Brexit and Trump inverted snobbery

The month of November added a Trump victory insult to my still open brexit injury from June. It also saw a manifestation of what I can only describe as some kind of inverted intellectual snobbery on the part of some pundits, to try and produce some moral or intellectual justification of what has just happened in our democracies here and across the pond. It would seem you have to somehow sympathise with these economic self-harmers to be really, really sophisticated.

I hope you know the kind I mean: “Not all Trump brexit voters are racist”. “Trump/ brexit was a popular revolt of the people against the elites and included many intellectuals and middle class folk”.  “The man in the street is sick to death of globalism and its Westminster Washington political lackeys. What just happened is the populus sincere form of protest'”.

A good example of this intellectual snobbery was recently provided by magazine “The Rolling Stone“. I guess editors of such magazines cannot afford to alienate 50% of their potential readership. The broad narrative of the article seems to be that if you “resent” the outcome of a populist referendum, then you probably have not much respect for democracy in the first place. This seems to include respect for the right of “Low-information” voters to shoot themselves in the foot. It’s a total false dichotomy. People have followed ‘leaders’ from the dawn of time. In democracies we follow elected leaders. In the absence of inspiring truly ‘great’ leaders in troubling hard times, the vacuum is easily filled by demagogues like Farage and Trump. Imagine what could have happened in South Africa if Mandela hadn’t been on the scene, but some sort of Trump or Farage was?

Now take the case of the Labour opposition in the UK.  When interviewed, people like Corbyn and McDonnell often start their answers to questions about brexit with the prelude “Of course we must respect the outcome of the referendum, but….”

ffs

Excuse the expletive, but FFS why, as the government opposition, do you have to respect an advisory non binding popular vote, only held to paper over fractures in your main Tory opposition party? Especially as the brexit vote won with the narrowest of margins and with an increasing number of Leave voters today having second thoughts? ‘Carpe diem’, is what I’d say! The ball is there in front of a wide open political goal. Why are only Liberal Democrats willing to take the penalty?

Still, going back on the trump brexit manifestation, the troubling fact remains: Why are people so easily led by the nose. Why do they swallow the lies blazoned on red vote.leave busses? Why do we now live in a ‘post truth’ society?

Only one punter, god bless him, for me has come up with an answer that is not patronising and yet seems to come closer to the truth than anyone in the previously described inverted brexit snobbery brigade.

Tobias Rose-Stockwell has penned an analysis on medium.com that avoids the ‘poor education-poor prospects in life’ beaten track and looks for answers in our society’s increasing reliance on social media to filter our news sources. Yes, you read it correctly, FaceBook has a lot to answer for! I really recommend you read the article in full, but I reproduce one key featured illustration that shows what might be going on in our post truth society.

filterbubble

From “How We Broke Democracy” by Tobias Rose

So now for the first time, I have a satisfactory explanation, why I only see economic doom as a consequence of the brexit and trum votes, where others see this bright future of untold opportunities ahead. In your social media brexit bubble perhaps, but not in the real world.

Tobias kindly suggests an anti-dote against all this facebook  brainwashing. I end with a block quote from him, very wise and much appreciated:

Ways to increase your political empathy online

  • Expose yourself to alternative opinions — Read the other side: Your news sources likely have their own bias baked right in. There is no better way of unpacking your own beliefs than exposing yourself to the news sites that disagree with you.
  • Examine the source of news for bias and factual inaccuracy before you share it — Cultivate a healthy skepticism when you see an exciting headline that comes from a website you haven’t heard of. Many of these posts are designed to appeal to hyper-partisanship in order to get you to share them.
  • Engage with people who are different from you when you can — Don’t delete the friends on Facebook that disagree with you (Trolls excepted). You will not ‘pollute’ your worldview by talking to them and trying to understand their perspective. Expend the extra effort to go through a civil discourse, build common ground and avoid a shouting match.

