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July 17, 2018

Comments

Dipper

"To them, politics is simply about getting what you want by whatever means you can, regardless of cost. Politicians with a sense of public service would not have broken electoral law on spending limits, or lied about immigration or about the economic effects of Brexit."

This post is utter nonsense.Completely 180 degrees wrong

There are a large number of Remaniacs determined to get what they want (to remain in the EU) by whatever means they can, regardless of the cost. There is clear evidence of collusion between Remain organisations in Craig Oliver's book, and the refusal of the Electoral Commission to investigate it looks a very strange decision to be polite about it. Justice has not only to be done, it has to be seen to be done and right now it isn't.

We were told voting Leave would result in an immediate recession and massive job losses. all these things were wrong. Osborne promised a punishment budget and then didn't give it.

We were told prior to the opening of borders to Eastern Europe there would not be much immigration and Migrationb Watch were scare mongering; there was more than even Migration Watch forecast.

These are the people who brought you weapons of mass destruction. And you think these are the good guys? Seriously, do you inhabit a different universe?

Scratch

"Here, I’d distinguish sharply between Thatcher and Thatcherite Brexiters. Thatcher might have subscribed to what we now call neoliberal ideas. But she didn’t use the neoliberal methods I’m discussing here."

Funding a temporary neoliberal wonderland via the unrepeatable expedient of raffling off the state's assets with the unstated aim of moving the interests of capital beyond the ambit of the electorate might also be considered a bit of a confidence trick.

Dipper

"We could have had a rational debate in the referendum about the trade-off between sovereignty and prosperity. But we didn’t."

We did. Various people made it clear that we could expect short-term economic issues.

"the loss of ‘hundreds of thousands of jobs’ would be worth it didn’t say so at the time" Again they were calling for reductions in immigration. given the large numbers of jobs that only exist because of wholesale immigration, this was understood.

" experts and civil servants. All of these are (imperfectly of course) custodians of the public good."

Really? Carney said there would be a recession and 500,000 job losses on a Leave vote. There was neither. Either he is hopelessly incompetent or he deliberately told untruths to win a vote.

And again the assumption that the vote was about persuading dumb idiots. Funnily enough, I don't like people granting themselves the authority to sit in judgement on me and my vote. Just keep your hands off my vote. Seriously, however tempting, just respect the decision individuals made. Absolutely nothing good, and a very large tanker load of trouble, will come from trying to steal people's votes.

Calgacus

"We could have had a rational debate in the referendum about the trade-off between sovereignty and prosperity."

What trade-off? As Dipper above notes, this post is very confused and wrong. Wrong on facts and wrong on logic.

The underlying theoretical questions and assumptions are not addressed at all, the idea that there MUST BE such a trade-off, that Brexit must be bad is simply assumed. No debate, no doubt at all.

As far as this Yank can tell, the Remainers were less serious, less willing to rationally debate. They simply assumed and asserted that their side, their predictions (and the mainly neoliberal [= antilogical] economics underlying them) were correct, and that anyone who disagreed was somehow inferior or deluded. And they continue to do this.

For a rational debate to occur, there has to be some respect for the other side. I see it more in Leavers respecting Remainers. Not vice versa.

N. N.

"the idea that there MUST BE such a trade-off, that Brexit must be bad is simply assumed."

What our blogger's talk of a trade-off shows is precisely that it is NOT "simply assumed": it is obvious enough that if X is traded for Y, both X and Y must have value, i.e. be good.

And this really says it all about the quality of the comments above.

Handy Mike

"I call this neoliberal because one feature of that much-abused idea is the belief that all of society must be dominated by the crudest conception of corporate behaviour – that of the spiv conning his punters regardless of consequences - rather than by any sense of public duty."

Look, I know it's been very hot lately, and that this makes some people more irritable and less careful in thought and speech. But really, that doesn't excuse this kind of gormless prattle.

It's the sort of thing one finds by the dozen below the line of a CiF piece.

