Brexit was never an economic proposition

If there is one universal truth about we eurosceptics it is that, aside from hating the EU, we cannot agree on anything. Over the last three years I have had more arguments with Brexiteers than I have remainers – and made more enemies on the Brexit side than remain.

The crucial bone of contention is the mode of leaving the EU. Anything that it not “hard Brexit” is denounced. There are many who believe that Brexit is simple and that there is no cause for delay. I wish that were true. Worse than that, though, are those who know it not to be simple but maintain the pretence that it is. I have no time for intellectual dishonesty.

I am also less enthused by Brexiteers who insist that Brexit is an economic miracle waiting to happen. It isn’t. Trade is a fiendishly complex endeavour and we will doubtlessly have to march double time just to get back to where we are. All of our present trade relations are via the EU and restoring and optimising those links will take time.

Personally I see no reason to make an economic argument for Brexit. It is not an economic proposition – and if there is one thing we can all agree on it is that Brexit is ultimately in the interests of democracy. The economy is entirely secondary.

At one point I might have made the case that Brexit will bring about cheaper food, clothing and much else – but I now have serious doubts about this. Trade in the modern global system is a lot like whack-a-mole and not every thread is one you necessarily want to pull on. There are no sweeping unilateral measures we can take and and every measure we do take will have consequences. Everything we do must be done carefully and with due consideration as to the potential fallout.

If Britain is to make a success of Brexit we will need to seek out sector specific alliances and work through the multilateral system and use collective pressure to bring about the changes we want to see. There is only so much we can do unilaterally.

This is why I believe an Efta EEA Brexit would be the more intelligent path in that Efta with the UK would make the fifth largest bloc in the world and one which could bring to bear considerable pressure on the EU to drop some of its protectionist measures. In some circumstances we are more likely to achieve EU reform from the outside. Failing that, Britain is going to find it difficult going it alone.

There are some who still believe we can pick up where we left off with old allies but the old rule is still the same; twice the distance means half the trade. To an extent the internet and trade in services breaks this rule but New Zealand and Australia are in a different sphere of regulatory influence. We on the, other hand, will still be in the EU’s gravitational pull come what may.

More to the point, any alliances we make must be toward addressing particular problems – and our most pressing being that of the migration crisis where all our efforts must be focussed on those trade measures which best eliminate the push factors in Africa. We are going to have to coordinate our efforts with the EU and we will still need close cooperation in order to make an impact. We may leave the EU but we cannot turn our backs on Europe.

I take the view that Article 50 talks and any subsequent trade talks must not be viewed as a chance to get one over on the the EU. If we play that game we will lose. We have to take a more collaborative approach and for the time being we are in a mode of damage limitation. We should leave the radicalism until we have left the EU. Brexit is radical enough for the moment.

The short of it is that we need to be more honest and realistic about what Brexit will achieve economically. We are certain to take a hit and it is insulting to pretend that we won’t. We all knew Brexit would have economic consequences – and if we are honest, none of us cared. We would have voted to leave regardless.

Primarily our future prosperity depends on fixing our politics here at home. That is what Brexit is about. Our politicians continue to abdicate from their responsibilities, handing to Brussels enormous areas of policy while they tinker on the sidelines. We continue to kick the can down the road on serious economic reform and and we have only really dabbled in “austerity”. Since our politicians have been incapable of making the hard choices, we have forced their hand. Vanity spending will have to be cut, electoral bribes will have to be slashed and white elephants will have to go on the barbecue.

In this we will have a reckoning with the wastrels, posers and charlatans of Westminster. We will have some almighty rows and we will tear the status quo apart. That is primarily what I voted for. I am under no illusions that it will come at great cost, I am as worried as any remainer about what it holds for the immediate future, and I am troubled by the wrong-headed approach to Brexit. All I know for certain is that this is a thing we must do and there can be no turning back.

At heart I am a libertarian. I take the view that every entitlement from government comes as a moral cost – and everything we get from government comes at the expense of certain liberties. There is no greater means of controlling a population than to make them dependent on government.

This is the paradigm we have had ever since World War Two. It has crushed our self-reliance, it has weakened our entrepreneurial flair and it has corroded society in all manner of pernicious ways. It has made Britain a spoiled, selfish and lazy country. It has made us a command and control economy with a cosseted middle class propped up by state spending and our whole economy is a house of cards. A Ponzi scheme. And Ponzi schemes always fail.

