- Date published:
11:37 am, September 19th, 2018 - 33 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Economy, Europe, Free Trade, International, Left, liberalism, Media, political alternatives, political education, Propaganda, uk politics - Tags: brexit, europe, UK
When Ireland voted “the wrong way” on the Lisbon Treaty in 2008 and on the Nice Treaty in 2001, on both occasions, Irish voters were sent back to the polls for a second shot at coming up with the “correct” answer. The same “opportunity to learn” had previously been extended to Danish voters who had rejected the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 , though in that instance an “opt-out” provision for Denmark (The Edinburgh Agreement) was included in the 1993 re-vote.
Would it be reasonable to include the 2015 bailout referendum in Greece that ‘inspired’ the Greek government to disregard the recorded political will of the Greek electorate and negotiate a bailout package anyway?
The European “project” doesn’t tend to take “no” for an answer. That said (and this is just reading tea leaves), if the EU had sent the British back to the polls, or if the UK government had sent the public back to the polls in short order, then the vote for ‘Leave’ would likely have increased.
So I’m thinking a longer game was entered into. A game that would allow the European establishment to turn the screws on the UK’s political class. I’m coming around to thinking that the basic idea is to have Britain on its knees begging for a second go at things. The UK had (in political terms) a very favourable arrangement with the EU. But any advantage the UK might have had before the Brexit vote, won’t survive a second vote – their relationship with Europe will be “brought into line”. They will. go. backwards. in relation to what they had before.
And (initially at least) the British people will be immensely grateful for having been given the chance to make good on their mistake. The dawning, that they’ve been placed ‘properly’ under the heel of Eurocrats and technocrats will come later.
And Jeremy Corbyn’s UK Labour Party’s social democratic ambitions will be dead in the water. That’s important, but not something that gets any oxygen whatsoever in mainstream media. There is no ability within the European framework to re-nationalise industries or sectors of the economy that have been privatised. None. Europe is a liberal project, and that means (broadly) freeing the private sector to do as it will, and ensuring that once free, there is no capacity for a government who might want to gear the economy to serve (to steal Jeremy Corbyn’s phrase) ‘the many and not the few’, from slipping a leash on it and pulling it to heel.
In short then, Europe will simply continue to say “no” to whatever Teresa May might cobble together by way of a negotiating position for a post Brexit relationship with Europe. The press will keep hammering on that voters have realised the error of their ways and want to recant. Alongside that, a Project Fear on the dire straits to be expected from exiting Europe will keep doing the rounds – stuff like this or any number of other pieces I could pick from that overstuffed barrel of fish marked “Brexit Stories”.
People will vote again.
And the result – the ‘proper’ one this time – will be against their better interests, though absolutely in the better interests of corporate business interests and fellow travelers.
That’s an interesting analysis from an angle I really hadn’t considered before. Clearly the treatment of Greece turned out to be optically counterproductive; other member states (specifically Italy, Spain and Portugal) would have looked upon that coercive ugliness with deep misgivings. A different strategy with Britain was clearly called for.
At the same time the Brits are not entirely helpless; a Norwegian Brexit (in but not out) is the probable outcome of the Eurocrats just saying no to every suggestion. Because ultimately the Brexit vote had the same logic as Trump; a really bad idea for very understandable reasons.
The current EU lacks democratic accountability and this will eventually lead to a major re-shaping of the institution. The Greek and Brexit crisis may well be eventually seen as preliminary steps in that process. Going back to a divided Europe is not going to happen, at least not permanently.
” Norwegian Brexit (in but not out) is the probable outcome”
Thats incorrect as Norway was trying to join ….not leave, no wonder they agreed to EU terms for their ‘out but not in’.
Better for both parties if Britain leaves.
A Britain crawling back in Europe now would be diminished with no international credibility, and Europe itself would find it harder to integrate in the way they ultimately want.
Europe should have started with a core of countries committed to federalism, making the task of unification a lot easier. The dog’s breakfast they have now will be almost impossible to cohesively unite.
The dog’s breakfast they have now will be almost impossible to cohesively unite.
I agree; but given Germany’s central role and powerful dominance it’s hard to see how it can be unravelled without a lot of pain. In reality I suspect what we will get is a buggers muddle of reforms as the years go by.