Or above the line if it's by Monbiot or Chakrabortty.

Handy Mike

Oh, and Will Davies is a dunce.

Nanikore

Neo-liberalism might be a flawed school of thought, but iits motives were not necessarily cynical. During its heyday (the end of the Cold War) to many there did not seem to be an alternative. The idea that you cannot beat the market became a truism.

Also during this time the 'experts', especially economists, were absolutely respected, even looked up to with awe. It was believed
that they knew athe importance of 'getting prices right' all along and their use of 'sophisticated model's' that most people couldn't understand, or did not have the time to understand, or question was a sign of their intelligence and the 'extraordinary progress' of the discipline. It was believed that you should just leave most important economic decisions to such technocrats and their computer models.

It was this type of arrogance and hubris that is at the heart of deep problems that have been brewing in international capitalism for some time, and the at the root of the political problems we see today.

Some degree of scepticism towards certain experts actually shows some wisdom within the general public.

From Arse To Elbow

I think your description of spivvery fits the likes of Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore, but their evident glee at their own behaviour ("the bad boys") and their willingness to inflate tales of their gamesmanship and cynicism (lapped up by gullible journalists like Carole Cadwalldr) suggests a British subculture quite independent of vulgar neoliberalism even if congruent with it. Neoliberalism encourages cons, but cons weren't invented by neoliberalism. I imagine both Banks and Wigmore are as familiar with School for Scoundrels as Boiler Room.

More worrying (and more likely to have been material to the referendum result), was Nigel Farage's admission in 2014 that he'd "rather be poorer with fewer migrants", which slightly contradicts your claim that Brexiteers were never honest about the potential cost. Of course, this admission wasn't highlighted during the campaign, but that was more a failure of the media than dissembling on the part of Farage. Given that leave voters today continue to support leave while being more pessimistic about the economy, I don't think the root issue was that they were gullible marks.

I think the difference between Thatcher and the Brexiteers was essentially one of class. As a lower middle-class snob who moved to the upper middle-class, Thatcher was too invested in her self-image of respectable virtue to be consciously hypocritical. The "bad boys of Brexit", reflecting much working and lower middle-class opinion, believed that they had "put one over" on the elite. They weren't hypocritical - they meant what they said - but they did misdirect. In contrast, upper class Brexiteers like Johnson and Gove are hypocrites to the bone, essentially because they are invented personae.

derrida derider

I agree with you about the increased role of mendacity in Brtish politics since Thatcher's day.

That lady said what she meant and meant what she said - that fact that what she said and did was frequently appalling doesn't change that.

But I blame the Blairites for that decline. They were the great spinmeisters, even if what they did was often much less appalling than what Maggie did. I think the Farages and Johnsons have borrowed their style, though not their policies.

Cjcjc

Some of course would say that the crime of Iraq outdoes any indeed all of Thatcher’s actions. Aside from the war itself, Blair and Campbell’s shamelessness has debased politics for a generation. That they are still taken even semi-seriously is extraordinary.

Guano

I note that Dipper doesn't deny that Vote Leave lied. His argument is that everybody lied, which rather proves CD's point. We are however living with the consequences of Vote Leave's big lie - that the UK could opt out of the things that people find irritating about the EU/SM/CU while still trading and cooperating with the EU/SM/CU just like before, because the EU would give us a special deal because business in Europe would insist that the EU give the UK a special deal. Even though this last heroic assumption was instantly shown to be untrue, and the consequences will be brutal for the UK economy (as the Brexiteers have no plan for how the UK economy will be rejigged to operate outside the SM), apparently the UK still has to go ahead and do it.

The interesting question for me is this: why has the neo-liberal Conservative Party been taken over by people who claim to admire Thatcher but are irritated by the rules of the SM (which is her legacy)? Why did the type of people who voted "Yes" in 1975 vote Leave 41 years later? Why did Thatcherites, who put a lot of effort into making the EU more neo-liberal, not like the result?

