Britain should reject the Brexit ‘agreement’ but proceed with the exit

It is Wednesday, and only a short blog post beckons today. I have restrained myself from commenting on Theresa May’s unbelievable Brexit deal, which has the dirty paws of the European Commission all over it. Regular readers will know that if I had have been a voter in Britain in June 2016, I would have resolutely and happily voted in favour of Brexit. And if I was a British Parliamentarian now I would vote to reject the ‘deal’ and force the Brexit on British terms. I will write a little more about that in a further post. But today, I just want to pass comment on the extraordinary UK Guardian article from Phillip Inman – A leftwing UK post-Brexit is as likely as a socialist Rees-Mogg (November 24 2018) – which summarises the problem quite well. I say ‘well’ because it illustrates the progressive surrender that has allowed the neoliberal era and monstrosities like the European Union to persist. You can see it all over the place – surrender that is. The Democratic obsession with Paygo in the US. The British Labour fiscal rule in Britain. The ‘we will have a bigger surplus’ boast from the Australian Labor Party, when there is around 15 per cent underutilised productive labour. Inman’s article is encouraging the Left in Britain to lie down and surrender to the dictates of the neoliberal, corporatist machine that is the EU. It presents an impoverished vision of the future and a disgustingly vapid depiction of the possibilities that a truly progressive British Labor government could achieve once it jettisons the neoliberal frames.

Past posts on the topic

My blog posts on Brexit from 2016 and beyond include:

1. Britain should exit the European Union (June 22, 2016).

2. Why the Leave victory is a great outcome (June 27, 2016).

3. Brexit signals that a new policy paradigm is required including renationalisation (July 13, 2016).

4. Mayday! Mayday! The skies were meant to fall in … what happened? (August 24, 2016).

5. Austerity is the problem for Britain not Brexit (January 9, 2017).

6. The Left lacks courage and is riddled with inferiority complexes (January 11, 2017).

7. Why Britain should not worry about Brexit-motivated bank relocations (May 16, 2017).

8. Britain’s labour market showing no Brexit anxiety yet (May 30, 2017).

9. Britain doesn’t appear to be collapsing as a result of Brexit (December 13, 2017).

10. British Labour remainers – the reality seekers bogged down in myth (January 31, 2018).

11. The facts suggest Britain is not as reliant on EU as the Remain camp claim (April 16, 2018).

12. The Europhile Left use Jacobin response to strengthen our Brexit case (May 22, 2018).

13. The ‘if it is bad it must be Brexit’ deception in Britain (May 31, 2018).

14. How to distort the Brexit debate – exclude significant factors! (June 25, 2018).

15. Brexit doom predictions – the Y2K of today (August 26, 2018).

The UK Guardian channels surrender narrative

The state of Victoria (Australia) held its State Election last Saturday and the Labor Party was returned to office in a landslide, with voters categorically rejecting the campaign of fear and surpluses that the conservative parties relied on to get into office.

Victoria is the “most progressive” state in Australia and ran a campaign that included ‘doubling the state’s debt’ to further build new infrastructure in health, education and transport.

There are massive public transport projects underway, which people are seeing benefit their daily lives.

The lesson is fairly clear – governments are elected to advance well-being not ‘balance’ the books.

People want governments to do things that improve their lives not attack their living standards in the name of running surpluses.

As it happens, Victoria is the fastest growing state in Australia and the tax revenue that has come with that growth has generate state surpluses for the last four years.

The housing boom that has driven a lot of that revenue, however, has reduced the housing affordability and more state housing is required.

The point is that a progressive agenda in a nation that is firmly locked into neoliberalism shines through and when confronted with the progressive alternative, voters grab it with both hands. The Victorian electorate resoundingly rejected the austerity-biased conservatives again.

And that serves as background to Phillip Inman’s Guardian surrender article.

His thesis is simple:

1. “France and Germany were moving towards the right to become the main pillars of a neoliberal elite, based in Brussels, that dictated, and still dictates, an adherence to free-market dogma.”

2. “The introduction of the euro cemented this view. Lexiters argue that it is a recipe for permanent austerity as policymakers seek to maintain the integrity of an internal currency bloc that is dominated by France and Germany.”

3. “A move leftwards in these dominant countries is as likely as Jacob Rees-Mogg singing the Internationale.”