“A Britain crawling back in Europe now would be diminished with no international credibility” .. that’s already happened, the question now is of degree. Thatcher had the Falklands, and conservative minds are doubtless concentrated on finding a distraction of the same magnitude .. another Crimean war ? Would it work in a more critical and highly connected world ?
“The British government will have to experience its “darkest hour” and stare into the abyss of a no-deal Brexit before it will cave in to Brussels demands, senior EU diplomats have predicted.” https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/17/uk-needs-darkest-hour-in-brexit-talks-before-giving-ground
Let’s assume May is encountering a distasteful set of terms as an alternative. Classic devil & deep blue sea binary. Which is worse? Well, if she agrees to the deal and it later turns out to be something that Brits dislike enough, she’ll lose the next election. Corbyn will become PM. If she rejects it, the aftermath of Brexit may be so much discontent that she loses due to that. Looks like a win/win scenario for Corbyn. Why do you disagree Bill?
Please ignore anything the Guardian says…. its not giving an independent view, as its clearly just promoting the ‘intellectual-bureaucratic’ class who benefited most from the EU.
It will be like Y2K come the day…. everyone will wonder what the fuss was about.
The problem with using instances of revotes is that it was to stay within the EU framework.
leaving is completely different. Closest example I can think of was Singapore exiting the Malaysian Federation.
“Europe will simply continue to say “no” to whatever Teresa May might cobble together by way of a negotiating position for a post Brexit relationship with Europe.”
Britain isnt a small country like Greece , who cant be easily pushed around. Britain is far too important a market for those countries nearby. Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Northern France and german manufacturing. ( 20% of German made cars go to Britain). The fishing is a major issue as of course UK waters would be close to EU boats if theres no deal.
of course the EU bureaucracy wants what it wants, but at some point the political masters will step in. The EU just cant do with out the UK money as they write a new budget only every 5 years.
Much is made of the London financial centre but of course the actual money is made mostly in Dublin for the Irish minuscule corporate tax deals. The dealers may be in London but that screen connects to computers elsewhere.
Im inclined to think back at the end of WW1, The Germans wanted talks about an armistice, but dragged it out until they were given an ultimatum- sign here.
Which is a repeat of what happened with the Bolshevik government talks with Germany a year earlier over ending the war. It was again deliberate Russian policy to drag the talks out , in the end they were given an ultimatum. Sign this.
Im not surprised at all that the talks are being dragged out by the EU with fairly impoosible conditions. Thats a deliberate strategy…..
of course reading the partisan British press for the Pro EU side such as Guardian and the even more pro EU Independent you would think a new referendum is right around the corner …for at least 6 months they have been saying that after they gave up on the idea parliament would stop the Brexit ..
Check out this dozzey of from the radical centre, hopelessly out of touch middle class liberal waves her fist at the clouds.
This bit: “Sajid Javid – regarded as a “moderate” – regaled the last cabinet meeting with a 10-minute leadership pitch worthy of his Ayn Rand spirit-guide. He called for “shock-and-awe” tax cuts for business, deregulation of workers’ rights, abolishing automatic enrolment in pension schemes and scrapping environment controls.”
“That should knock sense into any Labour sectarians. So too should the success John McDonnell has had in recent weeks laying out policies and principles with the vigour of a man who seriously wants to win. Good to see him espouse the long-needed Robin Hood tax, which Britain has blocked the EU from imposing on financial transactions. He is making surprising friends: Lord O’Neill (ex-Goldman Sachs chief economist) told the Sunday Times: “I find myself struggling to be that scared by the prospect of a Corbyn government. They have captured the mood of the times.” The goal is wide open – if Labour avoids being its own worst enemy.”
Seemed good reasoning to me. The current Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, was managing director at Deutsche Bank – born in Lancashire, one of five sons of parents of Pakistani descent. His father worked as a bus driver. Self-made man.
Yeah, I’m with you on the historical hard-bargaining parallels & am aware of the Guardian agenda.
The near hysterical demands for a second referendum from the middle class Liberal UK establishment is a terrible idea, entirely driven by the same completely out of touch Blairite Guardianista pundits who predicted Remain would win at a canter and that Corbyn would lead Labour to it’s lowest vote since the Great War and who think that a new centre party made up of “sensible” Labour “moderates”, Tory remainers and the detritus of the Lib-Dems would be an election winning master stroke. A second referendum would smack of voting until you get the “right” result and would anyway settle nothing, since the political conditions that created Brexit in the first place would continue and the Brexiteers are not going anywhere.
