Winner of the New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy 2016

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Why is the government making such a mess of Brexit?


A year and a half after the vote to leave, and the government has still not decided on what form of Brexit it wants. This is despite triggering Article 50, which means we will leave in about a year. If this isn't chaos in government, what is? But why is the UK government making such a mess of Brexit?

That is the question addressed by Tony Yates in a New Statesman article. He makes the case that all the problems we are seeing, and in particular the fact that the government have still not yet agreed what they want, come back to the referendum question. Because it did not specify how we would leave, it allowed quite conflicting visions of Brexit to unite. And it is not just a matter of working out which of those visions wins, because the losers may well decide they would rather stay than leave on those terms. Hence the inability, but also the reluctance, of May to spell out exactly what our Brexit plan is.

I think there is a lot of truth in that, but it is far from the full story. It might have been possible to have got all those advocating Leave to sign up to a single vision before the referendum. It might not have won, but it could have come close to winning. But that vision would have been based on fantasy: fantasy about the economic consequences of any particular path, and a fantasy about how the EU would respond.

Brexiters are not details people. They deal in visions, as Johnson’s recent speech showed. But worse still, they are so attached to their vision that they will not let details (like everyone being 8% poorer as a result) get in the way. A less kind way of saying this is that Brexiters are fantasists or ideologues.

Am I being unfair? Just look at what is now happening in relation to the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). The GFA is now in the way of the Brexit vision, so they are all saying the GFA has passed its usefulness. Anyone sane can see such a statement is completely mad and utterly irresponsible. However it also shows us something else. It was clear the moment the government signed up to the first stage agreement that the Irish border issue would to a considerable extent dictate the terms of any final agreement. It has taken the Brexiters this long before they realised this, and started attacking the GFA. They are not details people.

You might think that people who would allow their vision or ideology to become more important than details like a 8% GDP loss or peace in Northern Ireland shouldn’t be anywhere near the levers of power, and you would be right. One of the side effects of Brexit is that because May feels she has to have some sort of balance between Leavers and Remainers in her cabinet, we have an even more incompetent Conservative administration than usual. Yet more chaos.

Unfortunately, that incompetence is shared by May herself. The number of mistakes she has made is endless. The moment she was elected leader she should have realised that she had to exclude the fantasists from government as much as possible, but instead she gave them key government posts. She drew up red lines that were impossible to negotiate. She invoked Article 50, which instantly put the UK at a tactical disadvantage, without any agreed plan of how to undertake the negotiations. She made all these mistakes because she was afraid that the Brexiters would try and depose her and the press would turn on her the moment she started being realistic. But the point at which she was elected she had the most power (over both Brexiters and the press) she would ever have, and she didn’t use it. That is incompetence.

What this all means is everyone is right. Tony is right: the referendum was too vague and put the government in a difficult position. But no government knowingly cuts UK GDP by percentage points unless it is convinced there is some greater danger, and the EU is hardly a danger right now. So even if the referendum had been more precise it would have been a precise fantasy, either about the economic consequences or what the EU would allow. As a result, Brexit was always, and remains, an impossible project for any sane government. But even saying all this, the government has still managed to try doing the impossible in an extremely incompetent way.

These different reasons for chaos are all related, and all stem from the disastrous referendum vote. May is Prime Minister because of that vote. Fantasists are at the heart of government because of the vote. And if anyone is tempted, for other reasons, to get on a high horse to talk about press freedom right now, remember the main reason that disastrous vote went the way it did. Social conservatives and the left behind were sold snakeoil, and the main salesmen were the press barons of the right wing press. 

31 comments:

  1. Corey Robin has put forward the idea that Trump is the Conservative equivalent of Jimmy Carter, a disjunctive president.

    "At the end of each regime—after it has completed its three-quarter orbit of reconstruction, articulation, and preemption—comes the politics of “disjunction.” Jimmy Carter is the most recent case; before him, there was Herbert Hoover and Franklin Pierce. Disjunctive Presidents are affiliated with a tottering regime. They sense its weaknesses, and in a desperate bid to save the regime try to transform its basic premises and commitments. Unlike reconstructive Presidents, these figures are too indebted to the regime to break with it. But the regime is too dissonant and fragmented to offer the resources these Presidents need to transform it. They find themselves in the most perilous position of all—hated by all, loved by none—and their administrations often occasion a new round of reconstruction. John Adams gives way to Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams to Andrew Jackson, Carter to Reagan."