4. “Lexiter efforts to cast Britain in a different light from France and Germany is to deny that they all face broadly the same economic problems. It also denies that voters in all three nations have shifted to the right.”

5. “Osborne, Cameron and Johnson back, via Blair and Brown, to Major and Thatcher … all these politicians understood that voters were unwilling to pay more income tax or share their wealth.”

6. “Today, most countries in the developed world have ageing populations and are rapidly running out of money to cope. The funds do exist; it’s just that those self-same ageing voters refuse to address the difficulties posed by their longevity by handing over any of their income or wealth.”

7. “Inside or out of the EU … even if voters hand him …[Jeremy Corbyn] … the keys to No 10, they are not going to give him any money. That is what Macron found, and Corbyn will find the same.”

8. “So Europe remains the best option for any Labour member.”

Surrender.

First, once you frame the narrative in a neoliberal way and use the language commensurate with that frame then, of course, you privilege that way of thinking and it makes it very hard to break out of the usual parameters of the discussion.

So think about Point 6 – “most countries … are rapidly running out of money to cope”.

That is a plain lie.

All currency-issuing governments including the British government has no financial constraint in the way this framing suggests.

The ageing society problem is not financial. It is real. As the dependency ratio rises, each subsequent generation will have to be more productive than the last to maintain current material living standards.

It is true that we also should be aiming to reduce our material claim on the Earth’s finite resources. But that is a separate issue and unlikely to void the first statement I made in the previous paragraph.

Think about Point 7 – “voters … are not going to give him any money”.

Again, frame it that way and the straitjacket goes on policy options and the Left, no matter how well-intentioned have no room to move.

The first task for the Left therefore is to show leadership and pursue a major education campaign which will require the introduction of new frames, a new way of expressing economic concepts, and this may require foregoing the short-run claim to power in the interests of long-run viability.

This is why I have been so critical of British Labour’s Fiscal Credibility Rule. It is a dud. It privileges neoliberal concepts, uses false metaphors (for example, credit cards and households!), and gives the impression that fiscal aggregates independent of context and purpose are goals.

The goals of fiscal policy is not to achieve any particular balance, deficit or surplus. The government doesn’t even have full control over the fiscal outcome anyway – the non-government sector’s spending and saving decisions are important in determining what the final fiscal outcome in any period will be.

Trying to set targets that are meaningless without context and which one cannot control anyway is a recipe for failure.

And, as we have seen many times in the past, only serves to hoist the progressive side of politics on its own petard. They boast how they will achieve surpluses. A recession comes along and the deficits rise (sometimes because they have reduced spending in search of the surpluses) and the conservatives shriek failure and irresponsibility.

One capacity that humans have with respect to their cognitive abilities is known as construal. We can move from one construction of reality to another with the appropriate help in terms of reframing, language and new metaphorical constructs.

Progressives should be working on that agenda rather than writing stupid fiscal rules or writing UK Guardian articles about governments running out of money.

Second, the EU will have to collapse before its current neoliberal, corporatist bent is expunged. The neoliberalism goes to its core.

It is not a matter of reforming around the edges.

The core of the EU – the single market, the fiscal compact, the lack of fiscal capacity in the common currency, and the rest of it – cannot be reformed.

It has to be jettisoned and that means the EU has to be jettisoned and something entirely new emerge to fulfill functions that it might legitimately be the best scale to perform (climate change responses, migration, etc).

Europhile Leftists who think they can slowly pick away to get reform are dreaming. If anything the EU legislative mandate will become even more neoliberal not less.

Look at what Macron is up to in France with labour regulation, as an example.

Third, it is ridiculous to say that a one-size-fits-all approach is now all that is possible (Point 4 “they all face broadly the same economic problems”).

This sounds like TINA to me.

The hallmark of the neoliberal period has been TINA and the depoliticisation of policy as a result.

Britain does not face the “same economic problem” as the 19 Member States in the Eurozone (which is the significant portion of EU membership).

Those member states are financially-constrained because they chose to use a foreign currency. Quite apart from the fiscal rules they adopted which constrain their flexibility, these nations can only run fiscal deficits at the behest of the private bond markets.

Britain is not constrained in these ways at all, even though successive neoliberal governments (Tories and Labour) have lied to the population that the British government is so constrained.