People wonder why Corbyn is a moderate Brexiteer, but the reality is much of Labour’s nationalisation agenda cannot be easily enacted within the EU’s neoliberal straightjacket.
The best option is probably a soft Brexit negotiated by a Corbyn led Labour government, but that won’t happen, because the European commission is run by unelected bureaucrats of towering arrogance who think that – like they did with the Greeks – they can make an object lesson out of the British on the consequences of trying to leave (which, by the way, kinda proves some of the Brexiteers points). The British are not the Greeks, for a start they have a huge economy and most importantly they never entered the currency union. They can leave – just – and survive, but the EU autocrats will have none of anyone else trying if they can help it and their supposed elected masters are currently paralysed by the impact of the excesses of the EU immigration policies on domestic politics across Europe.
I love the idea of the EU, but it is so badly run and undemocratic at the moment you have to wonder if it is worth preserving in it’s current form.
Interesting post. I’m inclined to think they should get another chance at a vote mainly because a lot of people did not vote and there was a lot of propaganda and discrepancies like Cambridge Analytica scandals.
If Britain could vote again they would get a much higher turn out of voters in my view so it would be a more democratic demonstration.
With the US imploding, non democratic countries coming into increasing power, Europe for all it’s dysfunction and bureaucracy seems to be one of the countries that treat their nationals the best and have the best outcomes for it’s people so a stronger Europe with Britain might be best for world stability in general.
Europe should not be twats and welcome them back or that reason above.
What the UK wanted under Cameron was to move to the way Oz treats our migrants – no right to welfare (to ease pressure on the UK budget post GFC). But the EU would not budge in negotiations.
The UK could have leveraged the Brexit vote to realise this, but chose to honour Brexit.
Then it could have chosen to remain in the single market and customs union after leaving the EU provided it did not have to pay welfare and housing support to EU citizens in the UK (an up front cost in the leaving payment to the EU balanced by the annual saving on the EU budget input), but it chose a hard Brexit.
The Boris line is that maintaining a close connection to the EU while not being in the EU decision-making was a loss of sovereignty (little more than WTO trade rules or FTA trade rules by the way). The not so young Turk island nationalist in him.
It is really just a form of the Buchanan/Trump isolationism that has infested the Anglo-American world of late, if the PNAC designed Bush-Blair NWO should fail retreat to the laager. It is an era or regime coming to an end – Anglo-American world dominance.
Little England is coming, the game of imperial thrones is at its end.
That said, the May or post May Tory Brexit form could be undone – first by by the next Labour government to a softer form and then later by the impact of younger voters – who support remaining in the single market.
Politically the Scottish independence movement is going to get renewed impetus (using the Ireland border arrangment as a precedent), and the young are going to look for a vehicle for protest votes. Given their FPP it might not be LD, except as a protest vote, but supporting Labour and Tory MP’s sympathetic to their point of view.
Lets be honest here;
The EU project has benefited only a very few powerful countries in the EU.
thats the gist of it. German manufacturing and French agriculture is real reason s for the EU growing. Oh they wanted the euro as a world currency as well to not be forced to use the US dollar.
one by one you can see you the EU began as a french and german coal and steel cartel in the early 50s into the first ‘common market’ from the Treaty of Rome in 1957 with ‘ Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany’ which added agriculture to the coal and steel at frances insistence
Yes – being out of the European framework may allow Corbyn to re-nationalise essential infrastructure.
But it would also allow the Tories to carry out Trump-like vandalism of the environment, or working conditions, etc. That, as much as the little Englander hatred of brown/black immigrants, is what motivated so many Tories to support Brexit.
Varoufakis otoh recommends staying in Europe and trying to reform it.
God knows – but it will be fascinating to see which way the stalemate breaks. Interesting piece – thanks.
Yes. By instinct I would prefer to see a united Europe, but under a properly accountable federation. The intention of the EU is admirable; but the technocrat implementation and German bank dominance has deeply undermined the entire enterprise.
Will there be a berxit? Yep.
Is it even possible for dyslexia to overcome a basic proof read? It’s spelled for you at the top, ffs.
