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April 16, 2021


Dave Timoney

I have a problem with: "One reason for the generational divide over Brexit is that older folk who came to maturity before we joined the EU have the impression that we can do well outside the EU".

The overriding "impression" of the era before 1973 was that we weren't doing very well at all & consequently needed the benefit of the the Common Market. In terms of votes in the 1975 referendum, the young (today's old) were more pro-EEC than the (then) old.

I think the Brexit vote in 2016 is better explained by changes in sentiment after 1979 than by the persistence of opinions formed before that date.


If only the UK Labour party had some policies akin to Bernie Sanders, oh they did in 2017 and then...Oh sh*%!.

It was the Gammon/Despicables in the Red Wall/Rust Belt, the tail end of Boomers (1960-65), who experienced the full Thatcher/Reaganomics (neoliberalism) impact (inc Miners Strike/union bashing) and resulting destruction of the economy, the EU membership including Lamont's "Black Wednesday"


Only the South enjoyed the Big Bang property boom etc.


David Cameron and Boris Johnson are around my age. But the 1980 recession looked very different from Eton than it did from a single-parent terraced house in inner-city Leicester....

[ Class matters, which the "elite" of Labour have carefully forgotten. ]




"One thing which did far more damage than people have realised was Corbyn’s response to the Salisbury poisonings. In March 2018, he was 12 points ahead of Therea May on personal ratings. Then he refused to condemn Russia in the wake of the poisonings. And in the next set of ratings from YouGov, he immediately fell 12 points behind May, and he never recovered from that."

Brenden O'Neil (et al) of Spiked gets the economics behind "Corbynism" wrong, proposals can be limited by Labours/electorates Overton Window.


Others can speak for themselves.

It was the right wing of the Labour party
under Starmer (Or the soft left rightwards) that pushed a second referendum.

The attempted strategy was to push/delay the next election until after Brexit and fight on domestic issues. But the right of Labour wanted the election to be a second referendum (and said so on TV. The SNP and Lib Dems gave Boris the votes he needed to call a General Election.


"Both books are manifestly uncomfortable with identity politics"

There are a wide range of view points in the Labour party. Including "Fully Automated Luxury Communism"




"This strategic vacuum is filled by the Labour right, which is conducting an aggressive and highly coordinated briefing war. Its ranks include Peter Mandelson, who believes the policies of the Corbyn era must be comprehensively eliminated and the left permanently buried. While cold water is poured on suggestions of a close association with Starmer, the leader’s chief of staff, Morgan McSweeney, is Mandelson’s protege."

More current issues...


"“If anything comes from this strike in future, it’s to stop it happening to anyone else,” Vowles tells me. “That would be a massive victory for everybody.” While Labour has commendably backed the strike, it should use this moment to pile pressure on a Tory party that extols its supposed “blue-collar” credentials. The danger, otherwise, is that other bosses see British Gas get away with it and take note – and then a relentless race to the bottom truly beckons for Britain’s workforce."

Greg IP, has a take on the new rules of Bidernomics now behind NYT paywall

(more later?).


Make that the WSJ pay wall



Dave Timoney, I agree with you, and personally I think Brexit was largely about immigration and a sense that people thought things were "out of control"; put another way, capitalism was perceived as not working for them and there was a need to "take back control" after too much globalisation.

Now with "Global Britain". of course the irony shouts.

Back to the point though, my parents (who lived in Germany for a while) point out that my grandfather lived in Spain before the EU, and there were no issues with doing that. I know, from very personal experience, however, how very difficult it is to get settled status in the EU for anyone who does not already have a job lined up for them, or have not acquired pre-settled status before Dec 31 2020 (even getting latter is a nightmare and quite a stressful experience).

So perhaps what has happened is that, although we have had hyper-globalisation, in many ways restrictions on immigration between the EU and outside have intensified over the last decade or more.

Things have moved on in the world since 1975.

It's a real blow for younger people, especially those are not fabulously wealthy, who want to learn a European language and live and work on the continent.


You can read the Greg IP article on the WSJ once. (It records your IP address...)


"You see an article, you click on it from Google News and you are able to read the full article. Then you want to see the article again an hour or so later, but the publisher asks you to login to see the full article. That is the “first click free” program in action."

This makes bookmarking a pain.

I now have the full text.


''personally I think Brexit was largely about immigration and a sense that people thought things were "out of control"'

And as if by magic, figures on EU nationals being accepted on the UK settled status scheme have been released. Out of an official UK Romanian population of 400,000, 750,000 have received settled status.

It is almost as if the government had opened the gates and had absolutely no idea at all about how many people had come here. How on earth are you meant to provide schools and hospital places if you have no idea who is here? And all those numbers on GDP per person and productivity, how are you meant to calculate those numbers if you have no idea what the denominator is?

So yes it was about immigration and control. Global Britain? Yes please. But with an elected UK government in control.


Out of an official UK Romanian population of 400,000, 750,000 have received settled status....

[ Please set down the precise reference. ]


I developed this idea at some length on my blog a few years ago (link in my name). Quoting myself:

Rule 1:
Any political development that happens before your fifth birthday is part of the landscape, for you; it’s how things have always been. This applies even if later changes appear to have reversed it – at a deeper level it’s still how the world is.

Any developments that took place between your fifth and fifteenth birthday are done and dusted. Things did change, but those changes are over now and of no interest to anyone but historians; that’s how things are now.

Any political development between your fifteenth and twenty-fifth birthday is a live issue – it’s important and, in your mind at least, it’s still up for grabs. Even if a particular controversy in this category seems firmly settled now, the position reached is still worth defending or attacking.

