't necessarily beneficial, particularly not to many people outside London. Under those circumstances the decision to make parliament the sovereign body of the UK was a sensible one. Better to have the people who rule you clearly accountable to you rather than have your representatives constantly shrugging their shoulders and apologising "because the EU stops me from acting in your interests".

gastro george

@Dipper

"Well-organised countries control their borders."

You see, this is just a nonsensical statement made in the absence of any argument or evidence. I hesitate to say the words "post-truth".

Most countries in the Schengen area are much better organised (read planned) than the UK.

"... there is a line of argument that we have rejected a known beneficial path for a more uncertain but clearly worse path."

I would replace "beneficial" with "uncertain". The EU is clearly in a state of flux.

"The known beneficial path wasn't known and wasn't necessarily beneficial, particularly not to many people outside London."

Like you, I would see the solution to this in UK government policies, but I would blame current UK government policies (over decades), not the EU.


Jake S

@Dipper

"And how do you plan for future service demand when you have no idea how many people will be here?"

I don't know what part of the UK you live in, but here in Brexit-voting Lincolnshire the government still doesn't tell us when we can and can't breed. They have "no way" of knowing how many people will be here regardless of whether we leave the EU, end freedom of movement, or do neither. Over the next ten years my partner and I could theoretically have somewhere between 0 and 13 children, not even counting twins or heptuplets or the possibility of leaving the country or whatever. There's no way to tell! Except that governments have been dealing with only-broadly-predictable trends in population and periodic booms and busts in immigration, emigration, births and deaths for quite literally centuries and have been doing broadly OK at it on the whole.


Here's how it works: broadly speaking, more people in the population equals more people paying taxes equals more money to spend on services. So! Since the population has apparently been booming by an extraordinary degree which we Remain voters are not fully cognisant of, and since statistically speaking citizens of the rest of the EU who settle here are less likely to be on benefits and more likely to work and more likely to start businesses and create jobs and more likely to pay more taxes than the indigenous population, this *should* mean an unprecedented windfall of tax money for the government to spend on public services if this unmitigated immigration boom is as strong as you seem to suggest.


So if it's not austerity's fault that insufficient extra money is being spent on public services (and let's be honest here, basically no extra money is being spent on public services thanks to austerity), what *did* happen to all that tax money and why *didn't* it get spent on public services? I still can't see a way to realistically blame anybody but the UK government for any public services problem.

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