    Is May the new Callaghan?

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    1. hope so -- he was a good PM who inherited a terrible hand & played it quite well

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  2. The article raises the issue about the EU's response. Brexit is an existential question for the EU so the EU is driving a hard Brexit.

    This raises the issue of what kind of EU we would have been in had we voted to remain. We were promised all sorts of things about our veto, the future not being a Federal EU, but the view of many leavers such as myself was that pro-EU UK politicians were making promises about the future of the UK in the EU that they would have been unable to deliver, and that the treatment we are getting from the EU now we would have had eventually and we would have been unable to resist due to the extra degree of infrastructure.

    The issue for the electorate was not whether to believe a bunch of fantasist snake oil salesmen on the Leave side being supported by the barons of the right wing press or to believe some completely impartial and unbiased truth tellers on the Remain said, it was rather to look hard at the promises being made by both sides and trying to find which ones were kidding themselves the most, and hence where the biggest danger lay. My view, which was the bigger danger was voting to Remain, hasn't changed.

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    1. Along with every single existing member of the EU, the UK has a veto over proposed changes to the EU treaties. The only way the EU could evolve into a federal state is with the consent of ALL of its existing members, in most cases, due to constitutional constraints, this consent would have to be won by popular referendum. The only way to create a United States of Europe (assuming that is what you think the EU may eventually evolve into) is to win popular support in every single existing member state of the EU.

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    2. No. Why would u change your mind in the face of evidence like: Sharply depreciated GBP, sharply lower GDP development compared to peer countries, lower investment levels, etc...

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    3. Unintentionally, but very neatly, supports Wren-Lewis's analysis, by being devoid of arguments to support the supposed dangers of staying in the EU, or to refute the expanding number of well-evidenced arguments that underline the dangers of leaving.

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    4. Cool. What brexit did you vote for? I can almost guarantee I can find someone else who voted leave for the exact opposite reasons. Meanwhile, everyone who voted for remain wants the same status quo.

      You don't have a political position. You have a circus.

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    5. The EU driving a Hard Brexit? They have made it clear that the UK can stay, could have a Norway type solution plus customs union if they want. Meanwhile the UK has yet to agree what it wants to do.

      You are just making things up so that you can demonise the EU. Much like the English newspapers these last thirty years.

      Lies, lies, lies. I fear this is not going to end well.

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    6. "We were promised all sorts of things about our veto, the future not being a Federal EU, but the view of many leavers such as myself was that pro-EU UK politicians were making promises about the future of the UK in the EU that they would have been unable to deliver"

      David Cameron, despite all his faults, managed to get the rest of the EU to agree to a treaty change saying that the UK would be excluded from ever closer union. The EU is nothing if not bureaucratic - you should have known that.

      S

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  3. Everyone that voted Leave fantasised about what leaving the EU would mean, with many of the fantasies being mutually impossible. Had the policy following a Leave vote been spelt out, it is very doubtful it would have won the referendum, as it would disillusion many would-be Leave voters.

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    1. Equally, no-one was really clear what staying in the EU meant. Federal superstate? EU army? 80 million+ population by mid-century?

      It was impossible to tell how much influence any UK government would have had post-referendum on the direction the UK would have taken, and hence form any realistic idea of where we would end up.

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  4. "Brexiters are not details people. They deal in visions, as Johnson’s recent speech showed. But worse still, they are so attached to their vision that they will not let details (like everyone being 8% poorer as a result) get in the way".

    This is true, but the implication - that remainers are not visionaries and are happy to engage with detail and be led by the evidence - is misleading. The European project has since its earliest days been a visionary endeavour centred on the belief that integrating economies will produce a common identity that will marginalise nationalism. While the EU has achieved much that is good, that vision has remained as distant as the ideal of a buccaneering Britain will.

    Berating leavers for being insufficiently technocratic is pointless. Their refusal to attend to the detail is performative. It is only by doing so that they can keep a focus on their vision. This might be bordering on madness, but it is no different to those sober politicians who twenty years ago were insisting that the UK must adopt the euro or be left behind by history. As someone once said, "I only know what I believe".

