Brexit Is Broken – But No-One’s Going To Mend It

“BREXIT” ~ the act of leaving the European Union by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has been a major topic on U.K. news channels ever since the vote to leave in June 2016. In every other nation on earth, including the member nations of the E.U., the news coverage has been slim indeed. In fact, Brexit is considered something of a bore to most Europeans, who see Britain’s departure as no big deal. After all, they got along very nicely without Britain from 1958 until 1973, and are happy to do so again.

The British media takes a different view altogether. Theresa May and her cabinet frequently announce how vital it is for Europe to maintain good trade relations with the U.K., far more so for Europe it seems, than Britain itself. This attitude of “how are you going to manage without us?” has created an impasse every time the two sides come together to try and discuss a future relationship. Not surprisingly, European leaders are becoming fed up to the back teeth with British arrogance and intransigence.

The latest outpourings from the Tory government, via the BBC and other government mouthpieces, is that the European car industry will fall apart unless the E.U. accepts a trade deal favoured by Britain, one without import duties on imported goods into Britain. Such farcical nonsense becomes obvious when it’s noted that 90% of the luxury cars using Britain’s motorways are Mercedes, BMW’s, Audi’s – all European models. The British car market is now virtually non-existent, and there is no British luxury car in the class of the above models. If import duty increases the price of E.U. cars substantially, what are the big corporations going to give their executives to drive about in – a British Mini Minor?

The latest spat to surface concerns the “European Capital of Culture.”

The BBC tells us:

The European Commission has cancelled the UK’s turn to host the European Capital of Culture after Brexit, disappointing the bidding cities.
Five places have already bid to hold the title in 2023 – Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Belfast/Derry.
But the commission has said the UK will no longer be eligible to have a host city after it leaves the EU in 2019.
The Creative Industries Federation said it was “gutted”, while arts minister John Glen called it a “crazy decision”.

Plans for the UK to host a Capital of Culture in 2023 were announced in 2014 – before the EU referendum.
In December 2016, the UK Government said the competition would “run as normal”, but did warn bidders that it “may be subject to” the Brexit negotiations.
Liverpool was the last British city to be a European Capital of Culture, in 2008, following Glasgow in 1990.

The title of European Capital of Culture rotates around eligible countries.
Cities from non-EU countries have held the title before – but if a country isn’t in the EU, it must be a candidate to join or must be in the European Free Trade Association or European Economic Area. [1]

And there you have it: after March 2019 Britain won’t be in the EFTA or EEA, and it’s unlikely to be rushing to rejoin the E.U., so it won’t be eligible to host a “European Capital of Culture.” Whether it’s actually “leaving Europe,” or not, is totally irrelevant. But, not so far as the U.K. government is concerned. Its minister described the decision as “crazy,” which is yet another example of a British government that considers itself above all rules and laws and believes it has some God-given right to always be a “special case.” Well, sorry Brit-land, but you’re not. Perhaps, after March 2019 you could apply to be considered to host an, “American Capital of Culture.” After all, as the newly-assigned ’51st State’ you should be eligible.

Yesterday was “Budget Day” in Britain. It’s the day when the Chancellor of the Exchequer sets out his spending plans for the next twelve months. He says his government are going to build over 300,000 new homes for young, first time, buyers. He’s reducing the taxes (stamp duty) the government takes on each house purchase to zero on any property valued at less than 300,000 pounds ($399,000).

According to latest figures for last year from ‘Rightmove’:

Last year most property sales in London involved flats which sold for on average £539,332 ($717,473) Terraced properties sold for an average price of £675,172 ($898,181), while semi-detached properties fetched £658,562 ($876,085).[2]

“STOP PRESS: Stamp Duty Abolished On Garages, Garden Sheds, and ex-Air Raid Shelters in London Area. Buy NOW!”

The British people are constantly being told by their government that Brexit is well in hand and Britain is poised to become a great power again once freed from the shackles of Europe. All but the most ardent Tory nitwit must be realising by now their leaders are lying through their teeth.

From the Guardian today:

The UK is in danger of suffering two decades of zero earnings growth as it struggles to cope with Brexit uncertainty and a loss of productivity, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.

The thinktank said a downgrade in productivity and average wages for the next five years by the Treasury’s official forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), would lead to an unprecedented period of flat earnings growth.

Paul Johnson, the IFS director, warned that the impact on the public finances would be to extend the time the chancellor needs to take to bring the deficit down, and limit his scope to ease the pressure on welfare and public services…

“The immediate effects of all this on households are already being felt. Real earnings are falling this year as inflation has risen to 3%. The nascent recovery in earnings, which were growing through 2014 to the first half of 2016, has been choked off. That they might still be below their 2008 level in 2022 as the OBR forecast is truly astonishing. Let’s hope this forecast turns out to be too pessimistic,” Johnson said.

