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

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‘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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The irony of UKIP’s perverse ‘points system’

points

With just days left till the dreaded EU referendum this blog post is penned, with some trepidation, to counter the ugly anti immigration tide the VOTE.LEAVE  side is taking the public debate. I will be skating on thin ice and risk being called a racist myself, but here it goes. Let me know if I went too far in the usual ‘comment’ section.

I don’t believe for one moment that the Australian points system advocated by ukip #brexit shouters is anything other but naked racism dressed up in some sort of respectable packaging designed to hide later intentions of racist mis-use. See illustration if you don’t catch my drift.

The premise of my EU ‘Free Movement’ counter post is that EU immigrants to the UK, after making a welcome and much needed contribution to the UK economy, mostly return home with a packet to buy or build  their dream house in their EU country of origin and live there happily ever after. I am in fact myself a point in case but diverted to France.

In doing so EU immigrants make use of the same guaranteed ‘freedom of movement’ that got them to the UK in the first place. Scrapping Freedom of Movement only dams them in.

We really have to start thinking of EU migration as an economic tide of ebb and flows, not one way UK. The same north south flows make the USA such a successful economy.

The so called Australian style “points system” however is just a means to filter out foreigners whose skin people don’t like (except if they are a doctor or a nurse or a software engineer). In other words acceptable slaves of this day and age, working long hours for wages we pull our noses up for.

The ‘irony’ in all this “we’re less racist towards our Commonwealth friends” grandstanding is, that I have the impression that rather than returning home, commonwealth citizens really make the UK their permanent home and can’t wait to bring their entire family over. I have no proof of this, so that’s maybe where I’m skating on thin ice and could be accused of racism myself. Is it not true that we see ghetto forming in our big cities? It’s not polish quarter’s that are formed, rather Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani neighbourhoods. A polish plumber does not feel the need to be constantly surrounded by his countrymen, because he can just take a short weekend break with RyanAir if his family is homesick.

Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, tell it like it is, rather than dressing up an immigration stance as less racist, because you slip the words ‘Commonwealth friends’ in.

A British Asian friend of mine agrees and has been using the same anti Brexit argument for months. He told me: “The brexit brigade are in denial. They might hate Eastern Europeans, but I assure you, they hate us viscerally foreign “Pakis” a lot more. And brexit would mean *even* more of us would come over.”

The reality is that most #brexit shouters  much prefer that the Commonwealth were just the nice white people of Canada Australia and New Zealand… maybe South Africa too…

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Brexit Brits just don’t realise who is screwing them, so EU is the easy scapegoat

IMG_1760

It always amazes me when brexit shouters have a go at the EU for their common agricultural and fishing policies. Don’t they realise Britain is a ‘Services Economy’ ? Don’t they realise successive UK governments have steered not only the UK economy that way, but that they also actively pursued the interests of the City of London in the EU corridors of power, at the detriment of UK Manufacturing, Agriculture and Fisheries?

I remember clearly reading in a Sunday Newspaper that a lot of the agricultural subsidies in the UK ended up in the wrong hands, because the British delegation in Brussels insisted that Agricultural Subsidies had to be dished out as ‘rights’ so that they could be sold independent of the land they were originally dished out for. This would give UK land owners a little nest egg on retirement and the City another commodity to trade in. The Guardian called it “a blatant transfer of cash to the rich“.

The scandal reported by the Sunday papers that millions of EU subsidies changed hands in this way and ended up filling the pockets of rich City folk and newspaper proprietors with large hunting estates instead of supporting marginal farmers on arable and grazing land.

Click this link to Google how easy it is to find confirmation of this

A similar think I recall happening when the EU common fisheries policy was reformed to support conservation of fish stocks in the EU.  British fleet owners found it harder and harder to make a profit with high UK wages on the one hand and dwindling fish stocks on the other.  So again they made sure the Brussels lobby made fishing quotas something you could sell separate from the original UK boats they were assigned to and rich UK fleet owners were quick to offload them to either Spanish boats where the crew were on lower wages or the more efficient high tech boats the Dutch started using when fishing became tough.