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Cheaper food AFTER EU exit: The next £350 million brexit lie?

cheap-food-expressThere are so many things wrong with this Express article and misquoted IEA article, I decided to write a special debunking blog post about it. How Express readers in one line can be told that wages of UK farm workers will go up and in the next food prices will go down is anyone’s guess. So we must start banning seasonal EU workers picking UK crops after Brexit, while in another line this paper promises this golden future for UK farmers. Are they to pick these crops themselves after brexit or let them rot in the fields? UK farmers now facing competition and  reduced farm gate prices set by mega farms on different continents like New Zealand, Africa  and the Americas? How could UK dairy farmers possibly compete with mega dairies with tens of thousands of cows milked by robots in New Zealand? We haven’t even mentioned the 20% lower purchasing power of the pound, which pushes up the retail price of the 40% of our  food we have to import from abroad or we would starve.

The best way to tackle this deceit is probably to analyse and rebuke each nonsense Express statement line by line using block quotes:

“BREAKING free of the EU offers an “unrivalled opportunity” to halt “staggering” food price rises, a detailed paper revealed today.”

Well of course neither the words “unrivalled opportunity” or “staggering” appear in the 44 page actual IEA report.  Express lazy hacks pick that up from an accompanying press release where some of the Institute’s high brows talk up a newly published report, that they probable haven’t even read beyond the management summary themselves. Note that the actual report itself in a nutshell says that by using EU banned pesticides in combination with genetically modified crops UK farmers could increase yields. This is of course a mute point if UK consumers refuse to put that kind of toxic crap on UK tables.

“The IEA study by former NFU chief economist and Government adviser Sean Rickard described the Common Agricultural policy as the EU’s most expensive at £360 billion between 2015 and 2020.”

Of course this has nothing to do with food prices. The bulk of this EU money goes straight in the pockets of farming UK land owners. This in turn allows them to balance their books. Except if you are a part of UK’s aristocracy, then it goes straight on your bottom line. Many small to medium farmers simply would not survive without this single farm subsidy, meaning they’d go out of business and we’d have to import a larger proportion of the food we all consume from abroad. This in turn would negatively impact on our balance of payment deficit and food security. Remember it’s not farmers that set farm gate prices, supermarkets do! They pay more for bottled tap water than milk in some cases. 

“He put the cost of complying with EU regulations at £590 million a year in England alone – and stressed that this “significantly underestimates” the true cost of regulations.”

Again this would only impact on food prices if a Brexit UK would abandon all farming and food related regulation altogether after #brexit. Given Westminster’s propensity to gold plate any regulation that comes out of Brussels, there is more chance that UK Farming regulation would be more severe rather than more lax after #brexit. Another non-argument in other words. This argument also misses the point that much of this regulation nowadays comes from supra national bodies way above EU level like UNECE. It’s a totally false bonkers argument. Do we really think UK farmers should be able to spray on their crops whatever they like after Brexit? And we would all just swallow it? I think not!”

In a London speech Mr Clegg, now the Lib Dem EU spokesman, claimed that if the UK quit the EU single market in a “hard Brexit” there would be “turmoil” in the food and drink industry. He predicted a 59 per cent levy on beef, 38 per cent on chocolate, 40 per cent on New Zealand lamb and 14 per cent on Chilean wine.”

Note that without warning the Express article has now switched from food imports into the UK to food exports from the UK to the EU.  What Clegg says is correct only in the context of exports to the EU. Such tariffs would not influence prices for UK consumers of Scottish Angus steak, Welsh lamb or McVitties Hobnobs. The Clegg statement is there only to confuse and mislead Express readers. Suggests to them beef would be 59 per dearer, 38 per cent on chocolate, 40 per cent on New Zealand lamb and 14 per cent on Chilean wine. After brexit this would be true if we re-exported such stuff to the EU mainland. After Brexit UK could decide to scrap these EU tariffs. But this ignores the ironic fact that for instance New Zealand currently has a large tariff free export quota to the EU which it hasn’t fulfilled in years! Also it appears Chile has an FTA with EU. No EU tariffs on its wine! This had even Dan Hannan fooled! I have blogged about this previously here.