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    1. The sober politicians advocating for the euro were right. The moment the UK's integration with EU supply chains started to falter wasn't the birth of the single market, but the creation of the euro without the UK in it. That was the moment when the percentage of exports to Europe started growing less than that to the RoW, and when the trade balance started exploding.
      The issue is simple: for a eurozone company, importing from a UK manufacturer introduces an avoidable risk and cost through the exchange rate, while for a UK company that risk is unavoidable. That asymmetry is why the UK trade with the EU got out of control.
      The decision not to join the euro has been very costly due to these lost exports. It also made it seem as if the UK was orienting itself towards global trade, whereas it really was just becoming less attractive as an import source for the EU. As such, it was a (minor) catalyst for Brexit.

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    2. You'll note, though, the UK didn't join the euro, on some pretty sound advice. And I'd question the idea that economic success didn't marginalise nationalism; the resurgent far right, part of which is very strongly tied in the brexit project, has made enormous progress on the back of the 2008 financial crisis, and even moreso on the failure to restore economic success. Even prior to that, failures of redistribution seem to correlate fairly strongly to nationalist sentiment.

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    3. "The European project has since its earliest days been a visionary endeavour centred on the belief that integrating economies will produce a common identity that will marginalise nationalism."

      Well their vision has partly come true hasn't it? In 1951 when the ECSC was formed who else would have expected that even many Brits today (over 40% according to a 2017 Eurobarometer survey; and usually that number was 20-35% from 1992 to 2015) would answer that they felt both British and European as opposed to British only? And this from one of the more eurosceptic nations (results in France and Germany show more people feel like nationals of their countries and Europeans than just nationals alone). In that respect it has been a success in helping to strengthen a common/shared identity which indeed does marginalize nationalism in those countries. In some such as the UK and Greece it hasn't worked out like that, but for a lot of the core EU countries it seems to have worked. In the 1920s and 1930s something like the Greek debt crisis might have seen far more retaliatory measures by countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands.

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    4. I think a lot has changed in Europe since the rapid expansion eastwards and we started to have very large migration flows. Certainly there has been a lot less of a positive view of the Union.

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  5. "The moment she was elected leader she should have realised that she had to exclude the fantasists from government as much as possible."

    A pity then that her government depends upon the DUP, because they seem to be the worst fantasists of the lot. If anyone should understand the incompatibility of leaving the single market with the absence of a customs barrier either between RoI/NI or NI/rest of the UK then it should be them. But no, they want all of these things.

    At the moment policy, largely observable in the absence of any, seems to rely entirely upon one fact: that the government is too weak to withstand the row that will break out when they take a position. Any position...

    The government depends upon convincing all sides of the Brexit argument that they are open to their preferred outcome. Upon looking like they are open to all plans, or, failing that, that they haven't got a plan. Fortunately for them this is something they are very good at it.

    Unfortunately most sides of the argument seem to prefer incompetence, so long as it seems they still might get their way.

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  6. Conservatism is absolutely aces when it comes to sabotaging government or, say, selling public services to the private sector (but I repeat myself). When it comes to the nuts and bolts of canny governance, they seem invariably to lay an egg. Perhaps this has something to do with their fetish for subletting government to the corporate world, combined with their potty notion that the private sector should be "self-policing." They're doing everything in their power to reduce the role of the public servant to that of the broker. Since that flies in the face of even the most cynical definition of public service, I suppose it should come as no surprise that they're perfectly rotten at it—even (or perhaps especially) when it involves brokering the biggest deals of all. Maybe the Brexit deal just doesn't offer sufficient room for underhanded chicanery to suit their fancy. They gave up on legitimate economics long ago. It appears to be at odds with their self-serving aspirations. When their ideology (such as it is) butts up against science, the science has to go. It's awfully sad.

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    1. Don't you think that to an extent the chaos might be deliberate? You touch on what may be the root cause of the the lack of any visible plan. The Brextremists seem to have strong ties with the us right and their powerfully anti state, anti- social democratic agenda. Could it be they don't care about what happens to the UK because they are besotted with the extreme ideologies of the US new right? They will profit - and if us poor saps with no more intelligence than potted plants end up queuing to sleep on spiked park benches tough! I have a horrible feeling these guys are deeply anti-democratic and believe we need to return to an age of privileged autocratic rule. These kinds of mutterings have been audible in the US for a while now - maybe I'm a misguided fool - but i can't help feel we shouldn't discount the possibility of a truly fanatical agenda - it's not like it hasn't hsappened before!