Guano

"Blair and Campbell’s shamelessness has debased politics for a generation. That they are still taken even semi-seriously is extraordinary."

They have indeed debased politics, but they are taken seriously by people in politics and the media who assume that their methods are how politics is done and that they were good at it.

Guano

Dipper - "There are a large number of Remaniacs determined to get what they want (to remain in the EU) by whatever means they can, regardless of the cost."

I didn't take much notice of the referendum until just before the vote, when I realised that Vote Leave were saying contradictory things about leaving the Single Market, and were promising things that can only be achieved by leaving the Single Market (and thus putting at risk a great deal of the UK's trade and thus its economy) while claiming that it would make no difference to the UK's trade and economy. I have since spent a lot of time arguing with people like you because you insist that the UK leave the SM and the CU while you ignore the economic disruption that this will cause and have no plan for how to achieve it.

It doesn't matter to me whether the UK stays in the EU. It does matter to me that the UK avoid an economic crisis.

Dipper

@ Guano "I note that Dipper doesn't deny that Vote Leave lied"

I'm not aware of a lie in the strict sense. There were a lot of projections and forecasts on all sides.

The UK can still trade from outside the Single Market and Customs Union but there will be additional issues. No-one denied that. A lot can be minimised by technology.

We hear lots about how exporting will be more difficult, and how we will have to pay tariffs if we leave the SM, but we are net importers so manufacturing in the UK should receive a boost of competitiveness and we will be net receivers of tariffs. So in the broadest sense of the term we are still receiving lies about leaving the EU.

As for avoiding an economic crisis, lots of people are in an economic crisis; coastal towns with low fish quotas so they cannot work their way out of trouble; former mining towns where EU money has been used to invest in low-wage jobs recruited directly from Poland and Rumania, making accommodation impossible for local people with no jobs.

George Carty

Dipper - "We hear lots about how exporting will be more difficult, and how we will have to pay tariffs if we leave the SM, but we are net importers so manufacturing in the UK should receive a boost of competitiveness and we will be net receivers of tariffs. So in the broadest sense of the term we are still receiving lies about leaving the EU."

The real job-killer associated with leaving the SM and CU isn't tariffs, but the delays that would be imposed on components being shipped across the Channel. These would play havoc with today's "just-in-time" inventory planning and be an irresistable incentive for UK-based manufacturers to up sticks for the continent.

Incidentally, why haven't any Brexiteers advocated that the UK pass new laws to prevent important employers from relocating to the continent?

Calgacus

Me: "the idea that there MUST BE such a trade-off, that Brexit must be bad is simply assumed."

N. N.: What our blogger's talk of a trade-off shows is precisely that it is NOT "simply assumed": it is obvious enough that if X is traded for Y, both X and Y must have value, i.e. be good.

As far as I can understand this, this is a circular or an obscure and strange use of "trade-off".

My assertion is that the construction of Brexit as "X (prosperity) is traded for Y (sovereignty)" is the error, is what is "simply assumed" - and wrongly for there are many historical cases where this idea was absurd:

Often choosing sovereignty Y means choosing prosperity X and rejecting sovereignty Y means rejecting prosperity X. No "trade-off".

Dipper

@ George Carty

JIT is basically the car industry, Aeroplane mass production being 1 per day. In the Car industry, the UK is known as "Treasure Island" because it is so profitable.

Europe could try exporting whole cars to us, but the tariffs would increase correspondingly, and they would be susceptible to currency fluctuations and political pressures. Would make sense to move some production here for financial and political reasons.

What Remainers and Pro-EU folks are offering the UK is inevitable and unending trade deficit. I see no reason why these should be the only choices on offer.

Guano

This is where we are in reality with Brexit.

https://chrisgreybrexitblog.blogspot.com/

And possibly the PM is soon going to tell Ireland that the UK is going to renege on the Good Friday Agreement.

As Grey says at the end of his article, it all started with lies. (And people like Johnson keep on doubling-down on the lies.)