Britain can run fiscal deficits whenever it wants and if the bond markets don’t like it and try to force rising yields on bond auctions then the government can do one of two things:

1. It can instruct the Bank of England to take up the debt through appropriate legislative or regulative changes.

2. It can just decline to issue debt and tell the Bank of England to go on crediting appropriate bank accounts. HM Treasury would then alter accounting structures which make it look as though taxes and debt sales fund government spending.

Not long after the Government did either of those things, the City of London would be screaming blue murder and demanding they receive their dose of corporate welfare (debt issuance).

The British government has all the power in that sort of relationship.

And if the City of London tried to get clever and short the pound or do some other financial gymnastics that might destabilise the British currency, then the British government can simply legislate to bring in capital controls.

Remember the City is the most unproductive sector of the British economy and drains smart people from otherwise productive pursuits.

So my view is that a Leftist Labour supporter is never going to be satisfied if Britain remains in the EU.

The Labour Party should reject Theresa May’s ridiculous ‘agreement’, which looks like it was drafted by EU lawyers.

It provides no exit at all.

And if that means a ‘no deal’ exit then that is still a superior option to remaining in the EU.

At least, it will force the Labour Party to confront the reality that a radical program will have to be instituted from day one.

And all the talk of a collapse in the British economy with a no deal is the usual scaremongering that the Remainers are using to distort the debate.

There will be some dislocation. There will be some supply chain frictions. But nothing that will not sort itself out relatively quickly.

When Britain dumped Australia in the early 1970s by accessing the Common Market our economy adjusted fairly quickly and moved on.

Britain simply must exit the EU monstrosity or accept a neoliberal future which will drive the austerity agenda even deeper into the institutional nature of British society.

It is unnecessary but incredibly destructive.

When libraries close and become crisis centres, you know the state if failing.

I hope Labour members in Britain ignore the message of this UK Guardian article – which is just channeling the typical argument of the Remain camp.

Sure enough the Tories are hopeless and the ‘agreement’ is ridiculous.

But staying within the EU for those reasons is equally ridiculous.

It is time for the progressive side of politics to show some progressive leadership and articulate a path out of the EU for Britain and ensures that people understand that an invigorated state with no fiscal constraints other than the real resources it can deploy for public purpose can attenuate any adjustment frictions that might arise in the transition.

My latest musical purchase …

Farazi is a musician-producer based in Instanbul and distributes his music on the Deadly Habits label.

There is not much more I can tell you about him.

But I heard this 5-track EP entitled Craft, which was released on July 20, 2018, while I was driving to the airport earlier this week and thought it was very chilled.

I like this sort of ambience-cum-mininalist style although I might have mixed the bottom end a little differently.

Here are two tracks from it. The first is Times.

The second is Beach.

Very chilled. Perfect for driving and/or flying.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2018 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Spread the word ...
    This entry was posted in Britain, Capital controls, Demise of the Left, Fiscal Statements, Framing and Language, Politics, Reclaim the State, UK Economy. Bookmark the permalink.

    24 Responses to Britain should reject the Brexit ‘agreement’ but proceed with the exit

    1. Gareth Davies says:

      Looking forward to your further post on this. I’d particularly like to know more about the consequences of ‘no deal’, assuming JC is unable to get to power and renegotiate.
      What would be the short, medium and long term potential impacts? Why are fears touted by project fear unfoundednor at least overexaggerated? And what would Labours radical plan need to be?

    2. Andrew Anderson says:

      Not long after the Government did either of those things, the City of London would be screaming blue murder and demanding they receive their dose of corporate welfare (debt issuance). bill

      Being inherently risk-free, the debt of a monetary sovereign like the UK should yield no more than 0% MINUS overhead costs, i.e. NEGATIVE; then it ceases to be corporate welfare but instead a REVENUE earner for the monetary sovereign.

      Moreover, since bank reserves are also the inherently risk-free debt of a monetary sovereign but with ZERO maturity rate, the interest rate on bank reserves should be the most negative of any sovereign debt*.

      In other words, give the City of London what it wants, risk-free assets but charge for them.

      *Of course the banks would try to pass that cost onto their depositors which is why EVERYONE should be allowed inherently risk-free debit/checking accounts at the Central Bank itself with individual citizen accounts FREE up to a reasonable account limit.

    3. Patrick B says:

      You have nailed it again. The ‘left’ have simply got to stop being timid and defeatist and call out the (currency issuing) government is a household analogy for what it is:nonsense.