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    2. As you will see from my post I suspect you are on to something here. Can I suggest there is no need to be diffident about putting it forward. The hard right (see Trump) are not in any way diffident about bad mouthing those who question them and lying about their objectives. I am not saying we should lie but we must be clear and firm in calling them out.

      Rupert Murdoch is actively promoting a right wing transatlantic alliance(mostly behind the scenes). Several cabinet ministers and backbenchers like Rees Mogg are working towards that end as well.

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    3. Tim and Keith:

      We were ridiculed by the right for outlining what the right were actually up to and called consiracy theorists, well today the conspiracy is an open secret as can be seen by the associations of Britain's leading cabinet members, the "Atlantic Bridge" Thatcher's brainchild, and ALEC the American Legislative and Exchange Council. Fanatical right wingers on both sides of the pond. Noting that the Atlantic Bridge was shut down by the Charities Commission because it posed as an education institution, when in fact it was nothing of the sort and just a right political body concerned with Neo-Liberal doctrinaire policies. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/oct/15/liam-fox-atlantic-bridge

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  7. I think the main reason Brexit is a mess is that this Conservative government doesn’t have a vision for society. They do have a solution: low tax and free markets. But there is no vision. Theresa May's pitch for the job of PM was "I just get on with the job in front of me." What guides decisions though? What vision or values are applied to decide between option A and option B? As we've seen, there is no vision, just vacuous soundbites and endless dithering.

    The government can't adopt the vision of the people because there doesn't seem to be a vision among the public either. The leave voters I have spoken to were only clear about what they didn’t want: EU law and uncontrolled immigration.

    Making Brexit no easier for the government is the fact that every option is forecast to reduce economic growth (in the short and medium term at least) and some options may risk a political crisis in Northern Ireland and renewed support for Scottish independence.

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  8. Clearly what the Brexiteers promised in the referendum - essentially that Britain could keep all the benefits of EU membership without making any commitment that involved paying money or reducing legal independence - was never likely to be realised in practice.That is why many people voted to remain. The majority,narrowly, believed these promises and that put an onus on our Governemnt to try to negotiate that package.

    The problem fundamentally is that a very large section of the Conservative coalition never actually wanted any kind of deal, despite what they promised to win the referendum. May has felt she needs to go along with this - declaring early that "no deal was better than a bad deal" and claiming the sole right of Conservatives to decide what a bad deal was.

    No deal effectively means economic war, as the Chancellor let slip over a year ago, and a subservient alliance with US big business. This is the long cherished dream of Murdoch and would represent the culmination of his nearly 40 years of promoting right wing politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

    This means the Government had a weak hand to start with but never really tried to play it well since any sense of public responsibility is drowned by the need to keep the Tory show on the road.


    If, or when, they fail only Parliament will be able to get the country out of the economic and political crisis. That will be difficult. That is why all options including a referendum (emphatically not a rerun of the first one) and an election need to be kept open. What the hard right want to do is give Parliament a choice between no deal and no deal.

    Labour's policy should be based on respecting the full result of the referendum, including the promises made during the campaign, and protecting the complete range of options for Parliament if these are not kept. We should be much more active in pointing out that the likes of Rees Mogg are trying to subvert any possible deal and that people like Johnston do not care.

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  9. It might be helpful to target your ire more precisely: at the leaders of the Brexit movement, rather than at the "Brexiters" - which people may take to include all the voters too. That's a way to drive wedges between your opponents.
    I might also be inclined to at least a nod to the reasonable critics of the EU project, which, let's face it, is deeply flawed, a driver of austerity, and so on. It's probably sensible to accept there are valid, and deep, criticisisms of Europe to be made - while still arguing that Brexit is a disaster and the Brexit leaders are a bunch of clueless loons.

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  10. In this article you assert, with pejorative implication, that Brexiteers are “not details people”. You also assert that they are “fantasists or ideologues” in an equally pejorative way. You further say that Brexiteers “are all saying the GFA has passed its usefulness” (which is clearly untrue; by no means all Brexiteers are saying this). You suggest that an 8% reduction in GDP is fact. In fact it is a highly controversial, and partisan, estimate. Such estimates have been wildly wrong in the past (e.g. the suggested benefits of the ERM). You say “Social conservatives and the left behind were sold snakeoil”, implying they were stupid or naïve. This amounts to an ad hominem attack on Brxiteers. As such it greatly undermines the strength of your argument.
    Sadly, such ranting is not helpful. Clearly you feel passionately about this issue. But that does not mean that you are right. You undoubtedly have perceptive arguments to present. But presenting them in this way degrades their impact and only adds to the division in the country. Perhaps if you read through your blog with an eye to what those with a different perspective might think you might be more persusive. As it is you risk simply preaching to the converted, which is a shame.