“Brexit can and will lead to lower food prices.
“This will be especially beneficial to people on lower incomes who have to spend a proportionately larger amount of their income on food – despite what the elite London-based politicians would like them to think.“Once again, Brexit will be a victory for working people over the establishment.”

This is of course the biggest bullshit story of the entire brexit campaign. We all know that Britain, as a densely populated island nation, imports at least 40% of the food it consumes. This foreign food has to be paid for with a currency that has been devalued by some 20% since Brexit.  That means, once their currency hedges have been exhausted,  importers have to pass these costs on to supermarkets and supermarkets pass them in turn on to consumers. Note that these higher prices take a few months to trickle through as supermarkets and suppliers try to dampen the shock. We have seen the first signs of this effect with marmitegate.

“Migration Watch cited a report by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board which said that following restrictions on migration “wages are likely to increase in an attempt to make jobs more attractive to UK nationals”. Working conditions should also be improved. Migration Watch said that these rising wages could in turn encourage investment in mechanisation which would increase efficiency.”

OK what are they really saying here? Note that this has nothing to do with the IEA report anymore. Just a chance to throw some anti immigration sentiments in the daily poisonous Express propaganda mix. “Working conditions should improved”, not “will be improved”! Here we have pure conjecture by a dodgy pressure group. I would argue when cheap seasonal labour is withheld from UK agro-businesses they could:

  • a) Let crops rot in the field
  • b) Bribe unemployed Brits with higher wages to take the place of thousands of East-Europeans, which would lead to higher shop prices, not lower if they can find them?
  • or c) Invest hundreds of thousand in mechanisation, which would mean fewer employment opportunities in the agricultural sector

What it would not achieve is lower prices of fresh fruit and veg in UK shops, that’s clear!

NFU Director of Policy Andrew Clark “Regulation based on emotion and sentiment rather than evidence has been something that farmers have been wrangling with for many years.

“It’s the reason why the NFU’s role in highlighting the impact of Brussels and Westminster regulation on farm has been so important.

“Brexit has many unknowns attached to it in terms of regulation, and a lot of it will depend on the trade deals that UK Government negotiates.

“The EU single market is the UK’s biggest trading partner, and we are calling for access to this unfettered by tariffs and non-tariff barriers. What this access will mean in terms of regulation is undecided. And so any impact on food prices is anyone’s guess.”

All I have to do is point out the NFU conclusion, which goes totally against the Express headline: “any impact on food prices is anyone’s guess.” I rest my case. Nothing in this Express article is what it seems or purports to be. The report quoted is mainly about food standards, animal welfare, the environment, use of pesticides and GM crops. What is said about the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a best a side show, an exposé how it once was. It ignores how much it has improved. It sidesteps the issue that the alternative of EU regulation is not ‘no-regulation’. UK consumers are possibly even more sophisticated than many in the other 27EU countries.  The idea that we would abolish all these EU regulations completely is grotesque. There is a higher chance that Westminster would egg them on and gold plate them.

As one twitter friend commented:

 

buss

 

Sources:

 

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Nobody likes cheats in athletics but in plebiscites we should respect the result?

Today one of my anti Brexit tweets seems to have resounded more than usual so I want to elaborate on it in more than 140 characters.

It struck me last night watching BBC Question time, that even under the most fervent ‘Remain’ panelists, no politician has the strength of conviction to just admit: “Actually I don’t respect the referendum outcome and neither should you!” The atmosphere in the months between this ill fated UK referendum and UK Prime Minister May actually invoking the next logical step of Invoking Article 50 is so tense, that nobody remotely considered a ‘public figure’ dares to stick their head above the parapet in case they get branded ‘undemocratic elite’. “You lost, get over it” is the prevailing mantra in post-brexit Britain.

