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Snakes and ladders

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, June 25th, 2016 - 155 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, uk politics, uncategorized, us politics - Tags: , , , ,

Brexit is going to dominate political headlines for a long time. The Guardian is full of essential reading this morning.

Brexit won’t shield Britain from the horror of a disintegrating EU

The repercussions of the vote will be dire, albeit not the ones Cameron and Brussels had warned of. The markets will soon settle down, and negotiations will probably lead to something like a Norwegian solution that allows the next British parliament to carve out a path toward some mutually agreed arrangement. Schäuble and Brussels will huff and puff but they will, inevitably, seek such a settlement with London. The Tories will hang together, as they always do, guided by their powerful instinct of class interest. However, despite the relative tranquillity that will follow on from the current shock, insidious forces will be activated under the surface with a terrible capacity for inflicting damage on Europe and on Britain….

A pyrrhic victory? Boris Johnson wakes up to the costs of Brexit

He has everything he ever wanted. It’s just that somehow, as he fought his way through booing crowds on his Islington doorstep before holding an uncharacteristically subdued press conference on Friday morning, it didn’t really look that way. One group of Tory remainers watching the speech on TV jeered out loud when a rather pale Johnson said leaving Europe needn’t mean pulling up the drawbridge; that this epic victory for Nigel Farage could somehow “take the wind out of the sails” of anyone playing politics with immigration. Too late for all that now, one said. …

After this vote the UK is diminished, our politics poisoned

The chutzpah with which the Tory right – the very people who had pioneered austerity, damaging jobs, services and communities – blamed migrants for the lack of resources was breathtaking. The mendacity with which a section of the press fanned those flames was nauseating. The pusillanimity of the remain campaign’s failure to counter these claims was indefensible.

We are leaving the EU and entering a dark and uncertain period. Offered a choice between fear of the unknown or fear of the foreigner, fear inevitably won. Britain lost.

‘If you’ve got money, you vote in … if you haven’t got money, you vote out’

Most of all, Brexit is the consequence of the economic bargain struck in the early 1980s, whereby we waved goodbye to the security and certainties of the postwar settlement, and were given instead an economic model that has just about served the most populous parts of the country, while leaving too much of the rest to anxiously decline. Look at the map of those results, and that huge island of “in” voting in London and the south-east; or those jaw-dropping vote-shares for remain in the centre of the capital: 69% in Tory Kensington and Chelsea; 75% in Camden; 78% in Hackney, contrasted with comparable shares for leave in such places as Great Yarmouth (71%), Castle Point in Essex (73%), and Redcar and Cleveland (66%). Here is a country so imbalanced it has effectively fallen over.

What defines these furies is often clear enough: a terrible shortage of homes, an impossibly precarious job market, a too-often overlooked sense that men (and men are particularly relevant here) who would once have been certain in their identity as miners, or steelworkers, now feel demeaned and ignored. The attempts of mainstream politics to still the anger have probably only made it worse: oily tributes to “hardworking families”, or the the fingers-down-a-blackboard trope of “social mobility”, with its suggestion that the only thing Westminster can offer working-class people is a specious chance of not being working class anymore.

Think about that woman in Collyhurst: “If you’ve got no money, you vote out.” Therein lies not just the against-the-odds triumph of the leavers, but evidence of huge failures that the stunned mainstream of politics has only just begun to acknowledge, let alone do anything about.

All of those are well worth reading, but the last piece is particularly relevant. Brexit wasn’t a vote on left-right lines, it was a vote on rich-poor lines. Neoliberal economics – increasing inequality – fuels anger, with unpredictable consequences.

Meanwhile in America, an important announcement yesterday…

US election: Sanders says he will vote for Clinton

US Senator Bernie Sanders has said he will vote for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in November’s presidential election.

The two have fought for the Democratic nomination, which former Secretary of State Mrs Clinton won this month. Mr Sanders, a self-described socialist, told MSNBC he would do everything in his power to defeat the likely Republican nominee, Donald Trump. But he stopped short of saying he would end his campaign. He said his job now was to “fight for the strongest possible platform” at the party’s convention in July, including a higher minimum wage. …

The only way Trump could have won was if Sanders had stood as an independent, and that isn’t going to happen. Also, the Trump campaign is falling apart.

Campaign Finance Documents Show Donald Trump’s Campaign Is in Disarray

Maybe Corey Lewandowski got out at the right time. While reporters scrambled on Monday to figure out why Trump let his campaign manager go, the campaign was preparing to release its latest campaign finance filing that looks, at least at first glance, to be devastating. It doesn’t look much better on second glance.

The first glance: Hillary Clinton’s campaign has more than 35 times the cash Trump’s does.

It’s not just the low numbers that portend potential disaster for the GOP’s man. It’s the way he arrives at the low numbers that looks scary. There’s no real significant support from top donors—the bedrock of a strong monthly fundraising report. But the Trump campaign picked up just 133 donations that hit the maximum allowed amount of $2,700. Clinton had more donations of $2,700 on just May 17 (140) than Trump had all month, and almost 15 times as many for the entire month (1,981). …

Dump Trump? Paul Ryan leaves door open to Republican convention revolt

Pressure for one last attempt to dump Donald Trump built among Republicans on Sunday, as the party’s leader appeared to encourage a possible revolt that could still see an alternative nominee chosen at next month’s national convention.