Any new political development since your twenty-fifth birthday is less important, less relevant, and not final at all. If you’re in favour, it seems like a lucky break, a good result that couldn’t have been expected; if you’re against – or indifferent – it just seems weird and random. But that’s just what politics is like these days.

Rules 3 and 4 are the key ones, I think; apart from anything else, they help explain the (deplorably low) level of class consciousness among today's 30- and 40-year-olds.


Dipper, I would like to also confirmation of those figures if they are easily found.

But it would not surprise me that the official numbers of eastern European resident in the UK was underestimated. A lot of this has to do with the nature of the registration system.

The forecasted inflow of course was ridiculously low. This was a result of one-size fits all neo-classical models underpinned by the assumption of universal laws. A few economists get upset that their 'expertise' is downplayed. Fair enough. Unfortunately, however, other people's expertise is even more downplayed. Anyone familiar with the ex-communist countries knew there would be a very great exodus. In fact it was already happening. The freedom to live and work abroad was highly sought after in some of these countries. But you needed to know something about those countries to know that and why that was the case. No, not all countries are the same adjusted for per-capita income and population size.

It is this lack of interest in largely non-quantifiable issues, or issues that can't really be discussed in terms of neo-classical theory, that bothers many about the economics profession.

Personally I have nothing against migration, including eastern European migration, and I can see the benefits. But I think it was naive to allow such an influx of labour flows at such a pace and not think there could be political consequences. Many responsible blame Tory austerity for the EU and immigration becoming political issues. However, you can't assume things will always go your way: You can get a financial crisis. You can get a Tory government. And you can get austerity. This is the problem with the 'business as usual' assumption behind forecasting: it does not allow for worse case scenarios. And so caution is thrown to the wind.

In this case, there was a huge political cost for the hubris.


I think it was naive to allow such an influx of labour flows at such a pace and not think there could be political consequences....

[ Absolutely and importantly so. ]

Jan Wiklund

One can also refer to the massive decolonization that took place 1947-1960, which made the global elites look feeble - and which energized many of the young of the 60s and 70s to go into an anti-systemic opposition.


My coming of age was marked by the property price crash of the early to mid 90s. My reflection now aged 45 is that crashes aren’t naturally occurring events and that governments will do their utmost to stop such a crash occurring again.



Gordon is that you?


The claim

"I actually said, 'No more Tory boom and bust'."
Gordon Brown, the Daily Mail, 11 October 2008"


"The financial crisis of 2007–2008, also known as the global financial crisis (GFC), was a severe worldwide financial crisis. Excessive risk-taking by banks,[1] combined with the bursting of the United States housing bubble, caused the values of securities tied to U.S. real estate to plummet and damaged financial institutions globally;[2] this culminated with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, and an international banking crisis.[3]"

See: Minsky


"Minsky proposed theories linking financial market fragility, in the normal life cycle of an economy, with speculative investment bubbles endogenous to financial markets."

Nothing personal Boyo. :(


As a staunch Remainer, these findings are nevertheless much in line with what I suspected: a feeling by a large section of the population that the country was becoming over-reliant on foreign labour leaving a disincentive to train up domestic workers.

The phrase sometimes heard that "migrants do work that the English don't want to do" was also very patronising and politically unwise I think. (Former EU Commissioner, Barosso, who now works at Goldman Sachs, was one of many who said that). I suspect some New Labour figures also repeated it.



Putting that all together: the surge in immigration was connected to a feeling that change was too rapid.

These changes related to globalisation, which includes inward labour flows.

Hence the feeling of nostalgia reported and the desire to 'take back control'.


80's: outsource millions of well paid jobs (Coal, Steel, Shipbuilding) mainly above the North/South divide of the time, in the '80's. (Competition against low paid workers in the rest of the world etc).

Replacing UK employment with Unemployment that still persists.

2000's: When the E.U. Accession took place, other countries, imposed restrictions, the only exceptions were UK,Ireland and Sweden.

The UK work force were now competing with employees in the UK from the accession countries.

All of this was good for employers and finance in London.

We are Gammon we want the lives the Thatcher/Blair/Cameron sold out on us.

The race to the bottom continues at British Gas and Open Reach (re-hiring), warehouse, call center work and the gig economy.

That vision big enough for you, I have more...

We are Gammon hear us snort...


All this talk about too much east European immigration is fair enough, but we have pretty much acquiesced to 00's of thousands from Hong Kong settling here and price for a trade deal with India is...you guessed it, many more Indians!


It was nice to think that the reasons that Johnson has opened the gates to potentially 5 plus million (dependents of the 3 million BOP holders are also eligible) is for humanitarian reasons; but it isn't. (It would also be nice because Britain has always taken in pitifully few refugees.)

This was a politically calculated move. Chinese Hong Kongers are natural Tory voters. They are well known for not liking taxes, and they tend to buy property with cash (by pooling if necessary).

The relative low cost of the UK gives cash rich Hong Kongers considerable relative purchasing power.

Opening the door to Hong Kong residents is a means of propping up the home market and maintaining house prices - politically important for the Tories.

They will move into metropolitan areas causing problems for Labour.

It seems a disproportionate number of Australians have advised Cameron and Johnson - especially people in the Liberal Party (the Australian conservative party). There seems to a lot of similarities in immigration policy in particular. Australia has already been a large recipient of Chinese HKers and they have served conservative governments well.

James Charles

‘ “No return to boom and bust” was a phrase I coined when I was chancellor and we had achieved four years of growth with low inflation before Gordon took office.
“Brown has traded heavily on the credit flowing from making the Bank of England independent. But I had already reformed monetary policy; and the stable monetary framework that he inherited, with the inflation target at its heart, was the decisive change. Inflation had been defeated by the Major government. “

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