In contrast every time one of the world’s sporting heroes fails a drug test, UK tabloids would be the first to demand and strip the cheats from their medals. In sports like cycling or running marathon’s, the time difference between No. 1 and No. 2 is comparable to the 2.1% victory of vote Leave over Remain in EU. It’s marginal, but we accept that last minute blood doping dose or use of other banned substances in sport can make the difference between winning or loosing a match or a race. We think nothing of it that number 2 now becomes number 1 and the champion gets stripped of his/her medal, but it’s alright to print outright lies on campaign busses and get away with a fraudulently obtained EU referendum result?

What about ‘project fear’ Eurosceptics might argue, did they not lie as well? Actually no! Most of the dire prediction of economists, think tanks and the IMF are slowly materialising. Never mind that the UK hasn’t actually left the EU yet! Never mind the selective perception of the British anti EU press, who now report any successful ‘closing down sale’ as  “#brexit wasn’t as bad as the remoaners would have you believe, folks!”
At least the foreign tourists are still spending our devalued pounds. Higher prices at the pump and supermarkets are only just now starting to bite. Hence Marmitegate.

So here’s the thing: It’s alright not to respect a marginal result in Britain’s EU referendum, when it was swung by outright lies about EU costs and benefits, scare stories about immigrants. But if it makes you feel better you can use the the pretext of a constitutional challenge playing out in the High Court today.  Or you can leave, yet stay in EU by another name, like Norway, Switzerland, even Turkey. UK ‘ll pay though! Nu such thing as having your cake and eat it!

But please stop asking us who fought passionately to remain to respect the hollow victory of brexit cheats. That is to democracy as doping is to sports.

I leave you with a graph from  British Election Study, an academic group dedicated to voting trend research. It has found that the portion of Leave voters who regret their vote (or “don’t know”) is greater than the total margin of victory for Brexit. The poll was also noticed by The Economist: (note I found this source after penning the above post so my 10% guess not far off)

regret.png

Brexit regret vs Remain regret

That level of post-poll regret is unusual; only 4% of voters regretted their ballot in the 2015 general election.

The margin in the Brexit vote was 52% to 48% in favour of Leave. The BES study suggests that if the vote were taken again today then Britain would stay inside the EU.

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Trust me kippers, skipping stones eventually sink after n+1 bounces

recovery

Pound recovery (after dramatic #brexit plunge) sets new stone skipping record

Most sane people would agree that in the last couple of months after Britain’s EU referendum a good 90% of all economic indicators for the UK economy have been pretty abysmal. And this is before Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, the one where the UK formally notifies the EU Commission of its intention to leave, is even triggered yet. Those who shouted for Brexit loudest just call this sour grapes rationalization. They’d rather engage in their own favourite version of selective perception called sweet lemon rationalisation. For extra effect leading brexiteers like Dan Hannan retweet any glimmer of positive economic news under the hashtag #despitebrexit and for extra effect add #projectfear was based on lies etc. An unexpected upturn in the UK’s manufacturing index serves as a good example of this behaviour.

 

Remoaners

I hate to rain on your parade dear kippers, but there is a perfectly logical economic explanation for a short term revival of things like UK retail sales in July and UK Manufacturing exports in August.

First of all I would venture that the spike in UK retail sales were mainly driven by foreign tourists making good use of a rapidly decreasing pound and an increasing number of closing down basement bargain sales’. There was a good example of this when a London dealer in expensive old whiskeys decided to get rid of a lot of stock while it was still worth something and before Brexit would add 50% in export tariffs to whiskey exports to the EU. Was this really a reason to be cheerful about Brexit?

Also supermarkets may have not have increased prices in the immediate aftermath of brexit because they, like wholesalers have plenty of pre-brexit stock bought with a pre-brexit strong pound. They can afford to keep up the pretence that prices won’t rise after brexit until it’s time to replenish those empty warehouses. For a country that imports roughly 60% of what it consumes, that is the moment of truth when higher prices will start to hit UK consumers lulled into this false perspective that ‘they need us more than we them’.
Sure, they’ll trade as Dr. Ruth told us ad nausea, but they want more Sterling for their wares priced in dollars and Euros and guess who’s paying? You suckers!