      ‘The ageing society problem is not financial. It is real. As the dependency ratio rises, each subsequent generation will have to be more productive than the last to maintain current material living standards.’

      And governments will have to intervene to ensure that the extra productivity, with the help of AI, enables people to be redirected into socially useful jobs and those whose productivity is declining with age, can retire and enjoy non-work life. The opposite of business taking the profit and expecting the government to prop up buying power with a universal income.

    4. Andy says:

      One of wonders of the Withdrawal Agreement which has received very little publicity are the sections on State Aid.
      I fail to see how Labour can tolerate the imposition of these rules with avowed intent of large scale government industrial and infrastructure involvement, including re-nationalisation of the railways I assume this is an example of tldr.

    5. HermannTheGerman says:

      @Patrick B: It has been done. Numerous times. The problem is, that the neoliberal machine has not the better arguments but it certainly has the loudest ones. Just mention the amount the sovereign debt of “insert country here” rises every minute and witness the pearl-clutching-fest of ages.

      Furthermore, appeals to decency, kindness and an economically sound way of thinking are simply not as enticing as being offered a couple of easily identifiable and hateable “enemys” responsible for the mess and even easier solutions to… remove them. That is why I think, that if anything resembling “lefty” propositions is coming, it’s going to be in the form of socialism. Nationalist socialism, that is.

      By this I don’t mean the second coming of Adolf Hitler, but something like the populist rightists across Europe (the world, really) that offer a “socialist” treat to the “the little guy” and the “restitution of order” to the middle class. They show opposition to the EC in order to garner power and support for themselves. Guys like Salvini, Orban or Le Pen (I’m not including BoJo because a modicum of non-buffoonery is required in my opinion). Problem is, such figures often just use worker/middle class friendly policies short term to gain power and once they have solidified it and the institutions that would block their intents are weakened enough, they themselves proceed with the corrupt enrichment of party, family and friends at the public’s expense, which they initially claimed to fight against.

      By the time the regular guy realizes how he’s been hoodwinked, he can consider himself lucky if there are any democratic means to undo the damage. Which, ironically, is a similar conundrum to the current one about leaving the EU.

    6. Adrian Kent says:

      This is a strange one for me, having followed your blog for about four or five years now, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that your judgement is flawed.

      Those two tracks are simply awful – not my cup of tea at all.

      Otherwise you’re bang-on as usual.

    7. HermannTheGerman says:

      @bill

      I’m almost certain Adrian objects to your choice for music today and considers you to be “bang on” on the rest of your post :)

      I’ll admit that I find it reassuring that even you can occasionaly misjudge a situation ;)

      Best regards

    8. Simon Cohen says:

      Great interview with Costas Lapavitsas on the unreformability of the E.U

      I think Bill would endorse what he says word for word: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFnrWbo6uJA

    9. robertH says:

      Bill:- “Britain can run fiscal deficits whenever it wants and if the bond markets don’t like it and try to force rising yields on bond auctions then the government can do one of two things:
      1. ….
      2. It can just decline to issue debt…. HM Treasury would then alter accounting structures which make it look as though taxes and debt sales fund government spending”.

      That bit puzzles me.

      How could those current accounting structures *not* do so, considering that they faithfully reflect the conventions of a previous era when there was a gold-standard in force (in one form or another) throughout all developed economies? That era ended in 1971, yet here we are nearly a half-century later still treating those accounting structures, unchanged, as if they expressed eternal verities (instead of being just a bunch of outworn conventions created by bean-counters to serve their own arcane purposes in a radically different historical context).

      I don’t question that accounting disciplines have to be upheld – by accountants – and that their sums have to balance arithmetically. But that is purely (and esoterically for the common man, including me!) at the *technical* level. It’s the tail wagging the dog when that set of technical conventions is held up to be unquestioningly worshiped by everybody else which (among other malign effects) legitimates and reinforces perpetuation of the “government is just a household writ large” or “govt is just UK plc” myths.

      Meanwhile MMT (in the shape of Wynne Godley in the first instance) has demonstrated conclusively that there is an alternative way in which exactly the same numbers can be presented – ie in the form of sectoral balances – which not only does *not* falsify or obfuscate the macroeconomic realities *behind* the national accounts but brings them to the fore where they belong.

