December 30, 2020 at 23:06 #4095Podcast ProducerParticipant@podproducer
It’s quite an education reading Hansard’s record of the 2015 and 2016 debates on the European Union referendum and the pros and cons of what would come to be called Brexit. Let’s make the leap of faith and say the members of parliament – at least when in the House and on the record – are saying it like they think it is. What struck me was the absence of foresight, the muddy thinking and the abject lack of capacity to deal with the approach of such a fundamental schism. Certainly there was a lot of fervour against being crowded out by immigrants, whipped up by a right-wing press selling papers and stoking fuel for their chosen political favourites. The Financial Crisis of 2009 could have been a backlash against the establishment hegemony but the powers-that-be worked it skilfully to their advantage.
Tentatively at first, they took the slaps of the anti-capitalists and started to probe for weakpoints. Over the Coalition government the right-wing reactionaries engineered a narrative that not only shielded the causes of the subprime meltdown but, aided by Conservative moderates and somehow hoodwinking the naive Liberal Democrats, defensive survival mode rebounded into an attack. Austerity was the crowning achievement of the Cameron government, slipped in mostly under the radar, unopposed in the goodwill climate of the 2012 Olympics. Labour was busy fighting its own demons – neoliberal New Labour versus old-fashioned Socialists – fragmenting cohesive opposition when it might have pushed back against the Tory agenda.
By the time hapless Ed Milliband led Labour to defeat in 2015, Cameron had grown in confidence to such an extent he indulged the conceit of St George, putting a referendum on membership of the European Union into the Conservative manifesto with a view to slaying the Eurosceptic insurgency of right-wing Conservatives and populist Farage-led UKIP.
The referendum promises and the clever salami tactics of an austerity program that targeted (at this point) only the marginalised and the poorest – blaming occasional overreach on Labour’s failed legacy, best of a bad job, bloody Polish immigrants, etc – united the Tories, stemmed the growth of UKIP and won another term in Downing Street; this time without the pesky Liberal Democrats.
2015 to referendum.
Hammond: ” It would be a travesty to seek to include EU nationals whose interests might be very different from those of the British people.”
Foreign Secretary: “Of course Members of the House of Lords should be able to vote. However, this is an advisory, not a binding, referendum”
Labour voted for the referendum.
Excluding EU citizens and 16-17 year olds.
June 2016 Referendum to Article 50 and European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018
Debates post-referendum to the Act – all power to the Ministers of the Crown.
Corbyn on Brexit.
Straight money UK to EU and EU to UK 2017:
18.6 billion in, minus 5.6 billion rebate = 13 billion pounds in.
EU direct spending on UK public sector = 4 billion pounds.
EU direct funding private sector = 1.5 billion pounds including 3B euros for Farming/Agriculture + 100M+ euros to Erasmus+
plus EIB (European Investment Bank) 6.9 billion euros in 2016 including funding Crossrail + 480M euros for social housing.
GLA Economics February 2017 (https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/london-and-europe-cin51.pdf)
UK exports 22.4 billion financial services to the EU (ONS, July 2016)
London surplus contributes 34 billion pounds to the rest of the UK (2013/4 fiscal year)
London exports 120 billion pounds in goods and services globally. The EU receives 75%/53% of that.
12.5% of all jobs in London held by EU citizens.
Unemployment rate in London at 6.4% but EU citizens 4.3%
48.3% of EEA citizens in London have a degree or above level education (i.e. education not paid for by the UK)
Single Market principles enable business across the EU, like passporting which enables UK financial institutions to undertake significant trades within the EU including being the clearing house for euro denominated derivates (swaps). These must move if UK outside EU single market. London has 39% of the world market for this particular financial instrument which amounts to $5,700,000,000 (570 billion) dollars.
Passporting moreover is used by 5500 UK companies allowing UK banks to make over 1 trillion euros in loans and take in over 1 trillion euros in deposits (Lord Hill, European Commission, June 2016)
December 2018 – Theresa’ May’s deal
January to February 2019 – The Second Defeat
March 2019 – Government Despotism
What Next? The Choices As They Might Be
Q&A To Inform
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