After a week in which the presumptive nominee appalled many colleagues with his reaction to a shooting massacre in Orlando, House speaker Paul Ryan made clear he would not try to obstruct any rebellion against Trump by delegates in Cleveland.

“They write the rules, they make the decisions,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press. “All I want to make sure is to make sure it is done above board, clearly, honestly and by the rules.” …

The Trump Train is derailing. But the disenfranchised anger that was fueling it won’t go away, it will find another outlet. Social inequality drives political madness – we have to fix it.

155 comments on “Snakes and ladders ”

  1. miravox 1

    Another piece from the New Economics Foundation highlighting the immediate concerns that can create a Doom Loop that will affect poorer households, the EU and the financial system.

  2. b waghorn 2

    Of all the Republicans I’ve seen on the box in the last few months the only sensible, no make that sane one is this Paul Ryan chap.
    Could he would he take trumps place?

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Paul Ryan is gearing up for a run in 2020 if Hillary wins, or 2024 if the Republican candidate wins.

      • b waghorn 2.1.1

        Ahaa thank you.

      • mpledger 2.1.2

        If Trump wins he’ll only last a term. Noone in the Republicans are going to support him so he’ll be left hanging and damaged. The big Republican play is going to be 2020 whoever wins.

        • Lanthanide

          I specifically said ‘Republican candidate’ because there are moves in the republican party at the moment to nominate someone else instead of Trump at the convention.

    • KJT 2.2

      Paul Ryan is as delusional as the rest of the US republicans. He is only sane in comparison to Trump.

  3. Paul 3

    I believe you are too hopeful about Trump.
    The same forces that won Leave in the UK will see a Trump presidency.

    This is a populist backlash in western politics against globalisation by people who have been left behind by neo-liberalism since the 1980s and abandoned by traditional working class parties that were supposed to represent them.

    In New Zealand, a rebellion against the professional political class will see the rise of New Zealand First, or if we’re lucky, Mana.




    • Greg 3.1

      God not Mana, and a geriatric rent a crowd.

      John Key and his Cabinet will self destruct, offering Little the election very cheaply.

      If Key takes over Auckland to fix and hook it of cheaply, like they fixed CHCH and Canturbury, giving water away to bottle to a major party donor Oravida. The political fallout will be worse than Helens landslide lose in 2008. At least Key has his knighthood and Ambassador posting to Hawaii.
      And National infighting will see the Key cabal ousted.

      • Paul 3.1.1

        Labour still has to ditch neo-liberalism.

        • Greg

          Labour needs to get back to its roots, leave fixing marginalized issues to MP bills, not cabinet policy. Slow down Feminist policy of collectivism, privileging breeders and marriage, to some paradise ideal. Single none breeders are being ignore at the cost to economic growth and productivity. Why bother to work harder and harder when there is no goal post to reach.

          Kiwisaver and Working for Families are huge boons for employers to not raise wages.
          I work just hard enough for my own security, and entertainment.

          • Paul

            It needs to focus on class issues, not liberal issues.

            The economy.

            • Stuart Munro

              In fact the very lies Key used to get elected:

              170 000 jobs
              a strong economy
              Wage parity with Oz
              An aspirational society

              And instead he gave us

              170 000 foreign workers
              A housing crisis
              a moribund economy
              wage parity with nowhere 1st world
              A cruel and selfish neoliberal nightmare

          • marty mars

            “Slow down Feminist policy of collectivism, privileging breeders and marriage, to some paradise ideal. Single none breeders are being ignore at the cost to economic growth and productivity”

            Are you serious? WTF does “privileging breeders and marriage” mean?
            “Single non breeders” ?

            Your paragraph is quite hard to follow – are you saying that labour is too focused on “breeders” and should send some focus to those without children?

            And these are the “roots” you ask labour to go back to – seems like a LOL all around this advice.

          • KJT

            I take it you will not be collecting the superannuation paid for by the work of the children of those “breeders”?

            • Greg

              I pay 6% of income tax to collect my super, if Im lucky to live to 65, a majority of men wont reach retirement age.

              Its a fiction that the next generation of children will be paying for it.
              Government borrow to fund all their state obligations on a 10 year plan.

              If Government lived of our taxation, and not debt from private banks
              do you think that they might have more incentive to make all our lives better.

              Women live on average five years longer than men, they need their retirement age increased.
              And if our age is increased MPs should also.

  4. save nz 4

    “The first glance: Hillary Clinton’s campaign has more than 35 times the cash Trump’s does.”

    While I hate Trump, it is telling, that the republican who has said no to TPPA (and big business and offshoring and onshoring jobs) is now derailing and no republicans with big money will support him. That says a lot about how the .1% operate and the amount of money behind Clinton says a lot about her neoliberal backers and so called ‘democrats’ ideology.