This is why Brexit is a revolution. It is the economic and moral revival we have been unable to secure by other means. We will prosper from Brexit not because of any direct consequence of leaving the EU but by tearing down the ossified structures of yore and rediscovering ourselves.

Shortly before the referendum I was out talking to people about Brexit. I asked a lady why she was voting to leave. I told her that we probably would take an economic hit but her reply was quite simple. “Something has to change”. And that is what gives me confidence.

We were not hoodwinked by the Boris bus, we were not fooled by Russian interference or computer algorithms. We went into this with our eyes wide open. Let us not patronise or pretend. Let us say it out loud that this is not an economic venture. This is purely political and the economy must be subordinate to political concerns – otherwise we might as well go the whole hog and abolish elections.

I did not vote for Brexit to spend £350m on the NHS. I don’t think Brexit is a free trade miracle. I just know that our politics is spent and if our politics is spent then so is our economy. We cannot fix the economy until we fix our politics. Let no man or woman interfere with that. If we do not see this through then we are not deserving of prosperity.

Peer says that the General Election could mean that anti-Brexit Peers have committed the “ultimate act of political hara kari”

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)                                                                                          

News Release

 

19th April 2016

 

House of Lords “badly served” by anti-Brexit Peers as it faces threat to its powers from General Election

 

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has reacted to the announcement of a General Election by pointing out the threat it is to the future of the House of Lords, following its opposition to the Government’s Brexit legislation.

Lord Stoddart said:  “The House of Lords has been badly served by those Peers who have threatened to delay or block Brexit completely, because their threats have certainly contributed to the Prime Minister’s decision to call a General Election.  Undoubtedly, the Tories will include a manifesto pledge to clip the wings of the Lords by sharply reducing the period by which Peers can block legislation.  They could also propose a reduction in the number of Peers or restrictions on their eligibility to take part in votes.

“Standing up to the Government is one thing but seeking to invalidate the will of the people cannot and should not be tolerated.  Opposing Brexit as strongly as they did may go down in history as the ultimate act of political hara kari by Peers who should have known better.”

Ends

 

The Government will fail the first Brexit test by not scrapping the London Convention

Release: Immediate

 

Words: 382

Contact: Alan Hastings – 07827 399 408

Fishing for Leave recently highlighted the immediate need for the government to denounce the London Convention.

DexEU and DEFRA’s response that “in regard to historical access to waters, no decisions have yet been taken on the UK’s position” and that “we endeavour to reach an agreement…. by the time the two year Article 50 process has concluded”  is pitiful and suggests they have no intention of acting.

As lovely as it was to hear the government reiterate its position of caring for our fishing and coastal communities their response scarcely backs this rhetoric.

The London Convention must be denounced now to secure all access to our waters and obtain the strongest possible diplomatic hand.

This Convention gives historic rights for European vessels to fish in UK waters but only between 6 and 12 nautical miles from our shores.

Failing to scrap this Convention would allow the EU ‘back door’ access to this narrow strip as the convention will still apply to the UK upon withdrawal.

As the Convention requires two years notice it must be denounced immediately, and before Article 50 is triggered, to avoid an overlap allowing EU access to UK waters.

For 8 months there has only been rhetoric and no results. The government is well aware of this issue and their failure to act suggests they have no intention of securing our rich fishing waters.

Why are they not fully committed to securing this strong hand by controlling all access?

If the government does not act immediately on this easy and simple test of Brexit then it evidently has no intention of making a serious stand. The government and MP’s are about to fail this first test on Brexit.

It would show the opportunity of automatic repatriation of an industry, that could double to be worth approximately £6.3bn annually, is to be betrayed a second time. Fisheries will symbolise whether we’ve “taken back control of our borders” and will therefore be the “acid test” of Brexit.

The government must serve notice to denounce this Convention immediately. To demonstrate that it really does intend to repatriate and safeguard the nation’s greatest renewable resource.

If it does not then it looks like we’re going to have a backslide and betrayal of Brexit and that the government is all mouth and no trousers.