Earlier this month, the IFS said welfare cuts already in the pipeline affecting households with young families would mean the number of children living in poverty soaring by 1 million to a record 5.2 million over the next five years. [3]

In June 2016, 17,410,742 British people voted to leave the European Union. 16,141,241 voted to remain. Almost 13,000,000 U.K. voters failed to make it to the polling stations. Polls indicate the vast majority would have been ‘Remain’ voters. Many thousands of ex-pats, many living in Europe, were ineligible to vote due to a ‘disqualification’ law passed by parliament on all U.K. citizens living outside the country for fifteen years or longer (Theresa May has consistently said she would repeal this law, but has never done so).

As Adrian Low from the London School of Economics argues:

What has been largely ignored are the 12.9 million who did not vote. Had the democratic process been that of Australia where voting is compulsory, the polls indicate the result would have been to Remain from day zero, and would still be Remain (see no2brexit.com and businessinsider.com). Of course, there is a criticism of the non-voter but, for various very good reasons, some were reported as simply not able to vote.

Unexpected administrative, personal or employment circumstances disabled some members of the electorate on the day from voting. One Financial Times study pointed out that most university students would generally be encouraged by their university to register to vote in their university town and they may not have realised early enough that they would have to apply for a postal vote given that term would be finished by June 23rd. The non-voters were largely younger voters and all the parties agree that the younger vote was (and still is) far more likely to vote Remain than Leave by a factor of nearly 3:1.[4]

When Theresa May went to the polls in her post-Brexit general election of 8th June this year she did so confident she and her party would be returned to power with a greatly enhanced majority. She was sorely disappointed. Left in a minority position she was fortunate her allies, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (who had supported Brexit by funneling illegal funds from billionaire donors to the Leave campaign via Northern Ireland [5] ) held sufficient seats to prop her up. The result of that general election says way more about the British people’s view of Brexit than a contrived and politically manipulated E.U. referendum ever did.

If Brexit is allowed to proceed the years following will be bleak indeed for the British people. Wages have been stagnating since 2008, housing costs have soared way beyond the ability of ordinary folk to ever afford one, jobs are hard to come by and, if available, are poorly paid in service industries. There are more homeless people on the streets of the U.K. than immediately after the second world war, and the health services are falling apart.

Anyone who can still believe leaving the E.U. is a good choice really needs to seek counselling. So why is the British government hellbent on getting out? Simply, there’s a huge money bonanza for some if they can pull it off. American companies are poised to move in and take over. [6]

Certain government ministers have been scheming for years with their American business counterparts to make it happen. They’ll be well rewarded.

Will it be a good thing for the British people? Take a look at America today and you’ll find the answer.


[1] “Brexit ‘bombshell’ for UK’s European Capital of Culture 2023 plans” BBC, November 23rd 2017

[2] ” London house prices” Rightmove.co.uk

[3] “UK faces two decades of no earnings growth, IFS warns” Guardian, November 23rd 2017

[4] “Brexit is not the will of the British people – it never has been” LSE, October 24th 2016

[5] “What connects Brexit, the DUP, dark money and a Saudi prince?” Irish Times, May 16th 2017

[6] “Rogue State” Monbiot.com (Guardian), November 20th 2017

4 Replies to “Brexit Is Broken – But No-One’s Going To Mend It”

  1. Crying into their expensive cuppas now alright. How foolish was all of it? Foolish and stupid. Of course the Americans are behind it. And no doubt the Russians figure in there somewhere too. But the 1% of the UK stand to make a killing.

    XO
    WWW

  2. WWW – yes, indeed, the 1% will make a killing. The Electoral Commission is presently investigating whether ‘Vote Leave, fronted by Boris Johnson (now Foreign Secretary) and Michael Gove (now Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), spent more than the 7m allowed during the campaign. They did, of that there is no doubt. The Democratic Unionist Party of NI was party to illegal donations filtered through Northern Ireland. The whole process stinks like a skunk-infested sewer, which is just about what the British parliament has become. Whether the EC will have the powers to do much about it is debatable. Personally, I doubt it.

  3. The vote of Brits for Brexit; the ascension of Trump to the U.S. presidency: two nightmare scenarios I’d never have imagined possible. Each of those situations continues to grow more bizarre by the day .

    I used to think British politicians, and high level civil servants, even when not in line with my own political leanings, at least had their feet planted firmly on the ground and had a good, mature, understanding and experience of how to do the jobs the people have asked them to do . I used to think that way, but no longer. The whole Brexit scenario seems, to me, like a very dark Monty Python sketch.

  4. Twilight ~ Trump, Brexit – add to those North Korea, an escalating Sunni v. Shia crisis in the Middle East, and of course the ever-expanding militarism of the U.S., and it all points to a spiraling downhill slide from which humanity may have problems digging itself out. Or, is that the understatement of the century?

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