Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — Parliament must decide what Brexit means in the interests of the whole Kingdom


Ambrose Evans-Pritchard previously wrote a stirring essay supporting Leave for reasons of preserving national sovereignty that was linked to at MNE. AEP is well-connected and this piece sets forth the presumable maneuvers now taking place behind the scenes in London and the major EU capitals. It's going to be a negotiated settlement.

The Telegraph
Parliament must decide what Brexit means in the interests of the whole Kingdom
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

17 comments:

Michael Norman said...

Scary article. Maybe AEP is right about all this, however, he has a tendency to write like everything is going to hell.

Bob said...

It's going to be a negotiated settlement.

That is not filling me with confidence...

John said...

A "negotiated settlement" is a euphemism for remaining within the EU. This of course is what the "Leave" campaign (except for the racist moronic thugs known as UKIP) is now admitting to: acceptance of the principle of free movement of people, acceptance of the single market, acceptance of EU laws, acceptance of European courts decisions and their primacy over UK courts and parliament.

You can understand Boris campaigning to leave the EU - he wants to be PM. It seems however he never really expected to win, but to mortally wound David Cameron and replace him as PM. This risky gambit has now backfired. Boris is now backpedaling as fast as he can. The man was known to be a vociferous Europhile. It is now dawning on him that it may be down to him to take the UK out of a union he is devoted to and will oversee the breakup of the UK.

If, however, Parliament (the Conservative and Labour parties) disregard the will of the people and find a "compromise" with the EU that is essentially no different to what we currently have, then all hell is going to break loose. And make absolutely no mistake about it, Parliament is *NOT* going to listen to the will of the public; Parliament will find a "compromise" that is no different to the status quo.

Hell will then break loose: UKIP will take very many Labour seats, a good number of Conservative seats, and has a good chance of becoming the second biggest party (after the Conservatives) in the House of Commons. UKIP are closet neo-fascists, and everyone who is willing to be honest knows it. They're scary. At the last general election, the neo-fascist British National Party leader said of his party: "We are indeed what you might call racist." Seeing the the party's voters desert him, he moaned: "They’ve voted for UKIP’s racist policies instead."

John said...

continued...

A "soft-Brexit" would assuage the political elites and big business, but it will drive the country into the warm embrace of UKIP. The Thatcherites and the Blairites have done a real number on this country. There may now be a breakup and a UKIP storming of Parliament. This is a fate no country should have to endure. The wastelands of the UK are now fodder for UKIP. You'd think that the political elites who have led us this pretty pass, through their neglect and contempt, would now understand that this is no longer a tenable way of governing. But no, they're audaciously stupid plan is to treat these voters again with neglect and contempt! Instead, they wish to negotiate a "soft-Brexit" that is no different to full EU membership and ignore the will of the people.

The only sensible thing to do is to respect the will of the people, and that means a full EU exit. It may not stop the disintegration of the UK - it is probably too late - but at least it would stop the advance of the racist thugs who lead UKIP.

And while all this goes on, the Blairite zombies in the Labour party have attempted a coup. Their devotion to the EU is there for all to see: contempt for the most popular leader in the party's history, contempt for the membership who voted for him, contempt for democracy by attempting to unseat him through a coup, contempt for a referendum, snobbish contempt for the working class heartlands that are now wastelands. Their contempt is matched by devotion to everything that they have wrong with this country and believe that is so right: devotion to the EU, devotion to unaccountability, devotion to the banks, devotion to big business, devotion to privatization, devotion to low wages, devotion to job insecurity and hidden mass unemployment, devotion to war, devotion to the maddest of the mad and the vilest of the vile in the shape of Tony Blair, the not so shadowy figure behind the coup. If the Labour party membership do not move to deselect every single rightwing Labour MP, then they deserve the explosion of rage of a public that can't take any more.

We may as well change the national anthem from the current ludicrous and laughable one to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSUIQgEVDM4

Matthew Franko said...

"but it will drive the country into the warm embrace of UKIP."

I dont see why you think that would be such a bad thing...

Bob said...

John, were there warnings of the dire consequences of voting to leave that you outline here? If the referendum had gone the other way, UKIP would still have the immigration issue to pound away on.