There is still time to lobby your MP to act on this – if you want to see our fishing grounds secured please send the letter in this link to them – http://www.ffl.org.uk/letter-to-mp/

Peer reminds House of Lords that “Brexit means leave” and the Government should “get on with it”

Speaking in a debate on the Government’s statement about the G20 summit (07.09.16), the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has reminded the House of Lords that “Brexit means leave” and that the referendum vote was an instruction to the Government “to get on with it.”

Lord Stoddart made his remarks after listening to a number of Peers making speeches spreading doom and gloom about Brexit and the state of play regarding the preparations for withdrawal.  He added that the electorate “were asked whether they wished to remain or whether they wished to leave. They decided that they wanted to leave. That was an instruction to the Government to get on with it. The great disgrace is that the Government and the Civil Service had not prepared for either alternative. That, of course, is the problem we are facing now.”

The full text of Lord Stoddart’s remarks is as follows:

Hansard – debate on the G20 Summit statement 7.09.16

Lord Stoddart of Swindon Independent Labour

My Lords, I have listened to the debate with great interest. A lot of noble Lords do not appear to know what Brexit means. Brexit means leave. That is precisely the question that the electorate answered. They were asked whether they wished to remain or whether they wished to leave. They decided that they wanted to leave. That was an instruction to the Government to get on with it. The great disgrace is that the Government and the Civil Service had not prepared for either alternative. That, of course, is the problem we are facing now.

But it is not all doom and gloom. There is a great future ahead, as there has been a great, historic past. We should take hold of that. We should not be supplicants; we are a great country and we should use our power for the good of this country and the rest of the world.

I found the second paragraph of page 3 very interesting. Does it mean that the Government are moving towards syndicalism?

 

The benefits of Brexit via the EFTA Route

A fast track two-step Brexit, starting with EFTA Single Market + Opt Outs and then negotiation a Free Trade Agreement could accelerate the UK economy and living standards within 12 months. The European Free Trade Association (www.efta.int) , including Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein enjoy standards of living almost 40% higher than the UK, and also have an economic arrangement with the EU. The Single Market countries have an opportunity to use article 112 and 113 to control immigration, for example:

  • New Eastern European immigrants only get a 1 year working visa, no children, and a points skills system for staying longer ( so reducing downward pressure on wages)
  • Any other Single Market country, has free movement, unless their unemployment rate is 7% or more, in which case, new immigrants only get a 1 year working visa, no children, and a points skills system for staying longer ( so reducing downward pressure on wages)
  • Anyone with a non-UK passport wishing to buy a residential property needs to have lived in the UK for over 5 years ( so reducing rent and house price rises)

Increasing prosperity for the many by:

Ensuring wages rise faster than rents and house prices, so increasing disposable income and spending in the economy

This could be implemented now.

Q: What are other hidden benefits from upgrading to democracy, from our current EU membership?

A: The hidden costs of EU membership can be reduced and realized with self-government, including:

Business – better business cash-flow, since with economies controlled by large cartels, who can pay suppliers late and cash flow problems, then with easier entry into markets, smaller companies can also gain profits in the supply chain, enabling more investment and more even spread of pay, so reducing government benefit spending and so lower taxes

– The EU poor role model will be eliminated, of endless meetings, duplication (e.g. another Parliament in Strasbourg), poor communication, interfering without expertise (e.g. landlocked countries having influence in fishing industry countries), long decision making time, only top down ideas instead of listening to ideas at all levels, wasting public money on big projects that cost more than benefit, groupthink with censorship of other ideas and other problems

– decentralizing of power, could help to also have less large cartel companies – maybe demergers – and more smaller/medium size companies, so helping innovation and productivity increases, and so pay

– incomes rising faster than rents and house prices – so more disposable income, including lowest paid people, instead of current policy of rents and house prices rising faster than pay

Helping low income countries – low income countries could benefit as EU the is protectionist, for example only allowing raw coffee beans into the EU from Africa, to protect EU coffee roasters, so preventing African countries moving up the value chain by adding value and raising standards of living

– easier ability for Eastern European countries economies to grow as controlling new immigration will help keep skills in their countries, including management skills, engineering, legal, building, scientists, health, entrepreneurs, businesspeople

– shift world centre of gravity to democracy and people’s vote makes a difference, in making, amending and repealing any laws

– less interference and distortion in elections in countries, since with less aid money, those politicians in power can get credit at elections for money that came from outside, so deluding people into thinking policies are working, so less aid can help with better policies and less corruption