George Carty

Dipper: "JIT is basically the car industry, Aeroplane mass production being 1 per day. In the Car industry, the UK is known as 'Treasure Island' because it is so profitable."

So you're suggesting that Remainers fetishize the car manufacturing industry in the same way that Leavers fetishize the fishing industry? You may have a point there which I hadn't thought of...

I suspect that Brexit will probably also lead to Airbus pulling out of the UK, though that will be more for political rather than economic reasons.

As for the UK's status as a "Treasure Island" for the car industry, how much of that is due to the UK's unique specification (no other country drives on the left AND still uses miles) which limits the appeal of grey-market imports here?

Dipper: "What Remainers and Pro-EU folks are offering the UK is inevitable and unending trade deficit. I see no reason why these should be the only choices on offer."

Surely the UK's trade deficit is the result not of our EU membership, but rather of the policies of Tory and Blairite governments to pump up house prices? These not only sucked in imports (paid for by MEWing) but also created an irresistable incentive for asset strippers to destroy British industries so they could sell off the land for housing.

Silemairin

I voted Leave I voted for independence not some stupid focus group word, I read some of maastrict and Lisbon and voted against a federal state which is the ultimate aim ,it already has its own police force called Europol.intentions are for an EU army thats enough to vote out ,but there is more they intend having an EU treasury and there will be a tax system where one size fits all,do you really want Junker and co deciding what taxes you pay? indeed first words from Junker when the referendum results where annouced quote " good now we can have our army, you see UK voted it out when it was put before the parliment .
all this talk of lies is so negative they all lied we had Goldman Sacks man Mark carney scaring the money men remember we were also told there would be WW3 all lies but since saint Tony and dossier campbell it seems to have been adopted by politicos it is negativety and a waste of time and breath..

Guano

The biggest lie was probably that leaving would be easy:- that there wasn't really a problem about the border with Ireland; that trade negotiations with the EU would be easy because the UK holds all the cards. Now that it is clear that leaving is not easy, the lie has morphed into one about the difficulties being created by Ireland and the EU: apparently the EU is at fault for not giving the UK the special deal that the Brexiteers promised. This brings us to the disgraceful situation of Theresa May telling Ireland that it has to change its position (ie she wants to renege on the Good Friday Agreement and her own commitment at the end of Phase 1 in December 2017).

The UK has never lost its independence: it joined an association of states. The UK contributed to the institutional architecture of this association of states, especially under Margaret Thatcher. The Brexiteers apparently want to continue to cooperate with Europe but not with the EU. They want to separate the trade from the politics. That is difficult because the institutional architecture has created close links between the politics and the trade, and has meant that the EU is the institutional embodiment of Europe. This wasn't imposed on the UK - the UK helped to create that institutional arrangement, especially under Thatcher.

The simplest solution would be to leave the EU and stay in the EEA and CU - but that doesn't satisfy people like Dipper who feel oppressed by the regulations about hair-dryers. Thus the UK finds itself heading out of the EEA and CU, not just the EU, while all the while protesting that the UK still wants to trade and cooperate with Europe. It may be possible to devise and negotiate another institutional arrangement for trading and cooperating with Europe, but that will take a long time to devise and negotiate and requires an outline plan (that the Brexiteers don't have).

So the original lie about Leaving being easy has morphed into a series of other lies about other people being to blame.

I am sadly reminded of the situation just before Croatia left the Yugoslav Federation. Many people warned that there was a great deal to resolve, especially for those people within Croatia who did not subscribe to the hyper-nationalist identity that was developing there. "Wen just leave" - with disastrous results.

Guano

Thinking further about Croatia, one of the points made by a number of authors (such as Michael Ignatieff) is that Croatia had a dominant position when it was in the Yugoslav Federation, it was the richest part of the Federation and hardly anybody complained about being in the Federation. Post-hoc, however, the complaint was that Croatia was oppressed - but it was never really true.