Also in the stock markets and the housing markets we’ve seen temporary ups after weeks of downs. This is a natural effect of the sharpest of speculators with ‘short positions‘ taking their short term profits profit while gullible followers get tricked into dipping their toes in the market once more (only to get burned again a few days later). Also kippers are not aware that the UK FTSE share index is priced in sterling and that sterling is now worth 10% less, representing a net loss for overseas investors.

I am sure this post, like the man milk produced by Dan Hannan (still touching his EU MEP salary), will all go over the heads of your average disenfranchised ukip brexit voter. So I made a picture for them. With your brexit vote you threw the UK’s economy spinning into the water while humming your stupid nationalistic dam buster songs. Believe me, these short lived upward bounces you see are as predictable as a skipping stone. You all know where they eventually end up right?

skipping

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Brexit means Brexit whatever that means

means

With thanks to Chris Riddell who is the political cartoonist for The Observer and author of The Ottoline books, Goth Girl, and The Edge Chronicles with Paul Stewart.

This week I have mainly had fun trolling dimwitted Roger Helmer MEP on his WordPress blog where he entertains simple minded kippers with his almost daily post referendum debriefs. The problem I have with Roger’s exercises in selective perception is that instead of doing the job he is elected to do and between visiting massage parlours, he seems to spend all his time trawling what passes for UK news media for #brexit stories with a happy ending. This in order to justify the deceit he and the rest of the vote.leave campaign has foisted upon an unsuspecting dimwitted British electorate.

Of course we now all know that there was never a unified leave camp with a common post Brexit vision. In the leave.EU camp we saw raw xenophobia combined with naked racism but also the odd free marketeers who just want to sign as many Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with emerging markets as possible. This because they were led to believe that the EU is some sort of protectionist neo-colonial racket. Then we have deluded labour supporters that have read in the Daily express that Brussels stops the UK from protecting ‘our steel industry’ but in equal numbers we find verbose ‘free marketeers’ for whom tariffs and customs union are dirty words. Never mind that it has been widely reported that in fact it was the UK Government led by Camoron and Osborne that blocked the EU raising punitive tariffs on their new-found Chinese bankrolling friends, when they were dumping their surplus steel on EU markets.

On top of this toxic mix we have of course a third group of Brexiteers that only want to leave the EU in all but name. They think Brexit could be achieved by copying some sort of Norwegian fudge and renewed/continued Efta/EEA membership like Norway and Lichtenstein seem to have. This group follows the ramblings of Dr. North as explained in his Flexcit pamphlet. In numbers they again are almost neutralised by an equally fervent group of Brexiteers that just want to invoke Article 50 willy-nilly and trade under standard WTO terms with the rest of Europe and the world. While Dr North ideas are well researched and could work in theory, I suspect this last group think Britain could thrive by signing Free Trade Agreements in Asia, India and Souh America and get rich just by pocketing the EU’s common external tariff as a customs union. When you ask them how they would deal with the EU’s stringent ‘Rules of Origin‘ restrictions Norway has to respect, their eyes just glaze over. Maybe they just think they can start an old fashioned EU smuggling operation from Dover?

Gradually more discerning Brits are starting to realise that the likes of Prof. Patrick Minford (with his barmy free market ideas) make unlikely bedfellows with kippers screaming that a UK Government in the EU can’t protect their jobs in a run down, low-productivity UK manufacturing sector. It also dawns on them that Dr. North EEA/Efta ideas are diametrically opposed to those who would have Britain default to trading under WTO rules.

If these four brexit options had been on the ballot paper alongside the ‘Remain in EU’ option us remaniacs would have won by a landslide. The only thing that unites the brexit voters is their hatred of anything EU, where all European nations are treated equally. They just can’t stand it.