    Brexit is what happens when you put the ‘economy’ before the ‘people’. While the economy might be booming under the EU for some, clearly not enough for 52% of British people who have found their living conditions worse off.

    The conservative government told everyone they were better off, the majority it appears were not, and voted accordingly.

    When ‘experts’ lie constantly they are no longer believed.

    Size and complexity has advantages and disadvantages. EU worked better for the .1% and immigrants than middle England it would appear.

    Migration is the visible ‘face’ of globalism. However I think that 65% of the problems of inequality are from faceless arm of neoliberalism while 35% is from globalism. It is not so much EU but Thatcherism to blame for their plight. Globalism and migration is just a side affect to keep the neoliberal ponzi scheme going with new money and cheap labour.

    Politicians have become a law unto themselves, the do not serve the people anymore but themselves and rich lobbyists. Being a politician is now a way to hide away cash in tax havens, make it legal and spend their days jaunting around the world, networking for further CV and crony opportunities.

    While I’m still a bit shocked the UK voted BREXIT, we have to remember when Britain kept the pound the economists predicted it would be the end of them, so this may be no different.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    What changed – less than 24 hours after Sanders said he wouldn’t – he now says he will vote for Hillary Clinton.


    • Paul 5.1

      I think many of his supporters will not vote for Clinton and abstain or vote for Jill Stein.

    • save nz 5.2

      Probably the thought of Trump’s fingers on the nukes button did it. At least Clinton would have an army of lobbyists guiding her so she only attacks targets without ‘big business’ financial interests located there.

    • Olwyn 5.3

      I would guess that he thinks that would be the best position from which to push his policies and promote future candidates from his team. The obvious retort is to say that he should hold out until he gets what he wants, but he has probably judged that being somewhat amenable to Hillary will actually allow him more traction. Given the level of support he has, along with a stated openness to negotiation, Hillary’s refusal to take him seriously would show her up as unable to take on board interests that do not coincide with those of her backers.

      • save nz 5.3.1

        Trying to increase minimum wage does not seem like a big win for me for Sanders. As we can see in NZ, the cost of living can be astronomical compared with wages so 50cents here and there is pointless. It has to addressed with a whole range of measures, starting with where the money is leaving into tax havens for the .1% and global acquisition that means that legally people and companies can end up paying no taxes around the world. It has to redress the super rich first. The 50 million plus wealthy. Cronyism, Lobbying, why nothing is done about Climate change, why we are in an un winnable war with the middle east based on a lie about WMD.

        At the same time addressing the .1% needs to be done carefully as any new measures can just wipe out the savings of locals. While a land tax or capital gains tax might be an inconvenience to billionaires and they can afford to dispute it with accountants for years, – it can mean 20% of a middle class person’s lifelong savings, their ability to help their kids buy a house, or a hip operation or not being at the mercy of the state for superannuation .

        Ironically indiscriminate taxing can end up making the super rich, richer as they clean up a disrupted market buying assets cheap off the middle class. And that is already happening. And that is why Labour is losing the elections around the world as they have failed to see the issues of globalism in a practical way and what will work in the 21st century to address inequality. Supporting spying, wars, migration and the .1% while taking from the middle class more taxes, less services and longer working hours until retirement is not seem as redressing the balance.

        The conservatives have blamed other, the poor for taking the money off the middle class, the EU for all the problems.

        The poor just hit back.

        While sad for the EU, I also think Ha Ha, about time the financial markets and conservatives pay for their deception and their shocking treatment of the citizens of Greece.

        • Ad

          He’s left it too late to negotiate major policy platform changes at Convention.

          Hope his team form a SuperPac that really does reward their effort in the campaign. Not an epitaph.

        • Olwyn

          With Sanders, it is not just the minimum wage, he is also trying to get his supporters standing for congress. His mission seems to me to be to get grass roots democracy invigorated and effective, an aim which transcends any particular presidential race. I pretty much concur with you about the EU – I probably would have voted “remain” had I lived in Britain, with a view to suporting DiEM and pressing for change on a wider scale. However, I can also see the point in a “leave” vote – the shocking treatment of Greece hardly inspires confidence in the EU elites. My fear with the present unrest is the undercurrent of despair – that many people have reached the stage where seeing the elites get a kick in the teeth is the only “improvement” they are able to envisage.

          • save nz

            Yep if you just had your disability allowance cut and contemplating suicide or you are living in a dump working 60 hours a week while the new apartment buildings are priced at 30 million and being bought by foreign Nationals being feted by your PM for their foreign investment and positive contribution – is your life really going to get worse under BREXIT?

  6. dv 6

    How will the UK get BRLEAVE thu the commons as is required.
    The tories hold 330 of the 650 seats.
    Some tories are going have to cross the floor and vote leave.

    AND the scot nationalist party has 54 seats who will vote Stay too?

    • GregJ 6.1

      That’s why there is talk of a General Election – although how that would actually make a difference I’m not sure.

  7. Greg 8

    And Trump is just a political distraction to make Hillary look a much more stable President and being a women as well makes it wonderful for feminism.
    Hence why Trump is just getting more crazy, he is doing everything not be nominated.