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    1. Leaving aside that SW-L is lumping people together and being rude about it, the GFA point is simply untrue. The GFA is not "in the way of" Brexit, because they're unrelated. There was a Supreme Court case which said so, and although I am a Remainer in Northern Ireland, Remainers in GB seem not to have noticed. The GFA does not require the UK to stay in the EU. It does not require free trade.

      The GFA requires ppl in NI to have a right to get (southern) Irish citizenship. That's nothing to do with the EU. It requires cross-border bodies to exist, and gives them the ability to implement EU law, where applicable. If NI is out of the EU, that means EU law only applies to the south, the GFA is not violated.

      So the GFA is not in the way. And "peace" is not in the way, because terrorists will not be able to use Brexit.

      As for "no government knowingly cuts UK GDP by percentage points unless it is convinced there is some greater danger" that's easiy disproved. The coalition chose to cut GDP by percentage points with the austerity. The SNP would choose to cut Scottish GDP by 8% overnight, by losing the net fiscal transfer from the rest of the UK.

      Staying in the EU is important to continue the recovery from the Great Recession. So -- why are Remainer commentators making such a mess of getting it stopped?

      Simon even uses the phrase "peace in Northern Ireland". I've tried to bring this to his attention before. Dissident republicans would be the ones attacking customs posts, and they cannot, because it means killing civilians and *impeding* trade.

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    2. I agree with this. Paul Krugman does the same thing in the NYT. We are increasingly heading towards a polarised society that they have had in the US since at least the Vietnam War where the two sides are almost unable to talk to each other. Sensible discussion is almost impossible in the US.

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  11. Brexit is a mess because the Tory party is split.

    Viewed from the perspective of Tory party unity May's strategy of constructive ambiguity is the correct one. May is a creature of the Tory party, preventing an outright split is a paramount duty.

    There are at least 62 hard Brexit Tory MPs. They carry a gun with only a single bullet. The ability to bring May down and initiate a Tory leadership contest. There are a number of reasons why they won't pull the trigger. The hard right may not win a Tory leadership contest, these things are unpredictable. A new Tory leader would need a mandate, a general election could not long be postponed. The Tories may lose a general election. Whoever ends up in charge of the Government must still negotiate a deal with the EU27.

    If some ambiguous form of words can be dreamt up which allows the hard right tories to hope a fundamental break with the EU is still on the cards then May has suceeded.

    Do the hard right of the Tory party want power? Would they know what to do with it if they had it? The Tory right may be uncomfortable in power their prefered position is to critise from the side lines.

    Whatever Brexit agreement is reached it won't preclude a further loosening of ties with the EU in future. The important thing for May is to leave that option open, at least in theory. The debate in the Tory party is eternal.

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  12. Professor,

    I think that by now all your readers fully understand that in your view, Brexit is the worst calamity to befall this country since the Black Death.

    Can I suggest however that a little more balance would add to your credibility in the matter, particularly in the light of your claim that as an academic economist, you can make your case without fear or favour, being far removed from the sordid world of commerce, and its corrupting influences.

    So I accept your argument, repeatedly put, that superficial commentary in the right wing tabloids, may have led many Leave voters to vote as they did in the belief that Britain could indeed pick and choose which of the benefits of EU membership to retain, and which to cast aside. But a more balanced commentator would surely acknowledge that the similarly false predictions from almost every expert source, that a vote to leave the EU would lead to instant economic calamity (immediate deep recession; emergency budgets, etc., etc.), would have in the same way influenced many of those who voted to remain to cast their votes as they did. So to suggest that a slogan on a bus, and some standard electioneering from the usual Brexit suspects, in some way invalidates the outcome of the referendum seems both patronising, and somewhat hypocritical, as you are in effect quite falsely implying that one side told all the lies, and that the other side were completely honest and quite correct, but just got the timing wrong.