So here’s the thing Roger. You can’t in the same blog post claim Nissan’s stance (as reported by the BBC) and Minford’s stance ( as reported by the Daily Express) are both good news for brexit. Both views are incompatible. Nissan’s chief executive says they’ll look favourable on continued investment in Britain if it stays in the Common Market while Minford says Britain should leave that same common market to prosper. Both views are mutually exclusive and as a politician you should take sides. By claiming both are good news you are basically admitting that like most brexit shouters you haven’t got a clue what comes after.

 

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Brexit post mortem

All of last week I now realise I have been in mourning trying to deal with some very raw emotions, having poured heart and soul into the case of Britain remaining in the EU.

On twitter I changed my profile picture and description. It sort of encapsulates how I am feeling right now.

twitter

Back in old Blighty we saw the usual spectacle of political backstabbing and infighting and desertions. Seems we’ll have another British Premier that will resort to slamming her handbag on the table when she doesn’t get her way.

My main scorn however is reserved for Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, who having gnawed a huge hole in the ship they’re sailing in, now have swam ashore like rats.
They want nothing to do with the mess they created. Never had a plan what to do next.

livesback

Farage and Johnson getting their lives back

Meanwhile the widely predicted crash of the stock market and pound sterling has happened. Although the Ftse 100 seems to have recovered a bit the picture around the globe remains gloomy. Brexit shouters do not seem to understand that the FTSE100 is denominated in Sterling, so that even today a Dollar investor in that index is looking at a loss in value of more than 10% since June 23rd. And before you ask, no I am not an investor with a huge portfolio of shares. However like most British ex-pats, a) my pension fund relies on the stock market doing well and b) will net me less and less with a plunging Pound Sterling. This is why for us Brexit is a double whammy.

Another ironic  consequence of this Brexit currency shock is that that according to the Independent France seems to have overtaken the UK as the world’s fifth largest economy. Remember how  pro leave.EU campaigners used to brag about being no. 5 in the world GDP rankings? Talk about UK scoring a massive own goal. Talk about devastating blue on blue casualties in this phoney British class war.

I leave you with an upbeat block quote from GQ Magazine, who capture my mood brilliantly:

“I really miss last week. Leaving aside our historical dalliances, Britain has done some terrible things in recent years. Wars, foot and mouth disease,Love Actually. But when it comes to out-and-out unequivocal f***-ups, the EU referendum result takes some beating.”

Crash

Posted in #brexit, EU | Tagged | 1 Comment

‘Remain’ can’t advance a single quantifiable, economic reason for staying in the EU: Really?

Today on father’s day the best gift of all was seeing all my children posting powerful pro Remain stories on Facebook. I am glad we brought them up to be be warmhearted Europeans rather than little Englanders.  I will just give one block quote from my son’s FaceBook post to give you an idea of his thinking:

“When I think about being ‘British’, whatever that means, I don’t think of short term reactionary politics that result in us throwing our toys out of the pram because the group we’re part of won’t let us have our way. I think of a nation that has learned from its checkered past (you don’t have to dig too deep to see where a nationalist, colonialist nation gets you) to become a leader in our geo-political system. That is democracy. That is being part of a global community. That is being part of the EU.”

Of course my son got the usual flack from some of his not so bright buddies. I did not want to troll these guys on my son’s time line so I block quote one of their #brexit arguments, to lay waste to it here rather than on FaceBook, where few will see it anyway. This is what one friend, I’ll call him Kevin from Essex, commented:

“Unfortunately like most ‘Remain’ arguments, this [my son’s post] doesn’t advance a single quantifiable, economic reason for staying in the EU, instead choosing to focus on the perceived bigotry of the opposition. We were told years ago that not joining the Euro would be disastrous for our prosperity. The decision not to join the Euro is now seen as a critical factor in our ongoing economic success. We’re one of the few net contributors to the union. Despite this, our influence in Europe is virtually non-existent. “

Why do Brits believe that tired line, that not joining the Euro zone in 1999 was so clever? Just because “wrong then, wrong now” has been repeated so many times, it seems to have become part of British folklore. Like people called Robin always stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. But that doesn’t make it true. Sure the UK could in theory have ended up in the gutter like poor Greece. But if you really believe in your country like my son, you might equally speculate in the Euro zone – rather than having an over valued Pound Sterling pricing British goods out of world markets- using an under valued Euro we’d be rich alongside Germany, the world’s foremost manufacturer and exporter of quality cars, engineering tools and household appliances. Our balance of trade in goods might show a healthy surplus like our trade in ‘services’.