I find it difficult to believe you can screw up a sentence containing just 5 words. But apparently you can…
Heh, I read it as a smear against those who wear a burka.
James no business is against Brexit.
Backwards thinkers in rural areas like Brexit.
Well educated are against Brexit white uneducated for.
The loss of the U.K. from the E.U. diminishes the economic strength of the E.U. by one sixth. The E.U. will fall in economic ranking from just below the U.S. to smaller than China on current exchange rates. Brexit diminishes the whole of Europe.
Corbyn knows it, but would prefer to remain opaque and watch May slowly roast for pure political reasons. I’m sure there’s some tactical upside to that, but I would prefer a leader to have a few principles and actually lead.
With so much interdependent trade between BeNeLux, Germany, France, and the U.K., slowing and diminishing trade between the two is going to decrease the GDP of both the U.K. and the E.U. Cumulatively this will be large enough to slow global growth for some time. Christine Lagarde at the IMF is but one of many to issue clear warnings with just 6 months to go before it’s a reality. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-imf/uk-economy-will-shrink-without-brexit-deal-imf-warns-idUSKCN1LX0T4
London will shrink as a financial centre because capital will see no advantage to using the U.K. as a base into the E.U. But that won’t benefit the E.U. either. The patriotic dream of English self-sufficiency is a total mirage. Slower global growth and consequently lower oil process are no good for either Russia, or Iran, or any OPEC country.
As for renationalisation of any kind, it went great after WW2 in France when the state directly controlled 98% of coal production, 95% of electricity, 58% of banking, 38% of automobile production, and 15% of the entire GDP. But the last European leader to try that was Francois Mitterand, egged on by the Communists, and it was a total political and economic disaster. Chirac’s Gaullists then came in and sold them all off super-fast.
In geopolitical terms the U.S. is the biggest winner from the disintegration of the E.U. The U.S. rose to prominence as Europe fought each other in two world wars. Their only trade bloc rival will remain China and its allies. The day after the Brexit vote, the Dow fell 610 points, the Euro fell 2%, the Pound fell. That was just the vote, not the actuality.
Prosperity is based on people and ideas. Who can attract the most talented people, educate them and their children, and give as many individuals as possible the opportunity to work productively? Whoever shuts people and ideas off, shuts down opportunities for personal upward mobility.
Ad. Perfect summary. Brexit should not happen, but neither can the EU ignore the reasons why the Brits voted for it.
Actually, it should happen as all FTAs should also be dropped. Such things are simply not needed and unnecessarily removes people’s right of self-governance.
Set up good education and social support within a nation. Set standards that ensure people have a fulfilling life and then say that nation will not trade with any other nation that doesn’t meet those standards with trade being defined as an exchange of products.
The why stop at ‘nation states’? Why not prevent all trade between cities and towns? Why not insist that each village be self-sustaining? Or each family return to subsistence hunter-gathering? What is so special about the nation-state as the fundamental trading unit as you seem to be insisting?
As usual you’re identifying a problem (unfair global trading agreements) and then throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The correct answer involves hard work and effort to negotiate fair trade agreements and practises.
It’s a question of levels and the rules that are applied at each.
I suggested elimination of trading agreements – not trade. Don’t need trading agreements to trade – just the same standards. International trade is, of course, a national decision and not an individual one (Collective rights over rule individual). Although sustainability does mean that international trade will need to be minimised and local development maximised.
“E.U. diminishes the economic strength of the E.U. by one sixth”
fall in rankings …… which mean what exactly. China would overtake EU anyway if Britain stays in.
You got the dates wrong about the last great nationalisation, it was during the GFC when a string of UK Banks were nationalised, and a swath of US banks were ‘ recapitalised’ by the Federal Reserve with a modern twist , they didnt get shares as security for the loans. EU has provided much the same sort of recapitalisation.
As for the slower UK growth – thats just spreadsheets saying a reduction in migration will produce a proportional reduction in GDP.
Per capita GDP might actually rise for a change ( we had the same idolisation of total GDP rather than per capita GDP in NZ with the rapid rise in migration)
Check back in how Singapore, sank beneath the waves because it left a larger economic grouping to do things its own way. All your rankings and economic strength palava come to nothing when the reality is compared.
Will not happen
Done and dusted