  8. GregJ 9

    Looks like some are waking up to a Brexit hangover. An “Oh my god what have I done?” moment.

    • Ben 9.1

      The Great Unwashed voting for change, but having no idea what change means for them.

      • Lanthanide 9.1.1

        Yip, which is the basis for a do-over of this referendum.

      • KJT 9.1.2

        Us of the “great unwashed” have a much better idea than the well brainwashed Intellectia of the way things are heading.

    • weka 9.2

      Weirdness from the Remain side too with a petition for Londin to leave the UK and be part of the EU. You know how London voted to stay? Except for the small matter of 40% of Londoners voting to leave.

      I’m starting to think the biggest lesson here is how badly our stunted version of democracy serves us. And how many people don’t think about their neighbours.

      • Xanthe 9.2.1

        Yes its bizzarre that such a decision should only require a simple majority . And then suddenly 48% are just ignored. What a sad pointless divisive exercise

      • Lanthanide 9.2.2

        “I’m starting to think the biggest lesson here is how badly our stunted version of democracy serves us. And how many people don’t think about their neighbours.”

        And here’s the poster child for everyone saying “lets have referenda and let the public decide”.

        Actually sometimes the public are just idiots.

        • weka

          Where’s the poster child?

        • marty mars

          you, lanth, are the public too…

          • KJT

            That is the thing about those who believe that politicians should have the total right to dictate our future.

            The blind faith in the competence of authority.

        • KJT

          And sometimes, actually most times, politicians are self serving idiots, or worse, thieves!

          Why do we let a few people elected on their ability to quickly spout bullshit on TV, decide for us.

  9. Richardrawshark 10

    Talking to my sister this morning, those who declared they voted to leave are being attacked on FB, lots of hatred coming out to those who voted to leave. Of the eligible voters I figure as the Uk is in the mid 60 millions and the vote eligibility was mid 30’s there is 30 million odd people living in Brittain who had no say and are now reeling with hatred. Lets hope that concern doesn’t simmer into major issues later.

    She voted Leave her Husband voted Stay they cancelled each other out as they said there were good points to both and to them it didn’t matter. I’ll mull that over latter.

    It wasn’t a political Party vote guys, those of you turning this into a Labour, Tory issue party vote are fucked in the head.

    Nato nothing to do with it. Nor are treaties.

    I voted leave, thankfully, the people of NZ are far more likely to allow me my democratic choice without moaning about it.

    • weka 10.1

      “Of the eligible voters I figure as the Uk is in the mid 60 millions and the vote eligibility was mid 30’s there is 30 million odd people living in Brittain who had no say and are now reeling with hatred. Lets hope that concern.”


    • GregJ 10.2

      I’m not sure what exactly you are getting at.

      The UK has a population of 64 million and a voting age population of 50 million. The turnout for the referendum was about 71-72% (which was higher than the last election – actually higher than any General Election in the UK since 1997) and about 33.5 million voted.

    • GregJ 10.3

      I’ll tell you what is an issue – it appears those aged 18-24 voted at about 65% to remain and those between 25-40 at about 57% to remain.

      So the people that are actually going to have to live through the consequences long-term wanted to remain.

      I think it is another indication of how divided the country actually is.

      • KJT 10.3.1

        If you break it down further, the young, privileged and comfortable in the South East voted to stay.

        Here. It would be the young Nat’s demographic.

    • Greg 10.4

      Did the Muslims vote, probably not, as its against their religion.

  10. ianmac 11

    A lot of food for thought Rob. Thanks.

  11. dukeofurl 12

    The 1975 EU referendum was Remain 67.2% .Turnout was 64.6%

    2016 referendum was Remain 48.9 % turnout was 72.2%

  12. Ad 13

    The Left – even here – can do more careful reflection than the human one of blame. Gould this morning was particularly stupid.

    The big global fissures we see rending the US and Europe aren’t happening here. Nor in Australia. We should be figuring our differences at this point, not trying for overreaching similarities.

    There is nothing gained and much to be lost by going into a left-eating-itself drama. This is not that moment. This is the moment to be unified and simply watch the hard right eat itself. On both sides of the Atlantic.

    We can if we want see pro-sovereignty and anti-immigration sentiment as code for a deeper reaction against neo-liberalism if we want. Maybe. Not really useful.

    This aftermath is a tactical moment, not a policy moment.

    • Paul 13.1

      No similarities.
      You are dreaming.

      The neo-liberal experiment has destroyed social democracy in both the UK and New Zealand, with significant adverse impacts.



      New Zealand

      • Ad 13.1.1

        Brexit didn’t occur from homelessness.

        There is nothing to be gained presuming we can replicate the same politics of fear and anxiety here.

        • Pat

          Brexit occured because of inequality…..do you suggest we have no issues with inequality in NZ?

        • Paul

          Did you read this article?

          “If you’ve got money, you vote in,” she said, with a bracing certainty. “If you haven’t got money, you vote out.”