      So why do we have to go on inflicting ignorance of those realities on ourselves as if we had no other choice? Surely there is another choice – ie that (in Bill’s words) “HM Treasury …. alter accounting structures” (so as not to) “… make it look as though taxes and debt sales fund government spending”? Yet Bill himself only envisages that radical change as a mere riposte in extremis (“if the bond markets … try to force rising yields on bond auctions”). Why does it have to await that happening? We need it now!

      Obviously no such change is going to be initiated by HM Treasury under a Tory govt. But I’ve never understood why it is that no one in the MMT community (which seems to be replete with people having a requisite knowledge of accountancy to do so without exposing themselves to being refuted on technicalities) seems to have thought of translating the national accounts into a parallel set of sectoral balance accounts and publishing those on the net, with an interpretive commentary, at the same time as the official accounts are published. It might not make much of an impression at first but at least it would provide MMT spokespeople with an authoritative source towards which to direct the public’s and the politicians’ attention, thus perhaps starting to make inroads into the current dominance of the official – obsolete in functional finance terms – official accounts in the public debate.

    10. Simon Cohen says:

      Robert H,

      You say ‘So why do we have to go on inflicting ignorance of those realities on ourselves as if we had no other choice? ‘

      I’m sure you can answer that for yourself. There are swathes of vested interest combined with misinformation through verbal framing that a massive snow plough will have to clear away first.

      The instant enlightenment you express will not happen just like that. As Bill has been pointing out in many blog posts, the issue of groupthink and the reinforcement of it through the language happen at a subliminal level and it takes a lot of work to remove it and the mental hard wiring that goes with it.

      Something is shifting, though even if it feels as slow as glaciation at times! At present it’s as if, to quote T.S.Eliot, ‘humankind cannot bear very much reality.’

    11. Newton Finn says:

      Bill suggests that “(t)he task for the Left therefore is to show leadership and pursue a major education campaign which will require the introduction of new frames, a new way of expressing economic concepts…. One capacity that humans have with respect to their cognitive abilities is known as construal. We can move from one construction of reality to another with the appropriate help in terms of reframing, language and new metaphorical constructs.” Here’s a prime example of how MMT is indeed beginning to generate these new frames, expressions, and metaphors, thereby inspiring cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary construals which push aggressively toward necessary paradigm change.

      https://arcade.stanford.edu/content/unheard-center-critique-after-modern-monetary-theory

    12. robertH says:

      @Simon Cohen

      I agree. But with respect that comment is tangential.

      What is there to prevent an MMT “d-i-y” effort such as I suggested from taking place – apart from inertia? It wouldn’t in any way be able to be obstructed by the vested interests, purblind attitudes, etc you point to. It isn’t dependent upon prior clearing-away of the accumulated rubbish, nor presuppose any “instant enlightenment” ensuing: the opposite in fact. It would be an MMT initiative pure and simple, aimed at providing an alternative/corrective to the information (actually, misinformation) currently officially provided. A small step but IMO a badly-needed one which might – who knows? – sow a few seeds here and there.

    13. Martin Freedman says:

      Whilst I agree in principle with No Deal or EU both over the WA/PD and ideally No Deal over EU, looking at the pragmatic and operational issues the Efta/EEA looks like a better solution *all things considered*?

      1) Efta/EEA: Out of the CAP, CFP, CU and CCP but still in the SIM, only 25% of the acquis retained, common law EEA Court jurisdiction. Ignore the Remainer myths of “rule taker” (you probably do already). SM still has political domestic interference elements re state aid, state procurement and state ownership (far worse than WTO’s more permissive STE, GPA, SCM but those are still issues for a No Deal perhaps, but also far better than the current WA/PD or EU) since there is Article 112 of EEA and, maybe, Article 8 of TEU. Indeed Iceland used A112 over freedom of capital. Also A112 could used over freedom of labour wrt (the, sadly, unlikely event of) a UK Job Guarantee. Still Norway has 50 bilaterals and we need our own set – considering how badly UK’s fishing and agriculture is deal with in the WA/PD, time would still be required for a WA/EEA. Still Efta/EEA would look to be the least fractious (most Remainers issues would be satisfied and most leavers too only racists and libertarians would be pissed, hurray!) and most friction-less way to go?