    Can I also take issue with a more serious sin to which you are prone, this time of commission. You have stated, again repeatedly, and including in this your latest post, quite flatly, and without qualification, that as a result of Brexit, we will all be 8% poorer (I think you've even used a figure of 10% in the past). You would certainly be well aware that a reduction in future GDP of 8%, (even if we accept this figure) is not at all the same as an 8% reduction of future per capita GDP (which would indeed make us all poorer), and that most of this forecast reduction in GDP is merely a reflection of lower immigration levels, which is exactly what many who voted for Brexit were hoping to achieve.

    In previous posts you have correctly observed that post-GFC growth in the economy is not much more than a reflection of migration-driven population growth - why then not acknowledge that the same drivers work just as well (or badly) in reverse?

    In the interest of balance, you could also perhaps acknowledge that, in addition to the headline financial contribution that Britain makes to the EU of 20 billion per annum, or whatever it is net of the rebate, there are many other real and significant costs associated with EU membership that are harder to measure, such as the disruption to Britain's agricultural trade through EU-mandated tariffs and quotas. It makes little economic sense to put tariffs on things that we neither grow nor produce ourselves, but I've seen little or no sensible analysis of these costs, and the conversation, such as it is, seems to revolve about chlorinated chickens, etc..

    I do agree however that the Government is to date making a pretty comprehensive hash of these negotiations, and also I'd like to thank you for your blog, which is always interesting and frequently entertaining.


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  13. The Brexit result was a consequence of the elite (which includes New Labour and the mainstream economics establishment that advised them) letting a large section of the population down. It is a result of problems building up over a very long time - before austerity policies, which sure, did not help. If there was a close result in favour of remaining, I doubt there would have been any serious soul-searching by the establishment.

    The vote was not so much a vote against the EU as a vote that said "we prefer the unknown to what we know". And I am not sure it is going to end with Brexit. It is time to heed the warnings now.

    NK.

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  14. "Unfortunately, that incompetence is shared by May herself. The number of mistakes she has made is endless. The moment she was elected leader she should have realised that she had to exclude the fantasists from government as much as possible, but instead she gave them key government posts. She drew up red lines that were impossible to negotiate. She invoked Article 50, which instantly put the UK at a tactical disadvantage, without any agreed plan of how to undertake the negotiations. She made all these mistakes because she was afraid that the Brexiters would try and depose her and the press would turn on her the moment she started being realistic. But the point at which she was elected she had the most power (over both Brexiters and the press) she would ever have, and she didn’t use it. That is incompetence."





    I think we should all take a closer look at at why the Tories have in my view deliberately mishandled the negotiations, and why May has consistently tried to hide everything from public view.

    The answer to that question of course is quite simply that she does not want to reveal her real agenda, dressed up as keeping her cards close to her chest. Reality tells anyone with an ounce of common sense that in order to negotiate you first of all have to present your side
    of the case, hence the opposition must know what it is they are negotiating, which after 12 months of fiddling the Tories were forced out in the open by EU negotiators and had to start showing something that they could start talking about. No serious negotiator actually does what the Tories are doing, which of course is just playing games in order to say that the EU were to blame for the breakdown in talks.

    The evidence of their approach can be seen at the offset, when our civil servants complained that they had not been briefed beforehand what the British governments position was, then David Davis turned up at the first meeting without so much as a piece of paper in front of him. I do not rate David Davis on any level and regard him as a lazy politician that thinks so long as he comes out with a very broad grin on his face, people can be hoodwinked into believing everything is under control.

    When we compare the whole Tory strategy for dismantling the state, it doesn't take too much imagination to see the direction of travel, leading us into the arms of a Trump TTIP agreement and the end of democracy as we once knew it, into a corporate state dominated by American corporations. The NHS is an open window on how this will all come about, Theresa May already declined to answer parliamentary questions on whether the NHS will be excluded in any negotiations with Trump. Meaning they will be included, and we already know that Hunt has admitted to a select committee as to having had negotiations with Kaiser Permente' an American HMO similar to the proposed ACO's which will enable American companies like this to snap up large chunks of the NHS. It's all there and happening as we speak.

    Finally assumptions are made on both sides of the argument as to what the benefits and losses will be, all is pure speculation, what we do know is that Europe is unstable, that not only in Britain are people dissatisfied with the outcome of Europe's so called vision, but Britain has declined in spite of our membership. So to advocate staying in must take a root and branch approach to everything EU, and when you look at the structure and regulation within the EU it has be determined as totally unviable, witnessed by the trade imbalances and the treatment meted out to Greece.

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