          ‘Most of all, Brexit is the consequence of the economic bargain struck in the early 1980s, whereby we waved goodbye to the security and certainties of the postwar settlement, and were given instead an economic model that has just about served the most populous parts of the country, while leaving too much of the rest to anxiously decline.
          What defines these furies is often clear enough: a terrible shortage of homes, an impossibly precarious job market, a too-often overlooked sense that men (and men are particularly relevant here) who would once have been certain in their identity as miners, or steelworkers, now feel demeaned and ignored. The attempts of mainstream politics to still the anger have probably only made it worse: oily tributes to “hardworking families”, or the the fingers-down-a-blackboard trope of “social mobility”, with its suggestion that the only thing Westminster can offer working-class people is a specious chance of not being working class anymore.’

          People voted because of increased inequality in the UK.
          Homelessness is but one symptom of that.


          We have increasing inequality in New Zealand.
          We have a terrible shortage of homes.
          We have an impossibly precarious job market.

          Have you not noted that?
          Or are your tinted windows in your SUV always up and your gated community sealed hermetically?

          • Ad

            The geographic breakdown that CV comments on in the other posting is far more accurate. The article cites voters preferences from just a handful of districts – far too selective.

            If people voted for anything along class lines, we’d have had multiple progressive changes in UK governments. They didn’t. That analysis isn’t working.

            My car windows are from a 2006 Volvo, and no, I don’t even have a gate at all.

            But nice try at slurring me. It’s such a charming substitute for reason.

        • Stuart Munro

          Nevertheless the negative impacts of immigration and investment seem to be apparent in the form of a crisis in Auckland.

    • Robertina 13.2

      It was reading John Harris’ stuff in the Guardian in the lead-up to the vote that prepared me for the leave vote – and his post-Brexit piece (most read article on the Guardian at time of this comment) is a good read too.
      Don’t know what you’re on about it being perhaps a ”code” for something – this is a working class revolt against free markets, and a dangerous triumph for the right. It’s a period of upheaval and chaos for the right, but not a self-destruct moment, apart from for certain tory politicians.
      I’m not suggesting there will be a similar populist movement in NZ, but there are parallels in terms of multiple market failures and a sense of a 50-50 divide in the population.
      What do you mean when you refer to ”big global fissures” and why would NZ be immune from them?

      • Ad 13.2.1

        We have never had a major anti-austrity uprising. Protests, sure. But we have by massive majorities since 2006 voted in pretty mild governments.

        We need to accept there will not be a Sanders here, or anything like it, in our lifetimes.

        We don’t have ethnic tension. Despite being flooded by immigrants, proportionally far faster than Britain has.

        We don’t have a formal constitutional union with any other nation. We’re closer to some than others, sure. We have the balance of powers and of sovereignty right, and we’ve been deliberate about those allegiances for longer than I’ve been alive.

        We have a superior and more nuanced democratic system in MMP than BRitain has, with a whole bunch more pressure valves.

        Come on, there’s a whole list. You’re bright enough.

        • Robertina

          My main point was disputing your take on what Brexit represents, rather than whether anything similar could happen here.
          But mostly the things you point to are matters of degree – it doesn’t mean they are not present in NZ.
          It’s possible NZ will continue to decline in a social, economic, and environmental sense, without any uprising, but it’s still driven by the same political and global forces.

          • Ad

            We’ll never get to a single source of reasoning on it.
            Squint your eyes and it’s because of global warming.

            It’s simply done. And we’re fine.

            • Colonial Viper

              All I see is a certain headspace complacency amongst a certain political class; clever rationalisations why similar doesn’t apply to NZ. But all NZ is, is as always, 15-20 years behind trends in the rest of the world.

              No one “respectable” considered BREXIT or Scottish independence scenarios with any seriousness in 2000. But now just 16 years later…

      • Greg 13.2.2

        National only win elections on low voter turnouts, poll after poll for NZs Tory National party claimed that they were well out in front, and yet, What message does this send?

        And now, National only govern by 1 seat, and that was a gerrymander.

        Key said National should not be arrogant this third term, when have they not been, its in their nature.
        Helen was popular too, and over confident in 2008, but not so over confident to have her next job lined up. Hence why she quit on election night.

        • Colonial Viper

          voters would turn out if they had something worth voting for.

          • Greg

            Or vote a decaying government out.

            Max Key may well trigger a living in paradise youth revolt, who normally dont vote. He does seem brilliant, the media reported last year he was a 1st year economic student, now he’s a forth year student studying some investment stuff, just like his daddy, funny that.

            The homeless and disspossed need a fake address to vote,
            they can do it online pretty easily.

            • Colonial Viper

              you can’t vote a government out except in name when the next lot just continue with the same market driven shite. So why bother.

  13. Paul 14

    If you want to understand the world today, this 3 hour documentary explains a lot.

    The Century of Self by Adam Curtis

  14. Nic the NZer 15

    Is the fact the Clinton campaign is 35x more in hock to wealthy doners supposed to be a positive for Hillary?

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      And just as puzzling, the self styled ‘lefties’ who are also celebrating Sanders folding in half and capitulating to Killary.