The EU is an association of states, of which the UK was an influential member. Leaving the EU is not equivalent to becoming independent. It is a lie to say that leaving the UK means gaining independence, and it is a dangerous one: it justifies and covers up the lack of thought and planning and serious negotiations for whatever relation with Europe the Brexiteers might want. It is dangerous because it can lead to conflicts, loss of trust or reneging on international treaties.

Zaster

@ Guano,

The Good Friday Agreement allows for a hard border. This is why the Irish Government doesn't ay this, despite all the Remain commentators in the press who do. And the commitment given in negotiations so far is that a hard border only means "infrastructure". The EU won't say what it means when asked.

Strand Two repeatedly says North-South cooperation only covers matters devolved to NI. Migration, UK-wide taxes (i.e. tariffs) and import and export controls are not devolved matters. They are reserved to the UK Parliament.

Therefore under the GFA the UK is allowed to have as many border checks as it likes, or even close the border completely to goods and/or people.

The Irish govt does have a role in non-devolved matters but that is consultative only.

Guano

Zaster - If that were the case, Theresa May could have announced a solution a year ago when she agreed to the EU's proposed timetable and the inclusion of the border issue in Phase 1. She could have got her Attorney General to back it up with legal arguments if anyone disputed it.

Or Boris Johnson could have included such a solution in his HoC speech rather than make a vacuous, fact-free speech. His wife is a lawyer (who started the ludicrous idea of opting out of the ECJ) and she could have produced the legal arguments if anyone doubted it.

Dipper

@ Zaster - Strand 3 says decisions on cross border issues are to be reached through the All Ireland Governing council on which the UK govt and Irish govt sits. Agreements to be reached through negotiation and consensus. I read that as saying once the UK leaves the EU then any relevant changes in regs from the EU have either to be agreed with the UK or RoI has to diverge from the EU.

Dipper

@ Guano

"The UK has never lost its independence: it joined an association of states. "

No. The European Parliament has just got new powers. The march toward federalism and a superstate is underway, and once we had voted to Remain in a referendum we would have been unable to stop it.

Zaster

@ Guano, she could have but didn't. Saying it was a big issue and she would guarantee no infrastructure, in order to get to the next phase, was good or bad depending on your point of view, but it doesn't allow us to figure out what the GFA means. It's in the text of the GFA.

@ Dipper, there is no All Ireland Governing Council, and you shouldn't read Strand 3 that way. Please read it in full carefully. It's the British-Irish Council i.e. meeting of UK, Irish, devolved govts.

You seem to be quote section 7 of Strand Three. "operate by agreement of all members participating". Participating!

Because section 6 about the BIC says "Individual members [e.g. the UK Govt] may opt not to participate in such common policies and common action".

Strand Three also creates a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (UK and RoI govts only). Section 4: "All decisions will be by agreement between both Governments. ... There will be no derogation from the sovereignty of either Government."

Nothing in the GFA prohibits a hard border or allows the RoI government to prevent the UK creating one.

Under the GFA, the UK has the right to create a hard border unilaterally if it likes, and under the Lisbon Treaty which Ireland ratified the UK has the right to leave the EU.

Guano

Dipper "The European Parliament has got new powers".

Isn't that a good thing? Doesn't that mean more accountability?

Dipper "The march toward federalism and a superstate is underway, and once we had voted to Remain in a referendum we would have been unable to stop it."

These are big assertions. Some evidence would be useful.

Guano

Zaster - "The UK has the right to leave the EU"

Indeed it does. It also has the right to leave the Single Market and Customs' Union, but that is much more tricky because the UK economy had been adapted to being in the SM and CU, and leaving them will necessarily create economic shocks.

And these rights don't over-ride other treaty obligations. Other treaty obligations could be renegotiated, or other ways could be found, but that would take time. Brexiteers seem anxious to do everything very quickly and appear not to mind that this damages the UK's international reputation.

Theresa May made commitments in December 2017 about payment for the UK's past commitments and about the Irish border. Her government now appears now to be withdrawing those commitments - which again does the UK no good.

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