A clamp down on immigration could deprive UKIP of some of their thunder. There remain all the other issues you mention, but it is a start. Zero change is essentially lipstick on a pig and won't fool anyone.

John said...

Matt: "I dont see why you think that would be such a bad thing..."

1. They're led by neo-fascists.
2. They're staffed by violent neo-fascists.

Given that hundreds of thousands of my countrymen and countrywomen died fighting this deranged ideology, and my grandfathers and many other grandfathers and great-grandfathers were forced to do unspeakable things in wartime that haunted them for the rest of their lives in destroying this warped fanaticism, the very least we can do is to vote against it. No guns. No blood. No guts. Just the simple act of voting that they fought and died for.

3. They're more devoted to neo-liberalism than anybody else.

In unguarded moments, they speak openly about privatizing the NHS and all public services.

For as long as I can remember, UKIP were considered a joke, literally a joke. Everybody would laugh at them. And who wouldn't give a nervous laugh: neo-fascist politics with Austrian economics is a cruel joke.

The only reason they're no longer a joke is down to the fact that desperate people do desperate things.

John said...

Bob: "Were there warnings of the dire consequences of voting to leave that you outline here?"

Only the so-called hard left made these warnings. Like me, they advised a leave vote but to do so with your eyes open.

"If the referendum had gone the other way, UKIP would still have the immigration issue to pound away on."

Yes, and they still do. The Leave campaigners, who are all hardcore neoliberals, now claim that mass immigration will continue, that they believe in the principle of free movement of labour, they believe in a single market adjudicated by courts which have primacy over our own courts and Parliament. That is to say, they now claim the exact opposite of what they said a mere few days ago.

"A clamp down on immigration could deprive UKIP of some of their thunder. There remain all the other issues you mention, but it is a start."

True, but it won't be done. The EUphiles are either saying that the referendum is non-binding or that a full membership "soft-brexit" is the most they will swallow, the worst that is acceptable.

"Zero change is essentially lipstick on a pig and won't fool anyone."

That is perfectly true. Quite understandably you fail to comprehend the disregard, scorn, snobbish contempt, even hate the political classes have for the public.

Bob said...

The Leave campaigners, who are all hardcore neoliberals, now claim that mass immigration will continue, that they believe in the principle of free movement of labour, they believe in a single market adjudicated by courts which have primacy over our own courts and Parliament.

Is this what Neil Wilson refers to as the British Growth Model?
https://medium.com/@aldursys/dear-labour-heres-the-immigration-line-you-need-74b984bdb5c4#.iye6fvwx7

The latter principle (freedom of movement) is only practical when you are a single country or a federation - which the EU is not. These people are living in a fantasy world and they are running out of time to wake up :(

Calgacus said...

The latter principle (freedom of movement) is only practical when you are a single country or a federation

As millennia of history and common sense show, this is not true, is not particularly practical from the purely economic perspective of every social / economic class. People mainly immigrate to work. Workers and working uhhh work. So they - including JG workers of course - more than support themselves, they support everyone else - including other low-wage workers too. Whether a particular nation wants to control immigration or not is up to them.

Immigration is a side issue. Doing nothing works just fine about immigration. So do half-baked complicated plans. The important thing is to end neoliberalism on whatever terms. Immigration is only made important by "elites" using it as a tool to divide and conquer - a tactic which can backfire, as it just has.

John said...

Bob: "Is this what Neil Wilson refers to as the British Growth Model?"

Yes, and it's also the growth model of the rest of the EU: drive down labour costs through cheap labour and steal the developing and barely developing world's medical, teaching, scientific and engineering professionals, trained at the their expense but the developed world gets all the advantages. Neil's got it perfectly right and his analysis, as usual, is as near perfect as possible. Although I wouldn't mind knowing why a high minimum wage wouldn't have the same effect as restricting the kind of cheap mass migration that has pushed down wages for the poorest and reinvigorate the vast wastelands of the UK.