  15. Jenny 16

    Brexit, Sprexit, Grexit, TPPA

    “If you are rich you vote “IN” if you are poor you vote “OUT”

    It is clear that the xenophobic Right have claimed the Brexit as their victory, but is it?

    Is the Brexit a progressive move?

    With Left commentary and analysis thin on the ground, the Left seems to have been caught flat footed over the whole Brexit affair.

    But this may rapidly change, top of all progressive thinkers minds must be the political consequences for the Brexit for Spain and Greece. (and even free trade deals like the TPPA).

    At the top of Left thinkers minds must be what happened in Greece and what may be revisited soon in Spain.

    As is well known, the Greeks voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to oppose EU imposed austerity. This vote was taken by all commentators as meaning that a Greek exit or Grexit from the EU was inevitable.

    But in a massive U turn, the Left Syriza Party led by Alexis Tsipras which had swept the polls less than a year earlier on a program of opposing austerity, became the enforcer of the EU imposed austerity. The Tsipras “Tsell Out” split Syriza and weakened it, this was symbolised by Tsipras sacking of the highly popular economic professor turned finance minister Yanis Varoufakis who had commissioned a plan for Greece to leave the European Union and even to reprint Drachmas to replace the Euro.

    The Tsell Out strengthened the Right and gave the Greek fascist Party, Golden Dawn a massive fillip of support.

    This story may soon be repeated in Spain with the Left anti-austerity party Podemos, but in the wake of the Brexit, a very different ending.



    • Paul 16.1

      Yes, articulate left wing voices make a case for leaving Europe.

      Tony Benn

      • Paul 16.1.1

        George Galloway

        • Paul

          Why the left should vote to leave the EU
          Aaron Bastani

          • Paul

            Dennis Skinner

            • Ad

              Again, I’m not worthy to tie Mr Skinner’s shoes.

              But by his own admission he’s a super-nationalist who has opposed every single treaty put to him. This guy is a true outlier. He wanted the EU to fail, still does, and will do everything to make sure it fails. He’s out there.

        • Ad

          Wake me up when the funders of the Leave campaign are disclosed.
          Money is dirt all round. Be real. Galloway is one of the dirtiest players around.

      • Ad 16.1.2

        I will never in my life achieve a sliver of what Tony Benn has achieved. This is Tony Benn.

        But here’s why he’s wrong.

        First off, the only policy reason he gives is loss of policy control about agriculture. In Britain, no one gives a flying fig about agriculture. Britain retained massive policy control about almost every area of its sovereignty.

        Secondly, he talks about political accountability. Now, this is an an endless argument about never being able to have enough democracy. Who could argue with perpetually more accountability? Answer: anyone who has worked in a government. Benn’s argument has all the emotion that he can muster. But it doesn’t work as government.

        Switzerland has had more binding super-democratic referenda than I’ve had hot dinners, and the result has been a sad, inbred, isolationist, racially pure bunch of do-nothings whose claim to fame is diplomatic neutrality. And their one cultural success: the cuckoo clock.

        Whereas Italy, just down the road, had the Medicis, the Borgias, and the Catholic church, who slit each others’ throats, enslaved who they wanted, and slept with their sisters. Wait for it: they generated the greatest art the world has ever known. Not a democrat in sight. Not a vote passed. Ever.

        Democracy ain’t all that. It’s something, but it ain’t government.

        Benn uses the emotion of democracy as a pretext for eternal mediocrity and making more and more accountability over less and less and less. It’s like Penny Bright gave him the script.

        • Paul

          I’m assuming you’re a National supporter.
          Tony Benn was a great left wing voice.

          • Ad

            No I am not a National supporter. Which is why I was careful at the beginning to honour him.

            Why not address the points instead, or, like the British, do you prefer to diminish yourself?

            • Paul

              I am merely trying to show that there are genuine left wing reasons for leaving Europe.
              There are also left wing arguments ( solidarity, internationalism, peace ) for staying in Europe.

              • Ad

                The ones you show are definitely genuine.

                They are wrong.

                All of them will be on record for this once the UK is dimished; diminished in its economy, in its societal cohesion, in its international alliances and reach, and eventually in its physical kingdom.

                Benn in particular gets me on democracy. Here’s a guy that was quite prepared to make massive executive decisions over great parts of the economy, without blinking a political eye.
                Here’s a guy who was there at the formation of the UN, and the Marshall Plan – hardly put there by democratic fiat.

                He’s overplaying his one hand.

        • KJT

          Extremely facile analysis of Switzerland.

          I know which country I would rather have lived in, especially in Borgia times.

          Would you rather live in NZ, now, or Iraq.

    • Jenny 16.2

      As the political earthquake from the Brexit rolls across Europe

      A Podemas win in the upcoming Spanish elections, would pretty much doom the TTIP


      This would have a flow on negative affect to the TPPA. The whole neo-liberal global agenda on free trade and investment, including the corporate global political power grab could suffer a serious set back.