      That is compared with No Deal/WTO, with that 2 further points:

      2) The world is a far different to Australia’s at the beginning of the 70s, with no WTO or WCO or many preferential trade agreements built on that framework. Maybe you might like to comment how it is not that different?

      3) Third Country Status is automatic under UK leaving the EU with No Deal, and EU could not provide preferential treatment under WTO non-discrimination rules. There are emergency clauses in the WTO which could apply and for sure the EU would try to resolve issues over aviation, maritime, sanitary and phyto-sanitary inspections, NTBs and so on but – surely – only when it suits the EU and not when it does not. Look up the details of the “draft” WA e.g. we would trade under differentially inferior terms to the CAP with less farming subsidies than EU states which could destroy much of our farming. If that is the case in the result of a 2 year “amicable” separation agreement, where is the evidence that it would be much better under No Deal, rather than as bad as the WA/PD or even worse?

      Finally I don’t think your argument over Victoria in Australia helps since if the UK had a non-neoliberal government they could do the same in the EU wrt fiscal deficits anyway – as you well know we have fiscal exceptions not applicable to the rest of the EU 28 let alone the Eurozone 19. That we do no have a government to do this is up to the UK electorate not the the EU. (In that specific example anyway).

      (For sure, thinking as a “europeanist” one would want all other states to have the exceptions that UK has. I think a successful transition to Efta/EE would make the prospect of leaving the EU more palatable to other states and, in a way, the best way to “reform” (i.e. dismantle or EUthenesia) the EU, with WA/PD it would be much worse and with No Deal/WTO it is indeterminate. The latter depends the quality of the Government and, given the incompetence (if not malevolence) and hubris of the current government, the ineptness of the opposition, the obsequiousness of the media and the economic ignorance of all, the signs do not look good.)

    14. Steve_American says:

      I’m an American. Which means I don’t know shit about the details of the UK vs EU argument.
      However, I have a thought.
      The UK can or should announce an intention to create a new European Confederation that will welcome any nation that leaves the EU into its glorious embrace. Founding members would include Canada and maybe NZ and Australia.
      Then it negotiates with the WTO (etc.) on that basis.
      Just the threat may be enough to get the EU to climb down from their high horse and stop the policy of “we need to make this as painful as possible for the UK to discourage Italy and Greece from joining them”.
      OTOH, I’m pretty sure that the ones who hold the reins of the technoctats in Brussels are not going to make it easy, because they must know that they are evil pricks who are devastating the mass of Europeans just to make themselves richer.

    15. robertH says:

      @ Martin Freedman

      “Still Efta/EEA would look to be the least fractious (most Remainers issues would be satisfied and most leavers too only racists and libertarians would be pissed, hurray!) and most friction-less way to go?”

      “Least fractious” – how would we ever know that, none of the others having been tested? None of the options is any less a leap in the dark than any of the others. “Most frictionless” – ditto. (Also doesn’t Marx’s (Groucho) Law apply – “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member”)? What makes you believe all the existing EFTA members would tamely assent to (troublemaker) Britain’s joining, only to suit Britain’s sole convenience? Will UK retain membership of the EEA after ceasing to be a member of EU? – doubtful I would have thought.

      It seems to me that No deal/WTO (with which you favourably compare EFTA/EEA) is the option that ties Britain’s hands the least and therefore that it clearly comes out ahead judged against your chosen criterion (“looking at the pragmatic and operational issues”). It also happens to be – and this is scarcely to be dismissed as merely incidental – the only one which unequivocally implements the actual result of the referendum (which was:- *to leave* the EU).

      That’s not to say of course that it doesn’t have its own fair share of down-sides (NI border for one).

    16. RoberH

      I prefer Efta/EEA over (EU or WTO or WA/PD) .

      To leave the EU, most narrowly interpreted, by joinging Efta/EEA quite clearly implements the result of the referendum. The issue is not semantics but that all the other elements such as freedom of persons, “free” trade and so on (my emphasis would be on freedom of capital not persons) were left unspecified. If politics is that art of compromise then Efta/EEA is the best compromise all things considered. Instead the debate is going on and on with no end in sight.

      Anyway my real and main point was that left leave arguments often hinge over the neoliberal over-reach into domestic governments with regards to state aid, procurement and enterprises. I would add the Job Guarantee to that And I believe Article 112 could be used in those respects.

    17. robertH says:

      @ Martin Freedman:- “The issue is not semantics but that all the other elements … were left unspecified”.