Our clever Westminster government never cared much what went on North of Watford.
So instead we have our City of London, undoubtedly  the world’s leading financial centre. Are we about to kill that off as well as our manufacturing base with a #brexit ?

Footshot

Vote.Leave supporters like to make a big thing about the fact that the UK is a net contributor to the EU budget (alongside most of its Northern European neighbours actually). They simply can’t see that our payments are solidarity payments like the ones you make into a mutual insurance company. I always count myself lucky I’ve never had to call on my home insurance policy because my house didn’t burnt down. Your average brexit shouter has the mentality of someone on low wages blowing ten quid each week on the lottery. An amount more than their government pays to the EU  per UK citizen by the way. They feel they have a right to win at every draw and get angry if their numbers don’t come up. They feel the same way about foreign aid to developing countries. It’s all about me, me, me! Kevin says:

 However, do I think we’re getting an equitable deal from our membership of this bloated, un-elected bureaucracy? Not even close.

 

Next the discussion takes the predictable path of the “We buy more from them than they from us” discussion. “We have a negative trade balance and we have to pay for the privilege”. Cameron on BBC Question time today was actually confronted with the same question. I thought Cameron answered it very well. There are direct and indirect benefits to the UK’s EU membership. What UK farmers receive from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is easy to quantify. The billions of extra business revenue UK exporters receive by being part of the common market is much harder to measure, but it is estimated that for every billion spent on our EU membership UK businesses enjoy a tenfold return of investment in higher exports to the continent than they’d otherwise would have been. This in turn fuels economic growth, more jobs and more tax revenues.

The real die-hard Eurosceptics at this point will produce quotes from dodgy economists like Professor Minford or they may have read the Civitas report “Where’s the insider advantage.  I have dealt with these demagogues in two separate blog posts

  1. Where’s the outside advantage
  2. Who’s the idiot in front of the select committee

I suggest you follow the links provided above if you’re up for it.

Today’s post I’d like to finish by block quoting my older sister Louise, who shares with us her insider EU knowledge in dismissing the VOTE.LEAVE claim that for all the money it pays into the EU the UK has so little influence. She replied specifically to Kevin’s following point:

  • our influence in Europe is virtually non-existent. We’ve ‘made a stand’ more than once, but it has proven to be nothing more than a short-lived token gesture before we’re eventually press ganged in to doing as we’re told

Please allow me to break into this conversation. I am a step aunt of Marcus’s step son and recently retired from a 40-year career as a translator for the EU Council of Ministers. I translated many of the legislative texts as well as the debates leading to their adoption. Let me respond to a few points made here. First of all the bureaucracy. The size of the EU administration is about the size of that of a major British city or the Treasury. Then the idea that the UK has been gang pressed to accept legislation it did not want. EU legislation is proposed by the Commission, then discussed by the EP as well as by the national parliaments. The phrase I translated most frequently was probably “UK enters a reserve for parliamentary scrutiny “. If anyone gang pressed it was the UK. Especially on financial legislation, which happened to be my specialty. It has always been tailored to the needs of the City. And lest you forgot, it was the City that was largely responsible for the first and the second financial crisis. It was also the UK that pressed for enlargement of the EU, time and again. It was the UK that pressed for the larger role of Heads of State and Government, which led to the politicisation of the decision making process. This, not bureaucracy, is the reason that decision making has become slow and flawed. It has become an intergovernmental negotiating process. That is exactly what you will get after Brexit, except that it will be only Britain against the rest of the world.

 
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