– better human rights, since respecting boundaries leads to better human rights, for example after the end of communism, people found that those countries that did not respect private property rights (Communism) had a loss of life in the 10 millions, while those that did respect private property rights (military dictatorships) had a loss of life in the 10,000s – all terrible losses – a significant difference

Better government – less corruption in government, with lack of accountability with some EU spending, thus being a poor role model in countries, where public prefer honest government, and no corruption

– better value for taxpayers money, with more competition, as the EU public procurement directive results in lots of new paperwork that small companies cannot afford, so don’t bid anymore

– better global regulations, as individual countries can lobby for regulations which make sense for the UK economic sectors

– higher morale in public sector organisations with regulations that suit the service being provided and less people are promoted with political connections –like the EU system – and more with merit

-less government debt and lower taxes, as less money is used for big projects that are wasteful experiments

– public can look up to their leaders, instead of now, where people look down on leaders – as the EU Parliament is more important than national Parliaments, so restoring self-government could alos help with better people going into politics

– simpler regulations, since the regulations made are only relevant to each country, and not a one-size-fits-all

– maybe help with children’s attention in schools, as countries have noticed a fall in education standards and respect for teachers and adults, since joining the EU. EFTA countries haven’t had many such problems

– less vote buying by politicians, since the EU has signs saying ‘funded by the EU’ when in fact, the money either comes from the country itself or from another country, who does not currently get recognition for aid

– new ideas looked at, since the ‘one party state’ thinking is gone and the ‘EU mind guards’ are gone, so simple questions like ‘what did we change?, what did we used to do?, what do other countries do?, what off-the-shelf alternatives are there? How are we evaluating the positives and negatives of any changes? Who benefits from the previous changes, who loses?’ can be asked.

– with the top-down thinking from the EU gone, people could feel free to suggest ideas again to managers and team members – instead of thinking it would be  a waste of time – so helping improve service, quality, productivity and morale

– better chance of politicians listening to people’s opinions including the majority opinion, since the EU role model is poor with, for example, the UK only having 10% of seats, so 90% have other interests – so with self-government, 100% of politicians make the laws, and avoid special interest groups/cartels overruling majority opinions

– ability to have direct democracy, petition/referendum, since the results cannot be overruled by the EU

– each country is a unique ecosystem, with unique history, culture written and unwritten rules, evolving in its own way

As we can see from government actions, that spending on ‘white elephants’ to give contracts to cartels is still happening even after

In short, liberty is something that cartels of power, economic size and wealth do not easily release, so taking the initiative with promoting an alternative, EFTA, and a step-by-step approach to local MPs and media, can help the Brexit process speed up and realise benefits soon for all income groups, and the people who voted Brexit.

The anger about that Government leaflet

Understandably, we have recently received a number of e-mails from people furious that the Government is going to spend £9.3 million of our money producing a 14-page colour brochure telling us how good the EU is. If you wish to sign a petition against it, here is the link. Already over 100,000 people have signed, which is sufficient to oblige Parliament to “consider” the matter for debate but regrettably, it is not likely to have any effect.

On a more positive note, we are very thankful to those supporters who have directed their anger into a donation, enabling us to produce more material to counter the government’s arguments.

What does the brochure actually say?  From what others have gleaned, much of it extols the virtues of the Single Market, which, of course, we could continue to access from outside the EU by re-joining EFTA and availaing ourselves of the European Economic Area agreement. EEA/EFTA also knocks on the head the predictable fear tactics which the leaflet contains, e.g.,

“Voting to leave the EU would create years of uncertainty and potential economic disruption. This would reduce investment and cost jobs. The Government judges it could result in 10 years or more of uncertainty as the UK unpicks our relationship with the EU and renegotiates new arrangements with the EU and over 50 other countries around the world.”

Unfortunately, any pro-leave group without a credible exit plan is going to be vulnerable to this sort of tactic, as Richard North argues.

Remarkably, we are still hearing of undecided voters who are coming down in favour of withdrawal, but a convincing victory is going to be very challenging as long as this vulnerability remains. Some people may distrust the government so much that they won’t believe a word of the brochure, but not enough. Withdrawal from the EU can be risk-free with the EEA/EFTA option, but unless our fellow-countrymen are made aware of this, all too many of them may fall for the Government propaganda.