      Unspecified yes, but to infer from that that (all of) the so-called “four freedoms” are anything short of fundamental to the very existence of the Single Market, and therefore an integral part of what the majority voted to leave, is pure sophistry. Ingenious perhaps but sophistry all the same.

      Question-framing for the purposes of referendum voting is not normally given to spelling-out of details; those two aims are incompatible. Doesn’t mean that people didn’t know what they were voting for or against; it’s clear for example that the leave vote was strongly affected by the “free movement of persons” issue (whilst probably being only marginally if at all by ditto of capital). Unquestionably some or all of the four played some part in determining the “leave” result.

      “Anyway my real and main point was that left leave arguments often hinge over the neoliberal over-reach into domestic governments with regards to state aid, procurement and enterprises. I would add the Job Guarantee to that And I believe Article 112 could be used in those respects”. That may well be so, but we may never find out.

    18. Nicholas says:

      Love them or loathe them, Corbynistas have runs on the board.

      They won leadership contests in 2015 and 2017.

      The were within a whisker of winning a general election in the face of overwhelmingly hostile media coverage and sore loser behaviour by the PLP.

      Socialist policies are mainstream again.

      Young people are energised and motivated to vote.

      The Remainers have not troubled the scorer.

      They’ve been talking for a quarter of a century about removing the neoliberal constitution embedded in the Maastricht Treaty.

      They have made no progress.

      It’s possible for voters to fire members of the House of Commons.

      How do voters go about firing members of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice?

      How does a voter from one country discipline a recalcitrant Ecofin member from another country?

      The EU is an undemocratic schemozzle run by people who insist on reanimating zombie economic theory.

    19. Cian McMahon says:

      Just on Farazi, Bill, I’ve clocked the Times sample is from the wonderful It’ll All Be Over by The Supreme Jubilees — any idea on the Beach jazz guitar sample (great hook!)?

    20. John Armour says:

      Newton Finn,

      I think Scott Ferguson (your link) would do well to be locked in a room for a week with the works of Earnest Hemingway.

    21. PhilipR says:

      He negotiations were conducted by bureaucrats who were committed to the EU rules.

      If you want to trade with us, avoid a hard border in Ireland, end freedom of movement, etc. You will have to accept X, Y and Z!

      The deal is unacceptable. There is only two choices, a hard Brexit or no Brexit!

      I agree with Bill. They UK should crash out and then being to negotiate a post-Brexit settlement with the EU’s heads of government.

    22. Andreas Bimba says:

      “The UK can or should announce an intention to create a new European Confederation that will welcome any nation that leaves the EU into its glorious embrace. Founding members would include Canada and maybe NZ and Australia.”

      Steve_American I like your suggestion. As long as the European Confederation remains no more than a preferential trade zone of equals (each with their own currency and institutions) with the EC not having any political institutions like the EU, then I think this is a very suitable model. I think member states should still be free to impose tariffs or other trade barriers if, when and where deemed necessary but expect that other members may then retaliate with their own. This may sound complex and messy but I think overall it is more beneficial than totally free trade within the Confederation. Totally free trade tends to overly concentrate wealth in my view which we see with Germany and the EU.

      I would think mininum democratic, judicial and human rights standards should also be mandatory for joining and remaining in the EC as well. The EC could then eventually include all of Europe’s nations and even following suitable reforms could include Russia, the CIS States, Turkey and beyond. Most of the British Commonwealth nations may also eventually be suitable members.

      Some sort of governing body would still be needed but this body must be subordinate to the governments of the confederation or we will just recreate the current EU. Is the UN a suitable template? Any other templates? NAFTA?

    23. Steve_American says:

      @Andreas Bimba,
      Maybe someday my/our EC can again have a common currency, but only after some way is found to stabilize trade deficits and trade surpluses. That is what having your own currency and devaluing it does. Without many currencies (i.e. with just 1 currency), there would need to be another way. Like tax trade surpluses and give the money to the trade deficit nations. Something.
      .
      If there are many currencies then the “Central Bank” needs to run a system of currency exchanges where all can get their money changed at the current rate with zero fee or cost. This makes it more like a single currency without losing the ability to stop the sucking of money out of some nations that now happens in the EZ/EU.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    *
    To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the answer to the math equation shown in the picture.
    Anti-spam equation

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.