I would say that I have some minor political disagreements with Neil and say that he seems to think that there is a difference between the neoliberal Tories in the Conservative Party and the neoliberal Tories in the Labour Party: David Cameron's government has been no worse than New Labour's, and arguably better in some respects. We saw that during last year's general election in which Ed Miliband was called a "red" because of the imperceptible differences he had with the Conservatives. After the election, you had Chuka Umunna, the crown prince of the zombie nation, declared that the neoliberal "Red Ed" was not a hyper-uber-neoliberal. I'd argue that many of the traditional one nation Tories are far preferable to the Chuka Umunnas, Tristram Hunts, Chris Bryants, Stephen Kinnocks, Liz Kendalls, Caroline Flints and Gloria Di Pieros. Indeed, Id far prefer to have a drink and a chat with, say, Justine Greening than, say, Liz Kendall.

New Labour's Blairite zombies are now trying to overthrow a leader who won by a landslide margin and will do so again if he has the guts to run again. Now, ask yourself why would the zombies do this? Quite simply because they would prefer to lose than see the UK leave their beloved neoliberal southern European killing EU machine. The zombies would have made their move sooner or later, but they're doing so now in order to solidify a pro-EU neoliberal leadership: they have made no secret of their new default and minimum negotiation position of "soft Brexit", which is no different in substance to full EU membership. Even Stalin had more regard for his countrymen and women than the Blairite zombies.

I'd have to say that Neil confuses genuine internationalism for the artificial "internationalism" of Blairism, which is nothing more than having access to cheap labour. That's not what is traditionally meant by internationalism. His rightful indignation is at the wrong target. That probably exhausts any disagreements I have with Neil, as insignificant as they are. Otherwise, Neil's highly intelligent and searching analysis is the kind you'll never see in the mainstream press or almost anywhere else (except by the world's best economists) because it's unarguable and doesn't fit the neoliberal narrative that apparently is the definition of "progressive politics".

Bob said...

Whether a particular nation wants to control immigration or not is up to them.

Most nations have decided to control immigration. Nations that are worth immigrating to have all sorts of rules, which means I cannot legally move to any of those countries. Historically there were periods of human migration, but nowadays the entire planet has been carved up into jurisdictions that jealously protect their sovereignty. Antarctica is an exception to this trend.

When we talk about 'freedom of movement', we're making a distinction from immigration to internal migration. As a Canadian, I can move from one province to another with little problem beyond the cost of relocating. Similarly, a citizen of the EU has the right to move from one member state to another, as if the EU were a single country or a federation. That is obviously not the case due to cultural differences.

I'm not denying that suitable economic policies wouldn't help to mitigate those cultural differences. But the EU's ideologically driven policies are what they are.

I agree that this wouldn't be an issue if sensible policies were in place. Canada accepts more immigrants per capita than the UK but we don't have the same backlash. There are no political parties or movements in Canada that are comparable to UKIP. Our social safety net may be less generous, but it isn't under attack as it is across the Atlantic.

Bob said...

John, I may never understand what is "progressive" about the EU project. When the far left called for open immigration, it was with the intention of hastening the demise of capitalism. But these people, these internationalists, believe that this approach can be made to work. It is madness.

John said...

Bob, the argument I've had with genuine "internationalists" is that they do not differentiate between "principle" and "practice". They feel that any limitation on freedom of movement of all the peoples of the world is inherently xenophobic and racist. I, however, do differentiate between "principle" and "practice". In "principle" I do advocate freedom of movement, but since I do not think that will help matters, for either party, I therefore say that it should be limited in "practice".

The "internationalists" you speak of were therefore in the end useful idiots, for all they did was mistakenly buy into the neoliberal propaganda, and inadvertently start a process of levelling economies down rather than levelling economies up.

I do, however, add a significant reservation to this limitation of freedom of movement in "practice". That is, the highly developed world must aid in all ways the development of less developed countries: scientific, medical and technical knowledge; road, rail, air and marine infrastructure; the type of fair trade in which the poorer countries disproportionately gain (poor African farmers being able to sell a product that we ourselves produce does not really hurt our farmers, let alone the example of a product we do not produce like cocoa); abolition of nearly all intellectual property laws and their courts; if there is a natural disaster or a drought, the richer countries would be legally obliged to give without recompense all the food, medication and other necessaries as to alleviate the situation; it would also help to stop overthrowing democracies and arming the world's dictators.