    • dv 16.3

      “If you are rich you vote “IN” if you are poor you vote “OUT”

      The irony oh the irony
      The richest people in the UK lost US$5.5 billion (NZ$7.7 billion) on Friday after the country stunned global markets by voting to leave the European Union.


    • Greg 16.4

      because the Left has been assimilated by Feminism, only a few lone voices remain,
      so there is no collective response.
      The silence of Feminism says it all.

  16. save nz 17

    If the UK had a financial transaction tax, then they would be getting taxes off this financial crisis to help their citizens and would stem volatility. It is telling that the UK has stamp duty, capital gains and higher income taxes, yet as one of the world’s financial capitals, they have no taxes on financial speculators. Likewise Wall street.

    And that is where the most greedy and most neoliberal legally make their billions in the West.

  17. Colonial Viper 18

    I love how pro-establishment pro-EU the Guardian has been.

    What a bunch of biased fuckwits.

  18. Paul 19

    Rod Oram is a business journalist and he discusses the economic fall-out of Brtain’s vote to leave the EU.


    • Ad 19.1

      Oram as one would expect is strongest talking about the impact on the British and New Zealand economy. He’s right that this is the wrong moment to upset the world economy (although there is no right moment).

      But he undercuts himself presuming that the rage was caused by something to do with anti-capitalism. He uses the example of Northern Ireland, but by his own admission they voted for whatever reason along religious lines.

      He has no idea why the voting interests of Scotland and London would be the same. Doesn’t try.

      He makes a comparison between Boris and Trump. I have news for Oram: a big difference is that Trump is already walking political Undead. Boris is on the rise.

      Oram appears to have little hope that the EU and Britain can come to a settled arrangement, and that it’s the biggest thing to happen since World War Two. Erm, it pretty much pales against the collapse of the Soviet Union, or the overall impact of immigration over the last decade, or the Yugoslav civil war, or Maastricht, or the formation of the Euro itself.

      Oram should just inhale for a moment.

      • RedLogix 19.1.1

        Boris has risen the crypt alright, but the dawning of a few harsh realities may quickly see him scuttling back there.

      • Greg 19.1.2

        The only impact is National admitting their fantasy about a FTA with the EU just that, there’s nothing for the EU in NZ that they cant already get, and NZ has nothing to bargain with. The EU is run by a commission, they might do a FTA if the Government offered them 5 Billion Dollars, something a desperate Key will do.

  19. Paul 20

    What have the EU done for us?

  20. Paul 21

    I feel my own views are much like those articulated by Jonathan Pie in this sketch.
    Watch from about 4.35

  21. Paul 22

    Filmmaker Nick Blakemore spent the last couple of days in Burnley – which voted two-thirds for Brexit – to see what was motivating voters there.

  22. Ad 23

    This is Portishead’s tribute to Jo Cox.
    Works just as well if you imagine the EU waving Britain goodbye:

  23. Observer Toke 24

    . Unity – the Triumph of Europe

    . As London knows, Unity is the powerhouse of progress, wealth, equality and inter-nation harmony.

    . Provincial UK manipulated by Bulldog Game Shooting Conservatives, is as quaint the Antiques Road Show. Of course these Conservative Provincials hate the diverse nations and populations of Great Europe.

    It is an enormous task for Europe to cope with the religious warfare of Islam, the cruelty of Arabic civil war, which has fuelled the fleeing millions from the Middle East and Africa.

    Britain has lost its nerve. Does not want to solve problems. Just wants to have its undisturbed pretty little Antiques Road Show. The British poor will be poorer for not having the support of Great Europe.

    • Jenny 24.1

      You paint a word picture O.T. that is completely at odds with the reality. The E.U. is not the progressive force you make out.

      The move to leave the E.U. was not driven “Bulldog Game Shooting Conservatives” at all.

      All exit polls show that the Brexit was driven by those left behind by the elites, who have done very well out of the centralisation of political power in the E.U.

      It is not religious warfare or the cruelty of Arabic civil war, it is EU warplanes that have along with Russia and the US, (alongside the darling of the West, Assad), that have been bombing Syrian cities, that is fuelling the refugee crisis.

      And it is the West’s puppet regime in Saudi Arabia that with bomber supplied and armed by the West that have been bombing Yemen, (with the help of U.S. controlled drones), that have kept this vicious civil war going.

      It is EU members that are putting up barbed and tear gassing the desperate refugees fleeing the warplanes bombing their cities.

      It is the E.U. elites driven by hate and greed, who want to subsume all democracy to the central European banksters. And now with the TTIP, TPPA to the will of international global finance capital.

      The E.U. with the interests of the bankers as their first priority that has proven inadequate to the task of dealing with climate change. (And in fact have no interest in doing so.)

      It is the international class of blood suckers and war mongering parasites, not the “British poor”, that have been weakened and made poorer by the Brexit.

  24. Incognito 25

    Regarding those articles in the Guardian: read and weep.