Here is a screen shot of a simple Google search using the words “uk fleet owners sold fishing quotas“. Why don’t you try how easy it is? Why do so many Brits prefer to believe the words of a Charlatan like Nigel Farage who reputedly only attended one of 36 EU fisheries committee meetings, where he was supposed to represent British interests?

fisheries

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The deceit of brexit shouters (part 2)

The latest economic bad news has given #brexit shouters plenty of false ammunition to direct at EU  when they really should be looking much closer to home for the culprits. I am talking of course of the announced sale and possible closure of British Steelworks owned by Tata.

The narrative of the #brexit tweets is that it is EU rules preventing state aid when in fact it is Cameron and Osborne cosying up to their new friends in China that blocked any increase of the current EU tariffs on Chinese steel which stand at 9%. Note that the Americans have no problem in levying up to 266% punitive duty to protect their strategic steel industry.

This is just today’s topical issue but a little trawling through ant EU tweets reveal many many more examples:

The accession of Turkey and the Islamisation of Europe: Guess who is angry at the pace of Turkey’s accession to the EU? Right David Cameron is doing most of the pushing!

The influx of East European economic migrants: Tony Blair’s great Idea to prevent any Franco German axis gaining the upper hand in Europe.

EU destroying our fisheries. Well that was actually self inflicted over-fishing from pre-EU days followed by Icelandic Cod wars. Anyway who sold our fishing boats and quotas to the Spanish? Rich British fleet owners, not Eurocrats. Nigel Farage famously attended only 1 out of 42 EU Fisheries Committee meetings he was appointed to.

CAP is making our shop food prices much dearer? Well it seems only by 1% or 70 p on a typical weekly shopping bill. Do we really mind paying that to support our hard working British farmers and get locally produced fresh and healthy food instead of cheap meat full of antibiotics? One fervent anti EU fanatic Charles Efford was at it again at Easter mentioning cheap New Zealand frozen lamb he bought as an ASDA promotion for £4 a kilo. He said without CAP we could have this price every day. One quick Google search revealed that Last Year New Zealand didn’t even fulfil it’s tariff free quota of lamb exports to the EU. The truth is they make more money selling it to the Chinese.

And so it goes on and on, EU lie after lie. It really wants to make you spit at them. But that only makes them cry “They don’t like us on the continent”

  

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The Great British Brexit Buzz-off Show

I keep nurturing this idea in my mind that it would make for such a great informative as well as entertaining TV show if the BBC could be persuaded to trawl through the best tweets on the #brexit amd #bremain hash tags on Twitter and maybe the various pro- and anti EU FaceBook pages and make a special edition of Question Time, Pointless or Room 101 all rolled into one, where we the people had our say on the June EU referendum and not the same old clique that the BBC parades time after time on these same shows.

After all the 23 June EU referendum is supposed to be our chance to have our say on Europe and the EU, not elected politicians, not tired hacks from tired national Newspapers who are all too bloody predictable anyway and not TV’s funny men or women.

Let’s say we put four fervent #Bremain and four fervent #brexit campaigners in a hot seat answering questions from the audience moderated by someone like David Dimbelby.

As an added interest feature each team could have a big red challenge button and play one of their three Jokers. Whenever the opposite side makes a false or disingenuous claim we’d hear a loud buzz and the cameras would switch over to  Fullfact  or Infacts team of Euro researchers who’d make a ruling if the challenge was justified or not.If the Challenge was correct, the team would get to keep their Joker and the opposite team would loose a life. An incorrect challenge would be punished in the same way.

The team that first looses all their lives (or rather EU lies) loses  not only the show, but might also lose some support for their cherished position.

I hope you get the idea, it would be both fun and educational supporting democracy.

It would be a chance to put some EU myths as well as brexit  scare stories to bed. We would not have to rely on our gut feelings to trust a politician from a certain party or a journalist from a certain newspaper we favour or abhor..

What do people think?  How can we get this ball rolling?  I am ready for it ! I want to be on the panel!

buzzer

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