These are the very least we could do. It would cost the people of the developed world little, although it may prove painful to the corporate elites who run the developed world. How much political support this would gather is another matter. It's hard enough arguing for a minimum wage increase in the UK, let alone a minimum wage globally and a principled demand of sharing the rich world's scientific and technological progress with the rest of the world! But hard things are hard for a reason! And in any case, you wonder how difficult it would be to get support for international development rather than face the consequences of hundreds of millions of displaced people? Presently, the pull-up-the-drawbridge rhetoric may be cacophonous, but people do nevertheless understand that turning a blind eye to thousands of people drowning in the Mediterranean is not an effective strategy and does not alleviate the problem, unless that is you are a sadist and wish to see innocent men, women and children drown.

These things seem to me obvious: alleviate the unimaginable suffering in the developing or undeveloped world; ensure prosperity levels up rather than levels down; it would reduce to near zero any political, historical and economic animosities between countries; and it would start a serious policy engagement with the types of issues that can only be solved internationally (climate change, viruses, etc). No doubt I've not looked hard enough, but I've never seen any MMT economists tackle international development. I rather hope their analysis is not that different to mine!

John said...

Bob: "I agree that this wouldn't be an issue if sensible policies were in place."

If sensible policies were in place there would be zero immigration: nearly everybody prefers to live in the cultural geography of where they were born and raised. Even within a country, most people prefer the cultural geography they've become accustomed to.

Not wishing to be too dismissive of certain areas of my own country, but why on earth would anybody want to leave, say, a Greek island for some of the utterly grim towns, cities and regions of the UK? Ordinarily, they wouldn't. And most of the people of Fallujah never expressed any burning desire to live in one of the UK's wastelands. People move because they don't have a choice or see no hope.

Sensible policies would see global population movements reduce to approximately zero, which is a very good thing for poor countries and a welcome thing for rich countries, provided the policies are very sensible indeed.

Bob said...

And in any case, you wonder how difficult it would be to get support for international development rather than face the consequences of hundreds of millions of displaced people? Presently, the pull-up-the-drawbridge rhetoric may be cacophonous, but people do nevertheless understand that turning a blind eye to thousands of people drowning in the Mediterranean is not an effective strategy and does not alleviate the problem, unless that is you are a sadist and wish to see innocent men, women and children drown.

I believe that part of this resistance is due to a 'scarcity mindset'. There isn't enough to go around, hence we need to act defensively. From this perspective, cutting 'entitlements' is difficult, but unavoidable. People drowning in the Mediterranean is tragic, but unavoidable. It also precludes two courses of action: setting an example the rest of the world can follow; or helping the third world directly.

Alternatively, there is the tendency to blame others. We compare ourselves to some other group, and conclude that the other group is lacking. Hence the individual is responsible for their lot in life, and third world cultures are responsible for their backwardness.

These are not constructive mindsets - or attitudes. If I had these attitudes I would identify different problems and propose different solutions. Those 'solutions' would likely be punitive.

Tom Hickey said...

It's necessary to balance idealism with realism. Ideals are aspirations — the vision and objectives. Realism is about dealing with actual conditions that pertain and what can reasonably be accomplished. Balancing idealism with realism is about getting from here to there.

Radicals want to rush in where angels feat to tread, and reactionaries look backward to supposedly better days.

Elites of use ideals to mask a hidden agenda of increasing their own status, power and wealth by shaping change in terms of an idealistic agenda that masks a hidden agenda that bends reality to their interests.

Wise activists realize that peaceful change hat is lasting is interactive and inclusive, as well as iterative, and incremental, and therefore generally unfolds organically over time.

Internationalism grows naturally with increasing species consciousness as well as advances in communications and transportation technology.

Globalization is a historical phenomenon that has been growing for ages but is only especially noticeable recently owing to the accelerating rate of change that has been amplifies by elites that realize they can gain from harnessing the process and driving it the direction of their interests.

Internationalism and globalization are on the real problem. It's how it is being managed, or better, mismanaged from the POV of most people.

The answer of the elite is is not to worry: A rising tide lifts all boats. That answer is no longer being so readily accepted. Their retort is "there is no alternative." When alternatives are proposed, the answer is "My way or that highway."

Then there is a possibility for sudden change that is not peaceful and the outcomes of which are uncertain.