11 April 2017

Brexit under way

Near the end of March the land of my ancestors formally triggered the Article 50 process which will lead to restoration of independence from the European Union, in accordance with last year's referendum.  This action also triggered the same babble of clueless negativity on the left (especially the American left) as the original referendum did.  Some points to consider:

• The same people who, for whatever reason, are so hostile to the restoration of the UK's independence were presumably more supportive in earlier cases of the same kind of action, such as the secession of the Baltic states from the USSR or the independence of Third World countries from the European colonial empires.

• The restoration of independence is also a return to greater democracy.  The real power in the EU, which includes ever-increasing interference in the internal affairs of member states, is held by an unelected and unaccountable oligarchy (which is, as such unaccountable regimes tend to be, massively corrupt).  Removing this interference will restore full legislative power to the British Parliament, which is elected by the population it governs.

• Be wary of the dishonest use of language by EU supporters in which the word "Europe" is conflated with the EU -- intensification of the oligarchy's dominance over elected national governments is described as "more Europe", Brexit is described as "leaving Europe", etc.  The EU is not Europe, it is a transient grouping to which some European countries belong.

• If the US were part of an undemocratic multi-national organization which interfered in our internal affairs as extensively as the EU does in those of its member states, we would have voted ourselves out of it a long time ago.

• Even if Brexit carries some economic cost, independence and democracy are worth paying that price for.

• Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland have never been part of the EU and their economies are doing fine -- notably better than those of southern Europe, which have been devastated by EU-imposed austerity policies and the common euro currency.

• It's likely that the oligarchy will try to play hardball in the independence negotiations with the UK due to (1) spite -- these people have shown over and over that they are vicious and vindictive -- and (2) the knowledge that discontent with the EU is manifesting itself in ever-more-aggressive form in other member states, including major ones like France and Italy.  If the UK "gets away with it", others will follow.

• However, the UK is in the stronger position -- as a net importer from other EU countries, it is the "customer" in the relationship.  It is, for example, Germany's third-largest export market.  If the EU tries to impose punitive trade barriers, the UK could find alternate suppliers for what it currently imports from the rest of the EU much more easily than the rest of the EU could find alternate markets for what it now exports to the UK.  (Ever since the original referendum, several non-EU countries have been expressing interest in negotiating their own trade deals with the UK once it is free to do so.)  The main consequence of punitive trade barriers would be job losses in Germany and elsewhere in the EU.

• Conversely, one of the main "exports" from the UK to the mainland is financial services, which the EU could not easily replace -- skills and experience comparable to the London financial industry do not exist on the mainland.  In any case, 56% of UK exports go to non-EU countries, a share which was steadily growing even before the referendum.

• The UK is one of only two western European nations with substantial military power (the other is France).  If Europe eventually needs or wants to develop a common defense capability less dependent on the US, it will need the UK much more than vice-versa.  The EU itself would inhibit such an effort.  Nations could work in an alliance of sovereign states (analogous to NATO), but would never hand over substantial military forces to an entity which aspires to usurp sovereignty for itself.

• Change is coming in Europe -- the question is whether the moderate political establishment will accommodate it or be swept away by it.  If that establishment continues to ignore the popular will on issues like austerity, immigration, and interference with national sovereignty, eventually Europe's exasperated voters will start electing people like Nigel Farage (who, though he deserves much kudos for leading the independence movement to victory, is basically a crank otherwise), or worse, to positions of national leadership.  This would pose some of the same kinds of dangers as the rise of Trump in the US.  By accommodating change despite their personal misgivings, Cameron and May have greatly reduced this risk, at least in the UK.  Other countries will soon face similar tests.

(Background here)

6 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Some interesting views and info here on this. I dont know as much about the goin on's as you do over there, but been excited over it, because it's like throwing a wrench into the gears of the monster neoliberalism machine to me in a way. I was just curious to see how this ends up, and what countries like France will do or others. I mean ... I understand unity and stuff, and think it's great, but the type of alliance and unity forming/ designed by the top multinational crust we been seeing is crap. For me it's kind of sad to see the strongest support it seems like coming from a more right wing outlook ... I mean, I would like to see more progressive type liberal support against some of what these oligarchs are doing to places like over there, and what Germany has been becoming. Long story, but thanx for the views.

11 April, 2017 09:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: A lot of the opposition to the EU is actually not right-wing (though some of it is) -- it's just that a lot of the media here and even in Europe refer to any opposition as "right-wing" or "far-right". It's lazy use of language, easier than actually finding out what's going on.

11 April, 2017 09:52  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Yeah, makes sense ... obviously it's been my sources of media I been following on this. But, yes ... alot of talk I read and heard, is talking about "far right" loonies or whatever ... being that they are backwards, etc ... because they dont want to jump on board and be united or whatever, makes them sound like those Texas secessionists or similar. I was reading that even California now has a secession movement going on, but think it's in opposition to right wing rule of Washington since this mudslide election. Kind of confusing to me what is going on these dayz in so much, from the wars to the left- right battles, etc. Most of my life things seemed pretty simple to understand compared to all the various interests and such I read about now, who's with who?, who's against what?, where does these folks or those folks stand, who's funding who, etc ... just gets confusing to me.

11 April, 2017 15:10  
Blogger Frank Wilhoit said...

What did lemons ever do to you?

Brexit is merely a tantrum.

The referendum forms no part of the British Constitution. When Cameron proposed it, the Queen should have forbad it, come Hell. And if he persisted, she should have sacked him, come Hell.

Everything that Britain has, everything that Britain is, derives from the sovereignty of Parliament. Rubbish that and nothing is left. Britain's foreseeable future now consists of a succession of disasters, each more foolish and unnecessary than the last. They will recover, God knows when or how. But the whole thing is just a howling collapse and could have been avoided if anyone had shown the spirit that God gave a shitfly.

12 April, 2017 05:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: Also, you have to remember that this is nothing like an American state seceding, because the EU isn't a country. It's more like India or Algeria separating themselves from the British or French empires.

12 April, 2017 06:15  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Frank: Usually I am pretty strict about insults, but I'll let this comment post (for now) since it illustrates so well the anti-Brexit crowd's loathing for democracy, and inability to make logical sense.

Brexit is merely a tantrum.

It's a popularly-supported effort to restore national independence. People like you probably thought Lithuania breaking away from the USSR or India demanding independence from the British Empire was just a tantrum.

When Cameron proposed it, the Queen should have forbad it, come Hell. And if he persisted, she should have sacked him, come Hell.

You want an unelected hereditary figurehead to be able to reverse the decision of an elected Prime Minister to give the people a voice in their own future, and even remove him from office. No wonder you approve of the way the EU is run.

Everything that Britain has, everything that Britain is, derives from the sovereignty of Parliament. Rubbish that and nothing is left.

And Brexit is the only way to stop the EU's ongoing destruction of the sovereignty of Parliament.

Britain's foreseeable future now consists of a succession of disasters.....the whole thing is just a howling collapse.....

That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, but again -- Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland are doing fine without being in the EU, while the EU has turned its Mediterranean members into basket cases. There's every reason to think the UK will be better off after some initial turbulence.

12 April, 2017 06:29  

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