  25. Paul 26

    Max Keiser: Brexit fallout could result in systemic collapse bigger than 2008

  26. Paul 27

    “Keiser Report” Episode 932

    Max and Stacy are joined from New York City by Mitch Feierstein of PlanetPonzi.com to dissect the economic, monetary and financial consequences of the ‘shocking’ Brexit vote – Britain votes to leave the European Union. The Keiser Report team look closer at the market sell off and ask if it’s part of a wider market weakness set in motion months ago, then examine the role of the media, much as in the rise of Donald Trump, in simply failing to understand the ‘disposable’ voters left behind by globalization. Mitch shows a chart proving that the biggest pound sterling sell-off was actually in 2008 and the currency has never really recovered since then.


    • ropata 27.1

      Cool, i gotta get my Max Keiser fix. Episode 930 was a doozy with Chris Whelan, exposes how illusory & artificial our global banking system has become.


      • Colonial Viper 27.1.1

        Just watched that one, Chris Whelan was great. Negative interest rates, as he says, is a sign that the elite have given up on producing and creating and instead have decided to run down the capital of the world that has been built up in the post WWII years.

  27. dukeofurl 28

    Bryan Gould makes an interesting essay on the left case for Brexit


    he was involved with the original case of Britain joining
    “I came to the realisation that what we were offered was not “Europe” but a Franco-German deal guaranteeing free trade in manufactures to the Germans in return for subsidised agriculture to suit the French.”

    “We have now run a trade deficit every year since 1982, which was just as the full impact of EU membership took effect – not just a coincidence, since the greater part of that deficit is with the other members of the EU, and much of it arises in the trade in manufactured goods.
    The result is that our manufacturing sector has shrivelled away, and our net investment in new manufacturing capacity is virtually nil.”

  28. infused 29

    Trumps gone now. He fucked up with the mass killing that happened.

    Unless he cures cancer, he ain’t gona get in now. The US will get the puppet master Hillary instead.

    • Paul 29.1

      Your optimism is good to see.
      But I sense there is the same anti-establishment vote in the US that saw Brexit.

      • infused 29.1.1

        You shouldn’t be happy. Hillary will be as bad, if not worse.

        • Paul

          I am not happy. You are correct.
          Hillary will be as bad, if not worse, as you say.
          There is just a choice between 2 terrible options.

  29. Paul 30

    EU push to remove UK immediately

    ‘The six founding members of the European Union will meet in Berlin shortly in response to Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.
    The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were expected to consider how to deter other countries from following Britain’s example.
    They would also discuss ways to dissuade other countries from following the UK in leaving the union, the BBC reported.
    There was also much talk behind the scenes about how quickly the split could be achieved, with some member states reportedly wanting to remove Britain as soon as possible and before incumbent British Prime Minister David Cameron is replaced.’


    • infused 30.1

      Yeah, they can’t. Just scare mongering to keep the other countries in-line.

  30. Jenny 31

    David Cunliffe on the Brexit

    “As incomes become more fragile, as wealth becomes more obscenely unequal, as business becomes more global and the means of democratic oversight more remote from everyday folk, how else can things turn out?”


  31. Paul 32

    Deutsche Bank on brink of collapse

    Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive John Cryan, a Briton, on Friday morning said the consequences of the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union “will be negative on all sides.”

    “I’m afraid that this is not such a good day for Europe,” Mr. Cryan said in a statement. He said the Frankfurt-based lender is well-prepared but added, “there’s no doubt that the uncertainty created by the referendum’s results will be a challenge.”


  32. Paul 33

    George Galloway on Brexit.

  33. Paul 34

    George Galloway on the laughable warnings from the IMF, OECD

  34. Paul 35

    George Galloway on Labour’s historic opposition to the EU

  35. Paul 36

    George Galloway on why we should never give up democracy for the EU

  36. Paul 37

    George Galloway on the role of the EU in the Ukraine conflict.

  37. Paul 38

    George Galloway on the dangers of TTIP and why the EU is privatising rail

  38. Paul 39

    Channel 4 News – Brexit special edition

  39. Jenny 40

    Jeremy Corbyn and British Labour who on the main wanted to remain in the EU.


  40. Paul 41

    Sturgeon seeks urgent Brussels talks to protect Scotland’s EU membership

    First minister to set up panel of experts to advise her on how Scotland can manage its future relationship with EU.
    Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish government will seek to enter into “immediate discussions” with Brussels to “protect Scotland’s place in the EU” in the wake of the Brexit vote.
    Speaking after a meeting of the Scottish cabinet at Bute House, the first minister said she would set up a panel of experts to advise her on how the nation can manage its relationship with the European Union in the future.
    She also reiterated that the necessary legislation would be put in place for a second Scottish independence referendum, following the EU referendum result which saw Scotland vote to stay in by 62% while the UK as a whole voted to leave.


  41. Incognito 42

    Trump vs. Clinton.

    Brexit vs. Bremain.

    You know that things are bad when the number of options have come down to a binary choice. Nice & simple, yes or no, black or white, in or out.

    The simplification of complex issues and polarisation of debate and opinion is a sure sign of heading the wrong way and ending up with our backs against the wall, past a tipping point.

    David Cunliffe nailed it:

    Reform prevents revolution.

    Reform is long overdue.

    Prevention is better than cure.

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